Well I thought I'd best make the most of my last evening of holiday by playing another game of Leviathan, this time pitting Elves against Dwarves!
It had been a tough few weeks for the Dwarven patrol. There had been two skirmishes with the Orcish horde and while the first had been a walkover, the second had left Hrothgar badly in need of repairs for both Wargolems and his infantry had taken a beating.
To make matters worse, no sooner had he got his force moving back towards base than his scouts spotted a group of Elven raiders approaching from the desert. Quickly relaying orders to his troops, Hrothgar sounded his Thunderhammer's steam whistle and the piercing shriek echoed across the valley as the Dwarves marched out once again to do battle with the thrice cursed Elves.
The Elven Raiders
1 Level 2 Prince, heavy armour, shield and powerlance mounted on an Earthbound Dragon
2 Earthbound Dragons, medium armour and shield plus powerlance
8 Elves, extra hand weapon, medium armour plus standard bearer and Level 1 Hero
6 Elves, medium armour, powerlance plus Level 1 Hero
1 Level 1 Sorcerer
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
In addition, I also rolled on the Warrior Skills Table for the two commanding heroes. This allows you to really add a bit of character to the leaders of your forces but I wanted to keep the extra powers to a minimum so only rolled once for each.
The Dwarf got Weapon Master which increased his OC by two to an impressive 11 making him someone to be feared in close combat.
The Elven Prince got Shifting Form, an interesting ability that means when he moves, he enters and exits reality becoming an insubstantial blur. This allows him to avoid the first attack against him in close combat each turn as long as he is moving. Imagine Eldar Holofields!
Interestingly, the Elves have a massive advantage in the scouting phase but rolled poorly allowing the Dwarves to dominate the battlefield and forcing the Elves to deploy out in the open without cover.
The majority of the cover was in the north and it was amongst this that the Dwarves set up their battleline and awaited the Elves advance.
The Elves deployed in the open, as far forward as they could to minimise the time the Dwarves had to fire their artillery at them and formed up with their infantry in the centre with their Earthbound Dragons on either flank and the Everhungry summoned up to the far right.
In order to field the Everhungry demon, I had to purchase an Elven sorcerer who actually summons the beast before the game starts but was then pretty much surplus to requirement. I think in future, the beast will need keeping in reserve and actually have the sorcerer earn his keep by summoning it during the game!
Being it was the first time I'd played against the Elves, I was interested to see how the Dwarven force I have put together would operate against it, especially as the Elves with their powerlances are really shooty which is why I wanted as much cover as possible.
On the far flank next to the building stood a mighty effigy of some sort. Game wise, it represents a standing stone nexus for Earthpower which stops Demons approaching within 15cm of it. In hindsight, I should have probably deployed around it and kept the Everhungy at bay...
Turn 1 Dwarves win initiative.
The Elven line sweeps forward while the stalwart Dwarves seek to make the most of the cover the terrain provides them with and cautiously moves forward.
Elven warbeasts are fast!
The Elven Earthbound Dragons are really fast moving and catch the Dwarven troops somewhat by surprise as they hurtle forward. The result is that the flanking Wargolem blocks the cannons line of sight of the rapidly approaching Earthbound riders and they are forced to shoot at the more distant Everhungry.
The Dwarven cannon lets rip but the crews aim is badly off and the massive shot simply sends up a gout of dirt off to one side of the vile beast.
At this point, I was taken aback by just how manouverable the Elves are and their movement was incredible. I may need to work it into their rules a bit more allowing their Dragons to turn 2 90 degree turns in their movement as it suits their playstyle.
BOOM! The Dwarven artillery fails to hit the mark
Turn 2 Dwarves win initiative.
Seeking to take the fight to the Elves, the two Wargolems burst out from their lines and hurtle towards the Earthbound Dragons approaching their position. Unfortunately ones charge is just too short so he has to perform a Reforming Action.
Essentially this means the unit doesn't do what it expected and is placed at a decided disadvantage for the remainder of the turn.
I was also really pleased by the cunning activation that the Elves performed which forced the Dwarves to commit their Wargolems when they were at the utter limit of their charge range.
On the other flank the remaining Earthbound approached the Dwarven Thunderhammers flank and the Elven warriors hurried into the cover provided by a rock outcrop to avoid becoming targets for the Dwarven tanks Grapeshot Mortar.
Elven Earthbound approaches!
I can't help but feel that the Elves constantly outmanouvered the Dwarves in the early stages of the game and really made the most of their speed to their own advantage.
Sneaking!In the close combat phase, the Elven Prince fires his powerlance at the oncoming Dwarven behemoth but fails to hit, possibly somewhat unnerved seeing a massive ironclad brute thundering toward him.
The two crash into combat but thanks to the Elves heroic skill Shifting Form, the Dwarf is forced to forgo the customary shouldercharge and perform three basic attacks instead.
I was unsure whether the heroic skills include the heroes mount but figured it was inkeeping with the ability so decided to allow it which was handy as the shoulder charge is a terrifyingly powerful attack. (In previous games I had misread how it worked and rolled to hit when in actual fact, it automatically hits and causes two damage!)
The combat resulted in one attack being lost thanks to the Elves ability but I thought things were going to come to a head early when the Wargolem hit the Prince a glancing blow with one mighty fist but miraculously, the Elf wasn't damaged. In return, the Earthbound attacked the Wargolem but failed to dent it's mighty armour.
Onto the shooting phase and the second Earthbound lets rip with a jet of flame at the reforming Wargolem and succeeds in damaging it when the inferno of dragonfire fuses the war engines hip immobilising it for a second time in two games!
FWOOSH! A Wargolem finds itself on the recieving end of dragons breath...
In reply, the Dwarven cannon again opens fire on the Everhungry and once again misses the brute, much to the chagrin of the Dwarf crewmen.
BOOM! Once again the Everhungry is missed by the Dwarven cannon!
On the far flank, the third Earthbound rider lets rip at the Dwarven tank with a blast from his powerlance on the small chance it will find a weak spot in the machine's armour but the bolt crackles by above the war engines smokestacks.
The last act of the turn sees the Thunderhammer opening fire on the only unit it can see, the Elven powerlancers. Despite hitting two of the Elven infantry, they miraculously survive and emerge from the crater somewhat soot covered but no worse for wear.
KABOOM! The Elves prove very difficult to kill!
Turn 3 Elves win initiative.
The Everhungry, seemingly immune to cannon fire, charges at the Dwarven crossbowmen lurking at the edge of the undergrowth and while they elect to stand and shoot, the sight of the terrifying demon rushing towards them unnerves even the most stalwart Dwarven heart and they take to their heels, avoiding the beast.
The Dwarven warriors rush towards the Everhungry in hopes of driving the beast back from their ranged combat troops and artillery emplacement.
The State of play at the start of turn three
On the other flank the Earthbound charges the Thunderhammer who cannot even fire at the approaching beast as it is within it's minimum range!
RAWR! The Everhungry charges the Dwarven crossbowmen
The Dwarves run away!
The Elven infantry also moves forward with the warriors moving towards the developing melee on the far flank while the Powerlance wielding Elves move forward into firing range of the Dwarven Warrior unit.
Close combat looks like it's going to be bloody this turn as the Dwarven commander, seeing the approaching Earthbound takes a swing at the beast from the top of his tank but misses, despite his heroic skill. In return the Elven rider attempts to strike back but misses too and the Earthbound, needing to roll 18 or less to hit the battletank promptly rolls a 19 and misses!
Epic Combat Ensues with a Dwarf hero jumping out of his tank to attack a charging dragon!
I love how the close combat works in Leviathan with the heroes striking first, followed by infantry and cavalry and lastly the lumbering warbeasts. The Elf was rather unlucky as a tank as an OC of 0 so if it can get into close combat, it stands a better chance of damaging it.
In the centre, the Elven prince tries to hit the Wargolem but fails and in return, the Wargolem wounds his ride resulting it Fury and the pain maddened dragon rampaging uncontrolled for the rest of the turn and losing its chance to fight back.
FURY! The Earthbound decides to rampage after taking a big metal fist to the face.
In the shooting phase, the Powerlancers fire on the Dwarven warriors, scoring 5 hits, two of which are perfect 1's and another two which cause damage resulting in the Dwarven unit going down to half strength and being forced to take a Resolve test which they pass, despite seeing their kin struck down in such an underhanded manner.
Shooty Elven villains
Zap! The smell of singed beard floats across the battlefield.
In return the Dwarven cannon fires at the Earthbound next to the immobilised Wargolem and succeeds in hitting but the beast is undamaged. It just doesn't seem to be the Dwarves day! In return the Earthbound lets rip with another blast of dragonfire at the immobilised Wargolem but this time fails to damage the warmachine.
BOOM! A hit at last for the Dwarven artillery but once again fortune smiles on the Elves.
The last action of the turn sees the fleeing Dwarven crossbowmen rally and begin to reform.
Turn 4 Elves win initiative.
Uncontrolled Monster: The Elven prince's Earthbound is uncontrolled due to the previous turns Fury and it rampages into the Wargolem.
The second Earthbound sidesteps the immobilised Wargolem and makes a beeline for the now rather isolated Dwarf cannon. Once again the sheer speed of the Elven advance is staggering.
The remaining Dwarven warriors prepare to sell their lives dearly.
The now much reduced Dwarven warriors decide to charge the Everhungry to give their kin chance to prepare for its attack and pass their Resolve, charging at the beast, which turns with a nimbleness that belies its bulk and charges back towards them.
The Elven warriors charge into combat with the Thunderhammer with the hope that they can swarm it under with sheer numbers.
A mighty melee!
I have found the process for infantry attacking targets with a Hard armour rather problematic. The Hard armour means that the target is impervious to any hit unless it is also a Hard category too. I've decided that this is a bit unfair and allow the infantry to attack as normal and on the roll of a natural 1, they do succeed in causing a point of damage. Its a small chance but better than nothing!
I may yet revisit this to make infantry attacking warbeasts and stuff a bit more worthwhile...
The Elven crewman hangs on for dear life and cannot attack back this turn. The Infantry pile in and succeed in causing a point of damage to the tank, destroying its gun.
The Dwarven warriors are met head on by the Everhungry and it picks up one of the stalwart Dwarves and eats him while his kin helplessly hack at its unearthly flesh. The units champion does succeed in hitting the beast but cannot damage it.
Meanwhile the Wargolem strikes at the rampaging Elven prince's Earthbound and manages to break the beasts jaw which doesn't help the beasts mood.
In the shooting phase, the Powerlancers open up on the combat between the Dwarf warriors and Everhungry, secure in the knowledge that their magical weapons cannot damage the demon. Of the four bolts of energy that strike the combat, two hit the Everhungry and fail to damage it while the other two kill another pair of Dwarves leaving the champion by himself. At this point, he fails a Resolve test and flees but is run down and consumed by the demon!
Turn 5 Dwarves win initiative.
At this point, things are looking a bit grim for the Dwarves, yes they've damaged the warbeasts of the Elves but in return, they are looking like they are going to take a further mauling this turn.
The crossbows, seeing their kin eaten by the Everhungry elect to stand and shoot at the beast which charges them but this time the Dwarves hold and bolt after bolt thuds into it's flesh but mere steel cannot stop the Everhungry!
Raargh! The Dwarven crossbowmen shoot at the charging Everhungry!
On the far flank, the Earthbound also charges the cannon but finds itself facing an outraged artillery crew who stand to fight the beast, blasting a volley of shot at it as it approaches. Once again the artillery can't seem to hit and the shot screams by the dragon as it crashes into combat.
In the centre, the Elven Prince has regained control of his Earthbound and strikes at the Wargolem but misses and in return, the mighty machine stuns the dragon and smashes the Prince to paste!
The melee between the Everhungry and crossbowmen sees blows traded but no damage but the same cannot be said for the fight between the Cannon crew and the Earthbound! The rider hits the crew twice but fails to damage them and in return, the crew hit the dragon and break it's jaw, halving its attacks. The beast in return fails to hit the stalwart crew.
The final action of the game sees the Dwarven commander strike the Earthbound rider twice but fail to damage him and in return the Earthbound and infantry fail to do any further damage to the machine.
The end of play!
Well, another great game and it swung backwards and forward throughout! I do think that the Elves had the upper hand though as the Dwarven infantry was decimated, it's vehicles either damaged or immobilised and the Elves about to finish them off!
Once again the game has given me lots of food for thought including some bits and bobs to make the game play more fairly for those who don't have anti armour weapons. As I mentioned in the introduction, I think that in hindsight, the Dwarves should have set up around the standing stone which would have kept that Everhungry at bay long enough for the artillery to blast it to pieces.
The Wargolems managed to hold up the lightning advance of the Elves and it was bad luck that saw one of them immobilised so early on in the game. I do think that playing against different races forces different choices of army selection though as I could have done with more long ranged firepower to blast the Elves to paste before they got close enough to destroy my force.
The Elves did everything right, using their speed to their advantage but I do think the Demon rules need work as they should need summoning during the game which would add an extra tactical level to the game too,
Still, I am really pleased that I am getting the hang of things with Leviathan and hope to post more battle reports soon as well as being able to start fielding actual miniatures rather than just having cardboard counters!
There's also a couple of games of Song of Blades and Heroes in the offing once I put together some objective pieces and some more models too so watch this space!
All the best!