Tonight Sophie and I played the first tabletop minis game we have played in years – a “Warmachine” game. Sophie played the Pirates of the Broken Coast and I played Cryx.
“Why are these pirates always hanging out around sinkholes?”
– Wraith Witch Deneghra
Cryx Pirates of the Broken Coast
87 pts. Wraith Witch Deneghra Phineas Shea 67 pts
63 pts. 10 Mechanithralls 10 Sea Dogs 95 pts
31 pts. Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls 3 Marksmen 33 pts
18 pts. Brute Thrall Mr. Walls 22 pts
113 pts Reaper Mariner 110 pts
90 pts 2x Defiler 2x Freebooter 184 pts
76 pts 2x Deathripper
16 pts. Skarlock Thrall
494 pts. TOTAL TOTAL 511 pts
Looking at the two armies, it was obvious that I was going to have a clear advantage in Warcaster power – Wraith Witch Deneghra is seriously powerful, and having a Skarlock Thrall tagging along would juice her up even more. On the other hand, those three heavy warjacks were a serious threat, and my one helljack and four bonejacks weren’t going to measure up. Also, as I would discover, the Sea Dogs were pretty tough, especially when bolstered by Mr. Walls and some marksmen. I was in danger of being shot off the table.
We rolled for scenario and got “Killing Field” – three objectives in the middle of the board, you got one point per turn holding each, play to 7 points. Casualties weren’t relevant.
Now I really hate how Sophie’s Warjacks can just dive into deep water and lurk there, so I decided that I was going to go for minimal terrain to reduce the amount of water I would have to deal with. I conceded that I was satisfied as soon as Sophie had put down one pond, allowing her to place one additional piece of terrain… which turned out to be another pond. This was probably not the best idea I ever had, as it gave broad fields of fire to the gun on the Mariner and the marksmen with the Sea Dogs – and we only had two pieces of water terrain.
Sophie dropped one of the ponds on top of the leftmost victory objective, and the other one in between the middle and the rightmost victory objectives.
MY CUNNING PLAN
I was player 1, so I got to choose sides and set up first. looking over the board, I decided to abandon the leftmost victory objective entirely. My Mechanithralls might have been able to take it, but I didn’t want the unit way off on one side of the board. Instead I decided on a two-pronged advance – my main thrust would be up the center of the board towards the middle objective with the ‘thralls, the Reaper, and D. My helljacks would make a run for the rightmost objective, and try to hang on until I could secure the middle and send help their way. Since casualties didn’t matter, I hoped to use the speed of my army to jump on objectives first, then just hold them long enough to get an unassailable lead.
Anyway, that was the plan. By turn two it was pretty much shot to hell.
Then Sophie set up. with Shae and the Mariner on my left (her right) going for the submerged objective, the Sea Dogs heading up the middle, and the two Freebooters heading down the right flank towards the rightmost objective. Seeing those two heavy warjacks going in the same direction as my Bonejacks completely unnerved me. My plan changed, and I decided to shift right with D. and the Reaper.
Ah, turn 1 – ever exciting. My M’thralls moved up the middle, my Helljacks sprinted (or waddled) towards the rightmost victory objective, and I kept D and the Reaper headed down the center, but shifted them from the left to the right so they could lend more support to the Helljacks. The Sea Dogs moved up and shot three of my M’thralls off the table (I had carelessly let them get out of range of the Necrosurgeon), The Mariner headed towards my left, followed by Shae, who dropped a little squall on some of my M’thralls.
And that’s when we realized that there was a big problem – the Freebooters were out of Shae’s control range, and could only walk.
I moved the M’thralls up to capture the middle objective, and the Helljacks got the one on my right. D. and the Reaper finished repositioning near the edge of one of the ponds so they could support both the M’thralls and the Helljacks.
Sophie’s damned riflemen got a LOS on my Necrosurgeon and blew her off the table, as the Sea Dogs prepared to contest the middle objective. Shae dumped another squall on me, which would prevent some of my M’thralls from charging next turn. The Mariner fired, but missed. The Freebooters continued to walk forward
Edmund: 2 Sophie: 1
I set my Reaper up to take a Harpoon shot at one of the Freebooters. And that’s when I realized that the damned harpoon was useless against heavy jacks. In fact the only target that was worthwhile for the Reaper on the whole board was Shae! Durp. D. used Tenebrious Exile to make one of the Freebooters incorporeal. In the center, the M’thralls charged the Sea Dogs, smashing five of them to a pulp with their steam fists.
Sophie snagged the leftmost objective with the the Mariner and Shae, and got the Freebooters into deep water. A countercharge by the remaining Sea Dogs demonstrated amply the “hammer and eggshell” nature of the M’thralls, trashing all but three of them (plus the Brute Thrall).
Edmund: 4 Sophie: 3
D. spent focus points on her jacks this turn. but much of it turned out to be wasted. The few remaining M’thralls continued to stubbornly defend the central objective, and the Brute Thrall managed to beat Mr. Walls paper thin. The Reaper headed back towards the center to hold the objective, since I didn’t think that the M’thralls would be alive the following turn. D. managed to hit one of the Freebooters and toss it up into the shallows like a speared fish, whereupon all my bonejacks set upon it with a fury, doing it some severe damage.
Sophie’s surviving Sea Dogs massacred my M’thralls and claimed the middle victory objective. Shae popped his feat, moved everyone around a bit, then charged the Reaper (and one poor M’thrall), pulping the latter, and doing severe damage to the former. The Mariner then charged and immobilized the Mariner with an anchor to the knees! This left the leftmost objective unclaimed, but she still got a point for the central objective.
Edmund: 6 Sophie: 4
I still held one victory objective, and I only needed one point to win, so I knew the game was in the bag at this point. Still, I thought I would play it out for my turn. The Reaper tried and failed to pummel Shae, despite making no less than three attacks on him. D. fed all her Focus points into her bonejacks, which proceeded to gnaw the Freebooter to pieces. D. and the Skarlock went after the other Freebooter but didn’t scratch the paint. My last point went in the bank, and the game was over.
Edmund: 7 Sophie: 4
POST GAME ANALYSIS
There were a lot of little errors in the game, but really only one big one – leaving the two Freebooters without focus points for the entire game turned a major threat to my right into something that was not nearly so worrisome. Had Shae left the Mariner over by the victory objective and headed over to back up the Freebooters, their rather nasty claws could have made short work of my Helljacks with a couple of boosted attacks and boosted damages.
On the other hand, I used Wraith Witch Deneghra really poorly. I should have had her in the thick of the fight between the M’thralls and the Sea Dogs, scooping up corpse tokens and turning them into a factory worth of Focus points. As it was, I never got a single corpse token throughout the game.
Other small mistakes I made included the terrain set-up, and a) taking a Reaver in the first place, b) having taken one, not sending it after Shae.
I learned that my M’thralls can really tear the living hell out of anything they get into combat with, but they had best do it quick because they won’t last long in a counter-attack. The Necrosurgeon did nothing, and will need to be more heavily protected in the future. My Bonejacks performed superbly, as they always do. Sophie’s Sea Dogs are far more dangerous than I thought they would be, particularly those Marksmen. Shae seemed to be a bit costly for what you got for him. His feat was pretty weak compared to D’s, but he did seem pretty lethal in combat – certainly he was having more luck beating up my Reaver than D. was beating up his Freebooter.
I made two errors in army design – one actually illegal, and the other one legal but probably a bad idea.
First, I should not have fielded Wraith Witch Deneghra. As an Epic caster, she should only be available for armies of 750 points or more. This probably wasn’t decisive, since I didn’t bond her to any of my ‘jacks and used her really poorly throughout the game.
Second, I should have given Sophie the Commodore Cannon. It isn’t required, but you can only take it with Shae, so in retrospect it seems like a pity not to have fielded it, and given that Shae is an average Warcaster it might have been better to drop one of the Freebooters, or at least downgrade it to a lighter ‘jack, so his Focus points could be spread a little less thinly.