Tuesday, 24 January 2017

One cold day for the Empire

Enough celestial bodies had aligned to get three other Oldhammerers to my local club - Nick, Gaj and Paul "More orcs than Sauron" D. Although the first rule of Oldhammer is you have a GM we wanted to try and get all four of us playing, so the plan was to set up a scenario of sorts using some 40K objectives cards that Gaj had to hand.

The games that Nick and I have been playing at 1000 points a side seemed to be doing OK for time, so expanding slightly we decided to go for two sides of 600 points apiece, each player having their own objective plus a shared objective per side.

Digging through the club's scenery collection we found a nice selection of buildings and the all-important road, giving us a small settlement around a crossroads tavern. A bit too close to the mountains perhaps to be a nice place to live... A band of orcs (me) and a dark elf contingent (Paul D) have turned up to case the place, the imperial defenders (Gaj) have managed to call on some dwarves (Nick) for some much-needed assistance. Potential objectives are marked with the blue glass beads - one in the centre and two near each deployment zone (more than we need, to prevent any unravelling of the fog of war).

From bottom right we have Morglum leading his warriors, Broglodd's boar riders, dark elves on cold ones(!), Ratrak's Arrers and the elf commander (a level 10 wizard, also on a cold one).

The imperials have mustered some locals with longbows as skirmishers (top left and next to the tavern) and two units of the Emporer's finest (near top left and astride the road), the dwarves fortunately had an organ gun to hand (tucked in next to the barn), and have also brought a unit of crossbows (astride the road) and a chunky unit of dwarves led by their general on their right flank.

The imperials move first, with the skirmishers heading for the tavern ("for cover"), while the dwarves move their warriors forward and work out where best to aim their organ gun.

The orcs move enthusiastically towards the dwarf warriors, the archers rather less so towards the dwarf crossbows, while the cold ones take care to keep a building between them and the organ gun as they advance. Their general is too busy goading his mount into action to do anything (stupidity).

The dwarf warriors decide they're a bit too far out on the flank and move closer (to the tavern), while the skirmishers pepper the boar riders with arrows - the boyz are too tough and well armoured to be affected though. The cold one riders aren't so lucky, and lose one of their number to a crossbow bolt.

The orc warriors again surge forward while the elves lurk behind a house. Their commander has got his cold one under control though and moves forward, flattening the organ gun crew with a Wind Blast.

Photographs were forgotten for a while, the game being too much of a distraction. So there's no pictures of the dwarf warriors' fancy manoeuvers as they move away from the orcs. The imperials move their halberdiers staunchly towards the dark elves, while the skirmishers score a hit on the boar riders.

The cold ones have declared their charge (for the following turn) while Ratrak's boys score a kill and the boar riders move rather too close to Morglum's lads for comfort.

The dwarf warriors charge, and their crossbows move relentlessly forward. The imperials prepare as best they can for the cold one charge, helped by the organ gun which finally has line of sight and a functional crew and fires, reducing the cold ones to nearly half strength.

The dwarves roll poorly in combat though (at the risk of sounding like Rimmer, they rolled three 1s), and Morglum's lads are able to halt them.

The boar boys complete their flanking manoeuver (or are they going for the objective behind the dwarven line?). Meanwhile Morglum enters single combat with the White Dwarf (slaying him thanks to his trusty Banebladeclub) and the cold ones chew through the halberdiers and put them to flight. The organ gun crew fail the resulting panic test but the rest of the line holds.

Another lapse in photography while the events on the elven flank got interesting (and bloody). The halberdiers line up against the nicely warmed-up cold ones, passing their fear test but unable to charge home through a new Wind Blast. Their general has left his unit and is in a Lustrian stand-off with the elven commander.

By this point the game had got far too interesting so I'm afraid this is the last picture. The dwarf crossbows had got across to the orcish lines - with Ratrak's Arrers carefully remembering that they were shooters, not fighters. After much line dressing the boar riders eventually charged the dwarves in the flank, with the stunties resolutely fighting down to the last few dwarves. The cold ones again made short work of the (other) Emperor's finest, and as the curtain came down on the battle the imperial general was locked in combat with the elven commander.

When the dust settled we got around to toting up objectives. It turned out the elves had a "reduce all units" objective, which they failed due to the skirmishers still safely in the tavern, while the imperials had an objective of killing the elf general (also not going so well). The dwarf objective was to scout into the enemy deployment zone (hence the march of the crossbows), while mine was to hold the objective in the centre of the board (failed due to... err... lack of focus?). The "bad guys" shared objective was to hold an objective in the enemy's deployment zone, which fortunately the cold ones overran towards the end of the game - there was also one available on the dwarf flank but charging the stunties proved just too tempting... I forget what the "good guys" shared objective was, but something tricky.

We haven't quite worked out how winning works but arguably it was the dwarves (for achieving their sole objective) or everyone but the imperials (for achieving an objective). But with a game this good surely the conclusion is that everyone wins...? And we had a good chat in the bar afterwards.

So chaps - next time?

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