Monday, 18 November 2013

Purestrain Pleasures!

Well after adding a few more finishing touches to last week's hybrids/magus I thought it was time to introduce these new beauties to the rest of their cult.

As it stands this xenos cult consists of the following:

First up we have the brood's Big Daddy...The Patriarch:

This gnarled and weathered old genestealer is the primogenitor of this cult and as such he is decades, if not hundreds of years old, and in light of this I have tried to give him an appropriate paint job that demonstrates his venerable status. 

The model itself is the original 'Running Patriarch' from 1989 and I just love the character this sculpt oozes.  So much cooler than the Broodlord of modern canon; I particularly like his swanky giant medallion; perhaps this cult has infiltrated a world where 1970's disco is still cool and John Travolta will be the first of his brood brothers!

Unfortunately when he arrived via a Space Hulk (aka EBay) to my home world (aka Doorstep); one of his legs had snapped off completely.  This is one of the dramas with old lead, it's such a soft metal that weak areas such as joints and spindly limbs are prone to snapping/breaking.  So after I dried my tears I broke out the sculpting tool and green stuff for an afternoon of intense battlefield first aid; I'm not a great sculptor, but I am competent and I am pleased to say that you can no longer see the injuries this chap had previously sustained.

Moving on...

Well a patriarch is nothing without a brood to command and so here is his horde of vicious purestrain offspring (21 of the murderous little blighters in total). There are a variety of figures here including the early lead sculpts and the more common plastics from Space Hulk/Space Crusade.  As an interesting aside I discovered that the models from these two games are not quite identical; whilst the core body/torso is the same sculpt it is the arms that are slightly different as the Space Crusade ones are a little more basic and lack the fleshy nodule of muscle in the centre of the claws...look closely at these pics and see if you can spot what I mean.  I didn't really notice this until I started painting these guys in bulk!

To add some variation to the brood I tend to differ the tone of purple/mauve I use on the genestealers heads/flesh so as to break things up a bit. Overall I am happy with the look of these guys, and they frequently stalk the cardboard corridors of my first edition of Space Hulk.

Finally here is the whole family including the new hybrids from last week...lovely.

I will definitely start cracking on with some more hybrids (the crappy plastic ones from the GENESTEALER expansion are looking like they need some love; and I want to see if I can make a sculpt I don't really like look good) and those brood brothers I sprayed up probably need some attention too!!

I'll let you know how I get on!!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Genestealing my time!!

Well hello everyone,

Apologies for the time gap since my last post! Unfortunately I have been remarkably busy with work recently and so I haven't been able to get online to blog, however I have managed to squeeze in a bit of painting time here and there.

As regular readers of my Blog will already know, my girlfriend is not only supportive of my hobby interests but has also become a keen participant and frequently takes to the battlefield to command troops against me in games of Rogue Trader.

One set of models that she has fallen in love with is my collection of first edition Space Hulk genestealers which I have been painting on and off for the past few decades (we've all got one of those projects we return to from time-to-time!). 

The majority of these figures are the original plastic purestrains that were released with the Space Hulk box set, supplemented by a couple of the metal purestrains that were released in 1989.  These uni-pose models have fascinated her since she first saw them (she does an awesome genestealer impression) and she has asked if they can be fielded in our next battle.

Always keen to please I have put together a scenario for us to play that features the aforementioned genestealers in a bitter struggle to the death with the might of the Imperial Inquisition.  However as I was constructing the scenario's background I quickly realised that a battle against a force consisting of only purestrains could be quite boring and so I decided to augment these insidious xenos with a few genestealer hybrids in order to shake things up a bit. I proceeded to dig around my unpainted lead pile and pulled out some classic old models to paint up.

Initially I was a little ambitious with my painting goals and prepared the above models for painting.  Here we have the following:

1 x metal magus (1989)
3 metal hybrids (1989)
2 x plastic hybrids (from the Genestealer supplement for Space Hulk (1990))
10 x Imperial Army troopers to act as brood brothers (1987 - 1989)

I quickly realised that the sheer number of figures that I had prepped was too ambitious to paint up quickly and so I decided to attack the project piecemeal.  For the first batch I chose the magus and three metal hybrids to complete. 

When choosing a colour scheme I decided to paint their body armour and chitin blue in order to tie them in with my traditionally coloured purestrains.  For the fleshy areas I decided to go for a deep, rich pink which would be a perfect medium between the purple/mauve of my pure 'stealers and the human hosts normal flesh tones.  When painting both these colours I decided to go proper old school in my technique and so I started from a darker base colour which was highlighted progressively by simply adding white to the base...I have to say that I'm quite happy with the results (this picture was taken mid way through the project).

I also added some yellow to the armour segments for a little variation and painted the combat trousers/robes a fairly standard grey.

Below are the finished models:

The magus is a fourth generation hybrid and as such is genetically far close to humans than most of the brood, in light of this I gave him a more usual human flesh colouration...albeit with a light purple wash to hint at his alien origins.

Above are each of the other hybrids in turn...unfortunately the lighting wasn't great when I took the photograph thanks to the onset of bloody winter in the UK.  I envision that these guys are either second or third generation hybrids and as such their flesh colour is far closer to the genestealer norm than the magus. 

...And this is all four of my new hybrids together and ready for the upcoming battle. 

Now I will need to get working on the brood brothers...or maybe some more hybrids!

Again I apologise for my recent absence from the blog but I hope that you approve of what I've been doing in the meantime!!


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Athena Jones and the Temple of Gloom....Rogue Trader

Greetings Readers;

Well it's Sunday night again and the weekend is nearly over, however fear not....I have a new battle report to cheer you up and keep those Monday morning blues at bay a little longer!

This battle report is another Rogue Trader game, a system which is rapidly taking it's rightful place as my favourite set of rules once again.  This weekend my dedicated and wonderful girlfriend came down to visit me and agreed to partake in a battle in the war torn 41st Millennium with that's love. 

We've had a few sixth edition battles previously and she has proven herself to be quite the general (with a near perfect victory ratio) so I thought I would expose her to the more narrative driven WH40K 1987 style.

So in light of this narrative approach I decided that a story was in order to drive the game:

Recent incidents on the planet of Iridia IX have displayed a pattern of events that has drawn the attention of the Imperial Inquisition.  Events had started off small, predominantly involving strange disappearances amongst the local populace; an agri-worker missing here, a PDF trooper presumed AWOL for over a month...unusual, but not normally enough for the Imperial authorities to take notice. 

That was until a routine sweep by the PDF noted unusual activity near a set of pre-Imperial ruins located on the outskirts of one of the rural farming communities on the planet's southern most continent. As the planet was a backwater that had rarely experienced any form of prolonged conflict the patrol had no reason to be fearful and so moved in to conduct a more thorough investigation...within minutes all ten soldiers were dead before they had even had a chance to report back to their chain of command. 

Despite their brutal demise a few short seconds of footage from the squad leader's helmet camera was subsequently recovered, it was blurry and distorted but a few images could be made out; an eight pointed star daubed on a wall in blood and the silhouette of a giant in iron grey plate armour. 

Within an hour of the Planetary Governor viewing the footage the entire area had been declared quarantined and a request for aid had been forwarded to the Imperium via astropathic relay. A short while later the Governor's lead astropath emerged from her quarters, blood running from her eyes and nostrils, she staggered into the Imperial Commander's office holding a piece of yellowed parchment...she then collapsed on the floor and expired before any staff present could move to offer her assistance.

The Governor knelt over the astopath's withered body and pulled the parchment from her clasped hand, gasping in horror as he recognised the symbol rendered upon it in the dead psychic's blood; a letter 'I' bi-sected by three horizontal bars...The universal symbol of the Imperial Inquisition.

After having read my last battle report my girlfriend commented on how she would like to play a game on the traditional 80's scenery board that I had used as opposed to the modern GW industrial ruins that I usually field.

In light of this request I once again dug out the classic green battlemat; grey slate buildings and green hedges and constructed an appropriate battlefield.
The ruins in which the PDF troopers were last seen were in fact the ram-shackle remnants of a temple to the Dark Gods of Chaos that have been disused for some millenia.  This formed the key terrain within the battlefield.

I then proceeded to scatter hedges, woods and rocky outcrops around the battleground in order to provide models cover during the game.

The Inquisitorial forces (led by my girlfriend) were commanded by the female Inquisitor Athena.  This character started out with the stats of a basic Inquisitor from the RT Rulebook, however in true retro style we took the option to roll in order to improve her profile.  Initially my girlfriend rolled a D10 to see how many D6's that she could roll to generate additional profile points, she presently rolled a 0 meaning she was able to roll the maximum of seven D6's.  I dug out a handful of dice and handed them to her, she then proceeded to roll these and came up with a score of 21, meaning she had 21 additional points with which to improve her basic stats (this was some impressive rolling giving her only two fewer points than the maximum of 23). She distributed these evenly amongst the model's individual traits and  generated a greatly enhanced warrior who was faster, stronger and more agile than the best of the Space Marines.  Truly Inquisitor Athena would prove a worthy adversary.  In her quest to cleanse the Temple of Gloom she would be assisted by Captain Simba of the Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter, ten of his battle brothers and five PDF troopers.

Athena wore power armour and carried a power weapon and plasma pistol, Simba was wearing power armour whilst wielding a boltgun and heavy duty power axe.  The marines each carried boltguns, bolt pistols and knives, though the squad sergeant's had exchanged their bolters for chainswords; one marine also carried a belt fed heavy bolter for a bit of extra firepower.  The PDF soldiers wore carapace armour and wielded lasguns, laspistols and knives.
The enemy forces were Chaos Space Marines of the Iron Warriors Legion; stoic and brutal soldiers of the Dark Gods.  These wicked traitors were commanded by a nameless champion wearing Mk III Iron Armour, and wielding a plasma pistol and chainsword.  The majority of his men were equipped with bolters, bolt pistols and knives, but once again squad leaders had chosen to replace their bolters with chainswords the better to shred the flesh of the Imperial whelps. One traitor marine had cast aside his boltgun so as to carry a symbol of his foul patrons, whilst another had upgraded his primary weapon to a plasma gun.
Imperial: Inquisitor Athena's force's primary mission was for their commander to enter the temple's main altar (top left of the image below) and remain there unmolested for one entire turn in order to plant Melta Bombs with which to destroy this fane of darkness.  Their secondary goal was to kill the Chaos Warrior who carried the icon of Tzeentch.
Traitor: The traitor marine's main goal was to kill the meddling inquisitor in order to prevent her interfering in their nefarious plans.  In addition to this the Iron Warriors natural hatred of all scions of Rogal Dorn meant their secondary mission was to butcher every Crimson Fist on the field so that they could later defile their worthless geneseed.
The Iron Warriors secured themselves in the temple precinct with one squad in the damaged building at the front, another to the rear of the temple grounds and the final squad hunkered down on the left hand side.  In addition their mighty champion took position by the main altar.  (Note: The D10 in these pictures indicates the turn number).

The Imperial forces dispersed themselves evenly across their side of the battlefield, one squad behind the hedges on each flank and another holed up in the small ruins in the centre.  Commander Simba joined the centre squad while the noble Inquisitor hid behind the meat shield of the left hand formation.
To Arms.....

The Imperial forces moved first and decided that a rapid advance was required in order to successfully achieve their objectives. As such all squads sprinted forwards foregoing the opportunity to fire at the traitors.  The left hand squad vaulted the hedge line whilst the PDF warriors on the right tried to move in a manner which would maximise the the advantage of all available cover. The marines in the centre moved through the building they were sheltering in.

The Iron Warriors at the rear of the ruins then ran forwards so as to get into weapons range next turn. Meanwhile the squad who were situated on the left flank edged forwards slowly in order that they could still use their weapons.  They took aim with their bolters and let fly with a volley of bolt shells at the PDF troops that were creeping around the hedges, felling one of the mortal warriors.

The Chaos Marines to the front of the temple complex remained in situ as their current location provided them good arcs of fire conversely coupled with hard cover from which to deflect enemy shots.  These warriors opened fire on the Imperial forces that were directly in front of them, felling two of Dorn's tawdry progeny and laughing harshly as blue power armour was shredded by explosive bolts.

In the next turn the left hand squad sergeant ordered the marine with the heavy weapon to detach himself from the squad (allowed in the old rules) and set himself up in a position where he could provide covering fire to the rest of the force's advance into enemy held territory.  This he did, remaining in place and thanks to the old 'following fire' rule (as long as your shot hits and wounds then you can keep firing until you either miss or fail to wound) he cut down three of the closest Iron Warriors.

Horrified by the deaths of brothers who had fought the Long War alongside them for over a hundred centuries the Iron Warriors screamed in rage and opened fire once again on the sons of the Imperial Fists, killing a further two of them and leaving Inquisitor Athena worryingly exposed.

The heavy bolter marine remained in place to provide fire support whilst the other marine squad and Captain Simba moved forward.  On the other side of the battlefield the PDF crept into the woods which slowed them down but provided great cover.  Most mortals would be terrified at the prospect of engaging Chaos Space Marines in close combat, but thanks to the earlier intervention of the Dice Gods the plucky Inquisitor had no such reluctance and sprinted into a punch-up with the Iron Warriors, this combat ended up being a draw for this turn at least.

With the PDF tucked away in the forestry block the left hand Iron Warriors were unable to shoot them and so instead turned their evil attentions to Captain Simba's squad.  Even at this long range the Chaos Gods guide their gunfire and the bullets slayed another two of the Emperor's finest soldiery.  The rear most Iron Warriors squad sprinted forwards in order to bolster the exposed right flank.
The butchery intensified even further this turn as the PDF troops emerged from the wood line, broke out their laspistols and slaughtered four Chaos Marines; the lone survivor is understandably shaken by this massacre but managed to pass his leadership test and remain in place.  Meanwhile Athena proves why the attention of the Inquisition is to be feared by felling the two Iron Warriors that she was locked in close combat with.  Simultaneously Captain Simba's squad charged the nearby Iron Warriors; losing one Crimson Fist for a return of two Chaos Marines.  Having lost the combat the Iron Warriors are pushed back two inches.

Worried by the arrival of the Imperial soldiers within their dark temple the Iron Warriors Commander charged into the Space Marine Captain and they proceeded to hack at each other with their vicious blades.  The nearby Crimson Fists tore apart another of their foes in the assault phase of the turn.

The surviving Iron Warrior was keen to atone for the death of his brothers last turn and so levelled his plasma gun at the recently emerged PDF soldiers. A blinding light engulfed his field of vision for a nano-second and when it cleared all of the mortal troops were in pieces scattered around the wood line.  Once again 'following fire' proved its lethality as four men died in one murderous volley..... I absolutely love the uber-potent weaponry that troops were allowed to wield in Rogue Trader...unbalanced, yes; over-powered, yes; fun....f**cking right!!
Back in the temple the Iron Warrior Champion scored a blow against the Space Marine Captain which meant that he won this round of close combat, and pushed his opponent back two inches. However things didn't go so well for his nearby traitor brother and another Iron Warrior died in a welter of tainted blood.

My girlfriend showed herself to be a master tactician at this point and kept her mission parameters in the front of her mind as her Inquisitor took advantage of the nearby confusion in order to sprint into the temple's main altar where she settled down to plant her explosives.
Subsequently the Crimson Fist with the heavy bolter and the Iron Warrior with the Plasma Gun engaged each other in a 'following fire' shoot out.  The Emperor guided his loyal Astartes and the traitor marine came off worst as a high-velocity round breached his armour killing him outright.  The icon wielding Chaos Marines was also killed this turn meaning that the Imperial Forces achieved their secondary mission.  However the noble Space Marine Captain paid with his life as the Champion's chainsword chewed through his vital organs.

In the final turn of the game the Chaos Commander slayed the two nearby marines again using his plasma pistol's 'following fire' feature to great effect.  However it was to no avail as the Inquisitor had already achieved her mission and planted her melta bombs in the ruined temple.

Primary Objective: Achieved
Secondary Objective: Achieved

Primary Objective: Failed
Secondary Objective Failed.

Well that was a thoroughly exciting game full of cinematic moments, like the lone survivor of a Chaos Marine squad butchering his brother's slayers with one deadly volley of plasma fire... or two mighty Astartes champions battling each other to the death in the ruins of an ancient temple...stirring stuff!

Once again my girlfriend has continued to prove her worth as a general by kicking my ass, but I had so much fun that I don't mind in slightest! We had a great time and both really enjoyed ourselves telling the story of the brave Inquisitor as she battled some of the darkest forces know to man. 

She is keen to play RT again but has asked if we can use a tank or two next time...I'm sure that I can accommodate that wish but I'll have to familiarise myself with the Rogue Trader vehicle rules ASAP.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Epic Battle Report

Well as promised here is my second battle report from my retro games with my best mate the other day.  The first battle we fought was an exciting game of Rogue Trader and you can read all about this encounter in my earlier post from last Sunday.

For our second game we decided to do something a little different and so dug out our old school Epic (6mm) armies for a game of Second Edition Space Marine (c.1991).

I have played all versions of the Epic system that have been released through the decades and I personally feel that these are the best set of rules that GW ever produced for this scale. 

In this battle report a force of mighty Space Marines will be fighting against....some more Space Marines; it should be...well...epic!!

Army Selection
For those not familiar with this rule set you'll be pleased to hear that army selection is a pretty simple process.  Each player chooses a number of company cards to represent the majority of their forces; these are a one stop shop and tell you everything that you need to know about the forces under your command.  For every company card (the large ones pictured below) you can select a further five detachment cards (the smaller ones) to support your main force.

These unit cards are also a key mechanic during the battle as when a certain amount of troops (described on the card) have been killed then this causes the parent unit to be broken; if this happens you hand the card to your opponent and he is awarded a specific number of Victory Points in addition to those that he has accrued from holding objectives(more on this later). This is actually very simple and fluid to use.

We went for a 2100 battle and so I took a basic Space Marine Battle Company (6 each of tactical, devastator and assault stands, 1 HQ stand and numerous Rhinos), a Tactical Company (18 tactical stands, 1 HQ, Rhinos), a Terminator Detachment (4 Stands of Terminators, 2 Land Raiders) and Predator Squadron (3 Tanks).  This seemed like a well rounded and balanced force with sufficient firepower to eliminate most threats and enough mobility to grab objectives.

My Battle Company was represented by the third company of the Dark Angels Chapter.  This noble first founding Chapter also provided Terminators from the Deathwing ably supported by their Land Raiders. These stoic troopers were augmented by a Tactical Company from the Flesh Tearers who also brought along their Predators for some added fire support.
My opponent went for two Tactical Companies backed up by a full Land Raider Company (9 Land Raiders plus a command Land Raider - that's a hell of a lot of fire power!!) 

My noble opponent's forces consisted of Astartes from the Blood Angels Chapter 
Set up in second edition involves each player placing four objectives in their own table half and then erecting a screen down the centre of the battlefield.  The players then set up their forces in relative secrecy before the screen is removed and battle ensues.
Finding a screen to cover a 6 x 4 table was quite hard; however I found a makeshift system that will make all you Old Hammerers smile...I used the box lids from my copies of 1st Ed Space Marine; 2nd Ed Space Marine and my two copies of 2nd Ed 40k.....ah the memories!!

 Once we were happy with our troop dispositions we removed the screen and the battlefield looked like this...

The small card markers above indicate the objectives (players accumulate VPs for holding objectives at the end of each turn; these are cumulative throughout the game).  My Dark Angels tactical marines dismounted from their Rhinos and held the objective (holding units need to be the closest troops within 15cm) on the far right. To their left are the Deathwing and a few Flesh Tearers.  In the centre of my line are the DA Assault Marines, more FT Tactical Marines and the Predators.  To the left of my battle space the DA Devastators set up inside one of the sky scrapers.

The Blood Angels all began the game mounted in their vehicles ready to speed forward and grab objectives.  Their battle line was spread across the whole board. One squadron of Land Raiders shored up the left flank whilst the other two squadrons and the command tank positioned themselves in the centre.

Battle Commences...
The game uses a clever system of orders to determine what your troops do each turn.  Each player secretly chooses to give each of their detachments one of the following orders:

First Fire: Troops can't move but can shoot before everyone else.
Advance: Can move at normal rate and shoot second
Charge: Can move at double rate but can't shoot. Charging is the only way to move into close combat.

Orders are displayed on small markers that are placed face down by each of the units. Once every unit has been given their orders the cards are turned over and revealed.  Each player then rolls a d6 and the winner decides whether to go first or second.

My devastators went on to first fire in order to maximise the effectiveness of their heavy weapons.  The tactical marines on my left flank charge forward to try and steal my enemy's objective as soon as possible. The rest of the force are on advance orders to give them a degree of flexibility.
The Dark Angles tactical squads remain static and hunker down by my right hand objective.  The central troops edge forwards in order to claim one of the middle objectives located within the forestry block. Sadly my barrage of shooting delivers little (most Space Marine units need a 5+ to hit).

The enemy's Blood Angels roll forward in a block of crimson ceramite; unleashing a volley of heavy laser fire that incinerates one of my Predators in a ball of flame.
In subsequent turns my left hand tactical squads power forwards towards my opponent's flank objective.  This initial grab for power goes well and the troops move with such momentum that the Blood Angels find it hard to respond quickly enough.  However a squadron of Land Raiders is diverted from their centre line and they roll towards my soldiers slaying many of my loyal Marines with accurate bursts of laser fire.  My devastators based in the buildings support this advance with a withering hail of covering fire that cuts down a host of enemy infantry.  The tactical marines add their bolters to the volley and slay another two stands, a cheer goes up but it is cut short as three of their own stands are butchered in return.  Additionally the predator squadron is obliterated which grants my opponent some easy VPs early on.
In the centre of the battleground the DA Assault Marines; Tactical Marines and the FT Tactical Troops roll forward and dismount with the goal of dislodging the Blood Angels from the tower block and claiming the objective which is hidden behind it.  In my head this seemed a great idea....

However as I watched the enemy Land Raiders and tactical squads surrounding my beleaguered forces I cursed my poor strategy as 11 stands of Dark Angels and 1 stand of Flesh Tearers are exterminated....Bugger.

Meanwhile in the back ground the Deathwing and their Land Raiders attempt to secure my own objectives (once an objective has been secured it will still remain under your control even if your troops leave it...until the enemy move up and take it off you that is).
Further bloodshed ensues in another turn of brutal gunfire (the rate of attrition in Epic is astounding, marines die at an astonishing rate and vehicles aren't much better.  If you like carnage on a massive scale then this is the game for you my friends!)
Back on the left flank and thanks to the combined fire from my devastators and tactical marines (supported by their inspiring commander) - all of whom are on First Fire orders, five Blood Angels Rhinos and two further tactical squads are sent to meet the Machine God and the God-Emperor respectively. One of my stands is also reduced to cinders by a Land Raider's heavy lasers.

At this point my opponent has slain enough of the Dark Angels tactical company to break them (instantly earning a load of VPs); this means the remaining detachments from this card have to take a morale check. The tactical and assault squads who have been butchered manage to pass the check, but ironically the devastator squads who haven't even been shot yet appear to be terrified by the sounds of their brothers being butchered over the vox-net; and so fail the test (a 1 in 6 chance of failure...bloody dice Gods).  This means they are now falling back.  As they were in cover they don't need to move but they can't shoot etc until they rally....this was a real drama as these guys had been providing the majority of my heavy firepower thus far. 

The carnage in the centre of the battlefield continues unabated and more of my stands are absolutely obliterated. My opponent at this point reveals himself as a grand tactician and uses this opportunity to speed a tactical unit up my right flank and snatch an objective from under my nose. Meanwhile one of my Land Raiders burns nearby.

The massacre on the left flank intensifies with a Blood Angels Land Raider exploding and a load of Sanguinius's finest perishing in howling agony; their screams soothe my own Black Rage which is steadily building!
Seeing the opportunity this presents the Flesh Tearers take advantage of this moment to roll forward.  Having already seized control of the far left objective they mount up and smash into the next objective which is located in the nearby scrub. A gunfight ensues in the bushes and it is touch and go for a minute; but luckily when the smoke dissipates it is one of my remaining units that is closest to the objective marker, bagging me another much needed 5 VPs.

At the conclusion of the game this objective remains safely within the Blood Angels possession as my contingent of Rhinos are too far away to challenge control.

After the Blood Angels excellent snatching of my far right objective last turn their infantry proceed to dismount in order to consolidate their position. I am aware however that this is now very much the end game and so I throw everything I have left at trying to wrest back control of this objective.  Despite the combined efforts of the Dark Angels Commander, the Deathwing and the Flesh Tearers and everything else I could muster it is no use and my opponent still retains control of the objective at the end of the final turn...Damn!
And with that the battle was over. I pulled out a pen and paper and calculated the final scores as we had a much-needed cup of tea.  In the end the result was:

So my noble opponent had won a hard-earned victory; being a gracious loser I shook his hand and threw him out of my f**king house...
Not really.
Overall it was a fantastic game which was both tense and tactically challenging all the way through.  It is a system that rewards planning and sound strategy. There were lots of points where it could have gone either way, but I have to admit my mate out-played me with his flanking manoeuvre. 
Both my opponent and I literally couldn't believe how much fun we had on this one; the rules just make sense and flow so easily.  The whole system is highly intuitive and I thoroughly recommend it to any readers.  My mate and I have agreed that this is our new favourite set of rules and have spent the last few days frantically bulking our Epic forces! I am greatly looking forward to our rematch!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Battle Report - Battle at the Farm v2.1

Well as promised in my last post I am pleased to say that I have had not one but two exciting retro-esque battles today; and they were great!

My mate who is in the Navy was on leave today and so we agreed to meet up for a bit of wargaming fun while we were both about.  He turned up at my place fairly early and so we decided to try and squeeze two games in the time available. Normally we play modern 40k; but I have been trying to entice him into Old Hammer for a while now (he's been playing for years so he does actually remember the good old days which is handy) and so today we agreed to give it a go.

I decided to jump in with both feet and go full retro; so I broke out my original copy of Rogue Trader and stuck to the rules within it with none of the subsequent modifications introduced post 1987. 

Situation: To keep things simple we used a slight modification of the Battle at the Farm that is included within the original book. The main changes that we made were to accommodate the models we had available to us, primarily this meant that the Crimson Fists were replaced by a detachment of Salamanders led by the appropriately named Cando Petror.  Additionally the Orks were replaced by the forces of Imperial Governess Margareet Thatchot who was furious that some Imperial Space Marines had recently arrested her son.  Initially it was thought that the charge against her son was related to the instigation of a failed coup on a nearby planet; but subsequent reports indicate that the offence  was the much more serious felony of spraying graffiti (which clearly justifies the deployment of the Emperor's finest warriors). Wrathful at this insult to her family's honour the Governess has mobilised a squad of PDF troops and two units of her own personal female bodyguards (who look a lot like battle sisters) which are led by a senior Captain, and gone looking for the impudent Astartes who are holed up nearby in the ruins of an old farmhouse.  This has caused even further problems as this is in fact the location where Governess Thatchot has been hiding the credits that she has been skimming from the Imperial Tithe for the past decade.


Captain Petror's objective is simple, any who stand against him stand against the Emperor and so he will utterly annihilate them...thus none of the enemy forces must survive!

Governess Thatchot needs to retrieve the funds that she has stashed in the farm. Either she or her female Captain need to spend one turn together unmolested in the main farmhouse, or two turns if they have been separated and are on their own!

(These are almost identical to the objectives in the book itself). 



In true Old Hammer style I decided to go all out retro with the battlefield for this one.  So I packed away all my modern GW terrain, threw my Imperial Sanctorum in the wardrobe and then dug out my green battle mat, 80's scrubs and classic ruins.  I then proceeded to set them up exactly as per the layout for the scenario in the rule book; as shown.

It was a refreshing change to use such traditional, simple terrain and it brought all those glorious memories from my childhood games.


Governess Thatchot's Kill team consists of the Governess herself in Carapace Armour packing a plasma pistol and power maul.  The carapace armour gives her a 4+ save but she suffers a 1/2 inch reduction to her movement due to it's encumbrance.  The Captain of her female bodyguard wields a plasma pistol and a power sword whilst clad in power armour (4+ save; no movement penalty); her troops are packing bolters; bolt pistols; knives and power armour; one also has a chain sword.

The PDF squad are also in carapace armour and carry lasguns except for the sergeant who is carrying a sword (no power).  All the troops have back up weapons consisting of  laspistols and knives.

The Salamanders all wear power armour, with knives and bolt pistols. Fourteen carry boltguns whilst the final marine is wielding a missile launcher with plasma missiles.  Capatin Petror has a power sword and boltgun and has the best stats of all the models on the battlefield; he also wears a refractor field for a little extra protection


The Salamanders set up within the main farm house itself as per the directions in the scenario.  Each of the three squads then nominated a sentry; these were then deployed to stag positions around the perimeter of the main compound. My buddy placed his Commander so that he was deep inside the building and thus protected from speculative fire aimed at the location.  The trooper with the missile launcher was placed where his arcs of fire could allow him to acquire a target most effectively.

The Governess's forces we required to enter from the east side of the table and so all forces entered in such a way that the nearby hill provided the most amount of cover possible.  The Governess joined the PDF squad as they both had carapace armour so the movement penalty was thus focused all in one squad.  The female Captain joined one of her squads of bodyguards to augment their fighting prowess.
The Governess's forces went first and so they began the slog towards the farmhouse; there wasn't any shooting to be done and so they used to their reserve moves to edge even closer.
The Marines were now alert to the presence of enemy forces within their battle space and so began to move into defensive positions around the compound. The Missile Launcher trooper didn't move and so took the opportunity to fire a missile at the power armoured troops that had emerged from behind the nearby hill.  Stupidly I had left these girls in the open and as such they took a plasma missile in the centre of their tight configuration.  When the blinding light had dissipated one of their number had been reduced to a pile of smoking ceramite and ash.
The Governess's forces continued to try and get to the ruins of the farmhouse as fast as possible.  She and the PDF squad sprinted for the nearby orchard closely following behind a squad of the power armoured bodyguards. Meanwhile the squad that had taken the casualty last turn rapidly reconsidered the prudence of wandering around in the open when a big green psycho was packing a heavy duty rocket launcher scant metres away; and as such they ran behind the hill again.....heroes!

The Marines set up an effective firing line behind the walls of the farmyard and once they were in position they proceeded to unleash a hail of fire at the two squads of enemy troops who were now sprinting across their arcs.  This was the perfect distance for these hardened skirmishers and a number of the bolt rounds punched into their targets; however despite this the enemy's armour held and none were killed.  The trooper with the missile launcher could no longer see the enemy squad from last turn but decided to try a gambit by firing at the nearby hill and hoping that the shot would deviate onto the squad (a valid tactic in Rogue Trader). Sadly his fire was too accurate and the blast didn't deviate.

Still not much shooting from the Governess's soldiers this turn; they knew that they needed to get into the Farm House in order to achieve their mission and being disciplined warriors they sprinted into the sanctuary of the nearby orchard which they could use to cover the remainder of their approach.
The Marines fired a few ineffectual shots at the sprinting troops but achieved no success.  The missile launcher Marine tried the same gambit as last turn, but again he was too accurate and so his shot failed to deviate.
The female power armoured troops in the wood slogged through the dense undergrowth; but it was so thick that it substantially hindered their progress and as such they were reduced to half of their movement rate. The troops with the carapace armour were already suffering a movement penalty due to their heavy armour and so they decided to skirt around the outside of the orchard in order to maintain their mobility. The remaining squad were still trying to catch up with the main body of the force and so sprinted across the no-man's land that their peers had traversed last turn.

The Marines in the firing line unleashed another hail of bullets at the exposed squad, but again none of the hardy female troops were killed.  Missile Launcher boy tried his trick again, this time firing at the side of the wood in the hope it would scatter inside...How I laughed when his shot was again too accurate and hit exactly where he aimed rather than deviating where he wanted it too.  My opponent couldn't believe it. Usually his shots scatter far wide of where he wants them to land, so it was remarkably ironic that the first time that he has ever wanted them to deviate they persisted in being 100% accurate. I thought at one point he was going to crush his own models! Mwuhahahaha

Again the Governess's shock troops focused on rapid movement and started to mass in and around the edge of the wood. They checked their magazines and fixed bayonets as they prepared themselves for an all or nothing assault next turn!

The Marines knew the final assault was coming and so they too prepped themselves for the final charge. I literally wet myself laughing as the missile launcher repeated it's performance from the previous few turns!! This was a boon as I wanted as many guns as possible for the final assault and any casualties at this point could have swung the odds against me.
At last the time for bloodshed was upon us and carnage ensued.  The girls in power armour slung their bolters and drew their sidearms (+2 to hit at close range for a bolt pistol as opposed to +1 for a bolter). Inspired by these elite troops the PDF followed suit and unholstered their laspistols and levelled them at the nearby Salamanders.  The air lit up as solid bolt shells and blinding laser beams slashed through the walls of the farm house. This volley was brutal and when the dust lifted three Astartes lay dead, their super human bodies riddled with holes, even worse their noble Commander had also lost a wound as a bolt round punched through his ancient armour and by-passed his refractor field.
The remaining Astartes raged at this slaughter of their noble battle brothers; the floor of the farmstead was awash with the blood of the Emperor's finest and someone had to pay for this blasphemy with their lives. 

As one the tactical marines brought their boltguns to their shoulders, aimed along the weapon's iron sights and depressed the triggers of their potent firearms. The miniature missiles flew from the over sized muzzles of the bolters before igniting and punching into the bodies of their enemies; a moment after the the rounds entered human flesh they detonated causing massive internal damage to the targets.

Three of the brave female warriors lay bleeding on the floor, their broken corpses torn to shreds. Before their comrades could register the devastation that had occurred more horror followed as the missile launcher finally hit its target; the plasma missile erupted in a ball of superheated flame and caused a further casualty.
Unfazed by the recent massacre amongst their numbers the planetary forces still decided to charge towards the main building and fired their weapons at the Marines inside killing the missile launcher trooper and one other battle brother.  The gunfire exchange did not let up and as the Astartes returned fire one of the PDF troopers died in an explosion of blood shortly followed by two more female troops.  Additionally the female Captain took a wound from a stray bolt round.

Finally after what had turned into a vicious close quarter skirmish the Governess and her soldiery managed to get a substantial foothold within the main farmhouse.  The female soldiers and their PDF allies pour unrelenting fire into the remaining marines as they breach the compound's broken walls. Another of the Imperium's super soldiers was felled by this mass firepower.
'Give me a hundred Space Marines; failing that give me a thousand normal soldiers.'
There is a reason why Rogal Dorn uttered those words and the Salamanders were about to prove its veracity as they gunned down the last of the remaining PDF troops with pinpoint accurate shots to their faces; popping their skulls like overripe melons. Meanwhile the Space Marine Captain followed up his men's sterling efforts by charging into the female officer and the Governess, foiling their chances of accessing the hidden credits without having to fight their way through him first.
Captain Petror is a consummate killer; honed by the Imperium to be an Angel of Death and he easily cuts down the female officer with a sweep of his blade, tossing her broken body out of the building with a thrust of his hand before turning his homicidal attentions to the Governess.
The remaining bodyguard bundle into the fight in order to protect their charge, they are aware that they are outmatched but still swear to do as much as they can to keep Governess Thatchot alive.  Unfortunately their efforts are for nought as the Governess and the Captain strike each other simultaneously with their over-charged power weapons.  For a moment their is silence, and then both characters collapse to the floor, the life-force draining from their broken bodies.

Having watched both the Governess and their own Commander butchered at the hands of the Space Marines the female soldiers decide that the time has come to withdraw from the fight and consolidate their forces.

Additionally with the two characters dead their is no chance of them fulfilling the objective to recover the treasure from the Farm House. With this in mind they dash towards the table edge while the remaining Salamanders move after them in pursuit.

Conclusion: Phew; what a game! I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable battles that I have played in a long time.  It was full of tense moments throughout; and although it took a while to get into combat when it did the butchery was immense.  My opponent agreed that this game was more fun than anything modern 40K has to offer, primarily this was because it required the tactical placement of troops and also had a strong narrative element all the way through.  I think what makes Rogue Trader most enjoyable is that a game with 20 models per side their is lots of room to move your troops, ensure arcs of fire are covered and put proper tactics to good effect.  This contrasts with the modern game where there are so many models on the table that you will definitely be able to shoot something no matter where you move!!

All in all this was a fantastic experience; oh and who won?  This is Rogue Trader....who cares!

As for my second retro game today...well we dug out my copy of second edition Space Marine (Epic c.1991) and we spent a few hours engaging in some 6mm carnage...but I will save this battle report for a separate post!!