War On A Smaller Scale

The Warmaster’s Road to the London GT

You may think that the subheading suggests I’m attending the London GT at the end of September, but it is a cunning ruse to get more clicks… in fact I am playing Warmaster – a 10mm scale game of fantasy battles set in the Warhammer ‘World that Was’.

Written by Rick Priestley & … it was a game from the ‘Specialist Game’ arm of Games Workshop which unfortunately was squatted when they stopped supporting these games. Subsequently some have come back, but Warmaster is still a rulebook available to the community.

The tournament is played using the Warmaster Revolution ruleset, and there are some great resources available including the rules & armies and an army builder.

I have been playing Empire since the game was released so when COVID restricted all movement I decided it was time for a new army and there was only possibility for me – Goblins. They are a fan made army list, but are accepted at tournaments… but they are not considered one of the best armies – so it would be a challenge as well.

I’ll showcase some of the army in a future article, but before talking about it I needed some practice and a fellow Warmaster kindly offered my two games this weekend.

Game 1 v Skaven

Jim’s Skaven army using Indus inspired models

Skaven are also considered to be a weaker army so it was to be the battle at the bottom! I used my horde version of the Goblin list with no artillery, and no Giant

  • Goblin Warboss
  • 4 x Goblin Heroes (one on Wyvern)
  • 4 x Goblin Wizards
  • 18 x Goblin Units
  • 6 x Squig Units
  • 8 x Wolf Rider Units
  • 3 x Troll Units

Units in Warmaster normally consist of 3 bases of models with a suitable number of miniatures on them. This is a very broad definition to allow people to chose their own options. The important this is each base is 40mm x 20mm.

The Skaven started very well, and passed most of their first turn command (movement) checks and were getting across the board quickly. In response the Goblins also advanced, but in a less organised fashion leaving some units behind – this created a sort of maniple or checkerboard set-up, but that did leave me with units to counter charge. Goblins are fortunate in their magic and I managed to cause the Screaming Bell to move away from the rest of the army – this was especially good because a Screaming Bell can’t move on it’s own and a unit had to go back and ‘collect’ it!

Skaven swarmed over a hill to my left, whilst they worked around some terrain on my right, and my army approached – again a bit piecemeal. The Goblin army does have some very short range shooting, but this didn’t do much.

After a few turns, we were ready to charge, and I moved to within 20cm (the movement of intantry), but couldn’t move further… in response the Skaven charged!

The Goblin’s short range shooting causes confusion across most of the Skaven army

They had some success against my units killing 4 Goblin units, and doing significant damage to some Wolf Riders (including killing a whole unit (3 stands) with Rat Swarms), but they didn’t break through. Skaven Clanrats are slightly better than Goblins, but not by much.

I counterattacked across much of my lines using initiative where possible – units close to enemies can charge or move away without their generals needing to roll dice. My wolf riders on the right killed some rat swarms and then fell back, whilst in the centre Squigs and trolls killed the Stormvermin, although failed to kill a Doomwheel.

The left was the big impact though with Goblins charging into combat to rescue some Wolf Riders who had been outclassed in the previous turn… with some great rolling (or skill as the Goblins insisted on calling it!) They drove off the Skaven and they retreated from the battlefield.

Game 2 v Dogs of War

Jim’s amazing Dogs of War Army

My opponent very kindly fought me with another low tier army. Dogs of War have access to cannon, which are very good, but they have shorter range than normal (40cm), and they have to take Pike. This is a unit that is very difficult to make work in Warmaster as it is good whilst on the defensive, but not against the large heavy cavalry in the game … fortunately for the Dogs of War my Goblins had none of this. However, I did take the opportunity to change my list into one containing a bit of everything (mostly)

  • Goblin Warboss
  • 4 x Goblin Heroes (one on Wyvern)
  • 4 x Goblin Wizards
  • 10 x Goblin Units
  • 6 x Squig Units
  • 6 x Wolf Rider Units
  • 3 x Troll Units
  • 1 x Pump Wagon
  • 1 x Giant
  • 2 x Spear Chukka Units

My plan for this game was to learn how to use some of these additional units, and see if they were good enough to include in the tournament army for London.

The Goblins started this game, and the first turn went well, with Goblins appearing out of the forests at the edge of my board, and some Wolf Riders being sent on a flanking march on my right. They didn’t get very far, but cavalry move further than infantry (30cm), so they were my most advanced unit. My Giant did fail his command (order), meaning you roll on a random table (Giants only!) and he turned around and charged a unit of Goblins, killing one stand. This was my concern with Giants, that due to the low command of Goblins this would happen more often.

The Dogs of War advanced slowly, hampered by a hill just outside their deployment, still their units were safe from my Spear Chukkas – if my general could ever pass the command check to move them!

After a few turns of slowly advancing on each other and cannon shot from the Dogs of War hitting some of my brigades (collection of units), I managed to get 2 orders onto a unit of Wolf Riders (rare for Goblins), putting them deep into my opponent’s deployment zone. Despite shooting at them with a single cannon, these two units would cause a lot of trouble in the game, and require him to move a Phalanx unit and 1 cannon to deal with them – very good value for 60 points for the Wolf Rider unit.

Whilst the Galloper Guns fire at the centre, the Goblins continue to attempt their encircling tactic

Whilst both armies looked at each other through the smoke of cannon fire, the Giant failed another order … but this time rolled a 6 and charged into a unit of swordsmen hiding in a village… a 6 means that the Giant’s attacks are doubled (to 16!) making him a monster in combat. The unit died, but the Giant couldn’t go further.

On the left meanwhile my other Wolf Riders had made an equally daring move and flanked a unit of crossbows and pikes. The crossbows turned, but the pike had to face forward or be charged by the Goblin units. I charged… killed a unit of pike and sent another running before me – but I pursued (keeping the units in combat).

It was my opponent’s Giant’s turn to roll the 6 and he barrelled into the Wolf Riders, killing them… however the damage had been done and another failure by Ogres to kill my Trolls on my right meant the Dogs of War were in a perilous position… the paymaster called the retreat and it was another win for the Goblins!

Learning

  • Goblin magic is very good – there is a spell called ‘Geroff’ which forces an opponent’s unit to move backwards if I roll a 5+ on 1D6. However with 4 wizards this happened more often than not. Learning point – definitely need the 4 wizards.
  • Wyvern is very good because he causes terror – but expensive. Definitely need 1, but not sure about a second
  • Goblins are able to take a surprising amount of damage, because there are so many of them… care is needed and it will be more difficult against the better armies, but not to be written off
  • Wolf Riders are great – we were using some trial rules which will be used in London GT – Fast Cavalry – which gives them a little more autonomy … plus they shoot.
  • Spear Chukkas made my opponent think – I don’t think I need more than 2 (the army can have 4 at 2,000 points), but I like the additional troops.
  • I’m not sold on Giants – they can scare opponents, but with a very low command even on my general, they will fail a lot of orders and may attack my own army

More Warmaster?

Definitely… I love this game – the sweeping advances, the look of the battlefield and the simplicity of the rules make it my favourite regiment game.

Want to know more?

There are some great resources available, but two of my favourites are:

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