Thursday, July 16, 2009

Imperial Guard Armor?!?!

Yeah so I've been bitten by the Imperial Guard bug... *sigh*

Nobody else in my gaming group fields guard. Kris has an un-primed army that he has fielded ONCE since we've been playing and I'm sure he probably will never put it on the table again at the rate things are going.

My first Leman-Russ battle tank. I looked at all the options and was pleasantly surprised to find that the box wasn't going to let me make any actual decisions so I just assembled what it came with. I'm going with an urban color scheme to match my city board. Not bad for a night of building/painting I'd say...

"Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!!!!"
My Basilisk is looking pretty boss. These kits are A LOT harder to assemble than all the Eldar stuff I'm sued to using. Painting exposed faces and hands? I need a bit more practice I fear!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Post 250 Escalation League Super Skirmish

Usually our group has a tendency to play team games with outrageous numbers like 5v5 or even sometimes an unmanageable 7v7. Why we keep doing this to ourselves I'm not entirely sure.

We ended up with 8v8 using our 250 point armies from the Escalation League tournament. That only put us at 2,000 points a side which should have been a manageable battle. Unfortunately the more people you have in a game the longer it is going to take...

I ended up deploying from the Web Way that Colin had made for me and my bikes spent a lot of time turbo-boosting across the battlefield and soaking up hits with their cover saves.

While looking incredibly cool, the game was long and frustrating at best. I'm learning more and more that playing with large teams is a terrible idea, especially if you have anybody on your team who thinks they are somehow your "team leader" or what have you. Arguing tactics and watching other people move your models for you is quite possibly the most aggravating experience you can have in your lifetime.

250 Point Escalation League Game

My group out at Ravenblood Games decided to put together an Escalation league in the hopes that we would get some more people interested in playing some games with us.

So far it is going well! We have about 20 people in the Escalation League last time I checked. That means lots of new players are starting to put together armies and it is really breathing some life into our gaming group. It is also giving me a chance to put together all of the Jet Bikes that I bought a couple years ago and never got around to putting together.

My list wasn't anything special by any means and I ended up getting knocked out in the first round by Captain Tom's Ultramarines. Our single elimination tournament structure can be particularly brutal, but nobody has complained yet. With the limitations allowing no 2+ saves, no vehicles and no multiple wound models I didn't have much that I could put on the tabletop unfortunately. I ended up with...


3 Guardian Jet Bikes
- Shuriken Cannon
1 Warlock Jet Bike
- Singing Spear, Embolden

Fast Attack

3 Shining Spears
- Exarch

I ended up pulling a small conversion for my Guardian Jet Bikes that I picked up from Fritz's Saim-Hann army. He was the original inspiration for my bike list because up until I saw his conversion I HATED the way the Eldar bikers looked. For my warlock I used a Dire Avenger body and an extra guardian helmet. I used a spear from the Dire Avenger box for his singing spear and added in a banner from the Jet Bike Autarch. I think he came out looking pretty good, but it doesn't help that my painting isn't particularly refined yet. I've got a ways to go with my brush work!

In the end I had the smallest and most fragile force on the table. I lost to a sustained barrage from Tom's marines and no matter how fast and how far I moved I just couldn't make all the saves. I ended up in a suicide charge on the end of turn 4 that left him winning with 1/2 of his models still on the table. Oh well.... in the end two Marine players with Devastator squads faced off in the finals and I learned a valuable lesson about my army.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eldar "Jerk Bikes"

I bought two Windrider Host boxes when they came out like almost two years ago now (right?). I've never put them to any use really. My gaming group in Kings Point had fallen apart by then so I never really got around to fielding them at any time. We've recently started an escalation league here at Ravenblood Games so I finally had a reason to break out the bikes and start putting them together.

I debuted the bikes in regular circulation in a small 2v2 skirmish at one of our usual "Wednesday Night Warhammer" games. The response from the Marines was pretty immediate and pretty nasty.

It was 2 v 3, my Eldar and Kris' Guard against 3 Ultramarines players. It was supposed to be 'bring 1,000pt lists, 2v2 random teams' to keep things interesting, but we picked up a 5th player without realizing it so the 'random teams' quickly devolved into 'Marines vs all'.

At the urging of Brother Captain Tom (Who thinks I play too "nicely") I brought the most brutal list I could think of for the game.

HQ - (615)
Farseer on Jetbike w/ Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing, Spirit Stones, Fortune, Doom (185)
5 Warlocks on Jetbikes w/ Destructor (275)
Avatar of Khaine (155)

Troops- (132)
3 Guardian Jetbikes (66)
3 Guardian Jetbikes (66)

Heavy Support- (250)
Wraith Lord w/ Wraithsword, Scatter Laser (120)
Wraith Lord w/ Bright Lance (130)

I figured that if I got stuck in with any of the other players they would be troops heavy and I would keep a handle on things with my monstrous creatures and bike-council and let them worry about taking objectives.

With a Guard army on my side it REALLY worked out well for me in that case. We had more troops then we knew what to do with.

I kept the regular bikes in reserve and dropped my council, Wraithlords and Avatar onto the table. Behind me was nothing buard Guard mechanized units and in front of me was nothing but an army of Mon-Keigh scum...

We ended up winning so badly that we controled all 5 objectives and had killed all but 2 of the other teams models. I had lost... an Avatar. On the last turn I lost my bike council because I failed to cast Fortune and they spent an entire shooting phase hammering away at them with everything from a Demolisher to a full squad of terminators.

The forums were on fire the next day with some very colorful comments being leveled at my bike-council unit...

My vindy did ok during the end, he got that second half of that mega-douche-jetbike squad.
Roi Kuro's Space Elf army is full of douchebaggery and unkillable units. How do you win against an army that can re-roll pretty much anything thanks to their Space Elf sorcery?

I'd almost want to call the way he plays "cheating" except that everything he does no matter how power-gaming it is, is 100% legal according to the rules.
I guess I should be honored that people are thinking of me this way?
Since Roi Kuro is now some sort of powerhouse, (apparently)...

Apparently? He kicked ass and took names in the escalation league and did almost all the damage to both me and the other Dan's marines yesterday!
The funny thing about it is that I haven't even won a game until the 500pt Escalation League game. At the 250pt game I watched as two Marine players with a squad of Devastators with Missile Launchers waltzed through the brackets to meet each other in the final round. I figured I should probably stop being "nice" and go all in to murder some people. Now it is all 'Eldar Douchbaggery" and "Jerk Bikes" that are winning the day.

Apocalypse - Battle for Independence

My gaming group decided to put together an Apocalypse game on July 3rd since Ravenblood was going to be open from 10am to midnight that day.

We ended up putting together a 11,000 vs 11,000pt game. Necron and Tyranid vs Marines and my Eldar.

I brought 4,000pts of Eldar to the battle, nothing too crazy considering I didn't user any of my jet bikes for my Apocalypse list. I ended up running with the following:

HQ: (635)

Autarch w/ Hawk Wings, Power Weapon, Mandiblasters (110)
Avatar of Khaine (155)
Farseer w/ Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing, Spirit Stones, Guide, Doom, Fortune, Mind War (195)
5 Warlocks w/ Destructor (175)

Elites: (828)

Howling Banshees w/ Exarch, Executioner, Warshout, Acrobatic (192)
Striking Scorpions w/ Exarch, Scorpions Claw, Stalkers, Shadow Strike (212)
Fire Dragons w/ Exarch, Fire Pike, Crack Shot, Tank Hunters (200)
Wraithguard w/ Warlock, singing spear, spirit seer, conceal (224)

Fast Attack: (507)

Warp Spiders w/ Exarch, Dual Death Spinners, Power Blades, Surprise Assault, Withdraw (250)
Swooping Hawks w/ Exarch, Sunrifle, Skyleap, Intercept (257)

Heavy Support: (1197)

Fire Prism (190)
Vengines, HoloFields, SpiritStones, Shuriken Cannon
Falcon (195)
Vengines, HoloFields, SpiritStones, Scatter Laser
3x War Walkers, Spirit Stones, 6 Scatter Lasers (195)
Wraith Lord w/ Sword + Scatter Laser (120)
Wraith Lord w/ Scatter Laser + Star Cannon (140)
Wraith Lord w/ Bright Lance (130)
Dark Reapers w/ Exarch, Tempest Launcher, Fast Shot (227)

Transports: (320)

Wave Serpent w/ Vengines, Sstones, 2x Star Cannons (155)
Wave Serpent w/ Vengines, Sstones, 2x Bright Lances (165)

My brother was coming down from Rochester for the 4th of July weekend and we ended up picking up a couple random stragglers in the Apocalypse game with small 500pt forces so I ended up drafting a small force for him to play to balance out the points:

HQ (230)

Asurmen (230)

Troops (354)

Dire Avengers w/ Exarch, Power Weapon/Shimmer Shield, Blade Storm, Defend (177)
Dire Avengers w/ Exarch, Power Weapon/Shimmer Shield, Blade Storm, Defend (177)

I thought it would be pretty awesome for a small Eldar detachment led by Asurmen to be on the field and he agreed.

about 15 minutes before we started setting up for the game Austin handed me an Avatar... it was still in its box with a 30$ price tag on the side. Apparently he had just had it hanging around in his house for the last few years. I had that Avatar assembled and primed in less than 8 minutes and on the field once we realized that the Tyranid player had more points then we had previously forecasted... he just kept putting more and more gaunts on the table with each passing moment!

The Tyranid were also fielding a lot of custom units. All of those old Armor Cast yellow and red and green monstrosities were pretty intimidating on the table top. S6, T6, with either super heavy flamers, massive venom cannons, or some kind of twisted ability to carry troops... I never knew what to expect when I saw them hitting the table.

We showed up to set up around 12, threw the first die at 2:45 and decided to call it at the end of turn 5 at 11pm.

I ended up squaring off against Doc, our Necron player. I let the Mon-keigh deal with the Tyranid swarm and took on the Nightbringer and the Necron Monolith guns blazing. I finally ended up taking out the Monolith with 10 fire dragons popping out of a wave serpent, the Nightbringer fell to a full 2 turns of shooting from my Wraithlords and Wraithguard units.

I fed my Warp Spiders and Swopping Hawks to the Tyranid naively thinking that if myself and the Blood Angels deep striked behind their lines we could buy our troops some more time... they had liquified us in a matter of moments. I was able to skyleap my Swooping Hawks Exarch off the table just barely... losing 10 spiders, 9 hawks, and an Autarch to the ravenous tide of the Tyranid march.

In the end I think I learned several very important lessons from this Apocalypse game...

1) Too many people! Our team had 6 people against a team of 3. We had too many people getting in each others way, or arguing about movement and just standing around when it came time for shooting. It was pretty frustrating. I was making a bee-line for a major Tyranid assault force and then a guy with a Land Raider decided HE was going that way regardless of what I said and blocked my movement for two turns as he got all tangled up in my lines with that wretched machine.

2) No clear objectives! I tried to get everyone to work out a where/why/how of the battle and lay down some objectives, but nobody else was interested. They just wanted to shoot each other. In the end, we couldn't figure out who had won because nobody had really kept track. We all just marched toward each other in neat lines and fired...

3) No control over terrain placement... the Tyranid player placed all the terrain on his table edge. This amounted to him covering it in all sorts of LOS blocking 'impassable' terrain. He was very adament about not being wipied out by our weapons in the first turn. In the end his terrain kept anybody from doing anything and bottlenecked his own forces so badly they never made it halfway across the table. Our side became a hodgepodge of all of the rivers and roads and buildings that myself and my friend have spent so much money buying and building. We weren't about to walk into an Apocalypse game and NOT get to use all of our awesome terrain. It ended up being WAY too much and blocked all the stupid Mon-Keigh trucks and created a nasty traffic jam.

How would I do it differently?

1) Have a clearly defined "story" to the game. Make sure that people have a vested interest in the game and don't just want to "shoot everybody".
2) Terrain placement should make SENSE not just make your team un-shootable for 2 or 3 turns.
4) Smaller point values. (Maybe like 5,000 per team)
5) Smaller teams! 2v2, anything larger becomes unmanageable garbage.
6) Invite Only. No more 'rogue elements' coming in and mucking up months of well laid plans.