Below Carngard, the Reaver City, the largest settlement on the Bloodwind Spoil the ancient sewers and catacombs never sleep. Hordes of Skaven scrape and skuffle constantly. Their numbers are legion and could easily dominate the city, possibly the entirety of the Bloodwind Spoil, and threaten Varanspire itself, if ever they could just stop fighting each other!
Finnegan and I tried out Warcry Thursday afternoon - a skirmish game set in the Age of Sigmar. Initially the game involved only Chaos warbands - drawn to the Eightpoints to battle each other and find glory and treasure and possibly earn a place in Archaon's innumerable legions of the Everchosen. Eventually rules were added so other Warbands could be used in the game.
I've been working on getting a couple of Skaven Warbands ready to play.
Warbands need to include a minimum of three and a maximum of 15 models totalling no more than 1000 points and there can only be one leader model.
The Squeekhawg Scurrypack - played by Finnegan, - are lead by the vicious Clawlord Skreekmaw and consists of a band of Clan Rat and Storm Vermin warriors of Clan Verminous. The lot of them are Natural Born Schemers - ready to stab another skaven in the back (even one of their own warband) to get ahead.
The Silent But Deadly Scurrypack - played by myself - is lead by Grey Seer Krektkata and consists of a gang of Gutter Runners, a Night Runner, a Scryre Acolyte, a Plague Monk, and a Pack Master with its Giant Rats. They are dirty fighters that don't know the meaning of honour. Like, literally. To be honest, though, I'm not entirely sure there's even an equivalent word in the skaven language...? Calling them "fighters" might be a bit of a stretch, as well. "Murderers" would probably work better, being the sort that would rather strike an entirely unsuspecting foe from the shadows, rather than actually face the possibility of combat.
To start the game off we rolled off for priority - and I won.
Then starting with Finnegan (Not Priority) we split our forces into three battle groups - Dagger, Hammer, and Shield - which will determine where (and when) they are set up. There must be at least one model in each battlegroup, no more than half the force can be in any one battlegroup and at least one third of the force must be in the Shield group.
Finnegan put the Clawlord, two Storm Vermin and two Clan Rats in Shield, a Storm Vermin and two Clan Rats in Hammer, and the remaining two Clan Rats in Dagger. I put the Grey Seer, the four Gutter Runners and the NIght Runner in Sheild, the Pack Master and three Giant Rats in Dagger, and the Scryre Acolyte and Plague Monk in Hammer.
After that we deal out cards from the Battleplan Card Deck.
According to the rulebook there are supposed to be four decks - Terrain, Deployment, Victory and Twist decks. But I only seem to have the latter three in the pack of Battleplan Cards I bought last spring or summer...? Seemed to work out, though, as we would have ignored the missing Terrain deck card, anyway...
Though I had picked these (and the Slaanesh cards) last spring or summer, I never really had much of a look at them. I didn't even really look at them when I was reading the rules in the Core Rulebook... So I surprised a little when I read that the games lasts THREE ROUNDS!? I don't recall anything in the rules about how long the game lasts - other than the length of the game was determined by the victory card!?
Well... now I knew why they didn't bother with morale rules - this was going to be fast and furious! a quick and brutal fight that ends as quick as it starts.
Having Quickly glanced at the deployment card and our terrain, we noted that we'd have to adjust it slightly as one group would have had to set up inside a solid rock, and one of the reserve groups would have to enter on an edge where there were no entrances!? We said the reinforcements could come on at either of the entrances nearest the edge they were supposed to show up at, and the group that started on the board we just moved a little closer towards the center of the table so as not to be deployed in solid rock. After the game, I realized that we probably should have shifted the OTHER group and equal distance away - as the deployment card had them set up 12" away from each other (6" from the center of the table) but as we'd moved the one group's deployment location closer to the center by about 3-4" the two groups started much closer - with in range of charging and fighting in the first round!
According to the Victory card, one group was carrying some treasure that the other wanted. According to the fluff I came up with for the two Scurrypacks, it seemed more likely that the Squeekhawg Scurrypack would be attacking the Silent But Deadly Scurrypack - as the latter would be more likely just to sneak in and steal it - rather than openly trying to rob another group at knifepoint. In fact, we decided that the Silent But Deadly Scurrypack had done just that - stolen some shinies from Skreekmaw stash and the Clawlord was determined to get his stuff back and punish those audacious enough to try and steal his things.
Finnegan setting up his warband.
Starting positions - each of us only started with our Shield battlegroups on the table.
Clawlord Skreekmaw ofthe Squeekhawg Scurrypack confronts Grey Seer Krektkata and the Silent But Deadly Scurrypack that he suspects stole from his stash of Warpstone....
At the beginning of the round is the Hero Phase, which we start with rolling six initiative dice... These are then organized as singles or groups of like dice.
Finnegan (top) rolled four singles and one double (the two ones), I rolled two doubles, and two singles. The Groups - Doubles, Triples and Quads are used to power abilities throughout the turn, but the number of singles determines who gets initiative during the turn (ties rolled off).
After this initial roll, each player gets a wild die that they can use to either add to a group or add another single - to try and seize - or secure the initiative. The player that starts with the initiative goes first.
Finnegan added a third one two his Double, making it a Triple. I had no chance of seizing the initiative, so I added a six to the single six making it a double. I could have powered THREE double abilities this turn... y'know... had I REMEMBERED to!? So many things to keep track of!?
Starting things off, the excessively violent Clawlord Skreekmaw charged and attacked the nearest Gutter Runner - Bladow - and caused four damage! he also used the Triple to power the Lead From the Back ability... though he seemed to be doing the opposite!? The ability meant, for the rest of the battle round, any friendly fighters within 3" would add half (rounded up) the value of the ability (the number on the dice powering the ability) to their attacks characteristic! Luckily it was only a one (halved, and rounded up, still one) had the dice been sixes, he'd have been adding THREE attacks to any friendlies that got up there...
Initially I'd wanted to use my Grey Seer to blast the Clawlord, but, it turned out, he was TOO CLOSE... AND I'd positioned the Grey seer poorly as he couldn't move through other models to get clear!?
So, Shadow moved out of the way, sneaking around the side of Clawlord Skreekmaw (which, I just now, noticed I missed one "K" on his base!? GAH!?) and stabbed him - causing one damage.
Krashk - one of the Storm Vermin rushed to its master's aid - scoring two critical hits and taking Shadow out of action! YIKES!
I moved Quiritikmikza out of the way - and it chucked stuff at some of the Squeekhawg rats still standing in their deployment zone doing one damage to one of them. Greshk moved up, but couldn't quite get close enough to attack. Greshk COULD have gotten into contact with a Pair of Gutter Runners - which would limit where they could move... OR they could just attack TWICE - with four rolls per attack...
Then, finally, the Grey Seer Krektkata moved out far enough away to do his Blast attack - but BEFORE that I used the six pair to power the Consume Warpstone Token ability - as they were sixes I got to roll six dice - for each 1 the Grey Seer took one damage, for each 4+ they added +1 damage to each hit with its next ranged attack.... Krektkata took two damage, and the blast at the Clawlord caused six!
Clan Rats Nik and Tik moved up and stabbed at Quiritikmikza, each scoring one hit for a total of 2 damage. The rest of the Silent But Deadly rats attacked the Clawlord. Blador did one damage. Jawn, the Night Runner did one damage. The Blade attack and caused THREE Critical hits for a total of nine more damage - finishing off the clawlord... on the first turn!?
I forgot to use my other dice pairs to make abilities go...
Round Two started out with another Hero Phase and dicing for Initiative. This time, Finnegan rolled two doubles and two singles, and I rolled a Triple, a double and one single. Finnegan used his Wild Die to make one of the singles into another Double - which also meant he now, also, only had ONE single and we would dice to see who had the initiative... Unless I used my Wild Die to make another single - which would Seize the Initiative! Which is what I did.
Next was the Reserve Phase and the rest of our Battlegroups (Hammer and Dagger) showed up at their respective locations.
Then, at the beginning of the Combat Phase of this second turn, I had to declare who, among my scurrypack was holding The Goods. Whoever held these at the end of the Third round would win the game. The SMART thing to do, would probably have been to say the Pack Master held them - as he was furthest from any of the enemy and had three rats to use a meatshield - blocking any that might TRY to get there. But it made more sense to me, narratively, to have the Grey Seer holding the prize.
So, on my first activation, the Grey Seer RAN FOR IT! Trying to get as far from any of the opposing scurrypack as possible. (Luckily, they had no ranged weapons!). There were the two newly arrived Clan Rats from the opponent' Dagger battlegroup nearby.
Also a Storm Vermin and two more Clan Rats were in a position to chase.
And chase they did - the Storm Vermin, Niktriq, followed the Grey Seer into the adjoining cavern into which he had fled.
Bladow moved to the passage and squeaked "NONE SHALL PASS!" (Though it should have been "None MORE Shall Pass" as Niktriq had already run through there! Then chucking many things at one of the approaching Clan Rats (using an Onslaught ability) - scored a critical hit on Dik and caused 3 damage!
Krashk attacked Blade - also making use of the Onslaught Ability - and caused 6 damage!
Blade attacked back - twice, using both actions - and did a total of 10 damage - taking the Storm Vermin out of action!
Greshk then moved in and also attacked Blade - and was able to finish off the Gutter Runner.
The Scryre Acolyte, Lemsldab, having just arrived, moved to aid his leader and three poisoned wind globes at the newly arrived Clan Rats causing 3 damage to Other Mik (originally I had named two of the Clan Rats Mik and Xik... but when I painted the names on them, I ended up painting Mik twice... so one ended up being Mik, and the other was Other Mik).
Rik, who had arrived with Other Mik, rushed forward - using both actions to move - came into contact with the Grey Seer. Having used both actions, he couldn't attack, but the Grey Seer would have to use a Disengage action to move away rather than run at full speed, if I wanted to try and just get away from the enemy ratlings.
The Plague Monk moved past the Scryre Acolyte, into the cavern, and Other Mik gave chase - stabbing poor Nervim and causing four damage!
Quiritikmikza moved to join Bladow in the gauntlet, to prevent other members of Squeekhawg from getting to their leader - blows were exchanged with Dik and Mik.
Two of the Giant Rats tried to chase down Nik. Nik turned and took out one of them.
This round I rolled one Double and four Singles and used my Wild Die to secure the initiative. Finnegan rolled one Triple and three singles, as I'd added a fifth single, he couldn't even contest it, so he added his wild die to the Triple to make a Quad.
The beginning of Round Three...
First off, Grey Seer Krektkata, made a run for it! He Disengaged from Rik and ran as fast as he could, as far as he could.
Finnegan used his Quad to use the RAMPAGE ability with Niktriq - effectively allowing him an extra move followed by an attack... and then Niktriqs two regular actions - which would also be attacks (unless the Grey Seer was killed with one of the first two - in which case that last action could be used to step up and pick up the treasure. He managed to do a total of eight damage - but it was not nearly enough.
Effectively I won the game right there, as there was no one else that could to the Grey Seer in time to take it out and collect the loot. We played out the rest of the round, though, just to see what would happen.
the Plague Monk took out Other Mik with its first action and them moved to engage Rik - to prevent it from chasing down the Grey Seer. Rik took out the Plague Monk, and chased after the Grey Seer anyway - even though there was no chase of getting there.
Greshk attacked the Night Runner and did 2 damage, and when the Night Runner fought back, Greshk took 5 damage and was taken out of action. Quiritikmikza and Bladow were both taken out by Clan Rats, but heal that bottleneck long enough for the Grey Seer to escape. Nik took out another rat, but was bit by the last one for 5 damage!
And that was about it...
Finnegan had to scurry off to an online appointment, so I ran both Scurrypacks through the post game sequence..
The Silent But Deadly scurrypack claimed Eight Glory (5 for winning and 1 each for participating, taking out a third of the enemy and taking out the leader). The Squeekhawg Scurrypack scored two (participating, taking out 1/3 of the enemy).
Both of the Giant Rats taken out died, but the rest survived their wounds and were able to fight another day. Dik, technically "lost favour", but as it had not GAINED any Destiny Levels... it didn't really matter.
Checking for Destiny, the Pack Master and the surviving Giant Rat both gained destiny levels... which seemed odd, as they seemed to do the least out of all the Skaven on the table!?
Searching for Lesser Artifacts, the Silent But Deadly pack found a Skin of Flame Ale... I figured that is what they stole from Clawlord Skreekmaw. The Squeekhawg Scurrypack found nothing...
And that was Warcry.
I like it. It is quick - or, I imagine, it WILL be once I have the rules all solid in my head and not having to look things up and remind myself how things worked - I got a few things confused and mixed up in my head as I also recently read the core rules for Age of Sigmar... and then there are bits of Kill Team and Necromunda rules floating around in my head.
The dice rolling and Wild Die mechanic in the Hero Phase is interesting - sometimes being presented with gaining the initiative or doing more cool abilities in a round.
Looking at the Victory cards - it seems a LOT of the games are only played for THREE rounds - fast and furious - there are a few that could take more - or possibly less! But most seem to be three rounds. It's been a while since I played either, but I feel like Kill Team and Necromunda were more open ended with the turn limit and could go on for ever if both sides hunkered down in cover and just plinked away blindly at each other. I guess there is not a lot of missile weapons here - so you have to get in there and get it done!
Looking at the number of wounds characters had 4 for rats, 8-10 for Skaven, about 20 for each of the leaders - when I'm used to models in GW games having ONE for rank and file and maybe 2-3 for heroes, it seemed like it might be hard to take ANYONE out - but that just wasn't the case - with 2-3 (or more!) dice being rolled for each attack action and the possibility of using BOTH actions to attack - if a model starts its activation in contact - a lot of damage can be dealt out in a single turn.
I like that attacks are streamlined down to a SINGLE roll - gone are the roll to hit... roll to wound... roll to save... (and in the other skirmish games - like Kill Team and Necromunda - ANOTHER roll to see if they are taken out or just had a flesh wound)! In Kill Team pick a weapon and a target, check the range, check the strength of the weapon, versus the toughness of the target, roll dice equal to the number of attacks the fighter has with the chosen weapon - if the strength is higher than the toughness a hit is scored on 3+, if they are equal hits are on 4+, if the targets toughness in higher, hits are scored on 5+, a 6 is always a critical - apply damage for each hit or critical hit (critical hits generally cause more - like a LOT more). No more saving throws - armour is factored into the fighters overall toughness - very clever, super streamlined. I like it.
With 36 different Deployment cards, 36 Victory cards and 36 Twist cards... that adds up to a LOT of different combinations - giving wildly different scenarios each time.
I'm looking forward to playing more of this. Luckily, Finnegan said he liked it too and is keen to try more - so I don't even have to wait for the Plague to end before I get in another game.