Monday, 17 February 2014

Hobbit SBG: Dreamlike Gaming Tournament 15th/16th May 2014

Welcome one and all to what should hopefully be the first of many tournament from myself (Sam). As an avid member of the GBHL I try to attend as many tournaments as possible. This was the second tournament of the 2014 season so I was desperate to attend and get some points on the board.

So, on to the tournament. It was based at Dreamlike Gaming Center in Mansfield which was a new venue for this year. The staff here are great guys and they offer 20% off all GW products and can even get direct only stuff on discount. I'll add a link at the bottom of this post to their facebook page.

The tournament was 1 army at 500 points with 6 games over two days and the missions were played in the order they appear in the Lord of the Rings sourcebooks.

After much deliberation I decided to go with my trusty Hunter Orcs and Mordor Shaman combo.

Warband 1
Fimbul w/ Fell Warg - General
2 Hunter Orcs w/ Fell Wargs
10 Hunter Orcs

Warband 2
Narzug w/ Fell Warg
2 Hunter Orcs w/ Fell Wargs
10 Hunter Orcs: 8 w/ Orc Bows

Warband 3
Mordor Orc Shaman
12 Morannon Orcs: 6 w/ shield, 6 w/ spear

This came to the grand total of 498 points and on paper seemed like a nice balanced force. A fight 5 hero in Fimbul, Fury from the shaman (which would negate the low courage and hopefully stop the orcs dying) and a nice amount of cavalry to outflank and attack spear supports.

Onto the games themselves then...grab a cuppa and a biscuit. I can't promise that this will be short.

Game 1 V Damian O (Dr Grant) @ To The Death 
Quick bit of background for you all, Damian is a very good friend and had actually driven myself and 2 others to the tournament. On the friday night (14th - yes we invaded his house on valentines day, sorry Mrs O) I had played a practise game against Damian's all hero army and got smashed. So not a good sign...anyway...I'm waffling.
Damian's army consisted of: Thorin w/ Oakenshield & Pony, Dwalin, Gloin, Dori, Bombur, Tauriel and Alfred. Lots of FV6, 3 attack models and the ability to regenerate might points. Ouch.
We also had to play on the goblin town board which really hampered my army's ability to outflank and surround models. He was able to keep Bombur and Alfred safe by placing Thorin, Dwalin etc on all the walkways. I was forced to go in one at a time and just got slaughtered. Not even fury could save me. I did manage to take down Dori though but by then the damage was done.

Result : Loss (0-8) Always knew it would be tough but was a fun game none the less. Damian is a top top bloke and his painting skills are top class.

Game 2 V Kieran Street (Gondorian Captain) @ Domination
Kieran is also a close friend and is a lover of the white hand. I set my objectives as close to his as possible because I knew I would need to kill him to be able to win. Kieran had also bought Vrasku and 12 Uruk crossbows which I knew would shred through my D4 hunter orcs if he was given the chance. However, he only had a small fighting contingent so I knew if I could kill him quickly...I may have a chance. There was also an objective in a tower in the center of the board.
I was lucky to cast my channelled fury first turn which proved to be pivotal later in the game. Kieran set up his fighting uruks either side of the tower but failed to cast his fury I am feeling confident. I leave Narzug and 2 bowmen on my home objective and rush the the tower to claim the second one. Kieran has Vrasku on his home objective but two lay unclaimed. The uruks manage to get the jump on Fimbul who is preparing a flank charge (poor pre-measuring by me) but luckily he survives and kills both his attacks. On the other side of the tower, my weight of numbers and Kieran's lack of fury means I am slowly able to wittle down his troops until he broke and the majority ran away. Even Vrasku legged it but not before shooting Fimbul's warg from underneath him and causing 3 wounds in the process. Luckily the dice gods were with me and I passed enough fury rolls to keep him alive on 1 wound. It was over pretty quickly so we totted up the VPs.

Result: Win (15-4) A good win, I had claimed 3 objectives, killed his leader and broken him while Kieran had 1 objective and had broken me. One objective lay unclaimed which I had been planning to claim by running Narzug to it on the last turn but had completely forgotten. Not that it mattered now...but it might cost me later.

Game 3 V Chris Murfitt @ Hold Ground
Chris was one of two players to travel from Scotland for this event. That is dedication so kudo's to you mate. This was also the last game of day 1 so I was hoping for a win to keep alive my hopes of coming in the top 3. Chris had bought Malbeth, Rangers of Arnor with appropriate dunedain and Gimli with Khazad Guard. Lots of FV4, Str 4 and high defence in addition to Malbeth's foresight save. I rolled pretty poorly for my deployment so had my force spread around the board. He was lucky to have both his main warbands come on from the same board edge so they could huddle together. I made best of Narzugs poor rolling to get the jump on a lone Dunedain and kill him quickly. I quickly realised that I would need to have lots of models on the hill as his khazads were cutting through my hunter orcs.

Narzug was utterly useless in this game, rolling a 1 to hit with his bow 3 turns in a row. Fimbul fared better and managed to kill a few rangers. Even with fury I just couldn't stop dying and after about 45 minutes the game was over; I had models on the hill but I was convinced I had lost, I deserved to lose really as I had completely outplayed...

Result: ...WIN! (8-7) By 1 VP! Somehow, I had managed to sneak the luckiest of wins against a great opponent. He had broken me, and had 4 models on the hill but I had got 8 models on the hill. We realised after the game that if Gimli had called a heroic march, he would have got within range and won him the game. Very very close but I had pulled it out the bag.

End of day 1 thoughts: A good recovery after a dreadful start and I was over the moon to finish on 2 wins 1 loss. A good position to be in going into day 2.

As with every 2 day event, it is custom (not mandatory) for everyone to go out for a meal and a pint (or two) and discuss every little detail that happened. This time it was a curry which was superb and super cheap. We were there for 2/3 hours and had a great laugh. But that wasn't all, after leaving the curry house we headed to the convenient bar at the B&B where we were staying for more drinks and discussions. I have to say, these 'socials' are probably my favourite bits of 2 day events. 15 like minded people discussing toy soldiers over a pint. It is always good natured with plenty of banter and you really get to know people. I think the last drinks were consumed well past midnight...tomorrow morning would be fun.

Sorry for the poor photo, the lighting wasn't very good in the bar. 
(From left to right: Kieran, Tom H, Tom M obscured by Tom H, GBHL James, GBHL Jamie, David Reid and Owen Wright)

Day 2

Luckily day 2 began slightly later (10am) so everyone was able to enjoy a well earned lie in and full english breakfast. 

Everyone setting up for Game 4 

Game 4 V David Reid (Big Dog) @ Lords of Battle. 
David was the other scottish player and I was thrilled to be playing him again having narrowly lost to him at Throne of Skulls 2013. He to had taken Isengard led by Vrasku and also had a shaman and uruk captain. Very similar to the Kieran's list which I beat on day 1. David was hoping his crossbows would thin my numbers before combat but only managed to kill 2. We engaged in combat second turn and all hell broke loose. Numbers were pretty even but he managed to roll a 6 with 90% of the combats and killed every time...not one orc was furious enough to survive. Even when I did win a fight and inflict a wound, his shaman saved it with fury. I lost 14 models to his 2 in the first combat round...tough to take in any scenario let alone Lords of Battle were every wound in a VP. Still, stranger things have happened. After that turn I immediately went of the offensive knowing I would need wipe him out to win. I managed to kill his captain and started picking off the orc spears but I was still losing models fast. Even desperate heroics from Fimbul and Narzug couldn't help my cause and the game ended at the first opportunity. 

Result: Loss (19-31) A crushing defeat but I wasn't surprised. Just couldn't win the vital combats and the lack of F4 really hurt in this game. Still, it wasnt such a bad thing as with 2 wins and 2 losses, I would be likely to play a lower ranked person and as such, have a greater chance of winning.

Game 5 V Josh Meads @ Reconnoiter 
I hadn't played Josh before and I think this was his first tournament. Still, his army was no push over. He had the Witch King leading Warg Riders, an Angmar Orc Captain leading orcs and a fearsome cave troll and a shaman leading more orcs. Recon is fast becoming a favourite game type as you really have to play tactical to win. My plan all along was to run my mounted hunter orcs off the table but when the enemy also had have to adapt. I ran all my foot troops towards the center of the board and his oncoming warband of orcs in the hope of either killing them quickly or dying quickly so the game would end sooner. The first 5/6 turns involved my riders shuffling across the board trying to find a hole to run through but found it blocked by 12 orcs and a troll everytime. Meanwhile, he had managed to sneak a warg rider off the table and had gained 1VP. In the centre, I had all but wiped him out so surged forward to try and draw some of his remaining forces into combat. Then came a moment of pure genius from myself.
I pulled both Fimbul and Narzug back so they were out of range from the oncoming troll which I was expecting to hang back and block me. Josh however took the bait and charged everyone forward leaving them open to a counter charge. Next turn, I won priority and charged both Fimbul and Narzug into the same orc. The troll however was out of range and out of position and I saw my chance to break for the board edge. I immediately called a heroic combat with Narzug...the plan was beginning to fall into place. Both Narzug and Fimbul were able to kill the single orc and instead of charging again, they slingshotted round the oncoming orcs & troll and into the freedom of his deployment area. Perfection. next turn Fimbul called a heroic march to get himself off the board and Narzug charged the witchking to try and burn his last few will points. Next turn the witch king failed his courage test so Narzug decided to exit stage left and valuable VPs. My remaining forces who couldn't get off the board charged the troll and despite being hurled, managed to kill in next turn and so end the game.

Result: Win (8-1) I had broken him, killed his leader and got a few models off the table. This was a tense game as I was desperate to use my wargs to good effect and was quite pleased with my little slingshot maneuver. The angmar orcs were also a good match for my Hunter orcs as I was able to really make use of the extra attacks I had. So up to 3 wins, 2 losses and I still had an outside chance for 3rd if I could win and score lots of VPs.

Game 6 V Alistair King @ The High Ground
Another new player for my final game. He had bought a Kings Champion, Floi, Alfred, Iron Guard and Vault Wardens. Another tough dwarf list with Alfred topping up might points where needed.
We started fairly close to each other as is often the case with High Ground but I was careful to leave my cavalry behind my lines ready for the flank attack. Which promptly occured when his troops charged straight forward into mine. Fimbul sensed his chance and led his two riders on a little excursion to try and stop the pesky Floi. He survived one turn before being knocked over and eaten by Fimbul's warg, who promptly
knocked over the Herald to deny the Iron Guard their banner re-roll. In the center, the morannons were carving up the Vault wardens and had started on the Laketown guard protecting Alfred. I had also managed to draw the Kings Champion away from his other Herald and was promptly surrounded and killed. This was going well for me and Alistair was looking down in shock and surprise at how easy his high defence Vault wardens were falling. In the last couple of turns, I crammed as many models onto the high as possible to gain VPs. Alfred was one of the last models to die after being surrounded by hunter orcs and a charging Fimbul. The game ended at the 3rd time of rolling.

Result: Win (31-1) A crushing win to finish off and one that vastly increased my chances of finishing high. Despite failing to cast fury I was able to surround and trap the dwarves with my superior numbers and it was only a matter of time before they all fell. 

So I had finished on 4 wins, 2 losses and I was very pleased with my performances. It wasn't a cheesy list so I was both surprised and happy it had done well. While we waited for the other games to finish, I wandered round took a couple of extra photos. (Note some of these below are from earlier games).

James Clark's infamous Sons of Eorl charging Kieran's Uruk Hai on the hill. This picture remained the same for several turns as neither side could kill.

The demise of Charles Sim's Hasharin against Jamie Giblin's pesky wood elves & woses.

Final Rankings

So with all the games finished Tom (Store owner) went away and calculated all the results.

It was all far more advanced than the above picture suggests, there was a complex excel spreasheet that worked out everything. 
The values are (L>R) Position - Player No - TPs - VPs.

So Jamie won the second GBHL tournament of the year, Ed came second, Charles sneaked into 3rd and I leap frogged above Owen into 5th. RESULT! I was well chuffed with that, a new personal best placing. As you can see, a few more VPs and I would have jumped past Tom H aswell but I was more than happy with 5th place. Damian O won Best Army and Billy Galrand won Most Sporting in his first ever tournament. 

So I hope you all enjoyed this long report and hopefully it has inspired you to join the GBHL and come to a tournament near you. The next GBHL tournament is The Best Event Ever being held at The Dorset Arms pub in East Grinstead which is current sold out. After that, it is the Shadow & Sorcery Event at Titans wargaming club in Finchley, London. 

Hope to see you all at a GBHL event soon and stay tuned for the report from the Best Event Ever!