Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Battle Report: 28mm In the Emperor's Name Pt II

Where we left off.
My luck -or rather, George's luck- was about to change drastically. You see that naked lead figure just visible in the top of the picture? That's the Harlequin Troupe Leader. You'll see a lot of him in the next few photo's.

In turn 6 George won Initiative again. His Troupe Leader charged the two Imperials standing above the butchered form of his protegee, all the while screaming through his Troupe Leader Mask. The two Imps both failed the Grit test needed to stand and fight a charging model that causes Terror and legged it in opposite directions, which unfortunately counted as their move for the next turn. This meant that if the Troupe Leader ran in the shooting phase (no charging in this game, melee starts when you move base-to-base) he'd have his pick of the two Imps to mow down. I rapidly moved reinforcements to firing positions on the right flank, desperately trying to judge it so that we didn't get close enough for the Troop Leader to charge the firing line after mauling his chosen prey in the close combat round.

Ere, Jonesy. Lead em over this way a bit, eh?
In the regular rules, any figure which is not within line of sight of an enemy model and which does not shoot can run an additional 3 inches in the shooting phase. We don't like this rule in the club. In fact, we think it stinks. So we use the house rule that any figure who does not shoot in the shooting phase can run 1d6 inches. However, the player must point to where he wants the figure to run BEFORE rolling the dice and you MUST move the full distance in that direction up to the point you indicated. This means that you might roll higher than you need and waste the extra distance. However, if you  roll low, you just might find yourself caught in the middle of the board between the cover you were in and the cover you were tyring to get too. In this game, that pretty much means you're dead, regardless of your armour value, as every foe within range zooms in on you. I reckon it pretty accurately reflects a guy trying to run from cover to cover but getting spotted and mown down half-way there.

Anyway, that's what happened to the final Harlequin Trooper in turn 7. Caught between fallen pillars, Headshot zeroed in and took him out at long range. Normally at this point, depending on the scenario, reducing a retinue to half strength might have won me the game. But as we hadn't picked a scenario and this was George's first game using the system, we'd decided to play till one side was wiped out.

The Harlequin Troupe Leader got his revenge though. By running in his shooting phase he did indeed catch one of my fleeing lads who died very quickly, and very messily, in the Turn 6 melee phase.

Turn 7
George won initiative again and chased down the second terrified trooper who passed his Terror Test this time. I'd really wanted initiative myself to try and move the trooper out the way and prevent the Troupe Leader getting into melee (you can't shoot into a meleeinvolving a figure from your retinue in these rules, no matter how badly the risk of having your whole army rolled up by a melee monster outweighs the risk of fratricide). Finally, because the Sniper had shot and killed a Trooper last turn rather than knocking the Death Jester on his arse (again), the Death Jester was able to move forward. Because he was armed with a heavy weapon, this meant he wouldn't be able to fire this turn, although ominously he was now in range of my main group. If I was unlucky, a good hit from his Shuriken Cannon could terrify my guys into running towards the Troupe Leader next turn. Yikes.

The Troop Leader sizes up another hapless fool.
On my movement I moved the firing line back again, hopefully more than 9" away from the melee, so I could avoid having the firing line engaged in melee by the Troupe Leader next turn.

No shooting from the two surviving Harlequins but my guardsmen split into two groups for Torrent of Fire and managed to hit the Death Jester twice, yet failing to kill him or even knock him down. From his perch, Headshot muttered something disparaging about amateurs and showed them how it was done -knocking the Death Jester down again. For the fifth time in the game! In fact, the Imperial Guard Sniper hadn't missed a shot yet.

In the melee phase the Troupe Leader increased his kill tally to two.

Turn 8:
More woe. The Harlequin's won initiative again. I bit my nails while the tape measure came out. Had I misjudged my distances again? I had! One of my guardsmen was just within 9" of this terrain-ignoring somersaulting harridan. But wait, he'd just charged 7 guardsman, had this pesky Eldar punk finally bitten off more than he could chew? Meanwhile, on the far side of the board, the Death Jester stood up again.

Er, you charge em lads. I'll bravely lead from over 'ere.
I went all in and attempted to move all 7 nearby guardsmen into melee. Yet three of them (including the officer) failed the Grit test to attack a terrifying foe in melee.

One interesting but very important rule: when a pistol armed character moves into melee as the attacker in the movement phase, he still gets to shoot his pistols at his melee opponent in the shooting phase. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, such as when you're armed with a heavy pistol like a plasma gun (as was the Troupe Leader). Or when you check your retinue roster and realise you forgot to ferking buy your Guardsmen autopistols. Ah well, at least now I'd figured out why I'd been able to afford two more guardsmen than I usually can.

George laughed so hard he nearly burped. Then he happily split his Troupe Leader's +4 fight score between all four opponents so he could fight every guardsman at once. In the Emperor's name allows you to split your models fight score in order to engage multiple opponents. However, your cumulative bonus' from any weapons held in the models hands still apply to every foe he fights in melee. Thus, the Troupe Leader was rolling D6 +1 (for the split Fight value) +2 (for his plasma pistol) +2 again (for his force sword) against the guardsmen armour value of 6. He needed anything but ones and killed all four Imps. With a -2 to their grit rolls from the plasma pistol, I needed 6's to save and failed every time. However, because melee is simultaneous, I still got to strike back. Miraculously, my bayonet-armed grunts landed two blows on the Troupe Leader. However, with a grit score of 2+, I didn't have much chance of killing him. To rub salt in the wound, George rolled a pair of twos.


Ah well, maybe Turn 9 would swing the tide of battle back in my favour.

Turn 9

Right, which of you Monkies want's to die next?
Nup. George won initiative again. He surprised me by engaging the lone female Guardsman in melee rather than taking on the officer and guardsman in the ruins, who I simply moved into combat next to him. The Death Jester failed the Grit roll to stand up and with no targets available for my Sniper (and with my Officer unable to shoot as he closed for melee due to bolt-pistols being classed as a heavy pistol) we went straight to the fighting.

I didn't even land a blow. Scratch two Guard and an Officer. This lone Eldar mountebank had just murdered 9 of my Guardsmen in four turns!

Turn 10:
Once again I was fervently hoping to win initiative. It would take the Troupe Leader at least two turns to reach my Sniper, but if he moved first he would be able to travel the rest of the way out of my LOS wherever I moved. I desperately needed this roll to win the game.

I rolled a one. "Don't even bother rolling your initiative George. Just move your damn figures". On the upside, the Death Jester did stand up again this turn, so at least I'd have something for my Sniper to shoot.

As expected, the Troupe Leader leapt into cover out of LOS and my Sniper pegged the Death Jester again who  -for the sixth frickin time in the game- made his grit roll exactly and got plonked back down on his arse. Damn that guys gonna have a headache in the morning -and he owes whoever made his armour a few stiff ones (of wine! of wine! -though you really never know with Eldar) when he gets home.

Turn 11:
Piss off mate, I'm trying to kill the guy in the Skull Mask
The frakkin Troupe Leader leaps out from behind a wall and up onto the first floor of the building where-in good old Headshot patiently waits for death. As the blade comes sweeping down, he spits out the chewed stub of his cigar and grunts: "I sure hope the boys back at the hunting lodge never hear about this."

Conclusion: We wus robbed. But I can't really moan too much. The great thing about "In the Emperor's Name" is that no matter how bleak things begin to look, a single dice roll can always turn things round.

My biggest difficulty in this game was overcoming the Harlequin's obscenely high Grit rolls. None of the weapons in my roster carry a Grit modifier, but then, up to now, I've never really needed to carry any that do. Forgetting to buy my lads 2 point autopistols each was an act of sheer mindless stupidity. Something for which I'm well noted in gaming circles. Imp Guardsmen are about as much use in melee as a life-raft made from a blanket but their shoot values are fairly good -especially when combined in a torrent of fire.

Next time, I'll bring a bloody Lascannon. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with an image of a certain grinning, pointy-eared loon gloating over his kills.

Until next time.

Yeah, laugh it up dancer boy. My next retinue has a Lascannon with your name on it.


  1. Good well written and humourous batrep....

  2. Brilliant write up! That Death Jester must have had a rubber backside - he was up and down like the Assyrian Empire! LOL.

  3. Great report! I like your house rule too. It is simple to execute and has a nice bit of unpredictability, well done there.

  4. Thanks guys. Glad you enjoyed it. I tell you, next time I'm gonna arm Headshot with a Lascannon too. That Death Jester and his boss are seriously on my hit list. I can't claim credit for the House rule though. It was Tom, one of my fellow G3 gamers and the guy who introduced the game system to the club, who came up with that one.

    Seems to work really well.

  5. Thanks for the very entertaining battle report.

    "In the Emperor's Name" looks like a neat way to do 40K-universe skirmishing. I shall take a closer look at these rules.

  6. They're well worth a good look. Don't misunderstand me, the system has some pretty obvious flaws. Most are easily house-ruled. But as a fun, entertaining and fast-paced 40K Skirmish game, it works really well.

    I should have another report up fairly soon when I start the solo-campaign. I also plan on publishing a few "intel reports" on the club campaign once enough games have been played.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep to my "once a month" solo-campaign schedule or not. It might very well become a very irregular feature.