Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A game of 40k retro-style

Hi everyone,

Sorry that it's taken me so long to get around to posting again. Work has been busy, life has been full and wargaming has been somewhat on the backburner. Even blogging has been limited to my teaching blog as that is easier to come up with stuff for when I'm in the midst of working. 

That said, I played my first game of 40k in about ten months and my first game in Slovakia against Aaron, another teacher. We took one look at each other upon our first meeting, he noticing my GW key lanyard, me seeing his Sons of Horus mug, and gave that knowing wargamer smile. Still, it took us this long to get a game in because of our schedules, travels, family obligations etc.

Does this kind of scenery take you back? :-)
Check out our gaming table! We went into the UK (all of our classrooms in our school, Class, are named for English speaking countries) because the US' table is too long, the Canadian table too thin and the Australian tables being Apocalypse-sized. It was a fitting return to form for our hobby. Lacking proper terrain though sent us on a scrounging mission in the teacher's room. I think we did alright given our limited resources. 

The armies in their glory. The mobile phone represents Sammel on Jetbike ;-)
We decided on a 1750 point battle but had some slip ups when making our lists. My list was my normal, plus Sammel on Jetbike (Nokia brick FTW).
  • Belial, Libraria, Sammael
  • Terminator command squad (TH/SS, cyclone, banner, apothecary)
  • Two assault teminator squads (LC, 4xTH/SS, cyclone)
  • Two tactical terminator squads (AC, 1xPW, 4xPF)
Now those of you who are familiar with 40k will note that I have cheated by including 3 HQ units by mistake. Ooops! That's what you get when you simply a throw a new unit into a list that is built for another points level and don't think it all through. My bad.

Aaron brought a Chaos Marines list that was a bit shy at 1704 pts, then realised he forgot his Chaos Spawn model he'd paid for. In that sense he was definitely down a bit. In hindsight I should have pulled out my Librarian to bring a more fair (and legal list) but we were eager to get gaming. My best recollection of his list is below.
  • Winged daemon prince (lash)
  • 8 'tactical' chosen, 5 terminators (reaper autocannon), Chaos dreadnought
  • 2 chaos marine squads, 8 noise marines (blastmaster and doom siren), Rhino (havoc)
  • 6 havocs (2 lascannons, 2 missiles), triple-lascannon Predator.
  • ***Chaos spawn that didn't get to the game.***

Aaron's deployment. That's Nic in the background, who usually mocks us for gaming but was very interested in the rulebook and asked a bunch of questions while we played ;-)
Aaron went for a fairly even deployment, though I did warn him about my ability to teleport a lot of stuff into the game, thereby putting ganging up on him. As he had first turn, I elected to reserve everything except Sammel, who hid behind the toilet paper....the shame :-)

Turn 1 Deathwing assault
Aaron had nothing much to do on turn 1 but shuffle things a bit. I dropped my three squads in a loose ring on his right flank, intending to clear that before going for the heavy weapons on the other side. I think he was a little surprised at how quickly the Deathwing can concentrate their force when deep striking rolls go well. I took out the Rhino with a side armour shot and killed a few chosen I think.

Another squad comes in as the flank is crumbled
Ganging up in the manner that I did let me overwhelm his marines there, though not without some casualties. Over the course of the battle, I took more damage from his regular marines than many of his heavy support choices. It seems my storm shields were too busy shrugging off plasma and lascannon fire to deal with those pesky bolter shells.

You might accuse the command squad of cowardice....
After getting through that flank we had some problems with the Daemon prince lashing us backwards. One real weakness of pure Deathwing is that once the initial deep strike is over, it's a slow army. If I can't put you inside a ring of bone-armoured terminators, I'm going to be walking across the field after you without much firepower to hurt you on the move.

...yet I think of it as tactical cover use.
The squad ahead of the command squad battered some CSMs but then got eaten by the daemon prince. Those chaos terminators on the left were unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Sammael's plasma cannon, which whittled them down over a few turns. In return, their firepower against him, along with that of the Predator was largely ineffective due, almost entirely, to the ridiculous number of 4+ Invul saves I made. The dice liked Sammael all the way through the game until the final turn, when a lascannon brought him down.

Damn you lash prince, come here so we can hit you with our hammers!
The daemon prince was a real headache in the game as it just screwed up my movement and kept me away from much of Aaron's force. The librarian failed in all attempts to nullify the power, he shunted squads around and killed very nastily when it came to the assault phase. In the end though, I managed to gang up with two squads and land enough thunder hammer hits to bring the monster down. Because the game went the full 7 turns, my limited mobility was enough to make it across to the other side of Aaron's deployment and catch up with his guys. The Deathwing prevailed.

Now this was a shake down game for both of us and it's been a while since we played. FOC cheating aside, I get the impression that my list was a bit more tailored for a competitive environment than Aaron's. That said we had a blast playing a very fun and cinematic game.

It really took me back to my early gaming days to play on such a simple terrain table. Remember when this was the gaming norm and those few people with real terrain were the ones to make friends with. GW stores sometimes had scratch-built terrain that looked good, but compared to the ease and quality of the plastic terrain available now, it was nothing special.

That said, there is an old-school charm to playing on a table like this and just enjoying rolling some dice with a buddy.

Thanks for the game Aaron. Next time I'll check my list more carefully and have an actual model for Sammael ;-)

Take care all,