Severus’ is back…again.

lazy-gamerHowdy everyone.  Guess the ork broke the news to you all that I was on my way back.  Well, here I am.  There is no fancy excuse.  I was being super lazy (see above related picture).  Good news is that I have been active hobby wise and have plenty to talk about.

Kaptain Klaw already brought you guys up to speed on what has been happening in the GW world.  I can fill you in on what is happening in our little local group.  I finished up my original 2000 point Iron Hands lists.  Completely painted to a standard I am happy with.  I will try to setup the army for some photos one of these days.  They have been my primary army over the last few months in terms of gaming.  I am hoping to transition to Tau soon.

I briefly considered re-basing my Iron Hands when the 32mm bases came out.  I got to say, I really like the way marines look on 32mm bases.  I was a little concerned about having to pop all my marines of there 25mm (some have finecast legs, the other I used plastic glue which can be a bear to break neatly).  Then the words of wisdom prevailed.  I would need new foam for 32mm based miniatures.  My current kr foam fits my 25mm bases very snug.  Since I hate buying foam and cases (even if they are a good product), I decided to hold off on re-basing the Iron Hands.

Our gaming group has been really into fantasy.  Mainly due to all the new end times content.  Guys have been dusting off old armies, adding new units, and expanding armies with the new end times army units.  I learned a lot.  Mainly that I love Manfred’s new rules.   He was a blast to play with, I may have to pick up that model eventually (I borrowed him the first time).  I was also gifted a box of Morghast Harbingers, which I have assembled and painted.  Going to test them out this weekend, so expect a little report.

We have even held a few small tournaments (put on by Critical Hit Games).  They are trying a new format that has been working well.  It is sort of a league.  Participants sign up and pairings are announced.  The games can be played anytime (as in through out the week or weekend) but must be played in the store.  It is a single elimination style.  Once the first round is complete, pairings for the next round are announced and it repeats.  A 10 person tournament took about 3 weeks.  A long time, but we ended up with a much higher turn out than when we hosted a single day 3 round tournament.

Personally, I would like to see the tournament format changed to a double elimination bracket.  It is possible to do, just takes a little bit more work to come up with the pairings.  That way you are less likely to get booted out of the tournament from some really bad luck or a poor match up.  Regardless though, they have been fun matches to watch and play in.  We even started a 40k one this last week.

We have had a few new faces in the 40k crowd.  Unfortunately, none of them have become regular players thus far.  There are about 6 of us there making up the core group.  Don’t get this wrong, I love my core gaming group.  I just really want to see more guys around playing.  The more variety, the better.  We are happy to play with new players or veterans.  If you are reading this and are in the Baltimore area, check us out some saturday.

That about wraps up what has been going on with me.  I have a few ideas for articles in the works (new year’s hobby resolutions, army on display for the iron hands, maybe a forgeworld unit review).  Until then gentleman, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Hidden Gems: Part 2

The following is a by a legionnaire known as Julius the Austere; Guardian of the Battle.  This is part of a series he is doing on hidden gems within Warhammer Fantasy.  Severus out.

First off, sorry for the hiatus! Welcome to the second installment of the hardly anticipated hidden gem series for Warhammer Fantasy! So the gem of an option we are going to talk about today is the Tomb Banshee, available in an Undead Legion or just regular VC list. Oh, yeah. I said Banshee! 

So why do people not take Banshees that often? Well, they are a tad below 100 points so they are not exactly cheap and they generally get compared to the Terrorgheist who has a much more powerful version of the same special attack. I’m okay with this comparison as although they are quite different they serve a similar role of dealing with high armor saves. However, I look at Banshees in a different light and they have become a valuable tool in my lists. Now, unlike my take on the sisters of slaughter, the theoretical principles and role for my Banshees for has transitioned from theory to actual performance in games and I couldn’t be more impressed. I have been including 2 to 3 banshees in all of my recent lists (3 if not taking a terrorgheist). 

So, lets start with some of the principle benefits of including banshees: 

1) To clear chaff. Vampires Counts do not have a lot at their disposal to deal with enemy units that will chaff up the blocks that you want to get in to combat (this can be mitigated by UL). Cue the banshees. Bye-bye skinks! Bye fast cav who thought they were safe dancing around out of line of sight for charges! 2 or 3 banshee screams will get the job done on with good reliability on these types of units that stray from their generals leadership but are a general nuisance to an army that has to move forward to win.  

2) To put an ethereal, terror causing model in units.  Being able to deploy in any infantry unit and move in and out of units as needed is a huge plus for Banshees. On the edge of a bus they will take away a file of enemy attacks. As a terror causing model they will force leadership checks when you charge and cause fear causing units that are not ITP to take fear checks. There are more of these kinds of units in the game than you would think and they usually have low leadership! Also, if you are in the unfortunate position of having less than 5 rank and file in a unit with characters it is very helpful to allocate hits from BS based shooting to an ethereal model first. Similarly, if hit by a template, taking a hit on the banshee will save a rank and file model. 

3) They keep their points. Unlike the Terrorgheist, which often will fall victim to artillery or poison shooting, Banshees rarely ever give up their points. Like, almost never! Of course, if the enemy does not have magic missiles or magical shooting then your banshees are pretty much free to roam anywhere doing as they please. But even if your opponent has some of these tools, it is exceedingly hard to kill an ethereal character that is protected in a unit. Even if by chance someone does get in to your unit with a magic weapon, you probably have your enemy where you want them – in combat with your killy vampire or stuck on a unit of zombies or skeletons they won’t be able to chew through any time soon while your other screamers circle and make their attack into combat. 

4) Vampire lists (and UL) only really have a few options to deal with high armor. The Banshee is certainly the one that suits my playstyle the most. By having 2 or 3 of these screams per turn you will eventually do major damage due to the variability of the dice. Some turns you will do nothing and some turns you will do something amazing. Other turns you will just chip away at your enemy units. But over the course of the game, you will do something that will likely at least earn their points back (high armored units and monsters are not that cheap) while you preserve your own. 

Below are my Banshee Results from games in a team tournament this past weekend where I pitted UL (or vamps with a Casket of souls) alongside a friends Eternity King force. For reference, I took 2 banshees in my 1500 point force. 

Game 1 – vs. Pure Dark Elf and warriors of chaos lists. Banshee deployed in skeleton block killed a warlock or 2 before the unit got a 17 inch charge on a slaneesh marked chariot, screaming it into oblivion and subsequently panicking a chimera off the table. That had to be at least 300 points! My other banshee was out harassing a Deamon prince of Nurgle that my casket and Terrorgheist ended up dealing with before it could sling purple sun down our flanks and annihilate everything not elf.  

Game 2 – vs. pure woodelves and pure darkelvesBanshees did not do too much here. Might have killed a Wildwood Ranger or so.  

Game 3 – vs. empire and brets 1+ armor save army. They netted a steam tank! As I engaged the steam tank with spirit hosts (who also had 1 heck of a run over the 3 games) I had rounds of screaming with both banshees. First round both banshees did nothing as I rolled low on my dice. 2nd round I rolled an 11 followed by boxcars. The variability of the dice! Bye-bye steam tank. 

Notes and conclusion:  

My friend and I had a very strong showing (1st place, 3 large victories) at the 5 team tournament thanks to our balanced attack that combined the shooting of elves with the chaff and bodies that I could bring. The banshees were a big part of our success and I never even lost the points for one of them in all 3 games. The Terrorgheist and spirit hosts were also big performers on the day with the Terrorgheist only dying in 1 of 3 games. Still, I was most impressed with what my banshees did by getting significantly more than their points in 2 of 3 games and keeping their points in all 3. I think their versatility makes them a good choice in a Vampire/UL army and a lot more solid than the bad rap they tend to get. I think they are useable in casual and competitive play. Of course there is the counter argument that I was lucky on the day, but don’t forget that I did nothing to that steam tank initially. If I would have rolled perfectly average every time I would have still killed the stank in the 2 turns it was engaged with spirit hosts, sitting on 8 wounds. So yeah, don’t sleep on banshees! They can be effective. 

Now, if you got to the end of this article, go get the nearest person to pat you on the back. You have done well my friend. 

The Austere one, over and out! 

Severus’ Weekly Report: The Hobbying

Welcome back readers, It’s Severus here.  Time to bring you lads up to speed on what I have been doing, as well as few of the other legionnaires.

I have been in a hobby zone lately.  Lots of little projects getting wrapped up.  Since the nagash book dropped, my fantasy fire has been rekindled.  I had a lot of models that were in the middle stages of painting.  Like 20 skeletons, 10 ghouls, 3 crypt horrors.  They are all back on the painting table.  I also started and finished my Krell model.  I love him.  He looks sweet, has an awesome story, and recently got a little bit of new rules.  He is not the best on the table top, but come on.  Who can say “No” to that face?

Now, being the magnet fiend that I am, it was only a matter of time before I started magnetizing my miniatures to the movement trays.  I picked up some Gale Force Nine rubberized steel and went to town.  I am about 1/3 of the way through my painted models and am running low on magnets.  The trays look and work well.  I did about 7 trays with the one pack of rubberized steel.

I also acquired a metaphorical boat load of second hand vampire count models.  Long story short, a friend of the group was getting rid of a fairly large army he had bought but never really painted or used.  The lord primarch, who is starting an undead legion himself, and I decided to split the lot.  They were for the most part all assembled (except that damn crystallizing GW plastic glue meant that most of them now fell apart).  The big center piece for the lot for me was 15 blood knights.  They were in various stages of painting.  I decided to strip them and start from scratch.  Suffice it to say, my building and repair time will be full for a long time.

Now, outside of hobby land, there have been a number of games played.  The lord primarch and I had a fantasy game.  He used Critical Hit’s store army, Ogres.  I was testing out a krell lead undead legion list.  They game went decidedly in my favor.  Mainly due to some horrendous luck on the primarch’s part.  Like his right flank collapsing when I single spirit host charged 4 maneater’s, beat them in combat, who fled, and were ran down.  Shit happens like that in fantasy.  It was a discouraging game for the primarch, I hope this doesn’t hurt his new found fantasy enthusiasm.

Over the weekend we went to a new local store, Core World’s Games, ran by one of our very own legionnaires.  Now, I will be upfront with you readers, Josh is a friend and I am sure I am biased when it comes to reviewing his store.  That being said, I like his store.  The location is not that far off the main road for me, so it is a fairly easy drive.  The store has plenty of space.  Like 5 or 6 gaming tables with plenty of space for gaming.  Terrain is a little light right now, but I know he is working on that.  If I could give him one critique, his section of models is not the greatest right now.  I understand that takes capital to build a large inventory, so that will be something that comes with time.  I encourage all of you reading to go check it out.

Now, while at the new store, I got more gaming in.  A fantasy battle against the chaos worshiper, Greg.  His warriors took on the undead legion in a 2500 game.  It was a rough go.  He crushed my center fairly early on with his chosen and chaos warriors.  My new vargheists ran around like fools due to failing a frenzy check on turn one and died in short order.  Fortunately, the loss of my general in the center no longer sets off a crumble.  So I was able to hold on and take down a few of his units with my crypt ghouls and terrorgheist.  In the end, I was able to pull it back and earn a draw.

After that, Shorereaper and I decided to have a go with some 40k.  He brought his nids with the new big bug, the Dimachaeron.  I brought my iron hands with the new imperial knight, Justice.  We decided to do an altar of war mission from the iron hands supplement.  Essentially it was kill points with a modified version of slay the warlord for the iron hands.  Basically, I could earn five victory points if my chapter master could take down his swarm lord in a challenge.  So that is what we set out to do.  I bet big on that combat, and in the end lost.  Stupid big bug.  Justice managed to mop up a lot of the field for me along with my land raider crusader.  In the end it was 12-13, the Iron Hands had lost.

That’s about it for me readers.  Outside of the miniature land, I have been doing some netrunner and Destiny still.  Next weekend is probably going to be wargaming-free.  So probably not going to be much to report.  Maybe some hobbying.  Until then, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Severus’ Weekend Report: Rekindling the Fantasy Fires

naglog-672x372Howdy everyone, Severus here.  Time for a weekend report!  This is one for the books.  There was NO 40k played this weekend.  Generally speaking, there was very little gaming in our gaming group (more just sitting around talking).  The gaming that did occur was FANTASY!  Augustus and I broke out our armies and gave the Nagash Undead Legion a test.

DISCLAIMER:  I know next to nothing about fantasy.  I feel very confident in my understanding of 40k and it’s various armies.  I know crap about fantasy.  So keep that in mind with the following. Go listen to Bad Dice or Garagehammer if you want to hear opinions that actually carry some weight.

First off, it was my undead legion (formerly known as the vampire counts) vs some high elf shenanigans.  I guess for completeness I should give you a list.  This is from memory, so forgive any errors.

  • Master Necromancer: Lvl 4, lore of undeath, 4+ward talisman, dispel scroll
  • Vampire Lord: lvl 2, lore of vampires, Red Fury, Quickblood, Sword of Strife, Other Trickster Shard, 5+ward talisman, Dragon Helm, Hvy Armor, Shield
  • Wight King – BSB, heavy armor, shield
  • Wight King – Enchanted shield, Heavy Armor, Sword of Anti-Heroes
  • 40 Crypt Ghouls
  • 40 Skeletons, Full command, hand weapons, shields
  • 20 Zombies, Musician and Standard
  • 20 Grave Guard, full command, great weapons
  • Spirit Host
  • Spirit Host
  • Spirit Host
  • Mortis Engine
  • Terrorgheist

Now, I don’t have Augustus’ list or know high elves well enough to recreate it.  What is worth knowing is that he had some silver helms, phoenix guard (with that banner of the world dragon), a lvl 4 caster and a bsb hiding in the phoenix guard, and a lord level elf on a star dragon.  There were some shooty elements (sea guard I think) and 3 bolt throwers.

I don’t want to bore you guys with a likely inaccurate report of how things went turn by turn.  Let me give you the big lessons I learned (or in some cases re-learned).  Fiery Convocation sucks.  It burned down my horde of crypt ghouls and half my skeletons.  It was not that I let it go, it was irresistible both times (which didn’t do any damage to the caster or there unit thanks to that stupid banner).  I could have dispelled it in my turn, but then I would lose a lot of the dice I needed for my own spells .  I did try to dispel it once (off of the skeletons) and threw 6 dice at it, and failed to dispel it.  I rolled an 14.

No longer crumbling from general death is great!  I always felt like my Vamp lords were glass cannons.  They can deal out a boat load of damage but can’t take much in return.  Now if you do kill my vamp lord, my army can keep right on trucking.  I think this could lead to some reckless play on my part, but it is a lot of fun.

The lore of undeath is nice.  I fell in love with two spells.  The grave call and breath of darkness.  The grave call lets me make infantry (ghouls, zombies, skeletons, grave guard, ect) or monstrous infantry (crypt horrors, vargheists, or the new Morghast).  We all know the trick with raise dead, putting a unit as a speed bump or re-director.  When the Phoenix Guard broke through my lines and lined up to go after my skeleton’s rear  I was able to drop 4 crypt horrors in there way.  Takes a while to chew through them.

Now, breath of darkness is a unique one.  It lets you heal/raise D3+1 wounds.  Not that exciting compared to invocation of nehek.  But when you have a Terrorgheist with 5 wounds on it, you could potentially heal 4 wounds with one cast (and make a counter of the dead token).  It is a great heal spell for a single multi-wound target.

The biggest affect on the game was the 50% lord and 50% heroes.  For a 2500 point game, we had some craziness.  To lord choices a piece.  Plenty of heroes running around.  Lvl 4 casters, a dude riding a dragon, big choppy vamp lords.  In the end, it made the game feel a lot smaller with the big points being spent on single models.  Not a bad thing, just different.

The ultimate question though is how did it go?  I was crushed.  I killed like 500pts and lost over 2000.  We didn’t even add in banners or my general.  It was a massacre in his favor.  That’s about par for the course when it comes to me.  I always lose in a big manor.  So, I can comfortably say that I didn’t do worse with the Undead legion.

Now, moving forward from here.  Honestly, my hobby budget for this month was the Nagash books (plus a new pack of netrunner cards and Destiny for the Xbox One, if anyone wants to play let me know).  So, I don’t think I will be adding anything to my existing fantasy collection for a bit.  I really want Manfred on his new skull filled mount.  Nagash also looks great, but I am not sure how much I would actually play with him.  Currently I am working on painting up my Krell.  We are going to try to do more fantasy down at the store over the coming weeks.  Sort of ride the wave of excitement that the end times has brought us.

That about wraps it up for me.  Has anyone else given the Undead Legion a try?  How did it work for you?  If any of you fantasy guys are looking to play, we are trying to meet on Saturday’s at Critical Hit Games.  Until next time readers, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

 

 

My weekend routine: Expectations for my Iron Hands

I, like many of you guys, have a routine when it comes to my gaming weekends.  I live very close to my FLGS, Critical Hit.  My Fiancé is very understanding of my hobby; she even helps a little (has an eldar army and is my editor since my spelling and grammar are horrible).  My routine usually involves going to the store all day Saturday and a shorter visit on Sunday or Monday.  I plan to take advantage of this for as long as I can.  I know it won’t last; my work schedule will change soon and with summer on it’s way, my friends and I will probably start doing a few outdoor activities on the weekend.

This weekend though, it’s my routine as usual.  I plan to get as many games in with my Iron Hands Clan Sorrgol force as possible.  I have had some serious issues with the army on the first two games I played; mainly I just don’t have enough bodies on the table.  I have re-worked this list a bit to add a few more models to it.  I thought it would be interesting if I gave a pre and post weekend gaming report to see how my list does.

I usually spend my week working on lists during dead time at work or home.  Once I get a list tweaked to where I want, it is usually the list I will play all weekend.  Here is this weekend’s list.

Iron Father Telavek – Chapter Master with terminator armor, the gorgon’s chains, and a powerfist, joins the terminators and deep strikes

Venerable Brother Ira – Venerable Dreadnought with a multimelta, heavy flamer, and a drop pod

Sternguard Squad (Still Needs a Name) – 10 sternguard, rides in the land raider

Morlock Terminators – 5 Thunder Hammer Storm Shield terminators

Tactical Squad – 10 man with melta, missile launcher, veteran sergeant with a chainsword, and a rhino

Tactical Squad – 10 man with melta, missile launcher, veteran sergeant with a chainsword, and a rhino

Tactical Squad – 10 man with melta, missile launcher, veteran sergeant with a chainsword, and a rhino

Ferrum Nimbus – Storm Talon with skyhammer missile launcher and assault cannon

Ferrum Rex – Landraider Reedeemer with extra armor and multimelta

Ferrum Vindicae –  Vindicator with siege shield

Total, that is 2000 pts out of the clan raukaan supplement.  I dropped the thunder hammers from the sergeants and I dropped Master Ferrius, the master of the forge.  This freed up enough points for me to throw in the 10 sternguard.  I don’t have another transport (yet) so I didn’t want to put them in a rhino or a drop pod.  So they take the terminators place in the land raider.

I am trying to build this army around a devastating turn 2.  Drop in the dreadnought turn 1 and advance up the field with ALL the armor.  This should hopefully put to many armored threats in my opponents face turn 1 (7 actual threats and a drop pod).  Turn 2 get all the tactical squads and sternguard out of there transports and deepstrike the terminators in a safe position.  Now my opponent should face 45 infantry models on top of whatever armor is left.

This all sounds good in my head, but we will see.  The good part about the Iron Hands is it is a low model count army compared to my orks and tau, so games should go quicker.  I will get in as many as I can.  If you are in the area and want to play a game this weekend, let me know.  You should be able to find me at Critical Hit.  I will try to have a report on this weekends action on Monday.

War Gamer Stereotypes

I thought it would be entertaining today to try to define a few of the gaming stereotypes and poke fun at ourselves for a bit.  Ultimately one of the great things that define our hobby is the social interaction that is required to play a game.  It’s not something that you can do entirely at home behind a computer.  Actual games often require planning and several hours of prolonged contact with the outside world.  As the primarch would say, we are the nerd elite.  Through these social interactions, we tend to come across some stereotypes.

WARNING: The following is for comedic purposes only.  Do not take what I say personally.  I am sure I could fit into several of these stereotypes myself.  Just try to have fun guys.

The Old Veteran:  These guys have been in the hobby forever.  You can tell by there references to things like rogue trader, 3rd edition, or “I remember when that army first came out.”  These gamers are often prone to “Previous Edition Syndrome”, a condition defined by the constant phrase “My mistake, that’s a rule from 4th ed”.  In their defense, they have had to re learn the rule set 5 or 6 times.  Often times they have models older than their opponent’s actual age.  These old models can be picked out by there classic Vitruvian Man stance.

441px-Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_ViatourThe Young Kid: Let’s face it, most of us started out like this.  Their armies are often very small, since this game can be expensive.  Models are poorly painted, often with craft store paint.  Getting a ride to the game store from Mom, most of these guys are trapped in a there for many hours.  Hovering over a game becomes a past time, often while asking a million questions to the players.  In more extreme cases, these gamers begin to loose all focus on a single army and acquire small collections of 2-3 armies.  None of these are big enough for a legal game.

The Hip Gamer:  He used to play 40k, you know, before it was broken.  Now he plays some game you never heard of.  He dabbles in Warmachine and Infinity, but they are losing their appeal as they become more and more popular.  If he does play 40k, he will often pull out an obscure army that you never see hit the table.  Sisters of Battle, no he will not call them Adepta Sororitas.

The Professional Painter:  This guy’s “table top quality” makes your models look like you painted them drunk.  His play style can range from competitive to fluff.  Regardless of wins or losses, he will always field a fully painted army ten times better than a single model in yours.  You almost feel guilty killing his models.  Fielding an unpainted model makes his skin crawl.  Side note: don’t touch his models, some of these guys can be very protective of their babies.  Or spill a coke on them.

The Converter:  A close cousin to the painter, these gamers must convert every model in their army.  No two models look the same.  Building something straight out of the box physically hurts these guys.  They can do things with green stuff you didn’t know was possible (Is that a tiny name patch on each of your guardsmen’s uniforms?  Looks like I just killed “Trooper Franklin Octavio III”).  In extreme cases, you may often have to ask him what each model in his army is again since they look nothing like the models that actually have rules.

The Afraid to Lose Guy:  Lets face it, we all lose games.  Seriously, don’t tell me you haven’t lost since 6th ed dropped, it makes me want to punch you.  This guy is so afraid to let a lose sneak on to his record, he often fails to finish a game that he may lose.  His phone will ring, he steps out, then there is a sudden reason he needs to leave before the game ends.  Really, your lawn is on fire?  I thought you lived in an apartment?  Regardless, he will always say lets call it a draw as he quickly packs up his models.  On the other hand if the game is a landslide, he always wants to play it out.  You know, to see if he can table you.

The Ork Player:  As you may know by now, I am an ork player.  Our type is usually characterized by a complete lack of caring over model safety and winning.  All ork players want to do is actually be an ork.  Run forward and smash things.  Models are often tossed casually into a dead pile or bucket.  If one breaks, don’t worry, we have 300 more at least.  A completely painted ork army is like finding a unicorn.  Also, waaghs are usually screamed at the top of our lungs, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Unprepared Guy:  You can pretty much count on this guy to bring most of the models he needs to play, and that’s about it.  Don’t be offended if he needs to borrow dice, templates, rulers, codex, ect.  A few proxies will always be in his list, since he almost always left something at home.  Why are there coke bottles all over your table? Oh, you forgot your drop pods.

The Non-Gaming Gamer:  These are the guys that always have an army, cool model, ect, but it’s never with them.  It’s in the closet at home.  This can range from a small force of Imperial Fists to a whole Regiment of Astra Militarum.  Despite multiple attempts to get these guys to play, they always forget to bring their army.  Interestingly enough, they are always willing to sit around and comment on your game.  They just don’t ever play one of there own.

I think that about does it for today.  Hope you had a good laugh.

Fantasy vs 40k: My thoughts

Originally, I was a 40k only player.  Like many of us, as time went I started to develop an interest in the square bases.  I started a vampire counts army last year.  I slowly built it up to 2000 points, painting as I went.  I started to become a regular part of my gaming rotation, 40k on Saturdays and fantasy on Sundays.

In early January though, I started to get tired of it.  I had suffered some major loses during a tournament which caused me to sit down and critically think about the list I had with the available models I could field.  Basically, if I wanted to play more competitively, I would pretty much have to shelve about half of my currently painted models.  That wasn’t something I was willing to do, so I shelved the whole army instead.

Now, don’t take that the wrong way, I usually don’t win my games.  I never really keep a record, but it definitely feels like I lose more than I win.  There was a difference between 40k and fantasy though for me.  If I made a mistake or had some really crappy dice in fantasy, I often felt like I was completely out of the game.  No chance to claw my way back.  In 40k, I don’t get that feeling.

Thus bringing us to the point I want to make.  To me, fantasy is a more strategic game than 40k.  I can understand the strategies, and to some extent, try to use them.  40k on the other hand feels like a story to me.  I can get into the characters and the armies being played.  Maybe that is because I know more of the fluff for 40k than fantasy.  So, in the end, I can enjoy a loss in 40k more than I can in fantasy.

That’s the point of this all to me.  Have fun and relax.  Yes, I care about winning.  Yes, I get upset when I lose.  With 40k though, I can still enjoy the cool moments narrative.  I feel like there is a chance to claw my way back into the game.  So ultimately, I get more enjoyment out of a game of 40k than I do fantasy.

It’s not fantasy’s fault.  Its more likely my lack of experiences with the game and the fluff that makes it less enjoyable to me.  Maybe one day I will pull my vampire counts out of the closet.  But not right now.  I got to figure out what I am doing wrong with these Iron Hands.

Thoughts on our latest narrative event

Yesterday was the third round of our gaming groups narrative event “Battle for Tarandros”.  We started this event back in February after a few of us, myself included, grew tired of the competitive way we had been playing.  I had some hobby burnout, and at the suggestions of a few people on the independent character’s forums, decided to try a series of narrative events.

Our local gaming store, Critical Hit Games, agreed to let us use the gaming tables one Saturday a month in place of their normally planned 40k events, usually small tournaments.  Augustus, our chief librarian, enjoys writing so he agreed to writing the narrative that framed these events.  You can find those in our previous blog posts.  Now with a little planning with the Lord Primarch, Shorereaper, Augustus, and myself, we were on our way.

Now, our first few events we tried to keep it simple.  The missions were nothing fancy. The first event was crusade and the second was kill points.  We kept it simple to encourage new players to join us.  We averaged about 8-10 players per event, mostly guys from our gaming group.

This time I wanted to try running a mission that was a little less standard to try to reflect the story we are playing.  At this point in the narrative, the imperial forces, led by the ultramarines, are advancing on a location the marines believe holds a store of gene seed left from the great crusade.  Various forces of evil/disorder/orks are in their way.

To represent this, Shorereaper and I worked up the following mission.  Deployment type, deployment, and night fighting were all regular rule book style.  The forces of the imperium were the attackers, forces of evil were the defenders.  There were three objective markers, one in the exact middle of the board, the other two the defender places in their deployment zone.  Starting in attackers turn two, if the attacker has a scoring unit within 3 inches of an objective marker that is not engaged in close combat, they remove the objective marker from the table.  At the end of the game (random game length), each objective removed in this way gives the attacker 1 point.  Each objective left on the table gives the defender 1 point.  Most points win.

Now, I had thought this was a pretty fair mission, the central objective should be easy for the attackers to take I thought, then it would be a slug fest to try to take one more.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  No attackers scored a single objective in the event.  Defenders won 3-0 on all tables.  We had 10 players on 3 tables, most of us fairly seasoned players.  The closest anyone came was the Lord Primarch almost scored one on Ralshenik before Ralshenik crushed him with a deamon prince.

So, what did I learn? Play testing is important.  We could have sorted out some of these balance issues before hand.  I am toying around with how to use this mission in the future.  Ideas are to always give the attacker first turn, have 2 objectives in the neutral ground and 1 in the defenders deployment zone, and to allow any non vehicle unit to score an objective.

I want some feed back from any of you that attended the event.  I also wouldn’t mind feedback from any readers that see how we could improve in the future.

New Imperial Guard Model Review

Well, new imperial guard codex (astra militara) is out and with it a new wave of models.  I do not play guard myself, but I have always like the aesthetics of the army.  Hordes of puny humans and loads of tanks with all kinds of crazy guns.

hydrawyvrenThe new models maintain that asthetic, mostly.  The hydra flakk tank and the wyvren both run off the chimera chasis. They blend in with the army quite nicely.  The hydra is a pretty close copy of the forge world model, which is a good thing.  The wyvren on the other hand does look a bit off to me.  The stubby barrels on the same frame as the hydra just seem out of place.

tauroxThe taurox and taurox prime is an interesting beast.  The first time I saw it, I had the same reaction most ork players did.  It looks like a battlewagon before the orks got their hands on it.  I got to admit, I want to grab one and ork it up to add a third battlewagon to my force.  In terms of the guard, it doesn’t blend with the army as well as the other tanks do.  Time will tell with this one.  I want to see it on the field (as a guard tank) before I give my final ruling.

commisarA new commissar model was put out, in the new odd assembly that is the norm with new plastic singles.  Overall I like this model (like most of the plastic character models that came out recently).  He has a nice haggard face, and a sweet plasma gun.  My only concern is that these models tend to be hard to easily kit bash, so we may be seeing this guy a lot.

ogrynThe new ogryn and Nork Deddog look fine to me, nothing spectacular.  Side note, I haven’t seen their rules yet, but I would love to see them make the table more often.  The bullgryn though, I must have these.  These are beautiful.  I have never had the urge to buy, build, and paint models for an army I don’t play…until now.

bullgrynI love the slab shields.  They actually look dynamic to me.  I can imagine the spikes at the bottom deploying as enemy fire bounces off them.  The grenade arms look scary, which I love.  The gas mask heads look great, especially the bane one.  The tank tread armor looks awesome, although it seems odd that the imperium can’t afford to make these guys a complete set of armor.

The suppression shields and power maul combo looks weird to me.  It could be that I love the slab shields and grenade arms so much.  I wonder how much I would like the suppression shields and mauls if I hadn’t seen the other setup.

Overall, another successful army release by GW.  I am hearing good things about rules for the new guard.  I hope this inspires more players to dust off the guard.  Maybe even get a few into the army.  Variety, it’s the spice of life.

Beachhead

At long last, here is the latest installment of our “Battle for Tarandros” narrative campaign series. If you missed earlier parts of the tale, find out what happened here: Introduction, Plantefall- Part 1, Planetfall- Part 2, Planetfall- Part 3

Having defeated every foe to cross his path, Captain Titus led his Ultramarines towards the heart of the dilapidated ruins of what was once a mighty hive city of the Imperium. The time had come for him to complete his true mission. From fragmented records that had survived since the days of the Great Crusade, the Ultramarine Librarius had learned that a store of Astartes gene-seed had been kept deep within the city’s secret vaults. The Imperium Reclamation fleet’s vanguard was ordered to invade Tarandros in order to clear the surrounding area and buy time for Titus to achieve his goal. If the planet could also be returned to the light of the Emperor, all the better.

Commissar Decanus was one of the few that knew the real reason that so many resources had been mobilized to this barren rock. Besides the Ultramarines, three Astartes Chapters had made an appearance in this theatre: The Blood Angels, Carcharodons and Astral Claws. From his command Chimera he monitored vox traffic and read scouting reports. Commissar Nemo’s men guarded the northern part of the city, while Decanus was tasked to fortify the desert highlands to the south. Despite the slaughter that the Astartes had wrought upon them, everything indicated that the orks were massing an immense counter attack. So far though, there had been no sign of it. The Guardsmen had expected an attack the day before, but night had fallen uneventfully and all was quiet.

That changed very quickly. Decanus first heard of the enemy’s arrival through panicked shouts emanating from outside his vehicle. Immediately, the aged Commissar reached for his command panel and took control of one of his remote servo-skull observers. The macabre machine hovered above a rock outcrop several yards above the Command Chimera. As far as it’s mechanized eyes could see into the early morning gloom, the horizon was drenched in the sweaty hides of savage greenskins. Most of the orks were on foot, but Decanus heard as much as saw, great lumbering vehicles racing alongside the horde, their mismatched armored plates rattling loudly in the wind. Without a moment’s hesitation, the seasoned Commissar ordered his Basilisk battery to open fire. Although the darkness severely hampered the artillery’s range, the enemy was everywhere.

Soon, the Imperial Guard’s lines roared into life. The potency of their firepower was so great, that it illuminated the night as a false dawn. The advancing orks were smashed mercilessly by the barrage. Many of the shots went wide, but the greenskins still died in droves. Yet their mobs fearlessly kept on coming. As they approached, Decanus’ servo-skulls revealed a squadron of three killa-kans lumbering forwards on his right, pointlessly firing their crude weapons despite being far beyond their effective range. Ork boyz trudged along with them, trying to keep their distance from the the walkers’ clumsy strides. So tight was the press of bodies, that several orks had nowhere to run when the kans mis-stepped, and were crushed by the walkers’ huge mechanized feet.

On the far right of the imperium’s gun line, a Battle Wagon raced forwards, its awkwardly attached deff rolla flattening everything in its path. The ork vehicle was heading directly towards a squadron of Lehman Russ battle tanks. Their mighty ordnance fired upon the advancing orks, but the Battle Wagon’s armored plates somehow held firm. The Guardsmen gunners were powerless as the ork vehicle rammed into them with full force. The force of impact reduced a Lehman Russ to a smoldering ruin.

Elsewhere on the field, the Imperium fared no better. The left flank was held by ten of the mighty Adeptus Astartes from the Blood Angels chapter. With great courage and tenacity did they charge head-long into the green tide that threatened to drown the Imperial Guard. Long did they endure, filling the air with the sweet song of their bolt-pistols and the fearsome roar of their chain-swords. But it was not to last. Though they sold their lives dearly, the orks were too many, and eventually the Space Marines were slain to a man. Dismayed, but unbroken, the Guardsmen fought on, pouring their ever-shrinking firepower into the ork masses.

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From the deck if his Battle Wagon, Kap’n Klaw roared with joy at the destruction that his mighty Waaagh had wrought. All around him the sands of Tarandros were awash with the blood of combatants and its dry air filled the pervasive music of battle. From deep within his primal instincts, came the knowledge that the time was right. The ork warlord stomped one of his mighty legs on the front edge of his transport and let loose a titanic bellow:

WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

From their leader’s lungs came the ultimate call to war. Though the cry itself had no intrinsic meaning, it carried the very essence of what it was to be an ork. Klaw’s various warbosses responded immediately with cries of their own. Every greenskin on the field was filled with murderous inspiration and the inescapable urge to kill. Without hesitation, each of them echoed their Boss’ war cry. Even the thunder of the mighty Basilisk artillery was drowned out by the ensuing cacophony. As one, the ork tide surge forward, and crashed mercilessly into the battered lines of the Imperium.

In the skies above, twin Dakka jets flew erratically towards the humies’ armored column. They unleashed their guns in a relentless storm of bullets, crazed by their leader’s war cry. Even at their great height, the voice of Kap’n Klaw could be heard clearly. Caught in the cross-fire, a Chimera transport burst into flames, forcing its passengers to perform an emergency disembarkation. From his vantage point, Klaw could barely make out the shapes of the survivors, but amongst them was humie wearing an enormous red hat and wielding a puny Klaw. Sensing that this must be the enemy leader, Kap’n Klaw leapt from his transport.

But before he could move towards this foe, Warboss Zug and his boyz had already fallen upon the hapless umie, and whatever was left of his squad. None survived. Disappointed, Kap’n Klaw searched the field for a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. To his left, Klaw could hear the unmistakeable gurgling noise of a shock-attack gun being loaded. Frustrated by the lack of opposition, Kap’n Klaw turned to watch what would happen next. He had found that the effects of this weapon are always amusing, and he was not disappointed. Somehow, the Big Mek managed to get himself caught by the weapon’s own feeder and was sucked into that “tranzdamentunal” chamber that he was always so proud of. With a surprised yelp, the Mek was fired, through the warp, by his own weapon and re-appeared directly in front of a stunned group of umies.

Kap’n Klaw roared with laughter at the sight of this, as did his entire bodyguard of nobz. The surprised Mek flailed desperately as he tried to fight off the enemy. But he was quickly cut down. With his amusement over, the ork Warlord realized that the fight was mostly over. There had been no sight of the great Space Mahreens that he had heard so much about. Hopefully he would find them inside the ruined city.

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News of the ork attack had reached the Blood Angel strike cruiser with time to spare, but the skies above the great carcass of the ancient hive city were obstructed by warp storms. Once again, the eldrich lightning had come without warning. Brother Aquilus, who had borne Chaplain Malkor’s doomed relief force, sought to pilot his Storm Raven into the theatre of battle. Chapter doctrine taught the sons of Sanguinius not to mourn the passing of those succumbed to the black rage, but the loss of such a mighty and pious Chaplain as Malkor was a grievous wound to the Chapter. Try as he might, the experienced pilot could find no breach in the wretched weather. He had no doubt now, that the corrupting hands of demonic entities had shaped this barrier. Unable to mask his frustration any longer, Brother Aquilus turned to Chaplain Sebastian for guidance.

Though the storm hampered communications, they were close enough to receive fragmented vox signals. By sporadic screams and terrified calls for aid, Sebastian knew that the plight of the Imperial Guardsmen. The fact that he had heard naught but silence from his brothers below, bespoke of their grim fate. Two Bhaal Predators awaited the Storm Raven’s arrival, so that they may perform a decisive coordinated attack. Unwilling to delay any longer, the Chaplain gave the order for the vehicles to complete their outflanking maneuvers and to consume the Xenos filth with purifying gouts of flame.

Accelerating to full speed, the two Bhaal predators burst through cover, one at each of the enemy’s flanks. Their heavy flamers roasted dozens of orks with their mighty promethium. But the damage they dealt was too little, and it had come too late. It was not long before their noble hulls were overwhelmed by the battle-crazed savages, and rent asunder. By the time Brother Aquilus was able to navigate the treacherous warp storms, nothing remained of the Imperium’s forces. The ork horde had slain all. Smoldering with rage, Chaplain Sebastian had no choice but to order the pilot to make the return journey. The Storm Raven’s deadly cargo would be disgorged at another time, when the death company’s sacrifice would achieve more than futile vengeance. Their day would come. Honor would be satisfied.

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Elsewhere, upon the Eastern fringes of the city’s dilapidated ruins, the Alpha Legion continued to blaze a bloody path through the Imperium’s defenders. This time, they were opposed by more than mere men: Adeptus Astartes of both the Carcharodons and Astral Claws Chapters had been entrusted to halt the advance of any foe. But the traitor marines were not alone. From tears in the fabric of reality itself daemonic hosts poured onto the battlefield. The combined forces of Chaos proved too much for the Imperium’s forces. Despite their valiant efforts, all of the defenders were cut down, and the agents of the Dark Gods stormed through the breach and into the city proper. Sensing that their prize was near, the Alpha Legionnaires surged forth triumphantly. Who could stop them now?