Sunday, 10 September 2017

40K: Sons of Sanguinius vs Crimson Slaughter

Local Sam generously offered to use her Chaos force against me in a learning game of 40K 8th edition today. We had 47 power level each (about 1000 points). We played the starter scenario "Only War".

My force was: 
  • Terminator Captain
  • Terminator Squad (5) with Assault Cannon
  • Terminator Squad (5) with Assault Cannon
  • Terminator Assault Squad (5) with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shield

Chaos Force was:
  • Chaos Hero
  • Chaos Hero
  • Chosen Squad (6)
  • Bike Squad (3)
  • Raptor Squad (5)
  • Cultist Squad (10)
  • Cultist Squad (10)
  • Hellbrute
  • Rhino

The Game

Here's deployment. There are 4 objectives (the black dice), each worth a victory point each turn you hold it (to hold it you have to have more models within 3" of it than the enemy does).

I deploy only the Captain and one squad, waiting to see where the Chaos goes so I can teleport in the other two squads in reaction to them.

Sam's Chaos Cultists and her Hellbrute, with Chosen and Bikers in background.

Sam moves first and all her Chaos moves forward. All her shooting bounces off my Terminator armour, but she gains one victory point.

My turn, I decide to just try and hold the line, and teleport in my two other squads nearby.

My two Squads and the Captain shoot down one of the Cultist squads killing them all.

And my Hammer Terminators (Hammernators?) charge the bikes, and manage to wreck one of them for no loss. I gain one victory point.

 Chaos moves forward again.

 The Raptors fly across to the tower...

 ...and swoop down and attack my Captain, though he kills one with overwatch.

The Chaos gang up on my Hammernators.

First Terminator falls to the Hellbrute's multi-melta.

But my Captain kills two of the Raptors, taking one wound in return. And my Hammernators kill the remaining two bikes, also taking one wound in return. Chaos gets 2 victory points this turn.


The combat continues, my Hammernators managing to swat down all the Chosen, but then losing two of their number as the Chaos Hero's join the fray.

I realise I need to move and capture objectives, as the Chaos are capturing two per turn and I'm only getting one. I try to charge the Hellbrute but fail. It kills another two Terminators and I damage it with return fire. 


I charge another Squad in to help the Hammernators, and Sam throws her Cultists in too. But my Hammernators and squad are cut down, mainly by the Power Weapons of the Chaos Heros. My Captain kills the Hellbrute though. 


Somehow I've gone from having lots of invincible seeming Terminators to only 4 out of 16 left... Chaos have also lost heaps but they have been holding 2 or 3 objectives each turn and I've only been holding one. Oops.

My Captain manages to kill the Chaos hero, but it's not enough to turn the tide, Chaos win on 10 victory points to 6. 

Conclusion

Thanks to Sam and her Chaos for the game! In the first two turns I was almost feeling bad at how easily my Terminators seemed to be annihilating her units and thinking it would be a walkover... But then over the next three turns Terminators were falling and she was getting lots of victory points for holding objectives too. I realised it wasn't going to be so easy! Well done to Sam.  

A few things I took away:
  • Hammernators are cool with their 3+ invulnerable save and big hurty hammers. But other Terminators don't resist power weapons very well in close combat.
  • It's hard to take down vehicles with Storm Bolters and Assault Cannons.
  • Pay attention to victory conditions...!!
  • Game plays very smoothly.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Sons of Sanguinius

One of the first board games I played was Space Hulk, over twenty years ago. A classic asymmetric battle between heavily armoured humans with guns (Terminators), and lightning fast teeth and claw aliens (Genestealers) in claustrophobic ship corridors. Excellent simple rules. When GW re-released this game with superbly re-sculpted figures a few years back I picked up a copy. 

I also added a few more Terminator figures to the Space Hulk collection. I've just finished painting them up as a short diversion from painting hundreds of Napoleonics. This will let me play a big game of Space Hulk, or together with a couple of tanks I added in there's also enough for about 2000 points under the new 40K 8th edition rules. 

I haven't played 40k for well over a decade, and not really much at all since Rogue Trader 1st edition (yes I'm that old). So no idea how well an army like this would perform now. It doesn't have many units to hold objectives and so on but I figure each unit must be pretty awesome (but who knows). As to why I'd even consider giving it a go, general feedback I've heard on 8th edition 40k is that is a big improvement over previous editions (not that this would take much of course...). See this review for example, for a summary of the change in direction and philosophy 8th edition represents. Sounds like it might be worth an occasional diversion, or maybe even as a gateway drug to introduce people to other wargames.

I'm also not sure about the basing for 40k, as I see Terminators are sold with 40mm round bases these days. I bought some 40mm bases for these, but then realised I wouldn't be able to still use them for Space Hulk if I put them on those bases so that's a no-go. I think I still have Rogue Trader era Terminators on 25mm bases somewhere too. Hopefully there's no rules about bases having to be a certain size in 8th edition or else they'll just have to face off against my Genestealer Cult. 

Anyway, onwards with a few more close up pics of these models. They are certainly not painted to the standard you see some players paint their models to these days, but I'm happy with them and the way they look as a force.

The Headquarters: Librarian, Captain, and Chapter Ancient.


1st Squad with Cyclone Missile Launcher and Powerfists.


2nd Squad, Assault with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields.


3rd Squad with Assault Cannon and Chainfists.


4th Squad with Assault Cannon and Powerfists.


Extras: Flamers to replace the Assault Cannons or Cyclone if desired. Plus a Terminator with Lightning Claws, and four Teleport Homers.


And lastly the two Landraiders. Standard configuration, which I figure will give the rest of the force some long range anti-tank capability. The hatches are loose so they can be swapped around.

I know it's 40k so this is a stupid thing to say, but it's always bugged me a bit that the design seems such a poor one for an actual tank. It's a weird combination of tank destroyer and shock assault transport. An anti-tank round trap with setup of the central Heavy Bolter turret.  Side turrets with limited fields of fire like a World War One tank (though at least I didn't put them at the back where they also block the access doors like the standard setup!). You'd think humanities finest could do better really - and indeed they seem to have done so with the new 8th edition Repulsor Tank which at least has a top turret. Of course humanity is also trapped by superstition and tradition in the background, so why not stick with this World War One design. Plus I painted them bright red as well so who am I to criticise. :)  

Having painted them up though, I actually quite like the look of them.


Some rear views. Could do with some Blood Angels vehicle iconography being added, but not sure where to get them from.


These models have turrets and front doors that are designed to be moveable after the model is built. And as you pull down the assault ramp, the upper part of this also lifts up due to a clever little mechanism hidden inside the model.  Kind of neat in a big kid kind of way. 

Alright, thanks for looking! I also have a bunch of the Genestealer Cult figures to make a suitably impressive force to oppose these Terminators, but not sure when they will be done.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Epic 4K: Sautekh Necron vs Orbital Strike Tau

Another Epic Game, with a monstrous scratchbuilt spacecraft being brought to this one by my opponent! Astounding! In addition the list was an experimental one with three Mantas able to planet fall!

I was taking exactly the same list I used in the last game, as I felt I didn't use it as well as I could have previously, wasting my "tanks" and air power in particular.

Incompertus, 4000 POINTS
Necron Sautekh Legion (Developmental V1.0)
==================================================

DOOM SCYTHES [200]
2 Doom Scythe

DOOM SCYTHES [200]
2 Doom Scythe

WARRIOR PHALANX [325]
6 Sautekh Warrior unit, Necron Overlord, Tomb Spyder

WARRIOR PHALANX [250]
Necron Lord, 6 Sautekh Warrior unit, Tomb Spyder

WARRIOR PHALANX [250]
Necron Lord, 6 Sautekh Warrior unit, Tomb Spyder

IMMORTAL PHALANX [375]
Necron Lord, 6 Immortal units, Tomb Spyder, Cryptek character

IUDICIUM MANIPLE [250]
5 Doomsday Ark units

IUDICIUM MANIPLE [250]
5 Doomsday Ark units

TRIARCH MANIPLE [300]
4 Triarch Praetorian Units, Necron Lord

TRIARCH MANIPLE [300]
4 Triarch Praetorian Units, Necron Lord

SENTRY PYLON [250]
4 Sentry pylons

MONOLITH MANIPLE [250]
2 Monolith, Monolith

MONOLITH MANIPLE [250]
2 Monolith, Monolith

MONOLITH MANIPLE [250]
2 Monolith, Monolith

WARBARQUES [300]
1 Warbarque



Here's Andrew's Tau list.

Third Phase Tau, Orbital Strike Group

First Wave (deployed prior to battle)

Manta Dropship, Command Bridge (Shas'o added to Manta) [675]
Pathfinder Group, 4 Pathfinders, 2 Devilfish [200]
Kroot Kindred, Shaper, 9 Warriors [175]
Kroot Kindred, Shaper, 9 Warriors [175]

Second Wave (deployed by Planetfall)

Manta Dropship [625]
Crisis Cadre, 4 Crisis Suits, Shas'el, 2 Gun Drones [275]
Manta Dropship [625]
FW Cadre, 6 Fire Warriors, 3 Devilfish [225]

Orbital/Air Caste Support

Explorer Class Battleship (counts as Custodian) [225]
2 Tiger Shark AX-1-0s [350]
Orca Dropship [150]
2 Barracuda [150]
2 Barracuda [150]


And the Tau force with the space craft in all its glory!!



The slots on the sides are the launch bays. Despite being huge the ship is still 10x smaller scale than the Epic figures. Mantas 1/10th of the scale of the Epic scale Manta can be seen the launch bays. According to the background material these Tau Explorer class ships are 1.8km long.

Nice details in the Launch Bays!

Andrew has also made a fleet of these proxy Tau ships in Battle Fleet Gothic Scale, so we will be playing that soon.

Turn 1

Here's the setup, both of us having little on the table at the start of the game. I have my Doom Arks, Overlord and Sentry Pylons on table. Tau have the Commander's Manta, plus their Kroot and Pathfinder formations garrisoning the town.

I placed one Take and Hold objective in the town, and another near the wood on the right. Tau placed both their Take and Hold objectives on my right and I expected this would be the drop zone for the Mantas.


I teleport in a single Monolith formation on my left flank. Then, boom, the Spacecraft arrives and drops the two Mantas unexpectedly on my left flank! Given I have no War Engines on the table, the Spacecraft at least has no targets to shoot.

The first Manta on the right, blasts my Overlord's formation, killing all but one Warrior unit and the Tomb Spyder...

...which flee towards the right flank. My other on table formations double away from the oncoming Mantas.

My Monoliths and Doom Arks manage to do a couple of points of damage to one of the Mantas, and kill a Kroot or two. The other dropped Manta advances and destroys only a single Sentry Pylon, and the already on-table Manta tries unsuccessfully to wipe out my Overlord's formation.

Tau aircraft target my Monoliths, and don't do any damage but do break the formation. I don't intercept due to all the AA from the Mantas, despite being on CAP orders this turn with my Doom Scythes.


The Kroot advance and capture my Blitz objective, with the Mantas hovering menacingly nearby!

My on table forces redeployed to the right flank this turn. All my formations rally.

Centre of the board.

Turn 2

With my Blitz already in enemy hands I decide to do the same to the Tau. Remaining Monoliths and Warbarque teleport in, each formation taking a blast marker as they do so. 

I win Strategy Roll, and my Warbarque crossfires the Commander's Manta causing a damage and 3 blast markers.

Then my Overlord formation (just a Tomb Spyder left), Marshall and move to the woods and recover all but one unit due to their Necron ability! Important to keep my Commander alive!


The Commander's Manta thinks the same thing and retreats to the centre of the town, firing ineffectively at some Monoliths. Tau Tiger Sharks kill a monolith on my left, and then the remaining two are destroyed by the next Manta and Crisis Suits.

Monoliths advance into the town and a Necron Warrior formation eliminates the Kroot here with a firefight, after they had been suppressed by Doom Arks. I take three casualties in the process though.

My Triarch Praetorians then jump forward from the Monolith Portals and wipe out the Pathfinders.

Another Manta then wipes out my Warrior formation with the assistance of air support this turn.

My Immortals and another Warrior formation manage to firefight and break the Commander's Manta, dropping it to a single damage remaining, and destroying it's deflector shield! It falls back next to its neighbour behind a wood. I try a Doom Scythe ground attack run against it, but both of them are shot down by the AA on the nearby Manta! (2/4 dice hit needing 6's and I failed both 4+ saves).

I jump forward my other Triarch Praetorians ready to assault next turn and to make it harder for the enemy to rally by being within 30cm of them.

A look at the table end of turn 2. (The Spacecraft is gone of course, just left there because it looks cool, and because well it's got to go somewhere!). 

The Kroot that were holding my Blitz have moved towards my right flank, but then been targeted by my other Doom Scythes. These Doom Scythes are protected from air attack by my Sentry Pylons. Fire Warriors dismounted from a Manta now hold my Blitz.

 Sadly for me the Commander's Manta rallies, but it is not looking healthy!



Turn 3

Tau win Strategy Roll and the Commander's Manta blasts and destroys the Triarch Praetorians in front of it. Then a double one on trying to reroll activation for another Manta resigns it to some ineffective long range shots at Immortals, killing only one unit.

My remaining Triarch Prateorians engage and destroy the last Kroot formation for no losses.

And then my Doom Scythes attack! One is shot down by the hail of AA fire...

...but the last survivor of the Doom Scythes destroys the Commander's Manta giving me Break Their Spirit Victory Condition!  

The Tau get their revenge though, hunting down my (not so) Immortals with remaining Manta and  their air force and eliminating them all, giving the Tau "Break Their Spirit" victory condition too!

The Fire Warriors holding my own Blitz are one blast marker off breaking after I throw most of my firepower at them, and my Overlord's formation is driven back broken by Tiger Sharks after it tries to contest.

Crisis Warriors perform in mediocre fashion as they usually do, managing to kill a single Necron Warrior. 

And then, it has come down to my last two activations, with an Orca Drop Ship desperately trying to contest the Tau Blitz and stop me taking it.  In a moment that breaks Necron hearts everywhere (if they had hearts) I do the dumbest move in history. I portal in my remaining Warrior formation and ASSAULT the Drop Ship.

The odds are substantially in my favour, but the unexpected happens and the Orca wins! (Surviving 5 hits at 4+ to save, including the firefight support from two Monoliths).  This means I have to rely on my other Monoliths doubling in and successfully damaging the Orca, which they fail to do!

The truly terrible consequences of that action are revealed. I fail to take the Blitz, and am out of actions. End of turn, and I lose the game 2-1 on Victory Conditions! "Break Their Spirit" and "Blitz" to "Break Their Spirit".

The Tau were beaten! All I needed to do was SHOOT with the Warriors rather than risk a completely unnecessary assault and I would have automatically won the game with three victory conditions ("Break Their Spirit", "Blitz" and "Take and Hold") to two. But no, I had to ruin everything. What have the Necrons ever done wrong besides wanting to exterminate all life in the galaxy you may ask!? THIS!! :)




Conclusion

In spite of my ignoble end, this was indeed an interesting game with both sides dropping forces onto the board in dramatic fashion, (and a huge spacecraft overseeing everything!). I concentrated on staying away from the Mantas as much as I could, being content to nibble away at the weaker Tau units and preserving my own strength for a late game, hoping to use the Necron regeneration capacity which did at least save my Overlord. I also saved my air power and Doom Arks and only committed them in safe or important situations. Putting some suppression on as many Tau units as I could to increase command problems also helped. 

For his part, Andrew effectively targetted down several Necron formations, paying particular attention to eliminating the Tomb Spyders.  Like any list with multiple large expensive War Engines, it is a challenge to avoid the troubles of being outactivated. Given the nature of his list, in hindsight we both suspected  he probably would have been better off dropping on the predictable but hard to counter landing zone where the objectives were clumped. Also he could have put his Take and Hold objectives closer to either his or my Blitz objective to make better use of his strengths as a multiple big war engine list perhaps. Much to think about!