Tales From The Maul: Game 3 and 3.5

By Saturday evening, after spending all day poring over rules and profiles and dice my capacity to retain information was obviously waning and now with two weeks daylight between this post and the Maul even more of the details of these two games have crept away so these are more summaries than actual reports but here goes.

Game 3: Pete Scholey – Dis

When selecting your army in Darklands you first select your Kindred and then from within that Kindred your Realm, which gives you more of an idea of the allegiances of the force you are taking and can alter the units you are eligible to take.  Some realms, notably Legio II Var and Dis span more than one kindred. These two realms can take units from both the Byzantii (satanic Romans) and Infernii (their demonic cohorts) with Dis being more  focussed on the demons and Legio II Var on the humans.  Pete’s list was the former, and was a pretty balanced mix of the big demonic characters and monsters and some infantry.

Although my memory is hazy, Pete got off to a strong start, with his Erebius on Behema ( a half demonic legionary atop a ginormous demonic bull type creature) proving its worth and annihilating a unit of something (I think Tarvax) before they got a chance to strike back. This meant I managed to get my Tarvox into him and wreak vengeance but it wasn’t really worth the trade and left my Tarvox stranded in the corner of the board after his breakthrough move.

This led to an awkward situation whereby I had a frenzied monster within charge range of his infantry bunker but unable to charge as he was facing the table edge. Because he was frenzied he had to move towards them as fast as possible so ended up wandering into combat with them, and missing out on all of the benefits of charging. The infantry were actually able to tie him up for a while as a result while Pete’s demonic characters and skorpion picked off the rest of my army for a 20-0 victory to him!

Game 3.5: Si Clifford – Fomoraic

I can’t say I’ve ever been in the position at the end of day one of a tourney where I fancied cracking straight on with another game, but I was having a great time and learning a lot so me and Si decided to have a friendly game on the Saturday evening.

Si was toting 2 of the much vaunted Gabrax Warlocks as well as two Warlock lords on horses. He also had a couple of infantry bunkers for these guys and not a huge amount else. As my list was pretty much designed to run across the table and smash things and his was designed to blast his opponent of the table before it got near him it’ll be no surprise to learn that he managed to wipe me out in about two turns as I ambled across the battlefield towards him. It looks like Gabrax Warlocks will be slightly more expensive in future and really he just had the paper to my rock but it was a comprehensive hiding for me.

Tales From The Maul: Game 2

First round submarining out the way it was time for me to begin my heroic ascent back to the top tables.

Game 2: Glen – Anglecynn

Glen brought the wolves to the bottom table for game 2, with the Anglecynn being an army of shapeshifters, and the Mierce realm in particular being werewolves of all shapes and sizes. Glen also had a couple of bear men and a unit of Duguth – spear armed humans that it turns out pack a fairly hefty punch in numbers.

One thing Glen didn’t have was a Wiglere – the Anglecynn wizard. Pretty much all I knew about Anglecynn ahead of this game was that they rely on buffs both from their howls and their Wigleres to turbo charge the wolves into killing machines and also to control their frenzy.

We deployed opposite each other mostly on one side of the table and Glen chose to start his Maegenwulf and Guthwulf off the table on flank orders.  I was fairly pleased about this as I was sure the main thing they would be targeting would be my Warlock and as those two are giant wolves of varying sizes this seemed like overkill to me.  The rest of my army would be a fairly straightforward battering ram so not having to deal with those two at the same time as the rest of his army would be a significant boon to my steamrollering horde.

As soon as possible I charged my Tarvax into his Waelwulfs, keen to get the charge and do some damage before they could get buffed up. Even though the waelwulf unit was more numerous than the Tarvax I managed to do enough damage to reduce their numbers significantly before they struck back.  With both units being feral the combat ended with the waelwulf’s tearing at their packmates and doing further damage but not running away.

Its been a week now and my memory of exactly how it all happened is foggy but my Tarvox and Sronax also made it into the two bears and wiped them out, while my Gabrax unit joined the Tarvax in the fight against the wolves.

Glen charged his general on horseback into the Tarvax hoping to break the deadlock but was unfortunate not to do enough damage to swing the combat and he ended up fleeing back the way he came.

He then piled his Duguth into my Tarvox where their spears allowed them to get two ranks into combat and they started to whittle wounds off him.  One of his two big wolves came on and ambushed my Warlock, easily eliminating him in one combat.

At this point it was almost time to end the round so we decided to activate Glen’s general before we called it to see if he could rally. Unfortunately this went spectacularly wrong and he fled off the table.

The final result was a 15-5 win to me.

Tales From The Maul: Game 1

This past weekend saw the 10th and final Maul tournament in Sheffield, organised by erstwhile Mierce production manager Tim Fisher. Where this had previously been a Warhammer only affair, the death of WHFB and subsequent rebirth as Age of Sigmar has led to a multi system approach.

Early efforts to get 9th age off the ground were obviously way ahead of their time judging by the now rapturous repsponse to other 9th age tournaments, and Age of Sigmar and Darklands were left as the two battles being fought across the Daveys events hall (oh…and one humongous game of X-wing)

16 players signed up for Darklands and, despite a few drop outs and near misses and Tim having to fill in for two games, 16 people played in 40 games across the weekend.

Experience levels ranged from the game’s creator to one player who only played his first (half) game on the Friday night. Everyone seemed to approach the weekend as an opportunity to gain some experience playing the actual game and an understanding of the rules and tactical depth rather than a full on competitive event and I don’t think anyone was disappointed, well, the less said about Luke’s list the better.

Game 1: Liam Jordan – Fomoraic

Liam is a fellow beast player and his army was only really different to mine in one significant manner…it was much better. In Darklands feral troops are pretty hard to control, they have to move as far as they can towards an enemy each turn and this can lead to them sprinting off into charge range of something that can eat them for breakfast. Liam took a character riding a pig (Toracx) and used it to block the moves of some of his other frenzied troops, meaning he could keep them back until the time was right for them to go charging into the fray. He also had three times as many Gabrax warlocks as I did, which means three times as much of his time was spent blasting me clean off the table.

One of the most special aspects of Darklands is the deployment, you pick a deployment pattern from one of eight, depending on which edge and flank you control, and set up a command at a time in reverse authority order. The nature of these positioning fields means that it is entirely possible for your armies to overlap and start the game throwing themselves at each other.

Liam and I both picked corner deployments but I made the mistake of deploying in two separate groups, hoping to pull off some kind of pincer maneuver. Early on he moved his Tain on Toracx into the path of my Tarvox (huge four armed feral Minotaur-esque killing machine) in the hope of slowing him down. This proved to be exactly the wrong sort of turning point when I dutifully made the charge, spannered all my attacks and took an unexpected amount of damage in return. I’m not entirely sure what happened next, with us all still getting to grips with the mechanics I didn’t want to slow the games down any further by making notes. The crux of it though was that my Tarvox won the combat and proceeded to barrel straight through into one of Liam’s gabrax warlock’s who performed a ‘hold and invoke’ reaction and nuked my big beastie straight off the table. We later learned that not only should he not have been able to cast three spells as part of a charge reaction but he shouldn’t have had a charge reaction to make as you don’t get one against a breakthrough. We were all learning though, and neither of us spotted it, add in the fact that Liam had two other warlocks waiting on the wings to fry my big guy and I’m sure it made very little difference.

My own Gabrax Warlock ended up on one constitution trying to win me some gold back and I’m proud to say his head exploded while he was trying to recover rather than falling into enemy hands. After two years of Warhammer tournaments it’s reassuring to know that your wizard can still kill himself game 1.

After that Liam was able to take advantage of his magical superiority and bigger unit of monstrous infantry to mop up the remains of my army, and as soon as my general died my Gabrax unit fled off the table, compounding my problems.

Result: a deserved 20-0 to Liam who went on to nab second place.