Saturday, March 4, 2017

A 9th Age Battle: Empire vs. Orcs 1250pts

I have always had a hate-love relationship with the War-hammer universe. I like the fluff and many of the auxiliary games, and had always had wanted to play the actual main games. And I did. But when I did that I came away with mixed feelings. There are things I like, and things I detest. The game thrives on the micro narratives of small units (the epic last stand etc), but fails to provide coherent narratives for the whole battle. It is also very random at the smaller level of points, which means that if you want to diminish the randomness you have to commit to an obscene amount of miniatures. And of course the whole new edition every two years does not work for me. That said I have never been fully able to give up the "drug" as one could say. And if a friend asks for a game, I will happily oblige.

So this Sunday I went to Karargah Club in Turkey and their new venue, invited by Onur for a game of 9th Age. 9th Age is one of the fan-created alternatives to the 8th Edition War-hammer,  which were created in reaction to the Age of Sigmar transformation of the game. It is a more streamlined version of the 8th Edition.

We played at the new club house , and I must say Onur and his friends did a great job organizing this new space. Bravo!

The game saw two equal point forces opposed to each other. 1250pts of Empire under me, and 1250pts of Orcs and Goblins under Onur. My Empire miniatures are mostly Perrry Miniatures War of the Roses English, with a smattering of GW figures. His army was all GW.

My force

The armies arrayed

The Orkish Mass

My array

Trying to encircle the orks

The Left Flank

Devastating Orkish artillery fire takes it tolls on the 6 model knight unit

The Left Flank. Crossbowmen being ineffectual. 

The core of Warhammer! The Unit narrative. The 20 man halberdier unit is charged by the 40 model Orc. Their champion challenges the Prelate (Priest) who is attached to my unit. He crushes him. The halberdiers get in hits in an epic fight, but the Orks overwhelm them. 

Squiq Hoppers(who do not hop anymore) and Goblin Wolfriders riding down my Crossbowmen.

Badly placed, my Knightly Orders were never used.

The Left Flank overwhelmed.

My center crumbles.

Going for the kill.
I knew Onur would bring hordes, as all warhammer players who played 8th edition do that. I never liked the horde-rule and thus never built the humongous units it requires. My intended strategy was to use the larger number of my units, especially my three shock cavalry units, to gang up on the hordes, after weakening them by bow and crossbow fire. It did not go that way.

1) I over-estimated the power of missile fire. I was not able to put a dent on the two hordes. 

2) I underestimated the power of goblin artillery. It decimated one of my electoral cavalry units, leading to panic tests for other units.

3) I failed almost all my leadership tests. As a result I lost my other electoral cavalry unit, pretty much making my strategy a shambles. Bad leadership tests also saw my Spearmen (Pikemen for me) break after suffering losses due to a miscast.

4) I did not time or use my magic or orders well. I think I had good combinations of magical attributes, but was never able to make them work when I needed. My wizard did miscast and that was deadly for the unit he was attached to.

5) I totally put my Knightly Orders on a very wrong position and they ended up doing nothing the whole game. 

The generals in action. I need to lose weight! 

What I learned

A) At smaller level games facing horde armies, go for artillery. You shooters are unlikely to put a dent into them.

B) Keep wizards out of units. They will miscast, and when they do they will be costly for the unit. 

C) The Prelate is  key asset for Empire. 

D) Orders, Orders, Orders. 

I cannot say I did not have fun at all. Onur is too good a friend, and the club people too good a host for that to happen. And there were moments were the game brought forward the best parts of Warhammer. But in general it did not feel as fulfilling as BBB. Again I expected this to be the case. I will happily play again.

One thing that was tiring was the need to keep track of multiple special rules, and spell effects. Despite our best efforts, we forgot spells etc. Definitely need more markers. I probably would use poker chips with the spells written on it as reminders.  I also thing the magic has too be simplified. 

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