Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Geheimnisnacht Battle Report: Part 1

On Geheimnisnacht, when both moons are full, Dark Magic stirs the restless dead in their graves. On this unholy night, necromancers and vampires work their foul magic while the citizens of the Empire bar their doors and pray for the dawn to arrive quickly.

The Legion of the Infernal Skull, led by the vampires of family Von Koss, marches across the land. Their ranks swell with every graveyard pass. The entombed dead, drawn by necromantic energies, take up rusty weapons and join the horde.

In their way stands
The Roving Provence of Sigmarheim. The Arch Lector Albrecht Hexenjaeger, leading one of the largest assemblies of faithful Sigmarites ever recorded, is determined to stop the undead tide at all costs.

Last weekend, Steve and I got together for the largest game either of us has ever played. 6500 points per side and more than 600 models in total, the game took almost 20 hours from setup to cleanup.


This battle report is broken into three parts:

Part 1: Intro, Army Lists, Deployment

Part 2: The Battle, Turns 1-3

Part 3: Turn 4-6, Conclusion

We played at Steve's house on his beautiful terrain. (You can see more of his finished Empire army and works-in-progress over on the Warhammer-Empire.com forum.) I took a ton of photos as we went, to document the battle and capture some "action vignettes." So, without further ado...

The Armies


The Legion of the Infernal Skull,

Vampire Lord Dimitri Von Koss, Commanding


The vampire Seth Von Koss has scoured the land, searching for the remains of warriors that had once served him at Blood Keep, and with every barrow and mass grave uncovered, his ranks of wights grew. Countless dire wolves and fell creatures flocked to Marduk. Together with Dimitri Von Koss, his magical prowess ever increasing, on the eve of Geheimnisnacht they would lead the Legion of the infernal Skull on the greatest campaign of slaughter it has ever seen.

It has been decades since the the vampires took control of the
Legion. The necromancer Nieman Kimmel had been powerless to stop them. But every year on this night, when the Winds of Magic were strongest, he has practiced a dark ritual in an effort to regain some of the magical energy he'd lost. Perhaps his many years of patience and subservience would finally bear fruit.

LORDS (1351 pts)


476   Dimitri Von Koss (Vampire Lord, General)

            Wizard Lv 4, Heavy Armor, Hand Weapon, 

            Master of the Black Arts, Book of Ashur 

480   Seth Von Koss (Vampire Lord)
             Wizard Lv 1, Heavy Armor, Lance, Enchanted Shield, 

             Zombie Dragon Mount
395   Marduk the Ghoul King (Strigoi Ghoul King)
             Wizard Lv 1, Red Fury, Talisman of Preservation, Sword of Strife, 


HEROES  (605 pts)


155   Oren Koth (Wight King Battle Standard Bearer)

Armor of Silvered Steel, Hand Weapon

180   Sepulchral Sentinels (Wight Kings)

x2 @ 90 points each, Great Weapon, Heavy Armor

60   Korak the Grim (Cairn Wraith)

            Great Weapon

65   Nieman Kimmel (Necromancer)                                                            

Wizard Lv 1, Hand Weapon          

80   Toht Nhemisis (Necromancer)                                                            

Wizard Lv 1, Nightmare, Hand Weapon

65   Samus Garz (Necromancer)                                                                        

Wizard Lv 1, Hand Weapon          


CORE  (1628 pts)


210   The Crimson Reapers (31 Skeletons)

Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Light Armor, Screaming Banner

180   The Red Guard Skeletons (30 Skeletons)

            Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Light Armor

180   The Red Guard Skeletons (30 Skeletons)

            Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Light Armor

155   25 Skeletons

Full Command, Spear, Shield, Light Armor

260   The Shanks (25 Ghouls)

Ghast, Hand Weapons

73   Nameless Rabble (21 Zombies)

Standard, Musician, Hand Weapon

70   Nameless Rabble (20 Zombies)

Standard, Musician, Hand Weapons

500   The Doom Hounds of Marduk (5 Dire Wolves with Doom Wolf)

            x10 5-man units @ 50 points each


SPECIAL  (2371 pts)


420   The Hellfire Knights (15 Black Knights)

Full Command, Lance, Shield, Heavy Armor, Barded Skeletal Steeds

420   The Hellfire Knights (15 Black Knights)

Full Command, Lance, Shield, Heavy Armor, Barded Skeletal Steeds

290   The Hellfire Knights (10 Black Knights)

Full Command, Lance, Shield, Heavy Armor, Barded Skeletal Steeds

360   The Inferno Guard (30 Grave Guard)

Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Heavy Armor

486   The Execution Guard (38 Grave Guard)

Full Command, Great Weapon, Heavy Armor

80     5 Fell Bats

210   Bat Swarms

            x3 2-base units @ 70 points each

105   Corpse Cart with Balefire


RARE  (545 pts)


175   Varghulf         

175   Varghulf                      

195   Black Coach

TOTAL: 6500 points

This army utilizes nearly everything in my collection aside from the wraiths, banshees, bats, and a couple retired models. I wanted to squeeze in as many models as I could, but I took a few key magic items and vampire powers like Master of the Black Arts and the Book of Ashur to give me that edge in the magic phase, and I tooled up Marduk for maximum combat efficiency. Otherwise, I didn't go too heavy on the magic items. (I didn't even leave room for the Banner of the Barrows!)

My plan is simple: Cross the field get stuck in! In order to fulfill my core requirements I had to break my dire wolves into minimum units and upgrade each with a Doom Wolf. Those would form a screen which I could then Vanguard move forward. I would run the wolves across the field as quickly as possible. The wolves would either make it in and tie up his missile units, or draw fire from the heavier units like the black knights and grave guard. If I could get the majority of my main battle line, intact, into combat I was confident that my numbers could carry the battle. But in an army this size, the general's limited march radius would mean my line would advance slower than usual.


The Roving Provence of Sigmarheim,

Arch Lector Albrecht Hexenjaeger, Commanding


“Praise Sigmar and pass the Ammunition!”

Pious and powerful, yet arrogant and rash, bristling with a power of faith unseen in even the most notable of the Sigmarite creed, a young warrior priest named Albrecht Hexenjaeger, set forth from Altdorf many years ago with a single purpose in mind– to raise an army of the faithful the likes of which the Empire had never seen. Unburdened by the Emperor’s tempered hand and the bickering politicians, unshackled by the constraints of the Church of Sigmar, he would take it upon himself to reclaim the lands that had fallen into the hands of the enemy. The evil. The weak. This would be done in Sigmar’s name, and His alone, as foretold by the twin tailed comet seen above Albrecht’s boyhood home and the voice in his head all those many years…

LORDS (760 pts)

360   Albrecht Hexenjaeger (Arch Lector, General)

            Armor of Meteoric Iron, Talisman of Protection, Great Weapon, 

            Mounted on War Altar of Sigmar w/ Horn of Sigismund
200   Hieronymous Bosch (Light Wizard Lord)
            Wizard Lv 4, Hand Weapon
200   Argyle Von Flamme (Fire Wizard Lord)
            Wizard Lv 4, Hand Weapon

HEROES (1315 pts)

65    Louquacious the Naysayer (Light Wizard)
           Wizard Lvl 1, Hand Weapon
100   Erlich Karlz (Fire Wizard)
            Wizard Lvl 2, Hand Weapon

142   Ludwig Vann (Captain, Army Standard Bearer)

            War Banner, Barded Warhorse, Full Plate
105   Joachim Schådel 105pts (Witch Hunter)
            Van Horstmann’s Speculum, Seed of Rebirth, Great Weapon, Light Armor
276   Warrior Priests of Sigmar
            x4 @ 69 points each, Heavy Armor, Additional Hand Weapon
72    Warrior Priest of Sigmar
            Heavy Armor, Great Weapon
88    Warrior Priest of Sigmar
            Barded Warhorse, Heavy Armor, Great Weapon
88    Warrior Priest of Ulric
            Barded Warhorse, Heavy Armor, Great Weapon
144   Captains
            x2 @ 72 points each, Full Plate, Great Weapon
85    Engineer

            Pigeon Bombs, Hand Weapon
75    Engineer
            Repeater Pistol, Hand Weapon
75    Engineer
            Repeater Handgun, Hand Weapon

CORE (1996 pts)

264   Volkssturm (39 Free Company Militia)
            Full Command, Additional Hand Weapons
240   666th BierStube Schwerter (30 Swordsmen)
            Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Light Armor
233   420th Alten Garde Schwerter (29 Swordsmen)
            Full Command, Hand Weapon, Shield, Light Armor
210   415th Halberds (30 Halberdiers)
            Full Command, Halberds, Light Armor
450   Handgunners

            x3 12-man units with Marksman @ 150 points each
            Handguns, Hochland Long Rifle
126   Tilean Levy (14 Crossbowmen)

245   Obsidian Order of Sigmar (8 Inner Circle Knights)
            Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame, Lance, Shield, Full Plate, Barding
228   9 Knights of the White Wolf
            Full Command, Great Weapons, Shield, Full Plate, Barding

SPECIAL (1419 pts)

349   Liebstandarte Hexenjåeger (29 Greatswords)
            Full Command, Great Weapons, Full Plate
220   10 Outriders
            Musician, Repeating Handgun, Hand Weapon, Light Armor
370   30 Flagellants
            Prophet of Doom, Flails
480   x4 Cannons @ 120 points each

RARE (990 pts)

130   Celestial Hurricanum
360   x3 Helblasters @ 120 points each

250   Steamtank Gotterdamerung

250   Steamtank Weltuntergang


TOTAL: 6480 points

Since I began collecting the Empire roughly thirteen years ago, this is by far the grandest army that I’ve ever mustered at any one single time. I’m finally in the position to pick a force that is tailored to almost any opponent, and while close combat is the meat and potatoes of Warhammer, having played (ie: lost to) Rob countless times over the years, I knew I needed to do my best to whittle his army down as far away from my battleline as possible. I chose as big a gunline as I could, with as many war machines as I can field; sometimes it is best to smite the foes of Sigmar from afar. Black powder would not be my only weapon however.

Against veteran players, detachments are useless. These smaller units will just get steamrolled, and the enemy will end up on the flanks of the parent units or worse, behind them, and facing a fast moving army that can resurrect casualties and heal wounds makes this possibility an even greater threat. Large blocks of State Troops strengthened by characters, including my lords and battle wagons, would form my center, while thirty flagellants, a horde of militia, and the hardened steel of a steam tank would bolster my left flank. The right would be a massive firebase with thirty-six handgunners, ten Outriders, a Helblaster, two cannon, and a second steamtank. Two units of knights would serve as a fast reaction force to help out where necessary. That was my plan, and I was sticking to it…

The Battlefield

We played the game on a 4'x8' battlefield. I set up the terrain and gave Steve his choice of table side. He elected for the far side and we began deploying. As far as rules for the terrain, there's nothing fancy. The hills are all open terrain, and the field is just a field (no spider-blood man-eating crops or anything). We decided the buildings would be impassable so we wouldn't have to worry about garrisoning them; the citizens had likely barricaded the doors and windows, anyway.

To represent the power of Geheimnisnacht (and to accommodate the sheer number of wizards on the field) Steve and I decided to use the Rules from Storm of Magic to generate power and dispel dice (four dice rolled for the casting pool, with a maximum of 24 power dice). The scenario was a simple meeting engagement. Could the forces of Sigmar hold back the undead horde long enough to see the dawn? 





The roll-off had me deploying first. I began with a unit of dire wolves. Then another. And another. Steve countered with his own units, and by the time I got to my 10th and final dire wolf unit, I could tell he was getting a little annoyed. My units outnumbered his by almost two-to-one, so he was finished deploying by the time I got to my heavy-hitting units.

Steve set up a battle line, and I could tell it would be a long, hard slog through all that artillery fire just to reach the enemy. The general, Dimitri Von Koss was close to the right flank to give the black knights a first-turn march move.



The dire wolf screen stretched across the board, with my regiments ranked up behind them. You can see Seth Von Koss, atop his zombie dragon, deployed behind a house to screen him from cannon fire. 



The varghulfs, being Vampiric and thus able to march on their own, were deployed on the left flank with some fell bats.



Across from them was the majority of Steve's artillery: three cannons, a volley gun, the steamtank, outriders, and plenty of handgunners. 



His center, made up of State Troops and knights, stands ready.



Both armies stand ready. The dice are cast for the first turn...



I welcome your comments on our army lists and deployment strategies. Parts two and three, featuring the battle itself, are up now.


Part 1: Intro, Army Lists, Deployment

Part 2: The Battle, Turns 1-3

Part 3: Turn 4-6, Conclusion

'Til next time!


  1. The armies look great and I can't wait to see the rest of the battle.


  2. Gorgeous pics and a fantastic battle report. A true celebration of the hobby. Bravo!

  3. Tremendous! Two marvellous collections, I'm looking forward to seeing how this pans out.


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