Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tales of an AWOL Gamer

So, it's been a while! I guess I ought to explain my absence from both the blog and the WHW gaming hall. My girlfriend's dad has been ill, and we've been spending time with him in Bristol while we could; unfortunately he died a couple of weeks ago, which meant more time away. Couple to that more working trips to Aberdeen and some forthcoming gigs (both on a Thursday) and it all means my opportunities for gaming have been limited, to say the least! Since I've not been able to play at WHW or post here on the world's premier blog-site, I've had to content myself with planning some new armies, and tinkering with my existing forces too. Firstly, my Chaos Marines - this is a working army, so only needed a small modification. I've bought more fantasy Ogres, for conversion into Obliterators, meaning I should soon be able to field three units of three if I fancy it!
Next, my Squats. Believe it or not, they are nearly finished! Problem is, you're never gonna see 'em - at WHW or any GW store, at least. Our gaming club is having a crack-down on non-GW models, which renders every single tank in my army redundant. So, I'm building my own sci-fi hanger-themed wargames table for some home battles, and I'm intending to start playing at Maelstrom on Tuesdays and/or weekends too in order to get some use out of my new army.
Next, I'm putting together a cheap'n'cheerful Heresy-Era World Eaters army. The design criteria here is that this 1,500pt force must be compact enough to fit in a single A4 box-file in order to fit in my suitcase ready to travel to Aberdeen with me! During my last trip north-of-the-border, I played two games at GW Aberdeen, and I must say what a friendly and welcoming bunch they are. These away-games have transformed rather dull work-trips into something a bit more satrisfying. The composition of this army isn't decided yet, but will be based around some vintage Space Marine Scouts (from the early-90's 'Tyranid Attack' game), plus a load of second-hand Space Marines and Rhinos won off ebay this weekend. The army will be a 'counts-as' Blood Angels list, using Berzerkers instead of Death Company and Kharn replacing Astorath.
My other ideas include dragon-riding Exodite Eldar and an Epic Space Marine force. I will of course chart my progress on this blog!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A rethink on the role of Long Fangs

So this could well be more self indugent pap but still I would welcome opinions on this. Yesterday evening I was home alone so after putting micromachines on the landing and tin cans on the banisters to deter burglars I got to having yet another think about what I could have done better last weekend and it led me to look at 3++ and their how to articles most particularly the ones on Suppressing Fire and Anti tank. So what is the anti tank in my current list? Well it has to be my Thunderwolves who can glance a landraider with rending although that's unlikely and their strength ten thunderhammer, my long fangs and my meltas.

The problem with this is (and its a problem with my play style in general) is that there is a lack of synergy, I generally charge my Wolves towards a land raider while my long fangs have pot shots at anything else that grabs my fancy and it leads me to not be aggressive enough with my Grey Hunters. When you only have 3 Grey Hunter units its scary to run everything forward and if you are trying to hold an objective and you leave one unit back that's over 200 points that isn't doing anything. So what does that mean when it comes to anti tank in my army?

The fact is that I have a massive imbalance when it comes to dealing with mech and to an extent monstrous creatures and it was this that cost me this weekend the most. Troops in the open I can deal with, the only thing my grey hunters really failed against this weekend was a squad of nobs with a warboss and feel no pain. That wasn't down to the unit but my own unfamiliarity with that codex. Grey hunters are believed by many to be the best troops in the game, surely then I should be taking more instead of a 545 point deathstar unit.

This then brings me back to my starting point which was the points made on 3++ and it comes down to this. To be a good Space Wolf player you have to control the middle ground in everything you do. You aren't blood angels or Eldar/ Dark Eldar with their speed, you aren't Orks or Nids with the numbers and you aren't the ultra elite of the Grey Knights or Deathwing. You are neither a shooty army or an assault army. You have to do what I have known for a long time but not put into practice enough, control the middle ground, soften up you enemy and then hit them. When I look back to the games when I have done well in it is because of this not because of my deathstar unit eating everything infront of them and in the games I have particualary done poorly in its because I completely fail to do this, I fail to make any sort of movement await the enemy and pay for it because I don't have any room to maouvre into. My use of longfangs is all wrong.

Take a rhino for instance, is it important to blow each one up or do I really just need to stop the thing from moving? This leads me to start thinking about lascannons. I am one of the only people I know that bothers putting a 25 point lascannon in over the 10 point missile launcher, is the extra point of strength worth it for 15 points when instead of worrying about land raiders my long fangs should be trying to make sure I control the movement in the middle of the board? There should be other things in my army to worry about the high strength stuff namely melta guns. Melta was designed to pop high AV targets so I need to use it as thus. So its good bye to the lascannons (thinking about using those points for extra armour (what does everyone think) and hello extra missiles.

As normal comments are what will make my thought process go further. Thanks in advance.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Going big or going home Simo style - reader contribution wanted please

So last night late on I got the email of the standings from this weekend and I came a disappointing 90th out of the 113 players there. To start with I sat there thinking, well if I had got the results I should have got I would have done much better but I then realised how stupid it was to think that. If I had have won my first game I would have been much higher in the second and then I certainly wouldn't have won my second by as big a margin as I did (If I did at all) and that would have had a knock on effect through the day so we need to ignore the ifs and buts and concentrate on the whys. Why didn't I do better, the answers are clear. Firstly, I still struggle with deployment, there are good articles out there and there are a lot of good players who I should be looking to for advice. No matter what the mission I generally deploy the same and its stupid. I need to think more. Secondly, placing of things like objectives. Only on one mission did I seriously think about where I was going to be placing objectives and that was one of the ones that I should have won. I need to think more like Darren who for one of the open war missions has figured out EXACTLY where to place objectives to get the best out of it, anal? Maybe. Smart? Definitely. Having played sports at high levels I was constantly reminded of small details being the difference, 40K is no different, unlike sport there is more luck involved at times so you have to be ready even more to take advantage of those small details. Thirdly, what I do with my list. I don't have dedicated jobs in my mind for my units. I don't have a unit that sits and grabs the objective, I don't have units who I always plan to move towards enemy armour. More and more I am noticing that games are won in the middle ground, unfortunately all I seem to do is sit, shoot as much as I can and hope that there isn't enough to take me when they get to me, not a good idea. Finally my list needs more synergy, I often leave my Thunderwolves isolated so they act as bullet magnets and eventually it tells. I'm stupid with it as well. Finally I started understanding that thunderwolves act as great cover for rhinos so why oh why haven't I been running them as such? So with that in mind I have come up with two lists both adapted from tinternet ones I have seen. In my current list anti infantry I have my grey hunters and thunderwolves principally and 4 Melta guns, Melta bombs 8 missiles and 2 Las cannons The first list being

Rune Priest
Living Lightning
Murderous Hurricane
Rune Priest
Wolf Tooth Necklace
Living Lightning
Jaws of the world wolf
Wolf Guard x3
Power Fist x 3
Combi weapons x 4
Grey Hunters x 8
Melta gun
Wolf Standard
Mark of the wulfen
Grey Hunters x 9
Melta gun
Wolf Standard
Mark of the wulfen
Grey Hunters x 8
Plasma Gun
Wolf Standard
Mark of the wulfen
Grey Hunters x 6
Wolf Standard
Mark of the wulfen
Rhino x 3
Las Plas Razorback
Fast Attack
Land Speeder Storm
Heavy flamer
Multi Melta
Land Speeder Storm
Heavy flamer
Multi Melta
Heavy Support
Long Fangs x 6
Missile Launchers x 4
Long Fangs x 6
Missile Launchers x 4
Long Fangs x 6
Missile Launchers x 4
In this list I have 4 anti infantry squads, 1 holding squad for objectives + speeders. I then have 4 meltas, 12 missiles and 4 lascannons The second being a thunderwolf list but with more a lord tooled up like mine minus the runic armour and the saga a rune priest like mine minus the runic armour Scouts with melta bombs 3 squads of 5 grey hunters 2 las plas one rhino 3 lots of 3 thunderwolves 2 storm shields, 1 power fist and one with nothing 3 lots of three missiles In this one there is certainly less long range fire power than in my second list but comparable to my first and there are certainly more targets for the opposition. As normal I really need constructive criticsm.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Undefeated - UK GT day two round up

So I entered day two on table 35 and again faced another Space Wolf army. Three in a row for me. 2 objectives, pitched battle. Once again I found that games can be won and lost on deployment. I got it wrong even though I went second and it made it more difficult for me to win. In the end my thunderwolves butchered everything close to his objective. In the end it came down to whether he could shift me off mine, time was running out and we were only on turn 5, a good assault left me moved off my objective and the game ended in a draw. The second game saw me against a tau player with a crisis suit heavy list. Not something I come up against so I was on the back foot from the beginning. 5 objectives, spearhead and yet again another game I lost first turn. My thunderwolves were less than 24 inches away but unfortunately my run rolls were terrible (a common occurrence for the weekend), I also failed to hurt much in a couple of turns and by turn three it looked to be over.My one saving grace was that I hadn't lost any troops. My scouts came on and blew up a devil fish and then I had another real space marine moment, 1 scout running off one of his troop choices. This gave me the draw in the end even though I didn't deserve it. My final game was annihilation against an ork army, heavy with Killer Kans, lootaz and boyz. This was easily my most fun game of the weekend, lots of combat, a really great opponent (although they all were) and some fun turns of fate. The game again ended in a draw but a thrilling one at that. I dramatically underestimated how tough nobz were in combat, I had never faced them alone and these had feel no pain which made them tough. They went through a squad of grey hunters, charged a long fang pack and ate them until my thunderwolves got in. I rolled terribly and lost all my wolves bar my lord who was eventually able to dispatch them. So all in all 1 win 3 draws and 2 losses, not the weekend I wanted but not one that I am disappointed with, 2 of the games I probably deserved to win, 2 I definitely deserved to lose. So the question is what did I learn. Well what I didn't learn is what makes the difference between a top player and someone like me who constantly lies in midtable winning as many as he looses. What I have decided after this weekend is that if I am to move up I need to stop playing with just what I enjoy and start playing with a more optimal list. My thunderwolves cost too much 560 points is too much for 5 models. I could have a lot for those points and I plan to, open war will be the last time I run the Thunderwolf heavy list at a tournament. I hope all other attendees had a great weekend like I did.

UK GT Day 1 review

So as you all know yesterday I headed to maelstrom for the UK GT with a couple of other members of First company vets. Plenty of the blogging community there which was nice to see and lots of familiar faces from previous tournaments. Game one was 5 objectives dawn of war against a Dark Eldar army. I'd never faced one before, in fact I've arranged a game on Thursday night against one. I lost deployment but I had a good idea about what he would do so I tried to hide my long fangs behind rhinos. He had a Helion heavy army with the baron that provided Stealth. In the end I lost the game through a combination of a mistake, a bad roll for me and a good roll for my opponent. I made the mistake of getting my lord into combat with his couple of remaining helions that I had been picking off for the entire game, instead I foolishly went for the baron forgetting about his 2 up save they then were able to contest my objective. I should have had another chance to kill them but I didn't due to a bad run roll and a poor assault through cover roll. So it came on to whether we had a turn 6 and unfortunately there was none. I lost the game by a matter of inches while I'd got double the victory points but these things happen and I had a really good game. The second game was a pitched battle for two objectives and it saw me against a logan wing army which didn't have a massive amount of troops and in honesty it was a bit of a white wash. My opponent told me early it was his first tournament. Things went well for me early on and my idea was simple. I had more troops so I could throw one away in order to rapid fire into my opponent. My opponent certainly had bad look with loosing a wound on a lone wolf and a couple of terminators to rhino storm bolters. A big win, 30 points on the board and a difference in kill points of 1600 My third game was annihilation with a spear headed set it and saw me come up against Adam from the Space Wolves blog. It started badly when I lost the roll off so I set up in quite a defensive position but then seized the initiative. From there it went badly, I mistakenly attempted to pop transports instead of long fangs while Adam concentrated on my Long fangs. At the end of the game Adam pointed out what I've said many times on here, my list isn't a serious tournament playing list. There are too many points in my thunderwolves and I know I should drop them or tone them down but its difficult when you enjoy using a unit. So a good beating, a narrow loss and a good win. I'm still hoping for 3 wins out of the 6. This morning I find my self 69th (what a great number) out of 120 and I still have aspirations of finishing in the top half.

Friday, 25 March 2011

2 games full of mistakes

So as you saw yesterday was the final of the Winter(/autumn/spring) first company vets final but before that I played Tim (Caledonian Tim as he may be known to you) with his nids in a warm up game. He had three trygons, three of the buggers than spawn more gaunts, plenty of guants them self and 6 hive guard as well as some genestealers. So what happened? Well basically I was able to hand tim the victory fairly early on. We were playing the multiple objective mission in a spear head deployment and my deployment was fairly terrible. I managed to box my rune priest rhino in, I left my thunderwolves isolated and my long fangs didn't have the best fields of fire. I also realise that I haven't been challenging myself with the opponents I have been facing. I don't mean this with any disrespect to the people I have played in recent weeks but I have played guard, MSU Space Marines and Necrons. All of the players are very good but they are all lists that my list should beat. None of them have got anything that should bother me in combat and I generally have enough long range fire power to put a dent in them before I get there. Yesterday however this wasn't the case and its something that I come up against whenever I face a specifically orientated army. Space Wolves are jack of all trades, not bad at shooting or assault. Nids clearly are a close combat orientated army and I underestimated it. I'm that used to sending my wolves in and watching them roll over things in close combat that was never going to happen against two trygons and from there on it was purely a case of my own stupidity and naivety. The second game was the final against Darren's Orks and again I made mistakes. We both had instances of terrible dice so I certainly can't blame them although if I could have made one thunderhammer hit life may have been different. Now the main observation that Darren made after the game was that I got none of my units out of my deployment zone except for my OBEL wolf scouts, so was this a mistake against Orks? Because they went first I was penned in from the beginning, should I have tried to out manoeuvre him or should I have done what I did and hoped to shoot better and thin them out? In all I'm not too sure, Darren most certainly deserved his win and the winners trophy (hope he did his hair in the end so Gav could take a picture) I'm quite pleased with my runners up trophy a year on since I started playing (although it was a bit like Millwall got to the cup final, I managed to avoid all the big tournament players on the way there). I'm going to try and play someone new every week for a couple of months now, might try and make it down to Maelstrom on a Thursday night to see a few different faces, maybe we could have a claws and fists outing. Tomorrow is another day and at this tournament I'm looking to win 50% of my games. I'm not gav so there will be no live blogging so look out for results either and remember if you are there and you want to have a drink just let me know.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Finals night tonight

So it comes down to this.

Myself against the baron for the First Company Vets winter assault title which will hopefully be tonight if Darren gets his arse in gear and gets down on time.

This tournament has seemed to go on forever having started in September or October and many players have fell by the wayside to get to here.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Up In The Sky

So last weekend was the deadline for list submissions for Open War. Here is mine:


Rune Priest, Jaws of the World Wolf, Murderous Hurricane, Terminator Armour


Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour
Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, Wolf Claw
Wolf Guard Terminator Armour, Melta Bombs
Wolf Guard Terminator Armour, Cyclone Missile Launcher
Wolf Guard, Combi-Plasma, Power Fist
Drop Pod

Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard, Combi-Plasma, Power Fist
Drop Pod


8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

8 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

8 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

Fast Attack
Land Speeder, Heavy Flamer, Multimelta
Land Speeder, Heavy Flamer, Multimelta
The Wolf Guard with the Power Fists split off to join the Grey Hunters and the Rune Priest goes with the Terminators. With 4 Drop Pods coming down on Turn 1, I can go anti-mech with loads of Melta or I can bring in a dose of anti-infantry with the plasma load out.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Thinks to remember this weekend.

So this weekend I'm heading to Mansfield for the UK GT or the Indy GT as it has fast become known.

In case you aren't sure what it is this was set up because people are upset with the way that Throne of Skulls has gone with it's everyone's a winner sense.

My last tournament outing was a bit of a disaster after seeing 4 losses and 2 wins and one of the worst games of my life so I need to think carefully about what I'm going to do differently.

The first thing has to be remember my scouts, they are the only thing that doesn't start on the board and its so important to roll for them every turn. I use my scouts normally to take out those nasty artillary pieces at the back or side of the board with their Melta bombs and forgetting to roll for them is just stupidity. Against one of my regular players they would normally let you off but that should never be expected in a tournament.

Second thing and on a similar note is make sure that I at least move my vehicles an inch every turn if I can. I didn't do this against Steve on thursday and it meant that he was automatically hitting and it was again thanks to my stupidity.

Another related thing to remember is popping smoke, its so vital espcially against armies like Guard or Wolves. I don' always remember and I need to.

And finally and this is the biggy, I need to play the mission. The wolf can take me and I forget that theres a mission when I'm busy killing away and it leads me to forget what I should be doing. It cost me at both open war and the Caledonian open and its something I have been trying to correct in recent weeks.

So hopefully I can do well this time.
Look forward to seeing people there, I know there are plenty of bloggers going but if you are just a reader look for me (possibly in a claws and fists t shirt but more likely in a marvel one) and say hello.

Friday, 18 March 2011

A real space marine - input required readers

So we all know how the fluff goes. One space marine can destroy an entire army of 'Orks, Humans, cultists, Eldar' anything but surprisingly due to game mechanics it doesn't work like that, UNTIL LAST NIGHT.
To give you a bit of back story last night was the semi finals of the First Company Vets 40K tournament. Now this tournament was meant to be concluded before Christmas (it actually started in September) but unfortunately because of snow, people not playing their games (including Andy and Gav) and other commitments we are only just finishing it. My game last night was against a very good Necron player called Steve (who I played at Open War last year) and he did warn me in advance that he would be bringing the chessiest list he could which included the Nightbringer who I have never seen in a game before. Our own thebaron awaited the winner in the finals.

Now last night went as good as it could, I spent the first two turns shooting everything at the night bringer and it felled him (although Steve's ability to save him with an inv. save was awful) and then my scouts rolled up.

Now normally my scouts have a melta gun and melta bombs ready to take any rear guard armour but yesterday I decided to take Mark of the Wulfen to try it out on scouts. They came on on the rear edge which although he has played me many times was a massive surprise to Steve. They fired a melta and their bolt pistols into his destroyer and it was down and off the table. However he then have 20 rapid firing Necron warriors to shoot them with and out of my poor scouts only one survived and it wasn't the mark of the wulfen.

So my turn came, I rolled to move into cover and got nice and close, I shot hit, wounded to only have it bounce off, my long fangs shot at them and a couple went down and so it was for the glorious charge.He managed to put one down with a crafty swipe of his combat blade but still theres 6 Necrons left to attack and I've only got a 4+ armour save. I think you can see where this is going, no wounds, no armour saves are even required and I win the combat but only by one. Thats not going to make a difference though, I'll just stay in combat, that is until Steve rolls his leadership at minus one and comes up with a double 6 and one scout ran down a squad of Necrons in a true Space Marine moment. That could have been in the fluff because Adeptus Astartes are the truly the hardest people in the universe.

So my question to you is what real Space Marine moments have you had and conversely what have you seen when clearly Space Marines should win and come out on the losing side?

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Honestly what went on there? Nearly a year has passed since A Thousand Sons came out and I still don't understand what happened.

Was it purely a case of the author taking liberties with the fluff and ending up with something that didn't really make sense or was it something more deep and meaningful?

Lets look at what happened
The Emperor ordered the legions together to discuss the psyker problem. Now in the original fluff I read this was purely a ban on the sorcery performed by the Thousand Sons legion. Now its apparent that its a ban on all psykers. We see this in the first of the Garro audio books, an Ultramarine librarian is shunned by his brothers for using the powers of the warp. So why so Space Wolf Rune Priests still funnel their psyker powers at the end of A Thousand Sons?

Its a sticky part of the fluff that I hope is eventually cleared up by the writers.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


I think that as a blog we should try and do something for Comic Relief which is this friday. I'm not enitely sure what but my initial thought was some kind of sponsorship for every Ork I kill against Darren tomorrow. Since, he's starting with 121, I'm sure that even I can kill a couple of them! Hopefully that will not only mean that we'll raise some money for charity but Darren will also go easy on me ;o)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours

AKA Go Medium or Go Home

So, I've ditched the Go Big or Go Home Razorwolf concept (part 2 was going to have 8 Razorbacks and part 3 had 10!) Despite the fact I'm looking for a more exciting playstyle, it doesn't mean I'll be writing more exciting lists as you'll see now:


Rune Priest, Jaws of the World Wolf, Murderous Hurricane, Melta Bombs

Rune Priest, Jaws of the World Wolf, Stromcaller

No Living Lightning? Heretic! Well, I'm trying to force myself to move these units into midfield rather than just sit back and shoot.


Dreadnought, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Twin-Linked Autocannon

Dreadnought, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Twin-Lined Autocannon

4 Wolf Guard, 4 Combi-Meltas, 4 Power Fists

I would liked to have taken 2 Lone Wolfs and a Scout pack but those Rifleman Dreads are too good and I need the Wolf Guard for the Grey Hunters...


8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

I'm not a huge fan of the Wolf Standard as I normally roll more 2s than 1s but I had 40 points to spare so I thought, "why not?"

Fast Attack

Land Speeder, Multi Melta, Heavy Flamer

Land Speeder, Multi Melta, Heavy Flamer

Heavy Support

Vindicator, Dozer Blade

Vindicator, Dozer Blade

The joker in the pack - no Long Fangs. I've been finding it harder and harder to deploy 2 full packs and with the amount of terrain at Maelstrom it's going to be even harder. Having tanks that can move and shoot also means that I can go with null deployment which is a nice trick to have up your sleeve. I'm also hoping that these guys are so scary that they'll take a lot of the heat off my Rhinos as they advance.

So, tactics - drive to midfield and kill stuff with a combination of S10 Large Blasts and 24" long lines of dooooooom. Yes, it's not particualrly nuanced, I admit. My first test game will be on Thursday night against Darren and his Ork horde (121 infantry models!) Let's see how we get on...

Monday, 14 March 2011

Mach 3 Turbo

So, I've tried my Razorwolf list four times now and ended up with two wins and two draws - not too shabby. Here are a few quick thoughts about the list...


Shooty, very shooty. 8 S9, 8 S8 and 8 S7 shots at 48" is going to ruin anyones day

Saturation. I like the fact that everything is dangerous so there is no easy target priority

Assault. It has just enough assault. Yes, the 5 man squad will get battered by propper assault units but against most armies' standard troops they can hold their own especially if they can get the charge or Counter Attack

Point & click. It's incredibly easy to use especially with all of the built in redundancy. Plus you're rolling so many dice when you shoot that even with luck like mine, you're bound to do some damage.


Deployment. It's quite hard to give yourself firing lanes for two packs of Long Fangs, 6 Razorbacks and 2 Dreadnoughts without either getting in your own way (bad) or spreading out your forces (very bad against some armies) I also like to have my Long Fangs in cover and finding cover for two units and not getting stuck behind your 'backs can be very tricky.

Dullness. It's a very effective list but sitting there and shooting people is a bit boring to be honest.

And I think it's this last one that's putting me off. I really like the list but it's not really that exciting to play and I don't think it would be that exciting to play against. Plus, I'm really not in the mood to be modelling 6 new Razorback turrets. I'm going to try and put together a more "in your face" list and put this on the backburner until the next Open War...

Fall of Damnos - the review

So another review of a Space Marines battles novel and the question on every ones lips (or just mine) is was this going to be as good a read as Battle for the Fang? Well of course it wasn't.

That book was about my favourite chapter and contained one of my favourite characters. That doesn't mean however that Fall of Damnos wasn't good.

So what was Fall of Damnos about? Well it focuses on the Ultramarines going to war against the Necron Horde. I have mixed feelings about the Ultramarines. There is a part of me that just doesn't like them. When looking for a reason why I compare them to Man Utd, yeah they are the most supported team in the land, but they are also the most despised and its the same with the Ultramarines. 'They are the greatest of all Space Marines Chapters' but honestly are they? Saying that I have really enjoyed Graham McNeill's Ultramarines Novels featuring Uriel Ventris. Why? Because he didn't just stick to the Codex Astartes, he did what he needed to in order to win.

So what did I like about this book?
Well like Battle of the Fang it considered the fall of Damnos from a number of different view points but like BOTF this at times made it hard to read because of remembering all the different characters. One of the things I like about the Horus Heresy books is the list of characters at the start and who they are. I wish all BL books would do this.

The book also had a fair bit from the perspective of the Necrons which I really liked. It gave me an idea of why they did what they did.

What didn't I like.

The character of Sicarius but that was kind of the point. He wasn't a good leader, he cared more about personal glory than seemingly the good of his men.

I also didn't like the fact that the story really isn't finished by the end but again its a Space Marines Battles book not a Space Marines War book.

Overall it was a good read, as I can generally judge how good a book is by how quickly I read it I'm going to judge them all like this.

6 Days for Fall of Damnos, a decent book.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Beam me up Scotty

Well it's been a while since the Caledonian Open and I've finally gotten around to writing up my battle reports, I apologise for the brevity of the Daemons reports but the lists and results were so similar that the two games blur into one in my memory.

Anyway, enough of that, on with the action:

My List
Fear of the Darkness, The Sanguine Sword
Terminator Assault Squad
(5) 2x Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield, 3x Lightning Claws; Land Raider Redeemer w. Extra Armour & Multi Melta
Sanguinary Priests
(5) Combi-Meltagun x4; Drop Pod
Assault Squad
(5) Meltagun, Sergeant w. Power Weapon; Razorback w. Dozer Blade & Lascannon and TL Plasmagun
Assault Squad
(5) Meltagun, Sergeant w. Power Weapon; Razorback w. Dozer Blade & Lascannon and TL Plasmagun
Assault Squad
(5) Razorback w. Twin Linked Lascannon
Twin Linked Autocannon x2
Twin Linked Autocannon x2
Devastator Squad
(5) Missile Launcher x4

Game 1
vs Necrons

Necron Lord
Veil of Darkness, Disruption Field
(10x Warriors) x2
(5x Destroyers) x2
4x Destroyers
(3x Heavy Destroyers) x2
2x Heavy Destroyers

Mission: Dawn of War, Seize Ground

1st game of the day and I drew the only Necron player in the field. Before I had managed to get too excited I noticed that they were being played by a pretty well know tournament player, certainly I'd seen him in the top-10 of many of the tournies I've previously attended. It's also a list I'm not familiar with and the “spammy” nature of it gave me a little cause for concern.

I rushed as much as I could across the table as quickly as possible while trying to get cover for my vehicles for as long as possible. Fortunately my opponent's dice were truly horrible culminating in turn 2 with him failing a leadership test for Fear of the Darkness which caused a unit of Destroyers to run off the table. His luck changed at the bottom of the 2nd though when he immobilised my Land Raider, effectively neutralising my Terminators until the top of Turn 5 when they finally managed to get into combat.

The Warriors and the Lord had been kept in reserve but they also arrived at the bottom of turn 2 so, with his Destroyer units a shadow of their former selves, at the top of turn 3 I turned my attentions to the scoring units. The Warriors were set up so that one unit screened the other with the Lord, no matter, I thought, We'll just take them one at a time. Sure enough, one round of combat later and the screening unit had been run down, shooting in the previous phase had done a number on the Lord's squad seriously reducing it's shooting effectiveness next turn.

As it turned out shooting was not the plan and at the bottom of Turn 4, with a wave of his hand, the Lord and the remnants of his squad zoomed across the table to an objective in cover not far from my Devastators. Bum, this put me in a position from which I may not be able to pull out anything better than a draw.

However, the saving grace of all who play against Necrons, Phase-Out, was only 3 models away. I only had one turn to achieve this and nothing was in assault range so I unloaded everything I had into the Lord's unit in the hope that three of his squad would vapourise. When the smoke cleared the mangled carcasses of only two Necrons were apparent and at the bottom of turn 5 the remaining Destroyers turbo-boosted to contest the other objectives I held and wouldn't you know it, that's where the game ended.

Turn 6 would have guaranteed a Phase Out but that's the way things go sometimes and to be honest he'd played too well to lose that way. The final score was 11-9 to me but technically a Draw which I think was the right result.

Result: Draw

Games 2 & 3

vs Daemons

List 1
2x Great Unclean One
(8x Blood Crushers) x2
6x Fiends
(5x Plague Bearers) x3
6x Plague Bearers
1x Soul Grinder

Mission: Pitched Battle, Capture and Control
Result: Loss

List 2
Great Unclean One
Lord of Change
7x Bloodcrushers
(6x Fiends) x2
(5x Plague Bearers) x2
8x Bloodletters
(3x Screamers) x2
2x Daemons Prince
MoT, Bolt of Change

Spearhead, Annihilation
Result: Loss

Both of these games were very similar and what they boiled down to was the fact that I panicked and didn't play my list to properly counter his key units. I find it very hard to know how to cope with the destructive power of those Elite units. In the first game my opponent got everything on tun 2 and I was overwhelmed. I couldn't reposition my units quickly enough to counter him and his charge on turn 3 left me crippled. I managed to hold out until the end of the game and salvage a 4 - 16 loss out of what could have been a tabling.

In the second game I fared slightly better but I spent too much time and firepower taking out this Daemon Princes and HQ units (the damn Lord of Change just would not die!). So his Crushers and Fiends were able to take out my heavy units and move onto the softer units relatively uncontested. Again, I hung in there but could only manage a 5 – 15 loss

Game 4
vs Imperial Guard

Command Squad
3x Plasma Guns, Regimental Standard; Chimera
(10x Veterans, 3x Meltaguns) x3
Infantry Platoon
Command Squad w. 4x Flamers; Chimera
3x Infantry Squad w. Autocannon & Sniper Rifle
1x Infantry Squad w. Autocannon, Sniper Rifle & Commissar w. Meltabombs
3x Vendetta
3x Manticore

Mission: Dawn of War, Capture and Control

Start of Day 2 and I'm up against a rather unpleasant looking IG list, given my results on the previous day I have to say I was surprised to see this list across the table but you gotta play what's in front of you :)

Clearly I had not slept well the night before as I won the roll-off and elected to go second! I had forgotten about night fighting in my excitement over winning the roll and this cost me pretty badly. By turn 3 he had taken out all of my transports and I decided to play for the draw as I could not advance on foot in the face of all of his firepower.

As it happened I did managed to get the draw on mission but his artillery and Vendettas had exacted a heavy toll on my forces, In fact I only had 4 scoring models left to protect my objective and keep him from being able to get his Vendettas close enough to contest. So although the mission was a draw the final score was a 7-13 loss.

Result: Draw

Game 5
vs Imperial Guard

Commissar Lord
Psyker Battle Squad
4x Ratlings
Infantry Platoon
Command Squad w. 2x Plasma Gun, 1x Bolter; Chimera
2x Infantry Squad w. Lascannon; Chimera
Infantry Platoon
Command Squad w. Flamer, Bolt Pistol & Power Weapon; Chimera
1x Infantry Squad w. Lascannon; Chimera
1x Infantry Squad w. Missile Launcher; Chimera
2x Leman Russ Demolisher

Mission: Spearhead, Seize Ground

OMG, you should have seen the number of Chimeras I was lined up against here, factoring in his fast and heavy choices, this was the very definition of “Mech-Guard”. However, he made what I would consider to be a serious tactical error in reserving everything! After the game my opponent said it was because in a spearhead deployment with the terrain as it was he could not deploy all of his vehicles without seriously hampering his ability to move.

As it turned out though I was able to get across to his side of the board and pick off his units piecemeal. His reserve rolls were very unlucky which meant I only had to deal with a few units at a time so really, I got lucky here and was afforded an easy victory thanks to what probably seemed like a sensible idea given the circumstances of the game. What also padded the result in my favour was the fact that we went 7 turns which really boosted the VP tally I was able to amass. The reselt was a decisive 17-3 victory.

Result: Win

Game 6
vs Tyranids

Catalyst, Toxin Sacs
(3x Hive Guard) x2
3x Zoanthropes
(10 Termagants) x2
Onslaught, Toxin Sacs
Onslaught, Toxin Sacs
3x Trygon

Mission: Pitched Battle, Annihilation

Ah 'nids, probably my favourite army to play against but with 12 T6 models including 6 monstrous creatures I certainly wasn't expecting it to be a walk in the park. His deployment did give me a distinct advantage as he placed all of his models in one corner of his deployment zone. As I didn't want to engage him in close combat at all, let alone at full strength I deployed in the opposite corner and let him come to me.

Thanks to my fas vehicles I could move into shooting range and then keep backing up to stay out of charge range but within shooting range. Three turns of this, and some extraordinarily close calls on the charge range measurements, and he had lost all three Trygons and two Tervigons were seriously wounded. At this point his Hive Guard were within range but fortunately he tried to go after my Land Raider which was a long-shot at best and didn't pay off.

When I'd fallen back back as far as I could go I was able to initiate the charge and engage on my terms which allowed me to make the most of the first round of combat and place my Terminators to screen the weaker units. My Land Raider even got to fire off it's Redeemer Cannons to great effect.

All in all whether by luck or judgement, I played it just right and there wasn't a lot my opponent could have done about it. He did get a chance to take out the Land Raider with the Zoans in turn two but his dice deserted him. If he'd taken it out it could have been a very different result but it ended in a 17-3 win for me.

Result: Win

To sum up I really enjoyed the Tournament, it was very well run, all of my opponents were great fun and I can't wait to do it again next year. As always I made a few tactical errors which cost me games and I don't think my list was particularly well balanced as was shown by my encounters with the Daemon players. I'll continue to work on my list and my decision making process in games and hopefully I'll continue to improve.

With Open War 15 less than a month away now I'm looking forward to the next Tournament and hopefully achieving better than a 50% win ratio. Watch this space for updates on that one in early Arpil.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Different? We don't like that!

And so the Internet is awash with the pictures of the new Grey Knights.

People seem fairly happy with the Terminators and the normal marines are well recieved the problem lies with the new unit. The Dreadknight.

Now personally I like it, yeah it has a look of the power loader from Aliens but as I think that film is as close to Sci Fi perfection as you get I don't see a problem with it but of course the internet is full of people complaining about it.

The reasoning is varied from it doesn't have the same look as other Imperial Walkers (which it doesn't) to its stupid because the driver is so exposed. So do all Imperial Vehicles have to look alike? Well for all these years we have been told they are produced from the Standard Template Construct so yeah they should really, the mechanicum of Mars specifically isn't looking for new ways of doing things. So where is this new crazy design coming from? Who knows.

The other one however is a more searching matter and it links in with another much maligned (on the internet) unit. Thunderwolves. 'I hate thunderwolves because they are so unrealistic' its a shout I have seen time and again, 'Phil Kelly must think we are stupid to include them'. Does realism actually have a place in 40K? The imperium is surrounded and we believe that 1 million super solidiers manage to hold them back while the Guard just day to slow them down?

I don't really have an answer instead I am sending this question out to the Warp, why worry about Realism in the crazy world of 40K?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Secret Project...

Well I've been pretty absent as of late and that's for a number of reasons. I've taken on a new role at work which demands more of my time....and requires me to actually work. Secondly I broke up with my gf...then got back together with her, then we kinda took a break and now I don't know where we are at...but in any case I haven't mentioned it here as I didn't want to look like a whiney bitch like you might find on other blogs..ahem!

Following this I had a lot of work to do for the doubles, but managed to get everything painted in time...I'll get pics up sometime, honest. In addition to this my Grandfather has been quite ill over the last few weeks, and he passed away yesterday...on top of all this it was my Birthday last week, and I've been away a few times with the afore mentioned new job....So as you can tell from the above Blogging hasn't been at the top of my agenda, but I've still managed to get a bit of Hobby time in and a Game a week so it's not all bad.

What I want to talk about now I hinted at in a few earlier posts, and ultimately was the real reason for a contest I set up a little while ago for which I had a grand total of zero entries...which means a) I have to write my own list b) no one gets a spore pod and c) no one reads what I write...and it probably also means I didn't sing and dance about it enough....anyway, my next army is going to be Dark Eldar...with a twist. I'm fairly happy with my Orks and I'm just finishing some Stormboyz for them for Open War in April (which are awesome btw)...but in between that (and in between painting for the doubles!!) I've been buying up all the boxes of Kroot I see on ebay, along with Eldar Jet Bikes, Ravagers, Raiders, and bits...a lot of make this:

and this:

Here we have a Kroot with Blaster, and a Kroot on Jet Bike with Blaster/Heat Lance. Thats right boyz and grots, TheBaron is doing a "counts as" Kroot Merc army!

The "fluff" will be along the lines of, a Kroot Merc force who's Shapers have lead them down a path where their hyper nymune organ has developed due to eating lots of Eldar and DEldar hence BS4 and improved Initiative. On top of this there will be a lot of alien tech kicking around, invunerable saves will be due to fast refelexes, and combat drugs will be down to ancestral blessings. Some things I wont be taking in the list as they just dont fit ie Incubi, however I think the Codex works well for the Kroot and you should expect to see them develop over the coming weeks and months.

TheBaron out!

I rolled: 8 (4/4)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Battle of the Fang - the review

So today was Black Library live but unfortunately it fell on a day that Derby was at home so Big Gaz had to leave early. Because of that there was never going to be time to attend any seminars so it was purely a case to grab the books that we wanted and leave (as well as have a decent full English in Bugmans, best meal I've had in their for months remembering that I eat in there at least once a week).

This did however give me a chance to spend the day reading Battle of the Fang, you may remember that my review of Prospero Burns wasn't a happy one. I felt that too long was spent on none Astartes characters and their wasn't enough of the legendary characters that I wanted to be brought to life. I left that review with hopes that this book turned out to be better than that one. Well the grin on my face (even though you can't see it) and the speed that I read this book confirms that it was. It was excellent.

Forgive me if I put in any spoilers I will try my hardest not to.

Battle of the Fang is the next in the Space Marines Battles novels written by Chris Wraight
and I believe this is his first step into the world of 40K having previously written about The Empire in fantasy. (He was kind enough to do a Q&A on this book last year to the posters on Bolter and Chainsword which can be found here)

The book follows the story of the Wolves of Fenris in the 32nd millennium. Their Great Companies are scouring the galaxy for the arch-enemy headed by Magnus the Red. Unfortunately the need to remind the enemy of the burning of Propspero leaves the Fang tragically undermanned and the Sky Warriors are in for the fight of their lives to protect their home planet

So what did I like about this book?
Firstly unlike the previous Space Marines Battles books this looks at things from both the perspective of the enemy and the heroes. One of the things I most liked about A Thousand Sons and actually the best of the Horus Heresy books is that it leaves you unsure if the villains are evil? I will have to pass this book over to my dad and then get it back and read it a couple more times to understand the motives of Magnus thoroughly and that has to be a successful book. There are a number of different plots going on which also increases my likely hood to pick it up again and again, characters leaning towards a perceived heresy, those dealing with their own guilt and insecurities while others still trying to come to terms with living with demi gods and living legends. Unlike in Prospero Burns and the Ragnar series where we only got to see a number of Astartes in both this book had a more holistic approach to looking at my favourite legion.

Another reason why this book was so good was the speed that it moved at, within 88 pages the enemy was on Fenris leaving over 400 to tell the story. I read Black Library books for the action, this certainly delivered. We saw the action of a Rune Priest in full flow, the viciousness of a blood claw attack, the stoic fire support of the long fangs and the devastation that a few Venerable Dreadnoughts (including the eldest in the Galaxy) can bring about.

You also got some hints on things that have so far only ever been rumoured. We have known for a long time that the IX legion only ever had 1 offshoot chapter. Why? Well let me tell you that by the end of this you know and yet there are still more questions to be asked. And they also in a very tiny section that made the hairs stick up on the back of my neck hint to knowing something of the fate of Russ.

And finally the real reason that I loved this book was that it linked Abnett's view of Space Wolves with Kings depiction of action. The more time that has passed since reading Prospero Burns the more I feel that Abnett's moving forward with the ideas of the intrinsic views of the Space Wolves legion were needed its just that the story wasn't for me. Wraight combines Abnett's ideas that the Wolves aren't just killers for the sake of it with outstanding action from the word go and for me it made it much more palatable. The new terminology for the Wolves and their home is reinforced not just by the Space Wolf characters but by those of their mortal servants and troops and also the enemy. Following my poor review of Prospero Burns Aaron Dembski-Bowden was kind enough to address some of my points on it (here) and suggested that I might just prefer a less mature vision of the Space Wolves which I think was dead on, I don't look for great literature in a Black Library book just a fun read that I can pick up as I want. As I said, this book did both for me, it moved on from the drinking, farting and fighting view of William King (which I still love) into a showing that none Fenrisians don't understand the IX legion and can't without living and maybe more importantly fighting among them.

What didn't I like?
Well in honesty not a lot.
My main gripe and it is me being really really picky is that there were at least 5 different stories going on and it sometimes jumped a little too much.
There wasn't really a primary protagnoist.
We see a Rune Priest, a Wolf Priest, the Wolf Lord or Jarl in charge of the lone company in the Fang, a couple of blood claws, a Wolf Guard squad leader, a scout, the wolf lord and the list goes on, all in equal measure. Most excitedly we get a good amount of Bjorn but honestly this was me looking for a fault.

All in all I give this book a solid 9 out of 10. Its one I will certainly be picking up again and again in the future and I look to seeing more from Chris Wriaght. Certainly for me the definitive Space Wolf book and well worth the Black Library live ticket to read it early. I'm now going to move onto Victories of the Space Marines which contains another Space Wolf story.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A Gaming Dad.

It's a Thursday night and I'm sat at home in front of my computer instead of down at Warhammer World laying the smack down upon my fellow “Claws&Fistians”. Of course I assumed that they would all think I was glued to my old/new addiction (World of Warcraft) and while I will pop on in a bit I thought I'd write a blog post to let them know I've not gone completely over to the dark-side … yet.

The reason that I'm at home is because my wife asked me if I'd mind skipping my weekly gaming night-out because she's not feeling well and would like some help with the baby. Now there's any number of things that are wrong with this excuse, particularly the fact that Dan goes to bed at 7:00 and sleeps like the dead so he really isn't any trouble. But my missus is extremely cool about me disappearing off to play 40k every Thursday so when she asks me to miss a week I know better than to say anything other than “Sure, no problem.”!

Obviously keeping the wife on-side is an important part of being a Gaming Dad but the thing that I probably worried about most before Daniel arrived was the impact that he would have on my free time. With a year's worth of experience under my belt I can look back and feel a bit stupid about that. It's not that becoming a Dad doesn't soak up a lot of the free time that you had before but it's more about the fact that I can't think of anything I'd rather do than spend time with my son. It's probably a bit of a cliché but becoming a Dad changes your priorities.

Don't get me wrong, I still love to play games, 40K, WoW and any number of PC and board games. Spending time with your child does not mean having to neglect any of your hobbies it's not even a balancing act, it's just something you settle into naturally. I guess it's much easier though with a partner who gives you the support you need to be able to do it so I have to say that I am a lucky man in that respect.

So it's at this point where I might say something like so far so good but it's going to get more demanding the older he gets, but if I said that then I would have learned nothing over the last year. In fact I'm sure that as Dan gets older things will change but only for the better, at the very least I'll get to massage my win-loss ratio for a couple of years.

Any other gaming dads out there? Please comment below.


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