Sunday, 10 July 2016

Gauntlet 2016 and other stories

So Gauntlet has been and gone, and it high time I posted some pics of our game, firstly though I thought I'd post some of the other stuff that I've painted recently, and some of the other stuff I've been up to:

One new thing we tried recently was the old GW WW1 rules- a surprisingly good version of WH40k! I wasn't sure that would work out well but the game flowed well, and felt like a WW1 game should. My BEF Royal Fusiliers went up against some late war German storm troopers who were rather tough, but the Fusiliers held them to a draw. My only gripe would be that the rules require whole formations so if I want to field my lancers I'll need about 40 or so, which is a bit expensive! So, I picked up a Rolls Royce Armoured Car from 1st Corps at Phalanx to provide a bit more manoeuvrability for next time.
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Found these chaps at the west midlands safari park- 50p each. thought they would do nicely in my undead army, and provide a bit of skeletal variety, and some much needed hitting power...
 however in their first outing against Rick's undead they were soundly trounced by zombies of all things...

 Also at Phalanx I picked up this chap; Nong the Not Very Nice At All, by Wargames Supply Dump. I very much like this figure and need to get him some henchmen so he can turn his evil against the galaxy!

 Gauntlet 2016:
As usual this year the boys and I decided to run a big game for Gauntlet, another large set piece battle to awe and inspire as best we can! It was, apparently, my turn to come up with something and so after some thought I decided we should have a fantasy game, using the KOW rules but with a bit of an Oldhammer vibe. Obviously we wouldn't be using any warhammer rules for the simple reasons we wanted to actually get a result before we died of old age...

To this end I envisioned a Champion of Chaos, a sorcerer known as the Duke of Damnation, powerful and ambitious, who has decided that he is beloved of the Ruinous Powers and that they want him to conquer the world in the name. With promises of plunder he has called a horde of barbaric, bestial and bloodthirsty followers to his banners. Subjected to his rambling sermons and badly thought out manifesto for world domination most of them have come to the conclusion that he doesn't stand a cat in hell's chance of actually getting very far, but have pragmatically decided that the opportunities for plunder still make it worth the effort.

Their first target is an ancient city called, er....Stadtburghgrad.  Once known as the Bulwark of the North, for millennia its walls held back the tides of darkness from swamping the lands of men, but in recent centuries the city has been in decline. A long period of peace and prosperity means no hordes of daemons or barbarians throwing themselves at the walls, and with no enemies to hold back those walls fell in to disrepair , the city's population reduced and its armies were forgotten.

An army on the march doesn't stay secret long and news of the impending attack spread. The Warden of the City roused himself and ordered the ancient defences be put in order, the militia to be called up, stores laid in, the beacons have been lit and the coffers emptied to hire mercenaries. The citizens are preparing for a siege and can do little more than wait and see if ancient alliances still hold true.

So far so good eh? I came up some rules for fortress walls, siege equipment and looting and destroying buildings, and decided upon an actual scenario- The forces of the Duke of Damnation would attack a city and its environs (an outlying village, farms, mills etc), destroying everything in their path. A smaller force commanded by the Warden would defend the city , and possibly receive reinforcements from an ally. I decided to include various random elements which could fight for neither or either side- a Gigantic Ancient Spider in the woods who doesn't like to be disturbed, a coven in the city desperate to defend their homes by any means necessary, an old hermit in the wizards tower, and other things stirring beneath the city...As the Umpire I hoped to be able to control things impartially, but things didn't turn out the way I expected.

In the original plan I would umpire, and Chris, Dave, Michael and Rick would pair off as the actual players. Dave abandoned us the week before to go and play Gates of Antares in Nottingham, so Michael roped his son Ben in to help, however he had to leave at lunchtime! Rick had manged to turn up long enough to help set up but was called away as his daughter wasn't well and didn't make it back till we'd finished! I thus spent the first half of the game umpiring and fighting on both sides! Luckily we were able to rope in a couple of chaps who were standing around without anything better to do- Dave and his friend (whose name escapes me) spent the rest of the day pushing figures around for us. Well they do say that no plan survives contact with the enemy, but it turned out ok in the end.

I won't bother with a blow by blow account because it would take forever and I can't remember the details, so instead I'll settle for pictorial highlights.
The Walls of Stadtbughgrad
Michael and Ben arraying the defenders of the village.

The last supply train makes its way to the City gates
Dwarfish Artillery attempts to bring down the siege towers.

The hermit in the tower, Sirius Diction summons his followers
 to defend his tower from the barbarian horde.
The coven summons daemonic aid but fail to bind the daemons to their will- they devour
 the coven and spill out on to the streets but are contained by the militia.

The Warden on his firedrake attempts to thin the horde but is trapped and killed before the walls.
An Elvish prince brings his warband to the aid of the defenders,
emerging from the woods to attack the Minotaurs
Some noisy Orcs awaken the ancient Spider Lloth. She isn't pleased...

The Beastmen find a gap on the walls and pour through to the undefended streets behind

The ancient and rotten walls collapse under the assault of the
minotaurs- the miltia fall back in good order, trying to stem the tide.
The monstrous Snaegl makes short work of the commander of the villages defences.
A beastslaying Champion is sent to deal with Lloth..she adds him to her larder.
Another section of the wall collapses! The mercenary Pike plug the gap.
Ratmen rise up from the cities ancient sewers to fall on the unsuspecting citizens. 
In the final analysis it was deemed that the defenders and held their ground like heroes, and done enough damage to the Dukes Army that it would be in no condition to take to the field again. Several sections of the wall had fallen,the village was in ruins, but the defending forces were mostly intact, and we hadn't even brought on the reinforcements they were entitled to! The attack had simply taken to long to gain the momentum needed to drive through the defences and loot the city behind.

It was a good fun game, and I'm sure you'll agree it looked rather good, which is the aim. A full third of the figures never made it on to the table and it was hampered by lack of familiarity with the rules. This was a known issue before the game- I was most familiar with the rules, Chris and Rick less so, and the rest not at all, but KOW is a pretty straight forward set of rules so I didn't envisage much problem as I was umpiring and able to help everywhere. However with Rick out of it, Chris remembering less than expected and a high turn over of players meaning I needed to actually play it wasn't as smooth as I'd hoped.  With no clear commander in chief on the attacking force, the attackers lost focus of the objective and didn't make as much headway in collecting loot as I'd hoped , instead preferring to fight the defenders.  When they did they tended to send individual heroes to try and knock over whole buildings alone whilst big hard hitting creatures which would have ground the city to dust in a few turns went for softer targets, which meant the all out assault was slow and did a lot less damage than it could have done.
In future (and with a bit more time) I'd have provided each unit with a marker for it stats so any player could turn up and command any units with ease, otherwise I'd just let each player command their own forces rather than pooling them..which isn't something that would have worked for this game given that most of the figures on the table belonged to me and Chris! I'd probably make the buildings/city walls etc weaker as you can't rely on people to even roll average dice! With every roll well below par it took a long time just to loot a tiny little cottage!

Still, all in all, I think it went well and everyone seemed to have fun which is the main thing.  Didn't seem as much at Gauntlet this year, but there was a small Oldhammer gathering playing Rogue Trader and what appeared to be a WHFB 3rd ed Skirmish. Also a couple of tournaments for WRG(?)Ancients and FOW, and a scattering of other games. We always try and do something big and impressive for Gauntlet, so I wonder what we're doing next year...any ideas chaps?