And what a turn it turned out to be. Around here, we classically talk about the 3rd edition, waxing lyrical about opening manoeuvres and intelligence tests for spell casting, as we patiently watch players plan their reserve phases and organise their units into the appropriate formations.
Compared to the gentle, gentlemanly art of 3rd edition, 4th edition is like taking a spinning class having downed nine redbulls and the spinning class is on a rollercoaster which itself is on a hovercraft ramping off a waterfall.
Into a whirlpool.
Anyway, Matt had elected to play the undead, leaving me command of the noble avengers of Averridge. We rolled some dice - the net result was that Matt was to take the first turn.
Turn 1: Undead
The undead began with a fairly sedentary advance, wholly anticipated and with exactly no surprise moves.
|A map! To tell you where things are!|
Indeed, the most interesting move on the behalf od the undead was the election of the Plague Bearers NOT to march, but to keep parity with the rest of the line. We'll analyse that decision in later turns.
|The least surprising move - the enormous terrifying monster taking cover from the cannon.|
Please pardon the lighting. It only occurred to me to chronicle the game shortly before we actually started, so I hadn't done any work to solve the lighting issue required. Also, Matt and I like to talk.
So, we deployed just before lunch, ate lunch, talked for about three hours and only then played turn one, at which point the lighting was... poor.
The alternative would have been a lot of cables, which as you know are trip hazards and we all know how perilous tripping over rare, spiky wargaming miniatures can be.
Not because of the miniatures or one's delicate skin either - I'm talking about the owner if the figures.
|The forces of Chaos advance slowly. |
The 4th edition magic phase is a fascinating thing, never to be repeated in any edition. Essentially, it is a mini-game, with each player being able to cast spell, regardless of whose turn it actually is. Predictably, the Danni cast Van Hel's Dans Macabre, to motivate the zombies and skeletons.
Predictably, the Elrich cast The Bridge of Shadows, to motivate the halberdiers into meeting the zombies head on.
Of course, given the magic phase was at the end of the turn, no actual fighting took place.
|Elrich Lang conjures the Bridge of Shadows, catapulting the Constabulary straight into the advancing zombies!|
|The scale of the zombies' immediate problem...|
|The Undead left. On the left. All of them were left. On the left. None were not left. We left the left ones on the left.|
|The Dwarf view of the Undead right. Well actually, it was the Undead left, but we've already been through that above and we're not going there again. As far as these dwarves were concerned, it was the right. Right?|
Turn 1: Dwarfs
|The dwarfs... largely stay put.|
The dwarf opening moves were hardly stunning in their creativity either. There were fifteen crossbows and a cannon and the Thunderbuckle clan were keen to see those assets sweat. As much as the dwarfs wanted to admire the courage of the Men of Averridge, there was more headshaking, grumbling and proverb-saying about their immenent demise than anything else. The dwarfs could do a lot of things, it was true, but crossing the field in a hurry to support the halberdiers was not one of them.
Tuvith and his scouts actually managed to hit the manticore, being, as it is, a large target. Of course, it is also a tough target, so the boys did nothing other than to attract it's ire.
|Mihartiskaphut and his manticore probably had no idea Tuvith and his scouts were in this little forest. But then they shot at him. This is now what the manticore is seeing. No mummies or manticores were harmed in the taking of this photograph.|
The combat phase was brief and delicitously bloody. Captain Prangle and the Constabulary hacked, slashed, chopped, mashed, crushed, kicked, punched, gouged and in once instance even poked at the zombies, (re)killing several. Enough to compel them to break and flee!
Of course, the young Captain was no fool. Rather than overrun the Undead line, he commanded his men to hold, in order that they might better prosecute their sudden advantage against the skeletons.
|Elrich, knowing only one especially useful spell, used it again to enable the Men of Avveridge to charge forth and engage the skeletons! |
Elrich, seeing the splendid wonder The Bridge of Shadows had wrought for the Men of Averridge, used it again to accelerate Captain Prangle's plan, Across the new bridge they ran, enthused to the point of fearlessness. Let the (re)killing commence!
|...but Danni, who hates to see things go to waste, quickly reanimates the zombies the halberdiers destroyed - summoning them to reappear just behind their new position.|
Too late did Elrich realise that courage alone was not enough for the halberdiers. Danni smiled as she commanded the zombies that had previously been slain to rise again and outflank the out-of-position halberdiers.
Keen to press her superiority in, well, everything, home, Danni reached into Elrich's mind, easily pushing aside his memories of riding with Miss Amelia (and then riding Miss Amelia), his curious fascination with tea pots and an awkward interview with a witch hunter who confused Elrich's unfortunately large bunion with a mark of chaos, to snatch at the magical centre of his brain, scrambling the memory of The Crown of Taidron.
|Insult to injury! Not only has Danni outflanked the 1st Company, but she proceeds to duel mentally with Elrich, wrenching a spell from his mind!|
Will Captain Prangle and the Constabulary fight off the advancing zombie horde? Will the despicable vampyr shred yet more memories inside Elrich's mind? Will the dwarfs even move?
Tune in next time for Turn 2 of The Vampyr of the Riding!