Thursday, 18 September 2014

"The Battle at the Tower" (or Trouble at Mill) a 5,000 point 3rd Edition Battle Report (Part One).

Last weekend my old school friend (yes, we have known each other that long!) Justin and I fought a 5,000 point 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle over two days. This was the first 3rd Edition battle we have fought since about 1992, and so we were, to say the least, a little rusty.

We agreed on 5,000 points as we felt it was a good size for us to field a decent army without it taking too long to fight a battle. I chose to use my Slann army, Justin used his Wood Elf army. Both are armies which we used in the 1980's, often against each other, so some of the miniatures had probably fought each other then as now. Niether of us went for army selections which were designed to 'power game' or win by using the rules to gain an unfair advantage, but to give a good balanced army that would work well and reacquaint ourselves with 3rd Edition Warhammer.

 All of the miniatures used were painted, and all of them original 1980's Citadel/Maruader Miniatures, with the exception of my pair of 1980's Grenadier Giant Scorpions. 'Back in the day' 4,000 to 5,000 was the point value we usually settled on for our games, with 3,000 point armies being used for Warhammer battles in a crazy and noisy 1980's Games Workshop! Needless to say, both of us could have easily fielded a lot more points without much of a problem. :)

To save space on this update, my Slann army list can be seen here, although the only additon to my army list was an Animal Handler with light armour and two Giant Scopions:

Justin will be doing his own update on the battle on his excellent blog and with much better photographs than me, which can be found here:

I have never written up a battle report before, and so I am not sure how to do it. Rather than do an item by item list of things going on, which I think would be boring to read, I am going to give an overview of what took place in each turn. This is an approach similar to the '24 Hours at Carik Mound' battle report in White Dwarf #107, and the 'Best Laid Plans' in #117.

As I was the Slann player a lot of the notes and photographs I took are more from the Slann army's perspective, but any gaps I am sure will be balanced out by Justin's update. Also I did'nt really take enough relevant photographs, just random ones as the battle progressed. So I think my write up would have benefitted from maps and detailed photographs of deployment. I forgot to give names to the Slann Mages and so for ease I will refer to them by thier flesh colours.

The table was 6 foot by 5 foot and built by Justin, with a collection of both our scenery placed near enough at random all over it.

We did'nt think up an reason for the for the battle other than the Slann wishing to capture and investigate the alien looking tower in the middle of the battlefield, hence the name I have given to the battle. Perhaps it is an Old Slann tower? An entrance to a secret underground series of chamber packed with untold wealth and artifacts? Or maybe a major magical conduit to the Heavens allowing the Slann Mages to channel great magic in thier fight against Chaos in the Ethereal Realms? Who knows, but the Slann wanted it, and those pesky Dry Skin Elves were in the way.
They would have to be moved!

We diced to pick a side, I won (just the first of many very high dice rolls in this battle as we you shall see!) , I picked the right hand side of the table, and then we set up our armies, with myself taking the first turn. 
 Along the battle line.
Over 200 Slann ready for battle!
The army deployed 12 inches in from the table edge, and leaving 12 inches gap at either flank. 

I chose to place the four elite regiments, the Warrior Priests, Eagle Warriors, Jaguar Warriors, and Aligator Warriors all together in the centre of the army, backed up by the War Altar. Either side of this I placed the Bull Slann and Spawn Bands. The Venom Tribes and Jungle Braves were placed to the fore to act as a skirmish screen,  and the Scouts on the flanks to harrass. Gurggl Greenwake, the Army General, ended up on the centre right so he could join which unit seemed might need his help the most. All three Slann Mages were in the centre behind the troops but within 12 inches of the War Altar and the Talismanic standard so as to access the stored Magic Points. The other magic standard, the 'Bane Banner' was in the Warrior Priest unit, and would be used to scare things away without having to get the unit engaged in combat.
Centre and left flank of the Slann army.
Right flank.
My plan was to general advance towards the Wood Elves, engaging in melee as soon as possible and keep the pressure on his battle line. Recalling our battles of old I was concerned about being shot to pieces by a hail of arrows, including lots of 'Hail of Doom' arrows. The main bulk of my army and potiental killing power was in the centre, and so planned on pushing forward and using that as a base for the forces on the flanks to be able to sweep along and engage the lightly armoured/armoured archers in melee. 

My advance would be screened by skimishing Venom Tribes, Jungle Braves, and Scouts, although the Venom Tribes and Scouts were to break off as melee ensued to harrass Elves unengaged in combat. As I outnumbered the Wood Elves, I reasoned I had enough forces to absorb missile fire and to still fight. Being Slann my army (except for the Slann Palaquins and Giant Scorpions) can move across water without any penalty. In addition, when in the water they count as being in Hard Cover get a -2 to hit. So I planned to advance straight through the water, and then try to keep Scouts and Venom Tribes in the water whilst shooting their blowpipes because as skirmishers they also received a futher -1 to hit when being shot at. So  in total a -3 to hit, -4 to hit at long range should tax even an Elf's shooting.

 Right Flank from my view.
Yellow fleshed Scouts on the hill, Spawn Bands next to the hill, Mage, Bull Slann to thier left, with a Venom Tribe to the fore.
 Centre right.
War Altar, Jaguar Warriors, Animal Handler, Dragon, and Eagle Warriors, with blue Fleshed Jungle Braves forming a skirmish screen to the front.
 Centre left.
Mage, Warrior Priests (in black warpaint), Aligator Warriors with Green plumes, green and black skinned Jungle Braves at the fore on the hill, and Spawn Band on the far left of the photograph next to the Aligator Warriors.
 Left flank.
Scouts in the fore of the photograph, Bull Slann with pink and blue plumes, another Mage next to them. The orange Slann at the front of the army are skirmishing Venom Tribe Slann. 

My main areas of concern were the two Treemen, with the two Chariots and the large block of Elven Lord Cavalry coming a close second. I was unsure about the Wardancers, they never seemed very good to me, but I felt there must be something to them. Other than that it was an impending arrow storm which I was worried about.

 The Wood Elves:
Centre of the Army with Skarlocs (Lord's Bowmen unit), Glade Runners, Chariots, Zoats, and Elven Lord's.
 Wood Elven right flank.
 Wood Elven left flank.
Justin will have better photographs of his pansy Elves lovely painted Wood Elven host.

Day One. 

Turn 1.
My first turn was characterised by a general advance, with everything moving at thier maximum pace towards the Wood Elves (a situation that would change, but I'll get to that later on!). The Dragon flew towards the alien looking tower in the centre. Other than moving, and reserve moving, nothing happened. In the Magic Phase the Green Mage cast an Aura of protection giving himself a +4 save, whilst the Yellow Mage placed a Dust Storm in front of the centre of he army to cover the advance. 
Off they go, an Orange skinned unit of Venom Tribe blowpipers advance in the near ground, whilst Bull Slann and Spawn Bands follow, with Jungles Braves to their right.
General advance of  219 Slann a Dragon, and 2 Giant Scorpions.
Dust Storm (Level 3 Elemental Spell). 
We did'nt want to cut the one out of the rule book! 

Wood Elves:
The Wood Elves also participated in advancing, but mainly to position archers onto the hills and to bring the Cavalry and Chariots forward. With the 36 inch range of the Lornalim Longbow my Slann were already in range from the +2 Lord's Bowmen, but a flurry of archery against my Venom Tribes unit on the right flank failed to wound the toughness 4 Slann. The ordinary Elven Archers had better luck against the Dragon, removing 1 wound. Strangely we discovered that big scaly Dragons don't have a natural armour save! 

Turn 2.
The general advance of the Slann army continued, with the Dragon reaching the Old Slann tower, and the Dust Storm moving a litle foward. The Bowpipes were all out of range (range 12 inches), as were the spells of the Slann Mages. The Yellow Mage casts another dust storm to cover the advance of my left flank, placing it between the house and watermill.

Wood Elves: 
The Wood Elves conducted very little movement, only the Chariots advanced with the Elven Lord's following. In the shooting phase the Shore Rider killed a Slann Scout, first blood to the Elves! Further shooting from the Elves resulting in the Lord's Bowmen  killing 3 Jungle Braves in the Centre of the army. The Wood Elf Archers on the hill on on the Wood Elven right flank, and the Glade Runners next to them shot the other Jungle Brave unit (the Green and Black fleshed ones), killing 7, and routing them.
Skarloc used his 'Hail of Doom' magic arrow against the Eagle Warriors, but only killed 2. The toughness 4 of the Slann saving them in the 'to wound' stage!

Elven Magic was ineffective, the Zoat failed to kill anyone with his Fireball spell, and Kaia's attempt to cast cause Panic failed due to the Slann passing their Will Power test.
Still 13 dead Slann in one turn.

Turn 3.
The battle seemed to be going well so far for the Slann, with some casualties taken but not as many so far as I had feared. As the Jungle Braves on my left flank were routing the surronding units needed to take Paniic tests. The EaglesWarriors failed, rolling a 12 and routing; the Aligator Warriors next to them then had to roll, and got 11! Another rout. The Orange Mage then rolled and he too rolled 11 and joined the general panic in the centre of my army. To add insult to injury the Animal Handler also panicked and ran leaving the Giant Scorpions behind.
50 Slann in the centre of my army had now turned and ran.
Despite this the rest of the army advanced, with the Scouts and Venom Tribes on my right flank reaching the pond and river.
 My left flank started to reach the hamlet on the right, with the Scouts taking the extreme left flank. There was only a Treeman and 10 Wardancers in front of them. The Venom Tribes there took pot shots at the Wardancer, killing 3 of them. On the other flank the Scouts failed in thier shooting, thier BS 2 letting them down.
The Magic phase still had one Mage still routing, and the other two were out of range for spells. Therefore the Yellow Mage, using magic point from the Talismanic standard War Altar,used the Summon Lesser Demons spell, and 10 Gargoyles of Barda were brought from the Demonic Realm.
10 Flying Gargoyles of Barda. 

Justin was less than inpressed with their arrival as Wood Elves cannot use Demonic magic, whereas Slann have access to all types of magic, and strangely he only took one magic weapon in the entire army. In a spirit of gamesmanship I agreed not to summon anymore.We both knew where I intended to use the Demons.
Apart from the Demons, the Bane Banner failed to Cause Cowardly Flight on one of the Chariots. 
In the Rallying phase the Jungle Braves and Animal Handler still kept routing, but the Eagle Warriors rallied, as did the Aligator Warriors and the Mage.

Wood Elves: 
The Wood Elf Archer regiment on the left flank behind the Dust Storm decided to advance through it. Only Strength 2 hits from the sotrm, Justinfelt it would not affect them, but unluckily 6 of them were wounded and died! When you have toughness 3, Strength 2 is a lot more dangerous than one first thinks.
The Elven Chariots and Lord's moved foward to in line with the Archers battle line. 
The Wardancers on the left flank charged the Scouts and killing 3 out of 4 of them, pushing back the last Scout but deciding to follow up.
On the right flank the other Wardancers charged the orange Venom Tribes who, as skirmishers, fled, but did'nt rout. 
The poor Pond Dragon was shot at again, and lost another 3 wounds to missile fire from ordinary archers and Glade Runners!  Skarloc's Lord's Bowmen shot and killed 3 Jaguar Warriors. 

Magic phase wise in order to counter act the Dust Storm in the centre of the battlefield the Zoat cast Vortex of Chaos to suck up the Dust Storm. We released that Dust Storm was a very desctructive spell and could just block both sides, so agreed that Vortex of Chaos could, if cast on top, suck up the Dust Storm like a vacuum cleaner sucking up dust. We agreed, I would not cast any more Dust Storms, and Justin would not cast anymore Vortex of Chaos spells. Both of us had the spell and thought it might get messy and destroy the game.
As we found out, we were not wrong....
Another improvised template: Votrex of Chaos. 
What could possibly go wrong? 

Apart form that Kaia Stormwitch cast Ward of Arrows on Skarlocs Regiment of which she was a part, and the other Mage cast Cause Hatred on the Jaguar Warriors, but they passed their magical saving throw.

Turn 4.
The whole of the Slann army resumed it's advance, but now a little wary of the Votrex of Chaos in the middle of the board. 
The Slann army at the start of Turn 4. 

Not wanting my poor Pond Dragon to get peppered with arrows I gave up chasing the Treeman and just charged one of the Chariots and the Zoat, the Dragon passing his binding test to do so, but the combat ended in a draw. The Zoat failed his Fear test and routed!
 The Dragon Charges!!!
 On the right flank the Bull Slann crossed the river and charged the Elven Archers who had been damaged by the Dust Storm, killed one of the Elves with no loss to themselves, and then pushed the Archers back from behind their wall.
Bull Slann pushing back the Archers.

On the other side of the watermill on the right flank the Spawn Band charged the Wardancers who used the Distract ability on them. 
Ooooo look, shiney!
The distracted Slann Spawn Band and Wardancers.

On the left flank the scouts failed to shoot the Treeman right in front of them in the Hamlet. The Venom Tribes had more luck, killing 4 Wardancers. 
In the Magic phase, all three of my Mages were out of range to cast any spells! However the Bane Banner was within range of the Glade Runners, who failed thier leadership test and fled in fear. All the better because the Warrior Kindred Spearmen in the Woods also failed in their panic test, and being close to the table edge just ran off the table!
In my Rally phase, the Animal Handler fled off the table, leaving his Giant Scorpions behind, and we agreed that they would probably just wonder off, so I removed them from play. The blue colour Jungle Braves did'nt rally either, and fled back to their jungles and swamps never to be seen again.

Wood Elves:
 The other Chariot not fighting the Dragon charged through the Jungle Brave skirmishers, causing them to flee (but not rout), and onto the Aligator Warriors, smashing into them killing 4 of them and pushing them back. 
The Elven Attack Chariot attacks! 

The other Chariot fair less well, losing a Warhorse and being pushed back.
On my left flank the Treeman charged the Scouts and killed 4 of them with ease.
This did'nt end well for the Slann. 

 The Bull Slann on the right flank fighting the Archers across the wall by the mill killed one more Elf, and lost a Slann, pushing the Elves back again.
On the other side of the mill, the Wardancers continued to distract the Spawn band.
The shooting phase was moderately successful for the Elves. The Shore Riders killed the last Slann Scout on the right flank. The Archer regiment on top of the central hill killed two Jaguar Warriors, whilst Skarlocs killed 2 Venom Tribes.
This just left the magic phase. The Vortex of Chaos was randomly moved and moved straight across the melee of the Aligator Warriors and the Chariot, destroying the Chariot and killing 8 Slann including a Level 20 Hero!
Hmmm, Chaos takes its toll. 

Apart from that the Elves magic was either out of range, routing, or failed to work in the case if Kaia casting Cause Panic against the Venom Tribe who passed thier magical saving throw.
However, the Zoat and the Glade Runners did rally at the end of the turn.

Turn 5. 
In the Centre the remains of the Aligator Warriors reformed and advanced away from the Vortex and toward the Elves.
  Behind them I was left with the problem that the Vortex had stopped my advance and was threatening to kill my Mages. So, I had to make the unenviable choice of moving them back towards my table edge and away from the Vortex, and also at the same time away from the Elves and further out of range to use thier spells.
Advancing, except for the Mages.
In the centre the Venom Tribe shields the Jaguar Warriors. Further back the Eagle Warriors regain thier lost ground. 

In the rest of the movement phase Gurggl Greenwake joined the Bull Slann fighting the Archers. His intervention helped the Bull Slann kill 3 Elves, rout the unit, and kill another 2 Elves with Free Hacks, but they do not pursue. 
The other side of the mill, the Wardancers are still distracting the Spawn Band, but this was the last turn they can do this.
 In the centre of the battlefield the Pond Dragon kills another Warhorse and pushes the Chariot back once again. The unit of Venom Tribe advances to close range (6 inches) of Skaloc's regiment and kills 1 of them with a Blowpipe shot. 
On my left flank all of the regiments advance towards the Hamlet, and the Venom Tribes shoot at the Wardancers killing 1 of them, whilst in close combat the Treeman kills the last Slann Scout. The Gargoyles of Barda are heading towards the second of the Treemen. The advance was going well on this sideflank of the battlefield.
Things looking good for the Slann on the left flank.
 Closing in on the Wardancers, but there are 2 Treemen lurking about... are the Elven Lord's cavalry.
In the Magic turn, the Green Mage is too far away to cast against the Elves, so cast Strength of Combat, increasing his Toughness by 1 to 6. The Yellow Mage disapated the last remaining Dust Storm so the Bull Slann and Gurggl can advance in my next turn. The Orange Mage decided to give Lighting Bolts a try, casting three times, 1D3 for each magic level, and directed them at the Archer unit on the hill killing 4 of them!
In a few short turns the Slann might be able to storm through the Hamlet and roll up the Elven flank....

Wood Elves:
 ...or maybe not.
The second Treeman makes it's move. 

  The Wardancers charge the Spawn Band regiment, as does the other Treeman who was hiding behind the house. I rolled 12 and the Spawn Band failed it's fear test and then routed...

... the Bull Slann behind them then had to take a panic test, I rolled 10 and they too failed...

...the Warrior Priests also had to test for panic, I rolled 11, and they too fled...

...near the Bull Slann the Venom Tribe tested, and again I rolled 10 causing them to flee...

...the Aligator Warriors near the Priests had to test, rolled another 11, and they fled...

... causing the Jungle Braves (with Leadership 6) to test, and I rolled 10... and they fled.

Only the Mage passed (and only just, I rolled a 10!).
Within one turn my entire left flank and part of the centre of the army had fled. Some 81 Slann just turned around and ran away. Not good for an army with a basic leadership of 8.
The collapse of the half of the Slann army.
Jungle Braves running away!! 

The Elves shooting phase reaped only the death of a Venom Tribe Slann in the centre of the battlefield. 
In close combat, the Wardancers on my extreme right flank finally had to stop distracting the Slann. In doing so they switched to the Whirling Death dance, killing 3 Slann, but still losing the combat due to my rank bonuses and standard, and being pushed back away from the river and over the wall.
The Slann were at least advancing somewhere. 

In the Elven magic phase, the Zoat cast several Lighting Bolts against the Gargoyles, killing one of them. Kaia Stormwitch cast Cause Frenzy on her own regiment, Skarlocs Lord's Bowmen. After determining that a Slann Palaquin was indeed classed as a 'riding animal', the other Elven Mage cast Stampede on the Green Mage, but the Magical saving throw was passed. 

And that ended Turn 5, and day one of the battle.......


  1. ..." The Wardancers charge the Spawn Band regiment, as does the other Treeman who was hiding behind the house. I rolled 12 and the Spawn Band failed it's fear test and then routed...

    ... the Bull Slann behind them then had to take a panic test, I rolled 10 and they too failed...

    ...the Warrior Priests also had to test for panic, I rolled 11, and they too fled...

    ...near the Bull Slann the Venom Tribe tested, and again I rolled 10 causing them to flee...

    ...the Aligator Warriors near the Priests had to test, rolled another 11, and they fled...

    ... causing the Jungle Braves (with Leadership 6) to test, and I rolled 10... and they fled..."


    Gripping game, though! Loving it! Can't wait for the next instalment!

    1. Yes, it was quite a moment watching a large portion of my Slann army run away! That all happened at nearly 1am in the morning (hence the orange glow to the photographs), and so it was a crazy thing to go to bed at!

      Still you're correct thuogh, it was kind of funny LOL

      Glad you've enjoyed it so far, I will post final half over the weekend (probably Sunday), and it gets even more interesting on day two!

  2. Wow, Goblin Lee you really are a "high-roller", especially in regards to your Slann's panic tests! But I agree with Gaj's comment, it makes for an entertaining battle! Also, a real treat seeing these photos of your game. I am excited to see more...

    1. Yes, I rolled my fair share of 5's and 6's all through the game, but also a lot pf low 1's nd 2's when I needed a 6!

      It was a very entertaining battle and was really good to play 3rd edition again after all this time and appreciate it a lot more. It has made me look at 3rd Edition Warhammer and my 3,000 point army lists in a different way.

      I still have a lot of photographs to post, as does Justin, and will be writing up Part Two on Sunday.

  3. Great great stuff here Lee !

    My friends above said it better and before so yes, this all makes for a very intersting story really !

    Justin did his "warhammer army pose" so I'm exepcting one form you too in the next post, right ?

    Splendid battle guys.

    1. Glad you liked the batle update, it was quite a sight to see, and fun to game.

      It was good to finally have the Slann army out on a table and fighting a battle and I got to see how the army looked on the table. Also, I got to understand how the army played looking at it from my apporach now.

      I did do a (bad looking) 'Warhammer pose' and as Justin took the photo it will be probably on his blog update.