Saturday, 4 March 2017

Clash of Kings Australia 1 - Game 7 - Kingdoms of Men - 2017/03/04

Greetings!

Time for the game 7, the last game of the Australian Clash of Kings! After game 6 I was talking with my good friend and frequent opponent, Michael aka Darth Sabre, about our adventures so far and we joked it would be fun if we were paired with each other for the last game. And it actually happened! I was very happy because of that as although we played against each other often (you can check games 4, 6, 11, 24 and 38 in the Reports section) it was the first time when I could play against Michael and his beautiful army in real life, not online. 

Michael practiced with and refined his army over many games and quite a number of the tournaments. He is constantly searching for the perfect balance but the main theme and core units are still present. The army looks fantastic and for me it is the archetype of Kingdoms of Men force with number of units from troops to hordes and very nice variety of types too. Here are the details of the army list Michael brought to Clash of Kings:

Kingdoms of Men - Army List

40 Foot Guard, Horde, Brew of Strength (+1 CS)
- Ballistae, War Engine
- Mounted Scouts, Troop
- Mounted Hero 
 
40 Arquebusiers, Horde, +1 to Hit 
- Ballistae, War Engine
- Mounted Hero 
 
40 Polearms, Horde
- Wizard, Bane Chant, Lightning Bolt (3)

20 Militia, Regiment
- Wizard, Bane Chant, Lightning Bolt (3)

20 Militia, Regiment
- General on Winged Beast, Brew of Haste
 
20 Bowmen, Regiment
20 Bowmen, Regiment

10 Knights, Regiment, Pathfinder


A very nice mix of ranged and melee orientated units, allowing a lot of flexibility and adaptation to the scenario. This army can easily switch between defensive and attacking mode, even in the same battle. It has quite a lot of units but it is a balance between staying power of hordes and maneuverability of regiments and troops.

40 Foot Guard - one of the mainstay units of the army, Foot Guard is very flexible element. It has a very good staying power expected from a horde formation with Defense 5+. But the addition of Brew of Strength combined with 3+ to hit means they can deal proper damage in melee too. The key to defeat such units is to be able to isolate them and attack them with a few of my own so that even when they counter charge and kill one of mine, there is still enough force for the second round of melee.

40 Arquebusiers - main source of much needed ranged attacks. With +1 to hit and Piercing (2), these riflemen are always a dangerous unit to face. Even if in a cover my units may sustain a lot of damage so that they can be routed even in a single round of shooting. The experience so far is to try and avoid the unit if possible and to get around its flanks for a possibility to attack it and disorder it.

40 Polearms - the third horde unit is also melee orientated and is the one that sometimes changes in Michael's armies. Sometimes it may be the horde of Berserkers instead. The polearms are significantly cheaper but have fewer attacks and can be wavered. However, as Michael told me, Berserkers tend to be avoided a lot and may not see melee at all! Polarms will still hit well due to Crushing Strength and even if they take casualties, they are not such a big loss as the horde of them costs a bit less than my Sea Guard regiment :)

2 x 20 Militia - these are poor quality regiments but regiments nonetheless! They may look weak but are very cheap, have reasonable nerve and can be simply annoying! They are also good at holding objectives when more capable units can do the killing.

2 x 20 Bowmen - more flexible source of ranged attacks than Rifles but of course, less dangerous. However, they add to the army because they can either help the Rifles by shooting at the same targets or pick those against which Rifles are an overkill. They will also be great against these damaged units that need only 1 point of damage to force the nerve check!

10 Knights - one unit of knights with a Pathfinder upgrade is a fast and hard hitting element the army needs. While the hordes may have the staying power to get charged and then counter, the enemy can still avoid them. With the Knights it is less likely!

2 x Ballistae - another source of ranged attacks, this time longer range and with greater hitting power. Not a popular choice due to a single attack but from the point of view of the enemy I need to always take into account the potential of damage it can inflict. Even with the help of the cover. It is one of the elements in the KoM army I wanted to deal with quickly so that no lucky shot could ruin my plans.

2 x Mounted Hero - I have a feeling Michael was really annoyed with my Army Banners and decided to bring something similar to: 1 - annoy his opponents too, 2 - have some models to hunt down my individuals. In addition these guys will be great to disorder enemy shooters or units with Thunderous Charge.

2 x Wizard - the Wizards have the role to support the army either by adding to the ranged attacks or by boosting the nearby units with Bane Chant. I was very jealous that Michael can fit so many varied elements in his army!

General on Winged Beast - I find it quite interesting to compare the General to my Drakon Lord. The General has Crushing Strength 2, provides Very Inspiring source, has better nerve and 1 more attack. He is also 30 points more expensive and the only advantage Lord has is Elite. Also, Lord is Large Cavalry while the General is a Monster type which has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In any case, it is a very dangerous element of the army and with Brew of Haste he can outpace any single unit of mine. I had to be watchful then and not to give him the opportunity for an early attack!


Deployment and Scenario


Armies deployed for battle.

Deployment with the white spots indicating Pillage markers.


When we started placing the tokens Michael put some in "my" half and eventually we ended up with majority of them on one side of the battle field. That immediately created a situation where that side looked more attractive and no wonder that Michael chose it when he won the roll off.

Michael's army has better ranged attacks, better staying power and with more units it also had a better defensive position occupying the top right quadrant. There were three tokens that he could control already and one more to grab soon. I didn't have resources for a frontal assault to contest these tokens and/or inflict enough damage to push this part of his army out of the defensive positions so I didn't plan to try it. I only left some fast elements there to act as a distraction and to possibly slow down/attack some elements that would otherwise move against the rest of my force at a double.

The left flank looked like the one I could actually fight for control over and I decided to focus my attack there. I had a good chance to win there and if I did it fast I would be able to control 3 tokens and still have resources to contest the fourth, near Foot Guard.

Also, if I could slow down the advance of the infantry on the right I may have enough speed to attack fast on the left and be able to avoid reinforcements from the right. I basically aimed at winning the left flank and some of the tokens to at least balance out what Michael already had. If I could do that by losing less units than him then I could win overall.

I got the first turn again!

Outcasts - Turn 1

The battle begins!


Elves storm the left flank.

The Elven army moved fast on the left flank with Drakons leading the way. The aim was to overwhelm the light units there and take over the control in that area. With majority of the units out of range yet only Silver Breeze could shoot and at this stage the damage was minimal.


Kingdoms of Men - Turn 1

Right flank stays motionless.

Surprisingly the units on the right didn't move. Only Bowmen tried their luck to shoot at Elven fast cavalry but didn't do much damage. Their companions on the left did much better as combined fire of Ballistae and Bowmen wavered Drakon Riders!

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves continue the advance.

Small victories on the left.

Drakon Lord attacked the war engine and managed to destroy it while Silver Breeze cavalry got rid of the mounted scouts. The second unit of the fast cavalry was still shooting at the Militia but Storm Wind was already moving away from the danger zone.

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 2

Human Knights turn towards the right flank.

Right flank moves!

The units on the right flank decided to move forward as it was clear that the Elves there were just a decoy. The bowmen on the left, using the opportunity that they were left unattended, got rid of one of the Drakon Riders units for good! It looked like it was not going to be that easy for the Elves to overwhelm that area of the battle field!

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves press forward.

Redeployment from the right.

Although the far left flank was not yet secured, Elves moved towards the center now. Units on the right moved to distract the Knights and Silver Breeze cavalry was left alone to continue harassing light supporting regiments of the human army.

(Edit: I am not quite sure what happened with the Drakon Lord because the picture cut that corner so I assumed that he was fighting against either the hero or Bowmen. The Bowmen may have actually changed the facing a bit to avoid flank attack. My apologies for the lack of the proper description.)

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 3

The Knights escape the trap.

First Elven casualties.

The Elven Army Standard moved too far forward and nearby Bowmen surprised him by engaging in the melee. With the help of the Knights they got rid of the annoying hero. Riflemen finally had some target and as expected, eliminated it. Only the hero on the left failed to deal any damage to the Drakon Lord and that was bad news for the General who was now exposed to the attack!

Outcasts  - Turn 4

Elves attack!

But things don't go as planned.

The Elves spotted some interesting opportunities and decided to attack. First, the Drakon Lord attacked the General but despite the element of surprise, he could not inflict enough damage to rout the human leader.

Drakon Riders got rid of the exposed wizard but reformed in poor way because they assumed their Lord would take care of the enemy general. Then Chariots, despite inflicting a lot of damage to the Ballistae somehow didn't rout the crew either (Edit: Double 1's for the nerve check! Yay! :) )

In the meantime, Storm Wind cavalry ignored the Knights and charged the Riflemen in order to distract them and allow the rest of the army to advance. Last but not least, Silver Breeze cavalry ignored the right flank completely and raced towards the safety of the left.


Kingdoms of Men - Turn 4

Counter attack!

Elves pay the price for their arrogant attack.

As the Elven units were now exposed to powerful attacks there was little hope they would survive. Both, Drakon Riders and War Chariots perished! Not only that but it also created a difficult situation for the advancing units.

However, the General turned around to face Drakon Lord who once again dodged all the attacks of the valiant hero and Elven leader was now ready to fly over again.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves regroup!


The fight continues.

Despite the losses, Elves keep attacking. This time, Palace Guard, Drakon Lord and Storm Wind cavalry decided on a charge against Foot Guard. That enemy unit was now isolated and Elves wanted to use the chance to damage it before the reinforcements would arrive. Especially that another unit of Knights and Army Standard worked hard to stall that advance.


Kingdoms of Men - Turn 5

The fight is a bit of chaotic.

Foot Guard strikes back.

Annoying Elves were blocking the reinforcements so Foot Guard had to deal with the attackers alone and had little trouble with destroying Elven Knights. Unfortunately, the Hero failed to do any damage to the Drakon Lord third time in a row! Likewise, Militia could not do much against Storm Wind cavalry despite attacking their flank.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last charge!

Unexpected success!

Elves consolidated their positions on the left flank, securing three objectives. The fight continued for the possession of the fourth one. Palace Guard and the Drakon Lord attacked wounded Foot Guard and managed to destroy that unit! What is more, a few lucky shots did some damage to the General and his Beast took him away to safety a bit too early!

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 6

Knights charge but can't rout the enemy.

Abrupt end to the battle.

With the General gone it was up to the Knights to change the course of battle. They had to pick one target and chose to attack the Drakon Lord. However, they failed to kill him and the Elves still contested nearby objective.

In such circumstances, both armies disengaged and withdrew to regroup.

Summary

Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

First of all, many thanks to Michael for a great game! It was fantastic to finally meet on the real battle field. We dodged each other a few times during local event in Canberra so it was good to get the game during bigger Clash of Kings. It was quite crazy game too, with dice having some interesting impact :)

When we calculated the points it was a draw because I managed to secure 3 objectives and Michael had 2. However, he killed units that were worth more and in the end we were equal. The final score was in his favor (9:11) because of the modification from attrition.

I was very happy with the end result of that battle because despite some funny dice rolls I made a few crucial mistakes that could cost me the game.

First of all I should have taken into account the possibility that my Drakon Riders could waver and position second unit better. In fact, I am not sure if they could not charge anyway. The point is that I should have attacked the war engine and the Bowmen my turn 2. That would have saved the Drakon Riders that wavered and open more options for advancing on that flank.

Second mistake was with the reform of the Drakon Riders after getting rid of the wizard. I foolishly assumed that my Drakon Lord can finish off the General alone. That was the assumption that was too optimistic. Even attacking from the rear there was a good chance he could survive even when the average amount of attacks do the damage. But I rolled badly and that was not an excuse for bad positioning. I should have at least make sure the Drakons presented the front.

Double 1's with the chariots was unfortunate. Maybe the better option was to shoot at the war engine instead and to keep them in a better position for the next turn attack?

It was definitely balanced out by the fact that the mounted Hero suffered from the rubber lance syndrome three turns in a row and the very lucky nerve roll against the General that routed him. That is why, as I have already mentioned, I was glad I got a draw out of this battle.

Now the question is how is Michael going to adapt to new rules for the Clash of Kings 2017 as his favorite unit of Riflemen is going to lose +1 to hit bonus! I believe that he switched to Elite instead :)

I will wrap up the experiences during the very first Clash of Kings tournament in Australia in a separate blog post soon! In the meantime, thanks for reading! :)

2 comments:

  1. Great games, Swordmaster!

    The dice did get a bit crazy in this one, but that's part of the fun of the game. Some of my most memorable games were due to crazy rolls. I really like his list in that it has something for every situation. It may be a bit on the slower side but KoM do lack in the speed department and the knights and general help with that.

    I think you played very well against great competition in this tournament and the reports were a pleasure to read as always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Dan!

    I agree about dice rolls! This is how some great stories start :)

    I like Michael's army a lot. For me, it is a great example of human army being flexible in fighting against other factions. He is now trying to adapt to new CoK 2017 rules as his favorite +1 to hit item cannot be used on his Rifles horde!

    Thanks for the kind words! I am happy with the overall result and I hope that I can play even better thanks to learning from that experience!

    Now, I better start preparing diagrams for another set of 4 reports from a local event!

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete