Monday, 13 February 2017

9th Age - Empire vs Ogres Whitewash

Another club game a week or so ago, this time a quickly put together lay-down game with Ian who was wanting to have a game and wanted to have another try of the 9th Age rules, having only had one game previously.

I just used the Army I had used to reasonable effect (though probably aided by a helping of dice luck) the previous week as this was still fresh ( and not yet unpacked as well) and Ian was as I had guessed producing his Ogres.

Both our Army Lists were pretty light weight in terms of extra's and Ian's list didn't have any magic at all, just standard unit's out the box as it were. Again a 4,500 point apiece line up and we randomly threw up a diagonal deployment and the Breakthrough scenario again.

So far so good. We deployed our troops with things seemingly fairly close together and Ian won the throw for Initiative.

I won't go through a blow by blow account of the game as it was all pretty one sided as the deployment photo, to the end of turn 3 photo's show.


The Ogres shooting alone reduced my army by something like 25% within a turn and a half before the forces came to blows (though aided by the usual catastrophic misfire from the Volley Gun) where I knew the Ogres would be pretty dangerous in melee. I hadn't expected to get shot to bits before then. Zut Alors!

Initial Empire Advance
The ensuing melee's were pretty much completely one sided with the continued shooting carving up the rest.

Much thinned by shooting, nearly in contact

By the end of Turn 3 I pretty much ceased to have an army with only minor damage having being inflicted in turn.

Crunch,, turn 3 
Not sure what message I should take from this joint 'nilla encounter other than to say 'woaw! What happened there?' and perhaps improve my dice rolling abilities. 8th Ed WHFB's all over again. Certainly a very one sided game from the get-go and extremely unbalanced capabilities from straight out the box troop types but, Hey ho.

Time to look at the Army lists in a bit more detail for the next encounter, though I suspect a difficult match up regardless even if I go for a very beardy list.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

9th Age - Empire Civil War - Rematch (The Grudge)

A few weeks ago Andy L introduced me to delights or otherwise of The 9th Age tourney rules and we had played an Empire vs Empire match to try out the rules and a jolly time was had by all, that is excepting Andy's troops who had a fairly poor showing and got thoroughly trounced by my 9th Age Newbie's.

As a result of this, Andy who has now become the clubs 9th Age guru and is championing the 9th Age rules enthusiastically, wanted to have another try out (read this as get even for the crash and burn event last time) of the rules and his slightly revamped list prior to taking part in the locally organised 9th Age Tourney soon to roll. I, of course obliged.

Initial deployments
With a 4,500 pt a piece match up and a Breakthrough scenario randomly determined, we laid down our troops as per the scenario doctrine, and launched into the grudge match. Andy's list being based around an anvil unit of Greatswords with accompanying spear detachments and Arcane Engine to buff things up along with supporting cavalry, crossbow and Artillery. My list was very much a vanilla list and practically no magic to speak of, relying on numbers to see things through. Both of us going for Priestly spell casting only for the magic phase.

Andy got the initiative and initially only advanced his flanking cavalry units forward and fired everything he had to try and thin my ranks, but to little effect. In my turn I launched everything forward at full speed in an attempt to get as much into his deployment zone from the outset. Followed by the usual artillery sniping, equally ineffectual.

The flanking cavalry duels were different from each other, but equally disastrous for Andy. On my left flank, the two Imperial Cavalry units met and proceeded to hack at each other for two rounds or so with my numbers getting the advantage and taking a figure off on each combat until his unit broke and left the table in disarray. On the other flank, his Pistoliers (Reiter) rode up and discharged their pistols but only managed to take a solitary rider, in return my fire laid low his entire unit in one fell swoop and this left the way open for a flank move to threaten his Artillery and cavalry flank.

In the middle of the field, my lines advanced to contact as quickly as possible to contact hoping they could weather the meaty crunch from Andy's Anvil unit long enough to get some scoring units into his deployment zone before the whistle blew. A screen of Flaggellents advancing to the fore to soak up any missile fire initially and try and hopefully take off a few before the inevitable.

The centre crashed pretty much at the same time, with the Flaggellants managing to make contact but only lasted two combats thanks to a detachment flank attack and my swordsmen lumping into the other detachment. Simultaneously, Andy's Griffon Knights with their 'Super-Chickens' met my General and his Templar Knight bodyguard.

The following rounds of combats saw the eventual defeat of the enemy Imperial Cavalry on my left flank and this was quickly followed by the Super Chicken Knights breaking from combat from my General and Bodyguard aided by a flank attack from the smaller Halberdier regiment. Also, with no surprises here the Flaggellants having done their duty went down to a man havng only inflicted light casualties thanks to the super-buffing of Andys Anvil unit (which was looking super shiny thanks to all the plusses and re-rolls heaped on his Anvil unit much from the Arcane Engine at the back), and Andy's Imperial Guard then managing an Overrun on into my own Guard Regiment. (Post game note; can you get an over-run even if it was you who was charged?) The Sword and Halberd conflict in the centre continued but it was already looking like Swordsmen choice was a poor one with Swordsmen not having any of the advantages they had under WHFB under the 9th Age Rules.

Things rapidly changed now though as the end game approached (as it often does) and with Andy's Anvil no longer on the defensive but looking to push forward, my centre began to suffer. Although Andy's big unit of Imperial Cavalry did charge my large Halberdier Regiment and in the two mutual rounds of Combat in the third turn lost badly and succumbed to a break test and were surprisingly caught in the pursuit and destroyed. However, in a turnaround, my Swordsmen had a poor showing in this round and got trounced and likewise broke, unlike Andy's Cavalry However they went like lightning and easily outpaced their pursuers.

Andy's Anvil crumped into my Guard and chopped them into little bits but with their Bodyguard rule they stoically fought on, and on the extreme right the Pistoliers eliminated one of Andy's nuisance Cannons and continued to the rear of Andy's lines.

On the left flank my Imperial Cavalry and General mit Garde moved in for the kill to take out the other cannon by way of destroying one of Andy's Crossbow units en-route. In the centre my Halberdiers charged into one of the Spear detachments to try and stall the inevitable.

With the end nigh (thanks to running out of time) Andy's Anvil demolished my Guard who went down fighting to a man. My Swords continued their rout and legged it off the table. The Pistoliers and Halberdiers polished off the other crossbow unit and advanced to the rear of the Anvil and closed on the troublesome Arcane Engine. 

In the centre Andy's rallied but depleted Super-Chickens came back to the fight and helped the Spear destroy my small Halberd detachment but managed to lose another of their number to sharp shooting from my otherwise un-busy Archers. As the Anvil and one Spear detachment tried to get into my deployment area, my handgunner's and artillery lobbed a few shots into the encroaching mass but caused little damage. Andy's pursuit dice proved to be cruel and both his units failed to get into my deployment zone by millimeters.

The end result when the whistle blew was a draw on points but with me having four scoring units in Andy's deployment zone, I picked up the victory on the secondary objectives, though as it turned out a very close run thing.

Conclusions; the Artillery was pretty ineffectual, though poor dice is probably the culprit here. My Priestly buffing proved to be of little use and never managed to achieve much, unlike Andy's super-buffing in the centre. I think on even set ups, magic is likely to cancel each other one more often than not. I don't like the point and  shoot/kill artillery generally and i was very lucky not to get splatted by Andy's Mortar which could have wiped out one of my smaller units with one hit if he managed to hit. The line of sight rule just sucks and makes these seem too powerful but I suspect necessary when facing big nasty monster armies though being able to shoot through your own intervening troops just tastes wrong.

Definitely a fun game played in the right spirit in the end and no doubt will be played again though some serious thought my be required to toughen things up.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Mordheim Season 3 - The Catacombs

Once again the antagonists gather to have battle in this the eighth outing in the current Mordheim campaign.

The warbands this time delve beneath the earth and venture into the mouldering catacombs lying beneath the now ruined town of Jurgenard where the bands had tracked one of the Necromancers Captains, Rufus the Beast of Dalberz who had been searching the town for an artifact.

Having dispatched the Beast and picked his bones for Intel, the bands had discovered the entrances to the Catacombs lying below the ruined town where the artifact was said to be hid.

Without much ado, the bands delved into the labyrinth in search of the artifact of unknown power to find out why the Necromancers minion had been sent in search of it.

Once again, all the Usual Suspects had gathered; Andy L and his Witch Hunters, Dave and the now much depleted Marienburger Merc's, Andy W's Skaven, Kevs Vampire led Undead crew, Ian's doughty, but very slow, Dwarves and my improving Protectorate of Sigmar.

Initial moves and the Giant Slater's (Woodlice)
 start to cause traffic jams already
The Undead having won the Lair of the Beast round got a free move to kick things off and then the Dwarves led off with all the bands moving towards their initial targets. Trying to avoid another WH vs Marienburger-fest the Witch Hunter's tried (as it turned out to be, in vain) to move to attack the Undead, while the Undead moved towards the Protectorate (for extra XP's) while to still tender Protectorate moved tentatively towards the Skaven, who in turn made a fast bee-line for the centre of the catacombs and the likely resting place of the artifact. The Dwarves moved as fast as they could go and headed for the Skaven in turn and the Marieburger's, just for a laugh headed straight down the corridors towards the Witch Hunters (probably really just avoiding the tough Dwarves, but that's a less funny reason).

WHs vs Mercs fight continues while everyone else
 closes around the strung out Skaven blockers
The WH and Mercs clash in the distance while Skaven outrunners
move to capture loot in the central crypt
The Witch Hunter's plan to avoid the Marienburger's immediately fell down when there move was quickly brought to a halt by one of the Giant Armoured Slater's (Woodlouse) which were lurking through out the Catacombs, and despite their best efforts could not dislodge the beastie. This forced them into the inevitable clash which the Merc's who un-characteristically stormed straight into the fray.

This fight however didn't last long, unlike previous encounters, with the Merc's getting much the worse of things and after a brief round or two's tussle the Marienburger's broke and left the procedings.

The Skaven continued their rush for the loot and quickly encountered two more of the Slater's but with room to spare left the combats ongoing and continued their rush towards the gaol and the central crypt where it was likely the artifact was lying.

Likewise, the Undead encountered one of the Slater's in their careful advance in pursuit of the Protectorate. They however quickly dispatched this obstacle and continued their advance.

The WHs consolidate and move towards the centre
 while the Undead close on the Protectorate
The Protectorate encountered two of the Skaven who had been left as blockers at the rear of the band and with much joy the PoS managed to quickly drop one of their number but the second proved a bit more stubborn thus slowing the Protectorate enough for the Undead to close the gap behind them.

The Dwarves continued their own advance and also encountered a lurking Slater on their way and this proved to be of sterner stuff and took a good half the band of hammers to beat the nasty beast into submission, further slowing their movement towards the Skaven. They continued their stolid clomping into contact with a couple of Rat blockers on the Skaven flank and though these were dispatched , this allowed the majority of the Rattie Ones to pass the Dwarves and into the central chamber.

The Skaven get cornered between the WHs and the Dwarves
 but break before the hammer falls
The Witch Hunter's having cleared the Merc's now advanced towards the goal but delayed their attack by detouring to dispatch a lone and defenseless Slater who was not hurting anyone. The delays from the Dwarves and WH's gave the Skaven enough time to dispatch one of the Slaters in the central chamber and get the rest of his band into the chamber and search for all the loot there. 

Now the WH's and Dwarves began to tighten the noose and with the escalating numbers of blockers down telling along with a couple of Gutter runners Andy had to check for Break Test and promptly failed. Meaning he high-tailed into the gathering gloom, but with his loot (and as it turned out the artifact) in his grasping claws. Curses, foiled again.

With the Skaven gone and the remaining blocker vapourising before their eyes, the Protectorate were left with little to do. Either an attemp to fight the slighlty dispersed Dwarves who were still some distance away and likely to be able to consolidate before we got there, or alternatively turn and face the fairly equal in number Undead who were their arch enemies anyway and already closing on the rear and had already traded distance shots in the gloom. No contest.

An about face was performed and the Protectorate advanced towards their bitter foes with the Warrior Priest leading the charge.

The Protectorate charge into contact with the Vampire Crew

...and vicious melee ensues
Unlike previous encounters where the Protectorate had got drubbed with barely being able to raise a blade before getting pummeled, this encounter proved less one sided and though the Undead did have the edge the Protectorate were able to put up a bit of a fight for once.

Both sides stuggled to put each others fighters out of the fight with several (mainly Protectorate) being Knocked out or Stunned but for once they dished out nearly as much in return.

The joyous barney went on for a couple of rounds and in the end the honour's were even with both sides getting four of their number taken Out of Action including the Warrior Priest and (with much jubilation) the Vampire.

With both our bands looking a bit sad we both decided to call it quits due to the losses and the with mutual assent the Protectorate and Undead withdrew from the proceedings to lick their wounds. This now left the the Witch Hunters and Dwarves advancing towards the central chamber and each other.

Final curtain draws near as the Dwarves and WH move
 towards a stand off
Andy was much non-plused as the Undead and PoS withdrew as he had hoped that they would distract the Dwarves and allow him to attack a partial Dwarf front but with only the two stalwarts left, each drawn up and consolidated, the Witch Hunters in the Central Crypt, the Dwarves in the smaller anti-chamber, a stand-off developed.

Neither side wanted to be the one to attack, thus losing a good position and neither fancied possible losses for little to gain with all the treasure gathered and the Artifact already gone, so they agreed to call it quits and a draw for Round Eight was declared. Boo! Hiss!

The Skaven however are now in possession of the powerful anti-Undead artifact the Cane of Alluminus, which puts them in a better position for the closing trials of the campaign.

And with a nominal Good victory, though with no winner, the next round will see the bands following the Dwarves and Witch Hunters nearer the final showdown and a confrontation with the Witches Coven before moving on to the final assault on the Necromancer at his stronghold of Slayer's End.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Planning 2017

With the New Year just begun and the prospect of another years opportunities ahead I'm looking at what I would like to do and perhaps achieve in the coming months. I'm thinking that last year, much in common with previous years, my plan is more in the way of a wishlist as going by previous years the plan (or any pretence of it actually being a plan) usually falls by the wayside fairly quickly.

So, with a skance look back over the past year and my fairly loose plan from the beginning of the year with thoughts of progressing my various projects which interest me the most or still had that peak of interest enough that I could get some progress made, all in all I can say that my plan worked. Or at least worked in terms of where I spent my attention and didn't wander off to new pastures. Where it fell down was a gross miscalculation in the amount of time I would have available for doing hobby-ish pastimes.

As a result progress was minimal overall and only meaningful in a couple of areas, with some bits receiving no attention at all, really because the year just flew by and wow, its next year already. So with this experience to the fore (and no indication that this year will go by any slower) I'm looking at a more directed approach and look at a smaller spread of topics to try and progress and see if this produces a greater return.

Future Wars - With a major part of my miniatures purchases last year being for this one, and a considerable amount of ongoing thought into this, my Future Wars project is must and at the head of the list. Already paying returns of the previous investment of time and enjoyin the 'story' I'm looking to take this project in new directions and developing things in quite a bit more depth. I think this will take up a good half of my likely painting and modelling output for the coming year.

Black Army - I want to move this project up a gear and get a playable army on the table for the end of the year. Always an army of interest, the Black Army of King Matthias of Hungary is an atypical Medieval army and so gives an added bonus from getting some attention in that many of the force can be utilised for a multitude of other forces so gives a double pay back in utility.

Empire - Being easily the largest single proportion of my figure collection and probably the smallest proportion of completed and painted, this army/collection forms the single biggest part of my personal lead mountain. For that reason alone, it makes sense to try and make a dent in the amount of unpainted lead. The fact that there appears to be a good likely hood of this army seeing some action this year is an added incentive.

These three areas, one each covering my overall interests of Fantasy, Historical and Sci-Fi, I think is enough things here to keep me suitably occupied over the coming months. Any other bits and bods I manage to give some attention to over the coming year will hopefully service these topics to a greater or lesser extent.

Not forming part of the plan, as they will just happen (or not) as they come will be the ongoing projects that are my Abbey modelling thang and my solo fantasy campaign both of which continue at their own pace in the background.

I do have a couple of other on-going things which will be a part of the coming year and the gaming there-in. The third club Mordheim campaign is roughly half way through its run at the moment and has been thoroughly enjoyable so far and will likely be run to its conclusion later in the year. I will need to get some minor bits modeled and painted for this, so some attention here will be required here. The other item here is the on-going exploration of terrain/gaming boards and the next step is this exploration is already underway and will hopefully pay out by the middle of the year if not earlier.

So with this much condensed area of operations from my usual rambling and organising, and the other bits parked for now (hopefully) I am hopeful that this reduced scope will bear much fruit over the coming year.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

That was the year that was 2016

Looking back over the last twelve months, it has been very much an up and down year, much in common with most people, and the year has whizzed by with such consummate speed that at times I have struggled to keep up with the pace.

In regards to my year of hobby related activities, it has been much aligned with my year of life in general, no major upsets but time speeding by has left me wondering where all the time went and the general lack of progress on the various projects in hand initially annoying but now just putting this lack down to experience.

The amount and variety of gaming has certainly increased this past year and much thanks to all my opponents/partners in crime for seeing this positive development unfold; with a refinding of uses for my Empire army with 9th Age and Oldhammer gaming and Chaos Wars, some board gaming with AvP and the like, Future Wars antics, Urban War and Dux B and Mordheim campaigns, and a few newbies to me with the likes of Song of Blades and Heroes and Otherworld Fantasy to name a few show a good helping of SciFi and Fantasy gaming though I note a general lack of anything historical which is quite a surprise.

The year has been one of Kickstarters too, with myself buying into several of the croed-funding project which have all borne fruit with the various Nickstarter Frostgrave and Rogue Star projects being quite nice, figures abounding too with a particular favourite supplier with Steel Fist miniatures with very nice foot and mounted knightly models. Raging Heroes is the only one which I note a lack of major progress and although the first wave of releases have been sent including the freebies, there still remains a load of figures outstanding which is a trifle annoying, I think a noticeable victim of their own success but I wait for the remainder of the order with bated breath.

Online and PC gaming has been a usual part of my gaming activities through the year with a couple of games being particular favourites like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 but a couple of the much sought after games released this year were a bit disappointing especially Total War Warhammer being the main culprit in this department, much too linear and not enough free-form gaming here but I suppose that was to be expected looking back. The X Com franchise was entertainingly added to with X Com 2 and I picked up a couple of table top ideas from this game in particular.

My painting mojo has been fairly lax over the last year but I'm not getting hung up on this and look to improve on things in the coming year with a more targeted approach, but we'll see. I did manage to get a bit of modelling and terrain making done over the year and look to build on this success and produce some major pieces in the coming months. The other part where much of my attentions have been focused is in the realm of terrain boards with some experimenting and some success too, so success here all in all and a good foundation as it were to build on.

Several surprises come from the last twelve month, mainly by their absence, not games of Frostgrave which I thought would be a bigger player in the year and as said earlier, no historical gaming at all. The whys and wherefores of these are probably legion and I don't intend to ponder over much as to why but look instead to rectify this state of affairs over the coming year.

All in all a different sort of year in the land of table top gaming from the one's previous but that, as they say, is a good thing. I don't think it pays to be too introspective or dissecting with your leisure pursuits though some idea of where your heading might be handy. I intend to do more of what I've been doing over the last year and some new stuff too with just a hint of some Old Skool for a bit of spice. Should be good.

I hope 2017 is kind and generous to all out there and that the year has lots of toys to play with and is full of gaming and friends to enjoy them with. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - Warband Raid

 This next episode of the ongoing campaign was a bit of a side step to the main narrative where previously the bands had taken out one of The Necromancers Captains in an ambush while he had been searching for a relic in one of the ruined hamlets previously destroyed by the rampaging Undead horde.

This time the winner of that game had the opportunity to raid one of his neighbouring warbands in their encampment 'somewhere in the wilds' of the Drakwald Forest region. Kev being the Undead leader that he is swooped on the chance and plumped for a raid on his neighbouring Marienburger's who have been steadily growing in power so this presented too good a chance to miss to try and knock the Merc's down a peg or too.

So with all present; Kev's Undead, Ian's Dwarf Rangers, Andy W's growing Skaven pack, Andy L's Witch Hunters, my hard pressed Protectorate of Sigmar and of course Dave's Marienburger Mercenaries everybody lined up for a bit of a grudge (or should that be grudge's) match.

The Marienburger's being on home terriotory got to kick off the proceedings and immediately made a break for it, straight at their arch-enemies the Witch Hunter's.

The Witch Hunter's, slightly perturbed to be singled out in this way, made a side step taking temporary cover behind the nearby hill to take stock. Everyone else made moves towards the encampment and the waiting loot and XP's in the form of goods to be destroyed in the centre of the table.

The Protectorate's part in the proceedings was pretty short, given that they were down to five men from the start, as two of the heroes of the band were taking an enforced sabbatical for a round or two, and as they meandered unassumingly over in the corner, the Dwarf sharpshooter to their right, at extreme range, first dropped the Acolyte and then one of the Crusaders, so a much expected voluntary rout was duly called and the Protectorate played no further part to much hilarity all round.

The Marienburgers now commenced their attack on the Witch Hunters and an extended barney enveloped the hill with the Merc's charging in while leaving a screening line of archers to guard their rear from the advancing Dwarves, and then the Witch Hunters counter charging into combat with all their numbers involved in the melee. This proved pretty bloody for both sides and much chagrin from the WH side as Dave continued to throw sixes to a frightening degree but it wasn't one sided and both sides approached a break test at much the same time.

Elsewhere, the Dwarves, Skaven and Undead wandered into the encampment area and began to ransack their respective quarters with only a tentative skirmish between the rats and Undead squabbling over some booty to break the otherwise quiet half of the table.

The Dwarves advance on the rear of the Mercs and look
for cover.
The battle between the Marienburgers and the Witch Hunters continued unabated and uninterrupted for a couple of turn with the losses mounting. Much jesting and poking was had when Andy's Ogre Merc who he had been trying to defend was dropped and taken out of action, much to his chagrin. The only change in this was when Dave's rear guard volleyed at the advancing Dwarves and quickly took out out of their number who had exposed himself to the firing line.

The Skaven join the fray with the Marienburgers 
while the Dwarves close to destroy some resources
By this time things quickly changed with the Skaven now avoiding contact with the Undead as their low Leadership prevented realistic charges against them, shifted focus and rushed into contact with the back of the Marienburg Merc's, coupled with the impending assault on the other side of the Dwarves now closing too.

End of the big fight nears
All this attention now proved too much for the Mercenaries who with out anywhere to run, Dave decided on a all or nothing stance and manfully made his break test and the Mercenaries went down to a man, not one escaping to the closing encirclement.

The Skaven try to consolidate and the rest
 advance to contact
With the Merc's gone and the remaining bands fairly well spread, especially the Skaven who consolidated their position and the rest hoovered up the last of the loot and resources, everyone took stock.

The Witch Hunters very badly bloodied called it a day and retreated to lick their wounds, quickly followed by the Skaven who saw no real point in hanging about with no more loot to get. This left the Dwarves and the Undead for a final show down once again.

Undead and Dwarves close
The Dwarves drew back slightly and lined up to get a few pot shots at the advancing Undead. However the speed of the devil dog threw this idea out the window as it rocketed from the back of the Undead ranks and pinned the Dwarf line successfully while the rest of the shambling minions moved in.

The fight was brief and as soon as the Dwarves dropped another of their number Ian called it quits as he saw the way the fight was likely to go already on the back heel and no gain to be had.

The Undead approach the Dwarven position and charge
This then left the Undead with another field victory (the fourth in the campaign so far) although mainly due to being the last to get into the fights so were largely molested until there was no benefit from prolonging the fight from the other bands.

Losses from the various parties were not severe, though noticable on a couple of counts with the WH's losing their Ogre Merc and a henchman type plus a couple of wounds, The Marienburgers went pretty much unscathed though due to the loss of revenue had to drop a couple of the Hirelings they had picked up in the Prison Break. The Dwarves loosing a fairly good henchman also keeps them at a lower punching level. The Protectorate do manage to actually get some cash and are able to expand their number to the dizzying heights of eight.

Next up is going back to the campaign trail and exploring the catacombs in search of the relic The Beast was trying to locate prior to being ambushed.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

9th Age - Empire Civil War

Another week gone by and another weekly club game at the .... club. This week we have been mainly playing 9th Age, the fan written reiteration of 8th Ed. WHFB.

Myself and Andy L had had this game organised to play sometime ago, but before our game, the 9th Age team had revised the rules as written and amended the 'Empire' army list to suit. To avoid any issues (ie having to re-do our army lists) we plumped to play the 1.1.0 release of the rules we had based our lists on.

Playing a 2,500 pt a piece game, each of us playing Empire, the game was set for an Empire vs Empire Civil War pitched battle.

Both of us were unfamiliar with the rules though fairly competent with the previous 8th Ed rule set on which they are based, but we went for pretty different line ups with Andy going for a character/magic heavy line up with a small number of point heavy hard hitting units. I, on the other hand went for quantity not quantity with a large number of cheap cannon-fodder units and only a couple tough but smaller units along with a smaller number of characters with minimal magic giving more figures on the table. (The first different thing noticed was that the troop/troop types are generally slightly cheaper than their predecessors).

Andy was deployed first and had the initiative to start and advanced his Templar Cavalry on his flank with his centre & right stationary to hold. His Cannons commenced their sniping and one round one took out my Volley gun and damaged the Steam Tank.

I preceded to have a general advance and threw out my left flank to circle round his open left and refused my right to draw out his Knights expecting the clash with my Electoral Cavalry to be one way but once lost would draw his Knights off position or even pursue off-table next round.

Round two went much the same with my centre advancing and Andy's centre holding but the flank went differently than expected. Andy failed on his charge roll to get his Knights into my Electoral cavalry and I promptly broke with my plan and decided to get any advantage I could and my slightly out number Cavalry charged his and in an unfortunate state of events (for Andy) I completely ace'd the combat and his Witch Hunter led knights broke and were destroyed in pursuit allowing me to flank charge his other unit of knights with his general in tow.

My firing all concentrated on his hefty unit of Spear in the centre while Andy split his fire on the steam Tank (reducing it to lass than half strength before it got out of the line of fire), and my unit of Imperial Guard Greatswords.

My flank attack continued it's plod round the out side and slowly closed in and only managing to make contact at the closing turns of the game with the Flagellant band managing to make it and charged his Crossbow and easily breaking this unit and pursuing it to destruction and into the rear of his Spear thanks to the additional move this allowed. 

Meanwhile, engaged to their front by the Steam Tank which had cleared to alley of fire from the cannons luckily intact but much depleted in strength, the tank proved pretty nigh-on indestructible in combat against lowly infantry and this unit, already down to half strength by the close looked to be doomed.

The two units of Imperial Guard clashed right at the end and with Andy's skillful playing of the magic had managed to buff up his Greatswords and his Spear making them pretty resilient and with re-rolls on wounds the combat here went very much his way by a factor of roughly 2 to 1 but the Bodyguard rule saved my Guard from an ignominious fate.

The magic in general was low key with Andy generally getting a slight advantage due to more spell casters, but the effect here tended to be quite local, though in the Guard vs Guard fight proved to be the decisive factor.

With five rounds played and running out of time Andy conceded defeat though the game was far from over (especially given the fickleness of Warhammer-esque games) but things didn't look great though (not counted up, but I suspect the points difference on the table probably wasn't too disparate).

The run through of the rules was enjoyable and fairly painless with only some of the tweeks that had been made having to be checked. It was pointed out that my enjoyment of the rules was probably down to an un-characteristic win for my Empire (which I probably agree with).

A couple of points didn't sit right with either of us, but mainly the ability of the Cannons to be heavy duty snipers (the offsetting previous misfire/blow-up rules having been much toned down) and this ability on initiative could be quite disproportionate to their point cost. That said I believe things have been changed in response to this in the new iteration of the rules.

In conclusion, I can see where the nomenclature of a Tournament Rule Set comes from and I think they do this pretty well but they still play quite nicely. The trial with Empire vs Empire does limit this review with some of the other heavy army list requiring trial to see if more balanced but I did enjoy the experience if only because the 8th Ed WHFB rules were pretty OK but just broken by the Army Lists released to sell more and more figures. Shame really but 9th Age seems to do a reasonable stand in from what has been seen here. 

To be played again in the New Year definitely.

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