Saturday, October 15, 2011

Domination: Goblins vs. Wood Elves

I'm going to bring up all of my armies (except the Fellowship, naturally) to 10 recorded fights before a grand tournament of games between the different armies. The competitors today will be my Wood Elves against my Goblins...and Gaius has chosen the Wood Elves, just to make things harder. Here are the forces:

The Denizens of Moria: 400 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with shields - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears - 80 points
13 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 65 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points

48 units, 13 bows, 1 hero

The Guardians of Lorien: 402 points

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 130 points
8 Wood Elf Warriors with Elven blades and thrown daggers - 80 points
12 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf spears - 96 points
4 Wood Elf Warriors with Elf bows - 36 points
6 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows - 60 points

31 units, 10 bows + 8 thrown weapons, 1 hero

Note: there are a few stand-ins for the Elves until their real units arrive - working with Zorro on that. For the purposes of this game, 4 Wood Elf archers are going to be traveling with the spearmen as spear-wielding fighters (if any of the spears are killed in combat, we'll substitute out one of the archers in his place). Also, you will see Celeborn, Legolas, Haldir, Gandalf, Aragorn, and Boromir representing Galadhrim Elves with Elf bows...if these guys were the heroes that they are, these heroes alone would be more expensive than the Goblin army as a whole (more like 50% larger, actually).

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" long by 48" wide. The armies will pick their corners and may deploy their units anywhere within 18" of their corner. There will be 4 objectives on the board and the goal is to hold three of these objectives (have more units than the other player at any given objective) before the game ends. Once one side is broken, roll a dice at the end of each round: on the roll of a 1-2, the game ends and the objectives are tallied. If both sides have two objectives, the game is a draw. Since draws are a huge possibility, both teams must press for three objectives during this game.

The map is set up as follows: On the north there is a forest and a hill, while on the south side there is a ruin and a cairn of rocks. These four points will be our objectives. After a tied first roll and a second roll, the Elves  have chosen to select their corner (the northeast with the wood), ceding priority to the Goblins for the first turn. The concern that I have here is that in games like this, the speed of the Goblins really puts them at a disadvantage - I need to rush to both of the forward objectives and survive the Elven archery fire. My troll is going to need to play the critical role in keeping the Elves out of one of the objectives and crushing everyone he fights - hopefully he'll do okay. I was hoping that the Elves wouldn't start in the woods, but oh well...fortuna tends to favor the Elves in the roll-off anyway.
In today's fight, you'll notice that the Elves I'm facing are no longer Legolas' Mirkwood band. Instead, the Elves have chosen to follow the path of their Lorien lady, Galadriel. With 31 units, the Elves now have a volley team for large games, but here, it simply remains a strong core of archers (some of which I don't wound on 4s...grrr). They also have a good deal more units than they used to, which makes things doubly interesting.
By contrast, my army sports more Goblins than ever before and features a Bat Swarm. Though this unit only has Defense 3, it's 4 wounds are a great asset for staying alive. In games like this, terrain (or the troll) to block for this unit is critical to defeating the Elves. If a Bat Swarm is in base contact with an enemy unit, it's "Blinding Swarm" rule indicates that the Fight value of the enemy unit is cut in half (rounding down). This means that for 35 points, Elves fight at the same Fight value as my Goblins when a bat swarm is participating in the fight - that's a good investment! We'll see if I can keep him alive though (10 bows and 8 thrown daggers wounding on 4s is not very promising if he's not protected).

Turn 1: The Slow Advance (Priority - Goblins)

The armies move towards each other and hold the objectives they started at. The Goblins race across the field as quickly as their legs can carry them with the Bat Swarm moving swiftly around the ranks to put some cover between him and the enemy archers. The Cave Troll goes boldly to the center of the map while most of the archers remain at the main base to volley at the enemy. The Elven archers reposition in the woods, touching each other as closely as they can so they can volley. Most of the army moves to the northwest objective, while a small corps of units moves towards the other objective to hold off the oncoming Goblins. I assume that Gaius is going to use his archers to support these guys.
In the Shoot phase, both sides volleyed, and only the Goblins managed to kill someone (yaye!).
Kill count: Goblins 1/31, Elves 0/48.

Turn 2: The Assault Rages (P - Elves)

As the Elves press both of the unclaimed objectives, the units manage to gain valuable cover from the Goblin archers. The Goblins are also closing one the objectives, promising to have a difficult fight in the upcoming turns.
During the Shoot phase, both sides hit 4 times with their volley fire (that's 8 total hits between the two sides). Of those 4 hits, only 1 managed to wound on each side, with a Goblin taking an arrow to his head (wear your helmets kids) and Galadriel suffering 1 wound (no Fate used).
Kill count: Goblins 1/31, Elves 1/48.

Turn 3: Deadly Aim (P - Goblins)

As the armies near each other, the Elves are saddened that they are out of throwing dagger range. However, the Elves have claimed another objective (with a vast horde of Goblins approaching steadily) and contest an objective claimed by the Goblin Bat Swarm (who can't be charged by any of them because they can't see him...nice play, huh Gaius?).
During the Shoot phase, the Goblins volleyed and only hit once, failing to wound Galadriel with the shot. The Elves, however, put their volleying to rest and leveled their bows at the Goblins coming down the center of the map (assisting the Cave Troll). In a blurry of shots, they nailed all four of the Goblins pictured here and only missed one shot (four of them shot at the Goblin archers a stone throw outside of the left frame of this picture).
Kill count: Goblins 1/31, Elves 5/48.

Turn 4: One Last Shot (P - Elves)

As the armies move, my Goblins are put in a poor position, as I am unable to charge the throwing-dagger-wielding Elves of my opponent. Seeing that I will need to ward off a great host Elves soon, my archers clamber on top of my cairn and prepare to fire next turn. My Goblins also managed to charge one of the Elves who climbed on top of the southeast objective. This should be interesting.
In the Shoot phase, the Elves shot a concentrated targeting at my Bat Swarm, who thankfully has the rock in the way. Eight Elves shot (the other two failed to hit my archers) and scored 4 hits - three landed and two managed to wound. Ouch. Two down, two to go.
On the bright side (aka, where the Cast Blinding Light is), my Goblins managed to kill an Elf with spear on the flank. Yaye, archers...three of you are now paid for.
The Cave Troll whipped his chain around and managed to kill someone with it (the Elf with blade). The Goblins on the stairs pushed the Elf off (despite his parrying) and he died (from my Goblins...the fall wasn't high enough to wound).
Kill count: Goblins 4/31, Elves 5/48.

Turn 5: Domination on All Fronts (P - Goblins)

WE HAVE COMBATS! With the sound of arms rising in the morning air, the Goblins charged into the Elven ranks (good thing it wasn't the other way around). The Goblins have the same number of troops at the northwest objective, but vastly overwhelm the single (trapped) Elven spearman who contests the southeast objective. My Bat Swarm has taken to some protective cover for now, as his skills are not needed in the south anymore. I'm also trying to keep him alive. Galadriel cast "Command" on one of the Goblins I used to trap an Elf spearman and is fighting that Goblin this turn.
In the Shoot phase (as often happens in these games), my Goblins did nothing. Nothing at all. The Elves, however, killed one Goblin with spear (sniper shot to the neck actually, after a 5 to hit and a 6 to wound with nothing in the way). Seven archers shot at the troll and managed to score 1 wound (two more to go).
The final two Galadhrim archers fired at the Goblin archers they couldn't hit last turn and killed one of them. That irks...I thought I had a good harassing position.
In the Fight phase, a lot happened. For starters, the Elf down at the southern objective died. Not too much of a surprise, except that he was shielding. Yaye Goblins.
At the opposing objective, things primarily flowed in favor of the Goblins. Though my Goblins were unable to win against the Elves south of the hill, none died. On the hill itself, the Goblins won two fights (not the one with the two-handed though) and suffered no wounds while inflicting two on the Elves. YAYE! Galadriel won and failed to wound (another small hoorah), but then things got ugly. Starting from the exterior (allowing me to retreat and not be trapped all the time), the Elves won every fight with three of the combats featuring two-handed weapons (and most of those two-handed weapons won the fight) and all four Goblins died. Ouch.
Kill count: Goblins 7/31, Elves 11/48. As a recap, 9 Elves need to die before they break and 13 Goblins need to die. I don't like it when that count is so close...

Turn 6: The Tide Turns (P - Elves)

The Elves charged into me this turn, but thankfully their 4 throwing weapons that remain were unsuccessful in wounding me (praise the Lord). He did, however, manage to surround my troops on the hill and engaged everyone...bummer. My troll and small cohort of Goblins makes a frantic run towards the woods, hoping to dislodge his troops. I'm also considering at this point sending most of my archers into the fight at the other hill. I know, though, that if I can hold both of the objectives that I own, I can push it to a draw OR wait for my Troll to do that thing he does best.
In the Shoot phase, I only hit 1 unit (that was with blinding light), but didn't manage to wound anyone. Grrr. The Elves in return slew two of my shield-bearing Goblins.
In the Fight phase, the battle on the hill was bloody. On the hill itself, the Elves dominated, losing only one fight and inflicting four losses on my forces. At the base of the hill, I killed three Elves and sustained only one loss. On the whole, I lost 25 points and killed 34 points worth of units. As much as I hate seeing the green skins lose troops, I'm okay with how that played out.
Kill count: Goblins 11/31, Elves 18/48. The Elves are 5 units away from breaking and the Goblins are 6 units away...this is going to be close and I don't like it.

Turn 7: The Wrath of the Lady (P - Goblins)

Since I could break this turn, I need to get as many troops towards the center of the map as possible (where I've strategically placed Durburz). I get to charge the overwhelming number of Elves first in the northwest, so I try to keep them from moving towards another objective (giving that one up for lost). Galadriel immobilized my troll and the archers faded deeper into the woods, preparing to shoot at my Goblins...oh dear. The Elves prepare for a stout fight on the hill, which Gaius described as a "fight to end all least on that hill." I'm inclined to agree with him on the outcome.
In the Shoot phase, my Goblins hit once (again, where the blinding light was), but failed to wound the target (after successfully passing an in-the-way roll too!). The Elves responded by landing 6 hits on my Troll (no wounds) and killing two of my Goblins. Charging that crew of Elves is stupid, but I can't charge the other objective without running past these what are my options?
In the Fight phase, again, we fought on the hill. Galadriel used her first Might point to call a heroic combat: a trapped Goblin with shield. After one of her bodyguards rolled the needed 6, they promptly slew him and moved on towards the other units. The Elves then succeeded in killing 3 other Goblins, while my two shield troops remaining kept away the Elven warriors (though each was double-teamed). Unfortunately, this was not enough to prevent my troops from being broken, so we'll see what happens.
Kill count: Goblins 11/31, Elves 24/48. The Goblins are broken and a dice is rolled. The outcome was a 2, so the game ended. My Goblins on the hill were present, but reduced to only three units, while the Elves had a staunch 7 units. With each of us in control of two objectives, the game was a draw.

Assessment by Gaius:

The Elves did well - as they tend to do in domination games where you are defending a wood. I was a bit saddened that the woods were only charged near the end...though that's not surprising as most of the Goblins were being shot down from afar. I liked that the Elven strength of bows came to bear in this game - of the 24 kills scored by the Elves, 11 were from arrow fire - that's really good. Two were from Galadriel, too, who isn't much of a combat hero on her own.

Assessment by Tiberius:

Having more than 26 points worth of Goblins is a huge blessing - I love it. I was sad that the Bat Swarm couldn't have done more (or anything for that matter), but such is games against Wood Elves I guess. Having to cross such a big field (even with rocks scattered for cover) was difficult, as my units are so slow to reach other objectives. I probably should have sent more forces towards the woods at the beginning so I would have a force there at the end. I wasn't expecting an overwhelming victory against the small detachment though and felt a little uneasy with sending only 8 Goblins in the first place. Still, the game worked out pretty well and the Goblins look forward to one more game before a grand tournament.

Stellar unit for Wood Elves: Galadhrim Warrior with Elf bow

In a close run between them and the Wood Elves with Elven blades, the Galadhrim did amazing today. Completing the volley team and scoring most of the kills that the archers claimed (8 of the 11), they were well worth including in the army. The Wood Elves with Elven blades did a great job too (killing at least 6 Goblins during the game and clearing out the flanking troops on the hill fight), but were strangely silent when it came to throwing daggers (no kills). As such, I really couldn't give them the credit they wanted.

Stellar unit for Goblins: Cave Troll

So I usually don't give this title to the troll much because it's a bit unfair (as he costs the same as 16 green skins). Still, he absorbed pretty close to 20 shots and was wounded only once (though most of those hits met their target). If those shots had been coming towards my Goblins, I'd probably have lost an extra 5 or so...which is crippling for this army. I love that he serves as a pin cushion for my troops and they direly need one as the foes they face frequently use Strength 3 bows.

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