Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Return of Nagash and The End Times

Hey folks!

Bob here with some ruminations about the possible future of Warhammer Fantasy. Now unless you have not been paying attention, you couldn't help but notice some major changes coming for the world of Warhammer Fantasy. Nagash, the original non daemonic bad guy is back and pissed off and going on a rampage. What does all this mean? Well for one it means a unilateral decision by GW to advance the story of Fantasy in a very meaningful way. Why do I say unilateral? I say it because in the past something like this can, and has been, done with public input. I am of course referring to the now defunct Storm of Chaos and Eye of Terror campaigns, but more on this at a later date. Secondly, this appears to be the beginning of a multi-part "End Times" campaign event that will unfold in subsequent expansions. So without further preamble, it is time to five in to the books.

                                              WARNING!!!! SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

The man himself
Set 1 of the End Times

First off what is exactly come in the Nagash set? You get a rather excellent background book that covers a roughly three year period advancing the timeline into Imperial year 2525. Check out the preamble on the back of the book. It is fairly self explanatory.
The back of the book
The book begins by giving each faction a brief description and what has been going on leading up to the events to be portrayed in the rest of the book. This includes factions that have not yet received a hardcover army book. I won't go into too much detail as to the events portrayed in these intros, or the rest of the book for that matter. I would say any fan of the world of Warhammer Fantasy owes it to themselves to read the lore book. There I said it. Go read the damn book. It is worth your time. I will some things up thusly:

Empire: Big ass Chaos army gathering in the north and Sylvania acting up in the south

Dwarfs: Pressure being relieved on some holds due to actions of Orcs, Goblins, and Skaven. Half of the holds want to shut their gates and let events play out, but the High King has other ideas.

High Elves: Ulthuan under siege by increasingly larger daemonic forces. Phoenix king MIA in his tower. Tyrion becomes defacto head of defense, but not everyone is pleased with this.

Wood Elves: Ariel and the forest are dying. It dawns on the Wood Elves that they can't just hole up and let the world burn.

Bretonia: Civil war rocks the nation as the King's bastard son rises up to claim the throne. Fully half the population is killed or flees the chaos.

Skaven: Attacks above ground increase in boldness and severity. Much of the Border Princes, Tielia, and Estelia are destroyed and conquered.

Lizardmen: The plan of the Old Ones has failed. The Exodus is to be prepared.

Chaos, Daemons, Bestmen: The End Times are upon the world. The forces of Chaos are united behind the Everchosen in numbers never before seen. Beastmen multiply at an alarming rate and plague the forests of the Old World and beyond.

Orcs and Goblins: The power of the WAAAAGH has never been stronger. The greenskins feel the call to congregate en mass and do so.

Ogres: A mass migration into the Old World is caused by volcanic activity.

Dark Elves: The latest invasion of Ulthuan is postponed thanks to massive raids by Daemons and the men of the north.

Tomb Kings: Settra learns of the imminent return of Nagash and orders every Tomb King to be woken and their legions made ready for war.

Vampire Counts: Manfred von Carstein has grown in power and will play a crucial role in the war to come.

So while the meat and bones of the book deals with the inevitable resurrection of Nagash and the tide of evil that follows, it isn't the only thing to be presented. The first wave of the Chaos horde attacks the Empire in the north with predictably devastating results. The rumors about a lot of character deaths is indeed true. The "good" guys take it in the teeth as usual, but the bad guys don't have it all their own way. If you want to read about the forces of order actually kicking something evil's ass for a change, you should keep on hoping. By the end of the book Nagash is all hopped up on death magic and sitting pretty with a giant army at his command. Events seem to be leading up to Nagash facing off against the Chaos horde with the poor Empire trapped in the middle. If things play out at the rate they are going, what is left of the Warhammer World may be unrecognizable by the time this whole thing is over. As always I intend to reserve judgement on if this whole "reboot", for lack of a better word, is a good thing or a bad thing overall. As John and I have discussed on here before, there are some major issues with the current rule set, but it is far from the unplayable mess some internet potentates would have you think it is. One thing that I do hope comes out of this is a renewed interest in the Warhammer world.

In addition to the background and rule book (which really isn't much of a rule book, more like a scenario book with some new units thrown in and a new army list and magic lore) I received a snazzy little notebook and a shameless "buy more shit" pamphlet.

My very own book of Nagash

The shameless plug to buy more miniatures

The new army list included in the rules in the Undead Legions list. It is basically the Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings in one list with the new Undead characters thrown in (rules for Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings not included). The lore of Undeath. the Fantasy equivalent of 40k's Daemonology, is a mostly unit summoning lore available to everyone. Unlike the Vampire of Tomb King version of summoning units, Undeath summons X points worth of models, with X points increasing as more power is poured into the spell. These summoned units come from the Undead Legions list and have access to all of the appropriate upgrades available within the point limit of the spell. 

So overall would I recommend getting this new expansion/ addition/ whatever the hell this is? I would give a resounding yes. If you like Warhammer Fantasy you owe it to yourself pick this up if only for the lore portion. The cynical side of me says get it so you have it when they roll  back the timeline again in a few years if the radical lore changes fall flat on their collective ass.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Not the Usual Bloodbath Part 2

Today we have the long overdue conclusion to the Empire (and Dwarfs) v.s. Lizards smack down. Enjoy!

Turn 4

John's turn 4

Desperate to get into combat I declare a couple charges. Temple Guard charge cannon, guess who win's that combat? Saurus Spearmen charge Handunners and take a few casualties from shooting. Saurus block 1 moves up to support Skinks giving it to an increasing number of Empire troops. (Greatswords, crazies and a few Handgunners) Krokigors charge knights in the flank, guess how that combat ends up) I shift around my mages, and pretty sure Old Blood continues to flee. Skinks on right flank shoot up his Pistoliers, they flee, take a block of Handgunners with them that were threatening temple guards. Magic, one of my Skinks blows himself up and causes some wounds amongst my own. Call in another meteor near the other one. Called in near the Saurus with spears, seeing as how that side was pretty much effed and there was a lot of targets. A mage, the Huricanum, his big block of whatever, the hammerers, another spear unit, the Handgunners, I was willing to risk my presumed already dead Saurus with spears. Combat temple guard munch cannon and overrun to get away a bit but still end up with flank exposed. Saurus with spears cause the Handgunners to run after taking a few causalities, they end up behind the big block and the Hammerers. Skinks do some damage but still end up running. pursuing crazies end up near Saurus 1. Krokigors munch a good number of knights, lose one in return, knights break and run off table.

Bob's Turn 4
A couple charges against some of the remaining blocks of Saurus. Crazies and Greatswords charge Saurus Block 1, spears charge Temple Guard in the flank. another unit moves towards the Skinks on that flank too, rest of his middle turns towards the Saurus with spears, who are now firmly in his deployment zone facing the wrong way. Hammerers charge remaining Salamanders. Shooting not much left, Dwarfs put another wound on the Krokigors. Magic, maybe nothing happens, again magic sucked all game pretty much. My second comet shows up, and hits a good number of his guys, Hammerers, chariot thing, mage and big block and does decent damage to all, chariot and mage dead. Combat. Saurus kill a few crazies but lose combat and break and are run down, pursuing crazies end up close to Skinks who ran earlier. Spears or whatever do a little damage to Temple Guard, but lose combat, Temple Guard turn to face for munching next turn. Hammerers kill of the Salamanders.

I (John) was able to make things look a little better, but still pretty dire, no troops in my middle, but flanks are looking favorable. Fricking second comet shows up but first is still lurking.

Turn 5

John's Turn 5
So, not a whole lot of movement, rally fleeing Skinks and maybe shuffle a mage out of the way (I don't think I have too many at this point) Krokigors and Old Blood move up towards Dwarf Handgunners but are too far away to charge. Saurus with spears turn to face big blocks coming up behind from the middle. Shooting, Skinks continue to kill a good number of infantry (something is happening to my Skinks on the right flank but not sure what). magic, nothing, failed dice, failed winds or everybody dead or running. Only combat (I think) temple guard and hero munch whatever snack was in front of them, they stick around but looking bad for Bob there.

Bob's Turn 5
Big blocks charge Saurus with spears, who are heavily outnumbered. Greatswords move towards Krokigors on flank(?) Crazies charge Skinks who kill all but 2 of the charging men. Shooting, Dwarfs kill another Krokigor maybe? Magic, my second comet shows up, right on top of big combat in the middle. Everybody ends up losing like 8 guys. (Hammerers, Bob's big blob and my Saurus) Combat, Skinks kill off crazies, Saurus with spears have just enough left to stick around for last turn, and Temple Guard crush spearmen who run and are caught. Pursuit brings Temple Guard into middle combat, but that had already been fought so they just count as charging my turn.

In typical Lizards vs Bob fashion things start turning against Bob once combat gets going heavy. At this point its only a few blocks left trying to do as much damage as they can before the game ends.

Turn 6

John's Turn 6
I charge the Dwarf gunners with Krokigors, and maybe move the Skink units a little. Shooting I kill a few more somethings, again not really sure, maybe pics would help me remember. Magic, ha, nothing. Combat goes about as expected. Krokigors kill Dwarfs or chase them off the battle field or something bad for Bob. Temple Guard munch a good number of Bob's Big Blob (trademark pending), while last of Saurus spears is taken out? I think Bob's Big Blob runs and is caught and again Temple Guard pursue into hammerers, but combat waits.

Bob's Turn 6
Greatswords kill the last Skink priest, not sure if he stood and took it or rolled terribly on run. Shooting, nothing, Magic nothing. Combat. Hammerers do some damage and take a good bit in return, Bob finds out that Dwarfs without shields are squishy (see my earlier blog entry) But combat tied, and game ends.

Victory: John, enough to call it victory but it wasn't the usual bloodbath where my lizards march all over Bob's victims.

Final Thoughts

John: I don't know if it all went as planned but again I found a way to win, and my full lizard army (3000+) remains undefeated. Game plan was to get saurus into combat and did this pretty well except for the big blob which became a bullet sponge the first couple turns. And with those guys and the number of other heavies somebody was bound to do some damage. MVP: Temple Guard, they are a hittier version of the normal Saurus and adding a hero in there was mean. Biggest surprise: Krokigors actually killed something. Biggest let down: Saurus blocks accounted for very little damage done. Skinks as always tend to get ignored but can dish out a good bit of short ranged death while the enemy focuses on scary Saurus Warriors. Magic sucked, with three mages a piece there should have been more than what happened. With such a big battle I need to get better and positioning my troops for movement later on, there for a couple turns I had units bogged down by the numbers in front of them, need to use my combat heavy general better. Maybe should have flipped him and temple guard at start, would have been more interesting, his knights vs the Temple Guard while the general got some softer targets to munch on.

Bob: Bitch and moan, dice this, dice that. fucking cheaty face lizards (pretty much -Bob). So what are the take away thoughts from this? Well to start I clearly need more State Troops to make blocks out of. More Greatswords and Flagellants would be welcome and I definitely need to finally pick up a Steam Tank. Skinks can dish out a stupid number of poisoned attacks. Overall I was fairly pleased with the way this went down. As the title suggests, it wasn't the usual Empire massacre that these little slug fests turn into.

Thanks for reading, folks!