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...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

It's a Knockout, Round 1 - My Game

So, I was up against Rob, and he brought his Space Wolves. He showed me his list, and I figured I was about to get my most testing game yet with this army (despite the jokes Rob made about packing up in time to meet his wife for dinner.)

Rob, having Space Wolves, was probably least well equipped to kill flyers. So he actually did what I have been telling people to do for ages with regards flyers. Work around them. Get in close, fast, go for the uppercut.
 Robs list consisted of Logan Grimnar, three units of terminators (all in drop pods) two units of long fangs (again with drop pods) a unit of bikes with a Rune Priest and an aegis defence line with quad gun. We had Big Guns Never Tire and Standard Deployment, with Rob choosing to let me go first.

I naturally wanted that quad gun dead, so dropped a basilisk shell or two on it to make it go away (killing half a squad of Long Fangs in the process) but achieved little else with shooting that turn. In Robs turn 1, he brought in three drop pods, and dropped them right in front of my defence line. Luckily for me, Grimnar and a squad of termies got out - the other two were empty, designed to be LOS blockers. Rob lamented the fact that he hadn't been able to squeaze another empty drop pod into the list as then turn one would have been entirely about blocking LOS and then in subsequent turns use his manned pods to react to my flyers. Of course, with that not being an option, it is my opinion Rob should have dropped all three manned pods down turn 1. Put three squads of terminators right in front of me saying "sure, you got vets and meltaguns and a bunch of other heavy weapons... but you won't get all of us." With most of my army shooting the one squad that got out I killed all bar one of the squad and took two wounds off Grimnar. There is no way in hell I could have handled three squads at once. When my flyers arrived they had to overshoot the target area and take on the backfield long fangs or the flanking bikes (who Rob had cleverly had right at the table edge, meaning large blast markers had a high probability of scattering off the table completely and catching none of the bikes.) Of course with only one squad to deal with in turn 2 it was easy to finish off in turn 3. I then turned my attention to the next nearest squad on turn 4, and claimed the final squad turn 5. My flyers dropped down to turn around and help with terminator killing from turn 4 onwards, and drop troops on objectives, having happily dispatched the last of the long fangs that could have taken the opportunity of a rear armour shot at a hovering valk to ruin my day. By turn 5, we called it, with Rob down to just some drop pods.

I think Robs list was sound, and could have won against me. It was a well thought out list, it just lacked a little in the execution.

For one, while if he'd had three empty pods I agree he could have dropped annoyance pods down turn 1 and used his more effective reserves once he knew where I had committed myself, when he realised that wasn't a possibility he should have dropped all the terminators down turn 1 and gone for the uppercut.

 Those empty pods could easily have been dropped near far flung objectives that I may have tried to drop a guard squad on to cause problems, but LOS and movement blocking would probably have been better. Robs deployment of his pods did severely restrict the movement of my ground forces, and even stopped one of my basilisks from engaging his bikes (I couldn't turn to get them into arc of fire because there was a great big pod next to me) and I can't fault him on that. It was just his choice of dropping empties on turn 1 that was the issue.

Alternatively, Rich did make the point that he didn't need to drop the pods empty. He could have dropped them with the fangs in them. Sure they're snap firing if at all on the turn they arrive... probably better just to run to a good position. But you could then place them to get side shots at all my tanks, and be too close to my lines for flyers to engage. Of course then there would be no need for a quad gun and aegis line, but all the quad gun really did was prevent his bikes getting shot on turn 1 (more important target), and his deployment right on the edge of the table may have provided them some protection in that regard also. I'm not too sure what he would have done with the last 100 points mind...

All in all, while this game was heavily in my favour by the end, it was still a strong test. The only game I haven't won with this list was a draw where my opponent had a 1 wound terminator warlord sat contesting my objective, meaning we both had Linebreaker, he had Slay the Warlord and I had First Blood. I had lost a chimera, a unit of vets, and my warlord, he had lost EVERYTHING else. The game ended turn 5 for a draw. Despite that being the best result anyone has got against me, this was by far the toughest game. My flyers had minimal impact as flyers and had to drop to hover mode earlier than I normally would. Rob ducked under my flyer cover and tried to annihalate my ground forces. This is exactly what I have been saying to people who say my list is impossible to beat - don't worry about not being able to kill them. Deny them the game in other ways, with clever movement. Rob had a good plan, and a good list. He just made a slight mistake. With the same match up, I am sure he would do much better. Luckily, this tournament is running an FA cup style knockout, not a champions league style knockout. Otherwise I would definitely have been looking to try to sit on a Victory Points lead from round one and merely survive the return leg...

In other news, Rich H defeated the Necrons, and Scotts Tyranids swarmed the Relic before the Dark Angels could get anywhere near it. If that was some clue on the Fallen, it has been digested by now. I'll try to get more details on these games when I can, and on who wins the postponed game between Rich F and Jason.

Finally, we have a late entrant to the field. Turning up at the last minute with a Salamanders list, Simon takes the wildcard spot so is lined up for a game against Rich A. This is quite an even match-up and were Rich A using Chaos I would expect him to emerge victorious. However he is using his guard, which I see him play with far less. Therefore I am changing my prediction to one that Simon will make it through at Richs expense. But don't take anything as written here - I only got two out of three right so far, and in my own game I got a far tougher test than I imagined I would...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's a Knockout 2013

 So, I'm about to run a tournament at my local club, a knockout tournament that we can play on our regular weekly meetings without needing to set aside a whole day or weekend for it (a commitment that many people cannot make)

This all came about because I designed a fairly balanced take all comers guard army, and it did very well, winning several games, and I wondered if it could take on anything. After several weeks of discussions over prize support, entry fees, list restrictions etc, we are ready to begin.

The basics first...

2k tournament
No list restrictions (beyond, y'know, the rules of the game)
Forgeworld approved
Set list throughout
Random missions/deployment each game.

But it's a knockout, what happens if the game ends in a draw I hear you ask. Seriously, I hear you, I bugged your house. Well anyway I've already thought of that...

At the end of turn 5, the players will write down the gamescore. They will then roll to see if the game ends. If not, continue as normal. If it ends, do we have a winner? If yes, fine it's over. If not... play an extra turn. At the end of turn 6, the process is repeated. Write down the scores, roll to see if it ends. If we have a natural winner it's over, if the game is a draw or doesn't end yet, keep fighting. At the end of turn 7, there can be no more turns. If we have a winner, great. If it's a draw, combine the scores from rounds 5, 6 and 7. Do we now have a winner? If someone was winning turn 5 and 6 but their opponent managed a sneaky tie in turn 7, then the person who was winning most of the game goes through. If after all that it's STILL a tie, then we go with CLASSIC victory points - how much of each others army you've killed.

So, who are the runners and the riders? Well, I'm in obviously. I'm running a flyer heavy list, with a vulture, a pair of vendettas and a pair of valkyries. They receive support from 2 basilisks, 2 hydras, and 4 chimeras behind an aegis line. I have vets and command squads in the chimeras, and cheap scoring units riding the flying transports. HQ choice is a primaris psyker, and I of course have Marbo waiting in the wings. The comms relay on the aegis gives me a reroll on my reserves.

The rest, I shall have to introduce as the tournament progresses as I don't have all the army lists yet (deadline is next week) but I shall go with introductions and probable armies.

Dale - Dark Angels. Quite new to the hobby but has quite a collection of grey plastic to choose from. I've seen him run all terminator armies and mass speeder armies, so not sure which way he'll go for this.

Scott - Tyranids. Good player, expect him to put up quite a fight despite his codex showing it's age. He is however up against one of the newest kids on the block in Dale and his Dark Angels. Will a canny veteran be able to get his old book past the new player with the shiny toys? We shall see.

Rob P - Probably Space Wolves, could be Guard. Rob has been at the club a while now and is always improving, but has drawn a pretty short straw (if I do say so myself) in getting me first round. I know some people will want him to bring Guard (they have better Anti-Air than Space Wolves) just to be a spoiler army to knock me out, but I don't think a list designed to kill me would make it past round 2. Plus, if he did bring Guard, well, Guard vs Guard is the only time I get competitive - I have an undefeated streak stretching back to my first 40k army 13 years ago, which means that while against others I'm more fun and easy going, when I have that rep at stake I tend to become more focused and more likely to pound face to make sure there is no chance I could possibly lose...

Rich H - another veteran and a strong contender for the title, though he has been saying my list is unbeatable and is hoping someone else knocks me out rather than face me. He's bringing Chaos Space Marines (confirmed) and I expect him to do quite well. However, his dislike of flyers may be tested as his first game is against...

Matt - Necrons. I've seen him with at least one night scythe, he could have more, I haven't actually played him and don't know how experienced he is or how he runs his army. It isn't the croissant spam I've seen elsewhere but I've no idea beyond that. I do know that as Abaddon has been tearing enemy warlords limb from limb around our club, Rich may not be too impressed to find himself up against someone who can take mindshackle scarabs...

Rich F - Presumably Chaos Space Marines. Another Veteran I think is a strong contender. Likes to take the chaos version of techmarines, several ground and air dinobots, and plenty infantry. He is up against his regular sparring partner/next door neighbour...

Jason - Space Marines. Good player, but the form book apparently favors Rich, or at least that's what he says...

Which brings me to heat 2...

Neil - Grey Knights. Been playing a while. Usually comes up with some dastardly evil plan that rinses and repeats whatever he found worked best in his last game. Works out about as well as Dr Evil most of the time. he is up against Paul...

Paul - Space Wolves. Fairly new to the hobby, still learning the ropes. Neil was pleased with this draw, visibly and quite audibly. Thus the entire club and Karma are rooting for Paul in this one...

Tim - Blood Angels, one assumes. A strong player, and depending on how many Storm Ravens he puts in his list one I could be watching out for - my hatred of Stormravens is well known...

Jamie - Probably Imperial Fists, could be Orks at a push. Probably the former. He's been playing for a while but only recently left a small circle and joined our club, getting more games in. This game is probably going to be an interesting encounter between two well matched opponents.

Ron - Grey Knights (Confirmed) A new arrival at the club, seems quite savvy in the rules and runs a strong army. I did massacre his army with the list I'll be using, but at the end of that game I did point out what he'd done wrong (namely, advanced to 24" apart and tried to outshoot me, instead of running hell for leather for my lines to duck under my flyer cover before they arrived.) If he has picked up on those lessons I pointed out last time it could be a whole different ball game. However, his first game won't be easy against...

Ben - Tau or Guard. No idea which army he'll use. He's been using Tau recently cos they're new and shiny (and with the amount of anti air and anti cover they can do my flyers/hiding behind aegis list would probably face it's toughest test in them. However he did tonight mention he was planning to attend a tournament in August and use Guard and may use this to get some practice in with them. He's a strong player with his Tau and in fantasy, I've yet to see him use his guard, so I have no idea what he'd be like with them. If he was bringing Tau, I'd say definitely one to watch. If he brings Guard, he becomes a complete unknown to me.

Finally, Rich A - Chaos Space Marines probably, though could be Guard. A dogged determined player who often as not will grind out a result (suits the guard style I guess) I can see him doing well against most people in the club, but there are a few stronger players who I would imagine should get past him without trouble. However those of you who have kept count will have noticed I said "Finally" on an odd number. Well one lucky loser from pot 1 gets a second bite of the cherry the following week, playing Rich A in his game... well, unless we get someone else sign up in the next week anyway. So, up against a player who has already been knocked out, he may have a better chance of progressing to the second round.

My predictions for progression? Myself (touch wood) Rich H, Rich F, Dale, Neil, Rich A... then the tough calls are marginally in favor of Tim... and if Ben picks Tau, he's through, if he picks Guard I reckon Ron will go through. However, as I'm 99% sure Ben isn't one of the four or so people that read this blog my guesswork shouldn't affect his final decision...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Battle for Voidspan Point

Tonight at my gaming club I ran an End of Turn campaign game for our Crusade of Fire campaign, and it was a campaign game with a difference - it was the battle for Voidspan Point!

Above, is the battleground in question (you can find the image in the big 40k rulebook) Of course, recreating something of this epic magnitude was simply beyond me, so I improvised a battleground that would represent something akin to the spacestation above. There are a few images from the game scattered throughout this blog post, so judge for yourself how well I did, given I was working with thin polystyrene sheets, cocktail sticks, and a few Bastions, skyshields, and aegis defence lines...

We had random deployment, which left my orks (on a team of their own cos my teammate couldn't make it down) with Imperial players nudging into my lines on each side. Normally something to look forward to, except that the Orks had made a secret deal with the Imperials - with the Chaos team running away with the campaign, the Orks decided they were harder, and therefore more worthy of a krumping. Or something like that. The orks and Imperials would effecctively ignore each other until the chaos had been dealt with. Once I was sure the chaos couldn't win I was of course planning to stab the Imperials in the back, they're only stinkin umiez after all, though with my team mate not showing up that plan didn't look quite as likely...

So, the Imperials had 3000 points. The Chaos forces, the same. The orks, already underdogs at only 1500 points, now only had 750. So you can see why I wasn't exactly confident of victory...

My Voidspan... Spot the difference?
The Imperials got the first turn, and some inquisitorial henchmen made a suicidal rush towards a couple of daemon princes. Admittedly, they were surrounded by four, as the chaos forces seemed to think the big brutes were the way to go for this battle. The henchmen managed to take a wound off a daemon prince... but little else, before being annihilated, giving up First Blood and a Warlord point.

The chaos daemons (who had jammily been drawn a Skyshield landing pad as their deployment zone!) arrived safely, and a unit of screamers started zipping around playing merry hell with Imperial forces. The henchmen were finished off effectively putting Neil out of the game on turn 1, apart from a Callidus assassin in reserve.

The Orks then got their turn. The lootas blasted a few shots around at random, but the dead eye award has to go to Bugrit, my Big Mek with Shok Attack Gun. He lined up a shot at the daemons, hoping that with them standing so close to the edge of the pad he could knock them off into the void. He scattered slightly, so instead of clipping two units he just completely covered one... but as he'd rolled a double 6 for the strength I was more than happy with that! A double 6 tears a hole in reality and all models touched are removed from play. So the daemons went home early.

The next turn had the Imperials and the chaos shooting merry hell out of each other, with Imperial flyers ignoring chaos efforts to deal with them (the chaos team had only brought a single helldrake, apparently not expecting the enemy to bring flight capable vehicles to a void battle... er... Three Storm Ravens, Two Dakkajets and a Storm Talon later... would have been SIX Dakkajets if my teammate hadn't bailed on me of course... I'm not letting this go easily by the way ;-P) Some more daemons arrived, targetted some more Imperials, and again Dead Eye Bugrit took aim. Strength ten this time, and half of another unit is gone (being somewhat preserved by taking the lions share of the hits on the herald...)

Cosy on the walkway... until the Heavy flamer got involved...

The chaos had by this point realised the truce existed and were starting to target the Orks and their damn shooting as a matter of priority. They cleared a way along the walkway through some Fenrisian wolves and lootas and locked my Ork horde in combat. Bugrit had been silenced. The lootas did have some fun though, managing to force a grounding check on a daemon prince who had risked a flight over the void. We made it clear at the start of the game that flying monstrous creatures could cross the void, but if they failed a grounding check they'd be treated as infantry - and suffer the same consequences. The big red daemon failed, and his wings well and truly clipped, he spun off into the void uttering language that would make a sailor blush...

Brutal close quarter fighting in the centre and brutal aerial support meant that by the time we started rolling for the final turn, there was very little left (Although Abaddon and his retinue had FINALLY showed up, cowards that they are!) The ork ground forces were taken out, leaving the dakkajets to carry on the fight.

Turn 5, with two objective buildings held, Chaos is heavily in the lead. A Stormraven destroyed the bunker around abaddon, causing a wound and forcing him to flee back towards his retinue. He was grateful that he didn't have chance to reach them, as mere moments later, a dakkajet strafed them. It got 6 hits. It needed 2s to wound, but any 6s would cause decompression and count as AP2. With incredible precision accuracy the Ork pilot shot the individual neck seals from all the terminators, getting forcing 1 armour save and 5 invulnerable saves. The chaos terminators struggled against the onslaught, and as the last choking survivors were trying to reseal their wounds, another jet strafed across and finished them off.

Into turn 6 , the chaos were ahead on secondary objective points, so even if Abaddon weren't standing on top of an objective, they'd still win. The chaos needed to die. The Stormravens played their part, taking out the last of the daemons and the helldrake. However Abaddon was down to the Orks. Realising the dakkajets would overshoot, I would have to send them off. However, the Callidus assassin, in a fit of over-exuberance, had broken the truce and killed the last of my ground forces. Which meant with no other ork units on the table (cough, missing ally, ahem) I had to circle one of the jets on the table... meaning there was no way he'd get to target abaddon next turn. IF there was a next turn.

Flyers proved their worth in this game, but also showed their weakness at the end - despite having 6 flyers, only 2 could maneuver into a shooting position for the final turn.

There was.

The imperial effort, with most of the flyers out of position following their successful killing of the rest of the chaos forces, could only summon a Storm Talon and a Predator to shoot at Abaddon, to no effect. Abaddon had nothing he could do, so he just braced himself for the returning dakkajet.

In the final throw of the dice, the Ork pilot blazed in across the station. He had abaddon in his sights. 9 shots. 9 hits. 7 wounds. But sadly none at AP2. Still a lot of dice to roll... statistically he should live, but who knows... The dice are thrown. There's a 1. There's another! And... sadly, no more.

Abaddon, having been thoroughly strafed, picks himself up. With blood and pus and chemicals leaking from his armour, he raises his arm towards the departing dakka jet, and in a surprising gesture for a being so far removed from humanity, uses the claw of Horus to give him the finger.

So there we had it, with the landing pad held (presumably for reinforcements) Abaddon gifted chaos the victory. The survivors?

Rich H - Abaddon, on a single wound
Rich A - none
Rich F - none
Tom - none

Rob P - none
Jason - a predator and a storm talon
Neil - a Callidus Assassin
Tim - two Stormravens

Ginge - Two Dakkajets
Rob W - plenty of survivors, safely hiding in an ice cave on a planet far from the action. How UN-orky!

It does irk me somewhat that a solitary surviving model gave chaos the victory but those are the breaks really. They played to the mission and won.

I think the Imperials were wise to bring the flyers, and the predator for fire support was a good call - no one really had anti tank as no one was expecting tanks. But the same player brought a razorback and a rhino - i think more boots on the ground might have been helpful there.

I think if my ally had shown up we'd have killed the chaos quicker... and turned on the Imperials sooner. Then I think someone would definitely have won simply by tabling all other opponents. It would probably have been the Imperials as Stormravens are a pain in the arse, but I reckon it would have been close.

So the Chaos victory allowed them to grab extra land, before the standard deployment which lets them get first dibs on land anyway. This is why I wanted the Imperials to win this game, to give them a helping hand back into this one. Half the Imperial and Ork players didn't get ANY territory on the new planets. If you're planning to run this campaign yourself, you may want to reduce the number of flags that are issued to players in turn 2.

Of course the campaign isn't over. With Tom having a brilliant Grand Warlord trait for a chaos player (he earns bonus points for having strategic objectives, and getting to choose first means pretty much every flag he has is ON a strategic objective) he is earning a huge amount of points for his personal tracker. This means his teammates are going to have to use their territory score towards their personal points to keep pace with him. If the chaos players start having to put their territory score towards themselves, then the Imperial forces have a chance to play catch up. Assuming they stop fighting amongst themselves and agree to put their territory scores towards the TEAM score. Having the most points on the Imperial team means absolute jack right now. They need to get their team score up.

Little bit in love with this gun tonight...

In summary on tonight though, we had a cracking game. I was a little apprehensive - bunch of experimental rules, 9 players, 3 teams... all sorts of potential pitfalls. But we managed to get things to work out really well. The game progressed quite smoothly, and a fun time was had by all. It was also an incredibly close game, which all the best ones are. For the chaos to have one more failed armour save be the difference between total victory and being tabled shows how crazy close it was!

And what else have we seen? Ork weapons. Can be unreliable. But can also be FANTASTIC!