Played Some 40K

After over three years away from the gaming table, I’ve now played 5 games of 7th edition Warhammer 40,000, including one large in-store Apocalypse game. There is no way I’m writing turn by turn battle reports, I just don’t have the time, instead I will focus on high level observations from a longtime 40K player.

  • Randomness is back in a big way. You play a random mission, which has random tactical objectives, random game length, charge lengths are random, the psychic phase is back and it is random.
  • Allies and unbound armies make the game even more random and non-canonical.
  • There is a major arms escalation, the old days of the bolter and the chainsword being enough to kill most foes is gone. Players do not have to follow the force org chart so those of us who continue to play with no special characters, no allies, and follow the force org chart are at a big disadvantage. Basically our troops win ties when competing for tactical objectives, but the average troop is rarely seen on the battlefield and generally has a short lifespan.
  • What is in is big models with ever fancier guns that completely retcon decades of fluff. No longer are terminators the best, centurions seem to be better. Dreads have been supplanted long ago by better dreads and Forgeworld dreads.
  • Forgeworld is almost necessary, some folks make their army from four or more books, cherry picking the best units from all. Folks who have stayed loyal to one army for as long as me basically don’t exist.
  • The days of small infantry tactics, target prioritization, focussing on mission objectives seems to be gone. The winning tactic seems to be biggest baddest special character (model) running up the field relying on cover and lucky charge distance roll. The counter for this being either not advancing at all thus forfeiting most tactical objective or trying to build a model/unit that can kill your opponents special character and wonder unit once they inevitably get into H2H.
  • The books needed for my army now weigh more than my army, especially when you count in cards, tokens, dice, templates etc. Without a car an army isn’t really portable.
  • Unpainted models are allowed in official GW store events, I definitely have spent more time painting my army than anyone I’m likely to play and their handling of my models often leaves something to be desired. I doubt I’ll be lending models to random people again any time soon. I prefer 1500 point games to massive chaotic affairs where the only tactic is running forward and dying.

So since I have very little time to play and don’t really enjoy lugging even one case of models all the way to Burnaby I need to get a better job and a better apartment to host. I don’t even mind mostly painting. I’m surprised tabletop games have lasted this long, video games are cheaper, require less space, and you can randomly find an opponent online easily if you play the popular games. The advantage the tabletop games have is customization. I can play my army. I can also play my friends, assuming you still have friends who play Warhammer 40,000. There are too many rules in 40K for a beer and pretzels game, the models are also expensive and with the emphasis on bigger and bigger armies and models, GW is giving up on recruiting new players and focussing on selling more stuff to existing fans. The stores still serve as defacto daycares for young boys. I seem to have gained one or two disciples because I actually took the time to play, talk with, and remember the names of these youngsters.

I have made yet another 1500 point army list with a minimum of troops and the biggest and hopefully most dangerous models in my collection. But long term my army needs overhauling again. I need to paint some old models for fun, but I also need a new general, a new Chosen squad, a new large model probably a Soulgrinder, and actual Fast Attack so Raptors and Bikes. Maneuverability is more and more important, being only able to move 6 inches a turn is a disadvantage. I’m not a fan of Deep Striking so raptors or more likely bikes will get painted up finally, besides Toughness 6 bikers has to be good right?

Here are some pictures of my army in action against loyalist and chaos marines, those seem to be the most popular armies, though Guard and Eldar have some fans, saw little Tau or Tyranids.

18 Foot long Apocalypse table

Boris now has 4 Hull Points

Landraiders also have 4 Hull Points

Lefty volunteers to defend the portal

Drop Pod assaults are still common

Hand to Hand combat under the bridge

Chaos Champions are special

My Lord needs a better retinue

Terminators are back in my army listKhorne is no longer popular

Typhus is very popular

Trumpeter Salute 40K Tournament

The tournament was yesterday, the convention ended some time today. I spent most of today recovering from my efforts and trying to overcome the pain in my back and legs… I need a new hobby or a new body.

I put way more effort into preparing for my demo game on Friday than I did for Lee’s Warhammer 40,000 tournament. I picked my army the morning of the tournament. I basically took the army I used in my last game of 40K, removed one HQ choice, replaced it with a dreadnought armed with twin-linked autocannons and then with the 200 plus points I had left over I thought, what costs 225 points, a landraider. This required me taking my special landraider transporting case, but that didn’t prove a problem until the end of the tournament.

This army did well on painting score
This army did well on painting score

I was told to arrive at 9 AM, so I set my alarm for 6:30. I didn’t get up until well after 7 AM after a sleepless night. I couldn’t find my proposed army list for this year’s Astronomi-con tournament. It turned out to be in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle directory on my MacBook Pro… I also grabbed one lascannon model instead of the that squad’s autocannon model. Other than that I arrived and promptly had a half hour or more to sit around and wait for other people to arrive before we started game one around 10 AM.

My game one opponent was Space Marines, in fact all of my opponents were loyalists space marines. There were a lot of them, with only one Imperial Guard player, last year’s army of choice at Astronomi-con. There were actually three other Chaos Space Marine players. One was running an old army which had Kharne and I never got a picture of it. The other was running the hated, double deamon prince with lash, with doubt defilers and a bunch of obliterators Iron Warriors list. I’m not sure why you try to piss off and antagonize your opponent, but if you want to, that is the army list to do it.

There were lots of Blood Angels with perhaps only one Space Wolf army. There were one or two Sister’s armies along with several Grey Knights. There were at least two ork players along with some Eldar and Dark Eldar. Hopefully Lee makes a list of which armies attended and where they placed available.

I didn’t win.

I was using a far from optimal list, one with limited mobility, limited anti-tank capability and no dedicated assault squads. What I did have was a high model count and every autocannon in my miniature collection. That was kinda the theme.

Game One

My deployment for game 1
My deployment for game 1

My opponents name escapes me, I’d never played him before. He had a black space marine army, which was partially painted. Hopefully he gets it painted in time for Astronomi-con which is the highlight of the Vancouver 40K year. It still doesn’t have a date, but it will be sometime this summer. As the boys from Winnipeg like coming to Vancouver during the summer…

I do have his army list, he had Lysander with a terminator squad in a Landraider Redeemer. I basically never shot at Landraiders or anything that autocannons couldn’t hurt, instead shooting as much as I could at whatever squad looked the most expensive. He had two tactical squads, two landspeeders, and a devestator squad which must have spent the whole game in a rhino…

Missions were randomly assigned and kept secret from your opponent. This was a throwback to second edition. It also resulted in a lot of ties as in most of my games I accomplished my mission and so did my opponent. It also resulted in some surprised winners of overall and best general. Deployment was also randomly determined on a game by game basis, which worked less well in my opinion. It would have been just quicker to have all the games have a simple deployment or to have game one be Dawn of War, game two be another deployment, etc. etc.

The tournament was 1700 points. I think 1500 points is the optimal number for a game of Warhammer 40,000 played on a six by four foot table. As a result of it being 1700 points and neither me nor my opponent being the keenest of 40K players with every rule memorized, we struggled to get our game in. I think Lee would be wiser to switch to 1500 points or even smaller on a one day tournament. It would result in less special characters and increase the likelihood everyone would have their army painted.

My mission in game one was kill points. Some people don’t like this, but I could care less, a mission, is a mission. How you perform it is what matters. I ended up not succeeding in killing more kill points worth of stuff than my opponent. I did kill Lysander and his little friends. I also killed my share of tactical marines, a rhino, but I never could hit the damn speeders and I don’t think I shot once at his Landraider Redeemer. A better army list would have some power gloves, or melta bombs, or melta guns. I didn’t have any of that stuff. I had one combi-melta and one chainfist as that is what my terminators were armed with…

If I have time and energy to spare, I’d paint another combi-melta or chainfist model. It is a struggle every year to get my proposed Astronomi-con army done. This year I’m doing pretty well. I have five partially finished bezerkers to finish then four other models. Alas those four models include: a rhino, a daemon engine, and my general…

I think I ended up drawing on the secondary objective. The secondary objective was always four randomly placed objectives, one in each quarter of the board. With no dedicated transports I was hard pressed to get any that were far from where I deployed. I twice deployed in a single quarter, this is far from optimal when you have a Chaos Dreadnought in your army.

The Beast Rabaan ended up killing at least 7 Nurgle Renegades. He may have killed a Grey Knight, but in the first game he was shutout and died to a multi-melta I believe. Multi-meltas are good, the only way a Chaos Space Marine army can get one is on a Dreadnought and unless they make dreadnoughts cheaper or give some other incentive to take them, they’ll sit on shelves like mine usually do.

It was very obvious this tournament who had a new codex and who didn’t. I still think historically Eldar are the best army in Warhammer 40,000 in the hands of a good player. But the way the marketing is geared and the way GW is set up it is to sell the latest greatest models. In order to do this they make the rules better for the current army lists than the old army lists. Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and Tyranids were doing well. Imperial Guard seems to have had its moment in the sun, but currently it is probably the most versatile and cost effective army. 40K is close combat focused to a large extent so super characters, and wonder units both sell well and are rewarded when they get into H2H. The marines and the dark eldar have no shortage of ways to get their elite models into close quarters, Chaos is a tougher slog, especially when you choose to take no rhinos…

Eldar Hornets from Forgeworld
Eldar Hornets from Forgeworld

Apparently Imperial Armor stuff was OK in this tournament. That is a staple of Astronomi-con and that must be rubbing off on Vancouver tournament organizers. I didn’t know this in advance, not that it matters. I am broke and unemployed. What Forgeworld stuff I own is to improve the looks not the performance of my army. Not all Forgeworld stuff is cost effective point for point in-game, but it always looks cool.

Game Two

I was doing alright after one game. I was never in the running to win. I just don’t care or try as hard as some people do. I play for fun and I use the models I’ve been collecting and painting since I was a teenager, which is getting, longer, and longer, and longer ago.

My deployment for game two
My deployment for game two

I drew Mark Spidal who is notorious for complaining about his luck and the unfavorable rules. He had a brand new one day old Grey Knight codex and apparently it was my option whether I let him use it or not. I did and he proxied some things. Hopefully he gets everything to his liking and painted in time for Astronomi-con.

No excuses then Mark!

I set my army up in one big long line with my Landraider on one flank and the dreadnought on the other. Once again I won the role to deploy first and go first but this time, my opponent successfully stole the initiative. Mark moved around but didn’t kill much of anything. At the start of my turn, my dreadnought went crazy and killed three Nurgle Renegades with his guns.

Turn two same thing, the Beast Rabaan goes crazy and blasts away more of my models. The rest of my army concentrated on killing his Grandmaster and the Grey Knight terminators he was with, as I reasoned they would cost the most and have the most spiffy rules. My actual mission was to keep my commander alive. To that end I put Lefty in my Landraider and he stayed there all game. Mission accomplished.

Mark must have been feeling it as his Grandmaster despite having his terminator buddies shot out from around him, charged my ten man terminator squad. He threw in another Grey Knight squad in support. It was ultimately no contest. Why would you charge a terminator squad that outnumbers you? Mark and the Grey Knights got to go first and he had a bunch of power weapons and special rules, but in the end I ground him down.

Nurgle Terminators VS Grey Knights
Nurgle Terminators VS Grey Knights

Mark then started retreating. He was down to about 8 Grey Knights at the end, plus of course two landraiders… Before his full fledge retreat and hide his Brother Captain and his squad decided it would be a good idea to advance on my Nurgle Renegade tactical squad sitting on the centermost objective. They were fresh off killing my Havocs in H2H and must have been feeling it.

Never walk within 12 inches of a stationary tactical squad. 2 autocannon shots, 2 plasma gun shots, and 16 bolter shots later none of those Grey Knights were alive.

In the end we tied. I kept my general alive and Mark’s remaining living Grey Knights allowed him to complete his mission. We both had a single secondary objective. Mark claimed after the game, he could have won by ramming my tactical squad with one landraider, but instead he shot at it. This all sounds wonderful in spirit, but I could have done a lot better with a couple of rhinos instead of a dreadnought which killed more of my models than it did his. Also his special rules and snazzy characters were killed by tactical squads and sub-optimal Nurgle terminators.

Game Three

My final opponent was another Vancouverite who I’ve played before at tournaments and local stores. He was using his Salamander Space Marines but he had changed his army list significantly in preparation of this year’s Astronomi-con. Turns out James has fallen in love with scouts, he had three squads of them. One on bikes, one in the fancy landspeeder, the final squad was more traditional with sniper rifles and a missile launcher. The assault scouts had sergeants with powerfists. The sniper scouts were led by a special character, Sergeant Telion. James had another special character, Chaplain Cassius.

Chaplains are inherently annoying and another thing loyalists space marines get that Chaos Space Marines do not. However anything that can be killed by an autocannon or a bolter I can kill, so Chaplain Cassius and his fancypants Vanguard died to massed fire eventually, but not before becoming the first unit to get rid of the Nurgle terminators, after they failed their break test and the last two were run down…

The Beast Rabaan is out of control again
The Beast Rabaan is out of control again

This game was hard fought. It started out with James scouting across the board with the bikes and the speeder scouts. He also dropped a dreadnought almost on top of my noise marines. I had gotten first turn, I think, but a lot of stuff was out of range or hidden from sight. The Beast Rabaan went crazy and killed some more Nurgle Renegades after I lamented how disadvantageous a Chaos dreadnought was especially in corner deployment. Maybe I should just stick him in reserve every game, or just not field a dreadnought which is the best plan for a Chaos player.

Loyalist dreadnoughts are a lot better. They get drop pods. But that doesn’t matter when you deviate off the board. That was the end of that fellow.

The Librarian warped across the board with the Sternguard to further threaten and surround the Noisemarines. They along with my sorcerer were shot at a lot then charged by two scout squads. The powerfists did their work and James must have been feeling it as he later charged my Nurgle renegade squad. Despite half of them not getting to fight in the first round due to being up a tower, I hung on and later routed both scout squads, proving the power of the humble tactical squad.

The Beast Rabaan went crazy again on turn three, this time though he ran towards the enemy, eventually getting into H2H with a preadator tank and ripping off it’s turret and immobilizing it. I continued to fail to hurt landspeeders despite shooting many autocannon and bolter shells at it over the course of the game…

Late in Game 3
Late in Game 3

The game was getting down to the nitty gritty and once again time was tight. I reorganized my troops to maximize fire on the scouts who were running away, plus the Sternguard and the Vanguard. I killed the scouts, all but one Sternguard eventually, but the landspeeder and Vanguard were luckier. The Sternguard and Vanguard charged the dreadnought and the terminators. I liked my chances but special rules did me in. Before he died the Librarian cast some power making him able to hurt the dread in H2H. And the lucky saves for the Vanguard continued and they won the combat with the termies, who promptly failed their break test and the survivors were cut down like the cowards they were.

The last Sternguard went and hid between two tanks and the scout bikes rallied and also hid. I had been redeploying my Havocs who finally got a bead on the Vanguard and along with the Nurgle Renegades I think killed all the fancy pants loyalists. In the end James and I both accomplished our mission, but I lost the secondary one I think. Not enough mobility and scoring units.

One of many Blood Angel armies
One of many Blood Angel armies 

Then people started to clean up and wait to hear who won the various trophies and door prizes. I didn’t win anything, but this wasn’t a surprise or the goal of the day. Lee forgot to remind everyone to come to Astronomi-con Vancouver, but Dan Miner and the WCP crew are running another tournament next weekend. I don’t know if my back and life can handle two tournaments in two weeks.

I have lots of other priorities in my life and spend most of my hobby time painting, or reading online, or blogging.

Other attendees had fancier cameras than my iPhone so I’m sure more and better pictures will appear online eventually, I’ll try to link to pictures and accounts I come across.

Additional Tales of Trumpeter Salute 2011

Test Game of 40K

Regular Vancouver tournament nemesis James Russo called me up the other day. He has been working on a scenario for Astro Vancouver based around the GW Battleboard and the hill I donated to last year’s Astronomi-con. He’s dubbed it the battle of Muskie Hill.

We played on Thursday, I had had two job interviews that day, and still ended up unemployed. So after ditching my suit and since my Nurgle terminators are queued up on the painting table, I decided to finally re-base my old ones on 40mm round bases. I thought I had enough, but turns out I was three short, the three I used to base the Forgeworld Deathguard Terminators, they should have been on resin bases I guess…  I can’t remember every detail of every modeling project I ever planned out, that’s why you write stuff down. Re-basing old Nurgle Terminators

I decided to use 2 part resin epoxy because gravity would hold the models to their new bigger bases. However the fancy syringe device I bought to apply the epoxy didn’t work. The yellow part was two viscous or solid to expel from the tube. So I ended up with a bit of a mess and sub-optimal mixtures of epoxy resin. I used a lot of toothpicks to get the other part of the resin mixture out of the syringe and though it took a while, all the bases held together for the trip to James’ house and the entire game. I also begged three more 40mm round bases off of James while there.

For an army list I decided to use at least one of the new Nurgle Havocs I’d just finished painting and went with my 10 man, Plasma Gun and Autocanon squad that I dreamed up years ago and finally finished painting twins of. Then I brought my “Longed Four” Havoc squad with four more autocanons and if you hadn’t guessed it, I fielded yet more autocanons with the Nurgle Terminators. Picking all these squads was easy, and I threw in another squad that I’d been dreaming of using since before the latest codex came out, Noisemarines. Ten man strong Nurgle terminator squad

James couldn’t grasp this squad, it is six men, with one single Blastmaster. It is cheap, fearless, has a heavy weapon, and can move and fire the heavy weapon. It is going to remain a staple of my army for the year leading up to 2011 Astronomi-con Vancouver.

I needed some HQ so since portability in addition to autocanons and just plain time spent sitting on a shelf were the attributes I picked this army around, I went with two Chaos Sorcerers. Most people don’t seem to dig on them, but they can be cheap HQs and if they get lucky can do damage with their Force Weapon. I never get lucky. My new gaming dice

The other thing I got to debut at James’ house were my new dice. I’m notoriously unlucky, and another regular tournament nemesis is color blind and my old nurgle dice were hard to read. So I got new ‘toxic green’ dice which I had to wait for them to restock at a store online.  I also got green Bolter and Chainsword dice which proved a lot easier to read than the toxic ones and will be my main gaming dice going forward. Finally I ordered some special red dice for plasma guns as the one is replaced by a skull signifying you burnt yourself. It shouldn’t change the odds, but if used consistently can speed up the game. Big B&C green dice for heavy weapons, little toxic dice for bolters, red dice for plasma guns. Shooting should be a snap for all.

As I pulled out my miniatures at James’ house, I realized Internet experts will hate this army. I also broke all my own little rules, that I’ve been following when building armies for tournaments.  I had:

  • No Powerfist
  • No Unit Champions
  • No Lascanon
  • No Vehicles
  • No mobility
  • No dedicated assault squad

My sub-optimal Chaos army

What I had was a bunch of autocanons, a bunch of bolters, a bunch of toughness 5 models and a few initiative 5 models. I also had a 400+ point squad that was just a collection of figures. I’d used ten terminators in a squad once before, because it used to be fairly portable, but with the new bigger bases I need to use my biggest miniature case to transport them. They did well against Rob’s Imperial Guard, but it seems likely they are unlikely to earn their points back, and that they’d ultimately end up under a pie plate or other wonder weapon.

They have one thing going for them, they are a total surprise, no one plans to kill ten toughness 5 terminators. It just isn’t on people’s radar or playtesting lists. I use little kid tactics with them, I walk forward and shoot. That is all they do until they have to fight in H2H which usually goes pretty well for them, but it is their mobile anti-Infantry firepower that is fun. They also kill Chimeras pretty well.

I quite liked this army and if the weather improves may take a variation of it to Strategies tomorrow for a little more gaming action. But right now it is pouring down rain. This is kinda the army I was thinking of taking to Trumpeters. I don’t want to have to paint anything special, but I think drop one Nurgle Renegade Squad and a sorcerer, add some Plaguemarines in a rhino and for even less optimal autocanon love, a dreadnought, the Beast Rabaan. Also based on how the game went, some melta bombs and another Chainfist would be nice. But I don’t want to paint another terminator, so I may just make the chainfist guy a champion for an extra attack.

Actual Battle Report

How I deployed my forces

James’ mission revolves around taking a flag at the top of a hill.  So it is basically a higher ground or king of the hill type mission. I’ve played those before but with no APCs and no dedicated assault squads I was in for a bit of a slog. I was expecting Tyranids so I planned to just blast them with autocanons and then use the termies to contest. The sorcerers didn’t end up doing much, neither did the Nurgle Renegades, the squads that saved the day were the Noise Marines and their Initiative 5, plus their sorcerer buddy, Lefty with his Initiative 6 and of course the steady diet of 8 autocanon shots the “Longed Four” kicked out every turn. Terminator armor and cover are all well and fine but I got off 48 shots with autocanons from that squad alone during the course of the game.

James’ army was Codex Marines, I think he called them the Emerald Guard or the Emerald Legion. They were green and I’d never seen them before. They were still WIP, but for the most part had a tactical squad, a devastator squad with 4 missile launchers, a terminator squad with a cyclone missile launcher, two scout squads, a Librarian in Terminator Armor, a twin-linked Lascanon dreadnought and three landspeeders in a squadron that I never shot at once.

The game went how I expected it. Both sides advanced most of their army up the hill. Difficult terrain rolls play a factor, but you can run, if you decide not to try and shoot. James got a lot of cover saves, me not so many. Since power armor gives you a 3+ save, often I set up to maximize what I can see and just suck up the incoming fire. The terminators drew a lot of incoming fire. James’ dread rolled a lot of ones. Eventually there was H2H between the surviving three terminators and the dread, plus the Nurgle Sorcerer McFly who was hanging around with them for safety. He couldn’t hurt the dread, only the Chainfist dude could. So despite penetrating every round I rolled a 4, then a 3, then a 2 as the game dragged on.

James advances his forces

As alluded to, the Noisemarines without Sonic Blasters walked forward and fired their Blastmaster. Their sorcerer tried to cast his spell (Doombolt) but was nullified. Eventually James charged them with his ‘assault’ scouts. I thought this was a mistake and told him that at Initiative 5, I was going to enjoy going first. I think he charged in some tactical marines eventually too. The sorcerer and his Force Weapon which counts as a Power Weapon did his thing.

Hand to hand fighting on the hill top

The two Nurgle Renegade squads didn’t do so much. One was forced to take point on the assault up the hill and was reduced to one model fairly rapidly. That model then skulked around for a turn or two before dying. The other squad fired their autocanon and eventually their plasma gun more and advanced much more slowly. They eventually ran for it as the game came to a close.

If the game had ended on turn 5, James would have won, but it continued and my Slaneesh Sorcerer was able to defeat his foes and run to within 3 inches of the flag with his consolidation move. If the game had gone another turn, James had planned to fly the Speeders on top of the flag and there would have also been a Chaos Sorcerer VS Space Marine Librarian hoedown. I may have also gotten some more guys on top of the hill, or just blasted James off with another volley of Autocanon shots.

The game ends in a tie

There were secondary objectives that I largely ignored. Also my Havocs took a strength 5 hit from an earthquake or something for not getting on the hill. They were fine. It ended up a 7-7 tie as none of James’ carefully chosen secondary objectives and mission penalties applied.

Scoring seven points in an Astro game is pretty damn good. Maybe not good enough if you want to win best general, but seven is well above the average score I usually earn, and with a totally thrown together army too.

2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver is Over!

I didn’t win best overall, I did win my first game scoring 12 points which was quite impressive. Maybe this gave me delusions of grandeur. What it did was put me at the top of the table so I had to play the really tough armies and generals. I drew Nick Daniels who promptly stomped me. Though I did do better than our previous game, at Mini Astro Van. I got into H2H with my Landraider of Pain and routed much of the Imperial centre. Then the Ogryns arrived and proceeded to beat up or route my three Chaos HQ choices.

My lascanons totally let me down utterly failing to damage the Leman Russes or even the flyers/skimmers when they arrived. I got well and truly melted by the melta gun veterans too, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

My Army  on Display at Astro Van 2010

This year’s Astro Vancouver was a big success by all measurements. Nick Daniels won Best Overall. Lee won Best General with his Orks.  I finished third for Best Appearence for the second or third time at Astro, but you won’t hear any complaints form me.There were a lot of tiebreakers involved so some people won unexpected trophies, they weren’t so much upsets but a product of the Astro policy of you can only win one trophy. Plus the trophies are ranked from Best Overall down to perhaps terrain, Best Terrain was probably the least contested trophy at this year’s Astro Vancouver with only two official entries.

Next year there should be more Best Terrain entries.

Nick's Imperial Guard

This year’s Best Terrain entry went to Duke who also helps out a lot behind the scenes making Astro Vancouver happen. I’ve forgotten the name of the guy who one Best Army List, um Steve… Franks according to the official results. He is another Vancouverite, this year the Americans didn’t take home all the best trophies and prizes. Though Nick thanked at least on American for not coming. Best Mini went to Matt Lau which was a bit of surprise. I liked his army and obviously the best model in it was well painted but I suspect Marshall Reeves got a lot of votes here, he got mine.

Fancy Falcons

When Best Appearance was announced and Marshall didn’t win it, that had to be considered an upset. I believe another fellow from Kelowna won, by the name of Will Hellebrand. His army was Iron Warriors but he used the Dark Angels codex so he could run an all terminator armoured force. His display was impressive but there were others that were very deserving of this award. Astro uses a checklist style appearance judging with Christian and Mike free to add or subtract a couple points based on personal experience or overall effect or whatever. I had a display this year so I got two more points that way, losing those points hurts you in a very contested category. Like I said Will had a nice display base, but Marshall thought the Imperial Fists had the nicest display base and they didn’t even finish in the top three…

Death Wing Iron Warriors

I’m not sure of all the tie breakers but tournament attendees get to vote for favorite army and best single mini. I didn’t finish in the top three for either of these categories. I think bringing the Diseased Sons or at least Chaos Space Marines three years in a row hurts me some, but I thought my Khorne Lord might have been a contender… It was a converted Forgeworld model which don’t see very often. An Avatar of Khaine won best single mini, frickin’ Eldar.

So far, Marshall had no trophies despite painting a sweet all deep striking army. I put several pictures of it in the Astro Flickr group and I’m sure more pictures of it will appear online eventually. Best Sportsmen, another very difficult to win trophy at Astro, went to Les from A-Club. I think the Kelowna Club had the most t-shirts in attendance on day one. Not everyone is in a club, I’m not. The guys who play at Trumpeters don’t have shirts but there was 4-5 maybe even six guys who regularly play at the Trumpeter’s club night. So maybe that was the largest group in attendance. Da Momma’s Boyz from Idaho actually outnumbered any Vancouver Club in t-shirts worn… I don’t think they won any trophies this year but I think they finished runner up and won some door prizes. I didn’t hear anything negative from or about the Americans, well except James Chen.

Marshall Reeves' 2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver Army

Best Army which is strictly chosen by the players, went to Marshall. He must have ranked well if not winning some of the other trophies but this was deemed more prestigious as it is peer chosen. So it was good all his effort was rewarded with a fancy trophy. Even better news for Marshall came later when he finished second over all earning the much coveted, by some, invite to the official Games Workshop, North American Grand Tournament in Las Vegas next year.

Astronomi-con Vancouver 2010 Trophies

So Marshall and Nick will be flying the Astro flag or wearing the Astro shirts in addition to their club shirts at Vegas next year, good luck guys.

So how did I do, I’m not sure overall, but I did better than last year, which is what matters.  Here is a mini batrep for each of the six games I played at Astronomi-con Vancouver this year.

Game One: Lost Patrol vs Ryan’s Imperial Guard

Game One Key Turn
Game One Key Turn

My first game was against Ryan and the Imperial Guard army he apparently borrowed as his wasn’t quite ready in time. I think I benefited a bit from his unfamiliarity with the army, but I’m usually unfamiliar with mine and I got very little sleep prior to Astronomi-con as usual, so things were pretty even. Lost Patrol is a mission where both players have one troop choice that starts on the opposite side of the board and needs to make it to the other side alive.

Unfortunately you can’t actually escape off the end of the board you have to hunker down and wait for the game to end.

We both put footsloggers on the board, me because all my troops were on foot officially and Ryan seemed to think his Veterans were versatile enough to adapt to whatever faced them. Reserve rolls can be crucial at Astro, I’ve lost games because literally half my army either never showed up at all or didn’t show up until after the enemy had completed his mission. I think I may have been a bit luckier than Ryan at Reserve rolls but I wasn’t lucky, lucky. I’m never lucky at rolling dice.

George showed up early and possessed Clamitius. He then ran towards the Imperial guard forces trying to kill the Lost Patrol which consisted of an Infantry squad and a Leman Russ Punisher. Ryan stopped shooting at my Lost Patrol to try and kill George which he ultimately accomplished but I was a bit surprised, as completing the mission is of the utmost at Astro.

Ryan also had some Scout Sentinels outflank between the Lost Patrol and my table edge at some point. I had my Khorne Lord and the Obliterator on that side. Hunting down his Lost Patrol were the foot slogging Nefarious Fire and eventually much more effectively the Chosen in their rhino.

I charged the Scout Sentinels with the Lost Patrol after killing one with shooting. I used my Krak grenades to destroy the other and advance eight crucial inches up the board.  Ryan advanced the Punisher and another squad of Guard in a Chimera. He killed my Obliterator at some point.

While all this was going on, the other Leman Russ, a Vanquisher, was shooting at my Landraider which was shooting back. He repeatedly missed or failed to penetrate my armour value 14. I concentrated on using cover and getting over to where my Lost Patrol was to protect and shield it.  My Chosen caught up to his Lost Patrol on foot just before they could get into the Chimera he had driven empty towards them. I used my combi-weapons and what not to kill all but one Imperial Guardsmen.

He escaped and the Chosen fought a different Imperial Guard Squad instead next turn as they got in the way. My Lord hooked up with my Lost Patrol and acted as a human shield to a degree. The Lost Patrol headed away from the Punisher with the Landraider eventually killing it perhaps. Then the game ended and I got 300 extra Victory Points for getting my Lost Patrol to my side of the board. This mattered as it turned a probable tie into a victory and I picked up two secondary objectives scoring 12 big points! This was perhaps my best Astro result ever and certainly my best start. Then it was lunch time.

We went to the Pit Pub for lunch. I actually ate with the folks from A-Club and Relic Entertainment. Maybe I’ll have to apply to Relic yet again. It isn’t like I don’t know people who work there or am not familiar with the IP they work with…

Game Two: Intermission VS Nick Daniels Imperial Guard

So as already mentioned I lost to Nick Daniels and using those easy 13 points he went on to win Best Overall. Once in Ottawa someone got mad as they lost a tournament of Silent Death because the other guy drew me in the semi-finals and I was considered too easy of a victory, giving up too many points or whatever…  I try to win. I just don’t try as hard as some people.

My forces advance and route Guard


I lost to Nick because I couldn’t deal with his Vendetta or more specifically the Veterans inside his flying transports with all the Melta Guns. In future I think the solution is to stay in your transports until the veterans are on the table top. Little known fact, you can shoot a melta gun out of rhino, so it isn’t like I absolutely have to get out at the first opportunity. In the olden days Rhinos were a bit of a death trap, no more especially for Fearless troops like Plaguemarines.

Imperial Reinforcements Arrive
Imperial Reinforcements Arrive

We won’t go in to details on the ineffectualness of my Lascannons. I still could have won as I concentrated on getting my Landraider of Pain across the board and my Lord into H2H. I proceeded to kill or route all the guardsmen I could. Then the Ogryns arrived and shot up and charged my HQ and retinue. Even George had no luck against them. Literally no luck. My sorcerer isn’t Fearless and ran after the Ogryns won the first round of H2H. Neither him nor the Lord were really wounded…  I still had my powerfist champion too I believe.

The Dreaded Ogryns Arrive
The Dreaded Ogryns Arrive
Ogryns VS George
Ogryns VS George

I didn’t get too hurt at all in H2H early on. Next round of H2H my Lord didn’t get to even go as he rolled three ones out of seven dice as Nick concentrated on killing him and I dutifully failed just enough armor saves to die. That said I liked having terminator armour, I’m not sure I’ll run a terminator lord again, but some Khorne or Undivided Terminators will be definitely painted up. With my Lord dead and most of Gangrene Squad, George showed up and had to fight alone against the Ogryns. I might have ended up killing an Ogryn or maybe two but in general I got stomped in H2H by Imperial Guard Ogryns.

The game was over now and Nick flew a Vendetta around to kill my last man. I did kill the Stormtroopers but my Chosen were killed by his Veterans in H2H possibly and my Landraider was destroyed by the Leman Russes or the last surviving Imperial Guard and their Lascannon. I can’t remember what I scored, 2 maybe. This gave me 14 points total after two games which should be about average. I then drew the Americans…

Game Three: Truck Convoy VS Otto’s Grey and Purple Blood Angels

Truck Convoy is a fun mission and wasn’t Victory Points based. I try hard to accomplish the mission, so Victory Points games are not to my favour, but I had two so far. For the longest time it looked like we would tie with two canisters each.

Game 3 Deployment
Game 3 Deployment

Then he transferred his canisters from his jump pack armed guys to his tactical squad guys after I said he could totally do that. Then the jump pack guys jumped into the fray around my second canister. I got my first canister with George and though we were a bit confused at first this wasn’t a bad strategy as basically he carried it away while the Loyalists shot as much as they could at him.

I put my chosen in front of the truck convoy but I think that was a mistake. The trucks move randomly and perhaps I should have used the Chosen more aggressively to take the fight to the enemy, that was Otto’s post-game suggestion. What ended up happening is we disabled two trucks, destroyed two trucks and their canister, and severely damaged two trucks. Two trucks were on his side and two were in the middle close enough for me to walk to.

George eventually died and the Obliterator couldn’t pick up the canister so Syphilis had to grab it. I spent a lot of effort, way too much effort trying to kill the Baal Predator with it’s four re-rolling shots a turn. He also had a bunch of razorbacks with heavy bolters shooting at George. My Landraider missed or failed to destroy the Baal Predator too many times and then due to all the carnage couldn’t do much the rest of the game. I should have deployed it more centrally. Things arrived from reserves that weren’t on foot, only footsloggers could start the game on the board. So there are advantages to being on foot in some missions.

George gets a canister
George gets a canister

Gangrene got my second canister and then were charged by a Sanguinary Priest and friends. Sanguinary Priests are annoying and cheap at 50 points and my opponent had three of them. My Lord got rid of one maybe even two. But Gangrene had to drop the canister and was gradually killed off. The Nefarious Fire ran up saved the Lord from being dragged down by weight of numbers, but even if the canister is at your feet you can only pick it up at the end of your movement phase, not during consolidation. So I had to stand where I was and wait for more Blood Angels to attack. More shots were also sent towards this canister as the game went on.

Chaos advances on ruined trucks
Chaos advances on ruined trucks

Eventually it became clear that even going to seven turns I would never be allowed to pick up the canister even if I killed every Blood Angel that came near. So my Lord actually left guarding the canister and tried to kill tactical marines with his combi-bolter. There were only five tactical marines holding two canisters, but they were behind ruined rhinos, trucks, and all sorts of other stuff so my army on the right most importantly the Landraider couldn’t get a bead on them. The game ended and I lost 1 canister to 2.

H2H Hoe Down around the key canister
H2H Hoe Down around the key canister

I forget how many points I had but not many, maybe 4 for my efforts giving me about 18 after day one.  Very middle of the road if not in the bottom half. After the traditional pub diner I went home uploaded photos to Flickr and fell asleep.

Game Four: Hammer and Ambul VS James’s Tyranids

James gave me a ride home and to the tournament so it was odd we drew each other. I lost this game, which was once again Victory Points based and the reason I lost, besides the fact that George, the Khorne Lord, and Sorcerer proved no match for the Tyranids in H2H, was deployment. I won the roll and chose to stay on the side I was on and go first. I thought this would give me an extra turn to shoot at the Tyranids. I deployed across the width of the board, put the Sorcerer with Gangrene on the left flank the Khorne Lord with the Nefarious Fire on the right flank so as his outflankers and deep strikers would have to fight one of them.

Game 4 Deployment
Game 4 Deployment

He chose to refuse flank and set up most of his army in the far left third of the board. The Ambuls we played a bit wrong and they had no real effect on the game. He kept giving Feel No Pain to his 24 strong unit of Hormaguants and they were in cover on the one turn I got to shoot at them. I killed one or two.

Things get messy
Things get messy

The Landraider and the Obliterator concentrated their Lascanons on the easier to kill big bug, the Tervigon.  I ultimately killed it but it was too late, it made the Hormaguants game winners who along with the Swarmlord and the Trygon Prime I had no real good solution for. His Gargoyle’s died while deep striking and my outflanking Chosen majorly whiffed. They arrived got out and blasted the Hormaguants missing with three of the combi-meltas and failing to wound with the fourth.

Next year I won’t have four combi-meltas. I still like Chosen but the combi-meltas in the Rhino was not an improvement. I think I’d rather be on foot so I have the option of Infiltrating or Outflanking.

George tries his luck
George tries his luck

Anyway the Sorcerer was a total failure, failing to cast his spell and causing himself a wound. I think I even shot the Landraider at the Hormaguants. They got to charge Gangrene and and even the arrival of George for the Chosen Champion didn’t do much. James complained that I died too slow, but the fact I was going to die was inevitable. My centre also fell with the Zoanthropes getting in range of the Landraider and promptly destroying it. I should have shot at them more I guess. But the Feel No Pain was really making a difference so I concentrated on the Tervigon which meant the Zoanthropes got to make it in range. I killed one early on but then the giant Mycetic Spore and the Termagant Brood drew my attention. I eventually killed both, but by then I’d lost the left flank and my Land Raider.

Chaos still stands defiant
Chaos still stands defiant

My Obliterator was next to go as the Tervigon ate it. I almost killed the Tervigon got it down to one wound remaining. It should have died as the Nefarious Fire poured fire into it. But then it spawned more Termagants. Eventually the Nids got into H2H with my right flank and the Trygon Prime was too much for the Khorne Lord. I actually concentrated on killing the little bugs as I knew I was going to lose H2H with the big bug and I’d get an extra point if I killed all his troop choices.

James was unable to kill all my Nefarious Fire Chaos Space Marines before the game ended. In future against the Nids I will either castle in a corner or set up my entire army in the middle. Of course my future armies will be a lot different but I still favour H2H over shooting as generally Chaos is not the shootiest army around.

Game Five: Sink or Swim VS Devon’s Imperial Guard

Game 5 Deployment
Game 5 Deployment

If you hadn’t guess it yet, Imperial Guard was the most popular army this year at Astro. I counted seven or so. Even putting all the loyalists marines together they didn’t have as many and I was the only Chaos Codex user and brought the only Daemon. There were no Daemon armies, no Sisters, no Space Wolves, but every other army was represented.

Devon’s Imperial Guard was different than Nick’s or Ryan’s but like Nick he had two flyers, one Vendetta and one Valkyrie I’ve been informed. His troops were all Veteran squads either in Chimeras or Vendettas. He had two special characters, Marbo and one of the super Sargents. Marbo appeared in my backfield threw his demo charge and killed four or five plaguemarines. Then I moved away from him and ignored him until he charged me.

Syphilis faces down a Vendetta
Syphilis faces down a Vendetta

Devon also dropped off a Veteran squad in front of my Landraider filled with Pain. They of course rolled double ones for their charge roll through the rocks and never got to use their melta bombs or whatever on the Landraider. I shot at them a lot but they went to ground and survived. This was on the left Flank, on the Right Flank and the other side of the river things were going better for Devon.

Avoid and ignore Marbo
Avoid and ignore Marbo

The other flying transport plus the Leman Russ killed the Nefarious Fire squad quite rapidly even though they were in cover. The final model actually ran off the table. This mission was table quarters and I knew I could never take all four but the plan was to hold the Right Flank with the Nefarious Fire and the Left Flank with Syphilis while advancing in the Landraider of Pain into the Imperial ranks.

Marbo and the super aggressive veterans and of course the Vendetta and Valkyrie gave me problems. Eventually Syphilis charged his Veterans. Devon also had a Bane Wolf which I tried to kill before it reached my lines but all I could do was shake it or something. When I realized all the melta bombs and another demo charge were on my doorstep I made killing those Veterans the priority. Syphilis came through.

Melta guns dispatch Vendetta
Melta guns dispatch Vendetta

I roared the Landraider forward disembarked Gangrene and melted the Vendetta with point blank fire. This is the way to get rid of Vendettas. Stay in your transport and drive right at them. Make em run or die.

Damaged rhino advances
Damaged rhino advances

My Chosen showed up at some point on the far flank and had to drive through the river. Devon shot them a pile, but with the Lascannon Vendetta dead he had to use Chimeras. A couple of his Chimeras got stuck moving through difficult terrain which was nice, but still there was four tanks in cover I had to deal with.

I totally lost my right table quarter and eventually abandoned my left one after melting the Balewolf and beating down Marbo. I got back in the Landraider and drove towards the enemy. Occasionally I’d shoot at the Leman Russ or it would shoot at me, but eventually it retreated. He couldn’t stop the Rhino and the Landraider was too much for him.

Chaos prepares to slaughter
Chaos prepares to slaughter

The Chosen got out and roasted one Chimera. George showed up too. The Chosen took a beating in return fire but the lone survivor and George killed the Imperial Guard opposing them in H2H next turn. I split up Gangrene and my Lord. The Khorne Lord went and knocked on the Leman Russ while the rest of the Landraider of Pain dealt with another Chimera. I didn’t succeed in killing the Leman Russ the first round, but I immobilized it which was almost as good. The Chimeras and Guardsmen were no match for the Plaguemarines and the Sorcerer.

Chaos arrives at the Imperial lines
Chaos arrives at the Imperial lines

George ran into the far right quarter and I drove the rhino there too. After killing the Leman Russ the Lord got back into the Landraider and drove into my home quarter. In the last turn I even shot down the other flyer with a Lascanon. The game ended and I won two table quarters to one, with one being contested. This along with my hard work crossing the table and killing off other stuff of his earned me 13, full points.

You’d think I was on a roll…

Game Six: Hill 0.25 VS Ryan’s Necrons

This army was more than a little annoying/frustrating to play against. I didn’t get an army list to keep but the army consisted of the Deceiver and two Pyramids, six Destroyers, and two smallish squads of actual necrons. There was also six scarab swarms I believe. The mission was table quarters with the big hill in the middle counting as a fifth table quarter. I did some Googling and Ryan has a blog but he needs a better online handle if you ask me…

The plan was to drive down the road with the Landraider and kill the necrons and let them warp out. I didn’t plan to put much effort into killing the pylons or the god. It was a good plan made better when one Pyramid immobilized itself scouting of all things. The C’Tan started over the hill and the Landraider got on the road.

Ramming speed Mr. Sulu
Ramming speed Mr. Sulu

Unfortunately the second Pyramid blocked the road so I decided to ram it. I knew they were hard to kill, but just how hard… Lascannons, Chainfists, Monsterous Creatures, even Melta Guns at point blank couldn’t scratch it. The living metal rule taking away the second dice of penetration is harsh. My best hope was the Chainfist Lord but he kept moving the Pyramid a half an inch.

Knock, Knock!
Knock, Knock!

Meanwhile the C’Tan killed Syphilis, they tried to shoot him, and five point blank plasma shots all hitting ultimately did nothing. The Destroyers killed the Nefarious Fire pretty much. The Chosen and George arrived. I actually possessed Bob the Necessary Evil because I though George might be able to hurt the Pyramid. Alas he couldn’t at all despite being a Greater Daemon as he only had Strength six! I shouldn’t have even tried to kill the Pyramid, I should have risked the difficult terrain test and drove through the forest. However it was very much in my way.

I was going to get back into the landraider after two, no three turns of futility but then the giant blast of the Pyramid immobilized my tank. This ruined whatever hope I had of winning. The sorcerer finally got out. George had already run off but was cut off by the scarab swarms so he pasted ’em. The actual Necrons kept moving around in difficult terrain undecided whether they wanted to advance and shoot or run and hide. Eventually they blasted George to death when he was about an inch away from them. I also sent my last living Plaguemarine towards the Necrons.

Chosen arrive on the wrong flank
Chosen arrive on the wrong flank

The C’Tan eventually destroyed the Landraider when he was done with Syphilis. The Destroyers made quite a few we’ll be backs, the Chosen totally failed to do much and got killed by Destroyer return fire. If they had appeared on the other flank the game would have gone a lot differently. My opponent tried to say I couldn’t outflank for some reason but of course I can enter the game outflanking in a rhino…

Close but no cigar
Close but no cigar

Although George failed to reach the Necrons the last Plaguemarine did, he killed one with melta gun then killed another with his bare hands. I made my armor and feel no pain saves. So the Necron player lost combat by one, he broke and the superior Plaguemarine Initiative enabled me to run him down. That is right one Plaguemarine killed 12 Necrons in a single turn.The way to beat Necrons is definitely to get into H2H with the regular robots.

The Pyramid backed up making room for lots of shots to hit my surviving three models, then the C’Tan charged the last survivor and the game was over. I scored zero tournament points.

Guess who won?
Guess who won?

That is right I went from doing the best possible to the worst possible in back to back games. I didn’t suddenly become an idiot during the 30 minute break so it shows you just how much matchups and missions matter, not to mention terrain. Paying attention ‘Ard Boyz aficionados down South? I was a bit unlucky not to kill the Pyramid perhaps I had 15 chainfist attacks several lascannons and two meltaguns…  Oh well next year.

None shall live!
None shall live!

I’ve already got two army lists to work towards but my main goal is to work on the trench table. I don’t mind entering an army consisting of whatever I have painted in my display case at the time, but I’d like to paint my Servants of Decay army or at least a few new options for my Chaos Space Marines. I actually have four vehicle models to paint as I won a Forgeworld Khorne model, this was forgotten in Winnipeg, but was a very desired door prize. I only had four or five tickets in the bag, others may have had twenty or more. Some people spend a lot of money buying extra tickets to try and win some of the better donated door prizes. My new target CSM army list includes Bezererkers as I need them in order to field my new Blood Slaughter.

We’ll see just how much painting I can get done over the course of the next year or so.  I badly need a job and still am in a running for a few, so hopefully my job search is finally at an end.

Other Accounts of Astro-Van 2010

Warhammer 8th Edition Battle Royale

That’s right, this week in our Mighty Empires Campaign it had been decreed by the store owner that everyone who showed up would take part in the Battle Royale Mission as per page 406 of the big red rulebook. I read the rules and knew right away I wasn’t winning. Even with some changes and additions to my army there are a lot better armies in our campaign and I always seem to get ganged up on whenever games like this are played.

The infamous Ogre Army
The infamous Ogre Army

When we showed we were divided into two groups, those at the top of the campaign standings and those like me at the bottom. You’d think this would increase my odds, but some new players had joined including an Ogre army that was really nice and really intimidating sitting on the table top. I took a bunch of photos of the armies being unboxed to show the folks in Austin and Ron from From the Warp what painted armies look like. Apparently in places other than Vancouver, people can’t be bothered to paint their armies. In our campaign at the store I go to, if it ain’t painted you can’t use it. Not just primer either, painted, multiple colours and based or you play down points or not at all in the store. I’m sure people field partially painted models now and then, not me of course, and if you look at the armies and the photos from our game, you won’t see much that is undone.

Sidhu's new Skaven Army
Sidhu’s new Skaven Army

I volunteered to lead our table and keep the five player, unusual mission game, moving. I was better at that than I was at actually played the game. Our game went way smoother than the top players who had tonnes of Level 4 wizards and the more blood thirsty lists. I also think several of them spent gold to go over points in order to try and win. This week there was to be only two winners, though I think some other folks might have got an extra campaign point or two…

We rolled to see who went in the middle after setting up the terrain and objectives. I rolled one, but Ben also rolled one, so we rolled off, and I rolled one again. I deployed first in the centre of the table where everyone could see me and potentially charge me early and often. I set up so I could quickly secure three objectives. This seemed like a sound strategy and in 40K it probably is. But none of my Nurgle Daemons have any shooting attacks so standing around isn’t usually in their best interest, especially when magic spells are getting hurled at you.

My Deployment
My Deployment

Ben should have had to deploy second, but he had the Scouts campaign event which complicated things a bit. The ogres set up next and it turned out my entire army had their backs to the entire ogre army. I knew eventually the Plaguebearers would be charged in the rear, the question was when? Taking a huge unit of ogres up the ass was going to hurt.

Pavol, the Undead player, got to deploy last which has its own disadvantages but he rarely got charged as a result of always going last. The lizardman player wasn’t the best Warhammer Fantasy Battle Player and he was too conservative and indecisive he never wanted to cross the potentially mystical river and that hurt him. He hurled spells and did other annoying stuff but in general most of the game took place on the other flanks and it was the big battle surrounding the Plaguebearers that would determine the winner.

All five armies arrayed for battle
All five armies arrayed for battle
My first turn of movement
My first turn of movement

Warhammer Fantasy Battle is funny, I can tell you exactly where the pivotal battle will take place as soon as people start deploying their armies. I’m not even good at the game, so either I have some innate tactical ability or it is fairly obvious that the empty spot between certain units is where they will meet and the game will be decided. In this case it was between the Plaguebearers and the Beastmen. And due to the fact the ogre guy played it very conservative early on, the Plaguebearers and Beastmen beat each other up and the Ogres ran in and just pounded on the Plaguebearers from behind. The ogres would have won the game until the Undead player got involved and even the Lizardmen player started casting minor annoying spells his way.

The enemy armies advance in turn one
The enemy armies advance in turn one

It wasn’t everyone versus the ogres, it was everyone versus me as I was in the middle. After five turns there was only two combats I didn’t take part in and they were both in the far corner of the table between units that never really did anything in terms of capturing objectives or killing generals, ie what the mission was all about.

The Big Hoe Down Round One
The Big Hoe Down Round One

I kept the game moving and light hearted. I’m the one that was destined to get the shit kicked out of me and my legendary bad luck reared it’s head but I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t make your general a spell caster, especially if your general is a 300 plus point daemon prince. The one spell you get isn’t worth the potential miscast result. Making your BSB a spell caster is also unwise, but I believe Lizardmen players frequently do both, but they have 40 Saurus bodyguards for their Slann and Slann are not helpless they are tough old buggers.

So yeah I move, take some objectives. Magic and shooting are minor, but the undead player has some spell that does damage to every enemy unit on the board which is bad for us all, and it usually fell to me to stop him from casting it, using my Spellbreaker ability or all my dispel dice. I was a good team player even though people kept attacking me.

I decided to get more aggressive and with the ogres looming marched away from them to fight the Beastmen. I didn’t think I’d dispatch the beastmen, in fact I thought he’d charge me, but he waited to get flank charges, but Slime Trail negates that to some degree. The ogre guy continued to wait until he thought it was prudent to charge. The lizardman player had cast a bunch of spells at Slim. He took Lore of Heavens, which obviously he must like, but looking it over I don’t think it is that great, it does do extra damage against models that can fly though.

Nurgle VS Skinks
Nurgle VS Skinks

I didn’t like this so Slim and the Beasts charged the closest Lizardmen. One unit fled so both Slim and the Beasts of Nurgle hit into some Skinks. The Skinks stood and shot and managed through poison to kill a Beast of Nurgle they’d already wounded in the previous shooting phase. This only upset me more so Slim cast his one spell on the Cold One Knights with the fancy banner. It wouldn’t even do anything to them really, just weaken them for a turn that they weren’t even in H2H but some how I got it in my head to use my last three power dice having already tried to cast my Tzeentch spells or the Tzeentch spells that were in range. I promptly rolled two sixes.

After Slim Blows Up
After Slim Blows Up

No big deal I thought. BibbltyBobbltyBoo had already miscast the turn before and I made my ward saves and nothing happened. This time I rolled 3. This meant a Strength 10 hit, Slim is a big boy, he has four wounds, then the next part said I had a 50% chance of just plain disappearing. Oh it wasn’t a Strength 10 hit on all my spell casters. It was a Strength 10 hit on all models under the large template centered on Slim. This killed 5 skinks and wounded the Beast of Nurgle, but Slim was fine.

So I had to make one 4+ or Slim would die, I of course rolled a one.

All was not lost, the Beasts rolled up 14 attacks and crushed the skinks, then they fled into a unit of Sauruses who panicked and I wiped both the units out through the magic of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Both the Ogre and Beast player saw this coming and after losing my Daemon Prince I wasn’t crying any tears for the Lizardman player.

Who won this battle?
Who won this battle?

I ended up having to fight another unit of Saurus Warriors this time armed with spears. And if you have spears and someone foolishly charges you, well they get what they deserve. I didn’t foolishly charge, I pursued into them perhaps…

I just realized we might have forgot the new 8th Edition rule where you get +1 Combat Result bonus in the turn you charge. I charged many times and I know I never took that bonus. I gotta write down about a half dozen rules on queue card…

So with Slim dead and the big hoedown underway on the other flank a lot of dice were rolled. Even more dice were rolled when the ogres charged one turn later into the rear of the Plaguebearers.

The plaguebearers are dead men walking
The plaguebearers are dead men walking

In the first turn of the hoe down, the Plaguebearers actually won. The Centigures failed their fear test and then their break test and basically ran off the board. The giant jumped up and down on Plaguebearers for three turns killing about a dozen all told. The Beast Lord was always toughness 8 or something despite much talking up of him, the Beastmen lost combat every single round.

The Beastmen, the Giant, the Centigaurs, even the Ogres when they showed up all strike before Plaguebearers. It really is a huge disadvantage being initiative one.

None the less I knew all about it and after losing a bunch I got to return fire. I forgot my poison attacks against the Beastmen, but I remembered it against the Giant and Centigaurs. I won combat and the Centigaurs ran away.

Another uneven fight against me
Another uneven fight against me

After another turn of magic and shooting, BibbltyBobbltyBoo had to get into H2H too. I charged the Dire Wolves but I didn’t expect the Varghul to be able to run around the end of them and flank charge me. I still don’t have the subtleties of movement down. This was to be the end of my Herald of Tzeentch.

The end of Round 2 of the Big Hoe Down
The end of Round 2 of the Big Hoe Down

The Plaguebearers had always been dead men walking. The Impact Hits, Thunder Stomps, regular Stomps, and the Tyrant, the Butcher and god knows what else killed about 14 Plaguebearers in one round. Despite that I survived, killed enough Beastmen so they had to take a break test and even with the general and battle standard reroll they ran. The Ogre player tried to claim he routed them as he won combat overall, but he never killed a single beastmen all game.

Big Hoe Down Round 3


Anyway turn four or was it five, anyway the third turn of the big fight and the Undead joined in with a flank charge on the Rhinox unit. They didn’t do much but die in droves, but it was enough to hold up the ogres and allow the Undead player to do some other stuff and he ultimately won the game. The Plaguebearers were truly doomed this turn the Giant jumped up and down on them and then Ogres finished them off. The Ogre player challenged Harold and he couldn’t hide. I’d already sacrificed my unit champion fighting the Tyrant the turn before. The Beastmen player tried to kill Harold the turn before but at Toughness 5 he’s harder to kill then the rest of the unit…

He was no match for the Tyrant though. I think I did a wound though, he struck last as the Tyrant had a Great Weapon.

So I was out of the game now with one turn to go. Magic was causing less and less of an impact. The Beastman Bray Shaman had miscast earlier and lost a level and a spell. He also broke and ran for a while. The Undead Player either kept failing to cast stuff or had it dispelled. The Ogre player added and removed wounds and caused a panic test or two, but they weren’t game winners. The Lizardmen guy cast the most spells but all he killed with them were Gnoblars (the red coats) and Dire Wolves in the second half of the game.

The most contested objective
The most contested objective

I determined it was a tie so in GW style we diced off and the Ogre player lost after the Undead player rolled a five. Darren was willing to have a tie but in the end it was decided Pavol was the big winner and the Ogre player got an extra campaign point too, as Darren felt generous I guess.

After the game I walked to the Five Point, had a beer and something to eat and revised my army list. I had gold to spend so I promptly started spending it. I went a little overboard with Daemonic upgrades for Harold and BibbltyBobbltyBoo. The first thing I bought Harold, even though I was very satisfied with the Banner of Unholy Victory, was an even more expensive magic standard. There is no limit on points for this so I opted for the Banner of Hellfire, reasoning that every game the enemy surround the Plaguebearers and beats them down eventually. They are just CORE troops after all, 12 point models.

I buff them up as best I can with a Herald of Nurgle, but they need to do more damage so the Banner of Hellfire can potentially kill a few models every magic phase. I also learned recently that you can use Breath Weapons in H2H. Previously I thought Stream of Bile was useless for Harold as no one was going to stand still in front of 35 or 40 Plaguebearers. But 2D6 extra hits in one round of H2H that could be a game winner.

Although having something to do in the shooting phase, was a novelty and technically I might have killed 25 points worth of Dire Wolves, there are other options for BibbltyBobbltyBoo’s daemonic reward points. Spellbreaker (dispell scroll) is handy but generally when someone really wants a spell cast they just giver and miscast. So after doing math I opted for no Slime Trail and Master of Sorcery for my Herald of Tzeentch.

Some people are convinced that every Lore in the big red book is better than every other magic spell list currently in print. I’m not so sure of this, but knowing six, neigh seven spells, sounds useful. I actually rolled a six and got the big Tzeentch spell but I don’t own any Horrors let alone have any painted up and with me at the store,  so I traded it in for the default. When I got home I looked through all the spells of all the lores, looking for stuff that was easy to cast, as I still only had a Level 2 magic user.

Having spent 405 points on heroes I needed to spend 120 extra points and baring being Fool’s Gold’ed I would have that much or more next time I show up for the campaign having saved 110 gold up already. So Slim could cost up to 405 points too, I considered all his options and gave him Wings (as he has them), Mark of Nurgle (which does nothing) and Trappings of Nurgle which I always wanted so he’d have an armour save, he also now had regeneration which isn’t as good as it used to be.

I then bought the three Beasts of Nurgle, they aren’t great, but they are better than Nurglings and I only had the three painted. If I buy another Nurgle Daemon ever, it’ll be another Beast of Nurgle.  I then figured out how many Plaguebearers I could buy and still have full command and the Icon of Eternal Virulence. It turned out to be 37.

When I got home I went through the spell deck. I like hexes as you cast them without line of sight on models in H2H. But mainly I was looking for easy spells to cast so BibbltyBobbltyBoo could get off a couple spells a turn. I had already gone over the evil half of the Lores thoroughly and although I like the Lore of Metal, it was not the winner. Lore of Light was an early favourite as there is a perverseness in taking it. Then I read Lore of Life, more specifically the Thrown of Vines spell. That seems awesome to me, you cast that and then you are safer from miscasts and almost all your spells are better.

Casting Speed of Light on the big unit of Plaguebearers and having them strike at Initiative 10 instead of Initiative 1 would be pretty awesome but when I got to the last set of spells in the deck I remembered Transformation of Kadon. This always seemed pretty cool but at 16+ to cast it wasn’t easy and BibbltyBobbltyBoo would obviously have to risk a miscast to pull it off. However it just so happens I have a fully painted Manticore sitting in my miniature case. The rest of the spells aren’t bad. Nurgle is supposed to be all about toughness so boosting that makes some sense.

OOP Manticore

The Beastmen player used this Lore and it didn’t accomplish much but he didn’t have ALL the spells. I could just cast “The Flock of Doom” every turn on a 4+ until I was ready to go for broke. BibbltyBobbltyBoo is not a H2H Juggernaut but turn him into a Monstrous Creature complete with Thunder Stomps… I thought the Manticore would have Poisoned Attacks, it doesn’t, but Killing Blow is possibly better.

So yeah next time I play in the campaign I will have 1600+ points on the table and I will be casting from the Lore of Beasts. I also decided that I need to keep my army tightly deployed like a fist. This mission was strange so spreading out to capture multiple objectives made sense, but since every game I’ve ever played with this army, the opposition tries to gang up and multi charge the big unit of Plaguebearers, I’m sticking Slim on one side, the Beasts on the other side, terrain willing of course, and I’ll hide BibbltyBobbltyBoo behind them or in some trees again and just annoy the enemy until I’m ready try to become a Monster. Maybe if this actually works I’ll have to get an even bigger monster to turn into. Or maybe like a lot of my plans, it looks good on paper but I’ll just get stomped.

Once again I’m sweating profusely while typing this up. It is 9pm and the sun has gone down. I haven’t painted a thing all day. With Astronomi-con Vancouver looming I have to finish a model a day for the next five days, despite the heat, and all the other things I need to accomplish.

I wish it wasn’t so hot that is for sure…