Monday, 30 July 2007

Desperate Times - Scenario 1, Pit Fight

Desperate Times is another offering from Privateer Press. This time it's a mini-campaign with winter terrain rules from No Quarter No. 9. This is our first attempt at a campaign for Hordes (well, we've played the first scenario of this one but didn't get any further) so we talked about some ground rules before we even started.

The first would be that whatever army we started with would be the army we carried through the campaign. This makes it a little more challenging because you can't tailor your force to the scenario and your opponent has a pretty good idea of what they will be facing.

Second, we decided that we'd use the optional Escalating Conflict varient. It shows the progression of small-scale skirmishes into full-scale war. The game sizes alter as follows:

  • Scenario 1-2: 500 points
  • Scenario 3-4: 750 points
  • Scenario 5: 1000 points.

Since we were keeping the same armies this meant we would use the same force for the first two games, then add 250 points to that army for the next two, and then 250 points more for the final 1000 point game. The scenarios have to be played in the order presented because each scenario builds on past results.

Each scenario includes rules specifying the victory conditions and turn limits for that scenario.

Each scenario includes a list of scenario rewards. Most of these rewards are bonuses for the victorious player, but some scenarios also grant benefits to players who complete certain objectives whether they win or lose. Reward descriptions indicate whether the reward must be used in the following scenario or may be used in any one subsequent scenario of the campaign. Players must declare the use of a reward before the start of a scenario and may use multiple rewards during the same game.

We're looking forward to experimenting with bigger forces. Defenstrator has had some experience with 750 and 1000 points playing Warmachine but has only recently purchased enough Legion to do the same with Hordes. I've mostly stuck to 500 point games with my Circle.

Scenario 1, Pit Fight 500 points

Description

For many years betting on the results of pit fights was a favoured sport in the rugged town of Axbridge, at the eastern base of the Dragonspire Mountains in northern Cygnar. Rugged trappers and rangers of the town would spend months stalking and capturing wild beasts such as gorax and trolls and bring them bleeding but alive to set against one another in the fighting pits. Remnant of an ancient if somewhat sordid tradition, the town has at times drawn spectators from Corvis and Point Bourne to witness the savage contests. Now, with the roads choked by snow and hoping to liven up the monotony of winter, the town has made the mistake of capturing beasts they should not have touched. They have attracted the attention of heavily armed forces from the wilds eager to reclaim their wayward warbeast. The inhabitants abandoned the village and fled. Too terrified of the attacking forces to bother collecting thier belongings, leaving valuable spoils for opportunistic forces to come into the region.

Special Rules


A 6" x 6" square was marked off in the centre of the board to represent the fighting pit before the start of the game. A fence with ARM 14 and 10 points of damage per inch surrounded the outer edge of the pit as well as covered it to make it a cage. Unlike a larger structure the fence would not collapse after a certain portion is destroyed and would not leave rubble.

Each player put a light warbeast in the pit during deployment. The warbeast could not be forced or transferred damage to while completely in the pit. A warbeast could move out of the pit without penalty through any hole in the fence large enough for its base, in this case two inches.

Set Up

The cage was in the centre of the table and each side had a building looking down on it. Four forests were placed in each corner of the table.

Beginning

This scenario uses normal deployment rules.

Victory Conditions

A player wins immediately when the enemy warlock is destroyed or removed from play or when his or her warbeast that starts the game in the pit reaches his or her table edge.

Rewards

Fresh Meat - If a player's warbeast that started the game in the pit is not destroyed or removed from play by the end of the game that player gets a 25-point discount on a single warbeast (to a minimum of 0 points) during any one subsequent Desperate Times campaign game.

Tactical Advantage - The player that wins this scenario decides whether to go first or second in Scenario 2, Raiders. The player who goes first sets up first as usual.

Composition

Circle:

  • Kaya, the Wildborne
  • Argus x 2
  • Warpwolf
  • Woldwarden
  • Wolves of Orboros - Huntsman + 9 Wolves
  • Shifting Stones

Legion:

  • Lylyth, Herald of Everblight
  • Carnivean
  • Seraph
  • Teraph
  • Harriers x 2
  • Blighted Swordsmen - Vassal + 6 Swordsmen
  • Forsaken

Deployment

Defenstrator won the roll and he chose to set up and take the first turn. The Seraph went into the cage and Lylyth was placed on the 10 inch deployment line, a bit to the right of the centre building. The Swordsmen were on the far left with Harrier #2 supporting them to their right. The Harrier #1 was placed as far to the right as the control range would allow. The Teraph and the Carnivean flanked Lylyth on either side (right and left respectively) and the Forsaken was placed beside the Carnivean.

I placed one of the Argus in the cage with Kaya getting as close to him as she could, taking cover behind one of the structures of Axbridge. The Wolves went to the left of the deployment zone and the second Argus and the Woldwarden flanked Kaya (left and right respectively). The Warpwolf hovered behind the Argus and the Stones were placed behind Kaya in the hope that Defenstrator wouldn't just kill the Argus in the cage in the first turn.

Legion Turn 1

The Seraph took aim and shot the Argus sharing its cage getting 4 extra shots. Without the ability to boost it managed to do only 8 points to the Argus.

Lylyth cast Slip Stream and moved forward, dragging the Carnivean up two inches. She then used Arcing Fire with boosted hit and damage rolls to blow the Argus away. I couldn't win by getting it to the other side of the table now and I wouldn't get the extra points in the next scenario. The Carnivean charged the cage and blasted a 1" hole in it with its breath attack.

Harrier #1 on the far right was now out of Lylyth's control range and so could only walk forward off the hill. The Teraph ran up behind the buildings beside the cage and riled for it's full Fury. The Swordsmen ran to the cage wall. Finally, the Harrier #2 ran up behind the Swordsmen.

Circle Turn 1

The Woldwarden walked up beside the building and cast Spirit Fang at the Seraph. Even boosting to hit the spell failed to connect. The Stones telaported themselves to surround the Woldwarden and the Wolves ran up behind the beasts.

Kaya walked over to the Stone and attempted to Spirit Fang the Seraph as well but she wasn't close enough. She did pull over a Cloak of Mists to protect herself from anything Lylyth tried to shoot at her in the next turn. The remaining Argus was pretty blocked in by it's fellow Circle members so could only walk behind the Wolves.

Legion Turn 2

After Lylyth reaved off the 5 Fury built up last turn the Swordsmen attacked the cage and destroyed another 3". This left a 4" hole that was more than big enough for the Seraph to fly out over their heads. It only moved 6" since it couldn't be forced yet, so there was still a chance to catch it.

Harrier #2 (who'd been hanging out with the Swordsmen) simply sidled over so it can be closer to Lylyth. On her activation she moved away from it and up beside the Carnivean, cast Taint on the Harrier and discarded a Fury.

The Teraph continued to move around the outside of the cage until it reached the top corner where it could Dig In and set up it's Counter Blast. The Carnivean let loose its Spiny Growth and the Forsaken ran to stand in front of Lylyth at the top corner of the cage.

Circle Turn 2

The Stones started the turn by telaporting the Woldwarden the full 8" forward towards the Legion lines. Good thing the Woldwarden is so tall. He still had a view of the Seraph trying to get out of the cage and off the table! He once again used Spirit Fang and with boosts to both the hit and the damage pools he managed to do 10 points of damage. More importantly, he managed to slow it down so that I might still have a chance to catch it.

Kaya used Spirit Door to move herself up to the Woldwarden. She then cast Spirit Fang on the Seraph herself but missed by one. Using her Wild Mastery feat, and feeling kind of out in the open with the current state of the field, she used Spirit Door on both herself and the Woldwarden to move back to join the Warpwolf.

The Warpwolf warped to give itself +2" in movement and then ran around the outside of the building on the right side of the cage. He riled for 2 more Fury.

The Wolves had to move to get out of the Argus' way so they snaked around the Stones towards the Teraph. Finally, the Argus could run around the building to join the Warpwolf.

Legion Turn 3

Lylyth reaved Fury and decided to upkeep Taint. The Teraph then came around the cage corner to shoot at the Wolves. It killed 3 of them and then boosted to damage the Woldwarden for 2 points.

As it was hit last turn with Spirit Fang the Seraph could only move 4" towards the Legion table edge. Harrier #2 with Taint on it then charged the Woldwarden but fell short, keeping the Abomination effect over 3" from the Wolves. The Swordsmen charged the Warpwolf. Only one managed to get the charge but missed, with the rest being forced to run.

Lylyth walked around the cage and shot at the Woldwarden twice. Her first shot was a roll of double one, but the second time she hit and boosted the damage to 6 points. Then she cast Bad Blood on it leaving her with no Fury. The Carnivean moved up to screen Lylyth while giving itself Spiny Growth to end its activation. Finally the Harrier #1 ran in behind Lylyth and the Forsaken moved up beside her to drain 2 points of Fury off the Carnivean. Lylyth now had figures on three sides and the cage wall on the fourth. Defenstrator wasn't taking any chances on letting Kaya get an assassination run.

Circle Turn 3

Kaya decided to take the 2 point hit from Bad Blood and so reaved all the Fury she had access to. The Argus that had joined the Warpwolf against the Swordsmen decided that this was the turn to completely suck out. With 3 attacks, 2 of them boosted, and only needing 9s to hit the Argus rolled 8s instead. It did manage to move into 2 Swordsmen to help tie them up. As for the Warpwolf, it spent all of it's Fury and managed to kill 2 Swordsmen. Underwhelming to say the least.

On the other side of the building the Woldwarden attacked the Harrier that had attempted to charge it. It hit with both of it's Rune Fist attacks doing 13 points of damage but missed with its Druid's Wrath Chain Attack, leaving Harrier #2 at 1 point.

That left Kaya to kill the Harrier, which she promptly did by hitting it over the head with Splinter. She cast Spirit Fang at one of the Swordsmen killing him and then used the Woldwarden's animus to create Undergrowth around the two of them to attempt to get a little more protection.

The Stones telaported into the alley between the cage and the building to attempt to block charge lanes to Kaya and the Woldwarden and the Wolves ran into combat around the Teraph to avoid it's charge in the next turn.

Legion Turn 4

Lylyth reaved to return to full Fury points for what could be the final turn. The Seraph was the first to activate. If it was close enough to the table edge the game could be over. It forced and ran as far as it could but was just short of being able to get off the board. The game would continue.

Now Defenstrator could concentrate on killing my army. The Forsaken started things off by casting Blight Shroud with the 4 Fury it had built up. This killed 4 of my Wolves causing them to do a rout test. For once this game I was thankful of the poor dice rolling that had been going on as they deciding to keep fighting. The Teraph took it's turn on them with a boosted bite attack that killed one and a tail strike that killed another. The extra attack missed so there was still a Wolf in combat.

The remaining Swordsmen walked around to the remaining Argus and managed to do 16 points of damage in two hits.

Harrier #1 simply moved out of the way of Lylyth and the Carnivean to allow for as much damage as possible. Lylyth moved beside the building and behind Harrier #1, using it to block charge lanes from the Woldwarden and Kaya. She tried shooting at the Woldwarden twice but missed both times. The Carnivean charged the Warpwolf and killed it.

Circle Turn 4

This turn would be do or die time for me. The Seraph was going to make it off the table in the next turn, there was nothing I could do about that, but I might be able to kill Lylyth this turn so I'd still get the win, if not the extra points for a subsequent game. I thought that Defenstrator may have misjudged distances a little in his quick turn to try and get rid of both of my heavies so Kaya reaved all the Fury she could.

Starting with the easy side of the battle the remaining Wolf tried to damage the Teraph but failed.

The Woldwarden moved into the Shifting Stone ring and cast Spirit Fang on the Harrier with a boosted hit and damage roll for 7 points. The Stones then teleported it beside the building that Lylyth was trying to use as protection.

Kaya opened a Spirit Door to the Woldwarden and, thanks to the reach of Splinter, was able to attack Lylyth. She got an excellent damage roll and Lylyth was forced to transfer the damage to the Harrier. The Harrier died and sent 5 points back onto it's mistress. That was the best I could do.

The Argus killed the leader of the Swordsmen to end my turn.

Legion Turn 5

This was actually my last hope. The Seraph had to retain Fury as it had moved out of Lylyth's control range. There was a small possibility that it would frenzy and run towards the battle rather than away from it. After reaving the Teraph still had some Fury on it so Defenstrator would have two rolls to make. To increase the tension he rolled for the Teraph first. It frenzied and killed the last of my Wolves. The Seraph did not frenzy and calmly walked off the table to give Legion the win.

After Game Thoughts

Myantek - Can I blame the loss on crappy dice? Honestly, I admit I was hoping for a bit of luck this game. Going first I could have won in the second turn, I was hoping that Defenstrator wouldn't be able to kill the Argus in the first turn and in the end I was hoping for the Seraph to frenzy and just give me that one more turn.

Unfortunately, I seem to be making very small mistakes that Defenstrator is able to capitalize on. The biggest this game was putting the Warpworf just a little too far forward which allowed the charge by the Carnivean. I may also not be playing quite aggressive enough. If I'd just given the Argus up for dead in the first turn and positioned the Stones to really throw the Woldwarden around I might have had a better result. I wasn't displeased with the beginning of the game, I think I made a fair accounting of myself, I just couldn't get around the cage or the buildings to finish things off. Lylyth had no reason to come closer to me because all she had to do was to get the Seraph off the table. The cage can be broken in to on the first turn so going first is a big advantage in this scenario.

Defenstrator - I think big advantage is a gross understatement. In the Circle's case at least going first equals an auto-win. If Kaya stands on the edge of her deployment zone and the caged Argus at the back of the enclosure she can teleport him out of the cage first turn, two inches behind her into the Shifting Stones, which then teleport him a further eight inches back to the edge of the table. That puts the Argus in a position to walk off at the begining of Myantek's turn two, and there would be nothing I could do to stop it. I'd still be just trying to break through the cage wall, so the fact there even is a battle report is because I won the die roll to go first and I killed the Argus before it could be teleported away. After that though Myantek was forced to fight through my army to catch the Seraph, and I was in the envious postion of being able to force her to come to me. The next scenario looks a bit more balanced though, so we'll see how it goes.

2 comments:

Kuma said...

In Turn 2, you mention Kaya casting 3 Spirit doors in a row ("Kaya used Spirit Door to move herself up to the Woldwarden. She then [...] used Spirit Door on both herself and the Woldwarden to move back to join the Warpwolf.")- I'm afraid this is not correct, since the spell description states that Spirit door may only used once per activation.
Nevertheless, nice battle report, enjoyed reading it :)

Myantek said...

Ack! I'm an idiot! I've been playing Spirit Door that way since I started. Goes to show how closely I read the rules, eh? Thanks for pointing that out.

Of course, now that I've found out I've been cheating it's harder to justify the losing streak...