Monday, 24 July 2017

Narrative - Faction In-Fighting



Despite there being a sizeable number of armies (we could say codexes) in 40K a lot of the time we find that our armies are facing what should be allied forces. The nature of the game simply assumes that we play and have fun. Nothing wrong with that but a lot of the time for those of us who like a narrative game it can be confusing as to why these armies are bashing heads, so I'm going to take a look at the potential reasons why they might.

Imperium.
As half the game is made up of Imperial armies it can be very frustrating to see two of them matched. There is so many games where you can call "war games" and I'm not even sure the Imperium plays such war games when they have real wars to hone their combat skills. Likewise, if we're playing our chosen Imperial faction you can't say that one side or the other has turned traitor. I know I didn't like that when it came up when I was playing loyalist space marines.

For space marines do we have history of them fighting each other and I don't mean the Horus Heresy. Some chapters have come to blows because of their combat doctrines or points of view (Marines Malevolent, for example). I still think it is unlikely that chapters would start opening fire upon one another just because of this but perhaps the old idea of the Inquisition orders them to could be used but I'd want one side to have an Inquisitorial element to make it work narratively. Again though, like the "war games" idea it happens too often for that excuse to be relevant all the time. There is always some sort of element you could use but I still find loyalist marine chapters fighting going beyond the fluff.

With Blood Angels and their successors you can use the blood rage as a reason for battle. Their Imperial opponent could well be a former now seen as the enemy by a force suddenly succumbing to the black rage. As the 41st millennium approaches it's end and night begins to fall over the Imperium of Man I can see this potentially happening more and more.

Dark Angels are another chapter that could easily go to war against an allied force. While I don't think that in the fluff they have ever openly attacked another Imperial force (prior to the Curse of the Wulfen storyline) I could certainly see it if the chapter felt that their former allies had learnt of the Fallen or even may have been holding one, that they might just decide to kill them and hide the bodies afterwards.

With Grey Knights even I can't think of anything outside of a war game training exercise. They don't turn traitor and there is no reason other than that for their forces to fight one another. They are, however, a perfect opponent for other Imperial forces. If they feel that the other has seen events that mankind (even space marines) should not know then they would have to eradicate them. The same can be said of the Sisters of Battle. If they feel that an Imperial force has been corrupted or turned against the Imperial faith I could see them take up arms in order to put down that heresy.

The Astra Militarum are perhaps the poor ones here. Although they are the majority of the Imperial military they are also somewhat caught in the middle. As I mentioned above I can certainly see many reasons why Grey Knights, Sisters and the Angels turning their guns upon the humble guard army. For the most part though I doubt it would happen but there is a kind of precedent. One of the Dawn of War games, Dark Crusade if I remember right, has a story line where a force of guardsmen are tasked with holding the remains of a downed Titan but this brings them into conflict with the Blood Ravens who see that the task belongs to them. The guard have their orders and aren't willing to relinquish control so the space marines open fire. An extreme example but one that you could use as an excuse as to why your Militarum forces are fighting Imperial allies.

Chaos.
Chaos needs no excuse to fight itself. Ancient rivalries between legions and war bands, or simply rivalries between gods. Even daemons would fight each other simply because their god commands it. I imagine such conflicts go on all the time within the Eye of Terror.

Craftworld Eldar.
We like to think that Craftworld Eldar like each other and work together but let's be honest they probably don't. So why would two different Craftworlds wage war upon one another? The simple answer is that they have competing goals. Perhaps the farseers of Ulthwe read the winds of fate and decide that something needs to be done to draw the Imperium to planet X before the Tyranids get here, but that twist of the threads might ensure that the great devourer passes within range of Craftworld Saim-Hann. I doubt Craftworlds have much diplomacy with one another and I doubt the cares of another Craftworld factor into things. Eldar will fight Eldar.

It may also depend on which Craftworld you play. With the time they spent trapped in the Eye of Terror perhaps another Craftworld feels that Altansar have become corrupted and must be destroyed.

Dark Eldar.
This is another easy one. Rival kabals and wytch cults will fight one another out of sheer rivalry. Perhaps one turned up to ravage an Imperial world only to find a rival there already. The perverse pleasure they may get from dragging their own kind back to the Dark City in chains as slaves or worse could certainly ensure this faction will fight against one another.

But...
Yes, Craftworld and Dark Eldar will fight one another perhaps as much as they occasionally ally. That goes without saying. What you might be pondering is what about the Ynnari? Well, for all the good they are doing for the Eldar race there are those who will be opposed to them. Asdrubael Vect, dark lord of Commorragh certainly hates the Ynnari and I'm sure that there are factions within the Craftworlds who may be opposed to them for one reason or another.

Necrons.
The Necrons are spread across a large number of dynasties and they, being separate "factions" if you will, will fight. They fight for territory whether reclaiming what was once theirs or pushing into a rival's in a grab for power. Perhaps an ancient dynasty never full awoke so various Necron Lord's descent upon it to take what resources they can and repatriate those sleeping warriors to their own cause.

Orks.
Orks are like Chaos, they will happily fight one another regardless of the reason. The Imperium has probably endured so long simply because Orks enjoy fighting each other over working together to conquer the galaxy. Find that rival warboss. Crush his skull and claim his boyz as your own and lead your Waaagh! to glory in the stars.

Tau Empire.
Outside of the conflict between the Tau Empire and the Farsight Enclave I have a tough time working out how this faction could have a inter-faction battle. Not unless you are willing to see a Tau civil war, although I tend to see that as the Tau / Farsight conflict anyway, so you could always use that. Not like anyone is going to know outside of yourself.  You could perhaps have a break-away group following the recent assassination of Aun'va which needs to be forcefully put down or re-integrated into the Greater Good.

Tyranids.
This is the one where quite frankly I have no idea. There is absolutely no way in my mind as to why two hive fleets would fight one another. They are the same controlling mind so it just would not happen. If one hive fleet was dying or too weak, it would happily just roll over to be devoured by another, ensuring all DNA and enhancements were given over to the hive mind. They just would not fight. Even genestealer cults would give up once their "gods" arrived.

However, saying that, many years ago I did run a campaign set on a world where ancient Eldar had hidden hundreds of thousands of trapped daemons deep under ground and I hade to include something to allow the possibility of multiple opponents of the same faction. As those daemons began to break the prisons it released a powerful psychic shriek which disrupted the telepathic communications of any hive fleets in the area forcing them to become separate from the hive mind. Multiple tyranids could then fight as rivals seeking to restore bio-matter in a sort of hive war.

So you can do it but you need to come up with something good to explain why two separate hive fleets would come together to fight one another.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Battle for Fort Ranick - Bludhaven

Planet: Bludhaven.
Region: Seraphon Sector.
845.M41

Death Guard / Nurgle Daemons / Renegade Knight vs Orks.

Mission: Tactical Escalation (with Night Fight).
Deployment: Vanguard Strike.
Points: 2000.





The battle for Fort Ranick was a minor engagement in the early days of the Bludhaven invasion. The Death Guard had moved to seize an old Imperial supply depot known as Fort Ranick before the approaching ork forces to do likewise. Unfortunately as night began to fall the greenskin hordes reached the walls and lay siege to the plague marines trapped within.

A couple of nights ago I played a game against my friend Jon. I didn't want to know what he was fielding but expected it to either be blood angels or orks, and he turned up with a very interesting ork list. We randomly determined the tactical cards mission and then added the Battlefield: Nightfight rules to make it more interesting.

Most of Jon's army sat in reserve waiting to come in under cover of night. He did have a good number of boyz and a couple units of loota's sitting there waiting for me. I, however,  found the deployment zone very restrictive for what I had but it helped because he couldn't then drop anything in behind me from reserve.

I set up first and decided to let Jon have the first turn. The boyz started up the table and if I remember right one unit of kommando's popped up around the corner from my deployment. Night fight ranges got in the way here so he used a command point to light up one of my plague marine squads. It came down to DR rolls and I lost nine models, leaving just the champion to stand his ground. He also managed to knock a few wounds off my knight as making saves was not something I seem capable for doing for that thing.

My first turn was spent just moving forward to grab a couple potential objectives. The defiler and knight put fire into his fighta aircraft but not enough to bring it down. I then charged the defiler into the kommando's but I couldn't finish the whole unit off.

Jon then just some freaky ork psychic power to jump his weirdboy and a large unit of boyz across the table, followed by two other units of boyz running to keep up. They assaulted the defiler in a huge rabble, tearing it apart. Sadly it did not explode otherwise that would have been very nice.

The game started heating up here as the remaining kommando's started popping up around my deployment area. Some were gunned down but soon combat was joined. One poor band of orks were surrounded by plague marines, cultists and poxwalkers! They didn't last long and I got a couple extra poxwalkers out of the deal.

Unfortunately one of the random objectives Jon claimed gave him the ability to call in an airstrike and he kept dropping mortal wounds on my daemon prince of chaos. Concentrated fire also brought down my knight. Once again it has died far too easily. In retaliation I poured what fire and psychic power I had at his flyer but I could not destroy the damn thing. I believe it was left on 1 wound when the game ended. Bad luck. The game devolved into lots of combat and my daemon prince was slain as that poor surviving plague marine champion.

We called the game end of turn 3. Partly because we were running out of time and also because I had just 1 vp and Jon had about 4. The cards were far more in his favour than mine. Two of the games I drew involved defending two objectives for two turns which wasn't going to happen with the number of boyz against me.

Another good game. One that has made me have to consider what I need to take against orks in future. Night fight didn't impact me too much but to start with it made Jon focus on other targets than what he would have liked. Jon also lost a couple units because the Night Fight rules meant that they had not arrived at the end of turn 3 and so were considered lost. So we both had some bad luck this game.

My list:
Daemon Prince of Chaos (warlord)
Lord of Contagion.
10 Plague marines - meltaguns and icon of despair.
10 Plague marines - meltaguns and icon of despair.
20 Poxwalkers
18 Cultists
Renegade Knight - thermal cannon, heavy stubber and chainsword.
Chaos Predator - twin lascannons, heavy bolters and combi-flamer.
Defiler - battle cannon, autocannon, scourge and combi-flamer.


Death Guard deployment.

Ork deployment.

Orks control the skies.

A defiler stomping the greenskins!

The Children of Sickness, a cult of Nurgle.




Friday, 14 July 2017

Stronghold Assault - Cerberus


Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus Sector.

Death Guard / Nurgle Daemons vs Crimson Fists.
1500 points.
Mission: Retrieval Mission
Deployment: Spearhead Assault.

The Imperial assault has proven too strong for the Death Guard to resist. Typhus orders his forces to fall back from the front lines to a series of heavily fortified bastions across the surface in order to buy time to rearm and devise a strategy to deal with such a powerful force. In the meantime, it falls to the Adeptus Astartes to launch attacks upon these bastions in order to breach the defences and allow the Imperial war effort to eradicate the traitors once and for all.

Last night I was back to facing the Crimson Fists under the command of Richard Curr. This was a game that I was unusually apprehensive about playing purely because I didn't know what to take against him. The last two times I played against him, both games under 7th edition, he took a tank heavy army loaded with razorbacks and vindicators. His first game of 8th, not against me, he took a infantry army with the new primaris marines. Despite attempts I couldn't design a list that would accommodate both play styles so I had to guess what he would bring. In the end Richard bought a bit of both which made me feel better about my list build.

As this mission just uses the classic my base - your base two objective markers, we both set ours up dead center of our deployment zones opposite one another. I finished setting my army up first but Richard's first roll of the game seized him the initiative and he rumbled his two predator tanks forward and ripped about twelve wounds off of my knight before it had a chance to do anything. It shrugged off the krak missiles though. Everything else was out of range.

My first turn I held back my plague marines from advancing to see how the game went. I didn't have transports so getting them up the table safely was not likely. The knight marched forward though followed by my daemon prince of chaos. The thermal blaster taking a chunk of wounds from one enemy predator and the heavy stubber got one scout who put his head up when he should have ducked. The havoc squad knocked a couple more wounds off that predator as well. The knight then charged the scout squad losing one wound to a lucky bolter shot. It proceeded to crush the scouts beneath it's titanic feet.

Turn two and Richard continued to pour his heavy weapon fire into my knight. It took both his predators and two krak missiles to drop it to four wounds remaining. His bikes got into combat with it as well but they soon died to being stomped and the daemon prince being drawn into the combat. On my turn the daemon prince smited the remaining scout squad killing them all.

Turn three was where it all changed. Lascannon fire from the predators dropped the knight which did not explode. My plague marine squads supported by Typhus' miasma psychic power moved out of cover and put meltagun fire into both predators, successfully taking both out. One exploded killing one of my poor plague marines.

Come turn four and Richard had nothing my side of the table. All he had left were three squads in the ruins around his objective, a librarian and Cantor. He turned his attention to my plague marines dropping frag missiles into their ranks but it proved ineffective. I simply moved my plague marines back into cover and advanced the daemon prince into Richard's deployment zone.

Turn five and all Richard managed to do was knock two wounds off the daemon prince. I just moved him closer to ensure that I had linebreaker and that point Richard conceded. There was no way he could achieve victory as I had first blood and now would have linebreaker. I won 5 vp to his 3.

Despite being very apprehensive about what to take I think I had taken the right options.  I'm still annoyed that a unit like a knight can be taken down as easily as it can be. But despite a great start I think that Richard was unlucky. Perhaps he should have moved a couple squads forward to draw my fire from the predators but the deployment type was going to make it difficult for a footslogging army to get across the table easily.

Unfortunately my phone died on me so no photos to add for this report.

My list:

Typhus (warlord - legendary champion. Powers were smite, miasma of pestilence and plague wind)
Daemon Prince of Chaos (mark of nurgle. Powers were smite and stream of corruption).

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Poxwalkers

5 Havocs
boltgun and bolt pistol
Autocannon – missile launcher – lascannon
chainswords

Renegade Knight
Thermal blaster, chainsword and hvy stubber


Despite having the advantage the space marines were only able to breach a handful of enemy bastions. The rest resisted all their efforts, allowing Typhus to seek reinforcements and come up with strategies to defeat the invading forces. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Battle of Lucerne Abbey - Abraxes

Planet: Abraxes.
Region: Ceres Sector.

Death Guard vs Tyranids.
1500pts.
Mission: Only War.
Deployment: Front-Line Assault.

One of the original targets of the Death Guard when they attacked Abraxes was the legendary Lucerne Abbey shrine which housed several relics of the old Imperium from the early days of the Great Crusade. Even with the Tyranid menace Typhus sought to corrupt these relics of the false Emperor. During the search of the ruins, the Death Guard failed to notice the arrival of the xenos vanguard until it was too late.

First 8th edition against Tyranids and for my friend Shadbolt. As Only War is a good training mission it seemed an excellent choice for the game. We rolled for the objectives and each one was worth a victory point at the end of each turn to whoever held them. First turn was mine. I've not enjoyed a game against Tyranids for a while due to how good they were previously so I was not sure how to handle them this time around. My list was fairly basic but I hoped it would do the job.

Due to deployment I was holding two objectives straight away. One with a plague marine squad and one with havocs. I didn't have much shooting but my big weapons did open fire upon Shadbolt's monstrous tyrannofex which seemed to be the biggest threat. Knocked a couple wounds off but it didn't hurt it's abilities too much.

In return Shadbolt surged everything forwards. Again, not a lot of shooting, but we did have the first perils of the warp that I have seen under 8th. One of his zoanthropes exploded which was impressive. But his turn pretty much consisted of getting everything as far forward as he could.

Turn two and combat was joined along the middle of the table. Plaguebringers and poxwalkers fought hard against gaunts, and my daemon prince of chaos started slugging it out with his hive tyrant. This turn of the game was rather poor for me as my dice were not playing ball most of the time. The one time Nurgle was in my favour saw six sixes rolled on a wounding roll. My forces were holding their own but the horde was slowly overrunning them. The plaguebearers didn't have much luck. They lost half their number to the gaunts.

Turn three and Shadbolt's genestealers were in the midst of my poxwalkers, ripping them apart. Typhus strode in and hacked the broodlord down with one mighty sweep of manreaper. Had the game gone much further he would have taken down those remaining genestealers I had no doubt. The second squad of poxwalkers was slowly whittling away but I was pleased to get one new poxwalker added to the unit. That made my evening. Elsewhere, despite being beaten down to 1 remaining wound, my daemon prince of chaos sliced the head from the hive tyrant and held it up for the gods to see!

At this time I had dealt enough damage to the tyrannofex that it was no longer a threat. With everything else in combat my havocs were forced to blast away at gaunts and the defiler strode into another unit of gaunts but was surprisingly unable to wound any of them.

By this time Shadbolt's tyranids were taking control of the objectives I had just by sheer weight of models. I couldn't remove enough of them to retain control of the objectives. Unfortunately by this point we had tio wrap up the game as we were nearing kick out time. Shadbolt had seized a victory 7pts to my 6.

A good game and hopefully a good training exercise for mister Shadbolt. Tyranids are still a good horde army but they seem much more balanced now than they used to be. I think I can enjoy facing them again now.

Back aboard the Terminus Est Typhus raged. The desecration of the ancient relics would not be by his hand. Instead they would trodden into the mud by alien feet. Time to turn his attention back to the war and maybe one day he could return to finish the job.

Battalion Detachment.
6 command points

Typhus
Daemon Prince of Chaos

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Poxwalkers
10 Poxwalkers

Defiler
Battle cannon, reaper autocannon, scourge, defiler claws and combi flamer

5 Havocs
powerfist and bolt pistol
Autocannon, missile launcher, lascannon and hvy bolter
chainswords

10 plaguebearers


Plague marines supported by a defiler march into battle.

A monstrous tyrannofex.

The initial battle lines.

Savage hand to hand fighting in the blast craters.

Here come the genestealers!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Thoughts on 8th ed


So after a couple games and plenty of studying the new edition how do I feel about it? Well, it is certainly a lot of fun to play. I loved 7th edition even with it's flaws and there were times in the run up to the new edition where I didn't like the sound of where Games Workshop were taking the game that I love. But I did the right thing and waited and watched. I have not been disappointed.

Pros:

When I say it is fun that covers so much of the positive elements. It is always easier to describe the negatives than the positives and that is the problem. Both games that I have played so far under the new edition have been so much more enjoyable than the recent games of 7th. Part of that is because of how much simpler Games Workshop have made the game. The system works well for Age of Sigmar but I think it works much better for 40K. So much smoother and easier to get your head around. There are some slight issues with that but give them time and those issues or questions will be answered. For now, you'll just have to bear with me when I say that is is fun.

The armies feel a lot more balanced towards one another now. Previously I may well have rolled my eyes and slumped my shoulders had an opponent turned up to a 7th ed game with tyranids, craftworld eldar, thousand sons, blood angels... you get the picture. Certain armies were far too good. That isn't the case now. Every army and faction looks to play nicely with each other. Each unit is now a potential option, where as before you only saw the same few units being played. Now I don't know what to expect my opponent to bring to the table and that is a good thing.

The psychic phase is much better. I'm not going to get stomped just because my opponent brought a psychic heavy army (eldar, thousand sons and tyranids, I'm looking at you!) and I may as well not have bothered turning up. Now, the system for using those powers is straight forward and the powers have been brought down to a more reasonable level, although on some occasions I feel that powers are a little underwhelming in how they play.

Vehicles are a lot more survivable now. Wounds and an armour saves have really helped there. Previously I would be very cautious about my vehicles but no longer. Now I can zoom them around the table taking the battle to the enemy.

Six deployment maps and something like 13 detachments is exactly what the game needed. The new deployment lay outs can help shape the basics of a game a lot by the look of things. Some favour shooty armies and some favour those who want to get up close and personal. The detachments are something that I've been suggesting for ages. Rather than just the basic HQ and troops, now the required units could be fast attack or heavy support. The variety will certainly have a strong impact on what certain armies could take and make the games more than just a forgone conclusion again.

Command points are a nice mechanic and seem balanced. I'd like to see some more abilities become available as the game advances and army specific ones as codexes are released.

Much more cinematic. I'm one for using my imagination regardless of the games that I play. With how 8th works I can much more easily see in my mind how something works and how it drives a narrative game playing experience. Part of the problem is that most players view 40K as just a game and crunch numbers. They miss out on the cool bits in their head as they complain about things.

Characters now seem to be a lot better across the board. I used to take Typhus purely for fluff reasons but now he's a HQ option I'll always take. Especially as he's cheaper than a Lord of Contagion and better.

No more templates or scatter dice! For one it is something else that I don't have to remember to bring but it also speeds up game play. A welcome change.

Cons:

Not so convinced on the armour save modifiers. I find that a lot of weapons have been reduced in effectiveness because of it. Take Lightning Claws for instance. Previously they were AP3 and great for carving through power armour troops. Now they just give a -2 save modifier and doesn't seem to be worth the effort. I can live with it but it means that there are options that I probably won't bother with now.

Close combat seems to be making a comeback. A couple deployment maps are really geared for it and looking at some armies it is going to hurt when they come a' knocking. For a game that is all about who has the biggest gun I'd rather not see a return to over the top assault again.

I don't like the alternating combat system that comes from Age of Sigmar. It doesn't work for me. I'd rather the charging units go first but then the active player picks a combat and everyone fights simultaneously. I would find it a fairer then but I know that is just my opinion.

Re-rolls and then modifiers. Don't like this at all. Let me give you an example. A space marine with a heavy bolter hits on a 3+. He moved so he'll have a -1 to hit. Let's say that some effect gives him a re-roll. So, three shots fired and he gets 3, 4 and 6. Three hits. No need to re-roll so the modifier kicks in and only two shots hit but he can't now re-roll because that comes before modifiers. It needs to be modifiers and then re-rolls.

Too much negativity from the community. A lot of it is coming from players who liked 7th and don't want to change or they didn't like Age of Sigmar and think 8th will ruin the game. They won't even try it and that really gets on my nerves. If it's not that then it is the players who feel hurt because they army isn't what it was under the previous edition. They need to understand that the game is a whole new animal and that they must unlearn everything they new and instead, embrace the new.

On the Fence:

Games Workshop copied over the summoning rules from Age of Sigmar. In other words you have to set aside some of your points to try and summon anything. I hate this as it just feels like wasting your points. Since games are limited in game length anyway so if you just make summoning something you can do once per turn then where is the damage? As I stopped summoning under 7th ages ago anyway I just consider it a nuisance and put it in the grey space between pro and con.

Power levels over points is an interesting addition to the rules. It looks like most players want to play under a points system and I can see why as it more accurately reflects unit strength and balance but I'd like to be able to try a points level game or two just to see.

It looks like Games Workshop have sped up the game by introducing high levels of model death. A mix of armour modifiers, multiple wounds and mortal wounds sees lots of models being removed as casualties. This is part of the new game but I want my armies to survive dagnamit!

Death Guard:

Disappointed that there are units that I can't take as Death Guard. I guess that it is because when the Codex: Death Guard comes out we'll have our own versions, but for now I can't field terminators, bikes, raptors, heldrakes and most daemon engines without breaking the pure Death Guard legion.

Disgustingly Resilient is a nice approximation of the old Feel No Pain, but it is also a bit of a curse. No longer a 3+ armour save and then a 5+ FNP. Armour save modifiers are reducing our saves and if the damage causes multiple wounds we have to roll for all of them meaning we are still likely to lose the model. I see what Games Workshop are doing but it rubs me the wrong way a little bit.


And so...

Overall, 8th edition gets a big old thumbs up from me. I hope that it is going to change the direction that 40K has gone in the last few years and will draw in new players and reinvigorate established players.  Now is the time to seize the galaxy by the horns and take what is yours!

The Balantine Massacre - Cerberus

Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus Sector.

Death Guard vs Blood Angels.
1250 points.
Mission: Only War
Deployment: Front-Line Assault.

The Balantine Massacre was an event at the start of the Cerberus campaign named after the Balantine peninsula where the Imperium had set up a small resupply point for the larger war effort. Considered to be outside the main lines of engagement the site had been left largely undefended. It was only when the Death Guard led a surprise attack that the Imperial command realized that on this world there was no safe zone. The Death Guard massacred the small garrison and ground staff after subjecting them to massive chemical and biological attack. It was ended only by the swift arrival of a Blood Angels response team which drove the traitor's back but by then the damage had been done..

Second game of 8th edition and this time it was a rematch against Michael Y's Blood Angels. This was his first game of 8th edition so we went for a small-ish game. We were going to try power levels but decided to stick to points. I found it quite tough building a 1250 point list. Couldn't take what I wanted but in the end I was happy with my list.

We rolled and got the Front-Line Assault deployment. We could be very close to one another but we actually deployed further back closer to out table edges. Not having to worry about facings makes a big difference when placing vehicles and that was something Michael was getting used to here.

I got the first turn and grabbed two objectives straight away and decided to keep those plague marines sitting on them. If I couldn't win then I could at least hope to snatch a draw. The poxwalkers on the other hand, were advancing up the table at full speed and soon outran both Typhus and the Lord of Contagion who were supposed to be supporting them. The predator managed an awesome shot which knocked six wounds off of one of Michael's razorbacks.

Michael's first turn was not as effective as I recall. I either made armour saves or my disgustingly resilient rolls. I think he dropped two poxwalkers and that was it. Mephiston emerged from hiding but it put him square in the path of my poxwalker hoard, who on my next turn surged into him clamoring for his flesh. They would then tie him up in combat for the next three turns. They failed to wound but they did their job by keeping him busy.

As the game progressed my predator blow it's target razorback away and moved up to the table to start hounding a second tank. That was a new experience for me as previously unless it was a land raider, i would have held the predator back under cover to keep it alive. Now I have no fear of zooming it up the table.

My helbrute managed to knock some wounds off of my opponent's vindicator before that same tank blew it away. The vindicator then starting picking off one plague marine squad sitting on an objective. This was quite worrying as the loss of that objective would scupper my plans. I had then bend the rules the little and stretch one unit of plague marines so that they claimed two objectives.

On his third turn Michael brought his reinforcements in. A unit of assault marines and a unit of death company assault marines. They helped Mephiston bring down the remaining poxwalkers. The assault marines then leapt away to steal the objective from that one remaining plague marine. The death company and Mephiston charged into Typhus and the Lord of Contagion. My Lord had taken a few wounds and was swiftly cut down but Typhus gained revenge by cutting down the death company in one mighty swing. His foul miasma and psychic powers then aiding in dropping Mephiston.

The game ended turn five and we counted up the victory points. Michael held two objectives and I held two but also got the warlord kill. Victory to the Death Guard 7 points to his 4. Another really good game against Michael. I'm really enjoying our games. We still made a couple mistakes but nothing that we won't soon fix as we play.


Typhus.
Lord of Contagion.
10 man Plague Marine squad. Champion with plasma pistol and power weapon. Unit had two meltaguns and an icon of despair.
10 man Plague Marine squad. Champion with plasma pistol and power weapon. Unit had a meltagun, a plasmagun, and an icon of despair.
20 Poxwalkers.
Helbrute with multi-melta and power fist.
Predator with twin-linked lascannon and heavy bolter sponsons.

Plague Marines advance down the battlefield.

Typhus and a Lord of Contagion heard the flesh-eating dead.

Blood Angel scouts hiding in the ruins.

Mephiston surrounded by the dead.









Friday, 23 June 2017

Outpost Raid - Cerberus

Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus Sector.

Death Guard vs Grey Knights.
2000 points.
Mission: Only War.
Deployment: Search and Destroy.

While the majority of the Imperial forces engage the Death Guard across the surface of Cerberus, a small task force deploys to the northern polar region and begin to construct a communications station to better assist the invasion. It did not take the traitor legion long to detect it's presence. A force of plague marines and Nurgle daemons led by Typhus himself soon captured the base, slaughtering the serfs and taking several Mechanicus personnel prisoner to interrogate. When a final call of help is recieved followed by silence on the comm relay, Guilliman dispatches a force of Grey Knights to investigate and retake the outpost. When it was revealed what horrors stood before them, the Grey Knights were blessed with the arrival of Kaldor Draigo. Cutting his way back into the real universe, he came to lead his brothers against the hated foe.


My first ever game of 8th edition Warhammer 40K. My friend Mike wanted to try out his Grey Knights, and as another army I rarely get to face these days I agreed. We agreed to do a nice casual game to try out the units we have. To keep it simple we played the basic Only War mission.

Neither of us really started with anything on the table as I had three units, including Typhus, in reserve and two units of plague marines in rhinos. Mike had a huge chunk of his army in reserve waiting to teleport in.

One of the things with this edition is that until you start playing you don't realise how in your face the game has become. Mike had turn one and before I had done anything he had teleported in behind my lines and gunned down one rhino with about 80 dice of rapid fire stormbolter fire! He was also across the centre point of the table and holding one objective. My turn one saw the daemons advance slowly and the renegade knight blasting a chunk out of his stormraven and then assaulting the squad atop the landing platform at the centre of the table. Titanic feet is awesome! 12 attack dice. The knight crushed six of the squad to bloody pulp!

As the game advanced Mike was straight into combat. I had expected the Great Unclean One to do a lot better but all my dice wanted to do was roll 1's on everything and over two rounds he cut the greater daemon into little bits. I tried to back it up with the plaguebearers but even with the daemonic icon they didn't last long.

Combat is very brutal now. My Knight found itself crushed by the remains of the squad it had trodden on, a dreadnought and a dreadknight tore it down in I think one round of combat. No mini-nuke explosion though sadly. I think if it had gone nuclear it would have helped me a lot more by taking out the tougher units.

My terminators and Typhus teleported in, but the terminators didn't do much good. They soon died to massed firepower. Two got through to kill a couple grey knights but then died. Typhus and Draigo decided to go man to man and I have to say that was one of the best bits of the game. Both characters hammered away at one another. He halved Typhus' wounds and I left Draigo on one wound. The following round I tried to smite the grey knight leader but it failed and then I remembered that Typhus has a start of turn area effect that caused a mortal wound killing Draigo out right! Sadly Typhus was then defeated by combined fire from the stormraven.

By the end of turn four I had little left. One squad of plague marines had been reduced to two models and another was wiped out by concentrated fire. We were running out of time at the venue anyway so I called time. Mike had 8 victory points and I had 2/

8th is definitely a very different animal and one that will take time to adapt to but I thoroughly enjoyed our game. I have to remember the new rules. The amount of times I forgot about "Death to the False Emperor" was painful and might have helped save the day. However it was a great game am looking forward to my next one.

With the enemy dead and banished the clean up process began. Draigo had been dispatched back to the Warp by Typhus but the Traveller's body was never found in the icy wasteland. The comms station was back in Imperial hands although the Mechanicus survivours were never heard from again following their "debriefing" with the Ordos Malleus.

..

A stormraven prowls the skies.

Daemons of Nurgle and a renegade knight advance.

A strike force of Grey Knights prepares to attack.

An unexpected force teleports in behind my lines.

"Incoming!"

The ruins of the comms station host a mighty battle.

Crushing the foolish minions of the false emperor!


Friday, 16 June 2017

Wager of the Gods - Susperia

Planet: Susperia.
Region: Eye of Terror.
Time has no meaning in the Warp.

Death Guard vs World Eaters.
2000 points.
Mission: Purge the Alien.

There are no stars in the skies above Susperia. Instead the sky is a swirling storm of psychedelic colours in which leering daemonic faces and reaching talons frequently appear. Below those skies two armies have come together at the will of their patrons to fight for the honour of their god.

When my expected opponent had to drop out of last night's game Mark offered to take over and challenge my Death Guard. Normally he plays Thousand Sons but I know he has other chaos marine armies so I asked him to play his World Eaters as I don't think I've played against them since 6th edition. We decided to be thematic and play the basic kill point mission with the across table deployment. Kill! Maim! Burn!

Mark had the first turn, which coupled with the World Eater legion rules meant that he was half way across the table and bearing down on me straight away. My first turn saw just a single wound being taken off of a chaos spawn but I don't think I caused any other injuries due to Mark making his night fight stealth saves. Turn two and one unit reached one of my chaos marine squads and combat was joined. He also destroyed a rhino with a lucky shot from a plasma pistol.

From this point on the game started to bog down into close combat. I was lucky enough to keep one rhino intact for a while allowing me to fire my meltaguns and plasma pistol out the top. It forced Mark to drop my rhino giving me the chance to assault him. Combat was quite nasty from this point. I didn't manage to get anywhere in challenges as Marks chaos lords on juggernauts each had a powerful relic preventing me from making armour saves for the most part, and my FNP rolls were shockingly bad again. My helbrute, which I wanted to support my marines was crushed by a mighty daemon prince of Khorne.

When my heldrake came in it was able to melt half a squad of berzerkers. Next turn I had to risk it and put it into hover mode and while it did take out the rest of the khorne warriors, it was assaulted by Kharn the Betrayer and the daemon prince. They ripped it to the ground but I was happy with what it did.

When my land raider went boom, the terminators and my terminator lord moved out of the burning wreckage to attack a chaos lord on juggernaut. Again though I just couldn't score wounds on him and he just hacked through them. The World Eaters were living up to their reputation.

Come turn four and I realsied that I had completely forgotten about my raptors waiting to come in from reserve. With pretty much everything else I had reduced to a pile of headless corpses, I dropped them down into Mark's deployment zone. If nothing else I could snatch a point at the end of the game. Unfortunately they ended up in charge range of a chaos lord on juggernaut and promptly slaughtered to a man.

Game ended turn five with a complete table wipe for my poor Nurgle marines. Mark had won 15 victory points to my one. He had claimed every available victory point that he could have scored. Impressive.

I had hoped to do better but a mix of his relic wielding juggernaut lords and my inability to roll feel no pain meant that this was never going to go my way.

However, on a good note, this was potentially my last game of 7th edition. Next week I have my first 8th edition game. Looking forward to it big time.

Nurgle's champions had failed and Khorne gathered their skulls for his throne. The Death Guard were not living up to their name. Nurgle would have to look elsewhere for a champion if he was to dominate the battlefields of Susperia.

Blood for the Blood God!

A horde of mutated spawn surge through the ruins.

Death Guard deployment.

A mighty daemon prince of Khorne.

Berzerkers charge across the battlefield.

My heldrake vomits over a unit of berzerkers.


Monday, 12 June 2017

The Ritual - Cerberus

Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus Sector.

Death Guard vs Blood Angels.
2000 points.
Mission: Purge the Alien.

The sudden attack upon the Death Guard held world has come as a surprise. Territory has been lost but the sons of Mortarion have enacted a strong counter attack but for now the war has bogged down into a stale mate.
In an attempt to bolster their forces with daemonic allies, the Death Guard blightcasters attempt an powerful ritual to bring forth a host of plaguebearers and great unclean ones. 
Alerted to this by the divinations of his chapter's librarians, Guilliman dispatches an assault force of Blood Angels to thwart the plans of the Death Guard.

Tonight's game was against one of our club's newer players Michael Y. Always good to play against someone new so I was really looking forward to this game. I had forgotten that he played Blood Angels so I built a basic combined-arms detachment list. I had considered playing my Chaos Knight but decided against it as I didn't know whether he had ever played against such before and I wanted to be nice. We decided on the night to go with a basic kill mission and we played the usual across table deployment.

His list was a librarian dreadnought and sternguard in a stormraven, some scouts, two units of bikes, a land raider redeemer, two flamer predators and an assault cannon predator. He also took a fortification to hold a devastator squad. Haven't played against a Blood Angels army like this for ages so I had forgotten that they were fast. His tanks were across the table and in my face straight away from turn one. Had not expected that and it put me on the back foot.

Quite quickly I lost my rhino's and Michael was three victory points up. I was convinced that he was going to win this straight away. I tried to focus all my lascannon and heavy weapons fire upon his land raider but if I did cause a hull point of damage Michael has a tech marine inside fixing things. Quite frustrating. I did manage to knock some hull points of his predators and my helbrute charged and knocked one into twisted scrap.

As the game progressed my marines were getting burnt to death and blasted away by sniper fire with rending hits. Not getting an army save first and failing quite a few FNP rolls was hurting my ability to mount a counter attack. The helbrute soon exploded removing my easy means of taking his tanks down. My Heldrake soon came in and was able to eradicate one bike squad and slay most of a scout squad that had been causing me trouble. It didn't do me much more use though .

The last few turns of the game were spent with my marines trying to tank hunt on foot with an autocannon and meltagun, or desperately trying to avoid the flamestorm cannons on my opponent's land raider.

When Michael's stormraven came in it dropped off the sternguard and librarian dreadnought, and blasted my land raider to bits. This actually helped me as it freed up my terminators and terminator lord. Combat quickly ensued and my chaos lord did very well. The dreadnought failed to wound him and with a fantastic roll my lord dropped a meltabomb on it and blew the dreadnought away. The sternguard did nothing and then died to lots of lightning claw hits. I grabbed myself a good few victory points on that last turn.

Turn 5 the game ended and I thought it was going to be close. I had clawed my way back and had achieved a draw. That was until it was pointed out that Michael's surviving bike squad was within my deployment zone and gave him one more victory point. My opponent had won 8vp to my 7vp.

We both agreed afterwards that this was one of the best games either of us had had for a long time. Looking forward now to our rematch.

The Blood Angels strike against the ritual site came as a shock for the defending Death Guard. The traitor marines put up a strong defence but were cut down with righteous fury/ The Blood Angels then disrupted the warp magics and massacred the blightcasters. For now the Death Guard would fight their own fight against the invaders.

The Death Guard east flank falls to the Imperial advance.

The Blood Angels dominate the air war.

Death Guard marines seek to avoid the flames of death (crusader proxying as a redeemer).

A mighty heldrake brings fiery doom to the Blood Angels.

The Blood Angels bring fire and flame to slay the sons of Mortarion.








Saturday, 3 June 2017

8th edition battle report


Those cool guys over at Tabletop Tactics have got their hands on some preview copies of the new 8th edition rules and Indexes, and have put up a big battle report to show off how the game works. Enjoy.

Now I have been naughty and seen the leaked copies of the rules and the chaos index. Death Guard have taken a little hit. They can't play terminators, raptors/warp talons, bikes and daemon engines. I don't know why and that has irked me a little. As my army will be built using the Chaos and Nurgle keywords I'm just going to use them still but give them a different legion name so that I can include them.

Narrative - Faction In-Fighting

Despite there being a sizeable number of armies (we could say codexes) in 40K a lot of the time we find that our armies are facing wh...