Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Snatching A Draw From Defeat - The Battle Of The Idol

Inquisitor Hraka sighed. He was sitting, cross-legged, on the turret of a Leman Russ, watching the Commissar berating the hollow-eyed group of men they'd found dug in on a hill overlooking the ruins of Dosant Minoris fifteen minutes previously. The fifteen Guardsmen had, their sergeant explained, made a tactical withdrawal in the face of severe enemy pressure in the form of traitor Astartes riding giant beasts that tore through tanks as though they were paper. A corporal had, in a dry voice cracked with fear, told the Commissar and the Inquisitor that their squads had taken cover in a ruined administration building, and had been attacked by three of these traitors. Their gunfire had slain two, but the third had killed four of them at close quarters and when their bayonets and pistols had proved ineffective they'd made the "tactical withdrawal". 

Behind them, smoke rose from the battlefield. Hraka didn't much care what happened to the Rigellians. He suspected they'd be put on punishment duties, the sergeant probably shot. Hraka cared about the idol. Somewhere in that ruined town was a graven idol, a foul thing, something that the traitor Astartes coveted and that he had to stop them getting. So he'd contacted the nearest Imperial force and moved them at all haste into the ruined town. From the vox-reports, the battle had been fierce, with the Rigellian troopers and their supporting armour hemmed in by ruins, unable to deploy, stymied by darkness and then hit by aliens! Eldar, if the reports were to be believed. 

Standing in one swift, smooth motion, Hraka leapt lightly from the tank and strode past the Commissar. "You men," he hissed, "come with me, and redeem yourselves." They fell in, the gunners wheeling their heavy weapons, sullen, scared. The Commissar, his face twisted with rage and shame, strode alongside as they moved over the hill to make contact with whatever was left of Captain Steiner's little force. Hraka rather thought there wasn't going to be much at all...

Tonight I fought a 2,000 point game of 6th Edition 40K against George from the Leamington Games Club.

We set up terrain to represent a ruined industrial town, with a bit of parkland, and overgrown roads.

The mission was The Relic, and deployment was diagonally opposite each other. I took the same army I took against JY in the Battle of Kolvic Gulch, while George took the same army he did last time with the addition of 500 points of Dark Eldar... including a Voidraven ground-attack aircraft!

George's Dark Eldar Allies:

Succubus with Agoniser
5 Wyches with Haywire Grenades and Hydra Gauntlet in Venom with Splinter Cannon and twin-linked Spliter Rifle
5 Wyches with Hydra Gauntlet
Voidraven bomber (!!)

I was quite apprehensive about the presence of the flyer; this is the first time I've faced one, and I had precisely zero dedicated anti-aircraft weapons. I decided not to worry and just crack on. Turn 1 would be fought in the dark. Which is where I made my biggest mistake...

Guard Deployment: Note I have no idea why this is appearing at 90 degrees from horizontal. A wall of armour, with the Valachian Leman Russ troop at the back to provide fire support. Infantry out of their carriers, and ready to form a second line of fire when the Space Wolves break through. I combined Squads 2 and 3 into a 'blob' squad on the grounds that it would make FRFSRF much more effective when this happened. Probably my best decision at this time. The ruin on my left flank is held by the Borithan Veteran Squad and the Platoon Command Squad with the sniper lascannon. What I should have done, knowing I was going second and, because it's nighttime, nothing outside of 36" can be targeted, was line up right on my board edge and not even attempt to do anything in Turn One other than not get shot. Ah well.

Traitor Deployment: He put his Long Fang squads as square opposite my Demolishers as he could manage, and then stuck his Wolves in a long line to my left. Wyches on foot with the Succubus were in the building with the rocket squad, while his Venom and the haywire grenade suicide squad went on his extreme right.

Board Overview: At the back you can just make out the Scout squad and 'Voidraven' being proxied by a Valkyrie. He did actually have a Voidraven with him... he just forgot the flying stand! The objective (a golden idol) is in the dead centre of the tabletop, obscured here by the tall building in the near centre.

Typically, I lost the roll to sieze the initiative. So the traitors went first!

Traitor Turn 1: His Thunder Wolf cavalry moved to try and minimise my chances to shoot them dead, his Blood Claws and Grey Hunters walked forwards, and his Venom sped across to my extreme left. The Plasma Cannons and Rocket Launchers managed to knock one hull point each off Demolisher 1 and an infantry squad Chimera (immobilising it in the process). A scattered plasma cannon shot nearly, but didn't, killed a man from the combined squad.

Guard Turn 1: I moved my Chimera firing line around to bear on the leftmost Thunder Wolf squad, and retreated my Company Command Chimera so it wasn't such a massive target for the Long Fangs. My shooting was pretty desultory thanks to the +2 to cover save bonus provided by night fighting. I did, however, kill a Thunder Wolf from one of the squads, and a couple of Wyches from the Succbus' squad. Oh, and the platoon command squad's plasma gun overheated, exploded, and put its user out of action. D'oh!

 Traitor Turn 2: Argh, something's got into the machine-spirit of this cogitator... anyway, both the Voidraven and the Scouts arrived. Damn! His Suicide Wyches leapt out of their Venom (which shot and killed a Borithan Veteran), threw a Haywire grenade at the platoon commander's track, charged it, and wrecked it. The Thunder Wolves on his right charged my damaged Demolisher... and exploded it. Curses! Then his Voidraven damaged my surviving Demolisher, forcing it to be able to fire only snap shots in the next turn. Long Fang fire was ineffective, and the Scouts immobilised Charlie Three. First Blood to the traitors, and now he had Linebreaker too. 2 VP to 0!

Guard Turn 2: I moved my Chimeras to bring as much fire as possible on those damn Thunder Wolves, reversed my surviving Demolisher, and began ordering. The infantry that could, fired at the two Thunder Wolves responsible for blowing up Demolisher 1. Then this was followed by all bar the Veteran Chimera, while Captain Count Geranium sniped a Long Fang with Plasma Cannon. The end result was that the Thunderwolves both died! Eventually. Charlie Two and Charlie Three blew away the Scouts, with a little help from Captain Steiner, and then...

HIT! HIT! HIT! My surviving Demolisher, unable to do anything but snap-fire its Lascannon, fired at the Voidraven. And hit it. And penetrated. And blew it out of the sky! Who needs AAA, anyway!?

The Veterans, unable to see the Wyches, fired at their Venom (killing their own plasma gunner in the process) and knocked it out of the sky. The Platoon Command squad's lascannon team sniped another Long Fang with Plasma Cannon, much to my delight. I still wasn't winning, but I felt a lot more confident all of a sudden.

Traitor Turn 3: Half-way through the game, and George is feeling confident. As he should be. I had just realised that, realistically, I couldn't win. But we played on! His Long Fangs fired away, blowing up my Company Command Chimera, and killing a man from Squad 3, but his bloody Thunderwolves attacked and exploded both the Veteran Chimera and a basic infantry Chimera too. Then his Wyches leapt over the wreckage of the Platoon Command Chimera, chucked a haywire grenade at the surviving Demolisher, and then wrecked it in close assault with a barrage of the damn things. I was suddenly not confident at all of even scoring one VP. I'd dropped from five main battle tanks and six AIFVs to three battle tanks (one of which was immobilised) and two AIFVs (one of which was immobilised)! At least I still had most of my men...

Guard Turn 3: I had to do something, and quickly. So I didn't move anything but the remaining mobile Chimera, and opened fire with everything I had at everything I could see. The end result was four dead Thunder Wolves, five dead Wyches (that took a battle cannon shell and a hail of heavy bolter fire to accomplish), and another dead Long Fang with Plasma Cannon. I was still, however, on 0VP. George was one turn away from getting the Relic and with most of my Chimeras wrecked or exploded my ability to get to it or even Tank Shock his Marines off it was no longer extant. But, the Emperor protects the just!

Traitor Turn 4: The Blood Claws and Librarian didn't quite make it to the relic, thankfully, but the Succubus and her surviving Wyches did make it to my last mobile Chimera (aargh). Meanwhile, the two surviving Thunder Wolf cavalry charged my combined squad of 20 men. Overwatch fire killed one, and although four of my men were torn apart in close combat, they did manage to take another wound off the lone survivor, before fleeing off the board. Sensible fellows! At this stage I was still pretty confident that I'd lost, George was about to go from being 2-0 up to 5-0 up and I hadn't a hope in hell of coming back from it. So I said a prayer to the God-Emperor and commended my men to sell their lives dearly.

Guard Turn 4: Truly, the Emperor protects! I moved my just still alive Chimera away from the crazy alien warrior-women, moved the Borithan Veterans into rapid fire range of them, and moved Squad 1 up to flamer range of the lone Thunder Wolf. Then I blazed away with the squad, inflicting four wounds (from lasrifle fire) and killing the damn thing! Hurrah! Suddenly George only had a 1-0 advantage... and then my command squad and Veterans killed the Wyches and Succubus, with Take Aim! on the command squad being instrumental in wounding the Succubus enough for the Veterans to take her down with First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire from the Platoon Command squad. Who, incidentally, shot another Long Fang dead with the Lascannon. Then, and you can't see this in the picture, but the Battle Cannons of Charlie 2 and Charlie 3 hit the Grey Hunters who were slowly working their way around my right flank, turning them all into a fine mist of shrapnel and body parts. HA! Take that, traitor scum! Serves you right for renouncing the Emperor's light!

Then I had a moment of clarity. I bent. I sighted. I chuckled. "My tanks can see your Blood Claws, George. You'll get a cover save, but... I can see them." I could pull off a 1-0 loss. I wouldn't be hammered 4-0. All I had to do was survive the next turn, and then drop some shells onto the Blood Claws, killing them. I wouldn't kill his Warlord, he was too tough, but I could certainly stop him claiming the Relic.

Traitor Turn 5: Movement was limited. His Blood Claws and Librarian moved up to sieze the Relic. 4-0 to George. Shooting from his Long Fangs was desultory, but it did succeed - at last - in wrecking the Chimera he'd immobilised in turn one.

Guard Turn 5: I saw a chance to win. If the game went on just one or two more turns, I could get the Relic. I could win. All I had to do was blow the Blood Claws off the damn thing. With that in mind, I got my men up and moving, as fast as they could (not very - Move, Move, Move! failed me twice!) and fired all of Charlie Troop at the Traitors. Two square hits with the battle cannon! A hit from Captain Count Geranium's main gun! A total of 12 wounds on six figures - they died. All of them. Even the Librarian! Suddenly I'd gone from 4-0 down to 1-1! And, to top it all off, the Platoon Command lascannon killed another Long Fang with Plasma Cannon!

And then the dice came up a 1, and my chance at victory was gone. But I had a draw! And I was in much the better position. I was left with three main battle tanks, a mobile but damaged AIFV, and 30 men. The Traitors, on the other hand, had a Long Fang sergeant, and a squad of Long Fangs with rockets. I had little doubt that had the game gone on another turn or two, victory would have been mine. As it was, I am content with the hard-fought draw, particularly after being so convinced I'd lost earlier on.

...Hraka ran his thin, dark hand through his silver-white hair. The young Captain had held the traitors off, despite losing almost all his armour. His men were covering the access to the Relic, and so were the enemy. Wreckage littered the park, along with bloody shreds of enemy fighters and the bigger, laser-pocked hulks of Fenrisian wolves and the hulking forms of their riders. True enough, the Eldar had been there. Another black mark against these rogue wolves, Hraka though. He turned to the Commissar, who had begun berating a soot-covered Lieutenant about the men who'd run.

"Leave it, Commissar. These men have served valiantly and well. There is no shame in moving to a better position of fire."

The Commissar opened and closed his mouth, and managed to make a salute. The Lieutenant, and the men who'd moments before been slumped in the ruined chapel, their dead comrades covered in ground-sheets nearby, exchanged glances. Perhaps working for this Inquisitor wasn't going to be so bad after all. Hraka smiled as he read their thoughts, and motioned to the Stormtroopers who'd followed him in. 

"Come on," he said, "I've got a relic to collect."

Monday, 28 April 2014

"Platoon - Platoon, March!"

On Saturday, I finished the platoon command squad for Red Platoon, Yellow Company, of my Darendaran force. I also re-wrote the army list, to make it an actually legally fieldable force. Previously, back in 4th Edition 40K, Heavy Weapon Squads and Special Weapon Squads could, in Mechanised forces, take Chimera transports. I'd carried on doing this, assuming it was still the case.

It hasn't been since the change to the 5th edition Codex. Woops. So now Red and Blue Platoons have lost their Mortar Squad and Melta Squad, respectively, but on the plus side Blue Platoon's squads have gained heavy weapon teams, the Mortars are now embedded in the three command groups, and the melta squad has expanded to a veteran squad. I need to find my damaged casting of a Valhallan sergeant and convert him to be the Acting Lieutenant of the remnant squad that is White Platoon...

Anyway, here are the pictures for Red Platoon, Command:

L-R: Corporal with M37 40mm grenade launcher with smart rounds, vox-specialist with vox-caster, Lieutenant Dzevat Memedelija wearing his dress greatcoat with platoon sash, and weapons specialists 1st and 2nd class with 50mm rapid-fire autocannon loaded with high-density armour-piercing shells.

And here is how they will look when deployed on the tabletop:
Able to take the fight to the Emperor's foes from a distance and behind something big and robust!

I'm umming and ahhing about adding the correct battalion/company/platoon/squad recognition discs to them. I think I'd have to put it on the right shoulder. Black circle, with a bi-colour disc in it, and a black numeral (or 'C' in the case of command groups). This denotes firstly the battalion (colour of numeral and circle's edge), then the company (left-hand colour), then platoon (right-hand colour), then the squad number. I think I'll have to. It just looks cool. I'll also be adding rank stripes to L/CPL, CPL, and SGTs. CSM will get three stripes in gold rather than three stripes in white.

Also, I got paid today, and me and JY have taken a leap of faith and bought into Star Wars: X-Wing, The Miniatures Game. We each bought a starter box, and then some extras - I'm taking the Imperials (GLORY TO THE EMPIRE) and he's taking the Rebel scum (booo! Hisss!). So by the end of this week I should have Darth Vader in his prototype TIE X1 Advanced, and four TIE L/N fighters from Lord Vader's personal squadron, Black Squadron. For those of you who've seen Star Wars: A New Hope, they're the poor chaps who take off from the Death Star to try and fight off the Rebel attack.

All 12 of them, well, and Lord Vader, against the whole Rebel fighter/bomber fleet. They did pretty well, considering.

Meanwhile, JY has gone a bit mad, and bought the Millenium Falcon and an extra X-Wing, because hey, three X-Wings and the Millenium Falcon!

We've been using the very useful and very fun X-Wing Squadron Creator to come up with lists. I'm not sure I'll get much more than a couple of TIE bombers (a flight element) and a Lambda-class shuttle, but the lure of TIE Interceptors and Baron Soontir Fel is strong...

A quick note. Both Rebel and Imperial squadrons are organised into squadrons of twelve craft, split into three flights of four craft, broken further into flight elements of two. The similarity in doctrine is because the Rebels took their organisation and initial tactics whole cloth from the Imperial Pilot Academy, where most of the Rebel pilots learnt to fly!

Painting Points:
This Week: 5 (from last week)
2014 Total: 17

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Purge The Xenos! The Battle for Kolvic Gulch

Tonight my friend JY and I had our first game of Warhammer 40,000 in a long time. A 2,000 point game, pitting my Imperial Guard against his Tau, who have beaten my Space Marines (and other Guard armies) more times than I care to mention. Some of those defeats - and all too rare victories - have been recorded on this blog, actually.

Anyway, after first trying to balance the 6x4 battleboard on top of my living room table (it didn't work), and retrieving the rulebook from JY's house, we finally set up. The battle took place on Hamish's World, an arid promethium-producing planet once part of the Imperium and now occupied by the Tau. Luckily for the good Hamishites, the Imperium has returned in force. After a series of bloody noses and a near-disaster at the first main landing zone, the liberation forces are moving out to surround the capital and isolate it from any reinforcements. The town of Kovic Gulch, with its access to potable water, and controlling, as it does, the main highway of Route 21 at junction 33, was to be attacked by forward elements of the Imperial Guard, and all hostile forces destroyed without mercy.

Expeditionary Force Leam:

HQ1 (Warlord):
Company Command Squad: Captain with boltgun and power sword, four veterans (medic, two snipers)
Chimera - 2x heavy bolters.

Charlie Troop, Red Cpy, White Btn, Valachian MXI Armoured.
Captain Count Geranium in Vanquisher with lascannon and storm bolter, two Leman Russ with hull lascannons and sponson heavy bolters (one with hunter-killer missile, one with storm bolter). All with camo netting.

Troops 1:
Red Platoon HQ: Lt Hahn, lascannon team, plasma gunner
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter, storm bolter.

Red Platoon 1 Squad: Sgt with shotgun, flamer, rocket launcher.
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter.

Red Platoon 2 Squad: Sgt with lasgun, melta, heavy bolter.
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter.

Red Platoon 3 Squad: Sgt with lasgun, plasma gun, autocannon.
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter.

Troops 2:
Borithan Veterans: Sgt with power sword, plasma gun, autocannon, all with carapace armour.
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter, heavy stubber.

Heavy Support 1:
Demolisher with Demolisher cannon, storm bolter, sponson plasma cannons, lascannon, camo netting

Heavy Support 2:
Demolisher with Demolisher cannon, storm bolter, sponson plasma cannons, lascannon, camo netting

Xeno Forces:

HQ1 (Warlord):
Commander Shadowsun with command drone and two shield drones


Elites 1:
XV-8 Team:
Shas'vre with twin-linked missile pod and [something] system jammer
Shas'ui with twin-linked fusion blaster
Shas'ui with twin-linked plasma rifle and drone controller
Six gun drones
Bonding knife.

Elites 2:
XV-25 StealthTeam:
Shas'vre, five troopers with fusion blaster and markerlight; two gun drones.

Troops 1:
Red Team: 12 firewarriors with bonding knife, shas'ui; two gun drones.

Troops 2:
Blue Team: 12 firewarriors with bonding knife, shas'ui, two gun drones.

Fast Attack 1:
Piranha Squadron: Two Piranhas with fusion blasters and disruption pods.

Fast Attack 2:
Pathfinder Team One:
6 Pathfinders with markerlight pulse carbines, pulse accelerator, shas'ui, two shield drones

Fast Attack 3:
Pathfinder Team Two:
4 Pathfinders with two ion rifles, rail rifle and recon drone.

Heavy Support 1:
Hammerhead gunship with rail cannon, submunitions, disruption pod and commanded by Longstrike.

Heavy Support 2:
XV-88 Broadside Team One:
3 Broadsides with twin-linked railguns, three missile drones

Heavy Support 3:
XV-88 Broadside Team Two:
3 Broadsides with twin-linked railguns, two missile drones

Mission: Purge the Alien! Objectives: None. Kill the enemy. 1 VP for each unit destroyed or routed at the end of the game, 1 extra VP each for First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and Linebreaker.

Tau Deployment, seen from their side of the board. Vanguard, L-R: Piranhas, Pathfinder Two, Blue Team, XV-8 Team, Stealth Team with Shadowsun, Red Team with fireblade, Pathfinder One. Middle: Hammerhead (yes, the Eldar Falcon, shhhh) with Longstrike. Rear, L-R: Broadside Two, Broadside One.

Guard Deployment: To the rear on my left, Charlie Troop. To their immediate right, in the ruins, Borithan Veterans. The rest, L-R: Platoon Command, Veteran Chimera, Platoon Command Chimera, Demolisher 1, Demolisher 2, Squad 1 behind their Chimera, Squad 3 behind their Chimera, Squad 2 behind their Chimera, Company Command behind their Chimera.

Board Overview: Note that the wooded areas are actually hills, the road runs down a gulch (Kolvic Gulch as it happens). The ruin in front of the Demolishers was the local Imperial temple, once.

I lost the attempt to seize the initiative (again) and so ended up going second (again):

Tau Turn 1: Electing not to move anything but the Piranhas, which zoom up in front of the Chimeras on my right flank, the shooting starts. Pathfinder 1 lights up the platoon command squad with their markerlights, and Red Team under the direction of the Fireblade and Shadowsun proceed to blow them away. 24 dice rolled, 23 hits, one re-roll of a one ... comes up a one. No cover save, killing on 2s, bye bye Leutnant Hahn! Longstrike then tries to knock out a Leman Russ and instead just glances. Ah well, it was worth a go. Then... the Piranhas do nothing. This, as it turns out, was a mistake. The XV-8 team try to jet pack out of the line of fire, but roll a double 1.

"You... you didn't fill the fuel tanks, did you?"
"No, sorry mate."
"We really needed them filled for this battle, you know."

Guard Turn 1: My tank line rumbles forwards, apart from Squad 3's Chimera, which hits a tree and gets immobilised. The infantry jog forwards, as there's nothing for them to shoot at. Demolisher 1 drops a shell into the XV-8 squad, killing all bar one drone. Demolisher 2 then tries the same thing, misses, and blows up Longstrike and his Hammerhead instead. Hm. Huzzah! Captain Count Geranium manages to fail his test to see if he can split fire, and Charlie Three puts a battlecannon shell into the middle of the XV-8 team, and kills them all. This is both a good thing, and a bit irritating, as now Charlie One and Charlie Two have nothing to shoot! The Chimeras open fire on the Piranhas, knocking a hull point off one. That damnable 4+ cover save they have is a serious pain.

Tau Turn 2: The Piranhas zoom into the ruins, and take aim at Demolisher 1. The Stealth Team and Shadowsun move forwards to take a potshot too, and Pathfinder One lights it up with their markerlights. Several rounds of shooting later, the Demolisher is still there! Albeit immobilised and down to one hull point, but it's still there. This is, as they say, a turn up for the books!

Guard Turn 2: Due to an issue with the pict-capture device, Turn 2 wasn't recorded. However, the slaughter was great! Praise be the God-Emperor! The Chimeras on my left flank withdrew slightly, to minimise exposure to the fusion blasters of the Stealth Team and Shadowblade, while my infantry moved back as well (I didn't want to give up VPs too easily). Then the Demolishers and Chimeras hammered the troops in the building, killing most of Firewarrior Red Team, the Fireblade, all bar three Pathfinders from Pathfinder One, and even a few of the Stealth Team, despite their 2+ cover save. Fire from Charlie Troop also knocked out the drones from Broadside One.

Tau Turn 3: Red Team moved down from the roof of the second storey and up to the edge of the first. Pathfinder One stayed where they were, and the Stealth Team moved out to take a shot at whichever Demolisher needed it. The Pathfinders, shaken by the sudden death of over half of their team, didn't hit anything with their markerlights. As it happened, they didn't need to. Fusion guns roared and rail guns hammered, firstly blowing up Demolisher 1, then turning Demolisher 2 into a burning wreck with repeated glancing hits. Damn. "There goes my centre." Afterwards, the Stealth Team jet-packed back into cover.

Guard Turn 3: Things were getting serious now. The Tau were winning. Something had to be done, and fast. Captain Steiner moved, then ordered his squad to Move, Move, Move! to get within order-range of Squad 1 and their rocket launcher. Then he ordered them to Fire On My Target, denying the damnable Piranhas their ridiculous cover save... only for the krak rocket to miss. Curses! I had more luck with Charlie Troop, who managed to split fire. Captain Count Geranium squarely hit a Broadside from Broadside One, destroying it, while Charlie Two and Charlie Three shelled Red Team, killing all bar two of the hapless space-cows. Then the Chimeras opened up on the Piranhas, as did whatever infantry support weapons could be brought to bear. Eventually they failed their saves and the two skimmers sank to the ground, burning.

Tau Turn 4: Again with the pict-capture problems. Clearly electronic jamming was having an effect on the Imperial Navy eyes-in-the-sky... the Tau took the offensive, or tried to, moving the Stealth Team towards the hill on my left, pausing only to blow up the Veteran Squad's Chimera before leaping into cover in the woods. Railgun rounds from the Broadside teams either missed or bounced harmlessly off the thick frontal armour of Charlie Troop... except one, which knocked another hull point and the right sponson from Charlie Three.

Guard Turn 4: The Chimeras moved to form a firebase around the hill on my right flank, and then proceeded to kill the remnants of Red Team and Pathfinder One. The infantry, under the inspiring guidance of Captain Steiner (he got to issue three orders this turn thanks to the Veterans rolling snake-eyes when they received their order to Fire On My Target), and Charlie Troop, plus the Platoon Command Chimera, fired everything they had at the Stealth Team, killing two more of the 2+ cover save, 3+ armour save lunatics.

Tau Turn 5: The survivors of the Stealth Team, plus Shadowsun and her last drone, moved through the woods towards Charlie Troop. Uh oh. I smell an assassination attempt! The railguns of Broadside Two knocked out the hull heavy bolter on the company command Chimera, and then... the Stealth Team fired. And did nothing. Not a single thing. At point blank range with three fusion blasters, Charlie Troop escaped unharmed! I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to work out if I could kill Shadowsun in the next turn.

I moved the Chimeras from my right flank down the hill and into position to pour fire into Blue Team, while Charlie Troop repositioned to get the best possible field of fire onto the Stealth Team. My shooting phase consisted of firing almost everything I had at the Stealth Team and Shadowsun, with Fire On My Target being issued to the Veterans and Squad One (whose krak rocket missed... again!), and Charlie Troop even letting rip with their hunter-killer rocket. Result? Stealth Team and drone wiped out, Shadowsun down a wound - but not dead. Oh, and two drones destroyed from Blue Team. And with that, the game ended.

The final score was 7-6 in my favour, as follows:

Piranhas - Destroyed, 1 VP
XV-8 team - Destroyed, 1 VP
Stealth Team - Destroyed, 1 VP
Red Team - Destroyed, 1 VP
Fireblade - Killed, 1 VP
Pathfinder One - Destroyed, 1 VP
Hammerhead - Destroyed, 1 VP
Total: 7 VP

Platoon Command Squad - Destroyed, First Blood, 2 VP
Demolisher 1 - Destroyed, 1 VP
Demolisher 2 - Destroyed, 1 VP
Veteran Chimera - Destroyed, 1 VP
Shadowsun - Linebreaker, 1 VP
Total: 6 VP

A close run thing, but victory nonetheless!

Monday, 21 April 2014

"On, You Dogs! Glory To The First Man To Die!"

Yes, it's the Imperial Commissar at his rousing best. You just can't argue with a man who'll shoot you as soon as look at you, and whose uniform contains more skulls than a TV comedian in a WWII skit...

And this one is Commissar Ion Ionescu, for my Darendarans. I must say, now I've touched up the chips he's sustained over the years and rebased him onto the snowfields, he doesn't half look menacing!

Painting Points:
This Week: 1
2014: 12

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fire For Effect!

Today, after what seemed like hours and hours of struggling, I finished the last two mortar teams for the Darendaran X Mechanised. This now gives me 11 painted men... out of 88*. Next!

 Mortar squad, Red (1) Platoon, Yellow (3) Company, Black (2) Battalion, Darendaran X Mechanised.
And, of course, while photographing them, I realised I'd not painted the winged skull on the last mortar gold, nor had I added the Darendaran 'Imperator Aegis' patch on the left arm of the guardsman firing his lasrifle. Bah! Humbug! I shall rectify these errors... later. Probably around the time I go through the squads adding NCO stripes. For now, they can remain.

Next up will be Red Platoon's command squad. And maybe the combat egg. I should probably start counting painting points again actually - I'll start with the HQ group from earlier and carry on from there.

Painting Points:
This Week: 6
2014 Total: 11

* It'll end up being more than 88, I still need to get their priest and psyker. And (re)base an Inquisitor and her retinue.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Glorious Victory! The God-Emperor Protects!

So tonight was the first outing of my Imperial Guard with the new Codex. I rolled out troops that, in some cases, haven't seen action since 1996 and 2nd Edition. In fact, most of my figures and vehicles on the board were bought in the late 1990s!

I took:

Expeditionary Force LEAM:

Company HQ:
Captain Steiner with boltgun, power sword, carapace armour
4 Veterans with 2 sniper rifles, medi-pack
Chimera with 2x Heavy Bolters

Leman Russ Troop
Vanquisher with hull lascannon and storm bolter
Leman Russ with hull lascannon, sponson heavy bolters, hunter-killer rocket
Leman Russ with hull lascannon, sponson heavy bolters, storm bolter

Platoon HQ:
Lieutenant with laspistol and sword
4 Guardsmen with Plasmagun, medic, lascannon team
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter, heavy stubber.

1 Squad:
Sergeant with shotgun.
9 Guardsmen with flamer, rocket launcher
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter

2 Squad:
Sergeant with lasgun
9 Guardsmen with meltagun, heavy bolter
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter

3 Squad:
Sergeant with lasgun
9 Guardsmen with plasma gun, autocannon
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter

Veteran Squad:
Sergeant with power sword, laspistol
9 Veterans with plasma gun, autocannon
All have carapace armour
Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter, storm bolter

My opponent, George, took:

Traitor Space Wolves:

Librarian with plasma pistol and force axe
5x Blood Claws (?) with various close combat weapons
5x Grey Hunters (?) with boltguns
5x Scouts, with meltagun
3x Thunderwolf Cavalry with 1 Thunder Hammer, all with Storm Shields
3x Thunderwolf Cavalry with 1 Thunder Hammer, all with Storm Shields
3x Thunderwolf Cavalry with 1 Thunder Hammer, all with Storm Shields
6x Long Fangs with 5x Rocket Launchers
6x Long Fangs with 5x Plasma Cannons

I was quite concerned about the Thunderwolf Cavalry; I've seen them in action. They are very, very, very dangerous!


Space Wolf Deployment, taken from his left flank. In order, from closest to furthest: Thunderwolf Cav 1, 5x Blood Claws with Librarian, 6x Long Fangs with Rocket Launchers, Thunderwolf Cav 2, 6x Long Fangs with Plasma Cannons, 5x Grey Hunters, Thunderwolf Cav 3.

Guard Deployment, taken from my right flank. In order, closest to furthest: Squad 3 with Chimera, Platoon Command Chimera, Veteran Squad with Chimera, Platoon Command Squad, Leman Russ Troop, Company Command with Chimera, Squad 1 with Chimera, Squad 2 with Chimera. 25 men and three Chimeras on each flank, centre held by a Leman Russ troop!

We had Night Fighting on turn 1, and I lost the roll to see if I could seize the initiative and go first, which meant that...

End Space Wolf Turn 1: The first thing he did was move everything but his Long Fangs. The Thunderwolves were scarily fast, with unit 1 being in place for - if he rolled three 6s - a first turn charge on the Platoon Command Chimera! However he had to shoot first... so he did. 5 rockets launched at the Leman Russes, three hits, three sixes, three failed cover saves (shrouded by darkness you see) and that meant that, BOOM, Charlie Three went up in smoke! Arrrgh! Then, firing his plasma cannons, he scored no less than three direct hits on the five exposed models of Squad 1, causing 15 wounds, of which I failed 12 cover saves. Bye-bye Squad 1, and hello First Blood and 1 Victory Point (VP)! Eek. At least his Thunderwolves failed their charge. I was not feeling confident at this point, but I squared my shoulders and fought on (well, began to fight).

End Guard Turn 1: I didn't move, because I didn't want to get closer to the maniacs. Instead I opened fire on the approaching Cavalry, killing (!) two from Unit 1 and one from Unit 3. Squad 1's rocket launcher slotted a Long Fang with plasma cannon, exacting some small measure of revenge for their immolated mates in Squad 1. Note to self; 3+ invulnerable saves laugh at high-strength, single-shot weapons. Multi-lasers and lasguns, however...

End Space Wolf Turn 2: Again, everything but his Long Fangs moved. The shooting phase was (slightly) less violent; one hull point removed from Captain Count Geranium's Charlie One, and only seven dead from Squad 2; but they didn't break thanks to the Draconian Disciplinarian, Captain Steiner, yelling that to die for the Emperor was "...a Guardsman's greatest duty and highest glory!" Then the Thunderwolves hit. I mean, literally. Just running into the Chimeras caused them to both explode! The resulting blasts killed two men from Squad 3 and two men (including the plasma gunner) from the Veteran Squad, and didn't even scratch the grinning Space Wolves. Bah. Luckily for me, however, Thunderwolf Unit 3 had failed its charge, so the situation hadn't quite reached 'disaster' levels yet.

End Guard Turn 2: Well, it was time to move. The remnants of Squad 1 moved up, flamer first, between the wreck of their Chimera and the stationary form of Squad 2's Chimera. The Captain and his command team leapt into their Chimera, and the driver hightailed it away to the relative safety of the Leman Russ troop, which moved around a little bit so Charlie One wasn't the closest vehicle to the rocket launchers any more. Squad 2's Chimera put a wound onto Thunderwolf  Unit 3, while shooting from the Veterans and Squad 3 killed the last of Thunderwolf Unit 1. The Veteran Squad Chimera and Platoon Command Chimera blasted away at the Blood Claws in the building, killing three. Things were looking up (sort of), although all the fire I could throw at Thunderwolf Unit 2 did absolutely nothing. Flamed, shotgunned, battle cannon'd, all sorts. However...

Shot! Leutnant Hahn's anti-tank team have just vaporised a Blood Claw who made the foolish mistake of standing in the first floor window of the building in the centre of the picture. Medals all round! One shot, one kill! Also, my opponent, the good-natured George, bemoaning the loss of his fourth Blood Claw.

End Space Wolf Turn 3: The high water mark for the Space Puppies, really. Movement saw his Grey Hunters finally reach the building on his Right Flank that held an objective (the little ivory blocks in the pictures) and his Thunderwolves from Unit 3 smashed apart another Chimera by running into it. Squad 2 was reduced by Plasma Cannon fire to just one man. His Long Fang rockets knocked my Command Chimera down to one hull point, and I began to feel confident - his Thunderwolves from Unit 2 were now in the open, directly in front of all my guns...!

End Guard Turn 3: This is the turn where I won, basically. I dismounted my Company Command Squad, as I knew that the Chimera was a sitting duck and badly damaged, and those damn' Scouts would be turning up soon. I then moved my tanks to maximise the firepower I could bring to bear on his Thunderwolves... and blew them all away. 3 VPs to me, please! My infantry had been mauled, with 23 dead out of 50, but the tanks were still there, still threatening and keeping me in the fight.

End Space Wolf Turn 4: His last throw of the dice, really. With little left, his Scouts Outflanked onto the board, moving their meltagun up to try and assassinate Captain Count Geranium of Bigbush and Littletree in Charlie One, his Grey Hunters consolidated onto their objective, and his Blood Claw and Librarian moved up a bit more. His Scouts hit! then penetrated! then stunned the tank. Poor George! His Grey Hunters, however, did manage to shoot dead the last man from Squad 2 (incidentally, his last kill of the game). I'm still not sure why he didn't charge Charlie One and try to meltabomb it, but there we go. I think he forgot in the heat of the moment.

End Guard Turn 4: I moved the Chimeras on my Right Flank up to secure the 4VP objective and threaten the Blood Claw/Librarian, and shuffled the tanks around so that they weren't so threatened by the Rocket Launchers (his last real threat). Shooting from my Chimeras killed the last Blood Claw, while my Veterans double-timed it to the objective to hold it firm. My tanks opened up on the Long Fangs, doing nothing, and the Command Chimera had a pop at the Grey Hunters... doing nothing.

End Space Wolf Turn 5: This was all his movement. His Warlord cast Iron Armour on himself, making him Strength and Toughness 7, and moved to try and charge my Chimera. He failed. Again. His Long Fangs fired some rockets, but they didn't do anything to the tough armour of Charlie Three.

End Guard Turn 5: I moved my Company Command Squad up to try and get into a position where I could grab the 2 VP objective that was in my centre (now my Left Flank), and moved Charlie One up to take a shot at his Warlord. Shooting from the Chimeras did nothing to the old Wolf, but Leutnant Hahn's lascannon team came up trumps and knocked a wound off him with their second shot of the game, and then Captain Count Geranium's high-velocity, armour-piercing, discarding SABOT, anti-tank shell smashed him apart. After he'd withstood a blast from a HE shell from Charlie Three, that is! Hurrah! With that kill, I took the Slay the Warlord Victory Point, giving me a total of 8 VP to 2. My victory was assured, but the game rolled on for another turn...

End Space Wolf Turn 6: He did his best, but he passed up a chance to kill Captain Steiner with frag rockets in favour of trying to kill the Leman Russes. He didn't. He did, however, knock Charlie Three down to one Hull Point.

End Guard Turn 6: I moved my Company Command Squad to seize the centre objective, giving me another 2 Victory Points and an 8 point lead. Then everything that could shoot, did shoot. Hahn's anti-tank gun missed with a Precision Shot (of course), but between the Veterans, Chimeras and Leman Russes all five rocket-launcher-carrying Long Fangs died. The Command Chimera opened up (again) on the Grey Hunters but they passed all their saves, and with that, the game ended. A heroic victory for Expeditionary Force LEAM!

I couldn't resist taking a shot of the Space Wolf dead pile... I think this is probably one of my best showings with Guard against Marines of any sort, and a far cry from the days of 3rd Edition when I lost an entire 1500 point Guard army to a Marine force that lost one man. To his own overheating plasma gun.

 I was playing at the Leamington Games Club, and there were some other games going on, too.

On the table next to us, two people were playing a game of Warzone (published by Prodoss Games). The blue plastic-resin gives amazingly crisp and sharp models.

And across from us, these two fellows were playing a game of Flames of War, with a beautiful table