Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Bridge of Sorrows

 A 2500pt 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between the Empire and Vampire Counts.

Scenario: Watchtower
Empire General: Greg Johnson
Vampire Counts General: Peter Spiller

Well, this battle report has been a long time coming. When I first started painting my Empire army, I decided I would base my colour scheme on a friend's Vampire Counts army. I've talked about this before, and the plan was always to set them up as arch-rivals who fought bitterly and frequently. Despite several shifts in focus as I put my army together, I have retained the original colour scheme and the general concept (even as I mixed other things in with it, like my heavy Ulric-worshipping wolfy theme). After all this plotting and painting however, the Empire and Vampire Counts armies had never met on the field. Pete lost enthusiasm for using his Vampire Counts due to the problems with the previous army book under 8th edition, and started waving my High Elves around instead. This culminated in him finally catching up to me in the final round of the Masters and clouting me over the head with my own army. Oh, the indignity.

Anyway, the Empire and Vampire Counts books have both been re-released recently and it seemed like a good time for the armies to finally meet. This coincided with Owen building a shiny new toll bridge to show off, so it was decided that a battle report was in order. As usual, this is where things started to go wrong...

Pete's Vampire Counts suffer slightly from 7th edition syndrome, or more accurately from not having been adapted to the newest army book. This means he's missing a lot of the more interesting units that were recently added to the list such as Vargheists, Terrorgheists, or any other gheists for that matter. That doesn't mean he can't make an army, but it does mean his options are limited. I took this into account when I was making my list, and tried to put together something that might be of a similar power level. I don't think I was unsuccessful as such, but that does not guarantee an even contest.
My Crossbowmen take the field at the start of the game.

As the game didn't really turn out the way we would have liked, I have decided to forgo the fancy maps and fully-fledged narrative in favour of a fairly comprehensive set of photos and the notes as taken by our dedicated (and mostly mad) scribe Owen. I've cleaned them up to aid slightly in readability, but mostly left them as-is. First though, the army lists...

Luthor von Carstein's Dread Legion
Baron Luthor von Carstein - 534pts
Vampire Lord (Level 4 Wizard using Lore of Vampires). Heavy Armour, Shield, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, Other Trickster's Shard, Red Fury, Quickblood, Fear Incarnate

Zlad von Carstein - 265pts
Vampire    (Level 2 wizard using Lore of Vampires) on Barded Nightmare. Heavy armour, Battle standard, Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Quickblood, Fear Incarnate 

Druellagh - 95pts
Tomb Banshee

Bone Legionaries - 180pts
30 Skeleton Warriors with full command
Flesh-Eaters - 210pts                                           
20 Ghouls with Ghast

Legion Garrison - 100pts                                   
30 Zombies with full command

Legion Militia - 100pts                              
30 Zombies with full command
Night Prowlers - 48pts                                           
6 Dire Wolves (one of whom did not turn up)
Legion Elite - 410pts
30 Grave Guard with full command, Banner of the Barrows

Drakenhof Templars - 315pts
10 Black Knights with Barding, Lances, full command, The Screaming Banner
Night Gliders the First - 32pts                     
2 Fell Bats

Night Gliders the Second - 32pts                                           
2 Fell Bats
The Terror of Nachthafen -175pts

TOTAL:    2496

Commander Jaeger's Town Guard
Commander Klaus Jaeger - 169pts
General of the Empire on Barded Steed. Great Weapon, Full Plate Armor, Dragonhelm, Dawn Stone

Gunter the White - 240pts
Wizard Lord (Level 4 using the Lore of Light). Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Protection

Captain Berger - 142pts
Captain of the Empire on Barded Steed. Battle Standard, Full Plate Armour, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Endurance

Brother Rutger - 120pts
Warrior Priest with Great Weapon, Armour of Meteoric Iron

Brother Stefan - 88pts
Warrior Priest on Barded Steed. Great Weapon, Heavy Armour

1st Town Guard - 369pts
39 Halberdiers with full command
Detachment of 15 Swordsmen

Brothers of the Wolf - 206pts
8 Knights with full command, Great Weapons

2nd Town Guard - 108pts
12 Crossbowmen

The Wolf Guard - 465pts
30 Greatswords with full command
Detachment of 15 Swordsmen

The Penitent - 348pts
29 Flagellants

1 Great Cannon - 120pts

1 Helblaster Volley Gun - 120pts

TOTAL: 2495.0

So there you have the army lists. We originally assumed we would use the River of Death scenario in the large Warhammer rulebook, however on closer inspection it was slightly unusual. Armies deploy right up to the river, meaning everything would be charging in the first turn. We decided this would probably make for a poor battle report, so instead we decided to play Watchtower with the bridge as the focus. It did not count as a building, which is a deviation from the normal scenario. We also decided to let units move and charge across the sides of the bridge, which in hindsight made little sense and rendered the bridge a bit pointless. Oh well, I will sum my thoughts up after the battle.

I will now leave you to the tender mercies of Owen's scribing. As I say, I've cleaned it up a little (in red) and I have also added captions to the pictures to make things clearer. Read on at your peril...

The Battlefield with the armies deployed. The Empire defend the town, whilst the Vampire Counts have seized the bridge.

The Vampire Counts deploy with their left flank anchored by skeletons. Beside them are the Black Knights, led by the Vampire BSB. Behind the tree is the Varghulf. The Banshee leads the first block of Zombies, next to the main Grave Guard regiment led by the Baron himself. A unit of Bats sit just behind them, whilst the second unit of Zombies sits to their right. Finally there are the second unit of Bats and the Dire Wolves on the hill, who advanced onto the flat ground using vanguard before the game.
The Dire Wolves on the right flank of the Vampire Count army
The Ghouls had already taken possession of the bridge at the start of the battle
The Empire's right flank. The Cannon deployed next to the ruined building, anchoring the flank. Next to them was a detachment of Swordsmen, with their parent unit of Halberdiers led by a mounted Warrior Priest and the Wizard Lord. Behind the detachment were the Knights, led by the army General and BSB.
The Empire centre, near the bridge. The Greatswords with their detachment of Swordsmen, with the Volley Gun behind. A Warrior Priest led the Greatswords.
The Empire left flank held the town, consisting of the Flagellants and the Crossbowmen.
A battle report between Greg (Empire) and Pete (Vampires)
Owen (Scribe and surprisingly large Nurgling)

Scenario: Watchtower
Points: 2500. “This game’s not big enough. I don’t get to use too much stuff.” G. Johnson.

Pete deploys Ghouls on bridge.
Greg deploys on town side of bridge.
Pete vanguards valiantly vith vociferous Volves. (Voof!)
Prepare for battle!
Empire Turn 1

Flagellants restrain charge.
No charges.
Halberdiers approach river… along with detachment and knights.
The Empire right flank advances
Greatswords mosey up to bridge. They are unable to swift reform (test failed) so come to a halt at the foot of the bridge and grind to a confused halt. Greg abuses them mightily. 
The Greatswords deployed 6 wide, but whilst that would theoretically fit on the bridge, the movement tray would not. I decided to change the unit's shape, so naturally I failed my swift reform test and went nowhere fast...
Detachment mounts steps.
Flagellants stand on the edge of the dock and mutter dire portents.
Magic: Two 5s.
No channel on either side.
Five dice at burning gaze on Vargulf. Cast on 24. Pete fails to dispel by 1.
7 s6 hits. 4 wounds. Senor El Vargulf est muerto.
Time warp on knights. Casts.
Warrior priest gives Halberdiers reroll wounds.
Shooting: Cannon at knights. Goes for 6 from front. Misfire. Egads! No! Great confusion! It’s dead Jim! The knights are not amused. They laugh at the foolish black powder weapons (so maybe they are amused?).
Helblaster blasts hellishly and misfires, plus 10. 1 hit. No wounds. (vs ghouls)
Xbows vs. Dogs: 1 dog lives! He is a Lucky Dog Dog! When asked for comment he said ‘Voof!’.
The Crossbowmen do bad things to the doggies
End of Empire Turn 1
Vampire Counts Turn 1

Ghouls attempt to charge detachment, but prefer the halberds (the detachment fled). Redirect success. Splat into the river they go. The river, she isss….
A five! Could this be a boiling flood? Suspense! Tension! Book is consulted! It’s a river of blood! If only we knew that when we put down the terrain! We have one, and bridge fits it! Gah! Owen mutters dark oaths in Kazalid under his breath.
The Ghouls swim into combat with the Halberdiers... and my mage
The dog decides to go for a swim (blocking and baiting the Flagellants).
Grave Guard gravely go onto the foot of the bridge. They gaze grimly at Greg’s Goons.
The Baron goes forth, the bridge in his sights
Zombies go ‘thus’ according to Pete.
Bats go like ‘this’ (this is really helpful, scribe).
Bats fly to river bank and squeak super sonically.
The Bats approach behind the Ghoul onslaught
Banshee joins Grave Guard.
Other zombies trundle up behind bats.
Skeletroons “wander up thar a bit” (ie: move forward slowly)
Knights reform six wide.

Magic: 4,1. Pete channels, Greg channels once.
Boosted Van Hels goes off, reroll to hit on everything in 12, and it gets to make a move! A move I say! A move! Bwahahahahahaha!
Greg stops it. Insolent dog.
Curse o’ years: Halberdiers are cursed! Mage wounded! Champion Slain! A number of goons equal to eight are slain! Woe and misery unto the empire! A dark day indeed!

Halberdiers are not a-feared of the ghouls. Six attacks on the mage! 10 on the unit! Mage wounded twice, once by poison! He is slain most foully and never more shall his kind be seen on this fair earth…
Two wounds on the unit, two slain. The Ghouls are possibly to busy eating small parts of magic-infused dwarf to fight properly.
The Empire Strikes Back (Owen has been waiting years to say that!) Five misses! 8 slain! Woe unto the undead! The other mage(?) and his horse suck. Warrior priest kills two more (it was the dead mage fighting back simultaneously. This proved too much for our feeble scribe, whose head was obviously hurting).
Two Ghouls remain after the rest crumble into dust …
The Ghouls find that attacking a unit twice their size (with rerolls for both hits and wounds) is not as much fun as they thought... But the Wizard Lord doesn't live to see the end of the combat.
The Greatswords' detachment heads for safety as the undead approach.
End of Vampire Counts Turn 1
Empire Turn 2

No charge for angry flagellants! The dog is saved! Huzzah! (They passed their restrain test)
Greg has an idea involving charging with the knights. This makes him giggle like a goblin school girl.

Detachment gets out of the way by charging bats! They crash into the side of the bats who squeak indignantly. The Knights fail their charge! Much weeping and moaning and gnashing of theeth! They don’t even cross the river! Woe unto the house of Johnson! (the Knights were 21” away from the Black Knights, but had movement 14 due to Birona's Timewarp. They rolled a 6 and failed the charge. Boo, hiss)
So close and yet so far... Birona's Timewarp is not sufficient to overcome my inability to roll dice
Detachment rallies.
Flagellants ‘reform like this’ (Greg gesticulates over their heads demonstrating how this will look. He goes to find the right tray leaving Owen to wonder what he means since there was a building in the way and he couldn’t see the gestures.
My arcane gestures result in the Flagellants reforming to avoid the annoying doggy, whilst simultaneously balancing on a scatter dice.
The Greatswords ‘adwance’ Who knew Elmer Fudd was in charge?

Pete reminds Greg of curse of years, and uses a Warmachine marker to indicate this. Cunning devil.
Magic: eight (6,2) No channels at all.
Warrior priest attempts 5+ ward. He rolls 6 on three dice. He is dispelled on two dice.
Curse o’ years dispelled by the rest of the dice.

Shooting: Xbows vs. Lucky Dog Dog. The dog dies five times. Boo!
Volley Gun vs Zombies: 22 shots! 7 hits, 7 slain… er… re-slain. 

Combat: Ghouls scrabble at Halberdiers, two killed. Ghouls just killed in return. Halberdiers reform as they are no longer quite the horde. Greg cackles in an unhinged manner as he produces the right movement tray (hey, simple pleasures for simple people, man!).
The Empire centre regroups after dealing with the upstart Ghouls and their mage-eating antics
Detachment do not fear bats and wipe the floor with them. Yes folks – the new Dire Bat Wonder Mop! It really cleans up!
Victorious, the Swordsmen wave their new Dire Bat Mops at the approaching zombies
Detachment reform. Mostly by Greg knocking them all over. Skill.
End of Empire Turn 2
Vampire Counts Turn 2

Pete’s Second. Not as good as Beethoven’s Second, but then Pete didn’t study the Piano (never mind. The Baron is an artiste of a different kind).

Pete broods over his charges like a big brooding thing.

Zombies charge detachment! Grave Guard charge Great Swords! Black Knights charge Knights! Skeletrons charge Knights! Other zombies do not charge… nor do bats.
Skeletons make it! Knights do not! They neck themselves!
Charge of the Bone Brigade. The skeletons go it alone after the Black Knights left them in the lurch.
Grave Guard make it! Zombies make it! Things get messy! The bridge shall soon run red with blood! Which the Vampire lord will probably get distracted by…
The Baron leads his minions into combat
The BSB and Champion do not neck themselves! Nine neckage tests: They are not necked. Greg is not amused (to clarify – we tend to talk about people riding into trees as “necking themselves”. Low-hanging branches and what not).
The Black Knights begin a protracted love affair with the forest in front of their deployment zone.
Zombies shuffle forward due to not being in march range. Bats trundle up behind them and make naughty faces at the Flagellants, who are justly enraged and foam at the mouth. Of course, they were doing that already…

Magic: 6,2. Channels: Pete 1, Greg 1! Shags who was impugning Greg’s rolling is forced to admit Greg CAN roll a 6!
The mighty undead mages contemplate their magics…
Vanhels on Grave Guard of Grandeur! Greg allows this magical fiendishness. Hellish vigor also cast on said bony gentlemen. Greg grimly grasps his dice and…………….dispels it, just. 12 on 5 dice. Shags has wandered away so does not witness this humiliation.
Pete ponders powerful portents and… curses the flagellants! Greg fails to stop this. The Lents of Flage lose four of their frenzied fellows.
Nine zombies are regained! Pete is up on the deal as this is more than Greg killed! Greg is greatly grumpy at this gruesome development.

Banshee sings, and slays two! She is worse than Justin Bieber! (I am confused. You think he could have killed more?)

Combat! The Greatswords do not fear the vampires, but then they do due to his spoooooooky thing (they failed their fear test on the reroll due to Fear Incarnate).
Here they come!
Lord in challenge with warrior priest. Hits 5, wounds 5, S7… Warrior priest is dead, and Pete beats up his corpse a bit. 3 overkill. Banshee pimp hands someone in the face and wounds. But he saves. He has a good save Vs. Pimp, they are his favoured enemy.
Six great swords die the death. 10 attacks back. Greg kills one. He missed nine times… Stubborn great swords hold. Possibly it is their grim, dark and brooding beards which fill them with courage.
The Bloody Baron hard at work
The battle lines engage
Detachment vs. zombies. Near some plants. Four zombies slain! 10 attacks back at ws1. Many a six! Two wounds! One save… one is eaten (in a white wine sauce)
The Detachment doesn’t bugger off due to their intense bongo drumming (I'm assuming the intense drumming came from the Zombies – they won by virtue of having a musician).
The detachment of Swordsmen find the Zombies a more challenging prospect than 2 overgrown Bats
Knights fear not the skeletons! BSB steps forward manfully and ignores a challenge, which the champ accepts. The BSB smites down two skeletons. Horses hit three times, and Greg rolls 3 1s to wound… Knight champ slays Skeleton champ. Skeletrons strike swiftly with subtle and silvery swords… two wounds… which are saved. Lord El Empire General kills a skeleton. The mighty hammers of the knights account for three skeletrons. Two more crumble. Boo! (What do you mean boo? Whose side are you on anyway?)
End of Vampire Counts Turn 2, as I record the Greatswords' misery for posterity.
Empire Turn 3

GREG III: The revenge!
Detachment attempts to charge to the aid of other detachment!
Flagellants charge GGs! Detachment fails charge! Halberdiers splash through river to charge flank of Grave Guard!
Flagellants splosh in on the other side. This looks very strange, but apparently it works (yeah, yeah I know. We really didn't use the bridge as a bridge).
The counter-charge hits home. The Flagellants on the left and the Halberdiers led by a Warrior Priest on the right.
The Blaster of Hells moves across a touch (translation: the Volley Gun had no targets).
Magics: 4,3. No channels. Also no chunnels.
Warrior priest fails to give reroll to wound on snake eyes.
Curse of Years is banished again.

Xbows shoot bats. They miss. The Bats moon them.

Knights v skeletrons: One skeleton dies… Horses fail to do anything. Skeletons fight back. Champion slain! Two wounds on unit! They live! Greg is annoyed. Lord hits once, and Pete insolently parries. Insolence! One more skeleton killed by a horse or BSB or something. A draw.

Detachment remains fearless due to large ‘No Fear’ bumper sticker on the ogre. The Zombies pimp slap them back. A wound! A dead soldier! Zombies win by one! Egads! The Detachment remains unphased.
The Baron cackles delightedly as more victims pile into the combat
Flagellants sacrifice five, kill two (reroll hits and wounds). Halberdiers do not fear, Greatswords do due to spooooooky vampire! Greg does not challenge. Pete does not challenge. The vampire lord manfully strides into the fray… he is sub optimal and kills six Halberdiers. Four of whom are an ogre (unit filler)! Warrior priest wounded. Two wounds on Halberdiers… Two GS dead, champ saves. Flagellants attack 18 times! Many a hit (15 hits with rerolls)! Four wounds, but there’s a reroll and it’s still bad (8 killed on 3+ with rerolls)! Greg goes falsetto in his grief. Seven grave guard ground to dust. Halberdiers kill three. Greatswords kill three. Actually two, cause Pete forgot to parry. Four grave guard crumble due to losing. Flagellants reform ‘like really deep’ (they were preparing for a flank charge from Zombies).
The Flagellants reform as deep as possible to put the Zombies further from their flank and to give them something worth fighting if they make it.
End of Empire Turn 3
Vampire Counts Turn 3
The BSB and his Black Knights observe from the safety of the trees
Zombies charge Flagellants. Black Knights charge detachment flank. There is no necking due to superior undead dressage (they were still in the trees). The bats lurch over at the bridge. How bats lurch I cannot say, but Pete believes they can, and who am I to argue?
The Black Knights ride to assist the Zombies in their detachment-bashing
The Zombies stagger into the flank of the Flagellants
Magic: 10 (5,5)
Invocation is invoked! 9 grave guard get back up! 11 Zombies are reanimated! 13 on the other lot fighting the detachment! Egad! Greg is displeased!
GG get to reroll to wound on a mighty roll which Greg is powerless to defeat. Invocation invoked again and stopped.

Screaming phase – flagellants get double 6’ed and lose 7 (the horror, my beautiful Flagellants! :( ).

Knights fail fear test (Ld 9 with a reroll, baby!). Kill a skeleton. Skeletrons attempt to shiv BSB. They shiv him not. Two wounds on unit, Greg saves on 6s, further proving that he can roll them (hey, I proved that with the fear test). Shags is not present to witness this.
BSB kills two. Lord kills none. Noakes heckles.

Zombies Vs Detachment and Black Knights. Vampire BSB kills three. Detachment kills a zombie. Knights miss, one good horse hits. A bad horse hits and wounds. Another detachmenteer dies. They flee. Knights pursue, Zombies restrain. Knights go 3. And have to take neck tests! Detachment goes 4! BSB wounded by neck test! Two knights die! They have forgotten their dressage lessons! Oh dear!

The big biff on the bridge:
Halberdiers fear not, nor, at last, do Greatswords! Flagellants gain hatred! Five great swords slain, which becomes nine rapidly (the Baron was warming up and killed 9 by himself). Flagellants fight zombies! Three slain! Nine flagellants on Grave Guard, kill one. Three Halberdiers killed. Four flagellants dead. Two great swords and champion die. Ten attacks back. Four GG dead. 19 total empire dead. Vs 8 undead. Flagellants stay! Great swords stay! Halberdiers bugger off. 
It goes ill: the Halberdiers decide the bridge is a very, very bad place to be
Greg declares things pretty bad.
End of Vampire Counts Turn 3

The reverse angle
Empire Turn 4

Xbows charge zombies! Detachment 2 charges Zombies who beat detachment 1! They make it (in the flank)!
Xbows roll 6, but need 11. Dang.
Halberdiers rally and face the bridge of woe.

Magics. 3,3. Greg channels. He is not impressed. There is little he can do… he does it a little. 5+ ward on Detachment 2. Pete doesn't stop it.
Volley gun does not fire.

Knights pass fear. BSB smites three skeletrons! Horses fight magnificently and kill two skeletons. BSB hit by skeleton but saved by charmed shield. Two wounds on unit. Which are saved. Knights smite three skeletons. Lord hits thrice, three slain. The skeletons are defeated! Knights reform to glare over the Halberdier heads at the horrid and hideous happenings on the hump-back bridge.
The Knights reform after finally besting the skeletons, as the fleeing troops rally around their lord's standard
Detachment 2 kills four Zombies. Zombies fail to kill anything. Four zombies crumble. Zombies reform to face.
The Swordsmen beat the Zombies, only to have their opponents turn to face them...
Meanwhile, on the bridge…
Greatswords pass fear. Flagellants reroll to hit and wound.
Vampire lord kills five, which becomes ten. The Swords and Greatness are defeated utterly (now that he was warmed up, the Baron killed all 10 of the remaining Greatswords single-handed)! Flagellants kill two zombies. Also three Grave Guard. GG kill three Flages. Zombies Zomb nothing. Greg loses by an incredible amount, but being flagellants doesn’t bugger off. GG reform facing sideways.
The Baron clears the bridge, only to find his unit staring down the barrel...
End of Empire Turn 4
Vampire Counts Turn 4

Bats move to foot of bridge (no charge from the Black Knights as the BSB was on 1 wound and didn't fancy riding into another tree...).

Magic 5,6.
No chunnels.
Invocation miscasts from the BSB! Two Black Knights back, 6 zombies back. Three knights get exploded by the miscast, but the Vampire manages to heal his lost wound
Invocation again on grave guard and zombies-by-bridge (a small village in Cornwall). Hellish Vigor on GG goes off. Vanhels does not.

Flageybumbums get reroll both (hits and wounds). But they all die the death at the hands of zombies. Who reform.
Detachment 2 kill four zombies. Greg declares “these guys are the guys.” They save the one wound Pete does on them. They lose anyway… The game does not end (random turn length meant a roll of a 6 would have ended things there).
End of Vampire Counts Turn 4
Empire Turn 5

Things look grim for Greg…
Halberdiers march forth (the Warrior Priest left the unit and joined the Knights behind them).

Magic: 3,3.
No channels.
Greg raises ‘em up the shield. Wardsave on Knights. 

Volley Gun thunders mightily at GGs… 10 shots (10, !, 10). Four dead. Xbows kill an bat.

Detachment 2 is not a-feared. They deal two wounds to zombies. Zombies kill two detachmenteers. 

(Such a good turn that we didn't even take a photo. The less said, the better...)

Vampire Counts Turn 5

Zombies charge Xbows. Knights charge remains of Detachment 1. No necking due to superior dressage. Xbows shoot 3 Zombies (with stand and shoot)
The Zombies lurch into the Crossbowmen defending the town
Banshee marches towards volley gun. Grave Guardsmen reform once again.
Magic: 4,1
No channel.
Invocation on Black Knights, 3 rise again, 7 zombies.
Banshee screams at volley gun and kills it. Poor Leonardo.
Having been healed by his dabbling in foul magic (even as he raised and then blew up 3 comrades), the BSB once more becomes brave and leads his cavalry on another tree-riddled charge.
BSB kills 2 detachmenteers. No hits in return. 10 rider attacks, five wounds, four kills. Good horse hits, but saved. Bad horse misses. There is 1 imperial lackey left! He runs away! Knights pursue 4, three necked… The imperial stooge only flees 3! They get him and do naughty things to his corpse.

Detachment vs zombies – no fear. 5 hits, two killed. Zombies kill one in return. Detachment runs away! Gah! They are caught! Boo!
Hey, it seemed like a good idea when they were facing the other way...
Zombies vs Xbows! No fear! 3 zombies are slain. The zombies do nothing in reply. Stoopid zombies. The Xbows show great fortitude by refusing to bugger off. Zombies increase their frontage (such effrontery!)
The game again fails to end (failed to roll a 5+).
End of Vampire Counts Turn 5
 Empire Turn 6
H-Dogs charge the B-atch (ie: Halberdiers charge Banshee). They don’t make it, the dogs! Knights charge the vampire’s unit of large and angry grave guard on the bridge. There is much paddling.

Magic: 4,2. Pete channels.
Vampire lord stops the 5+ ward. The reroll to wound goes off however.

Xbows are afraid! Egad! They kill a zombie. Zombies kill 4. Eek! Xbows run like rabbits. Zombies pursue like roided up rabbits, and eat them for supper. With a playful young white and a garden salad.

NO challenges on either side of bridge battle. Baron punches knights. Five hits, no saves. All non-character knights dead. 7 dead knights… Greg becomes bitter (the Baron killed all 7 without breaking a sweat).

BSB kills one Grave Guard. Two wounds on general, he lives (saved)! Warrior priest also lives. General smites one grave guard… Warrior priest kills one as well. Pete parries rather well now. The characters do not flee. Baron moves to touch lord and BSB.
His sword covered in gore and the whole area covered in dismembered pieces of Knight, the Baron asserts his authority, "The bridge is mine!"
Vampire Counts Turn 6

Zombies charge knight flank. Where there are no knights (just 3 characters left).
Black knights splash around in the river and face the Halberds.
Banshee hides behind house.
The cowardly Banshee hides behind the toll building, despite the enemy army crumbling all around her.
Magic: 3,5.
No channels.
Invocation fails on 1,1.
BSB invokes mighty invocation. Greg stops it.

Fightage commences. Lords challenge one another. Thunder rolls, lightning flashes, epic music plays, Empire general takes 2 wounds, but does not hit in reply. Sigh.
BSB can’t kill any grave guard. No undead are slain at all. 
BSB killing blowed. Ward save on a 1. Gah. Warrior priest ALSO killing blowed… wtf.
General flees sensibly. GG restrain, zombies pursue but do not catch.
Alone and outmatched, the Empire general turns and flees.
General goes to carry the message of the defeat to Karl Franz…
The baron gloats.
Halberdiers panic from General running through.
Game still doesn’t end, but Greg concedes.
The few survivors of the Empire army flee the field.
Result: Vampire Count victory

Well, the game was over and in the end it was not at all close. My Empire had been thrashed and the bridge was well and truly lost. So what went wrong and what went right? Let's start with what went right, given it's a shorter list...

The armies were not too badly balanced. Most of the game was being controlled by the Empire army, however this was more than offset by the damage done by the Baron and his unit as I was forced to feed units into the grinder. Pete's killing power was more concentrated than mine, but in a less focused scenario I suspect my army would have come out on top. So that at least was a success.

The game also looked pretty good, with the two purple armies facing off over some nice terrain. Owen's toll bridge certainly looks the part, even if it's a bit hard to balance units near its centre. Unfortunately as usual our setup didn't allow for the best photos, but some of them came out alright.

What didn't go well? Unfortunately that's a longer list. First up, I didn't play especially well. I spread my characters poorly and left things exposed in terms of leadership. I completely failed to make use of the Hold the Line rule with my stubborn Greatswords - I was lucky they held in the first round of combat. I also put my under-protected Wizard Lord in danger (made worse by putting the mounted Warrior Priest next to him, meaning he was not on the end of the unit and therefore able to be targeted by twice as many Ghouls), and paid the price very quickly.

Using the bridge for a Watchtower was probably not ideal. In fact, in discussion with Pete after the game, we came to the conclusion that Watchtower is probably not an ideal scenario for a battle report. The likelihood of a overwhelmingly powerful unit getting to the objective and holding it against all comers doesn't make for the best game - much as we saw here. In some ways our using the bridge improved the situation, as did allowing units to charge the sides. However, the Grave Guard regiment (or more accurately, the Baron himself) was able to take on all comers and hold the objective, ably demonstrating the potential problem. It also resulted in the bridge not really feeling like a bridge at all. This is largely down to the current terrain rules making rivers rather forgiving - you can charge through one without penalty, and although you lose steadfast and ranks if you end up in there, you can fight unaffected. We also forgot that we could (should) have treated the sides of the bridge as an obstacle, but again it would just have made the Baron's unlife easier. For the real feel of a bridge, it needs to be the only realistic crossing point, and regiments should meet head-on across it. This is all well and good, but there are too many units under 8th edition that could hold in such a situation indefinitely.

Oh yeah, and it was totally all the fault of the dice. Totally. I was robbed, ripped off, stooged, etc. OK, so obviously that is not true, but some good rolling at times would have helped. My Flagellants failed me in my hour of need - 15 hits was good, but should have translated into 12 or 13 wounds, rather than 8. That, coupled with a pretty ordinary effort from my Halberdiers meant that I failed to grasp my one real chance to dislodge the Baron and his pals. I also spent a couple of turns just waiting for my Knight unit (with 2 characters) to lose combat to a bunch of Skeletons and turn tail and flee. They came close one round, then failed their fear test the next... Maybe I should just be relieved that they didn't embarrass me further.

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