Archive for the Battle Report Category

All Quiet on the Martian Front – First games!

Posted in Battle Report, Games, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 25, 2014 by stingersix

Finally got to play this tonight with my friend Stephen. We decided to do the intro scenario, where you basically just beat each other senseless without the fancy rules for hidden movement and ambushes and whatnot.

The board has some Flames of War buildings on it. Not quite in scale but not too far off – all good.image

In this scenario, you just fight until the other guy loses half his units and breaks. The humans and Martians went at it hammer and tongs!

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This tripod scooted up the road and then showed why it’s a good idea to spread out and avoid the nasty sweep template of the Martian heat ray!

 

 

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Despite their power and durability, the tripods can only take so much. This guy is steadily losing his armor and taking more and more damage. Critical hits had him moving out of control and losing control of his weapons, and the game has a fun way of handling this (you dice off with your opponent).

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The Doughboys are most effective against the Martians in assault, but this is also the most dangerous way to attack the aliens! A squad hurls itself into action!

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They knocked off a couple more points of armor, and the ‘Pod actually retreated! But on it’s next movement, Stephen won the roll to control it, and the Martian warmachine staggered back in among a horde of enemies! Both infantry squads in the picture there assaulted (after the MG squad and the tank softened it up a bit more. However, if you roll well enough when you damage a Tripod, it can explode…

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Before…

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After…

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Yes, the explosion of the destroyed ‘pod’s reactor took out all of the human units around it (everything within 6″ takes hits)! This actually broke both our forces at the same time! The humans and Martians both pulled back from the carnage with a bloody tie!

For the second game we got a little more involved and the Martians had to cross the board lengthwise and exit as many pods as they could off the opposite table edge. The humans had to stop them. This time we tried hidden movement, ambushes and some Martian special weaponry (Green Gas). Stephen deployed almost all his infantry hidden in the farm compound. His MG squad is in ambush, somewhere in his deployment zone. His MkIII tanks are in reserve.

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The Martians have at most, seven turns to get across the board, most likely six. Moving their full distance every turn, they could just make it if they didn’t slow down for anything or spend too much time picking their way through difficult terrain. They reached the road as the human tanks fired away and the infantry scrambled to redploy to the center. The Rough Rider motorcyclists are moving in.

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Just as the humans’ best armor is lining up their shots, Martian heat rays deal out death, routing tanks and infantry moving in to assault.

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As the terrified infantry flees for the rear, the human MG team waiting in ambush in the cornfield finally opens up at nearly point blank range…and destroys a Tripod with a lucky shot! The alien machine crashes to the ground.

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The humans mount a desperate last-ditch assault, but fail to stop the Tripod, which routs and destroys them, and then does the same to the retreating MkIII unit.

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We called it there, as the human army had been broken. But, had the game continued, I would not have been able to get more than one Tripod off the board, even had the game gone to Turn 6.

Overall, I enjoyed the game a lot. It played better than I thought it would. I first thought the Martians would easily sweep aside the humans but that was not the case. I can see that with some shrewd tactics and effective use of the weapons available, the U.S. Army can definitely turn back the Martian tide. There is some complexity, but the basic die rolling mechanics are very simple and go really fast. There is little to no chart referencing during play, and once you get the basic systems down, I can see where this game plays quickly compared to many other minis games.

I really want to get some of the Forlorn Hope minis for the U.S. Army – they’re a couple of figures dangling from a rope and you can hook them on to a Tripod so it looks like they’re climbing up. The Forlorn Hope is an upgrade for infantry squads and they pop out when assaulting Tripods, climbing up to plant TNT and grenades. They’re a one use thing (they’re assumed to die in the assault) but they give a hefty bonus to the infantry’s assault roll.

I also like the look of the Martian Scout Tripods, and I’d like to get some Lobototons (lobotomized human captives made into mindless slaves for the Martians).

So far, I haven’t seen anything about All Quiet on the Martian Front I don’t like. I have a couple more games planned next week and I’m looking forward to them!

Dropzone Commander Battle Report – Operation Cyan Rapier: Phase 2

Posted in Battle Report, Dropzone Commander, Games with tags , , on August 15, 2014 by stingersix

My buddy Stephen and I played our second game of the campaign we have going “Operation Cyan Rapier.” I’ll talk about Phase (game) 1 later, but today’s game was the follow-on from that game in which the UCM managed to successfully extract a Praetorian insertion team that had gone into enemy territory to link up with local Resistance forces. The mission was (barely) successful and victory was won at great cost to the UCM Praetorians. So, here is the preamble to Phase 2:

Operation Cyan Rapier – Phase 2 – Decapitation

After the successful (but costly) recovery of the Praetorian insertion teams from Estrella del Mar, UCM command gives the go-ahead for Phase 2, a strike at the Scourge command elements in the area of operations. With the Praetorians taken out of the line to recover, UCM General Magday reluctantly decides to commit his heavy assets, hoping to deal the Scourge a knockout blow before the main landing operation. This is a risky and controversial strategy, as the relatively small UCM task force assigned to this operation cannot afford many losses. Nevertheless, the UCM forces once again prepare for battle.

Unbeknownst to the UCM planners, the Scourge have more reserves than originally thought, and have managed to keep them hidden even from the Resistance spies. As a result, their defenses near their headquarters complex will be at full strength to face the coming assault!

 It was a modified version of the Decapitation scenario in the main rulebook. 1750 points for both of us, and Stephen got an extra 350 point battle group to represent the unknown reserves (which would start rolling for entry on turn 3). I do a lot of my own scenario design and a favorite method is to take an existing scenario and tweak it in interesting ways. You’ll see more of this when I talk about the Snipers a bit later on.

In this campaign I am also making an effort to do more rural and less heavily urban terrain. This scenario thus featured fully half the board as hills and wooded areas, and the other half a mostly open landing field. It makes for a very different feel than the usual tight cityscape we most often play in.

So, was the UCM able to take out the Scourge Overseer? Read on!

Here’s the battlefield. Pretty long sight lines. In that regard it favors the UCM, but, the UCM has to attack and close the distance in this mission and the Scourge has to defend, so perhaps both sides’ favored roles are switched up? Definitely a challenge for us both. The idea was the UCM was attacking the local Scourge command base, which was established in an old air/spaceport (you can see the runway there). The walled off area was the command center, and there are two bunkers. A string of fighting positions lined the edge of the airfield. Off in the rough, there are a couple of wooded hills, some abandoned huts and a few fading craters leftover from the Scourge invasion centuries ago.

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In the Decapitation scenario, the Defender sets up inside a fortified area. The Scourge used the old human terminal as their base. Each wall section and turret is Hardened with 10DP. Steve had a bit of trouble figuring out his list and didn’t have enough AA initially (extremely important in this scenario since keeping his Command unit alive was the key to victory), but we re-jiggered his list a bit and got it straightened out. Here, his Reapers form up around the Overseer (UCM codename: Broken Tower) with a squad of Hunters ready to burst out of the gate. Warriors line the parapets.

Taking out Broken Tower was my objective. Steve’s objective was avoid losing his Commander, or at least make any UCM victory as costly as possible. This position seems a tough nut to crack – indeed although I had 2 squads of 2 Archangels each, going into that AA bubble was a frightening prospect!photo 4

A bit hard to see here but there are 5 Possible Objective markers. These represented possible hidden locations of my Praetorian Sniper squad. Until the actual squad was revealed, these markers all had the Scout ability, representing remote sensing equipment and digital ghillies set up by the Snipers who had infiltrated the are before the battle. If fired at, they could only be hit on a natural 6 but if the snipers were actually there, they would take damage, otherwise the marker would be removed. If a Scourge unit moved into base contact, they would also be instantly removed and the snipers revealed if they were there. I borrowed on the Infiltration rule from 40K, allowing me to place a marker in cover as close as 12″ from an enemy, and no closer than 24″ if out in the open.photo 5

At the end of T1, the UCM forces are surging on to the battlefield. I have a big tank blob of 6 Sabers and 3 Rapiers in the Albatross. You can see my Longbows down and deployed near the huts. The Ferrum has launched its flight of drones and the Legionnaires and Heavy Ordnance battle groups are going in. My command Kodiak is out of the frame at the bottom left. Steve has raced forward with a squad of Hunters, driving them into one of the fighting positions with the use of a Command Card (Overdrive??) I lucked out and got one squad of Archangels out of Reserve on T1, but they failed to arrive for an attack run. No biggie.photo 6 photo 7

Warriors deploy into the bunker on the right.photo 8 photo 9

Turn 2 action: Scourge Corsairs sweep in on an attack run against the fully loaded Albatross, the big fat transport making a terrific target! I committed both my FM squads to intercept. The flight leader went in screaming “EARF!” at the top of his lungs but in his excitement he and his wingman both missed! The second squad zoomed in from the opposite vector and managed to splash one Corsair, but only one! The survivor opened up on the Albatross but missed, his aim disturbed, no doubt, by his over-enthusiastic enemies! After this, the Albatross pilot moved forward as close as he dared and dropped the tanks into the fray!photo 10

 

Turn 3 and the game develops! The Armor battle group rolls forward, hammering shots into the base fortifications. If I could take down a wall, I could possibly start picking off Reapers and clear the way for some Archangel runs on the Desolater. But I couldn’t bring the wall down. Steve began to threaten my Kodiak with his Prowlers and Reavers so I loosed off a hail of fire with my Rapiers, downing a fully loaded Invader and a Reaver. The Prowlers survived the crash, and with a mass of tanks nearby, turned their attention to a more inviting target. They couldn’t attack this turn, but if Steve won the next Initiative roll, my tanks were in trouble!photo 11 photo 12 photo 13

My Archangels squads had until now been busy elsewhere on the battlefield. This turn it was up to my drones to try and crack the AA bubble and get some fire on the Desolater. The drones swarmed in and the Reapers began reaction firing. The dice did not go the Scourge’s way – even with the Reaction Fire penalty, he should have been hitting half the time. Even the Warriors on the walls blasted away to no effect. In the end, I lost only 2 drones out of 8. They lined up on the Desolator and did 4 points of damage! With the Scourge AA Reaction Fire exhausted, the Archangel squads rolled in on the Desolator and blew it out of the sky! Mission accomplished?photo 14

I revealed the Snipers’ position. The Scourge Warriors in that bunker downrange were definitely scoring hits! An earlier volley of AA fire from the troops on the walls had destroyed an inbound Condor and a mounted squad of Legionnaires. The Praetorians synched their cybernetic ballistic targeting computers together and ranged in on the Warriors in the bunker. Their combined fire sounded like one single shot…photo 15

Seven points of damage on the Warriors! The Snipers managed one more shot later in the game, resulting in a total wipe-out of the Warriors!

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The Scourge have lost their Overseer, and now enraged, seek to do as much damage to the humans as they can before they escape. As the UCM frantically tries to withdraw from the fight, the Prowlers leap onto the Sabers and Rapiers for a hot plasma injection!photo 17 photo 18

Not much left of my armor! The tanks slam into reverse and pull back, shaking off a few Prowlers. Hoping to both pick up its tanks and kill their tormentors, the Albatross swings around bringing all its guns to bear! The tanks also unleash heavy machine gun fire at the walkers, while also taking down the fortress wall with a few shots from their railguns.photo 19

The fight on the runway has been close and deadly, leaving the field covered in burning wrecks! photo 21

With an untouched Scourge battle group now entering the fight, the UCM forces mount up and firewall their throttles to escape!

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Final positions at the end of Turn 6. Most of my units have exited the board. Steve made a desperate push to catch up and was closing in on the Ferrum. The Legionnaire-carrying Condor was shot down, but the Bear and the troops inside survived the crash, but were still on the board. The Praetorian Snipers, their mission complete, activated their therm-optic camouflage and crept carefully away from their hide-site. They knew they would be walking home…photo 24

In the end, a Strategic Victory for the UCM. In our next game and for the rest of the campaign, the Scourge cannot have a Commander higher than an Overlord (Lvl5) since Broken Tower was killed. We took a look at UCM losses to see at what cost victory was won for the UCM – I lost my entire armor battle group except the Albatross, plus a few other units, but it all came out to about 25% of my force. Acceptable losses.

It was a great game. Had Steve’s dice been better when he was rolling for Reaction Fire against the drones it could have been a much different game – I would have had to risk the Reaper AA bubble with the Archangels.

So now we’re talking about where our campaign goes next. In Phase 1, the UCM recovered vital info on the Scourge, allowing them to progress to Phase 2, which was a strike against the Scourge command. With success for the UCM so far, we think General Magaday is going to commit his forces to an operation to establish a secure beachhead, so we’re looking at a straight-up clash of forces, probably with the Bridgehead scenario. Focal point missions are always a scrum!

Thanks to Steve for a great game!

How to lose at Dropzone Commander!

Posted in Battle Report, Dropzone Commander with tags , on January 4, 2014 by stingersix

Had my first game of 2014 the other day. I played Dropzone Commander with Chris R. It was a real cock-up of a game for me, as far as playing goes. I dunno where my head was at (up my backside apparently) but while I very effectively showed Chris how to play the game, he showed me how to play the game.

Starter set scenario, starter set forces. Chris is the UCM, I’m the Scourge (first time for me playing the Scourge). Here’s the table after T1. Chris has wisely deployed all his armor, with the AA tanks up top and Sabers in the middle. His infantry are still mounted up and driving for the central objective building.  I have only deployed my infantry into the objective building at the bottom (see the second pic – I couldn’t get the whole board in the frame). My Hunters are still embarked in the Maruader behind the building. My AA Reapers are in the Marauder at the top there. Do you see the glaring mistake I made?

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This is what happens when you run your fully-loaded dropship into range and LOS of the enemy AA tanks… You see ’em back there?
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Yep, lost the entire battlegroup in one go. Chris got 8 hits, IIRC, and then rolled 6 damage (plus whatever extra for high rolls – it was awful). Then he rolled a 6 on the Destroyed Aircraft Table. Boom!

Then, mesmerized by the flickering flames of my crashed dropship (and caught in the grip of stupidity), I disembarked the Hunters and drove them into the position you see below. Of course, they couldn’t fire because they’d unloaded.

Before…

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After.

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Hey, where’d my tanks go? Ooohh, dey gone! Chris duly smoked them with his Sabers. You will also note that he has begun working over the building where my infantry are hiding. I did find my objective though, and have already trucked it off the board at this point. Then we spent the next couple turns in a firefight with the infantry I did have left. The building they were in was worked over with railguns, machine guns and missiles, and my infantry we getting whittled away.

20140102_153200Although I was getting massacred, I was still winning by T4, with one objective removed. But on T4, Chris’ infantry found their objective and legged it, getting it off the board on T5. We were then tied and Chris was clearly going to win the tie on kill points, so we were both angling for the last remaining objective. All I had left was a Marauder and couldn’t stop him, but he also couldn’t get into the building to search it in time. So, game end with a tie on VPs, soundly broken in favor of the UCM on kill points.

Hats off to Chris for the win and a fun game regardless! I played terribly though I was using the Scourge for the first time, and they are very different from the UCM. We’re going to have a rematch this Sunday and see if I can’t remove my head from my backside!

 

Fight hard, die well

Posted in 40K, Battle Report with tags , on December 12, 2013 by stingersix

I seem to have a lot of glamor shots of my Space Marines but not many in-game pics. So, to remedy that, here are a few from a game I played earlier in the week against Stephen Bazja’s Voidwalker CSM. It was one of the better games I have had in a long time. Real back and forth the whole time, with control of the game in question literally until the very last move of the (7-turn) game!

This game was part of the current campaign we have going at the store. It was a Cities of Death game so there were lots of ruins and obstacles. The mission was The Relic, which represented an ancient datacore exposed in the ruins by all the bombardments going on. Each side had to try and get a unit to the datacore and download whatever info they could find. It was a 1500-pt game and I chose to run a variant of my “Tanksgiving” list, with two Land Raiders (one was a Redeemer). I had three combat squads in Rhinos for objective grabbing, and the heavy hitters would be my full Sternguard squad, a Command squad fully armed with plasma guns, and a Bike squad, led by Captain Ojin on his brand new ride.

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The Voidwalkers also rolled up with a Land Raider, stuffed full of Chaos Terminators, and a Rhino with a Slaanesh marked CSM squad in trail. Regular CSM troops and Stephen’s cultists rounded out his Troops choices. The cultists are a hoot, and we agreed that the cultist champion should have a bandolier of beer cans modeled on (get to work, Steve!). The Tzeentchian sorcerer, Nameless, was leading the host.20131210_195359 20131210_195423

Steve likes his Obliterators, so they were there of course. And yeah, he had a Heldrake.

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My  plan was to drive up on the objective and clear it with the Sternguard coming out of the Redeemer, and then rush the Tac squads in to grab the damned thing. The Land Raider would provide long range fire support, and Ojin and his bikers a mobile strike unit to go after high threat targets. Naturally, things went wrong from the very first die roll – Steve seized the initiative!

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OK, so that sucked. But it was an indication of how hard fought and close this game would be! I took a hull point on the Land Raider which got into a long range gun duel with its Chaos counterpart. There were a few more shots fired but as with most games, T1 was about positioning and Steve moved his CSM up. I took a few shots in my turn after mounting up all the troops in their vehicles and moving out, knowing that the Heldrake was inbound.

We forgot to launch my preliminary bombardment on T1, so we did it on T2. It missed everything except the one building where the CSM had set up, and collapsed it. But, only two traitors got crushed so on we went.

Then, like an unwanted pigeon (that shits napalm), the Heldrake zoomed in on T2.20131210_202216 20131210_202507Another variant of my list didn’t have bikers, and I knew the Hel-turkey would go after them since all the rest of my troops were inside the (relative) safety of their transports. Sure enough, I lost 3 bikes (out of 6) to the damned thing (including Captain Ojin getting toasted and taking a wound). I took a few ineffective pot shots at it but they all missed and that point I decided to just try to ignore it, stay buttoned up if possible and keep going forward. I had a thought to put Flakk missiles on my MLs in the Rhinos and use them as ghetto flak positions but decided to spend the points elsewhere.

Though the objective was in the center of the table, the objective was walled off by debris and the tank traps Stephen had placed nearby (which also affected him of course). This was going to force me to unload the Sternguard early, and with Heldrake around, I knew that was going to suck, but, no choice. I jumped a combat squad out and went in while the Redeemer and the rest of the Sternguard went right. The Command squad also moved up, flanked by the bikes going all-out, full-tilt boogie toward the right flank (holy Emperor, I love White Scars Chapter Tactics) where the Obliterators were walking up the street like a couple of outlaws in a western. These two mugs got some solid hits on the Redeemer but the Command Squad fed them some hot plasma death.

In response, the Voidwalker warlord, Nameless, turned all his cultists invisible and formed them into a gunline in the ruins of the cathedral. They let loose a huge volley of fire that took out two more bikers, leaving Ojin with just one more outrider. Did I mention, Nameless turned his cultists invisible?! It was fun to imagine the incoming Space Marines switching to thermal imaging to try and spot the cultists!

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Well, I wasn’t going to let that go unanswered! I set off my Demolitions Charge (Cities of Death, woot!) and if it went off, the cathedral was packed with cultists and CSM, not to mention Nameless and Captain Ojin (who was gunning straight for the aforementioned Chaos sorcerer). But! The charge failed to go off! Emperor’s teeth! We both thought it would have been awesome if it had, but, oh well, drive on!

The cultists got a full serving of Sternguard Special Cover-Ignoring Dragonfire Rounds ™ followed by more hot plasma death from the nearby Command squad. After this, they decided they didn’t want any more and turned to watch their boss get friendly with Captain Ojin. Nameless went invisible, giving him his best chance of killing Captain Ojin on his charge. The sorcerer’s force staff crackled with warp energy, but the Emperor was with Captain Ojin and his Iron Halo deflected the killing blow. Ojin struck back with his power fist, but trying to hit a thermal blur proved challenging, and the Dark Gods protected their servant for the moment. This was turning into an epic duel!20131210_214806

Elsewhere, the Heldrake burned down a combat squad that had to bail out of their cored Rhino. With no other targets along its flight path, it flew off the board to set up for another run. Two Marines managed to survive but were soon picked off by long-range bolter fire from the advancing CSM. By this point the CSM Land Raider had been immobilized and the Rhino as well, throwing a track as it tried to smash through the cathedral wall. In this game, both of us found our immobilized heavy tanks to be a real hindrance to our maneuvering, once they had been stuck where they were. My Redeemer flailed away with its weapons but their short-ranged nature made them largely ineffective. The Voidwalker Terminators unloaded as well, and began marching toward the Sternguard I had near the objective. All the CSM infantry were boiling forward, determined to overrun the Rising Sun battle brothers!20131210_222049

Back inside the cathedral ruin Captain Ojin and Nameless were locked in deadly battle. With his cultists looking on in amusement (“Yeah, yeah, get ‘im boss. Glad that ain’t me.”) Nameless invoked the Ruinous Powers again. And again, Captain Ojin was saved by the will of the Emperor (and his 4++ save). Spinning his bike around, Captain Ojin hammered his powerfist into the sorcerer, who went down in a bright flash of light. The cultists briefly contemplated charging the Captain, then decided they didn’t want any of that mess and headed off the other direction. Cultists who later picked up Nameless’ armor said they found no trace of the sorcerer’s body inside…

As Captain Ojin and his last bike trooper roared away, the battle outside heated up! The Chaos Terminators crushed the Sternguard, sweeping them away from the objective. The Slaanesh marked CSM also made short work of the second Sternguard squad. At this point I had only two scoring units left! A combat squad of Tactical Marines that had just been blown out of their Rhino, and the single biker riding alongside Captain Ojin! But, only in death does duty end!20131210_222558

The Command squad got their sights on the Slaaneshi freaks and gunned them down. I was desperately looking for a way to protect my last squad of Tacticals from the Heldrake that had just shown up again, so they dove into the last mobile Rhino on the board. Denied that target, the Heldrake washed the Rhino in fire but did no damage. Meanwhile, Captain Ojin was roaring around the rear of the CSM positions. A quick strike on the Chaos Land Raider did nothing, but did set him up to charge the objective!

The center of the board was slick with blood and ash as the Chaos Terminators fell to plasma gun fire. With the Captain on the objective, the Heldrake hovered around to try and burn him down. Ojin survived only to see the cultists charging him. It was a one-sided fight as Ojin smashed a few and their morale crumbled and they were swept.

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With the objective clear, the Heldrake had another shot at Captain Ojin, and this time, the heroic Astartes Captain finally went down in a fiery blast. Surviving Chaos Space Marines stomped over the broken cultist bodies to claim the objective. But…!

I still had a combat squad in a Rhino nearby. They couldn’t charge the CSM on the objective but they could roll up and disembark close enough to contest, so that’s what I did, and if I could shoot the remaining CSM off the objective it wouldn’t just be contested, it would be mine! It was the bottom of T7 and this was it. I got a great shooting roll with enough hits to wipe them out, and…

All but one Traitor was left standing. Would he break and run? No! The objective was contested!

The Heldrake flew off in search of fuel as the CSM sounded their recall and withdrew, leaving the bloody field to the Rising Sun.

The final score was 2-1. We both had Slay the Warlord and I had First Blood, and that alone gave me the win.

Man, what a game! Many thanks to Steve for making it such a close game and giving me a hell of a fight. The game had some truly stand-out cinematic moments and was easily one of my favorites!

Fight hard, die well!

Angry red daemons

Posted in 40K, Battle Report with tags , , on November 8, 2013 by stingersix

So I played my second game with my mono-Khorne Daemon army last Monday night against Stephen’s Chaos Space Marines. It was also the second game in our mini-campaign, with a story made up on the fly as we played. His Chaos Lord, the Tzeentch Sorcerer, The Nameless One, wants to seize the Grimoire of True Names from the Bloodthirster Gorzu A’lal Xul (so he can both find his identity and secure it from being used against him). In game 1, Nameless failed to seize the main entrance to the catacombs where the Grimoire is being held. So in game 2, he’s trying to sneak in the back door, opposed by Gorzu’s lieutenant, the Daemon Prince Deimos. It was a 1,000 point game. The objective was to have the most Infantry units on the chaos altar in the middle of the board at game end.

I had no shooting at all! This was pretty crazy for me as I usually play Marines. No shooting except whatever ranged attacks I might roll on the Rewards tables! This made me consider two things: 1) I had to get into assault ASAP, and 2) I had to take advantage of any cover I could find going in.

Fortunately, Khorne daemons are hella fast (as are most daemon units). Without the temptation of making ranged attacks, my shooting phase consisted of simply running everything forward as far as possible.

This pic shows the board after my first turn. All of my Troops (Bloodletters) are in reserve.20131104_195618

My Bloodcrushers are moving up toward a squad of Havocs, doing their best to limit their exposure to enemy fire. 20131104_19571120131104_195641

On my right is my Herald on his Blood Throne. There’s a pack of Flesh Hounds tucked behind the hill too. The Havocs took a shot at Deimos but failed to wound or ground him (he was swooping).

20131104_195624Unused to playing the Daemons, I pretty much forgot to roll on the Warpstorm chart for the first half of the game! Anyway, I’m charging in toward the CSM line. There’s a pack of Cultists right in the middle of the opening into the vale we’re fighting in. Looks like a good target to me! The CSM squad on the hill there looks formidable, but as I’m on the reverse slope of the hill, they’ve got no shot. 20131104_195630

Turn 2 and the CSM pull back, having picked up the heat signatures of all that angry red paint coming up over the hill. It’s about to get real! But I goofed my movement, going Flat Out with my Blood Throne and thus prohibiting it from charging (yes, it rolls for charges since it’s a Chariot). Anyway, the Khornedogs could make the charge though they would be outside the Herald’s 6″ Locus bubble, a dumb mistake on my part. Still, I managed to get the dogs stuck in.

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The Night Lords have some visitors. Look at those silly hats of theirs!20131104_202409I brought the Bloodletters in, but kinda botched their arrival order. The squad with the icon that everyone was supposed to home in on didn’t arrive, forcing the second and third squads to scatter. I do like the Instruments of Chaos, which allow me to chain in units from reserve. This allows the Daemons to arrive in one huge mass and basically on target. In one go you can saturate your opponent with threats. Had I got the roll I needed I would have placed 30 Bloodletters in threat range in one go. As it was, I got 20 in (the second unit also had an Instrument) basically where I wanted them (behind the Cultists). But the ‘Letters held back because the Boss, DP Deimos, jumped into give the human dupes the thrashing they deserved.

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Ah, I should taken a picture of it. Deimos charged in and the Cultist Champion was forced to challenge him (not a terrible idea since it would isolate Deimos’ attacks). Deimos laughed and accepted! Puny human! We imagined the Cultists and the Champion watching Deimos approach, and the Champion racks his shotgun, looks at his bros and says, “Here, hold my beer. Watch this!”

Deimos duly squashed the Champion with his Hammer of Wrath attack. The Cultists then blew their morale check and were swept by Deimos. The CSM and the Khorne dogs continued to battle, a fight that lasted most of the game – the Flesh Hounds are a great tarpit! My Bloodcrushers overran the Havocs and wiped them out. Things were not looking good for the Chaos Space Marines.

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Then The Nameless One himself arrived from reserve with his hard men, his Chaos Terminators. He also brought in an Obliterator that took up position on a far hill and proceeded to get Deimos’ attention by putting a lascannon shot into him. My units began to converge toward the center and I Deep Struck my last unit of Bloodletters right onto the shrine to try and hold it. I knew the Terminators would be a tough nut to crack with my ‘Letters’ Hellblades only being AP3. But I figured I could swamp them and get Deimos and the Herald in there with their Axes of Khorne (AP2). But…

20131104_213751 20131104_213803Man, those Tzeentch Sorcerers can be a handful! The Nameless One stood off a bit from his boys so he could zap them with Malediction buffs (forget what they were). He also sent a pack of Bloodletters running, decimating their ranks with a plague wind or somesuch. You can see Deimos up there obliterating the Obliterator too, but Nameless (the dirty git) gimped Deimos with a couple spells that didn’t hurt him much but did slow him down. However, all that warp power being flung around is dangerous to the user as well – Nameless rolled Perils of the Warp, took a wound (his last one) and was gone. His fate would remain a mystery until the game ended though.

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The battle now centered on the altar. Though the CSM finally wiped out the Flesh Hounds and got clear, they were too far away to have any effect on the last stage of the game. To ensure this, I charged them with the Herald. They blew up his Chariot and whacked him too, but it was a peripheral action to what was happening in the center of the table.

It was up to the Chaos Terminators now. They charged in and hammered the Bloodletters on the altar, winning the combat and causing an Instability Check for me that wiped out the rest of the unit. As I charged in with Deimos, and my remaining Bloodletters and Crushers, I remembered the Warpstorm chart! Yay! I rolled a 3 (Gods disfavor) and wound up taking a wound on Deimos. Boo!

Deimos took on the Terminator Champion in a challenge and eviscerated him as you would expect. But once again, that isolated Deimos’ nasty AP2 attacks from the rest of the squad. Unfortunately I had no other characters in the fight I could have accepted the challenge with, and not wanting to waste Deimos all together, I squared him off with the Champion. I did my level best to force as many saves on the Chaos Terminators as I could, but with AP3 Hellblades, the Terminators made a lot of saves, losing only 1. Again, I lost combat and blew my Instability check for my Crushers and they went away!

Down to the final round, Deimos got all ragey, but the Terminators made their Invul saves (4++ due to some sort of buff they had). Lucky! The Bloodletters didn’t cause any wounds either, and though they lost combat by only 1, I got the worst possible result on the Instability check – box cars! The Bloodletters were eliminated and with them, my chance of winning the game.

Although Deimos was still alive, and could have probably squashed the Terminators, we had to call time. Even so, we’d played 5 turns and I had no Infantry left to take the altar. Stephen earned that win! We then decided that The Nameless One hadn’t died when he rolled Perils, he’d just found a way into Gorzu’s fortress through the Warp and told his boys to hold the entrance for him as long as they could.

So, a fun game and I learned a lot about my army. I didn’t use the Herald and the Blood Throne very well and I’ll need to work on that. I also need to study up on using FMCs – I’m usually on the receiving end of the damned things. The internet pooh-pooh’s mono-Khorne armies but I don’t care – they look great and are lots of fun to play. It’s kinda liberating to just charge all out and not worry about shooting and all that. Big thanks to Stephen and I’m looking forward to our next game!

Dropzone Commander = Win!

Posted in Battle Report, Dropzone Commander, Games with tags , , , on October 23, 2013 by stingersix

Dropzone Commander is, in a word, fun! The Dropzone was commanded!

(Scroll down for pics)

I got my first game in last night with Ian Chadwick. We used the models in the starter set – I played UCM and Ian took the Scourge. DZC was exactly what I was hoping for in a sci-fi minis game; it was dynamic, fast-paced and engaging.

First of all, it looks awesome all set up! The cityscape that comes with the starter set is an inspired bit of design. You get two poster maps, which are different and these fit together to form a grid of city streets. On top of this, you set up 10 card building that are also included. They fold out and are ready to go in no time at all. I usually don’t play without fully painted minis but Ian and I were so hot to try this game we just put them together and went for it. I did manage to get a coat of color primer on them and painted one dropship but even without paint, they looked awesome on the board! When we have our armies fully painted this game is just going to be brilliant! As a longtime Epic Space Marine fan, the larger scale is very appealing to me. You definitely get a greater sense of looking at an entire battlefield, of being in command of an entire operation instead of a smaller tactical engagement.

Any wargame that even attempts to predict the battlefield of the future needs to take the effect of technology on combat doctrine into account. Games like 40K are simply WW2 with lasers. Even Stargrunt (which I still love) is really Vietnam in space. DZC may not hit all the buttons but it certainly feels like it’s hitting a lot of them.

First off, all armies are entirely airmobile, or at least highly mobile (one race, the Shaltari, teleport around the battlefield). This means that the battlefield is a constantly changing environment as units can rapidly redeploy where needed and the game mechanics reflect this. For example, a UCM APC can move 4″ which isn’t horrible but a dropship can pick it up and move it up to 9″ in one turn. Since all units can do this, it means that simply driving forward on the ground is more of a last resort – you only really do it unless your dropships are gone. In the game we played, the APCs drove on the ground the last few inches to their objectives after disembarking from their dropships (which then pulled back into cover somewhere, waiting on station for the call for dustoff).

Many minis games I have played feel very static compared to DZC. Even mobile armies in 40K don’t move like DZC units do (of course the different scales make a difference here). In DZC, if you find that things are happening somewhere else on the battlefield, you really can redeploy all the way across the map in very short order. Early in our game, I flew in with an infantry unit, occupied and objective building on T1, located the objective on T2, then re-embarked and got it off the map! Granted I was lucky on the search roll, but man it was fast!

After that it looked like things were developing on the opposite side of the map, so I started picking up units and flying them over that way. Later, when I found my heavy tanks a bit out of position, again I picked them up and flew them where they needed to be. The ground units did drive around some of course, but when they needed to cover longer distance, they could call in the dropships to pick them up.

So, the game makes the dropships and transports extremely important. Lose your mobility and your chances of success drop rapidly. Late game, one of Ian’s APCs was hauling ass for the board edge with an objective. The only units I had in range that could stop him were my AA tanks, which are fortunately also effective against ground units (unlike Scourge AA tanks). I took out his APC, but his infantry survived (luckily for him). I wasn’t able to stop him from scoring for holding that objective, but there was no way he was getting off the board with those infantry, which wound up diving into a building to hide until game end.

The dynamic game play also means that the momentum and initiative can shift rapidly. I had the lead early on, but Ian was in position to score late game. As unit attrition wore me down, it became clear that Ian was set up for an end run, which he managed to pull off for the win (barely – had I killed his infantry in the destroyed APC, we would have been tied on objectives). The sequence of play uses alternate unit activation, which I vastly prefer over Igo-Ugo systems. Since you roll for initiative every turn, this has a big effect on tactics and your choice of what units to move and when. It also means you’re never sitting around waiting for your turn for very long.

Many weapons have infinite range (basically LOS) unless firing at a unit with active countermeasures, which brings the ranges down to 36″ or (much) less. This feels right as a railgun or laser should have no trouble engaging something it can see. Infantry in the open are thus extremely vulnerable as they have no countermeasures (usually). The best they can hope for is to be ignored. But since they are the only units capable of entering buildings where the objectives often are, they’re priority targets. On foot, they only have a 2″ move. Once they’re inside a building, it’s often better to try and take the building down to kill the infantry (though some buildings are quite tough).

This brings another element of the game into play – CQB (Close Quarters Battle). Infantry vs infantry fights usually are going to happen inside a building, and the game makes this go very quickly. One side or the other will be wiped out or broken in one round. My dice crapped out me (rolling only 3 hits on 12 dice needing 4+ – I rolled 5 1’s and the rest 2’s and 3’s!) and Ian’s Scourge warriors killed two squads and broke the other one. Despite that, I like this – the image of two opposing platoons fighting like vicious rats inside a building captures the tension and terror of CQB quite well.

So, all that put together made for a very fun game. Even though we were stopping often to look things up, I can see that once we have the rules down, this will go much much faster. Understanding how units embark and disembark their transports, the way units move and the possibilities that opens up is the key to DZC.

On top of all that, the story and background is also cool. It has shades of Mass Effect and Babylon 5 running throughout. I like the idea that although humanity lost the Earth, it has recovered and is now launching a massive counteroffensive to take it back. In that regard it is a universe where there is still hope, as opposed to the relentless grimdark of other game worlds. There is also room for more new races in the future, beyond the four already in the game. I understand the Hawk Wargames is working on a rebel army list, allowing you to play the stay-behind survivors of the Scourge invasion, and these guys roll out in these awesome looking Mad Max style trucks and whatnot. The aliens are well thought out too, and the armies really do play quite differently.

To sum up, I’m super happy with the DZC starter set! You get a ton of great stuff for about $100. Just go check it out on the Hawk Wargames website. Ian and I are already looking forward to picking up some of the other units and expanding our armies!

Pics below!

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The Legion walks again!

Posted in Battle Report, Blather, Games, Nostalgia with tags , , , on August 30, 2013 by stingersix

Had a game of Epic yesterday for the first time in a long long time (this one was for you, Bruce, you old warhorse)! Looking at my old models, I can see how far my painting has come over the last 20 years! But the old minis still hold up well and it all looks awesome set out on the table. I was very rusty with the rules. but as we played, it all started coming back to me. I absolutely love the grand scale – it’s like playing Apocalypse in 40K, only a lot more manageable! Infantry die like flies, whole tank squadrons get wiped out in one go… fantastic!

The Rising Sun Chapter of the Space Marines and the Legio Tempestus face off against the Death Guard led by Mortarion and the World Eaters near an Imperial city on the edge of the badlands.

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Marines of the Assault company get to grips with a squadron of Chaos Land Raiders and are counter-charged by Bloodletters! In Epic, Assault Marines can actually kick ass!

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Grey Knights take it to Mortarion! The demon Primarch’s plaguewind killed one stand before it burned itself out. In the ensuing combat, the Grey Knights almost took him down, but Mortarion destroyed the Emperor’s finest!

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The Chaos Banelord Titan skulks behind a building. Good thing too, because when it finally emerged into the crosshairs of the Loyalist Warlord Titan…

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ENGINE KILL! The resulting explosion destroyed a nearby building and entirely wiped out the World Eaters swarming at the traitor machine’s feet! AWESOME!

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Ah, what a game! Many thanks to my friend Stephen for playing – it was fun to introduce him (he was 3 years old when I first started playing Epic) to an old game that laid the foundations for much of what 40K is today. Certainly Epic Space Marine was one of GW’s best designs. Too bad they’ve killed it off. But, as long as a game is being played it is never dead. In the far reaches of the galaxy, the armies still clash and the Legions still walk!

ENGINE KILL!!!