Work has been bonkers lately, so I gladly embraced some escapism and played an intro game of Kings of War. The game was to be a group game: me and some Ratkin vs a large host of Undead. I decided to bring the Halflings along, to see what they could do. Here is the list I ran:
Halflings-only is a bit rough for a list. Their “knights” are only Thunderous Charge 1, and they lack any units with Crushing Strength, as well as access to Bane-Chant. Dealing damage was going to be an issue for me. Good charges with the knights had potential, but most of the heavy lifting was going to need to be done by the Halfling Volley Gun, as it has piercing. My general plan with the army was to stick the infantry and volley gun together, and then deploy my cavalry on a flank to try and intercept the enemy.
My Ratkin ally brought his splendidly painted army, though I am hazy on the details of the list. The gist should be a Mutant Rat-Fiend, a Warlock, some regiments of Blight and Shock Troops, and I believe a Crier. I think a magic item was taken to cover the last few points, but I do not know which item.
Our Undead opponent brought a rather legendary army. (Possibly as a result of me forgetting to remind him that I have some undead units sitting around for him to borrow… my bad.) Mhorgoth the Faceless and Lady Ilona, along with an undead ASB let the host, which consisted of a regiment of Skeleton Archers, a regiment of Soul Reaver infantry with Blessing of the Gods, a horde of zombies with the Brew of Strength, a horde of Werewolves, and a Balefire Catapult. Totaling that up, he too likely had another small magic item to cover the difference, though again, I do not know which item.
|Long view of most of the table.|
|The center. Undead left-to-right: Werewolves, Ilona, Soul Reavers, ASB/Catapult, Horde of Zombies, Mhorgoth and Skeleton Archers.|
The ranging cavalry quickly found themselves surrounded by a chittering swarm of rat-folk, cut off from the trudging infantry. However the ratkin seemed more interested in eliciting the aid of the halflings than fighting them, and the reason was soon made apparent. Shambling into view on the other side of the grassy field was a large host of undead! With no time to reform into their respective armies, the halflings sounded their war trumpets, falling into line, shoulder to shoulder with the rat-folk…
Turn 1: Ankle Biters
Not wanting to get immediately flanked, the Undead player elected to go second, hoping we would meet him half-way and his large units could slog it out.
|The view from the hill. The Halfling ASB forgot his flag.|
|The Ankle Biters have a cautious center...|
Turn 2: Undead
The Undead advanced trying to maintain a line of battle as much as possible. The speedy werewolves repositioned to try and scare off any flanking actions from the Biters’ left flank, while the Balefire Catapult lobs a shot and connects with some Ratkin Shock Troops, dealing 4 damage. A high neve check threatens to route them… but the Crier prevents disaster.
|.... almost as cautious as the center of the Undead.|
Turn 3: Ankle Biters
The halfling sorcerer sped up into the flank of the undead. At this point, I don’t really have a plan for him. I had deployed hoping that something would be gunning for my Archers/Gun, and that I could push it away with Wind Blast. That wasn’t happening, so the vague goal was to get him in the flank this turn, and into the thick of the undead next turn to hopefully mess with things.
The center of the line stays put, and the left flank continues to inch forward, claiming territory bit by bit while staying outside of the range of the speedy Werewolves.
Turn 4: Undead
The Werewolves again reposition, looking to protect the powerful regiment of Soul Reavers as they move onto the rocky terrain to anchor the undead line. If charged, the Soul Reavers would prove very hard to move from here. The Zombies shamble forward, and two Surges from the legendary casters are aimed at them… but the grasping horde falls far short of connecting with anything.
|The Undead approach!|
Turn 5: Ankle Biters
The two regiments of halfling braves charge the zombie horde, and the Mutant Rat Fiend follows them in. While the braves hack at the shins, the Mutant lays into the rotting host, and the zombies are obliterated in one go. We discover later that the zombies had the Brew of Strength, so it was really fortunate we were able to take that out in one go. Victorious, the Mutant Rat repositions, and one unit of braves advance while the other falls back to the safety of the rocks.
|A crushing multi-charge against the zombies.|
Unfortunately, the left flank is just too slow to do much. With battle starting in the center, one regiment of knights positions to try to make a break for the balefire catapult next turn, while the other inches forward as well… both units still trying to avoid the larger charge range of the werewolf horde… The rats on the left continue to shuffle around, probably mulling over whether they really want to attack the undead or take the halfling knights from behind…
On the right, the mounted sorcerer gets directly behind the skeleton archers, though is too tired from the quick march to do any casting…. Still, he is around now, and in the thick of the undead as planned. In the coming turns, I’m thinking that he may be able to push away a source of inspiring, or push the werewolves or soul reaves into harm’s way and force an engagement. The ineffectiveness of my left flank is starting to frustrate me… as we have a lot of points tied up there doing nothing.
Turn 6: Undead
Losing their nasty tarpit, the Undead are forced to hastily counter attack. Lady Ilona charges the Mutant Fiend, and will slip 6 damage through.
|Before combat... unfortunately|
Mhorgoth zaps the Ratkin Warlock for a few points of damage, and wavers him.
|End of turn 6. Not bad for the Undead... though the left flank is starting to wake up.|
Turn 7: Ankle Biters
On the right, the halfling archers and volley gun make up for the last turn and really lay into the skeleton archers, dealing over 10 new damage, and routing them.
The mounted halfling sorcerer is just having a rough go contributing to the game. Now, with most fot he undead in combat… I opt to have him push the Balefire Catapult towards the advancing halfling knights. Whoopie.
The Mutant Rat regenerates much of the inflicted by Lady Ilona, and strikes back. One regiment of braves charges the Undead Standard bearer, and slips 3 damage in, though is unable to rout him. The other braves advance and pivot, hoping to somehow get in on the action next turn.
On the left, one unit of knights goes wide, hoping to get to the enemy catapult soon… but they are robbed of the last few inches this turn by the wall. Meanwhile, the last unit of rats slowly swings towards the center...
|Sportsmanship claims another victim. Poor Werewolves.|
Turn 8: Undead
The Undead standard bearer counter charges the halfling braves, but is too busy holding the flag to connect with his single strike.
|The braves watch as the Mutant Rat is cut down. It's creepy, so they are kind of glad it's gone, even though it was technically on their side.|
Lady Ilona is healed my Mhorgoth, and she and the Soul Reavers charge the Mutant Rat and eviscerate the writhing beast. The Soul Reavers reform to face the finally-advancing left flank of the Ankle Biters, and Lady Ilona reforms to threaten the halfling braves.
The balefire catapult lobs a shot, but misses. The war machine has struggled (well, failed) to hit anything after that first resounding impact.
Turn 9: Ankle Biters
The positioning of the outriding halfling knights is rough. They would clip the edge of the stone wall obstacle… preventing them from moving at the double towards the catapult, and are just of of range for charging. They canter past the wall, and pivot to face the flank of the war machine, getting out of its line of sight. There actions against the enemy artillery have been... underwhelming.
With nothing much to do, the halfling sorcerer pushes the catapult closer to the knights with Wind Blast.
|There he is. The super awesome sorcerer everyone has been ignoring all game.|
The halfling braves continue their scrum against the undead standard bearer, again dealing three wounds, but roll just shy of seeing him off the table this turn.
The other regiment of braves spy their chance, and rear-charge the Soul Reavers. Unfortunately the positioning is such that their charge is over the rocks, and they are hindered. Despite rolling lots of 5s… only 3 damage slips through.
|The Braves are stoked. A rear charge means lots of Achilles tendons just waiting to be played with!|
Other units also charge the Soul Reavers, hoping to bring down the vampires with a hog-pile approach. The halfling knights charge… but are hindered by the other grouping of rocks, and contribute little to the fight.
With the Halflings hindered, the Ratkin Shock troops are left to try and carry the fight, but it is too much to ask. The Soul Reavers hold (on the reroll though, it was close).
Turn 10: Undead
The balefire catapult fires off a last, desperate shot, before the halfling knights can overrun them.
Ilona attacks the flank of the reckless braves, and cuts the halflings down. Meanwhile the Soul Reavers trounce the Shock Troops. A combination of Lifeleech and Heal from Mhorgoth sees them recover most of their damage…
The Undead are clawing their way back, and even the Undead ASB scores a hit against the braves who have been stabbing him, though the halflings hold.
|End of the game.|
Much of the Undead were back in the ground where they belonged: hamstrung by their tiny foes. But their champions still stood tall. Unable to prevail against them or their last contingent of mighty vampire warriors, the short fighters disengaged, fleeing and withdrawing to the safety of their respective burrows, while the necromancers began the tedious and gruesome work or raising a new army…
I am always happy to get a game in, and we all had a good time.
I will concede that it was an odd game though, mostly stemming from a very odd deployment phase. The Ankle Biters deploying 2 for every 1 Undead drop was goofy, but not terrible. I think the Undead player did himself a disservice by deploying in the center... but that may have been due to group dynamics. Turtling isn't fun. The Ankle Biters had our own deployment woes, namely having the rats deploy all willy-nilly. If the two units (and hero) that deployed with my knights had deployed more towards the center instead, nearer the rest of the rats and making a solid battle line, or a line with reserves, I think we could have had far more decisive moves against the Undead, particularly against the Soul Reavers.
I forgot to remind my opponent that my Undead collection was available to him, so I think any of his list’s shortcomings (using legendary heroes; using only a few huge units) can be pinned on me. Downgrading even just those heroes for more units would have served him well I think. Hopefully he has more units next time!
Given my limited understanding of and experience with the Ratkin, I felt my ally brought a good list for game. Likewise, I was happy with what I brought, even if it didn’t perform as well as I would have liked. I attribute the under-performance to user-error. I think playing objectives, or deploying differently would have let the list perform much better. Oh well. I’ll just have to play it again sometime I guess!
Wind Blast: Wind Blast still intrigues me… but this was a horrible test game for it. The split deployment really messed with my general plan for the list, and the sorcerer ended up facing off against nothing I wanted to push around. Putting him with the Knights or even in the center to push the Soul Reavers away/around would have been a far more interesting use of him. I’ll try to do better next time…
Halfling Knights: These were sort of frustrating to use. I felt I had to play very conservatively here to contain the werewolves, and with their little ponies they always seemed to be an inch short of what I needed. I think if I added some Ranger Cavalry or a troop of knights to help screen the larger regiments I could be bolder with them and would probably have more success. Despite the lower speed, they are still cheap light cavalry, and should have been more useful that they were. I’ll have to use them better too.
Halflings overall: As units, they struggle to deal damage, though I think they could be a simple, viable army on their own with some tweaking. I still have tons of models leftover from my original purchases, so I will likely expand the army eventually.
The main goal for the halflings right now though was to have a fun army for me to play for intro games with, and I’d say I nailed that. The halflings were definitely fun to play despite their *ahem* shortcomings, and provided a lot of amusement for us. They also got some nice comments from 40k players at the shop, who dug our game.
It was a good game and a fun evening. Can’t wait for the next game!