Saturday 26 June 2021

Narrative Wargamer Podcast - Unbalanced Games and AdMech on Crusade


Another Narrative Wargamer Podcast! This time I got to take a deep dive into the new Adeptus Mechanicus codex to look at the Crusade section - which is as full of crazy stuff as the rest of the codex is, so that was quite a long chat! I'm really excited to get the Helios Exploratory Crusade back up and running and go searching for some Archeotech Treasures!

We also chatted about 'unbalanced games' - narrative ones where one side might outnumber and out-point the other, which I think is a concept that most narrative players will have dabbled with, while many tournament types would be horrified by. It put me in the mind of the Morgan's Reach campaign finale with SorcererDave, where a line of guardsmen had to defend against waves of Tyranids, with the balancing factor being that they just had to hold out and survive.

Anyway, hope you like the podcast. I think this one in particular was a good showing of what the Narrative Wargamer Podcast is about - filling the niche that most of the big 40K channels ignore, that is Crusade and other narrative play content. I hope we are doing a decent job of showing that actually, that stuff is also cool and interesting. So please, give it a listen if you've got some painting to do or some time to kill, and stay safe out there!

Monday 21 June 2021

Death Guard - Hobbypocalypse Month Five


More Death Guard! Once again, going comfortably over the 250 point mark for the month, but still an 'easy' month with a mere six models (I've been a bit distracted with a load of AdMech stuff!). I added to the characters I painted in month two and three with a couple of extra HQ choices and four of the elite Foetid Virion characters. I have decided to largely focus on heavy infantry and elite options for this army (I've got hordes covered) so these all feel like handy additions to have.

As before, I used the method of spraying brown, slapping on some bone, washing heavily in Agrax, then sponge on the metal. Since they are all characters they all got a bit of extra love with some special glowing bits or extra details, as well as another go over them with the metal for a final trim highlight.

The very cool, but not in the Death Guard codex Master of Possessions model has become a Malignant Plaguecaster, with a minor conversion on the staff and addition of a chunky Nurgling on the base. Also fun with green flaming skulls.

The Biologus Putrifier - weirdly I had three of this model in my collection, so I've already used most of these parts on Plague Marines, but this time I got to put the whole thing together.

The Foul Blightspawn, and a cheeky Nurgling. I'm led to believe he's basically an auto include in any Death Guard list, so I suspect I'll be seeing a lot of him. 

The Tallyman. Didn't really like the head so I swapped it out for a regular chaos marine one. I also 'cheated' by using a fine drawing pen on the tallys.

The Plague Surgeon. I think he's my favourite of the Virion models, which is a bit of a shame since he's also considered pretty much the worst of them. I'll probably try and run him anyway.

Kit bashed Lord of Virulence - made from the Lord Felthius mini but with arms and head swapped. His power fist come from one of the Greater Possessed, while his gun is from one of Felthius' Terminators, and the addition of an Obliterator 'flamer' slung underneath. Pleased with how he came out, he's a hefty lad and the huge gun and relatively small fist sells the look I think.

Month 5 ticked off, stamp acquired! I've already got plans for month 6 (adding some more armour), and I think realistically I'll keep going at it a bit longer to at least get through the grey/green pile. I can't wait to hit the big 2k points, play some games and take some photos of the whole lot. Speaking of photos, I got out the full command staff for the light box - both Lords, all the other characters and some of their champions at the back.

Hope you like them, and thanks for reading. Stay safe!

Monday 14 June 2021

Battle Report - Adeptus Mechanicus (and Knight) vs Custodes


Another in person, real life, 2000 point game of 40k! This time matched play against James P (jp_wh40k on Instagram), who has beaten me with his Guard in the previous three games, but this time was taking Adeptus Custodes. I took the spicy new Adeptus Mechanicus, along with the Lady Helena, piloting the Valiant 'The Defiant Flame' - primarily to make up the points to 2k, but also to reduced the amount of new rules I'd have to remember. In fact I opted to go pretty admin light, with very few additional buffs and effects that go off in the command phase. I'm sure it's far more competitive to take advantage of all these new rules, but this book is definitely one that I needed to ease myself into gently!

Anyway, we played the 'new' Overrun mission from the GT2021 pack. That's long board edge deployment, six objectives, 3 in each player's territory, scoring points for holding two, holding more than two, and holding more than your opponent. 

My list featured a Ryza battalion and a Taranis superheavy auxilliary. I spent a CP on the obligatory Ion Bulwark warlord trait for the Valiant, and an extra CP to give both the Techpriest Dominus and Cybernetica Datasmith a melee weapon relic, for a bit of a laugh. For my secondary objectives I picked Engage on All Fronts and Raise the Banners High since I had a lot of fairly quick, fairly expendable units, and without a super great option for the third, the new and improved No Prisoners, which replaces Thin Their Ranks, and now gives one to the tally for each wound on non-vehicle/monster/character units killed.

HQ: Tech-Priest Dominus (Eradication ray, macrostubber, Anzion's Pseudogenetor, Masterwork Bionics), Technoarcheologist

Troops: 3 Kataphron Breachers (Arc rifles/claws), 20 Skitarii Rangers (2 Arc rifles, 2 arquebus, omnispex, data-tether, power sword), 20 Skitarii Vanguard (2 Arc rifles, 2 plasma, omnispex, data-tether, taser goad, arc pistol)

Elites: Cybernetica Datasmith (Uncreator Gauntlet), 6 Sicarian Ruststalkers (razor/claw)

Fast Attack: 5 Pteraxii Sterylizors, 3 Serberys Raiders

Heavy Support: 4 Kastelan Robots (each with heavy phosphor blaster, kastelan phosphor blaster, fist)

Lord of War: Knight Valiant (four missiles, one siegebreaker cannon, Ion Bulwark)

JP took a battalion of the Dread Host, and also spent some CP initially buffing his Captain, and then in deployment to teleport the dreadnoughts. His secondaries were also Engage on All Fronts, as well as Grind Them Down and the mission specific Overrun, which gave points for holding my objectives in his command phase, which was a pretty clear signal of intent. The list was roughly this:

HQ: Trajann Valoris, Shield Captain on bike (assorted upgrades to get 3+ invulnerable, 9 wounds and a 5+ feel no pain)

Troops: 2x3 Custodians (all sword/shield), 5 Sagittarum

Elites: Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought, Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought

Fast Attack: 5 Venatari, 5 Vertus Praetors (hurricane bolters)

Deployment was pretty cagey from the Custodes, while the AdMech spread out across the line, Valiant in the middle to go whichever way as needed. Dreadnoughts and Venatari off the board, while my Pteraxii were also flapping around somewhere above (I know they don't really flap - let me have this). The die was rolled, and Custodes went first. A cheeky pregame 3 inch backwards move from the Rangers put them out of charge range of the jetbikes on turn one, while the Raiders ran up into the central ruins. I had previously been mocking the 3 inch Ranger move as useless - apparently not!

Turn one for the 'stodes, and they opted for pretty much a null turn, waiting me out and keeping the bikes behind the big rock. They got onto two objectives and took some token shots down at the (now very scary) Vanguard.

Ad Mech turn two was similarly uneventful. I moved up the robots on the left flank, Knight central and other units plonked on objectives, raising banners as they went. The Raider hoofed it up into JP's half for a couple of Engage points, and the Datasmith started to change the disks on the Kastelans to the ones marked 'super punchy death'. Some token shooting did not a lot, and the Valiant nuked a Custodian with a Shieldbreaker missile.

Turn two, 5 Primary for the Custodes. Venatari dropped in behind my lines, while some other units moved up. The Vertus Praetors continued to play it safe by zooming over to hide near the central objective. Shooting cleared most of the Vanguard, though hilariously didn't hurt the Raiders.

They were however not long for this world, as the Custodian Guard and Shield Captain combined to make them go away, though they did make a bit of a meal out of it.

The Venatari made their charge into the dregs of the Vanguard and wiped them with ease, claiming an objective in my territory and removing a banner. This also put JP on two units killed for Grind Them Down.

In my turn two I scored 5 Primary, plus a couple for Banners, then lined up to kill a couple of units of Custodians. In my mind the now very punchy robots and Ruststalkers coming in from Circuitous Assassins would charge in and kill the Guardians, taking that objective, while the Valiant and newly arrived Pteraxii would kill most of the Venatari with shooting, then finish off one or two in melee. Let's see how that worked out?

The robots managed to kill the Custodians to a man in shooting - a good result but now I had nothing to charge on the objective! But the other flank was surely doing better right?

Errrm. Not even one killed with shooting (the entire payload of the Valiant went into them ,as well as the Phosphor torches from the Pteraxii), and then I didn't even manage to kill one in melee! To add insult (and more injury) to injury, the Venatari turned around and smashed the flappy boys out of the sky! This ensured Grind Them Down and some points for Overrun on turn 3.

Apparently annoyed at the continued incompetence of the Sterylizors, I goofed a bit and forgot to take any photos of JP's turn three. Which is a shame because some significant stuff happened! He picked up a big 15 for Primary, and deployed the dreadnoughts to press the advantage. The spear one dropped in to charge the robots, while the shield one came up behind my Breachers to double team them with the Shield Captain.

In shooting the jetbikes killed off the Ruststalkers and the Venatari blasted ten wounds off the Valiant, before the Dreads both charged in (using a reroll charges for teleporting units strat) along with the Captain. The Breachers died horribly, and the spear dread smashed two of the robots to bits. However return fighting from the remaining two was pretty nasty, hitting on 2s and wounding on 2s thanks to the Conqueror Protocols and Ryza's new trait, destroying the war machine. Even more surprising however, Lady Helena powered up, getting her steed to hit with 11 out of 12 titanic feet attacks! The Venatari were suddenly reduced to just one model!

Into my turn three and only holding one objective, I picked no primary points and only a measly one for banners. It was looking pretty ropey, until that last fight phase gave me a bit of breathing space. I moved the robots up to engage the bikers, reasoning if I charge them they'll only be wounding me on 5s without rerolls. The Rangers and my characters looked at that unkillable Shield Captain (perhaps optimistically), while the Valiant left combat in order to split fire all over the place, then charge back in and finish off the lone Venatari, who was being a right pain!

The Robots did their job well, killing a bike in shooting and two more in melee. They did take a hilarious 60 shots in overwatch, losing a few wounds.

Valiant shooting was once again slightly underwhelming. Killed a Custodian with the flamer, missed with the missile into the Venatari, and the Dreadniought passed it's invulnerable against the Thundercoil Harpoon (though it was reduced to 4 wounds by the meltas). Helena did managed to kill off the Venatari in melee, though it did cost me a CP reroll and a thunderstomp to do it!

Rangers shooting four times each with Galvanic Volley fire did a number on the Captain, but between them and shooting and melee from the Dominus and Datasmith, the Captain stuck around on four wounds remaining. He smashed down the Datasmith in response. In the end I was engaging on all of the fronts, but I hadn't pushed the Custodes off enough objectives.

Turn four, another 15 Primary for the golden boys, but there wasn't much killing to be had. Jetbikes zoomed away from combat to ensure some more engage points while giving me threats to deal with. Trajann and his Sagittarum friends safely held onto their objective and shot into the Kastelans, destroying the damaged one. Finally the Contemptor charged my warlord...

A mighty dual, resulting in a single wound taken each! That left the objective contested, so going into my turn four I was suddenly picking up 15 primary points! Back in the game, time for a big turn...

So the plan was to do enough damage to stop JP scoring any more Primary, then run onto the objectives at the end for another 15 myself, and see how the secondaries fall - at this stage they were very close between us! The last Kastelan went in to try and clear off the bikes, while the Rangers poured more double shot firepower into the Captain, to little effect, leaving it to the Technoarchaeologist to charge in! The robot did kill one biker, but left one holding the objective, thanks to Custodes obsec. The Archaeologist obviously failed to kill the unkillable Shield Captain, but he did somehow survive the return attacks to force him to stay locked up.

The big play however was the Valiant taking on the right flank on her own, finishing off the Dreadnought, murdering some Custodians in melee, and flaming three of the Sagittarum! For some reason, the 'regular' Custodians are only leadership 8, so JP promptly rolled a six, and the last one ran away, (or probably just slowly cooked to death inside his armour), leaving that objective unheld!

This meant the Custodes were only holding one objective, and didn't get any Primary points! In their turn five they spread out and disengaged to get some Engage on All Fronts points, leaving me to go stand on objectives at the end of turn five, and finally shoot down that Shield Captain!

At the end of the game, the Ad Mech controlled the field, but would it be enough? We both totalled 35 Primary points. JP picked up 19 Secondary, but with 6 for the new No Prisoners, I snuck ahead with 24! Including the painting score, it ended 69-64 to me! (Nice!)

What an awesome game, and so close! Great performance from the Valiant and the Kastelan Robots, with decent support from the Rangers and the Dominus. For the 'stodes, the men of the match had to be the Venatari, causing me a huge problem and earning JP a lot of points. 

I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of the new Ad Mech book, but I am now more excited to delve in further and start playing with some more of the crazy overlapping buffs on offer, as well as maybe getting some Crusade in and looking for some Archeotech Treasures!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read, sorry for the missing turn three pics, and stay safe out there!

Thursday 10 June 2021

Battle Report - Orks vs Astra Militarum


Back again with another report with the Orks, taking on another Dan with some high flying air cavalry Imperial Guard. To keep it simple we decided to play the standard Only War mission from the 9th edition core rules, so that's four objectives, a point for each you control at the start of the turn and a bonus point for the classic slay the warlord! We were at the amusingly named Hull's Angels gaming club in Hull, and Dan picked out a suitably thematic board for us, obviously the Astra Militarum were performing an air strike on the Ork settlement.

I, somewhat lazily, took the exact same list as the last game against the Aeldari. A Snakebite battalion with some tough, stompy elements and 5 command points immediately sunk into upgrades:

HQ: Warboss (kombi-skorcha, Surly as a Squiggoth, Da Killa Klaw, Da Biggest Boss), Weirdboy (Warphead, Warpath, Da Jump), Big Mek with Kustom Force Field (Brogg's Buzzbomb)

Troops: 2x 30 Boyz (Powerklaw), 10 Boyz (Powerklaw)

Elites: WAAAGH! Banner Nob, 3 Meganobs, 10 Tankbustas

Heavy Support: Gorkanaut (Slug Gubbin), Squiggoth, 5 Killa Kans (Klaws, rokkit launchas, Dirty Gubbinz)

Dan's Air Cav had a load of flyers, obviously, and Tempestus Scions to jump out and cause some damage. They were Kappic Eagles, so would be getting +1 to hit when they jumped out, and there was also an upgrade on the Valkyries to keep the -1 to hit while in hover mode. He'd also taken a cheeky Ordo Xenos Inquisitor and her faithful cyber-mastiff (a Commissar). I don't know the exact composition of the list or all the upgrades, but it was something like this: 

HQ: Tempestor Prime (Warlord - Master Vox), Tempestor Prime (Old Grudges), Ordo Xenos Inquisitor (psyker, inferno pistol, force sword), Commissar Doggo (plasma pistol, power fist) 

Troops: 3x 10 Scions (4 plasma guns, plasma pistol), 10 Scions (4 volley guns)

Elites: 2x 4 Command Squad Scions (4 Meltaguns), 4 Bullgryns, 2x Officer of the Fleet

Flyers: 3 Valkyries (heavy bolters, rocket pods, multilasers), 2x Vendetta (all the lascannons, heavy bolters) 

Deployment - everything on the Guard side was either in a plane or in the sky (melta squads dropping in from above). I had the boyz ready to push up and jump, and the 'ard stuff all clustered on the left flank under the force field and supervised by the Warboss and banner Nob. Once again the Tankbustas were on the back of the Squiggoth and the Meganobz were in the belly of the Gorkanaut.

Turn one went to the Astra Militarum, who immediately slammed on the air brakes into hover mode across the army. One squad of Scions and an Officer of the Fleet (who called an air strike on the Gorkanaut) deployed out of a forward Valkyrie onto an objective, while the rest held back. Then there was a lot of gunfire. The white Boyz were focused on by the Valkyries, while the Vendettas and Scions shot up the Squiggoth and Gorkanaut. The Boyz survived with a handful of models, while I got pretty lucky to only take 8 damage from four lascannon wounds on Nipper Jr, and the 'naut made it through relatively well also.

My turn, and the Orks surged forward. The white ones ran away, to be replaced by an Unstoppable Green Tide of additional Boyz (onto an objective), while the pink ones did Da Jump to get to a central position. The small purple squad hung back on an objective, while the Killa Kans claimed the one on my left flank. Firepower from the Gorkanaut, Kans and Tankbustas damaged a Vendetta, but the real damage would come from melee...

The Gorkanaut and Boyz charged the very low flying Valkyrie, grabbing it out of the sky, as well as clearing up the Scion squad and the Fleet officer. This move left my Boyz somewhat exposed, but I was claiming all four objectives.

Turn two, the Astra Militarum scored zero points for holding objectives, but were fully in operation: kill the Orks. Everyone disembarked and formed up into a firing line, orders going across the line to reroll ones to hit. One flyer zoomed over to drop off the Inquisitor and her Commissar dog behind my characters, while the melta squads dropped in as well! There was a lot of bang bang. Warboss Redtoof and Big Mek Gubbinz both fell to meltaguns, while the Valkyrie finished off the banner Nob. Lascannons blasted the Gorkanaut, causing the Meganobs to tumble out onto the objective, ready to get charged by Bullgryns. Combined fire from multiple Scion squads and Valkyries completely wiped out the pink mob and reduced the white ones down to a mere 5 models after morale. Ouch!

The Inquisitor successfully charged Nipper Jr, reducing him down to 5 wounds with her 'wounds anything that's not a vehicle on 2+' relic. However in return the big Squig sat on her and she died. Elsewhere the Bullgryns charged the Meganobz, but good saves from both sides meant neither of us lost a model. A brutal turn of killing (in two turns Dan had effectively killed around 75 boyz!) and a point scored for Slay the Warlord.

Ork turn two, the Guard had pushed us off a couple of objectives, but we still held the ones on our half of the table, so two points and into the lead. I'd lost a lot of Orks, but against puny oomies, even a few boyz can do some real damage. I lined up to take back the lost objectives with the white mob remnants on the right flank and a Killa Kan charge into the Bullgryns on the left. First though, the Weirdboy teleported himself to a slightly safer position near the Squiggoth, leaving the small Boyz mob alone to guard the back field. Smite cleared a Bullgryn, before kans and Tankbustas downed the damaged Vendetta and hurting the other. Three planes left.

The charges were successful, Kans removed the Bullgryns and the Boyz reduced the Scion squad to a mere two models, taking that objective back. A successful counter punch, but there were plenty more oomies kicking about in our village!

Guard turn three, and once again no objectives held. One of the Scion units popped into the Vendetta, which zoomed over to harass the Weirdboy and Squiggoth, while the Valkyrie and melta troopers went hunting my objective holding purple squad. Shooting reduced the purple mob to just the nob, killed off two meganobz (taking them off an objective), and removed the white mob - though some strong Snakebite saves made it more of a challenge than it should have been. Thanks to previous damage the Vendetta failed to kill the Weirdboy or the Squiggoth.

Looking to secure an objective and remove the last model, the command Scions charged the purple Nob, but he survived on one would and killed three of them! Happy with his haul of dead oomies, he then ran off.

Orks turn three, I'd been shifted off three objectives but still held one, so up to 3 points. The Kans clanked onto an objective, looking pretty solid to hold it this time. Nipper Jr moved around to get the Tankbustas a shot at the couple of Scions that held the objective the white Mob died for. That was about it for things I could move! The Weirdboy then cracked his knuckles, and Jumped the lone Meganob over to face the lone melta gunner on my backfield objective. He followed it up with a super Smite on the Vendetta, destroying it utterly! Four of the scions died on the way out, and were looking like a tasty charge for Nipper Jr. Tankbustas only managed to frag one Scion, so that left them safe on at least one objective.

However both the charges were successful, the Squiggoth plowing into the Scions and goring a load more to death, while the Meganob pulped the melta gunner.

Going into guard turn four and Dan was suddenly also lacking in assets. He did pick up a point for an objective to make it 2-3 to me. The Meganob got melted and the Weirdboy got mauled to death by the 'commissar', I think, but otherwise not much could happen. At this point it was pretty clear the Guard didn't have the board presence to get back into the game, though the warlord's plane did move up to help clear an objective and present the opportunity of him falling out onto it if I blew up his ride!

Turn four, Kans held an objective, making it 4-2, and they went and murdered some Scions. With just the one objective safely held by the Guard for turn 5, I could just sit back and do nothing for the last couple of turns. But I decided it would be much more fun and Orky if I could blow up that plane and slay the warlord!

Nipper Jr got into position, alongside the Tankbustas who disembarked so they could get better shots at the flying tank. Using More Dakka they downed it, leaving the Tempestor Prime to parachute onto the objective...

And promptly be eaten by a big old squig. Going into turn five I was on 5 points with Slay the Warlord to 3, so there wasn't much to play for other than revenge...

The angry Commissar doggo charged the Squiggoth, enraged at the undignified death of it's master. It took a chunk out of the blue beast with it's powerfist/jaw, but it was then crunched up by Nipper Jr's big yellow teef.

Final score would be 6-3, a bloody but in the end convincing win for the Orks! WAAAGH!!!

That was an awesome game, so much fun seeing the guard zip all over the board and having little skirmishes everywhere. I was expecting my big stuff to die quickly, but I didn't quite anticipate the amount of dakka the Scions and their planes could put out to remove boyz! Still my tougher units managed to hold on to give me some tools to use at the end. Ultimately though, this game was won on objectives, as is so often the case with 9th edition.

Nipper Jr once again did me proud by surviving to the end. He and his Tankbustas did some real work this game, but I'm tempted to say the key unit was the Weirdboy. Da Jump got me units into positions to clear off objectives, and his mind bullets shot down a plane! Similarly to the last game, the Killa Kans were also unsung heroes, coming in under the radar to avoid being targeted and grabbing objectives. It's always a great game when both sides can point to a bunch of units that performed well - I think the Valkyries and various Scion infantry squads were the stars for the Imperials for sure.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading, and stay safe.