Monday, 27 July 2015

Half A Game Of AoS

So 8th edition Warhammer is gone! Well sort of. The general consensus in my gaming group is that AoS is a pile of simplistic shit that 'is the anal rape of the fluff' or something like that. I said from the start I'm not going to judge it until I've had a couple of games to ascertain it's worth. I downloaded the battlescrolls for my Lizardmen and Wood Elf army. I saw lots of fun things in both armies but I decided on Lizardmen as the Slann seems to now be the pre-eminent casters in the game (of course until GW invent a new copy writable uber wizard). Plus I had a blast last game with the aforementioned so I thought I will take a pretty similar force. My opponent Pat, brought his Warriors of Chaos to do battle. Now a lot of the time I add some prose to the battle report to give it a place within my own mental fluff masterpiece as to provide a narrative. Unfortunately I haven't read any of  about the new world(s) so I'm at a loss to come up with something.  

The Armies

Another staple of the battle report is the army list. As GW have decided to do, apart from the anal raping, was toss the salad of points values. This was, at first I thought aimed at tournament play and the destruction of it, but then I thought it was more about a friendly atmos than a fairly balanced game. So here's what I used: Slann Mage Priest, Scar Vet BSB, Skink Priest, 2 x 20 Saurus units, Kroq gar on Carnosaur and 2 units of 10 skinks. For what it's worth a grand total of 87 wounds. Pat took a Sorceror Lord, BSB, Lord on Daemonic Mount, 3 chariots, 3 Skullcrushers and 20 chaos warriors. 97 wounds in total. So by the rules pamphlet my 64 models gave Pat the sudden death option, but he decided not to use it as a we thought we'd see how the game played without trying too many rules. This is also why we didn't use the rules for mysterious landscapes as having to note down every piece of scenery and it's abilities seemed like hard work.

My Simple Plan

Not knowing how the game would play, all I had in mind was keep the Slann at the back summon some extra models and see what damage I could do. As the Seraphon (??!!??) army is now effectively good daemons I can summon all game. This was cool as it was the first game in The Palace of Righteous Justice which is what I'm calling my garage at the moment. This meant I had all my Lizardmen models handy so (in theory at least) I could summon my entire army! another nice touch was Pat brought round a printed battlemat  that really made the battle field come to life. It certainly beats the blue of my table tennis table! 

Le Battlefield Sans Armies

Le Battlefield Avec Armies
I deployed  Saurus unit #1 unit to the left with Skink Priest, Skink unit #1, Saurus unit #2, Slann, BSB , Skink unit #2 and Kroq Gar on the far right. Pat's deployment was chariot #1, chariot #2, Sorceror, BSB, Chaos Warriors, Chaos Lord, Skullcrushers and finally chariot #3.

Ready for the off!

Turn One

Pat won the first turn and in his hero phase cast Mystic Shield (+1 Armour Save) on the Chaos Warriors. the Gift of Foresight (Rerolling saves of a 1) was also given to them from the Sorceror Lord and the Chaos Lord used his command ability The Knights of Chaos (rerolling charge distances and +1 to hit in combat) on Chariot #3. Then the entire Chaos army advanced forward.

Chaos Turn 1
In my hero phase the BSB plants his standard into the ground giving the Slann standing next to him +1 to all his casting rolls. I summon a Saurus Oldblood on a Cold One, and then fail to summon both a Stegadon and an Ancient Stegadon. Good job really as if i'd gotten all those spells off it would've been pretty tough for Pat. I advanced my Skinks up to shoot some followers of the ruinous powers only to find that Skink unit #2 didn't have the range *. Skink unit #1 just proved to be inept. Then I went all out for the assault phase by declaring charges by Saurus unit #1 (failed) on chariot #1, Skink unit #1 (suceeded) on chariot #2 and Kroq Gar (failed) on the Chaos lord. the only reason I charged with the skinks was to deny a charge from the Chariot. So the assault phase saw 4 skinks die. it was then I found out that the Seraphon army is pretty much immune to BATTLESHOCK  **. They have a bravery of 10 so they need to lose 5 models before they even think about running. It was at this point that I realised I really, really needed to win initiative for the next turn or there was going to be a lot of frothing chaos maniacs chopping up Kroq Gar.

The Seraphon aka Lizardmen turn 1

Turn Two

There was a bit of drama at the start of turn 2 when the roll for initiative was at first drawn (leading me to hope I win the second roll), then Pat getting first turn again. In the hero phase his BSB planted his Battle standard, giving some rather tasty benefits (any SLAVES TO DARKNESS within 20" reroll charge dice and get +2 bravery). The Sorceror casts Daemonic Power on chariot #1. All the units that could advanced forward making a lot of short charges. Then the assault phase arrived and there were lots of charges. Chariot #1 charges Saurus unit #1, the sorceror charges into the skinks fighting chariot #2, the Chaos Warriors charges into the other skink unit, and the icing on the cake was the Chaos Lord, Skullcrushers & Chaos Chariot #3 all bundle into Kroq Gar. 
Things are not looking rosy for my Lizardmen

More chaos Death!

The skinks have a job to do - DIE!
One thing I will say for chaos chariots in AoS, they are nowhere near as deadly as in 8th ed. There are no impact hits. This goes a lot way to explain Kroq Gar survival in the ensuing close combat phase. Admittedly the whole combats went the way they would in 8th, but without the running away. The numbers break down like this :
 Chaos Chariot 4 - Saurus Unit 5,
 Chaos Chariot & Sorceror 5 - Skinks 0
 Chaos Warriors 6 - Skinks 0
 Chaos Lord, Skullcrushers & Chariot 5 - Kroq Gar 2.
Now the above numbers would suggest a rout test for the Chariot, both units of skinks (due to charge bonuses) and Kroq Gar. What did happen was none of my units lost anyone to BATTLESHOCK, Carnosaurs have this ability called Bloodroar that causes any unit within 8" that has lost models in the turn can lose another d3 after a roll off. I had directed my attacks on the Skullcrushers and I won the roll - 2 frothing maniacs of Khorne flee like goblins!

The as yet unnamed Slann watches impassively
In my turn we rolled for Celestial Configuration (something I forgot in the first turn) which basically meant all the SERAPHON units added +1 to running and charge rolls (what I could have done with last turn, D'Oh!).  The BSB didn't bother pulling his standard out as it was doing a good job and the Slann summoned another Oldblood on Cold One. The Skink Priest (whom I had positioned appallingly badly for the first turn - making him unable to shoot or have spells cast through him) shot a wound off the Sorceror fighting Skink unit #1. Kroq Gar shoots a wound off the Chaos Lord. in the assault phase Saurus unit #2 charged into the flank of the Chaos Warriors (not that flanks matter anymore) and Oldblood on Cold One #1 (or OboCO#1) jumps in to cause death and destruction on them too.  I have 33 Saurus attacks on Chariot #1 and fail to take either of it's wounds off it! This is actually harder than it looks as at least half those attacks were hitting and wounding on 4+. Chariot #2 aided by the Sorceror finish off the skinks in the centre.  The large scrum in the centre is a pretty ineffectual slapfest with the Chaos Warriors proving to be hard as nails. I direct all Kroq Gar's attacks on the Chaos lord only to fail to wound the bugger. Kroq Gar is chopped up forthwith.

33 attacks vs 9

I must glue my cold One Rider to his steed

The End is Nigh for Skinkdom

End of Lizardman turn 2

Turn Three

Once again Pat wins initiative. The Sorceror casts Daemonic Power on the Chaos Warriors, making them even harder to deal with! The BSB, seeing how my BSB did nothing for two turns and got away with it also leaves his standard in the ground and lights up a cigar. The Chaos lord uses his command ability on Chariot #3. Both chariot use their Don't spare The Lash rule to get uncomfortably close to the Slann. The Chaos Lord also tries to get within kissing distance but his Daemonic Mount doesn't respond to slaps as well as chariot horsies. Both chariots assault the Slann but the Chaos Lord fails. This would normally be a death sentance for good Ole Slanny but after all their attacks it's a 4 - 4 draw (Slann are WAY harder in AoS). A wound is inflicted on Chariot #1 meaning it remains alive. The large fight in the middle continues with a couple of casualties on both sides and no one fleeing to BATTLESHOCK

End of Chaos Turn 3
As time is getting on we have agreed that turn three will be the last one. In the hero phase I cast Arcane Bolt at the annoying Chaos Sorceror killing him (the skinks, in fairness had taken a few wounds off him already). My other two Slann spells were summoning a unit of Skinks and a Bastiladon. The Oldblood on Cold One #2 and the BSB charged the Chariot to the right of the Slann (had I a bit more foresight in the previous turn I would have directed my Slann's attacks on the left hand chariot instead). Due to the rules for positioning summoned units I couldn't get the Bastiladon close enough to shoot either the Chaos Lord or Chaos Warriors. so both it and the skinks shot up the nearest chariot taking a few wounds off it. In combat  Saurus unit #1 finally ended the chariot #1. The large fight in the middle ground on. without any sign of a result. chariot #3 was mangled by the double teaming Saurus hero charge and the Slann got chariot #2 down to 1 wound.

Summoning Shenanigans

Last image of the game
Models were totted up and unsurprisingly it was a victory for Pat filthy Chaos. If the game had gone on then I think I could have swung it a bit more in my favour. That said after reading the Daemons of Chaos battlescrolls then the Chaos Sorceror could've been summoning daemons all game as well.


Well, after one game it's hard to give a definitive opinion on AoS but it's certainly better than I had originally thought. We hadn't played with many of the rules: sudden death, mysterious terrain, but I thought there was plenty of tactical options for spells, command abilites and unit rules. The piling in and 360 degree charge arcs will take getting used to but I'm sure it will become clearer. Shooting into and out of combat didn't do very much but that's probably more to do with the armies involved. The amount of terrain certainly did affect the amount of clear lines of sight for shooting too. One thing I did notice is pretty much everything can dish out damage. I had taken the Skink Priest as a spell extension but had I properly read his rules then he would've been played a lot differently. I also think my next game with lizardmen will use a few different battlescrolls as I'm now clearer as to how the game plays. Next game of AoS I intend using my Wood Elves, to see what they have to offer. At the moment one of the best things about  AoS is how the points values has eliminated the use of the word optimal*** on gaming forums. Many, many armchair generals spend more time trying to break a system**** than actually play for the craic. So summing up, I think I will play AoS again, but not at the total expense of 8th ed Warhammer. Ultimately is more about who you play with rather than what.  

* We decided that as we hadn't really studied the weapon options on some of the models that we'd count all models as armed with the first one listed on the battlescroll so as to eliminate confusion.
** BATTLESHOCK is without doubt the thing I dislike the most about AoS so far. It's a stupid (imo) term that is presumably put in the game as a trademarkable bullshit word, that makes rout tests a thing of the past.
*** Optimal-Schmoptimal. Fluffy is fun, although I have no idea about fluff in the new Bust-A-Move universe.
**** Yes you can take Kairos Fateweaver and a Screaming Bell to get you an instant win, but then you're just a cunt if you do.


Stylus said...

Interesting write-up, it's always good to read about an 8th Ed veteran's experience of AoS. For myself, I'm happy to keep trying out games and seeing where it goes.

I noticed you were both still using movement trays and ranked-up units - was that out of habit or just the convenience of moving them around? (I've found that using models individually helps me to shake off the 8th Ed mentality about formations and lines of sight).

Jason F said...

The trays were purely for ease of movement. I have over 200 skaven models that, if I ever use in AoS will have to be placed in a ranked up way. I also actually prefer the look of ranked up models.

TWD said...

Thabnks, that's a good report - similar conclusions to the ones we came to.

I think you can continue to write background to your games up as before.
There's something in the rules about games in the Old World being "from the world that has gone" so you're essentially playing a historical game in the old Warhammer world using the new rules.
Lizardmen and Chaos Warriors don't exist in the Age of Sigmar.
So only if you play with Laezurdmon against Khaous (or whatever new names they'll be given) will you have to write fluff set in the new realms. Although rumour has it there won't be a Lizardman faction at all...

Unknown said...

Great report Jason.
Surprised at your dislike for battleshock, seeing as it played little part in your game.
In the 2 games I have had, battle shock was wiping out half a unit . But that was with low bravery armies. Just got to finish writing mine up.

Darryl Hunt said...

Cheers Jason, enjoyed the report. I've played twice now and like you quite enjoyed the games. I think there is a lot more to it than I first thought. Some of the ideas I've seen are to do with altering how you set out your units, things like wedges, to restrict the pile in factor of your enemy. What i have really enjoyed is the freedom of movement that AOS has, still not won but who cares :-) Thanks again.

Jason F said...

I've since had another game of AoS (batrep pending) and I'm still on the fence with the game. Some thing I love, others not so much. My main problem with battleshock is it's name. The mechanic of troops dribbling off units each turn in addition to those slain seems alien to me. In all fairness Lizardmen don't really suffer from it but I preferred the way a unit either held or routed en masse. But thank you all for your comments as I like the discussion as to the merits (and flaws) of the game.