Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Offboot 9 - The Dice Strike Back

I haven't kept a close track of how many Offboots there have been. But I do know it was high time I took part in one. After all, no point in having a chaos army if it doesn't go a-chaosing. 

This is what you get if you look for images of Offboot on Google.

I managed to take advantage of a paid work trip to steal a march up to MK, home of the Woff and Off Boots, and challenge the mighty hoards of General Kasfunatu to a swift 1600 point bout. Once we'd eaten a pleasant but dubious curry, partaken of the delights of Egyptian Laser Chess and soaked in the hot tub for three hours, anyway. Not that swift, really.

Warriors of Chaos

I immediately forfeit any claim to be using my own army. Ryanair baggage restrictions just couldn't hack a tub of minis, the cheap sods. Luckily, Kas has all the chaos troops you could possibly imagine, so I put together a list very unlike what I actually own. 

Demon Prince of Khorne (Acid blood, firebreath, wings)
Exalted BSB (horse, banner of improved battle results, shield)
Chaos Horseror (level one lore of Death, horse)
10 Horse Marauders
10 Horse Marauders
5 Knights (ensorcelled weapons)
1 Slaughterbrute (linked to the DP)
1 Chariot (the only Counts As model, played by a warshrine)

So it's a mobility-themed army, the very opposite of my massy blocks of troops back home. 

Vampire Counts

Kas had a number of premade armies, and having helped me build mine up, randomly rolled to see which one he got. I breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't score the Ogres, but it turned into a fatalistic groan when he drew this lot instead: - 

Vampire General (level three, relatively killy upgrades that include reducing enemy leadership)
Vampire BSB (comparatively naked Vampire with banner of better battle resolution)
2 Banshees (to take advantage of that reduced leadership)
28 Ghouls (to carry the Vampires around in)
5 Hexwraiths
5 More Hexwraiths
Another 5 Sodding Hexwraiths

Well goody. Goody goody gumdrops. Gummy gummy hexwraiths. Bah. I have precisely two units that can hurt them, maybe three if the wizard gets some missiles. This should be unpleasant.


I go first, as well as having first turn. I want to see where the Hexes are before I stick out the Chaos Knights, who are going to be ridiculously vulnerable to them but also capable of wiping them out. This sort of works; we end up with the positions shown below. 

Kas has his two vampires bolstering the ghoul units. My chaos sorceror hides in the middle block of horsemen, the BSB hangs out with the knights. The nippy hexwraiths spring out to the flanks, the dire wolves to screen the centre. I decide not to use my light cavalry moves, there's no point getting any closer to the ethereal wraiths than I need to. 

Turn 1

And they're off! My demon prince instantly pounces on a unit of wraiths, flapping over the field to strike. On the other flank, I decide I may as well hurl the chariot at the unit facing them. No, it can't hurt them, but at least the charge bonus might hang a turn on battle resolution. The slaughterbrute slinks along behind, planning on joining the flank later. 

This is a stupid plan. I didn't expect the wraiths to have 2-handed weapons, and they hack the chariot to chunks in short order. To make up for it, the prince does exactly the same to his wraithly opponents, taking a scant wound in the process. One Hex unit down, two to go. 

The Vampires reply with a fairly quiet turn. Kas heads for the middle ground, sensibly aiming to plonk the ghouls behind the walls on the road and see off my probably flanking. The direwolves spring forward to help, the banshees float along for the ride. 

On both flanks, the Hexwraiths do their pesky trick of overrunning, costing both Demon Prince and Slaughterbrute a wound. Possibly because their fates are tied together with dark magic, we'll never know. 
Kas does his best to do some magical stuff, but my sorceror is punching above his weight right now, keeping a lid on most of the necromantic shennanigans. A unit of skeletons does appear behind the Slaughterbrute, just in case, but it hardly seems worth putting it on the map. 

Turn 2

Now this is where it starts to take off for me. The Hexwraiths on my left are too far from the general to be able to march, so I decide to leave them behind. In a grand flanking manouver, all the chaos horsies trot towards the ghoul pack, with the sorcerorless marauders heading for the very rear. The wounded slaughterbrute can't see anyone to slaughter, so saunters back to the road rather aimlessly. 

Ah, the Lore of Death. Home to everybody's favourite spell, the Fate of Bjuna, aka Bjuna the Vampire Slayer. Despite being wildly outgunned in the magic phase, I manage to get this off and Kas's general promptly laughs himself messily to pieces. 

This is excellent. The wave of disruption that ensues takes out a handful of ghouls, wolves and wraiths and does for one of the banshees. The skeletons also crumble forthwith. Told you it wasn't worth mapping them. Kraken Likes. 

The Vampires counter in their own turn by consolidating their hold on the central fences. It seems the best thing to do, really. On the way, the remaining Banshee causes the Slaughterbrute to explode sonically. Seems they don't do well as independant killers, their leadership is awful. Hey ho.

Magic remains feeble, with the remaining Vampire BSB failing to patch anything together or replace it with new stuff. Which Kraken also Likes.

Turn 3

I'm feeling like I could maybe start the attack on the ghouls now, but it might be a bit touch and go. They've got a wall to hide behind, after all. So I decide to hold back for one more turn and get a really solid flanking charge in position from the Marauders.

The Horseror doesn't hold back, though, ramming the wolves through a gap in the dry stone wall. At least, he has a gap. A couple of his cronies don't quite make the jump, and head back to the stables to put arnica on the knees of their steeds.

Although he romps the combat happily, this means the Horseror can't do any more Fate of Buffy. Never mind, I'll just have to kill the last Vampire the old fashioned way. The Demon Prince coughs a bit of fire over the ghouls, scorching three, the Knights trot towards the wall and then that's it.

The Vampires stay put, more or less, although I now think I may have been too quick to write off that skeleton unit. Hindsight isn't my most accurate sense - I suspect that one or two were left, enough that the Horseror and his men had followed through into them. The combat wasn't up to much - the Vampire BSB managed to get off a big healing burst, so the skeletons regenerated enough to nearly tie. Luckily the marauders had full command, so crunched through in the end.

The last Banshee killed off three of the Chaos Knights, which was depressing but unavoidable.

Turn 4

Time for my big number.

Everything charges, wall or no wall. Two remaining chaos knights, the Exalted BSB, the Demon Prince of Khorne and a full unit of Marauder Horse from the flank. The Exalted Hero screams a challenge to the back-upVampire, who accepts with a fatalistic sense of trepidation. The Horseror decides to go and tie up the Hexwraiths, hoping again that weight of numbers and a charge will whittle them down a little, or at least keep them busy long enough to kill the last Vampire.

It is at this point that this post reveals the true reasoning behind its title.

I've got a long and glorious history of whiffed combats. I remember hitting General Leofa's Space Marine Captain with a brace of multimeltas in Greenwich a long time ago. Five hits, any of which would kill him outright. The perfect time for a snake-eyed yahtzee, of course.

This is worse.

Demon Prince of Khorne - 5 attacks, no kills.
Knight Champion and Knight - 5 attacks, no kills.
10 Marauder Horsemen - 11 attacks, no kills.
7 assorted chaos steeds - 7 attacks, one kill. Yes! One Kill! At last!

The ghouls respond by knocking another wound off the Demon Prince and then murdering the two remaining chaos knights. What, you say? Heavily armoured Chaos Knights? with 2+ saves?

Yes. Murdered by ghouls. And snake eyes. Snake-eyed ghouls, if you will. Gah.

Somehow, due to a combination of unlikely saves and belatedly remembered rules and general ineffectiveness, the two BSBs manage to tie their challenge at the cost of one wound each. Double gah.

I just about win the combat anyway, due to banners and flanks and such. This nets me three more ghouls. Well, woo hoo. Just woo hoo, all the way to the bank. The Marauders just beat the Hexwraiths, blooping out one of them in resolution, but it's nothing much to celebrate.

The Vampires turn. I'm hit in the back by the Hexwraiths I left out on the left flank, and the Banshee moves round behind the Horseror's men. Not great, but I could still swing this if I win the duel of the BSBs, though.

Then the magic phase swings round. The Vampire BSB attempts another dark healing magic, to bolster his damaged lineup, and succeeds. A little too well, in fact - ghastly purple lights start pulsing and popping around him, and a spot of magical feedback erupts right over his head.

It's about the best result he could manage, somehow. Because I'm playing against Kas, and he's somehow trained all the dice in the world to produce this kind of effect. The Vampiric Lore rule means getting the spell to work heals the Vampire of his lost wound. Okay, he loses it again, as well as the three ghouls he just gave back to his unit. But he's still alive, unlike the hapless Chaos BSB, whose thick layer of armour is no protection against a high strength, no-armour-saves hit.

Down he goes.

And that's it bar shouting, really - the Demon Prince is torn to shreds by a pack of poisonous ghoul claws (something like 6 rolls of 6 out of ten, so his high toughnes is useless), the Horseror and his boys are ripped up by a Banshee/Hexwraith tag team and the remaining Marauders break and flee.

With a turn to go and nothing much I can do in it, I bow to the inevitable and concede.

Mopping Up

Good match, though! A lively one, and both of us thought I had it on turn four. In a more honest, kinder world, I probably should have. But this is Warhammer, so that wasn't really on the cards.

There is a ray of light, though, which is that as we're tidying up and chatting about Chaos models, I mention my long-term dreams of a good warshrine conversion. Kas raises an eyebrow, tells me to wait a moment, and pops out of the room. He comes back with a spare warshrine he has, still in the box! Very generous indeed, and more than makes up for my defeat.

It'll take a while to make and paint it, though - I need at least one other box set to blend it with, and I'm not going to be in the right country to do any modelling or painting until next spring. Watch this space, though...

Note - There are photos of this battle, which I might add in at some point; I'd have got this up last week, but for some reason running the battle map program kept giving me BSODs. That's why the maps and the actual chronological flow of events are a little fast and loose in places! 


  1. Excellent battle report, sounded like a lot of fun. That was some considerable whiffing in the finale (a WhiffBoot?)

    Nice Battle Chronicler maps too - seemed very illustrative to me, despite your woes with it.

  2. The maps are great, no doubt, and whatever glitch was crashing my computer has been patched since last week. After five crashes in a row, though, I lost heart! I hadn't recorded the game in any other way, so memory lapses kept being apparent during the writing.