This weekened the Halo Marines got their day in the sun, and a good day it was. The army got a lot of attention and compliments, which made all our efforts worthwhile.
Firstly, here are some brief match reports on how the days gaming went.
This was capturing the objective in your opponents deployment zone. We were up against a Guard/Wolf list. The guard player had the Bastion Breacher Medusa, an armoured sentinal, and a infantry platoon in chimeras. The wolf player had a 5 man squad in a razorback and 5 thunderwolf cavalry, with enough equipment variations to allow wound allocation shenanigans to take place.
Despite the fierce list against us, disciplined fire and a well placed assault (within range of the sanguinary priests feel no pain) saw the thunderwolf cavalry taken out (about 350 points) for the loss of my warthog, chaplain and aggressive combat squad (about 200 or so points all told) We then concentrated fire on the rest of the marines and the force sent to capture our objective was destroyed. This just left getting to the enemy objective. Disciplined fire from the guard and some blocking chimera moves left us struggling to reach the objective with our scoring units, though a grey hunters squad did charge two squads of guard with the ability to consolidate onto the objective. Of course to do that first they had to win... and were promptly beaten. With all scoring units miles from any objective this was quite clearly a draw.
This was kill points against a combined Nid force. They had 4 zoanthropes, a squad of 28 hormagaunts, 3 hive guard, a squad of normal genestealers and a squad of yrmgrl genestealers. That's 6 kill points, to our 12. This game was a little irritating as our opponents were really slow. For example, I had two identical landspeeders next to each other. One squad of zoanthropes and the hive guard could see them. Nothing else could see them. The zoanthropes could see nothing else. Yet it still took over a minute of debating for them to decide which speeder to shoot! And then after knocking the gun off it, about another minute to decide to shoot the hive guard at the other one! In this game we felt we were playing against the clock, and so this was irritating. We don't think our opponents were deliberately dragging their heels, it seemed like just lack of experience. But it was somewhat irritating. Especially given we had time called on us at the end of turn 5. They'd won 5 KP to 3. But by this point he had a single zo about to get charged by ALL my blood angels, a couple of hive guard hiding and a few genestealers who were in an assault they'd not been doing too well in against wulfen marked opponents. We kicked arse inthe victory points, about 600 to 300. And with a 6th turn I believe we'd have tied the game, and won in a 7th. So to run out of time is quite irksome.
Even more annoyingly, the first squad of zoanthropes managed to pass 6 out of 6 3++ saves to avoid instant death in the first two turns alone. If they'd taken some of them, we could have sooner turned our long fang fire elsewhere, not to mention taken out a large part of our opponents anti tank ability early on.
In game three we came up against a guard tau list. It was D3+2 objectives (3 for our game) dawn of war. We went first and I put my lone razorback in the centre. In our turn I moved up into the lee of a building as we moved the rest of our forces on. Our opponents trundled their chimeras on (there were lots of chimeras today) and then I really caused them problems in turn 2... I parked my razorback on the road in front of two chimeras. It would have meant difficult terrain tests and a roundabout route to get forward, though this proved to be irrelevent as my combat squad caused merry hell amongst the guard contingent. At the end of turn 6 our opponents had little left and we were sat on all three objectives, and turn 7 (which we'd rolled for and got) we were on for tabling them, so our opponents asked to save face and call it full vp for us.
Game four was kill points again, but teammates were in opposite diagonal corners of the board. We were against another wolf/guard combo, but this one was a sentinal list, with 3 armoured and 2 scout sentinals, along with a squad of vets in chimera. Deciding that my heavy flamer and heavy bolters would be better targetted on the guard, I sent most of my stuff at him. Ken sent one of his razorbacks his way too, and we'd reduced him to a weaponless immobilised armoured sentinal by the end of turn 3. We then turned to the wolf player. Annoyingly, we could NOT finish off that armoured sentinal for the additional kill point, it withstanding half a dozen bolt pistols to the rear, three krak missiles to the front, two rear heavy flamer shots and 12 krak grenades without getting the last weapon destroyed or better result it needed to finish it off. Meanwhile the wolf player had mauled Kens forces somewhat, though a lone long fang passing his morale test to hold firm in an unobtainable position helped us. Sustained fire from my missile equipped combat squad saw off her last chance of taking him out, leaving just the skyclaws and runepriest to worry about. At the end of turn 6 we were winning on kill points, and with my chaplain and power weapon squad poised to join in the fray agains the skyclaws (and thus allow the missile launcher and heavy flamer YET another attempt at the sentinal) I believe that even had there been a turn 7 we'd have won this one.
So two wons, a draw and a loss sees us better our Win, 2 draws and a loss of last year. They've not published the full results yet but a quick check had us in sixth place I believe, of 18 teams, which I'm quite happy with... especially with how many armies had quite nasty tricks up their sleeves. From chimera spam to hydra love to hive guard and thunderwolves, very few lists didn't have at least something that was particularly nasty to it... for us to do so well with, well, nothing more impressive than a long fang squad... I'm proud of our result. With only a little more time in game two I think we could have got at least a draw, which I believe would have put us on the same gamescore as second place, with only VPs to seperate it. So quite close really...
As for the Halo themed army, well it recieved many plaudits throughout the day. When it came to the prize giving for best army the organiser said it had been down to two armies... one a team effort, one an individual... and they'd decided to give best army to the best painted individual army. They then went on to say that for overall effort and the team armies matching and such we were being awarded the coveted Fergus award. So we didn't leave empty handed! I am also eagerly awaiting the score list to see exactly what points we got for our army painting.
Anyway, it was a fun day, and while Ken was a little disappointed that we didn't win best army (and I am a little too I will admit) at least we got some recognition for our efforts. Ken is thinking next time to not put so much effort in and go for a beardy list like everyone else and try to win it... I've said if he does he's gonna either have to do so for the solo event, or expect to carry me. I LIKE making these little 500 points of cool theme forces. To make an entire army this way is a hell of a project (believe me, I KNOW) and then it won't see as much use as generic forces. So I like being able to throw the boat out on these little projects, cos if 500 points sits on a shelf and rarely get's used, I don't feel nearly as bad. Working from a self restricted codex to match a theme in mind, I doubt I will EVER field a beard army.
But anyway, now I just have to decide what to do next year. I'd like to stick to the geeky sci fi theme, I believe it's quite a crowd pleaser. I had been thinking of a combined force of Eldar and Necrons - Eldar for the VIPER, the necrons for a bunch of toasters running around led by a ressurecting character in a red dress with a killer body... sorry, DESTROYER body, keep making that slip :oP There are two problems to that theme of course, the first being you an't take Necron Lords in combat patrol and the second being Ken isn't so sure about taking a theme list again. So I may have to just work from one codex, which is probably easier anyway :oP I'm still kicking the ideas around for now, as I have Tale of Eight Gamers to keep me busy on a theme army. But my mind is always plotting something...
**all photos from Bracknell Forest Gamers website**