Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Good die!

A few weeks ago I had friendly game with Jim and his Red Marines (i.e. Blood Angel but using the standard Space Marine Codex rules). It was a victory for my Orks. But Jim wanted a rematch, and orks being orks I had no choice but to accept this foolish request. Besides, my warboss, Ror-Ruk, was still seething over that Whirlwind escaping his wrath in our last game...

"Sod da reluc, bring me to dat tank!"
This took place on Good Friday (thus the title of this post) and met at Hobbytown and set up a table. I rolled for corner deployment and the mission that we rolled up was The Relic. We ended up using the same lists as last time, only I decided to tweek my list. So I dropped the Painboy and Grot mob for a 2nd level psyker. I thought this might be a good chance to play around with, and teach Jim some more of, the psyker rules.

We rolled off for who sets up first and I won that roll.

Red Marine deployment. 

Ork deployment.
I should have realized that Jim must have made some fresh sacrifices to the Dice Gods when he stole the initiative! He immediately went for blood and dumped his first shots into the trukk carrying the Warboss.
"That xenos bastard again?! Blast him!!!"
After a half his army dumped round after round into the trukk, it exploded violently.

"Dey blew up me ride!"
Not content on getting the First Blood Secondary Objective, the Red Marines really wanted Slay the Warlord as well. The other half of his army continued to unleash into Ror-Ruk's unit until only the Warboss and a single boy remained alive.

"I don't care if youse only got 'aff ah body, git up and fight!"

On my 1st turn I moved my 2nd trukk into position to attempt to get within reach of the relic, and managed to killed 4 marines  with the Frazzle psychic power. My kustom mega kannon actually hit and penetrated the Whirlwind and it blew the multilauncher off of it! A good round of ruckas I believe...

Another trukk bites the dust.

On the next round Jim renewed his assault on the orks. His lone routing marine rallied (And they shall no only enough fear to get out of a bad situation) and was hanging out with the Librarian's squad. The damaged whirlwind surged forward, it's only role is now provide cover or act as a tank shocking or ramming engine.  During the shooting phase only a few of the marine units targeted the Warboss, who did lose a wound, while the rest of marines opened up on the other ork trukk.

Turn 2, my warboss made his way towards the Whirlwind, it's demise is his top priority. My other ork unit is now pinned down as a result of their trukk exploding. Now this next bit gets tricky, and felt like a gray area of the rules, but it seemed legal at the time. I used the 'Ere we go power to extract the unit from the wreckage of the trukk, and attempted place them behind the main line of marines. We were not sure if this would "release" the squad from being pinned but, after I rolled for scatter...

...then had to roll on the Deep Strike Scatter table. Luckily they weren't all destroyed, although that would have been a hilarious way for this game to go, but Jim  got to place my guys anywhere on the board. So he stuck them in a crater on the otherside of a ruined wall.

"Oy, iz dis where we wuz supposed ta go?!"
Meanwhile, my warboss engaged the Whirlwind and ripped through it like a piƱata.
"WAAAGH!" -Pic by Jim

After taking a wound, and losing the last ork from his unit and killing a marine also as a result of the Whirlwind exploding, the Ror-Ruk was now dangerously exposed...

"Have some fire Xenos scum!"
...and the Librarian's pyro powers cooked him in the psychic phase, getting his vengeance for the last game!


On my psychic phase, I attempted to get my boyz with the warphead back into the fight. However when I cast 'ere we go I scattered again on the deep strike attempt landing on top of the lone marine who was in the process of picking up the relic!

Trying to take out my artillery, the Librarian and his unit got right up on the ruins but they failed in their endeavor.

Coming out of reserves at the bottom of turn 4, my boys and the Warphead showed up. My warphead, through the door of the ruins has line of sight to the marine that now had the relic...

...and summoning up a blast of psyker waaagh energy he attempted to blast him with Frazzle. I got the power to activate but the daemonic attack he suffered due to me rolling Perils of the Warp killed him. And then the power scattered and missed the relic carrying marine anyway!

On Jim's turn 5 he attempted a psychic power as well and also summoned the Perils and very nearly dragged his Librarian into the warp!!! He managed to fend off the daemonic entity and only lost a wound. But it was a very close call!

My last turn was an exercise in futility as I tried to get my boyz close enough to charge the relic, but they failed to do so and lost a boy due to overwatch! My artillery missed it's  target as well.

So, tallying up the VPs it was a totally clean sweep for the Red Marines who earned 6VPs to my 0VPs. Jim garned a long overdue win. My MVP was the Kustom Mega Kannon which actually performed for once and killed quite a few marines. And I learned that Orks and 7th ed psychics just don't mix.

Jim now also has a copy of the Blood Angels Codex so hopefully when next we met I won't half to report them as "Red Marines!"

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: The Unforgiven

And finally, the Legacy of Caliban series ends with The Unforgiven by Gav Thorpe. This is book 3, offically, though I will strongly argue that it's really book 4 as the events in Angels of Darkness is really where this whole story kicks off. The Unforgiven is definitely were it all ends and very much comes full circle.

I will also say the same in regards to Gav's writing, which I must say is even better in this book as it was in the previous chapters. I would guess that he was really prepared for this one, knowing full well how it was all going to come together in the end. Perhaps he was working on bits of this since the beginning? Shy of asking him directly, it's tough to say, but regardless, the action is tighter, the descriptive text doesn't get lost in the minutiae, the characters are written in a far more solid way, and most importantly the plot actually moves!

OK, lets get to the meat of it...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!+++++++++++++++++++

I would hope you wouldn't read the review for the 3rd (or 4th) book without reading the others, but hey, you've been warned.

OK, at the end of Master of Sanctity, the 2nd (or 3rd) book in this series, the Ravenwing caught a very prominent member of the Fallen (likely he's the one you know by name). We see them try to figure out the greater scheme of what is happening, why this Fallen would surrender to them, kill another member of the Fallen, why he would lie to them or tell them the truth.

While the first 1/3 of the book deals with the aftermath of The Master of Sanctity, and attempted torture (or as the Dark Angels call it, "excruciation") of the captured Fallen, the rest of book shifts quite firmly to being about Azrael, the Dark Angels Supreme Grandmaster as he attempts to sort out all these plots within plots in order to guide the Dark Angels to their salvation, or at least to their survival.

Highlights for me had to be the Chaos attack on the Rock, the asteroid fortress monastery of the Dark Angels. I never visualized that there was more land mass to the rock as Gav described it, but it made sense to me and it made for a hell of a crazy read. The return to the original site of Caliban was very interesting, and every chapter thereafter made for exciting and riveting read. Telemenus's internment into a dreadnought was good reading as well, and I like that he get's his revenge upon the Great Unclean One that led to his condition.
  • Did I like it? Very Much so, it exceeded my expectations, and it did a splendid job capping off the whole story arc. 
  • Was it hard to put down? Yes, more so when you get past the half way mark of the book, but even the quieter scenes in the early half of the book were paced better than the previous books were. 
  • Could I care about the characters? Yes. Especially Telemenus, and the characters that appear in the 40K game, but the fate of the captured Fallen Angel in particular was quite a hook. As I said above, this book really shines the spotlight most on Azrael toward the end of the book and it's his choices that make the events happen the way they happen. The redemption of Annael was very well written as well, as he has to come to terms with why his decision to not follow an order was an irredeemable mistake. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore? I would say Gav is just as big a fan boy of these characters as anyone else that would care about them, and he does a good job here making it all work. If anything he answers questions, or a least doubts, that players have been debating about on forums since the 2nd edition Codex: Angels of Death, and why this whole thing is called The Legacy of Caliban will not only blow your mind, it might even satisfy some of your earlier doubt about the Lion and Luthor's final fight. Or, you might say, "WTF?" and toss the book on the ground. It was a risky twist, one that if not handled well could have cheapened the whole Dark Angels franchise, but I feel Gav pull it off and pulled it off well. 
  • Was I being talked down too? No, and if anything Gav's 2nd person voice has definitely grown to be written in a tone that isn't distracting to the events that you are reading. His pacing has improved since Ravenwing (the 1st, or 2nd, book) as well, and although there is a ton of fighting and warfare in this book, it doesn't feel like warporn, as much of Ravenwing unfortunately did. 
  • How predictable is this story? Not too predictable really, Honestly, that's part of what made it so compelling, as the story had many opportunities to turn in many directions. It left some questions unanswered, which is fine as the Dark Angels are mystery even to themselves, and a little ambiguity keeps the reader hungry. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Yes, but I suggest taking it all in as a whole, and you can read the whole thing in this collection the Legacy of Caliban-ebook. ...Although it doesn't appear to have Angels of Darkness in it which is essential reading if you're going to read this at all. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Attack of the Red Marines

This past Friday I arranged a 40k game with Jim, an old friend I haven't seen in ages (or so it seems). Jim hasn't played recently and doesn't have the current rules or Blood Angels codex, which is fine considering GWs recent turbocharged release schedule, I am behind as well. Pressed for time, we decided to only play 500pts on a 4'x5' board. I had some 500pt lists pre-made, I can't recall for sure why, I think I was going to attempt to teach someone how to play? -not sure. Anyway, this is the what we went with and mustered.
Zitgut just had to go, there was no stopping it. The fungus gruel his master, Runtherd Slapgit, fed them all earlier was just not agreeing with him, so there he was perched over the camp drops on a mushling. Besides, his master wasn't having any of his runts making a mess on the battlefield, unless of course it was the proper kind using his slugga or knife. Suddenly, he could hear the noise and fury of all the orks mustering toward the trukks, a bullhorn bellowed forth orders from Ror-Ruk the Warboss, “Da red gits are attacking, let's go make 'em redder!!!” This was followed by the bellowing cheers of all the orks shouting forth their excited glee and the revving of engines.

“Oy you, get off that dump and git o'va 'ere, it's time to go bash some 'eds!” Shouted Slapgit at Zitgut.

“Com'n boss!” said Zitgit who suddenly hurried to finish his task and retrieved his gear while his fellow runts moved into the nearby ruins to take their positions...

The pic about shows my force which is: 1 Ork Warboss, 1 Painboy, 2 units of ork boys with sluggas/choppas with a powerklaw nob and a trukk with Rokkit launcher, 10 grots with a Runtherd and 1 artillery gun (kustom mega blasta) with an ammo grot.
The marines consisted of 1 Mastery Lvl 1 Librarian in Terminator armor, 2 tac squads of 10 with missile launcher and flamer and a Whirlwind.

Looking at what the marines had, especially after Jim rolled Inferno as his psychic power, I just foresaw that soulblaze was going to wreck my army. And if he got close enough to use that primaris power with the template, I was going to be in trouble.

The scenario was Purge the Alien (appropriate). Jim won the roll off to set up first.

Red Marine deployment
Ork deployment
Jim split his marines into combat squads and spread his troops along his line, taking advantage of the available high ground.

I put both trukks, loaded with boyz and the warboss / painboy respectively on the flanks, put the grots in the middle as bait, and put the artillery down where I thought it might have the best target opportunities.

I was unable to steal the initiative, and the Red Marines unleashed hell.

""In coming!"
Lots of dead grots!

He heard a terrible noise, and felt the ground shake. He saw the fiery plumes of smoke rising up from the ruins nearby. Zitgut knew he had to get back with his runts, or get left behind. He knew he was already in for it when Slapgit saw him next. However when he rounded the corner, he was awestruck by the carnage before him. His fellow runts were ground zero of those explosions he saw and most of them were now burning in promethium, or dismembered from the explosion. Screaming, moaning, dying; It was grisly. Before he could take it all in, a hand grabbed him, it was his master Slapgit,.

“Git o'va 'ere, we're about ta make a go at it! Those red gitz are gonna learn what our choppa boyz can do, an we're gonna be right dare wid 'em! Let's go!” 

 As Zitgut and the other two surviving runts, Dagbit and Dripgor set off following their master, Zitgut noted his master, who seemed somewhat unmoved by this horrible scene, like he was used to it, or worse, like he was enjoying it. 

Like he was in his element.

The Librarian moved his squad in closer to get within range of the Warboss' Trukk. The Librarian attempted to incinerate the trukk with his inferno power but he failed to roll high enough to match or exceed the AV of the trukk. After a few shots were fired from the marines, the trukk roared towards the Librarian's squad...

...and unleashed the warboss and his crew of Goffs!

After losing one Goff to an overwatch hit, the orks swarmed the marines, killing all but one. The duel between the Librarian and the Warboss ended with the Warboss crushing the life out of him with his powerklaw. The Ork mob cheered on Warboss Ror-Ruk as he held aloft his new trophy, a Librarian force axe!
The fall of the Librarian and his unit. 
On the other side of the table. the other trukk mob, led by the painboy, killed another combat squad that had moved into the ruins. The Dok's Feel No Pain blessing kept me from losing any boyz in this entanglement.

Turn 2, and Red Marines found themselves very much on the defensive! In the pic below, you can see in the middle ground a squad of marines emerging from the nearby ruins, the whirlwind behind them, and behind that another squad perched in the distant ruins. All three of these units unleashed hell on my Warboss and his unit. The goff boyz died all around Ror Ruk but he stood in the smoke and flames, defiantly pressing on towards them.

Desperate, the nearby marines fired and charged Ror Ruk...

,,,and although they managed to inflict 2 wounds on him, he killed the squad, except for one marine.

The surviving Marine disengaged (apparently knowing just enough fear to know when to back the hell off)...

...only to be chased down on the 2nd Ork turn by Ror Ruk!  During the shooting phase the warboss tried to shoot him in the back but the stout Astartes armor withstood the crude ork munitions, and the marine turned to face his foe...

Meanwhile my artillery gun fired another shot at the whirlwind. In the first turn I hit with it but failed to roll a high enough penetration to effect it. and on turn two I scattered so badly that I hit the trukk that I had just moved to a new position after it picked up the 2nd goff mob.

Scatter time!
Thankfully the trukk was only shaken.

They trudged on, the battlefield seemed to be on either side of them. They could see the energy beams of the Kustom Mega Blasta artillery piece lancing towards an unseen target, hear the cheers of the ork boys all around and hear the reports echoing from the Astartes bolters. Yet they themselves didn't seem to be in the fight. Runtherd Slapgit seemed annoyed by this fact.

“C'mon you runtz, weez gots ta git in da thick of it!” he slapped his whip in the air to resonate his urgency and the three grots stepped up their pace.

Hand to hand time, and as you might have predicted the warboss ripped the lone marine apart.

Still, kudos to a very heroic last stand!
Marine turn 3, and the whirlwind again sought to immolate the Warboss Ror-Ruk...

We pictured him walking coolly with the wall of fire behind him..
...but the multi-launcher's shot scattered, detonating the ground behind him in a way that only Hollywood action heroes would ever experience.

Meanwhile the Red Marines in the ruins used a krak grenade and lots of bolter shots to finally wreck the trukk. The boyz disembarked, passing their pin test. On my turn, they fired upon the Red Marines and charged them. These three marines would tie up this ork unit for quite a few close combat phases.

Turn four, with my Warboss getting closer (and failing his charge distance roll last round) the Whirlwind crew decided that sticking around and waiting for the Warboss to engage them with that power klaw was akin to madness, so they surged toward the Ork lines, looking for easier targets. And they found the grot unit, or what was left of it. and blasted it. One grot survived toheonslaught, but was easily routed.

Sole survivor!
Suddenly, around the bend,the object of the grot's previous immolation came into view. It was the Red Marine's Whirlwind, and it's multilauncher was aimed right at them! With a fury, it fired, and as it did so the Slaver that raised Zitgut from just a wee runtling, the Runtherd Slapgit, raised his arms and bellowed in arrogant defiance. Slapgit, Dagbit and Dripgor disappeared in a thunderous wall of fire, the noise alone knocked Zitgut off his feet, and landed on his back as bits of his former companions , and owner, peppered the around around him along with the bits of rock and debris that was the ground they had been standing on. Quickly scampering back to his feet, he snatched up his gun and ran as fast as he could back toward the camp!
Finally, turn 5 arrived, the whirlwind moved up again, missing it's intended target (I honestly don't recall what it shot at).

The orks fighting with the unit in the ruins finally prevailed, killing all but one marine who retreated back toward's his line.

Here's another view of that same scene, with the orks chasing after the last marine.

The game ended, with the orks claiming the Linebreaker Secondary Objective!

"That's right, you bet'ta run ya red git!" 
For only a 500pt game, Jim and I had a lot of fun, even with the heckling from the brutes playing Bolt Action on next table, and we really got a lot out of it. In the end the orks were victorious: 8vps to 3vps. It was one of those rare games where I managed to catch all of the Secondary Objectives. Still, had Jim been able to make a proper Blood Angel list, even at 500pts, I am quite certain that the outcome would have been messier. Also, the orks killing the Librarian on the bottom of Turn one robbed the Red Marines of a weapon that they could've used to cleanse the orks from the board (with fire!). My MVP was definitely the Warboss, while my most frustratingly useless unit, for the 2nd game in a row, was the artillery.

He woke up, confused. There was a bright light shining in his eye.

“Wa? Where am I?” Zitgut muttered,

Below the light was the smiling maw of the Painboy, Stiches Da Bastard. He knew something bad had to have happened to him. He moved his head slightly around, and realized he was wired into a metal cylinder of some sorts. He could feel his appendages, or see them.

“Shhh, quiet now, we're almost done wid your upgrade, and we don't need ta be answer'n yur predicktable quest'chuns at dis time.” said the Painboy, nonchalantly.

But Zitgut knew what was happening, he had heard of this fate but never dreamed it would be his. He never dreamed he'd become a Killa Kan! Zitgut let out a chuckle, and grinned widely.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

More Black Legion

Some time last year I painted my first pair of Black Legion troopers as a test of sorts. I was pleased with the results. Over the holidays I started to work on expanding those first two models into a full unit. Like I said the first time around, they paint up fairly easy and quickly, however time has been less sparing than usual as of late, even with getting snowed in (during some of January and lots of February), and some of my free time has been devoted to reading the rules to my new game, Beyond Gates of Antares.

The models in the squad are a mix of the basic '90s Chaos intro sets  and Space Marine intro sets (talked about in the first link above) and three of the current Chaos Marine intro set models.

Five of these guys have the red shoulder pads indicating their affiliation to the Hounds of Abbadon subsect of Black Legionaries who worship Khorne. The other five are pretty much just basic Black Legion guys. I figure I can run them as two squads of 5 or a squad of 10, which gives me some flexibility with my list building.

In this next pic you can see, from right to left, the stages I went through painting their horns:

For the 'bone' areas, most prominently the helm horns, I use a dark brown for a base-coat, followed by a lighter tan color which I then layer on top of with Bleached Bone before finishing it with Skull White.

With the whole unit mostly done, I decided to add the decals. I have found I prefer to do them before the final highlights just in case there are any touch-ups I may need to do.

The 5 standard Black Legion marines.
While decaling the Hounds of Abbadon I discovered that an old transfer sheet that I acquired 2nd hand (thanks Mike) was just too brittle. Each time I attempted to slide the transfer off of the sheet, it simply disintegrated. Bummer. So I ran out of yellow chaos stars and opted to go with black ones instead. Oddly, I think I like that look better...

The 5 Hounds of Abbadon.
Although time consuming the Micro-set I am using made using these transfers a far less frustrating process than it typically tends to be.

The cables that hang, dangle and drape all over the Chaos Space Marine backpacks were something I paid no mind too until the actual moment came for me to paint them. I decided to go with a yellow/black cable on most of them, as I thought this had a neat technical look. I then used red for the bulk of the remainder then decided to go with colors like red and blue for the rest.

Cables cables everywhere!
It was while painting the blue ones that a thought came to me of the movie/TV cliche of bomb defusing: "Cut the blue one!" Which led my thoughts even further to the scene from an early episode of Archer where this exchange occurred: "One's blue with a white stripe, and the other one's white with a blue stripe." -yeah, I just had to paint some wires like that! LOL

"Cut the teenie bit bluer one."
So these guys are mostly done, I should, hopefully, have an update really soon when they are completed.