Author Topic: Umenzi + Greeks vs Orcs: Chosen Ground  (Read 769 times)


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Umenzi + Greeks vs Orcs: Chosen Ground
« on: September 03, 2013, 12:56:37 PM »
For our second game last week we dusted off the Umenzi to try and break them.  The mission was Chosen Ground and we got another Special Situation:  Assassin's War.  I decided to take Orcs, and ended up the defender so I got an extra 100 pts.  Scott played Umenzi, taking some Greek allies.

Orcs:  1 Goblin Raiders, 2 Orc Spearmen, 1 Goblin Bowmen, 1 Orc Axemen, 1 Orc Crossbowmen, 1 Goblin Bomb Chucka.

Umenzi:  5 Atlatlmen, 5 Possessed, 2 Shamans, 1 Giant War Elephant, 1 Boeotian Cavalry, 1 Rhodian Slingers

Greek units for reference:

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.

Rhodian Slingers – Elite - 76 pts
O:(3)5*/6*  D:1*/0  Rge: 7”  Cge: 11  Mv: 5"  2G/2Y/2R
Skirmisher.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +2/+0 vs ranged attacks.  O:(-0)-2/-3 if engaged.

Rhodian Slingers distinguished themselves during the march of the Ten Thousand, when their lead sling bullets outdistanced those of the persan and were able to dent bronze breastplates.

(Bolded changes reflect what will be made in the 4th draft)

To understand our respective builds, you really have to see the terrain:


Orcs (L->R): 
Front row:  Goblin Raiders, Orc Spearmen, [space], [space], Orc Spearmen, Orc Crossbowmen
Second row:                                                                Bomb Chucka,  Goblin Bowmen
Third row:                      Orc Axemen                              Trolls

Umenzi (L->R):
1st row:  Possessed, Possessed, Possessed, Possessed, Possessed, GWE (first card), Rhodian Slingers
2nd row:  Atlatlmen,  Atlatlmen,  Atlatlmen,  Atlatlmen,  Atlatlmen,  GWE (2nd card)
3rd row:                  Shamans                   Shamans                   Boeotian Cavalry
Scott narrowed the board to deny me the ability to work the left flank with Wolf Riders.  He did this so that there'd be only one flank, where he could put his Giant War Elephant.  He then put the swamp right in front (which is GWE could ignore) but would prevent me from flanking his GWE with infantry. 

It was a good plan. . .except I took one look at the board and said "I have two places to anchor my line."  And I promptly built a stand and shoot.  You may recognize this build from another session report, with the only difference is that with the extra 100 pts I got, I upgraded the Goblin Spearmen to Orc Spearmen.

My deployment was a little wonky because I couldn't figure out where the GWE was going to do, so I had to hedge my bets with the Axemen on one flank the and the Trolls on the other.

As for orders, Scott went on Close across the board, except for the Boeotian Cavalry who got an objective (yellow die on his flank).  I had my Orc Spearmen & Goblins on Hold with an objective to slide over while the Orc Axemen had an objective to slide over to the right flank.

Umenzi Advance

This is a couple of turns later.  All the large dice (displayed 6s) on my units are hexes.

If you read the report from earlier that night, you'll know that I was having some wretched luck.  Well, that continued into this game.  My Bomb Chucka rolls were terrible all night, rolling above a 6 exactly twice, one of which was a double (more on that later).  In fact, I started the game by rolling doubles on the second shot.

Meanwhile, when it came to Assassin's war, I routinely rolled 1-2 units hit while Scott got 2-3 units.  Clearly it wasn't my night.  My assassins targeted the GWE while his attacked the Bomb Chucka.  Which, combined with the doubles, is why my Bomb Chucka is in the yellow on turn 2.  However, I got a bit of lucky roll and managed to put the GWE all the way into the Yellow before it reached combat. 

Ironically, even that worked poorly for me.  See, I got "lucky" and wounded with all my hits the turn before the GWE charged.  I would much rather have left 1 Green box, because I wanted to force a rout check when he charged, not the turn before.  Now the GWE was a full 4 boxes from its next check. 

I swear, I couldn't buy a break if a hired somebody to kneecap me in the parking lot.   ::)

Meanwhile, my Crossbowmen & Goblin Archers targeted the Possessed that would get stuck in the swamp.  This was a tactical mistake on my part, because that unit was going to be out of the game.  I should have gone after the Possessed next to them, that would attack the Spearmen.  Of course, seeing as my Bowmen went 3 turns without causing a single wound, I don't know how much it would help.

Umenzi Charge

All along the line the Umenzi charge, and start getting ranged attacks from those Atlatlmen.

On the left, the Iron Goblins pass their rout check and do enough damage to the Possessed who blow a Cge 15 check!  Next to them, the Orc Spearmen take a Two's Company and begin the long slow process of killing Umenzi, as do the Spearmen to their right.

By the swamp, the GWe charges the Crossbowmen (who I have changed to Close to get extra dice).  I pass the terrifying check and even manage to put the GWE all the way into the Red.  The GWE passes and stomps the Crossbowmen all the way into the red as well (aided by several turns of Assassins War softening these guys up).

To the right of the GWE, the Boeotian Cavalry and Rhodian Slingers move up to protect the flank the Giant War Elephant.  The Rhodians will eat a crucial charge from the Trolls.

Fear the Iron Goblins!

On the left, the Iron Goblins charge the Atlatlmen and cause them to rout, while passing their own red check!

On the right, the Orc Crossbowmen are killed while the Orc Axemen move up.  The Trolls have charged the Rhodians, who are destroyed when they rout.  This leaves Boeotian Cavalry and a very wounded GWE to face Axemen and fresh Trolls.

I'd feel a lot better if the Goblin Bomb Chucka was there.  What happened to it, you ask?  Oh, well, allow me to show you its final roll of the game:

That's right, in 5 turns I managed to roll doubles twice.   :P

Cowardly Axemen

At this point, Scott knows his best chance is to get lucky, so he sends the Boeotians into the Axemen.  He drops cards (he has the card advantage because I had to Lash the Axemen for like 3-4 turns to get them into position), and forces a Yellow check.

Have I mentioned I was having wretched dice that night?  Because if I haven't let me just spell it out for you:  Axemen with 7 attack dice, needing 3s and 4s, don't get a single hit and then proceed to blow a Cge 13 Yellow check.  And of course they are cut down by the Free Swings.

Adding insult to injury, the Orc Spearmen facing the single unit of Atlatlmen are put into the Yellow.  Well, if I can't pass a yellow Cge 13 check, why should I pass a Cge 12 yellow check?  I mean, there must be symmetry in the universe, after all. 

The Goblin Bowmen next to them?  The ones that take a very pissed-of War Elephant to the face?  Oh they pass their rout check...


The Trolls flank Boeotians, destroying them, but not before the surly Greeks inflict 2 points out of spite.  The GWE finishes off the Goblin Bowmen while I rally the cowardly Orc Spearmen.

Further left, the Orc Spearmen fighting two units puts the Possessed into the Red and Scott blows another Cge 15 check.

The high point is the Iron Goblins, who charge the Atlatlmen, routing and destroying them.

Fall of the War Elephant

The GWE charges the Trolls and, needing a big charge turn, I play Frenzy to auto-pass the Terror check (at this point, I'm not trusting to pass with Cge 13).  I allows me to do 3 pts on the GWE, killing it.  The Trolls end up taking 3 pts in return, but it's an easy trade for me.

The fight in the center has been very back and forth.  The Orc Spearmen that were on the right are cut down by Atlatlmen (the shame!) but on the left, the Umenzi have an outbreak of the 6s.  First, the Possessed unit blows a Cge 15 Yellow check.  Then the Atlatlmen who step forward are put into the yellow and they fail their check!  My Orcs may finally see daylight...before getting flanked by the Atlatlmen to their right.

Cowardly Trolls

This shot is a couple of turns later as we have fully entered the annoying degenerate end-game stage of Total Warfare type games.  To summarize:

The Orc Spearmen got pinched and failed their rout check.  However, with Mettles and Hardeneds in my hand, they didn't take enough damage to cause another check.  They then rallied and fought off the Atlatlmen (who probably should have sat back and shot me to death)

The Iron Goblins got hit by the Shamans and took a point.  They decided they'd gathered enough loot for the day and bailed.  The Shamans couldn't do a wound but the Iron Goblin's tales of heroism were brought to an end by Umenzi Assassins. 

On the right, the Trolls charged Shamans and did 2 points with 7 dice (i.e. half what they should  >:().  The Trolls then got pinched.  They attacked to their flank, putting the Atlatlmen into the Yellow.  The Atlatlmen failed their Yellow check and all I needed was to pass mine.  If I did it would be my turn with a new set of Command cards to draw and--

Okay I'm gonna stop there.  Because you know I didn't make it.   :-\

And here's where Assassin's War really starts to hurt me:  Scott starts targetting my Trolls.  Now, you'd think that was a waste because I'd just regenerate that damage every turn, but it wasn't.  Because in effect he was nullifying my Regeneration, which gets much nastier in degenerate endgames like this.


Another couple of turns later.  I have charged the Spearmen into the Atlatlmen, killing them.  I also rallied the Trolls, and charged them back in.  They of course got pinched by the final Atlatlmen (who themselves were rallied).

By this point, we stop and start doing math.  Nobody has 320 pts left on the table.  This game is a draw no matter what we do from this point.  So we called it here.

Post-Game Thoughts: tactical mistake here was rolling dice.  As in the last game I played, there were certainly things I could have done better, but when the Axemen whiff with 7 dice and then blow up with a rout check....  Or if the Bomb Chuck is going to roll doubles twice in five turns....  Or if the Goblin Bowmen just decide to take a knee for three turns...   Look, if you're going to roll like that, tactics don't matter.   ;)

Really, we both figured I had Scott from the get-go.  I had Spearmen, Crossbowmen (who go to Pow 6), Axemen, and Trolls.  There simply wasn't a soft spot for his GWE to go after.  The one weak point (the Goblins) were too far away for him to use his MC 5" to get the matchup he wanted, and I was fully prepared to Lash so that he wouldn't get lined up on them.  And the more time he tried to redeploy, the more time my Bomb Chucka could whittle him down.  I pretty much had his number and there wasn't much he could do about it.

The great equalizer (other than the dice) was Assassin's War.  I think in the end it hurt me more than it hurt him.  I mean, there's the obvious that I'm doing 1 pt a round and he's doing 3 (which meant not only was he hurting my Bomb Chucka, but weakening my Axemen and Crossbowmen).  But also there's the fact that it allowed him to take out my Bomb Chucka much earlier in the game.  If we hadn't played Assassin's War, the Bomb Chucka would have done probably 3-5 more turns of shooting (assuming no doubles, which in this game is like a 1-in-2.5 bet!).  Of course, again, my bomb chucka didn't roll above 6 on the 2d6 more than twice (and one was that double 5s!).

And then finally, with Assassin's War, he could keep the Trolls from regenerating.  Without it, the Trolls are worth >320 pts.  If they regenerate into the Green (an errata that I hate), I win this game, especially because he simply doesn't have an answer for them in the later stages.

Greek Mercs Thoughts:  What's interesting about the Greeks here isn't that they did anything obvious, but what they did was really impressive.  The Rhodian Slingers and Boeotian Cavalry protected the flank of the GWE.  The issue with the GWE and Umenzi is that the Umenzi don't have anything that can do that.  So putting the GWE out on a flank like that is a good way to get it flanked.  And if you put it on the line, you have to omve-cap it, wasting its MC 5".  Now usually, I say you use the MC 5" to redeploy into the center of your line to get a good matchup, but there wasn't one here for the Umenzi.

Instead, what the Greeks did was let the GWE go forward and have the skirmishers and cavalry keep up with them.  Now, obviously it shouldn't have worked as well as it did.  The Rhodians taking the charge from the Trolls worked right, but the Boeotians should have just crumpled to the Axemen.  In the end, my heavy hitters should have taken out the mercs and then gone on to pinch the GWE and roll up the Umenzi line.

And believe it or not, that is actually a good sign to me.  Because if we look past what happened (some wretched dice), we see that although the Greeks add some real nice value to the Umenzi, this was still a losing proposition for them.  Meaning, it doesn't feel overpowered, but at the same time
isn't so underpowered that it'll never work (as seen here, admittedly this is a pretty-far-out outlier).

Anyway, besides my wretched dice, what do people think of this?