MOONRAKERS AT CLASH OF KINGS UK 2021
So, with Clash out of the way, it’s time to post a review of the Moonrakers’ performance at the event.
We made our way to Cardiff on Friday afternoon with the Moonmobile piled high with armies, display boards and BETTys. After a quick meal it was off to check out the venue at Firestorm Games. After a night’s sleep, it was back to the venue to check in. Here we were given a cracking Mantic goody bag (thanks Mantic) containing: a copy of Halpi’s Rift, some terrain, a miniatures sprue and a £25 Mantic voucher. Good Loot!!
A quick photo opportunity for the ‘Rakers.
I was playing Goblins,
Paul had his Northern Alliance,
Andy was rocking Dwarves ,
and Leo was running Nightstalkers.
We also met up with some old friends from the Badger protection society.
GAME 1 – IN WHICH I MEET MY WATERLOO
On to game 1 in which I was paired with Quentin from France with his Dwarfs. We played on a table with terrain pieces from hell, which put me in a bad frame of mind before we started (more on this later). This, together with the language difficulty, was probably the reason why the rest of the attendees played Pillage while we played Plunder; in my case very badly.
I lost by 2:18
Elsewhere, Paul won 16:4, Andy won 17:3 and Leo lost to Matt Hobday’s Halfling Flying Circus by 2:18.
Not perhaps the all-conquering start that we were looking for.
GAME 2 – IN WHICH I AT LEAST PLAY THE CORRECT SCENARIO
In game 2, I was facing Jez and his Ogres in a Plunder scenario. The high value tokens were on the left of the table and we both deployed chaffy items on the right.
I hoped to win the battle on the right flank and then use my fats units to flank the Ogres. This sort of worked and I managed to sneak the win by 17:3.
Paul won 16:4, Andy got a 19:1 win and Leo lost to Bob’s Brocks and Bombers (Halfling Aeronauts) by 3:17.
GAME 3 – SOME GUY CALLED FAULKES
For the last game on day 1, I was up against Jon Faulkes and his Varangur in Fool’s Gold. We both played a strong bluffing game in deploying our tokens. If you look at the photo, you will see that the bulk of both armies are over on the left of the board. When we flipped the tokens at the end of turn 3, we discovered that all the tokens in that area were ‘0’s, leaving the few units elsewhere on the board to contest the ‘1’s and ‘2’s.
This was a brutal game and at the end we both had only 2 scoring units left and we ended with a 10:10 draw.
I was very pleased to receive a smart trophy from Jon at the end of the game.
Paul lost to Rob by 2:18, and learnt a valuable lesson about list building when Rob pointed out that the NA Ice Queen can take Bane Chant as an upgrade for 20 points, thus saving 5 points compared to the 25 that Paul had paid to equip her with the Lute of Insatiable Darkness.
Andy lost by 3:17 to the King in the North and his Halfling Flying Circus (do you start to see a pattern emerging about Aeronauts?). Leo won by 17:3.
In the evening, we headed into town and enjoyed a cracking curry.
GAME 4 – IN WHICH I MAKE A VERY SERIOUS MISTAKE EARLY ON
Day 2 dawned with me facing Aran and his Forces of Nature in an Invade scenario. Aran had a very fast list with 3 Greater Air Elementals, 3 regiments of Bray Striders, a Wyrmrider Centurion with allied Drakons and Drakon Lord. Four regiments of Salamanders would mop up anything that the faster elements had to bypass.
Against lots of speed, I reasoned that winning the roll for table side would allow me to select the edge with beneficial terrain and winning the roll to go first would at least allow me to start some attrition before the foe was on me. As you have probably guessed, I lost both rolls.
Aran advanced and I angled my line to face him. I anchored the left of my line against a hill that would block line of site to the flank of my army. Except that Drakons are height 4 and can see over hills. Oh B****r. One dead regiment of Luggits and a regiment of Drakons in my flank.
Fortunately, my army did not lose hope and managed to start grinding down some of Aran’s forces and, with some luck dice rolls, I managed to turn the game around, eventually winning by 17:3.
Paul had a 15:5 win against acclaimed fantasy author Rich Massie, despite losing his Chimera to a troop of Shieldwall. Andy gained an 18:2 win and Leo lost by 2:18.
GAME 5 – RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE
Game 5 was Push on a table with lots of strange jungle-style terrain, some of which was attached to the base and could not be removed, and limited lines of sight. I was facing Chris and his Empire of Dust and, spoiler alert, I completely under-estimated the surge potential of the army.
My plan, for what it was worth was to position my rock lobbers on the right where they had some sort of line of sight and use them and some Rabble to hold the right flank while I applied pressure in the centre on the counter in the middle and advanced my 2 push counters on the left.
It sort of worked and I won the battle on the right and got my counters into the enemy half of the board. On the right, I held the flank for a couple of turns and advanced in the centre and things were looking rosy. But then Aran swung his cavalry round and surged them into the rear of Stumpy Foxbane, my Giant. The crash as he fell shook the table.
The battle then centred on preventing Aran from moving his push counters into my half of the board, which the press of bodies fortunately did and I escaped with a somewhat lucky win by 13:7.
Paul won by 15:5, Andy lost by 7:13 and Leo won by 15:5.
GAME 6 – VAPOUR TRAILS OVER PANNITHOR
And then it happened. I drew the short straw and it was my turn to face a Halfling Flying Circus. Having seen Andy and Leo fall to Halfling fliers, I was not looking forward to this match against Matt Hobday.
Matt had: 8 regiments of Aeronauts, 3 regiments of Ej Grenadiers, 2 regiments of Braves and 2 Engineers with Radiance of Life and Wild Charge Auras, as well as Heal. So 8 regiments with Crushing (2) that could easily one-shot 75% of my army. Ouch.
The scenario was dominate.
Matt deployed with a strong right (my left) flank. My plan was to try to delay this flank while winning on the right and centre and then turning to face the flanking menace. (I didn’t say it was a good plan!)
If I won the roll for first turn, I could at least start some long range attrition. Matt won the roll and moved forward.
On my first turn I unleashed an overwhelming volley of shots. Ion my mind’s eye, I pictured Halfling Jets plunging to the ground trailing smoke before exploding on the hillside to the cheers of my loyal Goblins. I managed 3 wounds and had to face the derision of the foe as these were all causally healed in Matt’s next turn. Oh dear.
However, things then started looking up and the plan actually started to work. I cleaned up the centre and right flank and was ready to receive the flank attack which had, itself, been whittled down by this stage. With better shooting and some surprisingly resilient Goblins, I cleaned out Matt’s army so that all he had left at the end of the game was a solitary Engineer.
Victory to the Goblins by 18:2. Hurrah.
Elsewhere, Paul won by 16:4, Andy won by 18:2 and Leo won by 17:3, making it a good round for the Moonrakers.
ON TO THE RESULTS
And so we arrived at the results and awards ceremony.
Our individual results were:
Andy: eighth with 81 points
Paul: eleventh with 80 points
Me: twelfth with 78 points
Leo: fifty second with 56 points
Andy won the award for the best painted army, for the second tournament in a row. I was the best Goblin.
Team wise, we finished 5th, only 3 points behind the Northern Kings (which I regard as a moral victory) and 21 points off the leaders.
The Moonraker Curiosity Trophy was, for the first time, awarded to someone not actually at the event. Rusty Shackleford provided great assistance to the Moonrakers in the lead up to the tournament and wins the award with our thanks.
IS PANNITHOR READY FOR HALFLING JET FIGHTERS
This tournament saw the first UK tournament use of Halfling Aeronauts.
There was lots of talk about how good, if not over-powered, they are. Looking at the statistics, they are frightening:
Always hit on 4s
Possibility of Wild Charge (1) from an Engineer’s Aura
I think that the biggest thing when playing against them is that ‘traditional’ means of countering fliers will not work. They are not hindered by terrain. Ensnare and Phalanx will not affect their Always Hit on 4s. They have Crushing (2), rather than Thunderous Charge, and this cannot be stripped through disordering them.
It will be important to take these things into account when playing against Aeronauts, but perhaps the most important thing is to not let them into your head and assume that you will lose against them before the game starts.
Having said that, I’m going to use the Mantic voucher from the Goody Bag to pre-order 3 regiments to use as allies in my other armies.
THOUGHTS ON THE VENUE
This was the first tournament that we have attended at the new Firestorm.
We had some comments about the venue, things we liked and things that we didn’t.
Roomy, well-lit venue with plenty of space
Rolling video screens with match-ups
Sufficient car parking (unless anyone knows different)
THE NOT SO GOOD
Uncomfortably hot, particularly upstairs
Long queue for lunch, particularly on day 1
Venue is split over 2 levels which means between rounds carrying armies up and down at the same time as others are doing so; disaster is only a step away
Poor PA system, particularly to more-mature ears
Hotel not within walking distance
Poor terrain (see below)
I recently posted an article extolling the virtues of 2D terrain, which attracted a degree of opposing opinions. However, some of the terrain at this event was very difficult to play on with ‘impossible’ hills and walls and vegetation fixed to bases which could not be removed. It made accurate positioning of units impossible in several cases.
ARMIES ON PARADE
Some fantastic armies on display.
Thanks to Mantic for organising the tournament and to all of my opponents.
Remember, its D-363 for the next Clash UK.