Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cancon 2012 Aftermath: Part 1

How it went
Well, Cancon 2012 is over and we have survived the 8 hour road trip home. I can’t recall the last time I was so tired after a tournament – it was really draining to have been heavily involved in organising the thing as well as playing on the day. Well, that was combined with not really getting enough sleep, and being the (equal-) longest tournament I know of. It’s easy to see how all these things can add up to exhaustion.

Anyway, regardless of all these things I had fun. Cancon has spent the last decade as our road trip of choice. It’s the only 3 day event I have ever attended, and it lends the whole thing an extra atmosphere of scale that a mere 2 day, 6 game tournament can’t really compare to. This was why we were so concerned when it looked like Warhammer Fantasy would not run this year, and why we took a hand in making sure it did so. When we (HGC) put our collective hands up to make sure it happened, we were considering potential options such as having a rotating TO to ensure everyone got to play, but thankfully Dave Hurley (a Canberra local) volunteered to run it on the day. We joined forces and together we managed to make the tournament happen.

The turnout of 76 players is undoubtedly more than anyone expected. Cancon only had 41 Fantasy players last year, and I don’t think an Australian event has managed to break 50 since the Pilgrimage managed 84 back in August 2010, immediately after 8th edition was released (and before the great exodus we witnessed shortly thereafter – I’ve discussed this in a previous post). The large numbers caused us some headaches in terms of space and terrain (much of which we were lugging up from Melbourne in the cars). In the end we made it work, but things were a bit cramped – and we couldn’t have done the tables so comfortably without the help of John Lampe (another local, this time an ex-Hamptoner from long ago).

Overall I would say the event was successful. Things were pretty well on schedule (after a few hiccups at the start), and everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. There were a couple of things that could have gone better – one of them was the checking of legality of lists. I didn’t sweep through every list to check that they were correct, partly because I figured anything glaring would be detected by the panel of 3 comp judges. It turns out this was a mistake, as apparently legality is not what they were focused on. I happened to discover problems with a couple of lists at the last minute and had to scramble to get them fixed. Some things almost certainly slipped through the gaps. Top marks go to the guy who managed to enter an Ogre list with the old army book, and nobody realised until he turned up on the day and saw that other people had a different book – that required some quick shuffling (and probably a steep learning curve for him during the tournament)…

Being an addle-witted fool, I failed to take a single photo during the event. I was a bit busy with my games and generally feeling like there were not enough minutes in the day. Naturally it occurred to me after everything was done, but I’m afraid that for the moment I have nothing.

How I went (Day 1)
Normally I do a whole tournament report in a single post, however I think that might be a little unmanageable this time round. Instead, I will do it by day – so this post will just be for day 1, and I should have the other 2 days posted within a another day or two as well.
My army, with the characters sitting in the units they generally traveled with
Once again I opted to use my Empire army at Cancon, and I have posted my army list previously. I ended up getting a 7/10 for comp, which I feel is probably about right. I discovered a few times during the tournament that my army really lacked strength in certain areas, and this was quickly followed by something bad happening to my poor little soldiers. Here is how my games went:

Game 1: Dawn Attack
Iain Thomson – Bretonnians

Lord on barded steed with lance, 1+ rerollable armour save, immune to Killing Blow and Poison
Lord on Pegasus with Sword of Strife, Heroic Killing Blow, Tress of Isoulde, 4+ armour save
BSB on barded steed with Sword of Might, 1+ armour save
Damsel on steed with Silver Mirror (Level 2 Lore of Beasts)
Damsel on steed with Dispel Scroll (Level 2 Lore of Beasts)
10 Peasant Bowmen
10 Peasant Bowmen
10 Peasant Bowmen
6 Knights of the Realm with champion
6 Knights of the Realm with champion
13 Knights Errant with full command
13 Knights Errant with full command
4 Pegasus Knights with full command
5 Mounted Yeomen

Although this game was only a few days ago, the passage of 8 games and the frantic hurry I was in to get myself set up and play after a busy start to the day has made my memory of it a bit hazy. Apologies for the lack of detail (and potentially accuracy)…

Being Dawn Attack, our deployment was dictated somewhat by the dice. I ended up with only my Crossbowmen on the left, with the bulk of my army in the centre and the Swordsmen (with both Wizards) and the Cannon on the right. It was not a lot different from how I would have chosen to deploy anyway, so I was pretty fortunate. Iain was less lucky – his two major Errant buses with General and BSB were split on my left and right respectively, whilst both Trebuchets landed on my far right and the rest of the army spread across the line. 

As usual, the Bretonnians stopped and prayed so I got the first turn. I advanced quickly with my cavalry, sending the Inner Circle Knights with Warrior Priest off to the left, whilst the White Wolves went right, with the Halberdiers next to them. The Swordsmen stepped forward a touch to help shield the Cannon from any adventurism from the Yeomen (I could see them getting ideas across the table). My magic was ineffectual, however my Cannon took 3 wounds off one of the Trebuchets (stupid Bretonnians having 4 crew). The mortar killed a couple of Knights Errant after scattering off target.

The Bretonnians advanced, with the General’s Errant bus heading straight for my Crossbowmen on the left. Next to them, a unit of Knights of the Realm moved up close to my Inner Circle Knights whilst the Pegasus Knights shifted about and some peasant archers moved into a building. The Yeoman swung wide on my right flank, trying to avoid my lines whilst closing with the Cannon. The centre was more cautious due to the advance of the White Wolves and Halberdiers. Magic did little, whilst one Trubuchet scattered and the other was unlucky in only killing a single crewman off the Cannon.

I declared a charge on the Realm Knights with my Inner Circle Knights, however they showed their true colours and fled. I failed to redirect onto something squishy, so achieved little. On the right, I discovered the Swordsmen were within range for a 13 or 14” charge on the Yeomen, and it would give me a clean run into the Trebuchets and behind enemy lines. I went for it and made it, which was lucky. I killed the Yeomen and carried on into the peasants behind them, out of sight of the BSB’s Errant unit. In return, Iain charged the Knights into my Halberdiers. He also charged my Crossbowmen, who stood and shot to little effect. The Pegasus Lord and the second unit of Knights of the Realm turned to deal with my rampant Swordsmen, whilst the fleeing Knights fled straight off the table and panicked a unit of peasants into joining them (I think).  My Cannon had killed the first Trebuchet with a follow-up shot, and the other retaliated and again managed to remove only a single wound – very unlucky.

The combat between the Halberdiers and Errants was messy. I lost combat and presumably was not steadfast, because I broke (I think I might actually have failed a rerollable Ld 9 test here, but that seems less likely). He chose not to pursue because he would have been flanked by my White Wolves, regardless of the roll. Instead he reformed and took the charge front on. The Bretonnian General’s unit made short work of the Crossbowmen and swung around back toward the centre of the battlefield. 

Having watched the Realm Knights run off and seeing the Pegasus Knights fly off and roost behind the house, My Inner Circle Knights decided to do a swift reform to support the rest of my troops. However, their ill discipline continued and they failed the test, so just spun on the spot. My Halberdiers rallied and faced toward my left and the unopposed General’s Errant Knights, who were behind a hill. The charge of my White Wolves (including my General and BSB) was too much for the Errants in the centre and they broke and were run down. My Knights headed toward the right, where they would be needed to assist my Swordsmen.

Seeing the Inner Circle Knights now looking at them, the General’s Errants were cagey and shuffled into range for a long charge. The Pegasus Knights dropped down behind my troops, meaning they were surrounded. The Pegasus Lord and remaining Realm Knights charged my Swordsmen, who wore the charge in the flank as they were busy cleaning peasant off their swords. This was a concern, as both my Wizards were in the unit (where else would they be but rampaging through the enemy lines in close combat?) The combat was naturally one-sided, however the Swordsmen passed their Steadfast break test and turned to face their attackers.

The White Wolves rode to the rescue, hitting the Knights of the Realm in the flank. The Bretonnians were thrashed, however both the Knights and the Pegasus Lord managed to outrun me back toward the centre of the table before rallying the following turn, right in front of their pursuers.

The Inner Circle Knights charged the General’s Errants, as they had little choice if they wanted to avoid being the meat in a Knight sandwich. It was a longish charge, but they pulled it off (nice to know they could do something right). Behind them, a cannonball bounced off a Pegasus Knight, however the Mortar landed dead on one and killed him. This was enough to panic the rest off the table – so the rear charge threat was no more. I won the combat by several dead Errants, however the enemy were Steadfast and held. This was followed by a couple of drawn rounds before I managed to lose the combat through sheer poor rolling and break, being run down in the process.

The game was wrapped up with me charging the rallied Realm Knights with my White Wolves, but refraining from charging the Pegasus so I could roast him with Chain Lightning (which I did). I also fired a Cannonball through the Bretonnian General and the Damsel behind him (they had lost too many knights to benefit from their protection, and had surrendered their Lady’s Blessing when they chose to flee from another charge near the end). The General died, however the Damsel proved tougher and caught the cannonball in her teeth (I rolled a 1 to wound).

In the end I had lost my Inner Circle Knights and Warrior Priest, and my Crossbowmen. I had killed everything except the Damsel, a couple of Errants and a unit of peasants who were still hiding in the house. I had been lucky with a couple of important long charges and passed a critical break test with my Swordsmen, however I’d had a couple of poor combat results to balance it out. Iain had rolled very poorly with his Trebuchets and with a couple of panic and rally tests and it meant the rest of the battle had been uphill. I never got a target within range of the Volley Gun, so had never fired it in a game yet.

Result: 16:4 Win

Game 2: Battle for the Pass

Simon Turner – Beastmen

Great Bray Shaman with 4+ ward, Jagged Dagger, Ironcurse Icon (Level 4 Lore of Beasts)
BSB Wargor with 2+ armour, Beast Banner
Wargor with Blackened Plate, shield, Gold Sigil Sword
38 Gors with standard, musician, extra hand weapons
10 Raiders
10 Raiders with musician
Tuskgor Chariot
Tuskgor Chariot
8 Razorgor
8 Razorgor
Razorgor Chariot
Razorgor Chariot

I had played Simon at the Masters a bit over a month before, however on that occasion neither of us were using our own army. This time it was on our own terms. Simon’s terms seemed to revolve around 16 “Pumbagors” – are ya achin’ for some bacon?

I deployed my White Wolves on my left (although still not at the end of my deployment zone, despite the narrower deployment of Battle for the Pass. Next to them were the Halberdiers, sitting at the back of a forest that was dividing my zone. My Cannon, Mortar and Engineer sat back on a hill whilst the Crossbowmen went next to the Halberdiers with the Swordmen (and mages) behind them. Immediately next to them on my right were the Inner Circle Knights, with the Helblaster anchoring the flank.

Simon had both Razorgor units on my right, with the Gor herd in the centre containing all 3 characters. His other flank consisted of a couple of chariots and some skirmishers, with a couple more chariots drifting behind the lines as a second wave.

I can’t even remember who had the first turn in this game – it must have been traumatic for me. I think it must have been me. He advanced whilst I bounced a couple of cannonballs through the piggies. I killed a piggy and a bit each time, however there were more where those came from. My Volley Gun was good for a single pathetic wound on the beasties (their being Toughness 5 doesn’t help), and the Crossbowmen did their best to contribute, aided by Harmonic Convergence to reroll 1s to hit and wound. In the end I managed to panic a unit of piggies, however they rallied a few turns later, right on the table edge (boo). My Mortar dented the Gor herd a couple of times, which was aided by Simon forgetting his Ironcurse Icon (I had forgotten it too).

My chance in the game was to roll a couple of 10s to charge – one with my White Wolves to hit the more central piggies in the flank and roll the line, and the other with my Halberdiers to go in the front. Had I pulled off both (or maybe even 1) of these things, I would have stood a decent chance. As it was, I failed them both. My Inner Circle Knights were pinned in place by Curse of Anraheir, so could not contribute when I needed them (losing 1/3 of them would have rendered them useless and probably panicked them). 

Having missed my main opportunity, I then received charges from Simon. The piggies hit the stationary Inner Circle Knights, whilst the Gor herd went into the front of my White Wolves and a chariot made it into the side. These things might have been acceptable. Unfortunately, Simon cast a boosted version of the Savage Beast of Horros – giving his characters a combined total of 18 Strength 8 attacks with hatred. Any chance I had in the combat was gone. The White Wolves and General were slaughtered, and even though the BSB and the few survivors passed their break test, they were doomed in the following turn. For their part, the Inner Circle Knights failed their fear test and dropped to WS1. Even with hatred (which I somehow forgot in my rather forlorn state), they were doomed. They were smashed by a wall of Strength 6 attacks and broke from combat, leaving the Volley Gun to be hit by the overrun.

In a futile attempt to do something, I charged the flank of the Gor regiment with my Halberdiers. In truth I don’t know what I hoped to achieve – the enemy characters were still supercharged and my White Wolves were not going to survive the round. I had it somewhere in my mind that I had already wounded the enemy BSB and might be able to bring him down. He was indeed half-dead, but it was optimistic in the extreme to think I could do more than feed him and his mates more victims. 

Elsewhere the remnants of my Inner Circle Knights (3 Knights and the Warrior Priest) rallied, however there was not much they could have done. I managed to bring down a chariot with shooting, but everything else was folding. I fought on for a few more turns and could perhaps have dragged things on longer if I’d been more cowardly and fled from charges, but in truth things were pressed together and I was doomed. Within 4 or 5 turns there was nobody left to fight.

What can I say? I got porked…

Result: 0-20 Loss

Game 3: Battleline
James Porley – Warriors of Chaos

Chaos Lord of Tzeentch on Manticore with 4+ ward, Charmed Shield, Crown of Command, Biting Blade, Stream of Corruption, Bloodcurdling Roar
Sorcerer with Infernal Puppet (Level 2 Lore of Fire)
Sorcerer of Tzeentch with Dispel Scroll, Third Eye of Tzeentch (Level 2 Lore of Tzeentch)
BSB Exalted Hero of Nurgle with 2+ rerollable armour save, Favour of the Gods
22 Chaos Warriors of Nurgle with full command, extra hand weapons, Banner of Rage
40 Marauders of Khorne with standard, musician, flails
40 Marauders of Khorne with standard, musician, flails
5 Knights of Khorne

For me, this game highlighted all that was wrong about my army. I had some shooting, but it was hardly a gun line. I had some combat units, but they lacked numbers for their purposes and were not supported the way they really needed to be. And I had some magic, but it couldn’t stop large enemy units and it couldn’t do enough for my units to turn the tables and give them the advantage in combat over serious opposition. Here I found myself fighting 2 hordes of 40 Khorne Marauders with flails (great weapons might have been OK as my Halberdiers would at least swing first), and a block of seriously angry Chaos Warriors. My army was way over-matched and my only hope was to cut a unit down so badly at range that I could hope to defeat it when we engaged. So, how did I go?

I had a deployment zone with a swamp in front of the centre, and I figured that immediately behind this was a good place for my volley gun. I put the other war machines to the right of this (behind a forest but with unimpeded views), with the Engineer supervising the Volley Gun and Mortar. The Cannon was furthest right, and beside it were my Inner Circle Knights. Back toward the centre and stretching left, I had my Crossbowmen followed by the Halberdiers, and finally the White Wolves on the left flank, behind a hill (it was right in front of my zone).

James deployed his Knights opposite my Mortar (slightly to my right of centre), intent on going straight through the forest to get to it. Next to them were the 2 blocks of Marauders, with the Warriors on my left. The Manticore was in the centre. The BSB and one sorcerer were in the Warriors, and the other was in the central Marauder block. Right in front of the Warriors was a house, so he obviously intended to move into it. 

James got the first turn, and lunged toward me with the Marauder blocks. The Warriors did indeed enter the house, no doubt breaking all the furniture in a frenzied display of bad manners. The Manticore jumped behind the house to shield itself from the Cannon. The Knights moved to within charge range of the Mortar. Thankfully not much happened in the magic phase, and it was my turn.

On my right, the Inner Circle Knights decided to wheel around and menace the flank of the Chaos Knights (and beyond them the Marauders). Everything else decided not to move, in the most static gunline-style movement phase I can remember using in the last 5 years. For my magic I threw Searing Doom at the Chaos Knights, killing 4 of them. I then fired the Cannon at the house (I think), but misfired and blew up. The Mortar and Crossbowmen between them managed to kill a moderate number of Marauders, however the Volley Gun had to waste its time mopping up the last Chaos Knight in order to keep the Mortar safe.

Emboldened by the loss of the Cannon, the Manticore decided to act brave and flew out from behind the house again, moving toward the centre of the Chaos lines. The Marauders to my left advanced and the Warriors walked out of the house, having finished redecorating. The Marauders to the right did not simply keep advancing, however. They adjusted to ensure my Inner Circle Knights couldn’t hit them in the flank (foiled once again!). I lost a couple of White Wolf knights to Infernal Gateway, but that was about it. 

For my part I considered charging the Warriors, BSB and Sorcerer who had just left the building, but decided against it due to a lack of numbers. My Inner Circle Knights kept swinging around the flank, trying to get into a position where the Marauders would leave them alone whilst still being useful. Everything else stayed put and I fired off another volley of magic and shooting. I killed more Marauders, reducing the unit to my left to around 15 models. Maybe my Halberdiers could take them now? 

For their part, the Chaos army started charging. The damaged Marauders declared a charge on my Crossbowmen, who were too close for me to hope for a failed charge. I decided to flee, which was a big mistake. The end of the unit passed through my Swordsmen, who promptly failed their panic test and left the field – taking both Wizards with them. The Marauders redirected their charge onto the Halberdiers, however they failed to make it. The Warriors managed to charge my White Wolves at this point too, which meant they couldn’t assist the Halberdiers. The Manticore flew next to the Halberdiers and the rider used his Stream of Corruption to kill 8 of them. Not enough for a panic test, by my advantage of numbers just took a real hit. The combat between the Warriors and my White Wolves was inconclusive. My General and the enemy BSB faced off, wounding each other (I think).  

In my turn the Halberdiers had to charge the depleted Marauders – it was charge or be charged, and that would have involved a Manticore to boot. The Inner Circle Knights were still hedging – they were still facing a full-strength block of Marauders. I failed to rally the Crossbowmen and they left the table – off to have a little party with the Swordsmen and Wizards.

The Mortar took a decent chunk out of the full Marauders, however the Voiley Gun discovered it was within short range of the Manticore and got excited. The beastie was gunned down in a hail of lead, but the rider unsurprisingly emerged unscathed thanks to his 3+ ward save.

The combat between the Marauders and the Halberdiers went as I feared it would. The 15 or so Marauders butchered 14 Halberdiers, and I killed only 3 or 4 in return. I held due to Steadfast, but my Hatred was gone. The next round I broke and was run down, which was a bit depressing. Even killing two thirds of the unit before it arrived had not been enough.

The White Wolves fought on, however they were comprehensively outfought due to some lousy rolling, and found the Chaos Lord (who was slumming it on foot now) in their flank in the next round. My General decided this was a good time to fail all his saves and get cut down by the BSB, which meant my Stubborn was gone along with my chances in the combat (or of even getting any points out of it).

The game ended with my firing another volley at the larger unit of Marauders before finally engaging them, and eventually breaking them and running them down. I think the Volley Gun died before the end thanks to Infernal Gateway, which meant I ended the game with a Mortar, the Inner Circle Knights and my Engineer. I had points for a single Marauder block and the Chaos Knights, although we even forgot to add those to the scores until it was too late and too much effort. I had been thrashed soundly.

Result: 2-18 Loss

So it was a good first day, huh? Hopefully I could improve my performance on day 2...

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC looking army. I always love to see an full army painted to a high standard, and this one does not disappoint.