Monday, 30 September 2013

Warmachine Battle Report: Ashlynn v Absylonia (Mercs v Legion) 30pts

Last week I settled down for my fifth game of Warmachine mkII, once again against my regular opponent Luke. This time, he was paying Legion (at my request) as I've never played with or against Hordes, whether in Prime or mkII. We also played Death-Clock, for much the same reason.

Afterwords, Luke got in a Starter Box game against Ben and we fielded some questions from other members of the local gaming group. It looks like our plan to wean our fellow gamers away from GW and into Warmahordes is definitely paying off. 

No photographs for the second battle report in a row. We were playing in the pub basement again. While it's a great venue for the club, the lighting wasn't made for taking photographs.

My List- Ashlynn/HighBorn 30pts

Gun Mages plus UA
Max Forgeguard

Min Strider +UA
Strider Deathstalker

Luke won the dice roll and elected to go second to pick some favourable terrain. He sent his Striders through the woods on my left, forgetting that my Gun Mages had True Sight. In the initial exchanges, Luke came off worst, losing several Striders to my Mule and Gun Mages. However, he managed to wipe out my ForgeGuard with some brutal sprays from Typhon. I wasn't particularly bothered, since they were there to act as a bullet shield in the first place but I was surprised at how quickly they went down. Absylonia disrupted my Nomad which I'd positioned just slightly father forward than I'd intended.Luke then charged my Nomad with the Angelius and did some brutal damage. But in so doing, he left Absylonia open to what I thought was a potential assassination from the Gun Mages (not being familiar with Hordes, I hadn't realised just how hard Warlocks are too kill). The end result being that I ended up taking just two boxes off of her. My Vanguard joined the fight against the Angelius but in on the Legions next turn the beasts maxed out their focus to bring down both my jacks. Absylonnia popped her feat to heal them both back up, then killed two Gun Mages (despite Roulette being up) and ate them for full health.

Ashlynn then moved in, dropped all upkeeps (including admonition) and went to work on Absylonia with double-boosted Gallows. She lost 14 out of her 16 boxes and couldn't transfer to a nearby beast because they were all maxed out on fury. Reinholdt had given me two shots with the Handcannon, but I missed once and failed to knock off any boxes with the second shot.

My surviving Gun Mages and the Mule all miss their shots as well.

Next turn, with Admonition down, Absylonia moves in on full Fury and slaughters Ashlynn. Luke has about six minutes left on the clock. I have more than twenty.

Learning Points:
*Typhon has THREE Sprays.
*Might have been better to knock down Absylonia with double boosted Twister rather than dragging her with gallows (leaving me with two focus) and THEN shooting her with boosted damage Hand Cannons while she was down.
*Absylonia has an AoE Disruption.
* REMEMBER Warlocks can transfer.

Since then, I've played two more practice games, using pVlhad and pSorscha as my Casters. Normally I would keep playing a single caster (Ashlynn) for a good dozen games while I got to know how she plays, but I need to swap out casters and factions from time to time in order to keep things fresh for Luke, my regular opponent.

I lost the pVlahd game against Luke's eCaine, but won a pSorscha Battle-box game against Ben's pStryker.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Battletech: Riot Control (Black Barracudas)

An In-Character Post-Mission Report of the Black Barracuda's latest mission, provided by Jen, who plays Relay.

Herding Civilians
  • Mission Record:
  • Date: February 5th 3026
    Location: Ormstown, Lyran Commonwealth
    Contract Registry: LC-OC-01-01
    Objectives: Enforce the magistrate's order for dispersal of the crowds and riot control should the Democracy Now demonstration get out of hand. Property damage should be avoided at all costs and lethal force is not authorised unless civilian lives are threatened by the demonstrators and even then, only as a last resort.
    The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm, but is much easier to crush beneath one’s foot
    Prior to deployment, we accepted the offer of weapons testing from Coventry Metalworks, Corvus-san took the flechette autocannon rounds designed for use against infantry, this one took tear gas SRP missiles also designed for use against infantry. A weapon of low war certainly, but a ronin does what she must.
    Upon the drop in the city of Ormstown, we were made aware of protests by the science centre, myself and Corvus-san moved to engage the protestors there and enforce curfew. The honourless mob were fortunate that their daimyo is merciful, on Luthien they would have been cut down like the dogs they are.
    Using tear gas and laser fire, Corvus-san and I routed the protestors, who broke like an untempered blade against us. Then Akuhito-sama was made aware of further protestors at the city hall, and moved to intercept them with Putzer-san, the mercenary we had engaged to pilot Lana. These unworthy ones had more resolve than their compatriots, and pelted my lancemates with rocks and Molotov cocktails, setting the city hall ablaze. Flame is but a momentary distraction for a mechwarrior though, and my lancemates soon sent them running. Akuhito-sama worked to extinguish the flames overtaking the city hall as per our mission objective to avoid property damage.
    We then received notification that a stolen vehicle had been spotted on one of the main roads of the city and Corvus-san went to intercept it while this one remained to ensure the last of the protestors at the science centre were routed. The stolen vehicle was a bus from the city’s transit network carrying protestors, but this was no match for Corvus-san’s Clint which lifted it from the road and turned it on its back, an effective way of immobilizing it without excessive damage.
    We were then notified of a fire at the city distillery, and as this one had routed the last of the protestors at my location, I went to suppress this disturbance before the fire could spread. Upon arrival at the distillery, this one saw that the protestors were burning an effigy of Katrina Steiner upon a bonfire, an extremely disrespectful act. When this one attempted to scatter them, they pelted Bakeneko with rocks and rotting vegetables, then attempted to defile his paintwork.
    Further notifications came in from the city authorities of armed protestors in the street and an unknown mech with them, we were then given authority to use whatever force we deemed necessary to subdue these rebels. Corvus-san, Akuhito-sama and Putzer-san moved to engage them while this one unleashed Bakeneko’s mighty PPC to cow the protestors at the distillery. At the sight of leashed lightning, the cowardly dogs fled and this one extinguished the fires they had set.

    At this point, Corvus-san had reached the armed protestors first, and discovered that they had been armed with rifles and SRM-launchers. It became obvious that this was no more protest, this was armed rebellion. Someone is clearly arming these dogs, as they could not have sourced such weapons on their own. Corvus-san was fired upon, which dealt him heavy damage, and returned fire with the modified autocannon ammo which proved its worth against infantry foes by reducing the majority of them to red mist.
    Corvus-san then engaged the enemy mech, an Urbanmech normally used for firefighting duty piloted by a wretch calling himself Anarchy, on top of one of the city’s buildings. This Urbanmech was armed with a water cannon rather than the autocannon that it is normally known for, which seemed laughable but carried enough force to topple Corvus-san’s Clint.
    Both Akuhito-sama and Corvus-san then opened fire on the protestors while this one moved to join up with the rest of the lance. Between us, we eliminated the protestors and concentrated fire on the Urbanmech, disabling it by destroying one of the gyros in its leg. The pilot attempted to eject and flee, but was captured by Corvus-san and handed over to the Lyran authorities, a satisfactory end to a most successful mission.
    In closing, this one would like to express gratitude to Coventry Metalworks for their provision of the tear gas SRM ammo, this was extremely effective in cutting off routes of escape for the protestors and aided greatly in their dispersal. In any situation where infantry or civilians must be disabled rather than eliminated, these weapons would be greatly effective.

    - Relay.

    Comstar Communiqué 89962nr22-SLCOM-02-23-3026
    One cannot reap peace from the seeds of war. -From Collected Short Sayings of Blessed Blake, Edition XXII, ComStar Press, 3015
    Start encrypted message:
    Simon Grantrel, Things went better than planned, thanks to your designs. Kumiko and the rest of the lance approve greatly of the Tear Gas Short Range Missiles… they did wonders with dispersing the civvies. They even allowed us to capture a few of the terrorist pigs that attacked us unscathed. And the Flechette Anti-personnel Autocannon rounds? Well, let’s just say I don’t envy the clean-up crew. The rabble that attacked me personally were spread across the streets like fresh road kill. I’ve attached the Data Logs and Binary Feeds for the testing rounds. Hope this is useful to you. Needless to say, we’re more than happy with what you’ve shown us so far and we’re all eager to see what comes next. Cheers.
    -Dom “Kraken” Corvus.

War Machine: Ashlynn vs Kara Battle Report *No Photographs this time*

Played another two games of Warmachine last Monday. Our plan to drum up interest in Warmahordes within the local community seems to be working. No sooner had we set up our game than we attracted a crowd of fellow gamers to watch the game. Most eventually drifted off to play their own games, but one stayed to watch the whole thing. Eventually, this led to my second game of the evening with a pair of starter boxes.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. 

The first game we played was 30 points. No photographs this time. We were playing in the basement of a pub. The upside is that game's nights have a great, convivial atmosphere. The downside is that taking decent photographs is next to impossible. Decent photographs or playing in a pub that serves real ale from local breweries? No contest really.

Game One: Ashlynn High Born Covenant vs Kara Sloan
No Man's Land

My List:
Gun Mages and UA
Max Forgeguard

His List:
-2x Hunters
Black 13th
Arcane Gun Mages and UA
Gun Mage Captain Adept

Scenario and Set-Up:
We decide to play a Prime mkII scenario and roll up No Man's Land. My eye's practically pop out of my head. Kara's list is all shooting and no melee. So I immediately abandon the plan I came up with when creating my Ashlynn list and decide to go for a scenario win instead. I win the dice-off and, erroneously believing that the objective can be controlled from the end of the second players turn two, I elect to go second and pick the table edge with the most cover.

Turn One:

On turn one, Kara's army moves up. My turn one I put one Focus on the Vanguard and one of the Nomad. Ashlynn gives the Vanguard quicken and, cackling like a maniac, I gleefully run the Vanguard 14" up the board to engage one of Kara's two hunters (completely forgetting that Hunter's have parry). I then run the Nomad up. I smile happily at Luke, who is practically bouncing in excitement. He just can't wait for my turn to end so he can pop his feat.

Turn Two:

Kara pops the feet and blasts the hell out of my sacrificial Jacks. She kills the Vanguard and Nomad but it takes everything her battle group has to do it. The Gun Mage Captain adept even has to finish off the Vanguard, which was sitting on one box. Luke seem's very pleased with himself, but I smile back gently and thank him for accepting the bait, I tell him I think he just wasted his feat killing two Jacks that have no command stat and therefore can't win the scenario for me. With the feat gone I'm pretty confident that Kara's army will now need at least two turns of shooting to kill Ashlynn with ranged attacks. This free's me up to play Ashlynn more aggressively than I could if he'd held the feat back for a bit.

Nearing the the end of his turn two, Luke has no models with a command score inside No Man's Land. I warn him that I can win the game next turn. BUT he still has the the Black 13th to activate. Although he doesn't yet advance into the zone, Ryan's AoE takes out FOUR of my Forgeguard, including the Leader. I sigh. Now three of my guys will have to run laterally towards the other group of three with the new leader. I think for a bit, turn back to look and say, "I can probably still kill your caster or win the scenario in two turns."

As it turned out, not being able to move the Forgeguard into No Man's Land in my turn two wouldn't matter. In No Man's Land controlling the zone only becomes important in turn 3. Ah well. 

Note to self: Read the darn scenario, stupid!

In my turn two, I kill Strangewayes with my Gun Mages and feel quite smug. I'm under the impression that Strangeways is actually marshaling the Minuteman (wrong again). I move the Forgeguard and Reinholdt forward a bit to block LoS from Kara to Ashlynn and the charge lane from the minuteman. My Mule kills a couple of Gun Mages and badly damages the Minuteman. I feel confident that I can basically ignore the Hunters, given that my Mule is at the opposite side of the table from them. The only Jack in Kara's list I need to worry about is the Minuteman, and with Admonition up he's not going to present too much of a threat to Ashlynn.

Turn Three:

Kara camps almost all her focus apart from one that she gives to the Minuteman. After the Gun Mage Captain clears up a LoS block by killing Reinhold, Kara shoots at Ashlynn with everything she has. Even the Hunter's and the Black 13th join in the fun. Ashlynn is Def 19 due to her base just barely touching a hill and despite having no focus takes just seven damage. 

Next the Miuteman walks up to her. So using Admonition Ashlynn walks round to the side of the Jack furthest away from Kara. This leaves her in melee range but out of base to base contact with the Jack. Frag Cannon's do nothing. With one focus on his Minuteman, Luke considers trying a two handed throw for a laugh "YES! Throw me towards Kara!", I reply and we have a bit of a chuckle about what a bad idea that would be. Instead he thinks about throwing me at a building. Realizing he would need elevens without a boost on the throw attack (only one focus to spend), Luke goes for a boosted fist attack and a normal fist attack. He misses with both.

I'm quite happy that the game is in the bag at this point. Luke has advanced his fragile Gun-Line into the No-Mans Land, but I'm about to charge the Black 13th, Gun Mages and Gun Mage Captain with the Forgeguard and Ashlynn. The plan thereafter being to blow away his remaining Gun Mages with my own.

Once again I announce that I can win in my next turn (not because I want to be a d**k, but because we're treating these games as a learning exercise. Sharing the reasons why we are about to do something or think a move is a good/bad idea is a good way to improve our skills). Luke therafter performs his usual act of jamminess and manages to kill another three Forgeguard with a Combined Range Attack from five Gun Mages. This forces a command check which I FAIL! 

Unbelievable. No charge from the Forgeguard this turn either! This is why I lost our last game. Because of failed command checks! 

Just losing three of the Forgeguard isn't have been a disaster in itself because with Roulette up next turn I'm sure I can gun down all Kara's Gun Mages with my own. But not being able to move the Forgeguard forward means that I'll have to try to kill the Black 13th AND the Gun Mage Captain with Ashlynn. A little harder, but it shouldn't be too difficult even with fairly average dice.

I study the board for a bit, humm and haw and say. "I'm still probably going to win next turn".

So on my turn, I pop my feat and charge the Black 13th with Ashlynn. I kill Ryan on the charge. I then Flashing Blade and kill a second Black 13th. BUT I spend all but one of my remaining focus trying to kill the last one. Why? Because despite the fact I announced I was popping my feet just thirty seconds before the charge I completely forget about the extra attack dice from Roulette!!!!! When I finally kill the last of the Black 13th, I've got just one focus left and no way to kill the Gun Captain Adept a mere inch away.

At this point, I realize I've lost the game. Kara will finish me off with her shooting next turn.

But I don't give up. I shoot with the Mule hoping for a deviation that will kill the Gun Mage Captain. I kill two Gun Mages instead because I actually hit when I was hoping to miss. Once again, I forget about Roulette. Then I kill all but two of Kara's Gun Mages with my own, missing only two (which I would have auto-killed with POW 10) because I forgot about Roulette!.

At the end of my turn, there are two Gun Mages and the Gun Mage Captain in No-Mans Land. So near but so far....

Turn Four:
Kara camps six focus for the second turn in a row. I forget about Roulette (AGAIN!). Ashlynn dies.


Talk about being your own worst enemy. Let's look at the things I did wrong right up until my Roulette turn:

1: I forgot Hunter's have Parry
2: I mis-read the Scenario and thought I could win it in turn two.
3: I killed Strangeways at the start of my second turn and proceeded to act under the incorrect assumption that the Minuteman had been marshalled to him, effectively cutting it's potential threat in half. Wrong!

Even after all the muck-ups, I still found myself in a position to win the game after popping my feat in turn 3. So what do I do? Not thirty seconds after popping my feat, I forget I've popped it.

Why? Well, honestly, it might have had something to do with my wife coming into the pub, kissing me on the cheek, saying hello to the guys and handing me some extra beer money. By the time I returned to the game, kisses and cash had put all thoughts of Roulette straight out of my mind! Not that I'm complaining though. I'll take a kiss and beer money from my wife over winning a game of Warmachine any day!

I asked Luke after the game if, now that he knew what my game plan had been, he regretted using his feat-turn to kill two non-scoring Jacks. He still thinks it was the right move and, true enough, he did win the game in the end. He also pointed out that he didn't want two enemy melee 'jacks clogging up No Man's Land. Even so I can't help but think that he would have lost the game had I not made that huge error with my feat turn at the end of my turn three. If he'd popped his feat at the start of his turn 3, Ashlynn would have been toast. He'd have won the game there and then without giving me the chance to secure a victory for myself my turn 3.

Anyway, with that out of the way, we set-up the board for a Starter Box game between myself and Troy, who'd been watching us battle it out for the last couple of hours.

Game Two: pStryker vs pSorcha Battle Boxes.

Troy elected to take Stryker by the simple expedient of rolling a dice that came up odds. Luke elected to assist Troy by explaining his options (but, to Luke's credit, not spoiling Troy's fun by telling him what to do).

I took Sorcha, and tried repeatedly to warn Troy about Sorcha's Wind-Rush assassination run, but Luke kept shushing me every-time I tried. He made the valid point that the best way for Troy to learn what Sorcha can do is to see it happen rather than be told what to watch out for.

Troy kept Blur on the Ironclad, Snipe on the Charger and Arcane Shield on the Lancer for most of the match. Early on, he cannily charged my Devestator with the (now Arm21) Lancer and, after taking out one cortex box with the spear, boxed the other two cortex slots with shield bashes. His Charger also made good use of focus points through-out the early game to put dents in my Juggernaut.

I eventually unleashed the classic Sorcha Feat-Wind-Rush-Tempest Assassination run against Stryker, knocking him down and taking him down to six health via Tempest and Razor Winds. I wasn't able to complete the classic combo of shooting him while he was down because the Devastator was still tied up in combat with the Lancer (which had been protected from Sorcha's feat due to being out of Los).

Troy let out a huge sigh of relief, then decided it was time to get his own back. Stryker threw everything he had against Sorcha. First with Eathquake (aimed at his own Charger, then still engaged with my Juggernaut) and then in melee. But at the end of all this she still had two boxes left! Two! So Stryker popped his feat for the extra +5 armour before ending his activation.

Sorcha stood up and gave back everything she could. But at the end of her activation Stryker still had one health left. Fortunately, Troy had disengaged his Lancer from combat with my Devastator (taking a nasty back strike that disabled his shield) to take out my knocked-down Juggernaut. Alas, the back-strike took out the Lancer's shield. This freed the Devestator to move forward on my turn and, in an act of desperation, shoot at Stryker. Yes, the same Styker in melee with Sorcha. I was hoping that a direct hit would kill him and that Sorcha could survive the blast. At worst, I thought we'd both be killed and force the draw. But, when we added up the sums, a hit was impossible and I managed to kill myself with the deviation!

After we all picked ourselves up off the floor, we had a chat about the game. I hope we've made a convert out of Troy. He certainly seemed to enjoy himself so, fingers crossed, I might have a second local opponent to play against.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Warmachine Battle Report: 26 point Merc on Merc action

Luke and I played another game tonight. I was eager to try out my Ashlynn conversion and my newly arrived Gun Mages along with some re-painted miniatures from seven years ago. Luke was eager to try out his newly arrived Rhulic army (the whole lot arrived on Saturday and he managed to assemble, clean, base and undercoat the lot in time for today's game). 

This is only my third game of Warmachine since 2006, the last two having been played last week. So expect some stupid mistakes on my part.

So that Luke could fit in as much of the new stuff he wanted to try out as possible, we elected to play a 26 point game, rather than the more common 25pts. 

My Army (Highborn Covenant):
Ashlynn and the Highborn Covenant

Ashlynn (+6 Jack Points)
*Nomad 6pts
Arcane Gun Mages with UA 8pts
*Mule marshalled by UA 8pts.
Min Highshields 5pts
Gorman 2pts
Reinholdt 1pt

I knew this was not a balanced force, but it essentially consists of all the miniatures I had painted (except a Talon) plus a little extra. Because we were planning on doing a battle-report, I elected not to proxie and therefore ended up with a very ranged-heavy army. Normally, I'd have used Steelhead's instead of the Highshields and used the extra point to swap out Reinholdt for Rupert.

Luke's Army (Seaforge Commission):

General Awesome
*2 Groundback Gunners
*1 Groundback Blaster
Tactical Arcanist Corp
Max Forgeguard
Herne & Johnne.

Scenario and Deployment:
A Scenario victory called for each player to capture and hold two 10" diameter control boxes. Any player who controlled both boxes after the second players turn 2 would win the game. We didn't have 10" diameter circles (bad planning on my part) so we used the lids of two kid's shoe-boxes instead and decided to count them as hills.
Side View of the table prior to deployment.
I won the dice roll and elected to go second. Luke deployed his miniatures centrally to threaten both control zones. 

Seaforge Deployment

I deployed in a concentrated brick on the right of the table, making it appear as though I was ignoring the control zone on my left completely.

Highborn Covenant Deployment
My plan was to move the Highshields forward in shieldwall, use Ashlynn and Gorman to place cloud effects in front of them, and fire the Gun Mages through the Highshields and Clouds thanks to Ranked Fire from the Highshields and Tactics from the Gun Mage Unit Attachment. At some point I hoped to make a fast break for the left control zone with Gorman under Stealth and the Quicken spell and use the Mule and Gun Mages to knock Luke's miniatures out of the right hand control zone. As usual, the plan did not survive contact with the enemy...

Turn One:
Both sides do the Turn One run except for the Casters, Herne and John, and the Mule. General Awesome put's snipe on a the middle Gunner and gives Herne and John Fire for Effect. Tactical Arcanist Corps fail their rolls to drop smoke. Gorman drops smoke but Ashlynn is out of position to drop a Cloud effect (via the Tempest spell) next to Gorman's smoke due to range issues. She cast's Quicken on the Highshields and moves more centrally, but ends up fairly far behind her lines. Finally, she cast's Admonition on herself. Herne and John fire, but scatter uselessly. The Mule fires back, and also scatters uselessly.

A quick note: I know that casting Quicken (+2 Def) on a 10 Def unit is a typical example of reinforcing weakness, but since this was my first game with my own mini's for seven years I wanted to experiment a bit. My normal instinct would have been to cast it on the Gun Mages to make them Def 17. 

Turn Two:
On his turn, Luke casts Energise to give all the 'Jacks in his battle group a 3" move prior to their activation. After that, he walks a Blaster with a point of Focus forward and  uses it to kill Gorman, hiding out in the edge of his smoke cloud. I laughed my head off because I'd got my miniature recognition completely wrong and hadn't realised that Gorman was threatened. I thought I'd been looking at a Gunner, not a Blaster... The Nomad is in range of the spray, and loses a box in column one.
Bye Bye Gorman, we hardly knew thee....
Herne and Johnne (with Fire for Effect upkept) move forward into one of the ruins and rain fiery death of the Highshields, killing three (despite Shield Wall making them Arm19) and killing a Gun Mage behind them. The rest of his army moves up, with the Forgeguard entering the control zone on my right. The Tactical Arcanist Corp manages to get a single smoke spell off this turn.

On my Turn Two I allocate three Focus to the Nomad, upkeep Quicken and Admonition and pop Ashlynn's feat. Almost everything moves forward. The Nomad charges to engage both the Blaster and the Basher behind it. He strips away all but five boxes on the Blaster, crippling it's movement and weapon and does heavy damage to the Basher as well.

The Highshields fire a combined ranged attack at Johnne and take off just one damage box.The Gun-Mages then move forward and using their Snipe Rune-Shots take pot-shots at Herne and Johnne as well, but although all hit Johnne is left alive with one health box. The Mule fires and, due to Ashlynn's feat Rollette (which allow's me to roll two extra dice for my attacks and pick the highest) achieves a critical knockdown. Six of the Forgeguard go flying backwards, but due to bad damage rolls only one dies. And even then only because the push and knock-down effects apply BEFORE the damage roll, meaning he was no longer able to benefit from Defensive Line before taking damage.

I love Critical Knockdown
Turn 3:
On his turn 3 Luke again upkeeps Snipe and Fire for Effect. General Awesome them activates and uses his Feat, granting every friendly model in his control area +2 Arm, +2 SPD and Pathfinder. He then also uses Energiser, allowing his Basher to escape combat with my Nomad and moving the Snipe-Gunner into range of my Gun Mage UA. The Gunner then manages to hit and kill the Gun Mage UA despite being under the effect of Roulette (in my opponents turn after I pop Roulette, he rolls two extra attack dice and I pick the two highest to discard). Thereafter Herne and John go to work again and kill two of the remaining three High-Shields (they pass their command check) and two more Gun Mages, leaving me with just three of them on the board. Alas, the Gun Mages fail their command check.

Luke consults the Prime book because neither of us are sure how slam attacks work with Admonition: After careful reading, we agree that my impression of how it works sounds about right: if the Basher clams Ashlynn then she moves 3" away as soon as the Basher finished it's movement, preventing it from slamming as the Slam attack happens after the Basher finishes it's movement. 

Since we're playing for fun, we allow Luke to make a Slam attempt against the Mule instead, but the Slam attack fails because the last High Shield is in the way. The Basher makes the dwarf pay for his temerity with a frag cannon blast that kills him.

Failed Slam
The Forgefathers then charge in but the Mule has obscene luck (thanks to Roulette) and not one manages to land a blow. 

At this point I'm still quite happy despite my losses because I can see a number of possible assassination's next turn and mention this to Luke. Who promptly smirks and reminds me I forgot to take a command test for the Gun Mages. Double 6's.. ah well.

He then decides to rub it in by walking one of the TAC to engage my Nomad (but not before using another to set it on fire). He then uses the third to kill the Gun Mage on the far left with another fiery AoE. The Gun Mage who would have had the clearest shot at General Awesome next turn. In fact, the other two would've had good shots as well (despite the General being in cover). Not that it matters because of those bloody box cars....

On my turn 3 I'm so rattled by the failure of that command check that I fail to register that the Nomad can easily survive a free strike from an immobile Blaster and a single TAC and move to threaten a charge against the General next turn. So I allocate it no focus and despite auto-hitting the stunty little jack with both my sword and my shield due to it being stalled, I only reduce it to four boxes!

On the right, Ashlynn upkeeps Admonition and charges the Forgeuard. Luke's eye's widen a bit as she effortlessly mows down three of them and inflicts heavy damage on the Basher. The Mule then wanders left a bit (taking a nasty hit from the surviving Forgeguard in the process) and smacks the Basher with it's Mace but it will....not...die. I have a minor bout of self-rage when I realise I should have walked out of melee and shot at Herne and Johne. I'd have had a very good chance of clipping or even killing the General that way. But at the moment I'm too focused on playing for time and getting a sure-fire assassination next turn.
The situation at the end of Turn 3
Turn 4:
Luke throws everything he can at my two surviving Gun Mages, only killing one of them. His Basher moves around a bit without triggering a free strike to clear charge lands to Ashlynn prior to it's attacking her but Ashlynn skips away to the left, using up Adminishment which now expires. The Basher then has a go at the Mule and does minor damage. Five of the surviving Forge Guard charge Ashlynn and manage to inflict a whole two hit points of damage on her. Luke grimaces and gnashes his teeth a bit and tells me that Ashlynn is, in fact, pretty awesome. I agree, observing that Ashlynn is really hard to pin down in melee and that boosted AoE's and Knockdowns are really her only weakness.

The last Forgefather cheers him up a bit when it rolls triple box cars for damage and wrecks my mule.

At this point, he decides enough is enough and Ashlynn must die. Herne and Johnne (still under Fire for Effect) target the Forgeguard next to Ashlynn in the back and ends up killing two Forgeguard to take just three more health boxes off Ashlynn, leaving her on nine health.

My turn four looks like this:

It's looking pretty desperate but if I can last until turn 6 I stand a good chance of winning. I allocate two Focus to the Nomad and keep four for Ashlynn.

Despite auto-hitting with a POW 14 shield and a POW 17 sword the Nomad fails to kill the Blaster with it;s initial attacks, leaving it with one box. Sighing, and knowing that my back-up plan is certainly not going to work now, I spend a point of focus to kill the thing with another attack. I then use the last point of Focus to hopefully kill one of two Tactical Arcanist Corp engaged with the Nomad and wouldn't you know it, the little bugger survives with one health box!

Ashlynn massacres the two ForgeGuard she's base to base with using Flashing Blade for one focus but then I double check the charge lane before announcing a charge directly ahead and curse. That last Forgeguard (just in front of the Mule) is in my line. I have Parry, but can't afford to go base to base with him. So instead, I have to walk forward instead, going about half an inch out of my way to avoid his base. I move up the hill (which makes me happily Def 19) and shoot General Awesome with my Handcannon. He's well in range so we don't bothering measuring. Then I cast gallows, measure the range and f**k me if he isn't 1/2" out of range! The same 1/2" I had to use up to move around that blood Forgeguard! Luke manages not to laugh his head-off and commiserates instead. Gallows would have pulled Awesome out of cover and given the Gun Mage a direct shot instead of a shot at a focus camping dwarf in cover. Why I didn't try to use Gallow's first and then make the Hand Cannon shot at a target that would (ideally) have been out of +4 Def cover, I do not know.

So near...yet so far....
Speaking of which, I forgot something didn't I? I move the Gun Mage into range of a Brutal Takedown shot and then realise I forgot something else! The Command check comes up box-cars. This time Luke does laugh (which is okay because I'm laughing too). I move him to engage the Gunner just in front of him. After running Reinholdt up to engage the Basher (and prevent it from slamming Ashlynn next turn) I challenge Luke to do his worst next turn....

Turn 5:
And I think he mis-understood what I mean't. Everything. I mean everything in Luke's army shoots at or swings at the Def 19 Caster without any focus on top of the hill and even after all that she's still alive. Down to three health boxes, mind, but still alive. My luck in Luke's turn isn't that great when it comes to hitting things either. The Gun Mage gets a free back strike against a Gunner as it leaves melee to shoot Ashlynn and does nothing.

Annoyingly however, General Awesome manages to cast Stranglehold on Ashlynn, meaning she can either move or take an action next turn, but not both. Not that I need both, mind you, cos Luke actually moved him a bit closer to me....

But wait.... Luke still has the Basher. He obviously paid attention when I told him that Ashlynn hates AoE's because it walks up to her and pops the frag cannons. He does four points of damage to Ashlynn to Ashlynn, one more than she has, and I tip her over. Good game. I'd like to say well-played, but we both made so many stupid mistakes I'd be lying through my teeth if I did. But we both enjoyed it and that's all that matters,

Lessons Learned:
  • Herne and Johnne + Fire for Effect = Bad News
  • Blaster's have the circular magazine on their back. Gunner's don't.
  • Knockback before damage rolls is very useful against Defensive Lines and Shieldwalls.
  • Measure your control range before trying to cast Gallows
  • Use Gallows to drag someone out of cover THEN shoot them.
Looking Ahead:
We're playing another game at the local club tomorrow night, trying to drum up some interest. Because of the lighting conditions, we won't be taking photographs so there's no reason not to use Proxies. WEell be playing 30 points this time.I have a bunch of Crowe's cut-throats who will be standing in for Steel-Heads and I'm debating whether or not to swap out the High Shields for a Vanguard. Also, I'll be saying bye to Reinhardt for a while and replacing him with the Piper to bring my force up to 30 points. I have no idea what I'll be playing tomorrow. Luke's new Minuteman arrived yesterday as well, so I'm betting that I'll be facing either Kraye or Kara. I'll let you know how I get on.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Warmahordes: To Boost or Not to Boost

Found this very interesting article by Random Thoughts on War-Seer at this [link]. I've reproduced ithe link here for the simple reason that I want to be able to find it whenever and wherever I need it.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Warmachine: Quick Battle Reports

Luke, one of my regular opponents and the sole reason I've gotten back onto Warmahordes after a seven year leave of absence, let me borrow some of his models so we could get in a few quick games a week or two ago.

Luke obviously has a bit more experience in Warmachine than I've had lately, but he's still pretty much a beginner himself. There isn't much of a Warmahordes scene locally, but he and I plan to try and change that.

Here are a pair of (very brief) reports regarding those games. It was nearly two weeks ago now. I didn't note down the full lists (idiot), but we played two 25 pt games.

My list stayed the same throughout. I played Khador and I think I had:

War Dog
Beast 09
Widowmaker Officer
Great Bears of Gallowswood

Game One:
Luke fielded Kara, his favorite Cygnar Warcaster, with a pair of Hunters and a Squire. He also had a journeyman with a Defender and the Black 13th and possibly something else. I went first and advanced. Luke went next and popped his feat on turn one, tearing both arms off Beast 09 with his shooting and killing one of my Widowmakers. However, he got slightly too close to my Warcaster. On turn two, I Wind Rushed to within Tempest range of Kara, popped the spell with a boost to attack rolls and knocked both her and a shielding model over. After that I walked the Widowmakers forward and pumped shots into Kara and claimed a win! In turn 2 of my first Warmachine game in seven years!

Sorsha knocks down Kara with Tempest
Honestly, I think Luke just got a little over-confident and forgot that he wasn't playing a total beginner. Sorcha clearly hasn't changed much from her mkI days and, while I've always been a Merc player, I've played against Sorsha often enough that I remembered what she could not.

Not well enough though.....

Game Two:
Luke changed his list and brought epic Stryker (all the cool gamers call him eStyker these days apparently), a Squire, the Thunderhead, Ol' Rowdy, a Journyman Warcaster (the cool gamers call him "Junior") and Arlan Strangeways. Luke told me Styker could pretty much guarantee a Warcaster kill from 20" or so away so I ended up playing this game overly cautiously.

I SHOULD have popped my feat in turn 2, but forgot and charged the Thunderhead with Beast 09 (after it had already killed most of my Widowmakers). I forgot my basic maths for a moment and wasted a few points of focus boosting damage rather than purchasing more attacks. As a result, I hurt the Thunderhead but not badly enough. Ol' Rowdy had grudge up and was able to counter-charge Beast 09 as well, so it wasn't in great shape as my turn two ended with the Beast badly beat up.

In Luke's turn 3, the Thunderhead killed Beast 09 and my last two Widowmakers while Stryker ran over and killed their officer solo. That left me with just Sorsha, the Wardog and the Juggernaut against Luke's entire army minus the Gun Captain Adept I'd gunned down in turn 1. I stepped out from behind shelter, knocked a few models over with Tempest, but pretty much accomplished nothing because I AGAIN, for the second turn in a row, forgot to pop my feat.

Luke spent his next turn maneuvering for the kill and on my turn 4 I did the inconceivable: I actually conceded! Now not only is this considered very poor form in the Warmachine community, it's the first time I've conceded a game -any game- in over a decade. My hand was extended before I knew what I was doing. I even surprised myself. My wife was actually speechless (she was in the room doing some paperwork). I've only known Luke for about six months, but even he was pretty shocked considering I've always been pretty vocal about playing to the bitter end. A game of Warmachine in particular is famous for never being over till it's over and Luke had stranded his Warcaster all alone on the far side of the board. With Sorsha's mobility I could have been there in two turns. Granted, eStryker would have murdered Sorsha as soon as she got closed, but I might have gotten jammy. So I'm pretty disappointed in myself to say the least.

Still, I had a cracking good evening and my enthusiasm for Warmachine is stoked. Now if only my Arcane Tempest Gun Mages weren't stuck on back-order I'd be able to get a proper Merc game in!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back to the 40K: CSM vs CSM Batrep.

Well, my plan of having a dedicated web-site for 40K didn't work out. I hardly ever posted anything on the new blog and it cut the number of posts in this blog down considerably.

So from now on, 40K is back on the menu at Terminus Omega. To prove it, here's a much shortened bat-rep of a game between my Khorne-themed CSM list and Luke's Slaaneshi themed list. I say much shortened, because the game was nearly six weeks ago now and I can remember very few details. Even with the aid of photographs to jog my memory. I do recall it was a big guns never tire mission.

My Army:
My army was Khorne-themed, with a Daemon Prince armed with "THE AXE" and a Chaos Lord on  a Juggernaut armed with a powerfist and a lightning claw. I had a strong unit of bikers with the Mark of Khorne and two melta-guns mounted on the bikes. I also fielded a Land Raider with a full complement of Berserkers (a change from my normal Possessed contingent) and eight Khorne Terminators with combi-melta's. To round things out I had ten chaos marines with plasma guns on foot, ten cultists and I used a Vanilla Marine razorback as a proxie for a CSM Predator with autocannon and heavy bolters. Finally, I had 150pts to spend so I fielded a unit of Thousand Sons.

Luke's Army:
Luke fielded a Slaaneshi Lord with the Burning Brand on a bike, escorted by a small squad of Bikers. His second HQ choice was a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh with maxed out spells including a lot of Biomancy. He also fielded two ten man Noise marines squads loaded with AP3 eating weapons, a ten man Havoc Squad with four autocannons, an Aegis Defence Line and a normal CSM squad with Mark of Slaanesh, BP and Close Combat Weapon.

He also fielded a Helldrake. Boo! Hiss! As if he didn't have enough AP3 already.

Luke positioned both units of Noise Marines in area terrain, one of them centrally. He placed his Biker Lord and escort behind the centre Noise Marines along with his CSM marines and DP. He placed his Havocs with his Aegis on my right flank. He held two objectives, one with his Noise Marines on the left, one with his Havocs (inside the defence line) on the right. He kept his Helldrake in reserve.

Luke's/Slaanesh Deployment
 I had one objective on my left behind a hill. Stupidly (and crucially) I'd forgotten that Thousand Sons were only troops in my Tzeentch list and so they couldn't actually hold the objective. Being so damnably slow, they then did nothing all game. I placed my Land Raider and Predator centrally along with the Bikes and Juggerlord. My cultists screened my CSM on the right. Seeing as Luke had the first turn, I kept my DP in reserve, hoping to use him to take out Luke's DP wherever he ended up.

My Deployment. Take BEFORE I remembered to place the Pred Proxie

Early Game:
Luke's first turn shooting was fairly ineffective. I had placed most of my army either out of range or out of LOS of his army. I only lost a single Biker to shooting because his wheel was poking out from behind a bus. I may have lost a cultist or two to some long range Havoc fire but that was it. I had no shooting at all to speak off. Turn two, his DP fries a few of my cultists AND my CSM's. With Havoc fire and the turn 2 arrival of his Helldrake that sealed the fate of both units who promptly failed morale and eventually ran off the table in turn 3 In return, I knock a few hull points off his Helldrake with twin-linked heavy bolter fire and Lascannon fire from the Pred and killed his DP with some twin linked bolt guns and melta guns from the bikers, who by this point were turbo-boosting in circles behind the bus.

Both DP's were flying at this point, but it's still a cool photo
Mid Game:

Luke's horde of AP3 firepower has nothing much left to shoot at apart from my vehicles (everything else being out of LOS) and does almost no damage. The Helldrake managed to Vector Strike the Landraider to no effect and then kill a few bikers with his fiery breath. In return, I shoot down the Helldrake with my Deepstriking Terminators and their combi-melta's, who now threaten the right hand Noise Marine objective. My Predator shoots across the board towards the objective on my back left because, as Heavy Support, it can capture objectives in this scenario.

To our combined delight, it turns out to have been a Skyfire Nexus all along! To only my delight, my DP with THE AXE charges the central Noise Marines and easily slaughters the Champion in a challenge. The Bikes move up for a charge next turn and blast away at the Havocs with their bolt guns and kill a few of the autocannon gunners.
My turn 3: DP Charges and kills the Noise Marine Champ in a challenge
In Luke's turn, his Chaos Lord and Bikers charge my Daemon Prince. The Chaos Lord has to challenge the Daemon Prince and who rolls a 1 for the Axe and wounds himself and takes another wound from Luke's Chaos Lord. My DP is now tar-pitting two whole units on his own. His Havocs kills a few Terminators though volume of fire. His Noise Marines on the left shoot at and destroy my Predator with a lucky shot. The Landraider moves up to threaten the Aegis Defence Line objective once the Terminators clear out the Havocs. It still has not yet disgorged it's cargo of 'Zerkers , mostly because I'm expecting Luke's Biker Lord to counter-attack the Terminators once they've driven off the  Havocs. The Zerkers would then counter-attack in turn.

His turn 3: Slaaneshi Chaos Lord and Bikers charge DP who rolls a 1 for The AXE
I then charge my own Bikers and Jugger Lord into the huge tar-pit around the Daemon Prince, hoping to clear away the central Slaaneshi units and open up a charge route to the Noise Marines on Luke's left. My DP kills the Chaos Lord. My Chaos Lord kills the Biker Champion. My bikers tear through Luke's Bikers, despite their initiative advantage.

My and Luke;s Turn 4: My DP kills Luke's Chaos Lord and my Chaos Lord on his Juggernaut kills his Biker Champion. Luke counter charges in his turn with the Close Combat CSM Marines who lose their Champion to my Lord.
Luke counters by charging into this huge melee with his Close Combat Marines, whose Champion promptly challenges my Chaos Lord and dies horribly to a Powerfist in the face. His close combat marines flee combat but rally. Meanwhile, I'm slaughtering everything in sight. My terminators charge home into the Havocs and route them, but lose more than half the squad in the process. They then occupy the Quad gun.

After shooting, this turned out to be a very easy Assault Phase for me.

Late Game:
Luke' Noise Marines on the left continue to stay put, knowing that if they break cover my AP3 Thousand Sons will have a field day. Meanwhile, my Thousands Sons stay put knowing that if they break cover the AP3 Noise Marines will have a field day.

On the other side of the board, we're busy annihilating each other. My Daemon Prince manages to kill itself by rolling another 1 with it's axe.
With 1 wound left my DP rolls a 1 for his Axe Attacks and kills himself. Bummer.
After which a series of bad dice rolls lead to the death of my Lord. Luke's remaining forces in the centre (half a dozen miniatures or so, including his rallied close combat CSM's) somehow manage to retake the Aegis Defence Line from my Terminators. My Zerkers then charge out of the Landraider and re-take the objective but fail to kill one model, leaving it contested. I try to zoom my Landraider across the board to contest Luke's other objective but it's too late.
These six marines somehow managed to kill all three Terminators before they could even strike back!

I've managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and Luke wins with First Blood, one objective and Slay the Warlord. Meanwhile, I have Slay the Warlord and Line Breaker.

All in all a very enjoyable blood bath. Luke may have won on points but at the end of the day Khorne never loses. Because, you know, "Blood for the Blood God" and all that jazz.

Things to Remember:

Number One: (and this is the biggie that cost me the game) Thousand Sons are only troops in a list with a Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch.

Number Two: Even if your guys can't score on an objective, you should still move them forward the bloody half inch required to see what that mysterious objective is! It could be Skyfire.