Author Topic: Dark Elves pay Greek Mercenaries to take down Orcs – 3000 points per side  (Read 1053 times)

RushAss

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It was finally time to take the Greek Mercenaries out for a spin so we incorporated them into one of our big games two Fridays ago.  I wanted to ease into the faction so I asked that I be part of the team since we had 3 people and I figured it would take too long if I had 3000-4000 points worth of a faction that none of us had played before.  So Chris took a 3000 point Orc army while Brook and I got 1500 points each.  Knowing that Phalanxes have negative reactions to terrain, we plopped down a small hill and a small forest so we’d have enough terrain to work around but not enough to totally hose the Greeks.  In a shocking move Brook decided on Dark Elves.  I was impressed! 

See below for details on the Greek units used in this game.

Set Up



Orcs played Chris
From top to bottom:
Marauders in front of Goblin Wolf Riders
Crazed Goblins
Goblin Raiders
Marauders in front of Goblin Bowmen
Trolls in front of Goblin Bomb Chukker
Marauders in front of Goblin Bowmen
Goblin Raiders in front of Crazed Goblins
Orc Swordsmen

Dark Elves played by Brook, Greek Mercenaries played by your humble narrator
From top to bottom:
Illyrian Spearmen in front of Boeotian Cavalry
Tracian Warriors
Helots in front of more Helots
Spartiates (to keep those Helots in line)
Athenian Hoplities
Dark Elf Halfblood Levy in front of Coven
Halfblood Levy
Highblood Duskblades in front of Lowblood Levy (also backing up Halfblood Levy)
Athenian Hoplities in front of Drake Riders
Brook took a look at my deployment and quipped “You know something Marcus?  Even when you’re not playing Dwarves, you’re playing Dwarves!”.  He had to spot me a few points to make my build.  I think I was about 5 or so points over.


A closer view of the Greeks minus the Athenians on the Dark Elven flank

Here’s the details on the Greek units I used for reference:

Athenian Hoplites - Core - 202 pts
O:(7*)4*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/2R
Phalanx, Ponderous.
(-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.

Helots – Core- 81 pts
O:(5)4/4  D:1/1  Rge:-  Cge: 9*  Mv: 3.5"  3G/3Y/3R
+4 Cge if a center point is within 5" of a center point of a Spartiate unit.

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.

Spartiates  - Elite - 333 pts
O:(7*)6*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 14  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/3R
Phalanx.
(-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.

Thracian Warriors – Standard - 205 pts
O:(5)5/6  D:1*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 5"  4G/2Y/2R
Impulsive (At the start of any turn Thracian Warriors are within 7" of an enemy unit's center point, its orders change to Close).  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.  No Lock Shields box.

Illyrian Spearmen– Standard - 207 pts
O:(4*)5*/5*  D:2/1  Rge: 3.5"  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  4G/2Y/3R
Javelins.  O:(+2)+0/+0 when engaged.  (-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.  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.

Greek army abilities:

Lock Shields:  You may spend a Command Action to mark the Lock Shields boxes on one of your units.   During an attack, after your opponent rolls to hit, you may erase one box to change the result of one die to a 6. You may not use this ability if a unit is engaged on the flank or rear.

Deep Ranks: After deployment, you may cross off 1 Green box on one of your Phalanx units and mark 1 Lock Shields box on another of your Phalanx units.  You may damage a unit once with Deep Ranks, but you may damage multiple units to mark both Lock Shields boxes on a unit.  Denote which Lock Shields box was marked because of Deep Ranks.  During an attack, after your opponent rolls to wound, you may erase one box marked because of Deep Ranks to change the result of one die to a 6.  This counts as playing a Command Card.

Phalanx Rules:
1)  O:(-1) -0/-0 if in MC penalizing terrain.
2)  O:(-2) -0/-0 penalty if attacking to flank/rear (cumulative with other penalties).
3) Get 1 impact hit if charging and not in MC-penalizing terrain
4)  O:(-1)-0/-0 when charging.
5)  O:(+0)+1/+0 vs. cavalry or large units.
6)  O:(+0)+0/+2 when holding vs charging cavalry or large.

Ponderous:  If this unit has a Standing Order at the start of Movement & Command Phase that would cause it to move, it takes an additional Command Action to Direct Control or change the unit's Standing Order.

Standing Orders

Chris had his guys on a generic close for the most part, keeping his line pretty much intact.  The Chukker was targeting the Drake Riders but would be firing Halfblood Levy in front of the Coven before the Drakes came into range.  Chris’ archery must have been bad because I don’t even remember who his Goblin Bowmen where targeting.

The Dark Elven line units where set to a standard close with the Coven targeting the Goblin Raiders that where next to the Orc Swordsmen.  The Drake Riders where set to close on the Swordsmen.

I had the Illyrian Spearmen close to a hold objective represented by the green bead next to the black pen at the top of the photo and I had the Thracians set to close on an objective represented by the green bead next to it.  The idea was that the Boeotian Cavalry could squirt through the gap and start rolling the line inwards.  Sadly, I mis-calculated this by about half an inch and the Boeotian’s got stuck for a while.  The rest of my guys where on a standard close.  Note that I have marked off a green damage box on the Athenians on the Dark Elven flank to use Deep Ranks on the Athenians in the center of our line.  I was thinking they would need it with Marauders being the most likely opponents!   

Early Turns



From top to bottom:

The Illyrians received a Lock Shields box and swung out to their objective as did the Thracians.  I realized I had a problem when the gap between the Thracians and Helots proved to be too small for the Boeotians to squirt through unless they had a final rush on somebody.  The Bomb Chukker did moderate damage on it’s first few attacks while the Coven blasted the unfortunate Goblin Raiders that have the blue die on them (representing an Evil Eye).  Shortly after this picture was taken Brook changed the standing order on the Levy about to get plowed by the Trolls to hold.  Not a bad idea at all!  The Drake Riders flew towards their destination and I marked a Lock Shields box on the Athenians that where approaching the hill.

Note that the Lock Shields box I have marked on the Athenians in the center was the result of Deep Ranks with the damage ((marked in green) being put on the Athenians on the end of our line in front of the hill.

Engagement


Note that the Halfblood Levy at the bottom of the picture is a vanquished unit.

Apparently I was lazy with the photography because an awful lot has occurred since the last photo, but in my brain was still probably thawing out because it was 10 degrees outside!  So from top to bottom:

The Goblin Wolf Riders took a point of damage from Illyrian Javelins on the way in and then impaled themselves wonderfully on the Spears.  This put them into the red and they promptly failed their courage check and perished.  They did leave a mark though, putting the Illyrians into the red with a righteous charge.  Fortunately for me the Illyrians passed their courage check.  The Thracians vs. Marauders fight started off slowly when both units had a poor charge turn.  Both units started inflicting real damage after that with the heroically brave Thracians getting the worst of it until the Illyrians where able to come over and help out with a pinch on the Marauders.  After that we had the match up of the century with Helots taking on Crazed Goblins.  Both units are awful offensively, but who needs offensive stats when you have defensive profiles like these guys have?  The Spartiates made short work of Goblin Raiders, with the Raiders managing to put the Spartiates into the yellow.  The Marauders in the center where held up by the Athenians for a bit, but the Athenians did precious little damage to them (give them a break, they needed 2s and 2s!).  The Trolls slammed into a Halfblood Levy and took their lumps to the tune of 4 damage on the charge.  The Levy likewise took a pounding.  Orc Marauders made short work of the other Levy and here is the one point of the game where Brook screwed up because he had previously played a Roll With the Blow card and discarded and Arrogant Spite to affect a second die when he had other cards available to discard.  WHY YOU DUMP ARROGANT SPITE BRO?!?!?  Anyways, if he had held on to the Arrogant Spite the Levy would have passed its courage check (he rolled a 12) and hung in there for another turn.  The Highblood Duskblades made mincemeat out of Goblin Raiders (with some Coven help) and the Crazed Goblins where about to step in and take their medicine.  My Athenians on the hill where tanking nicely against the Orc Swordsmen as the Drake Riders landed and moved into position to pinch the Swordsmen.  The Bomb Chukker actually managed to inflict a couple of wounds on the Drake Riders before experiencing a breakdown at one point.   

So let’s go back to the top of the photo because I have nothing better to show you:

The Illyrians pinched the Marauders and the Marauders went down, taking the Thracians along with them.  There was just a centimeter too short of a space to alow the Boeotians to engage either the Crazed Goblins or Marauders, so they just sat there.  This was poor generalship on my part as I should have had them start moving towards the center of the map sooner than I did.  The Helots and Crazed Goblins where killing each other splendidly so I started inching the backup Helot unit towards the center of the map.  After all, they where seeking the reassuring presence of the Spartiates!  Said Spartiates pinched the Marauders in the center but the Athenians engaging the Marauders went down that turn, so the pinch bonus would be short lived.  The Trolls and Goblin Bowmen had created a hole in the center of the map where one of the  Halfblood Levies used to be and the other Halfblood Levy got waxed by Marauders, so the Lowblood Levy stepped up to back them up and found themselves in a pinch involving Marauders and Trolls.  These guys where most unfortunate!  The Crazed Goblins stepped in for the Goblin Rainders while the Orc Swordsmen on the flank finally got pinched on the flank by the Drake Riders.  They survived the pre-combat courage check and go into the red.  I don’t recall what unit the Coven was targeting after the Goblin Raiders went down, so maybe Brook can remember?

Endgame

After another turn all Orc/Goblin units where gone from my side of the map and a wave of Greeks was about to descend on the surviving Orc line units and ranged units.  I don’t have a wide-angle image of this, but imagine the previous image minus the Thracians the Crazed Goblins in the forest, the Orc Marauders at the top, the Orc Marauders in the middle of the map, the Lowblood Levy, and the Orc Swordsmen.  Chris still had Marauders, Trolls, Crazed Goblins, and all of his ranged units (the Chukker had misfired once).  However, we still had both of our cavalry units and it would be a matter of time before the remaining enemy units where swarmed.  Chris tossed in the towel at this point.



This is a humorous instance where we have Highblood Duskblades fleeing from Crazed Goblins!  I’m thinking that some Goblin archery contributed to this, but it’s still pretty freaking hilarious.  Note that Chris’ red marker didn’t show up too well in the photos.

Wrap Up

So here we have our first game with the Greeks in the bag.  The Orcish courage was unusually good this game with no pre-combat courage failures and few failed routes checks.  IIRC the Greeks only failed a single courage check and 2 Dark Elves failed theirs (both documented above).  It seems that over all the Orc charge turns yielded poor results and that may have been the difference in the game.  I totally blew my Boeotian Cavalry usage and their king is still sending me hate mail for it.  Do savor this report because it is probably the last time you'll see Brook touch the Dark Elves for at least a year! 

Thoughts on Greek Mercs

I used Lock Shields on a few occasions with all usage being on both my Athenian units and it was certainly helpful.  It didn’t feel over powered in the instances I used it.  It certainly goes towards making a tanky unit even more durable.

Sadly, I only drew one faction specific command card all game so I really can’t report on the command deck.  The card in question was Bend Don’t Break and it certainly saved the Athenians in the middle some grief from Marauders.   

One thing we observed is that the Greek units either have high damage output for the points (Boeotian Cavalry, Illyrian Spearmen, maybe the Thracians) or high durability for the points (Phalanxes).  This didn’t seem to be skewed too far in either direction, but we do have a concern for the Phalanx units with their 6 green hit boxes.  When you have a sub-300 point unit that has more than half of their hit boxes green ones, you have one heck of a tank.  And that applies to half of the units in the faction!  The drawback of course is that there are no courage bailouts in the command deck.  However, courage doesn’t mean quite as much when you have a 200 point unit with 6 green hit boxes!  I know the cat is already out of the bag with this type of unit being featured in the upcoming Alexander vs. Persia release and I’m not saying this is too powerful, it’s just a concern and could bear some watching.  I certainly can't pass a final judgement based on a single game.

Over all the faction has the exact opposite feel of the current historical units.  The current historicals (Rome, Carthage) are front loaded from the offensive aspect with their impressive final rush turns.  Specifically, the Pila line units and Carthaginian Elephants can cause a world of hurt on the charge turn for the price you pay for them.  The Greek Mercs don’t pack anywhere near that sort of punch for the points, but they sure can absorb the damage.  This faction is clearly on the tanky end of the spectrum.  Since I tend to like that style of game, I found them to be quite enjoyable.  I’m sure we’ll have further testing at some point in the future.

Over and out!
"Art as expression, not as market campaigns
Will still capture our imaginations"
-Rush, Natural Science

Hannibal

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Thanks for the playtest!


On the deployment, it's good to see the Greeks do exactly what they were designed to do:  the Athenians are a tanky unit to hold down a flank (if you'd given them Hold with an objective, you can deal with the issue of them being hard to DC as well), with Helots as a chumpstack unit.  The Illyrians, Boeotians, and Thracians all on one flank fits right:  they do a fair bit of damage, but really don't stick around and so kind of need to swarm the enemy.


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Brook took a look at my deployment and quipped “You know something Marcus?  Even when you’re not playing Dwarves, you’re playing Dwarves!”.

Yup, Greeks are pretty much one the grindiest factions out there.  Although they'll lose to Dwarves because they lack the Courage boosts.


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I used Lock Shields on a few occasions with all usage being on both my Athenian units and it was certainly helpful.  It didn’t feel over powered in the instances I used it.

That's heartening to hear.


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One thing we observed is that the Greek units either have high damage output for the points (Boeotian Cavalry, Illyrian Spearmen, maybe the Thracians) or high durability for the points (Phalanxes).  This didn’t seem to be skewed too far in either direction, but we do have a concern for the Phalanx units with their 6 green hit boxes.  When you have a sub-300 point unit that has more than half of their hit boxes green ones, you have one heck of a tank.  And that applies to half of the units in the faction!  The drawback of course is that there are no courage bailouts in the command deck.  However, courage doesn’t mean quite as much when you have a 200 point unit with 6 green hit boxes!

Yeah, like you said, with Alexander & Persia the 6 Green box Phalanx ship has sailed. 

One of the things I've mentioned to Scott several times is that the Greeks are going to appear really scary at first, because they have a ton of attack dice and a ton of Green boxes.  But we've played them a ton and we think they're bordering on a weak faction, because they lack any Courage cards, most of their units are D:2/2, and/or Cge 12.

Once you try to exploit those weaknesses, they are much less scary.  I've found the best way to do it is get a single stat in your favor:  either go aggressive and hit them with two or three units with a Skill or Pow 6, or go with the out-grind and have a line of units with Def Skill or Toughness 3 (and a few Courage cards).


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Over all the faction has the exact opposite feel of the current historical units.  The current historicals (Rome, Carthage) are front loaded from the offensive aspect with their impressive final rush turns.  Specifically, the Pila line units and Carthaginian Elephants can cause a world of hurt on the charge turn for the price you pay for them.  The Greek Mercs don’t pack anywhere near that sort of punch for the points, but they sure can absorb the damage.  This faction is clearly on the tanky end of the spectrum.

Yup, all by design.


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Since I tend to like that style of game, I found them to be quite enjoyable.

Glad to hear it!  I look forward to your next report.  Thanks!



RushAss

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1 more thing I forgot to point out (and I'm playing Captain Obvious here) is that the Helots are basically Peasant Mobs with the Bravery build it.  Provided you've got some Spartiates hangning around  8)
"Art as expression, not as market campaigns
Will still capture our imaginations"
-Rush, Natural Science

Hannibal

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1 more thing I forgot to point out (and I'm playing Captain Obvious here) is that the Helots are basically Peasant Mobs with the Bravery build it.  Provided you've got some Spartiates hangning around  8)

Yeah I know.  I was exploring ways to tweak them to make them different, but nothing fit.  And once I realized I was changing them for the sake of making them different, I opted to just let them be.  There's lots of units that are very similar in the game.