Gaming? Anyone?

Okay, things have not gone so well since my last post where I talked abot the Star Wars campaign thundering along.  Against my better judgement, I have let Real Life interfere with gaming and, frankly, what Real Gamer would allow that to happen, eh?

It got bad enough last week that I even had to cancel the weekly Star Wars game, simply because I had not been able to prepare the adventure that evening – which, considering it only required me reading it, is a poor show.  Still, I have set aside some time this evening and next, so hopefully we will be back in the saddle on Wednesday to uncover the next phase of the Dawn of Defiance campaign.

I did manage to get the monthly D&D game in (mostly because it was Forge of Fury, an adventure I have both run and played before, so not much preparation required).

Fresh from the Sunless Citadel, the adventurers returned home to a little celebration (they did not tell many people they were leaving in the first place – still, Nick’s Father, Silas the Baker, did bake a celebratory pie in the shape of an enourmous pie. . .).  Tally the Bard made sure everyone in the village was kept abreast of developments in the outside world (war is brewing up north, some trade tarriff problems to the west), while the players got used to being 3rd level, and bought some new equipment.  Nick, playing a rotund cleric, decided he was not going to be dodging many blows in the near future, so invested in a shiny suit of half-plate.  Angus and Andy lashed out on a couple of mules, no doubt in anticipation of a treasure trove in the next adventure, while Kat meanwhile refused to purchase any new animals after her last horse got eaten by kobolds.

They finally got round to reviewing a map that purported to lead them to a lost dwarven fortress. Asking around, they found an old veteran of the stronghold in their village (the blacksmith), who regaled them with tales of a legendary dwarven smith who made fantastic weaponry – it all went well until, a hundredyears ago, orcs hit the fortress, and hit it hard, forcing the dwarves to withdraw and scatter.  Ah, the good olddays, he mused.

Suitably armed with a description of the rune the smith stamped his weapons with, the party set off.

They found the small mountain easily enough, and managed to creep up on the orcish defenders completely unawares (which took some doing, considering that there are two mules and a clanking cleric in the party – all of whom were told to stand well back until the stealthy stuff had been done).  The orcs had sentries and a rather elaborate arrow slit trap they had adopted from the dwarves, but a combination of Angus’ (human rigue) and Sandrine’s (elven ranger) stealth managed to bypass the lot, gain entry into the fortress and hit the orc archers from behind,

Nicely done.

The farce started when they were confronted by the dwarves’ next line of defence – a rope bridge across a very deep chasm.  Sandrine was the first to make her way across.  Frankly she could have done it with her eyes closed. Then rotund cleric Nick had a go.

It didn’t go well.

At one point, Kat (human paladin) was clinging onto the bridge, upside down, gripping Nick by just one hand as he dangled over the abyss, while Angus tried to get past both of them tie a harness around Nick to enable a slightly safer passage across.

Then a couple of wandering orcs thought this would be a good time to attack.

I was faintly amazed no one died over that bridge, but they forged onwards, quickly finding the orc’s ogre chief and his wolves.  He was dealt with quite easily, but the party almost fell apart when surprised by several orcs – half the party stayed to fight, while the other half ran into the blades of another group of orcs.

Again, they survived.  Just.

The party managed to explore its way to what was once the main dwarven court, which had been rigged by an elaborate fire/napalm trap.  Angus expertly poked and prodded at the door they had assumed was trapped, while everyone stood well back (some much for friendship).  A prodding tool slipped, and fire washed over the area where Angus had been standing (lucky for him, he has Evasion, and can make saving throws – or he would have been burnt to a crisp).

Batting aside some stirges, the party descended to the next level of the fortress, a mixture of natural caverns and carved stone.  Dealing with yellow mould-covered corpses, the party managed to retrieve one of the smith’s legendary weapons, a nice two-handed sword that Kat (as a paladin) duly appropriated.  Then, somehow, the party managed to get split.

They were investiagting an immense cavern, but while Nick, Sandrine and Kat were fighting for their lives against some lizards in a pile of boulders, Andy and Angus thought it would be a good time to break through a locked iron door a little way off, bypass a trapped chamber, pass through a secret door, and explore another set of rooms.

And ran straight into a group of Duregar that were not looking for a fight – though Andy’s actions in ‘calling them out’ guaranteed one would start.

So, Andy and Angus were now outnumbered, fighting enlarged and invisible Duergar, while the rest of the party were blissflly unaware of their plight, scratching heads, wondering where they had gone.  Nick, Sand and Kat managde to find the trapped chamber but not the secret door in one of its walls.  The trap, involving false doors, statues and ruddy great big axes managed to deal a lot of damage to Kat and, by this time, Angus was already down on the floor and out for the count.

The sound of battle managed to penetrate the secret door, aiding its discovery, and the party finally reunited, getting Angus back on his feet and routing the last Duergar.

After a brief stop, the party started exploring again, happening upon more Duergar working in a forge.  BAttle quickly erupted again, and a tough fight it was.  Quite aside from the enlarge and invisibility abilities of the Duergar, they had a fairly skilled illusionist on their side.  It was this grey dwarf that gave them the most trouble, skittering around while invisible, buffing himself before letting loose a colour spray at Nick (dazzling him for a couple of rounds), but low hit points are a mae’s bane, and the party soon rallied to bring him down.

And that is where we left things for another month, about halfway through the adventure (looking forward to polishing off this one, as the campaign starts kicking into high gear after that).  The party just scraped through 4th level, and their powers are beginning to shine through.  The next session is in three weeks’ time (ish), so we should finih Forge of Fury, hit 5th level, and then see what lies eyond the party’s home town…

In other news, progress on miniatures has been pathetic, if I am honest.  I had sort of convinced myself that the small Flesh Tearers army I described in an earlier post was viable, but I still have the same bunch of Tyranids sitting on my painting table, staring at me, that have been there for three weeks now.

Oh, and there is a Traveller Open Day at the office this coming Saturday, but I’ll be running the event, not playing.  Still, if you can’t be in games, you can at least be close to them, eh?

First to Strike

Time to catch up with our regular weekly Star Wars RPG campaign, WotC’s own Dawn of Defiance.

We are fairly rocketing thorugh this campaign now, and the past two weeks have seen us start and complete another scenario – First to Strike.

The players were detailed by Master Denia to travel to a far off world called Nizon, where they were to find out more about the Sarlacc Project, and offer any assistance to the Nazreen, the alien race that had been subjected to Imperial slavery for at least a while – all reports indicated that the Empire was in the process of leaving the world.

Umm, not so much, as the players discovered when they jumped in system.  They were greeted by a Venator-class Star Destroyer and a squadron of V-Wing fighters.  Taking the helm of the Starstrider, the players’ recently upgraded transport (give me big engines, Kat had told the rest, just convert the cargo bay into massive engines!) was Nick (playing Teebo, a Duros Scoundrel).  Nick had just selected the Ace Pilot prestige class, and as they were pursued by V-Wings through a dust/meteor belt around the planet, his pilot sklls were frankly awesome, diving through the cloud and outwitting the Imperial pilots.  Upon breaking into the atmosphere, he promptly found a cave a few miles from the main city, and parked.

All was going well until Andy (Joshua, Human Elite Soldier) decided to plant a few explosives around the mouth of the cave and detonated them, trying to hide the ship further.  Unfortunately, he overcooked it a little, and the ship was nearly buried.  Deciding to deal with that later, the players rode into town on their swoops.

They quickly saw the Imperial presence was very heavy in the city, and quickly determined that the leader of a possible resistance was being held in an Imperial facility. One attack later, they broken into the compound, dealt with the Stormtroopers (armed with heavy repeating blasters and rocket launchers), and freed the prisoners.  The resistance leader made himself known and led them to a ‘safehouse.’

Here, he asked them to help overthrow the Empire on his world, offering to start a citywide riot with his people.  The riot started first thing the next morning, and the players dove in wholeheartedly (though Andy was moaning that he had left his mini-proton torpedo launcher in the ship).

Throughout the evening, they fought (and then requisitioned) a squad of AT-RTs, rescued Nazreen children from a burning building while under fire from a Stormtrooper squad, stopped a slave ship from taking off and assaulted the main Imperial control facility on the world – this involved taking on an AT-ST singlehanded. This took place in an enclosed plaza.  Upon seeing the AT-ST, both guys(Nick and Andy) promptly fled the scene, leaving the two girls (Sand and Kat) to deal with the menace for several rounds.  By the time Andy returned to help blast the thing, Kat had pretty much knackered it with her Force powers.  By the time Nick returned (from a wide flanking move, apparently), the battle was over!

That done, they had control of all communications on the planet, and switched off the navigation systems the Empire had been using to navigate the dust cloud around the world.

The climax took place at a new facility the Empire had nearly completed, a combined shield generator/anti-ship battery.  They ran into a bounty hunter who had been in pursuit of them, who tried to use information on the Sarlacc Project to pull them in, the confrontation taking place at the top of the construction site, far above the ground. Charging in, Andy and Sand tried to end the fight quickly, only to find out the bounty hunter was actually quite good, and probably capable of taking the entire group down!

Nearly ending Andy’s and Sand’s adventures there and then (after throwing a thermal detonator at the others!), the bounty hunter was finally overcome by Kat finally managing to hold him in a Force Grip while Andy used a Destiny Point to score an automatic critical hit – a good use of the point.  The bounty hunter’s accomplish tried to blast away (after suitably threatening the players) in his Cloakshape fighter, but Kat used the Force to hold the craft in place while Andy clamboured onto its exterior.

Fixing a demo charge on the fighter’s cockpit, he waved cheerfully at the pilot, who was straining the engines in an effort to get away.  Kat’s Force powers finally failed, and the craft rocketed into the sky – where, after a few seconds, it detonated, pieces slowly falling back to the planet’s surface.

Retrieving a scorched datacard, the players discovered a new lead for the Sarlacc Project – all important personnel involved are currently working on Coruscant, Imperial Centre.

Perchance this is where they will be headed this coming week?  Will they (finally) discover just what the Sarlacc Project is all about?

Blood Angels

The new Blood Angels codex arrived yesterday.  I am not one to get into the ‘flavour of the month’ for GW releases, but having done some writing in the past for the Flesh Tearers chapter, I figured I might have a look at this.

So, last night I sat down and sketched out a possible 1,500 point army – you know, just to say I had a Flesh Tearers force, and possibly one that could be built upon at a later date (and trying to ignore the fact that, along with my Dark Angels, Crimson Fists and Red Scorpions, this would be the fourth Marine chapter I currently have…).

Codex in hand, I started to work out a Flesh Tearers force.

Starting with an HQ choice, I quickly decided not to mess around.  They went to the trouble of including a Flesh Tearers character, so I might as well start with him – Gabriel Seth, Master of the Chapter (a character that was my original creation!).  I don’t normally go for the high end special characters at all (and not even the middling ones, to be honest), but this seemed the right army to do so. This led me to thinking that the force should be Gabriel’s own personal honour guard (rather than me starting yet another complete company of Marines – I have the Dark Angels for that).

I also wanted a relatively small force, so lumped in another HQ choice to burn a few points – a Reclusiarch, a kind of high chaplain.  I already had it in mind that a chaplain of some sort should lead the inevitable Death Company (gotta love the re-rolls on hits and wounds), so I gave him a jump pack for mobility and an Infernus Pistol for a bit of anti-tank duty.  I have to say, for a weapon that is close to being considered a relic, they have spread Infernus Pistols through this codex like they were sweeties!

As this was Gabriel’s personal force, I figured an Honour Guard would be suitable.  From experience, I know you can burn far too many p[oints equipping an Honour Guard, so I kept things quite tame.  They got a Blood Champion, Plasma Pistol and, because they are Gabriel’s boys, the Chapter Banner.  Then I went nuts and bought them a Land Raider Redeemer (with Storm Bolter and Multi-melta).  I did this because a) Gabriel does not have a jump pack and so needs a suitably imposing chariot to ride into battle and b) I have never had a Redeemer, so this was a good chance.  Plus the AP3 flamers will make short work of Sand’s Space Woofs and Kat’s Sisters.

By now, I have spent 775 points – a little more than half the army, and I haven’t even started on Troops yet!

Flicking to the Troops section of the army list, I got diverted by the many, many Elites choices, and scribbled down a unit of Sanguinary Guard (the guys with the winged jump packs), plus Death Masks.  This rounded things up nicely to 1,000 points.  So, just 500 to spend on Troops then.  Started to get the feeling this army would not be heavy on Heavy Support…

A unit of Death Company went in first, and I opted for ten of them.  Seemed like a good number.  I also added jump packs and two power weapons – this made things really expensive, and the unit tops out at nearly 400 points.  Well over 500 when the Reclusiarch joins them, a third of the army wrapped up in 11 models.  Tactically, that makes me very wary (I would never do that for a Dark Angels force), but I decided to soldier on.

I now had just 120 points for the compulsary second Troops choice. I briefly considered trying to squeeze a Death Company Dreadnought into the mix (I claim to have come up with the original idea and rules for that too!), but that really wasn’t going to happen and I wanted at least some ‘normal’ troops in this force.  You know, to represent the common Marine, as it were.  A Tactical Squad did not seem right, so I instead went for a small five-man Assault Squad, giving the Sergeant a power weapon and melta-bombs.

That was 1,500 points spent.  Looking at the list, I frowned.  I did not seem to be 1,500 points.

2 Characters, 25 Troops, 1 Vehicle.  27 models in all.

I could paint that up in a weekend – could be a project for a forthcoming painting day with the girls, it occurs 🙂

The cost will rattle in at £150-odd (ouch), but I’ll ‘have’ to pick up the metal Flesh Tearers shoulder pads as well, due to my lack of insignia-painting skill.  That puts another £25 on top (bigger ouch).

So, will I get round to doing this army?  I really wasn’t looking to do another force, and had been planning on doing more Dark Angels (making a decent start on the Deathwing and Ravenwing, and completeing my Land Raider company).  On the other hand, I do have some ‘history’ with the Flesh Tearers and it just seems right that I have at least a small force.  We’ll see.

Anyway, that army list again in a slightly better format.  Comments welcome.

Chapter Master Gabriel Seth – 160 points

Reclusiarch (infernus pistol, jump pack) – 170 points

Honour Guard (blood champion, plasma pistol, chapter banner) – 180 points

Land Raider Redeemer (storm bolter, multi-melta) – 265 points

Sanguniary Guard (death masks) – 225 points

Death Company (10 models, jump packs, 2 power weapons) – 380 points

Assault Squad (power weapon, melta-bombs) – 120 points

A Smidgin of Painting

Aside from the regular roleplaying (the D&D campaign returns next weekend!), my gaming-related time has been pretty miserable over the past couple of weeks or so, and projects are starting to mount up.  Blame work.

However, I have managed to get at least a little painting done over the past few days.

First up are my new Stormboyz.  I have always been a bit hazy with the ‘elite’ Orks in the army list.  After all, Orks are supposed to be a horde army, and the elite guys (Kommandos, Tank Bustas, Lootas, etc) are all very expensive, points-wise.  And that just does not seem right for models that are likely to be present in relatively small units (because of the expense) and given 6+ armour to boot!

However, the Stormboyz have, at least, the ability to race across the battlefield to dive behind cover or engage the enemy, limiting their exposure time.  Plus, the models are pretty funky.  And I figure they will do a nice number on Kat’s Sisters.

As you can see, I picked up the metal Nob for this unit as well (not going with the special character just yet, though he looks quite hard on paper).  My personal favourite, however, is the Stormboy with the Grot-controlled rocket, just to the right of the Nob (which has also reminded me that I really want to get hold of the Forge World Grot-Bomb Launcha at some point).  This is a very nice plastic kit overall, with lots of variations – buying two packs (five in a pack), the Stormboyz inevitably have common bodies in the unit, but you just don’t notice with all the variant heads and rockets.  There are far more variations than I have used here.

I have also pushed along my Judge Dredd collection.  This is a very slow burning project at the moment, with me just doing the odd model here and there in preparation for gaming at the bottom end of this year.  This is a new Judge on Lawmaster.

I thought I would also show you my new Juve Gang, something I prepared earlier.  They haven’t got names yet (or a block to defend) and, thus far, the only common feature of the gang is the colour red.

I have, however, given some thought as to the story behind the gang.  Basically, the dude with the red mohican is the leader, and the guy with the really strange red hair on his right is his best mate.  They have bullied the weirdo with psychic powers (to the left of the leader) into helping them with their robberies, mugging (called tapping in Mega-City One) and general gang rivalries.

The girl at the front is a rich kid who has basically joined the gang out of boredom. Ostensibly, she is the leader’s girlfriend, but she is more interested in getting her kicks terrorising other residents of the block.  However, she brings a certain style to the gang, along with two vicious robo-dogs that she treats as pets.

Just a small gang, but it already has some identity behind it.  Next, I’ll have to put together an older punk gang to rival them, or maybe the block’s Citi-Def unit.  Perhaps a vigilante or two, determined to protect citizens from the menace of the city’s youth.

Aside from all that, I have also managed to put together some of the new metal Tyranids, and I still have a couple of units of Britons to do for my Ancients army.  The latter have been sitting in their box staring at me since Christmas, so I really ought to do something about them…

40k Training

Our lessons in the latest edition of 40k continue.

Last night, the girls came round and I promptly set them against one another, Kat’s Sisters versus Sand’s Space Wolves (I got to watch two girls fight each other which, however you look at it, is pretty cool).

It was Sand’s very first game, so the first couple of turns dragged but she soon got into the swing of things, helped by GW’s downloadable reference sheets.  Neither really knew what to expect, as they are somewhat unfamiliar with the Space Woofs, so both sent their armies crashing ahead.

The result wasn’t pretty.

Opening shots from a Sister’s squad sent the Sky Claws reeling, but they were soon back in the fray, throwing themselves into the same Sisters that drove them back earlier.  Though they were reduced to just two Woofs, they fought for most of the game in assault, finally whittling the girls down and destroying them.

Kat’s normal luck with the Exorcist continued, with the tank merely supplying one or two missiles per turn until the end when she got a whopping six aimed at a Grey Hunters unit – but it was too little too late. Two Grey Hunters squads ganged up on a single Sister’s unit, first shooting the Hell out of them and then sweeping them aside in an assault.  To add insult to injury, the Canonness fell to a stray Meltagun blast, just as she was about to take on the Wolf Lord in close combat.

After that, Kat and I had a rematch, her Sisters against my Orks.  This time around, I changed the composition of my Orks a little, taking;

1 Warboss (standard Black Reach guy with Klaw and Twin-linked Shoota), 10 Grots, 20 Grots, 30 Boyz, and 6 Bikerboyz.

The bikerz boosted axcross the table in a single turn, where they were intercepted by the Canonness, who stopped their march on the Exorcist.  She held them up for a couple of turns, finally slaying one, but was beaten down by the Nobz Klaw (oh, how the girls laughed when I told them Iwas bringing my Nob into play. . .).

The rest of my tactics were standard Ork – make a beeline across the table with the Grots shielding the hammer that is the Boyz mob.  Kat concentrated her shooting pretty well, destroying the Grots completely, but a well-timed Waaagh saw the Orks charge across the remaining ground and engage both her squads in assault.  She wisely capitulated in the fourth turn as one of her squads broke and ran, the other becoming seriously outnumbered by marauding Orks and the Exorcist stunned and missing its missile launcher by an attack from the now free bikerz.

Sandrine now has a 1,000 point force of Space Woofs, and I believe our next game (possibly next week?) will see her face a much larger force of Orks.

Both girls have vowed to build bigger armies to counter the Ork threat. . .

A Brush with the Dark Side

The Star Wars Dawn of Defiance campaign continues apace.

The players hit 8th level this week, and are really getting into the meat of the campaign.  In an effort to find out more about the mysterious Sarlacc Project of the Empire, Jedi Master Denia sent them to a ruined Jedi Academy to retrieve a Holocron – in the hope that the artefact will grant her the wisdom to penetrate the plans of the Empire.

As they went down into the sub-levels of the Academy, one of the players remarked that it was turning into a dungeon adventure.  This was true enough, but players never appreciate that dungeon adventures are often a welcome break for the Games Master.  They are very easy to run and the players literally cannot deviate from the path.

Any such thoughts were quickly swept away when the players started hitting some of the (very tough) encounters. The Dark Side was strong in the ruined Academy, and it started messing with their minds. First, they appeared to be seperated from one another and then attacked by someone from their past adventures (which was a good excuse for me to bring Darga the Hutt back, albeit briefly).

Kat (playing Elethial, Human Noble/Jedi) and Sand (Leeana, a Twilek Scoundrel) dove into the encounter with determination.  Thinking she was fighting a corrupted Master Denia, Kat promptly throttled Sand to within an inch of her life.  The guys (Nick and Andy) were a little more cautious and refused to get into a fight – this saved the party as a whole and the illusion was dropped – only to reveal a Dark Side ooze which immediatly attacked.

This did not prepare the party for the next encounter, against a Dark Side Dreambeast.  Not having the exact miniature for this encounter, I plonked WotC’s Blue Dragon on the table – it was a rough approximation of what they were fighting, and the size got the message across.  This was going to be a hard battle.

Their first thought was to run, but the party was trapped in a small room with few exits.  Sand used her acrobatics to vault onto the beast’s back (either brave or foolhardy, your choice), while Andy (Joshua, Human Soldier) unloaded with everything he had, trying to get passed the Dreambeast’s massive Damage Reduction. It actually ate his thermal detonator…

The party suffered greatly in this encounter, but a combination of rapid firing blastersm, lightsabres and force powers finally brught the beast low before it wiped out the entire party.  After that, the encounter with the Noghri Death Commandos seemed like a breeze.

From there, the party found a tunnel into caverns beneath the Academy, where they prepared for the final encounter against Imperial Inquisitor Valin Draco, the agent that had been dogging them for several scenarios now, and in possession of the (now corrupted) Holocron.

A big Jedi battle ensued.  Those equipped with clumsy and random weapons such as blasters found that lightsabres were quick to bat bolts away, while Kat found her Jedi powers nullified time and again by the Inquisitor and his protege.

The fight ended with the protege dead and a final confrontation on a natural stone bridge across a very deep underground chasm – a fitting environment for such a fight. The Inquisitor conjured a huge dragon (there is no other word for it), over 200 metres long, that rained down lightning one the players as they fought him one more time. Andy was thrown clean off the bridge by the Inquisitor’s force powers, to be retrieved by Kat, while Nick was nearly blasted into free air by the dragon.

Sand bravely rushed forward to grab the Holocron, which had been the subject of a Move Object tussle between Kat and the Inquisitor, but a lightsabre sweep brought her down.  Finally, Kat managed to hurl the Inquisitor from the bridge herself, having beaten down his formidable Force defences.

With this, the dragon fled to the depths, starting a massive cave-in as the Academy’s foundations gave way.  Grabbing the fallen Sand, the players raced out of the Academy, rocks falling all around them. Blasting from the planet in their new ship, the players spied a familiar Star Destroyer (the Assiduous) and, curiously, an ancient Dungeon Ship…

The Holocron was ‘de-corrupted’ by Master Denia, and is now under study.  When she heard the players had batled the Inquisitor, the Master seemed oddly disheartened on hearing his name.

All will no doubt be revealed as, next week, we start Episode 5, and get to the halfway point of the campaign.

New Edition of 40k

That title should get those of you who see the Facebook updates going. . .

If you have been reading this humble blog, you will know that I have the odd 40k army here and there.  What you may not know is that I have not actually played 40k since 3rd edition.

Now, back then, I played the hell out of it (and had since Rogue Trader, Ambulls and all).  I had at least a small force of most of the armies (my combined Imperial force would literally cover a 6’x4′ table when laid out), I went to all the GW events and tournaments in Nottingham, did a bit of the ‘tournament circuit’ in the south of the country, and even wrote a bit for White Dwarf (the Flesh Tearers are ‘my’ chapter!). As well as 40k, I did Epic, Battlefleet Gothic, and even bought into Bombas Over da Sulfa River.

Then work came along, my regular gaming buddies moved away, and the 40k dropped off.  It was only three or four years ago I got back into some serious painting.  Since my heady GW-gaming days two editions of 40k have come and gone, so when ‘the girls’ decided to do their own armies, I looked forward to giving the new rules a spin.

Last weekend, Kat finished off a few units of her Battle Sisters force (called Witchhunters now, apparently), so we tried a couple of games this week.  She just had 600 points (two squads, a Canoness and an Exorcist), so I loaded up with some Orks (one big mob of Boyz, one big mob of Grots, a Mega-armoured Warboss, a Deff Dread and two buggies).  Kat could not quite believe our armies were even in points, but that is the effect Orks tend to have!

We played just two simple scenarios, one an Annihilation based on Kill Points, the other where we have an objective each in our deployment zones.  We drew the first game, and I (only just) won the second.

It was interesting to see the changes in the rules since I last played.  5th edition basically is still 3rd edition, but with some tweaks.

The most notable are the running rules, which my Orkses just loved (and I can imagine Tyranids going dippy about it too). While good for Orks, I am a little bit uneasy about this rule, as it a) makes shooting armies like Sisters a bit more vulnerable and b) makes upgrades like the Big Shootas in my Boyz mob a bit redundant.  In fact, completely redundant, I didn’t use them at all in either game!  Still, two games at 600 points is no way near enough to make a judgement on this.

The vehicle damage table has been compacted down into one table – I wonder if the hand of Jervis was not at work there, as it always should have been one table, and it is a far more elegant answer than seperate damage tables.  Oh, and I noticed that Rapid Fire weapons have been tweaked a bit so they now give two shots at 12″ even when you move – encourages mobility.

The big changes are in close combat, of course, but they were not that unfamiliar to me.  When I ‘left’ 3rd edition, they were just introducing some ‘playtest’ assault rules that have formed the basis for those in 5th edition. Still haven’t worked out all the ins and outs, but Fearless units now lose extra models in a failed assault (like undead in Fantasy, if I recall correctly), and it is a lot easier to fail a Leadership test when getting beaten back.  Power Fists no longer get the benefit of having an extra close combat weapon (and not many people will equip two Power Fists, I reckon), and if you shoot assault weapons, you have to assault the same unit that turn, rather than doing a u-turn and hitting someone else.

All fairly easy to cope with, and the flavour of the game does not seem to have changed much.  I suspect there will be far more close combat in this edition, so it will be interesting to see how my Dark Angels deal with things.

So, how did the games actually go?

Well, my tactics in both were the same – line the Grots up first with the Boyz immediatly behind, have the warboss somewhere in the middle, and the Dred and Buggies just off to the sides – and then send everything forward in one rolling green wave!  Not a huge amount of tactics involved but hey, we were just getting to grips with the rules.

In the first game, Kat learned the hard way that you do not advance toward a charging Ork force.  Her Canoness got caught in the open and quickly succumbed to the rampaging Deff Dred (the one with four close combat weapons, to add insult to injury – it has appeared on this site before).  The Exorcist tangled with the Buggies, destroying one with a missle and grinding another under its tracks, but not before a stray Big Shoota round knocked out its weapon, rendering it a little useless (it tank shocked my Warboss later in the battle and my Death or Glory failed, much to my shame).

The battle ended with the remaining sisters getting completely overrun by the Grots and Boyz, leaving me one Kill Point ahead when the game finished.

By the time we got to the second game, we were both a little more confident of our armies.  Perhaps a little too confident.

Kat decided to concentrate on thinning down Grots and Boyz before they reached her line (a good idea), but neglected to pay much attention to the Deff Dred climbing through an old ruined Imperial chapel.  She had trusted to her Exorcist to bring it down, but only rolled one missile at the critical time (in fact, one missile was all she got all night whenever she tried to fire this thing).  And that missed.  One round later, the Dred had thundered through the Exorcist’s side armour, leaving a smoking wreck.

Encouraged by this, the Warboss sought out the Canoness from among the flame-strewn battlefield.  Now, I knew the Canoness had a power weapon that could cut through the Warboss’ mega-armour and that she had the better Initiative, but I trusted to the Warboss’ high Toughness to see him through and his massive Power Klaw to squelch the gristled old nun into the ground thereafter.

What I did not know about was the Faith Point rules the Sisters have (never had them in my day. . .).  All of a sudden my charging Warboss is facing a Strength 5 power weapon and, with a series of good rolls on Kat’s part, he got butchered.

The rest of the game consisted of my Grot and Boyz mobs hitting the Sisters’ line, and power armoured girls getting torn limb from limb, as the game before.  Managing the Faith Point rules, Kat put up a stronger defence this time but, with that many Orks on her backline, the end was fairly inevitable.  The Canoness was the last to go down, literally surrounded by Orks.  If she had lasted another turn or two, maybe the game would have ended and it would have been a draw (the fight was just a little too far away from her objective for me to claim, and I had not bothered to keep a unit next to mine!).

But, ’twas not to be.

This weekend, I hear that Sandrine is going to be finishing the first few units of her Space Wolves (haven’t calculated yet, but there is probably 7-800 points there), and we’ll be having some games with them.  Orks vs. Space Woofs, Space Woofs vs. Sisters, Sisters vs. Orks again, and maybe some sort of three-way after (every man’s dream).

This is planned for next Tuesday, but we may get a game or two in over the weekend.  Knowing how to show females a good time, I am taking Kat and Sand down to Portsmouth this weekend in a sort-of-gaming-related-trip to see the Warrior and Victory, and generally pootle around the harbour looking at the Royal Navy.  Might inspire us for a few games of Victory at Sea instead!

Oh, and I did mean to take a few photos of these battles, but it was enough to try to remember the rules!  I’ll try to get some decent battle reports up here in the future.