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The Long And The Short Of It

A report of the Club Challenge 2007

By Declan Waters

My last tournament had been the Bristol Brawl in March earlier this year. However, as I was running that particular event, I was looking forward to engaging my fellow generals in more games. However, as often happens, life got in the way of wargamming, and it was only when Ian and Westy told me they had secured me a place at the Club Challenge, that I borrowed Paul's Undead horde and went to Nottingham for the late May Bank Holiday.

The Army
Having not borrowed an army for a tournament before, it was a little strange to sit down with the Vampire Counts army list, and a list of available models and write a 2,250 point army list. As I have been playing Goblins for the last few years, the VCs would prove to be a huge change. However, I'm still a horde player at heart, so the first two choices were two large blocks of skeletons with full command and light armour (29 and 19). Then the two Ghoul units and two Dire Wolf units available to me, and two units of six Black Knights with Full Command, would hopefully provide some speed and some flank attacks. One unit was given the always useful Warbanner and another the Banner of the Barrows. With no Wight character available this is an expensive banner, but was useful in the one practice game I've had against Ian's Nurgle Daemon Legion.

Next up was the rare choices. With the CC rules forbidding double rares, and no Black Coach available, I took one of the Banshees, and left the other rare options free. Then the characters. With large numbers of points left, and the idea in my head of having shambling hordes of zombies raised from the grave to battle the enemy. As such, I took 3 Necromancers (all level 2) and a Von Carstein Vampire Count - also level 2. Two Dispel Magic Scrolls, the Black Periapt, and the Book of Arkhan were added to the necromancers, with the Vamp given Aura of Dark Majesty, and a Ring of Night. With so many levels of magic (10 dice, the periapt and one bound item), I decided to attempt the 'all eggs in one basket' technique, and got a Staff of Damnation for my Vampire, and a Staff of Flaming Death for one of the Necros. With a few points left, I decided to take a risk and got three Spirit Hosts. Unfortunately, I didn't have Paul's models for these. Fortunately, they are easy to paint. Nine of my Saxons, based on 40mm x 40mm bases, sprayed black, and a few layers of white and then based. Hurrah!!! (Although this would hurt my painting as I now had two styles of painting.)

The Night Before
As I needed practice with the army, and we arrived in Nottingham at 3:30pm on the Friday, Ian brought out his army of Nurgle Daemons and we settled down for a battle. Now, there are a few disadvantages to playing Ian. My ethereal creatures are next to useless, I have no fellbats for march blocking and it was only my second game. Needless to say the army was inspired, and I performed admirably despite some cruel comments from the Viet Taff lads led by Paul Newman. With much moving, correct charges, and a little luck, I was resoundly beaten... (In fairness to Ian, he completely thrashed me by about turn 3 but we played on until the end so that I could learn a little more about my army.) I was just happy that I wouldn't have to play Ian in the CC as we were in a club of two and wouldn't be drawn against each other.

Ogres (part 1)
My first game on the Saturday morning was against an Ogre Kingdoms army. Due to their small numbers, I always feel I have achance against Ogres, although the fact they caused Fear would negate one of my main advantages.

  1. Tyrant & 3 Butchers
  2. 3 Yhettis
  3. ...

The deployment was fairly standard, with the two Skellies in the middle, with one unit of Dire Wolves, one Black Knight and one Ghoul unit on each side of the main block. The Spirit hosts were deployed to the side of my Vamp's skelly unit to deal with anything vicious and the banshee was put on the right to deal with a few of the Ogre units out of leadership range of the Tyrant. The Ogres began the game and swept forward, with a few spells fizzing out and some of the Ogres seemingly growing in size and confidence. A few shuffles were the order of the day, with the Banshee heading forward, and the Ghouls on the left heading towards the trappers. With more Gnoblar squabbling, the Ogres decided to slow down a little, but two units of Ogres were moved towards the Black Knights. Taking the bait, they swept in. One Bull unit (with a Butcher) fled through a Gnoblar unit, but the Ironguts on my right flank held. Unfortunately, there was nothing to hit with the stranded black knights and they stopped near the Yhettis. Meanwhile the Vampire moved the Skeletons forward, and the Spirit hosts guarded the right hand flank. Unfortunately, the Tyrant in front of them was on the left of his unit, so the Spirit Hosts wouldn't be effective as flankers (as the Tyrant almost certainly had the inevitable Tenderizer). The Black Knights on the right completely fluffed thier attacks, the Ogres caused 6 wounds, and I failed to save any. Banner given to the ogres, and an embarrasing failure.

The Yhettis swept into a Unit of Dire Wolves I positioned to save the Black Knights for one turn, the Tyrant's Unit moved forward and the Butchers arranged themselves so they could see the Spirit Hosts and fry them. The third Butcher rallied behind the Gnoblars, who didn't squabble and went forward as quickly as possible. The Yhettis smashed the dire wolves, swept into the Black Knights behind them. Needing to do something quickly, the Vampire moved closer to the Tyrant unit, raised a unit of Zombies in front of the Tyrantto ensure I couldn't maximise to include the Tyrant and then moved them into the Ogres. Meanwhile the Dire Wolves in my right charged an injured loan Leadbelcher (who had lost his mate and two wounds to the Banshee) swept through him and engaged a slave Giant that was threatening to role up my flank, and the Spirit Hosts managed to charge a Butcher (who chose to flee). The Yhettis (fortuntately) fluffed their attacks, and my Black Knights dropped one. And the Ogres vs Vampire was a draw.

A unit of Bulls charged my Black Knights, but only one could engage them (due to the Yhettis). The Giant hurt a few Dire Wolves, but they had done their job. The Butcher rallied and the Generals did nothing. The Black Knights though, beat the Bulls & Yhettis, broke them, chased them both down and made a unit of Gnoblars run. Meanwhile the Ghouls on the left charged and broke the trappers. The Spirit Hosts were again on the charge, this time the Butcher they charged held, although was run down after the combat, the Black Knights went into a unit of Bulls in front of them, and the Ghouls moved towards another Butcher. Meanwhile the Banshee was attempting to give the Giant the run around and screaming at a small unit of bulls. And the Ghouls on the right finally left a wood they were hiding in. Fortunately, my magic worked again, and a unit of Skellis went into the side of the Tyrant's unit, although they held. The knights predictably broke the Ogre Bulls and ran them off the table.

With a lot in combat or marchblocked by the Banshee the Ogres moved to allow charges next turn, although one of the Butchers charged a unit of Ghouls. The Tyrant held again but the butcher was killed by the Ghouls. In my turn, there was also little movement. The Black Knights returned and turned to face the Gnoblars, the Spirit Host charged the remaining Butcher who was too close the table edge to run and the banshee moved a little. In the combat the Tyrant eventually fled, hit his Giant and was killed by the Ghouls hiding behind him. But this left the Giant able to charge my Vamp's unit next turn. The Spirit Hosts didn't break the Butcher and if the Gnoblars passed their fear test next turn they could be in trouble. With little else left to do the Giant charged the Vamp, and the Gnoblars failed their fear check. Predictably, the Gnoblars failed their fear, and the Butcher died. The Giant failed to pick up the Vampire (and killed 4 Skeletons), lost by one, but held.

There were still a few charges for my last turn. The Knights charged the Gnoblars in the flank who couldn't run as the Spirit Hosts would have killed them. The other Gnoblars fled from a skelly unit and a unit of Ghouls. The Vampire, having moved to be next to the Giant, did three wounds leaving him with two left. The Giant - clearly enraged - tried to pick up the Vampire. I rolled a two to hit, but had hellish vigour in play so re-rolled ... a three and a hit. a 3 to wound, and the Giant dropped the Vampire. Just for fun, we rolled to see what the Giant wanted to do - 'Eat...' GULP! That would have changed the game. The Giant then failed his leadeship, fell over (on the Vampire) and killed two Skeletons - one of whom had pushed the Vampire out of the way first. The last turn for the Ogres had nothing to do except rally one unit of Gnoblars, which predictably decided that enough was enough.

Result: Massacre to VCs