Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Warhammer 40,000 Club League - Game 2 Result

Welcome fellow thowers of dice and brush brandishers, to the unstructured conclusion following my second game in our club 40K League. This won't take too long.

It appears that either I am much rustier than I believed initially, or that I have simply come up against the two best players in the club for games one and two. I am clinging doggedly to option two, and I have evidence to back this up, just so I know I am not fooling myself. In case you haven't already guessed from my opening, I lost game two...

My description of the game itself will be brief. We had diagonal deployment and 'The Relic' mission, which given the speed of my units didn't really suit my army, though the side of the table I chose ensured I had clear fields of fire to the Relic starting point at the centre of the table. This is something of a moot point however, as by the close of turn 3, I didn't have a thing left on the field. This should have made me sadder than it did, but it got to the point where it was so brutal it was actually funny. I thought so anyway...

The fact was simply that my army was outclassed. My opponent said himself during the game that his army of Salamanders was a time served tournament force, and so it was. Respect to him for the quality of his army selection.

Briefly, it comprised the following:

10 man Tactical Squad with Flamer, Multi-melta & Serg with Combi Flamer
Drop Pod

10 man Tactical Squad with Plasma Cannon and Melta Gun & Serg with Combi Melta

2 Attack Bikes with Multi-meltas
2 Attack Bikes with Multi-meltas

Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon

As you can see, a highly optimised list that worked exactly as it was meant to, and lethal at 1000 points.

The dice didn't really work in my favour at some points, but they did at others, which is why I never blame the dice for a defeat. They do tend to balance out over time I feel. Also, I can't help how the dice fall, so I have to address the points that I do have influence over, namely things like deployment and target selection.

I felt my targetting priority was just fine, I just seemed to lack the ability to hit the targets I knew I needed to, namely the Attack Bikes. I surmised that if I could take out the Attack Bikes before I lost any tanks, the tanks would have pretty much free reign to take apart the rest of his army while the thirty man infantry squad claimed the Relic, shooting as they went under Officers orders.

As it turned out, it was the first time I had faced a Drop Pod, and didn't realise that they don't scatter when they deploy, so I thought I had my back line covered, and I really didn't. The result was that Vulkan and his unit screamed onto the batlefield in turn one and toasted my Chimera, Command Squad and two out of three Lascannons in one go, but more importantly, put multiple Flamers and a resilient combat guru (Vulkan) right in my back field.

Obviously what I learned from this is to deploy closer to my baseline when facing Drop Pods to prevent them from deploying behind me. If they had been normal Deepstrikers, they would have been taking a big risk trying to land in the spaces I had left in my deployment zone, so there's lesson one for next time.

Now I have to say that with my Chimera being wrecked by Bolter fire, but the Veterans mounted aboard passing their Panic check, it could have been worse at the start of my turn 1. As it turned out, the Veterans and Platoon Command Squad with their four Flamers and three Melta Guns between them teamed up to take out nine out of the 10 Tactical Marines that had landed with Vulkan in a single shooting phase. Unfortunately it took two more turns to take out the last Tactical Marine who assaulted into combat, and I failed to wound Vulkan at all, what with his pesky 3+ Invulnerable save!

While this was going on, the rest of my army proved incapable of damaging the Attack Bikes speeding towards me. I really felt the loss of the Lascannons at this point. The Attack Bikes started shooting at close range on their turn two, which saw me lose the Leman Russ and the Demolisher Shaken and unable to fire the Demolisher Cannon - the one weapon that would Instant Kill the Bikes! The Demolisher blew on turn 3.

Over the game I falied miserably to harm my primary targets, and fluffed so many 5+ Flak Armour saves it may as well have been tissue paper, and wet tissue paper at that. I have played two League Games so far, and have yet to get a single shot off with a Sniper Rifle.

So, things to remember for future games:

Deploying the army closer together worked well, but more consideration should be given to the armour deployment - I think I should stick with the idea I had when drawing the list up and keep the tanks and Chimera together as a strike force. At this size of game, concentration of AV14 front armour attack should be more difficult for the enemy to deal with than it has been so far.

Deploy closer to the back line when facing Drop Pods, forcing them to land in front of my lines.

Don't forget to order 'Incoming!' if keeping my guys alive is more important than killing the enemy at that moment in time, then order then back up with 'Get Back in the fight!'

I have three more League games to play.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Wargaming Triage

Greetings once again fellow wargamers, and welcome. Leave the cold outside, your boots by the door and park yourselves in front of the fire.

Today, I would like to talk about something that I am sure we have all had experience of to some degree or other, and that my friends is what I like to call 'Wargaming Triage', also known as 'The Art of Repairing Stuff that was Broken'.

I quite like my term, because the models we are attempting to fix without gluing our fingers to each other or leaving the top layer of skin from our fingertips attached to inappropriate parts of a Slaanesh Keeper of Secrets body, are almost all soldiers and warriors of one form or another. It is fitting therefore to imagine them being stretchered away from the front lines to be patched up before being thrown once more into the fiery crucible of unending tabletop conflict.

Now, you are probably thinking about your own experiences of miniature surgery, which (like mine) may be many. A model can require repair for all sorts of reasons, but I have highlighted some of the most common I have come across below:

1. Damaged in Transit

This is the moment you arrive at the local games store/club/prestigious tournament and open the carry case or box that contains your army, only to find that when you lift away the carefully packed foam, parts of your models are dangling from the underside of it like weird costume earings. This then leads to a mix of embarrassment and questions buzzing around your head like 'Why me?' and 'What the hell did this bit drop off?', whilst as the same time scrambling for the glue and trying to look like you're in control and not panicking inside like a meat buyer for a large frozen ready meal manufacturer at a Sunday Horse Racing event.

2. 'Oafing'

Oafing is my word for when I or my opponent (or worse, an onlooker who isn't even involved in the game) reach for a mini/some dice/a tape measure etc, and inadvertently knock over a model. This will always be an old and rare metal miniature (held together by good will and successively built up layers of super glue from three decades), which then topples to the ground like the statue of some dictator, limbs, weapons and other assorted and now bent parts scattering all over the place.

If it's your model and you knocked it over, you will be angry with yourself, and may even shed a tear when you consider having to repair said miniature, after accepting that you will spend the rest of the game pushing around a base loaded with a pile of metal and plastic bits. It might help to keep with your gaming kit a tiny plastic wheel barrow for just this purpose.

If either you or your opponent oafed the other persons (prized and irreplaceable) model over, then you just stepped into what might be a shrug and getting on with the game, or it might be a whacking great grey area of gaming etiquette. Does the oaf offer to stop and repair the smashed miniature? Will there be screaming and shouting and accusations of attempted assassination? Will the owner of the broken mini respond in kind by back handing their opponents general across the room? Who can tell. Just remember, you're an adult. If you're going to throw a tantrum, do it in a dignified and controlled manner. Release tension with muttering under your breath if necessary. And if anyone says 'it's only a model', leave the room, fast, before you lose it and it becomes their arms and legs that need gluing back on.

3. Godzilla

Quite simply, this is when your pet (Ours is a cat. Why anyone thinks cats are agile and lithe is beyond me. Ours floats like a rhinocerous and stings like a papercut) decides for some unfathomable reason that crossing a room by walking on the floor is overrated, and elects to take the elevated route over shelves and display units.

It ends up oafing your finely converted and painted models into a graceless plummet from a great height onto the unforgiving laminate floor. Then, to compound your dismay, your partner tries to tell you that 'it's not their fault, they don't know what they're doing', as you kneel on the floor trying to go back over the footage of the impact in your mind to figure out where all the pieces went. All the time, the cat sits there grinning like an evil genius at you as your partner rubs it's ears. Damn you feline fiend...

4. Payback nudge

Second to worst way for models to get broken, because the weight the act carries with it can be a worry. The payback nudge is what happens when you find a model broken, perhaps on the floor, perhaps under some furniture, perhaps just sitting on a shelf with a stupid expression on it's face as if it doesn't realise it's arms are on the floor in front of it. Now this has got me thinking about my models like the Romans, Cowboys and Indians from the Night at the Museum films, running around waving plastic power swords and threatening each other with plastic melta guns. I need a holiday...

How it got like that may never truly be known, but when you just can't explain how the model got the way it was, have a long hard think about something you may have done that upset your partner. Did you forget a birthday or anniversary, or something more mundane, like forgetting it was your turn to cook dinner or empty the bins and just sat there reading White Dwarf while your partner did it, an evil glint in her/his eye and cruel revenge on their mind. When you stand near them, be sure to listen for gears turning...

5. Avalanche!

An avalanche is by far the worst way that models can get damaged, for several reasons. The obvious one is that an avalanche typically involves a vast number of models in a box or case ending up falling from a shelf, table, rickety folding stool or heaven forbid, top step, and crashing to the floor with with the savageness of a herd of charging teens at a Justin Bieber concert. It's like the aftermath of tornado, bits laying randomly all over the place. The most painful bit is when you gingerly open the carry case, and hear the teeny tiny broken pieces of your army tinkling their way to oblivion in the darkness between the glued in foam layers, never to be seen again.

Another reason that an avalanche is the worst way for models to get damage is when you realise that it will take hours, nay days, just to find all the bits and work out what goes where, and that's before you even start putting stuff back together. If you're like me, with a collection that spans the decades, some of your models will be new plastic ones and can sometimes survive falls that would obliterate another model, but others are either part plastic and part metal or even all metal, and these require major attention.

The last reason I would like to add explaining why an avalanche is the worst thing that can happen, is that it always seems to happen to me in the middle of the night, probably as part of an escalated 'Godzilla' situation, and I am not one of those people that can sleep knowing that I have a pile of models sitting there on the floor and not knowing at least how bad the damage is and where all the pieces are.

I will end with my worst and most enduring memory of a model being broken. It was a couple of years ago now. I had recently completed work on what, at that time, was my masterpiece: my converted Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. It used the Gulavhar model from The Lord Of The Rings game as it's base, with a head from a Chaos Spawn that was filed and greenstuffed into position, the crab claw hand from a very old Keeper of Secrets model, and a really big sword made of about four pieces from various other swords to make it suitably large and choppy. The base was made from a piece of MDF cut to size and layered around the rock that the model stands on with filler, and decorated with heads, arrows and broken shields.

It was complete, it was painted and I had spent weeks putting it all together. The cat did it. It was oafed from the edge of a bureau and fell about four and a half feet onto a hard laminate floor, where it smashed to pieces like Wesley Snipes head at the end of Demolition Man, bits scattering in every direction.

I really wanted to cry, and in my mind I was already shoving the screeching cat out of the first floor window, heedless of the scratching and biting.

My wife was watching all of this. I swallowed my rage and fear and the grief that only a collector of wargaming miniatures can understand, and spent an extended period of time on my hands and knees looking for the bits. The last one, a piece of the sword, wasn't found for several days.

The moral of the post is this: Be careful with your and other peoples models. Store them very carefully, expect the unexpected threat to their safety and your sanity, and never leave the house without a set of small files and a bottle of superglue.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Storm of Chaos - Eye of the Storm - Part 3

Greetings all, and welcome on this glorious Monday morning to the final part of my three part 'this is where I think the action should go' fan fiction for playing games following the lifting of the Seige of Middenheim at the climax of the Storm of Chaos Campaign.

I have deliberately saved the most important factions till last, but before I begin, I will try to pre-empt two questions readers may ask, especially those who were there for the campaign itself.

Firstly, I haven't written fluff for every race in the game or that was included in some way in the original campaign. This is because one of the things I dislike about such affairs is when the organisers try and shoe horn every single race and faction into the story and sometimes it just isn't appropriate and doesn't benefit the story in my opinion. Therefore I have only included the races that would be directly involved in the fighting in the Empire, which would make the action more cohesive. Other races could of course play a part, but as bit players and journeymen rather than as main protagonists.

The second is regarding my decision to include the Ogre Kingdoms. The Ogres didn't feature in the original Storm of Chaos campaign, because at the time they weren't even a playable army, but I think my reasoning is sound.

My decision to include the Ogres was twofold: The first reason is the fact that the timeline year is currently one year before the Storm of Chaos took place and the Ogres are now a well established race means that if the campaign were to be re-run, it would be natural for them to be included. The second reason is that the Rulebook background is drawing the Ogres ever closer to the Old World - many Tribes have already arrived - and that Grimgor Ironhide is trying to recruit them to his cause.

This second reason in particular sets the stage for both the Ogres and the Orcs and Goblins to be major players in any post Storm action, and the rest of the factions will be fighting simply for survival if they join their forces to any significant degree.

Without further justification, here are the final four pieces of fluff:

The Ogre Kingdoms

From the northern Dwarf holds of the Worlds Edge Mountains to the rickety watch towers of the Goblin Tribes of Peak Pass and Mount Gunbad, lookouts have spied great columns of dust out across the plains of the Dark Lands. For weeks these clouds of dust have been visible, but their source has been a mystery until now.

First there came great tides of lesser creatures, game animals, and tribes of Goblins, heading west towards the Old World. The frantic Wolf Riders of the Goblins brought with them tales of an immense and insatiable creature from further east, all tusks and grumbling belly, that devoured everything in it’s path, save those who could offer mounds of gold and glimmering trinkets, or else lead it to even more sustenance, and afterwards it would devour those as well! On and on the rumors of the creature came, ever westwards, ever hungry.

It was the Rangers of Clan Elriksson that brought the truth of this creature. Moving fast, well armed, and with great furred beasts of the Mountains of Mourn in tow, a great migration of Ogre tribes were on the move. Far to the east, in the foothills of the Mountains of Mourn, the Rangers witnessed an exchange between a Warband of Orcs, and the Paymasters of Greasus Goldtooth, the Gutlord himself. The Orcs, carrying with them a standard bearing the tribal emblems of Grimgor Ironhide, had driven a team of four hulking Squiggoths across the plains, dragging behind them a huge and ramshakled wooden wagon, plated with rusted iron, and loaded to bursting with gold taken in plunder from all the races of the Old World. The creaking wagon was mounted with sharpened stakes along it’s high sides, each of which impaled the diminutive bodies of Gnoblars, stacked one on top of the other: those who tried, foolishly, to steal the treasure horde of Grimgor, destined for the Lord of all the Ogre Tribes. This spectacular treasure, offered by a muscled and armed Orc Warboss in exchange for marching his warriors west to war in the Old World, was accepted. However, the bargain was not sealed with blood until the Orcs had agreed to also give over the Squiggoths, to bless the feast table of the Goldtooth and his warriors.

Several hours later, after much belching and butting, and Greasus Goldtooth had finished picking the last strings of Orc flesh from between his yellowing tusks, he announced that the bargain was made, they would march west over the Worlds Edge Mountains, to war…

The armies of Manfred von Carstein

Having scattered the remnants of Archaon’s forces at Sokh, Manfred has marched his army east. The naive leaders of the Empire, which had themselves failed to take Sokh after bitter street fighting, believed Manfred’s ‘retreat’ to be due to the defiance of the Grand Theogonist, Volkmar, but in truth, he knew he needed to protect his centre, and the vast power and knowledge stored there, from the encroachment of the hordes of Vardek Crom into Sylvania.

As Manfred turned and rode away from Middenheim, there was in fact an evil grin seeping across his pale visage, for armies under the command of his most trusted lieutenants had already marched across the borders of Sylvania into the eastern Empire States of war ravaged Ostermark, hated Stirland and Talabecland. The humans could never comprehend his great ambitions, for they were short lived and thought in terms of weeks and months, not the years, decades and even centuries his complex plans could encompass. There was one pressing consideration though. With the vast size of his forces, he must have a victory, to reinforce his dominance and keep the Vampires of his horde in order.

Trust among Vampires is a fallacy in purest form though, and whether Manfred is able to retain control of his lieutenants without his direct influence remains to be seen. It has ever been the way with Vampire kind that they rule through fear rather than loyalty, and only the strongest of wills can ensure their continued obedience...

Will the depleted but jubilant forces of an Empire and its allies battered by war be able to counter this new and terrible threat, or will the Empire finally fall to the cold machinations of the Vampire Counts?

The Empire

The Empire was in turmoil. Though the siege of the city of the White Wolf had been broken, and the forces of Archaon forced into retreat, the Warlord himself still lived. He was surrounded within the virtually impregnable fortress of Brass Keep, his greatest surviving warriors gathered about him and the walls of the edifice protected further by vile enchantments. Valten was gone, and none knew for sure where, but those who knew of the manner of his disappearance feared the worst. Some of the nobility with an eye on the throne themselves muttered in muted whispers about how conveniently this challenge to Karl Franz position had so neatly been removed.

Despite the hardships the Imperial forces had suffered, now was not the time to fall to complacency, and Karl Franz had ordered a mustering of the remaining Empire forces, bolstered by reinforcements from the southern States spared the horror of the war thus far. A decisive push must be made to cleanse the land of the forces of Chaos and drive them back to whence they came, or destroy them utterly. Archaon himself must die, so that he would have no chance to reorder his forces and plunge the Empire once more into bitter war. The northern States that had borne the brunt of the fighting were in ruin, and great was the task of rebuilding ahead of them. The roving bands of Beastmen and fur clad Marauders must be hunted down, and any treacherous men of the Empire who, in their darkest hour had thrown their lot in with the forces of the enemy, must be put to the sword as well, lest their taint be allowed to spread.

An army had already been dispatched, heavy with Priests and Witch Hunters, east towards Stirland and far Sylvania. Now that the threat of the Vampire Counts hung once more over their heads, that too must be addressed and ended for all time. Now, while they were on the front foot, the forces of the Empire could be victorious, but it was a hard task to come.

As Karl Franz stood in council around the map table before him and his generals, an outrider entered the tent. He looked worn and short of breath. From within a leather satchel he drew forth a rolled parchment, and kneeling he held it out for the Emperor. Karl Franz took the roll and unfurled it, scanning down the script within. The news was grave. The Orcs were marching south, towards Altdorf...

The Forces of Chaos

Archaon roared in pain. His head swam with terrible images and sounds, and felt as if all the power of Chaos threatened to burst his skull asunder. His body was equally wracked with pain, and it contorted and cracked into unfathomable shapes as the displeasure of the Chaos gods manifest itself. Being the favoured of the four greater deities brought almost limitless power, but it also meant that failure invited punishment from all four as well. His body, verging on the immortal, could withstand far greater physical damage than any simple man, forcing him to endure unimaginable agony while his life force refused to expire. The anger and the will that had brought him so far, down the path of long years, sustained him. It bubbled slowly from deep within him until it began to overcome the pain and the noise.

The malicious deities beyond the veil, a hairs breadth from the material realm, sensed the strength that remained deep within their defeated champion, sensed that, though brought low, the will that had brought him to them endured. It smouldered. They could still achieve their goals through him, though they must commit a portion of their own being to restore their champion...he was not like those champions who had gone before. He was of them, and his hatred burned hotter than the deepest hell.

...Slowly, and with great effort, Archaon, Lord of the End Times rose to his feet. Now he knew how close he had come to oblivion. It did not do to fail the very powers that had given him his chance to have his vengeance on the Empire. He had underestimated his enemy, thought his forces unstoppable. Now he knew better, knew what he faced, knew what waited should he fail once more...now there would be a reckoning. He strode from the chamber...

As always, thanks for reading...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Storm of Chaos - Eye of the Storm - Part 2

Welcome once more, and may I present to you Part 2 of the fan fiction written for each of the main protagonist races for gaming following the Storm of Chaos campaign.

Last time, I gave my view on where the Orcs, Skaven and Bretonnians may have found themselves after the Seige of Middenheim, and now I present to you the fluff for the Beastmen, Dwarfs, High Elves and Wood Elves. Next time, in the final part, I will present the material for the Empire, Ogre Kingdoms, Manfred's Sylvanians and finally, Archaons Forces.


The insatiable warherds that took part in the great invasion of the hated human Empire, led by the forces of the northman Archaon, took great satisfaction from the enraged bloodletting that saw the northern provinces ravaged. However, the Everchosen proved too weak, underestimating his enemy, and was now at bay, cornered like an animal within the pile of stones the humans called Brass Keep. Who was this Archaon? A mere man, who thought himself the Chosen of Chaos, when it was the Blessed Children of the deepest forests that were the true chosen of Chaos! The herds had been mustered in secret over many months, massing in numbers greater than ever before. The great beasts of the dark places had been roused to anger, and now the Beastmen were ready to finally take back what once was theirs, tearing down the pitiful cities of human kind as they went, in an unstoppable roaring, gnashing tide of destruction that would see the end of men in this world.

The northern Empire had been weakened by Archaon’s assault, and now the time was ripe. The numberless beastherds, joined by rampaging Ghorgons, insane Cygor and horrific Jaberslythe, would sweep across the northern Empire, razing utterly those places that still stood defiant, before they could rebuild their defences and call forth more warriors from the south. After the destruction of the north was complete, they would turn to the destruction of the rest of the Empire, and after that all the nations of men, Dwarfs and Elves beyond the mountains. The time of the Beastmen was here...


Garagrim Ironfist, heir to the throne of the Slayer Keep, is dead. His Father, Ungrim, beside himself with grief, and torn between his duty to lead his people and his oath as a slayer, has halted after the breaking of the siege of Middenheim, allowing his forces to reorder themselves and re-equip for the fight ahead. They have been joined by hundreds more slayers from the length and breadth of the Worlds Edge Mountains, only now completing long journeys from the south.

There is much debate within the Slayer Kings war council about the direction they should take now that Archaon’s forces have been forced into retreat. Dwarf armies march to defend their holds or to the aid of their human allies across the Empire, lending their skill to the rebuilding or shoring up of shoddy man made fortifications, but rumours have reached the ears of the Slayer King of a might horde of Ogres from far to the east which have crossed the Worlds Edge Mountains to the south, and now threaten the eastern Empire and the Dwarf holds of the region. Confronting such a force would earn many slayers a worthy end indeed, but having amassed such an army of Slayers as had never been seen before, many would have Ungrim march his army to the Eight Peaks, and attempt to regain the ancient city, greatest of Dwarf holds, an endeavour which would also assuredly see many Slayers fulfil their oaths. This course also promises the chance to return the city to Dwarven hands at long last.

Ungrim knows well that whatever the decision he makes, the repercussions will echo down the ages...

High Elves

Throughout the war, small contingents of High Elves lent support against the forces of Archaon where they could. Though they were few in number, their spears were welcome wherever they joined the forces of men and Dwarfs. Perhaps a tale that will be told unto the end of time in the annals of history, the greatest achievement of the High Mage Teclis was the banishment of the host of Daemons led by the Dark Master, Belakor. Not since the first war against Chaos has such power been unleashed in the world. There is no doubt in the minds of some that Middenheim would have fallen had this terrible force reached the walls, and the people of the Empire will always owe a debt to the High Elves for this significant intervention.

As Karl Franz holds council to decide how best to combat the foes that still beset the Empire, and in particular regard to how Archaon himself should be dealt with, surely the sage council of Teclis will prove invaluable. As Teclis himself considers the many paths that the coming months may take, he has become acutely aware of the power that has been unleashed in Sylvania, and the fate that follows Manfred von Carstein, a fate that may see even greater death and horror than that which was unleashed by the Everchosen...could it be that Teclis and the Vampyre must face each other before the end?

Wood Elves

The Summer has passed. Its raging infernos that consumed our forest as beasts burned, rampaged and rutted amongst the ashes is over for now. Though our realms are a withered husk of what they were, we made the tainted invaders pay with rivers of blood for every step they took, every forest despoiled and every one of our own they cut down in battle. The seasons turn, Autumn calls, and with it our last chance to chase them from our lands before we are too weak to defend ourselves. The king and his wild hunt call out to us 'Come drive them before us!', 'Come, let us finally crush the lord of skulls and drive his corrupting presence from our lands!', 'Come, let us rejoice in the slaughter of the unworthy, so their blood may nourish us in spring!’

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Storm of Chaos - Eye of the Storm

Greetings traveller, and welcome to part one of the follow up to my posts on Worldwide Campaigns.

I promised that I would be posting the sections of background that were written by me and other contributors to be used as a jumping off point for playing games of Warhammer after the Seige of Middenheim, which formed the climax of the Storm of Chaos Campaign. This will possibly, at some point, if I ever get round to it, form the nucleus of a Source Book for playing in that setting. Rather than trying to fix some of the glaring mis-steps that were written into the 'official' conclusions to try and fix the various story problems that manifest themselves at the end of the campaign, I have tried to put a twist on them where necessary instead, to give gamers something that we can work with that allows all factions involved to move forward with purpose.

Your comments are welcome, so let me know what you think. I'll start you off with the first few factions:

Storm of Chaos – The Eye of the Storm

The condition and disposition of the various factions following the lifting of the siege of Middenheim

The Orcs of Gimgor Ironhide

Grimgor Ironhide, mightiest Orc Warlord of the age, was seething with rage. Of every promise he ever heard roared across a battlefield, every challenge laid down by the warmongering cries of a mighty champion, every upstart proclaiming himself the doom of all other warriors, Archaon, the supposed Lord of the End Times, top Chaos boy, had been the biggest disappointment.

By the time Grimgor and his Immortulz had hacked their way to the heart of the mighty battle of Middenheim, hewing their way through screaming Flagellants and spiky Chaos boys, their leader was already battered and bruised after a fight with two other humies, but he’d beaten them both, but the fight he offered Grimgor was utterly disheartening.

How did such a weakling ever become the leader of such a vast horde of warriors? Surely the quality of the northern tribes of men must be pretty low for this man to rise so high? Having laid the Everchosen low with a mighty ‘edbut and the flat of Gitsnik’s heavy blade, Grimgor turned his army around and withdrew from this vexing waste of his time. Muttering to himself as his boys hacked and slashed their way clear of the fighting, Grimgor wracked his Orcish brain for the answer to his lifelong question. Where would he ever find a challenge worthy of his blade? Where could he go to find the greatest fighters he could possibly face?

As he finished battering a shrieking Flagellant into the mud with a length of wood he didn’t remember picking up, the spiky end of it caught his gaze. It had human words scratched on it. Wiping away the Flagellants blood he struggled to make out the name on what he now saw was a signpost....Alt-dorf? That was the human boys big city to the south. If they’d managed to beat the Chaos boys here, then the Empire must have even better fighters than the Chaos lot, and they would muster every blade to defend their big important city. Grimgor extended his muscled green arm, and with a roar and the pointing of a dirty claw, turned his army south...

The Skaven

The Council Chamber was in complete uproar. Fur stood on end, and tails swished agitatedly. The Council endorsed plan to utilise Clan Skyre’s super weapon, the lauded ‘Doom Hemisphere’, had failed to annihilate the mountain and the fortified human warren that sat atop it. Instead it had only partially exploded, warping and fusing the tunnels beneath the great rock into labyrinthine new forms. The device itself was now lost somewhere within the newly created maze, though even now, gutter runners of Clan Eshin had been despatched to try and find the device.

The shrieks of treachery and sabotage that had been levelled at Clan Skyre themselves had been defeaning, and it had almost come to bloodshed on several occasions, until the Council had restored order, the Storm Vermin guards brandishing their blades menacingly until the clamour abated. The fact remained that armies of many thousands of Skaven warriors were in place to attack. Beasts of every description had been herded to the underways beneath the city the humans called Middenheim in their hundreds. If they did not attack now, then the vast resources expended gathering so many Skaven and so much support into a single place would be wasted as all sense of order and purpose gave way to infighting and the Councils meticulously laid plans dissolved into nothing. The human Empire above was in turmoil, now was the Skaven’s time. This city would have to be taken the old fashioned way, by sneaking up on the humans from beneath and taking them by suprise. The order would be given. They would attack...


After battling alongside their human and Dwarf allies in the defence of the Empire from the vast hordes of Archaon, and distinguishing themselves at the Siege of Middenheim, the Knights of Bretonnia are in high spirits, jubilant in their hard won glory, though little of that spirit seems to be present in the peasantry who marched to the Empire’s aid in the wake of their noble masters. They appear as downtrodden and dishevelled as ever. Now that the siege has been lifted and the forces of Archaon forced into retreat, the Knights of Bretonnia seek further challenges to test their metal against.

The chasing down of bandits and the broken remnants of the enemy force beneath their interest, the Bretonnians turn their thoughts instead to the newly emerged threat from Sylvania. Many are the tales of that blighted realm that have found their way to Bretonnian tap rooms over the centuries, and such a challenge as the notorious line of the von Carsteins would indeed be a test worthy of the gallant elite of fair Bretonnia. It is also rumoured that a vast army of Ogres marches from the east, from beyond the Worlds Edge Mountains, and an entire army of such monsters is too much for any true knight of Bretonnia to resist. And so, word has spread amongst the legions of young knights eager to prove themselves in their eyes of both their piers and the Lady of the Lake. Never before will the dank and decrepit province of Sylvania have seen such a muster of splendour as the army of Knights marches to finally free the people of that benighted realm from the curse of the Vampire Counts...

Thanks for reading...

Friday, 8 February 2013

Warhammer 40,000 Club League - Game 1 Result

Good day to you all, and thank you for joining me once again.

Today, we lament the unfortunate loss suffered by my Imperial Guard at the hands of one of the club's top players and his despicable Tau. Yes, I lost my first League game. Am I bitter? No. A little disappointed maybe, especially as I got off to a flying start by taking out his Broadsides on turn one, but after that it became a bit of struggle.

I have to be honest with myself and admit that for me to win would have been a bit of an upset anyway. I'm out of practice, have only played three games in 6th edition 40K, and my opponent has only lost one of his League games so far. The important question I need to ask is 'what did I learn?'.
Well, I am pleased to say I learned plenty, about my army and about how I play the game.

I learned that I was right to target the Broadsides and Hammerhead early, as they were the biggest threat to my tanks. One thing I learned is that Tau skimmers with Disruption pods are very bloody hard to kill, what with having a 3+ cover save, and 2+ moving flat out! The Hammerhead ended the game on 1 hull point left at the end of turn 6. The fact is that long range high strength guns don't have a high enough rate of fire to take down such a target without a lot of luck. They need to be engaged close up, point blank in fact, and I just wasn't equipped to move that fast.

I learned about improving my depolyment, and connected to that, the placing of objectives. This is really something new to 6th edition  and the placing of objectives is a game in itself. We had three objectives, and I got to place two of them, and I placed them both in my own half of the table.

The mistake I made was placing them too far apart, because of a fear of losing them both in one go if things went really badly in one area of the table. The other side of the coin was that I had to split my army to cover them both, which I managed for a few turns, but in the end I would have been much better off placing them closer together so my various units could cover each other and concentrate fire better.

I could moan and whine about bad dice, but I won't because dice tend to balance out. Having said that, some dice rolls are more important than others. Like the three failed cover saves that saw my Lascannon squad die and ended my chances of taking down the Hammerhead once and for all. Such is the nature of the beast I guess.

The thing that had the biggest impact was the diagonal deployment, which placed our lines at about 40" apart instead of 24-30", and effectively neutering my Demolisher and Lasguns, especially after it lost its Lascannon. That 72" range on the Railguns, combined with an armour 13 skimmer with a 3+ cover save is a real nightmare when you don't have anything that can move fast enough to engage it close up, especially when losing Tanks in the 'Big Guns Never Tire' mission gives away extra victory points.

One game down, four more to go. Now I just have to take what I learned and use it to forge a victory in the next game. I'm facing Marines next.

One last item for you which became a running joke. Both of us had an objective in our own deployment zones, held from turn one, which both turned out to be Sabotage! objectives. The game lasted six turns, and between us we rolled twenty four dice, and not once did we roll the '1' that would have seen one blow up...

Wish me luck, and thanks for reading...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Warhammer 40,000 Club League

Greetings and a warm welcome fellow wargaming enthusiasts.
I have decided to blog about the next development in my integration into the local gaming club I joined towards the back end of 2012.

I have been coerced, nay, down right ordered to take part in the club 40K league. This league includes several club regulars, and requires us to present  a 1000 point list for use throughout the league. Initially, we are to play each of the other armies in the league once.

Lists are to be selected with all the usual restrictions, and cannot be changed between battles, so I guess a balanced approach is appropriate, especially as we will be rolling up missions as normal.
There is one extra consideration when list building however. Points will be scored as follows:

Victory - 2 points
Draw - 1 point
Major Victory
(ie. Hold all objectives or wipe out the enemy) - 4 points

So plainly there is an incentive to win big rather than play safe and go for a last turn snatch for just enough points to claim the scalp. Winning is better than losing of course, but scraping wins won't get you into the top spots in the league.

With all of this in mind, I set about choosing my 1000 point list. I decided, being as I have no current preferences for which army I wanted to use, and I haven't had any chance to even finish reading the new Dark Angels codex, let alone consider it's effect on how the army plays, I decided to go with my Imperial Guard. Coincidentally, it was my Imperial Guard that I used in the war (club tournament) of 2010 at the gaming club I used to attend, and I think that they have the right stuff to go the distance at this points level.

Here is the list I settled on, after much online hammering to get it the right shape and consistency:

Company Command - 75 points
Commander with melta bombs (the last of my points bought these)
4 Sniper rifles

This squad is for support, to disrupt the enemy and hit high toughness targets using the Bring it Down order, which allows me to save high strength weapons for hitting armour.

Platoon Command - 50 points
Officer, 4 Flamers.
Pure counter attacking unit, for use vs enemy that break through the infantry squads or flankers.

Infantry Squad - 107 points
Bolt pistol, melta gun, autocannon, Commissar.

Infantry Squad - 70 points
Melta gun, autocannon.

Infantry Squad - 65 points
Autocannon, flamer

These 3 squads will combine to maximise the high Ld of the Commissar. The guns are selected to give high strength punch, but also short range anti armour, plus a flamer for stuff like gaunts and orks about to jump down my throat. I love flamers!

Veterans - 100 points
3 melta guns

Chimera - 80 points
Heavy flamer, heavy bolter, dozer, extra armour.
Vets mounted in Chimera to go off tank hunting. Extra armour to help them keep moving for a melta rush.

Leman Russ - 165 points

Demolisher - 180 points

Both tanks to engage key targets, especially vehicles and high save units.

Lascannon Squad - 105 points
3 Lascannons

Lascannons to take the second order from the Company Commander and target enemy armour.

I have selected models subject to advice from various sources and the restrictions of my collection. After going through the process of writing a list with online critique, I really should write a short post about the terrors of posting lists online for opinions.

Now my friends, I am under no illusions. I not the General Supremo I was ten years ago, simply because I am out of practice, so this will be a learning project for me. It may have been good fun to use a different army in every game at the club so far, but that approach wasn't allowing me to really get to grips with a single force. In the last event of this type, I finished 4th out of 11 players, again because I was a casual gamer, playing for fun, against seasoned players battling week in week out. 

My first game is this tomorrow, vs Tau. Lets see how I fare.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, 1 February 2013

Worldwide Campaigns - Part 2

Welcome back one and all, to part 2 of my rant...I mean summary, of the phenomenon that was the Games Workshop world wide campaign! I am relieved that if you are reading this, then at least someone decided that part 2 couldn't possibly be worse than part 1.

Below is what remains on the list of events that we have not yet covered. The next event in particular I consider to be of major significance, a turning point in the history of the world wide campaign.

2004 - Storm of Chaos (Warhammer)
2005 - The War of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game)
2006 - The Fall of Medusa V (Warhammer 40,000)
2007 - The Nemesis Crown (Warhammer)
2011 - Scourge of the Storm (Warhammer)

So, we come to it, the event that inspired this topic, and has generated by far the greatest volume of debate and controversy. Even though it is seven years this year since the Storm of Chaos took (or didn't take) place, we still see the odd thread pop up in one of the various background forums from either someone who saw things go down and has questions, or a gamer who wasn't there and is appealing to the Loremasters for enlightenment.

I will talk more about this event than any of the others, because this is the biggy, so I apologise for that, but the Storm of Chaos was 'the daddy' as far as significance goes. I will say that I speak, as usual, from my own point of view, as a lover of stories, and with the considerable benefit of hindsight.

A couple of things you have to bear in mind about this event are that it was set in the Old World, the very heart of the Warhammer setting (not an Island in the middle of the Ocean, or on a far flung planet created specially for a war to be waged over), and that, at least in the beginning there was the promise that we as participants could affect the background of the Warhammer setting itself, by our actions in the campaign.

This was an amazing opportunity for anyone like myself, who places a high value on the story behind the games.

Now, there was an awful lot of ground work done in the lead up to the campaign, including linking back to some very old material, and I commend the writers for that. The story itself was great - up to a point.

I have read and re-read most of the material for the campaign, as I am lucky enough to have been able to preserve or locate much of what was made available at the time, and there was plenty of it!
As well as all the lead up stories, battle reports and special characters used as plot drivers, there was a day by day account of the war penned by Gav Thorpe, and the conclusions presented on the website which followed the end of the campaign proper.

Despite all of the work that went into the event, the quality of (most of) the material and the amount of control of the battles themselves given over to the participants, when the dust had settled and the conclusions written, it was clear that something had gone terribly wrong.

My recollection of the events are that the direction the campaign took was not what GW had envisaged. The forces comprising and supporting Archaon's drive across the northern Empire towards mighty Middenheim was fragmented and seemingly not as coordinated that that of the defenders of the Empire. The Orc players, who may have been expected to take the side of disorder, conducted a focussed attack on the forces of Archaon. The Empire meanwhile enjoyed spectacular success, which it is claimed was not represented in the evolving story.

The fact was that, for many reasons, the story that formed the backbone of the campaign was not being played out on the table. The Chaos invasion force was overall struggling to make headway towards their goal, and rather than let it turn into a damp squib of an assault by the armies of the Everchosen, it is claimed that the story was used to drive the action, and Archaon towards Middenheim, where actual battle results were failing to do so.

This created a situation where people felt that ths story was not being influenced by their actions as it should have been, and this feeling was compounded by the conclusions that were written following the end of the tabletop conflict.

There were, to my recollection, three particular items within post campaign conclusions that really sealed the fate of the campaign, and by extension, the concept of the Worldwide Campaign as a story development tool.

First, we had Belakor, the first Daemon Prince and Dark Master from the Dark Shadows Campaign and his entire Daemonic army banished by the Elven Loremaster Teclis. Just like that, they were dust.
Second, we had the big battle that a large part of the campaign plot had been building towards, Valten's army of zealots and Karl Franz's army engaging the forces of Chaos. Archaon laid low both Luther Huss, 'prophet' of Valten, the incarnation of Sigmar reborn, only for the Everchosen to be slapped silly by Grimgor Ironhide, who then, in a very un-Orcy fashion, decided that it was enough to have defeated Archaon, and let him live!!!

Last, and most grating for me as a Vampire Counts player, was the tale of Manfred von Carstein and his part in the war, which in the conclusion began when he arrived at the village of Sokh where the hard core of Archaons remaining forces had repulsed attacks by the Empire army.

Manfred's forces swept through the village, decimating the Chaos forces and driving the survivors into retreat. After this, he squared up to the Empire generals, ready to destroy them, and after a cinematic but wholly unrealistic exchange of words with the now resurrected Volkmar the Grim (previously slain by Archaon and then brought back from the dead by Belakor), Manfred turns his army around and marches away without a fight!

I'm sure there are other things that people could name, but those are the things that stick in my mind. The final nail in the coffin though, was that the entire campaign had no impact on the game setting at all, as ever afterwards, bit by bit any reference to it having taken place has been erased, and the clock in the current big rulebook timeline has been wound back to the year before the invasion. Every current source now says that the largest Chaos invasion in history is on the horizon.

I should stop at this point and pass on to you, dear reader, something that I have deduced after reading the campaign background material, specifically the Loremasters Journal, in order to be fair to Gav Thorpe at least. Part of the problem with the campaign was that the Chaos invasion forces seemed to lack the cohesion and direction of their enemies, but when you read the day by day account (at least the way I read it), it is littered with prompts and nudges. These hints roughly equate to Gav saying "you've spent far too much time fighting for this inconsequencial backwater, Middenheim is the prize" and to quote Richard Obrien in his Crystal Maze days, "On to the next Zone!".

Whether these really are hints, and could have been picked up on at the time, or whether my madness has found a new way to manifest itself I just can't say, but if you get the chance to read the Loremasters Journal, see what you think.

So where does this now leave us? Will the Storm of Chaos break at some point in the future? Or has the wheel of time ceased to turn and the Warhammer setting is now stuck in a paradoxical End Time that will never actually come because the clock has stopped before it is due to be unleashed? I know what I think.

And what did the experience of the Storm of Chaos campaign teach Games Workshop? Well I think it taught them something fairly obvious: you shouldn't put vast, epic and fundamentally world shattering events in the hands of fate (or wargamers) and beyond your own control. This is what they said they were doing with the Storm of Chaos, and when it didn't work out, they had (I suppose were forced) to take the necessary action to preserve the game background. Unfortunately this somewhat undermined one of the big attractions of taking part in the first place.

Now then, we can clearly see the impact of the lessons learned in the worldwide campaigns that followed, which I shall skim over because that's all they really warrant, and to prevent this post running into a third part.

The War of the Ring I can't comment on, but I am sure it would have been a great marketing excercise.

The Fall of Medusa V for 40K and the Nemesis Crown for Fantasy were both far simpler than the Storm of Chaos, with main plots that were all but predetermined and just needed a final decison to be reached about which participating faction managed to best achieve their allotted goals before the campaign ended. Both were launched with a free booklet with White Dwarf (thank you again GW), and accompanied by campaign websites.

Medusa V revolved around a planet created specially by GW so that it could be destroyed, and it was clear the planet was doomed from the start, about to be swallowed by the Warp Storm named Van Grothes Rapidity. The campaign included opportunities for every race pretty much to be played, which will always create a story that is hard to justify convincingly. There just isn't any good reason or even likely possibility that every race will have interest in a single world all at once.

The Nemesis Crown was not a high impact high potential damage campaign like the Storm of Chaos. It essentially revolved around the hunt by various races for a single magic item: a rathed potent shiny hat. Of course the Crown had the potential to destroy the universe, but this would never have been allowed to happen. Suffice to say that this campaign was never in a position to influence the game background.

The Scourge of the Storm campaign, though included in the Wikipedia list, was over before I ever realised it was taking place, and I am confident was less of a worldwide campaign and more of a marketing tool to get people playing the Storm of Magic supplement for Fantasy.
If the question is 'how do the campaigns that came after the Storm of Chaos differ from those before?', the answer must surely be that the opportunity for we as gamers to have a chance to affect the setting we play our games in was taken away, and in my opinion at least, the whole concept died when that happened.

When quizzed on the subject, the answer given by a prominent person within Games Workshop (who shall remain nameless due to my enduring respect for this person) was that the company did not wish to cause anyones collection to become invalidated by the results of a campaign. Though I can appreciate this approach, it leaves us with a game where the setting and its stories that keep so many of us hooked on the GW hobby stagnate, reduced to a paper backdrop for our battles to be fought against.

I have been told that other companies manage to progress their back stories without any obvious problems, which makes me wonder why Games Workshop can't manage the same, though they do seem to have 'back filled' and expanded on the background material with things like the juggernaut that is the Horus Heresy series, without moving the timeline forward.

In conclusion, my advice to Games Workshop would be that worldwide campaigns can be a huge draw for gamers, and have the potential to be really amazing events, but rather than campaigns which are simply too insignificant in their events to carry any real sense of moment, they should release them as all encompassing source books similar to those produced by Forgeworld. I would love to see a book which provides background and army lists allowing us to play games in the war-torn northern Empire following the Storm of Chaos. This gives those that want it what they wish for, without impacting the main setting.

On that note, my next few posts will describe just that: the disposition and concerns of the various main factions affected by the Storm of Chaos, that I wrote after much deliberation over how to create such a source book and save the story from the ridiculous fudges that ruined it for us. Maybe they will inspire you to play some games post Storm of Chaos, or return to the maelstrom of Armageddon and pick up the war after the Season of Fire? Or even perhaps have a check down the back of the sofa for that stupid Nemesis Crown. It must be somewhere...

It's been a long post, so thanks more than ever for sticking with me...