Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Upcoming Apocalypse Game!

Saturday I'm going down to the L.A. Battle Bunker for a massive Apocalypse game! It's going to be Eldar (for story purposes, my Eldar are pirate mercenaries) and Chaos versus Dark Angels. We're taking 6k points each. We've divided the board in half with seven objectives, three on each side and one in the middle. Here are some pictures from the last game we played (lots of unpainted minis, sorry!).

Some of the awesome selection of terrain at the L.A. Battle Bunker

A devastating bombing run from a Fighta-Bomma

My Fire Dragons and some marines join in assaulting this hastily constructed scratch-built stompa.

The view from the Ork side, you can see the back of my friend's massively, massively oversized stompa. It's probably bigger than a gargant. You can see my titan off in the distance.

The view from our side. Almost every single ork you see here died. In the end, it was only a drop in a bucket. Notice the line of grots in the background? They're from the boxed set back in 2nd edition. But besides that, my opponents had enough grots to line the board edge completely. They were afraid that we would flank march, and so blocked their entire board edge. The only reserves they had were flying things, or infiltrators.

I think I've hosted these pictures before, but here's our front line defense.

In an unrelated note, I built 10 craters out of clay today. They're drying right now, but once they're done I will post pictures. They took about 10 minutes to make, at most. The smaller ones took about 5 minutes. Really simple and they look great.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2k Mini Battle Report

Saturday I played a 2k game against my regular Dark Angels opponent. I barely have 2k points of Tyranids (not including Forgeworld) so I really stretched out what I take normally and took some things I probably shouldn't have. I'll discuss those choices later. First off a simple version of my list:

Hive Tyrant w/ TL devourers
2x Tyrant Guard
Broodlord w/ 11 Stealers retinue
6 Tyranid Warriors with Deathspitters, one with a Barbed Strangler
1 Lictor
1 Elite Fex, Talons and Strangler
17 Termagaunts
17 Spinegaunts
11 Genestealers
17 Hormagaunts
4 Ripper Swarms
1 Ravener
3x Bioacid mines
1 Biovore w/ Bioacid
1 Zoanthrope with Synapse and Warp Blast
1 Sniperfex with VC and BS, Spore Cysts (just for fun), Reinforced Chitin

Basically, my list is two Battleforces with a few extras thrown in, as that's all the models I have. If I had them, I'd take at least another Carnifex (I don't want to do Nidzilla) and more gaunts. I normally have great success with this style of list, but I made several modifications just for fun and as an experiment. I put the biovore in for fun as Spore Mines are a blast to play with. I love that even if you miss, you still get something for your trouble. I put spore cysts on the carnifex because I had 5 points to spend and in the past it worked for me, so I thought I'd try that again. It ended up being the biggest mistake of the game.

My opponent took a fully mechanized Dark Angels list, including 2 Landraiders, Belial to make termies scoring, combat squads each in razorbacks, with 4 Landspeeders.

Before the game began we ate some truly epic sandwiches.

This game was Capture and Control, Dawn of War deployment. My wife set up the terrain as usual and decided to leave a lot of open spaces to make the game more challenging. I placed my objective back close to my line, while the Dark Angels placed their objective right on top of the hill, 24" away. An unusual choice, but in order for me to take or contest it I would have to cross a lot of open terrain. Anyone who has played Tyranids will realize that open spaces are far worse for Nids than their opponents. Dark Angels won the roll and elected to receive. I deployed my stealers in cover, and decided to infiltrate the Broodlord in cover in the middle, as the objective was on the right flank, and a leftward outflank would have made him useless.

With no cover I had to screen my units with the spinegaunts, while the termigaunts sat back and guarded my objective. For the first two turns, all shooting was pretty ineffectual. As the armies got closer and closer, I was forced into leaving cover if I wanted a chance to contest his objective. In the end, I made bad choices and played poorly, and my opponent played very well. Only about 1/4 if even that of my army was still alive at the end of turn 5, while at least half of the Dark Angels were still on the field. Yet it still ended in a draw, though had the game gone any longer I might have lost. Capture and Control kind of sucks that way.

(On a side note last game I played as Nids was against Chaos Daemons, and it was also capture and control. He only had 3 models alive by the end of turn 5, but it was still a draw.)

The worst thing I did was give the Carnifex spore cysts. Like I said before, it's a fun choice but in this case a terrible one. My idea was to leave a trail of spore mines to guard the path to the objective (it worked once before) to slow the advance. In reality, they inflicted two wounds on my fex, and one of the other mines got shot and exploded, killing two hormigaunts. The Biovore's mines actually penetrated a Landraider, but rolled a 1 for damage. The fast attack choice mines drifted into the rear of the Vindicator, imobilizing it. Bioacid is really not that great unless it's in big numbers. Perhaps a triple squad of Biovores would have done better. The Ravener didn't do much better, he popped up and then got shot to pieces after trying to crack the rear armor of a Razorback. The Lictor, while fun, failed to do anything to the Vindicator (by the way, if you stun a vehicle so it can't move, you can still attack it in your opponent's Assault phase, had I know that I may have destroyed it).

The way the armies were advancing looks more like a Fantasy game. A lack of terrain will do that to you.

I finally got into grips with him, but I had to suffer some shooting. Tyrant Guard are worth the points, they absorbed a lot of fire.

Here was the final turn of the game. I surrounded my objective with all my gaunts so he couldn't get near enough to contest it. He didn't like that trick, but it's what got me the draw. He killed 18 of them with some shooting, but it wasn't enough.

While the Tyranid codex is good, it is starting to show its age. With the rending nerf, stealers are ridiculously expensive now. Though it wasn't a problem in this game, hormagaunts can't climb ruins, making upper story troops impossible to reach. All gaunts are still too expensive, especially compared with the new Boyz and Guardsmen. Lictors and Raveners are overpriced as well. Zoanthropes need a ridiculous amount of rolls to fire off their offensive psychic power. The only thing that really got buffed were deathspitter-armed warriors.

So now I have to revise my list a bit. I think I'll pick up one of those Tyranid Assault Broods so I can get another couple carnifexes, and so I can take my Tyranids into an Apocalypse size force. I'm not sure what else to get after that, but an Assault Brood is a big start.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eldar vs. Dark Angels, 1500 Friendly Game

The real beauty of the Eldar Codex is the sheer number of choices. 11 HQ choices? Yes please. You can't even come close to taking everything in the codex in one game (which you can for Nids). If you want to field an entire army of Jetbikes, you can. If you want to field an army whose lowest toughness is 6 (except for their spiritseers), you can. If you want to go pure assault, you can. Or if you just want to sit back and shoot with devastating firepower, you can. The codex has so many different play styles that when I get tired of Eldar, I find that changing my list up drastically can revitalize the whole game for me. Obviously some builds are much more effective than others, but in a friendly game who cares?

For this game I elected to take a more unusual list. I decided to take things that I don't normally take to change the game up, and throw my regular opponent for a loop. Here's what I took:

Autarch on JB with lance and fusion gun
5 Shining Spears
10 Pathfinders
3x Vibrocannons (with a Embolden Warlock)
19 Guardians w/Starcannon (with an Embolden Warlock)
3 Jetbikes with a Destructor Warlock
Falcon with 6 Harlequins inside

KP: 8

I rarely take Guardians these days. I decided to take them today to be held in reserve, to come in later and claim back end objectives (the jetbikes were also designated in this role, but to claim mid-field objectives). I've never taken Shining Spears, and the plan was to have the Autarch lead them in glorious Marine slaying. I have never taken Vibrocannons either, and thought I'd have some fun with them. I've never taken Harlequins before, and I had to proxy them, but figured I'd run a Clown Car and see how it goes.

My opponent decided to take the Ravenwing. His plan was to match speed for speed, as I normally run a mechanized/jetbike list. His list was (as far as I can remember):

8 Bikers led by Interrogator-Chaplain
8 Bikers
8 Bikers
3 Landspeeders with Multi-Meltas (not in a squadron)
3 Attack Bikes (not in a squadron)

KP: 11 (if the speeders and attack bikes were in squadrons it would be 7)

We rolled an annihilation game with a pitched battle deployment.

Eldar won the roll and elected to deploy first and take first turn.

I deployed my Vibro-cannons in a LOS blocking castle (a terrible looking thing but it’s all we got). They don’t need LOS to hit, so I figured I’d keep them safe. The Falcon and Spears were deployed behind them. Since I saw he had Ravenwing I knew I was safe from the biggest blast weapons, so I bunched them up tight. Finally, I placed my Pathfinders on the right in a ruin which ended up being a mistake. The Guardians and Jetbikes were held in reserve.

He deployed his bikes up front, then used his scout move to put his front bikes into cover. The Landspeeders and Attack Bikes were held behind cover. In the bike squadron were the Interrogator-Chaplain and Sammael.

All plans changed when the Dark Angels seized the initiative!

Dark Angels Turn 1

Turn one, Sammael turbo boosted toward the pathfinders, as well as the int-chap bikes. The attack bikes and the Landspeeders sped toward the Falcon, The attack bikes shot 3 multi-meltas at the falcon and scored 1 hit, which I saved with a cover save.

(Yes that is a cooking pot in the picture. We're working on making better terrain. That pot will some day be the base for a planetary defense laser. I still have to put texture on my gaming table, hence the green felt.)

Eldar turn 1

After moving my Shining Spears forward to engage the Landspeeders, I moved the Falcon swiftly using Star Engines over to the beleaguered Pathfinders. In the shooting phase, I blasted my 3 vibro cannons at the int-chap bikes and slew 2 marines and wounded Sammael twice. In my second mistake of the game, my forward assault contingent (Spears and Autarch) were caught in the open because they destroyed a landspeeder in the shooting phase (thus they couldn’t assault anything since they weren’t in a squadron). Had they assaulted, the unit was big enough that I could have taken down two speeders (maybe). The Pathfinders attempted to wipe out Sammael’s last wound, but ten sniper rounds failed to do anything.

Dark Angels Turn 2

His speeders and bikes saw fast retribution by annihilating the Shining Spear unit down to the Exarch thanks to 5 multi-melta shots. The autarch was hit in this flamestorm but not wounded, as his bad luck with multi-meltas continues (it’s a running gag between us). On the other side of the board, the pathfinders suffered 2 losses from a flamer, while saving many bolter shots. Charging into the ruins, Sammael suffered a wound from dangerous terrain but saved it with his Iron Halo, however a fellow brother was not as lucky.

The retribution was swift. All the Pathfinders were wiped out without a single return casualty. The Eldar position was pretty tenuous, as they found themselves trapped!

Eldar turn 2

I couldn’t believe that I was completely trapped. Normally I’m the fast one. Recovering from the casualties, I destroyed 2 Landspeeders, 2 attack bikes and 1 regular bike. The Autarch, remaining Shining Spear Exarch, Vibro cannons, and reserves marching in (thanks to the Autarch for that one) claim credit for this victory. The Harlequins disembarked and took care of two bikers while losing one of their own.

Dark Angels turn 3

One reserve bike squadron rode on the flank and pulverized the Vibro-Cannon squad. All that was left was one gunner, quaking in his Eldar boots. The subsequent assault claimed two more Marines to Dangerous Terrain tests, but the kill point was earned.

On the other side, the harlequins wiped out all but the Interrogator-Chaplain, after which they safely disengaged, running for the safety of the Falcon.

Eldar Turn 3

The Harlequins embarked on the Falcon, which flew across the battlefield (Thank Vaul for Star Engines) to combat the new threat from the flanking bikers. The jetbikes formed a protective shield to prevent the guardians from being charged. The remaining Exarch charged the last attack bike to claim that killpoint, while the Autarch played cat-and-mouse with the last Landspeeder, failing to kill it as it shrugged off his Fusion Gun, and he couldn’t get a 6 to hit it in close combat. Finally, the Guardian squad killed the Int-Chaplain with a withering hail of Shuriken fire.

Dark Angels Turn 4

Bringing in the last reserve bikers, he surrounded the Autarch. The flanking bikers on my battle line charged into the jetbike squad. The marines took down one jetbike. The jetbikes passed their morale check unfortunately.
In the shooting phase, the Autarch shrugged off a hail of bolter shots, while the Exarch barely avoided getting fried by the last Landspeeder’s multi-melta (it failed to wound). The Autarch survived all the close combat hits from the Ravenwing bikers, only to fall to a powerfist.

Eldar Turn 4

The Shining Spears Exarch, not wanting to be a free killpoint, turboboosted across the field to hide behind a building. This was not an act of cowardice, but a brave and noble move. The Falcon dropped off the Harlies who charged the outflanking bikers. The Guardians consolidated their position and brought the Starcannon around to bear.

The Falcon exploded the last Landspeeder. The harlequins dispatched the remaining bikers, and consolidated into cover. All that was left was one Bike squad.

Dark Angels Turn 5

With only one squad remaining, he decided it was do or die. My opponent turboboosted them towards the foe, hoping to shoot up the harlequins on the next turn.

Eldar Turn 5

Lots of shooting from everything I had took out all but two of the bikers. Finally, the Harlequins sliced down the last two, ending the game via total annihilation.

Final Score: 11 KPs to 3

My thoughts on the game:

Well, I did learn a lot. Shining Spears are a tiny scalpel in an army already full of scalpels. While devastating on the charge (the Exarch alone wiped out 2 attack bikes and crippled a Landspeeder) they are fragile if the enemy can draw LOS to them. Of course, I left them out in the open and not much can survive a face full of melta. The Autarch underperformed. While he took down a Landspeeder, he also died without taking anyone down with him because his lance only works on the charge. I shouldn’t have chased down the speeder.

The Pathfinders however, underperformed. They didn’t inflict a single wound and were wiped out in a single round of shooting/assault. Their deployment was a mistake though. I should have put them in another building that was closer to the enemy. They wouldn’t have had LOS on the first turn, but it’s always better to spend a turn moving to get the perfect shot than to have two rounds of bad shooting.

The Harlequins were amazing. They wiped out three squads of bikes only taking one return casualty. Next time I am going to combine them with a Farseer. In a Falcon, their speed is unstoppable. Star Engines was worth it. A lot of people say not to take it as the battlefield is small enough, but without it the Harlequins would never have been able to reach the combats where they were needed as fast as they did. It would have taken an extra turn, which I didn't have. Without them the game would have been a loss, or at least a very sloppy victory.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Painting Table Updates

Here's what's currently on the painting table. While I'm currently painting two Deathwing landraiders for a friend (which you can see in the back left), they are in need of dire repairs so I have one clamped and hopefully it holds. This is the third time I've tried gluing it. If it fails this time it will be battle damage. Foreground you can see what I was working on while waiting for the glue to dry. I did an airbrushed fade on the Wave Serpent, and I'm going to adorn it with some kind of pattern but I haven't settled on how to do it yet.

Also note the Deathwing terminator, I tried using the airbrush to spray the washes like they suggest. It works pretty well. The only problem is that it puddles up on the shoulderpads since there's no recesses for the wash to flow into. So I have to go over it with a lighter bleached bone. After that, I drybrushed the figure with bleached bone and it works great! I haven't done the detail yet, I'm waiting on that but I think I should get them all done quickly. I'd like to have them done before May 2, that's when we're playing our big Apocalypse game. I'd like to finish them fast so I can get to painting on my own projects.

I have a nice desk in the backroom but I have moved my painting operation out to the kitchen table so I don't feel isolated from my family when I paint. My wife also does her scrapbooking on the kitchen table. We have also moved our seeded plants for our garden to the table so the baby doesn't destroy them, leaving us nowhere to eat.

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