Monday, January 30, 2017

Epic X-wing Battle Report - First Outing for my Tantive IV

As you may know, I received a Tantive IV set for my birthday last April but it's taken me nine months to actually get a game in with it! This would also be the inaugural gaming session in my new Gaming Garage(TM). The work on the garage won't be finished until this weekend (update to follow) but it was at least habitable a couple of weeks back for this game. Sorry it's taken so long to write up but most of my free time has been spent working on the garage.

Scott and I would be running Rebels with the following list:

298pts of Rebels
CR90 (fore) - Han Solo, Sensor Team, Single Turbolasers, Quad Laser Cannons
CR90 (aft) - Weapons Engineer, Engineering Team, Tibanna Gas Supplies, Quad Laser Cannons
Lieutenant Blount (Z95) - Veteran Instincts, XX-23 S-Thread Tracers
5x Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z95s) - Concussion Missiles, Guidance Chips
3x Dagger Squadron Pilot (B-wings)

Matt and Sam were running:

299pts of Empire
Raide-Class (fore) - Single Turbolasers
Raider-Class (aft) - Engineering Team, 2x Ion Cannon Battery, Optimized Generators, Instigator (title), Tibanna Gas Supplies, Shield Technician, Rebel Captive.
Gozanti-Class - Dual Laser Turret, Emperor Palpatine, Docking Clamps
Lieutenant Colzet (TIE Advanced) - Adv. Targeting Computer, TIE/x1
Darth Vader (TIE Advanced) - Adaptability, Adv. Targeting Computer, Stealth Device, TIE/x1
4x Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)

Our strategy was simple. Get the Z95s into firing position, fire off the tracers and then hit one of the huge ships with a volley of missiles that would hopefully bring it down. That would take a big chunk out of their forces and in the meantime should act as a distraction to let the CR90 pick off their support craft.

Battle Report
Matt and Sam set their huge ships in the back left corner so we matched their angles with the CR90. On reflection we should've travelled along the edge of our deployment zone rather than trying to meet them head on as the CR90s guns are best in broadsides. Anyway, Their measly two support craft (the TIE advanced) set up in opposite corners. We arrayed the Z95s opposite their huge ships and the Bs in support of the CR90.

The Z95s blasted forwards to close range on the huge ships quickly before they were reduced in number. That brought them into the range of the raider but thanks to some jammy dice only one fell. The early speed cost us though as one of the Z-95s was run over by the Raider. Shame to lose one so cheaply but it highlights our inexperience against huge ships. Meanwhile the Gozanti dropped off a couple of TIEs to help stop the headhunters. They unloaded their missiles into the Gozanti but because they'd been depleted in number it wasn't enough to destroy it outright in one turn. That meant it was able to deploy the remaining TIEs before the Zs closed to finish it off with help from the B-wings.

Whilst all this was going Darth was closing in on the CR90 but his attempts to damage it were short-lived as the quad laser cannons tore him apart. The B-wings got frustrated with the TIEs who slowly chipped away at them. It wasn't long before two fell to their fire (with considerable help from the Raider) all this was distracting the Raider from firing at the CR90 who had been slowly damaging the Raider instead. Thanks the upgrades Matt was using the Raider seemed to have near limitless energy meaning it could repair its shields quickly and keep firing. The CR90 on the other hand was being forced to divert energy from its guns just to stay alive.

With time winding down on the game (we'd set a time limit to stop it going on all day), the aft section of the CR90 was wrecked at around the same time as the fore section of the raider. The difference though was that the Raider barely needs the fore section whilst the CR90 was pretty much unable to generate energy without the aft section. We called an end to it at this point but basically the Raider was pretty healthy so it wouldn't have been long until the CR90 was destroyed completely.

When we totalled up the points the Empire had taken a narrow victory but that definitely felt irrelevant when we'd all had a great game.

This was the first Epic game we've had (we've played two before) where I actually enjoyed myself. The other times it felt like the Raider was near invincible and it was just a matter of time before we lost all of our ships. This time I think if a couple of things had gone differently we could've destroyed both of the Imperial huge ships.

One thing we all learned was that taking expensive support craft is hard to justify. Darth and Colzet were 57pts in total which would've bought nearly 5 academy pilots. Of course they're not particularly devastating but by bumping our support craft and generally being a nuisance I think they'd be more useful. In smaller games the likes of Darth shine but here he didn't feel particularly special. Our only named pilot was Blount but he had a very specific role to play.

Speaking of which, the Z95s advanced too quickly. We should've barely moved them in the first turn then blasted into range in the second. That would've kept them further away from the Raider's guns and maybe more would've survived. We should've also gone right into the corner in a tighter formation to try and get some shots on the Raider's aft section. Mind you, Matt would've probably turned towards us so it's difficult to know if it would've made much difference. I still think it's a fun tactic to have some glass cannon Z95s to lay a crippling blow. If a couple more had been alive they'd have been enough to kill the Gozanti on their own I think.

The B-wings did a reasonable job of either distracting the Raider or damaging the Gozanti but I think we'd have been better with 4-5 A-wings instead. Easy to say these things in hindsight I suppose. There's definitely a lot to think about before our next big game which I hope will be much sooner.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gaming Garage(TM) Conversion - Part 3

Another 3 weeks where I've been almost completely AWOL. Sorry for that! I've been keeping pretty busy though with the garage conversion. Last time I posted we'd sorted all the walls with insulated plasterboard and the Velux window had been installed. Well I'd inadvertently set myself a deadline of Sunday 15th because I'd arrange a big X-wing game between Matt, Scott, Sam & I and we'd need a venue! With my old gaming room dismantled the new one needed to be ready. That meant a solid weekend of work getting the roof done and the gaps filled and then a week of evenings decorating:

Difficult to get my phone to play but as you you can see, we successfully created the skylight. The whole ceiling was boarded out with 12 mm plasterboard before I donned a protective suit, goggles, mask and gloves and set off into the new loft space to install some insulation. Getting around in there wasn't much fun but it'll be worth it.

Now we could start working on all of the joins and screw holes with some filler. Once that had dried sufficiently I went at it with an orbit sander:

It was hard going because I kept having to stop to let the dust settle so I could even see what I was doing! Obviously I had a mask and goggles but still wasn't much fun again. You can just about make out the lights I've installed, two sets of three LED spots to light up the table and over toward the desk. The desk will have some daylight lamps too when I get round to sorting that.

Once the dust had cleared (the next night), I set about giving the entire room a layer of Basecoat (see this is hobby after all!). This should hopefully make for a better finish. The filling isn't totally perfect but I don't really want to fork out for a plasterer on what is still essentially a shed!

Finally, I threw some Ceramite Whi... ahem... Dulux Brilliant White at the ceiling and some cream colour on the walls. I'd toyed with different colours but figured it's a small room so plain, bright walls is the way to go to maximise the light.

My Dad came round for another session last Saturday which saw him assembling the units whilst I laid the carpet tiles. I originally planned on lino/Karndean but carpet tiles are significantly cheaper (I'd given up trawling gumtree/eBay of people selling off boxes of Karndean). They're also easy to fit. I still managed to make things look difficult mind you! With the carpet in we brought in the units but didn't have much time to do anything else. The good news is my old tabletop fits over the two units (fitted with castors) perfectly with a reasonable amount of space around it.

As you can see, we were able to play some X-wing in there on Sunday but I'll do a proper report of our epic game (my Tantive's first outing) in a separate post. I've since cleared everything away and covered all the furniture/carpet so I can put a second coat on the walls. I think the ceilings are passable but will check again in the natural light in the morning when I'll be painting the walls. I did manage to get the blind installed on the window though but I didn't have my phone on me so you'll have to wait for a picture of that.

Hopefully next time I post it'll be all but finished and I'll take plenty of pictures so you can see all the bits and pieces I've done. It'll take me a while to fully decamp into there though as I'm using it as a chance to sort through all my stuff and eBay what I don't need.

In other news, I've also made a start on my Blood Bowl Human team:

I'll post more about the team soon but at least I'm doing some painting. Incidentally, the base isn't going to be icy, it's just grey primer and I painted the rim black to tidy up a little. I've also invested in some new brushes from Rosemary & Co. so I'll let you know what I think of them. Seem pretty good so far. The garage will hopefully be done in the next couple of weeks so I can get some serious hobby progress made.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Double Trouble 2 Tickets on Sale Now

Tickets are now available for Double Trouble 2 which will be happening on Saturday June 10th 2017 at the NWGC in Stockport. The venue has recently had a thorough refurbishment so I'm looking forward to playing there after years playing there before the improvements.

The event will follow the same general format as the last one with a few minor changes. I'll go through what's new below but first a summary for those who couldn't come to the first one or simply weren't aware of it.

What is Double Trouble?
Double Trouble is a Warhammer 40,000 doubles tournament with a difference. Instead of writing an army list together with a partner, each player will write their own 750pt army list from the faction of their choice. Before the first round you will be randomly assigned a doubles partner and play against another random pairing. The allies chart will not be used therefore all combinations will be treated as "Battle Brothers".

At the start of the next round you will be assigned a new random partner and if I manage to do the draw correctly you shouldn't end up meeting the same person twice in the day either as your partner or as one of your opponents. This means you'll get to play three games with 9 different people and hopefully a good variety of armies.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £17.50 per person with 40 spaces available initially. If demand is high I can easily extend this to more but we'll see how things go. Your ticket entitles you to 3 games of 40K, lunch, free entry into the raffle and, a chance to win spot prizes throughout the day.  To purchase tickets, please send £17.50 per ticket to via PayPal (using the Friends and Family option). Please include your preferred contact email address along with email addresses for anyone else you're buying a ticket for. Please also include the dietary requirements of everyone you're buying a ticket for (even if it's just to say there aren't any). If people can include these things from the start it makes my life a lot easier, thanks!

Army Selection 
Each "Force" can cost up to and including 750pts and must come from a single faction. The only restrictions on the units you can take are as follows:

  • One detachment OR formation per 750pt army (detachments which are made up of formations, e.g. the SM Gladius Strike Force, are not permitted).
  • No super heavy vehicles, gargantuan creatures or fortifications are allowed (this includes super heavy flyers and flying gargantuan creatures). 
  • No unit may be taken more than twice* (excluding Dedicated Transports) 

*Note that Astra Militarum have a small exception in that you may take two Infantry Platoons but each Platoon can only include three infantry squads (allowing six per Force). The other components of the Platoon are excluded from the no more than two of a unit rule.

Just remember, you have no idea who you'll be paired with or against. That means either a balanced list or hope that you get something complementary.

Imperial Armour/Horus Heresy armies and Forge World 40K legal units ARE permitted. That being said, armies must still comply with the above restrictions.

Scenarios & Scoring
Each game will use Random Game Length (5-7 turns) and the same two concurrent missions:

  • Annihilation - Destroy your opponents' army for a number of blood points equal to the value of enemy units destroyed.
  • Tactical Superiority - Score VPs by achieving the tactical objectives detailed on the Double Trouble objective cards (deck provided). 

The scores for each doubles pair will be recorded with each player in the pair getting the same score. There will be no secondary objectives in play e.g. Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord etc.

Contingency for Drop-outs
There's nothing worse than being told you've received a bye when you were hoping to play three games of 40K for your money. Here's what I propose:

  • If we end up with a total number of players which is one less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 27), I'll field a full 1,500pt army myself. It'll still consist of two randomly determined halves though from my collection and my opponents will roll for it each round! 
  • If we end up with a total number of players which is two less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 18) then both Matt and I will field 1,500pt armies again being formed of two randomly determined 750pt forces. 
  • If we end up with a total number of players which is three less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 21), I'll simply drop out bringing the number back to a multiple of 4.

I think it's important to have this contingency plan in place so that people feel reassured that the system will work and everyone will get their three games.

Prizes (kindly sponsored by Element Games)
Those of you who've attended my previous events will know that the raffle is where the real prizes are won but of course it's a tournament so there has to be something for winning. Please note the values below are dependent on a certain number of tickets sales and therefore may change. These will take the form of store credit with Element Games (the in-house hobby shop) who offer discounted GW products. The awards will not be given out in the same way as they would at a singles event (or even a normal doubles event) instead they'll be as follows:

  • Master Tactician (single player scoring the most objective points overall): Certificate & £20 voucher
  • Genocidal Maniac (single player scoring the most blood points overall): Certificate & £20 voucher
  • Nobody Loves Me Award (player scoring the least total points overall): Certificate and £10 voucher

There'll also be a painting competition with prizes for the following:

  • Best Painted Army: Certificate & £15 voucher
  • Best Painted Vehicle or Monster: Certificate & £10 voucher
  • Best Painted Character: Certificate & £10 voucher
  • Best Conversion(s): Certificate & £15 voucher

Each player will only be able to enter one category of the painting competition so they'll need to choose the one they feel they'll have the best shot at winning. With such a low point total for your Force, it's a great opportunity to really go to town on an existing army or even start a new one especially for the event!

Painting Showcase
Speaking of painting new models for the event. Last time I asked people to send me pictures of the miniatures they were painting for the event. I'd like to do this again so if you're coming along and painting stuff up then please send me plenty of pictures as you go along. I'll collate these into posts every week or so (depending on how many I receive) and hopefully we'll be able to encourage each other to make progress towards some beautiful new units or even full armies before the event. Use the contact me link on the right to send me pictures.

Changes from the previous DT event
The vast majority of the event format is staying the same. I'll be keeping the round times at 2.5 hours but I'm going to streamline the pre-game stuff and I've simplified the deployments so that games can start more quickly. Since we're playing the same missions in all three rounds it should be pretty straightforward to get your games underway.

The deployments are detailed on the DT2 page but it's Dawn of War in game one. Vanguard Strike in two and back to Dawn of War for three but with the twist that one player from each team deploys before the other two do (alternating of course).

I've also made some changes on my end of things to streamline the spreadsheet I use to collect up the scores. This should mean the event can run to time even if I'm playing along with you guys. Should also mean I get to chat you all a bit more at lunch time!

Summoning has been limited in that you can't break the "no unit may be taken more than twice" restriction i.e. if you start with two units of pink horrors, you couldn't summon a third. However, if you completely lost one of the two units you could summon a replacement for them.

Right, I think that's it. Hope to see a lot of you there! Any questions, feel free to email!


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