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Posts Tagged ‘draws’

Another run-in with the Lizardmen this week, but only at 1000 points; a different opponent, too. It’s still early days in terms of my getting a sense of what the most common armies in my area are, but Skaven and Lizardmen certainly seem to be a regular sight on the local tables.

chaos

I rejigged my standard 1K list, partly because I wanted to try out a small unit of Forsaken, and partly because a close re-reading of the rules revealed my general’s magic item selection was a tiny bit illegal. In came the Forsaken and a Nurgle Spawn, out went a unit of Warhounds and a couple of arcane items, and my main Warrior unit got the Mark of Nurgle.

As usual I was left somewhat envious by the sheer amount of toy soldiers virtually every other army seems to get at 1K compared to mine: on this occasion the Lizards turned up with a big block of Saurus Warriors, a small regiment of Temple Guard, five Saurus Cavalry, three Ripperdactyls, and a swarm of Skinks, led by a Skink priest and a Scar-Veteran on a Cold One.

Three Warhound deployments gave me a decent sense of how the Lizardmen would be advancing – Sauri and Cold Ones in the centre, Temple Guard and Ripperdactyls on my right flank, while the Skinks would be lurking in some woods on my left. Bearing this in mind I put the Chaos Warriors down centrally, supported by the Spawn and the Forsaken, while the Chariot and the Marauders went down on the right.

The three spells I had wound up with were Doom and Darkness, Fate of Bjuna, and Purple Sun of Xereus (I’ll come back to the wisdom of this and its impact on the battle later), and my mood was distinctly lifted when, with practically the first dice roll of the game, I fired off Purple Sun and destroyed half of the main Saurus Warrior block, whose very low initiative made them horribly vulnerable to the spell.

Things went on in this vaguely positive vein as the Saurus Cavalry charged the Chaos Warriors, clipping some woods in the process and losing two of their number, allowing the Warriors to deal with them fairly easily. The Temple Guard were lured by Warhounds into a position where they could be frontally charged by the Gorebeast Chariot and the Marauders. The Temple Guard put up stiff opposition, especially when the halberdiers in the back of the Chariot fluffed their dice rolls, but were eventually hacked down (the cold blood rule effectively made the Lizardmen combat troops almost impossible to break).

However, our old friend New Model Syndrome made an unwelcome appearance as the Forsaken first failed the easiest of charges into the Scar-Veteran and then, when they finally got into combat with him, ended up with Strikes Last as their mutation that turn. This allowed the Veteran to hack them all down, not least because the Skink Priest had been casting Wyssan’s Wildform and/or Beast of Horros on him every turn. The following turn he sorted out the Spawn as well, leaving him in a position to take on the Chaos Warriors (who had just wiped out the Ripperdactyls).

At this point a nasty wrinkle in the Chaos Warrior rules became apparent: the requirement to issue a challenge whenever possible. Neither of the characters in the Warrior unit realistically had a chance against the Scar-Veteran, and the small unit lacked the static resolution to make up for the sizeable overkill the Lizardman hero would be scoring every turn. The fact that some poor choices when it came to dispelling the Skink’s magic had left the augmented Saurus with somewhere in the region of seven attacks at strength nine didn’t help much either. The unit champion and then my general were chopped to bits on successive turns and the unit broke (confessions of a dummy gamer: I forgot about the Banner of Discipline, which would have kept them in the fight and given me a chance to beat up the Saurus with the rest of the unit in the following turn).

The Scar-Veteran duly chased down the Warriors , but on a more positive note the Chariot got into the flank of the Saurus Warriors (who hadn’t really been doing much following their first-turn magical mauling) and broke them, cold blood for once proving ineffective. This resulted in one of those uneventful endgames, with the surviving units scattered across the table and no prospect of further combat – the Skinks loosed a few darts at the Chariot, which took a couple of wounds before withdrawing out of range.

So we counted up the scores and it turned out that the final tally was 805 to the Chaos Warriors and 750 to the Lizardmen – a draw, which I suppose was a fair result. My chances of a clean win were scuppered by the reign of terror from the Scar-Veteran – small Chaos Warrior units are quite capable of being monstered by single top-tier combat characters like this one, largely because of the Eye of the Gods rule. Bearing this in mind, the failure of the Forsaken to perform could have made a big difference – on any other result they would have been striking first, potentially delivering 12 attacks with re-rolled hits.

I think my sorcerer underperformed, as well, probably due to my spell selection. The casting of Purple Sun was my only real success all game – okay, a significant success – partly due to bad dice but also because I had three high casting value spells in the first place. In retrospect I should have swapped Doom and Darkness for Spirit Leech – the only viable target for the spell was really the Scar-Veteran, while Spirit Leech could potentially have zapped the Skink Priest from across the table and got rid of those annoying augment spells.

Not sure how useful this is in terms of general strategy, though. This game has left me really wishing I could sneak a proper combat character into the list – wreaking havoc with a Chaos Champion is very appealing, but it would mean going on the defensive magically and I’m not sure of the wisdom of that given how destructive many spells can be. Something to consider in the couple of weeks before my next game.

 

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It occurs to me that writing in detail about my successes and (mostly) failures on the wargames table is neither especially useful or interesting. I play equally tactically sophisticated and challenging board and card games, not to mention computer games, after all, and don’t inflict a turn-by-turn account every time I play Qin or Battle Line or Total War. But I do think 40K is different – you invest a lot more time and money preparing for a game, after all, to say nothing of the whole interface between the creative, narrative, strategic and tactical elements of the game is not really comparable to anything else.

On the other hand, it’s that same unique interface which has been causing me so much grief with respect to 40K – as far as the current edition is concerned, I just feel as if I’m being very unsubtly pushed towards buying certain big and expensive models simply in order for my armies to remain competitive. Bearing this in mind, I was only mildly hopeful of victory when turning up to play the other day because I was playing a relative newcomer to the game, who would not be packing the giant monsters and attack fliers that everyone seems to be building their armies around currently.

I had my Consecrators army, built under the 4th ed rules and never previously used in 6th. At 1500 I could fit in the Master of the 1st Company, three units of Terminators, a Land Raider Crusader, a firestorm Dreadnought and a unit of Scouts. I expect I could have mustered 1750 but, to be honest, I was half-thinking about pick-up games and didn’t think I’d face too many fliers and whatnot at the smaller game size.

consecrators

Heh and indeed heh. While waiting for my intended opponent I did indeed get mixed up in a pick-up at 1500, with an Eagle Warriors army… containing two Storm Talon attack fliers and a Thunderfire Cannon. Yaroo. Those really grabbed my attention, but also in the list were two mechanised Tactical Squads, an Assault Squad led by an uber-tooled-up combat character, a Stalker, and three Centurions.

Well, the game fell into three stages. I won the initiative and teleported the Master and his squad in, and rather jammily panicked the Eagles’ commander and his squad off the board on turn one. Then I found out, quite painfully, what the grav-cannons on the Centurions could do as my Terminators were slaughtered. More good luck ensued as the Master took refuge in combat by assaulting the closest Tactical marines, supported by Terminators from the Crusader, and miraculously avoided killing them all, thus keeping me safe from the Centurions in the next Eagle Warrior turn.

By this point the Dreadnought had killed the Thunderfire Cannon but was itself destroyed when both Storm Talons arrived and targeted it. The second Terminator squad assaulted the Centurions and crushed them fairly rapidly, though not before they had inflicted heavy damage on my third and final Terminator squad and killed the Master with overwatch.

The climax of the game came as the surviving Terminators beat up the last Eagle Warrior infantry and rhinos – this may have been a mistake as the exploding vehicles took a tally on my very limited forces. The Crusader managed to wreck a Storm Talon that had switched to hover mode, but the other one shot down my last Terminator in the final moments of the game. I had an unscathed Land Raider and a lone Scout left on the table; the Eagle Warriors had their Stalker and the Storm Talon. Neither of us held the main objective, and with both warlords dead, my having killed a unit on the first turn and his having a Storm Talon on my board edge it was a 2-2 draw. Frankly, I was lucky, and in killing the Storm Talon and Thunderfire Cannon I felt I’d exorcised a few demons too.

Following a quick break and a heartfelt plea from the owners of the venue for the assembled gamers to deodorise more thoroughly in future (always a sign of a classy, mainstream spot if you ask me), it was time for my game against the Ultramarines. This game was to be settled solely in terms of units wiped out and this rather dictated my strategy. The Ultramarines were led by Marneus Calgar in a Crusader, and I was pretty sure I would be in for an exceptionally tough fight if I went up against him directly. So I didn’t and just concentrated on wiping out the smaller, weaker units making up most of the Ultramarine army: five-man squads of various types.

This worked rather well, with my Terminators assaulting the Ultramarine flanks under covering fire from the Scouts, Dreadnought and my own Crusader (the Scouts went to ground whenever anyone looked in their direction to get the 2+ save for being in cover). I managed to rack up plenty of early points and it did seem that Calgar didn’t know which way to jump – it wasn’t until turn five that he finally disembarked, by which point the Master had wiped out two squads and was making a tactical retreat to avoid giving up two VPs should Calgar manage to kill him. All my other Terminators got wiped out again, but by this point the army had accounted for two Tactical Squads, a Sternguard Squad, some Terminators, some Devastators, three Centurions, and Chief Librarian Tigurius (who spent the game locked in an interminable ding-dong battle between the Centurions and a mostly-lightning claw armed Terminator unit, and never cast a single power). With first blood taken into account it all added up to an 8-3 win for the Consecrators, but I was fully aware that the inexperience of my opponent was one of my biggest assets.

So a win and a draw, both lucky. I’m still not sold on the viability of a pure Deathwing army under the new rules, but then this wasn’t really a pure Deathwing list (and I’m not seriously considering tinkering with it). Time to work on something new and – hopefully – solidly competitive, while still being aesthetically satisfying.

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So, it’s been a little while since I chanced my luck in the wargames arena, but finally the mood was upon me again and I trundled into town for a pick-up game. Just from seeing the array of armies that people brought along for the afternoon/early evening games session, it seems like all those new 6th Ed innovations I was instantly dubious of, mainly because they seemed to have been included solely to encourage the sales of big and expensive flyer and/or scenery models, have caught on: I saw three armies each with multiple planes in them, and two which had brought their own scenic features.

Having said that, I also thought the ally rules were potentially iffy, and I was using those myself: just for a change of pace I’d spent the previous few days painting 500 points of Grey Knights, as they seemed to play to my strengths as a collector and painter, and the background was sort of appealing. Ending up playing another pure Grey Knight army was not really an ideal outcome, but that was what happened.

bloodangels

It was very clear my opponent hailed from a very different gaming tradition: I’d call myself a narrative gamer (hence my obsession with getting things like themes and squad markings right) but the guy across the table clearly learned his stuff in a far more competitive atmosphere. Rolling up a mission which basically revolved around storming the enemy table corner, he plonked down a defence line which effectively fenced it off, which was garrisoned by Inquisitor Coteaz and a tooled up retinue, not to mention two rifleman Dreadnoughts. Two Grey Knight Strike Squads, a lone Paladin, and a Grand Master were all set to Deep Strike.

As regular readers will know, I am deeply suspicious of Deep Strike, but I knew my chances of footslogging my own Grey Knights across the table were fairly slim. So my Knight-Librarian and his escort of Terminators went into reserve, while everything else (Captain Zed, a Priest, an Assault Squad, a Mechanised Tactical Squad, an Attack Bike, a Land Speeder and Honoured Brother Akakos) hid behind the terrain near my objective.

I had very low expectations as the game started, fully expecting to get mown down and assaulted off the board by turn 3. However, my cagey deployment worked out and all the Grey Knights could see was the Land Speeder (which they promptly shot down). On my turn everything charged forward, using cover to screen an advance on the enemy lines. Only Akakos hung back, ready to engage in an autocannon duel with his opposite numbers  (I was not optimistic), while my Grey Knight Strike Squad stayed concealed near my objective (I had a cunning plan).

The shooting from the enemy firebase started to whittle down my advancing force on turn 2, but thankfully Feel No Pain limited my losses. The enemy Paladin and a squad with their Grand Master teleported in in my table quarter, intent on grabbing the objective there, which was clearly cause for concern. Looking on the bright side, my own Terminators teleported in virtually on top of the enemy lines.

However, things took a decided turn for the worse when the Librarian’s attempt to cast Doom Vortex backfired on him, frying half the unit including the Librarian himself: 250 points gone in one fell swoop. Hmmm.

The last enemy Grey Knights teleported into my zone on turn 3 and my opponent was looking good: if he could take and hold my objective he would rake in the points at the end of the game. Normally I take maintenance of aim pretty seriously, but I clearly had to at least have a go at defending my own zone properly, because Akakos alone would probably not be up to it. That said, the Paladin charged Akakos, zapped his own synapses miscasting Hammerhand to make his hammer a Dreadnought-busting S10, and while staggering about clutching his temples was donked neatly on the head by one of Akakos’ autocannon, taking him out of the game.

On my turn I pulled the Assault Squad and Captain Zed back to support my Strike Squad in assaulting the enemy Grey Knights (my plan to have the Librarian Summon the Strike Squad to assist on the other side of the table had obviously been scotched). The Terminators and Attack Bike commenced their attack on the enemy defence line (the last Tactical Marines had been obliterated on the previous turn). And both actions went pretty well: one enemy Dreadnought was smashed by the Terminators, while one enemy Strike Squad was wiped out by a combined attack from Captain Zed, the Assault Marines, and my own Strike Squad. Akakos’ hopeful assault on the Grand Master’s squad was less telling, but at least it kept them tied up on their own turn.

Both forces were now fully committed and it was just a question of seeing how the dice fell. Over in the enemy zone, the last three Terminators were wiped out, but not before they broke Coteaz and his retinue and came within an inch of running him off the table. The Attack Bike was still on the spot to contest the objective, though.

In my own zone, Akakos was wrecked by enemy krak grenades, but the same combination of Assault Marines, Captain and Strike Squad engaged the Grand Master and his unit. This turned into a bloodbath, and at the end only Captain Zed and his Priest were left standing.

So, come the game end, the Grey Knights had a Dreadnought and the remains of Coteaz’s unit left, while I had the Bike and two characters on the table. Neither of us could claim an objective, the Grey Knights had First Blood, but I had Linebreaker: barely credibly, I had managed to draw the game.

Well, as I said to my opponent afterwards, I pretty much know the Blood Angels army backwards by now, and they performed about as well as I’d expect: lethal in an assault, even against Grey Knights, but less effective in a shooting match. Hard to say much about the Grey Knights I took myself, not least because half the points never really got a chance to show what they could do. It’s hard to judge the Strike Squad’s performance as they were operating in close support of a large Blood Angels unit, and while the Terminators soaked up enormous firepower and still did the business, that’s pretty much what you take them to do. I think it is just a case of increasing the size of the Grey Knight contingent and seeing what happens. I have yet another game against my regular Blood Raven opponent organised for next week, at 2K no less, which will give them another opportunity to show what they can do.

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So, the day of the long-planned, much-contemplated battle between the Blood Angels and the Blood Ravens finally arrived. I had, if I’m honest, been pre-thinking this one rather too much, writing at least three lists before settling on the one I eventually took. This probably constitutes list-tailoring, which I usually abhor, but I didn’t fancy getting blown off the table by the Blood Ravens’ massed firepower, and I wanted to give my opponent a decent match.

bloodangels

In the end I knew I would be staring down the barrels of a Vindicator gun, a Thunderfire cannon, three lascannons, and various sniper rifles and squad heavy weapons, to say nothing of the weaponry of the Storm Talon, so I decided to swamp the Ravens with multiple targets in the hope something would get through and do some damage up close. I left Captain Zed on the bench in order to give my Assault Marines some backbone through the presence of a Chaplain, took a mechanised Tactical Squad and a full Assault Squad, minimaxed Death Company and a Death Company Dreadnought, filled up my Fast Attack choices with a Baal Predator, an Attack Bike and a Land Speeder, and finished off with my regular picks of a Furioso, a Sanguinary Priest and a regular Dreadnought (with only the basic load-out for once).

The Ravens turned up with two full Tactical Squads on foot, sniper-rifle Scouts, a three-lascannon Predator, a Vindicator, a drop-podding Dreadnought and a Thunderfire Cannon. New to the build this week were six hammer-toting Terminators led by a Librarian in Terminator armour. These gave me serious pause, as I know just how hard to kill they can be (that’s the reason why I have some myself) – only my Dreadnoughts could reliably get through their 2+ saves and nothing could touch their 3+ shield saves.

And, well – well, the annoying thing is that GW Oxford has changed the hours of their games night so it concludes at 8pm. For those of us who work until 5pm this makes playing a full game, even at only 1500 points, a considerable challenge. Time limits (two hours a game) and/or fairly draconian points caps (1000 points on a 4×4 table does not seem unreasonable) are surely on the way. Either way, we only finished three turns of a potential seven.

I was lucky and got both the first turn and Night Fighting, and everything moved forward in a frontal assault on the Raven deployment zone. New Model Syndrome bared its teeth as the Baal Predator crashed into terrain hoping to eliminate the Scouts and immobilised itself on turn 1. Thankfully the Raven shooting was harsh, but not cripplingly so, and I was lucky with Jink saves on the Speeder and Bike: my main worry was their Dreadnought, which dropped into my deployment zone.

On turn 2 the central thrust continued from the Tactical and Assault Marines, with the Death Company Dreadnought also on the march and the Furioso preparing to engage the Raven Dreadnought. The Speeder and Attack Bike whipped around the Raven flank, destroying the Vindicator and threatening multiple units. The Furioso killed the enemy Dreadnought leaving me still confident.

Neither the Terminators nor the Storm Talon put in an appearance on turn 2, but the volume of fire the Ravens were able to generate was still worrying, and my inability to pass Feel No Pain tests was a bit irksome. The Assault Squad was heavily whittled down and the improved armour on the front of the Furioso also proved its value.

On turn 3 I finally got to assault, using the Attack Bike to draw off the Overwatch of the Tactical Squad and allow the surviving Assault Marines, Chaplain, and Priest to get in unmolested, while the regular Dreadnought assaulted the Drop Pod – the Death Company Dreadnought was out of range of the last surviving Scout. I think I made my biggest tactical mistake of the game in challenging the Raven Sergeant with my Sanguinary Priest; the two characters killed each other taking my Feel No Pain save with them – the Chaplain would have been tougher and faster in the challenge and allowed the Priest to hack down some regular guys. I’m not sure there’s any value to challenging a regular sergeant with a chainsword at all. (My biggest rules mistake was forgetting Hammer of Wrath for the Assault Marines and Attack Bike, but hey ho.) The Blood Ravens hung in there anyway, but their Drop Pod was trashed.

My opponent’s variable luck continued on his turn 3 as he failed both his 3+ reserve rolls again. The second Tactical Squad and the cannon fired at my Tactical Squad but only killed a single marine, while the Predator’s attempt to kill the Death Company Dreadnought was hampered by the improved cover save the Techpriest on the cannon had bestowed on the terrain it was moving through. The combat between the Assault Marines and the Raven Tactical Squad turned into a bit of a slugging match, but the Angels won and the Ravens fled. The game was finely poised; I was in a position to assault either or both of his Tactical Squads on the following turn, the Attack Bike was positioned to threaten the Predator, the Death Company Dreadnought would almost certainly have wiped out the Scouts, the surviving Death Company were slowly trotting into assault range… On the other hand the Terminators and Librarian presented a massive threat and I had nothing which could reliably damage the Storm Talon, and all of these things were on their way to the table.

But we had no time.  Pointswise it was 3-3, so we called it a draw – which we both agreed was a fair result. It had been a terrific game so far, and it was bitterly disappointing to have to abandon it halfway through.

My strategy seemed to work pretty well, dubious decisions with the Baal Predator notwithstanding (I was unlucky with the dice, obviously – is it worth putting a dozer blade on this thing? It would mean covering up some paintwork I’m very happy with). The only thing I might change would be to drop the Death Company units in favour of my own Terminators, now that I know the Blood Ravens are taking them too (we are already discussing a rematch in a more congenial venue).

I was rather impressed with how well the flank move by the Land Speeder and Attack Bike went. Bikes seem to have the potential to be seriously good in 6th Ed, but no-one seems to have noticed this yet – I’m almost tempted to dust off my plans for a White Scars army; basic T5 and an innate 5+ cover save when moving make for a very resilient force, while Hammer of Wrath is a nice perk too (when you remember it). The Land Speeder also seemed rather tasty: in larger games I can imagine a contingent of two Speeders and three Attack Bikes making the same kind of flanking move and causing a serious headache for most armies.

In the end though this was more about where and when we played the game than the rules and tactics themselves. This was a shame, so perhaps the biggest lesson was to start to think about other possibilities in this area. As usual we shall see.

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Being public-spirited, and always on the lookout for an easy win, last week I offered to play someone relatively new to 40K who lacked confidence in his grasp of the rules. He duly turned up this week and we got down to a 1250 point game. I had the Blood Angels with my, as usual, with what was basically my standard list but with Mephiston left on the bench (and clearly deserving a rest after his tireless efforts over the last few months).

My opponent had a slightly eccentric Marine army with two Captains, two plasma’d-up tactical squads, two dreadnoughts of different configurations, a floating rhino, some terminators and a whirlwind. I put him in to deploy first – the mission was to seize a single enemy objective in their deployment zone. He basically deployed as a firebase, although a lot of things were in the open and nothing was actually contesting his objective.

I deployed similarly, though I had the Death Company and Furioso lining up as a big left hook with the Captain and Assault squad in reserve. The Marines went first and launched a slightly stately advance, with everything on foot (the rhino was acting as a mobile sight-screen) and the terminators attempting to climb a building in a neutral table quarter (my opponent later confessed he didn’t deep strike them as he wasn’t sure of the rules…).

Footslogging Marines in the open make plasma cannon gunners happy and most of the squad in question was duly blown away. The Death Company motored up to give themselves various options for the following turn while the missile launcher combat squad guarding my objective took the first of many ineffectual shots at the Marine vehicles.

The key action of the battle occurred over the next few turns, with the Death Company rhino being blown up and the squad itself being punished by the rest of the enemy army. The vampire marines eventually assaulted the footslogging marines, supported by the Furioso, and wiped them out, but an attempt to press on towards the enemy objective ran out of steam as the Death Company were whittled down and the dreadnought was gradually deprived of all its weapons and mobility before being blown up. My fire-support dreadnought duelled it out with its Marine counterpart before getting toasted near the end of the game.

This had ‘draw’ written all over it from very early on with neither of us being capable of mounting an assault in force on the other’s objective. I played it pointlessly safe when deep striking the Assault squad, coming in nowhere near enough the objective. In the end I was compelled to attack the terminators and wiped them out, but by that point a Marine dreadnought had got stuck in and despite my Captain passing four iron halo saves and sticking two meltabombs on the damn thing I just couldn’t get an effective damage result against it. The game ran out in a stalemate, just as we’d predicted (the second Marine squad hustled into position to hold their objective in the final turns).

Still, it was played in a great spirit and was thoroughly enjoyable. My opponent was already planning to rewrite his list, and it’s just adding to my certainty as to what I need to do to mine: more troops, more mechanisation and more anti-tank power. Regular readers will know as much already, but with my summer break looming it’s just a question of what, if anything, actually gets done.

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I think I am going to make a special poster and nail it into the angle of the ceiling above my bed (if you could see the somewhat peculiar architecture of my attic you would understand what I mean), and leave it there for as long as I stick with my current army. Written on the poster will be ‘Never ever even contemplate teleporting onto the table with a Deathwing army – nay, even with a single squad.’
 

 

 

Following last week’s drawn game between my 1st Company Consecrators and Twiggy’s Orks (name changed to protect the innocent. My opponent’s name, not the name of the Orks, obviously) we decided to play a straightforward conventional game in the hope of resolving the situation. Battle Missions indicated we should play a mission entitled All-Round Defence, in which my army would hold the table centre and Twiggy’s Orks would attack from all sides.

I decided to deploy cautiously (or so it seemed at the time), putting the Dreadnought and a squad in the objective (some ruins, another squad to their north, and the Grand Master and his retinue in a Land Raider Crusader (making its first appearance on the table). I left the other two squads in reserve.

The game started well with the Orks not present in numbers: a medium-sized boyz mob to the north and a super-elite Meganob mob approaching from the south. Their fire pattered off the armour of the Consecrators, while in return storm bolters and assault cannon scythed down many of the regular boys. The Land Raider moved to screen the objective from the Meganobs and opened up on them with everything it was carrying. One of them was wounded by the assault cannon, another was vaporised by the multi-melta, their nerve broke and they fled off the table.

As the Orks started turning up in force the Consecrators became increasingly hard-pressed. With this army you live and die with every save you roll and to begin with I was very lucky, taking very light casualties. On the other hand, I wasn’t able to inflict much damage on the massed Orks (what price a Land Raider Helios? Oh, hang on, about fifty quid) and the Dreadnought was only able to kill one of the six Kans lumbering in from the north (the vast majority of the Orks moved in from the same direction, which I initially thought was a possible error). It was stunned on the turn prior to its assault on a stormboy mob, which prevented me from shooting the heavy flamer at them – this might have made a big difference.

Eventually a tidal wave of green warriors crashed into the thin black line of Consecrator terminators. I’d forgotten just how many dice Orks roll in an assault and sure enough my defence started to crumble. At this point I still had a squad in reserve and decided to teleport them on close enough to hopefully distract and divert part of the Ork advance. Needless to say, they scattered into an Ork biker and were never seen again. This was a (fairly) bitter blow, but you get used to these things with the Deathwing.

By the end of turn five all the Consecrator infantry had been hacked down, mostly by the power claws of Ork bosses, and the Crusader was executing a strategic withdrawal. (If nothing else I had escaped the New Model Blues as it had only been hit once all game, and that had bounced off.) Battling in magnificent isolation was the damaged Dreadnought, which was still contesting the objective and keeping me in the game. One more turn would almost certainly see it destroyed by the three Kans manoeuvering to assault it… but the dice came up a 2 and the game ended at the earliest possible moment – in another draw, with the Ork forces much more in evidence. So very much like the previous week, except with fewer Blood Swords and Grey Knights for target practice.

As we were packing up Twiggy and I agreed that the mishap with the teleporter had definitely influenced the game – but on reflection, I don’t think it would have made much difference. There was no way I was voluntarily going near the Kans with my terminators, and once the Dreadnought was stuck in combat with stormboys I had nothing to threaten them with. I think the Dreadnought being stunned was every bit as important. Throwing five more terminators into the grinder probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

And there was no real benefit to teleporting them on anyway: they were coming on somewhere they could initially have deployed in anyway. If I’d started with all five squads, and the Dreadnought, and the Land Raider on the table, it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference to my tactical play, and in addition I’d have got many more shots off from the two additional assault cannons. So the conclusion I draw is one I’ve drawn repeatedly in the past, but subsequently forgotten every time: don’t teleport with Deathwing! Quite beyond the risk, it splits and weakens the army. Hopefully this will eventually sink in. But until it does, it’s time to start making a poster.

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The usual table shortage at GW Oxford resulted in suggestions of a team game, which mutated (oh, all right, it was my idea) into a four-way exercise in Carnage: four armies striking out for the table centre, each one out for itself. I had my Consecrators, while also flying the flag for variant Space Marine Chapters were a Blood Swords force and some Grey Knights. What would otherwise have been an Imperium-only barney was disrupted by the arrival of a Kan-heavy Ork warband.
 

 

 

The game got off to a cheerful start as the Orks shot down and destroyed the Blood Swords’ Stormraven before it got the chance to do anything, while pressing forward along the table edges towards the vampire marines and the Grey Knights. The Grey Knights started to redeploy towards my own territory, though cautiously (which was understandable given they were heading for 26 models in Terminator armour and a Dreadnought). Caution did not work as the Consecrator Dreadnought blew up their Land Raider, which disgorged seven of their own Terminators and their Grand Master.

On their first turn the Blood Swords mostly advanced on the Orks, except for their version of Mephiston who zipped into combat with a Consecrator unit. The Consecrators looked hard pressed as the Grey Knights were also assaulting from the opposite direction, but the Lord of Death was squished for the loss of only five men, while extremely jammy dice (and the GK player not playing the right statline) meant that the Knight Terminators assault was held up long enough for a supporting squad to counter-attack and destroy the unit.

This left me in good shape and with a clear path to the objective in the centre. The Grey Knights were taking a beating from the Ork Kans, however, and rapidly running out of men. Meanwhile a Blood Sword Dreadnought launched a savage assault on the Orks, while a Land Raider was air-dropped close to the centre of the action. The Dreadnought killed nineteen models on the charge, until we realised the Blood Sword player was using the wrong rules, which halved the damage. Nevertheless Ork powerklaws ripped it and the Land Raider to pieces quite rapidly.

Mopping-up fire from my Terminators and Dreadnought had wiped out the last Grey Knights by this point and I moved on the objective in force. My confidence took a knock when the Blood Sword Death Company attacked and slaughtered practically a full squad of Terminators for no loss. I had to pull back and shoot them a lot, whittling them down and finishing them off with an assault from the Grand Master and his squad.

The Blood Swords were running out of troops fast, and I hadn’t had many to begin with, while the Orks were still present in force. Both Space Marine armies were contesting the objective while the Orks slowly rumbled into assault range. The Blood Sword player opted to vacate the building temporarily on the (entirely spurious) understanding that the Orks would wipe out the Consecrators and then the two of them would fight it out for the prize.

Needless to say the Ork bikes and kopters pounced on the last Blood Sword survivors as they vacated the objective. ‘You git,’ said the Blood Sword Commander as his army was wiped out, vowing (rather melodramatically I thought) that he would never forgive the pair of us for this. My amusement was shortlived as the Grand Master of the Consecrator 1st Company put rather too much faith in his two-up save and was gunned down by the Ork kopters (and snake eyes on the dice). Hmph.

So it was down to a clash between six surviving Consecrator Terminators and their Dreadnought, and an alarming number of Orks with a pair of Kans. The Consecrator Dreadnought smashed into the two Ork machines and flattened them both, while combat around the objective resulted in a tie. With time running out (this game lasted about three hours), we called it a draw – but favouring the Orks, given the sheer number of them swarming over the objective.

Well, a lesson there for the Imperium of Man not to muck about with internecine squabbles when there are xenos on the prowl, I suppose. As usual Carnage created a great game which no-one took too seriously even if the turns were rather long. The early and spectacular demises that every piece of heavy equipment on the table met were particularly amusing (especially to me as commander of a virtually all-infantry army). It certainly made me reconsider my thoughts of focussing on WFB for a while, and I met a couple of guys I’m looking forward to playing in a rather more conventional context. We all appeared to have a good time, even the two guys who got wiped out early, so I’d call the evening a success, even if I didn’t (quite) win.

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