Thursday, 14 April 2016

Revenge at Arnesvelt.... a 2000 point Warmaster scenario

The Easter break provided a great opportunity to get in a game of Warmaster. The scenario that was used was based on the Warhammer Blood in the Borderlands scenario from White Dwarf 362 (Feb 2010). This scenario saw the Beastmen square off against an alliance of Empire and Bretonnian forces. I will cover how it panned out in a future battle report, but I thought I would detail the scenario here for future reference.

The scenario comes from White Dwarf 362 that highlighted the newly revamped Beastmen for Warhammer.

Vendergeld and Dammeransk, the garrison towns that maintain the border between Marienburg and the kingdom of Bretonnia, have been overrun and razed to the ground by the infamous Beastlord Khorgor of the Black Horn. From his herdstone-strewn lair in the Quagmire Forest, Khorgor has burnt a great gouging path through the Empire and into Bretonnia, destroying anything that stands in his way. His war horns wind and blare through the woods, summoning ever larger and fouler creatures to his side and galvanising the nearby tribes of Beastmen into a state of primal rage.

But the men of the Empire have allies of their own. Emissaries from Marienburg have ridden pell-mell through the Gisoreux Gap to the courts of the city of Gisoreux itself, petitioning for a coordinated action to purge the Beastmen from the borderlands once and for all. They met with some success - a cavalry detachment of Bretonnia's finest now ride alongside the soldiers of the Empire who have tracked Khorgor's rampage across hill and vale. Little do they know, however, that they ride into a trap. Behind Beastlord Khorgor's actions is Malagor, the Dark Omen himself - a Brey-Shaman of surpassing power whose mere presence is a portent for disaster.

As the sun rises and the mists clear around the smoking remains of Arnesvelt, Khorgor's latest conquest, the human alliance rides forth to purge the Beastmen that lie slumbering in the ashes after their wanton victory celebrations. Grim smiles and oaths of vengeance spread throughout the ranks of mankind's finest as they see the Beastmen disordered and slumbering ahead of them.

Suddenly, a storm of crows bursts from the chimneys of the ruined houses, whirling and coalescing to become Malagor himself. Borne aloft on tattered pinions, his great cry rings out, and the Beastmen leap up into battle formation with shocking speed. Worse still, the cry is answered all about by coarse battle horns and the unmistakeable lowing of blood-hungry Minotaurs. The men of the Empire and the Knights of Bretonnia share dark looks before murmuring prayers and girding themselves for battle. The trap is sprung...

The ruin of Arnesvelt

2000 points a side, with Bretonnia and Empires forces comprising 1000 points each.

The battlefield

Allies have the First Move: The Empire and Bretonnia move first on Turn 1, representing the Allies finally catching up with the Beastmen.

First Move Free: On Turn 1, during each players Command Phase, you may move each of your units once free of having to make any command rolls. Move each unit on your side once only. After that, the Command Phase begins as normal. Units now within Initiative range may charge, any other unit may be moved by command rolls as though they had not moved at all that turn. This rule applies on Turn 1 only and not during subsequent turns. The purpose of this rule is to get units moving across the battlefield on the first turn and represents the Empire and Bretonnia marching in to battle, and Malagor calling the Beastmen to respond.

Allied Play: On each of the Allies turn, during the Command Phase, the Empire player must move his units first. After the Empire player has completed moving his units, the Bretonnian player moves his units. After that, both may move their command units together at the completion of the Allied Command Phase. The Allied shooting and melee phases are simultaneous. If the game is played as a two player game, this process must still be followed. This rule represents the fact that two independent, but allied, armies are represented on one side.

Independent Allies: Command pieces from the Empire player may not command any Bretonnian units and vica versa. Each army is independent. Each is likewise independent with regards to their Breakpoint values. If the Empire or Bretonnia exceed their breakpoint value, they will withdraw. However their ally will not withdraw but still be in the battle. In this way, one ally's defeat will not necessarily see the defeat of the other ally. The Beastman player must defeat each of the Allies army's independently by destroying them or forcing them to withdraw.

Buildings: Units within ruined buildings in Arnesvelt are regarded as Fortified. Moreover, shooting units within these ruins gain 360 degree shooting ability as they are able to spread out across the ruined building and take advantage of the protection afforded by their ruined walls to attack enemy units coming from any direction.

Break Point: Due to the determination to destroy each other, each army must lose one more unit than their Breakpoint value indicates. So if an individual army has a breakpoint value of 7, then once they loose their 8th unit, they will withdraw. Remember to account for losses to Empire and Bretonnian units independently as looses of Empire units will not effect the breakpoint value of the Bretonnia army and vica versa.

The village of Arnesvelt sits close to the eastern map edge, approximately 1/3 inwards towards the centre of the table. The town is located on a plateau that has three entrances to the town on its NE, SE and SW edges.

On the western edge of the table is a forest running down the full length of the table. Close to this forest is a broad but shallow river. Three fords permit access from the forest to the main part of the table. Each ford is 5cm wide.

Assorted additional terrain should be placed as mutually agreed by the players.

Eastern edge of the table with Arnesvelt situated on a plateau

The table centre looking north, Arnesvelt and river clearly visible

The forest and river crossing on the western edge of the table

Roll off to determine who sets up first. The Alliance sets up on the eastern edge of the table within 20cm of the table edge.

Alliance deployment zone

The Beastmen must set up 500 points worth of troops in the ruins of Arnesvelt. These units can be deployed anywhere on the plateau and can be placed within ruins. Malagor must be taken as a Beastmen hero and placed within the ruins of Arnesvelt during deployment.

The Arnesvelt deployment zone and the three entrances to town

The remaining 1,500 points of Beastmen units must be placed within the forest on the western part of the table, within 20cm of that table edge.

Beastmen western edge deployment zone

The Alliance must defeat the Beastmen by either completely destroying them or driving them from the field. The Beastmen must destroy, or force to retreat, both the Empire and Bretonnian armies. The ruins of Arnesvelt are not a strategic point to be captured as the town now lays in ruins. So forces are not required to capture any strategic ground but instead must force each other from the field.

Standard victory conditions apply with the side that forces the other to flee the battlefield gaining an extra 500 victory points for breaking their enemy.

The challenge here will be for the Alliance to act in unison. This will be harder than it seems as each army acts independently of the other. The Beastmen however begin with a divided force and must move the majority of their forces across half of the table to engage the enemy. However, their forces within the ruins are Arnesvelt gain the benefit of being fortified, helping them to hold out until help arrives from the forest.