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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Last battle of 1.0

  I rushed home from my day off work (yes, I'm one of those people who willingly goes into work on their day off) to play a game with the wife after she got off.  I spent my weeknights after work building the rest of the Stormcast and getting ready to play against her unbeatable undead army and we planned on getting this one in before the new edition of Age of Sigmar hit.  And it was a fun game!

  We played the mission "Knife to the Heart" from the GHB 2017, which meant we played diagonal deployment with one objective marker in each deployment zone.  We each took a 2,000 point army and set up the battlefield using some of her new terrain from the mausoleum set.

The battlefield.  She was very happy to place down her newly-built terrain because... undead.  
  Her force consisted of a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon, a Vampire, a Mourngul (Forgeworld, thanks Redmon!), 2 Harbingers, 20 Skeletons, 2 units of 10 Skeletons, 2 units of 10 Grave Guard (which never even saw the battlefield), and 10 Hexwraiths.  Ouch!

Her army, including gravestone markers...
   Meanwhile, I took Vandus Hammerhand, a Celestant-Prime, a Knight-Venator, a Lord-Relictor, 2 units of Liberators, 2 units of Judicators, 2 units of Retributors, and a unit of Prosecutors.  My plan was to keep the Celestant-Prime in reserves to charge his hammer and bring him in later when he was needed most. 

My army, in all its gold and grey glory!
   Deployment was simple.  We each set up in our corners, with a unit of Judicators guarding my objective and a unit of 10 skeletons guarding hers.  Otherwise, we put our powerful stuff in the middle to face off against each other.  Since she finished deploying first, she got to choose who took first turn and she (wisely) turned that over to me.  Time to get our battle on!

Deployment
  My first turn started with Vandus Hammerhand moving up to take the heroic point atop the hill and the rest of the army fanning out to tray to pincer her force.  Some shooting and lightning breath saw me take down six skellies and wound the Vampire, only for her to raise five of the skeletons back in her turn.  Rather uneventful and unimpressive.  In the meantime, she rushed up and set to charge Vandus atop the hill, but failed.  Woohoo!  But her Harbingers were able to charge my Knight-Venator and kill him quickly.  What she didn't know was that it was a trap to lure them in for my Paladins to take them out...

End Turn 1
  I won the roll-off to take the second turn (thank Sigmar!), so charged a unit of Liberators and the Prosecutors into her Hexwraiths and Vandus plus some Liberators into the Mourngul.  In my turn, the forces of undeath waxed so many models that I even failed a ton of Battleshock tests and lost  the Prosecutors, most of the Liberators from two units and a whole unit against the Harbingers.  Ouch!  Her turn saw her charge the Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon into the stronger unit of Retributors, and bring the Skeletons and Vampire against Vandus and his Liberator support.  It took much more than I wanted, but the Harbingers were finally killed while the Mourngul healed up all his wounds and commenced to finishing off the rest of my basic warriors.  I was not liking this at all.

End Turn 2
  She won the die roll to get the first turn and I knew this was going to be bad.  Her Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon finished off the Retributors he was facing while the Vampire, Mourngul, and even some skeleton spearmen finished of Vandus.  And to add insult to injury, the Hexwraiths continued to destroy their way to holding the flank.  It was time to spring my trap- I brought in the Celestant-Prime behind the undead's guarding unit and tried to rush my surviving Retributors to support.  I also positioned the Judicators so that they would all be able to shoot at the Vampire Lord and give the powerful Starsoul-mace wielding Paladins the opportunity to banish the dragon-rider, which they did!  Now we were getting somewhere.  With the mighty swing of Ghal-Maraz, the Skeletons guarding her objective were instantly cleared and I was able to distract her from winning the game.  It may have taken some work, but now I wasn't feeling like the battle was going to be a loss. 

End Turn 3
  I won the roll-off for the fourth turn and I moved so that I could hopefully get everything into place.  Some more shooting and maneuvering was all I could do to try to pull this battle out.  My wife responded by completely abandoning any effort to take my objective so that she could defend hers and moved her Mourngul and Hexwraiths to come after my attack.  Luckily, everything was still out of charge range and all she could do was toss some Mystic Bolt magic at the Prime.  It hurt, but I was still alive. 

End Turn 4
   There was still hope and we had made it to the last turn of the game.  If everything went in my favor, I might be able to steal victory from the bone-jaws of defeat.  And it all started with the roll-off for first turn.  She won it.  Uh oh...  Her Mourngul and Hexwraiths charged the Celestant-Prime and fought a hard battle that saw the Mourngul get smashed to death by the mighty hammer of Sigmar.  But, of course, the Hexwraiths overwhelmed him and took him down.  While demoralizing, it was obvious that neither of us would win the game at this rate.  My turn saw me do little more than stand around looking golden and glorious. 

End Game
  I have to give my wife credit as she felt so bad for beating me that she stopped healing her units and chose not to bring in her extra Skeletons or any of the Grave Guard.  Even with all that, she still was able to destroy the vast majority of my army and keep me from stealing victory from her despite not having a plan other than winning.  It was sad.  But I thank my wife for being willing to almost lose just to make me feel better. 

  This now means that my wife's undead army didn't lose a single game in the first edition of Age of Sigmar.  I'm not sure what I can do as my son can't beat her with any of the Chaos armies we own and I can't beat her with the blessings of lightning-forged warriors of Sigmar himself.  And now she wants Nighthaunt?  Oh man...

  It's going to be very interesting to see how the second edition of the game treats each of our armies and what we might be able to do to even out the battles again.  But we really enjoy AoS and look forward to it next week.  Hopefully my 70-hour work-weeks won't keep me from enjoying this high fantasy!


  Let me know how your games of AoS have been treating you and what you think of the 2nd edition.  Otherwise, Happy Gaming!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Small battles against big bugs

  Summer just started for the kids (as we know, non-wealthy adults don't get that 'summer' thing) and it was time for another throw-down.  This time, I didn't want to waste an entire day playing, so we decided to stick to just a 1,000 point game.  That also allows me to set up a smaller table and not have to clutter the already shrinking hobby room.  I forgot how fun smaller games were for a bit there. 

  I should also note that I was going to use the Open War cards that I finally decided to pick up.  But the cards aren't made for smaller battles and battlefields, so we agreed to just do the standard "Kill and 12" mission.  After all, the only true goal is to push around our dolls and roll some dice, right?

  The battlefield was simple.  I added a couple of hills and tree bases because it makes sense that Imperial forces would try to catch the enemy before they get into the heart of the cities.  Otherwise, it was a densely-packed table with plenty of line-of-sight blockages all over the place. 

The battlefield

  I chose to play the Imperial Guard, er, I mean Astra Militarum for this one.  My Ultramarines haven't been performing great and they needed some rest, so I relieved them and brought in the big guns.  My force consisted of a Company Commander, Platoon Commander, Primaris Psyker, three Infantry Squads rocking flamers and riding in Chimeras (the heavy stubbers aren't modeled, but I took them), an autocannon Heavy Weapon Squad, a Hellhound, a stock Leman Russ, and a Basalisk.  It was meant to be a cross-section of the IG's arsenal while not being particularly spammy or cheezy. 

Sound Off!

  I was worried about the force that my son decided to take.  It didn't really seem all that powerful to me and simply lacked the numbers that could stand up to my many flamers.  He took Old One Eye, a Broodlord, two Thornback Carnifexes, 2 smaller units of Genestealers, a unit of Warriors, and a unit of Hive Guard.  There was some speed, some monstrous tough-guys, and some pretty decent shooting considering that I'm wearing nothing but flak armor. 

Chitin and Claws!

    I won the roll-off for deployment and focused my vehicles behind the buildings (especially hiding the Basalisk) and the Armored Fist units (the infantry riding in their Chimeras) on the nature side.  He deployed the Carnifexes in the city, hid his Hive Guard (I hate those things so much), and put his mobs of 'stealers on the nature side as well.  We did the roll-off for first turn and, of course, I got it by having the fewest drops. 

Deployment and Game On!

  The first turn saw the very little actually happening.  I ran the command Chimera towards the center of the line, planning on being the 'countercharge' unit and charged the Hellhound foward.  My shooting phase saw me plink down a couple of Genestealers and, using my tanks and artillery, putting some wounds onto Old One Eye.  After all, I didn't want him to get too close.  In return, the Genestealers and their Broodlord attacked the Hellhound and damaged it pretty hard, but didn't kill it.  Everything else, of the larger variety, just began their implacable advance towards me.  Using his Hive Guard and a well-timed strategem, he took out my Heavy Weapons squad and earned First Blood.  I really hate those guys. 

End Turn 1

  The second turn saw me move up with my Armored Fist section and disembark a unit or two to lay down some flame on the surviving Genestealers.  I chose not to retreat with my Hellhound, hoping he would kill it off and I would explode in his lines.  A bit more big guns focusined on Old One Eye saw me able to finish him off and earn the Slay the Warlord.  Battle Cannons are so good!  The Genestealers almost finished off the Hellhound, falling just one wound short of finishing it off. 
One more wound.  Really?
  Seeing my tactic and understanding the suicidal nature of the crew of the Hellhound, he retreated far enough way that it didn't matter.  The Tyranids continued their advance through the city and opened fire with their guns, finishing off the Hellhound and putting some damage into one of my Chimeras.    Sure enough, the Hellhound exploded and managed to take a couple of Genestealers down, but nothing near what we were hoping.  The Broodlord and remaining Warrior charged the other Chimera holding the flank and wounded it pretty well.  But by the time the smoke cleared, it looked as though the Imperial Guard had eliminated the little threats. 
 
End Turn 2 

  Turn 3 was bad for the Imperium of Man.  The remaining two Carnifexes were now in range to charge through the ruins into my tanks and the Broodlord was busy chomping his way through a transport.  The Chimera retreated so that the Infantry Squad could unleash lasgun fire into them, but this is where my son remembered his rules.  The Warrior was closer and behind a bunch of rocks and couldn't be seen, so my troops were too skittish to shoot at the monster in front of them.  The transport had retreated, so it couldn't shoot at all.  That meant that the flank was completely wasted.  Only the targeting of the Basalisk would help, only it failed to wound the Warrior.  The Psyker got out of his transport and started making his way toward the tank line to support and the two Chimeras chose to start up the middle and put some wounds on at least one of thes Carnifexes.  It didn't work.  The helpful gaze of the Emperor was definitely not on us.  Meanwhile, the Tyranids simply continued their implacable advance and peppered shooting- shooting my retreated Chimera to bits and finally charging both Carnifexes into my Leman Russ .  His Hive Guard even shot a whole squad off the table (did I mention I hate those things?).  Funny enough, my son's tactics again paid off as the first monster to charge was behind a building and unable to be seen, so I couldn't fire overwatch with my big tank.  The other simply sauntered in unworried.  It was a bad turn for me and a great one for my son's Tyranids.  

End Turn 3

  In desperation, my next turn started with the Infantry Squad moving up into a position to finish off the Warrior and Broodlord, a Chimera aiming to help, and the other Chimera dashing across the battlefield to try to stop those Hive Guard.  The Basalisk finished off the Warrior, splattering it all over his Broodlord and distracting him long enough take some fire from multiple directions.  Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to finish him off.  The Carnifexes were slowly beating the Leman Russ, but at least it was shielding the artillery from harm for the time being.  The Psyker climbed into the ruins and began the Smite-storm, at least hurting the injured monster a little more.  But the 'nids weren't done just yet.  The Broodlord charged and wiped out the squad that shot at him and the Hive Guard peppered the incoming Chimera even more, slowing it down as the tracks were shredded.  And the Carnifexes just continued to beat on the Leman Russ. 


End Turn 4

  Still the IG fought on.  The Company Commander set up to charge the Broodlord but watched as it was obliterated with multi-laser fire from the Chimera (whew!) and the Leman Russ continued to hold out.  The Tyranids were down to few models but they were all making a dent as he continued to beat on the heavy tank and spread Hive Guard ammo onto transports all over.  At this point, we had to roll to see if the game continued.  With some amount of suspense and the Guard's victory in had currently, the die stopped on a six and the game continued.  Nooooo!

End Turn 5

  The next unwanted turn was as bad as the 3rd.  The damaged Chimera couldn't get much closer, so the last Infantry squad hopped out and started beating feet to the remaining Hive Guard as the transport moved closer to support.  They were able to kill one of the last two and charged into combat with bayonets fixed, but couldn't quite finish him off.  Unfortunately, the Leman Russ finally succumbed to the massive talons of the Carnifexes and the Basalisk was now unprotected.  Even with the Psyker tossing Smite in their direction, it wasn't enough to kill one and the end was certainly near.  With the 'nids doing all the damage they could in their turn, it came to another roll.  The Imperium really needed this one as the game was tied.  But the die fell on another six and the game continued. 

End Turn 6

  The final turn saw the Guardsmen finally kill the last of the Hive Guard (moral victory!), but also saw the Carnifex killing the Basalisk.  While there was nothing left of the xenos but two Carnifexes, it was still a defeat for the Imperial Guard, er, Astra Militarum.  With the secondary objectives and kill points counted, it was a victory for the Tyranids, 9-7. 

End Game

  It was a great game.  Were it not for the random game length, the Imperium could have pulled this one out.  But the Tyranids were not to be denied their chance to cause havoc and they certainly did.  What I was most happy about was that my son is actually using tactics now.  He still missed some rules like the rerolling for the monstrous scything talons, but his use of line-of-sight blocking terrain and order of charges is really making my goal of dominating him difficult.  Stupid learning.  

  As I write this, my wife and son are playing Age of Sigmar and her Legion of Nagash is dominating Nurgle.  I don't remember the last time she lost a battle since that darn army book came out.  Maybe I need to dust off my Ironjaws and see how well she does against them...

  Until next time, Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My Choppa is bigger than your Axe!

  We were itching for some gaming over the holiday weekend and decided to get some going.  First, the wife's unbeatable Legion of Nagash destroyed my son's Slaves to Darkness, which led him to revamping his army and challenging me to a game.  The cool part is that I had just finished painting up my Warchanter (only 17 months after I got them- I'm fast!) and I was excited to put down the greenskins to kill some Bloodletters.  We only played 1500 points because, well, I only have 1500 points of Ironjaws.

  We chose to play the Scorched Earth scenario from the GH 2017- there are 6 objective markers, placed in each 'quarter' of the table (there are 6 quarters on a 4'x6' board), each worth 1 point to the player that controls them at the end of their turn.  A player can also destroy an objective in their enemy's deployment zone and gain d3 points, but we didn't take advantage of that in this game.  The battlefield itself was set up as a 'basic' one with trees, hills, and even an Orc fort and Herdstone to mix it up.  I miss the old fantasy setups and figured to go 'old school' with this one...

The battlefield

Blood for the Blood God!
  We each laid out our forces and the Khorne army actually seemed a bit scary.  Including a Mighty Lord of Khorne, a Bloodsecrator, a Bloodstoker, an Aspiring Deathbringer with Impaling Spear, a couple of units of Blood Warriors, some Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and Skullcrushers, I realized that this force had a lot of choppiness to it.  Add in a Khorgorath and a Soulgrinder and I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me.  He made the Aspiring Deathbringer the general and gave him the Crimson Plate artifact.





Gork! Mork! Gork! Mork!
  My army consisted of a Megaboss riding the Mawcrusher (which I had just built), a Megaboss, the painted Warchanter, a Warcaster, 2 units of Brutes, a unit of 'Ardboyz, and a unit of Gore Gruntas.  I realized that I was severely outnumbered in both characters and dudes.  But I had a Mawcrusher, so...  He was my general and I gave him the Destroyer artifact so both his axes were damage 2 (I built this model as the big bad character but will use him like this to represent the 'basic' version until I get more greenskins).






  Setup was pretty simple.  He set his forces in a bloodthirsty line across the table and set the two big models right in the middle.  That meant that he was going to be able to challenge me in every direction.  So I went with a bit of a 'refused flank' deployment, placing everything to the left except the Gruntas and Warcaster.  This was to keep him distracted and create a hammer to smash at least half the force up front.  And with no shooting to speak of, I had to make sure that I could have the power once I got there.
Setup.  Notice the objective markers in white and red...
   The Ironjaws won the roll-off for first turn and I easily gave it to the Bloodbound.  Here's where Khorne's mighty plan started to crumble.  The Soulgrinder charged up as fast as it could, followed closely by the Khorgorath.  The rest of the army advanced a bit.  But this was all about that Soulgrinder.  It unleashed its hellish shooting atacks and immediately killed off four of the 'Ardboyz and I knew what my first target had to be.  He finished his turn with 2 points  In my turn, I cunningly (with inspiration from Mork, of course) slid my Gruntas away from the advancing Bloodcrushers while setting a trap.  The Brutes in the middle slowly advanced, waiting to see where they were going to unleash their Gork-driven madness.  Everything else (the other Brutes, the 'chanter, and the 'caster) all stayed and held their objectives.  Then the chopping began.  First, the Mawcrusher charged the Soulgrinder and were supported by the 'Ardboyz.  With all their combined attacks, they took down the Soulgrinder with roars of war while the Mawcrusher took a bit of damage.  When the smoke cleared, the Orks had claimed the fourth objective, giving me 4 points.
Turn 1- Bloodbound 2, Ironjaws 4
   The roll-off for the second turn was won by the Bloodbound and they denied the Orks their back-to-back turns.  They moved the Khorgorath in to fight the 'Ardboyz, a unit of Blood Warriors to try to slow down the Mawcrusher, and the other Blood Warriors down to plug the gap on the other side of the Ork fort.  Meanwhile, the Bloodcrushers moved up to hopefully get in charge range of some casters or boars, but failed to make any charges.  After seeing the Khorgorath get smashed into the ground by the Mawcrusher and losing a couple of Blood Warriors to the 'Ardboyz, the forces of the Blood God saw their hopes disappearing.  Still holding two objectives, they got 2 points.  In return, the Brutes charged around the fort and engaged the Blood Warriors, led by the Megaboss, and killed them off easily.  The Gore Gruntas charged the Bloodcrushers and killed one.  And the 'Ardboyz finished off the Bloodstoker that lost all his support.  Holding 4 objectives, the lead widened for the Ironjaws.
Turn 2- Bloodbound 4, Ironjaws 8
  Still not having lost anything significant, the Ironjaws were emboldened and won the roll-off for the third turn.  Seeing no hope of stopping the beastly boulder-like Mawcrusher and watching as the objectives were taken from them, there was little the Khorne forces could do.  A last hurrah saw some more slaughter in favor of the greenskins and the Bloodbound simply quit the battlefield.  The final score was 11-4 with nothing Khorne could do.

  The lessons learned in this battle- the Soulgrinder should not have jumped out in front so quickly.  All it did was make him a target and he was the one with the ability to hurt the Orks from range.  The deployment wasn't bad, but the forces needed to be a bit more focused on being able to hold objectives.  Most importantly, the Megaboss on Mawcrusher is cheezy!  I mean, seriously!
Hey Mom, I'm a monster!
  Now we did play another game the next day.  I used the same list but my son tweaked his army quite a bit.  We played a different scenario but I took no pictures.  I still won, but only by a score of 12-11.  The main story goes like this- The Mawcrusher charged up and flattened Valkia the Bloody, then charged and took some time to finish off a Lord on Juggernaut and some Blood Warriors.  Having been bogged down, a unit of Wrathmongers wandered over and enticed my Mawcrusher into killing himself in one round!  From that point of the game, a Chaos Giant kicked around the 'Ardboyz but was taken down through poor fighting order and the surviving forces jockeyed around the battlefield trying to get those objective points.  The last turn of the game saw the Ironjaws sneak one out with the Gruntas stealing the point held by Bloodletters now too busy fighting a Megaboss.  It was an awesome game.  However, the Choppa is still mightier than the axe...

  Great games over the weekend and it felt good to both wield the paint brush and the dice again!  Now I'm just waiting patiently for the 2.0 to drop... Until then, Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Already!?!?

  In case you've been living under a rock, it was recently announced that GW is going to release a 2nd edition of Age of Sigmar in June.  After only three years, the game will get its first real update and join the ranks of games that can't simply depend on an FAQ or two to stay stable.  Funny enough, we've seen that a game isn't as respected in the grognard circles unless there's multiple editions to fight over, so, um, congrats to AoS for joining the pantheon!

  I love Age of Sigmar and the new version of 40k.  I'm a huge fan of GW's desire to turn their games into accessible, FUN expressions of dice-man battles rather than exercises in mathematics and abstract concepts of shoot-dash-chop combat.  I see complaints all the time on the interwebs about certain parties hating these new games and claiming that they don't represent real-world battles or that certain 'immersion-creating' concepts have been ripped away, like shooting out of combat and vehicle armour facings.  They can keep their complaints.  I vehemently disagree.  When I'm playing games, I want to discuss things with my opponent and remember to take my turn rather than have to dedicate half a day to playing with miniature painted dolls.  My self-worth is not dictated by how strongly my GI Joes beat your GI Joes. 
 
  With that comes the fear that I have.  I worry that GW will start to introduce even more complicated concepts into their newer versions of the game, returning back to the ridiculous need to be Good Will Hunting and forgetting that the game is supposed to be fun, not detailed.  I used to be a huge fan of the uber-detail that came with games like Star Fleet Battles, AD&D 1st and 2nd edition, and RoboTech.  I've grown.  Let's not forget that the miniatures gaming hobby has lost many potential gamers to the more simplistic video game market because it's, well, easier to just plug the disc in and mash buttons.  Oh, and that 'immersion' argument is easy to meet since the games have, you know, graphics and cut-scenes.  I don't want complicated detail-driven games that require my undivided attention anymore, I want social tools that bring people together and allow for conversations and some competition. 

  In case you're wondering where my worries are coming from, let's look at another game that's getting its 2nd edition- X-Wing.  They're adding turret-aiming actions, bullseye firing arcs, stacking actions, and even forcing the need for an app to generate points and build squadrons.  The game was wildly successful because it was short on prep, required no additional modeling, and the rules were easy to pick up in a jiffy.  I'm not saying that X-Wing is being turned into the 32-impulse turn sequence that was my favorite Star Trek combat game, but it's definitely becoming significantly more complicated.  How much is that going to affect people wanting to play that game versus this stuff.  I'm looking forward to the new edition and my TIE Fighters being able to stand up to the rebels a bit better, but I'm also wary of just how much that game really needed new shoes...

  Age of Sigmar could not be simpler- there are four major factions that can make armies of very esoteric collections.  There are mini-factions that gain special benefits and fit a 'theme' so much better (I mean, Blood Elves as good guys?  Really?!?!).  And the rules detail all six phases of a turn on four pages.  FOUR PAGES!  Anything can hurt anything and the special rules really aren't that detailed as they are either buffs for buddies or a special rule that creates an extra opportunity to lay down some damage.  That's it!  The only way this game would be simpler is to turn it into a board game (which haters already claim it is because they're... haters). 


  So what are the rumours for the next edition?  Apparently, you won't be able to shoot out of combat anymore.  Oh no!!! Because only Stormcast, the newest elves, and the wood-guys were the only ones that could to begin with!  This makes me happy, not because I think it was 'immersion-busting', but because it gave the cursed Stormcast posterboys an advantage that the other factions couldn't take advantage of.  Apparently, the Hero Phase (I accidentally refer to it as the 'command phase' all the time) will be expanded and magic will become much more in-depth (more spells, more choices, what does that mean?).  There will be an introduction of command points, which may lead to strategems.  Otherwise, I'm not sure what all of this actually leads to.  The most important aspect to me is that the current Army Books will not be invalidated, especially considering that I just started buying them.  Talk about bad timing if that were the case!  In any case, it doesn't sound like the game is getting much more complicated.  And that's all I really care about.  It's a freakin' game.  Let's keep it THAT and not a NASA project, please. 

  It should also be noted that my wife is especially geeked about this.  Not really because of the new edition, but because her Nighthaunt are being redone for this.  She loves her ghosts and now she's getting more.  This makes me less happy for two reasons: First, she always beats me and I'm not a fan of always losing.  Second, this eliminates any rebuttal against buying Nagash.  Which will lead to me having to buy more Stormcast (yes, I actually play them, I'm not a hater) and getting that messiah-dude with wings.  Which will lead to expanding my Ironjaws to get them above 1600 points.  Which will lead me to adding Archaon and his special knights.  This new edition is going to cost me a lot more than a new rulebook...  Darn you GW!!!

  Let me know how you feel about the new edition coming so soon.  Otherwise, Happy Gaming!