A SAD Muppets view of WAB at the 2004 WPS Club Challenge
In the best tradition of SAD Wargamers we again decided to enter a teaminto the WPS Club Challenge tournament, having taken a one year leave of absence due to a significant amount of apathy last year. We were in a somewhat surprising situation of actually having more players than the minimal requirement. Players were entered into Blood Bowl, Warhammer English Civil War, Warhammer, 40K, and Warhammer Ancients Battles. With everyone else clamouring to tell you about their successful exploits in the other games, I can tell you about the excitement of playing the bottom tables in WAB.
As a change this year I decided to take the New Kingdom Egyptians. This is not a choice taken lightly since at best this army sucks, but it does look really cool. For those of you not in the know I do have a preference for the Biblical armies, especially those with wheels. I had recently completed the Egyptian chariots and wanted to see them inaction in their full glory. I was to look back on this with a touch of irony later. The army had been fairly successful at the Foundry Doubles at the end of last year when Chris Banks and I had managed to get a mid field final placing, but that competition offered a far greater level of manoeuvrability with the larger tables and flanking scenarios than I was to enjoy this time.
The format of the event was for five games to be played over the two days.
The first two games were pre-drawn, with the remaining three being determined through the Swiss draw system. The other caveat was that no club members would be able to play each other. This was to be fairly critical from game three onwards, since the SAD team members dominated the bottom three tables for the last three rounds. All of the tables were 6 foot wide, although their depths did seem to vary between 4 to 5 foot. The scenarios were all predetermined for the competition.
A brief overview of my army
1 Pharaoh in light chariot1 Army Standard Bearer in Chariot
5 Egyptian Light Chariots5 Egyptian Light Chariots9 Egyptian Chariot Runners
20 Archers 20 Archers 20 Archers 24 Head to Hand warriors with 2 handed axes
Allies & Mercenaries
5 Ne’arun Chariots with thrusting spears
21 Sea Peoples
What follows are the poorly remembered battles which I forced the Egyptians to endure.
Game one – vs. the Samurai of Ben Allen playing for the NOMADS. The Samurai was a fairly small army of 2 units of 9 cavalry (7 warriors each with general and standard bearer in one, and 2 heroes in the other), 1 units of monks, 1 units of ninja, 1 unit of 12 foot samurai,2 units of ashigaru (approx 20 each) and 2 small units of 5 ashigaru used to hold table quarters.
The game opened with the ninja revealing themselves in the woods behind my left flank. The samurai too first turn and their army advanced at the march across the table. His ninja moved behind my forces and tried shooting the chariots waiting there but to no avail. My first turn was occupied with targeting as many of the samurai cavalry as possible and removing the ninja threat behind my lines. Whilst I had little success killing the cavalry, I did manage to kill all of the ninja using the chariots bow fire.
Turn two the samurai cavalry hit, and they hit hard. The units theycontacted found that their front two ranks evaporated on contact. With break tests everywhere the only person to fail was the general who demonstrated the ability of a chariot to roll 12 on 2D6 when necessary. He left the table, and so caused another round of immediate panic tests on the army. Strangely enough the army stood, and proceeded to take a battering.
My turn two saw me manoeuvring my archers and chariots out of the impact zone and focusing on removing as many samurai as possible. This was to be how much of the game progressed.
At the end of the game there were very few figures left standing in the samurai army. Due to the nature of the scoring system points are only calculated on destroyed or fleeing units. Whilst most of his units were below half strength (there were only 4 of the original 14 Samurai cavalry left, and one monk left) I was not able to count any of the points.
Final Score 32:0 a Samurai victory
Game Two – vs. the Greeks of Stuart McCorquodale playing for Viet Taff(Cardiff). This was a fairly standard Greek hoplite army of 5phalanxes of 24, of which one was Spartan. The remainder of the army was composed of 24 light infantry, 6 Greek Cavalry, and skirmishers.
The game was separated about half way by a copse and some rough ground. The Greek army deployed in a line, with the majority of the army to one side of the copse. This flank then proceeded to swing around through the game describing a large wheel. The figures were beautifully painted, and Stuart had used some Chiltern Miniature Greek Gods painted up as statues to represent his oracles. The game started with him rolling 8 oracles.
The game consisted of him advancing his phalanx, whilst I endeavoured to defeat his light flanking forces. I was initially successful on my right flank, however I rolled a high 16 for a pursuit roll against his skirmishers by my chariots which took me into some woods. I then proceeded to roll 3 ones out of five to see three of the chariots crash. My initial flank advantage was soon eroded. On the other flank my other two chariot units engaged his cavalry expecting a win, and were soon munched by that much maligned Greek Heavy Cavalry. By the time his phalanx managed to engage my infantry around turn 5 my forces were in a sorry state.
Effective use of my light forces did delay the inevitable Greek advance, but eventually there was nowhere to run (as Iran out of table space) and was forced to fight the Phalanxes with the inevitable consequences.
Score 25:7 Greek Victory
Game Three – vs. the Trojans of John Grant (‘Nice Guy John’) playing for NOMADS. This was the first of the Swiss Tournament determined games. We found ourselves on Table 9 (the bottom). John had a large army of 4 units of 18 Spear and 6 archers, 3 units of 4 light chariots,3 heroes, 1 unit of 16 archers, and 3 units of skirmishers with a king.
John deployed his infantry across his centre with his archers on a hill behind. Woods covered both flanks. A unit of his chariots took station on each flank with the third lurking behind his infantry. The skirmishers pushed forward before the chariots.
My intention was to focus my archers on a block of his infantry attempting to remove its ranks with my chariots concentrating on his chariots and heroes. My chariots were fairly successful with removing most of his chariots on my flanks. His infantry advanced in the centre under fire, but eventually contacted supported by his General and one unit of chariots. My infantry line collapsed with most units fleeing or being run down. At the end of game the Trojans held the centre whilst I was fairly strong on the flanks, but John had killed more units overall.
Due to the scenario rules, all of the points except for capturing standards and table quarters were doubled. So despite the result being fairly close (to my eyes 😉 ) the doubled points meant a fairly convincing victory to John.
Final Score 27:5 Trojan Victory
Game Four – vs. the Danes of Dan Atherton playing for GIMPS. This was another beautifully painted army. This consisted of two blocks of Danish Vikings (very tough with two handed weapons galore and a few berserkers), a unit of mercenaries (again very tough hombres), two units of bondir, and three units of skirmishers, one of which had bows.
The scenario called for us to deploy at an angle across the table, either in the fat half or thin half of the diagonal, at opposite corners of the table to each other. An objective marker was randomly placed along the centre line with whoever had the most figures within12 inches at the game end being able to claim up to 400 extra points.
My intention was to remove the berserker threat by throwing my chariot runners before his Danes, whilst removing his skirmishers with missile fire. My chariots would seek to dominate the flanks. He deployed strong in the centre and pushed his toughness 4 Vikings forward towards my infantry. I did remove the berserker threat, but in doing so lost my chariot runners. My sea peoples and one unit of chariots engaged the skirmishing mercenary Vikings expecting a fair win, but failed toroll a single save for the chariots. With chariots counting double points against me for combat resolution the sea peoples ran. Strangely enough the chariots stayed around another turn to be chopped apart.
My chariots soon removed most of the Danish light infantry and skirmishers but eventually the Danish main forces hit my line. They had undergone significant archery fire such that one unit arrived with only two ranks; it wasn’t enough to save me.
The Danes eventually held the objective marker in the centre of the table and had more troops in the immediate vicinity, so were able to claim an additional 100 points on top of the many they already had for dead units and captured standards.
Final Score 26:6 Danish Victory
Game Five – vs. the Normans of Darren Woodward playing for GIMPS. Again, this was another fantastic army of predominantly Crusader miniatures taken from their Norman and Spanish ranges. The army consisted of two large cavalry blocks of 12, a smaller light cavalry unit of 9 (still 3+ save – some light cavalry!), a unit of peasants, a crossbow unit, and a mercenary spear block.
The game opened with the Norman heavy cavalry advancing across thetable on my left flank with the infantry advancing in the centre to support. On my right flank he deployed his crossbows and peasants around some rough terrain whilst his light cavalry advanced to close down my chariots.
My line was set with the archers holding the centre with the Sea peoples and Axe men taking the right. The flanks were taken with the chariots, two units to my left, and one on my right. My archery was focused on removing ranks from his cavalry units
The Normans advanced strongly whilst taking significant fire from my archery. I was fairly successful, mainly due to Darren’s inability to roll a saving throw above 2. His cavalry blocks were whittled down before their inevitable crash onto my infantry. I did everything conceivably possible to remove as much of my line from his charge arcs and advanced past him across the table. On the right my chariots engaged his light cavalry and despite me eventually throwing in an additional unit of Egyptian chariots I was beaten back by the remnants of the cavalry and a rag tag horde of peasants!
The game closed with me the worse for the battle, but having removed a significant portion of his force. A good game, but still a Norman victory.
Final Score 19:13 Norman Victory
SAD WAB Results
So how did SAD do over all? Well I should point out that there wereonly 18 players, and we took all three of the bottom places. I reckon that we probably had the most fun, and have definitely established thatwe can only do better next year.
New Kingdom Egyptians
I enjoyed myself, and met some great new opponents who I would like to play again. I didn’t set out to achieve five losses; I did honestly try and win all of them (or against the Samurai limit the extent of my loss).
This was my third club challenge playing WAB for SAD. Given the general quality and attitude of the players participating in WAB this year I would recommend it for people next year.
Overall the Egyptian army performed as expected. I was equally lucky and unlucky throughout the games, so cannot blame the dice. I admit that I could have used the troops differently which may have swayed some of the combats (OK, I’m a poor general, I admit it).
There are things which I would change about the army for next time, such as giving the archers a full command, exchanging the 2 handed axemen for either marines or normal hand to hand troops with throwing spears.
The archers performed much better than I had anticipated, usually losing combats by only one point. The 2 handed axemen never rolled a dice in combat despite fighting every game. The Sea People were worth it, but would probably be given light armour to beef them up.
The army has a few obvious strengths; good missile fire and high troop leadership, especially when combined with the pharaoh. Its weaknesses are that most of the troops fight in one rank, and are very lightly armed without any significant hard hitting elements. This army works well when there is a lot of space, either to fall back into, or to move around on the flanks. In a tournament situation where the table sizes are small finding the space is challenging, especially when your opponent is working to remove these options.
This army looks good, and if you like shooty armies is definitely one to consider, though probably best played against in-period opponents.