29 August 2014

40k: T-Minus 2 Days…

Typhus surveyed the defences around The Forge. It wasn't ideal but it would do. His role was not to stop the Orks outright, but to undermine and weaken them prior to the final assault on the mining facility. That battle would be fought by others and he was fine with that. Spreading death and disease in the name of the Great Unclean One was what he was brought in to do and he would do it well.

As the day of reckoning quickly approaches I have to say that I haven't managed to get any of my building or painting done. Decorating chores, as well as putting the finishing touches to the Aetherium kickstarer-funded box set, has meant I've had no spare time for weeks and game time is upon us already. Having said that, Bull and I have had some good banter across the blogs and it's going to be a great game on Sunday.

Our battle brother and jedi master Sean will be joining us on the day, he plays both Orks and Chaos but it's green blood that runs though his veins so he'll be stood on the opposite side of the table from me.

I believe the game is due to be played outside thanks to a very positive forecast and I hope to keep a narrative going online throughout. Yes, I'm hoping to post a series of Tweets during the game so if you want to keep up to speed with how things are going you need to be following me at @MikeRCreative on Twitter or alternatively search for the #SakarForge hashtag. Thanks to Mr Awdry for the idea!

Stay tuned for some death and destruction…

27 August 2014

40k: Dug In…

The next wave of intelligence (Orks?) reports came in and the overall picture was becoming clearer about the Chaos defences surrounding The Forge. Sketchy images on a screen revealed some heavy bunkers in place protecting the Plague Marines. Every now and again the image would flicker as if something was interfering with the feed… very strange, Zagdakka mused.

A hint of a smile passed across Typhus's face as he watched another group of these sneaky Orks scuttle back to the Warboss. He was drip feeding them intel quite readily now, keen that they should show their hand during the incursion at the Forge. His master would then have the advantage in the climactic battle to come and put an end to them once and for all.

T-minus 4 days…

25 August 2014

40k: Vengeance…

Warboss Zagdakka was receiving more detailed information about the Chaos defences all the time, ahead of the assault on the Forge. This time the information was of massive importance…

++ Defence Batteries spotted ++ Vengeance Class ++ 

++ Armaments currently unknown ++ Number of batteries undetermined ++

Zagdakka had heard of these Vengeance guns and the sheer volume of shots each could unload per cycle. He would have to be very cautious.

22 August 2014

40k Terrain: Mining Facility Inspiration

With game two of our Sakar campaign coming in a week, it won't be long until the big finale – Assault on the Mining Facility. We don't really have any terrain that would make a good mining building, to defend or capture, so I've been thinking about building one.

A couple of things to take into consideration. First of all, I have no time to do anything at the moment so it will be nothing fancy. I do have a tonne of foam card so I'm sure I could put it to good use, however, I don't want to be splashing out on anything – this terrain piece has to cost nothing!

I have been scouring the internet for some inspiration and I thought I would share it with you all. Some of these ideas are awesome but don't fit the bill, given the above constraints. Yet plenty of ideas to be had and directions to try. Enjoy.

I even found some Ork inspiration…

And for those following the Stompa chat on Bull's blog

'nuff said!

20 August 2014

40k: The Nurgle Plan…

As mentioned yesterday in the opening round of banter, the Chaos forces on Sakar Prime have called in Typhus and his Nurgle minions to defend The Forge from the Bull's Ork hordes.

But what's the plan?

As part of the mission rules the Chaos army has to take Fortifications of some description. This was always going to be the case and I learned a few lessons from our first battle in this respect. The question is how far do you go? Fortifications are great, but the cost can soon mount up and that's points you could spend on more Troops. So which is better – more Troops or solid bunkers and defence lines to protect the Troops you already have?

I would also like to convert the Fortifications I do have to make them more Nurgly but this would make them unsuitable for use (because I'm fussy) with other armies, and I'm not prepared to give GW more of my money. I need to go back to my roots and build terrain from scratch… if I had the time.

You may recall that when 6th Edition came out (September 2012) I began a Nurgle army, so I have a decent number of models I can call upon for this coming battle. No doubt the Iron Warriors would be more than happy to lend a tank or three but the Nurgle army has the option of quite a few daemonic vehicles which makes things interesting.

I'm using this game as an opportunity to spend more time finishing the units that were abandoned after our 6th Ed enthusiasm waned. It would be nice to put some finishing touches to the possessed Heldrake and Forgefiend, as well as some of the character models… such as my converted 'Dark Vengeance' Lord.

In addition, I started a unit of Nurgle bikers which would be awesome to field – Toughness 6 bikes! They are quite a time sink though so they may not make it in time for next week's battle. As much as we are defending the line again, I would like to have something fast (or survivable) that could get in behind the Orks and cause a disruption.

So, much like the last game, the plan is to spend some time on my neglected models. It wouldn't be fair to not have a surprise or two up my sleeve for game day – with the army list already decided I'm quite excited about this battle. I have to say this is possibly the one army that keeps me interested in 40k and so it would be good to expand it a little to compete with the Iron Warriors.

I'll post ongoing progress as soon as there is something to see!

19 August 2014

Chaos Call In The Wolf…

"You're callin' the Wolf? Sheeeeeet, that's all you had to say!"

The assault on Sakar Prime by the Orks was taking its toll already. The small Iron Warrior garrison overseeing the Communications Array had been swept away and now the Orks were moving on to The Forge. It was imperative that The Forge was not lost – it was too important a site for the Chaos Powers. It was time that specialist forces were brought in to deal with the Ork incursion and stall their advances.

There was only one individual who could get the job done and that was Typhus. His Nurgle forces were ideal for grinding down the enemy and this was what was required. This would give the rest of the Iron Warriors time to shore up the defences around the mining facility itself and prepare for the inevitable all-out attack there.

Typhus arrived, undetected by the Orks, and soon there was a plan in place. The greenskins would not find The Forge so easy a target. The Orky green tide would be washed away by a brown Nurgle tsunami of rot and disease.

18 August 2014

40k Mission: Forge Assault

With less than two weeks to go until the next incursion, I've been doing some research into suitable missions. The game, a week on Sunday, is the Orks assault of the Chaos citadel forge, so the standard "D3+2 objectives" missions in the rulebook weren't really going to cut it from a narrative perspective. Luckily I have a copy of the Stronghold Assault rules, so I have adapted one of those missions to fit.

Mission: Forge Assault

The Orks are in possession of the Comms Array from mission 1 and are moving on to assault the Chaos citadel forge.

++ The Orks get the option of taking an additional Heavy Support choice (that's 4 in total).
++ The Chaos forces MUST take 1-3 Fortifications.

++ Chaos forces set up first, once table edges have been decided.
++ Orks get to choose whether to go first or second.

++ Both sides get 1 Victory Point per enemy unit completely destroyed or broken.
++ Orks get an additional Victory Point per Fortification destroyed.
++ Whoever is occupying the forge machine (terrain piece placed behind Chaos lines) at the end of the game receives 3 Victory Points.

Comms Array:
++ Orks may add or subtract 1 from any Reserve Rolls for the duration of this game.
++ Chaos roll 3D6 for each Reserve Roll and Orks choose which result stands.

++ As long as they are in possession of the Forge, Chaos forces may 'resurrect' one destroyed unit on the D6 roll of 6 at the beginning of any given turn. This new unit comes on as reserves (no deep strike) and gains additional VP for the enemy if destroyed a second time. Each unit may only be resurrected once.

Random Game length.

Let the count down begin…

14 August 2014

40k: The Orks March On…

After the fall of the Communications Array, the Forge built on Sakar Prime by the Iron Warriors legion is next on the list of targets for the Orks. Whilst the composition of the defending force has not been established, satellite imagery would suggest that it is heavily fortified and there is at least one gun emplacement (of unidentified design) present.

Breaking through the outer lines should pose no problems but the Citadel Forge itself is heavily defended and where the fighting will most likely take place.

After his early triumph, will Warboss Zagdakka get the opportunity to continue the assault on behalf of the Orks, or will someone else step up to lead the Waaagh?

Similarly, are we likely to see the disgraced Warpsmith resurface to exact his revenge?

Regardless, capturing the Communications Array has had a major effect on the coming battle…

++ The Chaos forces have a much reduced coordination and as such must roll 3D6 for every Reserve roll and the opponent gets to choose which result stands.

++ Conversely, communication between the Ork elements has improved dramatically and so they may choose to add or subtract 1 to any Reserve rolls made during the game.

++ In addition, the Orks have the opportunity to catch the Forge defenders cold so automatically win the dice roll to decide who sets up first and goes first.

To be continued…

12 August 2014

The Vultures Circle The Battlefield…

As the vultures circle Sunday's scarred battlefield… what did we learn and where do we go from here? The bottom line is that the final result went in favour of the Orks, but the Iron Warriors fought tooth and nail (for the most part) and things were not certain until the very end. Let's run through the Iron Warrior army and see who the heroes were.

His original role was derailed before we'd deployed so he was at a bit of a loose end. He started the game in a Rhino with the Bezerkers. He managed to use his flamer on a unit of Boyz, killing a handful, then spent the rest of the game running back to the defensive line where he failed his final charge move. Not a good performance really for 110 points, but to be fair the fault was mostly mine due to indecision.
Rating 3/10

A late addition to the army list who ended up with the Bezerkers as well. He was popping off witchfire spells left and right, managed to kill a Meganob and a few Boyz. He killed a few more in combat. Again, he was running back to the line when he copped a rather large blast template on his head and died.
Rating 5/10

Taking 6 Khorne Bezerkers in a Rhino seems to be something of a crime in 7th edition. The fact that my little combat monsters can't actually charge into combat on the turn they exit their vehicle is a nonsense. The "Rhino Rush" was a common tactic in the old days and there were counters to it so disabling melee units in this way makes no sense. On the day my Bezerkers took the charge of a unit of Boyz and killed them all. After that their contribution petered out.
Rating 5/10

Noise Marines:
Did well defending the line against the deep striking Ork units, contributing to a lot of deaths. Was the first unit to get hit by the Warboss's retinue and was wiped out – didn't get to attack because we did the combat wrong. Had they been positioned a little better they could have contributed more.
Rating 5/10

Chaos Marines:
The idea was to have five guys with a flamer in each unit to grab objectives and toast the Orks. When Bull decided to completely ignore the objectives and just go for the Comms Dish their role changed. One unit went forward and was ultimately wasted. The other two came back to defend the dish, burning many, many Orks before they made the fatal mistake of charging into combat. The Havoc Launchers on the Rhinos were a waste, the extra combat weapons essential, but overall not a bad showing. The flamer marines were that stand out models here – very glad I sat up until midnight to build and paint them!
Rating 7/10

One guy died in the first turn without firing a shot. The rest of the time the two remaining Obliterators were marshalling the back line, burning anything they could. They should have finished off the Warboss and Painboy in the end – Bull's ability to consistently roll 5+ Feel No Pain saved their lives. Eventually, their luck ran out and the Warboss's klaw ended them both. Not a lot more they could have contributed.
Rating 8/10

Their Soulfire upgrade was a waste of points because I forgot about it! The terrain layout also meant that their line of sight was restricted, especially as one of them imobilised itself in a wood! What they did shoot at they killed for the most part, although there were some key misses in the last few turns. The imobilised Pred had the chance to kill the Warboss at the death, but managed to miss with almost all its dice.
Rating 6/10

The Defensive Line was a mixed bag – it saved the lives of a few of my troops but similarly saved a few Orks as well. Jury is still out but I have no specific complaints about it. The Tank Traps were a genius addition. Preventing the Ork vehicles from getting right up to the line proved a big success and combined with the other terrain on the table made things difficult. The 50points spent on the Quad Gun however was a complete and utter waste. It never fired a single shot all game – I need to read the rules better.
Rating 5/10

The next battle takes place at the Citadel Forge and is a 2500 point game. No date booked in yet but that doesn't mean we can't start to think about battle plans and army lists.

The one thing we learned from Sunday's game is that 7th Edition 40k is a game of three attack phases – Psychic, Shooting and Melee. The psychic phase is very random but has the potential to be quite devastating if the dice are on your side. You wouldn't want to rely on it though and I see it more as a bonus round of shooting or buffing. The Shooting phase is where it all happens and having a poor round of shooting will hurt you as much as a good round will hurt the enemy. This is the phase when it all happens and each turn revolves around this. The Melee phase is, well, rather broken to me. You can set up an initial charge – as Bull did – but if successful you can't then move into the next enemy unit, you have to sit and be shot for a turn first. My Iron Warriors were wiping out a unit a turn with their shooting so if you're facing a 'shooty' army then you've not much hope of surviving. I see melee more as a mopping up exercise, which is a shame. One of the pivotal aspects of the game is a shadow of its former self. Still, this doesn't mean you should ignore it completely.

As for the next game – will we see the Warpsmith? Not if he knows what's good for him. I don't think the Chaos commanders will be too impressed with the defence of the Comms Dish. The forge is where the Chaos forces create all their fighting machines, so it's definitely in the Ork's best interests to see it shut down. However, it's likely to be heavily defended, especially now… but who will the defenders will be?

To be continued…

11 August 2014

The Orks Crash Through To Victory…

…well, maybe not crash so much as scrape?

We'd been building up to this first 7th Edition game of 40k for a while. A 1500 point opener to get us up to speed with the new rules and get a narrative going. Bull has given the Ork side of things on his blog.

From the Iron Warrior perspective I had a bit of a problem in that the models I own are based around my tournament lists from 10 years ago. Alas the game has changed so much that most of the things I have aren't very effective these days. Bull on the other hand has a massive Ork collection so could almost choose anything from the new Ork codex, knowing he had the models somewhere.

I decided to take the Warpsmith as my HQ for the simple reason he was a character that had been developed as part of the narrative build up. The idea was that this was a communications outpost a little cut off from the rest of the chaos forces so only had a basic contingent to defend the comms dish. I was struggling to compose a list that stood the slightest chance against the Orks, so ended up building and 'painting' half a dozen flamer models the night before. I had a basic plan in mind but little did I know – because I hadn't read the minutia of rules in 7th Ed – that it was flawed before I left the house.

The basic premise was that I would take a defensive line with tank traps to ensure the Orks couldn't roll up to my doorstep in their vehicles – they'd have to get out and walk – and this proved a good decision. The flaw was that I also purchased a Quad Gun with the idea that my Warpsmith (with his superior ballistic skill) would man the gun and cause devastation. Alas what I didn't know was that the Quad Gun is primarily anti-aircraft so can only hit ground-based target on a 6 – ignoring the ballistic skill completely.

Fate would throw us another curve ball as we rolled for deployment – length ways was the result and so our carefully placed terrain created a mass of narrow fire lanes and blocked vision. I struggled to place my defensive line and my guns were struggling to see anything clearly. My plan was truly in the toilet at this point – I'd have to wing it.

Bull went first and he decided to go balls-out in the Psychic Phase, teleporting his Wierdboy and unit into my backyard. The dice gods were with him and the arrived unscathed mere inches from the Comms dish. Another zap of Psychic energy and one of my Obliterators dropped dead. There would have to be some kind of backlash – impertinent greenskin!

The reply was devastating and within minutes there was nothing left of the Wierdboy or his unit. It had distracted my guns from the approaching vehicles though.

The following turn more Orks turned up in my deployment zone, this time with jet packs.

Again, the response was devastating as they too were (almost) wiped out.

By turn 3 it was time for the Ork Waaagh, Bull's Warboss and retinue barrelled into my defensive line – that was a lot of Orks.

On my left, the Bezerkers, Sorcerer and Warpsmith (who had been taking pot shots at a large group of Boyz and a unit of Meganobz) finally saw combat. The Boyz charged in (the Meganobz ran away) but the counter-attack was devastating and the greenskins were wiped out.

The triumphant Bezerkers ran back to aid the defenders on the line, but got hit by a large blast on the way back. The sorcerer and a couple of Bezerkers died, which was very annoying. The Noise marines who had taken the initial charge were gone but the Orks were surrounded by multiple guns.

The shooting all but wiped out the Orks, only a Painboy and the Warboss remained. The Obliterators charged in to finish them off but the combat stagnated for several rounds. Then the Chaos forces made a fatal mistake.

Just like all the bad guys in every film you've ever seen, we grasped failure from the jaws of victory…

With the Warboss down a wound I decided to charge the two supporting units into the combat to 'take it over the top'. Alas, my champions have to make a challenge (most stupid rule ever) and Bull chose the Painboy to step up. He managed to kill my Champion and the Warboss finally killed the Obliterators. The rest of the Iron Warriors only managed to take a single wound off the Warboss (thanks to all his re-rolls). The following turn, the rest of the marines were killed or ran away – disaster – though the Painboy finally dropped. Had I not rushed in, the marines could have executed the Warboss and Painboy with a volume of Bolter shots once the Obliterators had died and melee combat ended.

Despite shooting every gun I had available the Warboss held onto his last wound. Now supported by a another unit of Orks (who were subsequently reduced to half strength by my Predators) he was sitting untouchable it seemed. My final roll of the dice was to get my Warpsmith into combat with the Orks to reduce their number further, but the dice gods weren't listening and he didn't make it.

Though technically I owned more of the objectives than Bull (yay Rhinos!), he had his hands on the Comms dish which had been the point of the exercise. I only had the Warpsmith, two Rhinos and two Predators left.

It was time for the Warpsmith to make a sharp exit…

07 August 2014

Visions of War…

There were disturbances in the chaos planes, Sorcerer Nidai had seen them. As the day of the Ork invasion grew closer they had become more frequent and more vivid. 

A dreamy flowing landscapes of lush verdant green. As quickly as it had appeared the image snapped into sharp focus and he saw it wasn't thriving grasslands but a host of Orks, running and bustling into each other, driven with a singular mind. As his vision-self sailed above them the Orks gradually became a deep green liquid, rolling forward like a violent sea. 

Just as it seemed the surging waters couldn't be stopped, they came crashing against a wall of iron, many miles high and as wide as the eye could see. Wave after wave ploughed into the great wall but to no avail, the obstacle stood firm, unwavering in its defence. Eventually the waters began to ebb away, and before long only lingering puddles remained… puddles of green oozing blood.

Rhythmic ripples in the puddles betrayed an approaching menace. Nidai turned quickly and saw the wall disassembling itself, ripping up a cloud of grime and filth. As the dust settled around him he saw a legion of metal soldiers of all shapes and sizes, bedecked in mechanical skull motifs. The larger ones were moving slowly towards him and before long he recognised the twisted shapes of Obliterators. The legion snapped its heels and marched forwards in splendid formation, whilst overhead missiles seemed to be screeching from the skies, down towards him, landing with a deep and powerful thud… Raptors!

The army strode on past him, in the direction of the fleeing waters – his brothers had prevailed.

Three days and counting

05 August 2014

The Orks Are Coming…

The mechatendrils weaved about Warpsmith Krosse in an agitated manner. The planetary communications array that he was overseeing was likely to be the initial target for the incoming Orks and this placed him very much in the front line.

He was not afraid of the Orks, he had killed thousands in his day. They were brutish and stupid and had no appreciation of technology. They were like hulking children, blundering their way through the galaxy with no logical thought or plan. No real threat to anyone except the infirm and incompetent.

Still, he had to make sure they didn't take out the array… or worse, capture it. The hierarchy would not appreciate any failings on his part, but he had several days to prepare and he would be ready. He was agitated at the fact that he had allowed himself to be exposed like this, away from the main battle force. There would be plenty of opportunity for glory though, and the gods would be watching.

The Iron Warrior tanks are getting ready for battle, the troops will be looked at soon. It's all starting to come together nicely in time for Sunday's opening battle!

To be continued…

03 August 2014

40k: Iron Warrior Tanks

Continuing the Iron Warriors preparation before the Sakar Campaign battles begin, I've been looking through my Iron Warrior tank collection.

It took a while to go through the various boxes, cases and hideholes to find them but I have my Iron Warrior tanks together for the first time. The years of tournaments, campaigns and large scale battles during the early 2000's racked up a decent number and now I shall reap the benefit.

Yet, time has not been kind and many of these tanks are battered and bruised. Broken spikes, loose parts or missing gargoyles – they all need some TLC.

As I mentioned previously, I had a limited number of Chaos marines so Rhino transports were never a real desire, other than as mobile terrain pieces. There were two that I took regularly to tournaments and true to form they are the twins in the Rhino collection – almost carbon copies of each other to look at. However, my first Iron Warrior Rhino was used as a Command Rhino, hence the extra time spent on the painting and the addition of a dozer blade. The tell-tale of its origin though is that it has no extra armour – an essential for tournament play back then – hence it never saw any tournament time.

The darlings of my IW tournament armies were without doubt my Predators. I could squeeze four into a list and for years they formed a very solid and intimidating backbone. The ones used almost exclusively were the Twin-Lascannon/Heavy Bolter sponson variety – of which I own four. This allowed them to deal with vehicles as well as troops and, given they were always on the move, not being able to shoot all your weapons every turn wasn't an issue.

Nowadays however, an Autocannon turret with the Heavy Bolter sponsons might be a better solution, as would the Twin-Lascannon turret with Lascannon sponsons.

I also have a Vindicator who, whilst not used much in tournaments, proves to be a solid choice in 'fun' games. It had a bit of customisation done at the time – it was a Forgeworld conversion kit as GW only did metal parts at the time which resulted in a very unbalanced model.

A prerequisite for Iron Warrior armies for many a tournament was the humble Basilisk. These were the days when IW and Orks could make use of such heavy weapons and I build a custom version especially. However, it didn't take long for GW to retract that option and now the tank resides here somewhat redundant.

The daddy of the collection though has to be my resin Forgeworld Baneblade. It has never has been a legal option for an Iron Warrior army but it was bought and converted to face Imperial walkers and Eldar flyers (in the days when only Forgeworld made such things and they were rarely seen on the battlefield) in massive fun campaign days – before the Apocalypse rules were invented. It was put together and painted in some haste but was always fun to roll onto the field of play.

It has been battered over the last decade in storage though and will need a lot of attention to bring it around. It has a serious amount of firepower and would be a worthy opponent for the likes of Bull's Ork Stompas. With a 4000pt game on the horizon it seems the perfect time for the Baneblade to make its return… or I could buy something new and plastic. The only 'legal' Lord of War choice available to Iron Warriors is the Chaos Lord of Skulls, which would be a ridiculous choice for this heavy hitting army. I could always build and convert one of the new Imperial Knights, turn it to the dark side – an exciting option but additional time and money would be an issue.

So there we have the mech side of my Iron Warriors. More soon…