Sunday, May 13, 2012

The East Gate: Dwarves vs. Goblins

To continue the games through the new sourcebook (and to signal a close to Uruk-Hai month), Elliryanna and I are playing another game together, this time playing Dwarves vs. Goblins in the East Gate:

The Host of Erebor: 200 points

Balin, Son of Fundin - 75 points
1 Dwarf Warriors with shields - 9 points
4 Dwarf Rangers with Dwarf longbow - 40 points
6 Khazad Guards (Balin) - 66 points

1 Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes - 10 points

13 units, 4 Dwarf longbows + 2 thrown weapons, 1 hero

The Denizens of Moria: 200 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Goblin shaman - 45 points
7 Goblin Warriors with shields - 35 points
7 Goblin Warriors with spears - 35 points
5 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 25 points

21 units, 5 Orc bows, 2 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is the East Gate scenario: the forces of Good were split up into three different sections (6" from north, south, and western board edges). The Goblin army was split in half: the first half (led by the Shaman) started 18" from the East Gate, while the rest waited off the board as reinforcements. The only way these units could be brought onto the board was if one of the scouting group of Goblins (the ones deployed) was able to make it alive to the East Gate. Good would win if they could get Balin and four Dwarves across the eastern board edge through the East Gate (12" past the opening). If alal but three Dwarves were killed or if Balin was killed, the Goblins would win. For major/minor victories, we're going to calculate as follows: if only four Dwarves survive or if Durburz (the Goblin leader) are killed, the victorious side can only get a minor victory. The Goblins won priority during the first turn, which was good, since it allowed them to run away from the Dwarves. Again, we're still camera shopping, but I'll give some highlights below - but first, some history.

The Tunnel Fighting games on this blog are in a dead-even break: one win for the Dwarves, one win for the Goblins, and most recently a tie. As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife and I try not to be too competitive when we play, so we cooperatively collaborated on a Goblin strategy and divided up the Dwarf units in half, so that we were playing both sides and sharing our thoughts on what we should do.

Game summary:

  1. The first few turns were spent with the Goblin watchman force fleeing from the Dwarf Rangers. Despite being hard pressed by four Dwarf Rangers with longbows (24" range, Strength 2) and later one Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes, the Goblins only lost four units before the defense of the East Gate began. We decided that it would be useful to edit the scenario and allow Goblin reinforcements to start arriving on Turn 3 on the roll of a 6+, Turn 4 on a 5+, and continue at 5+ until one of the scout troops reached the East Gate and sounded the alarm. Once the call was raised, a few of the Goblins remained outside the gate to engage and kill the Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes, who didn't hit a single person with his ranged weapon.
  2. One the reinforcements started coming, the Goblins formed up their defense within the East Gate, whose pillars limited the entrance of the Dwarves to four at a time. This, in addition to the preservation of the spear units during the beginning of the game, gave the Goblins a chance to fight back, as they only had marginally more units than the Dwarves did.
  3. The Shaman was almost completely useless. He saved two units during the game and kept the Goblins from fleeing once they lost half their forces (and of course, supported units with his spear), but that was it. Perhaps the greatest contribution he did was allow for more than one warband to come to battle...and spear supporting, which we'll get to later.
  4. Durburz killed more D7 units than he ever has in a game here to date. He slew three of the Khazad Guards and managed to score two wounds on Balin (which required all of his Might, but still). That's five rolls of 6s during his wounding stage and four won fights against units of the same or higher Fight Value. Excellent job mate.
  5. Balin killed every Goblin he faced, except when he lost three fights. This mean that he ended up killing two Goblin Warriors and Durburz (after being wounded twice and saving one of those wounds with a Fate save). Balin's killing of Durburz took two turns: one to rake through his Fate points, and one to finish the job.
  6. The Goblins managed to kill the three Khazad Guards who were not killed by Durburz, thanks to their spear support and their ability to roll 6s to wound. Their archers, of course, did more in the melee fighting than in the archery phase (and would probably have done well to have taken shields this game instead of arrows). Since Good needed four Dwarves to cross over the edge with Balin, the need to keep all but one of the remaining units alive was critical.
  7. As can be expected, Balin lived through the fight, but two of the Rangers with bows and the Dwarf Warrior with shield (trapped and pinned to one of the pillars) were killed before the Goblin lines were broken through. As such, the game ended with a victory for the Goblins. Since they lost their leader, this victory is bitter sweet.


Assessment by Tiberius and Elliryanna:

We came to the agreement that, given the presence of Dwarf Rangers with awesome shoot values and decent bows in the Dwarf army, the Goblins should have the ability to receive reinforcements before someone enters the East Gate and archers should be replaced with shield-bearing infantry. I, as a general principle, always include archers in my forces because otherwise, you have abandoned an entire phase each round in which you can do damage. In this case, however, the statistical likelihood of 2-3 Goblins with bows of hitting their targets and then wounding them is incredibly small (the chance of scoring one wound each round with 3 Goblin archers is a 17% likelihood if you're shooting at one of the Rangers and even lower if you're shooting at the D7 or D8 troops that compose the rest of the force).

We also agreed that the Goblins may have been better served running with one warband and including a Troll and Bat Swarm (the Bat Swarm to summon reinforcements/help win fights later and the Troll to do the actual killing). If the shaman was included as the leader of the warband, you'd have enough space for 8 Goblins, in addition to the two other units identified above (probably 6 shields and 2 spears). The risk, of course, with this strategy is that if the Shaman loses a fight, your army melts away - fast - and you're outnumbered by the Dwarves. But to test this strategy will require playing again sometime.

Stellar unit for the Dwarves: Dwarf Ranger with longbow

I've given this award to the Rangers before, but they truly are great units. For 10 points a piece, it takes some time to pay off the investment, but the 3+ shoot value and the D5 protection they have is great for bantering with enemy archers with Strength 2 bows (the vast majority of foes actually). In this game, the archers accounted for 4-5 kills (can't quite remember), but this took the form early in the game of killing the units furthest in front from getting to the East Gate and later took the form of shooting spearmen before they could help in combats.

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Goblin Warrior with spear

I think it might be a misnomer to say that any of the Goblin units did particularly well besides the spearmen. The spears themselves only got one kill, but their support of their comrades allowed them to kill units that required rolls of a 6 much faster than would otherwise be possible. Having cheap spears is a real boon for a Goblin army, especially when their foes can't get spears of their own.

We're looking into getting a camera sometime soon (definitely before our baby comes in June), but until then, I'll try to get a few things captured with my fuzzy web cam and post what pictures come up from the mini-tournament being held this coming weekend. Until then, happy hobbying!

1 comment:

  1. Yay! dwarf-kabobs! This always makes me happy.

    Given the incredibly small point level, I wouldn't bother with the cave troll. The bat swarm could be helpful for needing to reach a particular objective quickly, or tying up major heroes so that Durbuz can more readily cut them down to size, but the troll is too easily nulified to sacrifice 17 greenskins for it.