Monday, 1 February 2016

Cancon 2016 KoW Aftermath - Part 1

Cancon is over for another year and I've now had about a week to recover from the trip. As usual I will give a bit of a run-down of my time at the event, but this time it will be a little bit different. My preparation for this tournament was not the best. I put minimal effort into creating my army list, packed at the last minute, and headed off to Canberra. It was only once I had arrived in Canberra that I realised that I had not actually brought everything I had packed with me. I had left a bag behind. The bag contained my rule books, dice, tape measures, some of my movement trays, the paints I was going to finish off my bases with, and also my camera. The night before the tournament I was using a kitchen knife to cut the lid of a pizza box into makeshift movement trays.

In the end my situation was not as severe as it might have been. After laughing at my situation Nick reached out to some of the Canberra locals and a couple of them arrived with some proper movement trays, which worked a whole lot better than the pizza ones would have. People loaned me a copy of the rulebook and Uncharted Empires, I found a spare tape measure in my car, and I bought some dice from one of the stalls at the event. So I was more or less back on track, but the only camera I had was the one on my phone, which still seems to be less than ideal for taking photos of games. I fiddled with it for a bit, but pretty quickly abandoned it as a forlorn effort. I decided to just focus on playing the games and enjoying myself. So this will not be a detailed run-down packed with details and photos.

My army list is below. It is notable for its almost complete lack of magic items. The Duke on the Ancient Winged Aralez should really have had something, most likely 6+ defence. The horde units are also all pretty powerful and would benefit greatly from an item to boost their speed or grant them Pathfinder. Oh well, I wanted to jam lots of things into the list and this was how it panned out:

  • Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez
  • Baron on Aralez
  • Wizard on Horse with Bane-chant, Inspiring Talisman
  • Halfling Master Engineer
  • Horde of Honour Guard with Dwarven Ale
  • Horde of Honour Guard
  • Horde of Dogs of War
  • Regiment of Household Knights
  • Regiment of City Militia
  • Halfling Volley Gun
  • Halfling Volley Gun
  • Halfling Iron Beast

Game 1 - Kill!
Jeff Galea, Elves

  • Dragon Kindred Lord with Medallion of Life
  • Green Lady
  • Mage with Bane-chant, Inspiring Talisman
  • Horde of Kindred Tallspears
  • Horde of Kindred Archers with Heart Piercing
  • Regiment of Stormwind Cavalry with Brew of Courage
  • Horde of Drakon Riders with Dwarven Ale
  • Horde of Chariots with Caterpillar Potion
  • Bolt Thrower

So I turned up at the first round without having actually played a game with Rhordia, and with my head muddled about with a combination of KoW and Warhammer rules after playing the latter far more recently than the former. Fortunately the first round was a simple scenario - Kill! That would help me muddle through.

With no particular plan worked out in advance, my deployment was a bit all over the shop. I dislike how quickly Elf armies tend to move and was wary of both the Dragon and the Drakons. In the end they stacked the flank to my left and left the Volley Gun shielding my right flank with little to shoot at. Jeff got the first turn and knocked off the Volley Gun on the relevant flank with a shot from the Chariots, leaving my poor Halfling Engineer with nothing to do. After a wasted turn it occurred to me to start walking him across to the other Volley Gun, but he never made it. 

Jeff's movement was cagey, and I no longer had any real means of forcing him to advance. So I did the only sensible and lunged straight at some of his stuff. I moved the Knights up so fast that they were out of sight of the Dragon, but right in front of both the Drakons and the Chariots. So close that they wouldn't clear the forest they were lurking in if they charged me. The Chariots wouldn't care because of Pathfinder, but the Drakons would be hindered. My centre was slower, but pushed up in support.
My stuff on the extreme flank avoids dragon trouble whilst trying to force Jeff into committing his best units.
The right flank, where my Honour Guard and the Stormwind Cavalry were in something of a stand-off. 
Moving my Dogs of War into the forest was a massive mistake. 4" movement really just doesn't cut it.
The Drakons did indeed charge the Knights, and bounced off rather pitifully thanks to the forest. The Longspears moved up to prevent my central forces from offering support to that flank. In my turn they got obliterated by a combined charge from the Iron Beast and the Honour Guard, which was nice. Unfortunately I had to gamble on the left, with the Chariots and Dragon lurking with intent. I went into the Drakons with my Knights and my Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez (who from this moment shall be known as "The Birdie"). I think I also scrambled over there with my Wizard and cast Bane-chant on my Knights. Unfortunately I didn't rout them. I didn't even waver them, actually. I needed to roll a 4 and rolled a 3. I then copped some nasty retribution, with the Dragon flanking and killing The Birdie and the Drakons hitting the Knights again. The Knights held their position OK, but given they were disordered again, they had little force to bring to bear in their turn. They got the Drakons 1 point closer to routing (the Green Lady had undone some of my hard work), but then I rolled another 3 and they only wavered. They then promptly shrugged it off thanks to their Dwarven Ale, and smashed the Knights. To add insult to injury, the Green Lady healed 8 wounds on them before completing the healing process later.

My Iron Beast ended up clashing with the Chariots, but then the Dragon returned and dismembered the machine from the flank. The Honour Guard in the centre got shot a couple of times and routed. The Honour Guard on the other flank went after the Stormwind Cavalry, who had advanced, copped a lot of damage from the Volley Gun, then backed off and waited. Eventually I decided I needed to goad them into a charge if I was to get any value from my unit. This started a to-and-fro exchange that saw my unit embarrass itself under favourable circumstances, not at all helped by my inability to roll more than about a 4 on rout tests. On both flanks things could have been very different, but given I was going to be out-shot and out-paced I had to try to make the running and the dice didn't want to play ball. I got utterly smashed in terms of Victory Points - those Tallspears were the only thing I got credit for in the end, whilst the only thing that escaped from my side was the Halfling Engineer. It pays to be insignificant.

Result: Loss
VPs: 230 - 1930

Game 2: Invade!
Owen Top, Dwarfs

  • King with Kaba's Holy Hand Grenades
  • Warsmith with War-bow of Kaba
  • Army Standard Bearer
  • Regiment of Berserkers with Brew of Strength
  • Horde of Ironclad with Throwing Mastiff, Pipes of Terror
  • Troop of Ironwatch Rifles
  • Troop of Ironwatch Rifles
  • Troop of Sharpshooters with Piercing Arrow
  • Regiment of Shieldbreakers with Throwing Mastiff, Blessing of the Gods
  • Regiment of Berserker Brock Riders with Potion of Caterpillar
  • Ironbelcher Cannon
  • Ironbelcher Organ Gun
  • Steel Behemoth
  • Regiment of Ogre Boomers (Allies)

After an ignominious opening, this round promised to be better. Owen is the self-proclaimed Worst Warhammer Player Alive, and although his record in KoW is much better, he didn't really have the right troops available to him when making his list (things like his Elementals declined to arrive in time to be painted for the tournament). Add to this the fact that the scenario was a race to the opponent's table side and he was using Dwarfs, and things were looking quite promising...

I deployed aggressively with a strong, fast right flank that could work its way past some fairly narrow gaps in the terrain. I also got the first turn, which suited me just fine. The Birdie landed close to the enemy lines with a view across their flanks if they didn't shield them immediately. The rest moved up at best speed or close enough to it. I had to shove the Volley Guns forward as they were out of range, though. Owen responded by moving little, shifting units to receive and respond to charges. He shot some damage into both Honour Guard hordes and The Birdie, but it was necessarily spread and could have been worse. 
After my first turn, moving into position. The Birdie is poised to call all manner of mischief.
So blurry. Such terrible photography.
My centre was a bit slower.
Owen's home-made Steel Behemoth, which is much less blurry in person.
I then proceeded to do terrible things to the Dwarfs. The Honour Guard on my left realised they could get to the Sharpshooters and then reform out of the arc of the Shieldbreakers. This was a good plan, undermined only slightly when my Volley Guns opened up on the Shieldbreakers and removed them immediately! On the other flank Owen had made the fatal mistake of giving my other Honour Guard a look at the flank of his Ironclad horde. The Dwarfs did not survive the encounter. The Berserkers copped a combined charge from the Knights in the front and The Birdie in the flank. This was a bit much for them too, and they routed as well. 
Owen moves little whilst shooting my units, but does just enough to expose the flank of the big Ironclad unit to the Honour Guard. Oh dear...
My Honour Guard on the left had many choices of target. They went for the Sharpshooters thanks to it putting them in a pretty good reform location.
Honour Guard flank the Ironclads, Knights into the front of the Berserkers whilst the Birdie arrives in the flank.
Picking on the Sharpshooters.
The Doggie moves up into a perilous position. I was trying to get some use out of him, but his inability to pivot whilst moving At the Double was costly. The tank ran him over.
I discovered the flash on my phone about the same time as most of Owen's army was dead.
Owen got some measure of revenge by killing the Honour Guard in the middle of his lines with the Ogre Boomers and his King, but could do little more than peck at the other stuff with shooting. He did charge the other Honour Guard with the Brock Riders and wavered them. Unfortunately the Brock Riders then got shot off the field by those Volley Guns. The Steel Behemoth ran over my Baron on Aralez (henceforth known as the Doggy) before it locked horns with the Iron Beast, but I think in the end my Dogs of War got into the flank of Owen's tank and tore it to pieces with sheer weight of attacks (and Bane-chant).
Owen swears terrible Dwarfish oaths of vengeance upon me for doing terrible things to his army.
The Brock Riders hit the Honour Guard, but can only waver them.
The Dwarf Army Standard watches as the Dogs of War and Iron Beast combine to finish off the Steel Behemoth. Then he ran bravely behind the building.
The Knights and Ogres enjoy a bit of back-and-forth whilst the Birdie struggles to deal with the Warsmith on the hill.
After its initial glorious contribution The Birdie swept onto the hill and into the Warsmith, intent on killing him and overrunning into one of the war machines. I think it took him 3 cracks to actually rout the Warsmith. Turns out 7 attacks is nowhere near enough. The Knights killed Owen's King and then faced the Ogre Boomers. This was another struggle that went on for some time before the Ogres eventually routed. I think the Knights got shot, but the damage had been done.

The game ended in turn 6 with the Dwarf Army Standard hiding behind a building and possibly a Cannon left on the hill. It had all been a bit messy - I got far too much damage in thanks to flank charges on turn 2.

Result: Win
VPs: 1760 - 580

You can find part 2 of my tournament report here.

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