Red on Blue

With rage and excitement (sometimes in the same person), the 40K community is looking forward to the launch of 8th edition next weekend. I see a few battle reports for 8th are already popping up , but my friends jumped the other way, as we assembled to farewell 7th in proper WATT style: with a chaos on chaos apocalypse game. We threw down two twenty thousand point armies: so 40k of 40k.  Nurgle and Tzeentch joined together to battle a coven of Word Bearers and Khorne for bragging rights at the next Eye of Terror Pie Night.
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We kept it simple: basically lined up our toys and charged forward. Apoc is such a random mess of events going on it is difficult to build a narrative out the game. Titans threw down huge templates. Successive waves of terminators, then daemons, then more terminators deep struck and the armies lost all cohesion into a one seething mosh pit. We expected this might happen, which is one reason why we sorted by colour at the start.


You know the drill, ones were rolled, sixes were rolled. Miniatures were removed by the kilo, and lone daemons managed to survive to contest objectives. High point for me was Abaddon surviving not one but two D-weapon blasts – a dude doesn’t get to run the black crusade for nothing.
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So long 7th, see you on the other side.
D.

Daemonettes

I have a growing hoard of daemonettes. The models have dynamic and threatening poses, and in numbers they bring some great close combat grunt. A large squad with a herald can gain re-rolling, rending wounds on the charge. While shooting can really mess up their day, if they can get in a charge, terminators and other marines will be quickly gutted and served up as victory kebabs.
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The chainmail-bikinis can perhaps be forgiven since they have 5+ invulnerable saves. However, I do have reservations about collecting daemonettes. It doesn’t take long to see that in the Grim Dark future the patriarchy has not withered and died. It is more than the frequent lack of women in this fantasy sci-fi vision of the universe. The images that do make it through into the background and the artwork, and onto the table, are from a rather limited selection. It is like the designers of the 40K universe read the first couple of pages of the Damned Whores and God’s Police and rather missed the point.

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The Juan Diaz sculptures: still my favourites, even with the limited number of poses

And yet, here I am. Life is messy. Daemonettes often accompany my Word Bearers. Nothing says I’ve been reading Lorgar quite like zealots summoning daemons, and the combination of shooty marines and close combat daemons complement each other nicely. With my most regular opponent often fielding pskyer heavy Grey Knights it also feels right on theme.
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An experiment in practicing painting flesh

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One from each squad

I have a recently acquired a lot of Nurgle plaguebearers. Add a Soulgrinder and greater daemon (or two)  and a troop heavy Nurgle-Slaanesh daemon hoard is looking like my next 40K army.

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The most recent, and final, squad. For now.

And in the meantime, no slut-shaming my daemonettes or they’ll manifest on your home world and teach you the error of your ways.

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

Rejoice citizens of the Imperium. Those valiant warriors of the faith the Adepta Sororitas have successfully defended Imperial Shrine world WB-R-Murphy-02 from a brutal Chaos Marine invasion. Long a shining light of the Imperial Creed, Murphy-02 found itself threatened and near obliterated by the combined efforts of several traitor legions. However, the Sisters, along with steadfast support from the Mechanicus and several Imperial Knight Houses, stood firm.

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The Sisters and their allies prepare for the initial Chaos assault

Apocalypse means beer, huge templates, buckets of dice and lots of minis. It remains a favourite with our gaming circle. Big games are especially sweet if you can assemble two themed lists and play with friends over an ace looking table. In the past we have played Tyranids versus Space Marines and lots of Marines against combined daemon and traitor lists. This time we bought in the Sisters and pitted them against a “pure” traitor marine list: no daemons, cultists or dodgy alien allies; 12,000 points a side plus super heavies.

The Sisters set up the center of the table and Chaos came on from both short table edges.


The Sisters won the role for first turn and while tactics can be hard in a game that large, the Sisters players coordinated their first round of shooting well. Chaos never really came back from that opening round of shooting.  Orbital bombardments and combined Knight firepower took out our Titan and the Chaos mad, long dash across no-mans’ land never had a chance to gain momentum.

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Turns out all you need are some lucky orbital bombardment roles and 3 or 4 Knights and Nurgle’s finest Titan is a smoking, smelly pile.

Once close combat was joined the scores started to close, but Chaos never looked like getting in front. But that is not the point of Apocalypse. You just have to go with the flow, and “forge the narrative”.


A game this large, over 25,000 points on the table, is hard to take in. As a player I find myself concentrating on the part of the battlefield where my forces are and larger trends are missed or confused. This is part of the Apoc experience. Highlights for me include Abaddon and two terminators charging two Imperial Knights. And destroying both. At the other end of the table, not one, but four Saints teleported into the fray, and reclaimed at least two objectives. The stuff Saints live for, surely.

Don’t worry, Abaddon is already plotting his revenge.

Old School Space Marines

Space Marines are celebrating 30 years this week-end. Blimey!

To mark the occasion I dug into the Faith and Steel vaults for the oldest space marines I could find. My own date from the starter set with the Black Templars on the box and dark eldar on in inside, plus a few of the (now out of production) metal figures from the time.

These are fine miniatures but I came across a box of something older. I have on long-term loan from a friend some seriously old marines. A mix of plastic and metal, I would love to hear from anyone who can identify them, because all I know is that they are OLD!

Of course, marines never really retire and these veterans still get the occasional run in Apocalypse games.

What’s hiding in your cupboard?
D.

 

Arc40K report: part two

Onto day two of Arc40K 2016. Some thoughts on day one can be found here.

The Players Awaken Crusade with Dawn of War deployment. The mission special rule was Traitor: each side nominates in secret one enemy unit as a traitor. The traitor is not revealed until after the game ends and is otherwise unaffected during play. At the end of this game the traitor is revealed and counts as an objective secured unit for your side.

This was a neat idea that meant that wins might turn into a draw, or worse, and added a nice layer to the game.

I played Sean with a rock hard Nurgle Daemon list and copped a 20-5 loss. They don’t come bigger than that. I just couldn’t deal enough damage into regenerating, toughness 6 (and more) beasts to make any headway.

Strike for the Heart. The only mission not from the book, but they kept it pretty simple. Dawn of War deployment and you chose one of two objectives, which was kept secret until the end of the game: kill points or more scoring units within 6″ of centre of table.

With all my units scoring and facing a Deathwing army, I selected to dominate the table centre. Not surprisingly, my opponent Shaun went for kill points.

Despite a cheeky last stand by Brother Captain Varus and his rhino, I lost 20-5. Did I mention that the Deathwing also bought an Imperial Knight. It stomped. A lot.

The final mission was kill points with a hammer and anvil set-up. Modest twist was that the kill points escalated so units destroyed later in the game were worth more than those early.

I faced off against Jessie with a bunch of space wolf terminators in landraiders.

Initially I found it hard to crack open his landraiders, and a poor initial set-up left me finding it hard to concentrate fire. The Librarius Conclave were still telling each other stories about killing Tyranids to do anything useful, but a veteran sergeant did deliver a power fist to Jessie’s captain, so the game wasn’t a complete right-off.

Jessie got his first win for the tournament and I got tabled in a 20-6 loss, for a final tally of 5 losses and a draw to finish 115th!

So back to the Arc drawing board. I have 12 months to sort out an actual game plan.

Photos are starting to surface, check out Arc40K on FaceBook and also this flikr account by dirkpawlik.

Despite the sorry tale on the tabletop, Arcanacon rocked. Congratulations to the winners and thank-you to my opponents – good winners, all of you – and see you next year.

A fez of the heart! An Arc40K report

I enjoy Arc40K. The granddaddy of Melbourne tournaments ran for the 19th time over the weekend with two firsts: the first time in February, and at a new venue The House of War in Ringwood.  Dan and team do a great job running this tournament. They run about dealing with broken software, overheated venue, and round draws, so players can have six fabulous games. A big thumbs up for all your work. (I helped run Arc for a while; it is no easy thing and takes way more than just the weekend itself.)

There are a lot of things I like about tournaments: guaranteed games, painted and often inspirational armies, catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Tournaments can also be hard work. Multiple games over the week-end, negotiating different rule interpretation during the competition. Arcanacon brings all this, plus more, including that special fug that only 120+ sweaty gamers bring on a sunny summer day.

In some ways this was perhaps my worst Arc ever. Having got my army together, managing some last minute (for me) painting, and wrestled with the Community Comp system, I got to the table and discovered that I’m out of step with the current approach to 40K here in Melbourne. Too much beer and forging the narrative on my gaming days have left me exposed like a n00b at the table. I had a couple of close losses and draw on the first day, and on Sunday three comprehensive losses. At least packing up didn’t take long.

Don’t get me wrong. The failure was mine and congratulations to my opponents who stuck to their plans, knew what their army could do and generally out generaled me.
I’m living the 5th edition dream in a 7th edition world.

I took Strike Force Varus. Perhaps there was some karmic backwash from naming my Captain after one of the biggest disasters in Roman military history (and there are some doozies to choose from).

There were lot of nice armies on show. Almost everyone had something of interest: nice highlights, a unique conversion or unusual list combination.

Check out Arc40K on FaceBook for photos from other gamers. I always seem to promptly forget my resolution to take more photos at these events.

The missions were good. Each one was basically straight from the book with one special rule added. Not much to remember, which is a plus, but often enough to deliver a twist.

Get Your Fix was Big Guns Never Tire, using Hammer and Anvil deployment. The special rule replaced mysterious objectives with new table and a twist where the function might move from turn to turn.

I was competitive until turn 3, but just couldn’t hang on and my hopes of draw faded as a daemon prince gorged on my command unit leaving the centre of the table to the enemy. Jeremy got a 5-19 win to start the tournament with his nice looking Khorne Daemonkin.

Lessons for me: read the special abilities for your formations more than 5 minutes before the game starts and read the mission sheet!

We could be heroes was a Crusade with Vanguard Strike. Mission special rules was some random rules added to our generals. Neither of us rolled rules that were relevant to our list and did not affect the game.

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I faced a drop pod heavy Salamander list run by Lachlan. With just three objectives the game became crowded very quickly.  I got to the objectives in numbers but twin-linked flamers and a grav heavy vet squad took their toll on my army. The game ended with two objectives held by the Salamanders, and just one from me. A 6-16 loss, but I did get the satisfaction of seeing Vulcan go down under a hail of bolter shells.

The Touch Emperor’s Will with Vanguard Strike. The special rule was that we had to nominate just three units to be objective secured. So much for the formation bonus for my army 😦

Pav fielded Tyranids and we duked it out to a 12-11 draw. This was my best result for the tournament, and the difference was totally down to my Librarius Conclave. This was their moment: taking out the hive tyrant and a hive crone, both in the psychic phase.

So ended day one. I’ll save day two for another post, if anyone can be bothered to continue with this tale of woe.

 

Strike Force Varus

The Teutoburg System sits just beyond the Ultramare region ruled by the Ultramarines. While not governed by them it is considered part of its sphere of influence, so when tax receipts ceased agents were sent to discover the source of the problem. When the agents also failed to return, Strike Force Varus was despatched to investigate, with orders to crush any heresy, mutant or xenos they find and restore order to the system.

Strike Force Varus is 1,350 points of Ultramarines (almost) ready for Arc40K 2016.

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Brother Captain Varus

It consists of a battle demi-company, led by Brother Captain Varus and is accompanied by the Teller-Penn Anomaly, a Librarius Conclave. Varus and part of this team went to the Norris 1,000 and I was pleased with how they worked on the table. I only won one game, but this was really a function of my generalship, I think, not the army. By replacing the scouts with tactical squads I will get to field a demi-company. Along with the Ultramarine chapter tactics this means most squads will be re-rolling at least ones in four of the game turns (in either shooting, assault or both). I think this will provide the edge to the army. It will need it as there are few other toys.

The Librarius Conclave looks fun and I haven’t seen one on the table before.
We shall see how it goes.

Onward, to the Teutoburg System.

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See you on the battlefields.

Tyranids Defied

Citizens rejoice! The largest tyranid invasion seen in this sector has been defeated by a combined force of loyalist marines. After being pressed early by successive waves of the bio-engineered monsters, the Astartes were able to launch a counter-attack and purchase a famous and bloody victory.

NovApoc25Go big or go home. We aimed for 10,000 points a side but found we could deploy 12,500. That turns out to be a lot of bugs. The table looked great. I found it hard to take a shot that took in the whole spectacle.

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The Hive Mind deployed well. By making an aggressive bid (just 7 minutes), they won the opportunity to deploy and move first. By using a strategic asset that gave most of their troops infiltrate, they not only bought themselves time to deploy they made sure that bugs would be right in marines’ faces from turn 1.

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On the Imperial side there were Space Wolves, Dark Angles (including Deathwing), Imperial Fists, Ultramarines and White Scars.  A good mix of shooty, speed and close combat.

On the left flank Dark Angels and Space Wolves agreed to disagree and looked towards the tyranid menace.

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Adam’s Space Wolves

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Connor’s Dark Angels

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Ben’s Deathwing

The right flank was held by the original battle brothers, the Sons of Dorn and Guilliman, supported by some drop-pods full of Space Wolves

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Dreadnought from my Imperial Fists

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“Remember Macragge” Ultramarines get stuck in

In the centre were White Scars

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Cam’s White Scars – no time to shammy the mudguards, we’ve got some ‘nids to sort out

Overall command of the Astartes was taken by Azael from the Dark Angels

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Warmaster Azael – Connor’s DA

The aggressive tactics by the Tyranid host worked well early on. The marines, despite setting up well back in their deployment zone, only got in one round of shooting before close combat started right along the table.

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But the early waves just could not deal out enough damage and the terminators, deep striking with precision on objectives started to push through the ravening hoard.

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Heading into the Imperial Shrine

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And out the other side: objective secured

NovApoc23NovApoc02It wasn’t one way traffic, but at by the end of three full turns both sides had run out of reinforcements and we were running out of playing time. At that point the marines had 4 of 6 objectives and more victory points, and while the tyranids might narrow the gap if we played on an Imperial victory seemed clear.

As a player in a such a large game it is hard to get a feel for the ebb and flow across the whole battlefield so I’ve missed out on many heroic and mighty deeds from both sides.

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But there is no doubting the mighty spectacle of two themed armies going toe to toe on such a big table. Lovely stuff, and the Hive Mind is already plotting its revenge …

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Thanks for all for a fab day.
D.