I'm playing with Chaos and my friend with High Elves. As usual my army comes determined by what I have painted so far, whereas my friend can choose among his more than 3k army points. Being Chaos so expensive, the High Elves deployed many more units than me on the battlefield. As usual you can click on the pictures for bigger view.
Chaos on top, High Elves bottom
High Elves moved first and all the army excepting a brigade of spears, shifted to the right flank. After a failed attempt of the High Elves to charge my right flank, I advanced a brigade of Chaos Warriors towards the centre forest and another brigade of Chaos Knights and Dragon Ogres to take the hill to the right. The Elves then fell back and formed a long line of cavalry and chariots in front of me. I decided to launch and all or nothing charge with all my army. First I started with the most difficult part which was to move three times a brigade of Marauders and Ogres positioned on a small hill at the bottom right. They made it and clashed against the Elven cavalry. Then the same hero who moved them, also successfully ordered to charge the Dragon Ogres into the Elven line. Now it came the easy part, with the general to move the Chaos Knights on the hill and then the Chaos Warriors in the forest, but he rolled a 12! Even though many of my most powerful units didn't charge, I managed to exterminate some full units of Elven cavalry. I was impressed by the brutal punch that the Dragon Ogres have with six attacks per stand, plus a sorcerer who joined the unit and casted the spell Boom of Chaos, giving to the unit even more attacks.
What is left of the Elven battle line after the Chaos charge
After that, the Elves reacted swiftly and killed all the surviving Chaos units. The Elf artillery and bows killed two stands of my Chaos knights on the hill. On the left flank, the brigade of four Elven spear units advance four consecutive times and surrounded and killed one of my Chaos Warhounds unit who were guarding that flank. The Eagles with the help of a hero on eagle, managed to decimate two Trolls units at the rear. The battle was tactically lost but Chaos hadn't reach its break point yet. Thus I desperately charged out from the forest and killed one unit of bows and one of throwers. Also, one unit of harpies that I had in reserve, managed to kill two more units before being exterminated. After that, the High Elves killed two more units, making Chaos reaching its break point and winning the game for not a very wide margin. Anyway, I must say I cannot complain about the result as I almost won the battle without using any of my Chaos Knights and Warriors.
Recently I discovered in the Specialist Forum a mod to play Warmaster with less stands. The basic idea is to represent one unit with just one stand as in other games with similar mechanics like BKC or FWC. This system is ideal to introduce you to Warmaster as it requires much less figures to play.
After reading the mod, me and a buddy decided to try this Sunday a 2k armies game of Orcs versus Elves. My Orc army consisted in: 6 Orc warrior units, 2 of Black Orcs, 2 Ogres, 8 Goblins, 3 boar boyz, 4 wolf boyz, General, 2 Orc heroes (one with chariot), 1 Goblin hero and 1 Goblin shaman. My buddy's Elves army consisted in: General, 2 heroes (one on eagle), 2 magicians, 6 archers units, 2 bolt throwers, 4 spear units and 4 heavy cavarly units.
Orcs up and Elves bottom
Elves moved first with a brigade of archers occupying the wood of the left, a brigade of spear rushing to the hedges in the centre, another brigade of 2 archers and 2 bolt throwers positioning on the hill, and one last brigade of heavy cavalry on the right flank. Heroes and Magicians forward.
All the Orcs moved forward excepting a brigade of goblins on the left commanded by a Goblin hero, and a brigade of boar boyz to the right commanded by an Orc hero on chariot. A brigade of Orc warriors took the wood in the centre; an excellent position for the Goblin shaman to fall back, as well as to affect Elves moving orders.
End of turn 1
The Elves consolidated their positions on the left flank whereas the brigade with the bolt throwers boldly advanced forward . The Silver Helms brigade was totally disrupted by my Goblin Shaman spellcasting "Gotcha". The Orcs failed most of their orders and only two brigades advanced once each.
End of turn 2
In the picture below, the Elves has outflanked the Orcs on the left bottom side, whereas the Boar boyz together with the Goblin Shaman has wiped out the brigade with the bolt throwers, but no before they killed one unit of Black Orcs, one of Wolf riders and one of Boar boyz. As you may see at the far bottom, the brigade of goblins had not activated yet after five turns!
I think this was turn 5
Noticing the Orcs that the Elves had one full brigade of archers chasing goblins far from the battlefield, and another brigade of archers and bolt throwers destroyed, and yet another brigade (the spears) pinned with Orc warriors, they rushed forward with all their units towards the hill where the heavy cavalry, general and staff was standing.
As the leadership of the Orcs is so low, I decided to move all of them into initiative range, to launch and all or nothing assault with my surviving units in the next turn.
I lost four or five units in the Elves turn and was at two units distance for the break point, but then the all the remaining Orcs could attack with their initiative, surrounding the Silver Helms, hero and general, and finished them all. Game over and victory for the Orcs by a narrow margin.
Conclusion: We had to roll less dice and to move less stands but in the end it took us almost the same time to finish the game as in any other normal Warmaster game. Also, we felt that the strategy and way of playing didn't change much with respect to the original Warmaster ruleset. Warmaster Skirmish is great if you start from zero and first have to paint a full army to play; but if you already have a painted army, go for the original Warmaster as the mass effect of so many troops deployed on the board cannot be beaten.
In his last fight Spartacus failed to his dominus, making him lose a lot of coin. Also the crowd was disappointed with the bad performance of Spartacus who was the new hero to cheer up for. For these reasons, Spartacus has been paired with his gladiator friend Varrus, to fight in pairs against four more gladiators in a general melee Sine Missione, to the death. He must survive and gain again the favour of the crowd and of his master.
All the models except Spartacus play as NPCs, including Varrus. The three teams are Spartacus and Varrus as Dimachaerus and Secutor respectively, one blue team composed of a Thraex and a Hoplomachus, and one red team with an Amazon and a Retiarius. For being woman, the Amazon has two more dice in her pool but is at disadvantage if suffers a bash attack.
Varrus and Spartacus in the bottom centre
Red team activates first and moves directly towards its nearer enemies, thus fatally splitting the team. The Amazon advances towards Spartacus and Varrus whereas the Retiari throws his net on the Thraex. After that, Varrus engages the Amazon and cuts her left thigh. Now Spartacus and Varrus activates first and charge simultaneously the Amazon, hitting her twice on head and arm and making two scratches and sending her to ground. Seizing the opportunity, Varrus jumps on her and make a new cut in her left calf.
Red team is next and the Amazon stands up and catches her breath while the Retiari throws his net again on the Hoplomachus who dodges to his left, colliding with the Thraex and because of this, not being able to escape from the net, and resulting ensnared and pulled to the ground, suffering a scratch. The Hoplomachus stands up still ensnared, and the Thraex attacks and wounds the Retiari on his left foot, forcing him to fall back. The Hoplomachus finally removes the net while his mate attacks again the Retiari but to no effect. The Retiarius fight off the Thraex scratching his right foot with his trident. Spartacus and Varrus attack again the Amazon who defends herself fiercely, severely slashing Spartacus' chest (boo!) but also receiving a punishing trust in the belly by Varrus. The Amazon falls to the ground again and Varrus quickly dispatches her. First kill. The Thraex and Hoplomachus attacks the Retiari who exchange wounds with the Thraex, both in their left arms. Spartacus and Varrus run towards them. Again the Hoplomachus and the Thraex engage with the Retiari and in the melee the Retiari and the Thraex both result spent and fall to the ground exhausted. The Hoplamachus trusts Retiari's head but is surprisingly charged by a dashing Spartacus, willing to kill somebody to please the crowd and his dominus; Varrus following him as fast as he can. Spartacus fails to wound the Hoplomachus, but Spartacus and Varrus moves first in the following turn and both attack again the doomed Hoplomachus. Varrus misses but Spartacus sticks his gladius on the Hoplomachus' left thigh. Now it is the Hoplomachus turn, who attacks with his one last dice in his pool, consequently falling spent in front of Spartacus, who cuts off his head in one swift stroke. Spartacus and Varrus covered in blood, salute the roaring crowd. They get 12 Advance points and 25 Fame point each.Spartacus is once again in the limelight! He has now 14 AP and 155 FP.