Thursday 18 August 2011

Who said the Tomb Kings are slow?

The Bretonnian host took to the field for the third time last night against Craig's Tomb Kings and is was a near run thing, littered with freak occurrences and irritating mistakes. The scenario was Blood and Glory.

The Tomb Kings were arrayed in all their glory with a Heirophant, a Liche Priest, a Tomb Prince, 3 Chariots, 30 Skeletons, 3 Necropolis Knights, 13 Archers, a Heirotitan and a Casket of Souls. Craig deployed towards the left flank of our narrow battlefield, with the Casket in the centre at the back and the Heirotitan holding the left. A General and 3 standards gave Craig a fortitude of 5. Essentially I had to destroy the Skeleton Warriors (with the Tomb Prince in to win).

Facing them, the Bretonnians featured a Prophetess, a Damsel on horseback, a Battle Standard Bearer and a Paladin on foot (borrowed from my Vampires for the occasion). In terms of troops, the Knights Errant weren't ready so I had 8 Knights of the Realm, 30 Men at Arms, 20 Peasant Archers, a Trebuchet, a Grail Reliquae and 3 Pegasus Knights. 5 standards and a General gave me a fortitude of 7, which was good for a small game, Craig needed to get several units and my general to win.

I deployed as above, and the Pegasus Knights used their vanguard move to advance up my left. Predictably, the Tomb Kings advances with all but the Casket and I held my ground as we traded spells, arrows and large rocks (I misfired on the first turn, but finally hit both the Chariots and the Skeletons in later rounds - 18 Skeletons flattened!).

Predictably, the Necropolis Knight popped up in the most annoying position possible, between my Knights and my Men at Arms. I turned to face them with both units, threatening to catch them in a vice if my Knights were able to avoid the killing blows. I was hoping to destroy the Necropolis Knights before the rest of the Tomb King army arrived.

Here's where the mistakes and freak occurrences kicked in. I'd forgotten to move my Pegasus Knights, who were threatening the rear of the Tomb King lines, and they found themselves charged by the Heirotitan. The Pegasus Knights proceeded to fail two fear tests but still hold the stone giant, who as it turned out, couldn't hit a barn door. They were helped in their efforts by making an outrageous number of armour and ward saves, and by the end of the game they were whittling the Heirotitan down.

The two remaining chariots (one had been splatted by the Trebuchet) barrelled into the Grail Reliquae, which also proceeded to make an outrageous number of ward saves, and not only held, but then went on to destroy the Chariots over the next three turns! Admittedly, they were helped a bit by the Sinister Statue blasting the chariots up the bottom every so often.

The Necropolis Knights charged the Knights of the Realm and...failed to do a single wound! Again, outrageous ward save got my bottom out of the fire, especially because I'd not thought about my formation properly and both my Damsel and BSB were exposed to killing blows. One Necropolis Knight was crumbled and things were looking good.

All I needed now was a rear charge and some hexing and the Necropolis Knights would crumble and I'd be able to turn to face the oncoming Skeleton Warriors with both units and win the game.

As you can didn't quite turn out like that. My magic was a complete damp squib and although I won the combat by 5, the last Necropolis Knight was left with one wound. Again, I'd not thought about formation properly and my exposed BSB was killing blowed (this was to be crucial later).

Still, the Skeletons were 14 inches away, I could still win if they failed their charge...they didn't. The buggers came sprinting into the flank of the Men at Arms. I surprised the the Tomb Prince, who was trying to challenge the Prophetess I had stupidly left in the unit, by accepting the challenge with my ASF Paladin. They traded wounds (if I'd have killed the Prince, I would have won) and although the last Necropolis Knight was killed, the Skeletons won the fight. The Men at Arms broke and were run down, the Trebuchet and Peasant Bowmen panicked and ran off the table! The Tomb Kings had won.

So what did I learn?
  • I need to think ahead about character placement - I stupidly lost both my BSB and my Prophetess by not thinking about where they were in units.
  • Leadership is a killer for the Bretonnians - I've got to get a handle on it. Unfortunately, this whole psychology thing is new to me after years of playing Vampires and Wood Elves.
  • I need to ensure I don't forget things - the Pegasus Knights could have been a real thorn in Craig's side if I hadn't allowed them to be charged.
  • I need to focus on the scenario objective - I have this irrational (Elf-based) fear of Chariots and Skeleton Archers, I should have been focusing everything on the Skeleton Warriors to win the game.
  • The Knights can really take some hammer and still keep plugging away. I can afford to be more aggressive with them (the experience with the Chaos Knights notwithstanding).
  • In terms of the Tomb Kings, the Heirotitan is weaker than it looks. A good combat unit will clobber it.
Overall, a good game that either of us could have won.

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