Return to Dead Man’s Curve
The dwarfs return to the field of battle in a Kings of War grudge match. Really anything Ryan and I play is a grudge match anymore but his high elves and my dwarfs have been fighting from the time we first met. Our own, personal, War of the Beard one might say. Similar if not as ancient as the three way Porridge Wars though certainly as hard fought. Because I love the pieces so much I had to include the skull road and guard rail when Ryan asked me to set up the table, thus we find our brave forces back on the Road of Death. One of the signs, in my opinion, of a good game is that you continue to think about it and tinker with details long after the battle is over. Another is an eagerness to get in there and try it again. Both were present so Ryan and I couldn’t wait to throw down. Of course, the excellent battle report in Black Cavalier’s blog (http://twotharksonecup.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-friend-skrapwelder-i-played-our-1st.html) really had me amped and ready to remember my racial trait of shrugging off Wavering at the beginning of my turn with a die roll of 4+ this time around. I had made some minor changes to my army mostly because I wanted to field my freshly painted dwarf flame cannon (more on that in another post) but also because I felt the troop of Shieldbreakers wasn’t what I needed for the points. I also wanted to try out the flaming artillery rules as I only knew what it was like to be on the receiving end thanks to Ryan’s Dragon Breath artillery last game and the dwarf one is tougher! I was hoping for a little revenge for the way he roasted my brave Ironwatch last game, if truth be told.
So the ten Shieldbreakers were out even though I knew I would miss them as soon as I saw Ryan’s elves and their armored cavalry. Fresh paint and the priceless gift of Elite from the Warsmith made my Flame Cannon pretty much a requirement and an Army Standard Bearer signed up as well. One of the very first campaigns my fledgling dwarf army fought in required an Army Standard Bearer figure, so I converted an extra figure into one. At the time I was living far from my OGs (Original Gamers) and desperate for inspiration I threw myself into the effort. Somehow, working on the army but especially converting figures, made me feel more connected to my distant friends and this stubborn little banner carrier became sort of a talisman of that in my mind. So for over twenty years this figure has almost always been my Army Standard Bearer. Just a little history there because we dwarfs do love our history.
Ryan had also been tinkering around with his force and as soon as I saw the second unit of Stormwind Cavalry I did miss those ten Shieldbreakers with their Crushing Strength(1). He had dropped the Dragon Breath artillery piece because the crew objected to having to move it so far forward before firing it. With a range of twelve and the dwarf Move of 4” they got impatient and spent much time pushing it forward before getting close enough to turn my archers into ash. So he had another troop of cavalry and I knew there were some sneaky magic items trickled in there as well. This was not going to be easy.
We set up our forces and I immediately saw the pincer Ryan had me in. He knows I like to keep my dwarfs close to support each other and wasn’t going to let me refuse flank. They may be small units but they are fast, armored, and hit with a Crushing Strength (2) add in the elves Melee of 3+ and one has to take them seriously. Having played Orcs and Goblins many times in the past, Ryan can be a sneaky git and kept his cavalry out of my Brock commander’s line of sight (Line of Sight, shooting range, and charge range are all from the front middle figure of the unit. Very simple). Fortunately his shooting left me with a few wounds and no Wavering units but he was about to charge both my flanks and his Palace Guard were already closing in the center. I was beginning to wish I had swapped the positions of the Ironwatch and the Bulwarkers while I brought Gar Dreddaxe and his Brock, Ripper, around to bolster the right flank. The Ironbelcher Cannon and Organ Gun, both Elite thanks to the presence of the Warsmith, blasted one unit of Stormwind Cavalry down to it’s horse shoes while the Flame Belcher moved forward with the Bulwarkers, looking at those Palace Guard with their Crushing Strength(1). The Ironwatch had to move to keep the remaining unit of horsemen out of the flank so were unable to shoot.
Despite the loss of one of his Stormwind units, Ryan pressed the attack, hitting the Ironwatch with the remaining cavalry and pressed in with the Palace Guard, threatening to charge the Bulwarkers soon. Meanwhile, his horde of Sea Guard and the Bolt Thrower, shot so many arrows and bolts into my Ironbelcher Cannon in retribution that the poor lads didn’t have a chance even with the Warsmith’s Talisman of Inspiration. Ouch. Despite taking an impressive number of wounds the Ironwatch held their ground, with Ryan, uncharacteristically rolling poorly (double ones), but would be unable to shoot due to being Disrupted after hand to hand combat. No worries, being dwarfs they are probably better at hand to hand than shooting anyway and so the Ironwatch counter charged the cavalry supported by Lord Dreddaxe but were unable to do more than Waver them. With no enemy horsemen remaining on the flank the Brock Riders moved toward the Sea Guard, clearly forgetting (as I had) the problems with charing spear blocks with cavalry. The Organ Gun wounded the Sea Guard but the horde hardly noticed. My Brocks were in trouble. While I had foolishly set my Bulwarkers up so they were unable to help the Ironwatch in their combat fate granted me the gift of the Palace Guard being 1/4 of an inch in range of the Flame Belcher. Also most uncharacteristic of my opponent as any who have played him will attest. the Breath Weapon (22) melted armor and my fortunate dice roll sent the unit off the table. Some things were looking better for the dwarfs.
The Stormwind Cavalry were forced to back up, in part to reduce the number of charges I might be able to get but also to give his Bolt Thrower line of sight on my beleaguered Ironwatch. This time he was able to roll well in shooting, number of wounds, to wound, as well as an eleven against my Nerve. Sadly the nearby Army Standard did force him to reroll that but not the snake eyes he had rolled the previous turn and that was all that would have kept them around. The Ironwatch left the field without ever firing a shot. The Brock Riders, on the other hand, took the hail of arrows in stride before charging the wall of spear points known as Sea Guard. The Phalanx rule means cavalry and flyers have a -1 to hit when fighting in the unit’s front flank and so I didn’t do enough wounds to even get close to rolling a Waver result but they are Berserkers and might survive a counter charge. So is Lord Dreddaxe and he wasn’t about to let the last Stormwind Cavalry threaten the flank of the Bulwarkers so he slammed into the armored horsemen alone. Unable to break them he and Ripper prepared to take their inevitable charge. Disrupted but angry the Sea Guard charged the Brock Riders but despite mounting wounds were only able to Waver them. The Stormwind Cavalry found much the same difficulty when rolling against the Nerve of Lord Dreddaxe.
We were closing in on the last few turns and that horde of Sea Guard were not going anywhere. The Brock Riders blew their roll (I remembered every time a unit began Wavered but failed to ever roll a four or higher-sigh) so were unable to do much more than back up. The Flamebelcher and Bulwarkers moved forward, closing range on the Sea Guard, while the Organ gun fired into them, just trying to add more wounds against that Nerve of 21/23. Lord Dreddaxe, on the other hand finally beat the Stormwind unit, Ripper pulling riders from their mounts, and advanced toward the Bolt Thrower. With his last turn (unless we rolled a 4+ at the end of mine) facing him Ryan did the math in his head, he does that a lot and is annoyingly good at it. Either he realized his best chances for some victory points or he hates giant badgers because his Bolt Thrower was able to just beat Lord Dreddaxe’s Nerve roll and his Sea Guard charged the Brock Riders finally rolling enough to beat their Nerve of 20/22. Double Ouch! I moved my Bulwarkers forward but was out of charge range to the Sea Guard. Again I had to put my faith in the power of dwarf artillery (and the Warsmith) firing the Organ Gun and Flamebelcher into the elven phalanx. I was able to roll high enough on the Nerve Check to destroy them, twice, since his prince was Inspiring and standing right behind them. Ryan then rolled a three so there would be no extra turns the game ended. He had done 590 points of damage while I had caused 805, pulling a victory by 15 points. Whew, what a nail biter it had been and oh, so much fun.
We played 1000 point battle in less than two hours and that includes taking a break to grab pizza. If I didn’t have to leave we were both ready to set up and play again. It reminds me of Warmaster in that regard. I am already planning some more artillery units as well as mulling the possibility of more Berserkers while Ryan is trying to decide how many Drakon Riders he is going to need in future. I think we’re both considering how much larger we want to go next time. Of course, as soon as I got back I wanted to download the photos and write up the battle so I know this is a game (and company) that’s got me inspired. With Black Cavalier, Skrapwelder, and Necron_99 already playing I feel confident our group will embrace this system. Looking forward to trying multiplayer games soon.