Saturday, 10 November 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Part 1 : How to Lose With a Goblin Army

After several fantasy-gaming-free months, I decided to give Warhammer another go. I love playing Saga and have enjoyed several games of Blitzkrieg Commander, but recently I have been looking at my Warhammer collection, wondering if I should keep some or sell them, to make way for newer toys. If I was to sell, it would almost certainly be elves or greenskins under the auction hammer, so I decided to give them a last chance.

Looking through the orcs and goblins army book, I remembered that I had wanted to try an all-goblin force at one point in the past, so I scoured my "little black book" for clues. This is a little notebook I keep with all my army lists, the occasional battle report, ideas, sketches, etc. Sure enough, written earlier in the year, a 2000 point all goblin list.

As I don't own that many goblins, it was not a balanced army. I had to boost the character allocation considerably in order to make up the points, and there is far more rare choices than I would normally use, but it would give me a chance to try something a bit different. A goblin warboss, a night goblin army standard and two night goblin shamen prodded forward night goblins with netters, night goblin archers, fanatics, wolf riders, spider riders, a squig herd, and a 40 strong mob of gobboes. A couple of spear chukkas, a doom diver and a stone thrower made up the artillery. A handful of trolls added some dubious hitting power, while a pair a pump wagons added a random chance for some carnage. The basic plan was to use the night goblin netters and goblins as anvils, hoping that the trolls or squig herd could function as hammers.

Across the table was a pretty scary-looking chaos army, warriors, knights, a giant, ogres, dragon ogres, all powerful and hard hitting units, led by a Sorceror Lord safely ensconsed in a unit of maruaders. Things started badly when the night goblin shamen lord's very first spell cast with irresistible force, causing him to forget three of his four spells. A very lucky bolt killed two chaos ogres, but that was the highlight of the game and it quickly went downhill thereafter. The squig herd was extremely unlucky in combat with dragon ogres, as the mighty beasts made 5 armour saves (6's) from 7 dice! I guessed at this point that Gork (or Mork) were seriously annoyed at me for neglecting them for so long. Needless to say, the squigs broke and went wild. A trio of fanatics held up the forces of chaos for a little while, but they quickly throttled themselves or span wildly into a forest, making little impact on the enemy advance. Such are the whims of dice rolls.

From a tactical point of view I messed up in a few areas. For some reason I moved my pump wagons forward, they were charged and obliterated by the remaining chaos ogres. Night goblin netters were next on the ogre revenge list (still smarting from that early bolt no doubt), and while the little gits held them up for a couple of turns in classic anvil style, nothing was available to act as a hammer. This was mostly due to me badly positioning the hammer units, the trolls, which were sensibly sticking near to the goblin boss for his inspired command yelps, but were totally out of position on the wrong side of the board! Ah well, it has been six months since my last game.

Most amusing moment of the game? Possibly the giant and stone trolls in combat, the giant yelled and bawled, the trolls were unable to fight back, but held. Then he took a chomp out of one, restoring his wounds, the trolls swung ineffectively, so then resorted to vomit. They spent the whole game (of four turns) in this fashion, rooted to the spot taking chunks out of each other, regenerating them, in a comical never-ending combat. My only real "chance" came from a surprise charge from 5 wolf riders, who failed their animosity roll and then rolled double 6 to just scrape a successful charge of 21 inches onto the rear of the marauders and Sorceror Lord. After some bizarre dice rolling the marauders ended up taking a break test! Which they passed, then turned around, pummelled the upstart goblins into the ground and normal service was resumed. By the end of turn 4 most of my units were dead or dejected and we called it a night.

I knew that using an all-goblin force would be an uphill struggle, but combined with my rustiness, a powerful enemy and some awful dice, it was more of a massacre than I expected. I can't remember the last time I conceded in turn four. Having said that, it was great fun! I want to give the little green gits another go, partly to see if I can improve (I can't really get much worse) and partly to give my opponent more of a challenge. A few tweaks and some more practise is needed.


Laughing Ferret said...

Always liked the idea of an all-goblin army. Someday I'll start mine for Kings of War that could be fudged for warhammer too with wound markers & mental 'this unit's lost 7' kind of thing- just don't want individual bases.

Sounds like you had some bad luck along with goblins being -goblins.

I think goblins would need a lot of characters & rare to give them a fighting chance.

Going way back- to 3rd edition, a friend of mine had so many orcs & goblins, he sometimes fielded an army without orcs, and I remember being caught by surprise when charging a big goblin block,about 8 wide 8 deep, and the entire front rank was level 10 goblin heroes, I believe they had double handed weapons and a banner that let them strike first. suddenly goblins were pretty serious! those goblin heroes didn't cost much more than elite infantry actually. Now that warhammer is back to percentages, might be able to pull something similar to this again.

Hobby Horse said...

Yes, I think one tweak to consider is the introduction of a few throwaway characters on fast mounts, wolves or maybe spiders, to give some support to hammer units. Trolls are hard hitting and resilient, but even near the general they have a good chance of going stupid. Chariots would also be a more reliable choice than pump wagons.

I am also pondering the introduction of an arachnorak to the rare section, this beast would add nearly 300 points into the mix so would take the army up nearer to the default (these days) 2400 points. I don't mind the official model, but have an idea for a conversion that would be "unique".

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