So originally the group had organised this day to play Skirmish or Path to Glory, that went straight out the window as soon as people heard that the GHB 2017 was dropping on the Saturday. Instead, the day was filled with much fun getting in a game of the new edition. For me, I'd be bringing out my Free Peoples, a force I've been building up on the side the past year or so. I also bought some Beastmen along from my 8th days, that with a few extra models translated basically into a 2000 point force also, but they stayed in the case today.
For my first outing, this was the list I was bringing
Freeguild General - General - Indomitable (Add 1 to save rolls within 6" if didn't charge)
Freeguild General with Stately War Banner
Freeguild General on Griffon - Armour of Meteoric Iron
20x Freeguild Guard
30x Freeguild Crossbowmen
20x Freeguild Handgunners
10x Freeguild Greatwords
3x Demigryph Knights
5x Freeguild Pistoliers
1x Gryph Hound
Which rounded the force out to 1960 points. Some of the models were 'on loan' from my older warhammer armies, potentially to be re-based in future. Note that I forgot to pack another 10 Freeguild Guard, so in this game the Freeguild Archer models are subbing in for Guardsmen.
My opponent was packing a mixed Destruction list based on his GHB1 list. His list looked something like
Moonclan Warboss with Great Cave Squig
Moonclan Grot Shaman
Frostlord on Stonehorn
20x Moonclan Grots with Spears
20x Moonclan Grots with Bows
Everyone else at the club was playing Scorched Earth, and what would you know it, we rolled it up also. Definitely happy enough with that, since it's the only scenario in the new book that's completely new. After setup was complete, the board looked a little bit like this:
The armies prepped and ready for war
My opponent got the first turn due to finishing deployment first, and got ready to roll with his new allegiance abilities. The stone horn revved up, and sauntered forwards 6" in the hero phase while the Ogor Tyrant was bolstered by the Moonclan Shaman with a Mystic Shield. The army for the most part ran forwards, eager to engage the enemy.
Of course, I knew I had made a mistake as soon as the Frostlord surged forwards. The Frostlord managed to successfully charge the Greatswords, wiping them out before they could retaliate, and razed my side objective for an early lead. He rolled a 2, so was up to 5 points at the end of his first turn! A large hill to climb.
In my turn, the Freeguild great company swerved off to the side. The Freeguild Guard were bolstered with Inspiring Presence and quickly marched to block a potential charge against the gunline from the Stonehorn. On the right flank (unseen in most pictures!), the Pistoliers stayed on the objective but moved into shooting range of the Gargant whom had surged up the field. The Freeguild General on Griffon kicked his mount forwards, eager to engage the Gargant.
In the shooting phase, the cannons took a toll on the Tyrant, dealing 5 wounds but failing to take him out. The Handgunners had some of their unit still in range, but only managed to take 1 wound from the Stonehorn .
In the combat phase, the General on Griffon flew over the Gargant to attack it from behind, felling the towering gargant which fell to empty ground.
The Freeguild units re-organise their battleline to take on the oncoming threat
My opponent then won the initiative, and chose to go first. The Tyrant bellowed at the Ogors nearby, urging them forwards. The Grot Shaman was a bit too cautious though, and wasn't particularly feeling in the mushroomy mood, and failed to cast mystic shield. In the backline, the Frostlord decided that the Cannons were tastier treats, heading around the back to take out the Free Peoples artillery. The Ogors smashed into the Freeguild line, but not before being peppered with shots from both the Handgunners and Crossbowmen, downing two Ogors before they even made it into the battle. The Stonehorn smashed into the cannons, dealing 3 wounds with it's charge to one of the cannons.
The Ogors make it into the Freeguild, but without the backup of their Tyrant
As it so happened, the Frostlord beat both the Crews to death but the cannons were left around. The Ogors were unable to punch through the Freeguild Guard, whom took down another Ogor in retaliation. Still, the points were counting up, the Destruction were now up to 8 points and taking a convincing lead.
The Freeguild General sent the command, it was time to show these beasts what disciplines and training was worth. He swiftly sent the order to the Guard, Crossbowmen and Handgunners to hold the line. The Griffon after finishing off it's meal, swooped on after the Grot Archers on the far flank while the Demigryphs swept up the hill, looking to take on the Grot Shaman if the Tyrant was felled.
In the shooting phase, huge volleys of shot and bolt were shot around. The handgunners hammered the Stonehorn, taking out 6 wounds, while the Crossbowmen split fire between the Tyrant and the Stonehorn. The Tyrant was felled, but the Stonehorn was left on 3 wounds remaining. Fearing for his life, the Grot Shaman ordered the Grots to let loose the Fanatics, which crazily swung into the Demigryphs.
In the combat phase, the Stonehorn finished off the cannon that was in range. The Griffon swept into the Grot Archers, but his aim this time wasn't convincing, only managing to kill a few while sending more running due to the Griffons bloodroar. The Fanatics managed to kill a noble Demigryph Knight before being savagely pecked to death. The Ogors still couldn't get through the Freeguild guardsmen, their blows being parried and blocked while the Guard dealt a few more wounds to the Ogors. Still, the Free Peoples were still far behind, with only 4 points to Destructions 8.
What happened next, was that the Free Peoples won the initiative roll. However, it looked like it might be better off to let the enemy take the turn, their backup was still far off in the Ironguts, and the Stonehorn and Ogors both on their last legs. So the Destruction got to go, with the Ironguts deciding to stay in the backline. Unforeseen was the cunning Grots having the foresight to retreat from combat with the Griffon, keeping the objective in their favour. The Stonehorn tried to smash it's way through the lines again, but was shot down by the Freeguild Handgunners stand and shoot. Additionally, the Crossbowmen of the Great Company provided supporting fire to the Freeguild Guard, shooting it's way through the Ogors who were bought down in a hail of Crossbow bolts before they could even land a blow against the Freeguild Guard.
The Ogors in the Freeguild backline were finally cleared up at the loss of the Greatswords and Ironweld Arsenal, but the points were racking up, they had now accumulated 11 points to the Freeguilds 4.
Now was the time for the Freeguild to take the offensive to the enemy. We would have to make sure we claimed the enemy objectives in this turn, to stall their own resources while catching up in our own. The entire Freeguild company surged up the board, with the noble Gryph Hound been relegated to supply duty keeping the middle objective. The Demigryph's swung around to the side, they would need to keep the objective on the far flank safe in future turns.
In the combat phase, the Griffon managed to wipe out the far objective, finally the Freeguild had taken superior control of the battle. The points now were 7 to 11 in favour of Destruction, could they keep their lead?
The army marches forwards while the Demigryph's make their detour towards the far objective
Destruction won the roll off this time, and were more than happy to play on the defensive. Cautious of the blasting the Ogors had received earlier, and unsure where the Freeguild army was heading, the Ironguts backed off. If the Handgunners wanted to shoot them, they would have to work for it and the points were still racking up. the Destruction force now had accumulated 13 points, while the Free Peoples were only on 7.
Still, the Free Peoples marched on. Marching the forces up and over the hill. The Crossbowmen at the doubled, their firepower would be needed in the final turn. The Handgunners moved up, blasting away at the Ironguts but not managing to get much damage through. The Demigryphs in the meantime had taken the far objective, while the Freeguild General on Griffon had swooped around to harass the Grots from the rear.
The Freeguild Guard and Griffon both made their way onto the Grots holding onto the objective. The Guard managed to kill a few, while the Griffon added to the count, but at the end of the day, many Grots fled but 3 remained, crucially keeping the objective for the Destruction forces. The Free Peoples were catching up, now 10 points to 13, but were they catching up fast enough?
The Grots died well, and still held the objective at the end of the fourth battle round
The initiative roll would be crucial, if the Free Peoples held the initiative they would surely take the game, razing the objectives, but if the Destruction won they could still accumulate points. As it so happened, Destruction won the roll off and the Ironguts surged forwards. In a show of pure bestial fury, they smashed into the Freeguild Guard and smashed them into the ground, the Grots still held the objective and the Destruction ended with 15 points.
In the final turn of the game, all focus was on the 3 Grots. If the Free Peoples could kill those Grots, they would hold 2 of the enemy objectives and be able to raze them for bonus points, if not, the Destruction would run away with the victory. The General ordered the Handgunners to stand fast, while the Crossbowmen mounted the hill. The Grots however, were short and sneaky, hiding behind the much larger Ironguts. The Crossbowmen could only slay a single Grot, while the Generals pistol failed to wound. Would the Grots win the day? The Handgunners plonked away at the Ironguts, dealing massive damage laying 3 of them out.
As it so happened though, both the Freeguild General and General on Griffon managed to slam into the Grots. The Freeguild General, leading his forces, got the job done, slaying the 2 Grots.
Finally it would come down to how much bonus supply could be gathered from the Destruction objectives. The dice were rolled, and in total the D3's came up as 3 and 1, meaning the Free Peoples would get a total of 6 points, bringing them up to 16 points to Destruction's 15.
Victory to the Free Peoples
The end of the game, the Free Peoples had snatched the victory at the final hour
Wow, what an amazing first game. It was excitingly close. Losing one of my side objectives first turn was devestating, as it put me on the back foot from the start in terms of victory points. Still, I managed to claw it back right at the end of the game.
Definitely some things I bought away from this game is that with my Great Company, and even having only 2 home objectives, I felt it would've been difficult to manage both keeping my own objectives while engaging the enemy. I badly misplaced my Gryph-Hound (Which was essentially useless in this matchup), and should've kept him on my far objective, freeing up the Pistoliers to go do some work.
I also think it was a mistake to have all my fast stuff on one flank (Especially given the point I just mentioned). My opponent held one of his objectives with just his single Grot Warboss, a faster unit on that flank could've given my opponent more grief, potentially muddling up his battleplan even more.
Putting both my cannons close by as well was also a huge mistake. I knew there was definitely the possibility of him going around the back rather than smashing into my lines with the Frostlord, and should've separated the cannons to stop them both going down in one shot from the Frostlord.
I also didn't split my fire with the Crossbowmen efficiently enough at one stage during the game. I probably could've killed both the Frostlord and Tyrant with the Crossbowmen, but instead focussed more fire on the Tyrant which overkilled him, while the Stonehorn was left on 3 wounds. It didn't make a difference in the end, but something to keep in mind in future.
Overall though, great game to kick off GHB 2017 with. Looking forward to getting more games done in future!