Friday, 16 May 2014

Where did it all go wrong? #1

Greetings fellow wargamers. Over recent months playing games of Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy & Blood Bowl at my local club, I have been trying to spend a little time post-game analysing where I have failed in games I have lost, be it army selection, deployment, target priority or whatever. I must admit, a big part of this is about trying to convince myself that I am not as bad a player as I might think in the moments after a defeat, because if I can identify where I made mistakes, I can improve my game. 

At least I won't have to talk about Blood Bowl defeats in this series - so far at least!

So, this is part one of what I hope will be a series of posts that are realtively short and to the point, and I hope that both I and other players can learn something from my misfortune. Welcome to the Debriefing Room.


Game: Warhammer Fantasy
Armies: Warriors of Chaos vs Skaven
Points Limit: 2500
Scenario: The Watch Tower

This was my favourite combat of the battle! Double Giant for the win!


I lost when the game ended at the close of turn 5, immediately after the remaining models (13) in my unit of Chaos Warriors was removed by the Curse of the Horned Rat spell, leaving the unoccupied Watch Tower in the hands of the Vermin Lord that had cast the spell.


Ok, assuming the game would finish at the close of turn 5 like it did, there are three mistakes I have identified which could have changed the result of the game.

The first might well have shaken things up, and this relates to the demise of my Daemon Prince on turn 3. Quite simply, I moved him into a position where he could cast Cacophonic Choir and hit the greatest possible number of units, including a Doomwheel on 3 wounds which I expected to die when hit by 2d6 hits wounding on 4's with no armour save, and the Skaven Warlord's unit. I threw six dice at the spell, scored exactly 24 (without Miscasting), and my opponent had already used his Dispel Scroll earlier in the game. He threw seven dice to dispel and scored 24. Nuts.

The Doomwheel charged the Daemon Prince, I rolled a 1 for his Charmed Shield, and the Prince was toast. I hadn't planned at all for what the situation would be if the spell didn't go off, because I had max dice to use and there was no dispel scroll. What I should have done was either charge the Doomwheel in my own turn with the Daemon Prince and try and take off its last three wounds, or safer yet, fly to a position where the Doomwheel would be blocked entirely from charging or zapping the Daemon Prince due to intervening Skaven infantry blocks.

Second mistake. If I had remembered that I had a Dispel Scroll when my Chaos Warriors had first been targetted by  Curse of the Horned Rat (they were wiped out by the second casting of this spell), then the unit would have survived and I would have been holding the Watchtower at the end of the game. As it was, the second casting was cast with Irresistible Force, and that was that.

Third mistake. Even with forgetting to use the Dispel Scroll and losing the Warriors, if I had moved either or both the Battle Standard Bearer and Chaos Sorceror out of the Warrior unit and into the Watchtower in my turn 5 movement phase, I would have been in control of the tower when the battle ended.


From this battle I learned a few things:

When taking an important action like casting a major spell or declaring a critical charge, consider what the consequences of that action not going off might be. What happens if the spell fails, or the charge falls short? If you are lucky, nothing damaging, if you are less fortunate, you could lose a major unit which could start the snowball rolling that dooms your army to defeat.

Always remember the tricks and special rules in your army, like using a Dispel Scroll when you really need to stop that game changing spell (if you can), don't forget your Magic Items effects, and if you have to write yourself a little note or put an elastic band around your wrist to help you remember, do it. Whatever works to stop you forgetting something that later proves signifcant.

Lastly, consider when it might be beneficial to have your characters abandon their bunker units. This might be simply to move them to a position of safety, it could be to threaten an enemy unit that would otherwise be out of your units threat area, or like my game, it could win you the battle by providing more targets than the enemy can eliminate before the last few grains of sand finally run out. Units are often used to provide protection for character models, but sometimes it is safer to have your character leave the unit while the unit provides a suitable diversion.

So, that's it for #1 of "Where did it all go wrong?". I hope it's been an interesting read. I've tried to keep it simple, and avoid getting into a situation where "you had to be there" for it to make any sense, and who knows, the things I have learned might also help you as well the next time you find your battleline in a bit of a fix.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

P.S. For anyone who hasn't seen them, I recently 'finished' my human Blood Bowl team!