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.