Saturday, March 1, 2014

Domination: Tunnel Fighting!

With the TMAT GT rapidly approaching, it took me a little while to decide which army to take: my Dwarves have been in the box since the first GT back in 2012, my Wood Elves are desperate for a shot at redemption after having a terrible time at the first Hunter's Red October tournament, and my Goblins have never been to any tournament at all. The other day, I decided I'd be taking my Dwarves, but I wanted to play them against my Goblins (just in case I changed my mind). Therefore, I called my friend Gaius to control my Goblins and play a quick game. Here are the forces:

The Host of Erebor, my dear bearded fellows and the army I'm taking to the 2014 TMAT GT.
The Host of Erebor: 603 points

Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Balin, Son of Fundin with Durin's Axe - 85 points
Dwarf Shield-Bearer - 60 points
8 Dwarf Warriors with shields - 72 points
10 Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows - 90 points
1 Dwarf Warriors with banner - 33 points
6 Khazad Guards - 66 points
6 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes - 60 points
1 Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes and two-handed axe - 11 points
2 Dwarf Rangers with two-handed axes - 16 points
2 Dwarf Rangers with Dwarf longbows - 20 points

39 units, 10 Dwarf bows + 2 Dwarf longbows + 9 thrown weapons, 3 heroes

The Denizens of Moria, the army I need to take to a tournament someday...
The Denizens of Moria: 603 points

Groblog - 55 points
Moria Goblin Shaman - 45 points
2 Wild Warg Chieftains - 150 points
12 Goblin Warriors with shields - 60 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears- 80 points
10 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 50 points
4 Goblin Prowlers with shields - 32 points
2 Wild Wargs - 16 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points

50 units, 10 Orc bows + 4 thrown weapons, 4 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" x 48". The game ends when one side is brought down to 25% of its starting size OR 90 minutes have elapsed. The scoring rules are as follows:

  • 1 point for breaking the enemy OR 3 points if the enemy is broken and your army is not;
  • 2 points for killing the enemy Army Leader;
  • 1 point for every objective where your army has the most units OR 3 points for every objective where there are no enemy units present.
Here's the map set-up (and my son Tamwyn, who recently decided he likes rolling dice and playing with my blue "bendy" ruler): center objective is measured from the base of the white statue (hope to have that painted up and detailed for the GT), four other objectives are whatever their bases are.

Turn 1: The Advance of Armies (Priority - Dwarves)

The armies are moving, and because this is a Domination game, both armies push their archers towards the center objective (that, and Goblin archers don't do anything to D7+ front lines). Nothing happens, besides the Shaman casting Fury (1/3W).

Turn 2: The Pack Races Up (P - Dwarves)

And everyone continues to move up, but there are some Dwarf archers who will be able to shoot this turn...
Two Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows shoot at the Wild Wargs (Colleen and Blitz, if you've read the post on my Warg conversions), and though both archers hit, neither shot is good enough to kill the wild beasts.

Turn 3: A Deadly Barrage (P - Goblins)

As the teams draw nearer, the Goblins are now in control of four objectives, with the Dwarves rapidly moving towards the center and crag (top-left in this image) objectives. With their numbers, it'll be hard to shift them.
A Goblin Warrior with Orc bow managed to hit a Dwarf Warrior with shield, got a 6 on his first roll to wound, but then rolled a 3...figures. In response, three Dwarf archers wounded their foes, one of which ignored the hit thanks to Fury (1/1M).
Kill count: Dwarves 2/50, Goblins 0/39.

Turn 4: Striking the Beasts (P - Dwarves)

Sorry, no pics for this round (thought I took some, but apparently not). In the Move phase, the armies continue to move up and near each other in the center. In the Shoot phase, though, a Dwarf Ranger with longbow wounded the Cave Troll (1/3H), while two Rangers with throwing axes wounded the Wild Warg Chieftain down below, one of which was saved by Fate (1/1F, 1/3H).

Kill count: Dwarves 2/50, Goblins 0/39.

Turn 5: The Flash of Steel, Howls of Pain (P - Goblins)
And we have fights! The Wild Warg Chieftain has charged some of the Dwarves nearby and a Dwarf Warrior with shield came to aid his comrades. Gimli is backed up by the Dwarf banner, which is a killer combination when the Shield-Bearer benefits too (3 attack dice for each of them is great)!
One of the Dwarf Rangers (Lafi, remember that name) killed one of the Wild Wargs with a thrown axe. Elsewhere on the field, a Dwarf archer wounded a Goblin, who shrugged the wound off with a savage howl (Fury Save).
Gimli and the Shield-Bearer call heroic combats, but pay dearly for them. Both kill their men and charge onward into the foes, but they spend all their Might doing it (Gimli: 3/3M, Shield-Bearer: 1/1M).
As the battle continues, two Dwarves are felled by the Goblins - one by the Wild Warg Chieftain (1/1M). Not a lot happening elsewise. Note that the Dwarf Warrior with the dice next to him was not killed, just knocked over.
Elsewhere, the Cave Troll won a roll-off against his foes and decided to Rend Balin. Despite being able to wound on 3s, he only managed one wound (what I wouldn't have given for 3 Might points on that one to promote my 1 and 2 into wounds). Balin saves the wound with a Fate point and a Might point (1/3M, 1/1F).
Kill count: Dwarves 5/50, Goblins 2/39.

Turn 6: The Brave and the Bold (P - Dwarves)
The armies continue to press against each other. At the bottom right, you'll see that Lafi (Dwarf Ranger) killed the other Wild Warg with his throwing axe (Baruk-Khazad!). This was ill-planned in a way, since I could have thrown against the Wild Warg Chieftain with my other Dwarf first and then killed the Warg, but alas. Lafi was then taken off of the fight by a Goblin spearman (with back-up).
Not to be outdone, a Goblin spearman was killed by a Dwarf longbow (not in this shot).
In the Fight phase, the Shield-Bearer loses his fight and is almost wounded (Goblin got a 6, but didn't get a 4+). Elsewhere, Gimli slays his foe with his 2h (most effective way to cut through 5+ Fury saves), while a Dwarf and a Goblin with shield are also killed further up.
Further down, Balin and his team best the Cave Troll and with them all at S4 and +1 to wound (yaye Khazad Guards who rely on a macho hero to do the winning for them), they handily slay the Cave Troll. Balin spends all his Might to win the fight, though (3/3M, 3/3H for Cave Troll). Next door, Lafi slays the Goblin who came to challenge him and the Wild Warg Chieftain takes no wounds from the other Ranger, even though he was trapped).
Kill count: Dwarves 11/50, Goblins 3/39.

Turn 7: The King of Moria Arrives (P - Gobs)
The fights continue to press, nothing much to report.
In the Fight phase, the Dwarf Shield-Bearer called yet another Heroic Combat and after slaying his man (twice over), he charged into the Wild Warg Chieftain. This was a strategic call for me, as the WWC is not only one wound away from death, but the DSB can tie the high dice, giving my Dwarf warriors a better chance of killing him.
As the fighting raged, the Dwarves lost one of their number, but managed to kill a Goblin and one of the Wild Warg Chieftains (making that two of the enemy "smash" units). Gimli, however, actually manages to LOSE his fight and to boot is wounded by the Goblin he fights! He saves the wound with Fate, but he's royally ticked off now (1/2F).
Balin and Thorin easily kill their man, but the others settle for pushing their foes backwards.
Further over, Lafi kills another Goblin (18 points killed for 10 points spent...gotta love it), while his comrade is less lucky (and the Wild Warg Chieftain snapped off his base...again...need to work on that).
Kill count: Dwarves 17/50, Goblins 5/39.

Turn 8: Racing Across Chasms (P - Dwarves)
As the warriors charge, a Dwarf Ranger with throwing axe kills a Goblin bowman (love killing things in the Move phase). The Dwarves now have a solid hold on the center objective and actually outnumber the Goblins on the bottom-right objective. In the Shoot phase, one of the Dwarf Rangers with longbows killed one of the Goblin archers with Orc bows at the top-right base (Goblin starting position). That's really good for me, as I don't want to have to walk all the way there!
Lots of dead Goblins everywhere. The highlights are that Gimli slew two Goblins this turn (no Fury saves), while one of the Dwarf bowmen wounded the Bat Swarm (1/4H). Thanks to an incredible effort by the Dwarves, many of the Goblins who stood between the Shaman and Gimli have fallen - not good news for the Greenskins!
On the far end, Lafi finally dies to the Wild Warg Chieftain, but thankfully there are four more Dwarves (all D7) coming up towards the objective.
Kill count: Dwarves 23/50, Goblins 7/39. Goblins 2 from break, Dwarves are 13 from break (and outnumber Goblins)

Turn 9: A Desperate Dash (P - tied, Goblins)
You'll see in this shot that there is a Goblin remaining on the Goblin's starting objective, while the Bat Swarm raced down to the Dwarf starting objective, giving the two rangers there something to do for the first time this game ("Why did he take us into this battle again?" "Because he had the points...")
In the Shoot phase, the Goblin Prowlers use their throwing knives and kill one of the Dwarf Rangers (who actually survived several bouts single-handed against the Bat Swarm before racing over here). The Dwarf Archers who are attempting to challenge the objective are preparing to shoot point-blank at their foes (but don't yet, as they need to get in scoring range FAST).
The DSB calls yet another heroic combat and slays his foe, charging two spearmen in response. I LOVE this guy's ability to call free Heroic Combats if he's near a certain hero!
On Gimli's side of the battle, several D7 Dwarves are felled by the Goblins (about time, right?). The DSB are successful in killing one of his foes, further cracking down the number of defenders to protect the shaman. Gimli, though, was denied the right of killing his foe because after dealing two wounds with his two-handed axe, the Goblin he was hitting shrugged both off with a wild yell (two Fury saves...grrr).
With Balin and a few loyal followers hacking at the remaining Goblins on this flank, the Dwarf archers of various kinds can focus their attacks on units on farther objectives with impunity. Go team...
On the far end, though, the Dwarves have less of a good story: the Wild Warg Chieftain's charge not only bowled the shield-toting Dwarves over, but he slew both of them with a swipe of his paw and a slash of his teeth. The Khazad Guards remain undaunted.
Kill count: Dwarves 29/50, Goblins 12/39. Dwarves are 8 from break, Goblins are 9 from game.

Turn 10: Keen Eyes And Fell Deeds (P - Dwarves)
No group shot, but here's what you need to know: one Goblin spearman fled the field. All other Goblins (including those sitting on objectives), as well as the Bat Swarm passed their Courage tests. In the Shoot phase, these two Dwarf Rangers managed to kill two Goblins: one was the remaining Goblin archer on the Goblin's starting objective, while the other was a spearman on the crag objective where the WWC is. These kills not only mean that one objective is empty, but the other objective has two units on each side, so the WWC must kill at least one Dwarf (without the benefit of the charge) to score on that one.
At the start of the Fight phase, the DSB gets in one more heroic combat and slays the spearman he's fighting handily. He then charges the shaman, who was slated to fight Gimli with the help of Groblog, but now it's two separate fights.
The Shaman loses combat to the DSB, but saves two wounds before the spell expires (that's how we play here at TMAT - Fury disappears at the end of the combat with the Shaman, not before wounding dice are rolled). Gimli loses his fight to Groblog (how?), but isn't wounded.
Kill count: Dwarves 34/50, Goblins 12/39. Dwarves are still 8 from break, Goblins are 4 from game.

Game ends after time is called:
-No points scored on Goblin starting objective
-Dwarves score 1 point on Dwarf starting objective
-No points scored on rocky crag objective, as both armies have 2 models (WWC + spear vs. 2 KG)
-Dwarves score 1 point on cliff objective (3 archers vs. 2 prowlers)
-Dwarves score 1 point on center objective (Gimli + Balin + 12 followers vs. Groblog + 5 followers)
-Dwarves score 3 points as they are not broken and the Goblins are broken
-No points scored for army leaders, as both army leaders are alive.

Final count: Dwarves 6, Goblins 0. Major victory for the Dwarves!


I'm going to forgo the normal conclusion wrap-up and talk a little bit about what happened in the context of the upcoming GT: Dwarves are a hardy lot and I like that more than half my army can shoot (makes this interesting). Balin's crew did a good job of pounding objectives (as a single warband, I think that one was the one I'm most proud of), but I needed to get units to the objective with the Prowlers on it sooner. When I finally did get units there, I won the objective - but I was pushing it time-wise, so I can't do that later.

In the center, the chips fell as I expected: the combined relentless assault of Gimli and the DSB is powerful, especially when both are in range of a banner. Together they are formidable, but when coupled with lots of D7 units and D6 archers who can rip through D4 and D5 troops from a distance, it's really sweet. My Rangers did great things for me - taking out most of the units on the crag objective and clearing the archers defending the Goblin starting objective was invaluable. If I had to give a "Stellar Unit" award to anyone, it would have to be the Dwarf Rangers with Dwarf Longbows, as it took away an entire Goblin objective and made another one scoreless (changing a major victory into a minor victory). I will give credit to Lafi, who killed 3 units by himself - for 10 points, that's really good. I'm excited to see what these Rangers do at the upcoming tournament!

In the coming weeks, I'm working on some terrain projects, most of which I hope to bring to the GT, so watch this space and happy hobbying!


  1. it will be good to see dwarves again at tourney.

    maybe next time the goblins won't leave their objective holders out in the open to be plinked by archers turn after turn. =P

  2. Nice write-up, bro - definitely not hoping to hit the dwarves in the tourney with my Waistcoat brigade, as I think three power heroes will be a bit too much for Aragorn to contain, :P

    I'm curious as to what you think about dropping some goblin archers and the bat swarm and taking another cave troll. As I'm gluing/painting the trolls for my Angmar "Halloween" army, I was thinking about this, and whether it would be helpful to have four heavy-hitters (2 on a flank, one on the center, and one on the wing) for this style of force, as Groblog and the Shaman ended up getting attacked in this game, and could have spelled doom for the force if they were lost. Your thoughts?

    1. @Zorro: Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of terrain finished that provides cover for my market squares - working on that before the GT. My son was interested in what those did, so I removed them (and had to constantly reposition the guys that were sitting on objectives). So yes, would have been better to have some cover, but there was no way for anyone to get the benefit of cover while scoring the objective.

      @Centaur: I own a Cave Troll, but I'm not pleased with them. Having started out with the Mines of Moria starter set, I learned very quickly that being Fight 6 but _not_ having Might is a real set-back. This is in part why I went with Wild Warg Chieftains (not Fight 5, but does have a Might point). In any game of Domination, you tend to divide your army into two or three groups, which means at least one of your groups will only have one heavy hitter - Gimli and the DSB faced off against a ton of Goblins and one WWC (which the DSB only had to fight in one round). What'cha gonna do, right? I don't think things would have been _much_ better if I had another monster mashing things up, as my Cave Troll and Wild Warg Chieftain got killed pretty quickly (and Gimli didn't participate against either).

    2. those back steps would have provided an in-the-way at least - and, if they were lying down, nigh full cover against anything not higher than them.

      also, with the GT coming up and knowing we will probably have at least one gobbo army, I should point out that I'm pretty sure that fury rule says it ends when a shaman "loses a fight" - which is to say fury gets turned off when the shaman loses the duel roll, and _before_ the wounding happens - not at the end of the fight phase.