Monday, 31 December 2012

A Year in Statistics

So it's once again time for my customary review of the years gaming!

So, to start, a quick recap of 2011. I played 77 games with a WDL ratio of 37/11/29. My fantasy game was my weak side while 40k was strong. Neil I got 2/1/1 against for the second year running, Rich H and I got 4/1/4 and ken was something of a nemesis for me, with me only managing 3/0/8 against him. My strongest army were my Orks.

On to 2012 then. First up, games in general. I had a good year this year, playing 97 games (20 more than last year) and managing to win 54, draw 5, lose 38. I improved my fantasy game, managing to win 12 lose 11 which I'm more than happy with. 40k I split into stats for 5th and 6th. In 5th ed I went 11/5/15, but since 6th rolled around I have gone 31/0/12.

A lot of that improvement under 6th ed can be put down to using my Necrons more. In 5th I only got 3 games in, winning 1 and drawing 2. Hardly a fair sample. Under 6th though, I've won 20 and lost 8, giving me 21/2/8 overall.

Orks had a good year, getting 11 wins and 5 losses. Guard won 4 lost 5, and Star Wars Guard won 3, drew 1, lost 6. The Star Wars guard had a bit of a poor year as I used them mostly in tournament gaming, where I didn't do too well... getting a 4/2/6 ratio. My fantasy stats are all Empire, as playing through a campaign and a new codex saw me not bother to pick up my Tomb Kings or Dark Elves at all this year. I shall have to remedy this in 2013.

Finally, on to my friends. Against Ken and Rich I managed to keep things fairly balanced, getting 5 wins and 5 losses against Ken, getting 3 wins and 3 losses against Rich. Against Neil, well I'm pleased to say I got more games in against him this year. Not sure if he'll be as pleased to see this... I played him 12 times. I drew none. I lost... none. Yeah that's right, I got a clean sweep against Neil this year. Given he's been almost exclusively using his Grey Knights (who I'm guessing he does reasonably well with against everyone else given how much people hate them) I'm quite proud of this... especially given one of the battles, during the fantasy campaign, he had a 500 point advantage over me - and yet I still pulled off the win!

So all in all a good year. Plenty of gaming and plenty of good times, plus a healthy WDL ratio to stroke my ego a little! I also managed to keep my high model output up according to the painting points, doing over 500 points again (despite a poor start that saw me only having done 120 points by September!) I will aim to match this output again next year, and you never know I may just try to break the 100 games in a year margin. This of course means averaging two games a week, so it's quite a tough one, I'm surprised how close I got this year if I'm honest. But it's something to aim for anyway.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Santa Klaws Rulez...

As promised, the rules I came up with for Santa Klaws, which by now I should be testing in an apoc game. I'll let everyone know how the rules played out later...



Oi get your choppas out,
'ear the umiez cry,
Giv em all a clout,
and watch em all die...
Santa Klaws is coming, to WAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!



Santa is equipped with Power Klaw, Eavy Armour, Cybork Body, and Santas Sack of Prezzies, Santas Sleigh.

Santas Sack of Prezzies.

At the start of the shooting phase, choose one Ork unit within 12” of Santa, and roll on the following table.

Lumps of Coal. The boyz have been bad. The unit cannot do anything this turn except cry.
The unit gets shiny new choppas and sluggas but no tactical change
As above, but these ones are snazzier, so the orks feel even better.
Lotsa Ammo – Santa has given out extra bullets, all guns get +1 shot this turn
Wooly jumpers – The extra thick layers give +1 to the armour save this turn
Med Packs – The unit has FNP this turn!

The effect of Santas Sack lasts for one turn only. No unit can receive a second gift from the sack. That wouldn't be fair.


Front Armour
Side Armour
Rear Armour
Santas Sleigh

Fast, Chariot, Open Topped, Red Paint Job, 2 twin linked dakkaguns, Exhaust Cloud, 4 Joy Seeking Missiles, A very Special Task. The sleigh has 4 hull points.

Joy Seeking Missiles.

Read out the name of the missile. Whoever has the biggest smile (friend or foe) is the target. That players most expensive unit is targeted.

Range unlimited, no LOS required. AP2 One shot heavy 1 hits on 2+. All are fired at once. Str variable*

*If the person is upset at this turn of events, the missiles are Str 6. If they are ok with things, they are Str 8. If they find the whole episode hilarious, Str 10.

A very Special Mission

If this unit is being used in December, it can choose to be a flyer during any turn. It must be a flyer for the complete turn. As a flyer the rider can vector strike instead of doing his sweep attack.

If the flyer is shot down, the unit that shot it down is immediately targeted by the nearest unit (friend or foe) and an out of sequence shooting attack is directed against it, as everyone is mad at them for spoiling Christmas. Furthermore, all units on the board (including the “friendly” ones) have preferred enemy against THAT unit for the remainder of the game. Whichever player ordered the unit to shoot down Santa can expect to receive abuse from all other players for doing the most callous thing since Alan Rickman called off Christmas...


Monday, 24 December 2012

Santa Klaws is coming to Waaaaagh!

I took the opportunity of a visit from Ken, who owns a far better camera (or two, but still...) than I to get some better shots of Santas sleigh...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Santas got a brand new bag...

well... maybe not a new bag, but a new ride anyway...

Santa Klaws' sleigh is painted and ready to go in the apoc game I have coming up on the 30th. The apoc datasheet is designed and ready, and after the game I'll post the datasheet on the blog along with something of an after action review.

Watch this space...

Monday, 10 December 2012

Oh you'd better watch out...

Remember this guy?

I made this guy a few years back simply because I had a spare Black Reach warboss lying around and, having painted two, wanted to do something different with the third. Plus I had a snow based Ork army, so I felt he'd fit in nicely. He is very popular with those who see him (I do tend to get him out more at this time of year) and he even made an appearance on bols for my wargaming fifteen minutes...

Anyway, a couple weeks back a staff member at my local games workshop decided he didn't want his Ork bikers (he wants his fast attack slots for dakkajets and deffkoptas, to each their own) and he passed them on to me. Now as I have Wazzdakka Gutsmek the most sensible thing for me to do would be to expand my warbiker force. Instead of one squad of 11 plus Wazzdakka I could run 2 squads of ten, or even just max out his squad size and perhaps make some of those dreaded Nob Bikers that I have always refused to use (but won't be as bad now that wound allocation shenanigans are pretty much gone) Then an idea struck me...

I have converted up the little beauty below, so that the big man above now has a ride.

I've also drawn up an apoc data sheet for it. It's going to count as a warboss on a chariot, with a few funky fun rules thrown in. With an apoc game coming up at the end of the month, I don't want to spoil the surprise for my fellow gamers. Rest assured, I am talking to fellow blogger Ken to make sure it remains well balanced, and I think you'll enjoy having the model on the table, particularly if I can get it painted up in time.

I will post the datasheet and the finished pictures on this blog before the year is out. In the meantime, feel free to play "Guess the bitz" or at the very least how many different bitzboxes I raided to make this bad boy. Ork bikers is a given...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Get to the Chopper!

So, today we played the zombie scenario first posted by Awakening Ynead quite a while back. A good time was had by all, but with this scenario being written for fifth ed there were some discrepancies we need to fix before we run it again.

From 5th to 6th

First off, the changes. The reduction of FNP to 5+ made the zombies weaker. However, the fact that you now get FNP against AP2 and power weapons helped negate that loss... though this did kinda suck for the best power up (the blessing of chuck norris) as your weapons now counting as AP 2 and power weapons would be largely irrelevent, unless you were beating on another player. The zombies were more durable in the wounds to Fearless are a thing of the past (allowing players to get tied up in combats for far too long) We also found Hit and Run to be rather overpowered - the granting of one USR to one member of your team would previously have had little effect, but the new version that says a unit containing at least one model with this skill has the skill means that it can be given to any squad. Combined with the zombies not dying as readily (no fearless wounds) and the hit and run was a deadly skill. In a game where consolidating from combat is reduced from D6 to D3 because of how quickly squads can move up, having a unit that FAILED to beat it's opponent suddenly leg it 15" up the field seems obscene.

The Solution

I don't really want to say that we should use 5th ed rules for this scenario, as while most of us still remember the rules, I don't want to have us trying to remember the old system - far better to have a system that works for 6th ed. As such, I plan to implement the following changes.

Hit and Run - this will be reduced to 3D3", as at least then it is more in line with the result for consolidating from combat.

Zombies shall get flak armour. This 5+ save before their FNP will make them a little more survivable as well as making power weapons and AP 2 weapons have some sort of effect again - they may not ignore the FNP entirely but at least they're not completely useless - the blessing of chuck norris is good again!

Rather than change the rules for fearless, I plan to give the zombies some sort of instability style test. If they lose the combat they take an LD test and however many they lose by is how many armour/FNP saves they have to take. I may make the squad stubborn as they're only LD 5, i'm not sure on that yet.

I have one of the players asking me to alter the spawn points as late game the zombies that spawned at our starting edge were mostly redundant, but I'm reluctant to alter this - it's only a 1 in 6 chance and it's a fairly simple system so I'm happy to leave it as is.

We did keep the old embarkation distance as within 6" of the chopper was too big an area to cover and would have made victory easy. Given I am loathe to alter the basic rules of sixth edition I may change things slightly... either by having the rule being you have to have a model in base with the escape vehicle, to hotwire it for example. Either that or beef up the security of the escape vehicle somewhat, as the boss zombie didn't seem to cause any problems whatsoever.

Due to the way the zombies moved and how awesome flamers are in 6th ed, I decided you couldn't overwatch against Zombies. They assault in their movement phase and don't technically launch an assault for the rules lawyers, they catch you by surprise for the storytellers. We just played the game without overwatch, though with hindsight you could arguably allow overwatch of other players.

Finally, the upgrade of the Blue Shell. This was used quite a lot towards the end of the game, and while people may have had to choose between a good upgrade or messing with their opponents, if they rolled badly on the upgrade (zombie bile for instance) they would instantly pick the blue shell. Why wouldn't you? I think for Zombie Bile (and to a lesser extent banana skin) to have an effect we either have to do blue shell as a swap on a result of 4 or better (meaning the bad powerups are just bad, no dodging) or by applying a rule that only those within 18" of the escape chopper can be targeted by the blue shell - though this latter option means that late game no one will get the bad option, so I prefer the idea of a natural snake eyes is bad and you gotta stick with it.

The Teams

I took a couple of teams. First up was a squad of guard. 2 guardsmen with flamers, a junior officer with the zealot rule, and a couple of penal legion remnants (sergeant plus 2 from 2 squads) both penal squads had +1 attack and rending, which would have been so much more useful under the old FNP rules! As it is, I did quite well with this squad, fighting my way most of the way to the chopper. I had lost a few and was in cover near a Grey Knight with psycannon - I knew breaking for the chopper he'd gun me down, so I charged him instead. I made him take 3 invulnerable saves through rending, he failed 2... but he had a medpack, so survived. He then killed me in the next round.

Another "team" was Marbo with rampage. I could have given him a guardsman or 2 for company, but as a Loner I thought he wouldn't appreciate it. With rampage he had a potential 9 attacks on the charge, wounding on 2s! He sadly fluffed his first fight completely and was lucky to survive... but then Hit and Run saw him shoot 15" up the board - an overpowered skill for sure. He was caught out trying to kill the wounded paladin again. I switched back to team one and tried to sneak up the other flank, but got bogged down in an annoying series of combats. Twice I had 13 hits and did 2 wounds (on a 4+), leaving remnants of squads alive. Sure, I finished them off in my turn, but then I was in pretty much the same position when more zombies spawned the following turn, keeping me bogged down within sight of the chopper as the rest of the field caught up.

So, what teams did well? The winner was a squad of three Khorne beserkers with the hit and run ability. After getting bogged down and killed a less than a foot from the starting line with his first team, he respawned another squad, managed to fail to win his first combat and then HnR his squad a good 13" away. A couple of fights went like this and he swiftly found himself next to the chopper, as the rest of us vainly tried lobbing blue shells at him to slow him down. Without that overpowered ability, I don't think this team was all that.

I was quite pleased with my own team, a couple of flamers, far more models (aka ablative wounds) than anyone else, and by taking the junior officer and issuing "Move Move Move" I could really get a move on when I wanted to.

Marbo was fun, and a real treat, but I know that the minute he got into the open for the sprint to the chopper one of my opponents would easily have dispatched him.

Another team member did well with 5 death cult assassins, the sheer amount of attacks these put out proving deadly. When they were finally dragged down due to their flimsy inv save, he switched to 5 arco flagellents, that managed to rampage through the growing horde waiting their turn to beat up the blood angels in the centre and move up to claim the second escape chopper. The sheer weight if attacks these guys put out meant he was racking up the kills, and had a couple of chainsaws and half a dozen medpacks before we knew it.

Most people seemed to go for the 3 marines you can scrape into a points limit this small, which was great for normal armour saves but made those rending hits downright expensive. I don't think basic marines are the way to go. You have the opportunity to pick and choose from different squads, use it. I was impressed when Rich turned up with a missile launcher with Relentless. The fact that he then got the blessing of chuck norris and used the missile launcher to kill the Paladin I had found so irritating (and who had healed himself back to two wounds by this point) was lovely to see.


All in all a cracking scenario and a fun game. We have a few 6th ed creases to iron out, and once done there is no reason why this game should be an all-day sunday event (took us about 5 hours today, thought the last 90 minutes or so of that was the fight for second!) and not just a regular Monday night thing in regular club hours if we fancy something a bit different.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Spartan Games, you do yourself proud

A long while back I picked up an Uncharted Seas fleet. This was my introduction to Spartan Games, and I found the ruleset solid and the models of good quality. There was some interest in my local club but it never really got past the demo game stage.

Then of course they brought out Dystopian Wars, which uses much the same ruleset as Uncharted Seas from what I hear (no bad thing) but has better background and models. I was thus torn between a keen interest in the shiny new toys, and a rueful look back at my fully painted fleet which will probably never see a game again...

However, not wanting to make the same mistake with Dystopian Wars I did with Uncharted Seas, I waited to see if anyone else would take it up. I am still waiting. I keep an eye on Spartan Games output, but have thus far not purchased anything.

This may soon change, for they have recently expanded to Dystopian Legions. This is a 28mm infantry scale side to Dystopian Wars, and my have they come up with some awesome models for it. I don't know if I'd play the game, as that would depend on local opponents. But I'm already checking out the conversion and counts as opportunities. Check out some of the beauties below.

 First up are some of the Rising Sun forces, that I think Firewasp could make use of for our upcoming Winds of War project if they are released soon enough.

Then from the British forces (an obvious favourite of mine) we have this dashing hero that I fully expect wants me to smoke a kipper, as he's bound to be back for breakfast.

Next up are several shots of the basic line troopers, which I think are beautiful, and could be a good way to do a praetorian guard theme army if nothing else.
Is it just me, or does this one bear a striking resemblance to a young Michael Caine?

 Next we have the hussars, which I have no idea what I'd use them for in a guard army (though I guess if you were using another codex for allies, these could be some sort of counts as jump infantry... swooping hawks perhaps?)

This character is from the Federated States of America, and I don't know what he'd be, but I just think the model is awesome! An inquisitor perhaps?

And finally, a picture from some future releases. Well what can I say. Top Left, we have a cracking scout biker/rough rider model. Bottom left, did someone ask for some pre-heresey jetbikes? And the two on the right, I'd have to check the size of these, but if they are the same FOC slot as the bikes then perhaps they are small, light tanks... a good basis for a cheap grot tank squadron maybe? Time will tell on that one.

All in all a job well done by Spartan Games, and I will be watching further developments with great interest.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

GOT More Tanks... As Always...

As promised in the comments on Imperius Dominatus a picture of how busy I've been this past week... here is the "heavy" contingent of my guard army...

Admittedly, two of these were painted already... But I painted an Orky one too, which thanks to an excellent suggestion by local store member Evil Paul, shall henceforth be known as the Fortress of Ignorance. This still leaves me having painted seven Baneblades (or variants) in the past fortnight, five of them in the past week. I am happy, proud, and off to find something completely different to paint! Preferably with flesh or fur or something, but most definitely not something green!

The Fortress of Ignorance... well, probably FORTRUSS OF IGNORANZ would be more accurate...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Come With Me If You Want To Live...

Oh those immortal lines, uttered every time in the Terminator franchise. In the current context though, it'd have to be Arnie that said it... once you'd got rid of all that irritating flesh stuff anyway...

Last week my necrons were described as "the swartzanecrons who dont die and have a huge beat stick in melee" as I tend to put a lord in every squad, equipped with scythe, mindshackle and res orb. Most Necron lsits I see make use of cheap small units and crypteks, but I like the idea of the unstoppable terror robots that will not die... if you're running squads of 5, well they die pretty easily and what's more they don't come back. Where is the fun if you leave out the main army dynamic? You may as well play marines...

Anyway, after this description was uttered last week, one particular fella, my Necron Overlord (not my Warlord, I run a Trazyn list and would love to see someone try to slay THAT particular warlord :oP) took it upon himself to be the living incarnation of that phrase... and treat his entire squad as a brood of John Connors to boot! Now I recently switched my build around and had a few points spare so tried to make my Overlord more survivable by giving him a 2+ save. This proved to be a golden decision!

I did my usual attempt to get First Blood and eliminate the most problematic enemy by Veil of Darkness-ing a 20 strong unit next to the enemy Redeemer. I thought that many shots would kill it. I positioned my Lord at the edge of the group ready to receive the inevitable charge from a bunch of pissed off terminators whose pimp mobile I'd just trashed, so that mindshackle scarabs would have best effect.

Of course I wasn't counting on my squad only doing 2 hp damage... Ah. Not good.

The enemy moved in for the kill. The terms and Librarian commander got out ready to assault, a drop pod arrived and added a tactical squad to the mix, the redeemer positioned itself to hose my squad. The fire from the redeemer put 12 AP3 wounds on my squad. My lord bravely stepped in front of the fire, and his 2+ save deflected all bar one of them. The rest of the fire from the surrounding units and the deathwind launcher caused a hideous amount of damage, killing 15 of my unit. Course without the Overlord the unit would have been gone, so I was especially pleased when 9 got back up again!

The terminators charged, and the overwatch fire did nothing. The mindshackles didn't take effect and storm shields bounced my warscythe away. My squad lost the combat by 5 and ran. But they didn't run far, and the terminators couldn't pursue. So the next turn they rallied.

At the second bite of the cherry they took out the Land Raider. They then braced themselves for the inevitable assault. Now once again the Overlord was the closest to the enemy, and again he stood his ground, this time against 7 AP3 witchfire wounds. He allowed his charges to take the armour saves from the bolter fire, so that when the terminators charged once again, he was perfectly positioned to challenge the librarian. The librarian started scratching his face. It looked like he had a nervous tic. He then bludgeoned himself in the face with his force stave, uttered a few words of power, and instantly killed himself. My Overlord hadn't even hefted his warscythe yet, and in a moment of weakness he didn't help his warriors against the terminators as he was too busy creased up on the floor uttering a strange machine laugh...

From the next round, the Overlord helped. He killed two terminators, which saw the tactical squad break and run. On the next attempt to charge they finally dragged down the warriors and the Lord... but he got back up again! He once again engaged the Terminators as Trazyn and the lychguard moved in on the tactical squad, having cleared the right objective and worked back across. This time was to be a fight too far though. The mindshackle scarabs had the Overlord AND one of the terminators beating on the other, but he withstood it all behind his storm shield before turning and pasting the overlord. This time he did not get back up.

The terminators moved off and tied up a large squad of warriors on the objective and the game ended turn 5. But I had 6 points worth of objectives, First Blood, Slay the Warlord AND Linebreaker, while my opponent only had a 3 point objective, giving me the win. WHilst it was Trazyn, the Lychguard and Annihalation Barges that moved up the right flank and dealt with a tactical squad, rhino, tech priest with thunderfire cannon, a tactical combat squad and withstood the attentions of a vindicator and land speeder squadron, I think this game was won for me by the mass brawl in the middle. This tied up my opponents best unit and a scoring unit for most of the game. He lost the first blood point AND the warlord point to that unit. And that unit would have been creamed, GIVING up First Blood and achieving nothing, were it not for the Overlord saying to his squad, as the cryptek activated the Veil of Darkness to lead them into battle... "Come with me if you want to live..."

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Yaaaarrrr Me Hearties!

A little while back my friend Rich H and I started a Dreadfleet campaign. Playing each mission switching sides and keeping score. We did a few missions on the trot when it first came out and since then we've been picking up the odd game here and there when we've finished our respective games of 40k early at Monday Geek Club and think we have time for a mission.

The best pirate you've ever heard of?
Now for one reason or another, the normal rules of my club (Ginge rolls badly, any roll of 50% or more dice coming up 1 is called a Ginge roll, 5 times out of 6 Ginges demo charges will end up behind the thrower - much to the disappointment of the throwers squad etc) do NOT apply in dreadfleet. The game loves me, and hates Rich. Maybe cos I think I'm the guy on the right, maybe because I consider myself a Pastafarian, maybe cos at least twice a year if not more I'll go out on the piss dressed as a pirate (and not always because it's a fancy dress occassion, i've done it twice just to see the looks on peoples faces) the reason is not clear, but what is clear is how well Rich can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. From missions where you collect damage cards where his ships would NOT die accumulating dozens each while mine went out with a whimper giving him a score of two. Where he goes from a dominant position to half his fleer dead in one bad turn. Something ALWAYS happens. This has allowed me to get to a campaign score of about 60 something, while Rich is on -22.

But NOT tonight.

Tonight the game abandoned me. The first card out gave Rich a nasty attack, that hits all ships within 3D6 of any chosen point on the seascape. Bad enough in a normal game, but when he gets to activate it before I can move, in a mission whose deployment clustered all my ships within a 12" quarter circle - it was devastating. Two of my ships were crippled on turn 1. I then failed pretty much every command check for two turns, meaning that I couldn't stop the Heldenhammer piling into the fight between the Swordfish and the Bloody Reaver. The three hits it did, all crew, meaning that it then lost the subsequent boarding action and was dead in one combat. My entire fleet followed by halfway through turn two. This left his fleet 3 turns to collect treasure at will, with me just hoping that fate cards may be able to give me something that would interfeere with his plans. They didn't.

With 5 treasure in his possession, RIch would get campaign points of 5 (treasure tokens he won by) multiplied by 3D6, for a potential score of 90. With heart in mouth that my entire campaign was about to be undone by one bad game, Rich rolled... a score of 4! Totalling 20, not enough to even get him out of negative score! Fantastic! The game hasn't abandoned me, it gave him false hope and screwed him in the final tally! Yaaaaarrrrrrr!

When we next meet it's my turn, but in the later missions there are a lot of points up for grabs for either side. I don't think there is any card as potentially devastating as the one he inflicted on me, and that isn't available to the bad guys, so hopefully this time around things may go a little better. We shall see.

In the meantime... Drink up me hearties yo ho...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Boing Boing Boooom!

A couple years back I wrote up an amusing apocalypse scenario that envisaged a warp rift spawning khorne inspired rabbits across the landscape. Now this scenario could do with one or two tweaks to bring it up to sixth ed standards (not least given that Eldar and their dark kin are now battle brothers my old rule about those two not being on the same team goes out the window) and it's ready to play, and what's more I've finally painted the boombunnies themselves!

This was a simple conversion I did about the time I wrote the scenario, I picked up some squigs, filed down any ears they had and used wire and green stuff to give them "better" ears. Beyond that it's just painting them like most squigs... and then adding the finishing touch of a white cotton tail. And yes I do mean cotton...

Anyway, here is the finished result. Just got to work on that half done warp rift now and we'll be good to go!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Before going Back to the Badlands...

Earlier this year I ran a campaign based around the Blood in the Badlands book. Now the campaign went fairly well though there were a few creases that we had to iron out partway through that, were I to repeat the process, I would resolve BEFORE starting the campaign. I am considering running the campaign again next year, so thought I would take the time to list the clarifications I think are useful before starting, and the interpretations I intend to use when it comes time to run it again. If any of you are considering your own badlands campaign, by all means steal my ideas and use them - most of them are not groundbreaking, just the best consensus that was debated out after running into a quandry...

The Badlands in all it's glory
The first thing to clarify is the way it works. Each player declares an enemy and an ally. These can be discussed openly among the group or secretly with backstabbing aplenty. From experience however, it is far best to pair up. So our two sets of High Elves and two sets of Dark Elves being allies made perfect sense. Likewise it would make perfect sense to have them declare each other as enemies. We almost managed this, but one of the dark elves took a distinct disliking to my humans and declared them his enemies instead. With me having two enemies I was at a distinct disadvantage - each time someone rolled a "screw over your enemy" roll on the random events table I was twice as likely as anyone else to be suffering! We also had an odd number of players - I would definitely suggest getting 8 players involved. More wouldn't really fit into the map, less will be lacking something, and an odd number adds it's own problems. So 8 is the magic number for this campaign.

Random Events

Speaking of those "Screw your enemy" random event rolls, some clarification is needed for the random events table. Most of them are self explanatory, but there are a few that caused some headaches.

21, 24, 25, 26, 56 - where all these refer to your enemy, it is your DECLARED enemy.
41, 42 - in this case the "Enemy" is your direct opponent for the next battle
23 - a rival refers to any other player, except your ally.
53 - any opponent except your ally, picked before armies are moved.

55 - the map is totally free, you pick a location to fight and the army to fight it. Move the required army to the desired location once all other armies have been moved and the armies are challenging each other
54 - Declare the opponent. Then armies move. When it comes to challenges, you pick the opponent they can fight from ANY of the opponents they are eligible to fight. This overrides the normal priority list, however they must still be theoretically able to fight them. If they rolled 55, then you can make them challenge ANYONE, ANYWHERE. If they have already accepted a challenge, you can give them a second fight. However, they do not HAVE to fight this. They do however have to fight this before they could fight any other fight

The way we played it each player had to accept the first challenge issued to them. If they wished to play further games that was entirely down to them but they were no longer duty bound to, as most of our members only had time for one game per week. If the person at the top of your priority list already had a game lined up and didn't want to fight a second game, you stepped down to the next highest person on your fight priority list.

Fortification Saves

After seeing how nasty a denial area could be set up around Barak Varr I have decided to implement a policy on fortification saves. Different fortification saves DO stack (therefore a city +2 and a fortress +1 effecting the same tile would give a combined +3) however they have to be different... so two adjacent fortresses would only provide a +1 bonus. This will hopefully give people reason to upgrade some of their fortresses to cities in order to provide better security for their empires. It will also make lands captureable, but not a guaranteed win.

Racial Rules

Whilst some of the racial rules are better than others, I think the main standout winner was the Dark Elves ability to add to their mine rolls for victories. This set one of our players up on a winning streak that kept getting more and more spoils and so he constantly had a larger army than his opponents. As such I think that while they can still have the +1 for victories, a natural roll of a 1 will still collapse the mine. In effect, rolling a 1 when you have won a game as Dark Elves means you get the results for 1 + 2 - you get some last spoils but then the mine is exhausted.


Some basic rules to be added in - Ogres (and other monstrous infantry) count as three models for siege raiding party purposes, otherwise they just steamroller everything. Cavalry dismount and fight on foot, their mounts do not take part. Monsters can man walls and towers, whilst chariots cannot. An attacking unit that loses against a wall/tower section does NOT take a break test as the book would suggest, it merely steps back as the rulebook states for assaulting a building.

In the interests of fairness, the gate section must be placed parallel to the defending players table edge. The following diagrams explain why...

 The above example is how the books authors envisaged the castle being deployed. It's central, it's fair, and the relief force has an even chance wherever it shows up.
 Now the example above is a little more tactical - the defender is hoping to hell his relief force arrives on his right flank or at the least on the opposite edge. If it turns up on his left flank it's a lost cause. However at least with this scenario the attacker can mass his forces in front of the gate and try to either take the gate or at the very least make sure there is no way past for the enemy relief force.
The example above is a major gamble but if it pays off, and there's a 1/3 chance it will, there is very little the attacker can do to stop it. He would have to march units down the narrow corridor (and whilst I left the full 8" deployment zone in this case, arguably someone needs only leave room to deploy their squad - with careful positioning of the tower and gate sections you could make the gap in front of the gate inaccessible to all but flyers.) to prevent the relief force arriving uncontested in the castle for the auto win. Yes, 2/3 of the time this plan won't work, but it seems such a silly way for a siege game to end 1/3 of the time... oh no, the enemy broke our siege... oh, wait, we didn't surround the castle, we didn't even block the gate, we just attacked the rear wall... hardly seems plausible does it?

As such I plan to implement a rule stating that the gate section must be in parallel to the defending players table edge. Similarly, the castle must be wholly within the defenders table HALF... no forming a wall line 8" from the attackers board edge and claiming the auto win!

Siege Equipment

We found it best to limit the hellgate to two per siege, and the boiling oil to one per unit. Towers can be upgraded once only, but the same upgrade can be given to more than one tower.

Siege Storm of Magic Games

When the fickle flying fortress determined that siege games would also be storm of magic games, I found the best thing to do was to play it as a storm of magic blowing up around a siege - as such the siege mission takes priority, the storm just makes things more interesting. Therefore...
  • All defending forces (except the relief force) must be deployed within the castle. 
  • If a fulcrum is outside the castle, it is either in no mans land or the hands of the enemy.
  • Fulcrums are placed one per quarter as per usual. If the defender wants two fulcrums he must build a castle big enough to force there to be two fulcrums inside it. If he wishes to defend a small castle in order to concentrate his forces, then he must accept that he will start with just one fulcrum.
Special Characters

We ruled that special characters were allowed but that they were unable to be improved and once dead were irreplaceable. This made the prospect risky - while a basic general that lost his magic sword could potentially find a glitter of gold that would replace it, once Lokhir Fellheart lost the red blades he was, quite frankly, a bit pants. I found this was quite useful and would happily repeat this for the next time.

Magic Items

At the start of the campaign each player has the contents of the rulebook and their army book magic item lists in their armoury. If a named character was equipped with an item, it was checked out of their armoury and could not be used by anyone else. If lost, it was gone permanently. If you gain an item off a scenario, it was added to the armoury with the cost of "free" whereas if you gained an item from another player (whether it be lost or bribery) then the item is added to your armoury with it's attendant cost. This does give the advantage that you could end up with items not normally accessible to your race, or potentially be able to have two of one rulebook item in your army. Having a spare Crown of Command is always handy.

And Finally...

The final piece of advice I have for anyone wishing to run this campaign is to do what we did, which is to have the opening week be campaign steps 1-5, with 6-9 the following week. Thus each week we had a process of 6-9 followed by 1-5, as the earlier numbered steps are basically determining who you will fight next week and what bonuses you can have, whilst 6-9 is fighting the battles and resolving the outcomes. It's a fun campaign and I do intend to give it another go - not that our first one wasn't a success, but I think the first month we spent a lot of time arguing about rules interpretations. I wish to do it again without that.

In the meantime, I should probably plan some kind of 40k campaign. Sadly I couldn't really see an easy way to adapt Blood in the Badlands mechanics to the 40k universe, so will have to come up with something from scratch. If I think of something I'll let you all know...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

An Interesting Challenge

I've been playing with my Orks a little of late, and had been having a good degree of success against a variety of opponents, but the other week I ran into a defeat against a Tyranid player at my local club. I'd absolutely tore through his army early game, but his trygons and swarmlord caused me problems. I lost the game due to a bit of bad luck, Wazzdakka and a Power Klaw Nob being unable to kill off 12 gaunts in three rounds of combat, meaning that the swarmlord had time to catch up, kill my unit, and then the gaunts got the 6 they needed to reclaim the objective. I was unlucky. Today I played against the same player again, a similar list (normal tyrant instead of swarmlord, and one or two changes but mostly the same) and again I tore through the guts of his army... but just couldn't deal with those trygons and hive tyrant. This time he got a solid win - one objective each but he'd killed all three of my heavy support while I'd only taken one of his (big guns never tire you get bonus points for killing heavies) he'd also nabbed first blood and my warlord. So no complaints really. But the fact that he was down to three models, and the week before it had been two of those models (plus a unit of genestealers that would have been annihalated the moment they broke cover) showed a weakness in my Ork army. Dealing with monstrous creatures, and in particular Character Monstrous creatures.

Sadly the trygon prime has learned these words, or some feral roar that means much the same thing to an ork...

Let's face it, 5th edition there was a simple answer. Run large squad in. 6 or 7 boyz get eaten. Nob delivers powerful uppercut. Lads are fearless carry on. Next turn 6 or 7 more get eaten, Nob finishes big gribbly off, and then the remnants move off to pick on something smaller. Now however... charge a trygon prime, it issues a challenge. I can either accept, and my nob dies before he gets to swing. Lads do nothing. Or I can refuse, and most of the hitting power from the unit is gone - i may pick a wound or two at best, and what chance I have of that is only when I charge and can throw a whole bucket of dice at the problem. The only solution I can see is to take Nobs squads, with several power fists. It can challenge the warboss who then goes "fine i'll step back... lads..." But that is expensive points wise, and I don't like to take Nobs squads due to the bad rep they got when everyone started running wound shenanigan nob biker lists. Now I know those things are a thing of the past but it's still not something I am used to. I'm also not the type to tailor a list and I don't really want to add them in just to deal with one specific foe - against anyone who can chuck a large amount of str 8 shots about Nobs are a terrible waste of points.

The only other solution is sheer weight of fire, but i've already got quite a bit of firepower in the squad of lootas, the two recently added dakkajets, and the warbikers squad that has proven to be oh so wonderful at snap firing. I'm not sure what more I could add without losing the feel of a speed freaks army.

So nobs squad may be my only hope. Bugger. I shall keep you updated...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

To the Skies!

Since taking this picture I have painted a second dakkajet, just the divebomba to go...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Dogfight Fail

So the other day I took the opportunity offered by Forge World units and the new dual FOC list at 2k to play something I've always wanted to try - an aircav guard army. I had one vet squad to act as forward spotters, the rest of the army was a command squad and vets riding valkyries and vendettas, with two twl punisher cannon vultures plus a thunderbolt and lightning (very very frightning galileo galileo figaro) as heavy support. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped, due to me not spotting one small rule in the aircraft section - ALL aircraft can choose to use skyfire if they wish.

Now in the old apoc rules for flyers everything hit them on 6s, even other flyers. This made sense - if a ground based gun struggles to hit me as I zoom by at 200mph then how the hell are two fighters passing each other at a combined speed of 400mph gonna be more likely to get a better shot off? Unless of course they are dedicated air superiority fighters. As such the thunderbolt, a ground attack fighter, laden with bombs plus some autocannons and a lascannon, could barely touch other aircraft. The air superiority fighter lightning had the AA rule for it's guns, meaning it hit on normal BS and was good at taking out other flyers. This all made sense. Of course, with ALL flyers having the ability to have skyfire if they choose to, air superiority fighters become useless. The bigger and heavier the plane the better - it's less likely to get taken in one, and more likely to have the firepower to punch you out in one. Which is what happened to me. A solitary stormraven took out most of my airforce. It would boost up to one and multimelta plus two missiles to the face... while the assault cannon would be machine spirited at a separate target. The head on attack usually got the job done, while the assault cannon would certainly clip the wings of the other target.

Disagree? Take the following example.

In todays world, putting the following two against each other with equally skilled pilots should have a clear winner.

The apache will kick arse out of ground targets, but the fighter should nail it easily enough. I consider the 40k equivalent to these to be the Vulture and the Lightning.

Now my vulture with twin linked punisher cannon comes in at 155. My lightning, including 6 skystrike missiles for true anti air prowess, comes in at 205. I'll even give the lightning first shot. Now i'm not normally one to math-hammer, but just run the averages here. Assuming head on, as we will have entered from own table edge.

Lightning fires autocannon, twin linked lascannon, and two missiles. Hitting on 4s. So one autocannon hit, the reroll should see the lascannon hit 75% of the time, and you'd certainly have one missile hit with a 50% chance for a second. I'll round up and say they both hit. That's 3 str 7 and 1 str 9 hits. Front armour of vulture - 12. So a 3+ to damage with the lascannon - let's call that a pen. a 5 to damage with the rest. Call that 1 glance. Then of course there's the possibility of a jink save which might get rid of one of them. Even if we choose to ignore that, unless we get a good roll on the pen hit, that's still a live opponent.

Vultures turn, with it's anti infantry gun. 20 shots, hitting on 4s, twin linked. So 15 hits. Glancing on 5s. That's 5 hp. Even with the jink save, 3 should still go through. Which is one more hp than the lightning has even before any penetrating hits are rolled.

I consider the vulture to be ground attack. The stormraven likewise, and my vultures and vendettas. They're the helicopter equivalent, for fire support and troop carrying in support of ground operations. They should fear the dedicated flyer. Not swat it like an annoying insect. This is the first thing I have not liked about sixth edition so I'm not gonna toss my toys from the pram over it. But while it seems to be encouraging us all to take flyers, it seems which flyers you take could be key... and the stormraven seems like a rock solid top choice so far. Oh joy, Grey Knights have yet another of the best toys.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I have recently joined a collaboration of friends on a new blog - the idea being that collectively we can keep the content level high.

I will still be posting to this blog. My better posts from here may well get cross-posted to there. If I write a cool post there I may cross post back here. But I'm gonna try to keep the content fairly independant if I can. Need More Tanks will be MY blog for MY stuff, whereas the collaboration will be me chucking in my two cents among the collective opinion on the state of the game in general.

Anyway, check it out.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Roughguts leads the way

In the final regular battle of our campaign, I found myself up against the campaign leader... though I had a healthy points advantage, as everyone threw what spare points they had left into this last game I found myself with 2950 against 2450. A big game indeed, but as I had just last week overcome an identical points deficit against a Mournfang heavy Ogre army, I could not take anything for granted.

The leader of this army is Roughguts, my Amber Wizard on Griffon. He started with the book of Ashur so he's effectively level 5. I have since upgraded him with some freebie magic items to give him a 5+ ward, a potion of Toughness, and +3A. Graaaaghh!

I also had to include a unit of flagellents (part of the army back when they were Core... and good) along with a half strength unit of Huntsmen.

Knowing I was up against my opponents Dragon general, I put a couple of Cannons in there. Knowing that I had a healthy points advantage AND my opponent would probably be taking a couple hordes of elves, I chanced the rocket battery. I also gave my demigryphs another outing, several units of handgunners/crossbowmen, a block of spearmen with militia in support, and of course the celestial hurricanum.

My opponent had the first turn and wisely moved his Dragon away from my cannons behind a forest. The rest of his army just moved up. His shooting caused a unit of handgunners to panic off the field, but the cannon held their nerve. His magic had no real effect In response I just positioned myself as best I could to countercahrge into the flank of anything that attempted to charge me.

My magic phase is where things got interesting. Roughguts went for a higher level Amber Spear - Str 10 bolt D6 wounds. He irresistabled it, losing the spell (and a wizard level) It was a good deal though, as the spear struck the Dragon square in the chest and smited it's unholy arse! That unkillable dreadlord was now walking. In the shooting phase my cannons took a shot at the hydra (failing to wound) and grapeshot for the dark riders. The rocket battery proved itself useful - very little scatter on the Witch Elves leading to most of the horde being wiped out. With complimentary fire from my crossbowmen, they were down to just a command group.

In the Dark Elf turn things started to get messy. Various charges made for a complicated multi combat in the centre of my lines. My militia were butchered, the crosairs overrun blocked by the cold one knights, who themselves overran into the rocket battery. The hydra did a tremendous job against the spearmen, eating lots, breath weapon killing 12 more, stomps doing more damage... luckily steadfast and a BSB kept the Spearmen in the fight. And this is where the tide really turned. The flagellents tore into the Hydras flank, pretty much eating it and overrunning into the flank of the corsairs. The demigryphs charged the cold one knights, and while a kitted up Cold One hero provided a nasty surprise, they did tie them up for a while. In the following turn, the flagellents gave the corsairs a kicking and chased them away... straight into the jaws of Roughguts. The dreadlord was causing some minor problems on my right flank, but a couple of charges managed to combat res him out of the game. The cold ones too took to flight, and while they returned, they were eventually routed. Roughuts, from feasting on the corsairs, urged his mount towards the Cauldron of Blood. By this time he had magical dominance, and a flurry of buff spells added +1 str and T to his unit, +3 S and A to himself, and +3 T to himself. The witches defending the caulron picked a wound off roughguts and his mount, and the griffen struck... and did nothing. My opponents joy was shot lived though, as Roughtguts struck with 7 attacks at str 8. The cauldron attendants were butchered. The crossbowmen tried bravely to bring down the rampaging monstrosity (and the pigeon he was riding) but to no avail. Roughguts charged, and they failed their terror test and were scattered to the 4 winds. With a solitary Dark Rider left midway through my turn 5, my opponent conceded defeat.

So we come to the final battle, and as Roughguts cooks up a decent Dragon Stew in his new Dark Elf themed chafing dish, we wait to see how well he'll do in the final battle. Will he survive? I doubt it. Will he go out in a blaze of gory glory? Oh I certainly do hope so...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

After Action Review - Blog Wars 3

So this weekend I attended Blog Wars 3 with my 1750 Star Wars Guard list. Blog Wars 3 is a slightly comped tournament in that you have to have a special character in your force... now my force includes Marbo who is basically a mandatory pop-up demo charge in most guard lists, so it seems like I may have gone for a sneaky option in this list... but anyone who has seen my Star Wars guard army will know it's bristling with character...

Anyway, I had been planning to take my new Necron army to Blog Wars, but then I saw that someone was taking the army pictured below...

So I brought out the Star Wars Guard and hoped the froce was strong with this one.

First up was pitched battle kill points... I was against a grey knights player. Happily, it wasn't an evil grey knights player - his army actually had, for the first time ever in the couple dozen times I've played grey knights... actualy grey knights. As in marines. In power armour. Without cleansing flame! I mean sure he had a couple psyfleman dreads and a squad of purifiers, but he also had a dread knight and an interceptor squad. His character was Mordrak and the ghost knights.

This game started ok. He shunted the dread knight and interceptors over and dropped mordrak in front of me to give me plenty of immediate threats. My vendetta ignored all this to try to take down one of the dreads - only managing an immobilised result. That would, in the next turn, cost my vendetta it's life. Meanwhile, the rest of my army killed the dreadknight, and neutered the interceptors. Mordrak however was not to be stopped. His generating additional terminators for ever wound kept him in it - he didn't fail a single one. He ploughed through the vast majority of my army. I dragged him down eventually though, and it was quite a close game. I edged the VP by about 50 points in fact... however the cheap kill points available in a guard army had him enough of a lead to get maximum points. Marbo bagged himself some purifiers, but a scatter on the demo charge meant they gunned him down in return. The special character being worth double kill points made that far from a fair trade. Game 1 - loss. 5 TP.

Next we broke for lunch, and judging of the armies for best painted army and best painted character. There were some nice armies on show, my friend Ken from Ignatum had some beautiful just finished tyranids. I also saw a more organic looking tyranid army that was quite nice (Pictured below)

Game two was spearhead, capture table quarters. I was facing necrons. In this game my opponent blinded me turn one so there was no shooting of note there. He then plodded towards the centre with most of his force, with his squads of destroyers sweeping around the outside. Personally, I don't take destroyers with my necrons, as I use Trazyn. I can't imagine a collector such as he would work with destroyers in case they, well, destroyed, that which he was trying to collect. However my opponent was running a destroyer lord and 9 destroyers in his trazyn lead army, so clearly not everyone shares my opinion. I really thought I was doing well in this one. Marbo turned up and destroyed one of the destroyer squads plus a few immortals with his demo charge (tesla'd in return though, so no table quarter claiming for him today - special rule of the mission, your character can claim) and while my heavy weapons fire found his two triarch stalkers far too difficult to take down (vendetta not showing up till turn 5 didn't help) I felt I was steadily cutting through them. My outflanked penal legion and infiltrated ratlings were keeping his home quarter contested, so all was going well as far as I was concerned. At the end of turn 5 we had 3 contested quarters and I owned one, but we had turn 6 to play. Seeing that he'd killed my penal legion and was advancing on my ratlings, I figured he'd be reclaiming his home quarter, so turbo boosted the vendetta to contest. Meanwhile, a squad ran towards the empty quarter. I held my position in the other neutral quarter while still trying to bring down the destroyer lord locked in combat. I felled Trazyn, and had taken away all his possible refuges... but the git passed his 5+ ever living roll. Damn you trazyn! In turn 6 my opponent advanced his necron warriors to contest the neutral quarter that was mine, while the other squad finished off the ratlings in his quarter. The necron lord and traztn took refuge in long combats, contesting my home quarter. End of turn 6, a single wound trazyn and 2 wound lord are successfully contesting my home quarter. 4 warriors are contesting the neutral quarter I have 3 scoring units in. The vendetta... is about 2 inches shy of getting into his home quarter to contest. The squad headed for the other neutral quarter... in, but majority of the models still in my home quarter, and when straddling majority rules. An extra inch or 2 would have sufficed. Giving him a 1-0 lead. The game ended turn 6. I was gutted! I honestly believe it would have been 2-0 to me end of turn 7 if not tabled, so to lose in such circumstances was galling (particularly as I had a healthy vp lead too) but such is the way of wargaming at times.

On the bright side, I'd matched the Star Wars Rebel armys game one result, so if he lost there would be a good chance we'd be playing each other... not to be though, he drew his game.

So in game three I'm fighting for last place against Kens friend Jon. He has Space Marines, and is a little rusty. The mission, Dawn of War sieze ground. I feel my opponent should have used his drop pods to contest objectives. He should have used his land raider more aggressively. When my vendetta showed up and killed his land raider, he should have used his termies more conservatively - running them into charge range of my rough riders was the last mistake they made. These mistakes were made horrendously worse by appallingly bad luck. Now Marbo showing up turn 2, just after a sternguard squad and Kantor had exited a drop pod, that's a fifty fifty chance that worked in my favour to devastating effect. His scout bikers charging my half squad of guard and only winning by two, leaving the survivors locked in combat, I thought had worked out well for him. He'd kill them next turn and move on in his turn. That would be the plan. But they didn't. They fought on. After they'd stayed locked in combat for a third successive round I moved my sentinals in to bail my men out... but I forgot to charge them! the men fought on regardless, and my sentinals chipped in in the fifth round of comabt, eventually my squad finishing the bikers off in the sixth round of combat. 6 rounds of combat during which I lost 3 guardsmen. Now that was bad luck. I tabled my opponent turn 6, the storming result giving me a massive tournament points boost (taking me up to 14th overall) and a hell of a vp score (1750 - 213)

So I was happy with how the tournament went, a little disappointed with the necron game, but wasn't like it would have cost me the title or anything. Now from the prize giving, it seems that my boy Marbo Fett had been tied for best painted special character, which is nice. I love my Star Wars Guard and think they're a wonderfully converted force, but I don't rate them as a well painted force - they're just too bland. So much white, bit of grey, bit of red. Boooring. About the only model I think is well painted of the entire army is Marbo Fett, so to tie that (with the one given the prize, the Swarmlord from the tyranids army pictured earlier) was quite nice. Why did the prize go to him, not me? Because my army had been awarded the "Best Army Theme" prize, and a battleforce of my choice. AWESOME! There were apparently some other contenders (a cool ape theme jokaero army pictured below  - i personally love the Statue of Liberty rising from the display tray) but the Tournament Organiser felt that I had done best, my army having many cool conversions and "you thought of pretty much everything" so with words of praise ringing in my ears and a cool battleforce under my arm I left a very happy man.

The army was well recieved by the rest of the attendees also, and has received many compliments this past week. Almost a shame to put it back in it's box for a while, but I've just built and painted 2k of Necrons, I wanna get some games with them now - especially as I painted them for Blog Wars and didn't end up taking them!

Many thanks to Alex of From the Fang for organising a cracking tournament. I'm not sure I can make Blog Wars 4, but 5 may be a possibility...

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Pigeon has come home to roost...

With Blog Wars 3 fast approaching I have taken the opportunity of a trip up north to visit family. Blog Wars is closer to my mums place than mine, so a nice relaxing few days off and Blog Wars on the way back.

Anyway, no work for a few days and the afternoon off gave me the opportunity to paint this little beauty. Now some have made cruel comments about the new Griffen model, saying the head is too small and it looks like a pigeon... with that in mind, let's say my Griffen has been somewhat inspired by nature... and given I live in Portsmouth, that probably covers the two heads on the model too!

Ok I'll admit when I started this I was more thinking along the lines of a Peregrine Falcon, but it's ended up looking more like a pigeon. I don't care though, as I think it looks good, and anyone who says he looks like a pigeon isn't going to live very long to regret their insults...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Solent 40k

So today I completed the Solent 40k tournament with my Star Wars Guard army. Man that was a bruising experience...

My loss in the first game meant I avoided the cheese lists (Two Grey Knights armies entered this tournament, taking first and second place) but still I got my arse handed to me in the majority of games. I'll give a quick rundown of events here.

First though, a word on scoring. To avoid those ever so annoying cheeky wins where someone snatches the result with a well placed block on turn 5 when you know you could have tabled them turn 6, this tournament had a scoring system I had never seen before. You scored 3 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. You scored at the end of turn 5... AND turn 6, AND turn 7. Meaning just cos you're losing on turn 5 you can still turn things around. Having seen how it played out, I'd have gone for 2,1,0 or 3,2,1 for the respective results but the theory I felt worked.

So, game 1. Take and Hold Spearhead. Up against 3 deffrolla battlewagons, 2 squads of grot tanks and the big grot tank. Mad Doc Grotsnik, 3 large squads of boyz, and of course the mek with KFF. That KFF ruined me. I could not get through it. By the end of the game I had managed, with 4 missile 5 melta 5 autocannon 5 plasmagun 3 multilaser and 3 twin linked lascannon... to kill one battlewagon, one big grot tank, and three little ones. The army just ploughed through me, especially the grot tank squad putting out 10 grotzooka shots. Painful! With hindsight, I could have lured Grotsnik away from the objective on turn 5 and got a turn 5 win instead of the draw... but turn 6 and 7 it would have been academic, he steamrollered through my forces and took both objectives, I had barely anything left alive.

Game 2 was against a guard player, Kill points pitched battle. One large platoon, 4 vet squads. 3 with forward sentries rule, 1 with demolitions riding a vendetta. Creed, Marbo, 5 ratlings. We got off to a bad start when the guy siezed the initiative on me and stopped my vendetta from shooting turn 1. Creeds orders system is very strong, with Kell making everyone test on his Leadership it's pretty much a guaranteed pass. I did spot he'd done a few things wrong with hindsight - once he's issued an order to himself he can't issue any more orders. Meaning when he "move move move" his command squad to get the LOS needed to "Bring it Down" on my stuff, he shouldn't have been able to do it. I'm also still not convinced you can use a vox to reroll when it's your own squad being ordered, but I'll let that one slide. This game was a very frustrating draw for me. I poured fire into his big unit (it was near the table edge and wanted to soften it up for my penal legion... both of which turned up on the wrong flank) but it held. He passed a stupid amount of cover saves even if they were at 3+. His ratlings held in the last turn, and both units of penal legion bounced off his veterans despite outnumbering him and having upgrades AND the charge. This game ended in a draw in all three turns, though in the end I'd only lost the vendetta, marbo, palpatine and 2 units of ratlings. In return i'd killed a vendetta, a chimera, a command squad, a veteran squad, marbo... and about 2 thirds of a 50 man blob platoon. Having my rough riders fail a pinning test at a critical time was quite costly too.

Game 3 was even worse. Kill points Spearhead this time, against Space Wolves. I deployed in two large blobs covering my rear quarter hugging cover, with the penal legion towards the flanks so that when his wolf scouts arrived, there was no way they could tie up either of my 50 man firebases in an unwinable combat. I got off to a bad start here, my vendetta failing it's cover save and dying to a single lascannon shot. But my turn 1 it seemed like I was gonna put up a hell of a fight, killing half the bikers with marbo and tearing through the thunderwolves with weight of fire (killed 4/5 and wounded the wolflord) However, turn 1 was where I peaked. After that I could NOT kill anything. By the end of turn 7 I was tabled. I had scored a single kill point, for a razorback. His dread had 5 penetrating hits to the rear from snipers - never more than stunned. His razorbacks had had 5 autocannons and 4 missile lanuchers a turn firing at him... in the end the only one to die died to a krak grenade. It was a massacre.

So having had a night to rest, I came back and braced myself - sieze ground, spearhead, but with special rules. All area terrain blocked LOS on a board with 12 pieces of area terrain (some small, some rather large, about 18" by 12" oval) and would either grant stealth or count as dangerous. So no LOS... and playing against Nids. Uh Oh. But this game went surprisingly well. I think my opponent put his doom of malantai in the wrong place, he tried to use it to clear one of the objectives to the flank and allow his stuff to claim - personally while I doubt he could have cleared me off the objective I had over 50 guardsmen sat on, putting a doom on front of them would have certainly caused me some problems. As it is, you fire enough lascannons at it he'll eventually go away, and he did. Everything went right this game - the Rough Riders charged a Trygon and ate it in one round. They then got charged by a Tervigon, and while they steadily lost, losing 1 or 2 per round, they kept passing the morale check needed to keep them in the fight, holding him off his objective. By the end of the game my opponent was reduced to 3 Biovores and the Tervigon, whilst I held all four objectives. A solid win.

My final game was again against Nids, Spearhead, with objectives placed in the quarters I couldn't deploy in and the centre. This was such a reversal compared to the last game. This time my opponent dropped a doom in front of me - and he promplty annihalated my entire firebase. Gradually, but he did. Every melta or missile shot bounced harmlessly off him (while naturally, the occassional las round got through, just to tease me, before he recovered the wound in the shooting phase.) My rough riders were charged and killed by a Gaunt squad. My penal Legion with +1A and Rending charged 6 Gaunts... and lost, failed the Stubborn Ld 8, and ran. My opponent held Gaunts and Stealers in cover till turn 5 then moved enough of them into the open to claim the objectives while retaining a cover save. Marbo tried to intervene towards the end, with 6 attacks hitting on 3's wounding on 2s I had high hopes. Hit twice. Wound twice. Save one. They then killed him in reply. Ouch. I did keep whittling him down, and while he annihalated my firebase my mobile troops had taken one objective and almost stole the centre one - 1 inch less on the Trygons run roll would have seen me claim a turn 7 victory, instead I had to settle for 5,6 loss 7 draw.

I came pretty close to the bottom of the table, I think I was about 12th out of 16, with 14 tournament points from a possible 45. The grey knight at the top had 43 - purifier lists are evil.

I did better in the Best Army stakes though... was finalised and was one of four armies being voted for. Eventually came second to the (admittedly beautifully painted) Wolf army that had given me such a kicking in Game 3 by one vote. So close! Especially infuriating was hearing one local lad saying that he would have voted for mine if it had been the first time he'd seen it, but as he'd seen it before down the local GW he was going to vote for something else. Shoulda kept it under wraps... :oP

Anyway, with Blog Wars 3 next Saturday The Empire has a chance to redeem itself... though given how well the Empire did in the third outing in the movies, perhaps I should prepare for my wooden spoon now...

Meanwhile, I have to prepare for a Storm of Magic game in our campaign at my local club tomorrow. It's a busy few days of wargaming...