One of my favorite Warhammer opponents is moving to California, which is fantastic for him and his family, of course, but it's a downer for our Warhammer addiction. But he has been gracious to introduce me to not just one, but two new players, who can re-bolster the ranks! We may very well have the beginnings of an actual local gaming group, which would be awesome.
This battle report is the first game with one of these fine gentleman, Bogo. Bogo is a narrative-leaning Warhammer enthusiast, who owns around 9 painted armies! He has an appreciation for the cinema of the game as much as I do, often lacing the proceedings with color commentary from the characters in the game -- a mark of a true narrative player. I see many more games ahead of us!
We played a standard 2000-point game, having rolled up the "Meeting Engagement" scenario with very little terrain. The ziggurat counts as a building, and the line marks the centerline, from which the armies must deploy over 6" away. This photo is after the Movement Phase of Turn 1, so the Lizardmen have already swarmed into the no-man's land. The scenario requires each player to roll to see if any units are in reserve, which explains why the Warriors of Chaos army looks sparse. 3 units are in reserve!
I've played against Warriors of Chaos only once before, and that was about 3 years ago at the first NOVA Open that I attended. WoC was a bitch back then, and they're now considered a top-tier army, from what I gather from the podcasts, so I figured I was in for a tough fight. Especially when I saw a 40+ horde deathstar of Warriors!
So my plan was to use the river and chokepoints to isolate the Warriors unit and concentrate on whittling it down with Skink Poison and Salamander Flame until I could have an even match against my Saurus unit.
The Slann would use Wind Blast to keep pushing the Warriors back across the river, since I've learned the hard way that the enemy can simply skip across the river if I give them a viable charge target. I think it's ridiculous that a unit can't march through a river, but it can run through it! But, hey, that's one of many things that make Warhammer a "game" and not a "wargame". ;-)
On Bogo's turn, the rest of the WoC army entered the board, including a Hellcannon, a Chosen unit, and a third Chaos Hounds unit. During the preceding Lizardman turn, the Slann, the Chameleons, and the Stegadon Giant Bow had all concentrated fire on the War Shrine. The averages probably should have put 3 Wounds on it, but I had to be content with only 2. I really didn't know much about the War Shrine, but I figured it probably had to be "A Big Deal", so I really focused a lot of target priority to take it out, which ended up, through bad luck, requiring double the amount of targetings that it should have. I learned at the end of the game that it's not as game-winning as I assumed, so I wasted a lot of resources on it!
Something else I realized when I saw this photo is that I should have used the Jungle Swarms as a redirecter in the river. That would have possibly forced the Warriors into the river, which is where I really wanted them, in order to deny their rank bonus and give me the charge with at least 3 units simultaneously. As it was, I positioned the Swarms thinking ahead to where they would supplement the inevitable melee and give my units Poison.
The Chaos Hounds assaulted the ziggurat ruins to attack the Slann. Only to discover that the Slann was Ethereal and impervious to their mundane gnashing teeth. Bwahahahahaaa!
The War Shrine figured it would try to get some work done before it was demolished, so it tried to give some Wounds to the Stegadon, which it pretty much shrugged off. The real value of the War Shrine, though, was that it tar-pitted the Stegadon and the Kroxigors.
I was having success, however, with tarpits of my own on the right flank, keeping the chaff and the Chosen away from the main battle and potentially upsetting my plan. The Skink Skirmishers actually did a good job whittling down the Chosen, before the little buggers were stamped out.
So this is where the plan went to hell. I made the mistake of positioning my Chameleons behind the Warriors, in line with the direction of the Wind Blast, negating my own strategy! With the Warriors within easy charge distance, they rushed across the river like it wasn't there. That's the third time I've let that happen! Needless to say, my Saurus unit wasn't ready for this melee to happen yet.
It was all pretty academic from that point...
I did have a ray of hope, however, that I could still overcome the Warriors deathstar with Poison and Flame. It actually worked pretty well, but I missed forcing a Panic test by only one casualty!
I knew I would have to sacrifice my Skinkigor unit, but I would have one more round of shooting once it was gone. Unfortunately, 2 Skinks in the Skinkigor unit survived! Leaving the Warriors engaged in combat and immune from shooting. Bah!
In desperation, I sent in everything to attack it. It was pretty much the only option remaining, my hope being to win on combat resolution from the charge, the flank, and the rear attacks. In retrospect, that idea might have worked, if I had left the Chameleons out of the fight, since they offered easy casualties to the enemy unit. The lizards and the Stegadon could resist Wounds, whereas Skinks fall like flies.
The Warriors beat everyone soundly, and the surviving lizards scattered to take protection in the jungle. The Warriors chased down the Stegadon and cut down the noble beast to roast him over the firepit for the evening's dinner.
The Slann faded away into the Ethereal Plane, having learned valuable lessons against this new foe....