Saturday, 6 February 2016

Dragon Rampant - Chaos and Dark Elves

Vzgxcvrth the Unpronounceable peered through the raised visor of his enclosing helmet into the stinging, icy rain beating down on this forsaken part of northern Naggaroth.  Through the rolling mists he could see thin, delicate shapes maneuvering into position. The Druchii.
He knew not why the Changer of the Ways had told him to come to this blasted spot. Only that he had appeared in a dream speaking in riddles and urging him to lead his warband southwards into the lands of the Dark Elves.
Tzeentch had spoken. He had responded. Destiny waited.
“Lord Vxcx…Lord Vzcx…Lord!” The fur clad leader of the Marauder band shouted across the howling wind “when do we attack Lord?”
Briefly, the iron clad warrior glanced at the elven lines before raising a tentacle to signal the advance.

In the absence of any real friends opponents I decided to play a solo game of Dragon Rampant using my old 10mm Warmaster armies.

I created a simple set of programmed basic orders for one side and then played the other. Can you, gentle reader, tell which is which?

Each unit would have three bases with each base capable of taking four (infantry) or two (cavalry) hits before being removed.

The forces were as follows.
The Knights of Change – Elite Riders, Level Headed, General
The Riders of the Serpent – Light Riders, Short range weapons
The Despoliation - Light Riders, Short Range Weapons
Servants of the Serpent – Light Infantry, Offensive
The Twisted Claw - Light Infantry, Offensive

Dark Elves
The Dark Shards - Heavy Infanrty general
Narkath Guard - Heavy Infantry
Narkath Deathspitters - Light Missiles
Riders of Nakarth - Light Riders
Death Knights of Nakarth - Elite Riders

 The Tzeentch invaders

 Dark Elf defenders

 The Death Knights hold the line

Somewhere in the north of Naggaroth

I was using a 1m square battlefield and measuring in cm instead of inches. With hindsight I probably set up the armies a bit far apart.
Initial moves saw the Chaos cavalry advance on both flanks and in the centre, rather outrunning their infantry support. The Dark Elves pushed forward, except the Cold Ones, who refused to move for several turns.

Eventually the Marauder cavalry on the Chaos left flank closed with the Dark riders and attempted to skirmish, with no effect on the Elven cavalry.

The Chaos Knights meanwhile continued to outstrip their supporting marauder infantry and began to bear down on the elf spearmen, who duly formed a Wall of Spears.

Over on the Chaos right the second marauder cavalry unit began to close on the Dark Elf crossbowmen.

The superior range of the Dark Elf rider fire told against the Marauders on the Chaos left and they fell back, battered

Eventually the knights charged home into the Elven Wall of Spears and began to drive them back. The elves were unable to reform their shieldwall and the knights pressed home their advantage but were unable to destroy the elven infantry.

Meanwhile the crossbowmen saw off the Marauders on the Chaos right flank, their superior weight of fire and range of the crossbows and the failure of the horsemen to charge home sealing their fate.The crossowmen moved back to add their fire in support of the beleaguered spearmen.

The cold ones finally pushed up in the centre and moved to engage the Marauders.
The Dark Riders drove one unit off with crossbow fire and the knight charged and forced back the second unit.

The result was inevitable and despite the marauders flinging themselves at the knights they were both dispatched with ease.
The crossbowmen turned to face the rallied unit of Marauder horse with the same results and this time the horsemen were unable to come back.
Casualties also began to tell on the knights and as they fell below half strength the spearmen got the uper hand and forced them back.

Seizing their chance the remaining cold one knights fell on the retreating chaos knights and reduced them to a single stand. The rest of thedark Elf army began to close the net

In a desperate attempt at glory the Chaos general hurled his unit at the cold ones, who counter-charged. In a flurry of blows both untis were wiped oit and the game ended.

A clash of elite knights

That was good fun. The solo rules worked reasonably well, though at one point eldest boy appeared and I used him to make some decisions. All of which he decided were Chaaaaaarge!
I think in future I'll start the forces a bit closer together, it took quite awhile to get them into combat.
Not sure I quite had Marauders right, they were very brittle as light infantry, but heavy infantry doesn't feel right either and I want to save bellicose infantry for Khorne.
Wall of Spears is great and helped the Elves hold off the Chaos knights, though I should also have  ensured the Knights had support from the marauder infantry. I struggled to make use of the mounted marauders - their short range weapons meant they were outgunned by both crossbows and dark riders, but both units failed to charge when they had the chance.
It was great to get the old Warmaster models out, though it did make me miss playing proper Warmaster - I wonder if I can persuade Brother Weasel to get his collection out for a game or two...
As a ruleset I really like  Rampant, it's easy and quick with just the right amount of complexity for a simpleton like me. However the limited selection of choices doesn't work quite as well for Dragon as it does for Lion I'd like a bit more granularity of choices otherwise Goblin spearmen are identical to Skaven spearmen. But I'm happy to live with that as it makes for a quick and easy game.
In fact I'm already planning a return match in the frozen north of Naggaroth.


  1. Unless you want the complexity and special rules of Warhammer there will be some simplification resulting in compression of the troop types. In real terms the difference between a goblin and skaven isn't much. I think it's more about the way the units fight. I'm not sure that skaven or goblins are disciplined enough to form a phalanx of spears.

    1. I like that we're discussing the "real" differences between two completely made up things.
      I agree.
      And I understand the compression but 30+ years of WFB habits die hard.

  2. Nice report. Must get my copy of DR out and give it a go.