Tuesday, 11 April 2017

1st Mittelerdian War: Game 1 - Ambush at the Border

On the far-flung frontiers of the Grand League of Rhordia lies a province known to its inhabitants as Mittelerde. Once a rolling, green land of peaceful folk, men and halfmen alike enjoyed a life largely untroubled by the outside world. However, recent incursions from goblin and ratkin raiding parties have rendered this a distant memory, with the slow response of the League to the growing threat leaving the residents of Mittelerde desperate and fearful. At times they have taken to hiring ogre mercenaries to defend their lands, but the itinerant nature of the great tribes makes them an unreliable source of safety.

Fortunately, the goblins and ratkin have been equally occupied with fighting each other as with terrorizing the locals, with warlords vying for ultimate control of raiding rights. This has bought Rhordia time, and there are signs that a response may soon be marshaled, but the question remains: will the armies of the League arrive in time to save them, or merely to avenge them?

Into this tense situation comes a new element: the elves of the Sea-Kindred seek to reassert their presence in the world. Outposts long abandoned are once again garrisoned and undergoing restoration, and emissaries of King Ariandaras are sent to establish or reaffirm links among the many Kingdoms of Men.

Iólon, Mage of Therennia Adar, is one such emissary, and is on his way to establish relations with the Rhordian Schools of Magic. Signs of devastation become increasingly apparent as he leads his escort through the abandoned fields of Mittelerde. The wind changes direction, and the smell hits: goblins! Within mere moments the sounds of many vicious cries intermingled with the roars of beasts reach elven ears; to battle!

Welcome to this blog's first battle report! My brother (blog) and I decided to start a narrative campaign to give some context to our many battles, as well as allow us to play around with some of the less competitively-minded possibilities in KoW (although we both love competitive play). We have a lot of ideas for it, and while it won't have anything coming close to a regular update schedule it should hopefully grow into something pretty epic.

Links to other games in the campaign: Game 2, Game 3, Edge of the Abyss

We started off with the "Flanked!" scenario from Destiny of Kings, a pretty small game with 500 points for the defenders and 750 for the attackers. The game lasts 7 turns, if defenders are wiped out then attackers win (obviously), if defenders kill 60% of attackers before being wiped out it's a draw, and if any elves survive the game then defenders win. Normally it's if 20% or more of defenders survive then it's a win, but at this points level, and with elves, that means it's wipe to win for the goblins.
This shows both deployment and our lists. The goblins went for units over artifacts, whereas the elves brought a few toys to the field. The compass is there to indicate which flank of the battlefield I refer to throughout the report.

A close up of the goblins to the east:
And to the west:
Elf deployment:
The rules for this scenario seem pretty harsh on the defender. Not only do they have to deploy everything first, they go second too. With that in mind I put the tallspears so that they weren't facing either enemy zone, so that they could have the option to pivot 90 degrees and move to where they were needed.

Goblins turn one, on the east flank the rabble go at-the-double and the spitters hop into the woods. The sharpsticks only move a little to prevent blocking line the spitters line of sight to the elves. The war trombone stays behind the hill to prevent any chance of being targeted by elven archers.
Similar story to the west, sniffs inch forward to get in range while trolls and fleabags move forward together, the biggit keeping them in his inspiring bubble. Goblin shooting failed to damage.
Arrows whistled through the air, leaping from woods both east and west of the elves. Ducking behind walls and shields, the children of Walldeep moved to ready their defense.

Seeing the oncoming fleabags and trolls as the most pressing threat, the tallspears shift west. I hadn't measured the distance exactly when I deployed and it turned out that, as the deployment zones are 20 inches apart in this scenario, the goblin rabble regiment was going to get a turn 2 charge on my archers. In hindsight it would probably have been a smarter play to leave them where they were, but I elected to back up an inch and suffer the -2 for moving and now shooting over the obstacle. I also put Iólon in range to fireball while keeping him inspiring to all units, as well as outside of a turn 2 shot from the war trombone.
As it was, my decision to back up the elves didn't go too badly, as I rolled well enough that, combined with the fireball, the rabble took 5 damage. Not enough for even a waver unfortunately.
Despite not moving, the western archers only put one point of damage on the sniffs, but managed a cheeky waver!
The goblins push forward on both flanks, the war trombone getting on the hill and readying a shot at the archers...
...and score seven damage, enough to send the elves running!
Ears still ringing from the blast, Iólon was momentarily blinded by the wave of smoke that washed over the elven position, product of the foul goblin contraption on the hill. Behind him he heard sergeant Pennor give the order to charge. Turning to look, he spotted an authoritative looking goblin barking orders at the trolls from the back of his wolf.

I decide to put the tallspears into the fleabags; playing it safe wasn't going to cut it in this scenario. I side-stepped the remaining archers a couple of inches to prevent a flank charge from the trolls - once again I should probably have left them and had a better round of sniff-sniping instead, as they fail to score any damage. Iólon moves to fireball the biggit...
...and scores 5 points, but after a re-roll only manages a waver. His inspiring isn't enough to save the fleabags though, who rout before the elven phalanx. I reform the elves to face the trolls.
Turn 3 for goblins, my brother continues to push up, with the trombone now in range of my mage.
The spitters move up to just within range of the archers and score 2 points of damage, which clearly came as a shock to the elves as they routed!
The war trombone scores 5 on the mage, but he maintains his cool.
Being hindered really hurts the trolls, as they only manage 2 points on the tallspears, who remain steady.
Turn 3 for the elves, and things are looking dicey. My mage was lucky to survive the shot from the trombone, and so tries to make it count, but a fireball only wavers the war engine.
The tallspears do 3 points to the trolls, who're unconcerned.
Having finally put out the flames in his wolf's fur, goblin biggit Grotti-Khan cast his eyes across the battlefield, eager to get revenge on the knife-ears who had scorched his beast. Spying further bursts of magic beyond the brawl of elves and trolls, he spurred the wolf into action, skirting the combat and lining up his shot. Iólon never saw it coming - the arrow pierced his ribs. His vision fading, he saw Grotti-Khan, malevolent pleasure evident in the goblin's smile. He blacked out.
Uh oh. Just the tallspears left. Fortunately they hold firm against another round of attacks from the trolls.
Breaking formation briefly, two elves hauled Iólon's limp body back to the regiment and behind the shieldwall. Sergeant Pennor gave a blast on his horn, and the tallspears pushed hard into the trolls, determined to see their charge to safety.

Feeling motivated (no doubt by goblins pressing in from all sides) the elves manage to break the trolls, who Grotti-Khan had left out of inspiring in his eagerness to shoot my mage. With the rabble closing in, I gamble on an overrun to get the hell outta there. They go a healthy 5 inches, running along the obstacle.
Perhaps sensing my plan, my brother moves his units to block me in...
...but puts the sniffs too close, allowing the tallspears to chase them off!
Goblins turn 6, and unless his biggit can shoot me there is no way for him to catch me in combat. Grotti-Khan does manage a wound, but it isn't enough.
The elves continue to leg it, and the goblins remain in pursuit (mainly for cinematic purposes). The biggit has one last chance to force a nerve check, and he scores another wound...
...but it's not enough, and the elves get outta there. Elves win!
Howls of frustration issued from the goblins as the elves settled into a steady pace, easily out pacing the greenskins and leaving them to cast blame among themselves for the failure. Pennor knew that Iólon would need medical attention soon or he would perish. On the horizon he spotted what appeared to be a small farming community. They would regroup there, and plan the next move.

That was not the result either of us expected! I should say that, so convinced were we that the elves were screwed, I planned every move obsessively while my brother was far more casual. Roleplaying goblin confidence a little too well perhaps?

Will Iólon survive his wounds? Who will the elves find in the farming community? Will the Goblins get their revenge? Find out next time, in the unfolding events of the 1st Mittelerdian War!

Edit: Click here for the next game.

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