Friday, October 16, 2020

War...war is eternal

I am finding the ninth edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules most enjoyable. But frankly I attribute this more to my opponent, Casey, than to the rules. I am a firm believer the players make the game not the game makes the fun. I will also give some credit to the rules that enable us to play an easy game and well enough written it doesn't devolve into a war of attrition always. Below is a collection of photos from two battles. No real order I just enjoy looking at war game photos and figure others are the same. Sorry for a lack of battle report, I just didn't have time to take notes or write one. Please enjoy my collection of photos and the feeling of the game being played. Also, should you have any feedback please feel free to do so :)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Disposition of Forces: The Tactical Squad in Warhammer

Warhammer 40,000 8th and 9th edition have done a lot for the game, its player base, and its fun level for the majority of the player base. I take all the Warhammer games for what they are; ridiculous dice fests with pretty toys and absurdly fun story to relax and enjoy. People who take the equipment depicted and fantasy politics seriously confuse me.

Do not ever, I repeat, DO NOT EVER argue with me anything about this fine model:

The Invictus Tactical Warsuit model is the epitome, NEY the POSTER CHILD of Warhammer as a hobby. An impractical work of beauty with a machine gun in a holder and a pilot behind some sweet roll bars. If you are seeking logic, please go elsewhere, as logic has been left as an orphan on the doorstep of the Schola Progenium and raised to hate the xenos and purge the heretic. But I digress...

I've been playing a lot of battles recently and one of my favorite units to use is tactical squads because I dig combined arms military tactics. I'm having a mixed bag of results with them though and their versatility may have accidentally been hamstrung to the point that there is effectively only one way to use them. 

I think of tactical squads with four applications:

1. the full squad role: Ten models that take and hold a position using their firepower to either draw the enemy, deter the enemy, or shoot at stuff because why not. I'd classify this as the least flexible of the uses of this unit and they are either going to be standing on the field at the end of turn 5 or died on their hill.

2. the combat squad dual role: Effectively splitting the squad into two roles; one focused on holding a position and one on assaulting the enemy. The heavy weapon would go with four bolt guns while the sergeant and assault weapon would aggressively move through the battlefield. 

3. the full squad with transport role: The full unit would ride onto the field in a rhino to fill gaps in the plan as needed, take objectives, complete mission actions, or even just draw the enemy away. 

4. the combat squad dual role transport role: Basically the defensive combat squad holds a position and the aggressive one mounts up to attack the enemy, the transport giving them greater speed to reach locations they are needed. 

..but I believe that now there is only number 3 in the game for best tactical results at this point in the meta. Firstborn forces are so soft, within context to their big brothers, that eliminating a combat squad is not a lot of work. The game has been moved to a very bloody meta, which is fine it isn't a criticism its an observation. But that means that your sweet 1 wound tactical marines are gonna eat it pretty quickly. Ten of them seem to have staying power and enough shooty bits that they make an impact but a five man combat squad seems to vanish the minute your enemy turns their attention to them, and their offensive power is insufficient to make a solid impact unless you are fortunate.

With something like six games under my belt in the new edition with tactical squads I can safely say my deployment will always be with rhino and will not see them broken up unless there is specific gain to it, meaning points towards winning or points towards cool such as a sergeant charging a carnifex because FUCK YEAH!. That is why I play the game after all, winning is cool, sticking a chain saw sword thing into the guts of a tank bug monster with crab claws is waaaaay cooler. 

Frankly good ole James Workshop should just sell them packaged with a rhino, I can't imagine a situation that it isn't a better options. The rhino is an affordable transport in relation to the transports for the primaris marines, both real and imaginary currency. Yeah it doesn't come festooned with guns but it comes with enough. You max out an Impulsor you get 4 guns, you max out a rhino you get 2 guns and a single shot super missile. The ratio of cost by points/power rating/DOLLARS is 3 rhinos for 2 Impulsors, it's a fair trade off no matter how you look at it. 

So the TL:DR of this article is this: the tactical squad with rhino is how it should always be configured until things change. The cost is amiable, the strategic use is superior to all other options, and the effectiveness is likely above its logistical investment. 

All this stands until like October when the firstborn get 2 wounds. 

Side Note: There is technically a number 5. above I refuse to utilize: that of filler. It is not uncommon for 5 man bolt gun wielding tactical marines to be used to fill a slot to gain more command points, and at 75 points to fill the slot it was affordable in the Astartes sense. That is not as much a thing in the new edition, but it was in 8th and it was embarrassing to see. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New Hero Quest is a kick starter and I hate that...

 Small post. 

The new Hero Quest by Avalon Hill/Hasbro (so Wizards of the Coast), is announced and it looks fantastic. They have stuck well to the original design and play style while adding updates for modern fantasy designs (which is a mixed bag for me but good in general). 


It's a kick starter, or Hasbro Pulse, which is the same. I am deeply offended by how the game production community is garbage now thanks to kick starter design being used by large companies. Small companies and independents, go, I love it for that. HASBRO does not need to be given 1 million dollars but us up front to make this game. 

Here is the link, I in no way look down on people for buying from companies in this way. I never knock the consumer. But i'm deeply disappointed that such a large company would be so cheap.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Monographs, Building Up Forces, The Pandemic Experience

If you think I am doing nothing in the midst of this responsible isolation from humanity to discourage the spread of a dangerous virus, you'd be wrong. While holding off on my fantasy battle game plans I've been adding to my collection of models, role playing on Roll20, and reading a bunch. Probably very similar to many of you.

Here are a few photos of things from my work desk that are under construction;

A mysterious knight under construction...
Mechanicus forces being based...
Skeletal hordes being raised from the dead...

My pandemic experience has resulted in a large number of models being painted. I am normally a fairly productive painter maybe producing a about a dozen models, or one large model, a month but this has been off the hook. An entire collection of Blood Angels, all kinds of daemons, model airplanes, model tanks, adeptus titanicus tiny big robots, half a dozen imperial knights...and more. 

I also write short stories off and on but I've been considering writing what is called a monograph. Specifically one about clerics and holy men in the fantasy role playing genre. I enjoy playing clerics in Dungeons and Dragons and in war games, when that is possible, which is very rarely. I love the aspects of religion and theology in a fantasy setting and I feel that clerics are fairly multi-dimensional and afford a large variety of role playing opportunities beyond the mechanics of their play. 

While I am certainly no scholar I am a competent writer and have played rpgs for 35 years. I think it would be fun to put together and essay of my thoughts and observations about this part of the hobby. Maybe referencing different rules sets and how they reflect divinity, religion, and the influence of gods. If I do I promise not to  make it a blog post but I will probably provide a link to it as a blog post. 

The use of Roll20 during this pandemic has gotten me exploring what can truly be thought of as digital miniatures and digital dungeon tiles. Dugeondraft is an alpha developed map making software aimed at the various online tools. Let me share a map with you...

...using the application I made this map for use in a role playing game but it could just as easily be printed off for use. This has me thinking how to combine indoors and outdoors action for skirmish based war gaming. 

Anyway, just wanted to share some with my blogger buddies. I take great pleasure in exposure to your hobby life so I hope mine brings you a little fun as well. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

War Continues, My Finger, Fantasy Battling...

 The battle planning is at the point that I am ready to host the game. But clearly that isn't going to happen for months so I won't post about it again until the pandemic is past and I can post some pictures of the battle and how the rules played out.

My finger is still messed up and i'm doing physical therapy for it. I have a boutineer's deformity which puts my finger in a splint and i've been dealing with this for 11 weeks now. 

But I still get some stuff done. I'm a only 12 models from having my Blood Angel's collection complete and it's a strange collection. It is mostly terminators and death company and not really good for cultivating command points but great at launching aggressive assaults which is my play style. Here are some pictures from my last battle with my xenos painting buddy Casey.

There is no story to tell this time but I will outline the mission. There were six objectives, one in my deployment, one in his, and four right down the middle between. Controlling these would give points in ratio to amount of control. Also we had some secondary objectives. He won the game at 41 points to my 36. You can score up to 100 points so neither of us was really nailing the points game. It was blood though, at the end of it all, there were 9 models left on the table and two of them were his. They were really big ones though :) .

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Phodian Rescue: A 40k Battle Report

As a step away from my battle planning I fought a battle! With the pandemic and social isolation I've been having the chance to paint some miniatures to a higher standard than normal. I'm sure you are in much the same boat. One of the things I ended up painting was a collection of Blood Angels marines that had been strangely obtained and set in the boxes of models not assembled. Within a short period of time, and quite unexpectedly, an entire collection and playable force of model soldiers were ready to take the battle field. As you look at these photos (not good ones, sorry) please don't judge my lack of basing too harshly as I have run out of materials :) Please enjoy...

The Mission: Phodia was lost but in an effort to secure valuable materials for Mephiston the captain of the first company of the Blood Angels, Captain Karlean, dropped to the surface of the planet with a strike force to locate and rescue the governor of the planet. His forces included terminator squad Alphaeus, a death company including Cassor the Damned a dreadnought that had fallen to the black rage, and a tactical squad with rhino transport to provide mobile support. His tactical decisions were based on the six possible locations of the governor and he had to spread is forces all over the city to find the governor before the Tyranids did. 

Early Battle
The city was in ruins. Orbital bombardments had blasted the structures of man into dust and rubble, an ideal hunting ground for the Tyranid war organisms. Captain Karlean's orders put Cassor the Damend and squad Eladinaeus directly into action. Cassor was to engage the war beasts that had been identified and Eladinaeus was to move to points of interest and initiate search protocols. The Tyranids were not without intent and three carnifex emerged from the sewers setting their dark eyes on Cassor who saw them as strange reflections of the Arch Traitor. In the background a Broodlord, the Beast of Phodia, and unrecognized brother of the governor, moved with his brood of genestealers to find the governor as well.  Please note the pict grabs from the servo skulls are out of chronological order. Post battle data was at best compromised and in some cases irretrievable...

Squad Eladenaeus had delivered a contingent of forces to search a possible location on the left flank. While exploring for the governor and Trygon Prime and accompanying brood of Hormagants surfaced between them and the rest of the initial search team and they were overrun. 
Cassor the Damned was unleashed into the heart of the area knowing he would serve as a great distraction to any of the hive mind's forces. Before his death he made a good showing of himself destroying three war beasts in close battle. 
A pict grab by servo skull Lambda-14-5556 as the Trygon and brood surfaced isolating combat squad Artemas (Eldinaneus) and committing them to defeat. 
Captain Karlea and Squad Alphaeus teleports into a ruined administratum structure seeking the governor. They can hear activity and auspex scans are indicating movement, unsure if friend or foe they push on. In the distance can be seen Cassor confronting war beasts of the hive mind. 
Pict grab by servo skull Rho-177-//87 captures the same scene of the Captain's arrival but from an angle showing the surfacing Trygon at the same time as the Captain and his terminators. In the connecting street the rhino transport "Furious Retribution" delivers the remainder of Eladinaeus to another possible location of the governor. The sergeant knowing he may be damning his squad mates left behind to death. 
The Beast of Phodia watches on as its Carnifexes seek to overwhelm and destroy Cassor and the Trygon and brood separate the Blood Angels' forces. 

Mid Battle
Combat squad Artemas held its ground against the overwhelming numbers of Tyranid foot troops. Eventually over come but not before Artemas himself found single handed for 3 combat rounds before succumbing to numbers. Genestealers continue to emerge from hidden lairs to support their Broodlord controller and Cassor falls even as his fellow Death Company in Squad Raphaen drops from high orbit to battle. 
Squad Raphaen drops from high orbt, black armor smoking, seeking to bring destruction to what appears to be traitor marines to them. In the distance they spot what they take to be Horus himself and redirect their actions to slay the arch traitor.
Even as Squad Raphaen is dropping from the sky Cassor the Damned is surprised by the Trygon Prime as he finishes the last of the Carnifexes. Without time to react the massive war beasts tears the dreadnought into pieces and throws Cassor's form to the ground. 
Combat Squad Artemas fights on desperately, likely giving in to the black rage as the options become bleak. 
A servo skull pict grab of Squad Raphaen descending near a brood of Genestealers they mistake for traitors. Within seconds of this photo they spot what they believe to be Horus and change tactics. 
From across the plaza this servo skull captures the image of Squad Eladinaeus reaching their position and Karlean with this men searching furious while the Trygon seeks new prey. 

End Battle
With all Death Company assets lost and the rest of the battle field firmly in Tyranid control it falls to squad Alphaeus and Eladinaeus to find the governor, and without fanfare Captain Karlean pulls him from the ruins. Squad Alphaeus forms up into a protective barrier and Karlean calls down the transport to remove the high value governor. The Beast of Phodia smells its brother though and brings all forces to slay the Blood Angels and take the governor. 
Servo skull Lambda-14-5556 captures the bloody close combat battle between Tyranid and Terminator. Barely visible beyond "Furious Retribution" is Captain Karlean fearlessly facing down the Trygon.
The final moments of Artemas as he is overwhelmed by Hormagants. His last vox transmissions indicate he had fully fallen into the black rage but would not be marked as such as he had entered the battle whole. 
The Trygon having discarded Cassor's shell communes with the Broodlord and submits to it's will. The crew of "Furious Retribution" drive the transport between the massive creature and the governor vowing they will not move. 
Artemas slain the Hormagants rush to overwhelm Squad Raphaen, attacking them from the rear as only xenos would. 

Squad Raphaen suddenly finds themselves surrounded by traitor marines with mutations, their rage becomes unchecked and their recklessness is their downfall. 

Operation Conclusion
The servo skulls in operation became overwhelmed with spores and minor hive beasts and were unable to record the end of the battle. Captain Karlean though provided a full post action report and though he did not identify his own heroics the surviving strike force members recounted in detail how he withstood the assault of the Trygon and Broodlord each separately and slew them in close combat. The governor was rescued and aspects of Squad Alphaeus was also recovered.