Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On to the Campaign - Triple Nickels Reporting In

Captain Jaxxson, the Commander of Company "B", brooded over lunch in his command Chimera.  His Company was the first to land on Sable Prime, the largest inhabited planet in the Sable System,  Ultima Segmentum.  The Cadian 555th "Triple Nickels" Regiment was far from home.  Lunch was getting to be his favorite part of the day.  Bread, tinned beef, and a hot broth.  In one hand he held a sandwich, and in the other, a dataslate showing the local map overlain with his deployed forces.  His current mission was to hold the ground, securing it for the arrival of other companies.  In the distance, small arms fire was hear sporadically, as the local PDF patrols swept through the city behind him...inside his Chimera, radio traffic hummed along between the forces on the ground and the fleet overhead.  Jaxxson hated this part of any new campaign the most - the wait for real orders.  The fact that Cadian troops were sent to the Sable system gave him a pause - it could only mean one thing...the taint of Chaos... 

Sergeant Cullin, tank commander of the Lehman Russ Demolisher “Daisy”, and Sergeant Abbott, tank commander of the Lehman Russ Demolisher “Dorris”, leaned against Daisy and continued their discussion on the best ways to play cards against the best poker players on Company "A".  Taking their credits was always on their minds.  Nearby, their tank crews were helping the veterans of Company B set up an Aegis Defense Line, that amazing, portable, Cadian-built, modular wall system, strong enough to give cover to troops from all but the largest blast or flamer weapons.  Overall, the atmosphere was relaxed for the Cadians.  The small amount of small arms fire was something that they were used to - just background noise.  That background noise meant "all things were normal" or "Unbroken".  It's when you sat waiting and everything was quiet that you became worried...  

The Sable System Campaign
Hey everyone!  Just wanted to get a quick post out there.  It has been what, over a year or more since I played as Imperial Guard in 40K.  I'd never really got the knack for it - when I used my IG in the past, it was typically as an allied detachment.

One of our irregulars in our 40K group has expressed an interest in running a narrative campaign - you can go and get the gist of it here:

So last night, in preparation for a possible campaign-focused game today, I decided to drag out the 555th Regiment, build an 1850 Point List, and offer to take on the role of a defender in the first mission. Overall, the storyline will build as we go, so come back here and check in to see what the Triple Nickels run into over at Sable Prime. It looks like new narrative missions and effects will come out monthly, so playing the IG should be a great experience.  I'll hopefully get a battle report here with photos in the next week or so!  One thing that became apparent was that I'm short a few regular troopers, and some of my models have yet to see more than primer!  The army list I selected is a pretty good representation of Company B - It's not designed to be a deathstar - its designed to be a typical unit not tooled up for any particular mission except to hold a landing area.  I did get some ideas for it from the guy over at Elite40K and his ongoing Astra Militarum work.  My force is almost totally WYSIWIG - I might have to get some new turrets though and retool all of the tanks to 7th edition requirements.

Standish Standoff
ALSO on the docket is preparation to play in the Standish Standoff 2015 - probably one of the best 3-game tournament events in Maine!  Tickets, BTW, are up for order at Crossroad Game's website, and more information can be gleaned from their Facebook event feed and normal website calendar.  If you are in New England - the store is about 30 minutes from downtown Portland - the event is in early November!  I've played in it or helped work it since it started.  It is always a great time, the tables are always great looking, and the social aspects are always fun.  I've yet to decide whether to bring my Blood Angels, or an Ultramarines Battle Company.

All for now,


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The 200th

As you may recall, I use the app "Untapped" as an important tool to participate in my beer hobby.  This weekend - on Sunday - I reached a key goal - my 200th different beer logged into my records.

This beer - from Stone Brewing - is available at RSVP in my local area - and as number 200, it was awesome!  And just perfect for the Patriots-Bills football game!  And of course, it earned me another badge!

Now, that's not my 200th beer since I started untapped...its the 200th DIFFERENT beer I've had.  So far, I've logged beers 288 times, earning 116 different badges.  At most schools, I'd be within 4 beers of a Bachelors Degree!

Anyhow - just sharing in my accomplishment.  It's not like I'd won 200 games of 40K (yet).  For those wondering, at an average of say, $4 a beer - my beer hobby spend probably exceeds what I spend on gaming in total.  And as some of you know from getting a game in at my house, 40K and Beer make a great pairing!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Best 40K Game of All Time

Interrogator-Chaplain Boreas of the Dark Angels was brooding.  His mood was so foul this night that even his servitors and cherubs seemed to flit away from him in the darkness of his sanctum.  He had been certain he would have found one of the Fallen hiding in the abandoned fortress below.  Instead, his forces found Blood Angels and Doom. Not only was he injured, but nearly his entire assault party was injured or dead.  Precious time had been lost.  Why had his forces been called down to the planet? Could it be the unthinkable? Could it have been that the sergeant who had called down the assault and provided the information that misled Boreas been one of the fallen? That sergeant had been turned to cinder from a lascannon blast.  Boreas sent out a comm that the remains of the sergeant were to be retrieved and brought to him. Even in death, the fallen must pay...

1650 Points, Maelstrom Mission #3 - Tactical Escalation

OPFOR - Dark Angels
Interrogator Chaplain Boreas (Warlord)
Terminator Librarian, Level 1, FS
Devastator Squad, 5, 2x plasma cannons
Tactical Squad, 5, plasma gun, MB
Tactical squad, 10, 2 plasma guns, plasma pistol, MB, drop pod, beacon
Tactical squad, 5, melta gun, plasma pistol, MB, drop pod, beacon
Assault squad, 5, MG, jump packs
Command biker squad, TLPGs, hammers/swords
SableClaw Landspeeder
Deathwing Terminators, 5, CML
Deathwing Terminators, 5, CML
Attack bike, MM
Attack bike, MM

5th Company - Blood Angels
Epistolary Librarian Angelus, Level 2, FS, PP, jump pack
Sanguinary Priest Marus, PAxe, jump pack
1st Squad, 5 Tacticals, flamer, las-plas razorback
2nd Squad, 5 Tacticals, flamer, las-plas razorback
7th Squad, 10 assault, 2 MG, IP, PF
8th Squad, 5 assault, 2 MG, drop pod, deathwind
Baal Predator, TLAC/HB
Predator, TLLC/HB
Stormraven, TLMM, TLLC, SSML
Death Company Dreadnought, SB/MG, 2xBTs
Death Company, 5 Marines, PF, PA, PS

The battlefield would entail an abandoned citadel on and ice planet.  Overall, the Blood Angels were (deployed first), holding the ruined walls of the former fortress.  They would deploy to try to minimize impacts from Dark Angel alpha strikes.  The Blood Angels held the Stormraven bearing the Death Company, and Squad 8, in reserves.  The last time these forces clashed, you might recall, the Dark Angels had so much plasma fire, the Blood Angels were fairly trapped in their deployment zone and severely beaten.  In this game, the assessment was to make sure the Blood Angels went first, looking to spread out and dominate the area quickly, so it would be more difficult for the Dark Angels to be as mobile or collect as many points.

The Best 40K Game of All Time
C'mon, you have to admit, you are curious.  This report is in fact for the best game of all time...well...until next week when I play again, of course! This game was alot of fun to play, and it went back and forth between us.  And it was a slug fest!....

Note...I'm getting a new i-phone soon, so am hoping for better pictures in the near future. Here we are soon after deployment.  The Blood Angels are deployed in the foreground, razorbacks are in the corners in mutually supporting positions.  The Dark Angel warlord and devastators are in  a crater in the upper left, spying in on the Bloood Angels and ready to call in the strike force.  One Dark Angel tactical squad and assault squad are hidden from view in the upper right behind that last ice pile.  Angelus and Marus are attached to 7th Squad.    

Turn 1
8th Squad pods down next to Objective marker 6, and between combined fire of the pod, the squad, and a nearby Baal predator zooming up my right flank, the DA tacticals take casualties and the survivors break and run off the table.

In response, the DA counter-pod-assault into my deployment zone and marker #5, next to the razorback.  Although the razorback is damaged, it is not wrecked.  Here the pod is being placed...I'd focus firepower on that squad on Turn 2, and make them break - to then have them rally.  1st Squad, on the ice pile, would assault them Turn 3...and then remain that way for the game locked in combat.

Score on Turn 1 was 2:1, BAs lead.

Here in turn 1, the DA assault squad remnants charge into the BAs, in a smack-fest that went into Turn 5.

FAaaaZOOOOM...with a bright flash, the Deathwing Terminator Assault begins in Turn 2!

In addition to the two Deathwing Terminator Squads, command bikes, assault bikes, the SableClaw, and another podded squad arrive!

 7th Squad and my HQ units are sorely pressed to make their saves.  Here we are around the back end of Turn 3...the Dark Angels are about to put Angelus AND Marus out of action (After they'd wiped out the DA command Biker Squad).  The score was around 6:4 BAs leading at the end of Turn 3, but the DA's had some special tactical cards they were holding in secret....

This is around the middle of Turn 4. I'm whittling away at the Deathwing, and I'd completely destroyed the DA warlord and devs back at the crater.  The Stormraven was off doing other good work at this point.  By the end of Turn 4 the score was about 10:8 BAs leading.

  Another shot of turn 4.  The DC dread had stomped of toward Objective 4.  The DC were heading over to Objective #6 to put an end to the fighting there.

  Turn 5.  The BAs have several things going on - Squad 8 will hold obj #6, the DC are heading back towards Obj #2, the DC Dread is heading off to assault the DA tacticals, and we are putting firepower onto the surviving terminators.  In reality, at the end of Turn 5, the DAs were now winning, approximately 15:14.  But the game dice on!
Turn 6. The BAs had some great Maelstrom tactical cards!  All they had to do was...kill one DA unit, and they'd get 6 or more points for the turn!  Instead, they got response, the SableClaw flies over the DC (who had failed their charge), killing three!  The DC dread had charged the DA tacticals, but lost one HP for one tactical, so it failed to score on my turn.  On the DA turn, the DC dread finished off the the lower right, we still find two 1st Squad tacticals slugging it out (since turn 3) with the DA sergeant...the Stormraven failed to pop a drop pod in two turns of trying!   The DA turn goes ok...scoring 3!

The game ends at the bottom of Turn 6 with a DRAW!!!!!!
Yep. Throw in Linebreaker, and it was a 19-19 draw.  Sometimes the best game is the one that goes the distance, you try everything you can, and nobody loses....



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Relic of Doom

The Tau Commander touched the object that was brought to her by the Fire Warriors. Through her gloved hand, the stone relic, of a four legged mammal with long floppy ears, was cool to the touch.  The surface was brown and glassy, polished or glazed to a sheen.  The object, identified in the dataslate as a Terran "Rabbit", was a pleasant and good object.  The Commander smiled within her crisis suit.  For whatever reason, the red-armored "Blood Angels" had come to this planet and had wanted to recover it.  Now the Tau had the "Rabbit".  The relic would soon be on its way to the Earth Caste for further study.  For the greater good....

1850 Points, the Relic Mission
Blood Angels vs Tau

Combined Arms Detachment
Tau commander and three crisis suits, rockets and plasma
3 crisis suits, plasma
3 crisis suits, plasma
5 pathfinders
5 pathfinders
12 firewarriors
12 firewarriors
12 firewarriors
3 Hammerheads

Blood Angels 5th Company:
Baal Strike Force:

Epistolary Librarian, FS
Sanguinary Priest, PA, Pistol, auspex
5 Sanguinary guard, banner, 2 PFs, 2 infernous pistols
6 Death Company, 1 PS, 1 PA, 1 PF
5 man tac squad, flamer, dedicated las/plas razorback
5 man tac squad, flamer, dedicated las.plas razorback
Death Company dread, talons, MG/HF, dedicated drop pod w/ deathwind
10 man assault squad, 2 MG, PA, infernous pistol
10 man assault squad, 2 MG, PA, infernous pistol
Baal Predator, TL AssCan/ HB sponsons
Baal Predator, TL AssCan/ HB sponsons

Pre-Game Assessment and Deployment:
My opponent was new to the general area, and did not have any Maestrom cards, but loved to play the standard missions.  So we rolled up the Relic.  It is a low-point game with a ton of risk involved - 3 points for the relic, and then just a point each for STWL, LB, and FB. I'm totally outgunned here, with so much sources of plasma, rail guns, and a riptide.  My goal was to grab the bunny (an actual ceramic rabbit, that my opponent carries around for use in the relic mission....), and run like hell.  I decided to keep one assault squad and the sanguinary guard squad in reserves -  a mistake here was not combat squading where possible.  With them anfd the DC dread, I figured I'd use them as fodder to keep the Tau busy.  The Librarian spells were off the BA list - but nothing special.  The warlord trait allowed less scatter for deep strike, and rerolling reserves.  I won the roll to choose corners and deploy first (vanguard deployment). We were treating the river as difficult terrain, worth a 5+ cover save.

I also elected to go first.  In order to get that is my deployment.  I'm going first!  The rabbit is just 12 inches to the bridge...I was going to bum rush everything forward, use the vehicles as cover, and jump pack the bunny away to Victory!

My opponent's deployment.  Gunline. He told me he never wins by meeting the mission objectives.  He just tables his opponent....

Battle Summary:
The Tau seize the initiative.

Here is a photo at the end of turn 1.  The Tau explode a Baal, wreck a razorback, kill a DC marine and 2 tactical marines.  In response, my DC dread dropped in front of a building, and was able to flame and break a pathfinder squad (which ran off the table turn 2, and half of a firewarrior squad).  It ends up I was like 14 inches from the bunny with the assault squad, so they re-positioned to grab it next turn....

 Middle of Turn 2.  The Riptide jumped on top of the building, fired away, then jumped back behind.  I lost half the assault squad and the second razorback...things were going badly.

 End of turn 2.  My DC dread went around the building to assault the Crisis Commander's squad - but failed the charge distance by about a half-inch!

The Sanguinary Guard dropped into the river - lost one infernous pistol to dangerous terrain, and the other failed to harm the Hammerheads in front of them...The Tactical Squad grabs the Rabbit!  The Librarian and Sanguinary join the DC. Things are grim.

Middle of Turn 3 - My assault squad drops in.  Up out of view, the DC dread was wrecked by the Tau Commander.  The last of the Sanguinary guard assault a hammerhead and take it out.  The remnants of the first assault squad had jumped across the river to shoot up and assault the riptide with help of the new assault squad (which I should have combat squadded...)...The riptide is taken down to a single wound!

Meanwhile, the DC takes the Bunny and looks for a quick escape! Things are looking better...

Turn 5 - I have the Bunny.  The score is 3-1!  The Riptide dies in the Tau assault phase! But so did the newly arrived assault squad.  The Sanguinary Guard are overcome with tau railrifle fire.  The DC are gone, and the Librarian has the bunny!  Things are great! If the game ends here...

But alas, no, the Tau now have to chase the Bunny!  Only the Crisis suit teams can put up with the chase! Things go from great to....worse?

That table edge is a long way away...or at least the tree line and better cover!  I'm down to the last Baal Predator, 2 assault marines, 2 tacs, the Sanguinary priest, and the Librarian.  The drop pod's deathwind was wrecked somewhere around turn 3...the Tau are ignoring the pod...

Middle of Turn 6...the Librarian and Sanguinary are gone, as are the two assault marines. The Tacticals will pick up the bunny and keep running!  The score at the end of turn 6 is 3-2!  Things are going from worse to OK...this is gonna be close!

  And then Turn7...The suits are really hopping along FAST!  If I can also pop the Tau Warlord - I might be able to keep this to a draw! Aaaaagh!!!!!!

And then the end of the game.  I still have the Baal Predator - which whittles the Tau commander's squad down and wounded him, bu he was still jumping...on the other hand, the tactical squad was gone...but the Tau cannot retrieve it before the game ends.  Hey.  I'm not tabled!

FINAL SCORE:  Blood Angels 1 (linebreaker w/ the Baal Predator) to Tau 2 (first blood and Slay the Warlord).

Tactical Assessment:
Well, I had a good plan...but seize the initiative and a few other details did me in - Overall:

  1. I could have just started the game with everything on the table except the DC dread (but my opponent was worried about me assaulting him from the back corner - so he tried to keep it covered up).  
  2. I could also have selected the other deployment zone - in retrospect is provides better cover at the river bank.
  3. I should have combat squaded the assault squads - it might have made the Tau's firepower slightly less effective.
  4. I could have deployed planning for the loss of initiative - get vehicles in behind cover better before the game starts.  This would not have been easy to do in this game....
  5. Librarian could have taken Pyromancy and dropped with the assault squad in the missdle of the Tau...Nova powers anyone?
Overall, I was very happy with the was very very fun, and a great way to start the new gaming year!