Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Return of the (Warhammer) Fantasy Army II

Sometimes sequels are better than the original game. I'd definitely argue that Dark Omen (Humans vs the Undead!) was an improvement over it's predecessor. If you look at the WHFB label on this blog  you will see I last gave it a try this time of the year, in 2010. I wasn't a fan. However, Jason was amassing a fearsome horde of the undead  so I decided to give it another chance. If nothing else, I needed to use my C15th Pike for SOMETHING and WHFB does have some good points. Sure, I was also terrible at it (it's kind of like Dystopian Wars in that way, for me) but getting to play an army of the faithful, led by a Cardinal on a War Alter vs the hordes of the undead did seem pretty awesome. 

I have a lot to learn if I am going to stick with this game. Starting with basic army composition and deployment. Jason is preparing for a local even in about a month and a half's time, which is 1200 pts. For 1200pts, I was a bit stuck for points as I couldn't not take the War-Alter and that plust the super-secret magic item was 290 points! I had two blocks of 30ish Pike, the Cardinal (Arch Lector) on a War alter, a Volley gun, ten Crossbow, ten Inner Circle Knights, and another five knights to round it out. I also had a Lv1 one Wizard. Lore of Light, what else would you take vs the Undead? I thought that leadership 9 without the re-roll from the Battle Standard bearer would be enough. Jason describes his army thus: 39 Skeletons with Spears and full Command led by a Vampire; 29 Ghouls led by a Strigoi Ghoul King (lord level vampire mincing machine) 
3 Varghiests; The Uber Varghulf (played as a large target). 

The Winds of Magic (I love the WHFB magic system, best magic rules in Wargaming, in my opinion) gave more than enough power for my two casters. While I didn't kill any of his scary monsters, I did hit the biggest with flaming attacks, which apparently stops it's regeneration. I say 'apparently', as it seemed to constantly get it's wounds back! I think regeneration is just one of the numerous 'save'' types in the game? The Wizard was in a small unit of Crossbows that I neglected to cover with counter chargers (deployment 101). Jason's flying monsters ate my little crossbow unit, though they did manage to almost kill one with defensive fire. Then they broke and were run down. Then my leftmost Pike block failed it's panic test, they had to get a 9 or below on 2D6, and they ran too.

On the upside, sitting a volley gun on the hill and firing off heaps of medieval-machine-gun shots was pretty satisfying. I also got to charge the Inner Circle Knights down a hill (which is apparently good for them) at Jason's Ghouls.Jason's Ghouls were led by the, in his terms: 'lord level vampire mincing machine.' All things considered, that combat seemed to go surprisingly well. So Knights must be good in this game? I really didn't have much of an idea what I was doing. My other Pike unit panicked and fled after a single round of combat. I need to deploy a little further forward so they get a chance to rally, next time.  

Initially, I was buoyed by the fact that this meant the medieval-machine-gun would get a short range volley on the huge monster. It failed. On the upside though, I did get to spring my surprise (!) on Jason as the Cardinal has a magic mirror that swaps his uninspiring combat stats for the more inspiring Vampire character's combat stats. The Vampire Sorceress escaped her just punishment though. As did that Strigori Ghoul King. It massively miscast a spell (did I mention I love this magic system) killed the rest of it's own unit, which I was steadily grinding down, and sadly my own Knights too. Hilarious. As you can see, his other flying monsters have turned around from running off my crossbow (and Pike...) and I have kind of got massively defeated. 

But I really enjoyed it. Humans vs Undead is an iconic Fantasy match-up and the rules for this are quite interesting in WFB as it makes good use of their 'Pychology' rules. They came up with these in the 1980s and they are one of the best ideas they ever had. Fear, Hatred, Terror, Panic. Undead also have special rules where they don't feel fear (of course, they are mindless) but instead start to 'crumble' as long as the cowardly Humans don't just turn tail and run, and actually manage to hold the line for a while. I'm sure it is exactly like WOTR in that you could make some abusive combos but I think that the game seems pretty fun as long as people aren't too competitive about it. I'd play it again, I do like the Impetvs rules but think that any serious competitor to WHFB needs something to top it's magic system, Psychology rules, and 'fun' factor. 

Since we only got to see the backs of them, briefly as they ran so fast, here is my recent progress: three ranks of Pikemen. 

I have another three ranks built and ready to paint up. Playing an actual game did make me long for something tougher and the Empire list does have Greatswords. I think Perry Venetian Heavy Infantry  would be perfect for these but would cost me a lot for a decent sized unit. So probably a pipe-dream at this stage. I need to get my Knights built, and then more bought, anyway. If the Perry's bring out their Foot-Knights at Salute 2014 (I can dream), I might pick some up online too. 

The eldest boy has been asking to allowed to get his own wargame troops for approximately two years now (he is eight). I have a fair number of plastic Space Marines but A. They would have to be stripped and re-painted (soul destroying tedium, when you are talking stripping plastics) and B. realistically you would also have to buy him a couple of ridiculous $100ish odd flyer/titan/war-machine things to make the army even viable, because that's how that game now seems to work. 

Jason came through and dropped off a Mantic Skeleton. Being a boy, the eldest thinks Undead are awesome. I think he didn't do too bad a job for an eight year old either. I'm not sure what the trade is for... probably some Rumpelstiltskin type thing where I've bartered away my first-born due to not reading the fine print? Oh well, I'm sure he will will be happy where-ever he is as long as there are more skeletons to paint?

Me, I'm looking forward to painting up some more infantry and that War-Alter/Pope-Mobile. I found that the alter bit isn't fixed to the cart base and can be lifted out. The Warhammer empire list does have some crazy magic laser-beam (yes, different to the magic laser-beams the pope-mobile currently fires, Jason) 'Luminark' thing. I've been hunting around for scratch-built examples on the we and have found one amazing one and none other. I think they amazing one is a bit out of my league but bitz-sellers do seem to have the bit of the luminark that makes up the beam part available separately. So I may yet get this. If it was good enough for Archimedes, I may have to include it.

Anyway, thanks heaps for the game Jason. I had so much fun I didn't even mind being crushed.


  1. Thanks for the Game Jamie! It was fun to play fantasy again after a long, long hiatus. Undead vs Humans is such a classic matchup that it's inspired me to paint a classic colour scheme...

    Battle Standard is a must, but so is the War Alter with laser beams of undead doom :) Having said that, what till you see what a REAL Vampire Lord can do...


    1. I had so much fun that I want to play again, right now so that I can try all the random possibilities lol

      Speaking of the War Alter, what do you think of the idea of running my stuff using the fan-made DOW list (used at Adepticon, so as fair as any GW made list?) and the Cardinal on War Alter can use the rules for Pay-Master on Paychest? Basically a 18" range BSB? No laser beams and army wide powerups, and the model is larger than it should be (so my loss).

      Also, sadly, no elite Knights and no Hellblaster. On the other hand Pikes fighting 5 ranks deep! And I can rebase some Vikings? Crossbow also have Pavise. Didn't you tell me to use that list last time?

      Looking forward to the new paintscheme. :-)

  2. Dogs of War will be fine (and I will go fluffier Undead to match) - War Alter as the Pay Chest will be awesome though IIRC there is a special character version that could be a good fit. and you will get Halbadiers to guard it too :)

    Lack of "good" knights could be alleviated but slinging the Venators? Boranzos Besiegers are the Pavaise equipped crossbow unit. You could also take your Scots saker as a galloper gun.

    Rebased Vikings as the Norse will be cool too.

  3. I think that little scots frame gun is too small even for a galloper gun, but I do have my eye on some Artizan/Hinchcliffe Falconettes :-) The updated fan made DOW list has Pavise as an option for all xbow so that will be good. Doesn't do much but looks cool. I`ll have a look at the Venators. It has light Cav with spears too, so thats another unit I already have. The list overall probably isn`t as tough as say the empire list but I think the non crazily costed fan-DOW Pike blocks with some slavering Vikings on the side as Berserkers has at least some potential and does look closer to what I came up with for that Impetvs list. Ahd one Day I might have some Orgres or Dwarves...... Or Orcs? I actually own some WGF ones.

    Warhammer Norse are on 25mm bases?