Monday, August 26, 2013

Mordheim - Back to the Cursed City

Over the last couple of weekends I have enjoyed playing Mordheim again.  Full credit for this goes to a good friend of mine, Dan.  Dan is down this way from Auckland doing some training and in his little free time of the weekends we have started a new campaign in the ruins of Mordheim.

Dan has also brought all his homemade terrain with him.  His very nice collection paired with my vast amount of terrain sets, mean we can cover the table pretty thoroughly with loads to spare.

It's really nice to feel the warband evolution with these skirmish games as after 4 games in I have a couple models developing a 'personality' which I'll touch on further in a moment.

When choosing warbands and restricting ourselves to the main book, Dwarves and Orcs and Goblins I chose the humans for simplicity.  Looking over my options and future skill sets I went for Middenheim gaining the Strength bonus on my heroes straight away.  Dan went straight for Cult of the Possessed and for our first game we rolled Surprise Attack.

Now this scenario had Dan with only part of his warband on the table and he had to spread them out.  I then deployed onto a random table edge and got the one closest to two of the Cult's isolated members.  After a first turn charge on these two cultists and beating them into the ground Dan immediately routed and so my Warband was named, The Dirty Gankers!

When choosing models I had a look over some of my random pieces and selected some old Confrontation miniatures I had painted years ago.  They had a variety of weaponry and fit the Assassin theme I was now going for.  I had already made a handful of Empire militia with hooded Wood Elf heads so they were perfect as well.

So in my four games I have ganked Dan's Cult, followed up with routing him in a Street Brawl, my Captain Corrus has slain a young Chimera while Cody's Undead warband got put back in the grave by Dan's cult and finally voluntarily routed as Dan's Cult and Stu's Greenskin Warband, the Dirty Skids allied against me after I saw off Aaron's Undead.  Quite an eventful few games.

Now individuals showing their prowess have certainly been Corrus the Captain, armed with dual swords, heavy armour, shield, a lucky charm and now a Dueling Pistol for good measure.  He has put a handful of enemies out of the game (starting strength 4 helps!) and as I mentioned against all odds killed a young Chimera in the Monster Hunt. 

Brio the Youngblood in turn has not had the best experience in the city yet.  This young man suffered a terrible leg wound early on, reducing his movement permanently.  Not to be stopped he picked up the Sprint skill to compensate - triple movement when running and charging lets him keep up with the able bodied folk and least.  Now fate has cursed him with an Old Battle Wound as well!  This means on a 1 his gimpy leg keeps him from the action all together.  At least he is hardened now after charging a mutant across a rickety walkway saw him put out of action, he gained immunity to Fear though so he is learning from his trials. 

 Esante the shadow killer

The last real member of note is Esante.  Esante has used his dueling pistol and sword to good effect in every game, this cocky duelist from Estalia has done serious damage to members of the Cult though not without some costs.  Esante earned Hardened early on, this made sense with the close quarter fighting against the children of chaos, then after a serious blow to the head he was cursed with what some may call 'Stupidity'!  This has had little effect yet though as if he is forced to walk ahead and do little else it merely represents his swagger and disregard for danger in the ruined city.  This was proven in the last game as he charged a Squig only then to be counter charged by the Orc boss and a Troll!  Surely this would be the end of Esante, but no.  Esante dodged the greenskins attacks with his Step Aside ability and deft parries from his sword.  He then proceeded to take not only the Squig but also the Orc Boss out of the fight!  Luckily the chance to voluntarily route came soon after and Corrus called the retreat saving Esante from further assault from the Troll.  Esante would go on to berate Corrus as surely a fighter of Esante's skill would have bested the Troll in time.  I will point out that when controlling Esante I do talk in a silly accent which funnily enough reminds the other players of Inigo Montoya.

So these games will continue over the next few months giving us a nice faster alternative to full scale Warhammer Fantasy and 40k when time is short.  I look forward to painting up the other members of the warband and seeing what rivalries develop.  Good news after the last game is that aside from my hired Elf Ranger being killed by Dire Wolves - oh dear, how sad, never mind.  Esante finally found another dueling pistol so can fire each turn now,  this simple fact will put the fear of God into the other warbands, at least that's what Esante will tell himself.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Call to Arms 2013 - 40K

On the weekend I participated in this years Call to Arms, the annual Wellington Warlords tournament convention.

I used my Eldar as I have been very very happy with the new Codex and the mobility it gives me.  I took advantage of the Iyanden supplement as those who know my armies will always see a wraith unit.
Photo courtesy of Cody

So here is the list

Farseer, Jetbike

5 Wraithguard, cannons
Wave Serpent, holo fields, Scatter laser, shuriken cannon
5 Wraithguard, D-scythes
Wave Serpent, holo fields, Scatter laser, shuriken cannon
5 Dire Avengers
Wave Serpent, holo fields, Scatter laser, shuriken cannon
6 Windrider Jetbikes, 2 cannons
5 Rangers

Nightspinner, holo fields
2 Warwalkers, 2 Bright lances each
Wraithknight , Heavy cannons


 The missions were all rulebook ones which made things nice as simple.  Points were awarded for a Win, Draw and Loss with bonus points for slaying the Warlord and most expensive unit.  Players then awarded a Sports score after the game - more on that later.

Round 1
So first off it was Emperor's Will and I was up against Luke Forrest with his beautifully painted Tyranid army.  You can read a very entertaining battle report here on Luke's blog MONKEYCHUKA.
He sums it all up pretty well, I play against Tyranids quite a bit at home so knew what a lot of his units did and were capable of.  You may like in Luke's article the comment about D-scythes, they were particulary useful in thinning the monstrous hordes.  The Wave Serpents really demonstrated their potential for dishing out mass fire as well over the terrain heavy board.  Luke was very fun to play against even though things were not going well for him and after losing his last piece of synapse he called the game as his scattered termagants fled the Eldar force.  WIN full 13 points

Round 2
Next it was Crusade and I was facing Alistair Allan with his yellow and black Tau.  The board had nice blocky pieces of urban terrain and deployment was set at Hammer and Anvil.  I set my grav tanks up hard against the cover while Alistair set up his forces including an infiltrating Shadowsun, Kroot and Stealth suits.  I made an awful lot of cover saves, I admit that and when my grav tanks got to move it only improved.  What I had expected to be a long range shoot out turned into a close range fire fight in the early turns with Shadowsun and the Stealth team attacking aNightspinner and Wave Serpent early on.  She did manage to destroy the Nightspinner but I locked her down in melee for several turns after my cannon wielding Wraithguard thinned her unit then assaulted, eventually killing her - turns out she is just as bad in combat as most other Tau.  My Dire Avengers used Battle Focus to good effect darting from concealment to gun down Kroot before dashing back to their objective. The Riptide hunkered down behind the same cover most of the game until concentrated fire topped off my my War Walkers destroyed it.  The Wraithknight moved down the board and by the end of the game assaulted and killed a lonely Fire Warrior on a rear objective.  4-5 Drones were all that was left of the Tau force where I think I had only lost the Nightspinner, some Jetbikes and a couple Dire Avengers.  WIN full 13 points

Round 3
So the end of the day had me facing my own kind in The Scouring. Ryan Pike had the other Iyanden list, though very different to mine.  He had Wraithblades, Wraithguard, Wraithseer, Warp Hunter, Hornets, Wraithlord, Fire Prism and only a single Wave Serpent.  There was plenty of terrain depicting an Ork refinery and as Ryan had first turn I set up defensively.  The objective roll had me in control of the higher value objectives and after cheekily telling Ryan I was going to roll a 6 to seize the initiative, I did just that!  I moved my forces to take advantage of his openly deployed units and after a single round of shooting I had destroyed his Wraithlord(also warlord), Wave Serpent, Warp Hunter, Fire Prism, Rangers and thinned his Wraithguard and I was in control of 4 objectives.  Ryan then called game and shook my hand!  I felt bad as this was the fastest game I had ever played but Ryan was still incredibly happy, I told him I would have given him 10 for sports if I could have.  I had destroyed all his ranged attacks and he was right in that I would pick away at his remaining units for the rest of the game.  Seemed he was happy to go home early too as I then spent the next 2.5 hours wandering about watching the variety of other games being played.  WIN full 13 points.

Round 4
So first game on Sunday was Purge the Alien and Hammer and Anvil deployment with Night Fight.  I had was facing the flying chaos list of Jordan Greene.  He had 2 Helldrakes, flying Daemon Prince, Defiler, Obliterators and 3 units of chaos marines in Rhinos.  Now I think Jordan had already wound himself up over this game and multiple times on Saturday he had said he didn't want to play me.  Cody has been rocking a chaos flying circus so I was familiar with the units and made good use of the boards length.  Jordan went first, deploying his Rhinos and embarked units hard up against some simple buildings.  That was his first turn as he had reserved the rest.  I swung the Wave Serpents wide on each side giving me LoS to the transports.  Being just within the maximum range and using the scatter/shield combo to twin link then bypass cover I destroyed 2 Rhinos.  Jordan's forces then were joined by the rest of his army bar one Helldrake.  Having units still onboard the Wave Serpents and being out of Vector Strike range meant I took little damage and would continue to do so.  The Wraithknight destroyed the Defiler at range with his heavy cannons and over a couple turns of evasive movement I had destroyed Jordan's Obilterators, last Rhino and both Helldrakes only losing my rangers I think.  Jordan called it on turn 4 awarding me full points as he went in search of coffee. I will say Jordan had some terrible luck at times including rolling multiple 1s when shooting the rear armour of a wave serpent with the deep striking Obliterators. WIN full 13 points.

Round 5
So it was the last round and it was Big Guns Never Tire.  My last opponent was Brendan Dee and his heavily armoured Imperial Guard.  I had faced Brendan before in a tournament and knew he would be a tough opponent.  Brendan had first turn and had rolled the warlord trait which bestowed Stealth and Move through Cover to his entire army and we were on a heavy Cityfight board.  Brendan took out my Nightspinner straight away with his Manticores knowing I would have retaliated onto his Aegis protected parking lot the same way.  Now I made a massive mistake straight away and only realised it too late.  I had moved my Wraithknight up the board aggressively, something I had previously told myself not to do.  I think it was his durability through all the other games that did it but it was a mistake nonetheless.  I should have just sat in a building in my zone holding an objective and using his long range attacks, I should have, but I didn't.  My army knocked around his chimeras and a Psyker unit but there were still plenty more Guard.  The Brendan's trio of Vendettas came on the board and along with disembarking melta squads the majority of the Guard army brought down my Wraithknight Warlord for the first time.  There was the Warlord point along with most expensive unit and the game point for being a Heavy choice.  From there I did knot give up and used my shrinking army to do what damage I could to his scoring units.  I managed to eventually kill his warlord and unit in melee again with the cannon Wraithguard.  My D-scythe Wraithguard got into the guard lines destroying a Manticore and many Guardsmen before being focus fired down.  In the final turns my Fortuned Farseer turbo boosted into Brendan's zone contesting an objective and IF it had ended on turn 5 I would have pulled a win out of my proverbial arse, but no the game continued and to my suprise the Vendettas deployed small guard units to contest my objectives!  After some desperate shooting and damned improved cover saves by the Guardsmen I had lost the game.  Brendan and I tallied our scores and I had still gotten the 2 bonus points for this round.  As Brendan had only scored 1 in a previous game I was up by 1 Battle point for the event.

When everyone was finished and the tables packed away Carson, our TO went through the results.  I had managed to pick up Best Painted which was very nice as both Luke and Brendan's armies were amazing.  Nathaniel got Best Sports.  Then Craig Stewart got 3rd with his Imperial Guard/Marine force.  Carson then told us that by 0.14 I had come 2nd and Brendan 1st.  I was very happy for Brendan as we had played a massive game and I was curious to find out where I had lost the lead.

After telling a few of the Fantasy players the 40k results I went back for a chat with Carson.  I had lost 3 Sportsmanship points over the event.  I was very dissapointed at this as even though I had been very strong in most of my games I felt that they were still fun and usually light hearted.  I then put forward my opinion on the Sports scoring for the event.  I have played in an increasing amount of Fantasy events in the last 2 and a bit years.  In Fantasy events in the Wellington region there is a clear expectation that you will get full Sports scores unless something dire happens, a reduction in score is then discussed with the TO, so without a second thought I awarded 6 out of 6 in every game as they were all good blokes to play against.  This was not how Carson, Brendan or a couple other players saw it.  Carson stood by his players pack as he should as TO, I will point out that the Sports or expectaion was never talked about at all during the event, Luke and I in the first round even assumed it was out of 5 until we double checked.  Brendan came from his Autralian experiences where out of say 30 you would only get around 20 somehow saving the higher Sports scores for your favourite opponents, this is why we vote our favourite player.  I gave my feedback for pro default scores and left it at that and with Cody who I might add came 5th with his Daemon/CSM flying circus and John Murrie who graciously gave us transport headed home to Levin.

When I arrived home I recieved a very lengthy message from Brendan Dee.  He explained his difference in expectaion of the soft scores and wanted them adjusted as he had not awared me full points in the last round.  I was honestly just happy I had not pissed someone off, but in a shining example of Sportsmanship Brendan contacted Carson and asked that I be given the same score as I had awarded him, knowing full well I would take the lead.  Carson sent out the final results and breakdown last night with an explanation of the change to me having first place. 

So because of what I see to be confusion over the expectation of soft scores we had this little problem at the end.  Again full credit to Brendan for pushing this change through, you sir are a gentleman.  I am still of the opinion that full sports should be the default expectation or at the very least the process be addressed at the start of the event, I know the local Fantasy players agree.  In the results a few players lost a point in Sports and I would not be suprised if this was down to not catching a first round blunder and awarding 5 out of 6 like Luke and I almost did.  Other than that it was an incredibly smooth tournament and I thank Carson Turnbull and my opponents Luke, Alistair, Ryan(sorry...), Jordan and Brendan for some fun games.