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).
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.