Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stormfront on the coast

Well western Washington State got hit by an enmormous storm and it knocked power out to about 100K (by last count I looked at) people.  It was a monster.  Obviously between the holidays and that, I haven't been active like I should be and my apologies for that.  No heat, no nothing for a few days.  Lost almost the whole week of work.

However I have been busy working on a Navy SEAL type of list, the Emperors Spear Chapter.  Little is known about them, but I was intrigued by the idea of melding the concept of the SEALS, their armaments and the romanticized hard fought battle of Normandy...  with Space Marines.

My question is, how open would you be to allowing an army like that to be played with special rules and if you were writing them, what Army Special Rules do you think would be appropriate for them?

Below are some ideas that some of us threw around.  We could use some, none or all of them.  Compare them to existing codex rules and see what you think:

1.  Field Medics.  All of the Emperors Spears are elite self contained units that must opperate far from base support and even from Fleet support as their operations are underwater and often covert in nature against targets the fleets would rather not announce their presence to just yet.  Thus, most of the Emperors Spears are given advanced medical training and supplies. Units with this rule may roll a D6 for each unsaved wound, and on a 6+, the wound is bound enough to keep the soldier in the fight.  Regardless of AP or weapon strength, the model is not removed despite his wounds.  This is rolled at the end of the phase, after morale checks.  A unit falling back cannot administer aid to its men.

2.  Take the Beach.  All units with this rule have the Fleet Special rule (much like Shrike provides Raven Guard).  Moving quickly to the attack is paramount for beach landings.

3.  Aquatic Training:  the conditioning involved in underwater environments is necessarily extreme and relentless because of the depths and exertion involved.  From outswimming vicious underwater predators during an atack on underwater cities to just enduring the fathoms of depth, only the finest physical specimens can even hope to compete for a position in the Emperors Spears.  Fighting and acting underwater makes time on the surface seem effortless after a while.  Before forces are deployed roll a D6.  On a 1, the unit is especially well conditioned and has its base initiative changed to one higher for all game purposes, even sweeping advances.

4.  Amphibious:  Emperors Spear units with this rule are able to roll 3D6 for distance instead of 2D6 when there is a water feature as part of the terrain they are moving into, out of or through.  Emperors Spear vehicles are always unaffected by any piece of terrain that contains a water feature and never take difficult or dangerous terrain tests in such a case, even when such tests are caused by an outside agency such as Writhing Worldscape etc...

5.  "Take Cover":  When members of a unit with this special rule are within 2" of a linear barrier such as a wall, fence, hedgehog or other similar linear piece of terrain, they may go to ground, but are allowed a leadership test at the beginning of their turn to break from cover and move normally.  Such bravery and relentless forward progress is expected of all the Emperors Spears.

Feel free to give us your ideas if you have any.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tau Empire vs. Space Wolves Battle Report (Brief)

Quarters Deployment, Annihilation.
Space Wolves deployed in the Northeast corner, Tau to the Southwest. Mostly forested terrain, with three piles of huge shipping containers forming the blocking terrain. One of the Containers set near the southern edge of the Tau deployment zone to hide behind, One central and another Northwest of it formed a wide "canal" of large containers midboard big enough for two rhinos to pass through that would prove pivotal. Space Wolves chose to go first.

Space Wolf Rhinos up front and center with Njal in one of them. Wolves north of them with the commander and another Thunderwolf unit along the lower border of the deployment. All three Long Fangs in the rear corner, ready to fire.

Tau deploy three broadsides with drones. Two were in the center along the southern board edge, behind crates. The third is deployed in the far SW corner along with the Shas’El to lead them.  Pathfinders stretched themselves out on the southern border in a stand of trees, ready to help.  All else in reserve of one form or another.

The game was ready to begin.

SW: 2 Rhinos moved up near the "canal", popped smoke as they approached the huge shipping containers midboard. Njal made the terrain difficult. Two more Rhinos still in reserve. The Longfangs moved forward through their huge forest cover in the Northeast to get closer. ThunderCavalry ran forward, one unit behind the Rhinos, the other north of the canal, to work its way between forested stands, eventually towards the SW corner.
Tau: Two Broadsides fired at the Rhino Njal was in Stunning it. The third broadside broke the track off the other Rhino. All other Troops in reserve.

SW: ThunderCavalry continue their inexorable march forward. The farthest northern unit ran some more cresting around the canal and the second unit behind the Rhinos slunk around the stilled vehicles. The Long Fangs continued to move out of their cover and towards the enemy to set up firing positions. Njal kept the storms coming and got out so he could use his lightning strikes on my Pathfinders, but they were safe.
Tau: Stingwings deep struck in and wiped out a longfang squad, completely. The three Broadsides fired on the wolves to the north, killing one. Two Devilfishes and three units of Fire Warriors came on the Southeastern board edge and fired all they could, killing another Thunderwolf and wounding one. A unit of Kroot lost their way and ended up on the far western edge of the board, unable to do much but move and run into the big forest there. The Command suit also fired but did nothing. The Pathfinder Devilfish glided alongside the Pathfinders in the southern forest in case they should need a bastion against the coming Wolf strikes. 4 Piranhas swept onto the board, unloaded their drones and then both unloaded on a Longfang squad that were barely in range and had been trying to get better line of sight and distance on my broadsides, killing 3 of the 6, but they held firm.

SW: Njal’s storm started lashing out, killing things in ernest. He got back in the Rhino now that it could move, moved back to get lines of sight on all the new targets and made more room for the wolves. The nearest Longfangs stood their ground and fired their missiles into the dread StingWings, killing 3. The other longfangs splitfire on the two new Devilfishes to the East. The northern wolves got to within striking distance of the broadsides snarling in anticipation, so they released the other Wolf unit to jump the Tau to the east and they did so, rending Yellow Squad to shreds in their teeth, annihilating them seconds after arriving! The broadside that was about to be eaten couldn’t believe his good fortune but the prospect of the Space Wolf leader on Thunderback with two escorts was no more enticing, and they were coming. Two Rhinos trundled onto the board to the south along the eastern side of the board to try and contribute next round and wanting no part of the mass of 17 Kroot on the western edge. They were content to let those Kroot rot there..
Tau: the second unit of Kroot came on, right next to the first. Ugh. The Broadsides, pathfinders, Pathfinder Devilfish and Kroot fired into the Wolf Commander and his retinue of wolves, killing them all. Disaster averted. The Fire Warriors to the east, seeing the fate of Yellow Squad, and looking into angry wolf eyes decided to jump in their Devilfishes again and hightail it towards the Longfangs. The Drone unit cordoned off the Thunderwolf Cavalry from charging anything more important, the Stingwings came over to help and together, the two devilfish’s, Drones, StingWings and Piranha’s managed to collectively kill the remaining the offending unit.

Round 4 (Tau are now up 4-1):
SW:  A Longfang squad knocked out two of the four Piranhas and blew the weapon off a third in one hail of missile fire. Ouch. The second Long Fang unit tried to down the Devilfish’s but could not.
The two newly arrived Rhinos moved up behind their cohorts in the midboard to protect Njal but Njal needed no protecting. Njal unleashed his lightning storm into the Piranhas killing the one without a gun and killing one of the Broadside units entirely plus with his powers was able to attack the StingWings also (but he rolled low on his number of shots)! The resulting explosion killed some drones. Flamers fired from the immobilized Rhino and killed more Drones and Stingwings that had massed there to end the Wolf threat the round before, but both held their ground.
Tau: The last Devilfish came on the board, up the middle now that there were no Wolves. The remaining two Broadsides and the Shas’El tried to kill the lead Rhinos but failed utterly even with Pathfinder help (which had rolled pretty poorly all game to begin with). In fact the entire army pretty much fired at the rhinos, except for the two easterly Devilfish’s, who shot and killed the remainder of a LongFang Squad. The last Piranha rushed over to try and trap-kill anyone who were forced out of the Rhino, but it mattered not because an entire Tau army could not kill a single Rhino. We stunned it and took its Storm Bolter off. Very disappointing. The StingWings and Drones assaulted it for free movement to get away from his other units and their subsequent shooting. A big pile of Shipping containers made them all but invisible to most of the enemy shooting.

Round 5 (Tau are up 5-2)

SW: Njals storm now guaranteed lightning nonstop, and it crashed down upon the enemy, but to little effect this time, wounding but not killing Braodside drones and others. We were lucky. With his lead Rhino trapped and Njals unit not too excited about getting out, the Rhinos that could tried to position for Storm Bolter and bolter fire into the Broadside they could see through all the cover and vehicles in the way, but it did nothing. The LongFangs once again fired on the pair of Easterly Devilfish’s that were slowly coming to their position, Fire Warriors inside. Again, no Disruption Pods saved them.
Tau: Kroot moved and ran, with no targets within range. The Broadside +Shas’El moved towards the enemy from the West and again tried to kill the Rhinos and failed utterly even with pathfinder help (again). However this time the central Broadside did not miss and exploded it. The Devilfish’s to the East fired and essentially killed one Longfang (5 to go!). The Central Devilfish that came on last turn dumped its Fire Warriors but they could kill none of the disembarked Grey Hunters. The last Piranha settled in front of the second lead Rhino that Njal was in but could not scratch it. The Stingwings were behind the crates and could not contribute.

Round 6 (Tau up 6-2)
SW: the two trailing Rhinos swung to the side to get pot shots in and the unit inside the blown Rhino advanced on the central Broadside. Not close enough to charge but close enough to fire, to no effect (yay 2+ armor). The Long Fangs fired again on the Devilfish’s but could not kill them. Njals storm was brutal however. Lightning crackled everywhere and he killed 4 of the 6 Fire Warriors that had gotten out (but they held) and blew the last Piranha to kingdom come. He also killed a Stingwing (also held) and immobilized the Central Devilfish.
Tau: Again, failure. The broadsides moved and fired but again could do nothing to the Rhinos. The Easterly Devilfishs blasted away and killed just one Longfang and the remaining single Drone did zilch of course. The StingWings hid, trying to keep safe in case there was another round. The Squad that was lightning blasted in the last turn mounted up again in their immobilized ‘Fish for protection from Zeus.

Round 7 (Tau up 6-3)
SW: Zeus is an unforgiving Gawd. Njal, his representative, used thunder and lightning to annihilate the Devilfish, his Grey Hunters shot and killed the Fire Warriors inside, and the lone Drone from the Piranhas was slain in a flash of brilliance. His men came around the right side and got out to try and shoot the Broadside but it was out of range.
Tau: The game tied, we had to do something. The Broadside stepped up and fired plasma and the Railgun, but they went to ground, so I only killed 2. the StingWings wounded all three times yet only killed two because he went to ground as well, leaving 1 Grey Hunter left.
Meanwhile the two Easterly Devilfishs settled to the ground, unloaded their fire Warriors and all of it tried to kill the last two Longfangs with 32 STR 5 shots. They didn’t kill a single one…
I could have left it as a tie, but I didn’t come their for a tie and neither did he! So in the spirit of sporting chances, the Stingwings charged the lone Marine to go for the win. The Broadside was too far away to make the charge. Unfortunately the StingWings caused one wound, but he saved. He killed a Stingwing (didn't save), but the StingWing held their ground valiantly.

Come from behind Tie for the Space Wolves!  Saved by the lack of a bell

After seven rounds we both deserved a shot at it but fate said we must “play it again, Sam”..
It looked real grim for him for most of the game. Njal simply was an incredible MVP for him and in longer games that becomes more and more true. My inability to kill Rhino’s was comical, the Longfangs surviving that hail of Pulse weaponry was crazy and the moral of the story I guess is to “KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN BOYZ” when the chips are all in. It came down to a StingWing charge for the deciding moment which was fun to see.  Tau can hang with Space Wolves even now!  Have faith in our Destiny.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Space Marine vs. Tau Video Battle Report

One of the better Generals on the West Coast, who has gone to the finals and placed highly in bigger events plays at our store and I have always enjoyed the challenge of playing him.  He does Video Battle Reports and I thought you might like to see this one.  It is a contest between my Unorthodox Tau, vs. his QUAD Land Raider list.  I like how brief and complete his reports generally are.

Also, here is the link if you have trouble viewing it:

Space Marine vs. Tau Video Battle Report

Tau army list I used follows:
2000 Pts - Tau Empire Roster - 2000 Tau army
Total Roster Cost: 1997

1 Broadside Battlesuit, 100 pts = (base cost 70 + Hard-wired Multi-tracker 5 + Twin Linked Plasma Rifle 10 + Advanced Stabilisation System 10 + Team Leader 5)
      2 Shield Drone, 30 pts = 2 * 15

   1 Broadside Battlesuit, 100 pts = (base cost 70 + Hard-wired Multi-tracker 5 + Twin Linked Plasma Rifle 10 + Advanced Stabilisation System 10 + Team Leader 5)
      2 Shield Drone, 30 pts = 2 * 15

   1 Broadside Battlesuit, 90 pts = (base cost 70 + Hard-wired Multi-tracker 5 + Advanced Stabilisation System 10 + Team Leader 5)
      2 Shield Drone, 30 pts = 2 * 15

   6 Fire Warrior, 60 pts = 6 * 10

   6 Fire Warrior, 60 pts = 6 * 10
      1 Devilfish, 120 pts = (base cost 80 + Disruption Pod 5 + Multi-Tracker 10 + Smart Missile System 20) + Targeting Array 5

   6 Fire Warrior, 60 pts = 6 * 10
      1 Devilfish, 120 pts = (base cost 80 + Disruption Pod 5 + Multi-Tracker 10 + Smart Missile System 20) + Targeting Array 5

   6 Fire Warrior, 60 pts = 6 * 10
      1 Devilfish, 120 pts = (base cost 80 + Disruption Pod 5 + Multi-Tracker 10 + Smart Missile System 20) + Targeting Array 5

   10 Kroot Carnivore Squad, 70 pts = 10 * 7
      5 Kroot Hounds, 30 pts = 5 * 6

   10 Kroot Carnivore Squad, 70 pts = 10 * 7
      4 Kroot Hounds, 24 pts = 4 * 6

   1 Commander Shas'el, 112 pts = (base cost 50 + Fusion Blaster 12 + Hard-wired Multi-tracker 5 + Stimulant Injector 10 + Plasma Rifle 20 + Positional Relay 15)

   8 Vespid Stingwing, 128 pts = 8 * 16
      1 Strain Leader, 22 pts

   4 Piranha Light Skimmer, 335 pts = 4 * 75 (base cost 60 + Decoy Launchers 5 + Flechette Discharger 10) + Fusion Blaster x4 20 + Targeting Array x3 15

  7 Pathfinder, 84 pts = 7 * 12
      1 Shas'ui, 22 pts
      1 Devilfish, 120 pts = (base cost 80 + Disruption Pod 5 + Multi-Tracker 10 + Smart Missile System 20) + Targeting Array 5

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Imperial Guard Fast Attack Choices: Rough Riders again!

Written During 5th Edition.

I never see Valkyries, nor Rough Riders played.  I see HellHound variants on occassion, but really, never these two Fast Attack choices.

I play tested a 30 Rough rider army.

The plan:  Rough Riders are cover nearly the same distance as a Land Raider charge (6" + 3.5" + 12" = 12.5"), especially with the move move move order

Since you have an answer to charge happy armies, the rest of the army needs to account more for gunlines and long range enemy types, and of course armor.

For my part I added 3 full LasCannon teams and Creed.  Commander Creed seems the ideal Commander for Rough Riders because he can give them the move move move command, and can help the Lascannons hit their target with Bring it Down, which helps the innate weakness the horsies have against getting to the "meaty parts inside".  The opponent must "take a chance" on their movement, hoping that they stayed out of range of the charge, yet fearing to stay too far away lest the LasCannons get extra turns of shooting in.

For Troops I first chose, and recommend, at least one 40man squad with 4 Meltaguns (with Grenades) and commissar.  Creeds order to Bring it Down or Fire on my Target make the Melta Hedgehog particularly potent.  For The Honor of Cadia turns a humble offensive melee threat into a fearless furious charging reasonable one.  The Rough Riders are helped a great deal by the scout move this blob unit can make, more quickly softening the countercharge units the Roughriderswould otherwise face.

Knight Commander Pask mounted in an anti-armor vehicle makes sense for this list, given the Rough rider inability to handle tougher armor.  The 9 LasCannons are good, but cover can get in the way and you want accuracy early on.

Deployment:  I found that deploying 1 and reserving 2 units worked best.  The 1 unit would be placed generally where it could flank (center left or center right).  Given its speed, there was often not a reason to go centrally nor engage immediately.  Impatiently charging forward was not always the best idea.  Besides, the reserves could do that anyways, if needed, and the enemy is sure to come for you in most cases.  It was better to defend the LasCannons or given the right matchup, move to a foreward "ready" position for the inevtiable charges.

The blob scouts to the 18" line in most cases to cut off the enemy scouts and infiltrtaors, makes deep striking very difficult around them as well as bringing them into immediate firing range round 1.  Also gives more room for later reserve deployment. behind them when it makes sense to do so.  You will find you need it more often than you thought initially.

The enemy OFTEN fired on the Las Cannon teams to Instakill the bases, and cover only goes so far.  Having a bigger more accurate threat takes some pressure off them and rewards the enemy for doing so a lot less!

This isn't meant to be a complete list, but just some ideas on what is working when playing the Rough Riders.  Many "themed" Space Marine lists attempt to be "Cheap scoring anti-tank platforms", which is not a bad way to go when backed up by anti-personell fire.  Melta veteran armies are just Space Marine armies of the same ilk played with different models (but usually the same kind of anti-personell backup and similar tactics).  The Rough Rider lists is sort of the reverse of all that, asking for a lot of backup antitank fire and featuring a frontal assault that "escorts" the insignifianct troops to their objectives unmolested in lieu of armored transports.  The Rough Riders sort of dare you to focus on the troops, whereas other builds make troops the obvious choice.