Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Stalling Out - Horizon Wars AAR

Having gotten the hang of how to set up one of the scenarios in the Horizon Wars rulebook, Kevyn and I decided to retry the first scenario we played, Deliberate Attack, and bumped the points up to 20.

Kevyn's mech-led force would be the attackers:
P3 Mech Gold Prophet (CHQ)
P1 Mech x2
Armored Artillery
Heavy Cavalry x2
Mobile Infantry x2
Heavy Infantry

In order to win, Kevyn would need to beat down my force until only two units remained on the table at the end of a turn.

While I decided to defend with a conventional only force:
Heavy Cavalry (CHQ)
Heavy Cavalry x2
Light Cavalry x2
Heavy Infantry x2
Armored Artillery

To win, I would need to end the game with at least four units on the table, and have double the original amount of Presence.

Kevyn deployed his advanced force, while my units (the two Heavy Infantry and the Recon) were set up in hidden deployment.

In the first turn, I kept the two Heavy Infantry units hidden, but chose to reveal the Recon unit, which used its Guide Fire ability to reign down Armored Artillery fire from reserves. This was even more deadly thanks to a CR upgrade that pushed the Armored Artillery's firepower stat up to 8!

Kevyn decided to focus on the Recon unit, laying fire into their position, but poor dice and a combination of high armor and elevated cover meant few hits were scored.

Kevyn kept his units' fire concentrated on the Recon unit, not wanting to get closer to that dangerous artillery barrage, but the small infantry unit kept their heads down, receiving little damage. 

I brought on the first of my reserves - a Heavy Cavalry unit - which Kevyn then tried to destroy with a charge from his Mobile Infantry. Unfortunately, the P3 vehicle out-rolled the P1 infantry, winning the close-quarters battle and causing a huge amount of damage.

It was at the beginning of Turn Three that Kevyn realized his mistake. Allowing the Recon unit to hold up a large chunk of his force meant that I had enough time to bring on the high-presence units I needed to win the game. And as the previous two turns had shown, it was unlikely that he could do enough damage to take the slightly-damaged Recon unit to stop me from winning.

Kevyn's attempt to shoot down the Recon unit allowed the infantry to react and move out of line of sight to most of his units. A desperate gamble from a long-range move from his Mobile Infantry didn't allow for a charge, and another shoot action failed to provide the necessary crits to wipe the enemy from the table.

A crit from the Armored Artillery's indirect fire did, however, take out Kevyn's other Mobile Infantry unit, and my Heavy Cavalry (along with the CHQ unit I had brought in from reserve) started to rumble forward toward's Kevyn's lines. 

However, the game ended at that point - I had five units on the table (none hidden) and had doubled the original presence of the advance force. 

It's nice that Kevyn and I are starting to get beyond simply trying to learn the rules, and have instead begun trying to tease the nuances out of Horizon War's ruleset. This could have been a mission in which I tried to rush into Kevyn's forces from the beginning, which probably would have been a mistake. While I had an overall advantage in available Presence, Kevyn's advance force could have been plenty to wipe my units from the table, had he been less cautious. It's definitely a lesson I'll need to keep in mind, if I end being the attacker again in this scenario. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tripped Up - Horizon Wars AAR

Kevyn got his own Horizon War miniatures painted, so we decided to get a game in and try out the full rules. 

We decided to try out the Rescue mission at 15 P. I was the attacker and Kevyn the defender. I had to get my units off my side of the table, while Kevyn had to destroy them. Unfortunately, each unit had to take 4 points of damage, first applied to their Movement value, so they started the game limping along at 1" per move. 

We deployed our initial forces, with Kevyn placing his full advance force out. I had two units in hidden deployment. You'll notice the two sets of activation markers denoting where the hidden units are. This was actually a mistake - the tokens should be split up, allowing for a little more ambiguity in the unit's position. 

This misunderstanding meant that both of my units ended up revealed in the second turn, after repositioning their tokens to the other side of the table. Kevyn's P1 mech damaged my P2 mech in close combat, and both then went down due to shooting from both sides.

I brought on another P2 mech from reserve, and Kevyn's forces moved towards the other retreating mech.

With Kevyn leading 1-0, I had to get the other mech of the table. I brought on a Hvy Cav unit and my Lt Cav CHQ. I was able to use the CHQ's Chain of Command ability to move the objective Mech further along towards my table edge. The mech managed to dodge four reactions from Kevyn's forces! It then scooted back a little further

Now things were starting to get desperate. Kevyn had a concentration of forces all around the objective mech, while I was scrambling to get anything over to the fight. Another Lt Cav and a Mob Inf unit arrived from reserve and sped forwards. Meanwhile, my P2 mech was trying to take out the opposing P3 mech, and doing a poor job of it.

Unfortunately, Kevyn's Mob Inf charged in and, after slapping a half-dozen explosive charges on the mech's legs, watched as the explosions toppled the warmachine! Victory went to Kevyn, 2-0.

It was only after the game that I had realized my mistakes. The screw-up with the hidden deployment tokens hadn't helped, and I never thought to try and use the Repair action to try and heal the damage caused at the beginning of the game. I also revealed my units too soon, before I could get a decent build up of units on my side of the table. Kevyn followed the suggested tactics perfectly, forcing my to reveal my units too early, and then harrying them to destruction.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Painting Update - Guild Ball, Arena Rex, Kings of War, Horizon Wars

We're back this week with some single additions and half of a "big" project. 

Gen Con has come and gone, and thanks to some ninja-shopping from Kevyn, I managed to get my hands on some exclusive releases.

Wrecker is the Season 2 mascot for the Masons, and hasn't been released yet. He's an interesting addition (with a somewhat boring model), and I'm curious as to how he works in the team compared to Marbles. The baboon is a damage modifier, while the giant armadillo seems to occupy the footballing space more, with some methods to push models around as he moves.

Lupa is a gladiator for Ludus Magnus, and was originally available only through the Kickstarter. Now she can be bought exclusively at certain conventions. She brings some hitting power to the Magnus ludi, but can be stopped by the opponent by spending Favor dice - which can put the Magnus player at a Favor advantage. She's also a pain to take a picture of thanks to her stance.

Although I lost interest in Kings of War as a fantasy mass-combat ruleset earlier this year, I'm planning on attending a local tournament just to get some games in and support the local scene. The problem is, I no longer have an army for the game, having sold off my League of Rhordia/Kingdoms of Men force not too long ago. Luckily, Kevyn's letting me borrow his Ogres mega-army. As a thank you, I picked up this Reaper Bones giant and will pass it along to Kevyn, after using it in the tournament.

As for the "big" project, I completed half of the forces I'm putting together for Horizon Wars. The above miniatures are all from the Army of the Reach, the military force of Harker's Reach, one of the most powerful manufacturing cities on Kressidia. They're the main opposition to the UMC (United Mercantile Consortium) and their mercenary companies.

This is a big force; an average game of Horizon Wars may range from 15 to 30 points, and what I've painted adds up to 67 points!

The armored elements of the army consist of Mobile Infantry, Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, and Armored Artillery. The vehicles are from Brigade Models, as are the infantry.

There are plenty of foot infantry options; Light Artillery, Recon, Airborne Infantry, Special Forces, Light Infantry and Heavy Infantry. Again, these are all from Brigade Models.

These Heavy Gear mechs have been repurposed as paratrooper variants of medium Gator and light Caiman mechs. I'll be adding more when Dream Pod 9 releases their plastic starter set, which contains 30 mechs!

Now that the Reach forces are done, I'm starting work on the UMC, which is made up of various private military companies. This should break up some of the monotony, as everything in the faction won't need to look alike.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fight in the Shade - Wargods AAR

Carl and I finally got the chance to play a game of Wargods, with two warbands from Aegyptus. Since it was my first game ever, and Carl's first game in more than five years, we decided for a straight bash across a 4x4 table. 

Carl was kind enough to loan me some of his models, so I could get my warband up to 1500~ points. 

My list:
  • Asar Harbinger of Osiris - Hand Weapon, Medium Armor, Shield, Amulet of Isis
  • Asar Master of Words - Hand Weapon, Light Armor
  • Asar Priestess of Isis - Hand Weapon, Light Armor
  • Asar Champion - Double Hand Weapon, Medium Armor, Amulet of Isis
  • Asar Champion - Spear, Shield, Medium Armor, Amulet of Isis
  • Sebeki Champion - Hand Weapon x2, Amulet of Isis
  • Asar Warriors (14) - Hand Weapons, Medium Armor, Shields, Standard, Musician
  • Asar Warriors (14) - Spears, Medium Armor, Shields, Standard, Musician
  • Asar Warriors (10) - Improvised Weapons, Slings, Light Armor
  • Sebeki Warriors (6) - Double Hand Weapons, Standard, Musician
  • Anubi Warriors (10) - Hand Weapons, Bows, Light Armor

Carl's List
  • Basti Harbinger of Bast - Hand Weapon, Spear, Amulet of Bast
  • Basti Master of Words - Hand Weapon, Amulet of Bast
  • Asar Priestess of Bast
  • Asar Champion - Hand Weapon, Shield
  • Asar Champion - Hand Weapon, Shield
  • Basti Warriors (10) - Hand Weapons x2, Standard, Amulet of Bast
  • Basti Warriors (10) - Bows, Amulet of Bast
  • Asar Warriors (12) - Spear, Shields, Standard
  • Asar Warriors (12) - Hand Weapon, Shields, Standard
  • Sebeki Warriors (12) - Hand Weapons, Heavy Armor, Shields, Amulet of Bast

You'll noticed that the lists are split between a smaller force with more armor, and a larger force with little armor. I was curious as to how this would turn out - would Carl's force be offensive enough to reach my lines before taking casualties from a lack of armor saves?

We alternated deploying units and characters up to 6" away from the table edge. I kept my units close together, while Carl had his spread out a little more.

During the first turn, our units started moving across the table. My Master of Words cast Far-Seeing Eyes, doubling the range of his next spell.

Turn two say both sides still advancing. However, my Master of Words then cast The Land's Despite, reaching out and slowing the large unit of Sebeki's Move Value from 4 to 2, which would last for five turns. Thanks to the dune in front of the Sebeki, they were only moving 1-2" per turn, effectively keeping them out of the battle. This had the added benefit of keeping the unit of Asar Warriors trapped behind them.

This turn also saw the start of ranged combat, and thanks to some hot dice rolling on my part, I managed to cause four casualties to Carl's Basti archers, who then failed their rout save and turned tail. I moved my Master of Words up, but regretted that decision when Carl's slingers managed to knock a wound off of the magic-user. His own wizard then prepped for the next round with a Far-Seeing Eyes spell.

On the next turn, some concentrated shooting between my archers and slingers forced another rout with Carl's Basti swordsmen. In retaliation, Carl's Master of Words threw down an extended-range Spiky Ground in front of my Sebeki unit. Luckily, the hardy lizardmen were able to march across the ensconced terrain with no ill effect.

My Master of Words, in an attempt to make his way to the front and gain an unobstructed view of the battle, caught another barrage of sling-bullets and went down.

Long-ranged fire continued to wreck havoc across Carl's battleline. His Basti warriors failed to rally, unlike the archers, and so ran off the table. The same happened to his unit of Asar swordsmen, who routed after a deadly hail of arrows and bullets cut down a quarter of their numbers. With my left flank unopposed, my own swordsmen marched forward at the double time.

On the right, my unit of Sebeki were moving as quickly as possible. Carl had managed to hit them with Sulfurous Fissures, preventing them from charging into the slingers. His Master of Words then cast Hailstorm on the slingers, and the increased damage managed to kill two of the Sebeki. This, however, gave the lizardmen room to maneuver into a charge that then routed the slingers, and prevented the still-slowed enemy Sebeki from being able to charge into contact.

In the center, Carl's and my own Harbingers finally met, and began a Provocation. Meanwhile, my Anubi archers wiped out their Basti counterparts with some seriously scary accurate shots from their bows, but not before the Basti managed to kill a couple Asar swordsmen.

After a couple rounds of combat, my armored Harbinger won the fight, killing the Harbinger of Bast and absorbing his Ka.

With the death of their leader, Carl's army broke, with all of his units (save the slingers, who had managed to rally) routing, turning and retreating towards the opposite table edge. We decided to call it there - there was little chance that Carl's units could recover, and I held the advantage of a mostly intact force in addition to my Harbinger. 

I had a lot of fun playing Wargods for the first time. It's very Herohammer-esque, with all the characters running around, and I like the smaller unit sizes (where 14-15 models is a standard unit, compared to the 20+ of Kings of War, Warhammer, or the 9th Age). The rules are pretty simple, and the command counters, combined with alternating activations of the player's choice, is ingenious. Hopefully I'll get to play more in the future, along with adding some more miniatures to the collection.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Painting Update - Frostgrave, Strange Aeons, Wargods

I'm at the shore for the week, so let's take a look at everything I've managed to paint since the last update. 

These miniatures are going to go with the rest of the Frostgrave warband, adding to the variety of different classes that can be hired in the game. Additionally, I could always use these for Open Combat, which I still need to play.

This group of Threshold Agents are from the Strange Aeons starter set, in addition to a kickstarter bonus Priest.

Opposing the Threshold agency are the Lurkers, encompassing all of humanity's worst nightmares. The starter set includes the Cultist Leader and his followers, the Fishman, and the Formless Thing. The Maniac and the Cultist Midget were Kickstarter bonuses, and Kevyn passed along the Shambler, which he received two of accidentally with his Cult of the Black Goat membership. I can probably use it as a Blasphemous Construct.

These objective markers were pretty easy to paint up. The crates and chest come with the starter, while the pumpkins, jack-o'-lantern, and Pickman grave were kickstarter extras.

A pair of Asar warriors will be rounding out the hand weapon unit in my warband.