Well as promised, here's a battle report featuring my first actual game of Leviathan, despite having the ruleset for an astonishing 21 years!
First up though, I've finally finished my Orc Necrosaur wartower that I started converting a couple of years ago and am rather chuffed with the results:
The second largest warbeast that the Orcish horde employs as a battle mount, the Necrosaur is a massive quadruped with a vicious temper and a massively powerful set of crushing jaws. These warbeasts typically sport a wartower either packed with Orcish warriors or some sort of ranged weapon such as a dart thrower or harpoon.
I must admit that I am really pleased with how the final beast has turned out and have a second that I am planning on beginning work on soon which will sport a mighty Harpoon.
I do think this is closer to what the warbeasts described in Leviathan should look like rather than the pot bellied sculpts they eventually got. Yes it was a lot of work to put together but the effort is worth it!
Now onto the battle report!
Orka Bonebreaker lounged in the saddle of his mighty carnosaur, Mordurk and listened impatiently to one of his underlings grovelling reports. Apparently some of the stunted ones had emerged from their hold and sought to bring him to battle.
Dismissing his cowering goblin scout, the mighty Khan bellowed to his retainers and dug his spurs into Mordurk's flank and with a mighty bellow to the glory of Gorath, the Orcish force moved out to engage their foe.
The Orcish Horde
1 Level 2 Khan mounted on a Carnosaur with medium armour, shield and polearm
8 Orcs, light armour, hand weapons and shields plus standard bearer and Level 1 Khan
8 Goblins, shields and shortbows
8 Goblins, shields and shortbows
1 Carnosaur, extra crew, shields and bows
1 Necrosaur, light dart thrower
The Dwarven Patrol
1 Level 2 Warlord, medium armour mounted in a Thunderhammer battletank
8 Dwarves, medium armour and shield plus standard bearer and Level 1 Hero
6 Dwarves, medium armour and crossbow plus standard bearer
1 Cannon plus 3 crew
2 MKI Wargolems
This is the first game I've actually played of Leviathan so I will be taking a bit of time to explain some of it's concepts as I go.
Both sides have to scout the battlefield before the game which requires the table to be broken up into 12 inch squares and then the players secretly mark in how many pieces of terrain they want in each square with either a 0 or 1.
They then roll on the scouting table which the Orcs easily won as they have a faster moving force and the hold bound Dwarves don't tend to be very good scouts as they are unfamiliar with the world outside their mountain fortresses.
The Orcish player is then allowed to add or subtract one from the terrain on each of the squares which resulted in quite barren deployment zones but quite a packed middle which I hoped would keep the Dwarven artillery from dominating the battlefield too much.
Both players then alternate deploying units which does add a bit of tactical thought to the game and forces you to try and outguess your opponent right from the get go.
Apologies for the use of cardboard counters but I am currently painting up actual forces
The Orcs deployed the majority of their force on the left flank of the battlefield to make the most of the cover provided by the rock formations and vegetation in an attempt to avoid the devastating fire of the Dwarven artillery. The plan was to sweep the warbeasts up in cover and engage the Dwarves before taking too much damage from ranged weapons.
Orcish battle line
Their right flank consisted of a lonesome Goblin archer unit which I hoped would be able to sneak up through the ruins and hit the Dwarves in the flank.
Goblin archer unit
The Dwarves spread out a bit more thinly with their left flank being protected by the cannon which allowed a decent field of fire and protecting it was the unit of Crossbows. The Thunderhammer held the middle of the line and was supported by the Dwarven warrior unit and the Golems on the other flank.
Once the deployment is over, both sides are deployed it's onto the game! Both sides roll a D20 and the winner activates first.
Turn 1 Dwarves win initiative.
At the start of the turn, players place order counters which allows them to perform set actions in the turn. At this point both sides placed most units on move orders apart from the Dwarf cannon which elected to fire at the first opportunity.
Play alternates between sides with each side activating a unit until all of them have moved and the Orcs surge forward under cover as much as possible from the dreaded firepower of the Dwarves.
After movement, there's close combat but as neither side was in range, I moved onto the shooting phase which I soon discovered was pretty deadly when the Dwarven cannon let rip with a mighty boom sending a massive cannonball soaring across the battlefield before striking the unit of Orcish warriors killing three outright!
Although the cannon hit four Orcs, one of them miraculously saved their damage roll which was just as well as it prevented a morale test for taking 50% casualties!
Turn 2 Orcs win initiative.
In turn two, the two sides move closer and it's looking like the next turn is going to see a massive melee amongst the undergrowth. The Dwarven cannon takes aim at the Orcish warriors again but rolls a 20 which means a misfire. The resulting check on the misfire table results in the cannon exploding spectacularly and killing its crew which is a bit of a setback to say the least!
KABOOM!! The Dwarven cannon explodes and leaves nothing but a crater and pall of smoke to mark its passing.
Turn 2 comes to an end and it looks like it's about to get bloody!
Turn 3 Dwarves win initiative.
On the left flank, the Orc warbeasts and Dwarven Wargolem's crash into each other resulting in a massive melee. The Necrosaur chomps down on the Wargolem hitting twice but failing to do any damage but in return the Dwarven pilot orders full steam ahead and shoulder charges the mighty Orc beast and kills it outright. The massive beast falls dead, crushing its crew and allowing the Dwarven Wargolem to turn it's attention to the Khan's warbeast.
The earth shakes as Dwarven steel meets Orcish warbeast
The Orc Khan's Carnosaur misses the Wargolem in the swirling melee and in the other combat, the second Wargolem also attempts to shoulder charge its Carnosaur foe but misses and the Carnosaur also fails to strike home with its rending jaws.
Brutal but ineffectual combat on the left flank.
In the shooting phase, the Dwarven crossbowmen fire at the Goblins lurking in the mushroom forest, killing two. Things look more grim as the Thunderhammer tank lets rip at the survivors and its massive grapeshot mortar blasts the remaining Goblins into a fine paste alongside the surrounding mushrooms.
Turn 4 Dwarves win initiative.
At this point, the Orcish position is starting to look a bit precarious and the Khan calls for a Glamour of the Gods. If successful, his god Gorath will aid his plea and the resulting roll succeeds and the Khan gains +2 CR for the turn which turns him into a bit of a combat monster.
The Dwarven warriors charge into his flank after passing a Fear test. In the centre, the Orc warriors move out of cover to menace the Dwarven crossbows and Thunderhammer and is supported by the second unit of Goblin archers who had been lurking on the right flank.
Orcs move out!
Close combat saw the Dwarven hero and Khan fighting an epic combat which saw both slain and the Carnosaur driven into an uncontrollable fury which saw it lashing out ineffectually at the Wargolem and in return it is crippled by the Dwarven warriors and the Wargolem breaks it's jaw leaving it incapable of damaging the iron beast.
I do like the way close combat works in Leviathan with different strike ranks which allows demons to attack first, followed by heroes, infantry and cavalry and finally warbeasts. If both sides have the same strike rank, then the combat is fought simultaneously, which resulted in the Dwarf hero and Orc Khan killing each other!
The main combat winds down
The second Wargolem beats the remaining carnosaur and a glancing blow stuns the beast, stopping it from attacking back during the combat.
The Dwarf crossbowmen shoot at the Orc warriors but are obviously feeling the heat as they miss completely at short range! In return, the Goblin archers turn three of the unfortunate Dwarves into pin cushions. The Dwarves are forced to take a Resolve test but pass.
Turn 5 Dwarves win initiative.
Uncontrolled Monster! The Khans crippled Carnosaur continues to attack the Wargolem.
The Dwarven warlord flees!
The Thunderhammer turns to face the Orcish warriors who charge it but fails it's Resolve test and flees from the shocked Orcs!
The Melee results in the combined attacks of the Dwarven Infantry and Wargolem finally killing the wounded Carnosaur while the second Wargolem and Carnosaur trade blows but fail to cause any real damage.
As a final act, the Goblin archers kill the last three Dwarven crossbowmen.
Nidhogg the Dragon peruses the rules
Well that was quite a fun game! Both sides were let down with some pretty poor dice rolls but it was quite inkeeping with the setting and I do think there's a decent game in there somewhere. Interestingly, the game did throw up some unexpected issues though as I found the rules are missing quite a bit in the way of explanations which would have made the game play more smoothly such as how does multiple turn combats work and the way units are activated is not particularly clearly explained.
I also found the idea of having the armylists printed in landscape format while the rest of the book is portrait quite irksome as it required lots of juggling of pages and flicking backward and forward to find stats and stuff. I think in future I will be using some separate reference sheets which will speed up play a lot.
I do also think that before the next game, I will need to get some of the poorly explained elements sorted out and tested which brings me to the issue of the Dwarves. At present, the wargolems and battletanks are far too tough as shown in the game I just played when two warbeasts got pasted by a single golem.
I think that the other races, specifically the Orcs are going to need some more weaponry as they are a close combat orientated force at present but once they get there, they struggle to damage anything. Looking at the list, they only have two weapons capable of damaging a golem at range, the Harpoon and Catapult. Both of which are only mounted on the heaviest warbeasts. In close combat, they fare better as all the beasts have powerful bite and stomp attacks but their crew cannot do anything but spectate unless they are fighting against opposing crew.
Hopefully I will be able to get some work done on sorting things out a bit and will try another game in the next couple of days so watch this space!
All in all, I'm glad I took the time to play a game and although it brought up a few issues, hopefully I will be able to iron them out and while this first game took an hour and a half to play, I think that as I get used to the mechanics, I will be able to half that too!
All the best!