The orc warriors fuelled their rage with the blood of the fallen, working themselves into a berserker frenzy. As they crested the hill to attack the dwarven stronghold, a lone figure stood before them, axe planted firmly in the ground and face set in stone. The orcs paused for a moment, then stormed forwards. Their catapult stood ready to hurl the broken bodies of their comrades at the gates if needed but, right now, blood lust was all that filled their minds. One wall of their city was already on fire. It was time to show these midgets who was da boss.
What I love the most about Warhamer Invasion, even after just 2 games, is the way a narrative constructs itself around the cards you play. While the effects of them can be a little difficult to understand and get to grips with, the face of each support, tactic or unit card is pretty explicit. This is a catapult, and it ravages your enemy’s capital at the cost of a unit in your battlefield. This is a set of mental doom divers, who will blow up your own capital as they prepare for their unstoppable assault on the enemy if you are not adequately prepared. This is a hero, a legend, a unit of such ferocity it will take a full frontal assault to neutralise him.
King Kazador waited until the last moment to heft his axe, immediately cleaving the enemy in front of him in half. As he fought off blow after blow, wound after wound opened across his body. He gritted his teeth, determined to stop the horde and to save his kingdom. Too late, he thought, as the last got past him. He took a deep breath and leaned against his bloody weapon as the beasts entered through the very gates he had sought to protect. He knew this wall was lost, that there was nought to do but die now.
If our first game was a confused mess this second game fulfilled the epic prophecies of the ancient ones. My huge army, constructed to overwhelm and destroy the canny defences the dwarven forces (my wife) had constructed looked unstoppable. By the rough maths calculations in my mind, I had enough might to assign all the damage I had to and take out the front facing wall of the battlefield. What should have been a dance on the near-dead body of a king and a celebration in the orange glow of a burning city didn’t quite pan out that way.
A strange energy filled the air, electricity arching through the sky, striking Kazador’s axe and filling his body and mind with renewed vigour. A nearby orc unit was embraced by the same forces but there experience was different. His wounds healed instantly, their guts were ripped open, spilling the fleshy and bloody cores onto the battlefield. Though the enemy had reached the wall, had breached the gate, had set the defences alight, they were unable to contain their fear. The lone figure of King Kazador, striding towards them through the smoke with a look of damning fury in his eyes was enough to route them.
Having already beaten one of my units to a bloody pulp, playing a card that bounced back all the damage I’d inflicted on her one defensive card was a move of genius. Half of my forces were wiped out in this simple action and her champion stood there, untouched. Given he knocked off 2 points of damage every god damned turn anyway, I felt like the orcs. Luckily, though my battlefield was in chaos, I still had a catapult and I’d still set one wall alight. With each of us three quarters of the way to defeated (one wall on fire, another heavily damaged) I figured inflicting 2 points of damage in a turn by sacrificing a unit would be a good way to make a last stand. All or nothing, it’s always how I play.
More energy in the air, but different this time. A single, phenomenal strike of power arcs through the air and vapourises one of the orc units in the battlefield. It happens so fast that there is no time for the final remaining forces in that section to prepare for Kazador as his small, seemingly impossibly powerful body arcs through the sky and he begins his relentless assault. It’s only as he pauses for breath and to wipe the enemy’s blood from his eyes that the reality of the situation hits the orc generals. Their battlefield is decimated, their catapult relentless, their reserves spent. They have nothing. Nothing between them and this insane dwarf and defeat.
And now I’m sitting there. I have no cards in my hand to play, a city wall on fire, an absolutely fucking useless catapult in battlefield that’s dependent upon the sacrifice of non-existent units to function and I’m screwed. I am utterly, utterly defenceless thanks to my wife having whittled down my kingdom and quest sections (so I get few resources and draw fewer cards each turn) and me having not responded. I’ve played an all out assault game – focusing on the quick stockpiling of units and resources to throw at her and fuck her up. She’s played an astonishing defensive game, holding on to key cards until they’re really needed, bolstering the city walls with developments when she has no use for a card, picking at me every turn. It’s worked. I’m done and I know it.
What’s worse is, she doesn’t even seem to know yet.
The King stands before the gate, the ruined catapults to his side and the fallen bodies of the defeated enemies all around him. The orc camp is in chaos, anarchy, collapse. His hands grip his axe, shifting the weight slightly in preparation for the final assault. He strides forwards and, with a mighty roar, splits the gate with one single blow.