Relight my Fire

Vanguard - Goblins Vs Northern Alliance

As mentioned in the earlier Battle report (here) Louis and I had lined up for some Vanguard to try out the new rules. It was the 3rd game I had played. the first being coincidentally exactly a year previous using the beta rules. The second I had to call early as I Was short on time. Both hadn't completely grabbed me but I was willing to give it a chance before I ignored the option of KoW skirmish completely. For more information on Louis' great models and painting see here.

Force Selection

The Gobbos

Having very little idea of what would combine together well I picked a varied goblin force hoping to have a bit of shooting, a bit of combat and a bit of support. I was also slightly limited to what models I had painted up and as a result had to make do.

To start off with although goblins aren’t the most aggressive that I can see from the list I needed to inflict some wounds in Combat. The two Mawbeasts and the troll should provide some thumping power and enough wounds to hold people up. I like the access the Mawbeasts have to howl and help each other out so a pair seemed a good choice. The toll looks a pretty point and shoot monster with nice high move to couple with it.

Next choice was my command. I knew I wanted a wiz as I liked the ability to reach out and zzzzap things. I switched out the stun spell for slink as I thought for tactical options it was worth a punt. The Spellcaster was joined by a Biggit purely for the command dice and inspiring. I can’t see him taking on the world in combat but maybe getting off some mob assaults would help.

I was needed to fill out the rest of the force with enough grunts and warriors to make it viable. 2 Luggits would provide some beef, 2 Spittas some ranged fire to support the wiz and a mixture of rabble with spears and hand weapons rounded out the warband. I too no extra artefacts or equipment as I always forget to use them and with Goblin’s poor nerve I wanted to make sue I upped my numbers as much as was possible to avoid break checks too soon.

The Lads from Up North

Louis took 3 bow armed elves, 3 dwarves 3 hurscals, a snow troll and a hero. Everything he had did stuff better than me but his numbers were fewer and I would have to rely on the tried and tested tactic of mobbing the enemy and stabbing when they weren’t looking. A selection of lucky charms had been sourced and the archers had been given sheaves of arrows to make teh most of any chances they got. A dwarf had a frost hammer for extra punch and most of the heavily armed combat units had large weapons giving them extra  Crushing Strength.
Mission And deployment
As it seems to be the one with the coolest scenery and a favourite of Mr Renton by the amount he talks of it we selected the “Light the Beacon” mission. Deployment for this meant the Northern Alliance set up first and they spread across the deployment zone with the archers eyeing up the ruins in front of them to scale the walls and provide vantage points to rain fire down on the greenskins midgets.


The Goblins deployed the Mawbeast and ranged units in the woods to the left and the bulk off the infantry between the remains of the building on the right. The plan was for the ranged and Mawbeast to harangue the norther alliance advance while the intranet blocked the movement through the ruins and funnel the advance down the open ground where they could hopefully bring their superior numbers to effect.


I didn’t take detailed notes of this as I was spending too much time thinking and taking photos. Events may not have happened exactly I describe and I’m still getting used to the turns and rounds and don’t really know how to write them up but we’ll see how it turns out.

***Normal service resumed***

Round 1

Both sides cautiously moved towards each other. The Elf archers made the use of the ruins in front of them and climbed them unleashing all of their missiles along with their bonus sheaves into the exposed Goblin Biggit in the open. They managed to strip a couple of wounds off him but not rout him. A definite lesson in how hiding things in deployment is a good idea! In retaliation the goblin Spitters drew their short bows and sent a volley of black-fletched arrows, felling one of the elves. The Mawbeasts had moved up to try and set them selves for an assault on the snow troll. Before they could work them selves into a frenzy the massive beast lumbered towards the taking swings with his massive axe as he did. The wizard and remaining elf archer exchanged fire between the forces with no effect.

It was first blood to the goblins but with the majority of combatants now within charge range it was sure not to be the last.

Round 2

The Mawbeasts and the Snow Troll continued to rip chunks out of each other with no victor obvious. The wiz broke cover and tried to zzzzap the heavily armoured Norther Alliance leader, again proving ineffective. The Dwarves rushed into the exposed goblin trying to pull him down but failed. He retaliated with equal impotence. Before they got a chance to draw their bows again the Spittas were cut down by the on rushing Hurscals. The Biggit seeing the error of his ways bravely hid in the ruins. The Greenskin troll and spearmen ran at the Dwarves confronting them in the ruins, wiping them out and then retreating to safety. The troll, despite being simple remembered to turn around and face the archer above him.The spearmen he accompanied did not.

Honours were even with the ranged goblin threat neutralised but the doughty short-legged warriors for the Kinsmen of the wastes cut down.

Round 3

The Mawbeasts and snow troll continued their slapping fest on the edge of the woods with one of the prancing red globes being smashed into a pulp. Realising there was little point trying to run away or cast with the wizard (ad forgetting the flee army rule) the wiz prepared to sell her life delay. The last rabble slew its Dwarves foe in the ruins with the help of his mates’ spears. The trio of elite warriors charged in and despite needing all three of them chopped the wiz into small pieces in an explosion of pumpkin seeds and green smoke. Undaunted they continued their relentless advance. The elf archer in the ruins spied the rear end of one of the Goblin spearmen and thudded several lengthy will shafts into him, rendering him motionless. The remaining goblins and troll legged it from this threat into the cover of the walls.

The Goblin left flank had effectively collapsed while all that remains of the Northern Alliance left flank was an archer stranded on some ruins.

Round 4

Sensing his chance one of the Hurscals bolted for the undefended watchtower to attempt to light it next round. This triggered a brutal chain of events. The Troll eager to squash more 'oomies changed into the brave warrior flattening him but not taking him down. The warriors in the woods charged into the Troll taking him out in a flurry of brutal blows. Crucially the victors did not reposition themselves and were promptly rushed by a mob of goblins from the ruins. This killed off one of the Hurscals and left the Northern Alliance leader down. The remaining Human and troll charged into the hapless spear armed goblin who hadn’t made it in to join up with his mates. Predictably a green smear was all that remained. Figuring that he really should try and get stuck in the Goblin Biggit tried to finish off the down Hero but failed. With nothing else to do the remaining archers advanced on the action ‘

All hell was braking lose around the beacon but with time running out the next few activations would be crucial

Round 5

Both sides had suffered and were now forced to take break checks.Rather Uninteresting all models passed! Having repositioned himself after the previous kill the unengaged Luggit charged the rear of the Hurscal who had the best chance of ignition killing him outright. He decided discretion was the better part of valour and hid behind the stone plinth with its still as yet unlit pyre. In the ensuing chaos all of the remaining goblins were felled by the combined Hurscal and troll charge.

As the game ended the remaining Greenskin took his chance and emptied his bladder onto the dry tinder ensuring that no matter what happened in the immediate future no signal would be given to the Northmen’s allies.


I was lucky the game ended when it did. With one goblin left there was no chance I would have survived a sixth round. I think the plan went to plan sort of but it turns out that taking goblins out is a lot easier than humans! I was happy with the way the Mawbeasts held up the snow troll and in general of there are a lot of them goblins can be OK in combat. 1-1 they are not great. The sneaky, outnumbering and spear in combat also make this effective. Louis used the mob assaults well and moving the archers up onto the ruins giving the line of sight was a great tactical move.

Neither side had any mounted units and I think maneuverability and speed they would have added would have massively changed the feel of the game. Threatening rear charges and moving up on the beacon would have made a big difference. I'll probably try and bring some mounted troops for the next game with Goblins.

I’ve learnt a good few things and a couple of bits we go wrong but it was still great fun. It felt very thematic with the ebb and flow of battle. I’m slowly warming up to Vanguard and I think the biggest hurdle I am facing is the rule book flicking. This has made it slow but it certainly getting quicker. Key rules I need to remember with my warband are:

  • Flee! - I really should have made more use of this maybe saving my wiz
  • Command! - I forgot I was allowed to re-roll a die for each of my command models not just one
  • Swarm - I completely forgot this rule and can see how it makes a bog difference when goblins are mobbing up on people.

Gameplay things I need to remember are:

  • Never leave your rear exposed if possible else you'll get pierced or crushed easily. Being able to turn as many time as you want is a big thing.
  • Mobbing is a major advantage
  • Don't deploy in the open if you can help it when archers are around
  • Swapping out to get the slink spell helped a little but I could have got better use from it
  • Walking into engagement doesn't allow you to attack, but you can force fatigue to do this later


  1. Where is the stone troll from?

    1. Sorry! Didn't see this! It's from the massive Darkness Board Game


Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

Making an Immersive Battlefield

Rolling some dice and pushing around some toys… but how do we roll them?

Guns, lots of Guns