Sunday, December 22, 2013

So...are we headed towards a situation where if you want terrain you have to bring it yourself?

I have not yet had a chance to get in and see the new book expansions. 

It has been so busy at my real job...I'm even falling behind on listening to podcasts!

I was listening to the 11th Company Podcast episode 187 today and the segment on Tactical Terrain had me wondering...

Are we heading for 40K games where the table is devoid of everything but simple hills or area terrain, because you will be expected to bring your own as part of the points cost?  Lets face it, the new book has you spending points for barricades (4+ cover), barbed wire, tank traps (4+cover, impassable to vehicles), minefields, etc., in additional to bastions, bunkers/emplacements, etc...

What is next? Changing buildings into ruins during the game?

In our regular games we just use tactical terrain as part of the story board...will that now change?

This post will be pretty short...look for another one here shortly!  I'm thinking about dragging out my Epic stuff and play a game of 40K escalation with Spacewolves and a Titan Legion cleansing some Orks from an Imperial city.  It might take a bit of time...maybe I'll dig stuff out after the Patriots Game...I won't worry about points.  I'm more interested in modifying the 40K rules for use with Epic scale figs...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stay Calm and Battle On

Seasons Greetings!

How is everyone doing out there? 

I said, How is everybody doing out there?

So, it is an interesting week in 40K. 

Only one disappointment - the Tyranids Codex did not come out before Christmas. 

Two interesting things happened - Escalation and Stronghold Assault have arrived.

As a blog all about Ultramarines, I am disappointed as Tyranids are the Ultramarines nemesis.  Hopefully they will be out soon, so I can enjoy the huge challenge that Tyranids bring to the game. 

As for Escalation and Stronghold Assault, I'll be looking at a book purchase hopefully tomorrow.  A little Christmas gift to myself.  Overall though, as a Space Marine Player, there seem to be very little in those books directly applicable to Third Company.  After all:

1.  Space Marines attack things.  We are not supposed to be holding ground with forts. Especially Third Company!

2.  The Ultramarines in 40K don't get meaningful super heavy vehicles.  I won't be running out anytime soon to pick up a Thunderhawk.  Third Company uses ground assault, drop pod assault, or a combination of the two.  One thing I have not heard about yet are the "formations" apparently in the book - maybe there is something there for Third Company (like multiple tank hunting devastator squads, but I speculate). The Apox book includes a triple-lascannon Predator formation of 3 Preds which can effectively become D-type weapons everyone is dreading...That might get me off to find more Predators...

So what does it mean for Third Company?  It means list tailoring will be needed to create a force capable of eliminating the rare Superheavy they might run into on the battle field.  It means understanding some of the new fortifications, and figuring out tactics and a list for the rare times I'll run into them as well.

So, as an example, a Baneblade (per the Apocalypse expansion) has Armour 14/13/12, and 9 hull points.  It is a 525 point unit (the cost of two upgraded Landraiders). I currently run a single Sternguard Suicide Pod with 2 meltaguns and 4 combimeltas.  It is possible (adding the Tactical doctrine on the turn the pod drops), for my pod squad to take down that Superheavy, hitting it reasonably 5 out of 6 melta shots, and if side- or rear armor is the target, getting +/- 4 rolls on the damage table (adding +2 to the rolls for melta).  Of these maybe 2 can be explodes, which cause another D3 HPs in damage each.  So, 4 HPs +  D3 + D3. 

Just adding combi-meltas to everyone bumps the squad price higher, but it remains less than the cost of a Superheavy. 

Once that last HP is removed, the Superheavy explodes, potentially in a catastrophic / apocalyptic way.

Interestingly, Revenant (Eldar) Titans would be a different problem, due to their Holofields.  BUT, that bad-boy is 900 points.  Makes me wonder if Holofields are a type of cover save, and if you can strip that away with Perfect Timing.

Necron Vaults are about the same point cost as a Sternguard Sui-pod squad, 6 HPs, and armor 12. 

Overall, the details will be in the Supplement, but what I want you to get from this post is...

Don't worry. 

Game on.

If you have/own/collect these Superheavy items, I'd play you, but be aware I'd need a list that takes your force into account, after all, Third Company can reasonably detect your large tank/beastie/skimmer/flyer before we deploy and then arm accordingly. 

This takes me back to a game a few years back vs. a guy nicknamed Big Nate.  He wanted to play an early version of Apocalypse, and had a Baneblade and other Imperial Guard units, while I had a simple Space Marine list, mostly tactical and devastator squads.  I was not prepared for anything about that game (did not even have the rules), so I was fairly beat.  It was one of those moments where I realized 2000 points has no reasonable chance of beating someone else's 2000 points.  The game was very fun however, with Ultramarines running and scattering through a cityscape hunted by a lumbering huge tank.  I did remove some of its structure points (the precursor to the HP system), but at the end his units had accomplished their missions while my survivors were scattered and still trying to take down his tank.

NOW....I also have the 555th "Triple Nickles" Regiment of Imperial Guard.  Hmmm....maybe they need to acquire a Superheavy....certainly not fortifications.  These guys are to accompany Third Company to distant battle zones and keep mobile....a great big tank might be just the thing for a mobile HQ....

First the book...then the models....

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tactical Conundrums from the Standoff

I was trying to think of some positive tactical take-aways from the Standish Standoff tournament, and there are a few small interesting things that I have not seen others blog about in any detail.  So here are some observations specific to two units that may help (me/you) in future games:

The Sternguard Pod Squad 
I went with an all melta squad - 2 with meltaguns and 4 with combi-meltas, one lightning claw sergeant (I had been known for using half plasma, half melta).  10 total marines (BTW, for the event, 5 were from 1st Company, 5 were from the Deathwatch, sharing the same pod. I was short a 1st Company combimelta...nobody really seemed to care...). Their tactical use was to combat squad every game into 2 equal meltagun teams. 

In the first game, their object was to take down a dual autocannon dreadnought (120 pts) on the left (open) flank, which was done with one combat squad using three melta shots and a krak grenade.  The other combat squad and pod shot up the nearby "Sons of Medusa" (Ironhands) tactical squad and Master of the Forge (115 pts) in the adjacent woods.  The dreadnought was a prime target because it could shoot up my vehicles at range, and in that it was worth 2 KPs in this scenario by my own choosing.  The primary mission accomplished with the explosion of the dread, the two combat squads and pod remained a distraction through turn 3 on the opponent's flank.  Their actions drew the Medusa's Terminator Captain and Tactical Terminator Squad off to the flank from the center.  The Sternguard whittled away at the tactical squad and killed a terminator or two before they were eliminated.  On turn 3 they even tried to assault the tacticals in the woods, but failed their charge range.  They were not able to accomplish their tertiary goal of taking out the Predator.  The last survivors, however, drew the Terminators from out of cover where my Plasma-cannon totting Venerable Dreadnaught wreaked havoc on them, eliminating the Captain and the others.

In game 2, the Sternguard were called down for a more difficult and very important task.  The Imperial guard were playing in a tight grouping, with a Mortis Contemptor Dreadnought (with overwatch) and a platoon command (4xflamer) squad anchoring the flank a thin bubblewrap.  Immediately within their coverage was the target - a Manticore that was showing its flank.   The Manticore was the target clearly because of its board-wide threat potential of D3 large blast AP3 templates that could eat marines by the unit.  I had first turn, so the pod dropped in and the Sternguard combat squaded into a team flanking the Manticore, and a team flanking the Mortis Contemptor.  Needless to say, the Contemptor intercepted the combat squad closest to itself and 5 Sternguard were immediately down.  The other combat squad achieved their mission and exploded the Manticore, taking out a halo of nearby guardsmen.  The drop pod itself remained a thorn in the opponent's flank for a few turns, but both Sternguard combat squads were toast before the end of the first turn. Overall, their mission was a success, in that the Manticore was never fired.    

In game 3, these hearty Sternguard were called in again to play a major tactical gambit.  Game 3 was all about getting Victory Points into 5 different geographic parts of the board, coupled with getting scoring units at the 4 objectives that marked the boundaries of the geographic zones.   In the center of the Demon (Nurgle) battle line, a Great Unclean One, and a "little unclean one with attached nurglings", and a Soulgrinder (armed to kill AP3 marines) combined to be a large number of points.  I decided that the Sternguard needed to make a nuisance of themselves with the goal of drawing one or both of these units back towards the back corner of the Nurgle deployment zone.  On the drop the pod deviated a bit, giving the combat squadded marines flank shot on the Soulgrinder, and direct shots at the "little" unit.  The soulgrinder exploded from the meltagun fire, even with the obscured cover save Nurgle was granting.  The "little unclean" unit lost about half of it size to the marines.  In response, "Great Unclean" moved after the closes Sternguard combat squad and with a hefty charge roll through the crater that used to be the 'Grinder, took out the combat squad (losing 2 wounds to overwatch) in the process.  In turn 2, the remaining sternguard led the "Great One" further away from the table center, and by turn 3 they were also eliminated from the game (and the "Great One" was down to less than half its wounds and now worth half its original Victory Points).  It even delayed itself further by charging the drop pod...

Overall, you can see how the Sternguard worked well in their applications - in all three case, the Sternguard unit with pod was used to achieve both elimination of an opposing unit that was of high value, and then was used to distract or cause the opponent to react to it. Because the unit worked deep in the opponent's deployment zone, it had to accomplish its missions(s) with no assistance (except for maybe the timely application of the Ultramarines Tactical Doctrine.

The Devastator Squad
In my list I used a 5-man, 4xML Devastator Squad with Flakk Missiles.  I was pretty concerned I'd see more flyers or Helldrakes than I did, which was mostly luck of the draw. As a reminder, I'd use a different color dice each turn to denote a ML fired with e boost from the sergeant's signum. 

In Game 1, my opponent had a 10-man Devastator squad with 4 MLs, no Flakk. We both had placed our Devastator Squads opposite each other, both on the top floor of some ruins.  Through the luck of stealing the initiative I was shooting first.  And this game became a small exercise in tactical leadership.  On the first turn, my devastators coupled with every weapon that could reach, whittled away at the opposing Medusa devastators.  In turn 1, Tigurius cast Prescience on them (reroll misses).  But here is where the tactical conundrum began.  Tigurius was with a tactical combat squad on the ground floor.  All of his spells were from Divination.  With all the cover going on in the opponent's deployment zone, I wanted to get Perfect Timing played on the Devastators to increase my firepower effects on the opposing units.  All non-witchfire spells are cast at the beginning of the movement phase.  A IC can only join or leave a unit in the movement phase.  So, what happened turn 2 was an error - Tigurius cast Perfect Timing, and then moved to join the devastators.  He then cast Perfect Timing every turn after.  As pointed out by a commenter on B&C, if a psycher casts a blessing that affects him and his unit, and then leaves the unit, the effect lasts on the psyche and that original unit for the duration of the effect.  So the Devastators would not have had Perfect Timing that turn, but the original combat squad (with ML) would have retained it. Overall, it probably had an impact on the game for that one turn, probably 3 extra casualties on the opponent.  More importantly, it showed to me what 4 MLs with perfect timing could do.  They also benefited from the Devastator Doctrine in repositioning, and later accounted for shooting down the opponent's Stormtalon. 

In Game 2, Tigurius started deployed with the Devastators, but he (and the sergeant) remained low behind cover while the missile launchers did their job.  In this game, the spells only included prescience, forewarning, and precognition.  This allowed the devastators to maintain a 4++ invulnerable save.  By turn 3 there were 2 MLs remaining, but they accounted for the Vendetta in addition to causing numerous casualties on the Guard blob squad.  By turn 4, they were down to the sergeant and Tigurius, but neither survived the game. As a side note - I lost game 2 due to a strategic error on objective (relic) placement, and on turn 1 tactical errors on Objective (relic) capture.  When playing special scenarios, it is always best to read and understand the tactical requirements of the scenario...Overall, the devastators worked very well, buffed by Prescience and Forewarning.  Frankly, as I write this, I seem to now think that I forgot to use my precognition rerolls on the last turn...Tigurius might have then survived the game.

In Game 3, my Nurgle Demon opponent had a flying demon prince and a unit of flying nasty bugs (plague drones of Nurgle).  In deployment, these were to be the primary targets of my devastator squad.  The squad was deployed across the roof of a small building, with the Sergeant and one ML marine on the ground (I wanted to be spread out if the Soulgrinder survived or the opponent had other AP3 templates or blasts).  Tigurius was deployed on foot nearby with spells of Perfect Timing, Forewarning, and Foreboding.  The Devastators did not have a major impact on turn 1 due to night fight.  On the following turns they focused on the Demon Prince and started stripping off his wounds and caused a grounding check, which attracted an assault by the drones.  They overwatched and killed a drone or two, but were assaulted nevertheless.  In one round or so of combat, the Devastators were reduced to a single ML marine, who was able to break off.  He rallied and aided in eliminating the drone survivors, and started flinging missiles down range on Nurgle troops that deep struck to the center from reserves.  On the last turn that attracted the charge of a spawn survivor, and I cannot recall if that sole marine lasted the combat. 

So, overall, you can see a few things here - in each game the Flakk missiles helped against flyers (mechanical or monstrous).  It also showed what buffing them with a psycher can do for their resilience or damage output, both are key.  As a tactical note I'd decided to have Tigurius spend game 3 attached to a 10-man tactical squad deliberately (I was using a rhino as a visual shield wall) and wanted to move that unit forward into the central geographic region for Victory Point scoring purposes rather than in my backfield.  In a larger game I'd almost consider taking a larger Devastator squad to have ablative wounds, although I've also experimented with having a Rhino just for added flexibility.

All for now, hope you enjoyed the read! If I can find some game photos that show these two units in use, I'll add them later this week.  If you want me to write up any of my other units as a similar tactical commentary, let me know in the comments.  See my prior post for some pictures from the game and a snapshot of my army used at the event. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Standish Standoff Results are in...Ultras Done Good!

The Standoff is a New England event - in Maine, and it was held this past weekend.  40 Players (the event sold out), and about 12 hours of time from door opens to prizes awarded.  3-game format, 1750 points with composition, and scenario chosen from Creative Twilight's website. 

Overall, it is a good model for other 40K groups to follow.

If anyone had any doubt locally about the fun and variety of gaming, all they needed to do was come by the event.  Every player seemed to have something completely different.  I hope someone organizing the event grabbed a picture of every army tray and can provide some analysis and maybe a summary of the coolest, complex lists they saw.  I really cannot comment much more, since other than taking some shots of some of my favorite armies, and those of my 3 worthy opponents, I can't comment too much further there.  That said, here are some photos of my favorites I spotted before Round 1:

A beautifully painted IG army themed for the Red Star and Commissars: 

A nicely done Dark Angels army:

The "Harrowed" up from Boston:

Shiny's Ultramarines 2nd Company including Sicarius:

For me the event is all about seeing what everyone else does with this hobby, and catching up with old acquaintances.  Overall, I just wish I'd had more social time!  If there had been a pub closer, I would have considered meeting a bunch of player there after the awards were handed out.

As for the games, all three were different and posed their own challenges. 

In Game 1 I was paired with a guy named Jon from Framingham, MA, who travelled up with the Dorka Morka club. Jon had a really nice space marine army (iron hand chapter tactics), which was constructed around a Space Marine terminator captain.  The game started off looking pretty daunting, and his list was something I might have run, and is nearly identical to lists I've used (sans the Captain!).  He placed 2 of the three objectives,  so my strategy was to keep mine, and take one of his, and create a kill point gap in the process.  It worked pretty well, and after a nail biter of a game, Third Company came out on top and I advanced to Round 2 with 26 points...

Here is game 1 right after deployment:

Here is a closer shot of the woods where the toughest fighting would occur:

Game 2.  As luck would have it, my Nemesis, Ripped Dragon, also scored 26 points in Round 1.  There are 40 gamers from New England, and for the second time in my life I met Ripped in a Tournament!  Ripped's list is something pretty interesting...on first blush it looks like an Imperial Guard Blob with an Aegis and Manticore.  Then you see the details...the best IG General providing his buffs, a squad of crazed convicts, some air support, and then there is Tigurius with 5 scouts and a Contemptor Mortis Dreadnaught...So now you have a large blob that is essentially fearless, and well defended while it picks you apart. 

In that game I got to place 2 of the three objectives.  At the end, we both had an objective, but he had me on kill points.  We split the point in a close game that really hinged on a bad dice roll.  Interestingly, the game almost did not happen.  The TO tried to have us swap opponents with a lower ranked table, but we argued that we really needed to fight it out.  As it was, Ripped earned less points than me from any opponent of the day (He finished third overall out of 40!)

Here we are with deployment ongoing:

And here is my vehicle investments on fire...I still owned the third objective, but not for long...

Game 3 was against a strong but low-model count Nurgle list that I'd played against in the past, and it was the sort of list I'd designed my tactics and overall strategy around.  It was a fun game, and tactically, everything worked well or close to as designed.  I pulled in a strong win, and the day ended with a dice roll concerning whether I'd get 5 points for a tertiary goal or 3.  I won that dice roll, and started packing my stuff.  In game, I was able to address the flying demon prince, the bugs, and pretty much pounded the Nurgle to green paste.  I wish I'd had more pictures of this game.  Overall, the real fight was between the Sternguard and the core of the Nurgle army.  Eventually the Sternguard were gone from the table but they'd done a lot of damage as planned, sealing the win.

Overall, with all the soft scores, I finished 17th out of 40.  On just battle points, I was 16th, but only 6 points from being in the top 10.

So here is a parting shot -

Overall, it a lot of fun and inspiring.  I came out amazed and excited about the great variety in the hobby, and have some ideas on participating in the painting competition for the April Assault when Crossroads puts on their large springtime 40K event.

For my list - the MVP of course was Tigurius, who was a key support player in every game, until his untimely disappearance into the warp in Round 3 on the last turn.  The weakest unit based on the matchups I had was the Stalker.  It did nothing in Round 1, lost its weapon system in Round 2, and lost its weapon system again in Round 3!  A few of my my 3rd Company Ultramarines have earned some ribbons...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Standish Standoff - Last Minute Prep

Tomorrow is the Standish Standoff - the bigger of two major 40K events hosted at Crossroad Games - my FLGS in Standish, Maine.

The last time I checked there were still 3 slots open for a possible field of 40.  Undoubtedly there might be some last minute cancellations, so if you are on the sidelines and have the day free, cmon over!  Registration will begin about 9 AM, pub quiz around 10 AM, and round 1 at 11 AM.  There is a fairly good painting competition as well, so bring a camera! 

Just as a disclaimer, I stake no claim to any success or issue of the event.  Frankly, I've been a non-participant in the running of these events since being a judge in the first one.  My only effort towards the event is just trying to publisize it via my blog when I can, because I really want to see the event reach its goal.  I did not help with the event rubric, terrain, nothing.  The only thing I did do was buy some new models and paint from Crossroads for improvements to the visual nature of my own list.

Tonight will be some last minute prep work - I need to create some game sheets to help me select and use all of the added abilities that 6th edition brings.  I need to print some list copies to provide my opponents and judges.  I need to pack up for easy travel.  And maybe if there is time finish additional details on the models to be used for the day. 

Overall, I'm playing what I've basically been using - a Tigurius-led 3rd Company strike force.  It is not bad, and depending on the wide variety of expected opponents, it should work well. 

One last decision is to scenic base the tray for the day, or not. Less than 2% of your score is for having a scenic display board, so right now it is the last thing on my mind. 

It will be interesting to see how the venue can handle the event.  Beginning this afternoon they'll place terain for 20 tables. 

Besides keeping after my own games, I have an interest in seeing what will happen at the top of the heap for rounds 2 and 3.  One interesting thing about this event is that there is a huge variety of ways to score - and it will be interesting to see how that will be handled to determine pairings and the overall winner(s).  We also do not know what the day's Tournament Director will select as missions, or how complex they will be. 

All for now, Have a Great Weekend!



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Standish Standoff - November 23rd! And More!

Well, I bought some of the last tickets for the event.  I hope it sells out!  I have a draft list in mind and need to finalize it soon. 

I'll try to post it around a bit and without succumbing to a net-list, I'll try to have 3rd Company put on a good showing.  It probably won't be much different from my other recent lists, Tigurius led, plus some tactical squads and such.  Won't give any surprises here...

To get ready for the event, I'm dabbling in upgrading some models and freshening up some paint work.  I don't think I'll go off on a bender and get some new models just for the event.  The worse part of the work is coming up with a new "scenic base", and wondering how my overall painting core will go.

The event has a very strict rubric (composition) requirement.  I'll likely score maximum on my composition score. 

If you have NOT yet signed up - see the links at Creative Twilight and jump on board!

Standish Standoff 3

My nerd-fantasy is that those guys that used to be feared as the Stone Cold Mercs (sorry if I misspelled the group's name) would be at the event, I'd always wanted to be paired vs Ragnar (I know he is out there in the tournament scene) or the others at an event.  Heck, I'd be excited to play against one of the Specters! Usually in something this big, I get paired vs a local guy, and the games are all great. Maybe someday I'll be asked to join a group or team. My only other option is to start a named group of my own.   

Overall, I hope to have a good newsy article here on the blog after the event. 

Lastly, this is a week to talk about drinkin'.

So, here is my thing for the week - sometimes when I'm in New Hampshire, I get to this place:

It is the best Irish restaurant and pub in that area, and well worth the drive.  On the weekend there is an awesome local band "4 feet 2 Shoes" that is not to be missed. 

On this visit, dinner started in the pub with a Guinness, followed by the Irish Mixed Grill as dinner, and then Whiskeys.  And more Guinness.

The Irish Mixed Grill includes steak tips, Irish sausages, black and white pudding, and such, and I had served on the side (had to ask for it) a mustard and Jamison dipping sauce.  The black and white pudding is a kind of sausage btw...overall the food was awesome! 

The best whiskey of the evening was Connemara Whiskey - it was smooth, and after visiting that region of Ireland earlier this year, I can say it captured that vision exactly.  I'm off to find some for the cabinet!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ultramarines roll out the New Tech - Much to the Chagrin of the Regimental Commander of the 555th

Ultramarines Third Company  Captain Fabian was amused to find himself on a rocky knoll, looking out across the maneuver field.  Standing near him was the Regimental Commander of the Triple Nickle "555th" Regiment of the Imperial Guard.  Across the training area, other units watched and waited. 

It started as a simple gesture.  Third Company had recently received a shipment of new vehicles to add to the forces of the Ultramarines.  Not only were there Flakk Misiles for the Devastators, in a large crate was a prototype, something really new.  A up-armored Rhino with Hunter and Stalker load outs - a mobile anti-aircraft / anti-skimmer tank.  As it was unpacked and the Techmarines and servitors went through starting up the machine's spirit, they were approached by some flight officers assigned to the 555th. 

The flight officers scoffed at the new tank.

Their Vendetta was better they claimed. 

That started the competition. 

Could a single Ultramarines armored vehicle fend off a Vendetta?

The trial started with the Stalker. 

After a few tests, a few resourceful Guardsmen drove their Chimera forward to provide cover for the hapless Techmarines working feverishly inside the vehicle. 

The results did not change much.

The Techmarines swapped out the modular weapon system and tried again.


Even Guardsman Marbo was amused. 

The only observer who enjoyed the event more than the Imperial Guard Commander was Ultramarines Sergeant Tellion.  He'd used the time of the test observing Marbo...

Of course you cannot expect a simple 75 point armored vehicle to take down reliably a 130 point flying tank-killer.  But you can try...and not do so well.  Looks like when I'm in games where AV12 fliers may be involved...going to have to take two units that can accomplish that support role....

Yep, in 5 tests, the Stalker beat the Valkyrie 2 time, but only one of those was an actual destruction of the flier.  The Vendetta exploded the Stalker twice...

The Hunter did not beat the Valkyrie at was destroyed or its Missile Launcher destroyed before it could harm the flyer. 

Captain Fabian wondered aloud if maybe that STC should have been left in the archives...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday Night is all Right - Another Beer-Adventure to Share with You

I don't know if you gamers took my advice about visiting Alligash Brewery on Riverside in Portland, ME, but here is another way to have a great time on a Tuesday night!  After all, Tuesdays are often game local group does 40K on Wednesdays after all...

It ends up that the Shipyard Brewery, on Newbury Street in Portland, has an awesome thing for you and either your significant other or gamer buddies to enjoy - but it takes a bit of preparation.

Shipyard is an awesome brewery, after all, they make everything from Chamberlain Pale Ale to Smashed Pumpkin, and lots of others, usually about 12 styles at any one time.  Their Brewery in Portland is now 19 years old, at besides their own brands, they also make certain other brands under contract. 

So, what to do?

Call the brewery and get reservations for their FREE Tuesday night brewery tour.  It begins every Tuesday night approximately 5:30 PM.  Only about 10 or so lucky individuals can go at a time. 

The tour begins in a room that is best described as a chapel, it has pews and all.  After a short movie and some history of the brewery and its products, the tour guide takes you on a trip out back.

It's like Willi Wonka out there, but for beer! And yes, while I was off on the tour, that thought came to mind, about doing a movie for adults to that theme....

After a while, you return to the Brewery's tasting room, and you get to try something of each available brand, fresh and on tap.  Once you make a selection, they'll pour you a pint of your favorite from the trip, and then when you are done, you can stock up from their gift shop. 

Overall, it was a great trip, and afterwards, remember that Tuesdays are a great time to stop in a Portland restaurant or pub for a quiet time with your date...

Anyways, my favorite of the night was their Bluefin Stout.  Second was their cask-aged and rare ESB, and then the Smashed Pumpkin.  Frankly, all their beers are awesome, even the Smashed Blueberry (which surprisingly has a chocolate aftertaste). 

Interestingly, last weekend we visited another place on the Beer Trail - the Black Bear Microbrewery in Orono, Maine.  I'd drive to Orono again just for that experience!  Search them up and enjoy! 

My favorite was the Gear Head Ale...

In my next blog post I'll try to write about my search for a good 40K 1750 List for the upcoming Standish Standoff.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Assault Armies are NOT Dead (and how I sort of got a lucky draw)

This battle report is about two things.  Fun scenarios, and assault units that kick your a$$ a scenario that is just plain optimal for that. In fact, it is a scenario that would be a good way to train yourself on target priority, shooting, and assault.

First off to my opponent, I chalked this game up as a draw, because I was thinking back on how we were calculating points, and it may be that the 1 bonus point we gave you may have been miscalculated.  Regardless, you just pounded on me, and frankly, showed me what a great idea you had.  I saw you using that list again tonight vs. a Deathwatch army and it looked like you were heading for a win.... 

Vengeance 1b (go pick it up at Creative Twilight),  There is a newer version, but the notebook at the store did not seem to have the newer version. 

The scenario I pretty complex.  4 mission points with which to get points. 

1.  Primary - every unit is a kill point at the beginning. For every point that unit provides the killing blow to (shooting or assault), its kill point value increases by 1.  An escalating point value cost for successful units?  Dang crazy.  Side with most kill points wins the mission. 15 pts.

2.  An objective in each deployment zone, old school.  Whomever controls the most, wins.  10 pts.

3.  Table quarters controlled by side with most number of scoring unit in a quarter. 5 point.

4.  Having units worth 3 or more KPs alive at the end of the game. 

Pitched battle.

Tau with Necron Allies, 1750 Points.  With a Aegis Defense Line, Comm Array. His destroyer lord and Farsight both had 2+ saves. 

3rd Company
Same List as Prior Week - here is a good shot of the table and my army. 

Game Progress
OK, so lets do this rock-paper-scissors style! Unit KP values are provided in parens (  ) in best recalled order...only calling out units that put the killing, eliminating blow on another.  Anything else is just a lot of shooting and stuff.

Turn 1
Sternguard combat squad-A (1) Explodes Annihilation Barge (1) for plus 1
Necron Wraiths (1) with help from Destroyer Lord (1) eliminates Sternguard-B (1)
Tau fire warriors (1) eliminates Sternguard combat squad-A (2)

Score: 3rd Co = 1, Tau/Necrons = 3

Turn 2
Drop Pod (1) eliminates Tau Fire Warriors (2)
Attack Bikes (1) eliminates Ark (1)
Necron Wraiths (2) with help from Destroyer Lord (1) eliminate attack bikes (2)

Score: 3rd Co = 4, Tau/Necrons = 5

Turn 3
Necron Wraiths (3) with help from Destroyer Lord (1) eliminate Rhino (1)
Tau Suit (1) eliminates Tactical Combat Squad-A (1)

Score: 3rd Co = 4, Tau/Necrons = 7

Turn 4
Kroot squad (1) eliminates landspeeder typhoons (1)

Score: 3rd Co = 4, Tau/Necrons = 8

Turn 5
Tigurius (1) eliminates Wraiths (4) (Tac sergeant ties up the Destroyer in a challenge)
Stormtalon (1) eliminates necron warriors (1)
Tau commander eliminates Stormtalon (2) (by making it fire all weapons as gets hot)
Tau Tank (1) eliminates razorback (1)

Score: 3rd Co = 9, Tau/Necrons = 11

Game ends on turn 5
Here is a good shot of where all the units ended...

Vengeance (modified KPs): Tau/Necrons win Vengeance, 15 points.

Objectives: I have one objective to the opponent having none.  I'm holding it with one Tactical marine with a lascannon hiding in rubble. 1-0. 10 Points.

Table quarters:  I have 2 tactical squad remnants in one quarter and 1 single marine locked in combat with a Tau suit in another quarter.  The Kroot are in y table quarter, so I score that 2-0. 5 points.

Bonus points: As described above,  there were no units remaining with 3 or more KPs in value.  During the game we were treating the destroyer lord as having reached a value of 4, but from what I can recall, he rolled his attacks before the wraiths, so the wraiths ended up typically as landing the killing blow, and they were worth 4 points and he was less.  Regardless, the destroyer lord survived the game and actually assaulted a fleeing tactical unit + Tigurius, in part because if we'd gone to turn 6 there was a possibility I might have destroyed the destroyer instead.  Or died horribly.

At the end, all I had was (KP values indicated) Tigurius (2), Rhino (1), Rhino (1), one remaining devastator marine (1)hiding in one of the Rhinos, a single tactical marine (1) on an objective and one tactical marine (1)stuck in assault, and 4 tactical marines (1) with Tigurius,  and a drop pod (2). 

My opponent still had all of his suits and their drones, all of his Kroot, the destroyer lord, and the Tau tank as well. 

It was awesome!  15 - 15 draw!!! (or 16 to 15 if I got the points wrong concerning the destroyer, or if one of his Tau ICs somehow had 3 KPs).  Again, it points out how difficult the mission can be without counters, or some clear way to keep control of the KPs.  In a tournament situation this would cause a lot of undue stress, or even players getting the count wrong to their advantage. 

Overall, the thing that was amazing, was how many dice a unit of wraiths and a single destroyer lord could eat all game long!  Other than a timely force weapon in assault to eliminate those wraiths by Tigurius, things would have been horribly worse!  I should have ignored them and just put the dice onto the suits or the other vehicles (or kroot if they'd arrived earlier), but being a Wednesday game I wanted to see if I could put that deathstar down.  The answer was...nope.  Had my opponent gotten his outflanking kroot earlier, or had just run them up behind the other deathstar, I probably could have been tabled.  In a game where assault is reportedly useless...


Saturday, October 5, 2013

On the Maine Beer Trail

Time for a beer focused blog entry!

Fall is an awesome time for visiting and living in Maine (USA).  The weather is usually terrific, the leaves are changing, there are plenty of things to go see, and the brewers are especially active.

First off - Maine has over 30 locations that make and ell locally brewed beers.  To help you visit them all, there is a Maine Beer Trail guide, which lists and maps out the locations.  I picked up a checklist about 2 years ago, and my wife and I have had fun checking off locations as we travel around the state. You can find the NEW checklist at nearly any brew pub here.

Today we checked off two locations....

Our first stop was a location on the old list that is no apparently on the updated list - the Inn at Peaks Island.  The location is on an Island accessible via the Casco Bay Ferry system - the location is an old Inn and restaurant on Peaks Island about 400 feet uphill from the dock.  We drove to Portland and brought our bikes.  We rode down to the terminal, and after a short wait go on the boat for the island.  The ride to the island was good fun, and we met some people on the boat visiting Maine for the first time from Sacramento, California.  On arrival at the island, we rode our bikes on a trip to see the 5th Maine Regiment civil war museum, then the old WWII Fort (Battery Steel), and it was a lot of fun to ride around on shore road and off on the inland trails and gravel paths.  Eventually we ended up at the Inn, and got seated. 

The Inn is preparing to close for the Winter season, so some menu items are now limited.  It also ends up they had NO BEER BREWED ONSITE!!!! That was a surprise.  They certainly knew about the beer trail (each venue signs your sheet), and apparently were a venue featuring Shipyard Brewing products.  My Wife had a Carrabaset Ale, salad, and Lobster Bisque.  I had a Chamberlain Ale, Clam Chowder, and a blackened haddock sandwich with slaw.  The food was good, beer, good, but we were expecting a Inn-specific beer.  The waiter was confused as to whether they still brewed there or not.

We decided to hit another location on the list - we knew that there were a handful of breweries - not brew pubs - on the list, and decided to find where they were!  According to our guide, the breweries did not have Saturday tours or tastings.  Apparently the guide books were out of date on that information!  When we found the Allagash Brewery, the parking lot was fairly full!

The Allagash Brewery is a state-of-the-art brewery, and they ship beer all over the US, in kegs and bottles.  We strolled into the Brewery tasting room and was amazed to see a fairly large crowd, with every person in the room enjoying a flight of beer samplers.  In the back behind the taps was a glassed wall behind which you could see the brewing operations.  We strolled up to the bar and after a short discussion with a guy behind the bar, he brought us two flights of beer. 

Today they were offering tastings of Allagash White, House Beer, Curieux, and Hugh Malone.  When I told the bartender some white beers make me sneeze, he brought me a taste of a different ale, and then he later brought me a sour ale to taste.  So yeah, we tried 6 different beers.  Hugh Malone was by far our favorite.  It is made with local Maine Barley....mmmm good!

After what amounted to more than a pint of free beer, we made some purchases and headed home....happy, and in possession of an updated beer tail checklist.

That was our 11th place on the beer trail. 

We are sending in our checklist to the Maine Brewers Guild - in return they will send us some free swag...and then starting over on the new list!  We already have plans to hit three or so of the Portland area locations later this month.

All for now, happy gaming and happy beer-splorations!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sometimes Things Work When You Least Expect them

Last Wednesday, Ripped Dragon and Anthony dropped in to get some 40K in.  Ripped Dragon is currently experimenting with some Ultramarine-Blood Angel MSU hybrid lists in.  What that meant for me was they were planning to borrow stuff...

On arrival, I paired up to play vs Orks, 1750.  I hate orks. 

I needed to modify my list from the prior week fast!  What the heck would I play?  I needed to drop out the Stormtalon and the Contemptor, and backfill the hole with something else. 


1750 Variant List - 3rd Company Ultramarines
Terminator Squad, 10, 2 CMLs
Assault Marines, 10, FL, PP, PF, CS
Tactical Squad, 10, CPG, PG, Rhino (dual stormbolters)
Tactical Squad, 10, CPG, PG, Rhino (dual stormbolters)
Devastator Squad, 5, 4 MLs
Devastator Squad, 5, 4 HBs, Rhino
Landspeeder Squadron, 2, HB/Typhoon variants

Yep, I was looking at points and I got down to 55 points and could not figure out what to bring, so I added a Rhino, and then put extra stormbolters on the troop-dedicated Rhinos. 

1750 Ork Big Mek List
My opponent had a pretty interesting Ork Horde that filled his deployment zone! From memory and photos (+/- wargear):

Big Mek, KFF (as Warlord)
Warboss, Mega Armor)
10 burnaboyz in a battlewagon (big gun, 2 rockit launchas, 2 big shootas)
10 Commandoz in a Trukk (big shoota)
20 Shoota Boys, Nob, Bosspole, 2 big shootas
20 Shoota Boys, Nob, Bosspole, 2 big shootas
10 grots, Slaver
9 grots, 3 Kannons
9 grots, 3 Kannons
9 Lootas
9 Lootas
Wartrakk Squadron, 2, TL Big Shootas
Skorcha Squadron, 3

I'm out numbered and outgunned.  This game was not going to be easy. 

Mission Parameters:
Mission: KILL POINTS - Purge the Alien

I won the roll for deployment zone, and selected the lower left corner.  It would be daylight turn 1.  We rolled up warlord traits (Tigurius as determined from the book, the ork Warlord trait was Dust of a thousand worlds (move through cover). 

Tigurius' psychic powers rolled up as forewarning, foreboding, and prescience. 

We rolled for first deployment, and the Ultramarines would deploy first.  I decided that if I was going to (likely) go first, I needed to be right up on the go line, and I needed to respect the huge amount of ork firepower I was facing.

The terrain - lava plains.  A note on the terrain - we were playing it that the terrain on bases was area terrain (5+), and that the lava steam vents were also causing 5+ cover saves.  Of course the rocks/slabs were basic LOS blocking.  It meant that for most of the game the orks would get cover saves...

So you can see what I did in deployment - something I've seen done over at Frontline Gaming in their video battle reports.  My rhinos form a wall.  The reason for this in part is to protect my units in case of the orks getting to seize the initiative, and also to allow me to move forward, dismount, and fire everything I could into the ork front lines. 

And something more - I'd have to move TOWARDS the orks rather than away from them.  We were starting 24 inches apart...I needed to get some damage in!

Orks that had a lot of 5+ cover (including Big Mek Custom Force Field).

Game Synopsis
So in the first turn, I moved forward enough for the units to get into shooting range if needed.  My rhino wall facilitated that, and my tactical squads dismounted 20 or less inches from the ork front lines.  I selected the Tactical UM tactic for the first turn.  Although 15 or so orks were dispatched, but no ork needed to take leadership checks. 

In response, the orks moved forward.  There are so many they are blocking their paths towards me and staying bunched.  Because he ha shoota boyz, all of the orks just shoot out.  First blood is a Rhino.  I lose half a tactical squad.  I loose more than half of the assault squad, who breaks and heads for cover. 

On turn 2 - I use the Devastator UM Tactic to reposition the 2 dev squads, and I use the storm of fire warlord trait on the terminator squad.  Now I'm pumping out some lead. Grots on my right flee from their cannons.  Orks are dropping in droves, but heading toward my lines. 

More ork movement and shooting.  I lose another rhino, and lose the remnants of one tactical squad. A Ork Trukk is in front of my lines full of commandos after going flat out to get there.

Turn 3 - time for me to use the assault tactic.  I move forward to shoot up the trukk and other vehicles that will soon be in my lines.  On the right I destroy his wartrakks and skorchas, although I'd moved a unit up as insurance on that.  On the left, I shoot up the trukk, and it Kareeens away from the terminators!  I shoot up half the survivors, and with rerolls make the charge.  When the dust clears, the terminators and nearby assault squad remnant had wiped out the ork commandos. 

Now the orks move forward with wave three.  A battlewagon full of Burna boyz hit my lines on the right, and I lose a tactical squad to the flames and shooting.  The Lootas shoot 27 dice at the landspeeder squadron and both are wrecked, and I lose some terminators. 

Turn 4 - I'm ahead on kill points and I work to try and keep it that way.  The Burnas, Grots Cannon Krew, and Lootas are the objects of my affection.  Grots hold their ground, and Lootas are greatly reduced.  The big mek I also dispatched, so I get warlord.

Ork firing is still pretty tough.  The Battlewagon repositions itself, and the remaining Burnas and warboss in mega armor try to assault my lines but fail.

Turn 5 - Wrapping stuff up.  I try to eliminate the Battlewagon, but fail to damage its AV14 front armor.  The last of the Burnas are gone.  The orks are all toast.

Orks shoot up any possible easy kill points, and I fail to provide any.

End of game - I have 10 KPs and WL; Orks have 5 KPs and FB.

Ultramarines win vs Orks!

Overall, I'm getting some confidence in using these Chapter Traits and buffs.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Two-Bottle Fail!

Last Sunday was of course FOOTBALL DAY IN AMERICA! I have a great bunch of friends that get together every Sunday when possible to watch the New England Patriots play whomever their victims will be. It is always a great time! More than that, there are always great food pairings at these weekly events, and this past week was no different.

Ed made Guinness beef stew as a combination/experiment of various recipes, and it was awesome. There was all sorts of other great foods - no chips, no sour cream dips, no corn chips, no salsa. It was very good. I brought some pumpernickle and sea salt pretzles with a nice spicy mustard for them.

The game went very well, of course, and the Patriots went on to win it. In the 4th Quarter, Tom broke out some really nice top-shelf rum, very smooth with a vanilla finish. Great for sipping neat.

My big fail - when I held RIBFEST, my yearlyfestibval of all things RIBS on the saturday of Labor Day weekend, my neighbor came over with a small problem. He is a salesman, and one of his friends, also a salesman, is in the beverage distribution/sales market. Well, salesman to salesman, this other guy gives him beer samples , about a case every other month. Well for my neighbor, he was starting to see a pile grow in the garage, so he was wondering if we could take some off his hands for RIBFEST!

Of course we said yes, and soon I was out of his garage with a very eclectic pile of bottles of beer in different sizes and shapes. There were three corked bottles in the bunch - usually taken to be very high end, more expensive varieties.

Well, nobody drank the these larger bottles at Ribfest, so they were sitting in my beer fridge. I decided to bring them over to where we wouldwatch the Patriots game as the only beers I'd bring.

I opened the first bottle on arrival. It was supposed to be a dark, Belgian beer. It was AWEFUL! Tasted like sour spoiled beer and vinegar. It was not flat, just horrible! We dumped it out, rinsed gloasses, and pulled out the second bottle...

I opened the second bottle, a ale by the same brewery that does La Fin Du Monde from Quebec, Canada. It also had gone BAD! It was like watery piss mixed with cloudy sediment, it still was carbonated, but somehow it also had gone bad.

That was the first time I'd opened two bad bottles of beer in a row that were both in such bad shape.

That third corked bottle out in my beer fridge - I'll probably just pour it out in the yard. I just cannot risk another bad glass!

Have you ever had a problem with corked, bottled, un pastuerized, unfiltered beer? Let me know your story!

And today is Sir Arthur Guinness Day!  I know some people may disparage that, but frankly, he did a lot to create his business, and could be a good role model on developing a product, and finding a way to do something creative with barley. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Initial War Trials for 3rd Company using the New Codex

After the prior battle report (where I went unprepared and rushed, leaving over 220 points off the table) and lost to Tyranids, I spent a bit more effort for the September “monthly tournament”.  The goal for me was to try out the new and improved Ultramarines from the codex. 

Army List for the Trial:

I decided to build a 1750 pt Tigurius-based Ultramarines list based on my existing models list:

Tactical squad, 10, CPG, PG, ML, Rhino
Tactical squad, 10, CPG, PG, ML, Rhino
Assault squad, 10, PP, FL, PF, CShield, jump packs, veteran sergeant
Devastator squad, 5, 4xML w/ FlakMLs
Tactical Terminators Squad, 10, PW, 9 PF, 10 SB, 2xCML
Contemptor Mortis, 2xKheres Assault Cannons
Stormtalon Gunship with SHM/TLAC

As you can see from the above, I deliberately included tactical, assault, and dev units specifically in order to see how they would work with the new Ultramarine Chapter Tactics.  One thing I did do to prepare was create a “cheat sheet” checklist on which I had spaces to record the psychic powers obtained for each game, listing of the chapter tactics and warlord tactic to be used each game, and reminders for all of the special rules used by the list.  This greatly helped me, and I’ll probably continue to use this as a tool in future events. 


I’m also doing this assessment in two separate blog entries, since it was getting a bit long as a read. 
Force Selection Notes:

A few other notes on the list above that were included in the trial by design:

1. Only the assault squad included a veteran sergeant.  Reason for this – I wanted the extra PF attack and higher LD for the squad, but more so for the extra attack PF.  I also found that in writing the list…Assault squad sergeants no longer get the 3++ storm shield, just the 6++ combat shield.  I considered swapping the plasma pistol for another flamer.  Overall, I need to add some more assault marine models just to give me better options with the new codex.  Points wise, there are clearly some better choices to me selected, but I need more models to do it!

2.  For the tactical and devastator squads, all are base LD8 with a non-veteran sergeant.  As a reminder, Space Marines can no longer “choose to fail” morale (the old generic chapter tactic) BUT can still automatically rally via ATSKNF.  My thought was that for these units, making it easier to fail (by not having a LD9 veteran sergeant) would be the better idea, since Marines with ATSKNF cannot be swept and would automatically rally.  The extra points that could have been spent on the LD upgrade (10) was instead spent on the combi-plasma guns.  This was one small way to get more AP2/higher S shots into the game, especially if it could be coupled with the Ultramarines tactical tactic (rerolling missed hits in a shooting phase).  I can tell you that I did not lose a marine to “Gets Hot” all day.

3.  Flak missiles were added to the devastator squad for 40 points.  The idea was I’d likely have to face flyers like Chaos Helldrakes, or Necron nightscythes or flying monstrous creatures.  The devastators combined with the Contemptor and Stormtalon would provide a strong anti-flyer capability, backed up with the Devastator chapter tactic (allowing reroll of snapshots for a shooting phase). 

4.  Contemptor Mortis – my FLGS allows Forgeworld “40K approved” models, and this would be my main source of support versus units coming in from reserves, or for horde control support.  For the points, if I could not take the Contemptor, I think I’d have added a HB dev squad and more to use up those points!

5.  Terminators – I’ve been using tactical terminators as a block of 10 for the past few months, and they form a good core from which to counter enemy deathstar units.  In particular, I planned to use the unit to accompany Tigurius.  The expectation was that Tigurius would have the forewarning psychic power, and with that, Tigurius AND the terminators would all have 4++ invulnerable saves to make them even better, or largely 5++ saves without them.  The major drawback is that the terminators (except the sergeant) punch with their fists at I1. 

6.  Air Support Stormtalon –The Stormtalon was seen as a “certain” addition to the list, because Tigurius includes rerolling reserves.  The idea was that it would be likely I’d see flyers or skimmers in every game, and I needed to have a redundancy to deal with them.  This turned out to be a true assumption, BUT, spoiler alert…the Stormtalon was never in any aerial combat…
Performance Assessments vs. Opponents:

The following is a summary of the key elements of the first game (games 2 and 3 will be a separate post), from the standpoint of performance, identifying Tigurius’ powers, OPFOR units and playstyle, mission objectives, etc.

Game 1 – Vs Chaos Marines plus Daemon Allies

This game was vs Thor of Creative Twilight. 

Here is a picture of his army on the tray:


The mission (Special Ops v2.1.1) was a complex one written by Thor that you can download from Creative Twilight.  Essentially it is the normal pitched battle deployment, and each player “secretly” determines their primary, secondary, and tertiary win conditions, and a fourth win condition that can yield bonus points.  There would be one objective on the table, in the center, that would be part of the win conditions.  IMHO it is a great mission for fun beer and pretzel games where time does not matter, but bad for tournaments as no two tables are playing the same thing. 

The OPFOR was about the worse case I was trying to plan for:

2 Flying Monstrous Creatures (Daemon Lords with spells such as Dominate)
Lord/Daemon of Tzeentch (with spells including puppet master, etc.)
Chaos Daemon Spawn, 5 (multiwound, high T, beasts)
Hounds of Khorne, Daemons, 10
10 chaos marines, Rhino, Special Weapons (plasma), Icon
10 chaos marines, Rhino, special weapons (melta), Icon
10 Cultists (reserved)
Bloodletters, 10, Daemons (reserved)

For Tigurius the dice gods were very friendly, and his Psychic Powers rolled up as nearly the best you could ask for:

Misfortune – reroll saves (play on an enemy unit)
Forewarning – Psyker and unit gets a 4++ save
Foreboding – Unit has counterattack AND fires overwatch at full BS

I had selected my primary mission as table quarters, secondary as kill points, and tertiary as the center objective.  I have no idea (now) what I was thinking.  This mission showcased how hard it is to play these missions with just 2 scoring units.  This would cause me to combat squad my two tactical squads into plasma and missile halves. 

Ultramarines won Game 1.  Final score of 28-3

OPFOR Assessment
The Chaos Player was able to select the table we played on, and chose one with the most line of sight breaking cover.  Chaos chose the deployment edge, and was also able to deploy and go first.  The list he brought was clearly strong in the assault, and in many ways, much stronger than mine, with more scoring units (4), and 6 really good assault units with that puppetmaster capability that I cared not to see. 

The OPFOR let most of the heavy work in the game be done by the Monstrous Daemons, Spawn, and Hounds of Khorne.  At the end of the game, the Daemon lords/Lord of Tzeentch, and Hounds were all gone back to the warp, and I did not yield a single kill point to the enemy in return, although I was fairly well damaged in places. 

The OPFOR showed the strength of having very fast, high T, high S models and having more opportunity for psychic spells than I could muster.  MVP was the large unit of Spawn, which pretty much owned/beat up my right flank.  At the end of the game, the Spawn survivors were in my deployment zone, ready to either assault the terminators or some tactical squad survivors the next turn. 

If there was any fault in the OPFOR’s battle plan it was keeping the cultists and Bloodletters in reserve.  Considering it is a tournament, you need as much on the table as possible as follow-up units or extra targets. 

The other potential failure was the use of the Chaos Marines.  They were content to stay out of the fight in the center and right flank, applying only fire-point shots from their Rhinos at range, essentially being held to take /meet end of game mission objectives like table quarters.  Had they joined in the fight in some fashion, the outcome would have been more favorable for the forces of chaos.  At the end, one squad remained in their transport, which helped me seal the win (table quarters cannot be controlled by mounted units), and IIRR the other was dismounted when their Rhino was blown on Turn 3. 

The forces of Chaos ultimately were nerfed quite a bit by the Bloodletters failing to enter from reserves.  Had we gone to turn 4, they would have come in automatically, and had the potential to impact several variations of the selected mission objectives, and thus the outcome.  However, where it might have come in and done the most harm was in the sweet spot of my ready Contemptor and devastators.  Overall, their failure to enter were 1 kill point for me, and essentially not a game changer. 

3rd Company Assessment
I deployed in a manner to try and take advantage of the OPFOR's deployment and the terrain, but there were no good solutions to getting any good line of sight to the Chaos lines, except for the flanking hounds on my left.  I worked to get the Devs and Contemptor to locations that also had fire lanes past the buildings and woods on my right.  I deployed one tactical scoring unit on my right flank, combat squaded, with the plasma half in the rhino, the missile half liking down a fire lane toward a Chaos rhino.  I deployed the second scoring unit as combat squads, the missile half on a building/balcony in my center, and the plasma half in a rhino on my left flank.  Tiggy and terminators were deployed in my center, so the most units possible were within range of Tiggy’s powers/traits. 

Overall, the combination of the three Tigurius spells was near perfect for the situation; Tigurius was to accompany the terminators, and he and the termies would be more amazing than normal with a 4++ save, overwatch at full BS, and counterattack (extra attack when charged based on a LD ckeck, as if charging).  Combining these three things every turn with the 6 other special abilities of the list (3 chapter tactics, warlord trait, rerolling reserves, rerolling psychic tests), I was feeling a little more secure that the Ultramarines could get the job done. 

The UM assault tactic was selected turn 1 – in order to try to get the terminators through terrain (woods) and into assault with the Chaos Spawn (which were in the woods directly in front of my deployment zone).  Tiggy failed to pass the test for foreboding, but got it on the reroll.  Forewarning played on the first roll.  Misfortune was played on the Spawn.  But when I rolled the charge distance (3 dice, take the lowest 2), I failed on the attempt and the assault re-roll! By less than an inch!  That meant the Chaos Spawn would emerge from the woods the next turn, ignore the terminators, and assault a nearby tactical combat squad instead.  On my left, everything else was spent shooting at the Hounds. 

Note that at this point the Daemons had failed a key reserve roll (getting only the cultists), but I got the Stormtalon on Turn 2 with the Tiggy re-roll.   

The UM tactical tactic was selected on Turn 2 – to give every unit a better chance in shooting, as was the one-use warlord trait (played on the devastators). Note that on the Chaos turn 2, the Khorne dogs assaulted my assault squad (I broke, almost ran off the table), a Daemon Prince had assaulted my Contemptor (we were stuck there into my turn), the Spawn had assaulted the nearby combat squad (who broke and almost ran off the table as well!).  I played this hand of buffs in order to increase /guarantee my firepower so that I had a chance to use them.  As it was the turn started bad but ended well.  I finished off the Khorne dogs in shooting, pre-wounded the Tzeentch Prince and then assault it, and killed off the third unengaged Daemon Prince with other shooting from the Stormtalon and other units.  Ultimately, the terminators ended the turn in assault with the Tzeentch Lord (I declined challenges to Tigurius right into turn 3), and my rallied assault squad survivors charged the other Daemon Prince to save the Contemptor (and they did in Turn 3, not before the Contemptor had lost 2 hull points). 

The UM devastator tactic was selected Turn 3 - in order to allow the devastators to relocate from their position and still fire on another unit (the Spawn now deep in my deployment zone), and give snapshots to other mobile units (plasma guns from the Rhino squad targeted a Chaos Marine Rhino).  It worked well, I did drop another Spawn, but two wounded ones remained.  At this point, the Stormtalon continued to move forward to engage the Cultists (who went to ground), the Tzeentch Prince was finished off by the terminators (while Tiggy continued to watch), and I was looking to keep myself well protected for the next turn.

At that point, the game clock was down to 10 minutes.  My opponent agreed we would not have time to complete the next turn in that time, so we tallied the points. 

I had more kill points, I had 2 table quarters to his one, and nobody held the center.  Neither of us earned quaternary points.  Ironically both of us, unprepared for last turn scoring, had scoring units still in Rhinos. 

MVP of the game was Tigurius, even though all I did with him was play powers and attempt to deny powers, and I was afraid to use him in CC.  The big issue was that Tiggy’s staff was S6 AP4, vs a Daemon with T5+, multiple wounds, and a low++ save.  I figured it was better to risk the terminators and their fists instead.  And I did, losing a few terminators each assault phase. 

Overall, the game played slow.  3 turns only!  I think everything was slowed down by having too many choices – starting with time needed to select your own missions, then time for rolling spells for all the Princes and Tiggy, then Warlord traits and boon, and time during every turn to stop and make rolls, apply results, etc...not to mention selecting the right turn for Tiggy's warlord trait use AND select each moment to use the three Ultramarine Chapter Tactics. As would be seen, I think my second game went to turn 4, and the last game completed turn 6. 

Regardless, it was a good starting game for the Ultramarines, and I was feeling a bit positive about the day.  Things at that moment were looking up! 
Hoping to get more on the blog soon,