[WM/H] Road to SmogCon II – Wrath of Karn

Suicidal drinking game of the week: take a shot every time a Hordes player makes that reference.

Game News:

A semi-triumphant return to Dice and Decks after several years’ absence without leave went well. Very satisfactory to catch up with the chaps who kept me sane during the six bloody awful months in Gloucester; very satisfactory to confront the Laird Holmes* and his Retribution again.

We played two games at 25 points, with lists that looked a little like this:

System: Hordes
Faction: Skorne
Casters: 1/1
Points: 25/25
Supreme Archdomina Makeda (*5pts)
* Molik Karn (11pts)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Praetorian Swordsmen Officer & Standard (2pts)

System: Warmachine
Faction: Retribution of Scyrah
Casters: 1/1
Points: 25/25
Lord Arcanist Ossyan (*6pts)
* Hydra (9pts)
* Hypnos (9pts)
Houseguard Riflemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Houseguard Riflemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Houseguard Thane (2pts)

Terrain was a rough circle with a smallish hillock (elevation), a smallish copse (concealment, rough terrain), a smallish area of broken ground (rough terrain) and a smallish rock (obstruction) on both sides of the table, and a long jagged linear obstacle running across the middle. I quirked an eyebrow but I trust the Laird Holmes’ instincts: rejecting the conventional wisdom in most regards, the Laird’s approach generally works out for the best. Scenario? HARDCORE SCENARIO, because that’s all you need for Warmachine and Hordes**.

The first game was a bit of a wash, because I boldly advanced Mr. Karn upfield and the Laird Holmes didn’t focus fire on eliminating him and left a perfect Side Step route to Ossyan. We discussed the matter briefly and I asked very nicely if I could execute the Molik Missile Run (scenario two) just once, to see what it felt like. It was a very brief non-game, but since we were playing 25 points we could rack ’em up and play again.

This time, the Laird’s rust had been knocked off a bit and he was back on form, eliminating most of the Praetorians (including the Officer) as they ran in to engage his Riflemen, while his battlegroup Void Locked Molik and shot a big chunk off the Gladiator, wreathing it in that “no charging for you mate” aura from Ossyan’s gun. I misdeployed Makeda slightly; she spent rather too much time trucking through Rough Terrain, not being able to Leash anyone anywhere exciting or Stay Death on the Praetorian officer, and Molik ended up out of control range at the top of my third turn.

All of this led to a slightly more interesting game, in which I had to scramble to get Makeda upfield (Engine of Destruction was the only way to get her over the wall) and needed a Paingiver to Enrage Karn, bypassing the “no forcing” restriction and ploughing into Ossyan again. Had the Laird but abandoned Chronomancer and cast Admonition on Ossyan himself, I wouldn’t even have been able to do that, and I’d have had to resort to the old-fashioned solution of smashing up heavy warjacks face to face.

Obviously these are 25 point games, with all the benefits (short, sweet and focused) and drawbacks (imbalanced and prone to abrupt endings) thereof, but I feel surprisingly in control of affairs so far. I am quite taken with the Praetorian Swordsmen, after some initial doubts: Keltarii are the superior choice as jamming infantry but I feel that Road to War and Vengeance stack well, turning the Swordsmen into a fast-moving meat grinder that doesn’t have the small command range and angling problems that the Nihilators present.

The army is built to deliver Molik Karn, and I wonder what it’d do if that wasn’t an option. I have a Titan Sentry built up and I am tempted to play a future friendly with him instead: that would make room for Orin Midwinter in the list, or I could drop the Beast Handlers down to four models and fit in a three point piece like the Tyrant Commander or Marketh. I’d make a straight swap for Tiberion if I didn’t want to build him on a metal Sentry body to offset the weight of the mace and head.

Hobby News:

Everything from the All In One box is built now and has had the liquid green stuff applied to gaps (with intermittent results, but it’s my first go with the product), except for the two Huge-based kits. I think I’m going to sell on Epic Xerxis: I’m not that interested in him as a warlock and it’d allow re-investment into things like actual characters for the IKRPG scenario and some alternative pieces for the Skorne army. Likewise, the second unit of Incendiarii are likely to go: they take up a lot of my finite case space and I’d rather have alternative models (like a wave of Cyclopes for Makeda’s Theme Force, or a unit of Cetrati or Gatormen) than doubling up on the one thing.

RPG News:

Well, the scenario is planned out, in terms of decision trees that set up the encounters. My plan is to pre-set the “maps” and have a general idea of what’s going to be in each encounter, but have different ways into the encounter and different dynamics depending on what the players have decided to do. Player choice will have an impact on how things happen but what things happen will still be set in advance, in order to facilitate my plans.

To-Do List: November

  1. Prime and start painting the army.
  2. Source materials with which to build up the Mammoth’s base.
  3. Purchase Minion models to form the cadre of IKRPG characters.
  4. Prepare maps for IKRPG scenario.
  5. Stat up final versions of PCs, NPCs etc.

* – apparently he owns a parcel of land in Scotland.

** – OK, some of the Steamrollers are all right. The one with the small box in the middle and an objective at each corner works for me, for instance, especially if you pick the objectives carefully to Forge A Narrative and set up terrain around it. It’s the ones with arbitrary flags and abstract zones that I can’t abide.

6 thoughts on “[WM/H] Road to SmogCon II – Wrath of Karn

  1. ‘The army is built to deliver Molik Karn, and I wonder what it’d do if that wasn’t an option.’ I think that maybe this is just an effect of playing at 25 points. Molik Karn is pretty expensive and in a small force he’s (and indeed anything big) is bound to be the focus of the army. At 35 or 50 points you may find that you can keep Molik Karn as a threat to dictate positioning of the other army.


    1. You might be right. I didn’t really feel that ANY of my other activations were that important though.

      Also, the Laird generally tries for a particular tempo of game where blows are traded over several turns, and I felt that he didn’t really achieve that with Karn in play. I see no harm in changing gears for the sake of my learned colleague. Also also, it’d be fun to give Makeda a try WITHOUT her special friend beast and see what happens.


      1. It was my first experience of a thorough Moliking, and I don’t believe any of the warnings I had prepared me for the sheer speed and brutality of it.

        I do tend to rely on being able to pick my shots and slow the advance up, but I wasn’t quite ready for having that little time to do so. Maybe next time I’ll be a little less wary and go for the throat, even then it’s not guaranteed to work. I’d like to try plan B in a rematch at some point. And maybe plans C through Z. If none of those works, I may need a new alphabet…

        And there’s no ‘apparently’ about the Lairdship. My own little corner of Scotland can be found here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/56%C2%B037'41.4%22N+5%C2%B018'32.6%22W/@56.6281685,-5.3090698,100m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0


      2. Interesting. How much land do you actually own? Enough for a camping trip? Is the exploitation of tenant farmers a possibility?

        I think you handled it a lot better in the second game, to be honest. If you’d had Admonition on Ossyan rather than Chronomancer I’d have had to punch through a warjack or something instead.

        I’ll bring the Sentry next time. That’ll be a very different game…


      3. I’ll call that one ‘game on’ then. Maybe I’ll have a chance to actually remember the rules by that point.

        The camping trip would be somewhat cramped in my humble square foot, especially sharing with the farmers, I’ll let you know when I’m heading up there if you’re still interested though, as I am planning to head up there at some point and build some scale model scenery on my land. Perhaps a small forge or rum factory, I even have a 10mm scale allotment (complete with shed). One of the advantages of being a wargamer..


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