Brawl Diary 2003
This was the second time I’d had the pleasure of
attending my local tournament, the Bristol Brawl. The frist time
I went, as a very inexperienced player, I’d achieved my objective
of not coming last by coming second to last. This time, I was out to
gain a place and at least manage third to last.
I’d redesigned the army that got thrashed last
time and taken 1500 point of vampire counts, as follows:
1 Necromancer (general), lvl 2, cloak of mist & shadows (in zombies)
1 Necromancer, lvl 2, dispel scroll, book of Arkhan (alone, usually)
Carstien Thrall, flayed hauberk, wolf form, great weapon (in skeletons)
2x23 skeletons, full command
6 black knights, full command
3 spirit hosts
5 fell bats
The format of the tournament is 3 games per day over two days.
Terrain was placed by taking it in turns and then scattering all the
pieces with the scatter die. For tournament points, there were 24
up for grabs in each game. Each margin of 100 VP’s difference earned
the winner 1 more point and the looser 1 less, starting at about
75 points difference, a change from the previous year which I liked.
Did I achieve my objective? More importantly, did I have fun? Read on
to find out.
Bamber Loizou – Orcs & Goblins
12 Boar Boys with a war banner, 12 savage orcs, 2x20 night goblins,
20 black orcs, orc boss, 2 goblin shamans, 2 bolt throwers.
My plan for this game was to split the forces into two flanks
where I’d be able to crush one quickly and use the extra forces
of overwhelm the other. Things went pretty smoothly to start with.
On the left flank my bats, the spirit hosts and the black knights
went up against the savage orcs and boar boyz, while the infantry
faced off on the other flank. I managed to get a charge off against
the boar boyz with the knights, and I killed 3 of them, taking no
casualties. Sadly, he had the war banner which allowed him to win
the combat. The spirit hosts began to whittle down the savage orcs
but were still loosing a couple of wounds per turn. In effect, the
hosts cancelled the savage orcs for the whole game, and manage to
kill enough of them to get me half points. Meanwhile I cracked off
a couple of Invocation spells to try and draw out the inevitable
fanatics, but they were dispelled. The fanatics duly arrived and
did hideous damage to one skeleton unit. The other bunch of
fanatics, on 2D6 damage due to a magic item, all managed to fall
short by some miracle.
The boar boyz eventually managed to destroy the black knights by
combat resolution and advanced down the board to where my general
was hiding in his zombies, so I moved that whole unit into a wood.
The fell bats managed to charge a bolt thrower, run down the crew
and run into and destroy the other bolt thrower crew, with the
overrun from that taking them squarely behind his three units of
infantry. The fanatics stopped anything from charging and rampaged
about, dying and inflicting minor casualties on some goblins. One
goblin shaman moved out of position to get away from the bats and
was promptly charged by my wolf-form vampire: the shaman fled and
got away. Next turn, the lone vampire was amazingly steamrollered
by a fanatic: no question of just clipping the arrow went straight over
the vampire’s base and it was bye-bye to my only combat character.
The fell bats charged a unit if night goblins in the rear and,
in an amazing display of dice rolling, managed to break them and
run them down! The fact there were still five bats in the unit,
thus getting me the +2 rear charge bonus helped an awful lot.
The boar boyz came down the table and tried in vain to get into a
charge position on the generals unit hiding in the wood. The black
orcs smacked into the unit of skeletons weakened by fanatic attacks.
The orcs destroyed the skeletons and poised themselves to obliterate
the other skeleton unit, now bereft of it’s vampire guardian. At this
point, I also lost my lone necromancer to an ‘ead putt spell. Things
were looking pretty bleak for me, but I got the bats into position to
charge the black orcs in the flank, buying me another turn to tie
up my skeletons. Or so I thought. In another startling display,
the bats actually broke and ran down the black orcs, general,
shaman and all! Suddenly, everything had changed and I got the
skeletons to charge, break and run down the final unit of goblins.
Just when I thought I’d got a winning draw out of the game, in the
final turn the remaining goblin shaman got gork’s warpath off on the
boar boys, allowing them to charge and destroy my generals unit.
The best thing was the despite having to take two crumbling tests
on Ld 6, my heric Fell Bats didn’t take a single wound!
Bamber won by about 350 points, which is roughly what he got for
destroying my generals unit. That was enough to net him 15 tournament
points, and nine for me. I was pretty happy with that start.
Lessons learned? Well, don’t try a refused flank unless you’re
sure you can crush the units on one side and second, don’t leave
home without your fell bats!
Robert Sedgeman – Lizardmen
2 x 10 skinks, 10 chameleon skins, 16 saurus with hand weapon and
shield, 20 saurus with spears, 2 x 3 kroxigor, saurus hero,
skink shaman, 2 jungle swarms, salamander.
I hate fighting lizardmen. Every previous game I’d played against
them I’d been cut down by a combination of cold blooded break tests,
uncatchable skinks and 2 ranks of spear-armed saurus with 2 attacks.
However, after we’d placed terrain, this looked like a very
interesting battle. The scatter dice had left us with a very large
forest, and a very large, long hill side by side in the middle of
the table, totally blocking line of sight! We knew that whoever got
to the hill first would be the one getting charged, but that they
would get +1 CR for being atop a slope. I decided to be the one
doing the charging, so I sat back. I did send the bats and spirit
hosts up one flank though. Correspondingly, most of the skinks
and the salamander and the smaller saurus unit came round the other
flank toward my static forces. In the first couple of turns, the
ghouls were wiped out by skink shooting and the spirit hosts
managed to destroy his jungle swarms. The bats engaged and ran down
one unit of skinks that my opponent had left near the rear of the
This is where things got interesting. The large spear saurus unit
crested the hill, along with one unit of kroxigors. I’d managed to
pin the other kroxis with my spirit hosts. The skinks meanwhile
crept round my flank. I charged my black knights into the saurus
on the hill, hoping the armour would protect them from the spear
attacks and ran my other unit up toward the salamander and skinks,
which fled. The black knights simply bounced off the saurus unit:
not a single wound caused! They were crushed by the lizardmen who
overran 10 inches: just enough to see them crash into the flank of
my skeletons. Meanwhile the other skeleton unit was causing
complete panic on the other flank. Despite taking some heavy losses
from skink firing they managed to cause the chameleon skinks to
flee off the table and hit the salamander, which broke from combat
and fled. The other saurus unit lined up to try and get a flank
charge on the skeletons, but the overrun clipped the unit, so
that ended up as a melee.
Again, things were looking pretty grim. One unit of skeletons was
certain to be destroyed by the saurus, and the other unit had
been heavily whittled down by skink missile fire. However, I had
caused a few serious losses in return, and managed to restore some
troops lost to skinks with invocation spells. The spirit hosts kept
threatening to break the kroxigors, so my opponent, deciding the
saurus unit inside my lines was able to handle the situation, turned
the other kroxigors and flanked the spirit host. The cool spirits
had managed to tie up six kroxigors for the whole, game, and took
fairly minimal damage! Meanwhile the salamander rallied but was
promptly charged and broken off the table by my fell bats, which
followed it. The spear saurus unit crushed my skeletons as expected
and destroyed a necromancer with them, so I moved my necromancer
general out of the zombies and got him out of harms way, as I was
concerned he’d get charged by the spear saurus rampaging around
behind my lines. However, on the other flank, the skeleton unit
in combat with the other sauruses had been charged in the rear by
the remaining skinks. This proved to be a big mistake: all the
skinks missed and the saurus unit took heavy casualties at the
hands of my vampire. The skeletons won and fear caused both the
sauruses and skinks to flee. I correctly presumed the saurses
would flee off the table so I chased and ran down the skinks,
leaving me suddely in a position to charge the spear saurus in
the rear! Sedgie decided discretion was the better part of valour
and retreted the big unit rather than risk gobbling up the zombies
for a few VP and risk loosing an awful lot!
Not actually a huge amount of casualties in this battle.
I’d accounted for all the skinks and a salamander, plus 16 saurus.
In return I’d lost the black knights, ghouls, one unit of skeletons
and one necromancer. Sedgie edged it by about 75 points, which was
just enough to lift it out of a draw: 13 points to him, 11 to me.
A really enjoyable, tactical battle and the most fun I had all
weekend. The close ones are always the best.
Chris Legg – Vampire Counts
2 x big skeleton units, 20 grave guard, 2 x 9 ghouls, banshee,
blood dragon vampire thrall, 2 necromancers, 2 spirit hosts.
Chris is a local player at Bristol and I’d played his vampire counts
once before and got a draw, but we were both using different armies
this time. I’ll confess I was at something of a loss as to how to
handle this army. I knew my knights couldn’t break any of his units
(obviously) and he had three big infantry blocks and so stood a good
chance of flanking me. Amazingly, the answer was staring me in the
face and I failed to see it. For spells, he’d rolled the same for
both is necromancers: invocation and the largely useless hand of
dust. I’d rolled the same spells for both of mine: invocation and
gaze of nagash. All I had to do was sit back and blast his grave
guard with magic missiles. But maybe by brain was addled by too
much warhammer, maybe I’m just too used to advancing, maybe I
panicked without a plan, probably I’m just an idiot. In any case,
I advanced to meet the threat, managing to cause only a tiny amount
of damage to the grave guard with magic missiles.
Stupidly, I charged the black knights into a unit of skeletons,
hoping to achieve I know not what. His spirit hosts got around my
flank and advanced inexorably toward my generals unit. On the other
flank my hosts ran down and destroyed one of his ghoul units
(worth half the points of the hosts) which took them too far away
to be of any use at all. My unit of ghouls, covering the flank
of the black knights were charged by his ghouls which, together
with a banshee scream, broke my ghouls and ran the down. The black
knights caused considerable casualties in the first round but were
then destroyed by combat res. One of my skeleton units charged the
grave guard (well, I was only going to get charged by them otherwise)
and got completely destroyed. My other skeletons, with the vampire,
charged his other skeletons and did considerably better. However,
at this point they were about to be flank charged by the grave
guard. My general was about to be charged by some spirit hosts
and most of my other units had been destroyed and I’d managed to
account for a few ghouls. I surrendered.
24 to Chris, nothing to me obviously. I played like a complete
idiot and deservedly lost by the largest margin possible. So,
I’d got 20 points under my belt today. I’d managed a total of
36 the last year. I was left with some work to do if I was surpass
my previous result!
Colm McQuilkin – Empire
3 x 10 handgunners, 3 x 10 archers, 2 cannons, mortar, hellblaster,
2 x 5 knights, 10 free company, 2 x 5 free company detachments,
3 lvl 2 wizards.
Boy did this scare me. The shooting power of that army was awesome
and I knew that the wizards were liable to make short work of my
spirit host missile screen. My opponent set up all his war machines
on one flank then put a unit of knights on each flank.
Everything else lined up in the middle a couple of inches
in from the edge. Terrain had allowed me to claim the only
hill on the table, which was a big help. I knew that if I could reach
his line, even with a couple of units, it’d go down like a deck
of cards. I also knew that without a Ld 8 general, fear was going
to be a real ally here. I sent all my fast stuff: the cavalry
and bats down the flank toward the war machines. I ranked up
everything else in the middle, with one unit of skeletons behind
the hosts, and another behind the ghouls. I knew I was still going
to take a lot of shooting in the flanks, though.
I won the roll to go first and advanced grimly. I couldn’t do much
else. I managed to get an invocation spell off and raised a new
unit about 10” away from the hellblaster: not enough to block
it’s LoS to anything, sadly. The knights on the flank tried to
charge my black knights but failed a fear test. Then it was shooting
time. The guess for the mortar was wrong but, as luck would have
it the scatter die put the template squarely atop a unit of
skeletons. Amazingly, out of about 15 hits, only 2 wounded!
One cannon fired at the knights, killed a model and taking
out a bat from the bat unit behind the cavalry. The other
misfired but simply failed to shoot that turn. Then it was
hellblaster time. It rolled 18 hits on my black knights, 9
for half range and killed … one model. I couldn’t believe
my luck. The spirit hosts went down a base due to magic and
I’d used my only dispel scroll. My knights duly charged into
his, which failed the fear test and fled off the table, panicking
a cannon crew which also fled off the table. The zombies
crept up toward the hellblaster, obscuring it’s LoS. Everything
else continued to advance. My leftmost skeleton unit started to
take horrific casualties from missile fire but I replaced a few
Everything fell apart for the Empire. It’s hard to believe just
how unlucky some of his rolls actually were. The cannon fired
twice more, misfiring on the bounce once and misfiring and
putting itself out of action just when it had a flank shot on
the black knights. The mortar hit the skeletons again, got a
partial template on a necromancer out of a unit and failed to
hit it. He miscast his spells so badly that my spirit hosts
reached his lines without taking a further wound. He failed almost
every fear test he had to make. It was just horrible to watch.
The bats and knights destroyed every war machine on the flank and
the unit of free company. The spirit hosts broke a unit of
handgunnners off the table and one of their adjacent units
panicked and went the same way. The only luck he had was passing
all his panic test for wizards, which kept his magical defence
and attack intact.
From here on the bats and hosts just strolled up the line,
destroying everything in sight. The bats caught and killed
two wizards and the third eventually panicked and ran into oblivion.
One skeleton unit was still taking missile damage and eventually got
caught and destroyed by the other unit of knights. The knights then
went on to charge the other unit of skeletons with the thrall in it,
which broke them in the last turn, bagging me the points for the
knights as well.
I’d destroyed almost his entire army, for the cost of one skeleton
unit. Critically, my last turn attempts to bagsy some table
quarters with Invocation spells failed and when we totted up
the points he’d got one tournament point. I’d got the other 23.
Although I think I had a good plan against this army, he was
still atrociously unlucky not to do better. I have to say he
stayed in good humour despite the dice and didn’t complain
Andy Winton – Lizardmen
Some of the people at the tournament had swapped armies with each
other. This was in fact the very same army I played in game 2.
Andy had never played Lizardmen before today, so was still
getting to grips with the army.
Curiously, the terrain dice managed to generate a not dissimilar
situation to the last time I played this army. There was a hedge
right in the middle of the board, with a forest one side of it and
some rough ground to the other. All the main combat units crept up
toward the hedge to play dare over who would try and charge first.
I moved up my spirit hosts and ghouls, knowing they could charge
through the hedge, to try and get a front-and-rear charge on the
smaller saurus unit. The black knights were out on one flank,
pinned in place by the chameleon skins. I raised some zombies
to try and take care of the skinks but they proved too mobile
and got around behind my generals unit, pinning it close to the
edge of the board and stopping my general from allowing the other
units to march. On the other flank the fell bats charge some skinks,
broke them and pursued them off the board. Back at the flank with
the knights, they were charged by some kroxigors who managed to
kill only a single model! The black knights did three wounds,
breaking and overrunning the kroxigors but finding themselves
stuck in a wood.
The general and his zombies managed to get vanhels off on
themselves, charging the chameleon skinks which failed the fear
test and fled off the board. The bats came back on and were promptly
charged by the salamander, which killed one. However, the collateral
damage the bats did to the skink handlers proved too much: the
salamander broke and the bats overran, catching the salamander but
hitting the back of the second kroxigor unit which were lining up to
charge my black knights as they emerged from the wood. Meanwhile the
ghouls and hosts charged into the saurus unit but I’d got my angles
wrong and they both hit it in the front. It tied that unit up for
the rest of the game, but the ghouls broke and failed to rally,
and the spirit hosts were eventually destroyed by the combat res.
The big spear unit moved through the hedge. It’s flank was protected
from one unit of skeletons by the forest, and Andy figured he could
take the others on, vampire and all, since he had spears.
Andy was right. My skeletons piled in but were decimated by the
spear-wielding saurses. The other skeleton unit moved up to get a
flank charge, but couldn’t quite make it due to the fact I’d stupidly
put a necromancer in the way! My vampire challenged his saurus hero
but was cut down after failing both armour saves from two wounding
hits. At this point, I figured I probably had another 15-9 draw on my
hands, in Andy’s favour. In the last turn, my black knights charged
the kroxigors (who had finished off the bats with ease) and I tried
to get vanhels off on the skeleton unit, to catch the spear sauruses
in the flank. It went off, but the general (who had cast the spell)
was a long way away from the unit in question. Was it in range? Just!
Andy tried to dispel but he knew I still had the book of Arkhan to
use and so had to save a dice. He muffed the roll. In the skeletons
went. They broke and ran down the sauruses and the general, bagging
me about 500 points in all. The black knights and kroxigors
failed to do much damage to each other.
15-9 win to me. Getting that last spell off made a big difference
in the result. One lvl 2 shaman isn’t quite enough magic defence
against a vampire army, as it turned out. I was dead chuffed at
this point as I’d surpassed my total from last year and was lying
fith in the days rankings, with a shot at taking a small prize
(at the brawl, smaller prizes are handed out for each day as
well as the big “overall” prizes)!
John Harrison – Skaven
This was another “borrowed” army. 4 units of clanrats,
3 ratling guns, 1 warpfire thrower, 8 (yes, 8) jezzails,
2 warlock engineers, chieftan, 3 rat swarms, and a few gutter
runners and globadiers.
I didn’t have much choice but to advance on this lot. My plan was
to hit him with gaze of nagash (I’d rolled it twice) and try and
force panic checks to get his units off the table. The first was
dispelled but I managed to hit the jezzails with an IF cast: it was
out of range .. just! The next turn I managed to get one off to wipe
out all the jezzails before they could cause any serious damage. He
managed to catch my black knights with his swarms, preventing them
from doing any real damage. I rolled absymal dispel dice in this
game and the warp lightning spells really took their toll. The first
one destroyed 10 of the 11 ghouls (from 10 hits!) the other one
remaining unable to rally. The other took out a bunch of skeletons.
One ratling gun was in range of my spirit hosts. It misfired but the
scatter die shot it in exactly the direction of the hosts in any
case, and it blasted them all to bits. All my cover was gone.
Further gaze of nagash spells forced one unit of clanrats to
panic, but they didn’t run off the table and rallied the next turn.
The nerarby weapons teams all passed panic checks and proceeded to
lay down a withering fire in concert with more 2D6 warp lightning
spells, completely obliterating one skeleton unit and reducing the
other to about 4 models. They were then charged by the clanrats and
crumbled, allowing them to overrun into my generals unit. I conceded
at this point.
The skaven walked away with all the points, but I almost managed
to claim a single one for the combined total of the swarms,
jezzails and half a clanrat unit. Not enough though. I’d had my
share of luck during the weekend and it was about time I had a
bad run of the dice: I failed all my dispel rolls and my opponent
kept getting his 9+ casting rolls and not misfiring with his
weapons teams. There’s not much you can do against a shooty
skaven army with rolls like that. Pride comes before a fall as they
say, so I deserved the loss for gloating about managing 5th place
after two battles. In retrospect I probably should’ve stayed back
and used the superior range of gaze of nagash to take out his
weapons teams. It wouldn’t have stopped the warp lightnings though!
All in all I’d had 4 really good battles out of 6, improved on my
showing from the previous year, and had 6 polite, considerate
and entertaining opponents. Who could ask for more? Roll on 2004!
View the overall results.