Friday, August 20, 2010

First outing of 8th. Death strikes en masse.

I got my first chance to try the new Warhammer 8th edition rules a week or two ago. One of my favourite opponents brought along his copy and a Vampire Counts army to face my Dogs of War.

We played 2500 points; the first thing of not being the way the new army composition rules allowed for a lot more characters in an army. I fielded a total of 2 Lords and 12 heroes! As a result my army was actually quite compact, if well led! Jason's undead by contrast featured a large number of skeletons and ghouls in some substantial blocks.

Battle opened with a controlled advance of my Norse mercenaries, supported by halfling bowmen. Magic is very different to the old rules, at least in terms of power and effect. Power dice generation is more random, and a lot of little wizards may augment it more than one or two big ones.

The spells were very potent, my Fire wizard in particular being a flaming scion of destruction for the undead. However as will be seen later the risks of magic are far more grave than before.

A close up of the Norse from behind; and below their erstwhile foes:

On my far right battle was joined, whilst my light horse did their best to harry and contain the Dire Wolves. The undead were held back by magic and my crossbowmen had time to thin their ranks. At this stage the battle was in my favour.

The only Melee at this stage saw my army general and two other heroes battling the black knights, with initial success.

At about this stage I tried to address the threat of the Dire Wolves to my flank. A unit of pike turned to face and the attached wizard cast a spell to make the Wolves a mere Toughness 1 unit. The spell was cast irresistibly; but that now means a miscast too, and these are now brutal.

The explosion of force killed ten pikemen and was only narrowly away from taking the Paymaster with it too. The Wizard himself disappeared into the warp. Smoky boots time indeed!

The undead finally charged, and managed to get involved after a couple of false starts. Charge distances are now randomised; and I for one, really like this. It is less assured, you can take a chance on catching the enemy off guard with a long range charge, you may fail a sitter at short range (put it down to difficult terrain, or a lick of will in the charging unit).

Competition gamers may hate the lack of predictability, but I think it's great. Therefore I'm sure from now on it will as a rule, bite me on the arse; often!

Once involved, the undead did not have it all their own way, but they gradually ground me down. Importantly, despite losing all his heroes on that flank, Jason's Black Knights had managed to beat my knights in the end, and so were able to roll up my flank.

In the end it fell only to the pikes to hold our honour. Another defeat grasped wholeheartedly by the Dogs of War, who have still only won twice in a bit over two years of games!

And as to the rules; well so far I haven't found a change I don't like; of note has been the 10 wide frontage, second rank supporting attacks and horde unit special features, all of which seem OK so far, but not mandatory for a win. The game rattles along well enough, and is not slower than before - possibly running faster. The rulebook may have enough weight to it to present a crushing hazard to small children, but the core rules are an elegant enough affair.

Overall I'm fairly happy and look forward to another go.


  1. Not my period, but lovely armies and great battle report. Thanks...

  2. Hello Aki,

    I have just arrived at your blog - a good mix of periods, games and miscellanea.

    In this post, are those Norse the Gripping Beast plastics? Very niec paint job none-the-less. I will continue to follow your forays into all things gaming.

    Little Odo

  3. Little Odo, they are indeed; half the box was destined for my Dogs of War, the other half is to further bolster my WAB viking army (not that they need it but it's by the by...)

  4. Great looking armies! I like the contrast between bright, crisp details of the Dogs of War army, and the dark, gloomy look of the Vampire Counts.