Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Grinding My Gears

OK, I'm not entirely happy at the moment with how my Astra Militarum record is going.  I finished off last year playing Blood Angels and had a pretty respectable record for the year.  And then I switched to the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) - in part because there were rumors of a fresh codex coming (which ended up being the Mont'Ka supplement).  The Supplement is nice, but let's face facts.  Its a doomed supplement since in it, the AM/IG are constantly stomped and outgunned by the tau, and ultimately left to die on the planet by the Fleet.  How can you build a great narrative about that?  

Don't get me wrong - I love the games I've played with the Astra Militarum - my Cadian 555th Regiment! Its just that I have to balance investment with results.  And results have been mediocre.

The list "of the Month" will be based around or mutated from the following:

Combined Arms Detachment (1750)
Company Command Squad, Chimera, Plasma Guns, Carapace Armor, Krak Grenades, Warlord
Veteran Squad, Grenadiers, Chimera, Plasma Guns, Heavy Flamer
Veteran Squad, Grenadiers, Chimera, Meltaguns, Heavy Flamer
Veteran Squad, Grenadiers, Chimera, Meltaguns, Heavy Flamer
Veteran Squad, Grenadiers
Tank Commander Pask, Leman Russ Punisher, Lascannon, HB Sponsons
Leman Russ Punisher, Lascannon, Plasma Sponsons
Vendetta (3xTLLC)
Armored Sentinel, Autocannon
Banewolf, Chemcannon, Multimelta
Chimeras all are Multilaser, Heavy Bolter, Pintle Mounted Heavy Stubber.

I'll have to proxy the Punisher Turrets.  If they work out, I'll get real ones.

This list pumps out a huge amount of dice.  Which means the opponents have to pump out a lot of saves.  Wish me luck!  This is only a tweaked version of what I've been using - but notably I swapped out the Demolishers, the Master of Ordnance, and Master of the Fleet, for things that may be able to shoot better and miss less. The only thing I'm risking is the Vendetta being delayed from reserves, which may result in swapping in another 170 point unit...Like...another Manticore....or two Wyverns...

Am I ready to give up on these guys? Not quite yet! I just can't stop playing them!

What would I play once this experiment with Astra Militarum is complete?



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Triple Nickels in ITC Mission #1

The assassin crouched high in the temple.  Silent, unmoving. Nearby were Tau drones, ever scanning.  The assassin ignored them, its mind was also scanning.  Somewhat like a drone, the assassin mused.  There would soon be a battle here.  The assassin cared not.  It was programmed with a mission.  In the distance, avian wildlife of this jungle planet began taking flight.  Soon the noise and vibrations from the Astra Militarum armored column could be felt.  They were advancing as ordered toward this temple.  As expected in the mission profile, the Tau forces moved forward to intercept.  The assassin cared not.  It was on a mission.  It cared not for the reasons of the mission, only that it must be carried out.  The assassin would not fail.  In its mind, the assassin reached out to sense its prey.  It was expecting, typical for its mission profile to be able to sense the prey.  Such assignments were simple.  Sense the prey, usually from its tainted warp signature. But here there was no signature.  Interesting, thought the assassin. That would make the mission more than routine.  

1650 Points, ITC Mission #1

Yes!  An ITC Mission!  My force was a combination of the Emperor's Blade Assault Company and a CAD, all as Cadians (of course!).  My opponent was one assassin...

Terrain was a death world jungle.  In and among the new and ancient ruins.  My opponent had been expecting me to play that evening.  When I arrived, he explained we'd be doing a ITC mission.  I got to deploy first and go first. Here we are after my turn 1 - there are two maelstrom objectives and two emperors will objectives on the table.  The objectives - for those in grid speak - were about 1.5, 3 (m); 2,1 (e); 3.5 (m),1.5; and 5,3.5 (e).  You don't have to worry about having tactical card decks in this game!  My warlord trait was the ability for the warlord, once per game, to call in a single artillery bombardment.      

Just another view.  In turn 1, my objectives were to secure an objective and eliminate a unit.  My Manticore and two artillery bombardments were weak and scattered. I did get a maelstrom pount for the objective.

I always use my special weapons guys to mark the Chimeras they are transported in...sometime soon I need to go on a bender and finalize details and markings on alot of units! Not to mention get those dozer blades as no, I did not use any dozer blades....the points went to pintle mounted heavy stubbers.

And then there is this guy....I ought to steal him this week, paint him..return him...

And then the suits move up.  The game includes points for Big Game Hunter.  My "big game" was Daisy the Demolisher...his was the Suit Commander and bodyguards. In this shot, he has completed shooting - I lost a few hull points here and there...

Meanwhile, the Assassin is moving out for the kill...this guy is a beast!  (I bet her single handedley killed 17 guardsmen...captured an objective, earned STWL.  Probably the Tau MVP)

In Turn 2, I decide to dismount a squad - the commander gives them an order to shoot! A few wounds go on the assassin, even with his invisibility-like functions.  Daisy is a smoking ruin from Turn 1...Rear AV11 is no match for back shooting, no cover, Tau smart missiles shot en masse.

Here in Turn 2, the Tau continue to advance!  I've lost the second Demolisher, Doris, to those Tau missiles again! But I'm obsec on the objective.   I did, BTW, get a good hit on the Suit Commander and his unit!  They were greatly depleted down to just two suits...Many tau units were depleted from all the shooting, as were my own!

yeah...they are all hiding back here...

Meanwhile, in the far left, I've outflanked the Tau. My first unit of 5 Scions came in from reserves by deep strike, wiped out the firewarriors there, But then were wacked hard to get me down to just two.  They held the objective though.

Here we are in the middle of Turn 3.  I have one bonus (white dice) point for STWL, the Tau have 1 (green dice) for BGH.  I am leading on Maelstrom points 5-2 (blue dice vs pink).  My second Scions unit of 5 came in and killed another suit.  I lost two of them to interceptor fire.  I'm losing a lot of vehicles in the mean time! (not to self - need Scion meltagun models...)

And finally the Kroot arrive from reserves!  It is a large unit including a Krootox. Also in Turn 3, the Assassin has assaulted and killed off the IG veterans.  I'm still holding both maelstrom objectives and one Emperors' objective...If i could just kill that Assassin I might be able to pull off a major Victory!

Just another view.  Yeah, Kroot can have access to weapons that can hurt AV10...

This is somewhere in Turn 4 or so.  The Kroot kill off the Manticore, and after the large Tau gribbly wrecked the Commander's Chimera, the Assassin shot and charged the survivors.  It ended badly for me there - Now I'm holding just the two Maelstrom objectives. I had managed this turn to eliminate the last remaining suit to earn BGH.  Flamers in the Command Squad meant nothing to the invisible fear-causing assassin...

So the score at the end of 4 is looking pretty good if I can hold on! If the game ended right now I'd have a lead in points!

My largest functioning units are off on my far left flank - If I can keep it clear, I might be able to rack up more points. I'm basically shooting drones like a madman...

At the end of 5 turns, I had maintained my Maelstrom kill point gap.

But we went on to Turn 6! Now I'm holding just one Maelstrom objective.  If my opponent could table me or get me off his deployment zone he could pull off the win!  He failed...

And there the game ended.  We both had STWL, BGH, and Linebreaker.  I got 4 points for taking the Maelstrom.  My opponent got 4 points for taking Emperor's Will.  The game ended as a 7-7 draw!

Nuff said.

But did you know this:

Thanks for reading.


Monday, January 4, 2016


Captain Jaxxson - Company Commander - 555th Armored Infantry Regiment - was...dreaming again.  Maybe it was something he ate earlier that day.  Maybe it was a fitful dream about the future.  But to think that was heresy.

The dream was similar to the one before.  His mechanized units were deployed on a dusty plain of ruins and rock piles.  In the distance, through the haze came the enemy. Howling, moaning, shrieking, all of the sounds of the enemy.  As soon as the figures materialized in the hazy dust his armored vehicles - Demolisher Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Artillery - began firing.  The noise was constant and reports flooded to his command vehicle of...zombies...

Maelstrom Mission #2 - 1650 Points

Tszeentch Lord of Change (warlord)
5 Fiends
1 Herald on a Steed

The forces of Khorne -
Khorne Lord on Juggernought with an Axe of Khorne
10 Flesh Hounds of Khorne

The Forces of Nurgle -
Herald with Grimoire
20 Plague Bearers
10 Plague Bearers
10 Plague Bearers

1st Company, 555th Regiment, Cadia (CAD)
Company Command Squad 5551HQ
Commander, Plasma pistol, power sword
Officer of the Fleet
Master of the Ordnance
Veterans, 4, 2 FL
Chimera, Multilaser, HB, PMHS

Veteran Squad 55511
Grenadiers, 10, 2 MG
Chimera, Multilaser, HB, PMHS

Veteran Squad 55512
Grenadiers, 10, 2 MG
Chimera, Multilaser, HB, PMHS

Veteran Squad 55513
Grenadiers, 10, 2 PG
Chimera, Multilaser, HB, PMHS

Veteran Squad 55514
Grenadiers, 10, 2 PG
Chimera, Multilaser, HB, PMHS

Sentinel "Crackers"
Armored, autocannon

Tempestus Scions
Scions, 10, GL

Demolisher "Daisy"
HB hull and Sponsons

Demolisher "Doris"
HB hull and Sponsons


Deployment and Thoughts
This was to be my last game for 2015!

The game was put together on the fly - and we only had a bit less than 2 hours to try to get the game in.  My opponent had no real idea what he'd be playing against, and I had no idea whether he had any shooting weapons or spells that could act as shooting weapons.  He had to spend time getting his list final and spells rolled.

The mission gives you new maelstrom cards each turn based on the number of objectives you control. The objectives were spread pretty wide. My opponent won to choose deployment edge and won to deploy first and go first.  I was using the Cadian tactical cards and warlord trait (this card game the warlord a single artillery barrage card just like the Master of the Ordnance). My opponent's warlord trait was a one-time force me to discard a tactical card pull.  

Without any real knowledge of my opponent's army (which was modeled /converted and themed to look like a big un-dead shambling zombie horde) or the impact of his available 9+ warp charges, I decided to deploy with all infantry mounted.  Overall, being mounted seemed safe.

My opponent's forces were deployed with his largest mob of plague bearers in the center, Khorne dogs and jugger lord to the left.  Overall, I put a single veteran squad to my left, and then concentrated on my right and center.  I wanted to stay as far as possible from the dogs (but threw them the single unit as a speed bump).

As soon would be seen, killing the un-dead and demon infested filth of this opposing force would be difficult.

Here we are at deployment...the "un-dead" horde already is sitting on two objectives (white discs).  I have one.  It was a good mix of 5+ cover, 4+ ruins.

The Game
Here you can see his "converted"/"counts-as" army - these un-dead ogres would be the fiends.  Some stuff still has painting and converting in process.  Overall...this list is resilient.

Shamblers and two heralds moving through the grasses toward the Shrine of the Golden Flower

In turn 1 - the Lord of Change flew off to the far left.  The dogs all moved forward.  The dogs scored a point for the objective.

Cadian Turn 1.  Moved forward to grab objective 2 on the right.  I put a lot of firepower onto the fiends taking out 4, the larger plague bearer mob taking out 6.  But the undead would continue to move forward! I had planned to shoot up the dogs - but he'd given them essentially a 2+/4+ save through his sorcery.  The fiends and bearers were the next best targets - although he'd also boosted their saves! At this moment, Squad 55512 should have also rushed forward to grab objective 3 in front of the dogs - I would have not scored it - but could have kept the Un-Dead from drawing a card for controlling it!

Just a view on the left flank, where things were going to get real - at this point, Squad 55514 should have fled back to the far corner - but...they stayed where they were to support other attacks.

Somehow I'd forgetten to take photos in Turn 2...and forgot to get the Scions in from reserves.  On the left, the Dogs and Jugger Lord surrounded Squad 55514's Chimera, and assaulted.  The vehicle was wrecked, and then with no place to emergency disembark, the squad was eliminated.  First blood to the Undead.  He also got points for the assault and some objectives, so at the end of 2 the score was 4 to 1.  During my turn, he used his warlord ability to make me discard a scoreable card!  Return fire focused on the dogs and on the Bearers, and maybe half were eliminated. In this shot the Undead are just beginning their turn 3 movement.  

See what I mean? This is after my following turn - many of the dogs are now dead...two are wounded...

Here in Turn 3 he tries it again - the plague bearers have touch of rust or whatnot - but they FAIL! On my turn - I tank shock forward 6-inches and spin the tank around.

Here we are at the end.  In Turn 3, he also charged forward to attack squad 55513's Chimera, but I had room to dismount.  Dorris the Demolisher was exploded by the Lord of Change.  I moved forward to have Crackers assault the remaining Jugger Lord and dog - losing one hull point in the process, but hopefully tying it up.  Squad 55511 had moved into his deployment zone - and I was still in control of 3 objectives and a 4th was within reach.  My opponent's units were greatly thinned - but not a single one was entirely eliminated!   The Lord of Change was wound to boot! My unpainted Scions were sitting in the opponent's backfield, ready to grab objective 6.  At this moment, I felt the game was in my favor to ultimately prevail!

And then...the game had to be called.  We could only play 3 full turns before we had to pack up and leave the store due to an early closing time.  At that point, I probably had the larger army, and more mobility BUT my opponent was yet to truly lose a single unit.  The core was 7 to 2....I'd been card locked!  My second point was for linebreaker, as was his 7th.

So it was registered as a loss...but I think I got enough here to revise the list with for the next game (this result and the comments people left for me at B&C)...

Good luck in your gaming in 2016!