The Badab War: Cut and Run

We are continuing our (re)fighting of the Badab War, with the Marines Errant trying to smash the Mantis Warriors line on Bellerophon’s Fall.

In our last battle, the Marines Errant had delayed their landings on the industrial moon to take advantage of the disruption the Salamanders’ landings had caused. Deploying swiftly on the moon’s surface, the Marines Errant tried to break through the Mantis Warriors’ line – but the Secessionists held.

As the Marines Errant committed more units to the fight, the Mantis Warriors enacted one of their classic strategies. Melting away from the assault, they would attempt to break contact from the Marines Errant so they could reengage on their own, stronger terms.


The Mission

We are adapting one of the scenarios from the old Battle Missions book for this fight, Cut and Run. Ostensibly it is supposed to be used for Orks, but the general strategy shown works well for the Mantis Warriors, so we will swipe it for our campaign!

The Mantis Warriors will be deploying first, close to the centre of the table, and throughout the battle their units will be able to shoot and/or charge if they flee from combat (representing the cut and run tactics). They will have the option of standing against the Marines Errant and fighting or, from turn three onwards, skipping backwards off the table to fight another day.

Victory is based purely on Kill Points – 3 for an HQ, 1 for Troops, and 2 for everything else.


The Mantis Warriors prepared a hasty line at the edge of a disused refinery, intending to stall the advance of the Marines Errant, giving them a bloody nose for good measure before retreating.

Almost immediately, things started to go wrong for the Mantis Warriors as the close combat Terminators of the Marines Errant thundered through the barricades, slaying every Terminator except the sergeant.


The Mantis Warriors Sergeant managed to escape the destruction of the barricade, and through the smoke and debris, he spied the Chaplain leading the Marines Errant force. Determined not to let his brothers go unavenged, he charged, seriously wounding the Chaplain with a vicious cut from his Chainfist. Unfortunately, the Chaplain recovered quickly and smashed him to the ground.


Meanwhile, the Marines Errant flew a Thunderhawk overhead, dropping an Assault Squad right behind the Captain of the Mantis Warriors. Taking advantage of his surprise, the Assault Marines piled into him, but the Captain made good account of himself, cutting five of them down before finally succumbing to their greater numbers.


By now, the surviving Mantis Warriors had retreated to a second line of barricades, and a Tactical Squad faced off against the oncoming Terminators. The Tactical Sergeant managed to dispatch the Marines Errant Chaplain with his power Sword but, by now, the Marines Errant just had too many units in the area. As the second Tactical Squad fled the battlefield alongside a heavily damaged Land Speeder, the assault Terminators carved through the last of the Mantis Warriors before tearing apart their Rhino.


The State of the Campaign

The Mantis Warriors are taking a beating from the Marines Errant and in our next set of games, they will be trying to stage a Fighting Withdrawal in an attempt to slow the advance of the Loyalists.

However, it is not all bad news, as they have had success in disrupting the landings of the Salamanders, and are now preparing a deadly ambush as Vulkan’s marines try to advance into Secessionist territory…

Relics of the Mantis Warriors

I was not going to add much more to my Mantis Warriors, really I wasn’t. Just the odd bit and piece here and there, and most of the focus was going to be on the Tyrant’s Legion, who have the lion’s share of duties in our Badab War campaign.

But then 8th edition came out, we started up the Badab War campaign once again and, well, I had a couple of models that had been knocking around for a bit, and they really needed to get onto the table…


Introducing two valued relics from the armoury of the Mantis Warriors – a Deredo Dreadnought and Deimos-pattern Vindicator Tank Destroyer!


The Deredo (Eddy) wades into battle with a Plasma Carronade, finely tuned to blast apart enemy marines who just do not get the Tyrant’s (entirely legitimate and legal) point of view.

Vehicles get painted in the same fashion as the rest of the Mantis Warriors, with the exception that the all over Nuln Oil wash is reduced to just lining the cracks between armour plates. This makes them very quick to do, and the Mantis Warriors transfers set the models off perfectly.


The Vindicator Tank Destroyer will do to ‘loyalist’ tanks what the Deredo does to their power armoured infantry. With more heavy lasers than you can shake a dead scout at, it should keep our roads clear for a while.

So, is any more coming for the Mantis Warriors? Well, leaving aside I put together the first Tyrant’s Legion squad this week, I could really use another Tactical Squad for the Mantis Warriors, and probably some Scouts too. Whirlwinds look useful in this new edition. And a Land Raider never goes amiss…

Badab War: Enter the Marines Errant!

We have not been doing too much with the Badab War campaign of late, mainly because someone who will remain nameless (James) has been taking his own sweet time painting up his forces, leaving the poor Salamanders fighting the Tyrant’s allies all by themselves. However, the gamer who will not be mentioned (James) has got his act together for the coming of 8th edition…

The Marines Errant have arrived!

Like the Salamanders, they are landing on the industrial moon of Bellerophon’s Fall, but are taking advantage of the distraction the Salamanders have already created with their own landings, and catching the Mantis Warriors offguard.

We are using a tree campaign structure for the Marines Errant, alongside a similar (but different) tree for the Salamanders, to represent the Loyalist landings on Bellerophon’s Fall, as you can see here.

So, the first battle for the Marines Errant is the Vanguard mission from the (old – perfectly serviceable though) Battle Missions book, where the Mantis Warriors managed to string together a ragged defence that the Marines Errant tried to punch through to expand the perimeter around their landing areas.

The Mantis Warriors were strung across the battlefield in an effort to take on the Marines Errant from any angle, and were gratified to see their enemies advancing in two formations, one with two Tactical Squads led by a Chaplain, the other a Devastator Squad led by a Venerable Dreadnought.

However, the Marines Errant had a trick up their sleeves as two Terminator squads teleported right in front of the Mantis Warriors, while an Assault Squad dropped in behind them. However, the Assault Squad veered a little too close to an enemy Dreadnought, which quickly tore them apart.


The Terminators proved to be a real problem, and a Rhino selflessly crashed into one of their units an in effort to stall them until sufficient heavy weapons could be massed.


In the end, one Terminator Squad entered the bunker and killed the Mantis Warrior Captain before they were finally shot to pieces, while the Terminator Assault Squad took its time to destroy the Rhino, and then charged and killed the Mantis Warrior Librarian who had been holding the centre objective before the Dreadnought once more waded in and stomped them into the snowy ground.

Meanwhile, the Mantis Warrior Stormraven had free reign of the skies and after pounding the advancing Tactical Squads, it veered across the battlefield to explode the Marines Errant’s Venerable Dreadnought with a single salvo of Multi-Meltas, Lascannon and Stormstrike Missiles.


This freed the two Marines Errant Tactical Squads to assault the central objectives, and they had only a single Mantis Warrior Tactical Squad to hold them off.


However, the Mantis Warriors dug in around the refinery, and weathered a great deal of punishment, all but finishing off one of the advancing Tactical Squads before the Marines Errant Chaplain broke their line.


The two forces continued trading fire, but it was rapidly becoming clear that the Mantis Warriors were secure around the objective on their back line and it was the central one that was being contested.

The Assault Terminators of the Marines Errant had already been driven off by the Dreadnought, who was in turn destroyed by the rampaging Chaplain, who was then blasted apart by the last Mantis Warrior Attack Bike after the Stormraven destroyed the last of the Tactical Squad who had been shielding him.


The battle ended with the Stormraven moving in to hover over the objective before the last Marines Errant Tactical Squad forced it away.

With one objective each, the battle was a draw!


Summary, Thoughts and Conclusion

We have managed to get a handful of 8th edition games under our belt now, but this was our first ‘serious’ campaign game with the new rules.

First things first – we like the new rules, let’s get that out of the way.

However, this game did underline for us that a) we don’t really know what units do any more, even if they made regular in older editions and b) we don’t know how to use them!

I mean, consider the Rhino… we had two of them in that battle. Are they any good? No idea! One got destroyed pretty quickly by a couple of Tactical Squads, while the other held up Assault Terminators for a few turns and was instrumental in holding the Marines Errant back.

Or take Dreadnoughts. The one belonging to the Mantis Warriors destroyed an Assault Squad by itself, then finished off the Assault Terminators in a single charge. It only ran out of steam when the Chaplain came along, but that was partly poor luck and there was every chance it could have finished him off too!

However, the Venerable Dreadnought was typically out shot by the Devastator Squad next to it, and just exploded when the Stormraven swooped in.

So, is the Stormraven good? It killed the Venerable Dreadnought and then failed to repel the Tactical Squad from the central objective (it might have done better with a different weapons fit). That said, I am liking the Stormstrike Missiles in this edition, and they are a nice compliment to the Lascannon and Multi-Meltas that I have mounted on the gunship.

Anyway, looking forward to getting this campaign properly under way and finding out what more units can do!

Primaris Marines of the Flesh Tearers

A great many people are getting their hands on the new 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 today. I have been lucky enough to have been playing the game for these past two weeks and, as well as the Death Guard, I also managed to get the Primaris Marines of the new box set painted up.


Are these easy to paint?

I would say! Despite being larger, they are much ‘cleaner’ than the older/original/classic Space Marines, and so you can rip through them at a high rate. As you can see, I went for the Flesh Tearers for these guys, for a number of reasons.

First off (he said, in all modesty), I was the chap who did the original background for these guys. No, seriously, take a look at the Index Astartes or White Dwarf article where they first appeared – you’ll see my name! Gabriel Seth, Cretacia, the Death Company Dreadnought… all my own work (you’re welcome). So, I figured it might be an idea if I actually had some Flesh Tearers on the table top.

Second, I figured that, of all the chapters who desperately need reinforcement, the Flesh Tearers had to be ranking right up there. I had written them so they were effectively a doomed chapter, unlikely to last more than a few hundred years (I did have this plot line where they tried to rush the creation of a whole new company for the Third Armageddon War, but it went hideously wrong – never reached print though). So, a bunch of these new marines might be welcome.

However, why oh why did I choose a chapter where I had to hand paint the chapter symbol (I cannot free hand at all)? I do have some of the resin shoulder pads that GW do, but the models from the box set do not have replaceable shoulders…


Anyway, Intercessors first. You get two squads of these and they sort of fulfil the role of Tactical Squads. Sort of. Their Bolters are slightly better but they do not have any heavy or special weapons.


The Helblasters are all equipped with oversized Plasma Guns, and are going to rip through enemy marines at speed. Expect to see these guys hanging around with their Captain a great deal, as he mitigates Exploding Plasma Gun Syndrome to a massive degree.


Then we come to the Inceptors, possibly my favourite of the bunch (bearing in mind that I have not actually played them yet). You might look at these and think ‘ah, Assault Marines’, but you would be wrong. It is better to think of these guys as ‘proper’ drop drops, close to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. These guys literally get thrown out of an orbiting ship (there is a good piece in the new Dark Imperium novel that covers this – well worth a read if you want to catch up on what is happening in the 40k universe) and then plummet down where they attack the enemy with what amounts to handheld Heavy Bolters. Two of them.


Lieutenants are a new thing for Marines unless, like me, you were around for 1st edition Rogue Trader, many, many moons ago. They actually make a lot of sense, each taking command of a Demi-Company (so, two per company) so that the Captain, Librarian and Chaplain can concentrate on their actual jobs rather than ordering Tactical Marines around.


The Company Ancient is the standard bearer of old, but now he is split from the Command Squad and is a character in his own right (as is the Apothecary, for that matter). Again, my free-handing skills are non-existent, but at least this model has some raised detail on the standard I can follow.


The last model you get in the box set is the Captain in Gravis Armour, which as you can see is much heavier than the normal Mk X of the rest.


Finally, I figured someone would ask for a comparison picture, so here is a Flesh Tearers Intercessor alongside a Terminator and Tactical Marine of the Mantis Warriors, the latter of whim is probably feeling a little inadequate.

So, have I started a Flesh Tearers army as well now? Well, it kinda looks like it!

I took the opportunity to start the Terminators from the Space Hulk set (they have been sitting idle all this time!) in Flesh Tearer colours, and we all know there are new Primaris goodies coming very soon from GW (I am guessing they will start appearing in two weeks, as next week is all about Age of Sigmar). That will be a new tank, a new Dreadnought, new Primaris Marine squads called Reivers and Aggressors, plus I imagine we will see box sets (with new options?) for the Intercessors, Helblasters and Inceptors.

Good times ahead!

The New Death Guard

I had hoped to get the Death Guard from the new Dark Imperium set all painted and ready for the ‘pre-order’ day we ran for the local club last Saturday – but that was a pipe dream. However, a few more evenings work, and I ended up with this:


So… it looks like I am doing a Death Guard army as well now…


For the paint scheme, I pretty much used the painting guide in the Dark Imperium set, albeit with Castellan Green as a base rather than Death Guard Green, which is not released until next week.


I also decided to do something new with the bases – using the Stirland Mud textured paint, drybrushed Screaming Skull, with patches of Nurgle’s Rot and tufts of Mordheim Turf. And that, it turned out, was a bit of a chore first time round.


First off, shaking Stirland Mud well is not enough – you need to turn the pot upside and leave it for a bit if you are not going to get just a gloopy mess on your base. It may be another few models before I properly figure out how to use it.


I am not too sure about the Nurgle’s Rot either – seems a bit ‘strong’, but maybe it will grow on me. Either way, that took 2-3 layers to get the effect shown.

Was it all worth it? Yeah, I guess so, not an amazing amount of more hassle and the bases are more interesting than those I have been doing of late for Age of Sigmar and the Mantis Warriors.


As for the models themselves, I am quite liking them, and am looking forward to seeing what GW do with the Death Guard range over the next couple of months (guessing we will see more Primaris Marines first though, as we saw new Stormcasts in the first month of Age of Sigmar, then the Bloodbound followed). The characters are solid, especially the Lord of Contagion.


The Plague Marines are also well-detailed and posed, a real step up from the last models.


The only real misfire in this little group are the Poxwalkers, and that is all about my painting rather than the models themselves. I went quite muted with their colours and, as a result, nothing really stands out,. Then again, that might be just the right approach for the faceless, shambling horde, and I may change my mind if I get some more of them (I assume a box set of them will be following soon enough).

So, that is the Death Guard from the starter set all done. Next up… the Primaris Marines.

But which chapter to pick?


First Games with the New 40k

Today, we had the local club round to try out the new 40k – and first impressions are good. Nay, excellent!


We opened the doors in the morning, and the first early birds immediately dived into the books, plotting their new forces.

We kicked off by pretty much ignoring the points, going with beginner’s forces of 1 medium-sized HQ and two squads. I walked everyone through their first turn, phase-by-phase… and after that, they were pretty much off and flying. There was the odd question here and there in their first game but, by the time they started putting ‘proper’ armies together, everyone had the core rules memorised and were just working off their unit datasheets.


This is an important point about the new rules, I think – after your first game, you will have the core completely memorised and there is a good chance that you will never refer to the main rulebook again for them. Ever.

They really are that simple.

That is not to say they lack depth – the datasheets (and some optional bits and pieces from the main rulebook) add additional rules and complications, and the club guys were quickly starting to figure out what worked for them, what didn’t, and what would be very tasty if they added it to their armies.


In the first round of battles, Tyranids came ahead by a good margin, managing a 100% win-rate – something they retained in the second round too (don’t read too much into that, we really were just learning the game and how the armies work under the new rules).


The Orks, especially, ran into serious problems when they received a Winged Hive Tyrant in the face, though a Leman Russ Demolisher completely flattened it by hurling a huge shell into its face in the third round of battles!


This really is a very good rules set, and I think everyone is planning to add more units to their forces, if indeed they are not starting brand new armies. The rules are just so easy to get to grips with that, like Age of Sigmar, they kind of become ‘invisible’ when you are playing, allowing you to focus on what is happening on the tabletop and clashes between great heroes and massive war machines, without stopping play every so often to consult the rulebook. You really will just be consulting the odd datasheet here and there, and the bulk of those you will have memorised in fairly short order.

The new 40k gets a big thumbs up from me, and I think the newly arrived Death Guard will be invading Ultramar pretty soon – watch out for the campaign!


How to Play the New 40k

The new 40k is dead simple. Like, really simple.

You can figure out the rules within maybe 5 minutes – within 10 minutes (at the most!) of playing, you will have them memorised. That is not to say it is without depth – quite the opposite. Like Age of Sigmar, the new 40k has very simple core rules, but layers complicaton and depth on top. Best of all worlds, really – newcomers get into the game quickly and without fuss, while veterans can endlessly tweak to get the results they want, be they narrative or competitive.

So, I am going to show you how to play the new 40k!


The mission you are playing will tell you who goes first and, unlike Age of Sigmar, you simply alternate turns. Go through each of the six phases in the turn, and then hand off to your opponent. Continue until the game ends.


Movement Phase

Pick a unit, move it. Units now have their own movement values and if you can Fly, then you can move straight over models and terrain. Keep your models within 2″ of each other and more than 1″ away from the enemy. Run (called Advance now) an extra dice worth of inches.

You can Fall Back, moving out of contact with an enemy, but you won’t be able to advance, charge or shoot.

And that is Movement done.


Psychic Phase

Pick a psyker, pick a psychic power, roll two dice and try to meet or beat the power’s Warp Charge value. Try not to get a double 1 or 6, as Perils of the Warp means your psyker takes D3 mortal wounds and, if he dies, all units within 6″ also take D3 mortal wounds.

Mortal wounds, you ask? Automatic wounds that do not need hit or wound rolls, and ignore all saves (including invulnerable!).

Deny the Witch is the same as unbinding in Age of Sigmar, except you can do it at 24″ range – roll two dice and beat the psyker’s own roll to stop the power.


Shooting Phase

No shooting chart, you just need to roll whatever your Ballistic Skill is – so, BS 3+ means you need 3 or more to hit something. Units can now split fire with abandon, and characters can only be picked out if they are the closest models (which is fair enough, as they can no longer join units). You cannot shoot at anything if an enemy is within 1″ of you.

There is a new wound roll table, but it is dead simple to memorise.

If Strength is greater than Toughness, you need 3+, if it is lower, you need 5+, and they are the same… 4+

That will cover you for 90% of all attacks. However, particularly strong or weak attacks extend the dice range, so if Strength is twice (or more) than Toughness, you only need a 2+. If it is the other way around, 6+. Everything can hurt everything else, it just gets really hard at the bottom end.

Once you wound something they get a saving through, but this can now be modified, either by a weapon’s AP score or terrain which gives a +1 bonus (there are obviously unit specific rules that add further modifiers, but these are the core rules being covered here).


Weapon types are still in, so Assault weapons can still shoot if you advanced (albeit at -1 to hit), Heavy weapons are at -1 to hit if you so much as wiggle a toe, Pistols can shoot at enemies within 1″, and so forth.


Charge Phase

If you have a unit 12″ away from the enemy, you can try to charge. They get Overwatch on you (6+ to hit, as before), then you roll two dice for the charge move – you must get within 1″ of an enemy model.


Fight Phase

Models that charged this turn fight first. After that, players alternate units, Age of Sigmar style. Models pile in 3″, again like Age of Sigmar, and they get to fight if they are within 1″ of an enemy or a friendly model that is within 1″ of an enemy.

Characters get a special pile in, a 3″ move to reach an enemy even if they did not start within 1″.

You get as many attacks as you have, well, Attacks, and these can be split between different enemies and close combat weapons if you wish. You hit with your WS (so, WS 4+ needs 4 or more to hit an enemy), and wounding is the same as for shooting.

After you have done your attacks with a unit, it can consolidate up to 3″, but this move must be towards the nearest enemy model and is not compulsory.


Morale Phase

A unit took losses? Roll a dice and add how many models it lost. If this total exceeds the unit’s Leadership, it loses additional models equal to the difference. Same as Age of Sigmar.

And that is not just morale done, that is the turn!


That is basically the game. There are a couple of extra bits and pieces covering Transports (dead easy, transports now have model capacity not unit, embark/disembark within 3″ – but not both in the same turn, and they can act normally after leaving), invulnerable saves (they act the same way as before, either or with armour saves), terrain (already covered, inflicts penalty to shooting), aura abilities (they affect the model generating them), and… that is about it, really.

So, you now know how to play the new 40k! Grab some Datasheets and get blasting!