Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Imperial Assault – I Blame Mr Awdry!


It's been a few weeks since the last game of 40k and a new suitor has crept into view.

Imperial Assault by FFG has been on my radar since the day it was first announced 3+ years ago. I had been enamoured with X-Wing for a while so when I heard they were doing character miniatures I was over the moon ("that's no moon, it's a space station!"). I had collected lots of WotC Star Wars miniatures many years ago, and lost them (long story), so this was perfect. However, knowing it would be a complete money sink and unsure how much I would actually play the game (I don't get to play X-Wing much) I somehow managed to stay clear.

Then our good friend Mr Awdry announced that he had "accidentally" acquired Imperial Assault – not only that but the photos displayed on his website betrayed the fact that he had bought at least a couple of expansions and a host of boosters as well! He told me about how wonderful the models were and how fantastic the game was. Zombicide meets Star Wars – two of my favourite things in one game.

Mr Awdry even sent me photos of the amazing miniatures

I was starting to wobble in my hardline stance against a purchase. Then I made a fatal mistake… I downloaded the rules to read. Then I went onto the Chaos Cards website (our local store) and saw everything Imperial Assault related was cheaper there than anywhere else. I couldn't help myself. My finger slipped and before I knew it I had ordered some character boosters.


With the core box game due to arrive in the next 48 hours I picked up aforementioned boosters from the post office today and paraded them about the office desk, basking in their Star Wars goodness.

But you see it doesn't stop there – oh no!

Having just resigned myself to a new board game in the cupboard, with plenty of expansions and boosters to collect, I discovered the hype about a new game due early next year…


Star Wars: Legion is a miniature wargame, akin to 40k by what I am reading. It would appear that this is the miniatures game I have been looking for my entire life!! If I am able to field an army of Imperials with a few bounty hunters and Sith thrown in for good measure I think I may have died and gone to heaven. Rules are due online prior to release, but having seen some demos on YouTube there would appear to be a similarity with X-Wing.

That'll do me – heaven awaits!


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hobby Update – September 2017


It's been a quiet fortnight, as far as hobby is concerned. We've been away on holiday in Devon and prior to that it was all about 40k as Bull and I locked horns on the gaming table to see what our respective armies could achieve under the new rules.


Running alongside that I have taken another look at my Dark Crucible rules (yes, again!) and I have to thank Paul O'G for that. He contacted me with some interest in having a look at where things had got to, and I felt compelled to put things in order before releasing my notes to someone else. I found myself trying out new things and before I knew it had created a new iteration – combining Dark Crucible and Project Hood rules. So buoyed was I by the progress that I have been playtesting – in a constructive way this time – and things are developing nicely. More to come on that no doubt in the future.


However, when we go away on holiday I like to have something to occupy my mind and, given that Dark Crucible was in a good place, I looked to my other project – Out Of Time. I went back to basics and mapped things out in the evenings, taking on board my new found constructive process rather than random adhoc thoughts. I am pleased to say that I have really enjoyed my time putting a fresh document together. The basics are yet to be playtested, but it's certainly one I'm looking forward to. Not sure how the new Necromunda will impact my thought process for this project when it's released later this year, but it's all exciting.

I have promised myself that I will make one of these documents available for all to see at Christmas, regardless of what state it's in.


The other thing that has impacted me in the last couple of weeks is a lack of finances – in fact things are a bit grim on that front right now. I have taken the decision that words are worthless unless backed up by action, so action is what is needed. I have promised myself that I will not (cannot?) buy any more models of any kind until at least a good amount of the backlog (tbd) is either painted or sold. With that in mind I immediately set to finish building models from the Dark Imperium box set and get bolters drilled and models undercoated.


On top of this, after my fun with the Out Of Time rules, I dug out the Infinity models I had been collecting to use with these campaigns. Then I built them too! Not bad for two evenings' work. But there's a long way to go yet – that's a lot of models to paint.

I'm also looking to sell some of my other models and games, including my modern day Zombicide stuff and the Massive Darkness Kickstarter that I only just received – so if anyone is interested let me know.

More painted things to come soon!


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Trouble With Big Mechs…

Last night saw the latest game in our 40k 8th Edition education.

Once more, the might of the Dark Templar marines faced up to the hordes or Bull's Orks. I was expecting Bull to mix things up this week and had prepared a tasty surprise for him. However, to my own surprise he had almost the same list as last week, but with a few tweaks.


Gone was the Morkanaut (yeah!!!) but it was replace by a Gorkanaut (boooo!) – this turned out to be a problem for me, which I will go into a little later. The big unit of Stormboyz had been broken down into 3 smaller units, and his Wierdboy now had the Jump spell. This would mean that not only would I have 3 units of Stormboyz and a unit of Kommandos sneaking into my front porch, Bull could in effect teleport any unit of infantry he pleased to join them!

Things were going to get close and personal very quickly!!


I had taken some advice from Daniel Grundy after my last battle and employed my two close combat Scout units as buffers to make sure these Orky infiltrators couldn't get close to my main force – and it worked a treat. I held my Reivers and Inceptors in reserve, just like the last game, so that they could have a glorious entrance in a few turn's time. I had left the flame-wielding Aggressors at home – didn't want to become too reliant on them. However, expecting some mech I had brought the Hellblasters, an Assault Cannon Dred, a Plasma Cannon Dred and the king of them all… a Primaris Redemptor Dred.

Yes, that's right, I had spent three consecutive evenings trying to built this bad boy in time – it's one hell of a kit (a little over complicated and over articulated is you ask me… it was only missing some Action Man Eagle Eyes!).

He had a blistering array of weaponry, but weighing in at over 200 points I was paying a premium. Would he live up to the hype, or turn out to be another passenger from the space marine stable?


I had brought two Librarians – the cheapest HQs I could get hold of to ensure 7 Strategy Points. I camped them and a 6-man unit of Intercessors on my own Objective. I had the Hellblasters sitting is a crater with a full view of Bull's Gorkanaut and my Dred holy trinity sitting behind some woods in the centre. I had positioned my Razorback on the far right to zoom up the flank and take Bull's Objective from the Grots. This was going to be an exciting fight with plenty more lessons for sure!

Without going into tonnes of detail, it was one of our best fights yet. I opened proceedings by dropping an Orbital Bombardment into Bull's deployment zone – a sneaky manoeuvre, that hit 6 units. Alas it killed one of the Boyz and took a Wound off the Warboss. Gave Bull a scare though!


I got a good round of shooting into the nearest unit of 30 Boyz (sorry, 29 – one got obliterated from orbit!). Despite losing over half their number they were undeterred. The Orks marched on, and before I knew it I had 2 units of Stormboyz in my face and a unit of 25 Boyz had Jumped behind me. I brought on my reserves a little earlier than intended, but with a concentrated round of Shooting all the Boyz and one unit of Stormboyz were gone – I had lost 4 Scouts.


The Reivers were on fire, charging 11" twice during the gaming, taking out the Banner Boy and the Wierdboy before being mashed completely in a single melee attack from the Gorkanaut. The Hellblasters on the other hand had failed to wound the big Orky mech in multiple rounds of shooting and were down a man going into the final stages. The last of the Ork reserves appeared, making a final push for my Objective, but they faltered and were wiped out for the loss of 5 Scouts and 2 more Hellblasters.


By now I was beginning to complain about the imperious nature and abilities of the Gorkanaut for a comparative bargain basement price. I couldn't touch the thing, in shooting or melee. I decided to use my next turn as an experiment and had every available unit, regardless of weapon, shoot at the Ork giant.

I rolled a total of over 90 dice to hit this thing and took 5 wounds off it… 5!!… out of the 18 it started with!!

I then charged my Plasma Dred into it, survived the sick amount of Overwatch fire that came at me, and with Strength of 12 vs Toughness of 8 failed to wound it with 3 Hits. My Dred was killed twice over in the return attack.


However, Bull was on the ropes by now and even a gallant charge at my Warlord Librarian by his Warboss (taking 4 Wounds off my leader) wasn't enough to save the day. He had his Gorkanaut left on half wounds and his Grots untouched (and pretty much ignored all game). I had lost 9 Scouts, a Dred, 3 Hellblasters, 5 Reivers (their heroic charge into the Gorkanaut will remain a legend… just not what happened next!)



Thoughts?

After my complaining I was still struggling to devise a suitable way to take down the Gorkanaut. Some reading up revealed that (potentially) 3 shots from a Lascannon would do the trick – however, with close to 100 Orks running around I don't want to be spending points on Lascannons! Dilema indeed.


My Reivers and Inceptors are cool (though the latter got bogged down in combat, they're definitely a shooty unit). The Librarians didn't do much aside from kill the Warboss, wasting a hideous number of Psychic rolls by failing a basic target of 6.

The rest of the army was pretty solid. I'm learning that choosing the right unit to fight with in melee (after the chargers have been) can be quite key to turning the game. Choose badly and you can lose units before they've had a chance to strike back.

The big, bad Redemptor Dred was awesome. I swear he killed half of Bull's Boyz by himself. He didn't get to have a go in combat as I wasn't going toe to toe with the Mork after the other Dred dropped so easily.

Where do we go from here?










Friday, 25 August 2017

The Orks Keep Coming!


Having fought off a veritable legion of Orks in our last game of 8th Edition 40k, I turned up at Bull's this week to discover even more… and a Morkanaut!

After a two-week break we jumped back into 40k, ably supported by Bull's fantastic new gaming mat. Our game of Congo with Mr Awdry has really spoilt us and we're looking to recreate the battlefield at Awdry Towers, though we've some way to go yet. Having said that the new mat makes a world of difference and is a pleasure to roll dice upon – even if there are still a lot of 1s in there!


Despite upgrading our game to 1500 points, my army looked very much the same as last time. I had introduced some units of Scouts to try and get some extra Strategy Points and to finally try out the Snipers I've had for years. We deployed in quarters and I found myself (as usual) back in the corner babysitting an Objective. The truth is I had nothing to seriously hurt the Morkanaut, and given there was a Big Mek in there healing it of the few wounds I could inflict, I was struggling to see where a win might come from.


Again, Bull had brought his legions, with a gang of Grots to hold the Objective in his own quarter. I had also brought my 3 Inceptors to see how they might possibly pay back their expensive points cost. There would be lessons learned today!

I had taken the Raven Guard tactics, meaning Bull was 6's to hit me with shooting attacks if more that 12" away. This turned out to be crucial as the Morkanaut would hit almost nothing during the game.


As has been the form thus far, Bull dropped his Stormboyz into my front porch – although this time he waited a couple of turns to give the rest of the Orks time to catch up. He decided to charge into my frontline, which included the Aggressors, and he got to see the firepower they wield. The Stormboyz took a withering hail of fire, then failed their charge. I got to burn them again in my next turn as the initial Ork strike faltered badly.


I dropped scouts in to take the Ork Objective but knew a unit of Kommandos would likely turn up to counter… but I went ahead anyway. I shot and hacked down the Grots (despite taking a casualty to Grot shooting) but hit a wall with the Runt Herder. Then the Kommandos arrived and I was in a bit of trouble there.


Back on the front line the Orks were getting closer (or rather the Morkanaut was getting perilously close) and I decided to ignore it and throw everything I had at the 2 big units of Boyz. My scout snipers had done nothing all game (clearly not capable of hitting the 20ft metal barn door stomping towards them), so I supported them with the arrival of Reivers and Inceptors. Both made an immediate impact – the Inceptors pumped out a hideous number of shots, killing 5 Boyz in their first round of shooting despite them having 4+ invulnerable saves.


On the other side the Aggressors and Razorback leaped forward, firing into the other big unit of Boyz, before charging into combat. The Orks had endured a horrible couple of rounds of casualties from the shooting and melee of the marines. Bull was in danger of only having his Morkanaut and a few Characters left, so we called it a day and talked through the game.


Conclusions

Bull came away from this week with a book full of lessons learned. His Morkanaut was not worth the points spent – a Gorkanaut (without all the guns) would be a much better solution especially if it was full of troops and running up the board. His Boyz failed some crucial Advance and Charge rolls (some of which he could have re-rolled with hindsight) and this caused his offensive to falter.

I need to keep faith in the marines, their guns and my dice rolling. Whilst not always blistering, my dice did a decent job this game (clearly no white or green dice present!), and eventually the numbers told. I even forgot to shoot my Aggressors twice for standing still – that could have racked up in the region of 40 dice that hit automatically (nasty, nasty, nasty) and the whole reason I took them in the first place.

The scouts were quite a waste across the board, although a cheap way to get extra Strategy points that came in handy. The Reivers continue to contribute just enough at crucial times and hang around long enough to be a pain. I need to consider the prospect of mech appearing across the board from me, so there will be a change needed in this week's game!

Till next time.

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