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Posts Tagged ‘Banksy’

I can’t seem to stop buying books at the moment. There’s no reason why I should keep buying them – I still have Jailbird, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, and Volume I of the Complete Short Stories of Philip K Dick to look at from when I moved into the garret, not to mention Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham and The Painted Veil which I’ve picked up since. And you would have thought that, upon (finally) finishing The Complete Father Brown Stories, I would have got stuck into one or other of these.

And thus was the plan: I packed the Collected Somerset Maugham into my knapsack ahead of my recent trip away (all right, World War Hulk was in there too, just in case I fancied a change of pace). But I popped into Waterstones to use the loo on the way to the bus station and while I was in there (Waterstones, not the toilet) I found a rather lovely imported edition of The Tale of Genji. So I bought that, even though it is a bulky beast, and not to be undertaken lightly.

Then on Tuesday I found myself in Market Harborough and passed up the various fleshy indulgences of Cafe Nero and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in order to do a quick sweep of the charity shops. There were the usual large numbers of discarded copies of Life of Pi (one day I will go into an Oxfam or Age Concern and find the bookshelves stocked entirely with 500 copies of Life of Pi). In my defence I will point out I resisted the urge to buy Brave New World and the collected scripts of Round the Horne. Nevertheless I emerged with Canal Dreams by Banksy and Fabulous Harbours, a fascinating collection of mid-to-late-period Michael¬†Moorcock which may yet prove vital in my quest to assimilate the works of the bearded titan. So I ended with three new books over the weekend, and it’s not even as if I’m reading that fast these days (the last book I finished in one sitting was – er – World War Hulk, and I know what that says about me).

You may be thinking that there’s not a lot of wargaming in this supposedly-wargame-related blog post. And you would be right, except that I am attempting to communicate something of the quality of my wargaming experience this week, which – likewise – did not contain a lot of wargaming.

I wound up playing a Tau army at 1000 points, which, as usual, necessitated some mental arithmetic which I cocked up. The dice suggested we play a mission entitled Vertical Envelopment. The scenario is that the two armies line up face to face no closer than 18″ apart, and the winner is the one who destroys the most units in the opposing army.

Now I don’t usually knock the Battle Missions book but this scenario just seems to invite the Tau to set up well back in their deployment zone and just go shooty-shoot-shoot: it plays entirely to their strengths (with the addition that they can bring their piranhas and hammerheads on behind the enemy army if they so choose), and they get the first turn (i.e. shooting phase) on a 2+.

And so it transpired, with the Blood Angels staggering forward through a hail of fire in a vain attempt to engage the Tau up close. When I got to initiate assaults, the Blood Angels effortlessly destroyed whatever they contacted, even though it was only two vampire-marines against a full Tau squad on both occasions. And the downside was that the assault units were left hung out to dry in the aftermath of the assault of both occasions and didn’t survive the Tau counterfire.

Well, anyway, I’m not going to attempt a full blow-by-blow partly because I can’t remember which Tau units shot up which ones of mine (I will say that the Tau do seem to get an awful lot of models at 1K though). And it wasn’t as if I was wiped out by the end of turn 6, when the game ended: I had a tactical marine with a missile launcher hanging in there. Nevertheless I had lost 5 units and only managed to kill some Kroot, some pathfinders, a piranha and some stealthsuits, so it was a 5-4 win for the Tau.

Not, you would think from looking at the score, a terrible drubbing, but still unsatisfactory.¬†The game only lasted about thirty minutes, because the Tau were mainly just using their shooting phase and I was mostly moving and then running. And on the bus home I realised my army had actually only totalled 940 points and I could have given the Death Company their rhino transport. I can’t imagine how this game would have gone if they’d been mobile: as it was they lost 7 out of 10 troopers in the first Tau shooting phase (nearly a quarter of the points cost of the army).

Even before this game I had been thinking that my army relied too much on the Death-and-Meph combo to contest games and this performance only confirmed that (I didn’t take Mephiston; I wouldn’t at 1000 points, it’s just uncivilised). The usual issues: I need more bodies, more long-range anti-tank shooting, maybe some more transports… hrmmp.

So at least I got out of the shop early for once, anyway. After enjoying my chicken royale meal from a well-known fast food restaurant chain, I found I had a few minutes before the bus back to the garret. So I popped into Waterstone’s again for a casual look around and maybe a bit of a browse (no Moorcock on the shelves at all – and they call themselves a bookshop) and emerged, admittedly sheepish, with a crisp new copy of Yippi-Ki-Ay Moviegoer! by Vern. Vern does a good job of appearing to be a complete moron but his film reviews are subtle and extremely funny, and a definite incitement to me to raise my own game. And if I’d had a more satisfying game this week (or, alternately, checked my sums) I might never have bought it. So, you know, silver linings and all.

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