Wednesday Night Wargamers: Mordheim

Hello and good day to you my magnificent readers, and welcome to another installment of WNW! This week we start our long awaited, much hyped (among us WNW’ers  at the very least) Mordheim campaign.

Mordheim, Mordheim, Mordheim. That classic Warhammer-based skirmish game set in a dreary and run-down city called, you guessed it… Mordheim. For those who don’t know what this is all about, essentially it’s a smaller scale, squad based narrative game that was made way back in 1999 by Games Workshop. The game received support for approximately 10 years before it was taken off shelves and web store. I’ve heard a bit about the game but never actually played it, so in the wake of Warhammer dying WNW decided it should give the game a crack.

The rules are pretty simple and straight forward, using the stat system of Warhammer. The complexity seems to come from the individual movement of your “war band” of warriors (which can range from a minimum of 3 figures up to 15 – 20) and the use of each figure in a defined role. That’s all the rules I’m going to give you, there really isn’t a whole lot to tell… if you’re super set on learning how the game plays, just read one of my earliest battle reports, I’m sure I’ve explored how the Warhammer stat system works.
Unfortunately, seeing as Mordheim is no longer supported and not for sale, getting a hold of a hard copy rule book is tough (unless you want to pay a pretty penny for it).

So with the boring stuff out of the way, let’s get to the creative side.

In preparation to play the game, I went and made us a city of paper craft buildings and ruins from www.davesgames.net . Fairly easy to construct but a little time consuming. The end result though… phwoar! Mint!

Paper towns, not quite paper people

Second step was to think of a war band and its story… its reason for existing in the game. To go with something different, I set my sights on a Skaven war band of the pestilent flavour. I already had most of the models, I just needed to pretty them up.

The Pestifriends were starting to form!
Now there are guidelines to follow when making a war band. Each type  has a list of “heroes” and “henchmen” to choose between and also a list of equipment and ability paths they can take as they level up (after each game, experience points are handed out to the surviving figures).

Here’s what my war band looked like:

Heroes-

* Priest with flail and warp stone amulet (my leader and most charismatic doomsayer)

* Sorcerer with club, sling and the Scroll of the Rat Familiar (my spell caster)

* 2 x plague monks with flails (the attendants to my priest, wherever he goes, they follow)

* 2 x plague initiates with clubs and slings (the work experience kids of the group)

Henchmen-

4 x Plague novices with clubs and slings (guys who wanted to join the club to fit in but haven’t gone through bible school)

3 x Giant rats (err… cheap fodder to throw at the enemy)

So a pretty small war band to my eyes, but what did I know, I’ve only had one practice game before this report (and will need to change the formation a little next game as lessons were learned).

How did I plan on playing this thing then?

Well listen here young whipper snapper: I planned on rolling well and hoping for the best! A highly thought through strategy. Seriously though, I have no armour on any of my fellas, a decent amount of average shooting in the form of slings and some throw-away henchmen. I’d try and pick off a few guys at range then whomp in with my heroes to clean up.

Sneaky, sneaky!

War band created. Story brewing:

I thought I’d go the religious route seeing as my war band had a few monks and a priest. I imagined the Pestifriends as a type of door-knocking contingent of the larger Church of Plague.
I shall impart to you a slice of my imagination…

*loud banging on a closed, weathered wooden door*

“Who is it?!”A voice from inside yells.

“It’s Brother Weepsuss here-here to talk to you about our Lord of Filth, yes-yes” a plague monk initiate chitters in response, trying it’s best to not sound like the rat-man he is.

“Err… no thankye good sir. I ain’t innerrested in none o’ that. Please be on ye way”. The occupant’s voice quivered in fear. He heard of the mysterious rat-folk who mostly kept to the sewers below the city, occasionally venturing above ground in search of recruits. Most did not live to tell of their exeriences and those that did, well, they were branded as heretics or labelled insane.

*silence*

A moment later the initiate bangs on the door, a little more forceful this time.

“Oi said no thankye! Now go away afore I remove ye with force!”

Another moment of silence before the rat-man slams on the door once more, the thumping threatening to launch it from its hinges.

“That’s it! Oi warned ye!”

Grabbing his hand crossbow, the occupant opened the door ever so slightly, just enough to observe the trouble maker.

That’s all the leeway the initiate needed.

Using all its might, the scrawny, filth encrusted rat-man kicked the entryway open, startling the occupant, before bringing down his makeshift club onto the poor victims head. The man fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

*Thud!*

The plague initiate quickly skulked up to the man as he lay prone. It lowered its head, whiskers scratching the man’s temple and whispered “Welcome man-thing, to our flock”. Convulsing and retching the initiate coughed horrendously, all over the man’s face.

Globules of yellow and green flecked the poor fellow, staining his skin and sealing his fate. The initiate hurried out of the premises, proud of the work he has done this day.

-end scene

So yeah, hopefully that builds a picture of what I was going for.

Okay enough of that, let’s get to some more pictures and a game, eh?

What are these Skaven? Mice or men?

Now there isn’t much to report game-wise. Mordheim is pretty quick. Few figures on the board means turns fly around, so I’ll just give you an overview on what went down.

With the table set and myself and my two opponents, Dave and Nick, at the ready we had a look to see what scenario we were battling through. We settled on a type of ‘breakthrough’ scenario. Nick’s heroes were holding a random amount of wyrdstone tokens (treasure essentially) and had to make it from the centre of the board, off the table. It was Dave’s and my objective to stop him from escaping and taking the treasure for ourselves.

Now you know my war band, but what were my opponents playing?

Nick was running a Marienburg war band. A group of rich young adults, on a quest to find treasure… at their father’s expense. Being from wealthy families, expert mercenaries and guards were hired to protect these foolish adventure seekers.

What this meant in game terms was that Nick’s war band started off with more money to hire heroes and henchmen as well as more money to equip them in better gear. Nick imagined hot-headed young men with pistols having a blast and living care free while their grizzled watchers kept them alive.

Dave’s war band were a group of witch hunters. Overzealous religious nutters to whom, everyone blasphemed and needed to be cleansed \ put to death \ burned alive. It consisted of low armoured crazies and very well experienced faith bringers… and a war hound because why not.

Three guys Vs a rat… not what I’d call fair

The game started with myself playing cautiously waiting to see where Nick was going to run off to and hoping cut him off before he could escape.

I hid my weak initiates in a tower so they could fling stones from afar while my heavy hitters hoped to ambush the Marienburgers as they ran past.

Nick probably thought that my war band was the lesser of two evils so headed in my general direction, leaving Dave’s Witch Hunters to play catch-up.

Great… now I had to defend the border edge from these elite humans all by my ownsies.

So, the first couple of turns weren’t exiting, just shuffling about to stay in cover but approach charging distance when the time was right… except I can’t even do that right.

The very first turn, I decided to move one of my initiates in the tower to a better vantage point. This meant I had to see if my rat man could jump down off a ledge (there was no ladder about) to do this. As the ledge was 2 inches high I needed to roll a 4 or less to be successful.

Nope, rolled a 5.

Great that means he injured himself. Okay, what kind of injury? Did he just fall over? Did he bump his noggin and stun himself?

Nope, rolled a 6. Out of action. Take him off the board.

 …  …  … *sigh*

Whatevs, I’ve still got this.

I managed to group a few monks together behind a corner of a building, but I obviously didn’t check line of sight properly because Nick’s guys could see them and so he charged them in his turn. The fighting had begun in earnest.

Backwards and forwards the combat went as more men joined the fray in subsequent turns. Dave was still a ways away… I needed to hold out for another turn or 2.

I threw my giant rats into the mix (one of which I made a familiar for my Sorcerer which meant it had the opportunity to level up like a henchman. Normally animals can’t gain experience. As this rat was special I named him Bubo, and boy was he special! This lowly giant rat not only took out the man he assaulted but managed to run down a near escapee and claim a second kill! Go Bubo!

The same could not be said for the rest of my group. My monks, with their powerful flails were only able to knock their opponents over and not slay them.
My slings either missed their target or failed to wound (or in one case hit another of my giant rats and kill it… at least it wasn’t Bubo).

As Dave’s war band rumbled in, I didn’t have much left on the board and Nick was in all sorts of trouble. In just a couple of turns after Dave’s arrival, Nick’s war band routed and I soon followed suit, returning to the sewers to lick my wounds and salvage this debacle of a door-knocking venture.

Being the only war band remaining on the table, the Witch Hunters took all the spoils.

The crazies come out of the woodworks!

At the end of every campaign match each player rolls to see how badly each war band member was injured. Obviously those that survived didn’t need to roll for this. After that you see how much money you could scrape from the field and dish out experience to surviving members.

So remember that idiot rat who couldn’t jump down a ledge? Yeah well I roll a double 1 on the injury table… dead. That fool just wanted to get a better lookout point and ended up tripping off the ledge and breaking his neck. I guess he wasn’t as devout as he should have been.

Most of my other fellas who were taken out during the game had to sit out my next game and 2 other henchmen died from their injuries. With the casualty count up quite high and not a whole lot of treasure found (just enough to break even) I decided that for my next game I’ll start again with a slightly different war band setup.

 I mean, if I was to continue on as is, then I’d be playing my second game with half of my war band on the field against my opponents full war band. Hardly a pleasant match up. That would force me into a defensive play style to prevent the same thing happening again and I don’t think anyone wants to play against a severely weakened, defensive opponent.

So, I’ll re-jig my list and try again next week. Let’s hope I have a little more luck and fewer dudes who trip over their own feet and break their own necks. Fingers crossed 😉

Until next time folks, stay safe and remember; math-hammer doesn’t work.

-Bensome

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