Wednesday 23 July 2014

Mordheim Season 2 - The Necromancers Lair Part 2 - The Finale

And so, having narrowly avoided the evil branches of the Great Oak and it's saplings in the courtyard and the gate keepers swords and spells the bands, bloodied but un-bowed, descended into the catacombs beneath the Temple of Invidious Silence to root out the evil Necromancer Allek and bring his reign of evil to a timely end (and indecently get lots of treasure too).


So with this being Round 10 of our ongoing campaign and the grande finale, everybody was psyched up for a ding dong barney. Only Ian's Reiklanders, Andy's Sisters and Kev's Beastmen made it through to the end and the maze that was the catacombs (unfortunately Dave couldn't make the finale game) and I played the part of the Evil Allek and his minions.

The bands deployed randomly in one of the four starting points, with the Reiklanders starting far left corner, the Beastmen the far right corner and the Sisters, in the middle of the action to start, between the Beastmen and close up to the first of the hideouts main rooms.

The Beastmen who had made it into the catacombs first to win the game in the last round had rolled up the catacombs result on the treasure rolls (very apt) which meant that he could deploy up to three of his number anywhere on the table at the end of his first turn, wisely I think Kev decided to keep his troops together to start with and going first on the roll kicked of with a general advance straight towards the Sisters with the bulk of his band and a side step with to hoover up some of the wandering minions down the middle with his newly acquired Minotaur.

Early moves dealing with the minions roaming about

The Sister's, not wanting to face to whole of Kev's Beastmen straight up with a slightly depleted force after the tussle with the Great Oak, made a rush towards the waiting bad guys in the nearby room leaving a couple of Sister's as a speed bump to slow the Beastmens' advance.

The Reiklander's, also slightly down on numbers from the last encounter with thye Necromancer's forces, on the other side of the action cautiously advanced down the other side keeping together and a weather eye on the possibly advancing Minotaur and friends.

Sister advance towards the Necromancers Lair
The Sisters' speed bump didn't really slow down the Beastmens' rush and in short measure the two warrior's went down barely swinging their hammer's. The Beastmen heavy squad having peeled off went down the middle way of the catacombs and the Giant Slater's and Saplings encountered didn't stand long in the way of the Centigor and the Minotaur.

The elf tries to hold up the Beastman advance
Andy put the foot down and made a bee line for the inner sanctum where the Necromancer was holed up trying to get the prize before the inevitable weight of numbers bore him down from behind. The Sister's made short work of one of the chaos wizards and a Sapling as they advanced. In another attempt to slow the charge from behind the hired Elf Bowman stood at the end of one of the chambers and as the horde burst in felled temporarily one of the Beastmen's dogs before being dragged down by the bellowing horde buying a round for the advancing Sisters for his sacrifice. But the Beastmen were soon on the advance following their route.

The Beastmen line up for their frat photo's
The remaining Sister's then keeping together advanced into the goal of the Necromancers lair and the front rank charged in to engage the Necromancer's skeleton bodyguard while weathering the spells hurled at them due to the Amulet they had (sorry Andy I did forget, just as well you remembered) and one of their number in a mad rush manged to reach the Necromancer's familiar and crush the life out of the evil creature and cutting the spell bonus from the mage in the process.

The Sisters make it to the inner sanctum to battle
With the Necromancer
Unfortunately, the Sister's reached their break point (extended to 50% for the grande finale) and true to fashion with Andy's depleted band failed it's first test and abandoned the fray.

The Reiklanders deal with a minion while others advance towards them
On the other side of the catacombs, the Reiklander's were making slow and steady progress and having little trouble with the occasional minion that they encountered though one the the spell casters did give the Reiklander's Dwarf Fanatic a scare on the way.

Beastmen tactical squad regroup after dealing with another Sapling

Reiklanders advance temporarily slowed by one of the Saplings
With the Sister's out the way, the Beastmen advanced toward's the Necromancer in a two pronged attack, but with a couple of the Giant Slater's randomly charging in a breaking up the attack. The heavy squad in particular, having taken a slightly longer route down the middle with a bit more resistance from the Minions were slightly behind heading for the other entrance to the central lair.

The Beastmen move in for the kill after the Sisters attack
while dogs deal with a Slater in the background.
The Beastmen then ended up getting split in three as the leader's of the band and crew advanced into the defending Skeletal Bodyguard, some of the main group got sidelined in the central chamber as the Reiklander's appeared at the far end.

The Beastmen are interrupted in their advance by the appearance of the Reiklanders
and the heavy hitters move into the new threat.
Luckily for the Beastmen the heavy squad arrived at the right time and headlong rushed into the fray. while several of the Reiklander's circled round behind these new arrivals. With not enough targets for all the heavy hitter's and some of the dogs and Gors heading in behind them, Kev saw a chance and the Centigor and a bestial dog charged straight through and engaged the unprotected Necromancer from the right side.

The big stramash continues

causing loses on both sides
Unfortunately for the Centigor the Necromancer did not prove to be a push over and was promptly felled with a couple of critical's from the evil mage. While the melee's errupted around them the dog proved more of a problem, engaging the Necromancer and keeping him busy for a couple of rounds before succumbing to it's wounds.

The Beast Hound last longer than the mighty Centigor
 taking two rounds for the Necromancer to finally take it out
The Remains of the Necromancer's Skeleton Bodyguards advanced into the advancing Heard Leader, Shaman and a couple of accompanying Gor. There was a brief but bloody exchange here with the so far good dice of the Beastmen deserting them and struggled to deal with the bodyguards loosing another of their number to the guards glaive's and only temporarily dropping one in return while being incapacitated from spell casting.

 The minions advance inexorably
Things looked a bit bleak for a bit here as the melee raged and a couple of the dogs and gors were dragged towards the battle with the Reiklander's the Herd Leader found himself on the ground and onlty the Shaman to protect him. In un-Beastman like style the Shaman defended his chief but was eviscerated for his troubles but gave his leader time to recover.

The Shaman defends his fallen Herd Leader
While this went on the main event was unfolding not far. The Reiklander's though out numbered had positioned themselves well and partially negated this disadvantage and the battle here raged back and forth. Both sides loosing some of their number and both crews edged towards their break point (6 down for the Reiklander's and 8 for the Beastmen). Ian amazing everyone by the number of successful Step-asides he managed to roll (but it was his birthday so fair enough), this being enough to keep the battle and the tension going.

Beastmen numbers advantage begins to creep up 
A lone dog left the fight in the central chamber in time to the help of the Herd Leader and though getting knocked to the ground, kept the the Leader on his feet who promptly left the scene towards the fight with the Reiklander's who were stubbornly refusing to fall. The dog was croaked for it's trouble.

The Herd Leader about to leg-it while a skeleton
finishes off one of the dogs
With the departure of the Herd Leader to join the fray, the Necromancer found himself unchallanged and moved cautiously forward with his lone surving bodyguard to the fore though slowly allowing the bands to kill each other in true evil dude fashion.

"Where's everybody gone?"

Birds eye view of the closing stages
With the attrition beginning to tell on both sides, eyes were on the mounting casualties and the nearing break points. 

With the lower starting number, the Reiklander's reached theirs first but Ian managed to pass the first test. This however was quickly joined by the Beastmen but who were in possesion of an unholy relic, automatically passed this first check.

Numbers begin to drop on both sides
so the Herd Leader moves to the bigger threat
The battle raged on and Ian again passed his check just scraping through on the lower leadership as his Captain by now had fallen. The Beastmen then checked again after a round of more clubbing and failed but with a re-roll checked again, but failed. Leaving only the Reiklander's who were now below half strength.

Number pretty low the Beastmen and Reiklanders
run out of steam
On the next round Ian's luck and the campaign ran out and his band failed it's test and abandoned the fray having had enough and all bleeding from wounds and bites.

Allek & Friends
And so with a Slater and a Skelton to keep him company the winner of the second Mordheim Season was Allek the Evil (Is there any other kind?) Necromancer, who in true story book fashion lives to fight another day (and campaign).

An absolute stonker of a game and lots of fun which went right to the wire.

Thanks to all who took part and shared the fun, and we're already planning the next campaign, though for a change of pace the next one is going to be with guns.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Basket Hilted Broadsword Regimental Question

I acquired this broadsword from my Dad, along with some other bits and bobs, which he had collected some years ago.

It is, I believe, an early 19th Century pattern Highland regimental Broadsword, obviously parade-ware only though it obviously has seen a fair bit of active wear, with the metal scabbard particularly showing signs of use.

Going by the Battle Honours (all of which look to be from the Peninsula Campaign but before South Africa, I think the sword is from the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and with the motto, "Ne Obliviscaris" ('Do Not Forget, the motto of Clan Campbell) and the Boar's Head, also Clan Campbell, this seems to borne out.

However, on the reverse, there is the motto "Fortes Fortuna Juvat" (Fortune favours the Bold), also with a Boars head, which perhaps indicates the owner being a MacKinnon (though this motto is used by many families and indeed regiments about the world) and again this doesn't go with the crest of a mailed arm with sword.

I'm really looking for some of you Nineteenth Century buffs out there, with a bit more knowledge of the period than me,  to confirm the likely regimental origin of the blade and it's likely service date.

Even more Perry Goodness on the way

With the Perry Bros announcing a couple of days ago that after, what 36 years or something, that they are leaving Games Workshop and devoting their energies on Perry miniatures, the output of their already pretty prolific output will only pick up.

I assume from their departure that they are financially secure enough with Perry Miniatures that they no longer need their day job. Good luck to the guys with their future endeavors, I'm sure this can only mean good things for the rest of us.

Some early work on
 Knights box set
Dave Andrews painting of
 the early work

Already, they have announced the release date for the plastic Foot Knights box set for August and have recently brought up in their workbench the 1415-1429 English Infantry set and the 1450-1500 Light Cavalry set, but so far with no release dates.

With the Bros now spending their energies only on their own outputs, I'm sure we can look forward to lots of more Perry Goodness on the way.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

War and Conquest Trial Game

With this being long overdue, myself and Dave K were looking for a game for this Monday night and I suggested a trial game using the War and Conquest rules that we had been talking about doing for ages.

We duly drew up a couple of small 1750pt army lists for El Cid period using the newly available lists from the WaC forum just to keep things simple.

As with any new rule set there was the usual checking to see if we were doing things right but almost immediately fumbled on a couple of points and sought to clarify what the rules wanted us to do. The main one which though really pretty clear on the rules was, I suspect just our luck picking an odd situation right at the beginning of our game where Dave's Jinete's charged my Tribal Skirmishers whose response was to Shoot and Flee, and subsequently Dave's cavalry failed to contact.

Now, all was fairly clear in the rules what we should do, it was just that it appeared the outcome was 'odd', in that Dave throwing how far he moved after failing to get the charge in (throwing 4") meant that he would not have got into missile range of the skirmishers javelins in the first place. We concluded that the outcome was really only a mechanism of the rules and the cavalry had in effect rallied back from their failed charge. Fair enough.

There were, after that, the usual leafing through the rules to check what we were doing was right, so things took longer than usual which was expected, but what we did notice through this process was that although some rule details may have been in odd places perhaps, the fact that the rules were very well annotated and cross referenced with page numbers etc that all in all the rule details were pretty easy to find. To a certain extent a bit of foreknowledge probably got in the way a bit as things were wrapped up sufficiently differently to cause the odd stumble in the flow of the game and a tussle through the rulebook.

We didn't get the game finished which we had expected but did get four full turns in (which is not bad for a first time go with a rule set), which was really just getting to the crunch but the effort did throw up a couple of questions to be looked up for next time and over all the game gave us the flavour and feeling of the rules, which is what we were looking for on the night.

The basic game mechanism of move/shoot/fight/combat resolution/run-away/rally was easy enough and very familiar and WAB-esque with a couple of tweeks to make it a bit different. The rolling for initiative (or Strategic Advantage as called in the rules) is a nice simple amendment which I like. The strategic advantage points for personalities/characters is interesting enough but not fully developed in the rules, though Rob does lean towards you making up uses for these yourselves. The other point here is we both felt that personalities appear to be a bit over costed relative to their effectiveness/value in the game, though it may be a bit early to really gauge their value just yet. There were a few other noticable differences but these are mainly a simplification from the WAB process

There were a few things in the rules which are not expanded upon but refer you to your particular army list for details but as there aren't many fully developed army lists, this does present a bit of a dilemma in that to get into the rules you need the Army List's as a starting point but the army lists are to be developed by the community who would only do this once engaged with the rules.

Over all we found the rules to be as expected for a first run through, it is very WAB like which we had expected, perhaps I found them more so than I had expected. Perhaps the game is more the game that WAB 2 should have been, as there are definite improvements and several points we both liked over WAB. (It still has the runaway and get destroyed and the pursuers can instantly re-join the fray mechanism from Warhammer, that I really don't like though, but that can be easily ammended).

We were both up for another trial game to add to the knowledge of the rules following a refresher on the finer points in the rules, particularly in relation to personalities, but we will wait for version 2 of the army lists along with the promised Andalusian list to flesh things out a bit before we do.
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