Author Topic: Umenzi + Greeks vs High Elves: Ticking Clock  (Read 1052 times)

Hannibal

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Umenzi + Greeks vs High Elves: Ticking Clock
« on: August 26, 2013, 03:58:21 PM »
Second game from last week was Umenzi taking some Greek allies, seeing as they have a lot of things the Umenzi can use.  We played Ticking Clock on the map where the entire board edge is the deployment zone.

High Elves:  2 Chariots, 1 Elder Blade Battle Squad, 1 HE Spearmen, 1 Rangers, 1 Knights, 1 Scorpions.

Scott took the Scorpions because he felt he needed something to put wounds on the Giant War Elephant if I took one.  I think that he did so because of the last couple of games where I gave him a pretty good drubbing with shooting, and he figured that even if I didn't have the GWE he'd get his points worth.


Umenzi:  2 Spearmen, 2 Warriors, 2 Shamans, 2 Possessed, 1 Chosen, 1 Spartiates, 1 Bithnyian Peltas, 1 Boeotian Cavalry.

Greek units for reference:

Spartiates  - Elite - 339 pts
O:(7*)6*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 14  Mv: 3.5"  6G/3Y/2R
Phalanx: Ignores Rule #1. O:(-1) -0/-0 when charging. O:(+0) +1/+0 vs. cavalry or large units. O:(+0) +0/+2 when holding vs. charging cavalry or large.

Trained from birth in the brutal agoge, the Spartan warrior was feared across the ancient world and renowned throughout history.

Bithnyian Peltasts – Standard - 77 pts
O:(3)5/4  D:1*/0  Rge:5”  Cge: 11  Mv: 5"  3G/1Y/2R
Skirmisher, Javelins, Impulsive.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +2/+0 vs ranged attacks.

A tribe of Thracians that settled in Asia Minor, Bithnyians were brutal and savage even by Thracians standards.


Boeotian Cavalry – Standard - 198 pts
O:(4)5/5  D:2*/2  Rge: 3.5”  Cge: 12  Mv: 6"  3G/2Y/1R
Cavalry, Javelins.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +1/+0 when charging.

The plains of Boeotian produced horsemen rivaled only by the famed Thessalians.


I have bolded changes that we have made to the Third draft, but haven't yet updated (that 4th draft will be coming Thursday or Friday, I want to explore something with the Helots first).

I was planning on taking Thracian Warriors, but seeing that I'd be playing High Elves (who'd be able to sprint up that hill), I figured that Skill 5 guys were a bad choice.  However, playing Umenzi, I figured that the Spartiates would be a good choice for whatever cavalry unit I knew I'd be facing (sure enough, he had Knights).  The skirmishers went down last, with the intent to delay the bad fight.


Deployment


As it turned out, that bad fight was at the top of the hill.   ;D

By the time I got the feel for Scott's army, I knew I was in trouble.  He could use his speed to get local dominance pretty much anywhere he wanted, and then sweep into me from the flank.

But I saw a way out of this mess.  On the left, I gave orders so that my Warriors went backwards while the Possessed moved sideways to step in front of the chariots.  They'd eat the charge and then let the Warriors step forward.  This would create an internal flank that Boeotians could exploit.  (On the far left, the Spearmen went on Hold; they'd just have to eat that charge and hope that Spears + Hold would at least kill the Chariots).

In the center, I'd delay with the skirmishers.  On the right, my Spartiates & Warriors would swap places (so the Spartiates were on the Knights), while sliding sideways to make space for my Chosen.  The plan was for the Chosen and Spartiates to win faster than my Warriors lost, and seeing that his units tended to be short on boxes, I felt I could pull it off.

Scott's plan was to sweep me from the right while fanning out on the left, maintaining Scorpion fire the whole time.


Umenzi Two-Step


And here's our respective plans in action.  The dice with the "1" are blessings while the dice with the "6" are hexes.  His Scorpions were hexed just about every turn.  So far, my redeploy is going according to plan.


Tunnel Vision


On his turn, the HE Chariots moved up, ready to charge next turn.  That's when I noticed that my Bithnyians were within 5" and, because they'd be going downhill, could charge the Chariot's in the flank (in fact, because they were Impulsive, the Bithnyians had to charge).  I thought this a neat little trick:  I could maybe peel off a die from the Chariots, making them weaken when they charged.

And I did no damage.   ::)  Worse, he put them into the Yellow and they passed (you'll see why this is such a bad thing later).

Meanwhile, the Scorpions zeroed in on the Spartates and started putting damage on them.  I devoted one Shaman to healing them every turn, but it would be a losing battle.


Bad Decisions Bearing Ill Fruit


Here's why charging with those Bithnyians was such a terrible idea on my part:

1)  Since skirmishers get, but don't give, pinch bonuses, they really weren't gaining much.  The Possessed charged the Chariots, and were cut down.  Because the Chariots attacked the Possessed (and then the Warriors behind them), the Bithyians would never be killed.  This is bad because...

2)  The Bithnyians were blocking the Boeotians!  That internal flank?  Yeah the one where my cavalry could hit either the Chariots or the HE Spearmen on the top of the hill?  Yeah, that's not going to happen.

3)  While they were tied up against the Chariots, the Bithnyians weren't sucking up charges from those HE Spearmen.  Meaning, the 300 pt Spearmen were free to charge the 150 pt Umenzi Spearmen at least 1 turn earlier.

So, to recap, I'd taken my flank move and set it on fire while at the same time exposed the flank of my Chosen by allowing a bad matchup happen earlier.  It's an impressive frak-up when you have one action bring about two seperate bad things.

Making matters worse, I should have pulled back the Warriors and the Chosen, so that if the Spearmen charged, they'd expose their flank.  I foolishly opted to draw cards because I didn't realize how badly I'd hosed myself until after the M&C phase.

To top it all off, my dice hated me.  The "no wounds" with the skirmishers early on?  That was but a taste.  I literally rolled 13 dice and didn't get a single hit.  Not "didn't get a single wound."  No, didn't get a single hit.


Setting a Trap


On his turn, the Spearmen charged the Warriors and put them into the Red.  My Chosen had moved up to hit the Battle Squad, but was just out of reach.  I went for the suicide play, sending the Warriors up to protect their flank.  Scott obliged by pinching the Warriors with the Rangers and Knights.  Predictably, the Warriors were blasted.

But Spartiates flanking HE Knights?   :o  It doesn't get better than that.  By now the Scorpion shooting had done 4 pts to the Spartiates and so I needed the advantage.

On the left, I put the pinched Chariots into the Red.  If they failed their check, I'd pinch the other unit that was beating up on my Spearmen.  Nope.  They passed.


Complete and Utter Disaster


On the right, I charged the Spartiates, doing enough to force a rout check.  Not only do the Knights pass, they do 2 pts for a yellow check, which the Courage 14 Spartans fail!

Further inward, I move the Shamans up in a true suicide play to buy time for the Chosen to break the Battle Squad.  The Battle Squad goes into the yellow but passes their check.

On the hill, the Boeotians move up to backup the Warriors, who are predictably cut down.

On the left, one unit of chariots is destroyed, but it is too little too late.  The other unit does 1 pt to the Umenzi Warriors, who fail their rout check.  The Shamans step forward to buy time.


Endgame


On the right the Knights and Rangers pinch the Shamans, blowing them up.  I can make this somewhat respectable if the Chosen can destroy the Battle Squad and flank the HE Spearmen.

Nope.  Played my best card and didn't get a single hit.

The HE Spearmen?  Yeah, they did 3 pts to the Boeotians, who failed their Cge 12 Yellow check.  Meaning my Chosen weren't going to get flanked, they were gonna get pinched & flanked.  At which point, I threw in the towel.


Post-Game Analysis:

I got beat, plain and simple.  Scott outplayed me, and congrats to him.  I think High Elves is always a tough matchup for Umenzi, but he put together a good build and he stuck to his plan.  Even with not-crappy dice like I had, I abandoned my plan such that I basically took 280 pts and set them on fire.  When you do that, you should lose.

In truth, I love Scott's army build.  The combination of hard hitting units that can move to get the matchup they want, with a couple units to hold the line and a fairly good shooty unit makes this actually a pretty decent all-around army list.  I think Scott's probably eclipsed me as the better High Elf player.  He used to favor solid infantry lines, taking advantage of whatever breakouts he could get.  Now, he's creating those breakouts, putting his best talent (his ability to avoid tunnel vision and the zero-risk bias) to use.


Greek Analysis:
Our rationale is that when it comes to allies, the following units are going to have the most appeal: 

Athenians:  affordable tank unit with D:2/2 and 6 Green boxes.

Spartiates:  a Skill 6 spear unit for a lot of factions that don't have affordable Skill 6.

Rhodian Slingers:  Pow 6 ranged unit that can skirmish.

Illyrian Spearmen:  affordable spear unit that also has javelins.

Thracian Warriors:  MC 5" unit with Pow 6.

Bithnyian Peltasts:  now everybody can have a halfway decent skirmisher.

Boeotian Cavalry:  an affordable, yet fairly hard hitting cavalry unit.

Thracian Cavalry:  123 pts for a 7" bubble of 'I provide the pinch bonus'

Between the Peltasts, the 2 Cavalry units, and the Thracians, the Umenzi are one of the factions that will really like the Greek allies (the other being Dwarves).  They have some very respectable fast units and some hard hitting, yet affordable, Off Skill 6 units (two things that Dwarves & Umenzi need).  So I have a feeling we'll be testing these two armies again, as they gain the most.

But in the end, what keeps units like the Spartiates from dominating is that 1 in 3 CCs can't be played on them.  Often those are the best cards, and they are always the Cge & MC boosting cards. 

What is very useful is these support units, like Thracians & the cavalry, which you don't count on to win the game outright, but that provide a powerful element to your game (namely the ability to pinch quickly, which can collapse his line).

But again, you can't play your Courage cards on them, making them somewhat shaky if it comes to protecting a flank or if you have to go into a heads up fight and hopefully hold out for two turns of fighting while that pinching unit gets into position.

I'm feeling very confident that with a minor tweaks and couple more games, that this faction is getting very close to being ready to go.

Torrg

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Re: Umenzi + Greeks vs High Elves: Ticking Clock
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 12:30:14 PM »
You must have seen Scott M. recently. As you sure were rolling dice like him  ;D

Oh and a cool report to read, nice to hear the faction may be close to art time!!!
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein

Hannibal

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Re: Umenzi + Greeks vs High Elves: Ticking Clock
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 12:38:28 PM »
Quote
You must have seen Scott M. recently. As you sure were rolling dice like him

 :D   

Actually, I prefer it this way.  If I'm going to have bad dice hit me, I'd rather it happened when I messed up and lost the game anyway.  That's better than having the winning plan and good execution only to have it all skunked by bad dice.


Quote
Oh and a cool report to read, nice to hear the faction may be close to art time!!!

I imagine we'll do another Umenzi and another Dwarf game, because those factions seem to benefit most.  We'll almost certainly also brainstorm other combos to try out.  But some, I don't imagine will see the light of day (not seeing what Greeks bring to DEs or HEs, for example).