Thursday, November 22, 2012

Brawl: Dwarves vs. Wood Elves

Original web date: March 8, 2011

Today's battle report is set to the following narrative: two warbands meet on the border of two rival kingdoms: the Dwarves who serve the King under the Mountain, and the Elves of the Woodland Realm. Here are our participants in this Domination game:

The Army of Erebor (commanded by me, win roll-offs on a 1-3):
Gimli, son of Gloin - 90 points
8 Dwarf Warriors with shields - 72 points
6 Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf Bows - 54 points
5 Dwarf Warriors with two-handed weapons - 40 points
1 Dwarf Warrior with a banner (converted two-handed weapon) - 38 points

Total force: 21 units, 6 bows, 294 points

The Might of Mirkwood (commanded by my friend Gaius, win roll-offs on a 4-6):
Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood (with armor) - 95 points
7 Wood Elf Warriors with Elven blades and throwing daggers - 70 points
7 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf spears and throwing daggers - 70 points
7 Wood Elf Warriors with Elf bows - 63 points

Total force: 22 units, 7 bows + Legolas, 298 points

Here's how the board is set up:

The board is 48" by 48" and has one and only one wooded terrain piece on each 2'x2' grid. There is also one other terrain piece (or set of small pieces) on each grid: an Amon Hen structure, a few large rocks, a bridge and river, and some high ground (must be climbed). You can see in the center of the map a set of "trees" with mountable platforms - this will be an important part of this battle. Though this is a domination game, there are no objectives being used. Instead, both sides are simply going to try to break the other (either by killing units or by causing them to retreat).


The Dwarves are set up in three companies:

The right: 3 two-handed weapon Dwarves and 2 Dwarf archers
The center: Gimli, 4 shield-bearing Dwarves, 2 two-handed weapon Dwarves, and a Banner.
The left: unfortunately, I don't have the picture of these guys at the beginning, but I do have a picture of them later. This formation consists of 4 Dwarf Warriors with shields and two with Dwarf Bows.

The Elves are set up as follows:

The archer on the far end is heading towards the Amon Hen structure. The other units include 3 Elven swordsmen and 3 Wood Elf Spearmen. This warband will be heading towards the high ground.

Center Left: 3 Elven archers and Legolas (second from the left). They will head towards the trees to mount the platforms and benefit from the range and vision of that vantage point.
Center Right: 4 Elven swordsmen and 4 Wood Elf spearmen. They will be pressing the Dwarven army's left flank.
Far Right: Three Elven archers. They will be supporting the Elven warband mentioned above as they approach the Dwarves on the left.

Turn 1: both armies advance (Priority - Elves)

Nothing much happens, but the two armies move towards each other.

Note that the Dwarves have taken the bridge (top right) and there are Elven archers in the woods (bottom right) and an Elf archer is preparing to ascend to the top of Amon Hen (bottom left). Legolas and his Elven archers (center formation) are near the woods and anticipate reaching the trees long before the Dwarves do.

Turn 2: The armies are still just moving (P - Dwarves)

Nothing flashy, just going to show a few pictures to show you where specific units are...

The Elf Warband of 8 units moves towards the cover of the rocks. They will have the difficult task of running through an open plain towards the Dwarf archers in the trees...can you spell Light Brigade?

The Dwarf line advances towards the high ground, but the archers separate from the line. They're headed for the high ground, where they can fire with protection at Elves on the plains.

Three archers lie in wait in their woods, but remain out of range of their opponents (sadly).

Turn 3: Arrows fly (P - Dwarves)

As the armies move closer together, the Elves begin to shoot at their Dwarf foes. Statistically, the Elves should not be killing too many of the little bearded men, but watch what they do...

These 4 Dwarves with shields comprise the Left formation which wasn't highlighted at the start of the game. The two archers from the formation are hiding in the trees behind a bush.

An Elf archer sees his foes in the field and begins to fire...Of the four Dwarves in that line (which, regrettably, are difficult to see), two are killed by the Elven archer nearest the camera and one of his friends (rolling the required 6 to wound). Cheers arose from the woods, but not from me...

Encouraged by the success of their friends, the Warband has now reached the rocks and prepares their charge against the Dwarf left battle line. Half of them will choose to instead charge the Dwarf main battle line in the center of the map, due to the other force of six Elves being woefully outnumbered.

The archer on the Amon Hen platform begins to shoot at the Dwarves (who are also hard to see, apologies for that)...but with no success. Remember him...

Gimli continues to lead his men into battle, moving around the high ground (and being thankful for the cover that it gives them). The unit with the white piece of paper on his base is the banner-bearer - remember him. While you're at it, you should also remember the two Dwarves on the ends of the front line (black beard with shield and white beard with shield).

It never ceases to amaze me when an archer fails a climbing test...there is a 17% chance of it happening, but when it does, you have a 100% chance of being mocked by your friends and enemies alike.

Legolas slew another shield-bearing Dwarf from the Dwarf left, bringing the tally of dead Dwarves to three. These three Dwarves are not very happy... "Let me at them!" "I'm not finished yet!" "That's not how the story goes!"

Turn 4: More shooting (P - Elves)

The Dwarves continue to advance, but their archers now have targets in range. As all of the melee troops begin to charge at each other, it will the Elves who get to draw extra blood, as all of their infantry have throwing daggers (allowing them to use their prodigious skill in archery before they engage in combat).

The Dwarves charged in a wedge formation, to keep the group from being surrounded too easily. The Elves approached and threw their daggers, killing a Dwarf with shield (the one to Gimli's left in the wedge above).

The Elven archers were superb this round. Legolas killed 2 two-handed axemen (used 2 Might, 1 on each), while an archer killed the third and final two-handed weapon Dwarf from the Far Right formation, leaving two "vulnerable" Dwarf archers. Another archer shot at one of the archers on the high ground and rolled a 6 to hit, a 6 to wound, and a 3 for in-the-way. The arrow missed. This happened to be the Dwarf who failed his climb test.

I must note that the Dwarf archers were far from silent. Of the six arrows that were loosed by the Dwarves, 3 hit their targets, killing three Elven swordsmen. One of the Dwarves (from the high ground, but not the one who was nearly killed) killed his target with a 6 to hit, a 6 to wound, and a 6 for a patch of the high ground that was in the way. "Take that, Elf!"

Turn 5: The Sound of Clashing Arms (P - Tie, Dwarves)

Here was the first melee combat of the battle...and the Dwarves welcomed it gladly. That being said, the Dwarves at this point were seeking a tactical redeployment on their left, as the Elven swordsmen and spearmen were quickly approaching. During the Shoot phase, the Elves killed no one, while the Dwarf archers killed 2 Elven spearmen and an Elf archer. One of the spearmen was supporting a swordsman against the Dwarf wedge.

The Dwarves on the left seek the cover of the trees...just what the Elves want. Remember that there are three units here: a Dwarf with shield and two with bows (purple and reddish outfits).

The Elves approached the group of Dwarves and succeeded in ganging up on and killing the Dwarf with shield in the front (both rolls to wound were 6s). Beautiful... :-)

While the Elves have raked the Dwarf left flank, the center clearly belonged to the Dwarves. Gimli called a heroic combat and killed the swordsman he was fighting with ease. He then joined the two-handed axemen near him, easily slaying that opponent as well (though it was the axeman who won the fight...ironically). The Dwarf with shield at the top of the picture killed the swordsman - the was-supported-by-a-spearman-until-the-archery-phase swordsman (winning on the roll of a 2). The Dwarves think they can hear the sounds of retreat behind the Elf spearmen here...who can blame them?

Turn 6: The Elves Regroup (P - Elves)

Pardon the blurriness. Gimli leads his men into the forest. In the archery phase, he kills this Elf with his throwing axe...which is really handy. With this kill, the Elven force is broken.

The Elves on the right have moved to the rocks, firing now on the archers camped out on the high ground. For all their firing, only Legolas killed any Dwarves this round (killing one of the Dwarf archers on the high ground, but not the one that failed his climbing test). This is enough to also break the Dwarf force.
The Dwarves charge into the forest and are not afraid...remember these three Dwarves, as they will be coming under a lot of fire soon!

During the Fight phase, the two Dwarf archers in the woods to the left were assaulted by the three remaining Elven warriors - the two that are highly detailed and one rogue spearman who lost his swordsman to archery, as seen in the picture above for Turn 5. The purple-coated archer killed the spearman he was fighting (which drove the Elves to their breaking point). The other Dwarf archer, though outnumbered two-to-one, managed not to meet death from his attackers (whose rolls to wound were a 2 and 1).

Turn 7: The Plot Thickens (P - Dwarves)

During this round, not much happened. One Elf died in close combat with a Dwarf archer, but most of the action happened in the archery phase. You can see the results below.
This archer not only survived an attack by two Elves during the last round, but he also succeeded in winning against the Elves individually when they attacked him (one was killed this round, the other flees during the next round). These two Elves happened to be the last two remaining Elves in the woods - the two who killed the final shield-bearing Dwarf. This archer's companion was killed by a throwing weapon before the Elves charged this Dwarf, making him the last Dwarf standing in the woods.

As the Dwarves charged into the woods, one of them moved around the difficult terrain to engage an archer who had recently moved towards the rock for cover (see him and his buddies in the next picture). A long and tediously drawn out battle continued between these two guys for three turns, ending in the death of the Elf.

The buddies of the archer who was fighting the Dwarf fired on the last remaining Dwarf archer on the high ground (the one who had problems climbing in an earlier round).

Turn 8: The Chase is on...

This Dwarf attracted arrow fire from many, many Elves. He survived two rounds of fire until he was finally killed by the Elf hiding on the Amon Hen platform.

Legolas is a masterful archer. In this shot, he has taken aim against the last remaining Dwarf archer in the wooded area. He successfully killed the archer on his first shot, though he could not kill the archer on the high ground with his other two shots. The archer, in return, would successfully hit and wound Legolas, depleting all 3 of his Fate points (with 1 shot!). During a later round, Legolas would respond not by shooting at this archer, but by shooting one of the Dwarves with shields below him with an in-the-way roll...he rolled 3 6s.

As you can see, Legolas finished off the last Dwarf in the small wooded area. With his death, the region of the map which remained greatly contested finally became silent, diverting most of our attention to the larger wooded region with the platforms. 8 Elves and 6 Dwarves died taking that forest...

Turn 9: The Power of Archery

Gimli successfully killed an Elf warrior with spear in a heroic combat (no more Might points), allowing him to charge up the rope to the platform which Legolas was defending. With all of his Fate points intact, he was met by an Elf archer, who stalled him long enough for Legolas to fire (he hit automatically, but couldn't wound). These three combatants would be up here in the trees for four turns before the archer died, leaving only Legolas and Gimli to duel it out.

As we have already noted, this Dwarf burned through all of Legolas' Fate points with one arrow. This round, he fired yet another shot which wounded Legolas..."One more good shot, and he's mine!" I should also note that he has resisted the fire of the two persistent archers who desperately want to kill him. He has certainly made up for not passing his climbing test early in the game.

Turn 10: The Mustering of the Elves (P - Elves)

The Elves successfully win the priority roll and immediately engage Gimli in combat. The Elf who was fighting Gimli chooses to hold back, waiting for a Dwarf warrior to climb up the rope and assist his captain. In the meantime, there are still a few Dwarves who he can shoot at, so he should be useful in either case.

This is the first of several duels between Legolas and Gimli. Let me say, much to my displeasure, that neither combatant wounded the other in close combat...very displeased about that...

Responding to Gimli's call for aid is the banner-bearing Dwarf. If he can make it up to the platform, Gimli's chance of survival is very good...but instead, he chooses to flee the battlefield. Why? We honestly don't know because there were no Elves anywhere near him...perhaps he was just hungry.
  I am now going to cover a lot of time very very quickly, since not much happened during most of these turns.

Turn 11-15: (P - mostly Dwarves)

Not much happens during the last few turns, which makes me think I should institute a rule that provides for a faster end of the game and points tally once one army breaks. What I'm thinking is (and I was inspired after seeing another gamer website) that at the beginning of each priority phase after an army is broken, the broken-force player rolls a dice. On the roll of a 1, the game ends at the end of the subsequent turn. You then tally up what points of remaining units you have or what objectives you have at the end of that round. With each passing turn, you add 1 to the required roll, meaning that you will have no more than 6 turns after a force is broken to play. The fact that you get one final round to play after knowing that the game will end gives you the opportunity to evaluate what you need to do to win with your forces (or who to keep alive).

But to get back to the game...

This archer was the sniper who killed several Dwarves during this battle. For whatever reason, after killing a shield-bearing Dwarf, he decided to flee the battlefield. Pansy...
I mentioned earlier that Legolas managed to snipe a Dwarf with shield on the roll of 2 6s (one to wound and one for in-the-way)...he was standing right next to this Dwarf.
The final six combatants. Much to pity, the two archers will choose to flee the field, which means the only four who really matter are the four in the woods. The Dwarf with shield turns around the following turn (turn 13) and begins fighting with the Elf archer (who he kills in turn 14).
On Turn 15, the battle was decided, as both Gimli and Legolas geared up to use their missile weapons on each other. The Dwarves had priority and Gimli not only needed to roll to hit and wound Legolas, he also needed to take a vision test (and an in-the-way test). After passing the vision test, the roll to hit, and the in-the-way test, Gimli successfully wounded Legolas and slew his opponent. The game was over.


So, Gimli ended the game by killing Legolas with a throwing awesome. Legolas was probably fitting an arrow nicely in his bow while this was happening, but we can only guess. Gaius insists that Legolas had the arrow ready to fire right before he died, but that's his opinion.

Tiberius: The Dwarves, I have concluded, are a hardy civilization and with the right maneuvers can even transverse difficult terrain well to fight enemies who are not penalized by them. Their armor is great, but won't stop all archers from nailing them if their bows are strong enough (but since Defense 6 units are wounded on the same roll by a Strength 2 or Strength 3 bow, it's reasonable to say that with enough archery, you could slay many Dwarves from a distance, which happened today).

Gaius: For the Elves, there was a moment where they definitely could have won. It was probably a mistake to keep the archers on the Far Right in the woods for so long when they could have raced to the high ground and killed the archers in close combat instead of shooting at them. This could have not only kept Legolas more healthy, but could also have routed the Dwarves faster. Legolas was great, but had a few really bad archery rounds. It's tough to see him have a bad night (though I've definitely seen worse).

Most effective Elf Warrior unit: Archers

The Elven archers not only assisted in killing more than one-quarter of the Dwarf units, but they also managed to shoot two Dwarves with shields during the first volley of the game. Incredible. They continued to take down Dwarf after Dwarf after Dwarf, though they didn't have much luck against the Dwarves on the high ground.

Most effective Dwarf Warrior unit: Archers

The Dwarf archers in the trees killed four Elves at least, while those on the high ground killed a few others and one of them wounded Legolas (two wounds, one saved by all of Legolas' Fate points). The archers on the other side did relatively little, but three or four of these little Dwarf blokes managed to kill more points worth of units than they were cumulatively worth. A big shout out goes to the Dwarves with shields who managed to continue to take the brunt of the arrow fire in the center of the battle (not to the three worthless shield bearing Dwarves who died too quickly from the get-go).

As a wrap, I'm excited that new Dwarves are coming to me and I'll soon be ready to play a full 500 point game soon. In addition to these fine Dwarf warriors, I expect to have Dain and Balin join the ranks (losing a few of the Dwarf warriors because of points) and Gandalf and a few more Wood Elf warriors to join the Elven ranks. It should be fun...

Until later,


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