Saturday, 19 July 2014

Convic 2014 Aftermath – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my account of Convic 2014. You can find the first part here.

Going into game 3 I was on 34.1 out of a theoretically possible maximum of 60 points. Nothing special, but I was thus far managing to avoid the bottom tables. Hopefully I could continue that trend.

Game 3 – Meeting Engagement
Sam Morgan, Bretonnians
Comp score: 0.7
  • Bretonnian Lord on Royal Pegasus with Virtue of Heroism, Sword of Swift Slaying, Gromril Great Helm, Dragonbane Gem, Shield
  • Bretonnian Lord on Barded Bretonnian Warhorse with Virtue of Duty, Dawnstone, Falcon-horn of Fredemund, Lance, Shield
  • Paladin (BSB) on Barded Bretonnian Warhorse with Virtue of the Impetuous Knight, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone
  • Paladin on Royal Pegasus with Dragonhelm, Wyrmlance, Gauntlet of the Duel, Shield
  • Damsel (Level 2, Lore of Life) on Bretonnian Warhorse with Silver Mirror
  • Damsel (Level 2, Lore of Life) on Bretonnian Warhorse with Scroll of Shielding
  • 9 Knights of the Realm with Full Command, War Banner
  • 10 Knights Errant with Full Command, Standard of Discipline
  • 10 Peasant Bowmen with Braziers, Musician, Standard Bearer
  • 10 Peasant Bowmen with Braziers, Musician, Standard Bearer
  • 3 Pegasus Knights with Champion
  • 3 Pegasus Knights with Champion
  • 3 Pegasus Knights with Champion
  • Field Trebuchet
  • Field Trebuchet
I'm afraid that Sam didn't bother laying his army out properly for the beauty pageant (probably because of all the riderless carpets), so I never got a decent shot of it. Each one of those rugs is a Pegasus Knight, and the genies up the back right are the flying characters.
Sam is a regular player down at Hampton, however I have never actually gotten around to playing him. I was quite happy to be finally addressing this, especially when I found him to be fielding a Bretonnian army which appeared to have been slammed especially hard with the comp hammer. Bonus points for me!

The army itself was not necessarily going to be an ideal match for me, and the scenario meant the whole thing promised to be a bit confusing. Thankfully I lost the roll-off for choosing table corners and setting up first, which meant I wouldn't be setting up blind and then finding an army of Bretonnians 12” away from the things I wanted to protect. Instead Sam had to set everything up first, and had one unit of Peasants and the Lord on warhorse arriving late.

I had trouble working out where I wanted to put things. The proper lance formations would likely go straight through my units, so I needed to keep away from them. I ended up putting the Irondrakes well over to the flank, out of the path of those main units and in a position to clean up some of the enemy shooting. I also stacked all of my characters into the unit, given it was likely to be where they would see the most action. I deployed much further back with the Thunderers and Quarrellers, in a defensive position on the hill. My vanguarding Gyrocopter was the only thing that didn't arrive in time for deployment (obviously the pilot left things a bit late – arrogance brought on by being the fastest thing in my army).

Vanguard did me little good in this game, given our deployment zones were so close together already, and I wasn't sure I wanted to rush toward the enemy anyway. Amusingly I managed to roll a 6 to steal the first turn, but then Sam had been planning to pray to the Lady anyway, so it didn't change a thing.
My deployment, including the Rangers scouting up the top right.
Sam's deployment, with a whole lot of Pegasus Knights to my right. The other rugs had vanguarded by this point.
The Bretonnian centre. Both Damsels were in the lance formation to the left of picture (the Knights of the Realm). The general on Pegasus and BSB lead the Knights Errant. The other Pegasus character went by himself in between the 2 units.
My "Dwarfstar" - Lord, BSB and Grim Burloksson all stacked into my most elite unit. Not quite how I normally did things, but the BSB didn't need to be elsewhere when he wasn't going to vanguard anyway.
In my first turn I advanced slightly with the Irondrakes, and fired with both them and Bugman's Rangers at the Knights of the Realm. I managed to fell a couple of them, although I think I made Sam take enough tests that it worried him. The Gyrocopter on my left and my Thunderers combined fire to reduce the Peasant archers to a single model, however he stubbornly refused to panic and held his ground. A Cannon shot blew one of the Trebuchets apart, which was pleasingly efficient. My Quarrellers decided to try their luck in removing the Pegasus-riding Paladin who was not hiding in a unit, however he managed to survive on a single wound.
My fashionably late Gyrocopter arrived over on my right and used his steam gun ineffectively against some rugs. Steam cleaning, is all.
In Sam's turn, the Lord and Peasants who had started off the table wandered on. The Lord decided to try to sneak past behind my Rangers, whilst the Peasants came on near the remaining Trebuchet. The sole surviving archer from the first unit of Peasants got all feisty, brandishing his banner and charged straight into my Gyrocopter, shrieking something garbled about static combat res and charging bonuses.
Such feistiness. The lone Peasant Archer abandons his defensive stakes and tries to break my Gyrocopter.
Sam was obviously worried about the fire power of my Irondrakes, because he began his charges against the unit by declaring with the wounded Paladin, who was a country mile away (21”, perhaps). My unit ignored him and held its ground. Next came the charge from some Pegasus Knights, and again I declined to fire against them. At this point the charges stopped, because I suspect the unit I really wanted to shoot (the Knights of the Realm) really didn't want to get shot. The Paladin failed to make the distance, leaving the unit of Pegasus Knights to go in alone and try to assassinate Grim Burloksson.
The mind games begin, with Sam declaring optimistic charges in the hope of me wasting a Stand and Shoot reaction.
The rugs go it alone, on a mission to  assassinate Grim Burloksson. 
The rest of the Bretonnians moved in a little closer toward my position on the hill. The Trebuchet missed its shot against my Cannon, and I wound up dispelling Throne of Vines before Sam managed to cast Flesh to Stone on the engaged Pegasus Knights, healing a wound on the lone Pegasus hero (which was what I was really hoping to avoid).

The Pegasus Knights arrived intent on a cheeky character assassination, however Sam became greedy and somehow convinced that he could kill both Burloksson and my BSB in a single turn. Turns out he was wrong – neither of them died, although I think Burloksson was wounded. My Lord and his friends inflicted 3 wounds in return, winning combat comfortably and breaking their attackers. I chased but failed to catch them, and they stopped just in front of the newly arrived Peasants.
My victorious Irondrakes chase off the rug Knights.
The other combat was a little annoying. The feisty Peasant arrived and flailed impotently at my Gyrocopter, however I rolled impressively and failed to land a hit in return. Thankfully I did not break, given my general and BSB were nearby. But now my Gyrocopter was bogged, and it was right in front of my Rangers. Sigh.

In my turn, the Gyrocopter continued to embarrass itself in combat and had to take another break test because of the enemy banner, but thankfully I still (just) held my ground.

My Irondrakes had a good turn. They declared a charge on the fleeing Pegasus Knights, who popped through the Peasants and straight off the table. This was too much for the cowardly archers, and they left too. My unit redirected and wheeled around into the Trebuchet, killing it and overrunning into the flank of Sam's hesitant bus of Knights of the Realm. With the strength bonus from charging and no real Bretonnian help immediately forthcoming, things were looking very promising.
Dwarfs flank-charging Knights? I must be doing something right...
The bulk of my shooting started to turn its attention to the Knights Errant, and killed a couple of them. The Cannon decided to try to panic the nearest unit of Pegasus Knights off the table, but failed to wound one of them.
The field at the start of the Bretonnians' second turn.
In Sam's turn, he charged the only thing that could see into the decidedly dangerous-looking combat with my Irondrakes – the Pegasus Paladin charged into the front of my unit, again looking to bump off Grim Burloksson (and try to swing the combat result a bit more in his favour). It gave him a charge to offset my own and a downhill bonus, although I still had a rank, flank and an extra banner. I felt I should still have it under control. Then Sam managed to force through Flesh to Stone, and things were starting to look more questionable. His 2 Damsels stepped across to nobly engage my warriors whilst the manly, chivalrous men in the unit cowered at the back and whimpered for their mothers. Nevertheless, things should still have been under control. My Lord, BSB and Burloksson between them had 9 strength 7 attacks, and the rest of the unit was strength 5. It was somewhat disappointing then that I think I did maybe 3 wounds in the first round of combat. A combination of poor rolling on my part, and good ward saves from Sam, meant that the key round for me had been utterly wasted. I think Burloksson perished, although I don't think I took all that much other damage. Having said that, I'm not even sure I managed to make them take a break test. After looking like the point where I was going to win the game, it was all a bit of a disaster.
The Pegasus Paladin arrives in a desperate rescue attempt.
Get on with it, you imbecilic pilot!
In my turn I think my idiot Gyrocopter finally finished flailing uselessly at the Peasant and finished him off, though another movement phase was wasted. The Rangers continued to grump behind him; the Bretonnian Lord who had arrived late was close behind them, but still too far for them to reform and use their throwing axes, so they didn't bother turning.

I was not in a position to aid my forces in the key combat at this point, alas. I did roll the 3+ for my Miners to arrive somewhat belatedly... And then I forgot to actually put them on the table in the remaining moves phase. So after they wasted a turn failing to arrive, then I did the same thing through forgetfulness. This seemed to amuse several onlookers. I ended up moving my second Gyrocopter to block the charge of the Knights Errant up the hill and into my Quarrellers. The Cannon tried and failed again to threaten one of the Pegasus Knights that was closing in. My other shooting continued to hit the Knights Errant, gradually whittling the unit down.
The Gyrocopter gives its life for the cause.
My Irondrakes and characters continued to impress nobody with their mad combat skills in the second round of combat. The strength bonus from the charge was gone, and I still couldn't roll dice. I started taking casualties however, and the situation was only getting worse.

In Sam's third turn my blocking Gyrocopter got what was coming to it, and was cut down by the charging Knights Errant with the Pegasus Lord at their head. It had performed its job well enough. One of the Pegasus Knight units wheeled over that combat and arrived in the flank of my Irondrakes, pretty much dooming me to lose combat forever, given my inability to kill any Bretonnians. The other unit moved up closer to the hill, trying to keep out of the way of the Quarrellers and any ideas they might have gotten about charging with their great weapons. The Lord on warhorse continued his advance over the other side of the hill, also moving into a flanking position on my Thunderers.
The rescue of the Knights of the Realm begins in earnest.
The main combat continued to go badly for me. Any wounds I landed with my Lord and BSB were shrugged off by saves, and it was starting to look like I'd be failing some break tests soon. For the entirety of this combat, I think I killed one of the Damsels and perhaps a single Knight. Awesome stuff. Eventually I lost too many guys (I was passing no saves to offset Sam passing all of his) and broke, losing my general and BSB in the process. It took a while, but it eventually happened.

In my fourth turn I continued to try to bring down the Knights Errant with shooting. I fired the Cannon at the Lord on his Pegasus at the head of the unit, but he shrugged it off with a ward save.

It's possible I got some events mixed around here, according to my photos. The Gyrocopter blocking might have happened later, after a round of charges. It's all a bit confusing because I was actually paying attention to the game and took too few photos. Anyway, at some point this happened...

Sam declared a charge on the flank of my Thunderers with the lone Lord over to my left. I held the charge. The Knights Errant declared upon the Quarrellers, who stood and shot, doing a little damage. Then the Pegasus Knights also declared a charge on the Quarrellers, this time from their right flank. I decided to be cunning and fled the charge, passing through my Thunderers. It would guarantee I got away, and would also block the charge of the Bretonnian Lord on the Thunderers. It was a plan so cunning you could put a weasel on it and call it a ferret (a dreadful Black Adder misquote that I have carried with me for many years). And then it went wrong. I failed the Ld 9 panic test on the Thunderers for having the other unit pass through it. The Thunderers went straight off the table. Which meant the Lord was suddenly able to redirect his charge onto the Quarrellers, who were uncomfortably close. They fled back toward the Pegasus Knights, and had their flank facing the Errants, somewhat closer to the enemy than their front had been before my plan fell apart.
Such a cunning plan... The Thunderers flee the table and the Quarrellers leave their flank pointing toward the oncoming Knights Errant.
If this all makes sense, I have to thank Sam for displaying his greed again. He decided the Errants would not fail their charge (admittedly it was very close for a unit with the Virtue of the Impetuous Knight), and elected to redirect the Pegasus Knights into the Cannon instead, which was 21” away. The Knights Errant then did indeed fail to make the distance (as did the Pegasus Knights), and I was able to rally my fleeing unit. Of course, the damage was done with my 290 point unit of Thunderers having decided my plan stank and fled the table. But it was better than the Quarrellers being gone without a fight too.

Did any of this matter? No, not really. After I rallied the Quarrellers, the Miners finally sauntered onto the field behind the Cannon. They were there just in time to see the Pegasus Knights charge the Cannon and wheel hard so an overrun would put them into the rear of the Quarrellers, whilst the Errants went into their front. The Cannon was entrenched because of Grim Burloksson, so was -1 to hit. Being stubborn as well, the crew were actually a moderate chance to hold their ground. Indeed, Sam did fail to kill them all. But I failed my stubborn test anyway, and the Pegasus Knights were suddenly in the rear of my Quarrellers, doing unspeakable and unchivalrous things to them. My unit got thrashed, did little in return, broke and was run down.

My Miners had a brief opportunity to salvage some points when they flanked what was left of the Knights Errant as they pursued through my Quarrellers. With 13 strength 6 attacks, this was a real threat to the BSB, Lord and sole surviving Errant in the unit. And in the end I did indeed manage to kill the last Errant, as well as wounding the Lord. Unfortunately this was not terribly impressive, and I left Sam with a moderate break test, which he passed. And then the Pegasus Knights who had just mopped up my Irondrakes made a 20” charge to hit me in the flank and rescue his crippled characters (I left them both on 1 wound).

All that was left was Bugman's Rangers. I don't remember what they were trying to do (beyond grumbling about the incompetent Gyrocopter, who had finally dealt with the Peasant, then charged the lone Bretonnian Lord, done nothing good, and eventually died), but got charged in the rear by that Lord and had to reform after a round of combat. Their strength 6 great weapons were somehow completely toothless, and then the Pegasus Paladin and remains of the Knights of the Realm arrived after wiping the remains of the Irondrakes from their armour. Things started to go pretty badly for the Rangers, however being Ld 10 and stubborn, they were not going anywhere. I had only a few of them left when we were ordered to put the dice down, before Sam could fight the final round of combat. It's possible he would have killed the remaining Rangers and left Bugman alone, but without his lances, it is hard to know.
The few sad survivors of my once-proud little army.
It had been a rather fruitless and frustrating game, given that I had a dominant position early and was unable to bury those Knights of the Realm despite flanking them with the closest thing to a deathstar that my army can muster. The dice had not loved me. Nothing new, but still annoying. I had killed the Errants, one of the Damsels, one unit of Pegasus Knights, and all the Peasants and Trebuchets. In return I had been nearly wiped out, with only Bugman and a few of his mates remaining.

Result: 8-22 (10.8-19.2 after comp)

Well this post was going to include all the rest of my games, but it's turned out to be rather long already and people are waiting, so I guess the final 2 games can wait for a separate post.

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