Monday, July 19, 2010

Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition: Empire vs Orcs & Goblins

On release weekend for Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition, I got a chance to play a small game to try out the new rules. I hadn't finished reading through the new rules yet, so we undoubtedly got some of them wrong, but it was a fun introduction.

First of all, here are a couple of picture of the Collector's Edition rulebook. It really is a nice book.
The Setup
We played a small, 750 point game of my Empire versus a combined Orc and Goblin army, one friend controlling the Orcs, the other the Goblins. The weather was nice, so we played outside. Unfortunately the slight wind made it impossible to use the felt river pieces we were going to use. So the 4' x 4' battlefield ended up with just some ordinary hills, and a few rock pieces that would count as impassable.

We rolled randomly for the scenario, and would play #5 - Meeting Engagement. This scenario represents two forces that unexpectedly encounter each other on the march, and are thrown into battle without time to prepare. Both players have to roll a D6 for each unit, and on a 1 that unit doesn't deploy, instead arriving in reserver. None of us rolled any ones, so all our units would start on the table.

The winner of a roll off, in this case the Orc & Goblin army, could select a corner to deploy in. The other army gets the opposite corner. The armies are deployed at least six inches from a diagonal line drawn between the other two corners. The initial deployment of the two armies is shown in the pictures below.

The Story
A battalion of the 54th Nuln Gunnery Regiment were transporting a newly forged cannon from Nuln to the front lines. They were being escorted by a unit of The Knights of Sigmar's Blood, led by a Warrior Priest of Sigmar. Rounding a hill, the expedition suddenly came upon a group of Orcs and Goblins. It turned out to be a diplomatic meeting between a Goblin Shaman-ambassador of the Nilbog empire and an Orc boss, each having brought some bodyguards. Having stumbled upon each other and being in such close proximity, both forces sized each other up only briefly before committing to battle.

Turn 1
The Orcs and Goblins, always eager for a fight, made the first move. The Nilbogian ambassador led his horde of Night Goblins forward at the march. He moved beside the unit and unleashed some Orcy magic at the free company detachment, killing one of them, though the magic overload wounded the ambassador as well. The Orc infantry and Boar Boyz moved up only slightly, fearing the nearby unit of knights. The Knights of Sigmar's Blood promptly charged the Boar Boyz anyway, and wiped them out before reforming to face back the other way. Meanwhile, the cannon fired at the massed Orcs, killing two of them.
Charging in 8th edition has more of an element of uncertainty, because the charge distance is somewhat randomized. In general, infantry are able to charge much farther than before. That, combined with sometimes closer deployments for different missions, will result in units being in combat much sooner than in 7th edition.

Turn 2
The Night Goblin horde was already close enough to attempt to charge the Free Company detachment on the hill. The militia promptly fled from the huge mass of Goblins, whose charge failed, their enthusiasm quickly fading as the human soldiers fled out of sight over the hill. The Nilbog ambassador didn't have any visible targets, which was probably better for him. The Orc boss bravely led his unit of Orcs to block the Empire Knights. The Night Goblin Archers on the hill fired at the knights, but most of the shots bounced harmlessly off the nearby rocks.
The knights seized the opportunity and charge the Orc unit. The blessings of Sigmar were granted to the Warrior Priest, his faith becoming his armor (granting him a 4+ ward save). Elsewhere, the militia continued to flee, as militia are known to do. The handgunners, seeing that the knights were taking care of the Orcs, reformed to face the large Night Goblin horde approaching them. The cannon had no targets, so the crew moved it to the right to hopefully line up a shot at the goblins next turn. The Engineer did the same. Having moved, none of them had time to reload, and so couldn't fire yet.
In combat, the faithful Warrior Priest challenged the Orc Boss to single combat, but the boss suddenly lost his nerve and pushed the unit champion forward to fight for him. With the righteous might of Sigmar on his side, the Warrior Priest easily dispatched the Orc champion. Two knights attacked the cowardly Orc Boss, and only managed to wound him. Then, in a feat of skill and heroism that may have saved the day for the Empire force, a brave Warhorse delivered a punishing kick to the Boss's face, knocking him senseless. The other knights killed several more Orcs, while the Orcs only managed to chop through the tough armor of one of the knights. Having seen their unit champion and their general laid low, the Orcs broke and ran for the hills, and were easily chased down by the pursuing knights.
Turn 3
The Night Goblin Archers on the hill finally had a clear shot, and let loose on the knights. Their little arrows showed a remarkable ability to find their way between armor plates or into the knees of horses. Incredibly, the Goblin bow fire took down three of the heavily armored knights. The Nilbog ambassador tried to get the Night Goblin horde to charge, but a few shots from the now-reloaded handguns dissuaded them. The Free Company detachment, as might be expected of militia, fled the battlefield. The Handgunners and Cannon continued firing at the tentatively advancing Night Goblin horde, but they couldn't seem to make a dent in the huge formation. The Knights of Sigmar's Blood wheeled around to prepare for a charge against the Night Goblin archers in order to avenge their fallen comrades.
Turn 4
Now facing a line of determined Empire Handgunners and unsure of how to proceed, the horde of Night Goblins bickered amongst themselves. The Shaman fired blasts of magical energy at the unit of Knights, and killed two of them while simultaneously being overwhelmed with magical power. The sudden blast from their rear panicked the Knights, who fled right toward the archers, while the loss of their leader panicked the bickering Goblins, who retreated from the hill. Another volley of fire from the Hangunners and Cannon reduced the Goblin horde to fewer than 30 remaining of the original 40.
Turn 5
The Goblin Spearmen fled farther, while the archers wheeled to get more shots at the nearby Knights. Unfortunately the proximity of the Knights of Sigmar's Blood must have unnerved the Goblins causing them to quickly let loose their arrows without aiming, and they failed to cause any wounds. The few remaining Knights rallied around the Warrior Priest and prepared for a final charge.
Turn 6
Confronted by the threat of a thundering cavalry charge, the Night Goblin archers succumbed to their natural animosity and took the opportunity to bicker about the proper course of action. The Knights didn't hesitate, and charged the Goblins, killing 5 in the initial attack and running down the rest as they fled. The champion of the Goblin Spearman unit managed just barely to rally his fleeing unit. Just as they were reforming around their champion, a well-placed bullet fired from the Master Engineer's Hochland Long Rifle blew apart the Goblin Champion's head. Now completely leaderless, the remaining Goblin Spearmen would undoubtedly retreat in the face of the remaining Empire soldiers.
Though a few of the Knights of Sigmar's Blood were wounded or killed, the Empire force was victorious, and the brand new cannon had a chance to be tested on the field of battle. With the Orcs and Goblins out of the way, the prized war machine could be delivered safely to the front lines.


  1. Oh animosity... how you fail me so....

  2. Great battle report, just found it off google.