Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Lady's Wrath: A Tale of 4 Armies

We ride to war!

After a furious bout of painting, rebasing and rule reading, I've finally managed to get a game of Warhammer: The Old World.

Pete relented and agreed to give me a game, mainly because he's also being pestered by Mike, and so I saddled up my Bretonnians and prepared for battle.

As this would be a learning game, we decided to keep it simple and only have 1000 points each. In a further bid for simplicity (and less to remember) I also opted to include no magic items.

My army was as follows:

  • Duke on Hippogryph
  • Paladin with Battle Standard
  • Damsel on Bretonnian Warhorse (Lvl 1)
  • 8 Knights of the Realm
  • 5 Knights Errant
  • 3 Pegasus Knights
  • 10 Peasant Archers (skirmishers)
My Damsel opted to take The Lady's Gift spell from the Lore of the Lady as this was something she stood a chance of casting successfully and might help the knights weather the storm of shot that was going to inevitably head their way.

It was inevitable because Pete had brought along his Dwarfs, which are the oldest fantasy army he has as far as I know, and he went for what has always seemed a fairly standard set up.

  • Dwarf King
  • Dwarf Thane
  • 15 Longbeards
  • 20 Dwarf Warriors
  • 10 Thunderers
  • 1 Cannon
  • 1 Grudge Thrower

Only the King was 'runed-up' with the Master Rune of Skalf Blackhammer and a couple of Runes of Fury, making him somewhat dangerous to face in combat.


Due to the small size of the game, we opted to play on a 4'x4' table and used the suggested terrain amount in the rulebook, leaving us with quite an open field.

The Dwarfs opted for a classic castle formation, with the Thunderers and artillery in the centre, with the infantry blocks securing the flanks.

I opted to split my deployment. On my left I put my Knights of the Realm and my Pegasus Knights. I had an idea that I might be able to turn the flank of the Dwarfs if these two units could hit the Dwarf Warriors at the same time.

I also put my skirmishers in amongst the ruins.You won't be seeing much of them in this battle as they did absolutely nothing of note, except not dying.

On my right I put the Knights Errant 25" away from the Thunderers. Their job was to ride onto the jaws of death with the goal of silencing these deadly missiles troops.

My general heroically positioned himself behind the abandoned Grail Chapel. This was a decision driven by piety (what better place to pray to the Lady?) and absolutely nothing to do with hiding from a cannon.

On the subject of praying, I obviously did and so the Dwarfs would take the first turn.

Dwarf Turn 1

In classic Dwarven fashion, Pete opted to slip the command and movement phases and went straight to shooting, and his artillery opened up with roaring fury, ripping into my Knights of the Realm, whose long flank was impossible to hide.

Dwarven aim was true and the Lady seemingly abandoned the Knights as three were blasted from their saddles, reinforcing the sense of urgency required in getting across the battlefield.

Despite the accuracy of the war machines, I was helped by the fact that the cannonball stuck in the ground after disintegrating one Knight, and both of the characters in the unit escaped harm.

Additionally, Pete didn't realise that Thunderers can now move and shoot (with a penalty) and so missed a round of inaccurate shooting with them.

Bretonnia Turn 1

Pete's traditional Dwarven opening volley was met with an equally traditional Bretonnian advance as almost every unit matched forwards.

The only unit that didn't were the Peasants, but the less said about them the better.

I opted to move my general more towards the centre of my army. A decision which had nothing to do with his proximity to a tooled up Dwarf King.

I actually moved my general to give me options on where to send him as I suspected that my depleted Knights might now struggle to break the Dwarf Warriors, even with help from the Pegasus Knights, especially if they took more casualties from Pete's shooting.

Dwarf Turn 2

In a shocking turn of events, the Dwarfs made use of their movement phase. The Longbeards wheeled to threaten the flank of any unit that charged the Thunderers.

In retrospect, this was a moment when the new rules really made a difference, but this wouldn't be apparent until later.

The Dwarf line opened up again, but to much less impact. Whilst the cannon (a much reduced threat in the new rules) took two wounds off the Bretonnian Lord, the Thunderers failed to have any impact on the Knights Errant. The Lady of the Lake had clearly decided that she would intervene today as they made three 6+ ward saves.

To add injury to insult, the Grudge Thrower misfired and destroyed itself, leaving the Bretonnian advance pretty much unscathed.

Bretonnian Turn 2

In move that surprised absolutely nobody, the Bretonnians charged at the first opportunity. The Lord on his Hippogryph led the line and was joined by the Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights in piling into the Dwarf Warriors.

It was a lacklustre charge in which saw the Knights Errant narrowly win combat on a technicality and force the Thunderers to give ground, part of the new combat resolution rules.

This drove the Thunderers back 2" and the Knights Errant followed up, narrowly taking them out of the charge arc of the Longbeards.

This was the significance of the Longbeards' move earlier. Unfamiliarity with the new rules meant Pete wasn't factoring in the push back with his positioning, which meant that it would be another turn before he could get this powerful unit into action.

In other news, the Dwarf Warriors were ripped apart, failed their break test and we're run down by the Pegasus Knights (deliberately) and the Knights of the Realm (accidentally)

The general restrained his pursuit and reformed to face the remaining Dwarfs.

This was a very successful turn only marred by the Damsel failing to cast her spell at the beginning of it.

Dwarf & Bretonnian Turn 3

I forgot to take any photos on Dwarf Turn 3, but given that all that happened was that the Longbeards and Cannon repositioned whilst the Thunderers and Knights Errant gently shoved each other, this isn't really a surprise.

However, on the Bretonnian turn there was more action. The Damsel finally managed to successfully cast The Lady's Gift on the Knights of the Realm (which would stay in place until the end of the game).

Then the charging continued. The Pegasus Knights went into the flank of the Thunderers whilst the Lord on his large Hippogryph took advantage of being able see over the combat to charge the Cannon.

Unsurprisingly, the Cannon crew were killed in short order. However, the stalwart Thunderers once again held their ground, killing two of the Knights Errant, leaving the Longbeards and opportunity to finally get into combat.

Dwarf Turn 4

The Longbeards charged, taking them out of the Bretonnian General's charge arc and into the Knights Errant.

However, despite this, the Dwarfs really struggled to penetrate the Bretonnian armour and so the Bretonnians held and only gave ground.

Bretonnian Turn 4 onwards...

The Knights of the Realm came thundering in and blows were exchanged. The Dwarfs took light casualties and were pushed back.

The battle lasted for three full turns and saw both the Thunderers and Knights Errant finally destroyed. The Dwarfs were pushed back, despite the King slaying the Paladin, and their fate was sealed on Bretonnian turn five when the Hippogryph tore apart the rear of the unit and put the rest to flight.

Final Thoughts

After one game, I like it.

This is fundamentally the same game as Warhammer Fantasy Battle 6th/7th edition and seems to have removed everything I disliked about 8th.

I like how the new combat resolution mechanic adds a nuance that wasn't present before which needs to be considered. This left Pete's Longbeards out of the fight a bit too long, and suggests that some old wisdom about deployment needs to be reconsidered.

It's hard to say anything concrete about the new magic system as we had so little, but I did like the fact that Pete could try to dispel my 'remains in play' spell Rach turn.

The game was severely impacted by a couple of issues in the new rules. War machines are less deadly and cavalry charges are more guaranteed, which in a Bretonnia/Dwarf clash is quite significant. Dwarfs might need to put more thought into match blocking and redirection that previously.

For me, the star of the show was the Lord on Hippogryph, who was a force of wanting destruction. Perhaps indicating a return to a world of Herohammer.

I suspect that he might find himself facing more cannon the next time he goes up against the Dwarfs, and he's almost certainly got a somewhat terminal appointment with Pete's High Elf Dragon Prince in his future.

Observant readers will realise that this is a new model for the army, and that he's not actually riding a Hippogryph. The differences between Griffons and Hippogryphs are negligible and there's no chance for confusion in game as only Hippogryphs are available to the Bretonnian army.

I've had the Griffon model knocking around part painted for years and bought a painted Knight of the Realm model at Vapnartak a couple of weeks ago. The colours worn by the Knight just needed highlighting to be more akin to my army and the Griffon needed finishing off.

I'm delighted that he avoided new model syndrome and I'm really pleased with this first foray into Warhammer: The Old World.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 177
Lead Mountain: 849


  1. great bat rep, heres a tip for you, if you have 25pts spare then equip 1 of your knight units with the Banner of Chalons, it stops your enemy using the stand and shoot reaction. I used it against tomb kings the other week 1st against his chariots then his archers. Against shooty armies its a must

    1. Thanks. I deliberately avoided items to keep things simple, but that is a great call.

  2. Great battle report, and a well earned victory, and your new lord model looks splendid, and had a good first outing.

    1. Thanks. It helps that ye can't be one-shotted by cannons any more.