Zombie Apocalypse? Sunday, Feb 28 2010 

Weirdly quiet day here in Canada for a couple of hours. We were down at Cabin 12 watching the Olympic gold medal game against the US.

There were almost no cars the whole time.

I wish I had before and after video… or before and during… or something.

Anyway, what a squeaker of a game. Stress-filled nailbiter. I am exhausted.

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Warhammer Ancients: Picts vs Saxons Sunday, Feb 14 2010 

Had a great game last night.. but forgot my camera, dammit.

I took the Picts, just because they had a chariot. I hate chariots in the various Warhammer rules sets.  They are just too mobile and powerful and enduring. Can’t see why anyone stopped using them in the real world if they were so effective.  Anyway, I decided I’d rather not face any.

The matchup was interesting: two highly mobile, light infantry armies.  A bit to our surprise, it turned into a meat grinder.

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I won the initiative and move both my wings forward, leaving my centre screened by skirmishing bows. They drew first blood but didn’t manage much else. They did, however, force me to keep a unit in reserve behind them.  Having a reserve is coming in very helpful now that I am forcing myself to do it.

Franaine’s Saxons had a good deal more skirmishers and most also had the Saxon buckler rule: any ones in your to hit roll can be rerolled. Cool rule.

Franaine moved his javelin armed troops up close, prompting me to charge in the second turn. On my right, the Picts routed the skirmishers to their front, overran them and carried on into a second unit of skirmishers. They’d die quickly on turn three, leaving Franaine wondering about how short a game it was going to be.  Particularly since my warhounds on the left and nobles in the centre charged his skirmishing bows in the Saxon centre, making  short work of them and then slamming into the Saxon’s behind.

I made two critical mistakes at this point.  First, I forgot how stupidly easy it is to get flank charges in when playing Warhammer. I wheeled my nobles slightly before they charged, making sure they only contacted one Pictish unit when they blew through the bows. This meant they got flank charged in Franaine’s turn. Second, I threw the hounds into the battle.

Predictably, I came off worst in the ensuing melee.  I failed the resulting morale check, but passed admirably on a reroll allowed by the battle standard. On my right, the victorious unit reformed to face the Saxon centre. On my left, Franaine’s warriors charge my unit. Again, I lost the combat, lost the morale check, but passed the reroll.

In my next turn, I had my bows fall back and my chariot-borne general take up a position between my reserve unit and my unit on the right. Again, my nobles lost the combat, failed their morale check and then passed the reroll. But Franaine took out the hounds and began lapping around the nobles. In the combat on the left, I managed to squeak a tie.  In his turn, my nobles again lost, failed the leadership test, but passed the reroll. And the unit on my left lost, failed the morale check, and passed the reroll.

However, a time of reckoning was at hand!  I had the general and two fresh units to charge into the melees. The two units could charge the Saxons who had flanked my nobles hitting them in the rear. And my general could charge the flank of the unit that was fighting on my left. Even though it was dumb to do so. But it seemed so suitably Dark Age. So, I charge the general in, then charged my unit from the right wing… and that blocked the last unit from being able to charge. Why oh why did I have to throw the general in?

At this point, I was still quite hopeful for a crushing victory. Just to be safe though, I did the combat with the general first. I didn’t want to lose the other combat and have the Saxons pursue into the general. My general, I have to say, had great STATS. Four attacks, skookum WS, four hits… no wounds.  Damnit!  I should have been able to turn the tide of that melee! Instead, we tied.

In the big combat in the centre, I rolled for the awe inspiring rear charge. I think I managed to kill one guy. Things were starting to get a little fuzzy.* When the dust settled, Frainaine won the combat. My nobles tested, failed, but passed on the reroll. My fresh unit that charged the Saxon rear tested and failed, then rerolled and failed. And broke.  AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!

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All of a sudden things weren’t working right.

In the next round, my General put on an other prodigious display of hit generation, followed by no wounds. By this time, we were both giggling like little girls. To top it all off, Franaine remembered to have his general challenge the hero with the nobles. Over two rounds, the flower of Pictish chivalry was cut down. The rest of the Pictish nobility died around him… stubbornly refusing to break.

The victorious Saxon general charged over the bodies of the noble Pictish nobles and charged the flank of my General. My guy died like a man, quickly and quietly.

The other Saxon unit from the centre reformed to face my reserve, while my broken unit rallied and reformed.  I charged his front and flank and he broke quite satisfyingly at the bottom of the sixth.

The battle came to a very fitting end, a drunken draw with me having four big units left but no general. He had a victorious general, but only two unrouted units (both tougher than mine). The exhausted participants yelled insults at each other, but didn’t have any more fight in them.

All in all, a good game that looked like it was going to be a massacre at the beginning. My initial dispositions were good and it showed in the early stages. But then I made mistake after mistake. If it hadn’t been for my nobles proving unbreakable, I’d have lost for sure.

Happy Gaming!

*We often like to have a drink with our game, though never enough to get drunk — we’ve both got young kids. Last night, though we had a whiskey each while we thawed out the beer that I’d forgotten about in the freezer. We opened the oversized bottle of “Old Cellar Dweller” barleywine style ale and poured ourselves a couple glasses. Then two more. Then we realized that the beer tasted so strong because of the 12% alcohol. Oh lordy.  We wrapped up the game at 11:30, but I had to walk the drink off to be cold sober before getting behind the wheel. It was 1:30 when I got to bed.