Thursday, December 29, 2011

South African Ranking system

In South Africa for example, a club uses a ranking system that I kind of liked (see below). It's a pretty fun way (and reasonably accurate way) to gauge rankings and to encourage a LOT MORE WARHAMMER play. It's also pretty easy to track, which I also like (less book work = more win).

I know a lot of people who dont even want to contemplate their deeds in a competitive way and that's not a bad way to go. Still, it might be fun. It can only help invigorate the hobby and number of games played in any event.

Anyways, here's their system, for your perusal.  I don't know where the ranking system originated, but I like it, so here it is as presented on their website:

Every general starts with 200 rating points, and your rating point total can never go below zero.

At the beginning of every game you compare the rating point difference between the two generals on the following chart:

Point Difference and Rating Points
0-10 **16/16
11-32 **15/17
33-54 **14/18
55-77 **13/19
78-100 **12/20
101-124 **11/21
125-149 **10/22
150-176 **9/23
177-205 **8/24
206-237 **7/25
238-273 **6/26
274-314 **5/27
315-364 **4/28
365-428 **3/29
429-523 **2/30
524+ **1/31

The first number before the asterisk in the Points column is the points that the winner gets and the loser loses if the higher rated general wins. The second number is the points that the winner gets and losers loses if the lower rated general wins the match.

In case of a tie, the higher ranked general loses half they points they
would lose as if they had lost. The lower ranked general gains half the
points they would have gained for a win. If both generals are exactly the same then both generals gain half what they would have gained for a win.

Stewart plays Nevil. Stewart has racked up 274 rating points after 5 victories, while Nevil has lost 5 straight games and now has rating points of 124. The difference between the two generals is 150. On the chart this indexes to 9/23.

This means that if Stewart wins:
Stewart's rating points = 274+9=283
Nevil's rating points = 124-9 = 115

Should Nevil pull off the upset win:
Stewart's rating points = 274-23 = 251
Nevil's rating points = 124+23 = 147

Should the coaches tie:
Stewart's rating points = 274-5 = 269
Nevil's rating points = 124+12 = 136

Their website is at

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Army of the common Man: Guardian army battle report

One of the more romantic ideas in any military history are the great victories won by the most common of soldiers.  But what can be accomplished in 40K by the most lowly of soldiers?

The noble poets and artists amongst the Eldar people take up arms in time of need to save their dying race from the predations of the galaxies.  These unassuming servants of the Farseers and  Warlock councils are all that stands between the massive numbers of enemies they must needs eliminate in order that their once proud race restore itself to prominence using the obscure and inigmatic future sight that now guides them to that end.

So I was asked to build an army of Guardians, to see if they might prevail!

4 x 10 Guardian Defenders (Bright Lance Platforms, Warlock w/Conceal)
10 Storm Guardians (2 x Fusion guns, Warlock w/Enahance)
Autarch (Power Weapon+Fusion gun+Mandiblaster)
Wave Serpent (Spirit Stones, Star Cannon)
12 Eldar Jet Bikes (4 x Shuriken Cannons, Warlock on JetBike w/Singing Spear+Enhance)
The Avatar
3 War Walkers (2 x Scatter Lasers each)
3 War Walkers (2 x Scatter Lasers each)
Support Weapons Battery (3 D-Cannons)

All of the units are or were Guardians (The Avatar is a Guardian suffused with the shard of their Gawd) or use Guardian pilots/gunners.  Thoughts?

For those who enjoy such things, here is a Battle Report.,  You need not read it to comment of course.

Table Quarters, 5 objectives.
Enemy had:
2 mounted Dire avenger Squads, led by Eldrad and a Farseer.
2 Fire Prisms (holofields, cannons)
Squadron of 2 War Walkers (Missile and scatter laser each)
2 5 man Ranger squads (Pathfinders)
2 Scorpion Squads (with Exarch and claw, Shadowstrike and Stalker)

Large terrain piece in the very center, numerous forests scattered here and there, along with some rock formations.  A building near the 36” mark of the long edge marked the only sign that civilization had ever been there.

Enemy deployed in the NE sector relative to me.  He deployed with Rangers behind wall sections near the 24 inch line and pretty far back, almost to the short board edge.  Fire Prisms were backed way up and ready to fire.  The enemies Wave Serpents were just far enough back, about 18 inches so that if I decided to come around either side of the central terrain, he could drop his Avengers and Blade storm me from a safe enough distance.  The War Walkers stood behind the building in his zone, ready to blast me as well.

My force deployed.  I placed the D-Cannons as far forward near the center rock as I could to take advantage of the blocking terrain and still fire indirect.
My War Walkers were in outflanking reserve.
My Guardian Jet bikes were spread out big time right up to the 24 inch mark, taking up a lot of space behind and around the D-Cannons.

I created three guardian “stripes” west to east, very spread out, with Warlock and Bright Lance leading the way east at the 36” mark of the long board edge, peaking from below the big rock formation in the middle so they could see and fire at his tanks when they got their chance.  The The Storm Guardians with their Autarch and Wave Serpent stayed in reserve.
The Avatar Stood within 12” of all the units and behind the rock, well out of sight initially.

The Jet-bikes moved 12” North so they could get their Shuriken Cannons around the building that his War Walkers were using for cover, and fired, knocking a Scatter laser off of both of them and shaking them.  That left them with just their missile Launchers.
The D-Cannon launched at Eldrad's Wave Serpent, hit it three times and blew it up, forcing the Dire Avengers and Eldrad out with, but none were harmed.
The Guardians moved east so they could see past the rock and fired, blowing off one of the fire Prisms cannons with their collective fire.
My Avatar moved forward so as to maintain the bubble of fearlessness for the bikes, but in so doing had to leave the southernmost Guardian unit out of it.  Good luck fellas!

The enemy responded:
Seeing that the Fire Prism could do no more good as a template, it jetted 24 inches and placed its butt against the central rock, so that it could tank shock through the non-feress unit(s) next round or else fire its Shuriken Cannon which is plenty effective against Eldar!  The enemy Farseer Wave Serpent came up behind, also hiding behind the rock and using the Prism for cover from the Guardians if they somehow managed to get a line on it.  The War Walkers took better cover in the building to wait out their Shaken status.  The other prism moved away from the board edge so my outflankers couldn’t get to it and it then fired, hitting two of my Guardian units with its Prism Cannon, killing 2 in two different units including the one that was no longer Fearless.  The enemy Rangers did their jobs very well and popped yet more of my Guardians.  Due to line of sight the pair of Ranger units had to fire at separate targets, and both killed 3 each, leaving the two Guardian units much smaller than before (half the size).  All morale checks were successful, fiortunately.
Eldrad and his unit moved up and dropped an Eldredge storm in the Guardians but it missed.
Eldrad and the Farseer used Fortune on the War Walkers, the Fire Prism and the Wave Serpent that was against the rock to ensure they could survive the coming storm.

Round 2: 
One unit of my reserved War Walkers came on the board but came on the left side, where there were no enemies, so I ran them forward, and got a lucky 6.
My D-Cannon lobbed its payload over the rock and hit the Wave Serpent there, immobilizing it despite Fortune.
My Jetbikes moved 12” forward again, making sure not to get close enough if the immobilized Farseer unit jumped out and tried to assault, but that positioning gave the enemy War Walkers cover and they took no damage from my excellent rolls (I hit 10 out of 12 Shuriken Cannon shots, but did nothing!  Fortune was a great help to him).
The three Guardian Squads fired into the Fire Prism, and it took all three units throwing their Spears, firing their Lances and charging two of the units to kill the Fire Prism.  The Fire Prism, would not go quietly.
The Avatar moved east to re-establish its bubble of fearlessness for as many units as it could but the D-Cannon made that an imperfect effort because of where it was deployed.

The enemy needed things to change. 
The first unit of their outflanking Scorpions showed up.  They deployed and ran along my right board edge, south of the rangers and into a forest, eager to get to the Guardian lines.
The Farseer and his guided unit jumped out of their immobilized Wave Serpent and moved around the rock, firing at a doomed Jet-bike squad, but the Jet-bike squad failed only 1 save!
The enemy Fire Prism moved and didn’t want to hit Eldrad’s nearby unit, so it fired at the bikes, killing two of them.  The enemy War Walkers fired and killed another.  The Bike unit failed its leadership and fell back 9 inches.  Oops.

Eldrad and his guided unit of enemy Dire Avengers jaunted up and blistered the only full sized  guardian unit left, that had charged the Fire prism, then charged my remnants with Doom activated (Eldrad took a wound casting it the first time but got it off the second time).  wounds and fearless saves  killed all by my Warlock.  =(

The enemy  Rangers tried their darnedest to clip the other wounded Guardian units (not those that Eldrad attacked) and both Ranger units killed another Guardian in two different units.  The Conceal power saved me because once again the Ranger unit rolled well but this time I actually did too.

Round 3: 
My second outflanking War Walkers, this time on the right board edge, arrived and decided to go for the remaining fire prism even though it had wisely moved out of charge range, which brought them out at essentially the enemy’s board edge.  That would also allow them to contest one of the five objectives.
At this stage in the game, the D-Cannons and Jet-bikes were on an objective, the Guardians were on one and the enemy controlled one with their Rangers.v  2-1.
The D-Cannon fired and missed badly trying to hit the Farseer’s Dire Avengers, but killing just one.
my last Guardian squad came on the board near Eldrad’s unit, but far away enough to the east not to get charged in anticipation of the inevitable outcome of the fight Eldrad was in.
The Storm Guardians in their Wave Serpent came from reserve as well and decided to tank shock 24” into the Scorpion on the right side and a Ranger unit.  The Scorpions failed and fell back as did the Ranger unit (missed the other unit) which gave me another objective!!!
The Jet-Bikes had regrouped automatically thanks to the Avatar, and so they moved up again, and fired into the Farseer's Dire Avenger Squad, whiting it down with twin-linked shuriken catapults and their cannons, leaving only 4 plus the Farseer left.
My left hand War Walkers moved East 6” and laced into the enemy War Walkers, this time ending them.  My War walkers on the right killed the Fire Prism despite its crazy Holofield.
My two wounded Guardian squads moved away from the melee with the Warlock so that when it died, they wouldn’t be next!  They tried to kill the immobilized Wave Serpent but couldn’t hit it.  This took them out of the Fearless bubble again even though I moved the Avatar as close as I could.
As predicted, Eldrad's unit of Dire Avengers finished the Warlock and consolidated 2 inches.

Then it was the enemy’s turn to exact vengeance, after their Scorpions and Rangers continued their fallbacks (proximity to the Wave Serpent that tank shocked them).
The Falling back scorpions and Rangers fired as they fell back at my War Walkers, shaking one!
The second unit of Scorpions appeared on the left table edge and made a beeline in the direction of the D-Cannon crew, hoping to silence them next round.

Eldrad split off from his Dire Avengers and the Guided Dire Avengers advanced, shooting one of the two tattered and doomed Guardian Defender squadsUntil only a Warlock and Guardian were left.  The Guardian defenders failed morale, forcing them off the board.  Two down.  Eldrad hit the newly arrived unit with Eldritch Storm hoping for similar results given how relatively bunched up they were but he was disappointed, killing only three and they made their morale check for pinning and for fall back.

The Farseers Guided unit, now considerably smaller, fired its blade Storm off into the Doomed Jet-bikes, but killed only 1 or 2 and then charged vthe bikes, but only managed to tie the combat.

Round 4:
The Jet-bikes won combat on their turn and routed the Dire Avengers, then consolidated back to the objective.
The D-Cannon fired and killed the immobilized Wave Serpent so it couldn’t contest.
The smaller Guardian Defender unit that was left moved and then ran to the objective the immobilized Wave Serpent had been on.  The larger unit that had come from reserve shot the enemy Dire Avengers dead.
The War Walkers on the left shot the enemy Scorpions that had outflanked.  The Avatar moved to cut off their approach as best he could to the D-Cannon but was too far to charge.  His Wailing Doom killed a Scorpion though.
The right hand War Walkers moved up to the objective and fired on the Rangers that weren’t running, killing 2 and their proximity ensuring that both the running Ranger squad and Scorpion unit could never regroup.
Tha Autarch/Storm Guardian Wave Serpent was already on an objective, so it shot the Rangers that weren’t running also, killing them.  The Storm Guardians and Autarch never even needed to get out.

By this time, the only thing left was the nearly full unit of Scorpions and Eldrad headed for an Avatar.  The other Scorpions and Rangers were falling back with little or no hope of causing any damage.

I held 3 objectives.  He held zero.

My opponent conceded the victory.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Terror Based Dark Eldar vs. Tyranid Battle Report

Only the survivors of a Dark Eldar raid can know what true terror is.  When I think of Dark Eldar, I think of the horrors they visit upon their guests in their dark capital city and I shudder.
When the new Codex came out, many people said unkind things about Mandrakes and they claimed a Terror based list was impossible.  Needless to say, I was up for that challenge.  My Unorthodoxy bone wouldn't let me pass up a chance to try.
So here was my list (I later changed the list to just 3 Reavers with x1 blaster and 1x Grav talon, plus 9 Hellions with a Stunclaw):
Terror Made manifest:

195 VoidRaven Bomber(FlickerField, 4 x Necrotoxin Missiles)
125 Talos Pain Engine (Extra CC Weapon, TL Liquifier Gun, TL Haywire Blaster)
125 Talos Pain Engine (Extra CC Weapon, TL Liquifier Gun, TL Haywire Blaster)
95 6 Wrack (Liquifier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
95 6 Wrack (Liquifier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
95 6 Wrack (Liquifier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
105 7 Wrack (Liquifier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
226 8 Reavers (2 x Grav Talons, 2 x Blasters)
145 9 Mandrakes (NightFiend)
145 9 Mandrakes (NightFiend)
180 Haemonculae Ancient (HuskBlade, HexRifle, Webway Portal)
130 Haemonculae Ancient (HuskBlade, HexRifle)
Mission:  Quarter Deployment ,Kill Points.

Terrain from the Dark Eldar perspective of the Table.
In the DarK Eldar Deployment zone midboard was a church ruin and a forest dominating the right flank.  Near the very center of the board, closest to the Dark Eldar was an AV 13 building.  Opposite the ruined church in the Tyranid Quarter were ruined walls and a trench line in the middle of the Tyranid deployment zone.  Another ruined church wall was in the center of the Tyranid long board edge.
Dark Eldar Deployed first and went first.  They Deployed the Raiders as near to the center of the board as was allowed, using the large AV 13 building for cover from the Hive guard or other Tyranid forces that might fire on them.    Reaver Jetbikes took solace behind the ruined church.  Ironic.  The rest went into reserves except for the Mandrakes which grouped up in the right quadrant in front of the Dark Eldar deployment Quadrant, near a ruined partial building.

The Tyranids spread their girth across the front of their deployment quadrant.  From right to left the Termagaunts spread out, and then left of them were the Ripper Swarms and Hormagaunts left of them.  Behind that line were, right to left, 2 Hive Guard, 4 Warriors, 2 more Hive Guard and 4 more Warriors to keep Synapse ranges, and 2 Biovores stood in an old munitions dump to the far rear corner.  The Tervigon sat behind a broken wall to take cover and spawn away from the midpoint of the enemy long board edge.   Gene Stealer deployed 24 inches up along the short board edge, behind a hill.  At the 36” line of the long board edge were clumped the large Gargoyle unit with its Parasite master, right near the Tervigon.  Spore Mines took up the center of the unused quadrants to cut off enemy movement but were essentially not a factor  in the game, exploding against Raider hulls at various points but doing nothing worth writing about.

The Dark Eldar moved their Raiders stealthily towards the open quadrant in front of them, keeping their distance except for the one with the Homonculae in it, which took to the center and dropped its deadly Webway Portal package off.  The Dark Lances fired and killed a couple of Warriors and the Mandrakes backed away slightly to set their trap for the gargoyles that were clumped up with the Parasite on the 36’ line of the long board edge.
The Tyranids ran forward while the vile Tervigon spat out 12 of its unholy Termagaunt primordial soup children.  The Hive Guard took aim and fired at the offending Raider that had produced the eerie glowing portals creator.  The Gene Stealers ran over the hill and flooded towards the AV 13 building like a mass of hungry ants.  Meanwhile the Yrmgarls waited patiently for their opportunity to strike.
The Reavers got hit HARD by the Biovores, killing four of them and leaving them pinned.
As predicted, the Gargoyles had alighted well within the dread Mandrakes range.  The Homonculae ancient sprang from his Raider and joined them, causing eldritch flames to lick up and down the arms of the avaricious Mandrakes and they unleashed that hunger upon the gargoyles with venomous joy, nearly cutting the Gargoyles in half.  The second unit of Mandrakes, still unaccompanied by a Homonculae positioned themselves and readied for the charge.  The Wracks themselves mounted up and moved to the rear corner of the board.
Meanwhile from seemingly nowhere, the VoidRaven Bomber Streaked from its position in the clouds and alighted in the forest on the right side (did not become immobilized), and unleashed four Necrotoxin missiles and its Void Lances, completely annihilating the largest of the Termagaunt squads that were taking up the middle of the Tyranid line.  Both Hive Guard units and the wounded warrior unit were hit as well and hurt badly.  The Talos waited patiently in the ether…
The Wracks with the Homonculae, now without a Raider to transport them, took a step back and towards their fellows near the forest to put distance between themselves and the ravening horde before them.  Little did they know what appetite lurked there…  The Homonculae detached to join the Mandrakes near the forest.
The other Wracks in their Raiders allowed the Raider Lances to blast away, the Acothysts taking their pot shots as well with their fear inducing HexRfiles from within the confines of the Raider.
The Reavers were pinned and could do nothing but take it in the face.
The Gargoyles angrily responded, with their Parasite Master egging them on to greater efforts.  They rushed forward and shot the Mandrakes to little effect, and then missed the charge by about an inch.
The Hormagaunts had made good time and were easily within reach of the enemy.  The rest of the Warriors advanced with the Hive Guard up the middle.  The Gene Stealers entered the AV 13 building giving them a considerable amount of protection as well as potentially significant free movement next round.  The Tervigon ejected 8 more of its spawn.  The Biovores dared not fire for fear of hitting too many of their own.
SUDDENLY, the Yrmgrals appeared in the forest and multi-assaulted not only the Reavers but the Homonculae led Mandrakes that had just fired down on the Gaunts seconds before.  Unfortunately, they badly underestimated their opponents, as the Reavers were on combat Drugs (+1 Attack) and the Ancient Homonculae was not to be trifled with.  The Yrmgals were vanquished all in one fell swoop!  An unexpected turn of events to be sure.
The Reaver Jetbikes Scythed their way across the night sky and cut into the Gaunts that the Tervigon had created, helping to tear them away for the Talos, but the swarm creatures were immune to the normal terror of self preservation that most would have fallen prey to.  The VoidRaven Bomber also blasted its engines to full throttle, placing itself next to the Tervigon just as the Two Talos lumbered from the fetid reaches of the etherium through the WebWay Portal and used their Liquifier Guns and Haywire Blasters to clear a path to the hive guard behind them.   The Raiders fired at the Gargoyles and gaunts, while one of the Wrack units flew alongside the VoidRaven bomber at the enemies long board edge.  Only one of the Talos could reach the Hive Guard but that was enough.  The Talos did its grisly work and smashed the Hive Guard to pieces.
The remaining Mandrakes dropped the Gargoyle unit that failed its charge to five fliers and their Parasite master as they waited for the inevitable charge, secure in their building position.
The Tyranid responded.  The GeneStealers tore the door frames of the AV13 building off in their lust to satiate their hunger and only Dark meat would suffice.  They rushed the central Mandrakes that were in the open with their fleet claws and the Mandrakes were simply overwhelmed without the help of their Homonculae master.  There was no terrain to slow the enemy down this time.  Their Eldritch flames flickered and died out.
The Tervigon popped its last spawn out, placenta and all, and shot some foul power at the Reavers, then charged and destroyed them.  The Gargoyles charged the Mandrakes in the building, losing horribly and leaving only a wounded parasite to fight on.  Once again the prowess of the Mandrakes was made clear to these mindless brutes.
The Rippers charged the Talos and poisoned it to death and all the other gaunt units charged the other Talos, but essentially were banging their head against a brick wall.  Even though one of the Gaunt units was within the Tervigons poisonous range, there weren’t enough of them to get through the tough armor of the Taos.
The Mandrakes  in the building finished off the Parasite with a dismissive slash across its throat, draining its blood into a cup for later inclusion in their libations, careful not to let a moment of its terror escape their attentions, and then rushed the field, eagerly attempting to get closer to the action.
The Rippers had to die and so the Wracks unloaded on them with Liquefier guns, HexRifles, Dark Lances and anything else they could throw at it until the unit was next to nothing.  The VoidRaven Bomber took it’s shots as well, wounding the Tervigon, but unable to drop its mine on the thing, as it had moved out of position when it attacked the Reavers the previous round {note:  this was played before the FAQ came out or I would have dropped it right on his head}.  All of this was punctuated by the charge of a unit of Wracks with the help of a Homonculae who attached itself to them.  With a Furious Charge, the Rippers vanished and the center of the board was much more manageable!
One unit of Wracks mounted up to avoid the next GeneStealer charge
That left the Genestealers pretty much alone with a gaunt unit to charge the remaining Wracks on the right near quadrant and that combat ended rather expectedly with Wracks dying horribly.  The Gaunts continued to flail against the tough Talos and it continued to batter their bodies against its own shell to get at the meaty insides as if to send a message to the far biovores that had been able to fire very little to this point for fear of hitting their own hordes.  With one last crack of a spine, the Talos finally tore one of the Gaunt units that were scratching at it to bits.
The Tervigon tried to attack the VoidRaven Bomber but it was of little use.  The thing was simply too fast for it to latch a claw onto it.
The Warriors inside the AV13 building burst out and tried to make their way towards the Talos combat, firing at the Wrack Raiders.

Round 5: 
The VoidRaven Bomber and other Raiders tried to finish the Tervigon, moving swiftly away from the only remaining free threat, the GeneStealers and scattering like leaves, then blasting away at it with Dark lances, wounding it again.  The Mandrakes also moved to fire on the Genestealers, and were able to put a serious dent in their numbers, cutting them in half from 18 inches out.  The Talos continued to cut and hack at the now powerless Gaunts that were simply too far from the Tervigon to benefit from the poisonous miasma it imbues its children with.  A unit of Wracks disembarked and used their Liquefier guns on the Tyranid Warriors that came out of the AV 13 building, then charged, tying the combat.
The Biovores were now presented with targets.  No friendly units were anywhere to cause problems and they blew a Raider out of the sky, but with nothing on the board but a nearly dead tervigon who took swings at the VoidRaven Bomber again, and the Genestealers who could reach no one, and the Warriors there was really nothing more to be done.  The Warriors fought the Wracks and Homonculae again and were beaten back again.  The Talos was as brutal as last round, crushing Gaunts under its feet.
The End.
Score 11-5, Advantage Dark Eldar


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Assault Tau Battle Report

On the 97th and 98th Episode of the 11th Company Podcast at we were again featured and during that interview, I mentioned my Assault Tau as an aside.  A couple people heard it and jetted me a PM asking me how that works.  So I thought I'd post a battle Report from it.  Ironically it segues with the discussion we just had on Stealth Clouds.  I had forgotten that this army had both a cloud unit and a Crisis unit in it!  So it makes sense to post from both perspectives.  Excellent timing.


1 20 man Chaos marines
2 10 man Chaos Marine units (Rhino)
 8 Berzerkers *Rhino)
 2 units 10 Lesser Daemons.
 Daemon prince with Warptime.
 10 Havocs
 Chaos Land Raider
My Basic list
Shas'o (2 Shield Drones)
2 x Team Lead Broadsides (2 shield drones each)
3 x 11 Fire Warrior units (Grenades)
1 x 10 Kroot
1 x Kroot plus Hounds and 3 Krootox
2 x Crisis Suits with Drones and TL Flamers.
Stealthsuit Cloud unit

Terrain:  Full Cityscape with roads in between.
 Mission:  Kill Points, Spearhead Deployment
First Turn: Chaos

CHAOS DEPLOYS:  Northwest:

3 Rhino’s, One as close to the vertex of the board as is allowed, behind a central builing (Rhino 1); one where the the deployment zone ends on his long board edge (Rhino 2) and the third on the road close to Rhino 2 (Rhino 3)
Havocs are placed in a building about midway along his allowable long board edge deployment, with only his 4 missiles Launchers showing, basically…
Daemon Prince right in the middle and ready to rush me.

TAU DEPLOYS: Southeast

Broadside 2 is near the 24” line, about 13 inches from the short board edge
Broadside 1 is 12 inches up from my long board edge, about equidistant from the sides.  Both are specifically spaced to disallow outflankers the charge.  the Shas'O is with Broadside 1.

Krootox unit is in a building within the first 12” from my long board edge with clear sight to his Havocs and Daemon Prince.

Round 1

Tau stole the initiative!

Broadside 1 fired at the Daemon Prince, wounding it once.

Broadside 2 Destroyed Rhino 3 with its mighty TL Railgun, moving back slightly to do so.  The Khornate Berzerkers inside were burned badly in the explosion, killing two, serving only to further enrage them.

The Krootox Squad fired and killed a Havoc from across the field of battle.  It's a start.  But then it was their turn...

The enraged Daemon Prince of Slanesh flew forward towards Broadside 1, closing the distance fast.

Khornate Berzerkers flooded forward towards a building for cover on the run.

The Havoc Squad was deadly in this game.  It fired its 4 missiles at the Krootox unit because it was an easier target to kill than Broadsides and dropped their small blasts with deadly accuracy.  The Krootox unit barely held its ground, losing 5 even despite their cover advantage.  It could have and maybe should have been much worse.

The rhino in the center (Rhino 1) moved around its cover and into the street, flanking to the left essentially.  Rhino 2 at his long Deployment edge zipped forward on the road.  Tau hate roads.  Insane Chaos Warriors in Rhinos love them.

Round 2
 Aun’Va fails his reserve roll on a 1 and does not come in.  Thanks to the positional relay, no one else is allowed to try.  All's lonely on the western front for the Broadsides.

Broadside 1 fires on the Havoc squad due to line of sight issue with the Daemon prince, killing one.

The Krootox unit opened fire on the Berzerkers, killing one more.  "The slow blade penetrates the shield"

Broadside 2 failed to wound the Daemon Prince.  This was seen as a bad thing by all Tau concerned.

The Reserve Land Raider rolled to come on and whisked up the road.  Did I mention Tau hate roads?
A reserve unit of Chaos Marines rushes onto the field to the left.
A reserve unit of Lesser Daemons Deep Struck off the Khorne Icon on to the Road ahead of the Land Raider.
The Khone Berzerkers ran further into the building they were using for cover and approach, making them harder to see.
Rhino 2 rushed up the road beside and past the Land Raider on the right.
Rhino 1 (on the left) rushed forward and turned right on the road, towards Broadside 1.
AGAIN, the Havoc squad landed devastating barrages against the Krootox unit!  3 of four hit dead on. This time the Krootox and its fellows went to ground but still sustained 4 losses.  Hopefully reinforcements would be coming soon or it might be curtains for the Kroot.

Round 3:
The Kroot Carnivore Squad came in from reserve, far left but Rhino 1 was too far away and the Chaos warriors far forward of them were also too far a target.
The Krootox unit peeked out from the bushes they were hiding in.  Briefly. 
Stealth Suits came in from reserve on the right side and jumped into difficult terrain, firing a torrent into the Khorne Berzerkers and killing all but three.  Party time.

Both Broadside Battlesuits combined to kill the Daemon Prince in his tracks, and just in time, for his deadly path would surely have been through them.

The Chaos Warriors on the left moved and ran forward towards the outflanking Kroot, making good time towards them.

Rhino 1 summoned Daemons off of its icon and they landed just barely within 12” and to the right of the outflanking Kroot.  The Rhino itself zoomed full tilt down the street towards Broadside 1, getting very close.

Rhino 2 humped over difficult terrain and placed it’s nose within 12” of the Tau Board edge and easily within striking distance of the Broadside next turn.  There would be no escape now.

Havocs fired at the stealth suits, but their Stealth Fields confused the Havoc sensors and they missed.  Of course, the Tau Ethereal command had once again proven its philosophy of not being where the punch lands.

The Khornate Berzerkers in the building finally tried to charge the cowering Krootox unit in their building but could not quite reach them.  However their pistols did do some damage (again the Kroot unit held its ground through sheer mass more than courage).

The Daemons ahead of the Land Raider moved forward, eager to assault the Stealth suits next round that had gunned their Khornate buddies down, but since they could not reach them they decided to attack Broadside 2 instead.  They managed to kill both of its Shield drones and cause a wound to it despite its tough armor.

The LandRaider itself moved forward at full speed so it too could unload its group of Chaos Marines next turn, secure in the knowledge that the Stealth Suits were unlikely to be able to hurt them in close quarters fighting.

Round 4:

Rhino 1 and 2 were now very close to one another, and prepared to kill, but had moved their full 12”.

Two of the three Fire Warrior units rolled on from Reserves and each charged the Rhino in front of them, but their guns were of no avail and their EMP grenades managed only to shake the fast moving Rhino 2 and take its Twin-linked Bolter off.

One of the Crisis Battle Suit units came on and moved into the cover of the building in front of Rhino 1 (which was to the left of Rhino 2 at this point), unable to reach it because the Fire Warriors were blocking their avenue, and their flamers were of no use against its armored hull, twin linked or not!

Broadside 1 fired at and assaulted Rhino 2 with disappointingly little result.

Aun’Va of the Undying Spirit emerged and the command suit that had been attached to Broadside 1 joined his unit proudly.  They then charged Rhino 2 along with the Fire Warriors but failed to pop it, despite a bunch of STR 5 attacks and their EMP combined!!!

The Krootox unit, emboldened, moved down from its perch in the Building it was in and fired a salvo into the Khornate Berzerkers, mowing the last three of them down at the risk of being charged.  The gambit paid off.

The outflanking Kroot unit to the left rapid fired at the one Daemon unit they could reach with their weapons and killed exactly one of the Daemons.  It was to be pretty much the last useful thing they would do.  LOL.

Broadside 2 was joined by the hard charging Stealth Unit which, thanks to the Krootox unit, had no better target unless they intended to kill a land Raider with STR 4 (or a lucky Fusion Blaster shot, but the range was iffy).  Not happening.  So they rushed in and managed to win the combat.  The Daemons ignored the Stealth Unit and tried to finish the Broadside but this time its saves held and it clung to life.  Despite losing by three, the Daemons didn’t fail any of their Fearless saves!  Bad news for the Tau.

In the end analysis, almost nothing worked well during this surge, and the Tau were hanging in the wind, yet the songs of the Ethereals caused them not to be daunted.

Perhaps they should have been.

Chaos Warriors jumped from their Land Raider and assaulted the Stealth Unit and the Broadside, killing almost every drone, although again the broadside itself defied the best efforts of the forces of Chaos to engulf him.  The Tau lost badly, but thanks to the bolstering strength of Aun’Va, they stood their ground against the combined might of charging Chaos Warriors and Daemons.  Still...ouch.

The Havocs dropped Blasts with unerring accuracy into the hugely crowded area where all the reserve Fire Warriors, Command group and broadsides were, a perfect killing field.  They did not miss and almost half the models from both Fire Warrior units had to be picked up and put away, as did a Broadside Drone and a Shas’O Drone.  Rolled 1’s for both 2+ Shield Drones.  Ouch.  Again.  The price of Failure was steep indeed.

Rhino 2 disgorged its passengers as it was unable to move.  Rhino 1 dumped its passengers as well, and they all fired their pistols and melta’s into the command unit and Broadside unit, killing the other Shas’O drone and wounding the Shas’O himself.

This emboldened Chaos and they assaulted both the command unit and Broadside 1.  The power of Aun’Va is great however and he COUNTER ATACKED them!  This resulted in Aun’Va winning the fight despite losing a bodyguard to a Powerfist, and one of the two Chaos units fled.  Aun’Va was unable to follow as the second charging Chaos unit held fast.

The Daemons that the Kroot had shot rushed over to help, attacking the Crisis suits that were stuck in the difficult terrain where they had failed to attack the Rhino.  The Daemons ferocious attack would have made a lesser Shas’ui quail in fear but the calming influence of Aun’Va saved them even though they lost five of their six  drones during the Daemon charge!

The Chaos Warriors on the left decided to stop running and rained 16 shots into the outflanking Kroot that were slogging along in the buildings ahead of them.  5 Kroot bit it despite going to ground.  Ouch.  

Round 5:
The Last Crisis suit unit came on the board along with the Fire Warriors that remained. 

Unfortunately, there really was only one avenue of attack for them, so the fire Warriors took it, charging rhino 2 with their EMP grenades and exploding it. 

The newly deployed Crisis suits milled about waiting for an opening.

On the right, the Daemons and Chaos Warriors beat on the Tau Stealth unit but this time, the Tau concentrated all attacks on the Daemons and managed to finish them.  This so shocked the Chaos Warriors that they ran!  The Tau took no chances, gunning them down as they did run.

The first two units of fire Warriors that had come on decided they didn’t like getting blasted by the Havocs and they threw themselves into the fray against the Chaos Warriors and Daemons, making an impression.  The Crisis Suits continued to duke it out with the Daemons alongside them, holding their ground with the help of the fire Warriors influx of attacks, but the suits took wounds and were not in good shape.

The unit still engaging Aun’Va (and the Broadside) managed to kill one of his Bodyguards and with a swipe of his Power Fist, the Shas’O ceased to exist as ell.  Aun’Va held his courage though.  The Broadsidefought on as well, but to little effect.  Apparently Broadside 1 was executing the “shadow boxing” routine or something.

The Krootox unit, battered but not broken rushed forward, ready to help if needed, making up ground.

The outflanking Kroot had gone to ground and could do nothing.

Chaos Responded:

The huge Chaos Warriors on the left fired yet again at the pinned Kroot, whittling them down to two Mercenaries.  The Havocs, having a veritable heyday, blasted the newly deployed Crisis unit and Fire Warriors that were once again clustered near the wreckage of Rhino 2.

The Land Raider had no targets except the Krootox unit or the stealth suits, and so it fired at the Stealth suits in front of it, but it had little effect. 

The unit fighting Aun’Va that had run in Turn 4 was too close to the ongoing combats to regroup and it fell back again, just past a building for cover perhaps.

Rhino 1 hit the reverse switch and rushed backwards to the building its Chaos Warriors were running to in preparation to pick them up perhaps.

The Battle with Aun’Va ended, the Chaos Warriors punching a hole through his gut and dropping his lifeless corpse to the ground unceremoniously, alongside the Broadsides corpse for good measure.  Aun’Va, his retinue and Broadside met with unfortunate luck (and a Power Fist, which allows luck to be less relevant.)  Shock waves went through the Tau troops as this registered.

The Crisis unit that had just shown up to the battle was so shocked it immediately jumped off the board (waaah crap!), and the Fire Warriors that had just come with them did the same!!!!  Every other Tau unit grew angry; and anger focused itself into hatred, the white hot knife of vengeance.  The unit that had killed the great leader looked apprehensively around as every Tau Warrior became a bloody killing machine with one mission:  get free and kill those bastards.

It showed.

Oblivious to the change in Tau aspect, The Daemons continued their attack on the remaining Crisis suits, finishing all but one (1 wound left).  This time the Daemons lost to the combined anger of Fire Warrior and Crisis Battle Suit Preferred Enemy attacks, ending them.  There was only one target on their mind now:  the murderers of Aun’Va.

Turn 6

The Tau Empire rose on its heels that day and smote a mighty blow in memory of its fallen leader.

The unit of Fire Warriors that had fallen back from the shock of losing Aun’Va regrouped and fired into the infidel Chaos Warriors nearest them and they killed two.

The Stealth Unit fired its Fusion Blaster and annihilated the nearby Land Raider, then proceeded onwards towards the building where Rhino 1 had reversed into.

The Krootox unit (blasted in half now) rushed forward towards the Rhino as well, along with the now freed Fire Warrior remnants (less than half strength); and the remaining Crisis Suit (whose other two partners had died). 

The Crisis suit dropped its twin linked Flamer into the midst of the Chaos Warriors, immolating their sergeant, the last survivor of Aun’Va’s killers.  The Krootox rushed towards the retreating Rhino and shot the Chaos Warriors that had fallen back, killing more of them.

Then the Fire Warriors attacked and planted EMP grenades on the Rhino, wrecking it for good measure.

Seeing that they only had one hope to win the contest, the Chaos Warriors behind the building regrouped and then flung themselves at the Kroot hoping for an easy kill point.  Unfortunately, the krootox are not so easily fought and though the Chaos Warriors did several wounds even with their small numbers, the Kroot miraculously saved two of the wounds and then proceeded to hand out a beating.  With Kroot hounds in the majority, having lost so many Kroot Mercenaries to shooting, running the Chaos Warriors down was a simple matter (Majority init 5 on Hounds).

The Havocs fired at and killed the last Crisis suit, exacting their own vengeance, while the large unit of Chaos Warriors tried to kill the last two Kroot forward of them, and succeeded.

11-7 Victory for the Tau.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

40K for Dummies

I got asked  on another forum a while ago and again yesterday if there was some "easy way" that a person could teach their wife how to play 40K without making them slog through the enormous BRB.  I got to thinking about it and posted this to help.  I hope you find it useful for bringing people into the hooby the "easy" way.  It is a summary of the game, in a nutshell, that most anyone can read and take with them to a game, so that they can follow along on what's going on.

Troops move 6 inches or 2d6 (take the highest) when in difficult terrain (trees, ruins, etc...)

Vehicles can move 6 inches and fire one main (STR 5+) and all defensive weapons (STR 4 or less). Optionally, they can move up to 12" and fire nothing.  Not moving allows them to fire everything.

Fast Vehicles basically get to add 6" to both rules.

The equation:  7 - Ballistic skill (BS is how it shows on the unit statline) is the number needed to hit. Easy to remember. So a BS of 4 hits on a roll of 7-4=3.

Each units members fire simultaneously and at the same target.  Not all must fire.

To hit you must have line of sight LITERALLY from the eyes of the firing model to the target. EACH models eyes are gauged this way, so it is possible that some will see the target as obscured (or not at all) and others in the same unit will have a clear line of sight.

Each individual weapon that is in range may fire. Rapid Fire weapons are reduced to 12" range if you move. Rapid fire weapons can always fire 2 times at 12" range, moving or not.

Once you roll to hit, dont count the dice. Waste of time. Just take out all the misses (good ettiquette). In our example, 1's and 2's miss. Then pick them up and roll the remaining dice to wound. Wounding uses a chart you must use or memorize. Put in simplest terms, a weapon of equal str compared to the tougness of the target will wound on 4's. It goes one step the other way depending on the tougness comparison. So a STR 5 attack vs. tough 4 means you need 3's (one step removed from equal) to wound. If it is against tough 5, you need a 4 and so on.

Hand the dice that wounded to the opponent and have them roll their saving throws (saves so much time). They only get a saving throw if the AP rating of the weapon is not equal to, or lower than, their saving throw. For example, a 3+ armor saving throw will be trumped by an AP 3,2 or 1 weapon (AP is listed with the weapon description at the back of most Army Books). Low AP ratings are good. Lets assume the weapon AP is 4 and therefore does not trump the armor save. In this example, they would cast the dice you handed them and any 1's or 2's represent wounds actually taken. The person losing the models gets to choose which ones die. See the rulebook for rules on allocating wounds.  In short form, each pool of models in a unit that are the same in game terms get allocated wounds as a pool.  So for example if you do 9 wounds to a unit that contains 4 A's and 4 B's, you'd have to give 4 to the A's, 4 to the B's and then decide whether the A's or the B's will take the final wound.  Then roll your saves. If only 4 wounds, you could split them up either way because there aren't enough to FORCE you to spill over into the other unit.  Just make sure everyone takes a wound before you assign a second round of wounds to any one pool.

If you shoose not to shoot you may substitute shooting for a D6" move that is not slowed by terrain (but dangerous terrain may still wound you. Roll for each individual model. On a 1, that model dies when moving through Dangerous Terrain)

Shooting Vehicles:
Vehicles have armor ranging from 10-14. When you shoot a weapon and hit a vehicle, you then roll a D6, adding the Weapons STR. So a heavy bolter is STR 5. If you roll a D6, and get 6, your total is 11. that is the armor you are able to affect with that shot. If the value is equal to the enemy armor, you glanced it. If it exceeds the enemy armor, you Penetrated it. In both cases you roll to see what happens, using another D6. See page 67 for some rules on that. there is an easy to read chart for this in the very rear of the main rulebook. Learn it. Know it. Love it.

After all units have shot and resolved the deaths of many, it's almost time for assaults.

Normal units assault 6" or else 2d6 inches (take the best of the two) when moving through difficult or Dangerous terrain. Beasts/Cavalry charge 12" instead.  Generally the order of this movement is as follows:
1. Closest model must make a DIRECT line to the nearest enemy model in the unit.
2. Independent characters move next.
3. Every model must attemt to get in base with a model that isn't already engaged if possible.
4. Once all the models have been moved that can get into base, move the ones who cannot as close as they can possibly get.
5. If you miss the charge, nothing moves at all. I know. I know. Just accept it.

Once this is done the enemy you charged does the same exact thing except step 1.

Finish moving all chargers before moving on.

Then dice are chucked.

close combat happens in strict initiative order. Init 10 models go first and then so on until you are done with the INIT 1 models. Easy enough.

Each model gets its Attack characteristic in dice to roll, plus 1 per model when charging, +1 per modl that also has a pistol+close combat weapon(CCW) or just two CCW's. Any power weapons should use a different colored die so its clear which are which.

To hit is a chart you can memorize, but in short form: if the enemy Weapon Skill(WS) is lower than yours, you need 3+ to hit. simple.
If they are equal to or better than your WS, then you need 4's.
On rare occassions, you may need a higher number if the difference between your skills is vast enough. generally this is when the opposing weapon skill is 2x+1 your WS. Tau have WS 2, so any time they try to hit a WS 5 person, they need a 5+ because 5 is 2x+1 their weaponskill.

Like shooting, roll the number of dice, dont count them, get rid of the misses, then roll them again to wound (same chart as shooting to wound) and give those dice to the opponent to allocate to their men. Unless it's a power attack, they will always get their Saving throw. their is no AP in close combat.

This happens at each initiative count. so its possible to have half the unit attack on init count 5, and the other half on init 4.

Once both sides are done figuring out who died, compare the number of wounds done (not models) and then the winner is the one with the most. Some wargear can increase this number artificially. If tied, you both move in closer (up to 6 inches) following the rules before so that everyone stays engaged.

If someone did more wounds, the enemy must roll 2D6 and the target is the units highest leadership score. Every losing unit involved must roll. There is a modifier to this equal to how many wounds you lost by. So an LD 9 unit that lost by 4 would need a 5 in order to stand their ground. if they do, treat it like a tie. if they dont, they run.

When they run: the running unit rolls a D6 and so does the enemy winner. Add your init score to the roll. if the enemy equals the total of the running unit, the running unit is cut down mercilessly and removed. Finit. If the losers exceed the enemies total, they run 2D6 inches towards the long board edge they originally deployed from.

And that's pretty much Warhammer 40K in like 1 page. hehehehe.

I've obviously left a few things out that are specific to a lot of weapons and vehicle types and all that but this is the basic mechanic.

Tactically, there's a lot to how you use units and time them. Strategically there are a lot of plans you can implement as an overarching battle plan. thats the fun of the game and takes a LOT more time to really get down. You'll learn that through hard won experience. 

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flames of War meets Warhammer 40K

Flames of War design elements 40K can learn from

Many subscribers will know me to be an eclectic gamer, well versed in numerous gaming systems.

While I am not suggesting that 40K should just go ahead and adopt the Flames of War system, I am saying they could potentially take a few pages from its book.  Here are the most interesting elements to me, but there are many.  I’d love to hear what you think of how they could translate it.

Force Strength: 
Unlike 40K that deals in Victory Points and Kill Points, Flames of War deals in Force Strength.  Put simply, the number of non-transport units is your force strength.  Once you lose more than half your force strength, you make LD checks to see if the army breaks and runs from its bloody casualties!   Transports that are destroyed are counted as kills, even though they aren’t adding to your force strength.  So armies that rely a ton on transports to cower in must beware, for if your Force Strength were 8 (but you had 4 Rhinos) and all 4 Rhinos are blown up, then you would have already reached the threshold for LD checks! 

You are allowed to send the transports “to the rear” once they disgorge their men.  They then simply are removed and no longer play a part in the battle but do NOT count as destroyed and are not penalizing you.  In real wars, vehicles are such big targets that (once the troops are out), they are in no hurry to rush the enemy further.  They hang back and shoot like a Razorback or get the hell out of there until the battle is over.  How might we adopt that in some form for 40K?

You can only disembark at the beginning of the movement phase.  This changes an enormous amount about your tactica.  The value of open topped Vehicles would rise substantially.

The run move isn’t random in Flames of War.

ALL forces can Combat squad.  One of the chief strategies for the charge is to leave a unit “out of command” and your leader takes the rest of the squad forward to assault.  You cannot move while out of command but you can shoot to pin the enemy down. 

THE most interesting mechanic is when you charge an enemy, they lose their motivation quickly for ammo discipline and start filling you full of led inbound.  There’s no reason not to do this, but in 40K the mechanic doesn’t exist.  As long as your unit has not been pinned (defined as being hit five times regardless of wounds) in the preceding phase, you get your full rate of fire into the charging unit, which can force them to halt their charge!  If you are pinned, you get an ROF of 1, and are +1 to the number you need to hit the onrushing foe, making pinning them down critical. 

When artillery hits, and if you are in cover/gone to Ground/in a foxhole then the artillery has to make a second roll, a Firepower roll, for each unsaved wound to see if the wound was stopped by terrain.  This might be similar to using the AP rating of a weapon and rolling against it to see if it was powerful enough to break through the cover its target was in.  Unlike our current cover saves, this is a save in addition to Armor saves.

Another interesting point is that to hit the enemy, you must overcome THEIR skill at using terrain and staying hidden as the target number.  All troops are rated according to their skill in avoiding enemy fire, and cover/concealment modifies that number instead of providing “cover saves” as we do now.

As for transports, if the transport dies, so does everyone inside!  It makes sense, but yet we see a majority of units surviving ammunition explosions that would simply burn and annihilate most anyone.

Close Combat:
Every last person dies, or you keep fighting and piling in until everyone on one side is dead.  No more multi-phase assaults.

As I prepare to play Flames of War tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to muse on how we could successfully take some (or none) of these concepts into 40K and what changes we would have to make to the core mechanic in order to do it.

11th Company Podcast

Hey thanks to all the contributors for the blog.  We were interviewed for the 11th Company Podcast, which i a radio show dedicated to 40K.  They interview top players all the way from the U.S. to the U.K., as well as talk about all the latest on 40K.

Here is the link to the 97th Podcast if you'd like to hear it.  Enjoy.