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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Moving Blog

I've recently started using Tumblr to post images from my games, which I'm a lot more active with than my articles here and on my 40k blog, Path of the Seer.

Because of this I've decided to move all my focus to my Tumblr blog, which will be a mix of photos from my games and the occasional article like those posted here.

My blog on Tumblr is named Path of the Seer and can be found at

Friday, 10 February 2012

Win in the movement phase

More than anything else, movement is where Warhammer is lost and won. Magic, shooting and combat help, but without a solid grasp of movement you're really doing yourself out of any chance of a win.

What's a movement phase?

At the most basic level your movement phase will be used to put your units in a position to kill your enemy. A shooting unit will try to get close enough to shoot the enemy, a combat unit will charge or attempt to get close enough to do so in future turns. If only that were your only concern the movement phase would be nothing to worry about.

As well as thinking about how your units are set up to kill your enemy you have to plan for what your opponent will do in their own turn. He's going to be trying to get in a position to kill your units, and there are going to be plenty of times that you'll be better off passing up the chance to kill some of his guys to prevent him from doing more damage to you!

If that's not enough to keep your mind busy, don't forget to anticipate what the board will look like in a couple of turns time. If you can accurately judge where your opponent's units will be located in future turns you can position your own army to maximise damage at that point.

Something a little different - Fast Cavalry

A great way to enhance your ability to get your army into position and to complicate your foe's plans is to use non-standard movement. I've recently started experimenting with Dark Riders in my Dark Elf army. This unit has the Fast Cavalry rule, giving it access to a range of interesting new ways to move around the board.
This unit, with its high movement value and ability to fire on the march, can go almost as far as a flyer and still make full use of their crossbows. The added advantage of free reform means you should have little trouble getting round to the flank or rear of enemy units where you can shoot them without fear of being charged next turn.

Once they're in this position the enemy may divert units to stop you running riot behind the main battle-line. However unless his unit has similar rules you'll be able to just dodge them, forcing him to send more units in an attempt to corner you. On the other hand he may just ignore them, considering them nothing more than a distraction. In this case you're free to stand just behind a large section of his army forcing them to roll leadership if they want to march, and adding a rear charge to the fray when the two armies do eventually reach combat

And another thing - Skirmishers

Skirmishers function in a similar way to fast cavalry, but lack the movement to rush the enemies rear. Instead you'll find these units carrying out a similar roll on the flank of your opponent's units. The lack of movement means you'll have to be slightly more careful in anticipating which units may be sent to hunt you down, but these units are typically cheaper and with the light troops rule your foe will struggle to shoot them to death.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Pirates 3-0 Marauders

The Pirates made up for their lacklustre first game with a 3-0 win over Skaven last night. I've not got a lot of commentary to add, so I'll just forge ahead with the match report.

Pirates vs Marauders

After winning the toss and choosing to kick the Pirates lost no time at all blitzing right through the Marauders line of scrimmage with Helehuiwen (#4, Witch Elf) cracking the skull of the Skaven ball carrier and relieving him of his burden. Turn two saw her finish what she started with a short sprint into the end zone to put the Pirates 1-0 up.
Kicking again the Pirates tried to blitz the ball carrier a second time, this time from the flank. But overconfident Arnon (#10, Linesman) ended up going headlong in his attempt to reach his target. Thurichir (#2, Blitzer) made up for his team-mate's mistake by knocking the Skaven down next turn, but Maenven (#8, Linesman) couldn't get a grip on the ball, sending it straight into the waiting arms of a nearby rat. The startled Skaven player was unable to take advantage of his good fortune, failing to make the pass to his team-mate. Helehuiwen (#4, Witch Elf) saw this chance for another touchdown and raced right into the middle of a pack of Skaven, but tripped in her haste which allowed the Skaven thrower to get his paws back on the ball. It wasn't to last, as Thurichir (#2, Blitzer) bowled over yet another Skaven ball carrier, recovering his opponents drop and making it down the pitch for a turn 8 touchdown to leave the Dark Elves with a two point lead at the end of the half.

The second half started with a Dark Elf push down one side of the field, but Himchir (#6, Linesman) was stretchered off after taking a solid blow and missed the rest of the match. Undeterred the Pirates managed to break away with the ball, then spent the next five turns tossing it back and forwards next to the end zone while the remainder of the team held up the Marauders on the scrimmage line. As the referee prepared to blow the final whistle Maethoranu (#1, Runner) stepped over the line to make it 3-0, with only two Skaven left on the pitch.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The start of the season

Tuesday night saw us getting the Blood Bowl league started at the club, and it was certainly eventful. The dugouts were packed with the dead and injured by the end of the night, and a good time was had by all!

Week one results
A good week for physical teams, with wins for Dwarves and Orcs. There were three deaths; a Dark Elf Lineman for the Pirates, a Dwarf Slayer and a Human. On top of that not a single team escaped serious injury.

Karak Yermaw (Dwarf) 2-0 Pynk Nightmares (Dark Elf) - 23,000 attendance

The Nob Fumblers (Orc) 3-1 Horny Horny Hippos (Human) - 19,000 attendance

Graveyard United (Necromancer) 1-1 Karond Kar Pirates (Dark Elf) - 25,000 attendance

Karond Kar Pirates vs Graveyard United
(I didn't make any real notes on this, so some of it may be slightly out of sequence)

Two strong wins in pre-season had left me confident going into my first league match, though aware the Necromatic Undead team was going to have a different style of play than the Humans I'd faced so far. Despite kicking in the first half my Dark Elves, true to form, had soon stolen the ball and managed a rush down the centre to the end zone.

Kicking off after this I pushed for a repeat, getting one player within spaces of the endzone. Unfortunately my ball-carrier was blitzed out-of-bounds by an Undead Ghoul who went on to catch the ball when it was thrown in, setting the Undead up to push up field and even the score at 1-1.

Going into the second half I only had 5 players to set up. Of my original 11 two were still unconcious, 3 were out for the rest of the game with injuries (though none of those were long-term), and I'd had a Linesman killed. It wouldn't be easy in that situation, but receiving the kick and with my good speed I'd still have a chance of a touchdown. A combination of luck and good dodging kept my players from taking too much of a beating, but two turns in a row my Witch Elf failed to pick up the ball on 2+. As a fast team I almost managed to bring it to 2-1, but a last turn desperate attempt to dodge tackle zones, pick up the ball and throw a pass into the end zone failed, leaving the game drawn at 1-1.

Lessons so far

  1. Dodging out of a tackle zone takes penalties for the square you're moving into, not the one you're moving from. Makes it really easy for my Dark Elves to pull back from the enemy line (typically 2+) and avoid getting into trouble.
  2. Bring an apothecary. Dark Elves aren't the most physical team, so if your opponent gets the chance he'll try and land blows.
  3. Stay away from the sidelines. There's nothing worse than getting within one turn of the endzone when the opponent makes a lucky blitz with the only player in range to threaten you and throws your ball carrier out of bounds.
  4. The dice hate you. If you're making a major play and just need a 2+ to score a touchdown you'll roll a 1. If you've got a re-roll you'll roll another 1.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Blood Bowl - Karond Kar Pirates

Because I've clearly not got enough unpainted Dark Elves sitting around I'm now starting a Dark Elf Blood Bowl team for the club's upcoming league. It'll be a few weeks before the leagues starts properly, but I managed to get a bit of pre-season play in at the club last night.

The list I'm currently running looks like this:

Fan Factor: 2
Re-Rolls: 2

7 Linesmen
2 Blitzers
1 Witch Elf
1 Runner
Unfortunately my players are still un-named, but I'll get around to that.

After playing around with a few different lists I've settled on this one, that closely follows what comes in the standard Dark Elf box. However the box comes from an earlier version of the Dark Elf list, so comes supplied with a Thrower which no longer exists. On the other hand, the list has a Runner which there's no model for. Easy solution then, use the Thrower as my Runner and I'm sorted!

I'd hoped to have more gold available for an Apothecary, some Cheerleaders and Assistant Coaches, etc. but the Dark Elves are an expensive team. In the end most of my gold went on just getting my basic 11 players. Because of that I'm likely to be spending the earnings of my first few games on those types of extras, starting with an Apothecary to keep my frail elves out of the graveyard!

So I played the list in a practice game last night, playing a half game against a Human team where I managed to pull off a 2-0 win. Won't go into much detail over what happened, but was really stunned at just how fast the Dark Elves can get about the field. At one point I had my Runner boxed in with the ball on one side of the field, but after the Humans broke the front of the box open he managed to rush across the field and hand off to a Blitzer who ran the ball down the other side of the field.

High agility is a fantastic thing, I had players pulling off most moves (picking up the ball, throwing and catching) on 2+ or 3+, which means I can move the ball about even faster than I can run. With agility 4 on the whole team it means that anyone can be used to make passing plays, so there's a lot of adaptability. Although not as physical a team as Orcs or Dwarves, the Witch Elf and Blitzers can hold their own in most situations if supported by runners so I'm still able to land a few blows.

The biggest thing I'm worried about once the season starts is losing players to injury, as I've got no reserves and no spare cash to spend on them, but careful play until I can afford an apothecary should keep me pretty safe. Expect more updates as the league progresses!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Power armour

Yeah thats right power armour ^_^ I went to my local GW store with some thoughts about war machines or perhaps buying some Orcs for my army only to find that over the festive period the greenskin collection had been stripped right down! So i got myself a unit of Vanguard Veterans instead.

Theres a new Orc and Goblin army book on the way though so I might be holding off until then to see how much my plans are going to be altered by the new lists.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Long, sharp and pointy - Dark Elf spears

A bit of an aside about spears.

When I was picking up Warhammer one of the things I really wanted was an army with loads of spears, pikes or other polearms. I do a bit of medieval re-enactment and use the spear, and I generally think they're pretty cool weapons.

Most obvious choice in that case was High Elves, they've got plenty of spears and are even able to fight in a further extra rank with them. But they're a bit too clean and shiny for my tastes. So eventually I ended up drifting to the Dark Elves instead.

Dark Elf spearmen are cheap and plentiful, which is a good start. A high initiative gives them a good shot at landing plenty of hits before the enemy fights back, and their weapon skill is respectable too. As you'd expect from an Elf the strength and toughness is lacking, but there's ways to get around this with magic if needs be. And while we're on the subject of magic a good leadership combined with Occam's Mindrazor on all those spears will cause some quality pain.

As a unit they're defensive - the spears won't get that extra rank if they charge. This makes for a good anchor unit, a big block of spears to stand in the way and block enemy movement so that a more powerful combat unit can charge the flanks or rear to cause casualties and boost combat resolution. As the spearmen are mostly there to hold the enemy in place you don't actually need to worry too much about causing casualties with them; instead you can reform for extra ranks to remove the enemy unit's steadfast as well as getting a bit of extra combat resolution for extra ranks.

In a Dark Elf army spearmen have another role, as ammunition for the sorceress' sacrificial dagger. If things get desperate then you've got a fantastic pool of potential power dice waiting to be used. Of course with more power dice there's more miscast opportunities, but with spearmen as cheap as they are it's not so big a loss.

All that said, I've not actually got a lot of spearmen in my army. I'm putting a bit of thought to reworking my list and either bulking up the spearmen already there or adding another unit. Coming from 40k I still look at units of 20 or so as a big unit, and really have trouble getting my head around units in the 40-50 model range. I guess it's really the type of thing I'll only get used to with time.