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.


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