Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ominous Signs

So, just to let you know, Stephen the newest Fantasy player at the club, who can barely buy a win in the campaign, beat me AGAIN. Now the first time, I could see it was a bad combo of a sneaky trick he had as a random event roll combined with the worst possible mission (playing lengthways down the table and several key parts of my enemy being forced into reserve) In the summer campaign game, he won by stealing the initiative. Literally. He'd placed a scouting unit next to my Helblaster. Ok I thought, that's some easy points turn 1. No, he seized. Now by the odds, that's still easy points turn 1. They have ten shots needing 3s followed by 6s. He got 7 hits. About average. He got 4 wounds. What the ACTUAL fuck?!? Dead helblaster. I figured I'd ignore the unit till his Bolt throwers were dead then turn something to deal with them. It took 5 turns of shooting by my three cannons to kill his three Bolt Throwers... And do bear in mind that two of the Bolt Throwers were killed by Bolts of Magic fired by one of my wizards, so ten cannon shots to kill one Bolt Thrower. Meanwhile that small skirmish unit chewed it's way along my line, eventually eating about 600 points of my army. In a game I lost 1200 to 1000 that is a big chunk.

Annoyingly, despite all that, I was still looking at pulling off a win as I'd got my knights into a slugging match in the middle. His ward save was mostly keeping him alive, so I was slowly chewing through him, but my armour save was deflecting nearly all of his hits. Until his wizard miscast. The wizard that was in the front rank and had flukily survived several punishing blows from great weapons due to his sodding ward save. He miscast big, putting a large template on his head at Str 10. For his infantry with a 3+ ward, painful but not devastating. For my knights however... It took them all out. The few wounds that went into the surviving characters for the remainder of the game took out the BSB. Were it not for the explosion (which didn't even have the good grace to kill the sodding wizard, I had to do that myself eventually) the BSB and the unit would have survived the game, meaning I'd have lost about 400 less points than I did... enough for a victory again.

So in summary, my opponent beat me by rolling a 6, followed by four 6s, and then a double 6 followed by a double 1. Motherfucker...

However, I am set for Revenge. I had told my opponent I would be heading for the mine he nicked off me to regain it. But then the flying fortress passed over, and I didn't fancy sending my cavalry army (which only has a couple level 2s) into a Storm of Magic game. So I turned away from my mine he captured, and have gone to try to steal his mine instead. The mine he had captured from me duly collapsed. Because he rolled a 1. Karma for you right there motherfucker... :-P

In the fight we have lined up, I get to force some of his units into reserve, so a fitting revenge. However he does get to pick the scenario. To make sure he doesn't get too much advantage from this, I have committed an extra 500 points to the battle. That should hopefully do the trick. Unfortunately I shall have to include some infantry, as it is almost inevitable he will go for the Watchtower against my cavalry based army. I shall just have to make sure I include a small unit of something else, so that if I get the win and get a regiment of reknown again, I don't end up stuck with a large block of infantry in the middle of a cavalry army, like I did until Stephen was gracious enough to beat me the other week (one of the few upsides of the whole affair, losing that sodding regiment)

Overall in the campaign The Dwarf player is still steaming ahead in relics, one of the Dark Elf players is on about half what he is on (and that's second place) while Everyone else has between 9 and 11. That's made things very interesting as we enter Autumn...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Back in the Badlands... the story so far

As midsummer approaches, it is worth looking back on the badlands campaign to see how things are progressing.

Sir Ulric has had a smashing time gallivanting around and beating up other peoples, particularly ogres. However his extensive travels have had a slight negative effect on his army - they are running low on horses and now have an entire regiment of infantry cluttering up the camp, which is slowing everyone down. So Sir Ulric is establishing a small forward base in the far west to station more cavalry at, so as to continue his adventures in the Autumn.

Meanwhile the Church of the Martyred Monk has been running the growing Imperial encampment with ruthless efficiency, digging up everywhere for the bones of their prophet (little knowing that Sir Ulric has already captured the land where the prophet died, and hastily removed the evidence west, where he is establishing a mine to hide said evidence at the bottom of) The constant digging has unearthed a lot of treasure, making Pontius Pillock, the leader of the church of the martyred monk, quite the rich, powerful, and VERY well protected man. The various trinkets secreted about his person gives Pontius a 1+ rerollable armour save, a 4+ rereollable ward save, WS 10 (so enemies are usually gonna be hitting him on 5s) and he heals a wound every turn!

Meanwhile Roughguts has been very quiet, we believe he is not risking riding out too far until the Talisman of Preservation that was in his travelling luggage arrives... like passengers at Luton, stillllll waiting...

The High Elves to the immediate north of the Empire encampment have taken a bit of a battering, mostly at the hands of others to be fair, though the Empire have sneaked in and nicked a couple of abandoned territories of theirs from time to time. The Dark Elves to the East that started out in such a bad position have been growing steadily, even making a brief incursion into an Empire mine... only to realise they were surrounded and now had a new job.

The Empires historic ally of the Dwarves are growing out from their basecamp in a seemingly unstoppable tide. The hated lizards have borne the brunt of some of this, and are starting to flee East into the hands of some Chaos Warriors, as being the lesser of two evils. Ironically. There is also a Dark Elf encampment feeling a similar squeeze...

To the NorthWest a chaos encampment has surfaced, which was steadily growing, but as armies start to flee from the Dwarves they are finding their own lands increasingly overrun.

Finally, the ogres are pretty much where they started, making the occasional trip out but usually being hastily driven back. However they have made such a mess that no one seems to want to actually go in and claim any of their lands. Must be the smell. With two characters injured and one only just released by the Empire for a hefty ransom, you'd think people would go in for the kill. But like I said, there is that smell to consider... Speaking as someone who has gutted a few ogres in this campaign, Sir Ulric had only this to say... "I thought they smelled bad on the outside"

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Never headbutt an Imperial Knight...

So, the last couple of weeks I've been playing with some new toys. Having had a look through the new codex I felt the changes to the codex were mostly well balanced, and while there were some things I would miss (Marbo) there were new additions or improvements that made it worthwhile... besides, I'm thoroughly expecting a Catachan supplementary codex to correct that little problem, which is where Marbo should be anyway - was silly that he was in EVERY single guard army going...

So, feeling there wasn't all that much difference in the new codex, I felt rather than having to relearn it all, I just could have some fun with the new toys. So I write a list... It had some of those shiny new Bullgryns... ten of them in fact. Led by Yarrick. That's quite a points sink if I'm honest, and put in a couple Vendettas for anti-air/anti-tank, some artillery (2xBasilisk, Manticore, Wyvern) it left me relatively few points for scoring units... I loaded 4 units of vets (two with chimeras, the other two with camo cloaks to follow the Bullgryns and benefit from a 3+ cover save. The army lacks scoring units, both in number and survivability, it also lacks mobility. But it just felt like it would be fun to march across the field yelling "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"

Well last week I got stuck in a massive combat just past the relic with half a tyranid army while my vets tried to smuggle the relic itself back to my lines... if it weren't for those sneaky Trygons popping up and cutting off their retreat they'd have made it. Once he'd done the obvious and killed my scoring units, I killed his. In the end he earned a draw by killing Yarrick in turn 5... and turn 6... and turn 7... He could still potentially have gotten up, kinda wish I'd gone second in that scenario now...

The Boys and Yarrick did last a good while. They were locked in combat for about 6 rounds of combat, holding up a Tervigon (taking it down to 1 wound) a Hive Tyrant (taking it down to 1 wound) two Hive Tyrant bodyguard thingies, killed half a Warrior squad and a termagant brood. And this was him charging me! If there hadn't been so many instant death causing Boneswords in his Tyrants squad it would have lasted all bloody game...

So anyway, last night I took part in a team game, Guard/Guard vs Marines/Eldar. The Eldar had a Wraithknight, the Marines had an Imperial Knight. I had been planning to assault a unit of WraithGUARD that fell out of a wave serpent we shot down, and had positioned myself for just that... however a bit of softening up shooting from my colleague took the squad down to one solitary wraithguard who was a very long, through difficult terrain, assault move away. So at the chance of getting charged by the Wraithknight, I thought it best to charge him instead. The first round went well, lost one Bullgryn and took it down to 2 wounds. I could happily maintain that rate of attrition. Unfortunately HIS teammate recognised the threat, and reinforced... with the Imperial Knight AND Lysander. Yarrick accepted the challenge from Lysander to protect the Bullgryns (though if I'd known that losing your Warlord in a challenge to Lysander gained him D3 extra VP as his warlord trait, I would never have accepted... this is where when my opponent said "I don't need to roll my warlord trait is fixed" I should have said "What is it?" Oops.) And the knight fluffed his attacks. Unfortunately my Bullgryns fared little better, only putting 6 wounds on the Wraithknight... statistically enough, but he made all his armour saves. Darn. So while that round was a miraculous draw, with both characters injuring each other but fighting on, the next round the knights did better and stomped all over me.

The game ran a little long and we had to call it at turn 5... We still had a solid bastion of fire around our objective (2 troops choices and 4 heavy support in Big Guns never Tire) and while there was a Knight looming, he was now the only realistic target for most of that firebase - most of the game we'd ignored his inv save and targeted other units. However they had two objectives in their deployment zone, putting them ahead... though if the Basilisk hadn't scattered the shot in the final turn we could have killed the 1 guy holding one of them, which would have reduced the margin of victory somewhat.

In the end;

Super Heavy Alliance had 2x warlord, 2x objective (for 6) and D3 for killing Yarrick.
Guard Alliance had 1x FirstBlood, 2x Warlord, 1x objective (for 3) and were just annoyingly out of Linebreaker... next turn Gadget!

SHA scored 9-11 (we were saving the D3 roll till after the game in case it was a knife edge critical... it wasn't)
GA scored 6.

As I said, them having two of the three objectives in their deployment zone when we an army lacking in mobility (my teammate had only one chimera mounted squad, plus two 5 man scion units deep striking... very little that could get into their deployment area to take/contest, we had to rely on obliterating) and if I'd known Yarrick was such a potential VP loser I'd never have accepted Lysanders challenge, things would have been a lot closer...

All in all though, a cracking fun game that felt a lot closer than the scoreline suggested... And against an army as brutal as that with a badly designed just for shits and giggles list, I'll take it.

PS. One special note has to go to the Manticore. It did bugger all against the Tyranids, but has featured in every list I've had since I played Jamie and it blew up a Landraider AND took two hullpoints off/immobilised a rhino with 1 shot in my first turn. Well the marine player was Jamie. My first turn in this game, the Manticore blew up a Landraider Helios and took two hull points off a rhino. Admittedly the other three missiles did bugger all, same as last time, but I think I'm seeing a pattern here... one shot a Landraider, rest on your laurels for a couple games...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

An Inglorious Return

As the armies made their way to the Badlands, Sir Ulric was well aware that they had set up camp pretty close to where the Church of the Martyred Monk would be able to hunt for the bones of their prophet. Knowing the reason for his demise, Sir Ulric set out early to try to retrieve the bones from the ogres that were still camped out in the area and, if necessary, destroy any incriminating evidence.

However it seems the ogres had struck up an unholy pact with a chaos warband, who rode to battle against Sir Ulric. Upon seeing a mostly mounted army against his own cavalry force, Sir Ulric issued a quick "Tally Ho" and set about the foe. An overenthusiastic wizard nearly spoiled things by blowing himself and two thirds of Ulrics household cavalry up as they had barely got to a canter, the bang spooked the horses and ruined the charge. By the time they had settled the beasts, the enemy were upon them.

Thanks to Sir Ulric and Sir Williams marshal prowess, the enemy were put to the sword and destroyed. The rest of the army was having similar fun, the steam tank grinding enemy cavalry beneath it's wheels as the outriders rode around shooting anything in sight. However the enemy general and his retinue had scurried into a watchtower in the centre, which is where they hid. So the tank and the outriders peppered the building and were having a good old time slaughtering them. There were a last few survivers cowering in the rubble, and Sir Ulric was about to dismount and go weed them out... "My lords" said the Standard Bearer "The day is late, we must return to camp to water the horses"

Seeing the sun approaching the horizon, Sir Ulric reluctantly sheathed his sword and rode back to camp. The enemy had defended the area, he would have to return another day. Despite their technical victory, he was sure those men of the north were leaving the field with a lot less confidence than they entered with...

Monday, 6 January 2014

We're going back to the Badlands!

Rumours circulate the old world of rains of rats. Rats will only abandon a sinking ship... or flying fortress in this particular case. It seems that those sneaky skaven who nicked the fortress in the final hours of the Badlands campaign have come a cropper - with none of the artefacts the other armies had assembled, they didn't have a hope of controlling the fortress. It is coming back to Earth far sooner than anticipated...

I decided a while back to do a sequel to the Blood in the Badlands campaign, and I have almost completed the campaign pack to go along with it. I just need to decide on allies and enemies for the players signed up. Some are obvious, some are less so...

We have signed up...

Disorder - Dark Elves - Scott
Disorder - Dark Elves - Jason
Disorder - Warriors of Chaos - Rob
Neutral - Ogres - Neil (siding with the Disorder players in any of the team games, to make for a fair fight)

Order - High Elves - Stephen
Order - Lizardmen - Rich H
Order - Dwarves - Rich F
Order - Empire - ME!

Now some alliances are obvious... the Dark Elves are teaming up. This leaves the Ogres and the WoC to work together. It's the forces of Order that are throwing up a quandary. Rich H wants to ally with Rich F - mainly to keep the two cannon armies apart. However, given any team games are good vs evil, and the two allies never fought alongside each other in the last campaign apart from said team games, I don't see this as an issue. Admittedly Empire have no trouble fighting alongside High Elves, I'm just not convinced Dwarves will be so forgiving of the cold blooded types. Of course, the Dwarves would never ally with the pointy ears. So that leaves just two options, Lizards or Humans. I prefer an Old World Alliance and a New World Alliance. The High Elves and Lizards have both crossed the oceans for this campaign, are probably used to battling chaos together... and half the stuff in the Empire armoury was made by the sodding dwarves... personally, I'm leaning towards this as the better storyline, but I'll discuss things with the guys tonight.

As for enemies, well Scott should hate Stephen, Stephen should hate Jason, Jason should hate me (he did last time so why not continue the feud...) and I reckon the lizards should probably hate the forces of chaos... I've not planned out the rest yet, will depend on how the alliances work out. But there will be one enemy per player, and ideally they will form a circle of hatred...

I plan to incorporate Triumph and Treachery into this campaign, and with all the little niggles ironed out in the campaign pack I'm hoping this will run more smoothly than last time (though to be fair last time ran pretty well, it was just the occasional bit where we ran into a question of using the new siege rules, and inevitably mid game is the wrong time to debate a rule query...

As for my own armies...

Sir Ulric von Lichtenstein will be returning, however after the head injury he suffered in the first game of the last campaign he never really recovered from it - I will thus be using him as a counts as Marius Leitdorf (the Mad elector count special character) Risky, both tactically and in the risk of using a special character. However, he shall be accompanied by his son and heir (who will basically be equipped as Sir Ulric was last time, family heirlooms and all that) along with his household cavalry. Not a great army for siege games admittedly, I shall hope to avoid using that army in that effort.

I have modelled my Marius conversion to look like this guy, as he always reminded me of him.
Roughguts (my Beasts wizard riding the giant pigeon) shall also be returning, as the last campaign actually proved quite profitable for him - despite being such a high profile target he was one of very few of my characters to leave the badlands with more than he entered with, and no disabilities or slight cases of death to count against him. He made a very large ransom from capturing a dragon in the final battle before the fortress landed...

And finally, despite his compatriots not giving him the time of day, one other person did well from the last campaign - although he never lived to see it. General Wildes godawful poetry, while still mocked to this day, did provide inspiration to many - in the epic saga about the Mad Monk. In the past couple decades the story has grown quite a following, and Sir Ulric has been able to get financial backing for this venture by allowing The Church of the Martyrd Monk to tag along in the hope of finding the fallen prophets body. Sir Ulric hasn't told them this will be a difficult task unless they like sifting through 20 year old ogre shit - maybe there are some smarts in the old dog yet...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

ok, so I don't plan in issuing any of the first two, just the brief annual rundown of my year in gaming... a little early this year but I intend to play a boardgame at the final geeknight of the year and they don't count towards my stats.

It was a bit of a quieter year this year than last, as my end of year round up only includes games when it is down to me alone to win or lose, and with various campaign multiplayer battles going on and Triumph and Treachery being released and running a combat patrol doubles event, I've got quite a few games that don't technically count... but they were fun to play which is all that matters, so no regrets.

For a glance at last years round up, follow the link

Well, looking at the trend, I got off to a good start this year flying out the blocks with a lot of good results, and while there may have been the occasional patchy result it was overall a good year. That is, until the new Dark Elf book came out. I got off to a good start, smashing a high elf player. But the army enjoyed it too much, and when I tried to pit them against lesser opponents (smelly ogres, lizards, tomb kings) they sulked and refused to co-operate - culminating in a sequence of failed leadership tests and miscasts in a single turn that I (rather naively) calculated the odds on. Han was right, finding out you just had a 20 million to one series of bad luck events in one turn is not good to hear. Impressive none the less...

I also get the feeling that the Druchii threw a curse at me for my trouble, as my general luck in all games took a dip around this time, and has only recently started to recover after passing the army (hereafter known as the accursed host) on to Jason, a fellow Dark Elf player, to bolster his army ahead of an upcoming campaign...

Anyway, on to the stats.

Not a bad year overall, recording 30 wins, 19 losses and 7 draws. The bulk of that coming in 40k, with 25 wins, 13 losses, 6 draws.

My Star Wars Guard were dusted off for a tournament, and while I picked up a couple of wins in practice games, their win some lose some performance at the tournament got them 4 wins and 2 losses for the year.

My regular guard forces (which I have counted separately since the inception, to avoid a fluff designed theme army ruining the good rep I have with my guard) did far better, scoring 8 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws. I remember both losses keenly - both against Tyranids. The first, the Scouring ended turn 5 with my opponent winning 8 points to 5. We played turn 6 out of interest and I was winning 11-3 with him having a single model left. Gutted to lose that one. The other was a recent game against Ken, where I was fairly confident I was heading for a turn 5 tabling... until his Gaunts managed to get 9 glancing hits against the back of my FLYING Vulture... a spectacular run of shooting that saved his Flyrants arse and completely turned the game on it's head - meaning my recklessness with my scoring units when I was looking at tabling him really came back to bite me in the arse...

Orks had a good run, 7 wins 4 losses 2 draws. Most of these were during the Crusade of Fire campaign that sort of fizzled out after a while...

The Necrons were bloody good for me this year, getting 5 wins 2 losses and 2 draws - both losses coming against Ken. One of those was against Tau fighting for one objective each longways down the table - a scenario combination that my Necron army just cannot cope with, but that is my own fault for limited list design. It works in most games, just that was a horrendous matchup. They also lost to Kens Tyranids, in a somewhat closer encounter.

My Empire were probably the stars of the year, getting 5 wins 1 loss and 1 draw (the loss coming after Karl Franz managed to fail a rerollable break test on 3 dice discarding the highest and get run down by gutter runners, gifting my opponent enough points in the final turn to change a solid victory into a defeat.)

And then there are the Dark Elves. 1 win, 5 losses, and a dark cloud of ill fortune that seemed to affect all other armies that played at roughly the same time they were used. Bastards! I'll give them a go again next year, in the meantime I'm going to purchase some of the new toys to try to bribe them into playing nice when they are returned to me from Jason, once the Badlands campaign has run it's course.

On the bright side, the Empire (the army I plan to use in the campaign) did well for me this year, so let's hope to keep that one rolling...

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Tale of Collective Idiocy

So, about a month and a half back I wrote the first post of supposed to be many about an upcoming knockout tournament. It was to be the subject of many posts to try to give me the kick back into blogging. However, given the collective idiocy of Virgin, Sky AND BT I have been without the internet pretty much since that post was made. I have it again now, but the tournament is over. So I'll cut to the chase, Rich A won with a simple guard list. I expected him to get knocked out every round as he was always up against a strong opponent, but he came through each time. I faltered at the semi-final - losing to Scotts Tyranids 8-6 in turn 5. The dice said the game ended, so we recorded the win. We played turn 6 out of interest. I was winning 11-4 with Scott having a single, dry, wounded Tervigon left. Ah well, such is life.

So, a cautionary tale now of the idiocy of telecommunications companies. Knowing that our flatmate was moving out (whose name the Sky contract was in) we took the opportunity for the remaining flatmates and replacing flatmate to shop around for a good deal. We found it in Virgin. We booked everything in, it would be switched on a couple days before the Sky got switched off. No problem.

Until Install Day (1)

Virgin called to say they had checked the switchbox they wanted to put us on, and they couldn't fit us in. So we couldn't have the broadband. We could still continue with the contract if we wished, but we'd be paying for internet we couldn't have. Er... no thanks. Would have been handy if someone could make a note of a full communications hub and not sell slots that aren't available to other customers, but never mind. Virgin being off the table, we went back to sky.

We sorted out a deal with Sky, they asked if we wished to keep the same phone number, we said "sure why not, don't really care" and they booked us in. We'd be a couple weeks without internet.

We get a call off Virgin... why did you cancel the contract? Can you give us any feedback? Er... you're morons.

We then get a text from Sky. There is a problem with our contract, and our install day (2) has been cancelled. Upon calling in, it turns out they couldn't keep the same phone number for us. So why offer it to us? And because they couldn't keep it, they'd cancelled the entire job. We had to rebook. Luckily we were paying close attention through all the terms and conditions, as it seemed on the second booking they nearly opted for the wrong package. But we have Install Day (3) set.

Install Day (3) I sit in for 6 hours waiting for the engineer. No show. We try to call them and about 4 days later get through to someone. Turns out the engineer arrived, found at the box that there was a fault on the line and he couldn't complete the job, so just didn't knock. All it would have taken would have been a knock at the door to say "sorry, problem found, can't do it today, carry on with your day and don't waste time sitting waiting for something that isn't going to happen!" But no, the idiot left without an explanation. They then knew they had a fault on the line, but waited for us to call them about it. They couldn't test it, so had to book it out to BT.

By now we're getting quite cheesed off and are thinking to see if BT can do better, when someone explains to us that the box we plug our phone into is a BT diagnostic box that blocks other telecomms companies from testing the line, forcing them to cut BT into the lucrative fault finding business. Such underhand tactics put me off BT straight away. But anyway, with pressure from us on Sky passed on to BT, we get the line fixed and install day (4) is booked.

Several days before Install Day (4) we get a text from Sky "Sorry our engineer missed your install appointment, please rebook"

We call up and ask which appointment exactly this is regarding. Yeah, they had nothing on the system for install day (4) so they offered us Install Day (5) - another 2 weeks away.

At this point several unprintable words were uttered and we demanded to cancel the contract and start afresh. In the end, by offering a reduced bill for the year and an install Day (4.5) of only a few more days, we agreed.

So now it's in, and appears to be working. And sods law I now get Windows Genuine Advantage warnings popping up on my decade old XP system, screwing my computer around and pissing me off. Bugger.

In other news, with a tournament I thought might be fun to visit in December I have resurrected my Pirates Vs Ninjas project, so that should give me something less frustrating to blog about. I've written a list and ordered the models, and there is some extensive converting to do on about 1500 points worth of Dark Eldar. One problem... I just saw today that the tournament I thought was December is actually October 19th... I have no idea if I can possible make that deadline. But it could be an interesting few weeks ahead...