This post is the final part of my report of the Warhammer display game played at Little Wars. If you missed the previous part of the report, you can find it here. The main page for the report is here.
|The White Wolves find themselves in a spot of bother.|
It was not going well. Archaon's mounting frustration was fast becoming a towering rage, and he decided to vent his feelings upon the nearest outlet – the Knights of the White Wolf. With various confused war cries exalting a random assortment of Chaos Gods, he urged his steed into the flank of the Knights. The Nurgle Chosen continued to follow him around like adoring puppies, slamming into the rear of the enemy. Having finally come to grips with a worthwhile target, neither of the Chaos parties held back. Archaon himself slew 8 of the White Wolves, whilst his steed gored another. The Chosen then struck with a vengeance, killing all of the remaining Knights except the Preceptor, who fought back alongside the Grand Master and Amber Wizard in a futile display. Luthor Huss found himself in yet another challenge, this time with the champion of the Chosen. Once more he dealt with his opponent, however his heroics counted for little and he and his companions fled for their lives, narrowly eluding Archaon. The Chosen ignored orders to hold their ground and chased the survivors as well, however they moved ponderously and only succeeded in exposing their flank to Karl Franz's regiment of yet more Knights.
|The centre of the field, with the White Wolf Knights fighting the Nurgle Chosen and Archaon, and the Khorne Ogres against the Stirland Halberdiers.|
|Another view of the mess in the middle as Archaon winds up...|
|Archaon's toll is considerable.|
|Then the Chosen start rolling dice...|
|...Which adds to the pile of casualties somewhat.|
|The survivors make their escape. 3 character models, and a unit champion to stop them rallying.|
|Archaon's pursuit leaves him just short of the Steam Tank|
|The Chosen shamble forward very slowly, leaving them a little exposed.|
|The blurry Khornate Ogres about to have their way with the Stirland Halberdiers.|
On the Chaos right flank, the Empire Inner Circle Knights were still not finished with their rampage. Their pursuit of the Tzeentch Knights had carried them into a hapless Chaos Chariot, which they smashed apart with contemptuous ease. However, they saw themselves being encircled by the Chaos forces around them as they pushed forward, and their Grand Master pulled them up short with a command to reform, facing toward the centre of the field.
|The Inner Circle Knights continue their rampage, smashing through a Chaos Chariot that got in the way.|
|The Spearmen and Halberdiers on the Empire right flank find themselves in trouble.|
|The Halberdiers are overwhelmed and break (they were maybe 1 model off having Steadfast)|
|The Arch Lector in harm's way.|
|The Spearmen flee, and defy the rules by taking their banner with them (oops).|
|Hahaha, you'll never get our banner, suckers!|
|Steam up, captain.|
|Stuff this, we're leaving.|
|The Chosen elect to run, rather than facing the music.|
|The Empire second wave before charges (before the Nurgle Chosen nicked off).|
|Demigryphs to the rescue!|
|The Hurricanum moves across to bolster the Demigryphs.|
If the weakening effects of Soulblight had any impact upon Archaon's resolve, he gave no indication. He faced the Steam Tank down fearlessly as it crashed into him, wounding him once more but leaving him and his steed still standing. He lashed out in return and carved a gash in the machine's steel hide, holding his ground. For once his treacherous blade made no attempt to betray him, seeming content to focus its rage upon the enemy before it.
Bolstered by Birona's Timewarp and the presence of the Hurricanum and War Altar, the Demigryphs crashed into the Nurgle Knights just as they came to blows with the Arch Lector. Half a dozen Chaos Knights were felled as the two forces collided, however the survivors took a heavy toll upon the Demigryphs in return. The Arch Lector found himself in a challenge with the Nurgle Exalted Hero on his Daemon Steed, however both parties failed to inflict any damage. Though both sides had taken similar casualties, the numbers of the Chaos regiment and the presence of the Chaos battle standard was enough to turn the tide in their favour. The Demigryphs ignored the bellowed orders of the Emperor nearby and fled, although the Arch Lector held firm and fought on alone.
|Rescue failed. I think I lost combat by 1 despite everything in favour of the Demigryphs, and then they fled on Ld 9 with a reroll. Such weakness. We shall be having words when we get home.|
Archaon howled curses from all four ruinous powers upon his useless minions as they fled all around him. Dire threats and promises of eternal retribution echoed across the field, and this apparently had the desired effect as all of the fleeing Chaos regiments turned and faced the enemy once more. Archaon himself was still occupied, hacking furiously (though largely ineffectually) at the Steam Tank. The driver huddled inside, fingers in his ears as the crashes of steel upon steel and the bellowed threats echoed deafeningly around the cramped confines of the machine.
|The cowardly Ogres rally far, far from the action.|
|Oh bother. It was a nice Volley Gun.|
|The Arch Lector fights on alone, knocking the head off the first Chaos Hero to call him out.|
|The Inner Circle Knights get read-charged in their bus formation, but the characters all step back and largely negate the danger.|
|The Griffon fights bravely to buy time for the Inner Circle Knights.|
|The Emperor's bodyguard on Knights finally gets involved.|
|The final showdown - the Emperor Karl Franz faces off against the Everchosen of Chaos, Archaon.|
Horns blared all across the Chaos lines as their leader fell, and even the crazed Khornate Ogres right before the Emperor's armoured bodyguard abruptly halted their advance as some recognition of what had transpired sank through their addled skulls. Their hesitation would not last forever though, and as seemingly endless as the ranks of Chaos Warriors behind them were, the main bulk of the Chaos invasion was still yet to arrive.
The Empire forces had won the respite they looked for, and quickly withdrew in the confusion that followed the Everchosen's fall. They had won a great victory, and bought their comrades the time they needed to escape the devastation that would surely come. It was only unfortunate that there had been no time for Archaon's body to be recovered...
The game went reasonably well, considering the constraints we were working with. We had a limited window and everything was a bit rushed, but we did very well to get through 6 turns. Admittedly we kind of cut the final turn short when Archaon fell, but realistically the remaining combats probably would have seen the Khorne Warriors on the Chaos right broken, and the Arch Lector on the other flank taking yet another stubborn test after failing to hurt the Nurgle BSB in a challenge. It felt like a logical time to stop things and we were out of time anyway.
If we had played things through to the end of turn 8 (as the scenario allows), the Chaos forces might have made slightly more progress. Karl Franz's unit might have been in some danger with large regiments of Warriors and Chosen still kicking about, and if they went there would have been nothing left between the Chaos forces and the central objective. When we stopped the Empire led 4-3 by holding half the table and 2 of the objectives, but that could have changed with a little more time and more Chaos reinforcements.
Army selection for the game was a little bit strange, and (as it turned out) slightly flawed. I had started by working out what significant Chaos units we could put on the table, then working back from there. It wasn't long before I had included all the Empire models I had available, including a swathe of Lords and Heroes in an effort to buy more space for small details like characters in the Chaos army. As it was, I still had to cut some Chaos units in order to fit in a group of Daemon Princes and Heroes, so the Empire ended up far more character-heavy.
I had also failed to consider that all the high-level wizards on the Chaos side were large, single models who were obvious targets for the Empire artillery (and Flagellants, as it turned out). It was too easy to pick them off, and leave the Chaos army decidedly light on for magic. This probably didn't matter as much as it might have given how many double 6s we rolled for the Empire spell-casting, but it was still an advantage for the defenders.
In the end, this battle was never really about trying to make a perfectly balanced game, and it worked well enough as the spectacle it was meant to be.