BR04 – Dirz VS Acheron

When the dust settled on the battlefield of our first game of the day (see here) one could say that Pigeon was not happy with himself. We wanted to play one more game since the day was still young and decided…he would get a revenge from the revenge. So we chose to play the same scenario one more time, on the same table (just switching sides).

I used the same list as last time (and the time before) but Pigeon changed his to try something new. Here you’ll learn how it all ended up…


« My Lord, she did not leave. She is marching on us right now. », said the clone in a blank voice.

Cold, straight to the point, unblinking. Kayl was proud of its work. A long time ago, when he was nothing but an apprentice in the ways of Dirz, its clones were subjet to emotions: fear, doubt, pride sometimes… These were unworthy creatures. These emotions had no place in a clone. It made them too « human ». Who would want a knife to fell guilty of cutting a throat?

Kayl rose, once again he was going to meet her. Once a gain he intended to teach her a lesson and claim one of her minions.

Game / Scenario

Well I guess you are starting to feel that all this is pretty familiar…

Game: Confrontation v.3.5, Confrontation v.3.5 (see here for my opinion on the rules).
Scenario: « execution » (p.125 of the French edition of the Confrontation v.3 rulebook). The objective is for each player to kill the mini with the highest points value [PA] in the ennemy army. If neither or both players succeed, the game is tied.

Nota for Confrontation players: we may have made mistakes during this game. I played Confrontation v.2 back in the days and only switched to v.3 last year and v.3.5 for this game. Still, when games are fun and played in a friendly environment, I consider rules honest mistakes not a serious issue.

Battlefield

We used the same table as during the first game of the day, you can find it here.

The armies

It is a 200 points [PA] game (pretty standard in Confrontation) opposing Acheron (undeads) to Dirz (heretical cloners). As it is a friendly game, I allow +/- 5% of « creativity margin » when constituting the lists.

Acheron Barony (my friend, « Pigeon du Canal »)

This time Pigeon wanted to try something new. I’ll take better pictures of his list one day, but here you’ll get what he deployed this time.

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Pigeon was fielding:

Azaël and Melmoth as leaders of his warband. Melmoth [75 PA] and Azaël [38 PA] cost 10% PA less when they fight together, so he spent 102 PA there. Half of his budget. But as long as the two of them keep close together, they get a 6+ save (there are usually no save in Confrontation, do you want to know more?) against all wound roll during the whole game. That is a nice bonus and the kind of lore inspired rule I especially like (do you want to know more?).

Azaël used her usual spells: one to summon skellies and one to make them blow up once engaged.

As the most expensive soldier, « Melmoth » was my target.

He then changed his cavalry. He kept his shooter centaur, which had been a thorn in my side during all previous battles [31 PA] but benched the cursed centaur and replaced him with a « charognard » [33 PA].

He then decided to field a bunch of skellies and play the numbers against my somewhat small warband. He splitted them in two groups of three [18 PA each] with two different profiles (one stronger, one tougher).

202 PA, 10 warriors, an endless tide of undeads.

Dirz Empire (me, « Le Verménarque »)

Well, you know that list don’t you?

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As the most expensive soldier, Kayl Kartan was Pigeon’s target (again).

203 PA, 7 warriors, strongly relying on Kayl, because, you know, it worked the first two times!

Deployment

This time we switched sides (since we were using the same table as during the battle before), so Pigeon had the southern deployment zone.

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Pigeon concentrated his force on his right flank, with a line of skellies in front of his two leaders (denying me the opportunity to put an arrow in their head). It seems to me that his plan was to rush to my lines and crush me in a circling move, which could really work since I had not the numbers to stop the tide and risked to be overrunned. On top of that he deployed his fast moving soldiers (his cavalry) on his left flank (the scout centaur in a forward position and a charognard in support). This meant I could not concentrate my force on a small front and had to keep some guys on my right flank, or my position would be turned and I would have to defend myself on all front. Bear in mind that in this scenario we have to defend the leader at all cost, so you do not want him to be surrounded…

I decided to use the deployement I used during the first game we played using this scenario (do you want to know more?). The trick is to deploy in three line: the first and most elongated one with my three crossbowmen ; then one step behind my two close combat clones in the gaps between my crossbowmen (in order for them to be able to come to the rescue to any crossbowman in peril) ; two steps behind, safely behind a bunch of crates, Kayl and his kitty to protect him.


Turn1 – Here they come…

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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The undeads are slow and I always field shooters, so the first turn always look the same. This time Pigeon kept his force compact and just moved forward, assuming the risk of taking some arrows in their dirty bones, but counting on his numbers to reach me in time and hurt me. On top of that, Azaël summoned a new skelly, and I now was facing 7 of them.

My shooters were not as efficient as usual (they tried to shoot Pigeon’s line before it moved and long range shots are difficult). On the western front, the scout centaur wounded my crossbowman then retreated behind the ruined tower.

Nothing was decided at that point and I started to doubt myself. What if I could thin the undeads line before it reached me?..

End phase

We all got enough gems to have fun during the battle.

Turn2 – Hold the line.

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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I tried to thin the line once again. I shot the same guy and aggravated its wound but I did not get a very good shooting phase (well not good enough to my taste…). Azaël summonned a new skelly, so here was what I was facing now.

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Yeah, that makes eight of them…

Then the line continued to advance on the Eastern front. It was an impressive sight. I think you should never discard the psychological aspect of wargames. It may seem silly to non player, but once the battle starts there are feelings at play. Or course it is nothing like « real life » but a good game, with people invested in it, with people really « playing » they « feel » a lot of emotions and these have impacts on their decision making process. This is, in my opinion, one of the great aspect of our games. They are immersive by nature (for people who likes them). Sure they are slow, sure you spend quite some time rolling dice, but when the game « works » on you, you forget all this and live it.

At that point in the battle I was unsure of my strategy and honestly, I was affraid of Pigeon’s horde marching toward me. I knew it was just a game and basically maths and randomness in the end, but the sight of the evergrowing horde marching toward me instilled doubt in my mind and doubt is a terrible foe. I was not sure of how I could break the trap that was laid before me. I could not reorganize my line quick enough to evade, my tactical options were getting narrower with each of turn that passed. More importantly, I was not sure my line could hold once when the inevitable shock would happen… This was a tough spot, the kind when you start to make mistakes.

Since I am a bit of a veteran, I tried to resist my emotions and keep to my plan. Alea jacta est, as they say…

I moved my tiger further on the East (after Kayl enchanted him to boost his skills in close combat), safely behing the barn. My idea was to try to turn Pigeon’s line and threaten Azaël (and maybe Melmoth), because my tiger is fast I had a chance to exploit any gap in the undeads line (at that point there were not much gaps, but you never know…).

I also redeployed Kayl towards the center of my new defensive position, abandonning my right flank and the two guys facing the cavalry there. I just hoped they could slow down Pigeon’s cavalry so that he could not turn my line.

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Here you see where my tiger went.

On the western front I moved forward. To slow the cavalry down I decided to stop it as far aways as I could. My crossbowman had a good defensive position (in cover) but the close combat clone got in the tower, offering support to the crossbowman and an obvious target to the charognard so he would not think about rushing to the skellies support.

End phase

Nothing to see here (well Azaël refuelled her gems).

Turn3 – The undeads horde strikes…

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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It was time to charge. Pigeon’s got the tactical roll and I did not get to shoot his skellies before their charge… It was time for blood. His first charge made the crossbowman at the center of my line rout. This was not good, since I was very close to the table border. This was not going well…

Then Pigeon charged my close combat clone, which held its ground. It had mutagen points to spare, so I was confident it could face the skelly. Still, I moved Kayl forward. my plan to keep him safely behind my lines was crumbling, so I decided to pray the Gods and hope he would survive at the heart of the battle. He went on to support my close combat clone and enchanted his weapon.

Then my tiger engaged a skelly, hoping to kill it on the spot (the maths were on my side) and the charognard charged my close combat clone on the Western front, which was what I wanted.

Close combat phase

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At the center of my line, my close combat clone held his ground and wounded the skelly, not killing it, but that was ok. On the eastern front my tiger was disappointing, since it did not kill its foe. It wounded it, which was the least you could expect of it, but at the end of the combat phase it was still locked in combat, which was bad news since it could not consolidate, meaning it could not charge in the next turn…

On the western front things were ok. The charognard wounded my clone but did not kill him. I had nothing more to fear from Pigeon’s cavalry.

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Fighting at the center of my line…

End phase

Nothing fun here…

Turn4 – Let’s break some bones.

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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I was getting a break at last, I got the tactical roll and activated Kayl right away. I moved him to the front, to get the chance to burn Azaël face. Since she was protected by a line of skellies I had to target one of them. I spent as much gems as I could (the stronger the spell, the more chance it has to wound nearby fighters). I killed the targeted skelly on the spot but failled to do any harm to Azaël or the other skelly… Kayl was now exposed and Azaël lived, meaning she could summon new foes. This was bad…

My crossbowmen performed well (at last). Even the one who broke rank during the last turn rallied. They wounded or killed a bunched of skellies, thining the undeads line as the end of the batlle was drawing near.

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My wounded crossbowman kills the skelly triing to outflank Kayl.

I had High hopes for my tiger. He got charged by another skelly, but I was confident it could do well. At the same time another skelly charged my close combat clone. The last one charged Kayl. There were defenitly too much (still 6) of them on the table… Thank the Gods, one was short and could not engage Kayl.

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Then Azaël worked her magic. She sacrified one of her minions and made it explode in my tiger’s face. Pigeon spent as much gems as he could and the blast was a terrible maelström of dark energy. When the mystical powers disspated my tiger was lucky to be alive. Still, it was critically wounded, meaning it became a toothless, clawless kitty… On top of that it was still locked in combat with a skelly. This was good news for Pigeon.

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One less skelly and a critically wounded tiger…

Close combat phase

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I had doubt about this combat phase. Pigeon had the numbers, but I had the tactical roll (meaning I could chose what fights were fought first) and I hoped Kayl could make a difference in close combat. Still, my tiger was nearly out of the game and…Pigeon had the numbers!

One thing about Kayl, he has very good combat stats for a wizard. You see these two metal claws on his back? Well they grant him two more attack dice, which very veyr sweet. Since I had the tactical roll I could choose which combat we were going to start with. I started with Kayl. He crushed the skelly that was facing him and then consolidated on the closest one, which he crushed as well. Seeing his line crumble with a few rolls had a strong psychological impact on Pigeon. It also made him realize that Kayl could throw a good punch in close combat. Following Kayl example my close combat clone killed one of its foe as well.

The end of the close combat phase was tied. Everybody held its ground and nobody died. The charognard aggravated my clone’s wounds who was unable to inflict it any permanent damage. On the other side of the battlefield the same was happening and no permanent damage was made.

End phase

Kayl had no gems left and I needed some to use his magical powers in the last turn. I like to turn my foes into big torch in the last turn. I rolled a 6, which was very good in itself but did not allow me to get all the gems I wanted to be at full power.

In Confrontation, you can usually roll again after a natural 6 to improve your score, so I did. But the Gods wanted a good laugh and made me roll…a 1! A 1 in Confrontation is a natural failure, even after a 6, meaning I got no gem for last turn. Pigeon was smiling and I did not like it…

Turn5 – The duel

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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Kayl was in a perfect position to blow up Melmoth’s face, but he had now gems left… Pigeon was free of its movements. My tactical options were getting thiner and thiner.

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Now is the time…

Pigeon activated Melmoth who charged my clone. Why? I guess he wanted to get a kill before consolidating on Kayl. He also hoped to weaken Kayl with an arrow from his centaur which he had positionned with a direct line of sight on Kayl.

At that point I could just hope my clone would survive and then get a tied game. I wanted a victory and a last epic fight, so Kayl charged Melmoth.

Now that we were locked in combat, Pigeon could not take the risk to shoot Kayl since he had a chance to wound Melmoth. The battle would be decided in close combat…

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No last shot for you…

Close combat phase

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The climax of the battle…

Here you can see the beginning of our last close combat. I had mutagen points to spare for my clone and Kayl (here you see only 1 because I attributed the dice but had not rolled them yet, but I made good rolls).

In order to get a great « end game » we strated with the secondary fights. The duel between my tiger and the skelly was undecided. On the other side of the battlefield, the charognard killed its foe.

We then fought the fight between my clone and the skelly (I chose, since I had the tactical roll). My clone was critically wounded, but he killed its foe, meaning it could support Kayl againt Melmoth. Just bellow you can see where we were.

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Melmoth faces two of my fighters.

We allocated our combat dice and decided who would strike first. I kept some defense dice with Kayl, since the claws were providing free attacks. I then got the initiative roll. This was going very well for me…

I decided to strike with Kayl first, since his claws can throw quite a punch. Why? Glad you ask. When you fight with different stats in Confrontation against an unwounded foe it is my personnal belief that you wanted to strike with your strongest weapon first. That way you get a chance to at least wound your ennemy. This is good on numerous accounts: first of all it means your foe will be less efficient when his turn to strike comes ; it also means that it would be easier to wound afterwards, meaning your weaker weapons could become usefull ; last, because of the structure of the wound table you get a better chance to get a kill by inflicting a bad wound then a lighter one than the other way around.

Still, even wounded Melmoth could survive. Hell, he could kill Kayl… I roll to hit, succeeded and rolled to wound…

Instant kill…

Pigeon still had a save roll because Azaël was nearby, he prayed the Gods, rolled…and failled… Victory was mine!

Victory

This time it was a very close one. I spent most of the game wondering how I could resist the undeads horde. In the end, I held, but just barely. Had I not been very lucky in my close combat phases the game would have been entirely different. I know some of you do not like that rolls decide the winning side, but I do. Nobody made any big mistake, the game was fluid, and in the end the Gods decided who deserved a win.

Melmoth rose his sword, he would cut the mortal in half, with all his fury, a fury accumulated during hundred of year of hopeless fighting. He was death incarnate, he was war and eventhough blood had left his body a long time ago, he could still taste it in his long dry mouth…

But then reality shifted. The metal claws on the mortal back started to move with unthinkable speed. They went for his head, like some giant predatory insect. Melmoth had no time to pary, no time to strike his foe. Even the mystical bond he shared with Azaël, which allowed him to tap into her raw survival instinct could not wave him.

As the metal claws perforated his skull, crushing his bones and his spirit, he felt the cold touch of death once more. He felt the never ending agony he had felt hundreds of times before.

There was no eternal peace there for Melmoth, no quiet sleep, just agony, and pain, and shame to fuel his rage, and then the dark Gods would summon him again and he would fight their wars, and kill, and die, again…forever…


The sun sets on the battlefiel…

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My not so brave crossbowman…

As I said before, this was a very close one. Pigeon’s list was far more effective than the previous one in my opinion. Sure he had a lot of « weak » fighters, but he had a LOT of them. On the other hand my list means I have to fight with only a handfull of warriors. At one point in the battle it was 7 against 12… He could have overrunned my line.

On top of that I had no convincing tactical option to organize a solide defense. I abandonned my right flank quite early in the game and regrouped around Kayl, taking the risk to fight on all sides at the same time. If you had my unlucky mystical rolls (which granted me victory in the first two games), this could have go very bad for me.

Still, in the end, thanks to a bit of luck and Kayl versatility I prevailed, with the last roll of the last turn.

It was a great game!

Kayl Kartan, wizard of the year?

I already showcased Kayl efficiency on the table here. Still, he deserves a new « citation à l’ordre de l’Armée ». Sure Kayl is a very strong wizard, which you can expect because of his value. You have to get something for your money, but usually « pure » wizards tend to be weak fighters in Confrontation (at least in my experience). You have to protect them, use them to fight from the rear and support your troops.

Well Kayl is no ordinary wizard. Because of his stats and these lovely lovely claws he can survive in the heat of battle. Hell, he can even inflict a lot of pain to its foe. Well, once again he saved the day, making him worthy of spending half my budget on him.


Well that’s all for folks. Hope you liked what you read, see you soon.

Banner picture found on the interweb, other pictures were taken by me during the battle.

1 réflexion sur « BR04 – Dirz VS Acheron »

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