It was the Family Day long weekend in Saskatchewan, this past weekend, and still crazy-cold out. It has been a tradition that we play games on Family Day for the last few years. The kids are less interested in playing games this year, but I did manage to talk Amanda into giving Warhammer Underworlds a try...
This was very definitely a "learning game" (for BOTH) with lots of "take-backsies" as we tried things out and sort out the rules in our heads, and it took a LOT longer than my last game with Finnegan.
I realized we'd made a mistake in playing the Dread Pageant, previously. The thing that inspires them is a total of 6 wound counters on surviving fighters - which I took to mean surviving members of their OWN warband - but realized just before this game that it's actually ALL surviving fighters, otherwise it would have been written "FRIENDLY fighters"... the rules and cards are VERY specific about these things; Friendly Fighters = YOUR warband, Enemy Fighters = Opponents warband, Fighters = EVERYONE ON THE TABLE!? So that makes their inspire condition... well... not QUITE as insanely hard as before... but still pretty difficult. I mean, you have to wound people - but not take them out of action... a LOT...
I also realized the initials for Dread Pageant is DP.... Really, Games Workshop...?
Amanda won the roll-off for picking boards and decided to select one herself. She also won the roll-off for set up, but let me start (as I had pointed out, regardless of whether I got first or not, becuase I had a smaller warband, I would be FINISHED setting up first and thus have the bonus to the roll for who goes first in ROUND ONE, so she might as well have me set up so she can see where I put my stuff and react to that accordingly)
Both of us actually discarded initial hands. I discarded my initial hand of Objectives, as NONE of them would even remotely be scoreable in the first round, if at all... Amanda discarded BOTH hands - objectives and power cards. She said the Objectives seemed "impossible" and she had FOUR upgrades in her initial hand of Power Cards - which were useless if she wasn't scoring and Glory Points to actually be able to PLAY them.
All set up and ready to GO!
I won the roll off and went first. Vasillac the Gifted went first and moved up to Lethyr - but didn't attack. I used used Bonded Bodyguard gambit to move Slakeslash up to join him and was able to use the Surge Objective - Excess of Carnality - to score +1 Glory Point for having two fighters in contact with the same enemy. I then used that Glory Point to upgrade Glissete with Sickening Resiliance (which gives her a CHANCE to reduce any injuries sustained to only one damage).
BOOM! And THAT's how it's done.
Feeling better about the Dread Pageant already...
Amanda charged Khamyss into the fray attacking Slakeslash with both Whip and Buckler causing a total of two damage - and then played Bloody Venom - a gambit that caused two more! On ONE had - holy CARP - Slakeslash was within one wound of dying already... On the other hand, I was 2/3 of the way to meeting inspire objective - if only I could keep Slakeslash alive and cause two more wounds... SOMEWHERE!? Ideally on some of HER warband... (the one problem there, being, that three of her five warband members had only 2 wounds each.... and three of my four CAUSED two wounds with their basic damage - which would take them out! AND her two warriors with more wounds, were at the back and not-so-reachable...)
Amanda played a gambit card - Drilled to Perfection - that gave both Khamyss and Lethyr Guard Tokens - giving them both increased defence and making it impossible to drive them back!
So I moved up Hadzu (who is the only one in my warband that causes a single wound) and shot at Khamyss... but missed.
Amanda had Kyrae shoot at Slakeslash (who had help from the TWO warriors adjacent to Slakeslash) and caused one wound - luckily I had a gambit - Shared Pain - that allowed me to transfer that damage to another Friendly Fighter within 3 hexes - so I passed that on to Glissete. It seemed a bit risky, her only HAVING 2 wounds... but since so many of Amanda's warriors did two damage - a single blow would have taken her out anyway... so...
All I needed was to cause ONE WOUND and I could inspire ALL of the DREAD pageant! So Vasillac attacked Lethyr... now, she only had two wounds, and he does 2 damage... which would take her OUT... BUT, both VAsillac and Slakeslash have an ability that allows them, when they make a successful attack action, to either HEAL one damage our deal THEMSELVES one damage... so if I'd managed to take her out, he could deal himself one damage and kill two birds with one stone... sort of... by taking down one enemy - reducing their numbers - and INSPIRING THE WHOLE WARBAND!?
But he missed...
We kind of both played with our cards out - not that either of us could read or recognize any of the others cards... it's hard to keep them in a hand, hidden and be able to keep in mind what all of the do and when and how to play them exactly... hopefully that will come with time... a bit... maybe...
Kyrae took another shot at Slakeslash and caused another damage - as I had no more ways to get rid of it... Slakeslash was taken out of action - and all those wound tokens with it...
DAMMIT! So close.... SOOOOOOO close....
Morgwaeth also used her ability to inspire herself. (she gets to inspire one Friendly Fighter every time an enemy fighter is taken out of action)
With that she gained +1 Glory and was able to upgrade Morgwaeth with a Crimson Shard and then played a Gambit card - Headlong Fury - Which allowed Morgwaeth to take a free Move Action - and not place a move token!
Vasillac attacked Lethyr... again... desperately trying to take SOMEONE out of action and bring their numbers down... but failed to do so.
Morgwaeth shanked Vasillac causing three damage!
in the END PHASE I was unable to score any Objectives. I can't remember what I had but I feel like I might have discarded some...? Amanda was able to scored two - Purposeful Strike and Trimphant Stance - for +3 Glory Points.
Morgwaeth's were already winning 4-1... and I'd lost a quarter of my number... but that quarter was also my biggest meanest toughest member... GAH!?
Amanda won the roll-off this round and went first.
Morgwaeth stabbed Vasillac again and took him out (+1 Glory Point). And then there was a flurry of card playing! Amanda played THREE upgrades - all of which she'd picked up at the end of the previous End Phase and had piles of Glory Points to spend. Morgwaeth got the Rune of Khaine, Lethyr got a Crone Blade, and Kyrssa got Death Dancer! I was able to play two Gambits - Fuelled by Sensation (which removed the one damage counter of Glisette) and Dark Desire (which allowed me to push Khamyss one, as Amanda chose to not take a movement token for her).
Morgwaeth inspired... someone.. I can't remember... I feel like it was Kyrae...? Maybe...?
Things were looking bad... half of my warband gone - including the two heavy-hitters. Morgwaeth's was at full strength and growing stronger, it seemed, every activation!?
Glissete charged and attacked Khamyss - and took her out! +1 Gory for me! Woo!
I was pretty sure I was going to lose big again, but determined to at least go down fighting!
I upgraded Hadzu with with Swift as Desire - as there was zero chance Glissete was moving again this turn... and I had objective cards that could score if I had all my warband in enemy territory and another that would give points if I held two objectives - with the extra point of movement, Hadzu MIGHT be able to make it to one of the other objectives in enemy territory.... if... some of the enemy got out of the way!
Kyrae took a shot at Glissete, aided by Lethyr, but missed... I realized that Glissete's always On Guard ability is AWESOME - being on guard, she ALWAYS counts both Shield and Dodge results on the defence dice and is NEVER driven back!? Daaaaaaaaaamn.
Hadzu shot Lethyr - causing only one wound - but he has an ability to push, rather than drive back, and moved Lethyr away from Glissete (so that Kyrae wouldn't get a bonus if she shot at Glissete again) and.... other reasons...
Kyrae DID shoot at Glissete again... and missed again.. but scored Torturous Death - for attacking teh same enemy three times in one round (+1 Glory Point)
Hadzu took another shot at Lethyr - both scored a crit and a success - tying... but a tie means a Drive-back and Lethyr got driven back into a lethal hex causing one damage - as she'd already had one damage, that took her out of action! +1 Glory Point for me!
I'm not going to say things were looking up for me, at this point... but they did look a little LESS SHIT AWFUL!
She's behind me, isn't she...
Morgwaeth charged across the board, dodging past Hadzu and jumping onto the objective behind him... And then stabbed him in the back.. KO +1 Glory Point.
Dammit... I'd discarded an Objective, that could be scored if either MY leader held an objective in Enemy Territory OR if an Enemy Leader held an objective in MY territory, I'd discarded it when Vasillac died figuring I obviously could no longer use it for myself and what were the odds Amanda would send MORGWAETH to take an objective in MY territory... it didn't seem like she was playing an objective holding game... and if she suddenly did, there were so many more in her OWN territory that were so much closer...
So I had only Glissete... and she had a charge token and couldn't be activated, so I picked up a Power Card for my final activation, as there was little else I could actually DO!?
In the END PHASE, Amanda scored Blessings of Khaine (+1 Glory) and I scored Godseekers (+2 Glory - for all friendly fighters ending the round in enemy territory... all ONE of them...).
Discards, draws and on we went!
Well... doing better than SOME games, as the Dread Pageant actually survived to take part in the Third Round!
I was really struggling trying to juggle the mess of gambits and objectives and only having ONE fighter... I could only make ONE move action. If I did it as part of a Charge, that would be the ONLY attack I could do...
On top of this Amanda was barraging me with questions about how HER cards all worked and how to use them best!?
Morgwaeth's Balde-Coven went first and Kyrae shot at Glissete, hitting and causing one damage.
Another flurry of recently-drawn-Power-Card play: Amanda upgraded Kyrssa with Rapturous Defence, and upgraded Kyrae with High Oracles Butcher, and played Fanatical Faith - which would mean the most damage I could do in the next activation would be one. I played the Lure of Slaanesh, pushing Kyrssa onto an objective, and then Cruel Pangs which caused one damage to an enemy on an objective (Kyrssa).
for my first activation I moved Glissete over to Kyrssa, standing on her Objective marker - I hoped that Amanda might think that the only reason I lured her onto the objective marker was to use that Cruel Pangs card - actually I had an Objective Card that scored Glory for taking out an enemy HOLDING an objective.
I did not make it a charge, though, only a move. The reason for that was twofold. One was that if I charged, Glisete could NOT be activated again for the rest of the round (whereas if it were only a move, she could, in theory, keep attacking EVERY activation for the rest of the Round - provided a) she survived and b) there was still an adjacent target. The second reason I didn't want to attack was that I was REALLY hoping Amanda would take the bait and move up one of her other warriors into contact, as I had another Objective card that scored points for a friendly fighter being adjacent to two enemies.
I'd struggled really hard about that last bit... I could have moved far enough that I wouldn't be in range of Kyrae's ranged attack or being charged by either Kyrae or Morgwaeth... but decided to risk it and place Glissete where she COULD be shot at and/or charged.
(Amanda actually DID move in Morgwaeth in and attack Glissete - and failed - and so I scored the Glory for two adjacent enemies... but then she mentioned her plan was to move right back to the Objective marker, I pointed out she could NOT do that having moved/charged... which lead to the biggest take-back-sies of the game...)
She decided to leave Morgwaeth where she was and just shoot at Glissete with Kyrae for the next two rounds - missing and then moving Kyrae to an objective marker on her fourth and last activation of the round and game.
Glissete just stood there and slashed at Kyrssa again and again and again... and all I seemed to be able to roll was support... GAH!? So I didn't get to score EITHER of those last two Objective cards that I even had the remotest possibility of doing so... not that I would have helped.
In the End Phase, Amanda scored Proof of Devotion (+3 Glory!! for controlling all objectives in Enemy Territory!?)
In the end, Morgwaeth's Blade-Coven won with 11 Glory Points to the Dread Pageant's 6 Glory....
It was disappointing, to be sure, but I'm STILL not writing them off just yet!!! They are doing BETTER - I think I just need to learn how to PLAY them better, still.