Wednesday, December 12, 2018

PAX Liberty Bowl 2019 - Blood Bowl AAR

November 30th through December 2nd saw thousands of geeks descending on Philadelphia to take part in the second PAX Unplugged - a convention celebrating everything tabletop gaming. Hundreds of board games, role playing games, and miniature games were played, attendees flooded the expo hall to fill their bags with loot, and local eateries were overwhelmed with increased demand. 

I did my part by putting together a Blood Bowl tournament on Friday. It was a pretty straitforward affair, since I didn't want to mess around too much with a well established formula on my first go - 1.1 millions teams, standard inducements, and 3 tiers of teams. Swiss scoring was in effect, with bonus points for casulaties and touchdowns.

We had a pretty good spread of teams, with Orcs being the most popular at 3 teams. The other teams included Amazons, Halflings, Goblins, Pro Elves, Humans, Chaos Dwarves, Undead, Khemri, and Slann. 

My original expectation for the event was 16 players, and the actual number ended up being 13, so I had to jump in as a ringer. 

There was plenty of interest from passerbys, and I had to unfortunately turn a couple away from the event since I couldn't fit them in after we had finished the first round.

From what the players told me after the event, everyone had a great time, and I was glad to hear it. It was a bit of a risk putting the event on a Friday, but doing to with PAX meant that the players had Saturday and Sunday to get their fill of the rest of the convention.

I ended up bringing my Slann/Kislev team with a pretty simple gameplan - use Leap as much as possible.

My first opponent was Shawn (the same guy whose High Elves I played against in the Warmaster tournament at Fall In!), who had brought his Orcs.

The game went pretty much as expected. The Orcs were having a great time beating up my Fantasy Russian Acrobats, but my non-brand-name Elves were able to use their higher agility, movement, and Leap skill to score a couple of touchdowns for the win.

My second opponent was Andrew and his Khemri team. I had flashbacks to one of my first games in the old Stomping Grounds league, when a pair of Mighty Blow Tomb Guardians wiped out my Orc team.

However, the dice were in my favor for this game, with Andrew losing a Tomb Guardian to an unlucky casualty roll. In fact, the Slann managed to cause three casulaties against Andrews team!

Once again, the higher speed and agility of my team meant I was able to quickly score, and Leaping Blitzers with Wrestle were able to keep the ball out of the Khemri team's hands for another win.

My last opponent was Kevin, who was coaching Amazons.

This was my toughest match, and a risky moved worked against me when a lone ball-carrying Catcher deep in Andrews backfield was knocked down. Andrew was able to make use of his pair of Guard Blitzers to form a cage that even my Leaping Blitzers couldn't break open, and the game ended up as a loss.

That put me in 6th out of 14 - not great, but certainly better than I expected for a team that I had never played before apart from a couple games in the computer version of Blood Bowl.

As I said, I enjoyed running a tournament, and I'm already considering how I can make next year's event a little more unique - maybe some Philly star players?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Charming Field for an Encounter - Muskets & Tomahawks AAR

On Saturday of Fall In, I participated in a game of Muskets & Tomahawks, run by Kimber VanRy and Jameson Proctor of the Metropolitan Wargamers group. 

The game was a recreation of the Battle of Fort Necessity, one of the initial skirmishes of the French and Indian War (and of the wider Seven Years War). 

The American and British defenders had to hold the "fort" (really, just a collection of tree trunks jammed into the ground in the form of a rough circle and a shoddy storehouse for supplies), while the French, Canadians, and their Indians allies wanted to capture the "fort" as well as the defenders' commanding officer - a young Lt. Col George Washington. 

The British force (of which I was commanding half) consisted of a mix of Regular and Provincial troops. While James Mackay - the other British commander - was out with the men in the half-made trenches, Washington would be directing the battle from inside the walls of the fort.

The French force consisted of Indian warriors and Canadian provinvials, with a single unit of French Regulars to form a stiff backbone for the attackers.

The huddled British troops, soaked in their shallow trenches, couldn't do much more than stand and watch the mass of bodies gathering at the far treeline.

The game began with limited skirmishing, before the Indians and Canadians to the left of the fort charged en mass against the fort's meagre defenses.

To the fort's front, a single unit of Indians moved out of the woods to get into range, the rest of the French forces decided to stay in the woods and engage at range.

The defenders sent out volley after volley of withering fire, which smashed into the approaching attackers with deadly results, forcing several units to flee or rout.

However, the mass of bodies was enough that the attackers could approach while the British were forced to reload there guns.

The French Regulars, seeing that there British counterparts were duly engaged, emerged from the woods in a firing line and because their attack.

The defenders, while able to take cover, were under such heavy fire that the individual losses began to take their toll. The men in the fort waited as a reserve.

The Canadians, using the natives as a shield against the British fire, made it to the trenches and attacked the defenders in close combat.

The British repulsed the attack, but with casualties.

The attackers came again and again, until finally one unit of British Regulars were either killed or unable to continue the fight, and a unit of Marines was past the trenches.

The remanining British in the trenches rallied and sent the Marines off. With so few defenders left, the men in the fort were able to fire on the French.

While the attack on the left had mostly run out of energy and men, the Indians, Provincials and Regulars to the front began their advance on the fort.

Most of the men in the trenches were out of action, and only the Provincials in the fort were left to keep the attacks away.

Unfortunately, the French weight of fire was too much, and even with the protection of the fort, men began to fall. Washington, understanding the futility of his position, decided to surrender.

Kimber and Jameson put on a fantastic game, and it's only encouraged me to get my FIW miniatures on the table for more games of Muskets & Tomahawks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fall In 2018, Ogre Kingdoms vs. High Elves - Warmaster Revolution AAR

My final game of the tournament was against Dave, the organizer, and his High Elves. The scenario was Flank Attack, were the attacker had to designate about a third of their force to arrive from one of the battlefield's flank after a random amount of time. Victory was determined by VP from breaking units, or breaking an opponent's army. 

Dave's elves took cover in the fields on his side, while my Ogres once again took their sweet time getting a move on.

As his force largely consisted of archers and spearmen, I knew that my Ogres could rip into Dave's army, if only I could reach them in time.

Dave's army could put out a frightening amount of shots that, because they're High Elves, mostly hit on 3+. With his supporting Reavers, Elven Bolt Throwers, and Wizards, my forces ended up getting hammered on the way in.

Of course, as I was wrangling with my army and trying to get to grips with those pesky long-ears, Dave's flanking force showed up. I had to throw one of my Irongut units over to the right to try and slow down oncoming cavalry.

You also might notice a distinct lack of Giant. That's because he decided to chase a butterfly all the way to the edge of my back table edge, effectively remcoing him from the game.

Now the game was mostly played on the right flank, as my left crumbled. I was trying to deal with elves on three fronts, and it wasn't going well.

For a bright, shining moment, however, it seemed like my Ogres, with their higher Attack and Hit values, would be able to pull out a victory in the scrum, as they tore through one of Dave's battalions.

That dream was shattered when my commander was forced into a unit when retreating from a High Elf unit, and was then charged by chariots in the open. And on a flank.

The Tyrant was killed, and the Ogres broke and fled, leaving the High Elves in command of the field.

All-in-all, I had a great time during the tournament. Dave did a great job of adapting 6th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle scenarios to Warmaster, my opponents were fun to play against, and I feel like the three games helped me get a handle on the rules.

As I've said before on plenty of other blog posts, I'm hoping to play more in the future. And I've got another army (Dogs of War) to get painted!