Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Least Fun 40k Game I've Ever Had

The other day at my local club I agreed to join in a doubles games, 2500 points per side. Our opponents I knew had the big forge world slaanesh daemon thing as I had seen that it had been recently painted and the guy clearly wanted to try it out, but didn't have a full army yet, hence the doubles game. He had his son bring Orks, and they were facing myself (Orks) and another player with Space Wolves (They'd planned on being a team, we improvised the other side based on who was available, and allies restrictions were basically ignored)

We got the maelstrom mission where we have an ever decreasing amount of objectives, which is a good mission for my ork army as it means I can score while I have plenty of units and then as my army inevitably withers away I am expected to achieve less with limited resources.

We deployed. We were sat on obj 1, 2, 4 and obj 5 was in easy reach. obj 3 and 6 were deep in enemy territory.

Once we had finished deployment, our opponent got their armies out of the box... I hadn't particularly paid attention, I'd seen him rolling psychic powers and warlord traits and making notes on his list (which was on his phone, I'm not the first to find this irritating...), but I hadn't examined it, this is a friendly club game, not a tournament...

So he deploys. A stompa. Plus a few psykers hiding behind it. My teammate asks where the rest of the army is, but I already know it's nothing but MEKs in the stompa to be a repair battery (and a KFF no doubt) The other opponent deploys a herald of nurgle and the slaanesh thing. I don't know how many points the forge world creature was, but it was a GC T7 with 6W (to begin with, it gains more when it kills stuff, up to 10) and a 3++ save that may even have been rerollable... damn near everything on that thing was rerollable, I can't remember if the saves were too. Right, so we have a few psykers, a GC and a Super Heavy in 2500. Against a balanced CAD Ork force and a Space Wolves bunch of thunderwolves, wulfen and Leman Russ. Right.

So I think "We won't kill either of those things, let's just try to outscore them and then not die"

So we go first, and draw our objectives:

Secure Obj 3
Secure Obj 3
Secure Obj 6 (The Stompa was sat between 3 and 6)
Kill a vehicle or Monstrous Creature (So the Stompa or the Slaanesh GC)
Kill something in Assault (Turn 1?)
Kill the enemy warlord (Hiding IN the Stompa)


So over the course of the next few turns we were ditching one of these each turn but it is the ever decreasing objectives game, so we pretty much always had enough obj and our hand was stagnant. The Ork psykers had all taken daemonology and we ended up with a couple of summoned Great Unclean Ones, but on the bright side killing one of those got us the "Kill an MC" obj. So we scored that point and drew... "Secure Obj 6"

Over the course of the game we took 24 hull points off the Stompa. It ended the game on full health. The GC ended on 10W but I didn't even try to do anything against that. It just walked around with impunity killing units. We couldn't kill practically anything in their army. We couldn't ignore the problem and hunt obj. There was nothing for us to do but roll dice in futility, then watch on their turn as all our work was undone, and we removed more units.

It wasn't even THAT effective for our opponents either. I have been playing the Deffskulls for a while now and I have NEVER had so many models alive at the end of turn 7, and normally that's starting with 2000 of Orks, not 1250.

The final kicker was that the GC killed the grots that had been on Obj 1 all game, we rolled, there would be a turn 7, so I drew a fresh maelstrom card... "Secure Obj 1"

Oh how fate mocked me that day.

So, with us having killed two (summoned) Great Unclean Ones, 6 (summoned) plaguebearers 1 (summoned) daemonette and I think 3 wierdboyz and 3 meks, we had killed a grand total of maybe 200 points from their 2500 list. So they must have trounced us right? Nope. They won 5 points to 3. We had first blood, kill an MC and linebreaker. They had Linebreaker, and had accrued 4 points (one for obj 3, one for obj 6, another for killing units and another for killing stuff in assault if I recall correctly) If we hadn't been stiffed by such a bad draw, we'd have run away with that game. We could have ignored their forces, scored objectives, and it still would have been a boring game. I don't know if they enjoyed the game, I know that I certainly didn't.

Now normally people don't bring that sort of stuff to the club, we do have one member who likes his tournaments and has been running that sort of thing, and I think these two have been playing him a lot recently. I told them after the game, that next time, warn people. If they want a tournament test, I can bring that... I don't enjoy those games, I feel like there is no flavour to them, but have done it on occasion to help someone out with a practice game (running a warcon against a warcon to give a friend a test game was probably the second least enjoyable game I've ever had) But dropping that list on someone unexpectedly is NOT ON. And even more so after they've bloody deployed! I don't know if I'd have deployed much differently if I'd known what we were facing, I suppose I'd have known that he wouldn't have mobility and I could have exploited that a little but still, even if I'd stood by the deployment, I feel suddenly revealing the Stompa like "surprise" was a little unpleasant.

Ah the irony. I go to a tournament, play a list with 3 riptides, and it's when I come home to my "casual" games club, that I have a truly unpleasant game. Hopefully this will not be repeated often.

Sorry this post is a bit wordy, wanted to get stuff off my chest, will hopefully have something a bit more interesting next time, but by all means do drop your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

CATCH 2: Coming to the Imperial Information Coretex in the new year...

Life, in all it's ever wondrous, albeit sometimes unclean and heretical variety, does have a remarkable tenacity. Whilst bolt and the purity of fire does much to reduce the numbers of some of the wilder species of the galaxy, still they root out an existence the moment the Imperium has to turn it's attention elsewhere. And soon, we shall be studying one of those species, the greenskins.

This summer, as work finally started on tearing down the old IIC television centre in old albion (if you don't know what a television is, probably best not to examine it, it was a particularly low point in the history of humanity) the contractors discovered some damp patches, and in those damp patches, they found life...

Sadly, two of the mould patches didn't survive the transfer from the Good Morning couch, but two patches did. Small patches of mould that we hope will develop into fully fledged greenskins that we can tag, and then release into the wild and follow their exploits. We have called the larger patch Fred, and the smaller patch Barney. The team are very keen to watch them grow.

Of my many, many millennia in the service of the iic and all it's previous iterations (I still call it Aunty whenever I forget the current initials...) this is the most exciting and compelling yet. The greenskins have a fairly brutish society and we wouldn't normally expect hand reared orks to survive, so we're going to cheat, and drop our boys into a younger society, giving them a size advantage and thus prestige among their kin. We shall see how they take to a position of responsibility.

Living in close proximity to the greenskin encampment, this will be a mission fraught with danger for my pictographer crew... naturally I am in no danger, the Emperor decreed back in the second millennia that I was not allowed to die (realising that humanity had got to the sad state of affairs, thanks to television, that about half the developed world gained their entire education from me and my television shows...) Despite my own invincibility, I shall worry for my crew, and thus endeavour to not draw too much attention to our presence...

An early mistake when studying tyranids... whilst I survived them becoming aware of our presence, the same could not be said of the producer, the grip and the catering manager...
So, join us in the new year, as we embark on another series of... Living Galaxy...

Monday, 14 November 2016

Da Grand Loot: On Tour

So I took my deffskulls tribe to Fluffageddon at the weekend, and no, I did not get absolutely pasted. Despite all expectations to the contrary...

I'll admit I rode my luck at times, but my overall goal was to make any opponent have to work for their inevitable victories, and while with a little less luck I could have easily have had three defeats, I ended up with a comfortable win, loss and draw, putting me 9th of 16.

My first game was against a Dark Angels force. This I felt was a nicely reflective of the fluff force, with plenty of ravenwing and the associated couple of speeders, plus terminators, plus marines, scouts and devastators.

Knowing he had masses of cover save (although tournament rule meant any reroll save would be 4+ on the second roll) I thought it worth shooting him anyway, and the first couple turns neither of us killed much as I just shot a lot and watched him dodge it all, and he was then snap firing so the return fire was largely inaccurate.
Meanwhile, I'd been chalking up objectives... I was sitting on 4 of them in this modified maelstrom mission, giving me a 6-1 lead at the end of turn 2. This is where it went wrong however. In this vanguard deployment mission, objective 6 was on top of a ruin in his home quarter... the mobile units I had (the buggies) had no hope of reaching it. And on turn 3 my maelstrom cards were TWO obtain objective 6 and one obtain ALL objectives. Ah. Zero points this turn then, and a serious crimp on my next few turns as I had to discard each one and hope for a better draw next time. By the time I got to scoring again, he had taken the lead. The clock was ticking on our game, so as we decided turn 6 would have to be the last it was still in the balance. I blitzed my turn and retook the lead by throwing everything I had at his warlord. However he could score a point if he killed a character of mine, and my shock attack gun was isolated. He put 7 wounds on him, but I was in a building and went to ground - I passed six of the 3+ saves, keeping me alive. I had a 1 point lead in the maelstrom points, and I scored an additional 1 secondary point for "last blood" (like first blood but, well, last...) giving me a 2 point win. Of course, if he had killed my sag, he would have tied maelstrom and the last blood point would have gone to him. So an epically close conclusion...

We then stopped for lunch and I had a look around the armies and found a beautiful Blood Ravens force... It was very well painted but what impressed me more was the theme. He was only adding units to the army if they had been in the Dawn of War computer games, and each squad was lead by a character from the game (or should I say someone modelled to look like someone from the game) I love the idea behind this, and appreciate the frustration that you can give yourself by going to a tournament when running a self restricted codex - my star wars guard had no tracked vehicles for instance.

My second game was against a Tau list that didn't quite fit the theme of "represent the fluff" as well as some of the other armies... he had a squad of five fire warriros, a piranha, some pathfinders... a ghostkeel and a couple units stealth suits... a buffmander with crisis/drone support... and oh yeah, 3 riptides.
This was a score objectives at the end game, and I didn't expect much. I was right, I got tabled, although it took him till turn 7 to do so (my flyer jinking desperately but eventually succumbing) If the game had ended on turn 5 he'd still have won but I'd still have been scoring some points even. There were a couple of fun moments... turn 1 my sag teleporting into combat then somehow SURVIVING the first round to mean that his squad of TWO riptides didn't get to shoot in the first turn, as they were locked in combat. And in turn 7 when I got the tellyporta megablast shot to his both those riptides and informed my opponent that it was str 8 ap 2 and a 6 caused instant death, for a moment there he was very nervous. Alas, I wounded but no 6, and he passed the inv anyway. He did say the game had been a lot harder than he expected, which is something I guess.

 My final game was against Alex of From the Fang/Blog Wars fame, and despite having first met 6 years or so ago and been to several of his events, this is the first time we've ever played each other. This was my best game of the day. Again I felt the army represented the force well, and it was a very close game throughout. It was a bloodpoints game. I had fifty bonus points for first strike, so we tallied up the kills. Alex had killed 1115 of mine, I had killed 1112 of his! Incredibly close game. The first strike I thought I might have edged it, but it was within the margin of a draw.

Again, I rode my luck on this game. There was a 95BP Warlord (with 100BP bonus for slay the warlord) and in his last two turns Alex was hunting his. In turn 6 he shrugged off a couple multimelta hits thanks to his KFF. In turn 7 he got three instant death causing hits on him, and said "Right, if you make three 5 up invulnerable saves I'm walking out that door..."

I rolled the dice.

I checked.

If I had been the one nearer to the door, I'd have held it for him, alas I was on the wrong side of the table so I merely had to point.

(He didn't, Alex has never struck me as the type to rage quit, one assumes he was speaking in jest, however I can't help but feel that the deity that listens out for "anything but a 1" may be expanding into new markets...)

If I had failed any one of those five 5++ saves Alex would have won, possibly tabling me if I failed to a turn 6 one. I hope he is consoled by the fact that I remained one place behind him in the final rankings.

The top three were Eldar, Tau, then Dark Eldar... it seems even comp can't change the world that much. But there was still the Best Army to be judged, and that went to the army below...

 Yup, that'd be me. It is awarded not just for a nice paint job (I like mine, it's decent, but it's nothing spectacular I'll be the first to admit) but also for how well the army fits the theme, and THAT is something I do pay attention to... not just orks, but deffskulls in particular here. Everyone has guns, all the vehicles are stolen... sounds like a day trip to Liverpool. Apparently this impressed the impartial judges (another system I like, let's say my trust in allowing the general public to vote has taken a battering of late) I was very pleased to have been awarded this prize.

Will I return? I hope to. New army new theme, but it'd be fun to come again. Most of the armies were well balanced for the theme, there were a few that I felt scraped in past the comp restrictions by the skin of their teeth (looking at you three riptides) and there's two ways this can go... either next year more people will try to scrape dirt through in order to compete with the riptides, or they'll add another line or two to the comp to try to close that loophole. I'm hoping for the latter.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

CATCH 1: An outline of the challenge

The interest thus far is enough for me to feel confident moving forward with this project, and therefore I have come up with some more details for those of you who wish to take part. Do note that as we won't be starting this until 1st January 2017, there is still time to join in if the challenge appeals to you.

So, the phases will be as follows.

Phase 1 will be from the 1st to the 28th of January. From 29th Jan to 11th February will be "catch up phase 1" Each 4 week challenge phase will have a separate late period phase where people can still earn points if they finish overrunning projects within the second deadline. I used to have this be part of the next phase but people could end up getting snowed under with it eating into the next phases time, so they would abandon it to concentrate on the new stuff.

If you have finished on time, you can use this period to try your hand at something else or to do prep work for the next phase, or even make a start if you so wish. The plan is to be fairly flexible with the time - if it's completed by a deadline, it scores. Doesn't matter if you started a few days early while waiting for Bob to catch up with last months workload...

Phase 2 will be 12th Feb to 11th Mar, late period to 24th.
Phase 3 will be 25th March to 21st April, late period to 5th May
Phase 4 will be 6th May to 2nd June, late period to 16th June.

At which point the project ends and we count up score.

During each phase the following points will be available.

Painting 500 points of stuff - 5 points
Getting a game in with your stuff - 5 points
Writing a narrative about your stuff - 5 points

If you complete any of the above in the late period, it is worth 3 points. If you do not complete a part, it scores 0.

I would recommend that in the first phase people stick to combat patrol style lists (just because if you're planning to get a game in this may be your best way) and I would also suggest introducing at least one character of some sort in order to begin your narrative... although if your terminator lord won't be in a combat patrol, hey use a squad sergeant as the guy and in your narrative, advance time between one phase and the next to give your character a promotion and a new model. Easy!

A test model for my CATCH.

There will be some other points available over the course of the challenge, although these can be scored at any time you see fit as long as it is before the end.

Paint a set of objective markers. 1pt each, up to six. 2 bonus points if they match the theme of your army, 2 further bonus points if they can hold a dice adequately to be used for mysterious objectives (should be tricky to pull off BOTH of those bonuses...)

In your narrative, make reference to real world events. I have previously given the example of Bonfire Night and the fireworks in an early Tale of Four Gamers, I am happy to mention this as CATCH takes place nowhere near November, so you can't steal that one! There are five points available for doing this, and you can score it up to twice... I like a few references to real life, but we are writing fiction here, not the nine o'clock news...

In your narrative, make reference to battles you have fought how they turned out. Nothing can develop the character of an army like grudges and trophies! 5 points available for this, again available up to twice, as while it adds interest we aren't Dwarves, we don't want just a list of grudges...

Finally, there will be 10 points available for doing a suitable themed board to display your army on. Whether this be a movement tray for those who may like to attend tournaments and want to carry there army easily from one table to the next, or an Armies on Parade style board for those of more of a hobbying persuasion, do something to display your army on for a bonus 10 points.

The eagle eyed among you will have spotted that gives a maximum possible score of 100, and yes the points costing for some of the bonus points might have ever so slightly been influenced with that in mind.

And that's about it. I already have ideas bouncing around for my narrative and I may drop some bits around over the coming weeks, as a sort of prelude to the actual challenge, hopefully it will inspire some others. I've also worked out my list and divided into four blocks of 500 points, and have picked which I will do first... As for what order the other three phases come in, that I'm not so sure on yet...

In the meantime, any questions, feel free to comment...

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Combined Aspects Tale of Collective Hobbyists... or CATCH for short...

So, I have frequently run Tale of Four Gamer style events over the years, and some have gone better than others if I am absolutely honest.

The first was marvellous, four of us all really got into it and had a great time... subsequent ones, because lots of people wanted in and I wanted to be inclusive, I made more relaxed... which had the downside of being less focussed, the extra bodies my relaxing had allowed to take part dropped out anyway, and those that stuck it out didn't have as much fun anyway.

The Original and Best...
So I have always wanted to return to the purity of the first one. And one of the things I felt made that first one such a success was that we all joined in exploring the narrative side of it. We all had protagonists within our armies that our development revolved around. It wasn't just that I needed to add more transports to my army, it was that Bugrit had kicked those puny Tau backsides and was celebrating by putting some nice new rims on his battlewagon.

So I plan to run another tale. But as the title of this post suggests, it will combine the various aspects of the hobby. I will be awarding points for painting (as always) and there will be bonus points available for gaming, as per usual, although I will make these more consistent throughout. Finally, I shall also be offering points for developing a narrative. I want to fully embrace the whole gory of 40k - background, painting and gaming. All aspects will be covered by this challenge. Hence why it is a tale of hobbyists rather than gamers - hobbyists is more inclusive of the other aspects, plus it makes for a better acronym ;)

My Second Tale, inspired by someone elses third...
Now when I have run previous Tales I have usually included a friend who lives a distance away from us and it has always been difficult for him as I always included a local competition between the gamers, which was a struggle for him to get down to, and as life has gone on and given him even more commitments (wife/child/mortgage... the usual guff) this hasn't got any easier. So this time I plan to do away with local competition. Any gamer aspects to the hobby will be entirely down to hobbyists to play against whoever they have in their local area. If they can get a game in against a fellow CATCH competitor, great, it'll help develop both your storylines. If not, hey it's a big galaxy we'll all come across unknown assailants as our stories develop. The advantage of doing this is that I can allow people I have never met in real life to join in over the blogosphere.

The third tale fizzled out, although on the bright side once it did I completed my army well ahead of Tale schedule

As for the background lore? Well you can follow your leader, or someone else. Doesn't have to be the guy in charge. Could be the kingmaker. Could be a lowly grot giving his take on life, I've done that before. Ereyou has been through two different Tales for me, however since leading his Orktober Revolution I think his time at the mercy of Orks is over, he has his own path now. I have another plan in mind for how to follow my protagonists, and I think it will be interesting to write and hopefully, interesting to read as well.

Ereyou isn't here, but he is somewhere among his comrades enjoing a well earned break from the cosh of tyranny...
Anyway, the plan for the lore will be based on making a character or two, and allowing your tale to follow them as your army develops. There will be bonus points for keeping the story up to date, for including references to battles fought, even to any real world events that are relevant (my first and probably best still being my Stormboyz testing their rokkit packs on Guy Fawkes Night, and my entire encampment being enraptured by the ensuing entertainment)

I shall be looking at starting the Tale in the new year, so you all have chance to get the busy Christmas period out of the way, and to add items that you may want to put into the tale onto your Christmas list. The goal is, as always, a 2000 point 40k army by the end of it. I am currently musing on whether to try to achieve this goal in 4 months like the first one or give people a more relaxed 6 months (however I will NOT be doing an 8 month one again, that went on way too long)

In the meantime, let me know if you're interested in joining in... so far have four interested parties, myself included, so I reckon I will be able to get this going. Rules for the challenge will be put out in due course, but this should be enough for now to get those cogs turning, plots moving, and lists drafting...