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,


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Forget Everything for the Win? Last Win of the Old SM Codex

I must have killed a lot of brain cells in my trip to Ireland.  It seems that in the past 3 or 4 weeks I must have forgotten everything, including how to read or just pay attention.  What follows is from a friendly Sunday rain-day game at my FLGS, where, since neither my opponent or I had the chance to go to Nova, we decided to play one of the missions at random.  Here is the battle report for the last game I’d play before the NEW space marine codex would come out.

Battle Report
1750 Points
3rd Company ultramarines vs Dark Angels Deathwing
Nova 2013 Mission #4 – 5 objectives, table quarters, and other mission parameters, Vanguard Deployment

Captain Fabian was very concerned.  Having been called to the sector to protect an Administratum team investigation of an abandoned shrine world near the Ultramar sector, all had been quiet until the appearance of a Dark Angels strike cruiser.  Reports had already been received from other nearby sectors of the appearance of this Strike Cruiser, from which a certain Deathwing attack was likely to follow.  The Dark Angels force never contacted any of the Imperial forces it encountered – just the same pattern of drop, attack, disappear.  Fabian placed his Ultramarines on alert, with orders to be prepared to immediately attack any Dark Angel forces.  All attempts to contact the Dark Angels craft went unanswered. 
OPFOR (from memory.  Supposedly 1750 points, but I could not duplicate it in AB)
Dark Angels Commander Belial, Terminator Armor
Dark Angels Librarian, Force Sword, CMG?
Dark Angels Command Squad, 5, 1 CML
Dark Angels Terminator Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CML, 5 TH/SS
Dark Angels Terminator Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CML, 5 TH/SS

(so, 17 Dark Angel Deathwing Terminators, etc.)

My opponent selected the list above out of his love for Deathwing.  He had no idea (nor did I) that we’d be playing a Nova-style, 5 objective game when he determined this force.  Having two, unsplittable troop choices was certainly going to be a handicap.  I tried to duplicate his list from memory, but without notes or his list, I could not.  I think I’m missing something here, or he was about 110 pints short…

3rd Company Ultramarines
Captain Fabian (aka Kantor Counts As, PF, Dorn Bolter, Stubborn, Inspiring) [Note – since re-introducing Kantor to my games I’d forgotten his orbital bombardment)
1st Company Sternguard Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CMG, 2 MG, LC, drop pod
1st Company Sternguard Squad Beta, 10, 2 CPG, PG, HF, PAxe, drop pod
Tactical Squad Ovatius, 10, ML, FL, drop pod
Tactical Squad Theta, 5, las-plas razorback
Landspeeder Squadron Hexus prime, 2 landspeeder typhoons (HB/TML) [note, not paying attention to my list, I only brought and used 1, not both, nerfing me 90 points]
Landspeeder Squadron Hexus secundus, 1 landspeeder (MM/HF)
Storm Talon (SHM, TLAC)
Contemptor Mortis Titus, 2xKheres ACs, skyfire/interceptor

36 marines plus vehicles, a mix of weaponry including some AP1/AP2, rending, etc.

(so out of the above, I really only played 1660 points….and did not use a bombardment worth maybe another 30 points)

One of the first comments from my opponent was that this 1750 list would lose some points on the Standish Standoff comp score rubric (I think it would score maybe a 50 out of 80, but the final rubric is not set.  Besides, I’m not going to create a Standoff list until trying out the new codex LOL!)  Note that with Kantor, my Sternguard are scoring, and I can combat squad on deployment to create as many as 7 scoring units. 

Battlefield Assessment and Overall Pre-Game Strategy
The Battlefield was a mix of open fields, woods, and ruins.  See the battle sketch further down.

The objectives are placed in the table center, and then in the center of each table quarter.  More or less due to terrain placement (which occurred before knowing the mission), four of the 5 objectives were placed in ruins (2) or woods (2).  The objective in the Dark Angel deployment zone was out in the open.  The Dark Angels chose their deployment quarter.

I won the roll for first turn, and deferred to the Dark Angels. The reason for this was since we were playing for objectives, I’d want to go second on the last turn, to recover or react to any objective issues and have a better chance to maintain the win.  My opponent determined to deploy in the upper right corner of the table, I’d be deploying in the lower left corner. 
Strategically, my intent was to spread out and capture three of the objectives – upper left, lower left, and center.  This would also get me two of the table quarters.  I'd not planned to enter the lower right quarter, and certainly not the upper right. 

My opponent deployed Deathwing Terminator Squad Alpha at the upper right objective.  Terminator Squad Beta, Terminator Librarian,  and the Command Squad/HQ units were held in reserves ("secretly" to drop on turn 1). 

The 3rd Company Typhoon (I forgot as noted above to read my own list…and deployed just 1 of 2), the Razorback-transported combat squad, and the Contemptor Mortis were deployed behind terrain at a location I selected as sheltered from Turn 1 Deathwing missile hits, in a tight group near the lower left objective. 

OPFOR’s Strategy
My opponent’s strategy was revealed at the beginning of turn 1.  The Deathwing reserves would drop in on turn 1 and work to destroy the deployed 3rd Company units at the lower left objective, while the deployed terminators would move forward for long-range support.  The plan was for the terminator reserved units to survive turn 1 and be in assault turn 2 on….no pain, no gain. 

Turn 1
The two Dark Angel reserved units teleport onto the battlefield immediately behind the Contemptor Mortis.  The unit of 10 Deathwing Terminators (Squad Beta) and Librarian apparently drop in and do not need to roll to scatter.  The command squad terminators with Belial (according to my opponent) still must roll to scatter, and mishap off the table edge.  He rolls a 2 on the table; I get to place the command squad and Belial off into the upper right table corner as far away as possible.  Squad Alpha moves forward 6 inches towards my deployment zone, but remain w/in three inches of their objective. 

At this point we should have rolled for mysterious objectives, and guess what…yes, we forgot to do that and neglected it for the entire game.  Seriously.  It probably would have added some fun to the next few turns…I can only imagine what it was like at NOVA when the same thing apparently ALSO HAPPENED.

Sidebar – I’m getting to be a proponent of giving verbal briefing of scenario requirements for major tournaments, to make sure the missions/scenarios are played as intended….

At the end of the movement phase, the Contemptor spins around 180 degrees to face the terminators, and intercepts them.  12 dice, 11 hit, 7 wound, 1 failed save.

In the shooting phase, Beta makes its LD roll for split fire.  The two CML terminators fire into the rear of the razorback (4 missile dice, IIRR he did NOT also roll 4 dice for the Storm Bolters, which also seems to be a common error I make when I use the same CML models) – the Razorback explodes giving my opponent first blood.  The other 7 terminators and the Librarian (CMG?) shoot the Typhoon Landspeeder, but fail to damage it (1 rolled to hit for the CMG, no sixes for S on the SB shots).  Ultramarines Squad Theta is now standing in a crater, but is not pinned. 

My turn 1, I have two pods to deploy via drop pod assault. 

First I take a deep breath.  And have to rethink my strategy.  I decide in game to eliminate Squad Beta first, before going back on mission for the objectives. 

Both Sternguard Pods are selected for the assault; Fabian (aka Kantor) will accompany the meltagun squad.  The plasma/flamer armed drop pod slams down where intended, and all 10 sternguard deploy to face the Deathwing.  The second pod scatters into my combat squad, so stops there, and I decide to combat squad my 10 sternguard with Fabian accompanying the sergeant and his half (with CMGs). 

I then move my units (landpseeder, Contemptor, and 5 tac marines) to provide better fire lanes on the Terminators. 

I literally shoot everything I have into the terminators.  Even the drop pods snap firing their storm bolters. 

Smoke clears, and there are still three terminators and the 2-wound Librarian standing. 

Turn 2
The Dark Angels in the upper right continue to advance.  The terminators in the lower left advance a bit, split fire between Kantor’s squad and the nearby Landspeeder Typhoon, but do no damage.  They then roll dice to assault Kantor’s squad…and roll too low to make the charge range.  The other tactical dreadnought squad fires on the drop pod in view, and wreck it. 

On my turn, I begin to send one sternguard combat squad to go after the upper left objective.  Everything else stays put.  The MM/HF Landspeeder comes on board, but the other two units remain in reserves.  In shooting, it takes every dice I have again to take down the remaining terminators in my deployment zone, those guys are as tough as nails!

Turn 3
The dark angels are down to two units, about 16 terminators.  They keep advancing.  The shooting phase is brief, and I have not lost anything. 

On my turn, the Stormtalon comes in, but the last remaining tactical squad Ovatius remains in its pod in reserves. 

I begin moving my assets to head towards the table center.  Most of my firepower is short range, so I’m running units rather than shooting.

The Stormtalon fires and takes down a single terminator. 

Right now I’m controlling two table quarters and 2 objectives; my opponent controls one objective and one table quarter.  He also has first blood…

Turn 4
The Dark Angels fire everything possible into my stormtalon (4 CML krak missiles), and HF/MM Speeder (2 CML krak missiles).  The stormtalon jinx’s for safety, but the HF/MM speeder loses a hull point.

On my turn, the tactical squad arrives from reserves, and its drop pod slams down at the ruins by the lower right objective.  The tactical squad dismounts, and looks to shoot up the tactical terminators before them.  Kantor and his combat squad are getting close to the center objective. 

In shooting, just 1 terminator is removed from the tactical terminator squad, and the stormtalon takes down a command terminator. My opponent is down to a total of 12 models remaining or so.

Turn 5 and Turn 6
My opponent’s command squad opens up on the stormtalon and drops it from the sky.  The tactical terminators split fire, and wreck the HF/MM speeder, plus removing three marines from squad Ovatius!  Squad Ovatius breaks and runs not quite toward the table edge, but out of assault range. 

On my turn, Squad Ovatius rallies, and heads into the ruins to claim the lower right objective.  The Contemptor and Typhoon, in addition to the larger sternguard squad and Kantor’s squad are all in range of the tactical terminators.  After shooting, the tactical terminators are removed from the game.  The game continues into turn 6.

At the end, my opponent was tabled, and I held 3 objectives, 3 table quarters, warlord, and linebreaker. 

Win for the Ultramarines. My casualties amounted to about 5 marines from Squad Ovatius, the Stormtalon, razorback, drop pod, and the HF/MM Landspeeder.  The Dark Angels lost everything. 
Its a Wrap!
After all that, not much to say.  My opponent had a lot invested in those terminators, and we ended up with a discussion of what he could have done better.  Mostly, he could have chosen totally different strategic goals and the tactics to accomplish them.  One alternative would have been to start the game with all terminators deployed (or drop them in his deployment zone and at the ruins in the lower right (another objective), and then use his commander, librarian, and command terminators to hold the center, or the upper left table quarter (at the end).  With my mostly short-ranged firepower, I’d have had to either drop down where he had the advantage, or work had to travel there.  Things could have been totally different.  Regardless, dropping 11 terminators in my backfield allowed me to eliminate them before focusing on his other units.  Also, his librarian could have been used to better effect.  Overall, I wish we’d had time, it would have been fun for a reverse game where we just swapped armies to see if I could have done better as the Dark Angel player.  Maybe the next time I know he’ll play dark Angels, I’ll bring Cypher!

I’m now looking forward to re-developing my favorite lists enhanced for the new codex!  Look for a battle report on my first game maybe next week!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Non-Technical Review of the New Space Marine Codex!

My FLGS got their large shipment of new Space Marine 40K goodies on Friday in the afternoon.  About 5:30 PM they posted that the materials were in.  By 7:30 PM I had the new Space Marine Codex, the new 880 Page Space Marine softcover Compendium book, and the kit for the new Stalker/Hunter.  I'll have to go back soon (after all the bills from the Ireland trip have cleared) to get a new Sternguard box, Tactical Marines box, and Centurions box. 

On to my brief, non-technical review.

First off, did I get anything I'd dreamed about?  Nope. 

By not getting what I dreamed about, does it matter?  Hell No. 

The Codex authors came up with all sorts of other way to improve Space Marines in general!

First off...there are point cost decreases all over the map.  Librarians and chaplains, for example, are less points.  Whirlwinds, less points.  Squads, less, it just goes on. 

Example - the list I used in my last 1750 point game would now be 55 points less, and functionally 77 points less (having to drop a Sternguard model) in order to use as intended (enough to add in a Stalker). 

Thunderfire cannons now shoot as a barrage (indirect capable!!!) and still shoot further than the Whirlwind!!!!

The codex includes chapter-specific traits for 7 separate chapters to make them all unique.  Interestingly, that list does NOT include the Crimson Fists....BUT, if you go to the special characters, one of my favorites, Pedro Kantor, is there, and he has his own Crimson Fists chapter rules there, giving you an 8th choice! (in the details, the Crimson Fists ALSO use the Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics stacked w/ what Kantor brings)

The 8 Chapters in the book can ally with each other...

Initial reviews by others are that the White Scars may be the best Chapter in the book....of course I'd have to disagree!

The Stalker rules are slightly confusing.  It seems to read that IF you are shooting all barrels at one flyer, you get 4 total twin linked shots at BS4.  IF you split fire to two flyers, it seems each gun gets 4 shots at the separate targets, but at BS2?  Yep. 

The Hunter shoots a single missile, which if it misses, will chase down the original target from the rear arc on subsequent turns.  You can fire a Hunter missile each turn.  If the flying target chickens out and flies off the table, the missiles are lost and you start over...

Drop pod capacity is decreased to what the model actually is modeled to hold...10 models.  (that is the reason I need to drop one Sternguard model).

Tactical squads can take a special or heavy weapon for units with 5-9 models.  You get one special and one heavy for model counts of 10.

Librarians....I'm happy with the point decrease, but sad that the codex does NOT include any psychic powers.  All of my favorites are GONE!  You now have to find their analogues in the list in the BRB.  Dang....there goes null zone!  However...the devil is in the can basically include a mastery level 2 librarian in terminator armor and a storm shield for LESS that what it costs now for Mastery level 1. 

Overall, can I still use Kantor as my count-as Fabian of 3rd Company?  YES, but then can't use the Ultramarine chapter tactics.  Not a big deal.  Best thing for me being...get wish granted....Kantor gives "Crimson Fist" unit hatred-orks!  On the sad panda side, his inspirational presences only extends to models w/in 12 inches...on the good side, Sternguard remain scoring!  NOTE - being Crimson Fists (because you also use the Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics) - gives your "Fist" units Bolter Drill (re-rolling 1's for normal bolt-shell ammo, entire game), and the "Siege Masters" special rule for devastators (tank hunters special rule PLUS +1 to damage roll vs. buildings...entire game)....WOW!!!!! This is more than what the Ultramarines chapter tactics yield...but again, there are probably some details I have yet to realize in differences between the two. 

Nuff said for now...gotta keep reading!

In the mean time, for the developers at Lone Wolf responsible for Army Builder....things are going to get complicated....I look forward to when you can help me build lists using the new Codex!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Thoughts on Drinking and Gaming in Dublin

I'm an American.  I like to visit places.  Here is my perspective on my recent trip to Dublin, Ireland, from a gamer and drinking standpoint.

First off, and foremost, if you think you might pack up your sweetie and head to central Florida for a week of vacation, rethink that.  For the same price you can visit and stay in the center of Dublin, and have a way better time.  If you can't leave the U for lack of a passport, then come to Portland Maine instead, and you can have a "Irish Lite" vacation.

First off, gaming.  Don't think you can have a good time doing it as a casual traveling gamer.  Although (as posted before) there is a GW store in the heart of Dublin just off the Haypenney Bridge, the store is small, no adjacent pub, and although for some reason they are open late on Thursdays, they are not open after 6 PM on weekends.  Take this as a suggestion...someone needs to open a gaming pub in the heart of Dublin.  Seriously folks, the foot traffic in front of GW's store is immense...and most of it is immediately after the store closes every day, in the heart of the shopping/college/trendy/tourist district.  If that store's sales are poor, it is because the manager needs to get some feedback or a pink slip from GW UK...

Enough about GW!  Your sweetie would kill you if you took her to Dublin to play games!

When we got to Dublin via Boston, we arrived in the morning.  Jetlagged.  Had lot about 5 hours of sleep time just in the time changes.  We paid up front at the airport for a 3-day bus pass, which gives us a trip straight to downtown, hop-on-hop-off bus and municipal bus service solid for 72 hours, all through the tourist district.  We'd also paid a but extra for our hotel room so we could check in at 8 AM.  So we did, and napped till afternoon. Overall, we spent the next three days doing museums and sights all morning, pub for lunch, sights and walking and tours all afternoon, then a pub, then rest, then evenings out til late at a pub or taven with "trad" music and dancing. 

Two notable places come to mind that would make it great to head to Dublin.  The Guinness plant, and the Jamison museum.

The hop-on bus (double decker no less) takes you (by a certifiably insane driver) up Dublin's streets to the Guinness plant.  There you can get off the bus for a tour.  We'd also purchased a pass that gave us three days of free entry and priority service and benefits to Dublin's main attractions and museums.  Your entry ticket includes one free pint of Guinness.  On arrival at Guinness, you enter the basement of a 7+ storey building that used to be a warehouse.  In the basement, with the pass, we skipped the line to move up to entry - and you have a museum attraction/store/bar/restaurant focused on how Guinness is made, delivered, advertised, poured, and enjoyed!  It was awesome and not to be missed.  Around the 4th floor, there is a special location with its own line, where you are trained to pour Guinness, and on completion, get a group photo, and certification that you can in fact, pour their pint correctly following their multi-step procedure.  Ultimately, on the top floor, is a glass-walled bar with a 360-degree view of all of Dublin, from the mountain where the water for Guinness is obtained, out to the sea.  Overall, it is a great way to spend the afternoon, especially when it is raining (like it seems to do every afternoon). Guinness is made from barley, not wheat or other grains used for more common beers.  So yes, I got certified, and so did my wife.  Later in our trip that certification paid off when we visited a tavern elsewhere in Ireland and she went behind the bar and poured all the pints we needed!

The hop-on bus also stops as an attraction at the former location of the Jamison Distillery.  Former, because at some point Jamison moved out of Dublin to a state-of-the-art distillery elsewhere.  Eventually they opened a museum/tasting room/store/tavern complex on the former Distillery ground.  This attraction, though smaller than Guinness, is more exclusive (only so many people per day), and entry also provides you with a free taste of Jamison at the end of the tour (but you can buy as many hits of Jamison or cocktails as you want before your tour begins).  Interestingly, Jamison Whiskey also has Barley as its prime ingredient (not corn like some American whiskeys).  Your get to learn all about Jamisons (beginning with a movie), and mid-tour they ask for volunteers.  Volunteer!  At the end of the tour in the tasting room, volunteers get not only the free whiskey, they get to compare it to Scotch Whiskey and American Whiskey, for a total of 4 drinks....remember you took the bus here....

Overall, the only things we did NOT get into at Dublin in 72 hours was the military museum, or any museum that really explained the history of Ireland vs it's split from the UK.  We got ton on Irish pre-history throughout the trip though.

Overall, remember a major thing for your trip.  Pubs and taverns also typically have food (although some do not).  For every pint, eat some food.  It makes the trip much more memorable (I learned that trick from the Russians, but that is a story for another day). 

When in Dublin hunt down the Brazen Head pub, it is the oldest pub there (from the 1100's), food is awesome, and service was great!  Look for the old Quiet Man movie poster in the corner of one of the tavern rooms. 

The NEXT time I get to Dublin, I'll be looking to get on one of the pub tours that just takes you to the places where the Irish writers and poets all hung out.  And definitely a return to Gogard's pub in Temple Bar. 

Nuff said. Go there.