Thursday, 26 April 2012

Battle Report: The Shadow of Koles Lorr - Post Mortem

And so we've come to the end of the fight. It felt right to bring some closure to the thing by doing some post game analysis.

Blue’s review of the Battle of Koles Lorr

As the battle came to its ugly (from my POV) conclusion Gaj asked me to write up a brief review of my thoughts about the battle…about remote gaming in general…and whatever else I thought was pertinent for the general public to know about.  Of course that was about a month ago and I’m just now getting around to putting my thoughts in order.  So here goes….I’ll try not to ramble or digress too much.

Remote Gaming

Overall I think that Dreamfish and Gaj have worked out a very smooth system for playing a game as complicated as WFB remotely.  The use of the Dice log is genius….once I figured out some of its nuances’ anyway!  As Game Master DF did an amazing job of staying on top of the action and letting each of us know what we needed to roll…and why…and what would happen afterward.  The only flaw in this system is that you have wait for the combatants to “roll” the dice…which, in my case, was not always as promptly as one would hope….I can make a lot of excuses here but frankly they won’t change the fact that DF and Gaj were often waiting for me to hit up the Dice log and do my thing.  Thankfully they were quite patient with me….and as we neared the end of the game DF offered a logical solution…why not have the GM not only tell what needs rolling etc….but also do the dice rolling?  I think that “advancement” will make future games move along a lot faster.

The only other complaint I have about remote gaming is not being able to judge distances very effectively….I’m one of those guys that likes to get down to eye level with his troops and see the fear in the eyes of his enemies….thats quite hard from 2000+ miles away.  DF did an amazing job of supplying us with great photos and explanations but nothing can fully replace the 1st hand perspective.
So overall this was a very pleasant experience…again the dedication of an extremely knowledgeable (and patient) GM made all the difference.

Army Selection

This is one area where I felt at a distinct disadvantage to Gaj.  Dreamfish has a wonderful selection of extremely well painted figures…but in the case of the Orcs and Goblins there just weren’t enough figures for some of the units.  If I had had my way my blocks of infantry would have been at least 50% larger.  The fact that Gaj was able to field two blocks of infantry who were both larger and of better quality than anything I had did not bode well for my future.  But we had to make do with what was available….all in all I think I picked a fairly balanced and powerful force…and if the dice had been kinder they may have still prevailed.

The Battle of Koles Lorr

Let me just say right off the bat that I deployed my army poorly….I should have concentrated my best forces on the left flank and placed my weaker forces on the right to protect my stone thrower…but as they say hind sight is 20/20.  Gaj on the other hand was very clever in his placement…particularly of his cannon…and he is obviously a fan of concentrating his forces….the two big blocks of dwarf infantry were more than a match for any units I could throw against them…my only hope was that they would get softened up a bit by my stone thrower and Orc archers before combat was joined....And that I could use some of my smaller units to get onto the flanks of dwarf infantry blocks.  Sadly this did not turn out to be the case…plus my boar riders and wizard headed for the hills before the battle really got started....sigh....grumble grumble...

There were some brief glimpses of Greenskin greatness...mostly early in the game….the first (and only) hit with my stone thrower…the goblin archers skewering 4 slayers in one round…Kahn Narbis putting up a spirited fight with Sir Loyne, and….uh….well....I guess that’s all I can think of at the moment….it was pretty much a disaster other than those few moments.  The fact that my own fanatic inflicted so many casualties on my own troops just adds insult to injury.

House Rules

Overall I was happy with the house rules that were employed during the game…and the flexibility to modify things as we went along…one of the great strengths of 3rd edition IMO.  The only rule I wasn’t too fond of was the combat resolution system.  In their previous game DF and Gaj had decided that the difference in combat resolution scores should be used to modify the leadership test for the losing unit….as is the case in later versions of the Game.  This certainly made Hand to hand combat much more decisive…which to me is not a good thing.  Once of my favorite aspects of 3rd edition is the grinding nature of the combat.  In 3rd edition combat was not typically decided in a single turn…or even two turns…some combats could last for quite awhile.  I think this is more “realistic”…which is, I know, a stupid thing to say about a fantasy game…but in my vision of what combat would be like, I think that units would have a bit more staying power than this house rule imparts on them.  It’s a minor quibble…and probably had little actual effect on the outcome of this particular battle …but those are my feelings on the subject.  The other Rules changes…mostly dealing with war machine damage and combat sequence…were all right on the money…and were implemented with the consent of both Gaj and I.

In general I think the game was a great success and I would be happy to play again....assuming DF and Gaj would have me again.  I was really just along for the ride with these guys…Gaj’s amazing storytelling and DFs excellent table, figures, and GMing ability were the real motivating forces behind the success of this encounter.

That is all I can come up with at the moment…I may amend this document in the future as more thoughts bubble up over time.

Thanks to Gaj and DF for their patience and expertise in making this game a reality.

My own thoughts on the matter

I'd have liked to have a well structured, logical structure to my thoughts as presented by Blue above, appears that my brain just doesn't go that way. The first thing I want to pick up on is Blue's comment about the grinding nature of combat in 3rd ed - as in, no combat resolution modifiers for casualties.

I agree with him.

I suppose the problem we've discovered is that with each turn sometimes taking nearly a month to unfurl, we needed to find ways to make the fight a little faster. Certainly, in a 'personal' game, I'd absolutely stick with the 3rd ed set just the way it is.

Secondly, whilst we're all agreeing with everyone, I feel for Blue as the selection of models available for the Orcs was tricky to capitalise on. I was quite surprised when I saw the list Blue fielded, but, in all fairness, its hard to see how one could make it a more effective army without making it a boring army. What I did like about the limited supply, however (and this is for both of us), is that it made it much more tactical. Supply is a real problem on real battlefields. I'm sure battlefield commanders would love to have access to twelve apache helicopters to look after their forces, but are usually considered extremely lucky to even get a flyby from one. That's a bit how it was for us. (Five slayers? Really? You got what you got!)

It is well worth noting Blue's considerable bad luck throughout. He had some good decisions in there, completely undone by bad dice rolls, animosity, panic and general chaos with dice. As a long term Orc & Goblin player, I totally sympathise.

My final thoughts centre on the absolute devastation caused by warmachines. We had to quickly introduce some house rules to push the game past turn two - a six man stone thrower is lethal. Blue managed to score a direct hit with his man mangler, which basically deleted a unit. Had we allowed that to continue, the warmachines would have annihilated all and sundry in a primitive atomic war, leaving nothing but squashed blood splats all over the table. Definitely a warning for any prospective Games Masters - have a real think about large war machines!

So it falls to me to say:

Thank you.

Thank you Blue. Thank you Dreamfish. Thank you Readers. Thank you Google. You know...for....stuff. And Blogger. And the search thing. I've heard that's quite popular now.


Battle Navigation

Post Mortem



  1. Interesting thoughts from both of you - especially as I'm lucky enough to be participating in the next remote game - as a Orc and Goblin (oh yeah an' sum o' dem eevil pointy eared gitz 'an all) player!

    I quite like the fact, like Gaj, that I didn't have the choice to field 40 Blck Orcs and 20 Gruntas in juggernaut columns - I'm going to have think carefully how best to use the various units I've got to their best effect and with the least amount of animosity (har har!).

    Whatever happens its going to be a blast - even if most of my force end up bashing each other or running away. Especially if Gaj is doing the story telling ;)

  2. Some good food for thought. Thanks for posting your pros and cons. Will keep them in mind. Once we start the next battle.

    I really look forward. To enjoying a game of 3e with like minded people. It is quite frustrating when you play with people that don't get into it as much as you. So very excited for some refreshing opponents...and GM. =)

  3. Well, chaps - I was quite surprised that you found this post - I set its publish date to the day after Koles Lorr ended!

    Still, it will be a pleasure to have you along! Both Dreamfish and I are fascinated to see what you're going to do :)

    Finally - thanks for the kind words - I hope I don't disappoint.

    1. Never noticed the date - it just popped up in my Reading list!

      Deployment and animosity are going to be decisive me thinks...