Saturday Morning - Game 1
We had to be there very early Saturday morning (since we had to play 4 games that day, some of them quite big) and since I live close to Klaus, we met in the bus. It started off a bit bumpy though, since Klaus had accidentally taken the earlier bus, and as I was ready to leave home, I got a message saying 'I'm on the bus, see you in a minute' - and I live 5-10 minutes from the bus stop! Fortunately, Klaus was smart enough to exit the bus at my stop and waited for me, so we got on the right one.
The Venue was a big, bright room (I believe it's called a 'reception room' in english - a 'party room' in danish! - if that doesn't show a difference in mentality, I don't know what does) on the 4th floor.
As you can see, there are 3 rows of tables down the room, plenty of chairs and enough room to make it comfortable. As we came, Jesper gave a speech, saying 'Welcome' and informing us of some practical stuff.
Ding-Ding - Round 1
Then the pairing were up and we were paired against 'Helsingør Hulkers' - I think their name is a spin-off of 'Helsingør Holgers' - 'Helsingør' is danish for 'Elsinore' which is a town in Denmark (probably best known for 'Hamlet' - and no, I don't know if something is still rotten in the state of Denmark) and 'Holger' is a danish name - whereas 'Hulker' is probably a bit more fantasy related. Anyway, I was paired against Rasmus (and not 'Kasper' as I had originally called him), who, like so many others, managed to blink as I took the picture, making him look like a crackhead, which he was not!
Rasmus is a great guy, who played Skaven - but what's more, he played Eshin! Erm...ok...so you have Assassins, Skitterleap-into-base-contact, Skirmishers and Tunnel teams? Yeah, protecting that Casket will be easy! Anyways his army had (from memory):
Assassin Lord - Weeping blades and Regeneration
2 x Eshin Sorceror - 4 dispel scrolls? (not sure)
2 Clanrats, 1 w. ratling, 1 w. warpfire, 2 Slaves, 2 Night Runner, 2 Tunnel teams, 2 bases of Rat swarms and an Eshin Triad.
Not the biggest of armies, but since there was a 'no more than 2 of each' rule, it was probably why. The Scenario allowed us to pick one of our allies' detachment and use it in the battle. I got the aforementioned 10 Black Knights, Wight Lord w. Sword of Kings and 8 Dire Wolves - which is nice in any army.
He got 4 Minotaurs with Banner and a big beastheard including a Wargor. He also got a Chaos Spawn.
I got to be the Attacker, so that took the pressure off me a bit - I had a big central hill, which I placed the casket on top of, ready to cause a world of problems for him - and a world of problems for me to defend! Here is my deployment:
Casket on the hill, backed by tomb guards, and Black Knights - the wolves are ready for some flank action. For some reason, I didn't take any pictures of Rasmus's deployment, but he places his Beastherd accross from the wolves, his main blocks in the center and the Spawn and Minotaur on the other flank (opposing my archers there) - so his Allies went on his two flanks - remember that!
Beside his 'normal' deployment, he had all his characters as Scouts as well as the Eshin Triad. The Triad went in a forest on my right flank (can't see on the picture) but his characters went in his blocks. I started the game and advanced my troops - I moved the Black Knights forward, with the Ushabti behind them, all my units careful to stay away from his Ratling (just over 15" away to be precise) and the magic phase was somewhat uneventful with him scrolling some and dispelling the casket.
Rasmus moved his troops forward and I've tried to take an 'Action Shot' of the game:
The Casket (with Swarm in front, including Swarm covering the Hierophant in the Guard) and the Guard are looking down at the advancing Skaven regiments. Notice the Skaven wizard hiding in the wood and the two black models in the to top are his Master Assassin and his Ratling).
I'm not sure how I like those action shots - the problem is obviously that the Camera can't focus on all things, but I think the idea is good - if anyone have any suggestions as to how it can be done, I'm open to suggestions!
Anyway, the game heated up in his first magic phase, since he tried to Skitterleap his Lord - I was determined to make good use of my 3 dispel scrolls fast, since I didn't want to lose the casket with the lich. His first roll was around average, 4,4,3,2 - I announced that I wanted to use a Dispel Scroll to stop it and thought that was the end of it.
Caught it? 4,4,3,2 = 13 = Irresistible Force for Skaven. First game of the tournament, First spell and it's an Assassin Lord into my casket. Naturally he chopped the Lich to bits and the casket was dead. What a way to start! He had placed his Lord so that he could overrun into my Ushabti, but fortunately he didn't overrun very far, and missed them by a couple of inches (despite moving 3D6). This was definately not how I had hoped it would go, but at least his lord was now away from his troops (so low leadership) and he couldn't just Skitterleap him again.
I'll just take a Picture then.
I distracted myself with an 'Action Shot' of skeleton archers trying to halt the Skaven advance:
I'm using a 'regiment base' filled with arrows as 4 archers - I figured that since they would be shooting double-time, they would probably be needing all the arrows they could carry, and make a stash on the ground. It looks good when they are on the tray and it works like this.
Anyway, I turned the Tomb Guard around to face the Master Assassin and took great care in positioning the Hierophant so he wouldn't get hit by his master assassin if I charged - I kept him in the Guard as there was nowhere good to go - and I definately didn't want him on his own, with Warpfire and Skitterleaping skaven about. I positioned, repositioned and then positioned again until I was happy - but after I started my magic phase, I noticed that in all my re-re-repositioning, I had managed to not put the Champion next to the Lich - great! - Rasmus used his remaining scrolls to prevent my magic move and therefore he could just charge his master assassin into my Tomb Guard and execute the Lich in the next turn. Great Thinking, Doc.
Elsewhere his Triad had moved out of the forest and had to endure a turn of shooting from the Skeleton Archers, who managed to cause no wounds. My black Knights couldn't really charge the Skavenslaves that were baiting them, as they would be counter-charged by the 4 angry double-handed-wielding Minotaurs and a Clanrat unit, so they moved forward and hoped for the best.
A fortunate series of events!
And then a strange series of events suddenly turned everything upside-down, to my delight. First, Rasmus managed to fail his feartests, not just for the Eshin Triad that wanted to attack my Skelly archers, but also for his Lord that wanted to kill the Hierophant! I guess he looked a bit too scary, the long-dead lich! - or was it the 20 Killing-blow capable Tomb Guard? We will never know, but scared like a frightened child he was!
Next, Rasmus tried a Skitterleap, one Sorceror targetting the other - now you may not think much of me, but I can assure you that I won't fall for the old 'teleport one sorceror down, so he can teleport the Assassin lord' one-two, so I used a scroll to stop it - next he wanted to teleport the same sorceror - I used dice and failed, and he teleported into the flank of my Tomb Guard, so he could strike at the Hierophant! How about that - he had 2 attacks, hitting on 3+ (as he has WS 4) and poison - it's only strength 3, but still. It had the added bonus of maybe forcing me to pursue and then saving his master assassin from further Tomb Guard attention.
Anyway the little skaven sorceror tried to do what his lord had been too scared to do, but fortunately (for me!) only hit me once, although that hit did wound. He then ran like crazy, but the Guard stayed put - they had their eyes (now did they? or have the eyes rotted away?) on a bigger prize - the Assassin Lord.
Here you can see the action on the hill - his lord is (still) the all-black Queek model and he sorceror scuttles away, having put a wound on the Hierophant. The coin is a tunnel team.
But then it was the end of turn 2 and we had been told to pause after that and await further instructions.
And the twist was that in the Old World, noone can be trusted. Therefore, the Allied contingents would be unable to do anything in turn 3 and switch sides in turn 4. Holy Handgrenade, Batman! Remember how I said that he had placed his beastmen allies on both flanks? Yup, those flanks were totally mine now. And remember how I said that my Ushabti were 'backing' the Black Knights? Well, that 'Backing' became 'Ready to Rear Charge, Mylord!'
Yeah look at this: It's my turn 3, so the Black Knights can't move, but the Ushabti can back 2,5" just to make sure they can rear-charge the Knights . Perfect!.
The Tomb Guard charged his Lord who fled from the charge - then I flew my King over and charged him again in the magic phase (angled, so he would hopefully run out of the board), but he managed to roll just enough to escape me and stay on the board - sneaky little bugger. Next he didn't rally the 'assassin-wanna-be' Sorceror and he fled from the board - at least that's one less Skitterleap to worry about. His Eshin triad managed to charge my archers next turn, and despite a round of poor dice-rolling, he eventually chewed through them. But not before my crossbow wielding skeleton champion had managed to put a wound on one of the rats!
The Ushabti did charge in and got some magic aid from the Tomb Guard - so the Black Knights 'situaton' ended up looking like this:
Also note how the Minotaurs (that I now control) suddenly make the flank look a lot better! I'll not go into the gory details of the combat, but let's just say that the Knights crumbled in one turn - and the slaves behind them fled because of that sight. I only overran with the Ushabti (as I didn't want to expose my 1-wound-left hierophant to any combat - especially not a charge from the Rat Swarms.
On the other flank, my newly employed Beastheard with a Wargor charged his clanrats, where his Sorceror hid in the rear rank.:
But thanks to a Wargor that couldn't hit anything, the Skaven held long enough for the Dire Wolves to charge into their rear. Uh-oh. They lost the combat big, but actually managed to pass their break test on a '3' - 4 wouldn't have been good enough, so that was lucky. The King ended up charging into the wolves and that swung the combat my way in the end and the rout was on. His Sorceror had seen the writing on the wall, though and had left the sinking rats the turn before. The archers in the bottom of the picture had just taken a flank charge from a tunnel team of gutter runners - they had held out long enough for the King to help them out - (which was the turn before the wolves charged into the beastmen) - confused? well so am I!
Here is the King, having pursued (and wiped!) the Gutter Runners - hes in a forest, bellowing out his challenge from a big rock. I think the rock looks a big like the Lion rock from Lion King - so that would make my king Mufasa and the wolves would be the hyaenas!
Well enough with the free association - the game was pretty much over at this point. The final upset was his ratling guns shooting my 4 minotaurs and killing 2, and after that they fled a charge, rallied and were then charged by his Eshin Triad, that had finished off my skeleton archers! - no problem though, the Eshin triad didn't cause enough wounds to kill a full Minotaur, and the 6 double-handed returnblows was enough to win it for me, combined with Unit Strenght and their banner - and the Triad fled only to be crumbled under-hoof.
And his Assassin lord? well he rallied a the table edge and spent 2 turns getting into combat with the Ushabti - which he killed over a couple of rounds.
It didn't look like that in the game, obviously - the entire triad wasn't left and they didn't outrun the Minotaurs - also, the Ushabti had his back turned to the Assassin - but if GW can stage their pictures, so can we!
The King, having charged his lord, seen off the Tunnel team and helped against the Dire wolves wasn't done though - in the last turn of the game, he propelled himself into the rear of the remaining clanrat unit and brought the remaining Eshin Sorceror's neck into contact with his greatweapon! - He had the Scorpion armor and took two wounds in the end - the Spawn had also shambled into that combat, but the King and Spawn combined couldn't out-do the static +5 combat result (actually they would have to do +6 since he had a musicion), but it was all good.
So despite the initial let-down of losing the casket, a failed fear-test and the special 'surprise' scenario swung everything my way and it was somewhat smooth sailing from there - I ended up getting 1782 victory points, Rasmus got 863, including the special Eshin bonus for killing a lich.
On the other table
Klaus played against beastmen and the 'detachment-flipping' didn't mean too much there - Klaus had borrowed my Prince, the chariots, Scorpion and light horsemen, and the Horsemen managed to make themselves annoying by charging some of Klaus' skeletons in the rear at a bad time - but other than that, it wasn't too big a deal.
They drew, so we were up a bit after the first game.
Proceed to Saturday Afternoon.