March of the Stumpies
Well unfortunately I didn't have access to a laptop over the weekend so couldn't keep a detailed account of the tournament as I did with NICON 09 so this review will be shorter than I would have liked.
The rules for this tournament were pretty different from NICON and Runefang the other tournaments I have attended in that the battle point system was adjusted to make a close win harder to get. Basically any game where you didn't get a 400 VP advantage over your opponent resulted in a 10-10 draw. After that the penalties for losing really kicked in with the scores dropping to 15/5, 16/4, 17/3, 18/2, 19/1 and 20/0 - the basic idea was to get people to be more offensive with their armies and get more aggressive games. In this the tournament worked really well even for Dwarfs which, lets face it, aren't capable of marching at anybody offensively (It takes 4 turns just to march across the gap between deployment zones). Composition scoring was also adjusted to reflect the battle point changes.
Game 1 - vs. Tomb Kings (WIN 18-2)
My first ever game against Tomb Kings and also my first ever tournament win so a great way to start the tournament. Tomb King army's are actually pretty interesting and seem to be a lot of fun to play. I was worried at beginning as my opponent had 2 Chariot units, 2 Scorpions that pop out anywhere, and a big unit of flyers. His general as it turned out was also pretty tough, and Tomb King magic is surprisingly effective (although not as powerful as VC which is why rumours suggest the TK book is next to get updated; after Skaven).
Basically I massed my troops in the middle of the board, and had my missle units on the flanks, including a couple of a nice big hill in my deployment zone. I simple marched forward and got him to charge me as quickly as possible, with my Bolt-Throwers and Organ Gun blowing his Chariots apart in the interim. Luckily I was able to put one Quarreller unit into a building and they effectively controlled one half of the board and protected a key flank for me throughout the game.
In combat my Lord and his Hammerers were charged by some Chariots and a big unit of Skeletons with a couple of TK Heros including the general. They stubbornly held on with my General narrowly avoiding getting killed while he slowly worked his way through the TK Skeleton ranks. To their right my other two big infantry blocks surrounded and wiped out the rest of the TK army before the Longbeards flanked charged the TK general and the 2nd Hammerers went for the TK Archers. The TK Scorpions turned out to be less of a worry than I thought, although one killed a unit of Quarrellers and a Bolt-Thrower both were taken down pretty quickly by the Organ Gun and my small unit of 10 Warriors. This unit proved invaluable throughout the tournament.
Key moment was his General dying in a challenge with my Lord after I managed to stave off being killed (yet again) and then blowing up. I (just) managed to pass the resulting test which if failed would have wiped out a huge chunk of my army.
Final VP tally - Dwarfs 1965 Tomb Kings 635
Game 2 - vs. Empire (Draw 10-10)
This game really came down to three key events. The first was the deployment of our armies in opposite corners of the board. The Empire players basic idea was to tie me down with his Flagellant led infantry while his Knights etc swooped around behind me and his artillery whittled me down. However, this didn't come off as both of his war machines the Great Cannon, and the Rocket Battery, misfired and blew up in Turn 2 after taking out only a single Longbeard. The most crucial moment of the battle though was the defence of my brave Quarrellers. A single unit of 10 stood alone on a hill on my extreme left flank. Facing them were 2 units of Empire Knights, 1 of Outriders, 3 Empire Heros all mounted on Pegasus's and 4 blocks of infantry with detachments.
Charged by both Knight units the Quarrellers held for 5 - YES 5 - rounds of combat!!!! Before finally succumbing when the Empire General charged their flank with his Pegasus. Those 5 rounds effectively cost Empire the game as it kept his entire mounted force away from my army for the entire match. In the meantime my Hammerers and Longbeards chewed threw the Empire Flagellants, while my Warmachines and remaining Quarrellers systematically cut down the Empire detachments and Pistolliers.
Final VP tally - Dwarfs 480, Empire 470
Game 3 vs. Brettonians (Draw 10-10)
I was really dreading this game as I got slaughtered by Brettonians at NICON the previous month. This time the Brettonian army was very different, no Trebuchet and no Pegasus Knights but still lots and lots of other units of big nasty mounted buggers with Lances. Once again I was able to win the opening dice roll and select table sides opting for one which contained a huge 2-story building on the extreme left and a small hill on the extreme right. While this left a massive open space between them and a bigger one in the Brettonian zone for him to deploy in, it also meant I knew exactly where his units were going to go and could anchor my infantry around the building denying the the space they needed to be effective.
I started right away deploying all of my units on the left with the exception (once again) of a single unit of Quarrellers and a Bolt-Thrower on the small hill to the right. This was a tactic I followed in pretty much every game, leaving this small but effective grouping out on its own. If the enemy ignored it they could do a lot of damage, but if they didn't they diverted key units away from my main army to take care of them. In nearly every game the diverted units were the flyers and fast units that are so dangerous to slow moving Dwarves.
Turns 1-2 saw me put Quarrellers into the building, whose outside edge was only 14" away from the enemy deployment zone, and begin peppering the enemy infantry deployed on my left. My Hammerers and Longbeards marched straight ahead at the enemy's right where all of his infantry had been stationed. With them went the Organ Gun to fire at enemy units of a small hill to my front, and to protect the rear of the advance against the Brettonians Knights.
Turns 3 - 4 saw the Knights overrun my Quarrellers and BT on the hill but not before they and other units had whittled one unit down to under half strength and caused wounds on two more. Big moment of game though was the charge of 2 yes 2 big units of Knights (9 in each unit) plus the Brettonian General and BSB at a single unit of Hammerers who were guarding my rear and the only gap between the building and table edge where the enemy to get to it. End result, the Knights fail to kill a single Hammerer, the Hammerers kill 3-4 Knights win on CR and the BOTH units of Knights flee. One would eventually flee off the board the other would return but only to get blasted apart by the Organ Gun and left with just 2 models, the General and the unit Champion. Only a misfire from the Organ Gun and a miss from my 2nd Bolt-Thrower in a subsequent turn saved both from being killed. If I had killed him I think I would have won the game.
Turn 4 also saw my infantry finally get within charge range of the enemy infantry which had retreated deep into their deployment zone. The game ended with me charging forward and cutting down several units of Peasant Archers and Footmen, as well as scoring more wounds on several Knight units. While I suffered some terrible loses in the end with one unit of Hammerers getting whittled down and losing all of my Warmachines the result was an incredibly satisfying draw. That and my opponent Reed was a very nice guy and I enjoyed playing against him a great deal.
Final VP tally - Brettonians 685, Dwarfs 657
Game 4 vs. Dark Elves (LOSS 2-18)
Basically I stuffed this game up badly. Deployed in a space that was too narrow for my troops and ending up getting trapped in one corner of the board. Basically I did my best to get out of the situation but wasn't able to maneuver with Cold One Knights, a Hydra and a couple of units of Harpies dancing all around me. The damn 2 attack ASF with GW Dark Elf Warriors were also a pain and I literally got slaughtered as I fumbled my way through the game.
Final VP tally - Dark Elves 1605, Dwarfs 645
Game 5 vs. Wood Elves (Loss 5-15)
This game should have been a draw at the very least. Faced with 3 units of Dryads, 2 of Glade Riders, 1 Glade Guard, 2 Archers, Birdmen thingys, an Eagle, some Sword-dancers and some Heroes and a reasonable terrain set up I was pretty hopefuly of a good result here. My final match of my last tournament was against the same player (Nick Evans) and I got annihiliated 20-0 and ended that game with only 3 figures still on the board, my Runesmith and 2 Quarrellers after I castled up and got flanked and made some bad tactical decisions.
This particular battle went a lot better. Terrain on my side consisted of a large hill on the left and a building on the right. A small forest was in the middle of the board slightly to the right of the hill. Quarrellers went in the building and on the hill. Organ Gun on the hill, Bolt-Thrower in middle of table on edge and 2nd BT in right hand corner. Small unit of 10 Warriors behind hill to protect rear vs. flying units, Hammerer Units (2) and Longbeards on left and right of hill positioned to move in front in Turn 1. Runesmith in building with Quarrellers, BSB with LBeards, Lord with 1 Hammerer unit and Thane with the BSB in the Longbeards.
I was given first turn and my initial shooting caused panic among his archers causing both units to turn and flee while my other units moved forward to the base of the hill. Next few turns saw his shooting focus on the Quarrellers and Organ Gun on the hill while his Fast Cavalry units moved up the centre on the board on my Hammerers flank. On my left (his right) a big unit of Dryad marched forward with another Cavalry unit, the Sworddancers and a unit of Glade Guard straight at the hill, flying units in front as a screen.
Next few turns saw my shooting take down ma number of his Dryads and some rallying archers (the other archer unit fled off the board). Glade Guard and Cavalry charged right flank Hammerers, Cavalry charge left flank Hammerers, Flying Units charged guys on hill and Dryads charge Longbeards - big mistake for them. Probably recalling my lack of flaming weapons in our previous meeting my opponent (a very nice guy called Nick) also overlooked the presence of my Thane next to my BSB. Both he, the BSB cut down the Dyrads with flaming attacks, while the Longbeards took down the rest, the unit overrunning toward the weaker Elven units behind them. On the right the Hammerers were getting whittled down by the Glade Guard and Cavalry and were eventually destroyed when the Sword Dancers came prancing in and went CHOP CHOP CHOPPITY CHOP ending their resistance. The left flank Hammerers wiped out the Cavalry to their front overran then wheeled to return to the fight. By now I had two large infantry blocks left both separated by some distance, my units on the hill were all dead despite the intervention of a small group of warriors, and my Quarrellers had fled the building in the face of a large Dryad unit. Bolt-Throwers however did their job cutting down a number of Elves including one nice flank shot on a Cavalry unit which killed 4/5 models and saw the remaining model panic, flee and die - the same Bolt-Thrower was then killed by the Eagle.
Turns 5 - 6 turned into a big meat grinder. By this stage Elf shooting and magic had ground down my army till I only had the Hammerers w. Lord and Longbeards with Thane left. The BSB had been killed in close combat while the Dryads and flying nasties had taken down my other units. However, all was not lost because by this stage a huge chunk of the Wood Elf army was destroyed as well. The final few rounds involved a massive melee fight between my Hammerers w. Lord a unit of Sworddancers who charged their front with a Hero, the Wood Elf General, and a unit of Cavalry who charged their flank with a hero on a Stag. My Lord challenged every round and methodically went through killing 2 unit champions and both Heroes before finally getting a crack at the Wood Elf General. By this stage only 3 Hammerers were left to support their Lord, the only thing stopping the unit from fleeing from the fear causing Elven cavalry and it seemed bad. But then the Longbeards re-appeared with their Thane and rear-charged the Sworddancers and Elven Cavalry luckily getting contact with both units. Final rounds saw both Elven units wiped out along with the remaining 3 Hammerers who had stubbornly held on for 3-4 rounds of combat.
In the final challenge between our respective Generals the sneaky pointy ear was hit and wounded 9 times in a row and Ward Saved 7 - yes 7 times - before finally fleeing and dying after the Longbeards came charging in. A great way to end the tournament, and a thrilling final game. But one that was agonisely close to a draw.
Final VP Tally - Wood Elves 1957 VP / Dwarfs 1464 VP --> Difference of 493 giving WE General a 15-5 victory when a 400VP difference would have made it 10-10.
All up an absolutely awesome time, last game was especially enjoyable as Nick is a great opponent (he won Players Choice - he got my vote) and I couldn't have been happier getting 14th.