Friday, December 14, 2012

Domination: Dwarves vs. Goblins

So, with White Council month behind us, we're going back underground for "The Hobbit" month, where we're going to work on underground terrain and play a few games with Dwarves and Goblins in preparation for the Hobbit movie coming out (can't wait!). I'll start by saying with Games Workshop releasing the new models for the new movie, I'm really happy I made my own set of Rangers for the Unexpected Company (as I'm not interested on paying of $100 to get a bunch of premium Dwarves, Goblins, and wizards). This game will be between my Dwarves and my Goblins (under the control of my good mate Gaius, who has agreed to test out my new Groblog model - a must-have for any Goblin army now). Here are the forces:

The Host of Erebor: 599 points

Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Balin, Son of Fundin with Durin's Axe - 85 points
Dwarf Shield-Bearer (Gimli) - 60 points
6 Khazad Guards (Gimli) - 66 points
8 Dwarf Warriors with shields - 72 points
1 Dwarf Warriors with banner - 33 points
10 Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows - 90 points
4 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes - 40 points
1 Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes and two-handed axe (Thorin Oakenshield) - 11 points
4 Dwarf Rangers with two-handed axes - 32 points
2 Dwarf Rangers with Dwarf longbows - 20 points

39 units, 10 Dwarf bows + 2 Dwarf longbows + 6 thrown weapons, 3 heroes

The Denizens of Moria: 600 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Groblog, King of the Deeps - 55 points
2 Goblin Shamans (one stand-in: Goblin Warrior with Orc bow and blue token) - 90 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points
16 Goblin Warriors with shields - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears - 80 points
12 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 60 points
Ally: Ringwraith with 1M/7W/0F - 60 points

51 units, 12 Orc bows, 5 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" x 48". We're playing on the in-progress battle board which has five objectives: a broken-down armory (the one with walls), two markers in the open, and two market centers. For the purposes of scoring, any unit who is touching the steps of the market centers (generally, there are a few points where they don't quite reach), within 3" of the markers, and within the walls (not even the doorway) of the armory, they will "contest" an objective. Archers cannot volley over the armory and units cannot be deployed in the chasm - I didn't notice that I was deploying my units there until after I took the picture...thanks Gaius.
I'm excited to see how the Dwarves do against the new-resilience of the Goblins. I'm excited to see how the heroes do against Goblins with a 5+ Fury save, but thankfully the save can be negated by beating (or killing) the Shamans, as opposed to Malbeth's Foresight save, which you can see here.

Turn 1: (Priority - Goblins)

No pictures of this round: both Goblin Shamans cast Fury (1/3W, 1/3W). No Shoot phase, as the Dwarf volley team is behind the armory and the Goblins have split their volley team to support their offensive campaign.

Turn 2: (P - Dwarves)
The armies continue to move and the volley team can fire at the end of the Goblin advancing battle line this turn. Gimli and his warriors cross over a bridge and come to take the wave of Goblins head-on. The Bat Swarm is lying down, by the way, on the top left of the frame.
The Dwarves volley, score 3 hits, and cause 1 wound, which is then saved by Fury (1/1M).
One of the Dwarf Rangers with longbows targets a Goblin Warrior with Orc bow and scores a wound, which is not saved by Fury (the shaman is the base at the top-right of the screen).
Kill Count: Dwarves: 1/51, Goblins: 0/39

Turn 3: (P - Goblins)

No pictures this round, as both armies continue to push towards each other, both shoot and fail to kill anyone. The Bat Swarm stayed laying down, avoiding visibility from the Dwarves.

Turn 4: (P - Goblins again)
Our first fights will be here next round and a lot of stuff happened. Balin was transfixed by the Ringwraith (1/7W). Balin decides not to resist the spell (cast on a 6) and will not be throwing his axe this turn. The Bat Swarm also go up and moved a little, benefiting from a Goblin screen.
In the Shoot phase, one of the Dwarf Rangers lands a hit on the Cave Troll and successfully gets the 6 to wound (1/3H). Hopefully, this will help me take it down quickly.
The Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows manage to kill a Goblin Warrior with shield as well (fury fail).
Kill Count: Dwarves: 2/51, Goblins: 0/39

Turn 5: (P - Goblins yet again...)
The fights are joined and a lot happened. The Ringwraith cast Transfix on Balin again (2/7W) and gets a 5 on the roll. Balin uses 2 Will points to resist and scores a 6 (2/3W). So, I can fight this turn...yaye. In the other fights, the Dwarf Shield-bearer came to join Gimli on his side of the field and both are in range of the banner-bearer.
In the Shoot phase, the Dwarves killed a Goblin Warrior with spear (on the left side) with a throwing axe and a Goblin with shield (right side) with a Dwarf bow. 
The Dwarf Shield-Bearer and Gimli both call Heroic Combats and both kill their opponents (Gimli: 1/3M, wins with banner reroll, 1 Fury save after Gimli deals 2 wounds, no Fury save against Shield-bearer). They then move on to take on new foes, with my Shield-Bearer trying to sneak around the back of the battle-line to reach the Shaman quickly. Gimli consequently cuts up the middle and tries to free up his comrades from their fights.
Balin and two Khazad Guards trapped the troll, beat him, and the dice you see are Balin's wounding dice. Yes, he died very, very badly (I love that Cave Trolls are wounded on 4s by Balin when he totes Durin's Axe).
In the other fights, the Dwarves took a beating: one Dwarf Warrior with shield, one Khazad Guard, and a Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes were killed by the Goblins and in return, one of the Dwarf Warriors with shields wounded the Bat Swarm. A few more rounds of this, and we could be in some real trouble (especially if this Ringwraith has a field-day on Balin).
In the other fights, Gimli and the Khazad Guard killed two Goblins - Gimli used his two-handed axe on a spearman, wounding him on 3s and scoring two wounds, neither of which were saved. The Khazad Guard slew a shield-carrying Goblin, who failed his save.
Kill Count: Dwarves: 9/51, Goblins: 3/39

Turn 6: (P - Dwarves)
The armies continue to press each other. Thorin used his throwing axe to wound the Bat Swarm (2/4H), but otherwise nothing of interest happens. Notice that the Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows are fanning out to batter Durburz and his archers in the center of the map.
And the Dwarves unleash their arrows and slay two Goblin Warriors with Orc bows...yeah, not enough shamans everywhere if you want more-killy heroes.
The Shield-bearer calls another free Heroic Combat, wins the fight easily, wounds both of his foes (1/1M), luck would have it, both survived with their Fury saves. Oh well...I really need to get to the shaman - just out of frame in this picture, marked by the blue token).
On the left side,a lot changed: the shaman saved one wound with Fury (1/1M), while Balin killed a Goblin spearman and a Khazad Guard killed the Ringwraith (beating him with a 4 to win the fight and getting the needed 6 to wound him without using his two-handed weapon - thank heaven for Strength 4 and wounding Nazgul on a single dice). No other units were killed, but the Goblins are being hard-pressed on the actual scoring mound. Groblog is arriving with his 3 Might points, but with Fight 3, he's a rather unthreatening hero to this army.
On the right side, Gimli and his crew dealt nearly even blows with their enemies: Despite Gimli and his men landing five wounds on the Goblins, three were saved by Fate and so two Goblins died (a spearman to Gimli and a shield-Goblin to a Khazad Guard). In return, the Goblins killed a single Ranger with two-handed weapon.
Kill Count: Dwarves: 15/51, Goblins: 4/39. The Goblins are 11 units away from breaking, while the Dwarves are 16 units away...I'll also add that the armies are nearly even in numbers (36 Goblins and 35 Dwarves) - I'd say things are going pretty well.

Turn 7: (P - Dwarves again)
In the Move phase, the Dwarves have rushed towards most of the objectives and have charged both shamans. Gimli successfully wounded the Shaman he charged with his throwing axe, but the wound was saved by Fury.
Durburz killed a Dwarf Warrior in the center (1/3M), as did another Goblin Warrior. The other Dwarf of the expeditionary force killed the archer he was fighting, but I'm going to need to pull other units away from their shooting hay-day.
In the Shoot phase, a few Dwarf Warriors are still able to shoot (not in combat yet) and took down one of the Goblin Warriors at the far objective. I'm kind of hoping that I can kill them from a distance instead of charging them, but we'll see if I can wing that with the other archers and Durburz at the center objective.
The Dwarf Shield-bearer called yet another free Heroic COmbat, won the fight, but failed to wound (rolled snake-eyes). That's a bummer. In the other fights, though, Gimli beat the Shaman (no more Fury), the final Fury save failed, and the wound was then saved by the Shaman's Fate point (1/1F). In the other fights, two Dwarf Rangers killed Goblin spearmen and two Goblins killed a Dwarf Ranger and a Dwarf Warrior with shield.
The Groblog and the Goblin Shaman won their fight (a great shout arose from Gaius) and they killed the Khazad Guard to boot. In the other fights, Balin killed a Goblin archer and wounded a Goblin with shield (1/3M) who was saved by Fury.
Kill Count: Dwarves: 22/51, Goblins: 9/39. 

Turn 8: (P - D.W.A.R.V.E.S.)

The game is drawing to a close as the Goblins attempt to hold the center objective, challenge the armory objective, and maintain their own. During the Move phase, Thorin wounded the Bat Swarm with his throwning axes (3/4H), so I'm kinda hoping that I can kill him this round.
In the Shoot phase, the Goblins get their first kill - a Dwarf Ranger who just missed them with his throwing axe (he rolled a 4 to wound instead of a 5).
In the Fight phase, the Shield-bearer called another free Heroic Combat but again lost the fight. He wasn't wounded, but still, kinda sad he lost. But, Gimli promptly killed the Goblin Shaman (no Fury up this turn) and the Dwarves killed two other Goblins this turn. In return, the Goblins killed a Dwarf Warrior with shield.
Balin wounded the Shaman twice (2/3M), the Goblin failed his Fury rolls (and the Fury spell disappears) and saves one of the wounds with a Fate point (1/1F, 1/2H). Nearby, one of the Dwarf Warriors with shield wounded Groblog, who saved the wound with his Fate point (1/1F, 2/3M). In the other fights, a Goblin with shield was killed and Thorin slew the Bat Swarm (ROOOAAARRR!).
Durburz killed one of the Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bow (2/3M) and the Dwarves paid back the wound measure for measure by killing one of the Goblins present. The objective is solidly in the hands of no one.
Kill Count: Dwarves: 29/51, Goblins: 12/39. The Goblins are broken and have no Fury spells up...that's really good for me and really not good for Gaius. :)

Turn 9: (P - Goblins)
With the Goblins finally getting priority, their heroes test: Durburz stayed handily and that was the good news. Groblog passed his test with the aid of his Will point (1/1W), which was okay. Two Goblins fled - a spearman and a swordsman - which was unfortunate. But most unfortunate of all was that the Shaman (with no Fury, you will remember) failed his Courage test by 2 points and as he had no Might point left, he needed to spend his last two Will points to stay in the game. Ergo, no more Fury. To capitalize on this loss, Thorin charged one of the Goblins who jumped on the stairs and slew him with his throwing axe. Onward to victory, bearded fellows!
The fights went very well: the Shield-bearer called yet another Heroic Combat (do you see why I like these guys?), handily killed him (not hard when you wound on 4s and there's no Fury around), and he helped Gimli CRUSH his foe. In the other fights, the Goblins killed two other Dwarves and suffered two casualties in return. The Dwarf with Dwarf bow was not killed: the banner-bearer was killed and the Dwarf archer picked up the banner to keep up the offensive machine.
In the center, absolutely no one died. Yes, very fun...moving on...
On this part of the field, two Goblins were killed and one was beaten backwards and tripped on the stairs (the Goblin with shield and the dice next to him). The Goblins lost most of their fights, but so did Balin, who was wounded by the Goblin Shaman and saved the wound with his Fate point...yeah, kinda embarrassing (1/1F).
Kill count: Goblins: 14/39, Dwarves: 38/51, Goblins are 1 unit away from losing the game, so we called it here (as they have quite a few who are not within a hero to SF and we'd be ending the game soon).

Final points:
  • The Dwarves score 3 points for breaking the enemy and not being broken.
  • The Northwest objective gives 1 point to the Dwarves as a contested objective (9-5).
  • The Northeast objective gives 3 points to the Goblins as an uncontested objective (2-0).
  • The Southwest objective gives 3 points to the Dwarves as an uncontested objective (2-0).
  • The Southeast objective gives 1 point to the Dwarves as a contested objective (9-2).
  • The Center objective gives 1 point to the Dwarves as a contested objective (4-3).
  • Neither army leader was killed, so 0 points awarded to both armies.
Final score: Dwarves win a major victory (9-3)


Assessment by Tiberius:

Playing with shield-bearers is SO-MUCH-FUN!!! Free heroic combats for the win - they certainly helped in getting around the Goblin lines and it made Gimli not need to call as many heroic combats for himself. Balin got lucky against the Troll and I love the number of Will points he has. By far, I liked how the board is coming together - I've got some great work in store as we press through Hobbit month!

Assessment by Gaius:

10 Fury saves...that's better than these shamans have ever done. The extra resiliency that Groblog adds to the army makes him a must-have for any army (though his 3 Might points and 2 Attacks are the only offensive capabilities he adds). Balin's force did a real number on my men, forcing me to break off a portion of Durburz' army to defeat them - and most of it was raw luck (the Ringwraith dying during his first combat, the Cave Troll botching his roll entirely, and the Bat Swarm getting slowly cut down by Thorin). Rough game, but the new board pieces are fun.

Stellar unit for the Dwarves: Khazad Guards

These guys don't get the award very often, but I love them so much. Strength 4, Defense 7, and automatically passing Courage tests makes them superb Nazgul hunters and their ability to choose a hand weapon or a two-handed weapon is a nice touch when they're assisted by someone else (even another Khazad Guard). In this game, they killed their share of Goblins and assisted in trapping the Cave Troll and killing the Ringwraith...hard to not give it to them in this fight.

Stellar unit for Goblins: um...anyone?

It's hard to pick a "stellar" unit not because the Goblins didn't do well, but because it's hard to pick one unit. The Goblin Warriors with Orc bows challenged two objectives (center and the armory) and held the only Goblin uncontested objective. The Goblin Warriors with spears or shields not only held down heroes, but scored most of the wounds against the Dwarves (either working together or individually). I'd also be tempted to give the victory to any of the Goblin heroes - the shamans and Groblog for cumulatively saving 10 wounds or Durburz for killing most of the archers at the center objective. So today is a team award, not recognizing the talents of any one class, but the contributions of every class (except the Troll, he's left alone today).


  1. I lament with you, Gaius - the dice were not with you that match. Nice board, by the way, Tiberius - can't wait to see the final product, :)

    I was surprised that the Nazgul was such a non-factor in this game - one of the weaknesses of Gimli and the Shieldbearer is that they do not have a large store of will points, so I was expecting a lot more use of magic.

  2. Well fought.

    10 fury saves. impressive. however I can't say I'm terribly sold on the shaman/groblog combo. 145pts spent to save 50pts worth of gobos? For the same cost you could take another troll and 65 pts of goblins - or another troll a shaman (if you are really concerned about greenskins running) and 20pts of goblins. Methinks having a second troll in the force would do the greenskins a lot of good - especially if we adopt the new Hobbit ruleset with it's special attacks for monsters.

    1. Yes, another troll would be interesting to add to the army, but not because of the new rules. In my opinion, the new rules make it easier to do damage to warriors, but harder to beat heroes until they run out of Might (I mean, a Captain of Rohan at 45 points can pay a Might point for a Heroic Strike and can now tie a Troll's Fight Value if he gets a 2+ on his roll, and will beat his Fight Value on a 3+). Also, if you want to use warband rules (as we did here), you kinda need shamans to play Goblins (who wants a Fight 3 Captain?), so Groblog allows you to get more out of these captains that you are obliged to take anyway.