Monday, 14 October 2013

Battlereport: Dwarfs vs. Goblins

BattleReport: Dwarfs vs. Goblins, 22/08/2009

A grudge match and it doesn't get much grudgier than a Dwarf vs. Goblin bash.

Mike played Goblins (and it was a Goblin army proper - not an Orc in sight. Heavy support was offered by a Giant and a unit of three Trolls, but apart from a small unit of Snotlings all other models in the army were Gobboes) and I played Dwarfs (this game saw my first outing of a Dwarf army using the 2007 Dwarf Army book and also represented my first use of an Anvil of Doom and units of Thunderers).

Scenery was very simple: A steep-sided hill, a ruin and two areas of woods.

Dwarf spell choice:
  • None
Goblin Spell choice:
  • "Gork'll fix it" - cast on an enemy unit and any rolls of a 6 they make are converted to 1's. This spell was chosen by the Shaman referred to as "Red Shaman" as he was a member of a unit with a Red-painted standard.
  • Brainbursta" - a magic missile (24'', 2D6 S4 hits, no saves). This spell was chosen by the Shaman referred to as "Yellow Shaman" as he was a member of a unit with a Yellow-painted standard.
The Goblins won the deployment roll and elected to deploy first. At the end of the deployment phase the table looked as follows:
Turn 0: Deployment
The Dwarfs won the "who goes first" roll and elected to let the Goblins take the first turn (Once deployment was complete I could see he had no missiles so I wanted to allow him to advance within range of my Crossbows and Handguns).

Turn 1

The Goblins began in true Goblin form: by declaring a "Waaaghh!". The Goblin General, Red Shaman unit and the Spiders1 unit all gain bonus moves and surge forward. The infantry units are causing me consternation from the beginning due to their size: they each have 35 models which makes them almost double the size of anything I have on the table. Despite the fact that they are "only gobboes", the sheer weight of numbers is likely to count heavily against me in close combat so it's imperative I reduce their size with heavy missile-fire before they close on me.
Thankfully, the Goblin army isn't without it's problems: The Trolls fail their stupidity roll and are only able to wander slowly towards me. All other units close at-the march covering a frightening amount of ground (especially those spiders and wolf-riders with their 7'' and 9'' moves, doubled-up for marching speed).

The Red Shaman uses his Brainbursta spell on the Hammerers: first blood goes to the greenskins as 2 Dwarfs fall.

Time for the Dwarfs to avenge their fallen: The Dwarf Warriors unit advances on the Yellow Shaman's unit - Disaster! Hidden in the greeny ranks (or the rank greenies - depending on your outlook) of the Goblin General's unit are three Goblin Fanatics. The whirling loonies are release and one immediately careers through the Dwarf Warriors. Another Dwarf falls. The other fanatics spin harmlessly into empty space - for now.

The Hammerers unit advanced on the Goblin General - more Fanatics are loosed, this time from the Red Wizard's unit, one of which spins wildly through the unit of Crossbows (Xbows 2) killing another 2 Dwarfs.

The Dwarf Runelord attempts to strike a rune of Wrath and Ruin on the Anvil of Doom, which fails, knocking the Anvil out of action for the next turn.

Both Bolt Throwers miss their targets, as does the Grudge Thrower (a mistake is made here by me: The Grudge Thrower has a rune of Accuracy inscribed upon it which I managed to consistently forget to use throughout the battle until right at the end).

More success is enjoyed by the Thunderers: Unit 1 kills 1 spider-rider, unit 2 kills 2 spider-riders. The Quarrelers are similarly successful  unit 1 kills 3 spiders (who despite their losses don't panic) and unit 2 kills 3 gobboes in the Red Shaman's unit. The Gyrocopter looses it's steam cannon at the Spiders 2 unit, killing just 1.
Turn 1

Turn 2

Trolls are Trolls - stupidity strikes them for a second turn in a row.

The Fanatics do less harm this turn - 1 Fanatic's heart explodes, another moves harmlessly through Crossbow unit 2 and the other just wander around in a state of rotational oblivion.

On the Dwarf right-flank, things aren't looking good for the Bolt-Thrower crew as they are charged by the Goblin Spider-riders. Being Dwarfs, they're not allowed to Flee! their machine and as it's a War Engine it can't stand and shoot, so it's going to have to be a straight fight. The Dwarfs don't stand a chance and are destroyed to a man.

Still on the right of the battlefield, the Spider unit 2 charges the Gyrocopter which elects to Flee! Hopefully it can rally next turn and not be needlessly destroyed.

The Goblin Spider onslaught continues on the left as Spider unit 1 charges Dwarf Crossbow unit 1. 

The Crossbowmen stand and fire and kill 2 Goblins - as they're a unit of 6 due to casualties taken in the previous round that represents more than 25% of their remaining number. They're not so brave this turn and panic and Flee! 3d6'' - Mike rolls 3 6'es. Run, Spideys, run!

The Goblin Wolf-riders fail their animosity roll and begin squabbling amongst themselves - they can't move or fight this turn.

All other Goblin units advance on their targets - things are gonna get bloody next turn!

Both Goblin Shamans attempt to summon their magicks and fail.

The Dwarf Slayers charge and engage the Spiders who saw off the Gyrocopter - no wounds are caused by either side and the unbreakable slayers stand their ground.

The Hammerers and Warriors unit both elect to move backwards slightly in an attempt to avoid being charged by the Goblins next turn - they're both slightly short of being able to charge their nearest foes and if they are to stand a chance against the superior Goblin unit sizes need the advantage of the charge.

The Anvil of Doom is out of commission for this turn due to the mis-cast in the last, so the Dwarfs missile barrages begin. Crossbow unit 1 looses a salvo of bolts at the approaching Giant and cause 2 wounds. The Thunderers unit 1 also shoots at the Giant and - despite 5 accurate shots - no wounds are caused. Damn these new-fangled handguns!

The Grudge Thrower attempts to fire at the Yellow Shaman's unit but misfires - no serious effects just a wasted shot.

The remaining Bolt Thrower fires at the Animos (a word Mike proudly invented on the day) Wolves and misses, whilst in the centre of the table Goblins are falling like rain: Thunderer unit 2 kill 6 in the Yellow Shaman's unit and Crossbow unit 2 kill a further 3. Despite the loss of 9 Goblins (which is > 25% of their 35-strong unit) the doubty Goblins hold the line - the neighbouring Goblin General's unit and their Army-standard keep discipline admirably.

The Slayer and Spider-rider stand-off continues - still no wounds caused by either side.
Turn 2

Turn 3

The routing Spider unit on the Dwarfs' left flank continues to Flee! making it right to the table-edge. If they don't rally next turn they're off the battlefield.

The Trolls finally manage to gather their wits and take the opportunity to charge the Slayers, who are now seriously outnumbered.

Heady with their victory over the Dwarf Bolt-Thrower, the Spider-riders on the right flank begin to squabble amongst themselves over the spoils ("I said I wanted a leg!"). Animos strikes them immobile.

The Wolf-riders are still in-fighting too - Animosity strikes them for a second turn in a row. 

Animosity has a different effect on the Yellow Shaman's unit who gain a 2'' bonus move as a result. The advantage is pressed as the Shaman charges Crossbow unit 2. The nervous Dwarf unit looses a rain of bolts at their approaching enemy but fail to cause a wound. The Dwarfs fight well in close combat killing 3 Goblins compared to their enemy's score of 0, but the overwhelming size of the Greenskins' unit is too much for them, they break and are caught and destroyed.

The Giant charges the other Crossbow unit who similarly stand and shoot but with more success - 2 more wounds caused against their mighty opponent. The doughty Dwarfs shrug off the effects of Giant-Terror. The Giant's massive club sweeps through the ranks of the Dwarfs, killing 3. The Dwarfs return the favour - axes bite deep into the Giant's feet and ankles causing another wound.

The Trolls and Spider-riders combined vomit and poison attacks see off 2 Slayers. In exchange the Slayers wound 1 Troll. Being unbreakable the combat stands to continue next turn.
Grasping their axe-handles firmly the Dwarf Warrior unit charges the Snotlings, who are wounded, break and are pursued and cut down.

The Gyrocopter rallies and moves mid-battlefield to open up options for next turn - it's not able to shoot this turn so spends the time getting to a place where it can pick it's target next time.

The Hammerers charge the Goblin command unit - the unit Champion calls out a challenge to the Goblin General. It's a bad move - the Goblin chieftain is wounded in the fray but the Hammerer Champion is cut down. Aside from that, the remainder of the combat is even - 2 dead on each side. The Dwarfs are hard pushed to hold ground against the seething green mass but manage to stand fast.

Things aren't going so well for the beleaguered Slayers - a further 4 slayers are killed by Spiders and Troll-vomit in exchange for just 1 wound on a Troll.
Turn 3

Turn 4

The psychology and compulsory movement phase is a bit of a mixed blessing for the Goblins: on the positive side, The routing Spider unit 1 rallies just short of fleeing the table and a Fanatic whirls gibbering through the Dwarf Warrior unit, killing 2. More negatively  another Fanatic spins into a wood and dies, another's heart explodes with the strain whilst a third careens gibbering into a friendly unit: Red Shaman's unit takes 2 casualties. To add insult to injury, the infighting in the "Animos" wolf-riders continues for a third turn.

It's largely a housekeeping round for the Goblins: Yellow and Red Shamans either fail or don't bother trying to cast any spells, Spider unit 2 spends a turn reforming, as does both units associated with the Shamans.

In the Troll/Spider-rider/Slayer combat there's another stand-off with no wounds caused.
The Goblin command unit kills a Hammerer who respond by killing a Goblin and wounding the General. The Dwarfs are again hard pressed but manage to hold their ground.

The Dwarf Gyrocopter pilot seizes an opportunity to cause some mayhem amongst the ranks of Yellow Shaman's unit - wheeling around to their rear he unleashes a blast of steam-powered grapeshot from his steam-cannon, the blast causing the demise of 8 greenskins.

The War machines have another bad round - the remaining bolt-thrower and the Grudge-thrower both miss their targets (still forgetting to use that "Engineering rune of accuracy"). The Anvil of Doom is still out of commission and sits quietly biding its time.

Crossbow unit 1 fires on the Wolf-riders killing 1 and Thunderer unit 2 kills 2 more Goblins in the already damaged Yellow Shaman's unit. Braver than they look, the beleaguered Goblins stand their ground, again due to the iron will of their general the presence of their Army Standard.

In close combat, the Slayers manage to wound a Troll whilst otherwise avoiding harm, but things don't go so well for the Hammerers: despite killing 2 Goblins and only losing one of their own, they are overwhelmed by the weight of numbers in the massive Goblin unit and break. Fortunately, they manage to outdistance the pursuing Goblins.
Turn 4

Turn 5

The Wolf-riders finally manage to settle their differences and focus on their enemies. Unfortunately the Goblin Animosity problems aren't over as a fight breaks out amongst the troopers in Spider unit 3 on the other flank.

Fanatic activity continues as 1 spinning loony gyrates himself completely off the table whilst the other nutter veers insanely towards Spider unit 1.
The Spider-riders in unit 1 begin their approach towards the enemy with a forced march towards Thunderer unit 1.

Bolstered by their previous success, the Goblin General re-charges the Hammerers in the rear - they are forced to Flee! again and run off the battlefield. So much for Dwarf elite troops!
The Goblins of the Yellow Shamans' unit charge the Dwarf Warriors in the flank whist the Shaman himself ineffectually gibbers spells into the air. One Goblin dies in the ensuing combat. Red Shaman, depressed at the state of magic in general doesn't bother even trying to cast a spell. The charging Wolves connect with the crew of the Dwarf bolt-thrower who enjoy far more success than their colleagues did against the spiders on the other flank: 2 Wolf-riders killed for no Dwarf casualties.

Dwarf Crossbow unit 1 charges the Wolf-riders killing 1-rider, who in turn kill 1 Bolt thrower crewman. The Wolf-riders break and flee from the table.

The Runelord on the Anvil of Doom finally manages to summon the power of his mighty relic and strike a successful "Rune of Wrath and Ruin" on the Goblin General's unit, killing 1 Goblin. The Gyrocopter presses the attack and with another mighty expulsion from the steam cannon kills another 9 Goblins in the General's unit. The sheer force of the General's discipline is not to be sneered at - he once again manages to hold his troops together. He really is the Goblin equivalent of Brian Clough!

Things are going well for the Dwarfs: Thunderer unit 2 kill 2 Spider-riders in Spider unit 2 who panic and Flee! whilst the Grudge thrower finally manages to kill some Goblins in the same unit (granted, it had been shooting at the Trolls, but you take what you can get).
In close combat, the Dwarf Warriors kill another Goblin in Yellow Shaman's unit.
Turn 5

Turn 6 - Final turn

The Spiders are suffering: unit 1 continues to Flee! whilst unit 3 is once again "Animos". Unit 2 fares better - it rallies and begins the process of reforming.
The Trolls declare a charge against Thunderer unit 2 who stand and shoot, killing 1. The Trolls rout!

Red Shaman picks himself up out of his depression and successfully casts "Gork'll fix it" against Thunderers 2, but the spell is quickly dispelled by the Runelord. Yellow Shaman's attempt to cast Brainbursta fails.

The news isn't all bad for Yellow Shaman, however as his unit manages to overwhelm the Dwarf Warriors who break and Flee! They aren't caught and destroyed (but their little hairy legs are pumping furiously to make good their escape).

The Dwarf Runelord's anvil speaks again: he kills three Spider-riders in Spider unit 2 with his "Rune of Wrath and ruin". The Gyrocopter joins in the cause and kills a further spider in the same unit, which panics and flees!

The final shots of the game are fired by Thunderer unit 1 and the remaining Bolt Thrower who manage to kill 3 and 2 Goblins in Yellow Shaman's unit, respectively. The Grudge thrower, of course, misses. Again.
Turn 6

Conclusion: A draw

At the end of the game, the Victory points were added up. Briefly, both Armies controlled one table quarter and the others were either neutral or disputed. The Goblins had caused more damage than the Dwarfs, but not by enough of a margin to claim a victory.

From the Dwarf perspective...

I was disappointed with how the Anvil of Doom performed. For such an expensive piece (it alone counted for almost 20% of my army) it wasn't very effective. Even the huge pool of dispel dice it offered weren't really needed as the Goblin Shamans proved largely ineffective (they were only 1st level Shamans).

I was also disappointed with the performance of the War machines - the Bolt Throwers and Grudge Throwers failed to hit anything in almost every turn (not helped by me continually failing to use the Rune of Accuracy inscribed on the Bolt thrower).
The Dwarf missile troops were the stars of the show - they caused a terrific amount of harm with their handguns and crossbows. Well done, lads! 

I was also very pleased with the performance of the Slayers: although they ultimately lost their melee with the Trolls and Spiders, they kept those two, more expensive units tied up for several turns, thereby preventing them from doing more harm.

I wasn't expecting as much from the Gyrocopter as it eventually gave me - the steam-cannon cut great swathes through the ranks of the Goblin foot in the latter-half of the game. I'm not sure it would have done as well against a tougher army, but against these little greenskins it was brilliant.

From the Goblin perspective...

From chatting with Mike after the game I know he was disappointed with the performance of his Shamans. He also wasn't a fan of the Snotlings.

I think his biggest disappointment was the Giant, though, which was cut down fairly easily by the Dwarf Crossbowmen. It had cost him a lot of points and didn't earn it's coin.

Mike was also beset by Animosity and Stupidity problems (no offence, Mike) which is an occupational hazard of being a Goblin General. His Trolls were kept out of the battle for the first third of the game due to Stupidity and his Wolf-riders for the first half due to Animosity. Other units suffered too, to a lesser extent.