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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Return to Blood Bowl

I was talking to Aido on the phone today. "It's decided," he said. "We're getting into Blood Bowl. That's our next game."

Hey, thanks for consulting me.

Considering 'we' are already playing Magic: the Gathering, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k (well, I don't), and the occasional board game, and computer games too, another game just adds to the list.

Works for me. I am the only one of us who owns Blood Bowl, and I have Wood Elves, Humans, Orcs, and Chaos to choose from. I think I will do an orc team. My other teams can be made available for others to use. I also have a Beastman team, as I wrote that team into 3rd edition Blood Bowl, and it was printed way back in Citadel Journal Issue 29 (and Blood Bowl Compendium II).

Aido is going to scratch build his own board, using my original as a template, so we'll have four people playing at any one time. Which is good since there will be four of us playing initially, plus whoever else wants to join in.

The initial teams will be Orcs, Skaven, Lizardmen, and whatever Eddie wants to play. Probably orcs too.

It was good timing for me, since just last week I had looked at my collection of Blood Bowl miniatures and thought about repainting them. I did them between 1993 and 1995, and frankly they look shocking. This will give me an actual reason to repaint them.

Look for some initial league (or whatever form it takes) reports in late March.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Battle Report: Sylvania vs Ulric (5000) Part 3 (final)

Turn 3 – Vampire Counts

The game seemed set now. It was time for Mannfred to do or die all over again. I made few moves, as there was little I could do to alter the battlefield situation.

One thing I did was charge the Spirit Host through the difficult terrain and into the flank of a unit of knights that was patiently waiting for the Hunting Hounds to destroy the bats and wolves.

I got Curse of Years off on the Teutogen Guard unit, killing 5, otherwise magic was uneventful.

In the shooting phase, the Banshees directed their screams at the Teutogen Guard unit, killing 5. That’s was half the unit gone in two phases, but it all seemed academic now.

The combat phase of this turn defined the game for both Aido and myself. First the less important stuff. The Spirit Host charged the knights but lost combat one discovering the knights both outnumbered them, and held the War Banner. The Giant yelled and bawled into its combat, ending proceedings.

In the big combat Aido simply said. “Where’s that Wraith?” and directed the Grandmaster’s attacks into the Wraith with the Cursed Book, killing it. The other attacks from the chargers actually did very little, and soon it was my turn to strike back.

“My Wight Lord battle standard will strike at your general,” I said.

“What? What Wight Lord? Where? You never mentioned him.”

“You asked where the Wraith was, I figured you didn’t care about anything else.”

“I care about that. Go on then, roll to hit.”

“3s to hit thanks to the Banner of the Barrows.”

2 hits.

“Go on then, roll a 6 to kill.”

“Er, 5 actually, since I have the Sword of Kings.”

“Of course you do. Go on then.”

I rolled the 5.

This was good and bad. Good since I had saved the combat, and bad, since I would now have to face the full force of Aido’s withering sarcasm for the next hour or so for not fully revealing my front rank characters.

The unit broke from the combat, which I thought was pretty good considering they had charged me. I pursued and destroyed it. Mannfred was now in contact with the Ar-Ulric’s unit and the boot was on the other foot.

While Aido had destroyed my Black Coaches with ease in the previous turn, he had now lost his general and his main spellcaster and dispeller was in serious danger. My plan to go hard through the right, and then turn to the centre was looking dented, but still possible, albeit only with Mannfred’s unit now. I still had the face Wolf Kin, Iron Guts, and a unit of Warriors of Ulric on the right.

Turn 3 – Ulric

The Ulric magic and shooting phases were uneventful this turn, either failing to hit or being dispelled.

The main result of the turn for Ulric came on the right, where the Ironguts and Warriors of Ulric charged the Sylvanian Militia skeletons, inflicting 20 casualties, including extra killed by combat factors.

The Giant and knights in the centre killed a few zombies, but that unit was growing larger, not smaller, with time.

On the left, the hunting hounds finished off the bats. Only a small levy unit stood in the way of them doing their own version of my plan. I was glad I had charged the Spirit Host in to delay the knights.

On the right, Aido got his revenge by killing the Wight Lord in Mannfred’s unit. The Ar-Ulric survived, but broke. Mannfred’s unit was unable to catch them.

Turn 4 – Vampire Counts

Mannfred decided to charge the remains of the Ar-Ulric’s unit rather than the Wolf Kin. The White Wolves fled from the table, and though the flank of the Black Knights was exposed to the Wolf Kin, I didn’t see that as a problem.

The banshees concentrated on reducing the Teutogen Guard unit still further with their screams.

In the magic phase I raised 21 zombies and 14 skeletons, all added to existing units. Gaze of Nagash managed to kill a single Norse Marauder.

In the combat phase the zombies actually won due to very poor rolling from the knights and Giant. Both units held. I had declined to support the zombies with a charge from the Grave Guard, on the basis that dead zombies would translate too easily into dead wights. That looked overly cautious now. The Militia unit lost all the skeletons I had just raised.

Turn 4 – Ulric

The Wolf Kin charged into the flank of Mannfred’s unit. Also the second unit of Hunting Hounds (which you may remember from turn 2 and the charge I shouldn’t have made with the Black Coach) charged into the closest Banshee, content to let combat resolution do their work. Aido also charged the Norse Marauders into the second Sylvanina Levy unit in the centre

The Ulric shooting phase was devoted to taking shots at a lone Vampire Count, however all 20 shots failed to hit.

In combat the Banshee killed a hound to draw the combat, making me smile. That smile was removed a few moments later when attacks from the Wolf Kin killed half the Black Knights in Mannfred’s unit. That unit was seriously depleted, and my plan to swing around into the rear of the Ulric army was looking lost. Aido was back in the game.

The Norse Marauders wiped out well over a dozen zombies, but it was nowhere near enough to deplete the unit. The giant and knights rolled poorly again, this time the knights fled though the giant held firm. If only I had charged the Grave Guard in there…

Turn 5 – Vampire Counts

This time I charged the Grave Guard…into the Teutogen Guard unit, now just two models strong.

Mannfred and the unit champion moved to the side of the unit in order to fight back against those deadly Wolf Kin.

The banshee in combat with the Hunting Hound unit, caused it to flee by screaming at it. The other two banshees moved over to the right, directing their screams into the Warriors of Ulric unit, taking out almost half the unit’s strength.

The Giant yelled and bawled again, while the Ironguts and warriors destroyed the Militia unit. The remainder of Mannfred’s unit was now my sole presence on the right flank.

Mannfred broke and ran down the Wolf Kin, but was now faced with Ironguts and Warriors, fresh from their demolition of the Militia.

The Levy unit broke the Norse Marauders in the second round of combat, thanks to their overwhelming numbers

Turn 5 – Ulric

Aido charged into the Spirit Host with a unit of Warriors of Ulric to end that combat faster, and also. He elected not to charge Mannfred, figuring it was a combat he could not win. The unit of Warriors on the left tried to charge the small Levy unit but failed their fear test.

The archers excelled themselves in this turn, wounding the lone Vampire Count twice.

The Spirit Host was predicably destroyed, netting Aido a fair chunk of points. Less predicable was the combat between the Warriors and Levy. The Warriors failed to wound and promptly broke and were run down. A lesson in the power of zombies when they have a 4+ save, plus another standard for me!

Turn 6 – Vampire Counts

The game was over for me. In this turn I simply concentrated on trying not to lose any more points this turn or next.

Manfred turned to face the Ironguts and Marauders. Two of the banshees moved up in support, and screamed the Ironguts to death. Threat removed.

The wounded Vampire Count healed his two wounds back. I was unable to press my magical advantage to collect any more points though.

The Grave Guard unit finally charged the remains of the Teutogen Guard unit, now reduced to just two models through magic and banshee screams. Nothing happened since only a single Wight was able to fight, and the Guard were stubborn.

Turn 6 - Ulric

As I had the turn before, Aido looked for any opportunities to gain or conserve victory points in his final turn.

On the left, the knights charged into the flank of the victorious levy unit. In the centre, he did nothing, since there was nothing for him to do. On the right, the Warriors of Ulric decided the charge Mannfred’s unit.

The combats this turn were disappointing for Aido. He knights reduced the levy unit to 11 models, one more model nad he would have earned half points for that unit. In the cnetre the Giant continued to disappoint. On the right, the Warriors didn’t break, but they didn’t kill any Black Knights either.


The Vampire Counts had won, by 1621 points.

A solid victory, but not an overwhelming one. Checking back I see the winning margin was only 6 points higher than the margin I achieved against the Dogs of War in the last battle report on this site. Note that report was for a 2250 point game of Warhammer.

The 5,000 points battle had gone quite smoothly, the larger than usual forces had not gotten bogged down or in one another’s way. My plan was rendered null and void by the early loss of both Black Coaches, but Mannfred had excelled himself, even in the face of that devastating charge from the Wolf Kin. I also prevented the Ulric forces from breaking through anywhere.

I didn’t use the trio of Vampire Counts particularly well, the magic phase was the only one in which they made any real contribution.
The Giant was something of a bust, I had expected him to be more of a threat, but he repeatedly failed to win combat against the zombies, or else had to Yell and Bawl in order to do so. With so many Grave Markers on the table it was trivial to cope with losses.

The Sylvanian army had done itself proud. In particular the Sylvanian Levy were fantastic showing just how exponentially better a zombie with a 4+ save is over a zombie with no save at all. I would have liked to have had ghouls and more than one unit of Black Knights as an option, but you can’t have everything in a list.

While I will probably go back to the Necrarchs for a while, there is a 3,000 point tournament coming up in the middle of this year that Sylvania may just make an appearance at…

As far as our campaign was concerned, the Ulric forces were forced to retreat and recover from the devastating loss of their Ar-Ulric and the Grandmaster of the White Wolves.

Mannfred and his cadre of Vampire Counts had all survived the battle unscathed, and now set about establishing a Greater Sylvania in the lands they had won.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Battle Report: Sylvania vs Ulric (5000) Part 2

Turn 1 – Vampire Counts
My first act of the game was to summon wolves, with the Drakenhof Standard doubling the number of Dire Wolves to appear. One unit of 6, two units of 4, and a single unit of 2 Dire Wolves entered the table. I opted to bring on a unit of 6 and a unit of 4 at the base line on the left, to support my holding action. The unit of 2 Dire Wolves entered from my own table edge to deal with the Ulric scouts deployed in the woods on my left. The final unit, 4 Dire Wolves, was placed on the right to deny march moves to the two knights units there. They were so far off to the flank that you will never see them in the game photos.

The Sylvanian army moved forward, few marches were available since I had decided to place Mannfred on a flank rather than in the centre. I didn’t think it mattered given my holding plan for those units.

The first magic phase was successfully dispelled through the efforts of the Wolf Priests. Aido was concerned, since the phase would only get stronger one more Grave Markers were in range to be used. I chose not to use any of Mannfred’s casting dice, using only his free spell. No need to risk a miscast yet.

Turn 1 – Ulric

The first Ulric turn was quiet. On the left, the hunting hounds moved forwards, away from the six Dire Wolves that had appeared behind them. In the centre, the Ulric units including the Giant marched forward to face the Syvanian Levy and Grave Guard. On the right, the hunting hounds unit there moved up directly in front of Mannfred’s unit.

The archers attempted to shoot the summoned Dire Wolves, but were not able to inflict serious damage. The only casualties were on the hill in the Ulric deployment zone, two of the four summoned Dire Wolves fell to arrows.

Turn 2 – Vampire Counts

I decided to move ahead with my plan, and charged on the right with both Black Coaches. One charged the hound units that had moved up, and second charged the Ar-Ulric’s unit of knights that charge proved to be out of range. Mannfred’s unit declined the charged, preferring to let the Black Coaches do the work for now.

On the left, both the summoned unit of six Dire Wolves and the Fell Bats charged the hunting hound unit, which held. On the hill on the left, the two surviving summoned Dire Wolves charged the archers who had killed two of their number earlier. On my baseline, the wolves I summoned there charged the Ulric scouts.

Again Ulric dispelling proved almost the equal of Sylvanian magic. Almost. In fact Aido had to let through a lot of the Grave Marker spells, growing both units of Sylvanian Levy in the centre. These units were well and truly ready to perform their holding action.

In the combat phase the Dire Wolves on the hill lost one of their number after neither side inflicted any wounds. The Wolves and Bats combined managed to lose combat after rolling poorly on their attacks and then losing 4 Dire Wolves in return. That was not the result I expected from a simultaneous front/rear charge. At my basline the combat was drawn.

The Black Coach broke the hunting hounds with ease, killing 4 and pursuing 10” but failing to catch the rest. The trap was now set, but I couldn’t see it…

Turn 2 – Ulric

In the centre, the Giant and a unit of knights charged a unit of Sylvanian Levy. Now I would find out how successful my holding action idea would be.

On the right, the trap was sprung, as both the general’s and Ar-Ulric’s units charged the Black Coach that had just broken the unit of hounds. Sure enough, as the Ar-Ulric’s unit swung in to align with the first Black Coach, it contacted the second, ensuring both would be in the combat. I could see the trap quite clearly now.

The combat phase in this turn did not go my way. On the hill in the Ulric deployment zone, the last Dire Wolf failed to hit and was destroyed by combat resolution. The Fell Bats and remaining Dire Wolves failed to hit even once against the Hunting Hounds and again lost that combat, with combat resolution wiping out the two remaining Dire Wolves. The efficacy of my holding action on the left was looking shaky.

On my baseline the Dire Wolves drew again with the Ulric Scouts. In the centre, the Giant and knights killed 14 levy, including those killed through combat resolution. It was a chunk ut of the unit, but the levy unit was still above its starting strength.

On my right things went predicably badly. The Ulric general (a Grandmaster of the White Wolves) went up to strength 7 due to passing a leadership test to strike with his magic mace of say-goodbye-to-your-Black-Coach-Dave. The first coach was destroyed in one hit, which thanks to the Coach’s efforts in killing hounds the turn before, meant 10 wounds towards combat resolution. This was enough to destroy the second coach too.

The Grandmaster’s unit pursued and ended up in contact with Mannfred’s unit. Oh dear.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Battle Report: Sylvania vs Ulric (5000) Part 1

I've been tardy in putting this up, for which I apologise. I hope you find the report worth it.

This 5000 point Warhammer Fantasy battle is the culmination of a campaign that has gone on for just over a year. So far, the Vampire Counts are ahead, having pushed back Ulric in a 3000 point battle, and defeating a reliff army of Kislev and Dogs of War in a follow-up 4000 point battle. Now for the culminating clash. Will the forces of Sylvania be able to consolidate their gains, or will they be pushed back to their own borders?

The Armies

I'm not going to post army lists, since they are so long. At this points value it doesn't really add a lot.

The Sylvanian army featured Mannfred Von Carstein as its general. This was really called for by the campaign, as Mannfred hadn't featured yet, so who better to star in the great clash? I accompanied him with three Vampire Counts, partly to represent the three surviving vampires from the previous battles, but also to get those additional grave markers.

Other characters included a Wight Lord BSB carrying the Sword of Kings, a Mounted Wraith with the Cursed book, and a Wraith on foot with the Rod of Flaming Death.

The core was made up of two large Sylvanian Levy units, 36 -strong, and a unit of 30 Sylvanian Militia. A smaller Levy unit made up the difference. No Dire Wolves were included, since the combination of the Drakenhof standard and Summon Wolves meant that I could in theory summon 24 Dire Wolves at the start of the battle. This is as many as I own.

Specials included a Spirit Host, Fell Bats, and a unit of Grave Guard to be a strong point in the infantry line. I alos included a pair of Black Coaches, as allowed in the Sylvania list.

Three banshees is all I have models for, so that is what I took. Drakenhof Templars (Black Knights) were the other rare choice I used, to house Mannfred and the other mounted characters.

Facing this was a Ulric list that made full use of its cheap warriors. Made thourgh combining Marauders and hairy heads, these made up a strong presence. Knights of the White Wolf, Wolf Kin, and Hunting Hounds were also presence. The notable addition was a Giant. The Grandmaster of the White Wolves and Ar-Ulric were both present. Ulric was sparing no power to drive back the threat of the undead.

Set up and plan

The battlefield was neatly divided into three zones, thanks to the placement of difficult terrain at two points.

Seeing the terrain I decided to place my faster units on the right and the two large units of Sylvanian Levy (zombies) in the centre. My plan was to go in hard and fast on the right, then swing around the difficult terrain on that side and hit any Ulric units in the centre from behind. The left would be virtually uncontested. A few units were placed there to give me time to react if Ulric came hard down that flank.

On the left I deployed the Fell Bats, and smaller unit of Sylvanian Levy. These units were there mainly to slow down any Ulric units attempting to come down that flank. The Spirit Host were placed directly in front of the difficult terrain. As they can move through it with no penalty, they would have the flexibility to help out on the left or in the centre, as need dictated.

In the centre were the holding units, two large units of Sylvanian Levy, standing either side of the Grave Guard. Placed to assist these units were my three Vampire Counts and a Wraith with the Rod of Flaming Death. The majority of Grave Markers were located in this area to keep the two levy units strong.

On my right was my single unit of Black Knights, packed with characters. Mannfred Von Carstein, a Wraith with the Cursed Book, and a Wight Lord with the Sword of Kings and Battle Standard were all located here. The two Black Coaches were set up, one on either side of the knights. My unit of Sylvanian Militia (skeletons) was set up here also, to provide full ranks and outnumber if needed.

The Ulric army was set up with the majority of its strength in the centre. Protecting them from summoned Dire Wolves was a unit of Wolf Kin stretched out in a line.

Significant power was present on the two flanks, especially the right, where the general and Ar-Ulric faced off against Mannfred and the two black coaches.

As Ulric had far more deployments than the Vampire Counts, I won the roll off and opted to go first.

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