Sunday, February 19, 2017

Polar Skirmish

 The Bob and I got in another Kill Team game. Again we went with Dark Eldar vs. Dark Angels. Just to break up the monotony we decided to play on our local store's snow board. After searching for as many scenery pieces that we thought went with it best, we set up a board that we felt was simple and pleasing to our eyes (and the camera).

Next we selected a mission, and we decided to keep playing these in the order that the missions are presented in the Kill Team book. Being our third Kill Team mission against each other, we logically chose #3: Head Hunt. Both sides are tasked to eliminate the other side's leader. Back in December I played this scenario against Screech's nids but that proved to be a total debacle due to their Instinctive Behavior rolls. But he did manage to snuff out my leader! This game would be a bit more of a typical encounter without so much confusion and mass routes.

Dark Eldar deployment, left flank.

Dark Eldar deployment,  total quadrant. 
Having tissue paper for armor against those Space Marine bolters it only made sense that the Dark Eldar would be placed in cover. The marines did likewise, but more to avoid LOS from my Reaping Splinter Cannon than any real fear of my weapons AP.

Dark Angels deployment.

He failed to Seize the Initiative so I went first. With exception to a few strategic moves, the Dark Eldar mostly stood their ground and fired their weapons. They killed 2 Marines in the first round of firing which I thought was a pretty good start.

1st round shooting
The Dark Angels in cover returned fire, while the other half of their force marched toward the ruined cathedral in search of their target.

Dark Angels 1st Round advance
Dark Eldar Turn 2, and it was obvious that the Dark Angels would need to have their advance cut off. I sent 3 DE out to intercept them: the Sybarite, the Shedder and the female without a helmet.

Xenos meet The Unforgiven on Turn 2..
One of the marines was taken out by a shot from the Sybarite's fusion pistol, while the shredder scattered wildly. The DE charged, but the shredder was killed by Overwatch. The Sybarite easily snuffed her foe (her trait allows her to wound on 2+) and she consolidated away from the fight in a vain effort to seek cover away from the vengeful bolters what would be turned her way. The female was locked in combat, saved by a Feel No Pain roll of a 6!

Kill Spree! Note that we decided to leave the dead for dramtic effect.

As expected, on their Turn 2 the Dark Angels gunned down the Sybarite. The rest leaving their companion to continue to wrestle with the DE woman while they proceeded back to their task of headhunting.

Elsewhere the Dark Eldar and Dark Angels traded more fire with each other.

The Hunt Continues

Turn 3, I moved the leader to higher ground and deeper cover while I had moved 3 DE Warriors down to the lower level to intercept the Dark Angels. However their efforts were laughable as the vengeful Dark Angels stormed the cathedral.  One Kabalite-warrior was melted in plasma fire while another was cut down by the fierce aggression of the Dark Angel Vet. Sgt. Leader himself!

Turn 3, Dark Angels storm the ruins!

Attack from above.
The DA leader Consolidated up a level in his persuit of the DE leader. On Turn 4 the DE now had Furious Charge as part of their Power Through Pain, and it was clear to me that the time to hide and run was over. The DE leader fired a splinter pistol into the Vet Sgt's head but luckily for him his armor deflected it.

A close quarters duel!
Then she dived down at him in an impressive charge. The Furious Charge helped and the Vet. Sgt was defeated.

The Dark Angel leader is defeated, the DE leader consolidates.

By this point, after much back and forth only one Dark Angel remained in the opposite ruins while the other half of the team had cleared the lower levels of the ruined cathedral of xenos scum.

A duel that started on Turn 2 finally ends on Turn 5!
We were starting to wonder if the melee that had started on Turn 2 was turning into something  a bit more inappropriate when finally on Turn 5 the Dark Angel bested his Dark Eldar foe.

With the Dark Eldar Lesder hiding on the top of the cathedral out of LOS of the Dark Angels on the ground, they turned their attention to the Kabalite-warriors who had left their positions in the other ruins and were now sneaking outside of the ruined cathedral. They opened up on the silhouettes and shadows of the xenos killing one of them.

Killing silhouettes. 
Having finally eliminated the last Dark Angel from the other ruins last turn, the Splinter Cannon looked for targets in the cathedral seeing the perfect shot through the windows. Impressive though this was, the Astartes made his save.

Reaping through the windows!
This next pic is the result of me trying to see if the Dark Angel had LOS to the DE Leader on the top of the cathedral, as to me I thought he did. But the camera proved otherwise.

LOS test.

It didn't matter though, as another Dark Angel had made his way up there and shot her, fullfilling his mission objective and getting revenge for his Veteran Sergeant.

In the pic below, you can see way down below in the opposite ruins a lone Dark Eldar Warrior breaking through the enemy lines.

The Dark Eldar leader falls!

It was a very good game! But we didn't realize just how tight things actually were until we tallied our VPs.

Dark Eldar VPs
First Blood 1
Missile Launcher (Specialist) 1
Leader 3
Break Enemy  1
Linebreaker 1
= 7 VPs

Dark Angels
Leader 3
Sybarite  (Specialist) 1
Shredder (Specialist) 1
Break Enemy 1
Linebreaker 1
= 7 VPs

-A true tie!

Thanks again Bob, looking forward to more Kill Team games soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Celestial Lions Kill Team (Part 3)

Pushing on from the last post, I continued working on these models by completing the base-coating of the blue areas and washing Chestnut ink into the recesses of their gold armor. I then highlighted the black Aquilas on their chests with a dark gray followed by a glaze of Nuln Oil.

After all the steps above were applied.

After this I worked on their eyes before moving on to highlighting the blue areas.

Eyes done and highlights on blue.
Looking at the photo above, and scrutinizing it, I felt like the highlights on blue came out sloppier than I would like, so I attempted to tone it down with a blue ink wash.

After the ink wash
This seemed to satisfy me. Also I went ahead and painted the left leg knee pads in dark blue. I haven't entirely determined what is going to be on those pads yet, but I am thinking I want to put a number or numeral that designates their squad or company affiliation on that spot.

Next, I began applying Shinning Gold to the armor.

Ohhh shiny.

Now the models are beginning to really tighten up as I start to make my way down to the final stages. In the next post I will discuss the Celestial Lions iconography, as it's possibly the most obsure chapter in the entire GW canon in this regard.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

If you're gonna die...

Finally! Finally, after many attempts since before Christmas, finally The Bob and I were able to play a game of Bolt Action. Bonus: we were joined by the notorious Screech. Both of them agreed to play 500pts of Germans vs. my 1000pts of British. We rolled up the Mission and got No Man's Land.

1000 points of British soldiers, ready for glory!

The British line.

The German line.
 The No Man's Land scenario begins with a massive preliminary bombardment. The first unit struck was my Sherman Firefly, and after some astounding dice rolls from Bob, the tank was reduced to a burning hulk. Considering how many points this thing is you can imagine what a loss this asset will be for my army for the rest of this battle.

Serious first blood.
Most of our units accumilated Pin Markers and some units even lost a guy or two, but Screech's tank was also hit hard by the shelling and was immobilized. The bombardment left a smokey haze on the battlefield reducing viability to 24" for the first game turn.

Pinned down by Jerry! 
For some reason I didn't take a lot of pics between the 1st and 5th Turns. I guess I was focused on trying to find a break in their lines but this proved to be a futile gesture . By the time we reached Turn 5, my right flanks was crumbled, my other Section was bogged down in a crater. Before they were murdered, both my FOOs had called in strikes but neither was as effective as they had been in other games. My Bren Carrier was fairly effective chewing up its targets and causing Bob's Germans a bit of frustration. It had been carrying the PIAT Team, who managed to deploy and hit a target only for it to fail to kill anyone. They were gunned down for their efforts.

Early part of Turn 5
Despite the unrealistic odds my 2nd Lieutenant held firm and continued to support the Section stuck in the crater.

"This way lads!"
After his men had finally moved his artillery into a more effective position, Bob was finally able to get rid of that Bren Carrier.
It was getting bleak as Screech's Germans just hadn't died like they should have and they swarmed the crater shooting the Brits until they broke. This left my 2nd Lieutenant standing alone and prepared for a final blaze of glory. He took a shot at the Unit Leader of one of Bob's units as he was the sole survivor of that squad (and I'll be damned if I didn't want at least 1 VP!)

"Rally around me lads....lads?"
He failed to kill that officer, who in turn returned fire and killed him!

It was obvious by the end of Turn 6 that the Brits were done for. Leaving only my Geneva Convention-cursing medic and a single member of a mortar team alive. I'm sure the Germans let them sit out the rest of the war comfortably...

"Think we can take 'em doc?"
Regardless of the crushing defeat, I still had fun although my dice were extremely random in this game. That Bombardment in the beginning really changed the course of the game for both sides. Missing that VC Firefly's support made for a world of difference. Using my Bren Carrier more aggressively was a lot of fun but ultimately I got a little wreckless with it. Once Bob was able to bring his big gun into position it was done for. In the end I plan on finally retooling this list, maybe drop some of the 2-man support units and use the points for Vet. Upgrades instead. We'll see. But this isn't the last those Jerrys have seen of us!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Celestial Lions Kill Team (part 2)

I found some cool bitz online that I didn't have that I wanted to use for my Celestial Lions. While waiting for them to arrive (they are apparently coming from Australia so it may be some time before they arrive) I decided to fill out the unit a bit more for flexibility with list making. I picked up a box of the plug 'n play Battle for Vedros marines for $10.

Vedros: When you want to buy cheap models with different packaging.

After a bit of mold-line removal, I cut off their slotta tabs and glued them to some 32mm bases (the Vedros box comes with 28mm BTW). I was then ready to get their bases started.

32mm bases. 
After that I glued grit to the base and then I primed them using gold spray paint. This coat will also serve as the primary base coat as well.

Primed/base coated.
Next I went in and picked out the areas that needed a black base coat. Following that I base coated the grit on the base using Territorial Beige. Now they no longer appeared to be raiding a treasure horde!

Black base coats added.
 Next I had to figure out which specific color of blue I used all those years ago. So I experimented until I found the one. Below you can see the two models I tested these colors on. They are flanked by the older ones with the right color.

Blue test.
It's not as much progress as I would've like to have made, but I have been under the weather this past week. Hopefully I will make additional progress soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Anachronistic 40k: D-Cannon

Hello and welcome to this monthly feature where I look back on the history of iconic elements of the 40k game. This month: the Eldar D-Cannon.

Original image and blurb from White Dwarf #100.
 It first appeared in the early days of Rogue Trader in the landmark White Dwarf #100. Despite it's humble design (I never thought it looked very "eldar" even then) players encountering this thing on the table would learn to absolutely dread facing it.
The symbols under the ad copy indicate base options.
I recall the first time I ever faced one. I was playing Space Marines against Doc TSG's Eldar when this gun fired at my Land Raider. The Land Raider was wicked-tough in 1st Edition and the idea of this thing "one shot, one kill"-ing it seemed so...unplausible. After a few dice rolls my Land Raider was removed from play, or according to the background,  removed from known reality!

"Ok, what the hell was that?" I declared in bewildered shock. He passed the Rogue Trader tome to me and this is what I saw:

Snipped from Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader.

Look at that first sentence and check out all those alternate names for this thing! Each one is amazingly accurate, but most are long since forgotten. The background for this cannon states that it uses the same warping technology typical of the warp engines on a spacecraft. However the warping effects on the target, as it's shunted from reality into the warp and back again, is usually enough to tear the target apart.

Despite the instant death rules, you had a fair chance to avoid having your models killed if they were fast enough to "dive out of the way". Something you just don't see at all in the modern GW games: Saves based on speed of movement!

These original rules were pretty simple and straight forward, however by the end of the edition the rules for this weapon had evolved quite a bit. In fact, the whole thing had evolved. Jes Goodwin had re-sculpted it into the weapon platform that we more-or-less have today, and with it came additional rules for moving the piece as well. As you can see in the image below, the new gun was actually smaller but uniquely Eldar for it's time. In fact it sort of led the way to what would become "the look" for Eldar weapons and it would be a few more years before the other weapons conform to the same design. You can see the Las Cannon (Brightlance) and Scatter Laser in this pic too and they look far more like Imperial weapons. The hover platform itself was the real game changer as this allowed the support weapon to move during the game with far less restrictions that the other armies were capable of doing with their support weapons.

Let's not talk about those tripods....

At the end of the 1st edition The Battle Manual arrived and with it a far more complicated set of rules for the D-Cannon, which was now listed as the Distort Cannon on Anti-Grav Platform. It was no longer a Heavy Weapon, it was now a Support Weapon. The rules based on the target's Movement rate had been replaced by placing a 2" template and rolling a D12 for scatter. In the the 2nd Edition of the game this would change to a scatter die roll. After determining where it ended up you would scatter it a 2nd time. That would indicate the blast's final position. Whatever was below that Template would have it's fate determined by a D6 roll on the Distort Table.

The warping effects of the Distort Cannon always did something to the target, it was just a matter of determining what that was. If you rolled '5' on the Distort Test you rolled on an additional chart to see what the outcome of that result was. It sometimes wasn't pretty, but it was always interesting!

The last two results were particularly horrific as "5" usually killed the target from the fall, and "6" resulted in the target essentially turning into a Mole Mortar shell!

Ah fun times. I recall a particular 2nd Edition game where my Ork Dreadnought was struck twice by the same D-Cannon, both times resulting in it being displaced inside a small building! Each time the Dred had to spend it's entire next turn getting out of that annoying building, effectively making it worthless for half the game! It wasn't always comical though, and I usually made it a priority to take those nasty things out.

Snipped from Codex Eldar (3rd Ed ruleset).

Speaking of Dreadnoughts, in these early frontier times of the 40K game, if I ever encountered an Eldar Distort Cannon it was most likely mounted on an Eldar Dreadnought. A tougher, and arguably more reliable method for getting the D-Cannon closer to the thing you wished to annihilate. The Dreadnought tended to be a tougher target to eliminate as well, although I recall some creative ways to counter it (my Ork Weirdboy "Squishing" the pilot for example).

"I haven't been called Dreadnought since...oh before you were born!"

Third Edition arrived, and like everything else in the game, the Distort Cannon was beat down good by the proverbial nerf bat. It was now a Guess Range Weapon with only a 24" range, Str 10 AP2 using the new large Blast template. Still a nasty weapon, but losing all of it's fun and random elements. The "get out of the way" factor was replaced by the Guess Range rules, which in the hands of some people wasn't really that inhibiting! And the Str 10 AP2 equaled death to most of the things that it pointed at. Also, now you could buy these things in batteries -just in case you absolutely, positively, needed to annihilate the the crap out of something all the way down to the molecular level!

Hello gorgeous, give us a smile! 
With the 4th Edition Codex the stats and rules changed again. The gun was still a Guess weapon but now had Instant Death on 6+ when rolling to wound. This only served to make the Distort Cannon that much more effective and deadly. Also, the new model that came out around this time was simply gorgeous.

Codex Eldar (40k 4th ed ruleset).

The next Eldar Codex to come out was during the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000. It was an impressive tome visually but the rules served to take the Eldar to a power level they haven't fully enjoyed since the 2nd Edition. By this time the Eldar family of Distortion Weapons has grown significantly. It started with the smaller Wraithcannon  as wielded by the Wraithguard back in 2nd edition as a hand-held portable and slightly less powerful version of the D-Cannon. By this time we now have D-Sythes, Heavy D-Sythes and even Heavy Wraithcannons. In various games over the years {this one comes to mind as an example of why one never declares a challenge against anyone carrying a D-Sythe!) I have had the mixed fortune of facing off against these other Distortion Weapons, but I just never see (and seriously, this isn't a complaint!) the D-Cannon hit the table any more. Eldar players like it, but in the end, they have so many more efficient killing options available to them for the points that they would sink into a D-Cannon battery, that it usually remains back on the Craftworld...probably with a tarp over it.

6th ed rules.

7th edition, which shocked the world with how fast it followed behind 6th, took a slightly lazy approach. See that profile above for 6th edition book? Somebody at the Design Studio looked at that and had an epiphany:

"Hey, we got D-Weapons in the game now that migrated over from Apocalypse, How is it that we have a gun called a D-Cannon and it isn't a D-weapon? That's really confusing...we should fix that!"

"Oi, that's a brilliant idea!!!"

So, they took an eraser to that S column and replaced all those annoying numbers with a capital D. Which (like you don't know) means Destroyer. Yes, these are all Destroyer Weapons now meaning you roll on a chart to see just how extensive your target's demise is. They're slightly nerfed with a -1 on the table, but still: Ouch! However, despite access to these junior-grade D-Weapons, I still don't ever see the old D-Cannon on the table-top. It still has the same problem that it had in 6th: for the points sacrifice I could get even more Warpspiders!

And here we are. The nasty killing machine that has had many different ways to play it over the course of 30 years. I am hoping to hear some comments regarding tales of glory and woe for those who faced or used the D-Cannon at some point.

-Till next time!

All of the images in the post are Copyright Games Workshop and are used here for the purposes of review and not as a challenge to their individual copyrights.