Author Topic: Playtest Report: Persia vs Dwarves  (Read 1124 times)


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Playtest Report: Persia vs Dwarves
« on: August 08, 2012, 03:19:07 AM »
Points: 2,000
Map: 1A (Open)
Scenario: Breaking Point

Dwarves build:  2 Axemen, 2 Militia, 2 Hammermen, 1 Shortbeards, 2 Antonians
Persia build:  2 Satrapal Cavalry, 2 Kardakes, 4 Sparabara, 6 Thanvabara, 2 Immortals, Levies 1

 I apologize for the absolutely terrible quality of these pictures.  The sun was setting and apparently coming right through the window.  I never noticed any glare when playing, only seeing it now when I opened up the file.  But I figure something is better than nothing, and will try to explain the deployments well enough.


Dwarven front row:  Shortbeards - Axemen - Hammermen - Militia - Axemen - Hammermen - Militia
Dwarven back row:  Antonians (far left, behind Shortbeards)  &  Antonians (far right, behind Militia)

The Persian battle line is more clear, with a row of Thanvabara in front of Sparabara, Immortals, and Kardakes.  On the left I have 2 units of Satrapal Cavalry and on the right I have a unit of Kardakes.  The Kardakes on each flank have objectives ordering them to slide sideways and secure my flanks.  The Thanvabara all have an objective 1.25" forward.  This will force the Dwarves to eat 2 full turns of shooting from the Sparabara before being able to final rush.  (Note, I didn't actually write the objective on the Thanvabara because...really, why?  I was going to erase them the very next turn)

Dwarves close while Persia redeploys:

This is several turns in.  One the left, a unit of Satrapal Cavalry has stepped forward to fill the gap made by the Kardakes who slid sideways.  My dice rolling was pretty hot by this point, averaging almost 1 extra point per Dwarf unit.  Most Dwarf units should have taken 3 pts by now, and most had taken 4 pts.  I also got both Blot Out the Sun cards in my early Command Card draws and used both for short range shots before the Dwarves closed.

I had changed the order of two of my Thanvabara to concentrate fire on the Shortbeard on the left flank and the Militia on the right flank.  The plan was pretty simple:  get those guys at or near the Red so that by the time combat happened, I could rout them and turn the flanks before my center crumbled.  The Kardakes would secure the flanks from those Antonians, probably getting killed in the process, but if a 170 pt unit killed a 280 pt unit, I was happy.

Antonians Charge!

Scott does something tricksy here and charges the right Antonians into my Immortals.  Even though the Kardakes could pinch, it would reduce the number of turns my Immortals can shoot.  Also, in melee the Kardakes and Immortals have the same stats, but the Immortals have 2 fewer dice.  If you have to charge spearmen-on-hold, might as well go for the guys with fewer dice.

Double Rout

Same turn as above.  On the right, both the Antonians and the Immortals blow their rout checks and flee.  Had either one made it, the game would have been decided right there.  On the far left, I whiffed with all my dice after a Blue card from Scott.  My luck with the shooting is balanced out by getting zero hits.

Dwarves hit Thanvabara

The Dwarves have just final rushed the Thanvabara.  4 of 6 blew up after from failed rout checks (which is about right for needing a 9 or less; roughly 1/3rd will live).  My archery dice cool a little bit here, but my Kardakes on the left put some damage on the Antonians.  He passes his Courage check thanks to a rune card and dumps a Red card onto those same Antonians to put a hurt on my Kardakes. 

This was a bit of a recurring theme:  he had many more Command Cards than I did, because even with having to fix the occasional Disrupted, he was drawing 4 cards to my 3.  When Persia stands and shoots, there will be more turns for the other player to draw cards and so spending that CA on Levies becomes more pronounced.  It always felt that he had a ton of cards, although part of that is that he realized that the game was won on the flanks and so those 2-3 fights got all the best cards.

Flank Battles

On the left, the Kardakes have died with shame to the Antonians.  But the Satrapal Cavalry pinch (exposing my flank to the unit of Shortbeards).  The Antonians promptly die.  On the right, I'm pressing forward on those Antonians and Militia.

More Flank Battles

This where I made a tactical mistake.  On the right, I let the Kardakes get within 3.5" of those Militia who had slid out sideways in the previous turn.  This let him charge them and not leave the Antonians' flank exposed.  So the Antonians charge the Immortals (again), and the Militia charge the Kardakes. 

On the left, his Shortbeards charged by Satrapal Cavalry and flubbed their roll bad.  So my other Satrapal Cavalry flanked them and they failed the pinch check.

Note the Dwarven infantry are not engaged.  They are like ~1/2" away.

Beginning of the End

On the right, my Immortals have died and the Antonians made their rout check.  More importantly, the Militia on the right fighting the Kardakes make a very crucial rout check (with the help of a Rune card), keeping the Kardakes from hitting the Antonians in the flank.

So the Antonians flank my other Immortals just as the Dwarven line hits.  The Immortals go squish-pop from the sheer number of dice between Hammermen and Antonians.  Oh how I wish I had a Thousand Nations card right now.

Last Throes

On the far right, the Kardakes would kill the Militia, while on the center-left some interesting stuff happens.  On the left of my line, the Sparabara blow a rout check and die.  Meaning when the Satrapal Cavalry rear charge the cavalry, it won't be a pinch.  :-\

Meanwhile on the center-left, the Hammermen are put into the red and rout.  Note, despite my griping about things going against Persia, it didn't feel this way.  Of the 7 Dwarf units on the table at this point, 4 were either in the Red or destroyed/routing.  2 were in the Yellow (one was a box away from being in the red).  Only 2 of them were in the green at this point:  the two that I had more or less ignored to concentrate fire on a nearby unit early on.  That is the trade-off.

The final charge:

The Antonians and Hammermen smash into my flanks to destroy some Sparabara and Thanvabara, who both fail checks in the pre-combat Courage phase.

On the center left, my Sparabara final rushed the routing Hammermen, destroying them.  The Satrapal Cavalry rear charges the Axemen and combined with the javelins of the other Satrapal Cavalry unit and the shots of the Thanvabara unit, manages to put 6 wounds on him.  At this point, I've lost 1200 pts and its time to count'em up.


At the end of the game, the Dwarves have:
In the Green:  nobody
In the Yellow:  Hammermen (2 boxes from red), Axemen, Axemen (1 box from the Red!)
In the Red:  Antonians, Militia.
Dead:  Militia, Antonians, Hammermen, Shortbeards

Dwarves have 1175 pts:  4-2 victory.

Conclusions:  My dice started flaming hot, and then cooled a bit.  Combined with the card draw not giving me A Thousand Nations (even though I'm not sure it'd do much good, as I took rout checks in dribs and drabs), I'd say my luck was just down-side of there.  On the whole, my dice were probably just about average, but in clutch moments I didn't make some rolls I needed.  And it seemed like in clutch moments, he did (or maybe it just that he had the Rune cards and made those all-important rout checks because of that).

Which more or less matches the score:  I was cruising for a pretty solid win, which faded to a draw, which faded to a loss because of dice.  The game came down to a few key Courage Checks that he made.

Moreover, he didn't feel the matchup was unfair.  It is a boring build and has the potential to be very swingy, because if you get lucky rolls for damage early, it'll probably be the game (but the converse is true too:  if you flub those early attacks, he's gonna wipe the floor with you).  However, there are some people who enjoy playing stand and shoot.  And while I'm not one of them, neither of us came away thinking the build was unbalanced. 

One final note is that my opponent built his army not knowing what I was going to take.  So he could not tailor his list to a stand and shoot.  He chose Dwarves and built his list.  Once he realized I had 16 units, he knew what he was facing of course.  Which says a lot of things that he didn't have foreknowledge and scraped out a win.  In the end, we both came away feeling that it was anyone's game until near the end and that what swung it was simply the dice and card draws.  In other words, it was a balanced matchup where things are more or less decided by who makes the first mistake (me) and whose luck is better (his).

I welcome anyone to give a shooty Persia build a try to see if the Thanva + Spara combo is broken.  At the moment, I'm leaning towards "No, if the Sparabara are Standard."


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Re: Playtest Report: Persia vs Dwarves
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 09:03:36 AM »
Great report! I haven't had an opportunity to study the AvP stuff in any detail, but I enjoyed seeing the scenario played out. It was very interesting and enlightening to see a dwarf army march through the hail of a S&S and actually still be able to hit hard enough to win. And 2 Antonians, brilliant!
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