XXXI – Pride and Prejudice

Quite soon after the Triumph and Treachery Expansion (or, as we call it, Pride and Prejudice, for the name seems to be very hard for some to remember) was released my gaming group went and picked one up. As we often do multi-player games, as team battles or just Battle Royale style, it was pretty clear that this was something for us. The price tag was something of a speed bump – something that many seems to agree on. As such, I was very glad to have an enthusiastic gaming group to share it with – after all one set of cards, tokens and rules is all a group needs. Shared by 6 geeks and with a small discount from our LFGS one person’s tariff was dropped from blood taste levels (65€) to cinema ticket (9.75€). (Is this how it was intended, I want to ask, to share it with your group?)

I was up for a holiday game against my mates beastmen, wanting to show that the Beastmen could be very hard to deal with for the vamps. We did however get our hands on the Sense and Sensibility a few weeks ago, and, as our Dark Elf enemy had returned from his holiday celebrations a day earlier we decided to give it ago at 1400 pts.

Misty forests of the Old
World by the foothold on the river
bed the twilight elves guard
the shores dark
orgies bleed the walls
In moonlight dark
brays echo
Gravestones torn, shambles
dead creatures’ unrest
eternal

It would still be time for the mad struck von Rosentod to show his power, and perhaps strike himself into some kind of sense. Not too many times my Undeadlies have seen the daylight (they didn’t really see it this Finnish december-afternoon either), but now they did.

We rolled for one of the three non-historical scenarios and came up with a 3: In the borderland of three regions is a vital area that sees constant struggle. The game board is divided into 6 equal parts, and the players take turns to place one objective worth 100 points each. The game lasts until the sum of Number of players, Turn Number and a D3 roll is equal to, or higher than, 12 – i.e. 6-8 turns for the three of us.

In the back left corner there’s an Anvil of Vaul – placed far away from my Ethereals to prevent any sneaky hill maneouvres, in the mid-back there’s a Arcane Ruin (the Storm of Magic structure) and the marsh in the near middle is a Charnel Pit. We randomized the order of deployment, using the T&T-cards all we can, and thus the Beastmen, led by Steve the Minotaur, began deployment, followed by Dread Lord von Rosentod, as a Ghoul King, and finally the Dark Seductress’ Dark Elves. We, players, took it in turn to choose a table 6th and deploy out of 12″ from any enemy units.

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As a commentary – this worked out reasonably well with three players and a 6′ x 4′ table, but already the Dark Elves had been forced to deploy into a significantly small area. With four and five players it’s easy to force another completely off the board. We decided to keep one eye open for this potential problem in the future.

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Steve’s company

The Beastmen
Steve the Minotaur, with extra limbs, -attacks, a Ramhorn helm
Bob the Brayshaman, level 2 (shadow), dispel scroll
2 units of 25-ish Gors (one in ambush), two hand weapons
3 minotaurs
2 units of 5 Centigors

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The Dark Seductress’ followers

The Dark Elves

The Dark Seductress, level 4 sorceress with Dark Magic
Some 30 Corsairs
16-ish Witch Elves
A horde of Executioners
5 Warlocks

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The Summonings of von Rosentod

The Summonings of von Rosentod
Von Rosentod (as Ghoul King) with Fencer’s Blades, Dragonbane Gem, Red Fury
A level 2 Necromancer with the Cursed Book
2 units of 5 Dire Spiders
2 units of 20 Zombies
38 Skellingtons
5 Hexwraiths
2 Spirit Hosts
A Varghulf

The Stevedore deployed in the back left, by the Anvil of Vaul ready for attacks from both sides. Then the Vampires appeared by the Charnel pit, also prepared to do some annoying Vanguard moves and to react to both sides’ actions. The Dark Elves finally deployed in the back right.

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The shambling hordes after vanguard moves.

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The Beastmen deployment. Minotaurs are ready to face anything that appears to the left.

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Beastmen take the first turn and carefully trip towards the elves – the witch elf unit instil fear in the beasts. The Vampires are the enemy, and so frenzy tests are avoided.

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The general trend will be that the vampires is the target of most spells. In the first magic phase the beastmen reduce the strength of the Spirit Hosts. Particularly nasty turned out to be removing Remains in Play spells. If you are not involved in the magic phase you cannot dispel them, even if they have targeted you. On the other hand, if an army has targeted you in the magic phase and they have an ongoing effect in every magic phase (such as Fiery Convocation) they will only have an effect if both involved parties are active in the same magic phase.

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In the elves turn the witch elves (proxied) charge the bestigors, who magnificently know how to make parry saves and lose only 3 models. They still run away, however, and first lose the standard bearer, due to fleeing from combat, and finally the champ (due to a failed dangerous terrain roll from fleeing over a barricade).

In the magic phase the Dark Seductress’ barrage of spells blast the hexwraiths into oblivion. Sad face.

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The undead move slowly forward. Having chosen the Dark Elf as their enemy, the Varghulf charge the Warlocks.

The Beastmen’s Bray Shaman and Gor unit rush around the forest using a Treachery Card granting them +3 to movement. The Witch elves fight in their turn against the Minotaurs who are slaughtered without even having time to blink an eye. The combat with the warlocks turn into a real meat grinder. As the Warlocks manages to do an uncanny amount of saves and also a few wounds that the Varghulf fails to regenerate I am forced to use a Treachery card to add +1 to my combat resolution, to make sure it sticks around for long enough. Next up the Dire Spiders declare a flank charge at close range against the Centigors who decide to run for it. They are caught and spun into dreary cocoons. The spiders nearby charge the beastmen.

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Spider moves.

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The magic phases results in zombies.

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One army can only ever be engaged with one enemy army at its own combat phase. As I had charged the Gors, to block its move – an ordningary move would not have been enough as I was out of my vamps march bubble, I was now engaged with the Dark Elves’ Warlocks (with my Varghulf) and the Gors and had to chose one enemy. Having good odds against the Warlocks, but knowing I would lose against the gors, I decided to pick the Dark Elves as my enemy. The Spiders were thus disengaged from combat with the gors.

Speaking of gors – in the above picture the ambushing gor unit has emerged. Appearing on the first turn, they however roll a 1. Meaning the opponent may decide an entry point for them. As the Beastmen player had chosen me as their opponent. I got the to decide where. In the Dark Elves corner it is.

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What the Dark Elves’ Bladewind does to zombies. (1/2)

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What the Dark Elves’ Bladewind does to zombies. (1/2) I think was a bit cross eyed and tested them at WS 2. 😮

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After a number of combat phases, the Varghulf emerges victorious from the combat with the warlocks. But a horde of executioners, fume-addled by the spores in the fungus forest, close in.

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Soon the Executioner engage, easily closing the small gap.

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Before even knowing what stroke it, the Varghulf is chopped into pieces. In the up left corner the witch elves can be seen – they have spent two turns or so turning back around towards the centre. The Gors have not charged the surrounding spiders, content to have their shaman cast some spells. One unit of Dire spiders is running towards (or actually, walking fast against, being outside of von Rosentods marchbubble) the objective in the far back.

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Von Rosentod with his skeleton guard decide try to avenge the death of the varghulf. This was a bit of a gamble, even before I remembered they have killing blow. Gulp. The beastmen use a Treachery card that makes us re-roll hits, and I, use one to make my Skeletons S4.
As the dust clears, the Skeletons wins, due to the mighty combat capabilites of teh Strigoi vampire.

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The Executioners break, and give me both their points, and the residing wizards. Including both the general and the Executioners banner. I overrun into the  fleeing Corsairs and destroy them too. The vamps are now in a very solid lead. But the game is not over yet.

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Some more movement, is seen. The gors to the left have charged, and destroyed my Dire Spiders. Doom and Darkness has been cast by my Cursed Book on the Witch Elves by the arcane ruins. The Skeleton block is in combat with Steve the Minotaur (my charge if I remember correctly), and are Miasmade. Can the Strigoi survive the fury of a Doombull? The short answer is: “No.” The vamprie causes but one or two wounds but are destroyed. *Crumble*. Steve loses the combat, however, but is undaunted, and stays around.

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The gors then attempt to strike at the crumbled Spirit Hosts. They have lost 2 wounds and one full base. Hoping I could stick around I use a Triumph and Treachery card to prevent them from getting a rank bonus. It does not help, and soon they are stuck in combat with my necromancer’s zombie block. This is not good.

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Steve keeps mowing through the skeletons.

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Doom and Darkness is cast on the Gors (now without the Bray shaman, who is capturing an objective). If they fail their Angry Beasts tests, and/or Fear tests think might be looking better for me. This is around the end of 4th turn, or beginning of 5th, so the game is ending soon. If my army does not crumble away due to the loss of the last spell caster I am very likely to win.

The Gors fail their Angry Beasts test, but succeed with their fear. I lose combat by a solid 6-8, and some more zombies are cut down/crumbled/really dead. The unit is big, and I ought to get a magic phase soon to resurrect some more brainless.

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Steve is chewing through the skeletons, chopping faster with each blow as his fury grows.

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A miscast later, and a couple of combat phases, my zombies and my Necromancer is dust in the wind. My spiders who are holding the farthest corner objective were first crumbled to a single spider, when the vampire was lost, and the last critter now disappears. The big zombie block, in the right of the picture, should keep me in the game until the end. Steve has chopped away all the bone heads by now.

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Overview of the active battlefield. A bray shamans is holding an objective by the building (see first pictures) in the lower left.

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The final combat. The Witch elves have charged the gors, but are incredibly debuffed by the Beastmen player. In the end, the witch elves still win – but only by 1 and the Gors, being steadfast, do not flee.

The game ended on turn 7. The vampires are victorious, having scored around 1850 points. The Beastmen are second with 1400 points. And the Dark Elves, despite their early strong lead, have scored around 1000 points.

So a few summarizing words about the Pride and Prejudice expansion. We all agreed that the game was very fun, but (or as) the random factor with different cards and their buffs and debuffs or sneaky-backstabbing involved provided great unpredictability. The game worked very well with three people at 1400 points (the WD Bat-Rep was 1500 points). There was not too much waiting between turns despite the random turn order, something that is also prevented in a Battle Royale types of games, when one player’s turn can begin while another player’s turn is on. The random turn order might also be working better with Warhammer Fantasy, than with 40k (see coming X-mas Speshul Final Post). Waiting times might be an issue as more players get involved – the sweet spot might be at 4 players in terms of waiting times and rules. We had no problem getting through this game in 5 hours or so – this is perhaps 30-50 % longer than an ordinary game. For multiplayer (everybody-against-everybody) this is better than the Battle Royal format. Go try it! I will be looking forward for our next try at this!

Happy New Year people!

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