Monday, 7 April 2014

The Real Problem

Hours had passed by the time Cash managed to pry himself away from the Wyrdfire Club.

It was dark outside, the night clamped across the top of the battlements of Rotefalk like a shutter on a lamp. The torches on the walls looked pitiful, the sentries below them even smaller.

From a certain point of view, the problem he faced was fascinating.

Given the troops at his disposal and knowing the ground outside the fort, he was pretty sure he could beat any given part of the enemy army.

Savage orcs? No problem, whittle them down at arms length with fire from ridge outside the fort, then crush the squabbling remnants with infantry and cavalry flankers.

The dead? Send witch hunters after the leadership, keep the bulk of the men together with the priests and the banners so they wouldn't panic.

Elves of Naggaroth? Swamp them with armoured rank and file, send elites round the back under cover of the pines along the edges of the pass. Hope that the Grey Wizard could deal with any of their sorceresses.

Ogres could chew on a heavy firing line of cannon and crossbow, as could a chaotic warband. Maybe even a staggered one, with one flank in front of the other. As the enemy closed, the front line could retreat under covering fire, giving the approaching foe the choice of changing target to the next flank and spending more time moving to engage, or chasing their original intended and getting hit from the back and sides.

Whatever actually turned up on the day, the men of Rotefalk could beat it, supposing the wizard's device actually worked. And that it wasn't all a trick of the enemy. And that Sigmar was listening to their prayers. And that he wasn't just getting bigheaded from listening to the garbage Croaker was spouting.

What was he even thinking of, agreeing to their plan? No way were any of that lot going to repay the favour. They just wanted his advice. If the plan worked, that would be his part done and dusted. He'd never see the reward, assuming Portrauber actually came up with one.

All the same. There was a remote chance. He looked up at the pitch black sky, rubbing his temples to clear his head. Another year out here, facing down gods only knew what, that would probably be the death of him. The crazed Khemrian necromancer last year was bad enough, or the demon-summoning cult of Vishnayizu the spring before. Nobody minded losing a toe here and there, or breaking a rib or three. But it all started adding up over the years. Cash already felt like he was more scar tissue than man. At some point, he'd just be walking gristle, just waiting for something to bash him up enough for it to count.

No, it was worth trying to get out.

But he could think of a couple of good reasons it wasn't going to work. Three, if you counted the plans he'd just seen. They were all terrible, produced by idiots with plenty of bravado and no common sense. But he could get round that, flatter them whilst changing a plan to one that would work.

First, he still had to pick one of them that he trusted enough to get behind. It was like picking which one of several barrels of poisonous snakes to plunge your naked arm into.

Then, he had to take into account the fact that it wasn't just one enemy army he'd be deploying against. The wizard's device could force them to turn up when and where he chose. But all of the enemy would still be coming. They'd have to win several fights in a row against different enemies.

And that, he knew, was a real problem.


So, Woff-fans, here's your conundrum! 

During the 'Boot, you'll be pitting your warbands against one another. These are, secretly and without your knowing it, the component parts of the colossal Woff-tide of Darkness* heading to Rotefalk Fortress. Exactly why they're fighting each other is yet to be revealed, but suffice for now to say that it's going to be really extremely compelling stuff once I've thought of it. 

But while you're busy fighting each other for Woff-Dominance*, spare a thought for Sergeant Cash and his tactical dilemma. 

Suppose that you had 3000 points of stout Empire troops at your disposal, including a single high level Grey wizard. 

And then suppose you could pick exactly which of the armies appearing at the Woffboot you could face off against. Even picking a particular list if more than one is being fielded. 

Once you've picked the order you'd fight them in, your Empire army can redeploy after each battle. But it doesn't get reinforcements - any troops who've either routed entirely off the field or been wiped out are lost to you for good. Damaged or routing troops go back to full strength through the magic of Woff-Vigour*.

This is all entirely optional, of course, and has no bearing whatsoever on the Woff-Results*. 

But I, General Kraken, do hereby undertake that if any single general manages to fight out these battles and win before Woffboot IX, I shall get them something nice for their army and paint it if that's desired. 

*Trademark pending


  1. That sounds like a tough challenge – even a hopefully out-matched opponent should be able to inflict 500pts of irreparable damage. If that happens each time for the first four bouts, then the truncated Empire army is going to struggle in the last two battles. Maybe the answer is using massive combat blocks: 50+infantry, 30+cavalry, 8+demigryphs, a couple of steam tanks – a greater risk of losing a points sink, but a better chance of regenerating everything between battles (although not really in the spirit of the challenge). Chaff units like Pistoliers may not last long, nor things that can explode by themselves (wizards and war machines) - though they are probably essential.

    That said, an even more insurmountable challenge for me would be trying to fit in 6xOffBoot games in a year – at present, I’d be doing well to manage half that (and would probably want to air out the greenskins when I did).

    We could try it as a sideshow to WoffBoot XIII – have this Empire army (heavily-proxied, no doubt) set to one side, so idle generals could take it in turns having a crack at it? In which case, perhaps Kraken himself would like to pick the Empire force?

  2. Who's on the roster for Woffboot VIII at the moment? I thought it was going to be four generals (hence four offboots), and I wasn't including myself, although perhaps I should. The more the merrier, of course!

    And I'll happily piece together an 'official' fluff-based list!

    Other options that struck me after posting were:

    - Anybody could take the side of the Empire troops over the course of the year, with 'I took part' rewards in miniature form. Seriously, I'm going to have plenty to give away come October.
    - Some kind of crazy remote mash-up game, with me either generalling via Skype or an internet app of some kind
    - I love the idea of the sideshow. Would there be time?

    1. At the last count, we are 5-6 for the WoofBoot: all the topline generals (barring yourself), with a possible GuestBoot.

      I may over-optimistic about the available spare time at the WoffBoot, especially as we have increased the army size (hard to judge how long a 3000pt vs 1,200pt battle could last - it might all be over in one massed cannon volley). But we could try having the Empire army on a side-table, for generals to come along and play against when they have a spare slot - for practise if nothing else.

      Battling online might be doable - Universal Battles is one method (time-consuming to input armies, though less so than actually painting them).

    2. We have 6 generals for the woffboot.
      The 6th was offered to a guestboot that East, Stylus and myself have played with a number of times. He is taking your mantle and fighting using WoW

    3. World of Warcraft? That's going to be some crazy tabletop mashup stuff. I look forward to the reports!

    4. I expect that should say 'Leofa' instead of 'Stylus', since Stylus has played a number of times in 2014, and that number is zero.

    5. Very true - it should... although I think I can count 2014's games on one finger; so not that far ahead.

  3. But remote battles and more offboots sound good to me to try