Grudge match on the Road of Death
Dwarfs and High Elves Clash in a Kings of War Battle
Travel along the lane paved with skulls is always eventful, dangerous, and often high speed as the bone guard rails will attest. Probably worse in bad weather and in chariots, but I digress. Not surprising that it is where we find the ancient adversaries, Dwarfs and High Elves, facing each other over shields and drawn weapons. Ryan and I, also long time adversaries, threw down with some Kings of War at 1000 points a side. Still a very new game for me, all new for him and while we were playing armies we have used in other systems we were both learning our forces as well. If I recall correctly, his army consisted of a horde of Sea Guard, a regiment of Palace Guard, a regiment of Stormwind Cavalry, a Bolt Thrower, a Dragon Breath flame thrower, a mounted Army Standard, and a mounted Prince. Brrrr, lots of accurate shooting things.
The Dwarf host was anchored by the regiment of my stalwart, though unbloodied, Bulwarkers, a regiment of Ironwatch with crossbows, a cannon. an organ gun, a troop of Shield Breakers, a troop of Brock Riders, a berserker lord mounted on a brock, and a Warsmith (so worth every point he cost even without the Talisman of Inspiration). Building this force was a lot of fun because I got to field a number of newly painted units as well as reacquaint myself with some old favorites. The regiment of crossbows, for example, was made up of veterans of countless past battles, including the holding of the Stone Forest against chaos warriors but, again, I digress.
Typical of Ryan (he cheats by using strategy, experience, and better die rolls), he rolled higher so took the first turn. The elven line moved forward en masse and began unloading feathered death. Fortunately not enough to cause Nerve checks but it would add up. My shooting was less accurate but it was a bit of a rush being able to move units in a dwarf army up to 16″. Turn three and his cavalry slammed into mine while his prince challenged my berserker lord on my left flank and his center continued to close the distance. Seems the Dragon Breath has REALLY short range. The Brock Riders took the hits and counter charged, supported by the Shieldbreakers routed the horsemen and advanced toward the Sea Guard. Much the same happened between the two heroes with the victorious Berserker Lord rounding the hill. Just to balance things Ryan shot my poor cannon crew to death.
Knowing I would lose a shooting match, my dwarfs moved all of their units forward except the organ gun who were busy becoming unwavered. Twice I forgot about the Dwarf ability to shake off the condition and both times cost me. Yes, I realize they only have one trait to remember. The second, and worse, was as my Brock Riders crested the hill, preparing to join the Shield Breakers in charging the Sea Guard. Those pointy eared gits, again, filled my poor badger riders with fletched death. That, with the earlier damage, and Ryan’s roll gave a result of Wavering. I remembered that the lord, who was in range, Inspired Berserkers so Ryan had to roll the Nerve test again, this time getting a Destroyed result. See? I told you he cheats. I should have remembered I would get a 50% chance at the start of my turn to shake off Wavering (and if not they would still be on the field!) but instead I learned a lesson.
At this point the units in the center had reached one another as the Palace Guard slammed into the rookie Bulwarkers, spilling blood but bouncing off those heavy tower shields. The Bolt Thrower wounded the crossbows but they stood their ground, preparing hand weapons for a flank charge and the Dragon Breath moved into range. That did not sit well in my bearded gut. In part to avenge their fallen brothers, the Shieldbreakers charged into the Sea Guard, cutting several elves down before bouncing off the superior numbers. The Berserker Lord finished moving around the hill so he would have something in his line of sight while the Bulwarkers engaged the Palace Guard in the center and the crossbows hit their flank (doubles my attacks!). The heavily armored elves were cut down to a man.
After the elves had skewered the Shieldbreakers and we learned the devastating power of the Dragon Breath I was left with the last turn and decidedly fewer units than I had started with. The Bulwarkers, blooded and bloodied, advanced past the smoldering remains of the Ironwatch but were too far away to charge anything. The Berserker Lord moved around the Sea Guard to kill the Bolt Thrower crew (and grab me a couple points). The sun set, the fighting ceased and we were 100 points apart, a draw and another footnote in the Wars of the Beard.
In summary, it was a closely fought battle with lots of back and forth in a very playable system. Ryan and I have a long history of facing each other over cards, boards, and battlefields so close fought is common enough for us despite his recent habit of beating the snot out of me at Dominion. We have also learned a lot of games together so feel we can fairly judge these things. Not only was he playing and not learning by his third turn but we both wanted to set up and play again afterward. I am sure we be playing a lot more Kings Of War in future. I decided that a Horde of spear and bow armed High Elves are not to be taken lightly, Brock Riders Rock, and the Warsmith’s ability (makes them Elite) to let each artillery piece to reroll one miss each turn is priceless. Now to name my heroes and paint more Dwarfs!