Saturday, 25 April 2015

Internet Warhammer!

Cavan vs Longford 

A member of my gaming group lives quite a distance away from us, probably a good days marching away anyhow, so he can't always make it up for a game. He mentioned a website called Universal Battle where people long days marches away from each other can play Warhammer without shouting or losing dice. So Donal & myself prepared to do some online gaming within the Warhammer world.

The Armies

Donal said he wanted to have a game vs Lizardmen so after a quick squint at the model graphics I realized this was doable as there are a few sprites on there to make a force up. We decided to play 1600 points so (we thought) it would be a fairly quick affair. My force consisted of Slann Mage Priest, BSB, Skink Cheiftain on a Ripperdactyl, and a level 1 Skink Priest using Beast magic. There were a couple of items in there and my Slann took Light magic as I heard that was pretty good for Lizards. 30 Saurus, 20 Temple Guard, 11 skinks and a Salamander made up the rest of my army. Donal took an Arch Lector, Level 4 wizard, BSB and a level 1 fire mage. Troops were 10 archers, 3 Demigriffs, Halberdiers, Swordsmen, a Great cannon and a Hellblaster Volley Gun. I forgot to name a unit for my blot toad marker, but I imagine (had I remembered it would have been placed on the cannon). As No notes were taken (just screenshots) it's a bit tricky to remember what was going on, but I think it was pretty straight forward.
Note: There are a few models in my army (and Donal's) that do not have images in the free version of UB. These are - on my side anyway - Salamanders (in the diagram below the Kroxigor hiding behind the central hill), Slann Mage Priest (another Kroxigor within the unit of Temple Guard - who are actually Saurus in the image - to the left. Donal's units in disguise are : the Hellblaster Volley Gun that looks like a Trebuchet situated almost directly opposite the Salamander pretending to be Kroxigor, and Demigriffs (they are the winged beasties - most likely Pegasus riders - to the right of the Trebuchet/Hellblaster image).


Turn One

I won the roll for first turn so I shuffled my army up on the left flank (the only model to go on the right was the Salamander - which was one of those place a unit to provoke your opponent to place a counter type move). I sent the Ripperdactyl towards the cannon. I let the skinks have a paddle in the river (we didn't roll for mysterious terrain as typing all that stuff is annoying). Judging by the screenshot below the magic and shooting phases were pretty quiet affairs.


Lizardman turn 1
Donal advanced his forces forward to engage mine but not a far as he could (was he hoping I'd make up the distance and get in range of the Hellblaster? I had seen it destroy a not insignificant sized Grave Guard unit so I was wary of it). I didn't think taking notes was necessary but it seems it would have been useful as I don't remember what spells were successfully castbut there is a skull counter on the level 4 wizard and fewer skinks so I'm thinking Banishment or Shem's Burning Gaze. The cannon also shot and I think it either missed the Skink Chieftain or killed 1 or 2 Saurus.

Empire turn 1

Turn Two

I charged (successfully I might add) with the Skink Brave on the cannon and advanced the skinks up to provide a nuisance to the archers and indeed maybe have some kind of shootout Wild West style with arrows and poison darts. One of the things I'm getting better more used to is not advancing forward just because I can. I chose to deploy my forces using the river so that's where I stopped moving them. I also moved the Salamander up to hopefully spew fiery hot halitosis on the humans in the next few turns (and to provide bait for the Demigriffs so they might charge them providing me with a flank charge into them). Judging by the distinct lack of Empire casualties I must presume that magic and shooting were both pretty uninspiring. Close combat saw the Skink smash the cannon then overrun off the table due to an enthusiastic frenzied Ripperdactyl.

Lizardman turn 2
Donal wasn't taking the bait and didn't charge my Salamander with anything. He just advanced his units up angling units to deal with threats. In magic all I know is I scrolled something I didn't like as there is a scroll icon in front of the Saurus unit. I think it may have been Banishment. Then when Donal cast another spell with his level 2 wizard I Hex scrolled him, turning him into a toad! It also has to be noted that the skink chief is currently off the table and therefore not getting shot at or spelled upon. I'm down to 3 skinks so the archer unit must got their shooting boots on. The Hellblaster shot at the Salamander and luckily for me killed 2 handlers and caused only one wound on the beastie itself.

Empire turn 2

Turn Three

I remembered to bring my Skink Chief back on and scooted him round into the woods so as the archers would struggle to hit him, another option was to fly around the back lines but I just wasn't into getting within 24" of the Hellblaster. Shuffled my Temple Guard so they were angled towards stuff and the skink priest got inbetween both Saurus units as protection. The Salamander moved forward to do some barbecuing. Magic was forgettable and in shooting I think an archer died to a poison dart. The Salamander torched about 10+ halberdiers but failed to rout them (damn BSBs). End of Lizardman turn three.

Lizardman turn 3
Donal charged the Salamander with his Swordsmen. The halberdiers could only march forward 2" thanks to the hex scroll. The rest of his army advanced. In the magic phase the Fire wizard turned back into a human (unfortunately) but it had disrupted the advance. I think most of his offensive spells didn't get through. Shooting caused the skinks to flee! In close combat the Salamander was routed and destroyed.As you can see from enlarging the picture below - Donal also listened to "My Steampunk Song" on YouTube while we played.

Empire turn 3

Turn Four

I charged my cheif into the archer unit making sure I was in base to base contact with the wizard. The skinks didn't rally. I angled my Saurus block towards the Demigriffs and Swordsmen. In the magic phase I irristably cast a spell, judging by the distinct lack of missing empire soldiery it must have been Bironas Timewarp or Speed of Light, either way I lost 11 Temple Guard to the resulting explosion. I think Wyssan's was also cast successfully on the Saurus unit. In close combat I put a wound on the wizard and took one but no one ran away.

Lizardman turn 4
The slow Empire advance continued. I'm surprised Donal didn't charge the Temple Guard but the buff probably discouraged him. The Light wizard cast Speed of Light on his own unit, in the hope that the combat monster that is the Skink Chief on a Ripperdactyl might be fooled by some chicanery. The Hellblaster Volley Gun crew had probably by now pulled out some roll ups and started smoking them as I think by now they realised I wasn't going near them anytime soon. In the combat phase the wizard failed to wound the Chief, but he killed the mage in return. The archers still refused to run!

Empire turn 4

Turn Five

Rather than receive a double charge on my Temple Guard unit next turn I decided to be proactive and charge the Swordsmen. I also got stuck in to the Demigriffs too. In the magic phase (now that the meddlesome Light wizard was gone) I successfully cast both Bironas Timewarp and Wyssan's on the Temple Guard. As the skinks are still in the picture I imagine that they either rallied or I couldn't be bothered to take them off. In combat the diminished Temple Guard figuratively tore the Swordsmen a new one, routed and killed them (thanks, I think to Predatory Fighter). They also overran into the halberd unit. The Demigriff/Saurus unit seems rather less vicious judging by the lack of casualties on either side. The brave Skink Chief died to some archers who got a bit up themselves with ASF but he gets a posthumous MVP award anyway.

Lizardman turn 5
The Hellblaster crew kept on smoking, the uppity archers moved forward a bit. The wizard didn't cast. The Arch Lector turned out to be a bit of a pain to kill. The Demigriffs and Saurus fought on.

Empire turn 5

Turn Six

The combats ground on, I think I Wyssaned my Temple Guard again and cast another buff on the Saurus. I won the TG combat and reformed, the Saurus Demigriff scrum continued. I lost combat but steadfast kept me rocking in the free world!

Lizardman turn 6
The game continued with my Saurus Scar Veteran unable to kill the Arch Lector (and vice versa) my Fencers Blades toting Slann also proved to be very Steven Segal (Hard To Kill). The Demigriffs started getting into the swing of things killing 4 Saurus but again steadfast would (by my reckoning) give me another 2-3 combat rounds before it became a problem. So the game ended with a 505 - 251 points difference in favour of the servants of the Old Ones.

Empire turn 6

Conclusion

The game seemed to take absolutely ages, mainly I think to my slow typing skills. UB is a good vehicle for playing Warhammer across the world so in that respect it is a good thing. Not as visually pleasing as WFB but if it was I'm sure it wouldn't be free. I found the wheeling and rotating tools to be a bit finicky but I'm sure with practise I can get my head round it. The main stumbling block is time taken to play it so next time we will Skype at the same time to speed the whole lot up.

As far as the game and my tactics went I think I was a little to cautious with the main combat blocks but I really wanted Donal to come to me (piss poor initiative means a charge is fairly irrelevant). Combats need to be ground out. Hopefully our next game will be face to face as I really do enjoy the banter over a table, it's a social game.

A quick comment on Battlefield Debris. I thought that without dice everywhere, casualty models and cups of tea the game table would look a lot tidier. Clearly I am a slob as the table looked every bit as messy as if it was round Phil's house. One aspect of using Universal Battle is the lack of crotches in the pictures. Now as far as I'm concerned this isn't a bad thing but as I'm not 100% sure of the motivations of the people viewing this blog I hope this won't negatively affect my viewing numbers. Perhaps if you could leave a comment below regarding crotches could help clear up any doubts about my audience.

Thanks for reading!

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