Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Guard Horde

So I promised Rich a game against his tournament army to give him a bit of practice. I had heard that MEQ guard was doing the rounds at tournaments, but he's Tau. He's got considerable anti-tank available to him. So decided to throw something at him he might not expect to face...

Admittedly this force was designed for a fight against his last chaos army, but I took it anyway. I'm going to list all the squads in the infantry platoon merged, as that was the intention upon buying them.

HQ - Straken and the usual upgraded command.
HQ - Yarrick
E - Marbo
T - Inf Platoon 1. Basic command, 5 infantry squads including power weapon commissar, vox, 3 power weapon sergeants, 4 meltaguns.
T - Inf Platoon 2. Same as 1, plus 50 conscripts in a seperate mob.
FA - Valkyrie with rocket pods - if I got first turn in a Dawn of War I'd obviously start halfway across the board... I'd then need Straken to catch up fast.
HS - Leman Russ Vanquisher - To add some long range anti tank to this army
HS - Leman Russ Vanquisher
T - Penal Legion Squad - had the points spare.

Now the plan with this army was that the vanquishers would knock out any walkers that could tie me up forever. In this game they'll be aiming to take down those submunition hammerheads. The conscripts will spread out to provide everything behind them with a 4+ cover save. Yarrick will join them to keep them in line. The two infantry mobs will then follow the conscripts. Straken will be between them. The command will be behind the mobs in case extra encouragement is needed. If the valkyrie wasn't needed to get Straken in position, I'd chuck the penal legion in it. And marbo will turn up wherever he's needed.

Now the trick with this army is that Yarrick is inspirational. Any squad with a man within 12" of him is stubborn. In addition, hs status as a commissar lord means any squad with a man within 6" of him can use his Ld of 10, even for orders. The squads have their own commissars to grant stubborn if they move out of his range. Strakens AoE grants any squad with a man within 12" Counter Attack and Furious Charge. And to top it off Yarrick and his squad can reroll misses in the first round of combat. So sure those conscripts may only be WS 2... but on the charge they're Str and I 4 rerolling misses :oP

In this game we had 4 objectives to go for. Actually we rolled kill points first. Rich said we could have that be deployment and I should roll for mission instead. Oh look, kill points again. Eventually we just tossed a coin between the objective games. I think people are getting bored of the easy win. Ironically this is the lowest Kp guard army I've ever taken, clocking in at just 12 KP. Anyway, 2 of the objectives were in the centre, one was also central but a little further towards my side, and another was closer to Rich but at the top of a building.

My army advanced on Rich. My vanquishers missed with everything in turn 1. One paid the price, though the other one took out one of the hammerheads before being removed from the game in turn 2. Rich was slaughtering my men. He must have killed 50 in the first few turns. But he wasn't killing them quick enough. As I advanced inexorably on him, Rich came up with a cunning ploy. He detached some drones from his transports and charged me with them. I wasn't causing enough wounds to get past his saves, and several drawn combats were dragging my men further out of position. Tremendous weight of fire had taken away one of my big mobs, and my conscripts were getting whittled down.

At turn 5 Rich was winning. But the game continued. I managed to beat off the dinner plates and start to make my way back to objectives. Despite Richs best efforts he couldn't finish the conscripts, but a hastily placed transport blocked me from another objective. The game ended on turn 6 with a win for Rich. If we'd had another turn, I could have probably got myself into position to secure the draw, though Rich may have thrown some contesting transports my way to deny me. I would also have had to move my infantry enough to claim both objectives, as I doubt my conscripts owuld have survived much more shooting, and Yarrick alone would not claim the objective. Alas it was not to be.

In this game I made a bit of a mistake in being quite so gung ho and running straight for Rich. What I should have done is advance like I did, but then once in position on the three central objectives, with meltaguns at key positions, simply given the order to go to ground for +2 on my cover save with all 150 men. That'd be 150 terminator saves for him to chew through... ouch! The meltaguns would be positioned to prevent tank shock moving me out of the way. I think if I'd stayed on the objectives instead of running at the enemy and coming back later (let's face it, this army was never gonna be known for it's manouverability) I would have won this.

However, sitting there each turn going "order them to duck, order them to duck, order them to duck, order them to duck...ok finished your turn" would have made for a very boring game. The game was fun, and that's what matters.

Next week I'm teaching Rich Space Hulk. And probably Dan, and seemingly Nige too! Nige tried to teach Dan last night, but looking over and having to remind Nige to tell Dan certain rules during the game (not to mention Nige telling Dan his genies only got two dice in combat while Dan had the reference sheet in front of him saying three) didn't bode well for Niges teaching techniques :oP

Friday, 25 September 2009


Well who'd have thunk it I managed to get a few games in recently!

First off I dropped by the club on Monday and played a couple games of space hulk against neil. Mission 1, did the same suicide run I did against Fred. Toasting my own marine was the first casualty for the marines. I could probably have pushed on to try to do it without casualty, but I didn't want to get cocky. We switched sides, and I wiped nige out to a man. We then played mission 2 (christ that board gets big pretty quickly) which was a real back to the walls job for the marines. It looked iffy but through having my two survivng marines backing into corners guns blazing yelling "you want some, huh huh?" ala Hudson from Aliens (and preying to the emperor not to share his fate) I won the game.

It's not strictly chronological to my week, but while I'm on Space Hulk...

Met up with Neil again, and played the return fixture of mission 2. Having seen what happened with me nige had a decent game plan, getting his marines into a good bundle in the centre. He won this with two marines and his assault cannon left, though by the last few turns I could see I was hoping to make his assault cannon blow up or something :oS

We then played mission 3 with me as marines. Get the cat out. I made some steady progress, my thunder hammer sergeant managing to get into position to block genestealer arrivals from near the exit point (a move neil hadn't seen coming it must be said) while team A started marching through, and the rest of B went to rendezvous. Seeing I was out of range I didn't bother to turn my sergeant and put him on overwatch... but really should have done. "He can't get me this turn" should have been followed up with "But he can get into a bloody good position for next turn!" but alas it didn't. Witha genestealer breathing down my flamers neck, I prepared to seperate my team, and torched the genie on the square next to him. I figured I was gonna lose the flamer anyway, it was the only thing that could be done to protect the rest of the team. Boy did I get lucky. Not only did I kill hte genie, but the flamer survived! He then retreated to a better position and spent the rest of his ammo keeping the enemy at bay. The rest of team A ran into some trouble at the half way point, and the team was eventually wiped out (the flamer dying valiantly by torching a room with the last flamer shot he had... killing himself and several genestealers.) Team B arrived just in time, and picked up the Cat and started to back down the corridors on overwatch. It was looking good, but all it takes is an ill timed jam...

I had however relieved my thunder hammer sergeant with a less important trooper, and he took up position to hold the rear. He did valiantly, and some good command point selections allowed the cat carrier to seriously leg it out of the hulk down the empty corridors behind the sergeant. The sergeant kicked arse thoguh - even without the command points, I'd have made it. Will have to play the return leg against Neil some time soon.

In other news, went down to the workshop on thursday morning and met Chris for a game for him to playtest his tournament army. I wrote up a mechanised list with a couple of my new toys in (the executioner just HAD to go against death guard, but as I didn't want to be a complete bastard I went for a balanced approach, and configured the other new tank as a punisher.) Also took a valk (probably won't kill much, but good mobility for my command unit) some vets in chimera and a hydra, plus a penal legion squad to fill out the army.

Rolled for mission... that'll be annihalation. Again. Chris did offer to reroll, but I said no fair is fair. We had also been discussing ways to alter kill points for games at our club, as Chris agrees with me that they're a little harsh. Ok, it is the crimp guard have to pay for the advantage we get in objective games... but that's assuming we take an infantry platoon. I can take vets in chimeras, and because they're guard (and thus shit and cheap) i'll have the same amount of scoring units as anyone else (6 at most) yet will still probably run out an army of over 20 KPs. I've lsot annihalation missions where it had got to the point I had to table the enemy. I had half my army left, he had a damaged dread and an immobilised rhino. But they were in awkward positions, and the last turn I just couldn't get enough shots at them to win. Under the terms of the mission (as in, annihalate the enemy) and you lose almost your entire army but only kill half the opposition, how exactly is that a victory?!? Under KP it is. I also don't like the game dynamic where it can get to a stage that my opponent knows I have to table him to win... and he then acts accordingly. Against Brad in the tournament, I was annihalating anything that popped it's head out. Brad realised he was in the lead... so hid his army out of LOS. The next two turns was me advancing, trying to get LOS, and him shooting anything that could possibly reach him or cowering deeper into the ruins. So when does "annihalate the enemy!" become "Oh, we're doing ok ish actually, lets just preserve our forces now..." - i must have missed that mid-game briefing. So anyway, aving had this conversation as background, CHris and I decided to play annihalation anyway, and count up under different systems at the end to see what provided a good reflection of how we thought the game had gone.

We had a spearhead deployment, and Chris set up first. I set out a tank gunline ready to meet his rhinos. He charged forward. Forgot to pop his smokes. I wanted to capitalise on this fatal error...

29 str 5, 12 str 6, 17 str 7 (4 of which TL, 5 of which small blast) and 1 str 9 (which actually hit!) shots later... I had a rhino that couldn't shoot, and a rhino that couldn't move or shoot. Woot.

Overall the game did go quite well from the second turn onwards. His chosen turned up on the wrong flank, the executioner was delicious against the plague marines, and solid fire into one unit at a time was doing well. As turn 5 came about, I gambled on dropping my command squad behind an immobilised defiler. Straken came up to it's rear with his big metal fist and... well the chaos surgeons did what they could for the defiler, but they just couldn't get the smile off his face. A quick glance at the kill points tally showed that if the game ended now, I'd win by 7 points to 6! Sadly it didn't. We carried on playing and as he got in close and chimeras broke, spilling nice squishy guardsmen, he picked up some cheap kill points. It got to the predicatable stage where I needed to table him to win. I couldn't. Final result, 14-10 in favour of chaos.

Now looking at this game, where both had such a good time, was it really so one sided? Kill points gives a healthy margin... when you look at it from the point of view that for me victory was impossible unless I wiped the enemy out it makes it look even more heavily in CHris favour. yet it felt far closer than that.

We looked at the old victory points. I had a few hundred points favour in that. Different story, but that felt too much in my favour.

We'd seen something on Bols about scoring 1 kp for troops, 2 for elites, fast attack, heavy support, 3 for HQs... and transports were valued based on what they were bought for. This gave each side a bigger score, but all it did was widen the margin. I think with that you have to know from the start which units are worth more for your target priorities.

I then came up with the idea of a perentage. Using kill points, how much of the army had been killed. Out of Chris 13 KP, I'd got 10 (I think those were the figures) and a 77% destruction of the enemy. From my vastly larger KP army, Chris had killed 70%. Score in my favour, but for a margin that narrow I'm sure it would be a draw. Certainly in fantasy a score that close would be a draw.

So we gave the victory to Chris under GW rules, but have found an interesting way of doing things. It will require some playtesting, but at least now when it comes to an annihalation mission, under this system I'll go hell for leather for the enemy... exactly like you're supposed to. Now we just have to convince the others of the value of this as a house rule for any future club tourneys or whatever.

Finally, Chris had his flagging interest in GW stoked up again by the versatility of the guard codex. SO I've issued a bit of a challenge. Knowing he has a limited budget being a student, I suggested a tale of four gamers type of event. I already have plenty it must be said, but I haven't actually painted any of my orks yet. They can be my army. Who cares what date is on the receipt! We do 500 points a month and play a couple games with our newly painted models. Me and Chris are in... anyone else fancy joining in?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Space Hulk

Talked my friend Fred into giving Space Hulk a try (I won't be down the club for a few weeks and was itching to give it a go) He's never been into the hobby but decided to give it a try. I did warn him that it was Space Hilks cousin, Space Crusade, that started me off 15 or so years ago, but he risked his wallet and gave it a go anyway.

We only played the first mission, and didn't bother with the timer. he was playing marines first and I felt it best if we just got used to the game dynamics before we tried to play it properly. But we got in two goes each with each team, and fun was had by all.

The first mission I wiped him out. He had two marines holding his rear but he made the mistake of advancing on my lurking genestealers trying to root them out. They were easy pickings. This left the advanced party getting attacked from all angles and eventually wiped out. They couldn't get in sight of the control room.

My turn as the marine. I held just one marine at the rear, constantly on overwatch, held back with a good long field of fire. The rest of the team pushed forward. My sergeant got a bit ahead of himself and was cut down. My flamer immediately torched the intersection in front of him to keep hte genestealers at bay. My other two marines started to track round the other corridor to clear a path towards the control room. My rearguard got picked off, and the scuttling claws were a constant worry for my flamer, as was his rapidly emptying fuel tank. But a suicide run from one marine down the corridor to the control room was not spotted by Fred. With the other marine covering his back he was safe for a turn. In my next turn, he dashed for the control room. He threw open the door, dove into the room, and yelled to his colleague. He then stepped out into the corridor and used his last gout of flame to neutralize the target. Suicide mission indeed.

Game three saw me with the marines again. Similar plan this time, but I was a bit more foolhardy this time. I raced for the intersection before his numbers could really build up. I had my sergeant holding the south passage, a marine overwatching the north, and the flamer tucked away while two marines further back covered the avenues of approach. Except I hadn't spotted my marine on overwatch was within range for a side attack. He survived it, but that took him off overwatch. This allowed another big nasty to advance from the front, cut him down, then gut my flamer too. Oops.

Game 4 saw the roles reversed again, and this time Fred followed my tactic of leaving a single straggler, holding back and waiting for the genestealers. I had my genestealers playing peek-a-boo withthe door controls, trying to get him to jam his gun shooting at shadows. Fred imitated my tactic of using fire to keep the coast clear while his other men tried to clear apath. But having already used this tactic, I covered all sorts of angles. never bunching together for lots of kills, always having plenty just out of reach that can race in to block line of sight to the all important control room. I was trying to run his ammo down from threats alone, but eventually weight of numbers brought down his sergeant. With fuel running low, claws scuttling all aorund (having eventually got past his rearguard) and a curios Orion home and wanting to play too, Fred conceded defeat.

Have barely got into this, only done the first mission, haven't even used the dreaded timer. But this looks like a really good fun game. It also appears to be a good one to introduce people to the 40k universe with, and the quality is top notch. A really good buy I'd say.

Incidentally, Orion and I then played Hungry Hungry Hippos. Admittedly not the same kind of tactical challenge. But it's nice playing against someone who hasn't quite grasped the concept of winning yet. "Orion, you got 13 and I only got 7. You win" "Yay! And you win TOO Uncle Ginge" "Er... ok, if you say so..." :oP