20 February 2011

War on Land: My First Experience Playing Warhammer Fantasy

My first game of Warhammer Fantasy; Mike allowed me to command his Army of Dark Elves (their general temporarily sick from poisoned food) arrayed at a clearing at the edge of the jungle where a force of Lizardmen emerged to drive off the raiders.

Lizardmen on the left and Dark Elves on the right. Bolt throwers are unlimbered on the hill in the upper right flank of the Elven battle line.

The main battle line of the Elves consists of a brigade of spearmen along with a small company of Dark Corsairs protecting the high sorceress. Dark Elven Lord Dunraven joined the front ranks of the Dark Lord's Household Guard Regiment at the center of the battle line.
I'm particularly keen to grapple with the magic system in the game.

The main battle line of the Lizardmen, armored infantry wielding spears and skinks with their javelins and supported by a big crocodile creature armed with a great club.

A forward detachment of chameleons armed with poisoned blowdarts scout among the trees near the Elven artillery battery on the hill. It's no surprise that their ability to change the color of their skin helps them blend in with the trees to make it more difficult for my ranged troops to see and fire at them.

These are the guys who scare me: armored lizards riding bigger lizards. It's hard to see from this photo, but they have some serious fangs, and this unit of heavy cavalry will prove far superior to the Elven counterpart in the upcoming cavalry charge.

After the Elven battle line has moved up the sorcercess rubs her hands together in preparation to cast her first spell in the battle. I choose a my lowest level spell because I've read and heard so much about miscasts, and I intend to keep my sorceress through the first turn of the game, so I only roll three dice to make the 5+ target number. Of course, I roll a pair of sixes on those three dice, a miscast, but fortunately the Sorceress only takes some damage as magical feedback courses through her body. But a chill wind blasts through the trees where the chameleons are hiding and one of them is frozen solid in a block of ice. The cold blooded skirmishes are chilled to the bone and unable to fire their blowdarts toward the Elves this turn.
Meanwhile, the brigade of Elven spearmen have crested the hill in the center of the battlefield, but having nothing to throw or shoot with they stand firm and taunt their Lizardmen foes. Lord Dunraven is convinced the enemy will turn and flee after setting eyes on such an imposing Dark Elven force. But he is wrong.

A battery of bolt throwers on the hill load heavy bolts and split fire between two Lizardmen units, the one on the right firing into the Lizardmen heavy cavalry, skewering one rider into the chest of the rider directly behind him.

And the bolt thrower on the left fires at the heavy infantry, skewering more of the cold blooded creatures. Mike declares that this is the first battle he has ever seen the bolt throwers successfuly hit and damage their targets. Lord Dunraven smirks with confidence.

Despite their casualties from the heavy bolt, the Lizardmen heavy cavalry charges the Elven cavalry on the right flank. Flesh is torn by fang and spearpoint on both sides, but only the Elven cavalry take serious casualties.

I generally prefer taking photos in natural light, but the above flash picture shows the colors and detail of the two cavalry units well.

The chameleon skirmishes, after taking more casualties from arrows fired from the hand bows of the Dark Corsairs, advance toward the Elven battle line while the forest gets up and walks back toward the jungle.

End of turn 1. The Elven crossbowmen on the left flank had moved up into the trees and wounded some Lizardmen infantry with their bolts while the fire-breathing salamander had flamed some of the Elven spearmen on top of the hill. But all units maintain their composure for the next stage of the battle. But a lightning bolt conjured from the heavens by the Lizardman mage-priest strikes the center of the Elven battle line and moves to decimate each unit, particularly the crossbowmen who are standing in wet grass and of which half the unit falls instantly dead while still clutching their metal crossbows.

The heavy Lizardmen cavalry has destroyed the Elven cavalry and turn to charge the Dark Corsairs with their sorceress. The Elven sorceress casts more spells which are dispelled or otherwise do limited damage to their foes. Lord Dunraven, brushing off a bit of ash from his sleeves after the salamander flame attack, orders the spearmen regiment on the left to wheel and charge to the right while his own House Guard holds ground at the top of the hill, convinced the Lizardmen will not dare charge his position.

The Lizardmen charge the Elves on the hill.

The Elven spearmen waver, Lord Dunraven panics, and after casualties on both sides are taken, the House Guard Regiment turns to flee and is cut down in their boots by the faster Lizardmen hot on their heels.

Meanwhile, on the right flank, the Elven both throwers are engaged by a squadron of Lizardmen riding flying lizards, and they are eaten piecemeal; the Dark Corsairs are routed by the Heavy Lizardmen Cavalry.
The battle is lost as Lord Dunraven is skewered by a javelin in the back, the Dark Corsairs run for their lives from the pursuing heavy cavalry, and only a handfull of crossbowmen, standing near a pack of dirty and cowardly harpies, are all that remain of the proud Elven army which had arrived on the field of battle only an hour earlier.