Veterans for the Vacillite Campaign

In our second game of the vacillite campaign, it didn’t look good for the Xenos players as we were almost completely tabled.  Luckily, we  were able to hold the Infirmary and thereby bring a few key units back to life at the end of the game in order to give them veteran abilities.

If you’re already lost, I suggest you check out this earlier post on using veteran abilities in Apolcaypse games.  Once you get caught up, below is a list of the units that “survived” the battle and what abilities they received:

Imperial Team (two abilities earned for each):

  • Cole’s Grey Knights
    • Paladins gained Fearless
    • Purifiers gained Furious Charge
  • Kris’s Space Wolves/Blood Angels:
    • Wolfguard gained Preferred Enemy, and retained  Furious Charge from the previous game
    • Stormraven gained a re-roll on dangerous terrain tests
  • Tony’s Blood Angels:
    • Sanguinary Guard got Furious Charge
    • Death Company got Scout (giving them a scout move and the ability to outflank)
    • Additionally, his dreadnought with fleet lived from the first game, so he gets to keep that ability
  • Dan’s Imperial Guard:
    • Leman Russ Punishers gained the ability to re-roll difficult terrain tests.
    • Basilisk battery now ignores crew shaken results

As for the Xenos, we received the following abilities (one per player):

  • Rob’s (My) Tyranids:
    • My Ymgarls gained Feel No Pain (yay!) and retained Hit and Run from the previous game (though they’ve still yet to use it)
  • Lukes Orks:
    • ‘Ard Boyz got Preferred Enemy.
  • Jeff’s Tau:
    • Crisis Suits got Relentless
  • Simon’s Tyranids:
    • Genestealers earned Counter Attack
  • Blaine’s Bugs (none!  Completely wiped out!)

Marshal’s units were undeclared.  I know he gave one ability to his assault marines, but I’m not sure what he rolled, or who he assigned the other ability to.  I suspect he wasn’t too enthralled with the abilities as he plans on playing a different army for the next game. 

Anywho, this post likely isn’t the most compelling piece of writing I’ve offered forth to date; however, I wanted to preserve this information for posterity.  Thanks for listening to me babble!

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Apoc Vacillite Campaign, Phase 2: Battle Report

The game was a little more haphazardly thrown together than previous events in the Vacillite Campaign; which is not to say it was equivalent to a pick-up Apoc game.  True to form, it had some new twists we hadn’t experienced before, and some of the classic elements that have come to be staples in our in-house format.

"Infantry win firefights. Tanks win battles. Artillery wins wars."

The new additions to the format this time were the inclusion of a chess clock for timed turns (more about that in a future post), and the inclusion of an off-site space-hulk themed board called “The Okassisarian Cruiser.”  Essentially this was supposed to represent a ship parked in space that could be boarded by either side and had several secret objectives.  Basic rules were pulled directly out of the Imperial Armor IV: Anphelion Project rules for the Anphelion base, with some really minor modifications, such as:

  • Units with Infiltration or other means of alternate deployment (such as Ymgarl genestealers) may deploy into the ship with these abilities.
  • Models deploying via deep strike are allowed to enter the interior of the ship, provided their means of access makes sense in an enclosed environment in the sky.  Units that teleport, or materialize out of thin air would be fine; though units that burrow through the ground, or access via a vehicle (including drop pods) may not deploy.
  • Infantry units arriving from reserve may deploy into the ship via any of it’s entry points; they are assumed to be flown to the ship via means of a flying transport. 

Additionally, each “room” of the ship had a secret (if not unique) purpose indicated by cards, which would be revealed upon entering the room.  Those rooms were:

  • Ammo Depot: While in this room, all models may reroll failed “to-hit” rolls while shooting.
  • Infirmary: While in this room, all models receive a 5+ feel no pain save.  Additionally, if you control this room (uncontested) at the end of the game, you may bring a single organism back to life.
  • Escape Pod:  This room is equipped with an escape pod (treat as space marine drop pod w/ homing beacon) that can be used during the movement phase (including the turn it is discovered) to transport to the surface.  It can carry 12 models worth of units.  When deployed, it will not deviate, does not have weapons, and will not capture/contest objectives.  Remove the card after the pod has been deployed.
  • Library: The secret of vacillite is revealed to you and your team.  Immediately earn 3 victory points.  For the next game, you are now a team leader, and your team will be the defender.  Remove this card upon discovery.
  • Storage Chamber: Packed with vacillite, this room counts as a scoring objective.  When revealed, place an objective counter in it as a reminder.
  • Weapons Battery:This room serves as a gun emplacement.  If you control this room uncontested, one character model or squad leader may forgo it’s normal shooting to operate the building.  If done, he may operate the weapons battery to fire on the battlefield below using the following profile:STR 6, AP4, Apocalyptic Barrage 3

Luckily we had 10.5 armies show up, so it divided into two teams rather evenly (for those wondering, the .5 army was Sam’s son, Luke, who brought his models, but not an army per se; ironically though, that’s the force they ended up playing with instead of Sam’s models).  Without previously planning, teams were chosen “logically” instead of randomly, and we quickly bid on deployment.

Deployment

Our Xenos team left the room to strategize and really we all just stated how quickly we could deploy and let our team leader (Jeff) make the final decision (which I believe was 10min).  Left to their own scheming, the Imperials seemed to have much more involved plans, and opted to bid 30 minutes for deployment, stating that they’d like to react to where we placed our bio-titans.  This was the first rub of the day, since we were following the same rules from the previous game which involved “simultaneous deployment” (as described here).  The maximum allotted time was to be 20 minutes, but they’d forgotten how the deployment worked, and that they wouldn’t really get to react to our deployment anyway.

Titan Hunters

There’s some debate to be had here, and rather than get into it, I think I’ll save that for another post.  Suffice it to say, not all sides were 100% pleased but, since we surround ourselves with good players, nobody seemed terribly miffed. 

After standard deployment, special time was allowed for each team to deploy infiltrators, ours seemed to be fairly heavy in that department with multiple squads of kroot, genestealers, and even a strategy card that allowed another unit to infiltrate, so we loaded up the ship.  Seeing our overwhelming numbers, the Imperials decided to forsake the ship altogether instead, choosing to fight over the guaranteed objectives.

Broodlord: "Yesss, thiss button will do nisssely."

In hindsight, everyone agreed that the ship was a great idea, but one that just didn’t pan out.  Over the course of the game, team Xenos deployed several additional units to the ship, but the Imperials never made contact.  So, what could’ve been a great new twist on conflict sat off neglected to the side.  Oh well, I got to drop Apocalyptic templates from my Broodlords onto unsuspecting victims.  Apparently, they’re smart enough to learn out to press big red buttons…

After deployment, the Imperials tried twice to seize the initiative (aided by Mr. Coteaz), but failed each time, and we were on our way.  Not without some devilish trickery, they delayed one of our Bio-Titans into reserves and played another strategy card which restricted my units from charging on the first turn of the game.  Cole had done this to repay me for doing the same thing to me last game, causing my Trygon formation to sit idly by while the battle raged around them.

Draigo goes on a rampage...

Turn after turn, we would score more objectives than our opponents (aided by the two free uncontested objectives in the Okassissarian Cruiser above), but each turn I scratched my head and wondered just how we were managing to stay in the lead.  Clever use of focusing fire on the Imperial side lead them to destroy unit after unit.  Their obvious targets of opportunity were the Bio-Titans, and they did a reasonable job of eliminating them.  After their first turn of shooting, two of them were down to half strength (and the other hadn’t yet shown up).  By the end of the next turn, one had died off completely in assault (at the hands of Kaldor Draigo and his cronies), and mine was down to just two wounds.  Simons, which had been delayed a turn lived to see one more round of shooting before he fell of the fate of letting me roll his dice.

Everyone has those miserably experiences where nothing goes right, and this was that phase.  Charging in with his boatload of attacks, I’d only managed to hit with 2 of them (though, for the record, the entire game I’d forgotten that Titans get scything talons for free… DOH!).  Anywho, of those two attacks, I’d managed to roll snake-eyes for wounds.  In retaliation, the GK terminators managed to sneak in two thunderhammer attacks, for which I failed both saves.  Then, as expected, I was forced to make two “fearless” armor saves due to “no retreat.”  How hard would it be to roll 2+’s?

Pretend this is a picture of Yarrik

Impossible, it turns out, as the dice come up snake eyes again.

This only served to further raise the hopes of the Imperials, as they took the titan out the following turn.  So, three titans down, one left.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Blaine played “reserves” on his Titan to bring it back into the battle at full strength.  It only took another turn or two for the Imperials to blast that to smithereens (if I recall correctly, that too met it’s final resting place at the hands of Kaldor Draigo).  For the record, I also watched him kill off the Swarmlord (and retinue) and several Tervigons.  Knocking out 3000+ points in models—I’d say he was definitely a good investment for Cole.

The Fiercest Tyranid

Elsewhere, there was an epic struggle with a lone Tyranid Warrior and entire Ultramarine Assault Squad.  You might remember the warriors as being the ones stranded in the cruiser above, but they managed to find an escape pod and teleport down to the middle of the battlefield.  Once they arrived, seemingly a thousand guns trained on them and withered them down to a handful of models, at which point they were savagely assaulted by the marines.  Quickly, all the bugs were annihilated, except the final warrior, who held out an absurd three full game turns against 8 assault marines (including a sarge with power weapon).  He even managed to kill off a few marines in the process.  Without a doubt, he was Simon’s MVP for the game.

Malfunction = Tau

 As for the Tau, I think they played in the battle, but more as a speedbump for the assaulty armies than as any real means of damage.  Poor Jeff, try as he might, he can never seem to do any real damage with rail guns.  Though he had some clever tactics that he tried to pull, nothing seemed to work out for him.  But we didn’t consider him a handicap, if anything, he was just our team’s offset to Kris, the man who can’t roll higher than a 3.  One of these days, we’re going to have to buy that guy some new dice… 

Ymargarlic Breath

For my forces, the only unit that really pulled it’s weight was a single squad of Ymgarls.  It snuck on the board behind some imperial artillery, and managed to destroy a basilisk, and stop the rest of the attachment from firing for a turn, while also thwarting a nearby chimera.  They were then harassed by some tactical reinforcements (in the shape of Ultramarines), but hid in a massive multi-assault against three units of guardsmen.  Despite being outnumbered more than 10:1, my Ymgarls killed the sergeants and ran down all the platoons, consolidating into some heavy weapons squads and saving a nearby Hierophant (for one more turn).   Their luck couldn’t hold out though, and the little men with big lascannons eventually proved to be too tough for the small (but plucky) band of aliens.  Luckily for me, I held the infirmary, and was able to bring them back to life at the end of the game to give them a veteran ability.

Aside from that, I’m at a loss to provide epic reports of specific incidents in the game, but I was just one of ten players involved.  Perhaps someone else has something else to add?  In the meantime, enjoy some pics that were taken of the game in progress below:

I think all parties would agree that the game was great fun, though if you’ll indulge me, I’m always looking for ways to improve my game.  So, I thought I’d take a moment to dig into what went wrong for team Xenos, and what we could do better to improve our outcome for future games.  So, my thoughts on the subject:

  1. So I don’t discredit the other team, the first problem we had is that our opponents were on point this game.  They had a solid strategy, powerful lists, good time management, & great execution.  They focused fire on our key targets, and continually kept sight of the objectives.  More than any other single issue, this was the reason we lost. 
  2. By the same token, I think our strategy (or lack thereof) was a big downfall for us.  We didn’t seem to have an overall focus on objectives, or focusing fire on targets to bring it down.  Case in point: their Baneblade was peppered with fire every turn since the start of the game, and still was able to annoy us until the end. 
  3. We put too much focus into the Ossidian Cruiser.  Granted, we were able to hold two uncontested objectives per turn this way, but we really overcommitted our resources to this area.  The two objectives could’ve been held by two smaller squads, while everything else could’ve added to the fray.  Several squads of Kroot, an extra squad of ‘Stealers, a massive squad of Warriors, and two squads of Orks (including Ghazkull and his uber-unit) were all twiddling their thumbs in the hulk at one point or another.  Granted, most were able to return to the battle via escape pods, but each was out of commission for several turns.
  4. We had put all of our eggs in three baskets.  What I mean to say is that we didn’t diversify our units enough.  Hierophants are good, but they’re not unstoppable.  My list consisted of a Swarmlord, a Hierophant, the Trygon formation, and four squads of genestealers; leaving me with a horrendous model count.  If something were to go wrong, it would go wrong quickly.  Allowing diversified units in our forces would not only give us flexibility, but also increase our model count.
  5. Our enemies plan to kill Hierophants.  Every Apoc game they have to face at least one, so I’ve noticed they seem to bring more and more lascannons each game.  In effect, the Tyranid players have become too predictable.
  6. Lack of knowledge on our part.  Nobody on our side (excepting Jeff) seemed to be at all familiar with the DH codex, which helped Cole and his insanely powerful special characters mop up an entire side of the board single handledly.  Had we known more about our opponents, I think the Swarmlord could’ve/would’ve dispatched with the villain shortly.  Instead he focused his attacks on the squad, and was summarily executed for his ignorance.
  7. Our team had some less experienced players on it.  Sam & Simon both played the role of fathers with tweens, and wanted to allow the kids to make some of their decisions.  In some cases, those weren’t ideal (but then again, some of the moves us veteran players were far from perfect as well).  Though this might have meant a slight increase in mistakes, I believe that, if anything, it was more of a time consumer than anything else.
  8. I hate to be “that guy,” but when you look at the allotted armies: Tau, Orks, & Tyranids vs. Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Imperial Guard, Grey Knights, & Space Marines.  Their force consisted of four of the most powerful codicies and one that I’d considered balanced.  Ours consisted of older books, and the Tyranids, which I don’t feel is a bad ‘dex, but certainly not on par with the IG/Wolves/GK crew. 

So, on to the regularly scheduled “What I learned section…”

What I Learned:

  1. Chess clocks are good.  Turn times were slightly faster than they’d been in previous games, but not outlandishly so.  It did help keep a sense of urgency to the game overall, and it was well received by all in attendance.
  2. The Grey Knights are as overpowered as I believed they were.  This is the first game that I’ve seen them in since the codex was released, and they’re every bit as crazy as they seem.  I’m not sure what the internet perspective on the ‘dex is, but I’d say it’s at least as ridiculous as any other codex out there.  I know there’ll be some detractors though: case in point—Jeff seemed to argue that they weren’t that bad.  The humorous part of that is to illustrate this point, Jeff would compare GK units to some of the best units in the game and explain how the GK version wasn’t that much more powerful.  When you’re more powerful than overpowered units, you’re um… more than overpowered, but thanks for playing, Jeff. J
  3. More specifically: Lord Kaldor Draigo is pure insanity—especially against Tyranids (or demons).  He’d wander into a squad a turn, turn on a Strength 10 demon-weapon and insta-kill everything in the unit.  In future games, he’s definitely one to keep track of.
  4. Simultaneous deployment wasn’t as well received as I believed it to be.  Though I don’t recall having issues with it last game, it was a hotbed of contention this time.  I think this was due to some confusion on the Imperial team (caused, in no small part, by my lack of communication).  I’m not certain if this was a problem with the actual rule, or just frustration at the communication gap though…
  5. Reinforcements on Titans is not well received.  Future games will disallow using such strategy cards on any titan/super heavy. 
  6. Balance is key.  This is something that I’ve learned and re-learned again and again.  Specific armies do well sometimes, but having tactical flexibility is huge.  I, along with several other players on my team pigeon-holed ourselves into specific roles, and when things started to fall apart, we had no other option but to continue down the path we’d set forth.

Lastly, I wanted to throw a special shout-out to Simon, who was goodly enough to play the role of our resident photographer for this game.  Without him, this would just be a wall of text.  Thanks mang…

 

 

Apoc Vacillite Campaign, Phase 2: Army Lists

The amount of effort put into preparation for things certainly has a direct correlation to the quality of the end result.  I’m sad to say that our last Apocalypse game (the second of the Vacillite campagin, for those taking notes) didn’t get as much preparation as it really should have.  Luckily for me though, preparation isn’t the only requirement; sometimes just surrounding yourself with a great bunch of guys can elevate something from mediocre status to a great game, just the same.

I don’t mean to say that I was completely lax in designing the game; just that I would have liked to have done more.  Planning for this game really started back in April, when the last game ended.  Shortly thereafter, we set a date for this game, and worked on who all would be attending.  I also thought up some additional plot twists over the months, and really got down to work a week in advance to clean out the garage, set up the tables, etc.  Life being what it is, one week of free time just doesn’t stretch quite as far as it once did.   Mental note: life with a baby makes everything take a little longer. 

Maybe if I keep reminding myself of that, it’ll sink in within the next eighteen years or so, eh?

This really doesn’t have all that much to do with the composition of army lists, other than to say that I gave two different sets of rules out to different people.  Essentially, I told everyone that we were going to use the same rules as last game (for the most part).  Some people that couldn’t be bothered to check the post asked me how many points, and (being like-mindedly too busy to look it up myself), I spit out “3500 points.”  The end result being that some of us brought invalid lists to the game.

It was easily rectified (after much playful chiding from the other participants), and we split up teams based upon logical association (which, as it all too often becomes: Imperials vs. Bugs + other misc non Imperials).  The lists looked something like:

 

Rob’s Tyranids:

  • HQ:
    • Swarmlord w/ 2x Tyrant Guard (lashwhips)
  • Elites:
    • 7x Ymgarls
    • 7x Ymgarls
  • Troops:
    • 7x Genestealers
    • 6x Genestealers
  • Heavy Support:
    • Hierophant Bio-Titan
  • Tyranid Tunnel Swarm (Formation):
    • 1x Trygon Prime w/ Adrenal Glands
    • 1x Lictor
    • 22x Hormgaunts w/ Toxin Sacs & Adrenal Glands

Originally, I’d thought the list was supposed to be 3500 points, so it contained a few more squads of genestealers, but I had to cut them out last minute because I’m a dolt.  In hindsight, the bio-titan ate up far too many of my points.  I use them for the same reason that Blaine does, not just because they’re good, but because they eat up a fair amount of points so it’s easier to build a list.  Next game, I won’t use it as a crutch like I have in the past…

Sam & Luke’s Orks:

    • HQ:
      • Ghazkull Thraka
      • Warboss w/ attack squig, bosspole, cybork, warbike

      Elites:
    • 7x Nob Bikers with assorted goodies
    • 10x Nobz with assorted units (not armed for wound allocation)
    • 15x Tankbustaz
  • Troops:
    • 30 ‘Ard Boyz w/ klaw
    • 30 Boyz w/ klaw
    • 30 Boyz w/ klaw
    • 18 Boyz w/ Big Choppa
    • 12 Trukk Boyz
    • 12 Truck Boyz
  • Fast Attack:
    • 2x Deffkoptas
  • Heavy Support:
    • Battlewagon

Traditional Orks (at least at the hands of Sam & fam).  Not designed to be an uber killy force, but a fun one that has some serious punch in some locations.  They make for a great wall of bodies, and seem to be able to take out anything in the game with enough power klaw attacks…  Of course, the photo doesn’t do the army justice, but I s’pose when you play orks, shuffling them around in zip lock bags is akin to a limousine…

Blaine’s Bugs:

    • HQ:
      • Tervigon
      • Tervigon

      Elites:
    • Doom in Mycetic Spore (w/ Cluster Spines)
    • 3x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spore (w/ Cluster Spines)
    • 3x Venomthropes in Mycetic Spore (w/ Cluster Spines)
  • Troops:
    • 10x Termagants in Mycetic Spore (w/ Cluster Spines)
    • 10x Termagants in Mycetic Spore (w/ Cluster Spines)
    • Tervigon
    • Tervigon
  • Fast Attack:
    • 9x Raveners w/ Deathspitters
  • Heavy Support:
    • Hierophant Bio-Titan

Standard Blaine list building:  Step 1, Add Hierophant.  Step 2, pile in Tervigons & Tyrannofexes.  I was actually surprised to see he didn’t play with the ‘fexes (though I was relieved, since I don’t feel they’re very good for much of anything—especially in Apoc games).  Doom’s not a normal standard in his list, but since I told him I couldn’t work him into mine, he was naturally obliged to take it.

Simon’s

  • HQ:
    • Hive Tyrant (Venom Cannon, Bonesword/Lashwhip, Psychic Scream, Horror)
  • Elites:
    • 15x Tyranid Warriors w/ Scything Talons & Devourers
  • Troops:
    • 30x Termagants w/ Fleshborers
    • 12x Genestealers w/ Broodlord
  • Heavy Support:
    • Trygon
    • Hierophant Bio-Titan

Asking Simon to recap his list proved to be rather taxing on the lad.  His official response: “Erm… Every model I could I gave toxin and adrenals. Standard issue Tyrant, Trygon, A grip of genestealers, full squad of warriors, and a full squad of Termies. And the biggin” 

Obviously, he’s not into min-maxing anything (other than squad sizes).  The list wasn’t particularly strong, but I chalk that up to the fact that he plays about .5 games per year, and he was making his list the day of the game.  I suspect the logic here was that fewer squads made for less math (therefore faster list building); I know for certain that’s why the Hierophant was included.  And yes, for those keeping track, this did make for three bio-titans on our side…

Jeff’s Tau

 Unfortunately, I do not have an accounting of Jeff’s force, other than what’s displayed on the picture.  In my un-Tau-like mindset, he had a bunch of weak tanks with good guns and horrible ballistic skill.  Most of those were in some sort of formation (I recall him stating that the red tank was a “command tank”).  He also had some fire warriors, kroot, and crisis suits.  

I’m sure if you’re familiar with Tau, his list looks pretty self-explanatory from the photograph; however, my understanding of Tau is only that they’d be more intimidating if they learned to fire their guns; otherwise, they’re just squishy bunnies in oversized armor.

Oh wait, he’s on my team, isn’t he? …  I guess it would behoove me to ask him for his list….

    • HQ:
      • Fireknife Shas’El, two Fireknife bodyguards
      • Fireknife Shas’El, two Fireknife bodyguards

Elites:

    • Rapid Insertion force
      • 3x Stealth suits
      • 3x Fireknives
      • 3x Fireknives
      • 3x Fireknives
  • Troops:
    • 12x Firewarriors
    • 12x Firewarriors
    • 12x Firewarriors
    • 12x Firewarriors
    • 10x Kroot
    • 10x Kroot
  • Fast Attack:
    • Piranha w/ fusion blaster
    • Piranha w/ fusion blaster
    • Piranha w/ fusion blaster
  • Heavy Support:
    • Armored Interdiction Cadre
      • Hammerhead w/ Railgun
      • Hammerhead w/ Railgun
      • Hammerhead w/ Railgun
      • Hammerhead w/ Railgun
      • Hammerhead w/ Railgun

 And then there was the Imperial team….

 

Marshall’s Ultramarines:

  • HQ:
    • Master of the Forge w/ Thunderhammer
    • Space Marine Librarian w/ Terminator Armor (Gate & Vortex)
  • Elites:
    • 5x Terminator Assault Squad (2x LClaws, 3x Thammers)
    • Ironclad Dreadnought, Assault launchers, flamer/melta
    • Venerable Dreadnought (Multi-melta, Flamer)
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines (plasma/lascannon)
    • 10x Tactical Marines (flamer/multi-melta/powerweapon)
    • 10x Tactical Marines (melta/missile/powerfist)
    • 10x Scouts (sniper rifles & heavy bolter)
    • 5x Scouts (ccw & bp, powerfist)
  • Fast Attack
    • Landspeeder Storm (H. Flamer)
    • 10x Assault Marines (2x P.Pistols + Power Weapon)
    • 5x Bike Squad (2x Plasmagun, + power weapon)
  • Heavy Support:
    • Land Raider
    • Vindicator
    • Techmarine w/ Thunderfire Cannon
    • Venerable Dreadnought (Assault Cannon, Flamer)

I made Marshall’s list the day before with the focus on spreading units around the FoC.  Again, I had slotted 3500 points so there were last minute cuts to the Sternguard, a Scout Squad, and the Officio Assassinorum Execution Force to get him under the points limit.  The only real downside I saw to this list was that it lacked transports.  While I’m not normally a huge fan, omitting virtually every one was problematic.   The drop pods I’d normally take (with say, the Ironclad) were used for thematic effect elsewhere on the board though…

Tony’s Blood Angels:

  • HQ:
    • Reclusiarch
    • Librarian (Unleash Rage, Shield of Sanguinus)
  • Elites:
    • 5x Sanguinary Guard – Infernus Pistol x2, Powerfist ***
    • 2x Sanguinary Priest (Jump Pack, Power Weapon x2)
    • Furioso Dreadnought (Extra Armor, Flamer, Blood Talons) ***
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines (Flamer, Lascannon, Powerfist)
    • 10x  Tactical Marines (Flamer, Lascannon, Powerfist)***
    • 5x  Assault Marines (Meltagun, Power Weapon) in Razorback w/ TL Assault Cannons
    • 5x  Assault Marines (Meltagun, Power Weapon) in Razorback w/ TL Assault Cannons
    • 5x  Assault Marines (Flamer, Power Weapon) in Razorback w/ TL Lascannons
    • 9x Death Company (Thunderhammer, Powerweapon x2) in  Land Raider Crusader***
  • Fast Attack:
    • Baal Predator (Heavy Bolter Sponsons)
    • Baal Predator (Heavy Bolter Sponsons)
    • 3x Attack Bike (2x Multi-meltas)
  • Heavy Support:
    • Stormraven Gunship (Extra armor, Multimelta, Lascannon)
    • 5x Devastator Squad (Missile Launcher x4)

The Reclusiarch (Chaplain) was attached to the Death Company to confer Re-rolls to missed Hits AND wounds.  Paired with the Death Company’s inert Furious Charge/Feel No Pain they just about wiped out everything they assaulted. 

The Priest with Jump Pack/PW was attached to the Sanguinary Guard and inside the Stormraven.  The Furioso also rode in the Stormraven which was held in Reserve.  The Raven came in on turn 2 as a Flier and moved to Skimmer mode when it was time to assault with the Dread and Guard.

Another Priest rode inside a Razorback, and the Librarian was attached to the other TLAC/Razor squad.

Kris’ Relictors (Counts as Space Wolves & Blood Angels)

  • HQ:
    • First Captain Kostya (Logan Grimnar)
    • High Chaplain Thontius (BA Astorath the Grim)
  • Elites:
    • Brother-Chaplain Malvius (BA)
    • Brother-Chaplain Devian (BA)
    • 3x Apothicarium Detachment (BA Sanguinary Priests) w/ 1x Powersword & Jump Pack
  • Troops:
    • 5x Squad Kostya (Wolf Guard) w/ Terminator Armor, Wolf Claws, Storm Shields, & 1x Thunderhammer
    • 10x Tactical Squad Thesius (BA) w/ Flamer, Lascannon, & Powerfist
    • 10x Tactical Squad Thallon (BA) w/ Melta, Missile, & Powerfist
    • 10x Assault Squad Gallovax (BA) w/ 2x L Claws, Melta, & Flamer in Drop Pod
    • 8x Assault Squad Venn (BA) w/ 2x L. Claws, & Flamer
  • Fast Attack:
    • 8x Deliverance Squad Sollnas (BA Vanguard) w/ T. Hammer, 2x L. Claws, Power Weapon, Powerfist, & Meltabombs
    • 2x Landspeeder Tornado Squad “Moriorum & Corvus Ferrox (H. Bolters & Multi-Meltas)
    • Landspeeer Typhoon “Raptor Caedes”
  • Heavy Support:
    • Land Raider Crusader “Mortis”
    • StormRaven Gunship “Umbra Mortis”

Standard Kris fashion: Blood Angels mixed with Space Wolves.  Oddly enough though, he only used two units of puppies in this entire army (Logan & WolfGuard).  I wonder if that was just to fill up points/fill out the force org chart?  I also wonder what happened to his Ravenguard…

Cole’s Grey Knight Force

  • HQ
    • Lord Kaldor Draigo
    • Inquisitor Coteaz
  • Elite
    • Vindicare Assassin
    • 10x Purifiers (in Rhino)
    • Techmarine
  • Troops
    • 10x Paladins
    • 10x man paladin
    • Henchmen
  • Fast Attack
    • 10x Interceptors
    • Stormraven
  • Heavy
    • Dreadnought
    • Dreadknight

So you might notice Cole’s army has significantly less detail than the others, and that too is my fault.  Everyone left lists behind so I could write-up this article, but sadly, those lists seemed to have sprouted legs.  When I asked for estimates on what everyone had, this is what Cole threw together.  In short: relatively few models, but all of them relatively powerful.

Dan’s Imperial Guard

    • HQ
      • Commissar Yarrick

      Elite
    • 10x  Ogryn
  • Troops
    • Platoon:  1 Lt. unit (all ccw in chimera extra armour),
      • 10x  Imperial Guard with heavy bolter
      • 10x  Imperial Guard with heavy bolter
      • 10x  Imperial Guard with heavy bolter
      • 10x  Imperial Guard with heavy bolter
      • 2x Heavy Weapon Team w/ Mortars
      • 3x Heavy Weapon Team w/ Lascannons
  • Heavy
    • 3x Basilisks
    • 3x Leman Russ Punishers
    • Baneblade super heavy with extra sponsoons and leadership upgrade.

Dan’s force seemed pretty typical, but in retrospect, he did have a lot of his units footslogging this time, which seems unusual for him.  I’m used to seeing a dozen or so tanks across the board, but he had far more infantry this time.  In hindsight, I think this worked out well for him too.  Without giving up too much of a spoiler, his army proved to be rather resilient this game.

***

The next post will go into how the game went, including explaining our new twists on things…

APOCALYPSE NOW: Blood Angels

 

A few days ago we got together for an amazing Apoc game and had a great time.  I’ll let Rob do the overall battle report, so I’m just going to stick to things from my side of the field.  Here’s the Blood Angel force that I brought to the table (the other armies that were fielded can be seen in this link):

  • Reclusiarch with Jump Pack
  • Reclusiarch
  • Sanguinary Guard: Infernus Pistol x2, Power Fist
  • Furioso Dreadnought: Extra Armor, Heavy Flamer
  • Sanguinary Priest x2: Jump Pack, Power Weapon
  • Tactical Squad x10: Flamer, Missile Launcher, Drop Pod w/ Deathwind
  • Assault Squad x10: Meltagun x2, Power Fist
  • Assault Squad: Flamer, Power Weapon, Razorback w/ Assault Cannon
  • Assault Squad: Flamer, Power Weapon, Razorback w/ Assault Cannon
  • Death Company x8: Thunder Hammer, Power Weapon x2; Land Raider Crusader w/ Extra Armor, Multi-melta
  • Baal Preadator: Heavy Bolter Sponsons
  • Baal Preadator: Heavy Bolter Sponsons
  • Stormraven Gunship: Extra Armor, Twin-linked Plasma Cannons, Twin-linked Multi-Melta, Twin –linked Hurricane Bolters
  • Vindicator
  • Devastator Squad: Lascannon x2, Missile Launcher x2

The rules were pretty straight-forward, though far different than standard Apoc games.  A complete list of them can be found here, but to summarize:

  1. 3,000 Points
  2. No Titan wackiness
  3. Random Strategic Assets
  4. Objective points calculated each player turn
  5. 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 vs. 2
  6. BYOB

...mostly painted. Come on, the 'Raven is new!

My partner was an Imperial Guard player with tons of tanks, and tons of infantry.  He did field a large squad of Ogryns which is something you generally don’t see.  Good for him for not Leafblowing it up!  We ended up third to set up.  The only squad that received Red Thirst was the Sanguinary Guard.  They already had a Priest attached, but it’s still nice to know they would retain Furious Charge if the Priest died.  My Stormraven would show up on turn 2, carrying the Furioso and Sanguinary Guard.  Everything else would start on the table.

THE SETUP!


Table Quarters

Objectives

The above pictures show a snapshot of the table quarters and a couple of the objective markers.  The idea is to keep a troops choice within 3″ of an objective to claim that objective for the player turn.  At the end of each player turn the tally was counted and written on a scoreboard.  It was an awesome idea and one Rob should be commended on.  This really kept the stupid turn 5 mad-dash to the objectives at bay.  Blood Angels and Eldar have a distinct advantage in normal Apoc games; this keeps it fair all the way around.

...so I aimed my 2 Baals and Vindicator

..and our north end aimed at the Ork + Marine team

We really hadn’t planned on messing with the Ork & Marine team to the north end of us, but after our deployment the marine player decided to play one of his Strategic Asset cards on my Land Raider with Death Company + Chaplain.  This sent them back into reserve, which meant that they wouldn’t be coming in until turn 3 because my Stormraven with Furioso & Sanguinary Guard were going to show up turn two.  That changed my entire mindset, so I aimed everything from that point on at that particular team.  Sorry guys!  You may notice that one of my teammates transports is wrecked.  The Marine & Ork team also decided to use another Strategic Asset during our shooting phase.  This particular card forced me to fire my entire assault squad (dual melta!) at the closest target instead of the intended Deffrolla’.  That kind of sealed the deal.  The Angels were going for Orks & Marines!  To the left of our deployment zone, the Vindicator and two Baals blew lots of flying bugs off the table.  They were mearly a screen for and opponents Vanguard Vets + Priest + Chaplain (WHOA!) behind them.  My Devastators blasted a couple Vanguard though.  By the time those VV + Priest + Chap would get into combat, they were down to two Vets, Priest, and Chaplain.  Pretty good for a 160 point static shooty option.  Go Devs!

The Northern Front

Here you can see where I placed my Drop Pod with Deathwind Launcher.  Just enough to be annoying!  On the edge of the cliff to the far end, lots of Orks on Bikes.  YIKES!  Just past them is a Godhammer Landraider, and immediately next to them a Vindicator.  You can see my Assault Squad with Reclusiarch and Priest lined up in front.  You can see behind the cliff that there was a giant mob of orks.  Holy moly!  I know where my Furioso with Blood Talons is going!  During the SM + Ork turn the Defrolla’d the I.G. Squad.  The I.G. Death or Gloried, and blew off the Deffrolla!  A slew of Orks assaulted my assault squad along with a lone Chaplain.  My Reclusiarch and the opposing players Chaplin would duke it out, while my Priest and Assault Squad would smack each other.  My Priest + Assault Squad made short work of the orks.  One squad completely broke and ran, another made it out of combat because I had to consolidate around the Fearless Chaplain who finally lost his last wound due to 7 Fearless saves.  Fearless is a bane occasionally.  Shouldn’t have delayed that Landraider!

"Me fink imma Nekron! Gona' kill em' good!"

Our Northern Front opponents decided to take a play out of the Necron codex and teleport a gigantic squad near one of our objectives.  This objective happened to be held by quite a few very shooty elements.  I can only imagine the confusion an Ork must feel when it is happily going about it’s choppy business and some leader who’s mistakenly picked up a bit of Necron Wargear comes along and puts you in the exact wrong spot.  It wouldn’t be the last time a slew of Orks would vanish only to re-appear in the exact wrong spot.

"Guess they forgot the Rez Orb, Sergeant"

Here we see the aftermath of dropping in to the middle of assault cannons, I.G. gunlines, and pretty much everything else that can smoke an Ork in a heartbeat.  The 5 man assault squad hopped out of there Razorback for the Assault, assisted by a Sentinel.  Needless to say the Orks all died.  While I was away my partner shot a Dreadnought with one of my Razorback Assault Cannons for a Rend and a Wreck.  Good job D man!  Those pesky Drop Pods would Deathwind us until we finally decided to take care of them around turn 4 or 5.  I’m really starting to understand when Rob says 20 points for a ST5 Large Template ALWAYS makes it’s points back.  If it kills one of my marines it’s about 3 points from paying for itself.  I’m not entirely sold on Drop Pods with my style of play though – and I’m not entirely impressed with the one I used.  I feel that a single Attack Bike would have been a better choice than a 55 point minor inconvience.

Stormraven!

The Stormraven appears!  The twin linked Plasma Cannon takes out a few Tactical Marines.  I forgot to take pictures the next turn of the Furioso and Sanguinary Guard disembarking for assaults though.  Basically the Furioso went around the back of the cliff and assaulted a slew of Orks.  If you don’t know how Blood Talons work – here you go: Lightning Claws that produce another attack for every unsaved wound caused.  WS6, ST6, AV 13.  I think I produced something like 7 additional attacks + the original 3, which caused a failed leadership test and the Orks ran off the board.  It was pretty ridiculous.  The Ork Bikers (seen next to the orange Vindicator) would move close enough to my Raven’ for my Sanguinary Guard to assault.  The only stipulation was that I would have to clear out 6 or 7 Orks that were in the path of my assault before I could reach them.  My Hurricane Bolters, Plasma Cannons, and Multi-melta did the trick though.  The Sanguinary Guard + Priest shot and assaulted the entire bike squad!  What an epic battle!  I ended up loosing my entire Sanguinary Guard squad to power fist attacks, but killed all but the Warboss in return.  This left the Priest and Warboss locked in combat after all was said and done!  Even though they only lasted one assault, I think the Sanguinary Guard did and excellent job defeating a squad that could have really put a hurting on us.

"You wont like me when I'm angry!"

Back to the Eastern Theater of our deployment zone!  My Landraider with a full load of incredibly angry Death Company came in near one of our objectives.  Every now and then some Tyranids or that Vanguard Vet squad I talked about earlier would try to mess with it.  The Death Company smacked the Vanguard dead.  The Landraider shot any flying units that would try to distract.  Eventually some Genestealers popped up nearby and the Death Company had to deal with them.  If you’re unfamiliar, all DC are completely uncontrollable and have the Rage USR.  It’s fluffy, and fun!  The Chaplain is a major multiplier with re-rolls to hit AND wound on the charge when leading Death Company.  At WS5, Furious Charge, and Feel No Pain, Death Company are no laughing matter.  Everything they charged died before the Thunder Hammer could swing.  It’s unfortunate though Death Company, your job is to die.  Astorath will see you shortly.

And so the game went.  We ended up third because someone had to keep popping bugs up on one of our objectives which would prevent us from getting that point for the turn.  It didn’t help that my Razorbacks were just out of reach of two objectives near the end.  We did well though!  Dan was a fantastic partner!  He was fast, we work incredibly well together, and without his ability to knock out Dreadnoughts and take out tactical squads it would have been a different game entirely!  At the end of the game any surviving units could choose a Veteran Ability table to roll on (as found in the hardbound main Rulebook).  I choose my Furioso Dreadnought – and rolled a 5!!!  My Furioso will have Fleet for the next game!

Veteran Furioso Dreadnought

 

Playing Apocalypse with Four Teams: Vacillite Campaign part 2

Recently, we started an Apocalyptic campaign (you can read more about it here), but if you know me, I can’t ever do things simple.  I’m always looking for new ways to spruce up the game, whether it’s to try to balance out the army compositions or, in this case, make it a four-way battle.

Adding extra teams is easy.  You just have each team take turns in rotation, but with this strategy, doubling the teams also doubles the play time.  Since Apocalyptic games already take a full day, the question is, how do you accomodate more than two teams, but not make the game take any longer? 

My solution was to have teams play turns simultaneously.  During any given “turn” two teams will be moving, shooting, and assaulting.  During odd number turns, teams one and three would be active, and during even turns, teams two and four would be active.  That seems to simplify things a bit, and makes the game take no longer than it would with just two teams.  But it does raise some more questions–how do you handle conflicts?

Movement and shooting are fairly easy to handle, so let’s address them first.  In movement, nobody can move within an inch of an enemy model, so teams just move simultaneously (if you see an issue here, wait, it will be addressed, I promise).  For shooting, active teams need to resort to a different mindset: all shooting happens simultaneously in a turn.  If an “active” unit takes wounds and still hasn’t fired, lay the model on it’s side to remind you that the model can still shoot that phase.

But what happens if two active teams want to do conflicting actions in a given phase?  For example, what if Team 1 wants to assault team 3, but Team 3 wants to assault  another team? (see picture to the right)  If all teams can make their assaults succesfully, there’s no issue, but if Team 3’s assault would take it out of charge range for Team 1, what happens then?  (By the way, these conflicts are rare, but possible to come up in the movement phase as well).

While you could have those sort of changes diced off, or settled by initiative order, I opted to go another route.  During each turn, one active player was set as the “primary” team for that turn.  In the case of any disputes, the primary player got to move/charge first.  Primary teams rotated each turn so as to not make it unbalanced (ie. In the first and third turns, Teams 1 & 2 would be primary, and in the second and fourth turns, teams 3 & 4 would be primary).

So, to go back to our example diagram above.  If this conflict arose in and odd numbered turn, team 1 would succeed in their charge against Team 3–but in an even numbered turn, Team 3 would succeed in charging Team 2, and Team 1 would be left out in the cold (unless they could make the charge after Team 3 had already moved.

The actual board

With turns figured out, I moved on to how to tackle deployment.  Again, how do you handle deployment more teams without making it take more time?  The solution was simple:  First you divide the standard deployment zones in half (in effect, quartering the board), and for determining how units are deployed, we again used simultaneous deployment. 

Each time would bid their deployment time and, starting with the team that bid the highest, they would begin deployment.  After enough time had elapsed to account for the difference between their alotted time and the next highest bid, the next team would begin deployment.  This process would repeat until all teams were deploying models at the same time (if this is still unclear, the actual posted rules are below that give a good example of how the process works). 

This does change the tactics behind deployment, making bidding lower even better (which, in turn, accelerates the game).   Since each team normally can bid up to 30 minutes to deploy, and that seems to almost always result in at least one team bidding the max time (not because they need the full time, but because they want to go second), we also limited the maximum time bid to 20 minutes.

Both of these changes went rather well, but the accelerated deployment strategy was so successfull, we’ll be using this no matter how many teams will be playing.  With that strategy, we managed to take what was normally about a 45 minute deployment with two teams to a 10 minute deployment with four!  Beat that for efficiency!

So, without further adieu, here are the special rules for this scenario.  Keep in mind, these are addition to the standard Apocalypse rules we had already decided upon for the game

Terrain:

  • All Cover is on the board grants a default 4+ cover save
  • All green area counts as grass (clear terrain)
  • Trees in the green areas are incidental trees (not area terrain), which block LoS as normal, and are difficult terrain to move through
  • Hills (slopes) 1” high (or less—sloped or otherwise) count as clear terrain and do not take extra movement to scale.
  • Hills (slopes) greater than 1” high count as difficult terrain when going up or down them, but otherwise follow normal terrain rules while atop of them (eg. The tops of most green hills are clear terrain).
  • Other terrain rules are as follows:
    • All blue areas are water areas, which count as difficult terrain but DO NOT grant a cover save
    • All Dark Green felt areas (and GW forests) count as difficult terrain (woods) with cover
    • All Buildings are marked off with light brown felt and are considered ruins

Objectives:

Each deployment area has three objectives in it, denoted by tri-colored piles of “Vallicite” gems.  At this point, your forces don’t know the properties of these, so they just need to collect as much as they can to take back and study. 

  • Only troops can collect the gems—to do so, they must have at least one model within 3” of the objective and no enemy models within 3”.  Contested objectives do not allow for collection.
  • If a single squad of troops can stretch far enough to collect multiple piles, they will be allowed to score both in a single turn (assuming neither is contested).
  • Collection happens at the end of each turn, so each player will score victory points for holding objectives each turn.  This prevents a mad rush to capture objectives at the end.
  • The team to score the most objectives by the end of the game is declared the winner.

Game Turns:

With four teams, the game turns necessarily have to change.  During any given turn, two teams will be moving/shooting/assaulting at the same time.  Rules to allow for this are as follows:

  • Teams will be numbered 1-4.  On odd numbered turns, the odd numbered teams will be interacting, and on even numbered turns, even teams will go (so, on turn 1, teams 1 & 3 will move, shoot, and assault).  This does mean that in a five turn game, team 1 and 3 will get to go first twice—keep this advantage in mind when bidding for deployment.
  • Teams will alternate between who is the primary team for a given phase.  Primary teams will take precedence if conflicts arise during the movement and/or shooting phases.
  • All actions in a given phase are considered to have happened simultaneously.  For instance, if team 1 shoots a unit of Team 3’s, team 3 will still be able to return fire.  It’s best to lay such fallen models that haven’t yet had a chance to shoot on their side, to remind you that they’re still able to act once more that turn.
  • In some instances, there may be some debate as the order of actions.  For instance, if team 1 wants to move away from team 3’s model during the assault phase, who takes precedence?  For these cases, whichever team is considered primary for the turn will get to declare charges first.   In this example, if it was turn 1, team 3 would need to find another assault target.  If it was turn 3, team 1 would successfully complete the charge.

Deployment:

  • Standard Apoc deployment rules will be over-ridden for the purposes of the game.  Deployment areas are roped off with Orange tape. The table is also marked to indicate generally where deployment areas were in order to account for reserves.
    • “Short Board Edge” means the area where your two adjescent opponents deployed.
    • “Long Board Edge” means the area where you deployed, and the area opposite.
  • Four player deployment rules change the way units are deployed.  Please account for this when bidding for time.
    • Teams can bid between 0 and 20 minutes for deployment.  Ties will be handled by a d6 dice off, with the higher dice roll being added to the total deployment time of that team (not to exceed 20 minutes).
    • The team who bid the lowest amount of time will become #1, working their way up to team that bid the most as #4. 
    • After bidding, each team in numerical order will choose a deployment zone.  Team 4 will be stuck with the last available spot.  At this point each team will be allowed 10 minutes to move their models into position to expedite deployment (but they may not deploy any models).  Any pre-deployment (such as Tyranid Spore Mines) must be handled during this 10 minutes as well.
    • When deployment officially begins, a clock will start at 20 minutes.  Any team which bid 20 minutes (or more) can now begin deployment.  As the clock ticks down, to the respective number of remaining minutes for each other team, they may begin deploying their models as well.  In effect, all teams will deploy their models, “simultaneously.”
      • EXAMPLE:
        • Bids:
          • Bob bids 20 minutes
          • Kyle bids 15 minutes
          • George bids 15 minutes
          • Lisa bids 4 minutes
        • Team Order:
          • George and kyle tied in their bids, so they dice off.  George gets a 1 and kyle gets a 5.  George wins and becomes Team 2.
          • Team 1: Lisa (4 mins)
          • Team 2: George (15 mins)
          • Team 3: Kyle (20 mins)
          • Team 4: Lisa (20 mins)
        • Deployment begins with Kyle & Lisa.  Five minutes later, George can also start deployming models.  When there are only four minutes left, Lisa can begin her deployment.

The next post in this series will go into detail about how the game itself went, both from my own and from Tony’s perspectives.  This is the first time we’ll get two sides of a game on the blog, so I’m excited to see what comes of that (of course, there are four sides to this game… so you still won’t get the entire picture, will you?).

We’ll see!