After losing my warband for a few days, I finally got to play a game of Mordheim! My first game was against my flatmate, Matt ‘TheStampede’ – who has thanked me for my last post about lore and story when building lists for campaigns like this which encouraged him to get involved. That brought a warm little spark to my heart, and I’m glad I inspired someone. We’ve brainstormed about the lists and play styles for a week, so we’re pretty familiar with our warbands and tactics. I had chosen to change spider rider number three (Stabhack) into two Braves with Great Weapons for some heavy hitters.
He’s playing a Beastman warband – and it’s a war band; each character has a role and instrument. He’s even modelled a separate microphone stand. It’s mostly Gors or Bestigors with axes and shields. He has four equipped that way, all heroes so Strength & Toughness 4 (ouch) and a Gor with two axes, thankfully S3 but still T4. His last points are spent on a shaman, who has rolled Dark Wings allowing him to bust a move in the magic phase – including charge – of 12″. Lastly he has a minotaur with an axe and dagger, who can get frenzied.
Suffice to say, I wasn’t confident. Scatgob rolled Wind of Gork, so can keep a guy knocked down and maybe (maybe) kill him with the S2 hit. We rolled Ambush – and only my Chieftain started on the board. Great stuff; I placed him in the centre of the board in some kind of broken chapel. Matt set up his herd on the board edge, as the attacker, and barrelled head long towards my guy. I had a least one turn of running away before my reinforcements turned up – but I had planned for this, and my leader scarpered out the rear window. Three turns later the other spider rider had scuttled on to the board along with both Great Weapon chaps, while I lead the herd of goat blokes on a merry chase around a church, the extra 2″ on movement on my spider keeping me out of reach of the hungry, hungry minotaur.
Two more turns and Matt bit the bullet; my warband was fanned out on the far side of an alley, far enough away that I’d get the charge. He couldn’t hold back due to my superior firepower – Scatgob had taken a piece out of the minotaur with a lucky hit, and the charge denial from the knock down was too tactically powerful. So he ran down the alley, fanning his dudes out to protect his biggest bull.
I declared a waaaaagh!, then another in a slightly higher pitched voice after remembering I was playing goblins. His Gor and a Bestigor got charged by a spider rider and great weapon chap each, and my shaman ran at his leader, hoping to knock him down and get a cheeky elimination. Scatgob was intercepted and failed his spell, but I was still confident I’d get on elimination from the spear charge-great weapon combo.
Nope. I don’t think I even landed a hit. The Gor knocked down a great weapon chap too, and Scatgob got stunned. Next turn everyone was in combat except one of my Sluggas – I lost my Chieftan, a Great Weapons and two Sluggas. Passed my bottle check and managed to knock out Matt’s axe-and-shield bassist, but the writing was very much on the wall in goblin blood; at the start of my next turn I failed my bottle check and legged it.
This was all fine; yes, I was a little annoyed my dice decided they were D3’s not D6’s but I could cope. Then we rolled Injuries and Dick, Scatgob and two Sluggas died. I had earned or ‘won’ about 50gp and lost 250gp in warband members, roughly. The Campaign Organiser kindly let me re-roll a ‘new’ warband – shockingly similar to the first, although I abandoned the second spider riding Brave in favour of three Red Toof Goblins with spears.
Next game was quickly set up! I find it best to move on quickly from the dismal failures in one’s past. Despite my next opponent, John and his Rieklanders, having lost their game I was now the underdog with my entirely new warband. I got to roll scenario and get any advantages of being the attacker! So I promptly rolled ‘Street Fight’ and was told we would have to run at each other down an single street with no cover.
John then told me up front he had three bows, two pistols and a crossbow and Rieklanders started with BS4. That might seem like a very minor thing, but it was the difference between needing three or more to hit and need four or more to hit with ranged weapons to start with. I glumly watched him set up in a defensive regimented formation, several dudes with an assortment of weapons near the front with his ranged chaps behind them. He was defending a small alley entrance whereas mine was fairly wide.
I ran headlong down the street towards him, while John advanced and spread his guys out in an effort to restrict my ability to pick him off or dodge past him. His few opening shots were less impressive than I feared. My Sluggas got into ranged and took out a Youth and knocked down a Greatsword chap. My Red Toofs got into charge distance and after a brief discussion about the virtues of charging over being charged, John opened festivities by getting every member of his warband who was equipped for combat into combat. It looked bad for my front line Red Toofs.
We flailed at each other in the style of Magikarp and achieved nothing that combat round. Nothing much happened besides my Great Weapon chaps charging into the ‘fray’/polite disagreement in my next turn. My Sluggas finished off the Greatsword after getting one wound from nine shots. Two rather turgid combat rounds later I’d knocked out a warrior and his leader. At this point John elected to flee rather than risk more injuries – he’d only eliminated one Red Toof and probably made a wise decision.
The Red Toof turned out to be very dead, or extremely lazy, and was left behind after the game. I made 60gp, which totalled 75gp with my remain funds. I’m likely to replace the Red Toof spears with axes and/or clubs, while maybe getting another one. I’ve considered getting some light armour, but this may come later after I’ve stockpiled weapons. I could also get some basic Forest Goblins with double knives, as bodies and fodder.
What did I learn?
I already knew Toughness 4 would be a problem versus the Beastmen, but I don’t think I could have played any better than I did. Considering the higher base movement of the Beastmen I wasn’t well able to kite them with my Sluggas. I think I did just about all I could in that first game, and got exceptionally unlucky with my Injury rolls.
The Red Toofs were really good in the second game – frenzy and an additional combat weapon means that they are as dangerous in combat as the Sluggas are at shooting. They might even be given light armour, but no promises on that happening soon. It’s probably just cheaper to replace them as they get eliminated.
Having an extra layer of fire screen that I don’t care about helps me get closer with more chaps – including the Great Weapon boyos. I think my future tactics will be to spam attacks and try to knock out as many folks as possible in the first round of combat. If these shock tactics intimidate my opponents and they rout, great news! If they call my bluff, hopefully weight of numbers will win out.
Longer ranged shooting isn’t as scary as I feared – or hasn’t been yet. I’m worried about my Toughness 3 making me vulnerable but realistically if I stack up my guys to block lines of sight properly. Preparing ambushes and bait with my Chief may be my best plan of action in future games – although his value as part of a shock charge should not be overlooked.
I greatly enjoyed both games I played but feel I was somewhat cheated by my dice – although John did prove he had as bad luck, if not worse, in my second game. I don’t know if I can be any more cautious in my future games, or whether I should be – I think charging fewer people with my guys is the best change in tactics I can hope for.
So now my new goblin Chief, Max the Mad, roams Mordheim, seeking vengeance for the loss of his brother. Will he have more success? How many goblins will die to sate his thirst for vengeance? Will any actual Beastmen get kebabed? Find out in the next update, coming soon!