Saturday, 15 August 2015

Epic encounter!



This week at my local club, Livingston Battleground, there was an epic 6-way massed battle between the Empire, Bretonnians and Dwarf forces facing off the Daemon Chaos hoards! 

With the simplified Age of Sigma rules such a large scale battle has now become easily feasible over a morning's club session.
 

With no points system in Age of Sigmar it was great to see our players enthusiastically using the opportunity to simply deploy the units they fancied. No hours of compiling detailed rosters pre-battle and inevitably being forced to decide which of your units to leave behind.

The only restriction on how many units we could use was the available deployment space on the battlefield! It was so liberating. With my big box of Empire units, out came the Steam Tank, Great Cannon and Mortar! Lets bring out the heavy cavalry units too...oh wait...those Hand-gunners are cool, lets chuck those on too. All of em'. And so it went on!

With my Empire army being flanked by the heavy cavalry of the allied Bretonnians and the solid gun-lines of the Dwarfs, we diced off to see which of the Chaos armies we'd each be facing on our 4'x4' section of the battlefield, and we were off!

The monstrous Chaos Daemon lines forming up
With the Chaos Daemons quickly marshaling before my Empire troops, I must say I was a wee bit intimated to see the varied and monstrous creatures forming up! I was so glad I had my heavy hitters with me, with the multiple guns of the Empire Steam Tank giving me a flicker of hope as the huge and menacing Soul Grinder leered down at it!

The plan was to theoretically play three separate engagements on the same battlefield, the forces of Man and Dwarf against the supernatural Chaos. Initially we allowed for allied units to help each other out by attacking enemy units in adjacent battlefield sections, but this started to unravel when the turn sequences between the various paired opponents became out-of step, so we house ruled on the fly to curtail this option.

Bretonnian cavalry
Allied support could easily be accommodated in future large-scale battles though, with some custom rulings, for example allowing a single nominated unit the ability to support an adjacent army. If total interaction between the armies is required then the turn sequences would have to be synchronised across all the armies.

Empire Mortar position (foreground), Knights and Swordsmen
Now, I'm not that familiar with the various Chaos creatures, and it wasn't helped by my allied Dwarvern commander dryly suggesting the "The Empire face the worst of the hoard, laddie". Bloody Dwarfs! All I knew was that those supernatural creatures would be using all sorts of warped abilities! And so they did. They were re-spawning all over the place!

Within a couple for turns the armies were fully engaged, with the Empire and Dwarvern gun lines blasting away, the canons and mortars lobbing shells and the Bretonnian heavy cavalry charging into the Hoards on my right flank.

The Empire Steam Tank ("Fire everything!") faces the Daemon Soul Grinder
I really can't give you a full report of the whole battle, as I was too busy trying to hold the centre of the line to be watching my allied commanders! Suffice to say even with the Chaos spawning yet more units where their predecessors had been wiped out, the Empire lads proved to be surprisingly firm.

The Steam tank in particular deserves a mention in dispatches for going wheel-to-claw against the towering Daemon Soul Grinder and eventually taking it down with little damage!


Bretonnians battling the Daemons!
On my left flank the Dwarfs were using their standard practise of standing firm in line and letting the Chaos creatures come to them through devastating Dwarvern fire. The Dwarfs soon had the upper hand and I'm sure I could hear the Dwarvern Long beards boasting and calling for the ale barrels to be opened quite early on!

The Dwarf lines
Over on my right flank the massed Bretonnian heavy cavalry appeared to be involved in a brutal melee with the Chaos forces, having charged the enemy. It was really quite impressive!

Bretonnians! Charge!
A couple of hours later, with numerous rounds of moving, charging, shooting and melee by way of mass dice rolls, the last reaming two armies on the battlefield were my Empire and the centre Chaos army. We fought it out for a few more turns with numerous charges and counter-charges, the Empire's mounted Battle Wizard even surprisingly managing to loose at least one effective Chain Lightening spell.

The Empire forces
When time was called, the Empire had lost two complete units, with the Great Cannon crew being lost quite early on after firing only one shot, followed by the Empire Knights after a hard-fought war of attrition with The Herald of Tzeentch on Burning Chariot.  The Chaos enemy had lost three units, including the Soul Grinder. Somehow, the Empire had won their battle!

Overall, the Human-Dwarf allied armies claimed combined victory. Just. It was a very close fought battle!


This was a hugely fun game. The Age of Sigmar rules lent themselves to such a massed battle game having stripped out much of the unit rules from the previous Warhammer fantasy rule sets in favour of speed and simplicity. And it worked!  A great way to spend a Saturday morning, commanding your troops in a massed battle against the Daemon Chaos hoards!