Saturday, 15 August 2015

Playing 8th post 8th - is the game still even fun to play? Battle report to figure it all out...


Does 8th still exist?

One of the curious things I've observed post 8th on Twitter, forums and the like is this vibe that now GW doesn't support WHFB, the game isn't really worth playing and was/is a horrible mess that needs to be completely overhauled to even consider playing it. Efforts to re-vamp the game and make all the (as official as they get) tournament FAQ's part of the "real" rules (8.5, 9th age, or whatever) are under haste to make the game playable and give it longevity.

However, in a weird kinda way, GW was always right about one thing: the gamers are the ones who make it a game. Age of S(h)i(t)gmar takes this to an extreme that is beyond my personal preference (style and mechanics wise), but the wealth of comp packs and unofficial/official house rules have always existed (to the frustration of the purists who want GW to pass down from on high a water tight rule set, carved in stone etc) and thanks to the internet/experience they still exist.

Anywho, what I'm getting at, is that 8th still exists, and last time I checked, it is still fun to play with mates, and possibly even in a tournament like fashion.

So to that end....

3000 points EMPIRE vs TOMB KINGS

Ben sent me a txt "wanna game?" I said "sure - tonight?" he replied "3000pts, I'm using Tomb Kings".

In that little exchange 2 things happened:

1) A game was arranged the traditional way  of the modern era using an old, out of date, unsupported by GW rule set that is still fun to play; and
2) I was misled as to the power level of the game.

So I cranked up my Quartermaster app (gathering dust now we're post 8th) and whipped up a list.

I rocked up with:

Arch Lector: Waralter, charmed shield, Heavy Armour, Great Weapon, 4+ ward
lvl4: light, 5+ ward, dispel scroll
lvl1: light
lvl1: light
BSB: Fullplate armour, enchanted shield
40 Halberds: Full Command
40 Halberds: Full Command
5 Knights: Musician, Unit Champ
10 Archers
4 Demis: Musician
40 Great Swords: Full Command

And found myself playing against:

Tomb King: Chariot, 4+ ward, Great Weapon,  (armour save stuff)
lvl4: tombking lore
lvl4: light
lvl1: light
lvl1: light
(feedback scroll, dispel scroll on the mages)
BSB: Chariot, Great Weapon, (armour save stuff)
7 Chariots: Full Command - re-roll charge banner
30 archers: Full command
16 archers: Full command
Warsphinx - breath
Warsphinx - breath
4 Morghiest - halberds

We (I) rolled up Battle of the Pass and I panicked and checked that 120 infantry and 4 demis would actually be able to deploy width ways.

40 Zombies representing 40 Hallberds...they've died enough times over the years.

Things of note: casket behind the light holder thing, I actually managed to deploy my army across the board, and I resisted the urge to castle up in the corner and watch the Tomb Kings walk towards me.

The Tomb Kings went first and casually casketed off a cannon and 2 zombies died (again) to shooting. In return my army didn't move (GUNLINE!!!!!!!!!!!!). Banishment blew up some chariots, 1 helblaster took them down to the unit champ, and the other rolled triple missfire and did 3 wounds to morghiests (first time I've ever rolled this...kept the result like a boss). Surviving Cannon misfired trying to kill the casket.

Things looking good for the time being...
The Tomb Kings continued to slowly move forward and I started my turn 2 down this much artillery...
yeah who needs all that artillery goodness anyway when you have 120 118 infantry
So as the fluffy Empire player I am, I responded in the only way I know how: march stuff forward 8 inches, charge Demi's off into the distance to die a glorious death/win the game single handed, and use Knights as chaff.
Pro Hurricanum placement right there
My battle line was set: the warkittys didn't have much choice - either double charge Great Swords and get sandwiched, or split up and hope for the best. Magic is scrolled, but the helblaster does 2 wounds to a warkitty. Demi's A) lose a model from the forest, b) get poison attacks, and c) actually win combat!
yeah winning combat and stuff
But of course it can't all go my way. I let through a casket on the war alter (saving dice for banishment - which I stop). BSB in range, ldship 9. I roll a 13...and then re-roll to a 14 (AVERAGE IS 11 ON 3 DICE GRRRRRRRR). All allocate onto the alter (oh no...) and I fail 4 ward saves. 1 billion s3 shots later and the arch lector is dead (had taken 2 wounds the turn before from banishment) and the war alter dies to costing me hatred against the warkittys who had thundered into combat.
In Age of Sigmar this wouldn't be too bad a dead pile. No where near 50% casualties...
Stuff happens and I hold combats and then the counter attack begins at ws10, I10 with +1 to hit!!!
Gotta love it when you feel a decisive moment is in the air...
Flanked kitty dies a horrible death, but crucially manages to skewer my BSB who can't pass armour saves. The Halberds then (naturally) fail the overrun test and the stranded unit (now general-less and BSB-less thanks to some horrible rolling my me) panic, and also panic my mage bunker.
Oh yeah, Demis die and Great Swords now trapped
Rolled FTW...and failed. BUT THERE IS HOPE as the Morghiests fell into my carefully laid trap and (foolishly) charge my Halberds
Great Swords waiting patiently

How foolish you ask? Well, first of all, I may suck a 4+ wards and rolling under the average on 3d6, but I am the undisputed king of ldship 7 tests ESPECIALLY when my units are getting wailed on by a much superior opponent and there is no BSB. Heck the fact that my lvl 0 dispel phase resulted in the chariots effectively coming back to full strength, and the morghiests getting loads of unnecessary buffs actually made it easier to hold on for a whole extra round of combat. Also the warkitty died to awesome Helblaster awesomeness.

The trap was sprung 5 knights all died to s5 impact hits (sigh) and the chariots rear charged the halberds...
what n00b walks into this obvious trap?
And kills them all (as I planned)
Ben realised a little too late what he had walked into
In charge the Great Swords...boosted by the hurricanum that smashed into the Tomb King points bunker as well
All I need to do now is roll lots of 3+ followed by lots of 3+
So after rolling plenty of 1' and 2's I won combat...but BSB + Morghiests + fluffing to wound rolls meant the chariots were still there...
and I'm sure you all remember how 8th works and can figure out how turn 6 went. Pro tip...I'm great at ldship 7 tests...ldship 8 tests I'm still working on.

Result: Loss Moral Victory

End Result is that this particular battle was "lost", HOWEVER given that this was a delaying tactic in the wider war, it in fact enabled the main forces of the Empire (which had all the usual Empire tools...Karl Franz, stanks, knights etc) to out flank the Tomb King lines and win the war. So in actual fact is was a "win" in the wider sense of the word and history will remember this battle as the crucial moment of the war that swung the tide against the Tomb Kings.

Also this game was a good reminder of just how important including double stank and a Karl Franz bus (with Ghul Maraz) is. In no way are the Empire workable without them. this loss moral victory had nothing to do with some unlucky dice rolls and Ben carefully and successfully targeting the threats early and all to do with not taking a cookie cutter list.

Was it fun/did 8th still work as a game unsupported by GW?

This to be honest was my main concern. Against the odds I still managed to have fun lining up my halberds and Great Swords. I even had fun despite leaving the "good stuff" at home.

The odd thing? The rules still worked even though GW don't support them any more. This was very confusing and will require further investigation when my Empire return to the battle field slightly better equiped to handle morghiests and stuff.

So I encourage you all (the 3 of you who read this) to pick up some dice, dust off the 8th rule book and keep playing games. It is (surprisingly) still really fun to play.