Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Terrain Pics

As promised, here are a few pics of the buildings that we have been using. Unfortunately I wasn't the one who built them, so I can't give any kind of detailed build through... all I got are pics. I'll try to get Aaron to write up a how-to at some point, but it might take some convincing.

I also had another battle against Russell's Nids, who was working with another friend of ours to show her the ropes of 40k. There were 5 loot counters to control, and I placed mine poorly, resulting in an easily avoidable loss. High point of the game was definitely when Marbo charged two Tyranid warriors and stabbed them both to death in one round. I probably would have won too if he had had a chance to throw a demo charge and charge an outflanking squad of genestealers, but unfortunately they managed to hold up my infantry squad for 2 turns in close combat, giving them the charge. I need to work on my targeting priorities and better use of my melta weapons to make sure that a similar thing doesn't happen again.

That's it for now- hopefully some more pics of some of my dudes, work willing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I almost didn't have a battle on Saturday; in fact, I was actually in my car and ready to leave when Aaron drove up and honked at me. So, we rolled up a spearhead, 2 objective mission on some hilly terrain and had a go, 1.5K style. I was using my mobile infantry list and it continued to perform well- Marbo took out a genestealer brood, including taking out the last stealer in single combat. I also discovered that guardsmen can hold their own in close combat against termagaunts, pulling them off the objective for the duration of the game. We had to call it early at the end of turn 4 because I had an invitation to dinner, but we decided that turn 5 would have meant the difference between one of us winning depending on exactly how things went.

One thing I'm still not sure of with the list are the demo charges in the special weapon squads. They managed to take out a couple of gargoyles and some genestealers, but they didn't have a good enough target to really get their points worth. I'll keep running them for at least the next couple of games, but I can definitely see myself dropping at least the one in the flamer squad for another flamer.

Hopefully I'll remember to bring my xD card next time, as I had a lot of pics of the battle and some close up pics of some of the buildings we used but have no USB cable to get them off my camera. Oh well, next time...

Friday, June 26, 2009

First game of Planetstrike!

Mission: Planetstrike! (just standard, no variants)
Forces: 1k of 24th Fortunan and 1k of Craftworld Sam vs 2k of attacking Ulthwe

Sam and I went for more static defenders backed up by plenty of firepower, while the aggressor went for mech Eldar accompanied by jump troops, fully taking advantage of the 6 elites choices.

This being our very first Planetstrike game, there was plenty of looking at the rules to figure out exactly how everything worked. 1st step was defenders set up terrain and objectives, so Sam and I set up our board thusly:

We figured that between my lascannons, mortars and LRBTs and Sam's dark reapers and rangers we would want a board that had as little LOS blocking as possible, while still making our fortresses hard to take. Thus we placed them up on high positions with absolutely no area terrain anywhere to give the attackers respite. The two Imperial-style bastions were armed with 4 automated fire heavy bolters, while the Eldar tower was armed with four automated bright lances. Seeing the board, Aaron decided to attack from the board edge with the Eldar tower.

Now we moved to strategic assets. We settled on 6 points for this part. Defenders chose a Battle cannon turret for the leftmost tower, ammo stockpiles for the bottom tower (twin links weapons of one unit firing from inside) and denied drop zone, forcing Aaron to rechoose his board edge, which he switched to the opposite edge.

After choosing to come in on the opposite side, defenders deployed and the barrage began. Aaron had chosen an asset that allowed him to have 2d6+number of bastions barrages, each barrage being Str 9 AP 3 ordnance blasts. Ouch. He rolled for 12 barrages and set about taking out troops. The bottom tower was cracked open and the battle cannon was blown off of the other Imperial tower. So much for our assets... In addition the troops that we had not put in reserve were hammered repeatedly, but not to quite as devastating effect as I would have expected. The attacker focused most of his firepower on the objectives, probably a good idea.

Turn 1 saw the entire Eldar host come on the board. Aaron had chosen the Eldar specific asset allowing him to roll for his entire army at once and then choose which elements came in and which didn't, as well as allowing him to reroll deep strikes. Thanks to two autarchs he got everything in on a 2+ and deep struck warp spiders and swooping hawks right next to my exposed infantry platoon. They were slaughtered to a man by combined Eldar firepower.

On our turn 1 most of our reserves entered the board minus my lascannon Leman Russ. Unfortunately we were plagued by terrible shooting and only managed to annihilate the swooping hawks (minus the Autarch and Baharroth) and take out a single Vyper, the latter thanks to Stompy Jr.'s impeccable marksmanship.

Turn 2 saw a quick reversal of fortunes. Aaron annihilated a guardian squad, but was singularly unprepared for two LRBTs annihilating the warp spiders and taking huge chunks out of his dire avengers. It also helped that he forgot to assault with them, allowing me to target them with impunity...

We played two more turns, with each showing another marked decrease in Aaron's fighting power. I had to call the game on turn 4 as it was getting quite late, but even then I'm not sure if our forces would have won thanks to the "Attackers always win ties" rule for taking objectives, as well as the fact that any unit can claim an objective. To win we would have had to completely wipe his forces from the map, not that that would be at all out of possibility thanks to my tanks.

In all, it's a really fun expansion that lends all sorts of interesting tactical decisions to the game. Reserves become exceedingly important for both sides, as anything out in the open at any point during turn 1 is fair game for having large templates dropped on them. Automated guns aren't terribly effective but can make your opponent sweat quite a bit during the game simply due to the sheer number of them. I think the most fun thing though is allowing the defenders to set up the terrain, as it allows for tons of variation. Do you want cover that your troops can benefit from during orbital bombardment or do you want to keep the LOS clear for your heavy weapons? Do you want more bastions for interlocking areas of fire and more defensive options or should you opt for the minimum 3 to keep the number of objectives easily defended?

You also don't need to play with anymore points than in a normal game to enjoy Planetstrike, though more points and bigger boards will lead to more delicious carnage as always. The changes for required and optional units gives enough flavor on its own. For instance, the attacking team was comprised entirely of aspect warriors, something that a normal game couldn't handle very well and works hugely to the Eldar's advantage.

I hope to play another game of it on Saturday, so I'll try and post some more thoughts and feelings then.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ramshackle Reinforcements

Had a nice refreshing vacation back in upstate New York with the fam, but now I'm back in the Twin Cities and into the 40k frenzy again. First, I'd like to show you the first non-blurry pic of Marbo, thanks to my new camera!

I've also returned from home with some reinforcements. Back when I was younger I tried to get into modeling but found that lack of money, time, and rules to play with hampered my constructive spirit. Now, when I found these beautiful pieces of artillery and tanks hiding under my bed, I have one thing in mind: kitbashing!

I'm hoping that the artillery can be made into Basilisk-type pieces, the howitzer actually becoming a basilisk while the stationary piece could be used as an Earthshaker cannon or as an add-on to a Chimera to make it into a bassie. The tanks might be transformed into either more artillery or some kind of Leman Russ, probably either a standard Battle Tank or a Vanquisher based on the turrets. They may also be simply used as sources for weird turrets, which could be another conversion possibility. Either way, I'm pretty excited!

And also, you lucky people, I played a game of Planetstrike yesterday. I'll have a comprehensive battle report set up for tomorrow's post, but for right now let me just say that it is a very fun and interesting twist on normal gameplay and would make an excellent addition to the regular missions or to spice up a campaign.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two Little games

Just a short post today. Did some more work on the other squad of vets, but forgot my camera so I have no WIP pics for you. Will try to rectify that tonight. I have to say that I am loving my budget mobile Guard list. I played a 2 v 2 game yesterday, 1k pts per side that ended up being IG vs Eldar and Tau in annihilation. My ally brought along plenty of heavy artillery (2 basilisks and 3 griffons plus two vet squads with heavy weapons), while I brought a chopped down version of my 1500 list (no tanks, Marbo or special weapons squads, plus a scout sentinel).

Everything worked out perfectly in the game. My ally pounded away at the enemy while hiding behind a large rock formation and his empty chimeras while my chimeras waited for the enemy to get closer to dash out and unleash hell. Harker’s squad infiltrated into a bunker and attracted a lot of firepower, saving our tanks huge amounts of incoming ordnance. Stormies took out a hammerhead, the other melta vet squad steadily annihilated a devilfish and the Tau commander, and Al’Rahem led his platoon to great victory against some Eldar grav tanks and their autarch. And the scout sentinel assaulted and broke two infantry squads in two successive turns. Yay outflanking!

We then played a fun little 500 pts a person free-for-all game where we all raced to take the center objective. Deployment was spearhead with a first-turn night fight twist. It was a great back and forth game, as each of us had a moment of almost certain victory taken away in the next turn. Enemy IG were savaged by Eldar and Tau, which had vengeance on both through assaulting doomed Kroot and lucky rolls to blow up a war walker. I nearly obliterated the elves thanks to Marbo and some lucky grenade launcher shots but had one of my transports shot out from under me. In the end we all had squads of roughly equal victory points on the center objective so we called it a tie. If it hadn’t been so late we would’ve have gone on with random game ending, finally finishing the fight with a grand melee in the center.

I really enjoyed these two games, mostly because I'm sick of having 3k points per side on a standard battlefield and how long those games take. And the free-for-all idea was pretty amazing. I'll be posting later with

Monday, June 8, 2009

3k Nids vs Imperium, and some pics!

Before we begin the battle report, a few pics of some of my (mostly) completed models!

Here is a very blurry shot of my take on Marbo. I mostly used parts from the Catachan command sprue to put him together. The demo charge is made out of a voxcaster and the ripper pistol is a trimmed down lasgun without the stock (also from the command sprue). I’ll try to get a non-blurry pic of him up at some point, but no matter how hard I try Marbo tries to stay hidden. Hrrm…

And here is a pic of the 6 vets that are ready for the table top. I used a mix of Cadian and Catachan bits on them and so far I like the result, especially the camo on the pants. I’m still having a lot of trouble in getting skin tones that I like- right now I’m using a layer of bronzed flesh followed by a layer of elf flesh, but it’s always either too orange or too white for my liking. Any ideas?

Anyway, Battle Report!

3000 points of Tyranids vs 1500 points of IG and 1500 points of Space Marines
Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead

The Nids got first turn and chose to set up in the upper right corner, leaving us with the bottom left. The large ruin in the center of the map provided nice LOS blocking terrain, but also opened the door for the broodlord and his retinue to hide in the ruins. On their turn the nids mostly charged forwards, shaking my lascannon Russ but doing very little damage besides that. We returned fire, my dakka-Russ taking large chunks out of the Without Number swarm of gaunts and my ally’s bikes moving fast to flank in.

Second turn saw the arrival of three squads of genestealers from the right flank. One squad ran in and destroyed the battle cannon on my dakka-Russ and immobilized it while others swooped in on the marine bikes. Shooting from the ‘Fexes annihilated my melta vet squad and more bikes were laid low by shooting. On our turn my astropath helped my outflanking platoon come in on the correct side of the board… for the most part. Al’Rahem decided that it would be wiser to move to the other flank, where he was promptly devoured by more outflanking genestealers on the next turn.

Flamers plus demo charges wiped out most of the ‘stealer broods on the right flank and Marbo valiantly tried to kill gargoyles with his own charge but failed miserably. More shooting occurred, the Broodlord’s retinue was wiped out by my plasma command squad, and we moved on.

Nid return fire was getting desperate. Most of it centered on one squad of bikes, which was reduced to two fleeing members by the end of the turn. They tried to kill my command squad but were unable, leaving them to stand in the smoking ruins of their chimera staring down a massive flyrant. One brood of genestealers tried assaulting my platoon and were savagely beaten down for their efforts. Quantity is truly a quality all its own.
On our turn I employed one of my favorite maneuvers: the refused flank.

This way no more genestealers could outflank onto our right flank, as they couldn’t be placed on the board without being at least within an inch of one of my troopers. Yay Imperial Guard!

My stormtroopers deep struck in, and with the commander yelling out “Bring it DOWN!” the flyrant fell to massed plasma and meltagun fire. I also got exceedingly lucky when my lascannon Russ managed to get 2 wounds off of a wounded carnifex with 2+ armor and a cover save, allowing Marbo to finish the job with his sniper pistol.

From here the tide turned more and more into our favor, and our opponents called the game at the bottom of turn 4. I’m not sure if we would have automatically pulled off the victory, but we acceded to our opponents’ wishes.


Over all I think the army list worked out very well. I need to work on using Harker’s squad and Marbo a bit better, but I really loved the amount of mobility and firepower that I had at my disposal. Wherever there was a threat, I had a response, and where there were no threats I could dish out the pain. The SWSs in particular were amazing- demo charges are apparently worth it, especially against hordes.

That’s about all for now; I’ll work on the vets some more and include a few pics of how I do it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Making Do With Less: Making a List

So, with my last post we covered ways to get some non-vehicle mounted maneuverability and heavy firepower using the IG codex. Now's the time to build a list. This is mostly for my own edification, but you can use it as an example to see what we can do with limited vehicle options.
A disclaimer though: for the most part, to be a competitive list I believe that IG needs some vehicles. They're just too useful and bang-for-bucky to not bring. If you can find the old battleforces lying around, especially the Cadian ones, pick them up. It's a great way to get a LRBT plus some troops for really cheap.
Company Command Squad with 4 plasma guns, plasma pistol, astropath, carapace armor, chimera with heavy flamer, multilaser turret (225)
5 Stormtroopers with two meltaguns (105)
Guardsman Marbo (65)
Veteran Squad with 3 meltaguns, chimera with heavy flamer and multilaser turret (155)
Veteran Squad with 3 meltaguns, Sgt. Harker (155)
Platoon Command Squad with Cpt. Al'Rahem, two meltaguns, one plasma gun, one guardsman with lasgun (135)
Infantry squad with flamer, sergeant with power sword, commissar with power sword (110)
Infantry squad with flamer, sergeant with power sword (65)
Special Weapon Squad with two flamers, demo charge (65)
Special Weapon Squad with two meltaguns, demo charge (75)
Heavy Support
Leman Russ Battle Tank with hull lascannon (165)
Leman Russ Battle Tank with hull heavy bolter, heavy bolter sponsons (165)
Total: 1500 points (maybe a little less)
This list is designed to utilize combined firepower and should be especially effective against mechanized lists. We have 5 sources of meltaguns for dedicated anti-tank and plenty of plasmaguns for light anti-vehicle or anti-heavy infantry. Basic strategy is to go second and attempt to combine fire against whichever side the opponent is weak on. Meltaguns will pop a vehicle and then the LRBTs, plasma squads, platoon squads or Marbo will flush the former occupants into oblivion. Combined fire should easily be able to bring down MCs as well; in fact most of the squads listed could probably take down Carnifexes on their own with the proper commands. The command squad combined with Al'Rahem should ensure that my forward elements can all be order (particularly BID) enabled, adding even more delicious fun to the mix. For anti-horde we have the two battle tanks once again plus the flamers and multiple demo charges. Power swords have been given to the line squad sergeants to engage and defeat enemy MEQs on objectives, as with the commissar I should have 12 power weapon attacks on the charge.
One thing this list might be lacking is a serious counter-charge element; outflanking Genestealers might be able to wreck this list pretty easily, and I have yet to face the Greenskins' wrath. Possible choices might be some outflanking scout sentinels or their slow moving armored friends, or even just leaving the special weapon squads to their deaths after using up their demo charge.
If you don't have the tanks, we can swap them out in a couple of ways:

-replace the battle tanks with plasma cannon equipped Armored Sentinels. Two of them can through out an equivalent amount of templatey hate that trades better AP for the chance to insta-kill marines and weaker armor. This would be for those getting into the Guard who can't find the old battle forces with the LRBT inside. Alternatively one could use scout sentinels in a similar role, but I think everyone knows about my prejudice for AS' by now.

-replace the LRBTs with a second platoon with heavy weapon squads/add heavy weapon squads to our first platoon. This option is a bit squishier and is lacking in the AP department but can add some more dimension to our list through heavy weapon choices. We would probably ignore lascannons unless there are truly far too many vehicles in your area. Personal choice would be some mortar squads for long range templatey goodness or missile squads for flexibility, but it's your call.

That's it for now. I definitely see some WIP pics and kit bashing how tos in the future. For real this time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Making Do With Less, part 1: Hello Guard!

Today’s post is the first of a series that I’m going to write about making do with less with the Imperial Guard. For those of you who don’t know me (about all but 2.5 of you I would say), I work for Americorps in Minneapolis and therefore have an incredibly small budget. Thanks to a combination of cheap rent, communal housing and poor judgment (who needs to save money anyway?) I can manage to scrape together enough money to purchase Warhammer models every once in a blue moon. Now, because of this, my selection of models is fairly limited, especially given that I play Imperial Guard (a choice that many would call “bone-‘eaded” for a person on a tight budget… sooo many models….). To date I have purchased the following:

1 Old Cadian Battleforce
1 New Cadian Battleforce
1 New Catachan Battleforce (because making vets is fun!)
1 Poorly Planned but Eminently Worth It E-bay Purchase (the highlights of which are a LRBT, two armored sentinels, a metal commissar, a few flamers, voxen and grenade launchers, and plenty of guardsmen)
2 Chimeras
2 Meltagun packs and 2 Plasma gun packs (because they are so much cheaper than buying the assault weapons sprues)
1 Kasrkin box (because they were pretty)
The 40k peripherals (paint, dice, codex, etc.)

So, this leaves me in the following situation: I have plenty of infantry (unless I want to go conscripts, in which case I’m in trouble), a fair few heavy weapons and enough special weapons to make my squads WYSIWYG eventually. The real problem here is the vehicles; right now I have:

4 Sentinels (two of which are stuck in AS mode and 2 that have yet to be assembled)
2 Chimeras

This means that I have very little heavy support and even fewer transportation options, making my army much less maneuverable than I would like. I can fix these problems with proxying, but my main source for proxies is moving to Georgia at the end of June, so I need to start thinking about the future today.

I'll begin with tackling the maneuverability issue. Especially for any of my squads that have short ranged special weapons (like melta guns or plasma for rapid fire) this is a key issue. So I scoured the IG codex for some options that would enable me to use my infantry to get me closer to the enemy. Here's what I found:
  • What gets my boys close to the enemy quickly, allows them to move faster around the board, grants them protection from harm, has a heavy bolter that can be fired while moving 6", AND only costs 55 points? If you answered Sgt. Harker, you are correct! Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, Stealth and a relentless heavy bolter make him a prime candidate to lead one of my vet squads into the jaws of the enemy. Same duties as a chimera, same price... except on my wallet. A WIP of me kitbashing him will appear at some point.
  • Stormtroopers can act as melta/plasma gun delivery vehicles. Granted I tried this one before and didn't like it, but the ability to deep strike/outflank/infiltrate and take out a troublesome vehicle is one that I literally can't afford to ignore right now. A minimum sized squad with 2 meltaguns costs only 105 points, 50 points less than my triple melta mounted vet squads (say THAT 5 times fast). I might not recommend this option to anyone else as STs are expensive points and money-wise, but I have the models so I'll go for it. And since I have 10 models I might be able to make two squads out of them with some deft snipping (though the Sarge will be a problem...)
  • Al'Rahem grants a platoon the ability to outflank, placing it right in front of the enemy/on an objective. Combined with special weapon squads armed with meltaguns/demo charges, plus Al'Rahem's "Bring it down!" order and some special weapon packing bodyguards, should enable me to take out anything I need to. Once again, should be simple enough to kitbash an appropriate figure, especially with the incredibly awesome Command Squad sprues to help me.
  • Marbo can just pop up wherever he feels like and kill something dead, then go on being a nuisance/contesting objectives for the rest of the game. He's also really easy to kitbash. What's not to like?
As far as heavy support, I have fewer exciting options. Heavy weapon squads can bring the rain, but at least for now I am going to rely on special weapons spam to win the day. I have 12 melta and plasma guns and 2 heavy flamers (thank you command sprues!) as well as a surefire way to make demo charges, of which I can probably crank out 3 or 4 more.
Stay tuned for more segments of this over the coming days, and comments and criticisms are always welcome.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Punisher FAIL

I tried out the Punisher last night at the FLGS, and for once we actually had a lot of people show up! I got to play a new guy who was running a Chaos list featuring Khorne Berzerkers, a unit of Plague Marines in a land raider and a Slaaneshi demon prince with lash. Hrrm, fluff anybody?

My list was a fairly standard gunline with the highlights being 2 punishers with 3 HBs and a heavy stubber, 4 lascannon teams in my infantry squads and my standard 4 armored sentinels and 2 melta vet squads. I got pretty owned over the course of the game- I was down 2 KP at the end of turn 1 and proceeded to be wiped out by the bottom of turn 5. The Punisher failed to punish very well, mostly because of my poor placement of them (was forced to go first) and some tactical errors that I made. Two of the tanks fired into the Plague Marines one turn and only managed to kill 4 of them between them- and I realize that was a pretty miraculous turn of events, as statistically they should only kill 1 apiece!

Even when firing at Khorne berzerkers I was less than impressed- I believe that 2 died from one of my tank's firing, leaving enough to go and wreck everything around them.

So, granted that the Punisher sucks against marines and cult troops in particular... but still, I can't help but realize that the Punisher really sucks. I may try it again when I buy the new demolisher kit, but for right now I think I will stick with the good old LRBTs to carry my firepower.

I've also been underwhelmed by my line squads. Even with heavy weapons they just don't seem to do enough damage, as I generally have the problem of too many targets and not enough lascannons. They are also far too static, meaning that if I set up first I am almost always at a disadvantage, and the amount of terrain we play with also places me in the doghouse.

Having said this, here are the things that I think I need to work on:

1. Deployment. Especially if I am running a gunline, I need to have my deployment down pat. This goes for terrain and objectives as well as my boots on the ground. If I can actually focus all of my firepower instead of spreading it across the board and have some decent support in the right places I think I will do well.

2. Counter-charge. If the enemy gets close with monstrous creatures, I need a back up plan. Sentinels are fine for line troops (except maybe those with power fists), but I need some close range support to hold off nasty/fast moving MCs.

3. Mobility. I need to add more mobility to my lists. This could probably be accomplished by valks/more chimeras, but I'm in a bit of a budget slump right now and can't really afford any more models. Two tanks and two chimeras will have to do me until then.

4. Target Priority. Aiming Punisher cannons at plague marines is stupid and a waste of ammo. I should have worked harder on getting to aim at the demon prince or the obliterators that were wandering around. You can only make so many 2+ saves... This is especially important when doing kill points, as I have far too many most of the time and need to make up for it.

5. Better anti-tank. As much as I hate to say it, having 4 lascannons didn't really help my anti-tank at all in the last match. The meltas if they got into range did fine. I need to find a more efficient way to get tanks blown up so I can focus on their chewy, gooey occupants.

I'm working on a new list that will hopefully fix problems 2, 3 and 5 and make the others a bit easier to work with. Updates with that, as well as WIP pics of my veterans should be coming soon.