Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blood and Lightning Campaign, Game 1

Hi all,

As some of you may know, there are moment as a parent when the time, worry, and frustration all seem to fade away, and you get a chance to bask in the realization of just how fantastic it is to have kids.  Such a moment came for me a few days ago, when the Cub turned to me and said "You know, Dad, we should really do an Age of Sigmar Path to Glory campaign."

Why, yes, son.  Yes we should.

Sunday afternoon saw the two of us huddled over the General's Handbook ($40 Canadian, and a sweeter deal you've not seen from Gdub in many a moon), putting together our warbands, and cackling madly.  Well, I was cackling, anyways.  After a few brief moments pondering why a stormcast herodude on a dragon horse entitled Cub to seven starting units, while my Khorne Lorde on a Juggernaught only got 4, we picked our units and set up the table for a game.  My warband, "Ze Bluthost uf Vahkos" (to be pronounced with a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed presented WWII movie German accent), consisted of the aforementioned Lord Vahkos on a Juggernaught, 5 Chaos knights (Ze Bluthoofs), 20 Bloodreavers (Ze Zanguine Horte), Kheldath Khrimzenmaw (Slaughterpriest) and Drog Korpsetakker (Bloodsecrator).  Man, that's a lot of extraneous "z"s and "k"s.  Cub's consisted of the units which come in the starter box, slightly fleshed out (Lord Celestant on Dracoth, Lord Relictor, 5 Retributors, 3 Prosecutors, 10 Liberators).  Due to injustice and GW's policy of consistent favouratism ( ;), Cub got a head start in the campaign of 2 glory points (players can take GPs - campaign "victory points", in lieu of starting units).

The scenario we picked features diagonal table zones, three objectives (controlled by mass of figures) and warbands coming on in successive waves.  I started with my Bloodreavers and Bloodsecrator, and proceeded to run like heck towards the middle of the table.  My 'reavers were the single largest unit on the table, and while they're not especially tanky, they offered my best shot at holding an objective and scoring some early points.  Cub ran up his Relictor and Retributors, but the former had a much better run roll, and was left a little out in the open.

We dragooned the Beloved into taking pictures.  This is from Cub's side of the table.  My Bloodreavers are in the background.  Being all angry, and stuff.

Turn two, I won priority and, taking advantage while I could, had the Bloodsecrator open the portal of skulls (Mortal Khorne units get +1 attack and are immune to battleshock / morale casualties), and charged Cub's Relictor with my lads.  While the boys generate a ton of attacks, my rolls were pretty crappy, and the Relictor is a hard nut to crack.  While I got in some wounds, he didn't go down.  On the plus side, I brought on my knights and Khorne Lord, which each took possession of an objective, and scored an early lead of three VPs.  On his turn, Cub fried a few 'Reavers with lightning, charged in his Retributors (who put some hurt on the Reavers), brought his Liberators on (running them through what turned out to be a Deadly wood, losing 2!), and had his Lord Celestant charge my Khorne Lord.  To my delight, the latter fight went very much my way (took his Lord down to one wound, only lost about half mine in return).  I still had control of all three objectives, but they only score on your own turn.

Turn two.  Knights and Liberators in the background, and dueling heroes in the fore.  Note the shrinking number of Bloodreavers at table center . . . 

The priority roll for turn three was key to the game, and Cub won it.  In the Hero phase, he fried a few more 'Reavers (that unit was shrinking rapidly), and used his Lord to make most of his army immune to Battleshock).  The Liberators charged my Knights (who, while badass on the charge, aren't so hot when outnumbered by durable opponents), the Relictor and Retributors continued to thin out the Bloodreavers, and his Prosecutors came on and charged my Lord.  While he lost his Lord Celestant this turn, he now had control of two objectives (outnumbering me on both flanks), and was well on his way to taking the middle one as well.  On my turn I brought in my Slaughterpriest, and charged in to support Lord Vahkos.  Things were starting to look a little iffy.  My guys are generally best when they can attack and break through opposing units (the Khorne list actually plays quite a bit like my Brets, in some ways).  Caught up in a grindy, attrition battle, I was playing to the strength's of Cub's army.  I scored no points on my turn three, being outnumbered at all three objectives, and the game proceeded.

Still shrinking.  In the background, Cub has brought on his Prosecutors.

And is about to tarpit my knights with his Liberators.

Cub won priority on turn 4 again, and pretty much clinched the game.  He finished off my Khorne Lord at the cost of a prosecutor, and continued to thin down my knights and 'reavers.  While he was losing troops as well, he managed to keep his numbers above my own, and scored all three objectives for a second turn.  On my turn 4 I cleared out the last of the Prosecutors with a well-placed Bloodboil from the Slaughter priest, but then made the mistake of moving him off the objective to support the Bloodsecrator now staring down the Relictor and the remnants of the Retributor unit.  This was a straight up goof, as the Slaughterpriest wasn't going to change the outcome of that fight, and I cost myself an objective point or two in doing it.  When Cub won priority again in turn five, I conceded - there was no way I was going to catch up to his VP count.

Just before I lost Vahkos, Lord of Khorne.  I'll gain control of the bottom objective, then lose it to abject stupidity.  Cub is ahead on points by now, and I'm not going to catch him.  Models in the foreground are casualties.

I think some aspects of the game went well for me.  In contrast to the games I played in the tournament a few weeks back, I used my Bloodsectrator fairly well, keeping him forward enough to take full advantage of his ability, but not making him a target.  On the other hand, I misplayed the scenario.  Cub, in contrast, kept his eyes on the prize.  There were a few points where he and I talked over what his best options were, but the choices were his. For example, he had a choice of whether to run and secure the objective on the right flank, or risk a charge and make contact with my knights.  I pointed out that the run move would almost certainly get him the objective, but give my knights the change to charge him, while if HE charged, there was a chance he'd roll low, and not move, but if successful, would probably lock me in place.  He weighed his options, took the gamble, and it paid off for him.

The Path to Glory campaign rules are pretty forgiving - destroyed models return in the next game, so outcomes are just different degrees of positive outcomes.  In the post-game campaign phase, Cub rolled the maximum possible glory points for his win, taking him to 5 (half way to victory!!), while I got the default one for losing a game.  Cub opted to roll for a unit reward, and ended up with his Liberators now being immune to battleshock for the rest of the campaign (just what I needed - to have his tanky unit essentially immune to morale!).  I opted to take another unit, this time of Bloodwarriors.  He seemed pretty stoked, so I imagine we'll be playing more games of this over the next few weeks.  Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I've had the rest of my mdf bases from Sarissa show up, and will now finish up rebasing the Bretonnians.  I'm quite chuffed with these - they're sturdy, consistent, and well packed.   I imaging I'll be giving them more business in the future.