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.

Sieges

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...