The forces for this were essentially the same as the previous game but with the addition of a 500 point special character each.
Nice smooth escalation there.
The object is for the Empire forces to smash their way through three narrow gateways and lay Von Carstein low.
This was the table as set up when I arrived.
It was fairly clear we'd be lucky to get through the game twice, so we diced to see who had which force, with me landing the Vampires.
I placed the zombies, with Corpse Cart in support over on my right and also put the Vargheists behind the tower in the hope of avoiding an early cannon shot.I covered the central gate with the ghouls and had the skeletons ready to block the left hand gate with the Dire Wolves in front of them ready to zoom out cannon hunting.
The Empire weighted their left flank, setting the flagellants to take out the zombies supported by Volkmar and his War Altar. Handgunners settled on the central hill with swordsmen aimed at the central gate. The cannon occupied the big tower and the knights lined up on the right flank.
So I duly rolled double 1 for the first winds of magic.
Fortunately Manfred is allowed to re-roll on of his dice, so I did so.
I also had two channeling attempts.
At the end of this I still only had two dice with which to wield power beyond mortal ken.
In subsequent turns I continued to roll hopelessly for the winds of magic, meaning one of the most powerful wizards in the Warhammer world was something of a busted flush.
This pattern continued until about turn six.
Meanwhile the ghouls, seeing the swordsmen pull up short decided to charge home. Whatever crypt they had emerged from was clearly one where the stocks of poison were running low as I don't think they managed an automatic wound all game. They performed abysmally on the charge and were soon overwhelmed by the swordsmen. Over on my right the zombies were pumelled by the flagellants, and in an act of desparation I threw in the corpse cart to try and swing the combat. It failed to kill anyone on the charge and was chopped into kindling.
My vargheists flapped to the centre of the board and were lined up to inflict carnage on the empire state troops when Volkmar remembered where he'd put his spell books and Banished two of them, severely blunting their attacking prowess.
A fact demonstrated moments later when he flew into the rear of the handgunners, missed all his attacks and popped.
Finally, as the net began to close around him the winds of magic grew to a tornado and Manfred started hurling some big spells around.
Purple sun threw a misfire (of course) and offed some extra skeletons, but Curse of Years made things (briefly) hairy for the Empire.
Volkmar, seeing the Vampire alone charged in with his war alter, but Manfred proved a better fighter than spellcaster and chopped the chariot to pieces, leaving Volkmar running away (I would actually have lost victory points if I'd run him down) but the field belonging to the Empire.
This was a bit of a frustrating game.
I'm not too familiar with the VC army list (or the Empire one for that matter) so the sudden addition of a very powerful special character with thirteen (!) spells at his disposal and a bunch of special rules to boot, felt like a pretty steep curve from the simplicity of the first game.
I also rolled diabolically for most of the game, which placed me further on the back foot.
That said it did all look rather splendid.