Monday, July 25, 2011

Blood Bowl: Meet Gork's Krushas

We've been planning on starting a blood bowl league for a ling time now. Well, since Matt got the box set for Christmas anyway! I plumped for the Orcs that come in the box and Matt's got a Skaven team from eBay.

Whilst we've both played the Xbox game a fair bit, we've only had a couple of proper games. We're going into the Chaos Cup tomorrow with a few friends who play pretty regularly. Should be fun no matter what happens.

The thing I like most is the simplicity. There aren't many things to remember. Even when the special skills come into play they mainly give re-rolls or modifiers. Combined with the 4 minute time limit this means games are fast paced. Unlike 40k there isn't anything to argue about. Thanks to the living rulebook pretty much everything is properly clarified. That and movement is by squares so there's no sneaky inch pinching.

Anyway, I'll write a full report of the cup later in the week. If you haven't played it, I thoroughly recommend it. Like Necromunda it's cheap to get into too!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blog Wars II - Battle of the Bloggers - December 3rd 2011

After the humble success of the first Blog Wars tournament I was keen to repeat the occasion. Although the response was pretty small on the vote, the majority of people seemed to prefer December 3rd as the date for the second Blog Wars tournament. Therefore, thats when we'll do it! Towards the end of the week I'll put up a new page with details about it but for now make sure Dec 3rd is in your diary! 

Now, whilst the feedback from Blog Wars was good, there were certainly some areas for improvement. Now one of those things was to make it a weekender but the consensus didn't seem to be there. What I propose is that if this becomes a regular thing then the summer one will be a weekender and the winter one will be just a single day. Here's a brief list of the things that I'll be working on improving for the next tournament:
  • Special Character themed scenarios (yes, that rule is staying) - more interesting than rulebook ones
  • Proper trophies/certificates - there were complaints last time - here's looking at you Ven
  • Some form of Maelstrom vouchers as the prize rather than me standing at the door pissing about
  • New and original raffle prizes - more on that later
  • New scoring system - I'm keen to avoid soft scoring as I think it takes away from the battle and is far too objective
  • Labels for the painting competition - it was a little hastily arranged last time so I plan on setting things up better.
  • Better/cheaper food - it wasn't bad last time but I don't think it was worth the money
  • A better logo! - I'm open to offers of help on this. I've already had a couple of volunteers but the more the merrier - it'd be a shame if my half arsed effort ended up staying!
Here's what's staying the same though:
  • Compulsory Special Character - this rule is what makes the spirit of Blog Wars in my opinion, I know some don't like it but those that embraced it fully last time had more fun because of it
  • Similar prize structure - I think the prizes were fitting last time so they can stay pretty much the same
  • Same venue - I think everyone agreed Maelstrom was excellent last time
  • Same points limit and same number of games - in some ways I'd like to fit more in but I thought the pace was about right last time
As ever I'm open to suggestions for things you'd like to keep or would prefer to change. Apologies to those who would've preferred Dec 17th but I think realistically it's probably a bit too close to Christmas for most people. 
Tickets will be released nearer the time (probably end of October) and I'm hoping that we'll at least get as many as last time but fingers crossed we get even more. Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Not sure whether I've ever talked about this before but along with Bloodbowl and Space Hulk we tend to use this as a regular break from 40K. There's four of us who regularly meet up for a running campaign. I only joined the first campaign half way through but I learnt a lot from it. So far in the second campaign I've won 10 out of 11 fights with my Cawdor. It's a really great alternative to 40K that's easy to get into and I'd recommend it to anyone. Some GW stores and FLGS have campaigns running but it often get's overlooked by people because Bloodbowl is much more popular (more on that soon).

For those of you not familiar with the game, it follows the 2nd/3rd edition 40K rules but instead of an entire army you only have a gang of fighters. The action takes places in the hive cities of some planet (maybe Terra) as gangs fight for control of the underhive. The main advantage of taking up Necromunda is that the rulebook is online for free so the only thing you need to play it is 10-15 models. There's tons of them on eBay so you can pick up a gang and a few spare models (more on this in a bit) for around £30. Although I haven't managed to paint them fully yet, it's pretty quick to get your gang ready for action.

As you progress through the campaign your gang takes on it's own personality. All of the gangs start off pretty similar but that soon changes after a couple of fights. All of the gangs have some combination of a leader, heavy weapons, gangers and fresh faced (but not for long) juves. Juves are pretty poor to start off with but they advance quicker than any other class. After each fight your fighters gain experience points regardless of whether they win or lose. It's still better to win though as you'll gain more experience and progress quicker. There's normally bonuses for being the leader of a winning gang and wounding hits give more XP too.

In contrast to 40K it's unlikely you're gang members will actually die (1/6 chance if they're taken "out of action"). This means that your gang steadily improves in both it's stats and special skills. As your gangers level up they randomly gain either stats increase or skills based on the particular house they come from. My gang is from House Cawdor which means they're ferocious combat specialists. Just like in 40K you've got to survive being shot at if you want to make it into combat so it's important to use cover wisely. Those of you who remember the old editions of 40K will know that cover confers a to hit modifier instead of a cover save. Personally I prefer this system to the current 40K one as it's a bit more realistic. For example, if only your toe is in cover you don't get a 4+ save but instead a -1 to hit modifier. Having said that the rules are far from perfect and there's no living rulebook (that I'm aware of) like there is for bloodbowl. This leads to house rules on things that are ambiguous. It's a shame GW don't give it more attention or else a complete revamp but since it isn't as profitable as 40k you can see why.

The real joy of Necromunda comes from the necessary conversion work. Not only do your fighters improve their skills but they also have access to a market for rare items such as power weapons, armour and grenades. It's fun to raid the bits box to represent these new weapons on your models. It's handy to have a few extra figures though as in subsequent campaigns you obviously revert back to basic equipment at the start.

Whilst it's easy to replace a knife with a power sword it's more difficult to represent other upgrades. The original models are all metal so that can be frustrating. However, I'm pretty pleased with my flamer conversion. It took a bit of carving to get rid of his autogun but it was definitely worth it.

The other advantage is that games are usually short at anything from 30 mins to 2 hours for a real meatgrinder. In fact I enjoy the after game levelling up almost as much as the actual fight.

Anyway, if you haven't ever tried Necromunda I heartily recommend you give it a go.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Battle Report - Goodbye Gameboard - Space Wolves vs Raven Guard

Seems like a while since I've posted on here. Been busy trying to sell my house so not had much chance. I've got tons of posts in my head (and a big new project coming up) but I've simply not had time to get any of it down. Anyway, in a similar theme Scott moved out this weekend, this means I now have an empty attic that I'll be making into a dedicated gaming room!! My old board is a hulking behemoth of 8'x4' goodness but it's not really practical and I can't remember the last time we used anything bigger than 6'x4'. Therefore it's time for a new one. I've been down to B&Q and got the materials to make a new one. There'll be a post on the construction progress and eventually posts about the painting but for now I'd like to give an account of what will be the last game to be played on that board.

Space Wolves vs Raven Guard - 2000pts
Jamie and I haven't played in a while and both had lists we wanted to try out. He's produced a Raven Guard list from mostly spare models from other armies and I've got a Space Wolves list I wanted to try out before the End Times tournament.

2000pts of Space Wolves
Rune Priest w/ Chooser (Murderous Hurricane & Living Lightning)
Wolf Priest
Wolf Lord w/ thunderwolf mount, storm shield, wolf claw, Saga of the Bear

Lone Wolf w/ chainfist and storm shield
Dreadnought w/ heavy flamer & necklace
3 Wolf Guard w/ power fist and combi-melta

3x 8-man Grey Hunter packs w/ meltagun, Wulfen and standard in Rhinos

Land speeder w/ multi-melta & heavy flamer
4 Thunderwolf Cavalry w/ storm shield, power fist & melta bombs (for wound allocation)

2x 5-man Long Fang packs (4x ML)

I'm still a big fan of thunderwolves inspite of what anyone else might think. The important thing is to get them into combat early and be selective about what you attack. Anything with power weapons isn't going to be fun nor is poisoned for that matter. Anyway, fairly self-explanatory list, I'm keen to try out whirlwinds as I think they're cheap and cheerful. They're great against hordes, they add to your low AV spam, they don't need LoS, decent range and they make your opponent obsessed with keeping maximum spacing on his units which helps distract him!

Jamie had (from memory): Shrike, jump pack chaplain (gorgeous conversion - see below) 2 tactical squads, 2 assault squads w/ jump packs, 4 5-man scout squads, dreadnought, land speeder and 2 thunderfire cannons.

We rolled Spearhead and Annihilation. Even though Jamie had a near total foot list we both still had around 15 KP available so it was always going to be bloody.

Deployment & Turn 1
Jamie got the first turn and deployed all his scout squads close to me (I placed my chooser in such a way that he didn't have much choice though). The thunderfires were right at the back and then only the chaplain's assault squad was deployed with everything else in reserve. The scout squads made their Scouts move and I failed to seize. Jamie managed to stun a rhino with one thunderfire and kill two long fangs with the other. The long fangs ran but only 4 inches luckily! His scouts shook the land speeder and managed to stun and immobilise another rhino and the whirlwind. One scout squad then blew up a rhino and unfortunately none of them died doing so.

In return my dreadnought turned his heavy flamer and assault cannon to one of the scout squads and incinerated all 5. The hunters who'd just lost their transport returned the favour by easily wiping out the scouts. The thunderwolves managed a first turn charge and killed another squad of scouts. This left only one out of the four squads still alive. Finally my long fangs moved back into position with the other pack failing to hurt the dread.

Turn 2
Shrike and his assault squad, with the help of a tactical squad, came on from reserve and smashed straight into combat with the thunderwolves after an unsuccessful shooting phase. The land speeder swept in but found itself just outside of half range to melta the dread and failed to penetrate. Jamie's dread missed with it's plasma cannon. Shrike and co. could only manage a single wound on the TWC but took 8 casualties in return. This was largely down to both Shrike and the power fists struggling to connect along with a sickening number of successful saves by myself. Thanks to the No Retreat rule a further few marines fell. The scouts shook my speeder but the thunderfires were off target.

In response the rune priest and his squad headed in the direction of the chaplain's squad and with help of Murderous Hurricane and some rapid fire they claimed a few lives. My lone wolf found itself in charge range of Jamie's dread and made short work of it with his chain fist. In the continuing combat with the thunderwolves Jamie again rolled badly leaving Shrike and a couple of power fist marines remaining for minimal wounds on the cavalry. Unfortunately, the long fangs discovered the thunderfire cannons were out of range meaning I'd have to close in with other units to take them out of action.

Turn 3
The chaplain and his squad decide to jump straight over the top of the lone wolf that I'd left in their path as hopeful bait. Murderous hurricane fails to claim any lives as they move. The thunderfire cannons hammer into one of the hunter packs leaving few remaining. Rapid fire from a newly arrived tactical squad cuts the pack down to a single member. The speeder, now well within melta range, fails to hit my dread. The chaplain leads the charge against another pack of grey hunters but this time two of his number fall to dangerous terrain. They easily kill the rune priest but thanks to the standard they find themselves charging a brick wall, with only the chaplain surviving the initial counter attack only to be cut down by the power fist. The thunderwolves aren't quite as effective and have to direct most of their attacks at a single power fist marine leaving Shrike and the remaining power fist to fight on.

I start to send some units over to the thunderfires including the squad who've just hammered the chaplain, my lone wolf and the speeder. The combination of dreadnought, frag missiles and whirlwind bring down most of the newly arrived tactial squad but the dread is out of assault range. The hunters decide to bring the land speeder down so they disembark from their transport and destroy it in combat. The remaining scout squad is the only available target for the long fangs so they take some hammer. The thunderwolves bring Shrike down to a single wound and kill his partner with only minimal wounds again.

Turn 4
The thunderfire cannons punish the wolf priest's squad for taking down the dread by killing all but the priest himself who is lucky to pass his saves. Shrike is finally brought down by the thunderwolves who head in the direction of the remaining scouts. The tactical squad stun the dreadnought with a krak missile.

The wolf priest decides it'll be safer to stay in his immobilised rhino so re-embarks. The speeder uses it's melta to take out one of the thunderfire cannons and the nearby hunters finish off the techmarine with rapid fire. The thunderwolves barely blink as they take down the scouts. The long fangs struggle to find targets but with the help of the whirlwind they kill a couple more marines.

Turn 5
Going into what could be the final turn things aren't looking good for Jamie. Realistically there's too much of a gap in KP for him to even hope for a draw but with the tactical squad failing to hit the dread there's not even a consolation prize. The thunderwolves charge in and punish them for their mistake, easily killing them off for no damage in return. This time the speeder requires no help and manages to kill the remaining cannon and it's owner solo. This results in Jamie being completely tabled with the final KP score standing at 14-4.

The idea of 4 scout squads is an interesting one but the Chooser forced them to be close. Mind you I think given Jamie got first turn he'd had probably wanted to charge anyway. The scouts struggled to take down all but a single rhino which cost them dearly. Had they opened up a couple more of the transports and the thunderfire cannons would've found more targets. Two of the things can really be nasty to exposed troops. They weren't successful early on but this was largely down to poor rolling by Jamie. In the later turns they were devastating to two of the hunter packs.

The main problem for Jamie, however, was the thunderwolves who demonstrated how devastating they can be. A combination of appauling luck for Jamie and some disgustingly good rolling from me meant that they scored nealry half of the 14 KP I scored in total. They brought down 2 scout squads, 2 tatical squads, Shrike and his bodyguard. However, if more of the power weapon attacks had met their target they'd have easily fallen to Shrike and co. I think Jamie was right to charge them but neither of us expected the outcome. Although they were very effective I'm still a bit wary about using them as they can really struggle against some armies. Had there been a couple of missile launcher devastator squads in place of the thunderfires and it may well have been a different story. Mind you, they spent most of the time in the cover of combat so it's no guarartee.

Well that was a thoroughly enjoyable send off for my old game board. Not sure Jamie enjoyed it as much as I did but I'm pretty pleased with how my list performed. There's a good variety of units in there with some nasty surprises for the unwary. I can't pretend I wasn't extremely lucky mind you! As a side note I'm going to continue to take Murderous Hurricane over Jaws as I think it's more useful for controlling the game. Since I predominantly face MEQ at tournaments Jaws is no more effective than any other shooting. It's only if you get very lucky that you can take out something juicy. I'd much rather go for reliability over entertainment in a tournament setting so for now it's going to be sidelined.

Since it's taken me a long time to get this report up I've actually built my new board so I'll post some details of that process later on.


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