Monday 24 July 2017

Narrative - Faction In-Fighting

Despite there being a sizeable number of armies (we could say codexes) in 40K a lot of the time we find that our armies are facing what should be allied forces. The nature of the game simply assumes that we play and have fun. Nothing wrong with that but a lot of the time for those of us who like a narrative game it can be confusing as to why these armies are bashing heads, so I'm going to take a look at the potential reasons why they might.

As half the game is made up of Imperial armies it can be very frustrating to see two of them matched. There is so many games where you can call "war games" and I'm not even sure the Imperium plays such war games when they have real wars to hone their combat skills. Likewise, if we're playing our chosen Imperial faction you can't say that one side or the other has turned traitor. I know I didn't like that when it came up when I was playing loyalist space marines.

For space marines do we have history of them fighting each other and I don't mean the Horus Heresy. Some chapters have come to blows because of their combat doctrines or points of view (Marines Malevolent, for example). I still think it is unlikely that chapters would start opening fire upon one another just because of this but perhaps the old idea of the Inquisition orders them to could be used but I'd want one side to have an Inquisitorial element to make it work narratively. Again though, like the "war games" idea it happens too often for that excuse to be relevant all the time. There is always some sort of element you could use but I still find loyalist marine chapters fighting going beyond the fluff.

With Blood Angels and their successors you can use the blood rage as a reason for battle. Their Imperial opponent could well be a former now seen as the enemy by a force suddenly succumbing to the black rage. As the 41st millennium approaches it's end and night begins to fall over the Imperium of Man I can see this potentially happening more and more.

Dark Angels are another chapter that could easily go to war against an allied force. While I don't think that in the fluff they have ever openly attacked another Imperial force (prior to the Curse of the Wulfen storyline) I could certainly see it if the chapter felt that their former allies had learnt of the Fallen or even may have been holding one, that they might just decide to kill them and hide the bodies afterwards.

With Grey Knights even I can't think of anything outside of a war game training exercise. They don't turn traitor and there is no reason other than that for their forces to fight one another. They are, however, a perfect opponent for other Imperial forces. If they feel that the other has seen events that mankind (even space marines) should not know then they would have to eradicate them. The same can be said of the Sisters of Battle. If they feel that an Imperial force has been corrupted or turned against the Imperial faith I could see them take up arms in order to put down that heresy.

The Astra Militarum are perhaps the poor ones here. Although they are the majority of the Imperial military they are also somewhat caught in the middle. As I mentioned above I can certainly see many reasons why Grey Knights, Sisters and the Angels turning their guns upon the humble guard army. For the most part though I doubt it would happen but there is a kind of precedent. One of the Dawn of War games, Dark Crusade if I remember right, has a story line where a force of guardsmen are tasked with holding the remains of a downed Titan but this brings them into conflict with the Blood Ravens who see that the task belongs to them. The guard have their orders and aren't willing to relinquish control so the space marines open fire. An extreme example but one that you could use as an excuse as to why your Militarum forces are fighting Imperial allies.

Chaos needs no excuse to fight itself. Ancient rivalries between legions and war bands, or simply rivalries between gods. Even daemons would fight each other simply because their god commands it. I imagine such conflicts go on all the time within the Eye of Terror.

Craftworld Eldar.
We like to think that Craftworld Eldar like each other and work together but let's be honest they probably don't. So why would two different Craftworlds wage war upon one another? The simple answer is that they have competing goals. Perhaps the farseers of Ulthwe read the winds of fate and decide that something needs to be done to draw the Imperium to planet X before the Tyranids get here, but that twist of the threads might ensure that the great devourer passes within range of Craftworld Saim-Hann. I doubt Craftworlds have much diplomacy with one another and I doubt the cares of another Craftworld factor into things. Eldar will fight Eldar.

It may also depend on which Craftworld you play. With the time they spent trapped in the Eye of Terror perhaps another Craftworld feels that Altansar have become corrupted and must be destroyed.

Dark Eldar.
This is another easy one. Rival kabals and wytch cults will fight one another out of sheer rivalry. Perhaps one turned up to ravage an Imperial world only to find a rival there already. The perverse pleasure they may get from dragging their own kind back to the Dark City in chains as slaves or worse could certainly ensure this faction will fight against one another.

Yes, Craftworld and Dark Eldar will fight one another perhaps as much as they occasionally ally. That goes without saying. What you might be pondering is what about the Ynnari? Well, for all the good they are doing for the Eldar race there are those who will be opposed to them. Asdrubael Vect, dark lord of Commorragh certainly hates the Ynnari and I'm sure that there are factions within the Craftworlds who may be opposed to them for one reason or another.

The Necrons are spread across a large number of dynasties and they, being separate "factions" if you will, will fight. They fight for territory whether reclaiming what was once theirs or pushing into a rival's in a grab for power. Perhaps an ancient dynasty never full awoke so various Necron Lord's descent upon it to take what resources they can and repatriate those sleeping warriors to their own cause.

Orks are like Chaos, they will happily fight one another regardless of the reason. The Imperium has probably endured so long simply because Orks enjoy fighting each other over working together to conquer the galaxy. Find that rival warboss. Crush his skull and claim his boyz as your own and lead your Waaagh! to glory in the stars.

Tau Empire.
Outside of the conflict between the Tau Empire and the Farsight Enclave I have a tough time working out how this faction could have a inter-faction battle. Not unless you are willing to see a Tau civil war, although I tend to see that as the Tau / Farsight conflict anyway, so you could always use that. Not like anyone is going to know outside of yourself.  You could perhaps have a break-away group following the recent assassination of Aun'va which needs to be forcefully put down or re-integrated into the Greater Good.

This is the one where quite frankly I have no idea. There is absolutely no way in my mind as to why two hive fleets would fight one another. They are the same controlling mind so it just would not happen. If one hive fleet was dying or too weak, it would happily just roll over to be devoured by another, ensuring all DNA and enhancements were given over to the hive mind. They just would not fight. Even genestealer cults would give up once their "gods" arrived.

However, saying that, many years ago I did run a campaign set on a world where ancient Eldar had hidden hundreds of thousands of trapped daemons deep under ground and I hade to include something to allow the possibility of multiple opponents of the same faction. As those daemons began to break the prisons it released a powerful psychic shriek which disrupted the telepathic communications of any hive fleets in the area forcing them to become separate from the hive mind. Multiple tyranids could then fight as rivals seeking to restore bio-matter in a sort of hive war.

So you can do it but you need to come up with something good to explain why two separate hive fleets would come together to fight one another.

Saturday 22 July 2017

Battle for Fort Ranick - Bludhaven

Planet: Bludhaven.
Region: Seraphon Sector.

Death Guard / Nurgle Daemons / Renegade Knight vs Orks.

Mission: Tactical Escalation (with Night Fight).
Deployment: Vanguard Strike.
Points: 2000.

The battle for Fort Ranick was a minor engagement in the early days of the Bludhaven invasion. The Death Guard had moved to seize an old Imperial supply depot known as Fort Ranick before the approaching ork forces to do likewise. Unfortunately as night began to fall the greenskin hordes reached the walls and lay siege to the plague marines trapped within.

A couple of nights ago I played a game against my friend Jon. I didn't want to know what he was fielding but expected it to either be blood angels or orks, and he turned up with a very interesting ork list. We randomly determined the tactical cards mission and then added the Battlefield: Nightfight rules to make it more interesting.

Most of Jon's army sat in reserve waiting to come in under cover of night. He did have a good number of boyz and a couple units of loota's sitting there waiting for me. I, however,  found the deployment zone very restrictive for what I had but it helped because he couldn't then drop anything in behind me from reserve.

I set up first and decided to let Jon have the first turn. The boyz started up the table and if I remember right one unit of kommando's popped up around the corner from my deployment. Night fight ranges got in the way here so he used a command point to light up one of my plague marine squads. It came down to DR rolls and I lost nine models, leaving just the champion to stand his ground. He also managed to knock a few wounds off my knight as making saves was not something I seem capable for doing for that thing.

My first turn was spent just moving forward to grab a couple potential objectives. The defiler and knight put fire into his fighta aircraft but not enough to bring it down. I then charged the defiler into the kommando's but I couldn't finish the whole unit off.

Jon then just some freaky ork psychic power to jump his weirdboy and a large unit of boyz across the table, followed by two other units of boyz running to keep up. They assaulted the defiler in a huge rabble, tearing it apart. Sadly it did not explode otherwise that would have been very nice.

The game started heating up here as the remaining kommando's started popping up around my deployment area. Some were gunned down but soon combat was joined. One poor band of orks were surrounded by plague marines, cultists and poxwalkers! They didn't last long and I got a couple extra poxwalkers out of the deal.

Unfortunately one of the random objectives Jon claimed gave him the ability to call in an airstrike and he kept dropping mortal wounds on my daemon prince of chaos. Concentrated fire also brought down my knight. Once again it has died far too easily. In retaliation I poured what fire and psychic power I had at his flyer but I could not destroy the damn thing. I believe it was left on 1 wound when the game ended. Bad luck. The game devolved into lots of combat and my daemon prince was slain as that poor surviving plague marine champion.

We called the game end of turn 3. Partly because we were running out of time and also because I had just 1 vp and Jon had about 4. The cards were far more in his favour than mine. Two of the games I drew involved defending two objectives for two turns which wasn't going to happen with the number of boyz against me.

Another good game. One that has made me have to consider what I need to take against orks in future. Night fight didn't impact me too much but to start with it made Jon focus on other targets than what he would have liked. Jon also lost a couple units because the Night Fight rules meant that they had not arrived at the end of turn 3 and so were considered lost. So we both had some bad luck this game.

My list:
Daemon Prince of Chaos (warlord)
Lord of Contagion.
10 Plague marines - meltaguns and icon of despair.
10 Plague marines - meltaguns and icon of despair.
20 Poxwalkers
18 Cultists
Renegade Knight - thermal cannon, heavy stubber and chainsword.
Chaos Predator - twin lascannons, heavy bolters and combi-flamer.
Defiler - battle cannon, autocannon, scourge and combi-flamer.

Death Guard deployment.

Ork deployment.

Orks control the skies.

A defiler stomping the greenskins!

The Children of Sickness, a cult of Nurgle.

Friday 14 July 2017

Stronghold Assault - Cerberus

Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus Sector.

Death Guard / Nurgle Daemons vs Crimson Fists.
1500 points.
Mission: Retrieval Mission
Deployment: Spearhead Assault.

The Imperial assault has proven too strong for the Death Guard to resist. Typhus orders his forces to fall back from the front lines to a series of heavily fortified bastions across the surface in order to buy time to rearm and devise a strategy to deal with such a powerful force. In the meantime, it falls to the Adeptus Astartes to launch attacks upon these bastions in order to breach the defences and allow the Imperial war effort to eradicate the traitors once and for all.

Last night I was back to facing the Crimson Fists under the command of Richard Curr. This was a game that I was unusually apprehensive about playing purely because I didn't know what to take against him. The last two times I played against him, both games under 7th edition, he took a tank heavy army loaded with razorbacks and vindicators. His first game of 8th, not against me, he took a infantry army with the new primaris marines. Despite attempts I couldn't design a list that would accommodate both play styles so I had to guess what he would bring. In the end Richard bought a bit of both which made me feel better about my list build.

As this mission just uses the classic my base - your base two objective markers, we both set ours up dead center of our deployment zones opposite one another. I finished setting my army up first but Richard's first roll of the game seized him the initiative and he rumbled his two predator tanks forward and ripped about twelve wounds off of my knight before it had a chance to do anything. It shrugged off the krak missiles though. Everything else was out of range.

My first turn I held back my plague marines from advancing to see how the game went. I didn't have transports so getting them up the table safely was not likely. The knight marched forward though followed by my daemon prince of chaos. The thermal blaster taking a chunk of wounds from one enemy predator and the heavy stubber got one scout who put his head up when he should have ducked. The havoc squad knocked a couple more wounds off that predator as well. The knight then charged the scout squad losing one wound to a lucky bolter shot. It proceeded to crush the scouts beneath it's titanic feet.

Turn two and Richard continued to pour his heavy weapon fire into my knight. It took both his predators and two krak missiles to drop it to four wounds remaining. His bikes got into combat with it as well but they soon died to being stomped and the daemon prince being drawn into the combat. On my turn the daemon prince smited the remaining scout squad killing them all.

Turn three was where it all changed. Lascannon fire from the predators dropped the knight which did not explode. My plague marine squads supported by Typhus' miasma psychic power moved out of cover and put meltagun fire into both predators, successfully taking both out. One exploded killing one of my poor plague marines.

Come turn four and Richard had nothing my side of the table. All he had left were three squads in the ruins around his objective, a librarian and Cantor. He turned his attention to my plague marines dropping frag missiles into their ranks but it proved ineffective. I simply moved my plague marines back into cover and advanced the daemon prince into Richard's deployment zone.

Turn five and all Richard managed to do was knock two wounds off the daemon prince. I just moved him closer to ensure that I had linebreaker and that point Richard conceded. There was no way he could achieve victory as I had first blood and now would have linebreaker. I won 5 vp to his 3.

Despite being very apprehensive about what to take I think I had taken the right options.  I'm still annoyed that a unit like a knight can be taken down as easily as it can be. But despite a great start I think that Richard was unlucky. Perhaps he should have moved a couple squads forward to draw my fire from the predators but the deployment type was going to make it difficult for a footslogging army to get across the table easily.

Unfortunately my phone died on me so no photos to add for this report.

My list:

Typhus (warlord - legendary champion. Powers were smite, miasma of pestilence and plague wind)
Daemon Prince of Chaos (mark of nurgle. Powers were smite and stream of corruption).

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Poxwalkers

5 Havocs
boltgun and bolt pistol
Autocannon – missile launcher – lascannon

Renegade Knight
Thermal blaster, chainsword and hvy stubber

Despite having the advantage the space marines were only able to breach a handful of enemy bastions. The rest resisted all their efforts, allowing Typhus to seek reinforcements and come up with strategies to defeat the invading forces. 

Friday 7 July 2017

Battle of Lucerne Abbey - Abraxes

Planet: Abraxes.
Region: Ceres Sector.

Death Guard vs Tyranids.
Mission: Only War.
Deployment: Front-Line Assault.

One of the original targets of the Death Guard when they attacked Abraxes was the legendary Lucerne Abbey shrine which housed several relics of the old Imperium from the early days of the Great Crusade. Even with the Tyranid menace Typhus sought to corrupt these relics of the false Emperor. During the search of the ruins, the Death Guard failed to notice the arrival of the xenos vanguard until it was too late.

First 8th edition against Tyranids and for my friend Shadbolt. As Only War is a good training mission it seemed an excellent choice for the game. We rolled for the objectives and each one was worth a victory point at the end of each turn to whoever held them. First turn was mine. I've not enjoyed a game against Tyranids for a while due to how good they were previously so I was not sure how to handle them this time around. My list was fairly basic but I hoped it would do the job.

Due to deployment I was holding two objectives straight away. One with a plague marine squad and one with havocs. I didn't have much shooting but my big weapons did open fire upon Shadbolt's monstrous tyrannofex which seemed to be the biggest threat. Knocked a couple wounds off but it didn't hurt it's abilities too much.

In return Shadbolt surged everything forwards. Again, not a lot of shooting, but we did have the first perils of the warp that I have seen under 8th. One of his zoanthropes exploded which was impressive. But his turn pretty much consisted of getting everything as far forward as he could.

Turn two and combat was joined along the middle of the table. Plaguebringers and poxwalkers fought hard against gaunts, and my daemon prince of chaos started slugging it out with his hive tyrant. This turn of the game was rather poor for me as my dice were not playing ball most of the time. The one time Nurgle was in my favour saw six sixes rolled on a wounding roll. My forces were holding their own but the horde was slowly overrunning them. The plaguebearers didn't have much luck. They lost half their number to the gaunts.

Turn three and Shadbolt's genestealers were in the midst of my poxwalkers, ripping them apart. Typhus strode in and hacked the broodlord down with one mighty sweep of manreaper. Had the game gone much further he would have taken down those remaining genestealers I had no doubt. The second squad of poxwalkers was slowly whittling away but I was pleased to get one new poxwalker added to the unit. That made my evening. Elsewhere, despite being beaten down to 1 remaining wound, my daemon prince of chaos sliced the head from the hive tyrant and held it up for the gods to see!

At this time I had dealt enough damage to the tyrannofex that it was no longer a threat. With everything else in combat my havocs were forced to blast away at gaunts and the defiler strode into another unit of gaunts but was surprisingly unable to wound any of them.

By this time Shadbolt's tyranids were taking control of the objectives I had just by sheer weight of models. I couldn't remove enough of them to retain control of the objectives. Unfortunately by this point we had tio wrap up the game as we were nearing kick out time. Shadbolt had seized a victory 7pts to my 6.

A good game and hopefully a good training exercise for mister Shadbolt. Tyranids are still a good horde army but they seem much more balanced now than they used to be. I think I can enjoy facing them again now.

Back aboard the Terminus Est Typhus raged. The desecration of the ancient relics would not be by his hand. Instead they would trodden into the mud by alien feet. Time to turn his attention back to the war and maybe one day he could return to finish the job.

Battalion Detachment.
6 command points

Daemon Prince of Chaos

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Plague marines
Plasma Pistol and power weapon.
Icon of Despair and two meltaguns

10 Poxwalkers
10 Poxwalkers

Battle cannon, reaper autocannon, scourge, defiler claws and combi flamer

5 Havocs
powerfist and bolt pistol
Autocannon, missile launcher, lascannon and hvy bolter

10 plaguebearers

Plague marines supported by a defiler march into battle.

A monstrous tyrannofex.

The initial battle lines.

Savage hand to hand fighting in the blast craters.

Here come the genestealers!

Crusade Battles catchup

 It's been a few weeks since I last updated and in that time I have played a further three Crusade games. I am really enjoying playing C...