Goblin Attack! - Narritive battles vs Dwarfs

After a game where the The Fool’s Hold took on Dinolord’s goblins Cyle and I decided to play a series of narrative games.

To start, Cyle routed my steel behemoth, so would take a mincer “The Bald Beast” to represent a looted steel behemoth.
I decided that it would be a departure from the style of battle reports I do for The Fool’s Hold and that I would like to try out some different dwarf builds.
Which means a new character to be the dwarf protagonist, Gethin the Furious.
Gethin is a bit angry and in danger of the red rage if he loses (i.e. my lord becomes a beserker and army more "Free Dwarf) , but also ambitious (i.e. becomes more “Imperial Dwarf” with a win).
Here’s his fluff:

*It was the most interesting thing that had happened here since Gethin arrived. *
He was sent to this backwater “to calm down before your anger gets the best of you” after the unfortunate incident involving a prisoner that may not have been a spy afterall. His perfectly justified outburst at the suggestion that he may be “unreceptive to disagreement” didn’t help either.
Whatever the details, he had been sent to this supposedly quiet post out East to “ensure stability and security regarding the Estacarr Holds” and “relax”.

*Goblins had other ideas though. A nearby “hold” which Gethin heard wasn’t recognised as even a minor clan had sent word of maurauding goblins moving in his directions. *
Gethin would have to show these “Fools” how an true Imperial force deals with goblins.

Game 1: Invade 1850 points.

The fast elements of the goblin army are planning to overrun the imperial force and their camp near an imperial outpost, that at least looks like an easier target than the Fools holed up in their Hold.

The scenario is invade, with the camp in the top right corner acting as a “dominate zone” for extra points.
Here’s what we brought:

I wanted the be obviously imperial and actually try out the formation.
A more typical dwarf list with loads of mastiffs.


The dwarfs have an advantage by design.
I need to invade and hold the camp (which is difficult terrain).
Spears on the flank, rangers start in the fortified hill, sharpshooters set up in camp. With the hordes filling the gap.

Gonlins are set to come at me with speed.

Dwarf Turn 1:

Dwarfs get first turn an open fire!
Sending off a troop of fleabags and putting some damage on bangstiks.

The bulwarkers step up to be in line with the rangers.

Goblin Turn 1:

The other fleabag troops goes to avenge their friends/disrupt some shooting.
The rest get ready to charge and do a little shooting while they’re at it.

Dwarf Turn 2:

The dwarfs keep shooting and get ready fof the charge.
Mastiff move up to screen the hordes and send out throwing mastiffs.
3 throwing mastiffs (2 packs and a horde can see over them) with a bit of help from rangers roll high and rout a chatiot legion!
The other rangers see off the fleabag troop in combat.
The sharpshooters help themselves by wavering a regiment of bangstiks.

Goblin Turn 2:

The charge comes in and the dwarf line cracks.

The sharpshooters are seen off and the camp overrun even witout one regiment of bangstiks.
Sir Jesse’s boots sees the fleabag horde dislodge rangers from the hill.
The mincer sacrifices itself to clear chaff and be in the way.
I’m also reminded the phalanx doesn’t matter as much to chariots. :upside_down_face:

The goblin leader, who has a fly suit, sets out to show his superiority over the other “kings” by assassinating the dwarf lord.
It does not go as planned.

Dwarf Turn 3:

The dwarf right flank (on the left for you) does some damage before it gets overrun.
Gethin gets to beating up the goblin that stabbed him.

The right (dwarf left flank) is another matter.
The mincer is destroyed with a flank charge and the ironclad reform.
The Me3+ and elite aura are very effective, negating the hindered charge.

The shieldbreakers and ironguard throw their mastiffs to clear the camp and succeed, both routing a regiment of bangstiks.
Note that both were already damaged, one from shooting and the other from their own bangstiks.

Goblin Turn 3:

The goblins clear the left flank* and turn to fight the victorious dwarfen left flank.

Ignoring thier “leader” who is not having a good time fighting the dwarf lord. The goblin tries to get away, but was wavered, so can’t simply fly off.

Dwarf Turn 4:

With noth sides having won a flank (ignoring induviduals), both armies have turn to get to the fight in the middle.

The ironclad get the fight in the middle going to turn of TC and make it harder for the chariots to get inyo the fight.

In the more important part of the battle; Gethin wavers his opponent again, meaning that the goblin can’t get away.

Goblin Turn 4:

The hordes on the hill keep at it and one king on chariot gets involved.
The other chariots get around the fight to get involved next turn.

Dwarf Turn 5:

The dwarf move up the rest of their units as the grind continues.

Gethin beats a goblin into the dirt.
Narratively; he’s so eager to get to the actual battle that he doesn’t make sure the goblin in dead.

Goblin Turn 5:

The second great charge!
The goblins need to rout a horde of dwarfs, but the dwarfs hold.

It’s not decided yet though, the dwarfs are all on their side of the battlefield though and tied up.
Will we get a unit over the line to score?

Dwarf Turn 6:

FOR THE KING! Actually comes into play as the ironclad need a reroll for headstrong and then see the fleabags off.
The elite CS(2) shieldbreakers see the chariots legion off with ease.

Getting all that US off the board is crucial, but either horde scores though…
This is where the damage that the bukwarkers did as the left flank was overrun comes into play, letting the ironguard rout a king on chariot and sidestep just enough to win the game.

Goblin Turn 6:

The goblins don’t have the means to rout a fresh unit of ironguard (thanks healing brew) and less US left in total than the ironguard regiment.

The goblin king on a chariot, Gutterball (the orb of towering presence is really just a bowling ball), proves that they’re the true leader by charging and routing a horde of ironclad!
Obviously any damage they had already sustained was due to excellent leadership.

After game:

We have a narrow dwarf win. So Gethin will be taking more imperial dwarf units next game.
Warsmith units and more ironguard, because the ironguard won the game.

The bald beast and Royal Guard formation were destroyed, so will not be returning.

The shieldbreakers survived and really crushed, so become a legend.
Now they’re: Goblin Crushers [1] - shieldbreakers stats and reroll d3 hits that failed to damage.

The two heroes who had a dual now have a grudge, so get the vicious rule against each other in future battles.

Both Gethin and Gutterball are now clear leaders, so routing them will give 1 VP in future games.


That was a great game.
The goblins were charges so early that there was effectively a second battle and I very nearly didn’t score!

Not really an exercise in list building or testing, but I can say that the Royal Gaurd formation lives up to the hype.


Very fun and well fought! You always bring some nice fluff to your reporting, but it was cool to see it take more of a central focus here and have mechanical consequences. While I was secretly hoping for a pivot towards seeing some Free Dwarfs hit the field, I still look forward to reading more about Gethin and his rise to prominence soon!

  • Intriguing to see two legions of chariots in action! What’s your take, and how did it feel playing against them? They look like a complicated but intriguing unit to run, especially with the inclusion of the troop unit size for them. Also, Phalanx should still strip their TC, the chariots just won’t be taking the to-hit penalty on top of that since they aren’t the right unit type. Phalanx should still be pretty effective in blunting their charge if I am understanding things correctly. (Not fought any chariots, and still getting used to phalanx.)

  • The Shieldbreaker horde did some amazing work! I was thinking that two hordes could be a very fun way to run some combat dwarfs. How are you liking the larger unit size along with CS2 and Ordered March these days?

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Thank you!
I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

Going toward free dwarfs would have been cool, but part of the fun is letting the story reveal itself through chance.
Gethin might have a dark temptation in his near future…

The chariot legions are terrifying! They have brutal and vicious to make them that much scarier.
They’re cumbersome though.
The fleabag horde and bangstiks are also significant threats, but much more manoeuvrable.

Phalanx does still cancel TC, but I could have used the -1 to hit too!
My roots as a historical wargamer assumed that the spears would help against all the mounted and I was caught slightly by surprise. :sweat_smile:

The shieldbreaker horde was great! Good damage and they took a charge.
Still not a front line unit IMO. With De 4+ it is at risk of accumulating damage and it’s a big target; for getting shots at it and easier to multi charge. I needs to be screened and looked after.
The main reason I usually run shieldbreakers as a regiment is that I only have a regiment of them in physical models, for my MSU/MMU style dwarfs of The Fool’s Hold. Which is a list I actually have models for and is constrained by what I have.
For this campaign I’m trying new things!

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Agreed! I am eager see what the future holds. A humble request to include some Berserkers, if the results will it. They seem like a unique unit that I haven’t seen much of.

For the Shieldbreaker Horde, I’m brainstorming here, but do you think a Mastiff Pack be enough screening cover for them? They are Height 1 so won’t block line of sight against things, but should be providing cover from Gladestalker fire and other infantry shooters.

I hope you get the next game in soon!

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The short answer is that’s not the main reason I took them!
What I really wanted to try was doubling up on throwing mastiffs, dwarfs can see over mastiffs which always hit on 4+. With the added bonus of the mastiffs also screening the dwarfs

Which worked well enough in the game, but it’s also harder to concentrate 12" shooting from hordes.

As for screening: the main concern is multi-charges, then getting cover from shooting.
I don’t think a horde that gets entirely hidden will fight much. I usually run a shieldbreaker regiment as a second line and it can be a challenge to get them to fight.

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Yeah, as we’ve seen in many of my Kingdoms of Men games, I’ve had some similar issues with my hordes. One wants to get use out of the smashy infantry hordes, but it’s very easy to be too aggressive with them and accidentally throw them away, or get them stuck behind things and unable to pivot and join the fight. If you space them right, wavering Mastiff Packs should be able to withdraw, and then move back to just barely get behind the infantry horde, which should let the horde charge. There isn’t much wiggle room though, and that’s be something to iron out ahead of time with an opponent.

I got my first game in against the Imperial Dwarfs over the weekend, and he ran a lot of Ironclad and Mastiffs like yourself. I appreciate the Throwing Mastiff upgrade so much more now. Very cool tool for the Dwarfs!

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