Warheads

Official and Glorious Blog of the Inglorious and Officious Warheads Gaming Club

Category: Irish Wargaming (page 1 of 7)

Warheads: The Podcast (Episode 001)

Following on from such innovations as penicillin, democracy and armoured warfare, we’ve decided to make the world a better place by producing our very own Warheads podcast. It turned out to be relatively straightforward, stick four friends in a quiet corner of the pub and add one recording device.


I enclose an actual contents list but to summarise, we discuss Bolt Action, Flames of War, the peculiarities of Irish wargaming and bicker relentlessly. We’ve also noticed that the background noise tends to pick up whenever Floody speaks, as if the universe itself wishes to silence the opinions of our worst cheese-monger. Our only concession to our listener (hi, John) is to keep it under an hour in length.

Contents
00:00- Our presenters introduce themselves and our listener(s) are aurally assaulted by our theme song.

02:18- Operation Encore: an introduction to Irish tournaments, the Madagascar theory of meta-gaming.
06:48- List Discussions: God bless and help you, King Tigers.
12:45- Day 1 AAR: grace in defeat is a foreign concept.
25:06- Day 2 AAR: chasing your own tail and the perils of the Swiss system.
35:16- Hobby Shack Preview: how not to alienate new players and make friends.
39:54- General FoW Chatter: the dreaded comp, tournament missions, general squabbling.
47:10- Bolt Action Chatter: The pedigree of the game and the strange concept of “fun”.

You can have a listen here. I can only you enjoy it as much as we did.

http://warheads.ie/podcast.htm

Flames of War Tournament Stats (IRE/NI: May 2013)

We’ve got another Flames of War tournament kicking off soon, it seems like an appropriate time to have a look at the state of the game. We’re still operating with a seriously flawed data set (not enough tournaments yet) but we’ll improve over time.

First up is the big pie chart of nationalities played. The Germans remain very popular but their market share has dropped slightly. The Americans have also slipped slightly while the British record the biggest increase. Soviets and Hungarians climb very slightly. Overall, it’s situation normal here with an even mix of Germans and the rest.

I mentioned in the last round up that the tournament scene was notable for its list variety and that remains unchanged. The last tournament had twelve players with twelve completely distinct armies and included six never-before-used company lists. We’re still waiting on a list to be re-used. I suspect that run will end with the next tournament, this Sunday, but it’s still nice to see such a large measure of originality and experimentation.

The win ratio graph has gone to hell after a run of draws (which I treat as losses). I wouldn’t read too much into it as we’re going to keep seeing big swings like this until we’ve gotten a large number of tournaments into the system. It’s also a bit of fudged statistic as the national lists can vary widely in type and quality. With that in mind, we’ll quickly say that the Germans and Americans see a drop, the Soviets and Hungarians climb slightly and the British completely tank. Now, the last tournament didn’t see many of the new Bridge by Bridge companies so the British are still running on their older lists and I think we see that the v.2 versions are just a bit outclassed.

Those general overviews don’t really help in that a German list could be anything from a Jadgtiger company with a small number of heavy tank destroyers to a Luftwaffe Flak battalion pressed into service. There’s a wide variety of force lists which have only been played rarely so we’re going to ignore those and focus on the regularly played options. In essence, I’m ignoring the force lists that have only been used by a single player at a single tournament. So, what interesting tidbits can be drawn from the data? What’s are the most popular and successful lists?

The most popular army list is, without a doubt, Kampfgrupper Pieper from Devil’s Charge. It makes up 12% of all armies played and a whopping 24% of all German armies fielded in tournaments. However, it has the worst win ratio of any of the widely used lists, winning 22% of its games. It may have the numbers but it’s lacking in staying power.

The second most popular list is everyone’s least favourite opponent, the vile 2nd Infantry Division from Devil’s Charge. To no-one’s shock, it has the highest win ratio of any list at 69%. You could argue that it’s the players behind the list driving the win ratio up but as one of the guilty, I can say you’re wrong. The rules revisions to tank destroyers may draw some of the venom from the list.

The Panzerkompanie from Grey Wolf (third in popularity) is the second strongest performer on a 64% win ratio. I’ve got a real soft spot for it and it continues to perform even in the face of some internet hate. The bronze medal goes to the Hungarian force, Puskas Szazad on a 63% win ratio. This is a bit of a surprise and it’s probably the combination of assault guns and plentiful artillery that make it deadly.

As a quick finish, I’ll say that tank lists are played more often than infantry and mech lists are the least popular. You could argue that tank lists appeal more to players due to their low cost in actual money, their iconic status (think of the Tiger, Sherman and T-34) or the ease with which a force can be assembled and transported. I honestly can’t say.

When we look at the percentage of their games won by these list types, things change. Infantry lists score highly while the tank lists do not perform well. This is largely in line with the results of the 2012 ETC where the foot-sloggers strongly out-performed the armour. As we get the results for more tournaments, I’ll be curious to see if this trend continues.

Flames of War Tournament Stats (Ireland and Northern Ireland)

We’ve seen three Flames of War tournaments so far with War in the North coming up very soon. Down in the secret Warhead bunker, the pre-tournament plotting saw wild and unfounded talk of total infantry dominance. Flamethrowers were fueled, assault guns began revving their engines, hopes were raised and…. a load of tank lists suddenly appeared. I thought it might be interesting to check the stats and see what’s actually happening.

We’re relying on the results of three tournaments so we can expect some kinks in the early stages but I think it’s worth the effort. I’m avoiding all mention of players and focusing on lists to avoid wandering anywhere near the awful concept of player rankings.

1) What’s the most popular nationality?

This was a easy one, it was ze Germans by a massive margin. The Western Front is very strongly represented in Ireland. The Americans also do well. I’m guessing that since the game has begun to expand massively since the release of the v.3 rules, the American/German focus of the last few books has seen most people focus on those nationalities. The availability of the new PSC kits also makes the German lists quite cheap to build.

The newer Market Garden compilation (British/German) and incoming Ost Front in Germany books (Soviet/German) should see the balance swing again as newer Soviet and British lists appear. I would hope to see the Germans remain steady on 50% as it lets us run more “no blue on blue” tournaments.

2) Who wins most of their games?

Two points to make here, firstly, I’ve treated all losing draws as losses, secondly, I have not taken into account the margin of victory. Consider it a rough guideline rather than an exact depiction. We’re dealing with a very small sample size here so we can expect the results to shift dramatically over time. I would expect to see the Soviets to continue to sit behind the curve and the Americans to stay slightly ahead of the others.

The core American lists (2ID/ARP/TDC) are very forgiving but the new tank destroyer rules might undermine them slightly. Subjectively, I noticed that the American lists did tend to drop down the rankings due to scoring 4-3 narrow wins rather than 6-1 slaughters.

3) How much variety are we seeing?

We’re seeing an incredible amount of list diversity. The thirty forces submitted for the three tournaments come from twenty-two different army lists. Even when the forces come from the same list, their composition is extremely varied. For example, the SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper entry above represents three very different forces, one based on King Tigers, one based on Panthers and one based on the humble Panzer IV J.

We’ll wait for the results of the next tournament before digging more deeply into the infantry vs armour debate.

Chubby Bowl I: Review

The first Chubby Bowl ran last weekend over two days in Dungeons and Donuts, Galway. If you missed this one, no worries, it’s now a quarterly event. The next event (Chubby Bowl II) is running from 6-7 April, 2013.

Did it go well? Yes, it did. The organisers ran into the issue of flaky players but the reliable half appeared on time and eight players sent their teams into the melee. The venue was the Dungeons and Dunots store in Galway. It’s home to the world’s only gaming themed doughnut stand which sports the Super Munchkin, one of the few doughnuts that comes with a bacon topping.

The White Isle Star Bowl tournament rules were used which meant that teams were slightly more developed than in a normal tournament. The Orcs proved massively popular and everyone went with the maximum number of Blitzers and Black Orcs but the Star Player requirement, extra skills and extra cash meant that no two teams were alike. All the Elf teams also went straight to Jordell Freshbreeze as their special character but again, the rest of the team varied massively in composition and skills. The Khemri team was the dark horse of the tournament and proved very potent. The decay nega-trait was less punishing when teams regenerated between rounds and those Tomb Guardians proved to be excellent Orc-hunters.

 I grabbed some team photos and the less horrifically blurry are presented below.

Gaydar (Pro Elf)
Shampoo Gorillas (Orc)
Uruk Hai Skool (Orc)
King Tut’s Waagh Waagh Hut (Khemri)
Blorcs (Orc)

The timetabling was relaxed and games ran until completion and the Illegal Procedure rule wasn’t enforced in any of my games. Like most niche tournaments, the atmosphere was friendly and people were chatty throughout. Wins and losses were taken in equal good humour and the soft drinks/doughnuts flowed like wine. All in all, a disgusting display of human decency.

Here’s shots of a few games underway. For the record, in the fifth shot, Morg didn’t actually knock any of those opposing players down, he just stepped into that spot when he spotted the camera. But the ability to take credit for the work of others is what separates the superstars from the journeymen.

A lot of the players had spare teams with them and I took the opportunity to grab some shots of the more eye-catching examples, apart from the first image, these are largely the work of Sean Nee and Ronan Murphy. Check out the Connacht emblem on the first Dark Elf and watch for the use of green stuff to make runes, numbers and team logos throughout the photos.

Battlefleet Gothic Ireland: Braycon

It turns out that Graham painted some of the models in the BFG Armada rulebook.

As tournaments go, this one was excellent fun. No stress, no rushing, just a chilled out day of gaming. Despite half the players dropping out in the final few days with excuses ranging from the feeble “I have a thing” to the far more impressive “I’ve started coughing up blood”, the determined survivors got to play in Ireland’s first Battlefleet Gothic tournament.

After a pleasant night in Dicey’s (required to prepare me for the noise and confusion of miniature space combat), I woke up early, grabbed a plucky Eldar pirate captain from Maynooth and headed to Bray. The venue was the Methodist Church Hall, which bore a certain resemblance to the average Imperial Navy cruiser. The players shuffled around for a few minutes, looking at each other’s toys and the battlefields.

Round 1
I focused heavily on nova cannons with the smaller, 750 point, fleet bringing two Dominators. They were backed by two Tyrant class cruisers. This proved a touch unwise as Eldar holo-fields laugh at nova cannons.

 My first game was a small-scale battle against Graham’s Craftworld Eldar. This was a cagey, close run affair that saw no ships destroyed but a handful crippled. I managed to corner his fleet briefly and deal some damage, he pulled off a close-range bomber strike which did awful things to its target.

 
With the game on a knife-edge, both players disengaged and planned their next strike. Unfortunately for the Imperials, disengaging just left the Eldar with an easy path into my rear arc.

Had he managed to get those bombers into the air again, it would have gone very badly for me. But his luck was poor and by the time he had re-armed, we had reached turn eight. My rational caution and his damnable cowardice saw us score very few VPs and creep into the bottom of the table.

Elsewhere, Tau and Imperials clashed in what appeared to be a head-on collision. The Imperials triumphed, as is right and proper.

 The Eldar Corsairs suffered a mauling at the hands of their Dark cousins who used their lightning speed to good effect to catch the hapless good guys off-guard.

Round 2

Another game, another new fleet. This time, it was the Tau. After my experiences with the one successful Eldar bomber strike, I was quite terrified by the number of launch bays I faced and used nova cannons to suppress his carriers. His deflector shields protected him during the initial clashes and my dispersed fleet didn’t really inflict enough harm at range.

Shots were exchanged, bombers were shot out of the sky and his escorts proved to be awesome. I know that the Tau aren’t exactly veteran of space combat but the Warden class is a great design. Our fleets managed one good pass before the game ended and we counted our losses. I had lost one ship, he had lost a less expensive vessel and taken some damage. Victory to the blueskins.

Elsewhere, it was civil war as Craftworld and Corsair Eldar fleets met, with the pirates losing out.

The Dark Eldar and the more effective Imperial fleet fought it out with the pointy-eared gits tasting Imperial justice.

We all popped off for a leisurely lunch at the Porterhouse before returning for the last two rounds. The fleets now scaled up to something akin to normal Gothic with each player bringing 1500 points of vessels and a transport flotilla with 120 points of upgrades.

Round 3

Ah, the Dark Eldar. This game reminded me why I adore BFG, it’s just so fluffy. The Dark Eldar used their speed and mimic engines to sneak three raiding parties aboard my battleship in the first turn, taking out its steering, setting it alight and killing my commanders.

 
The mission involved delivering invasion transports to the target planet. The Dark Eldar took full advantage of the chaos and snuck their transports into the shadow of the planet. My tranports lurked nearby, unwilling to advance into range of the raiders.

Suicidal strikes by his escorts kept my fleet at bay until his landings had been completed. The cost was high but it did completely stall the advance.

His cruisers had taken the longer route and appeared behind my fleet. Bombers took to the air (space) and my crews could only watch their approach and brace for impact. After the initial strike, the enemy switched back to Impaler-borne raiding parties.

The rain of assault boats continued throughout the game but they are a little too eager as the raiders constantly hit the wrong targets, taking out prow/dorsal weapons control or lighting fires when their own ships are being raked by the starboard weapons. I put it down to the heroic crews defending critical sectors of their ships.

But he gets close enough to maul my transports and vanishes, having taken some surprise hits from the plucky rearguard. A close run game but the damage inflicted on the Dark Eldar outweighed the bonus points for his successful landing.

The Tau and Eldar fly straight at each other with amusing consequences. See below.

The Craftworld Eldar narrowly lose to the Imperial Navy as they get run down like roadkill.

My favourite shot. An Eldar battleship is destroyed and its core detonates with the largest possible explosion radius. The first picture is John measuring the extent of the explosion. The second is what remains of his fleet afterwards.

Round 4

The last round was against my oldest adversary, John’s Eldar Corsairs. My Retribution class battleship enjoys this match up.

The early clashes go my way as a brave strike against the Retribution fails to cripple it (very unlucky dice) and things continue along those lines. The Eldar are harried, hunted and smashed on my right as they are trapped in open space.

It all going well, with his escorts being forced into the open and wiped out. After the initial firefight, he used the asteroid fields on my right to bypass the guns of the fleet with his largest ships. His battered capital ships move against my transport flotilla with surprising results, they deal damage but some transports survive. An honourable mention goes to the Q-ship which delivered the final blow to his battleship as it closed in. Unfortunately, the crew of the up-gunned transport did not live to receive their giant medals.

The Dark Eldar do terrible things to the Tau. The transports are shredded and much of the fleet lost. Elsewhere on the battlefield, the surviving Tau ships chase off one cruiser and hide.

Conclusion 
While the organiser was disappointed by the drop-out rate, I’ll argue he can be pleased with the result. The event ran, the fleets were pretty and the players had a fantastic time. In my own case, I got to play three completely new fleets for the very first time. Now, if we can avoid any Necron players finding out about the next one, we’ll all be very happy.
 
Name Fleet Game 1 VPs Game 2  VPs Game 3 VPs Game 4 VPs Total VPs
Graham Craftworld Eldar 55 547 880 2100 3582
Ugo Tau Protection Fleet 250 220 1650 475 2595
Padraic Imperial Navy 80 152 795 1201 2228
Conor Dark Eldar 257 0 519 1348 2124
Lloyd Imperial Navy 445 245 940 0 1630
John Eldar Corsairs 170 160 150 215 695

And with a venue like that, there should be a next one. There were also rumours of a Blood Bowl or Epic event in the future. As a massive fan of both, I’m ecstatic.

Comrade Dandies: May

Welcome, comrades, to the May Edition of Preening Dandies. In honour of the international solidarity of the workers, we’ve replaced our normal aristocratic image with something more fitting.

Our first entry is from Lowry and it’s a Protectorate of Menoth solo. Nicia, the horse-faced Tear of Vengeance. For a relic of an out-moded belief system, it’s looking good. Lowry has done an excellent job of picking out the relief on the various types of armour and remains true to the canon colour scheme. And we all know that white is a horror to paint well.

Newbreed follows the religious theme with the Blessings of Vengeance, a light warjack. Just think, the effort put into the production of this ornate device could have fed twenty families for a year. Being too lazy to paint white, he’s gone with a fiery black theme.

Another entry from a doomed theocratic empire, Welshman brings us the Minotaur Artillery Tank. Their lack of self-belief in the justice of their cause has led these imperialists to create larger and larger warmachines. Nothing you build will soothe the unease in your hearts, comrades. Overthrow your blue-clad tyrants and join us. I continue to be amazed by how quickly he can churn out finished, well-painted vehicles.

Really, comrade? You had to go with the fascists? Crazy Aido goes a little off-message with his German mechanised infantry. Rest assured, he’s already enroute to a people’s re-education centre. Their fear of death from above can be seen from the branches strewn across the vehicles. Modelling realistic camouflage on 15mm models is easily botched so we will have to commend him for getting it right.

Sycopat goes with something really suitable, a true collective. This unit of genestealers are immune to machinations of international capitalism and they spend almost all of their time in industrial facilities. We approve. So two red stars for you, Pat.

Trget paints a hapless primitive, known to her leaf-wearing savage tribefolk as a Wood Elf Spellsinger. This is actually a very nice model that I’d never encountered before. He’s been playing with his green highlights and you can expand the picture to judge his work for yourself. Actually, I should point out that you can expand all of the pictures by clicking on them.

Just as we begin to fear that no-one has truly honoured our socialist brethren, Comrade Bristolscale7 produces his T34, a master-crafted product of the righteous and noble workers. He has used Vallejo’s new pigment range to encrust the tracks with the mud of the motherland. Is she not beautiful?

That’s all, folks and another big thanks to all our contributors this month. We’ll be doing another roundup at the end of June so get your works into prd@onthestep.net before the end of the month.

Rules Refresher
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

Warmahordes Battle Report: Menoth vs Cryx

We’ve got a pretty strange battle report for you today. The two sides are not the traditional, balanced builds but very heavily focused lists coming from the extreme ends of the infantry/warjack spectrum. This wasn’t deliberate, we both brought secret lists and revealed them simultaneously to mutual confusion and dismay.

The Cryx player, who we will shall codename Lady-Boy, has brought an infantry spam list, based on large squads of troops. When supported by the caster’s abilities/feat, they can smash up heavies with ease. But if they fail, the light troops will find themselves trapped in a battle of attrition against heavy armour.

Standing against the ravening horde, a Protectorate warjack spam list commanded by yours truly and some floating teenaged bint. If the jacks can survive the initial assault or weather it without fatal damage, then they are likely to grind out a victory. Their ace in the hole is their caster’s feat which will prevent the enemy from advancing for a turn.

Neither player were quite certain of the likely outcome of this odd clash. Or as my propaganda wing would have it, despite being outnumbered by more than four to one, the Brave and Heroic Menites were totally confident of Final Victory.

You can look over both lists above. The Protectorate list has four heavy jacks in a 35 point list. The support units have been stripped to a minimum and there is no infantry support. I could have replaced the Choir and Vassal with a light jack but that would have been crazy.

The Cryx player has three large units of infantry and the ever-menacing Stalker light warjacks. They are extremely dangerous flanking units. He has a hard hitting solo in Gerlak Slaughterborn and a focus battery in Skarlock and the Scrap Thralls. There’s also a small selection of support pieces. All in all, a lot of toys.

On to the scenario, no.15 in the 2012 Steamroller rules, Restoration. Some scenarios are quite challenging and people are forced to focus on assassination or attrition strategies but in this case, the scenario is quite winnable. The central zone is small and easily cleared.

If you can control this zone and an objective (most likely to be your own), you can begin scoring points. The only real risk is that it requires that the caster moves up to claim the objective, personally. The Harbinger is not suited to that style of play. Skarre is not particularly fond of it but stands a better chance in no man’s land.

The Cryx have the first turn. With the Harbinger’s feat likely to stall his advance, Lady-Boy must prepare for that and immediately clog the control zone with Satyxis Raiders. He is hoping that they cannot be cleared out within two turns and thus they will contest the zone until help arrives. 

On his right, the Bloodwitches move into the shadow of the woods, ready to move up once the feat has lapsed. They do have the speed to strike from great distances so they can afford to hang well back.

Lumbering Mechanithralls swarm over the hill on his left. They are supported by a Necrosurgeon, which is annoying. I could waste all of my fire here and any casualties inflicted will simply be revived next turn. This makes them a low priority target.

The Menites immediately hone in on the targets in range. The enemy have attempted to spread out but our guns do make very large explosions. However, the Raiders are enchanted to ignore any shots that do not hit them directly. This means that our usual tactic of lobbing shots in and hoping for lucky scatters is slightly doomed.

Even that little buff cannot save them from the sheer number of high-powered cannon blazing away. One five shot volley later, the Raiders are down just over half their numbers and they break, refusing to advance. The feat is popped, delaying the opposing army for a turn. The gathered crowd (not pictured) cheers wildly at my tactical cunning.

In a display of blistering Cryx pace, a Stalker is already jockeying for an assassination run while staying outside the range of the feat. Hate that.

With the hapless Scrap Thralls at the back of the army being ritually sacrificed to give her strength, Skarre sits on a pile of focus almost as tall as herself.

Which is nice but not quite useful here. With the Harbinger’s feat active, the infantry cannot advance without bursting into flames. They must sit and wait for the magical firestorm to die down.

The enemy have been delayed but with few targets in range and Stalkers closing on both flanks, the Menites find that they cannot take full advantage of the lull. They press forward, exterminating the remaining Raiders and positioning themselves to receive the charge.

Once the feat fades, the Bloodwitches move forward preparing for their own feat turn. They try to lock the heavy jacks with brave volunteers while the others line up their attacks. It is not enough to smash one jack, they need to strike at all four.

The Mechanithralls do likewise, two unlucky sods run in to lock down the Vanquishers, while the rest move into position. If they can keep the Menites bogged down on their next turn, the damage on the feat turn will be immense.

The Menites have to try and cripple the two units closing in while also covering both Stalkers and Gerlak. With five threats and only four combat units, this will be very difficult. The Reckoner moves to cover a flank as a choirboy sacrifices himself by moving to deny a charge lane for one Stalker.

The flagship jack hits the largest threat. The Avatar’s charge reaps a heavy toll on the Bloodwitches as he kills every single one he can reach. He then triggers the Gaze of Menoth, forcing all nearby units to charge him. This is a serious problem for the Cryx player as if he is forced to waste either of his surviving two units on the Avatar, he will not be able to deal a fatal blow to the other jacks.

The Vanquishers move to neutralise the threat on the right, killing a host of Mechanithralls. More importantly, they manage to explode the Necrosurgeon’s lackies. Without their help, she will not be able to resurrect the thralls enmasse. They have done all they can, over to the enemy.

With his surviving units battered, it is time to see what Lady-Boy can do. It should only take three or four models to kill each heavy, the troops are available but the order of activation is important. The Avatar must be destroyed and neither of the units can be used to do so.

Behind the lines, the ritual sacrifice proves favourable and Skarre gains the maximum amount of focus available. With that surplus of energy, she sweeps in and tears apart the Avatar. This frees the Bloodwitches to pile on one Vanquisher and the Mechanithralls to pile on the other. They fall just short of killing either but both are very, very, crippled.

The Reckoner comes through unscathed but he is engaged by Gerlak and will find it difficult to disengage.

The damage boxes of the jacks tell the story. One jack is completely dead, the other untouched. The Vanquishers are on the bottom row. One has two hitpoints left but has lost both combat arms, the other has six hitpoints but his only remaining weapon is ranged and cannot be used in melee.

The Cryx assault has fallen short but not by much, the battered heavies will fall to any above average dice roll and there are enough enemies about to achieve this through sheer number of attacks. Only one jack is combat effective and things look dire.

Luckily, the objective has a special rule which allows one Vanquisher to be slightly repaired, the right-hand Vanquisher gains the use of his arms and smashes some Mechanithralls. It might be possible to recover this. The Bloodwitches are trapped, the Mechanithralls are too few to damage a heavy. Neither Gerlak or the Stalkers can stand up to the Reckoner if he can get another turn of attacks. I begin to smirk.

The Cryx player has to free up some assets, Gerlak successfully evades the Reckoner’s clumsy swing and attempts to finish off the Vanquisher engaging the Bloodwitches, letting them swarm all over the Harbinger. He fails, falling slightly short. The Stalker runs in to keep the Reckoner busy. I continue to smirk at his desperate efforts, which I find reminiscent of a rat caught in a trap.

My gloating may be a little premature. There’s a look of rekindled hope in the enemy’s eyes which suggests that he has a cunning plan. It must revolve around the last Stalker who has made his way behind my entire force. But there’s yet another choirboy blocking his path. Killing him would be easy but then the Harbinger will simply revive him. And she could easily do so seven or eight times.

But Lady-Boy is undaunted, he has seen his chance. The only option is to get the Blood Hag out of combat with the Vanquisher and into a position where her aura will prevent the offending choirboy from being healed. But even if he can sneak her across the front line, he will still have to find a way to fry the choirboy without using the Stalker.

The Cryx player delicately disengages the Blood Hag, while the Mechnithralls throw themselves out of Skarre’s path. With the Hag in position, Skarre manages to slip to just within range of the choirboy, kills one of her own troops for the magical juice and splatters the errant choirboy over the landscape.

This clears a path for the Stalker to the Harbinger and he charges in. The Stalker is designed to ignore magical defensive buffs, this is an optimal target and he chops up the Harbinger without any difficulty.

 Aftermath

High-risk, high-reward tactics on both sides. Skarre had a feat which would allow her troops to smash heavies easily, the Harbinger had a feat to slow the infantry. In both cases, you could argue that the feats were slightly mistimed.

The early game saw the Menoth player focusing on reducing the number of possible chargers. He knew that if two heavies could come through intact, he could win through attrition. The Cryx player focused on force preservation and pushing up on the flanks. With six distinct threats and only four opposing units, there was a strong chance of slipping an assassin through to the caster. The Harbinger’s feat was popped a turn too early. The only unit in charge range was crippled and the remainder of the army was happy to sit off for a turn. Had it been popped a turn later, fresh units would have been trapped under the guns.

The Cryx player’s feat turn was somewhat ragged as losses had begun to mount but he managed to deal enough damage to the heavies to stall any Menite push on the caster or a scenario victory. That said, he faced slow, certain defeat unless he could get to the caster promptly. It was not an easy task, both sides were heavily committed and key assets were trapped out of position. But he took his chances, unlocked the defence and managed a last-ditch attack while he still had suitable units left in his arsenal.

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #4





“Look sir! Droids!”

Seriously zoom in on that picture above and check out the detail Tony (below) was able to get out of those minis, amazing stuff. For more on Tony’s painting check out his page on OnTheStep.net
So last time we saw my Skids face off against the might of Barra’s American glider company. This time around the league had escalated again, this time to 1750 points! The remainder of the league will now be played at this level. This was a genius stroke by the dude running the league, Vice-Captain of the ETC Team, Brian McK, or Bristolscale7 to you and me, author of several posts on this very blog. Escalating the league so quickly would’ve failed and resulted in a massive loss of interest if it weren’t for the team’s Captain and Vice-Captain working so closely with everyone taking part to help each player with almost one-to-one tutorials during each competitive game which got us all up to speed really quickly and spawned a team ethos of shared knowledge between players taking part.
This was, of course, done out of necessity since Team Ireland aren’t just attending the ETC to represent Ireland for the first time in FoW but to do some damage as well!
Anyway on with the blogging! This week I got to play Tony, a recent addition to the Warheads family who fits in brilliantly, which, standing at 6’4″ isn’t always easy for the back-row forward rugby playing/soldier/supergiant/goliath although somehow he fitted into a Nissan Micra last week…
My studious opponent.

I had a lot of fun in this game since some of the rules are starting to click and the old brain is kicking out the permutations a little more as to what happens if I move within 16″ to shoot and then use my storm-trooper move to run away again or if I just stay still and accept the long range penalty (the answer is it makes no difference and I’m just a moron).

Tony’s neatly painted observers were going to give me some trouble…

We played the ‘Surrounded’ mission on P. 282 of the new shiny rulebook released for Flames of War where basically I had a load of Brits shooting at me and I had to dig in (really brings me back to good old Buncrana).

Ye olde town-village
The terrain in this game is pretty cool even though part of me misses the ultra-depressing gothic ruins of 40k with For the Emperor being replaced by Tally-ho  :'(

And we’re off!
In case I didn’t mention I play the 5th Panzerkubbflefunken-regimentasticflughle Waffen SS list for now and just so we’re clear…we’re the good guys. Why else would we like kittens so much?
“Tell us where you hid the Jews meow…”
That kitten was a great sport… So Tony got on with his deployment leaving his mortars far back (with those pesky observers cleverly placed near the church steeple to occupy it early on in the game) and his Sherman squadrons poised to strike across the bridge. 
This was an interesting choice and if it were me I may have gone for a full frontal assault on the other side of the table negating the negative affects of the river.

Up and at them.
Tony’s Shermans were mixed in with Fireflies. Until this game I didn’t know what a Firefly (<3 Joss  Whedon) tank was then Tony told me it was a Sherman that could blow the hell out of Panzers…
A crowd gathers to watch our tense game…
Tony, as the attacker in this mission, got the first turn and took quick action by bogging down his first tank with the first roll (FYI next turn that same tank failed a skill check to get back in the tank, the turn after that they passed a skill check but then failed a terrain test and the turn after that they failed to get back in again!). His Shermans on the other side of the river near the middle of the table pushed forward and unleashed some angry glances at my Panther tanks.
“OMG that coat with that shirt?! Scandalous.”
One pretty nifty thing Tony did though was fire smoke rounds from his mortars way at the back at my Panzers. Covering them up like this basically meant I had to get the hell away from the smoke or just sit there without returning effective fire.

Smmoookin’
My turn began by…turning my other tanks in the correct direction to face the enemy and then being plagued by indecision as to what tanks I should shoot at first. I eventually elected to shoot the hell out of his commander but instead my tanks decided to exchange pleasantries with the friendly Brits and didn’t hit a thing.

Still more of a crowd gathers…
Tony’s tanks kept trundling forward towards my precious objectives (I know they appear to be wheat fields but they’re actually 3rd generation nuclear fission reactors…). He took some more pot shots with his Shermans not being able to make much of a dent in my armour and his artillery tactics now changed to harassing my troop transports with some bombardments to surprising effect.

A gasp from our onlookers at the tense awesomeness of Joey -v- Tony.
Mach snell! I screamed at mein tank commanders and they listened with gusto as they started taking a serious toll on the Shermans now wiping a few out in quick succession. It was looking less likely that Tony’s tanks would be able to shift the might of the Fatherland.

I did Nazi that coming.
And so it was that the mighty Panther tanks couldn’t be shifted. Eventually Tony did reach my lines and the crews stayed and had a few pints but at the end of it all I had to blow the shit out of them.
Next time: Fast and Führious

-Joey

Preening Dandies: April

Inspired by and dedicated to Trget;
Who totally came up with the name and is completely responsible for it.

We decided to start running a monthly roundup of our collective painting efforts last month. So let’s see what the mailbox threw up.

(Sycopat- 1 month in a row)

It must be a lonely life for Sycopat as Ireland’s sole (active) Tyranid tournament player. Surrounded by Space Wolf and Grey Knight players glad-handing each other, he marches stoically on bringing the joys of the Hive Mind to the people. His genestealer’s plaintive grasp for the sky and mournful blue eyes might be a cry for help. If you find yourself facing him, leave the Rune Priests/Purifiers at home.

(Nosediver- 1 month in a row)

Nosediver, not satisfied with embarrassing us all with the speed and quality of his painting, casually slings a beautiful squad of Thunderwolf Cavalry into the mix. I have to say that I like the sleek new style wolves. I’m a little curious as to the provenance of the shields. They look sort of elvish? You’ll also note that he actually knows how to stage a photo. If you want more of his work, check it out here and all over the internet.

(Newbreed- 1 month in a row)

My word, what beautiful Panthers. The finger-painted approach suggests that it’s the work of a decent and reasonable human being who was probably robbed of victory in the Gamer’s World Flames of War league. I can only hope that they won a prize of some sort. Cough. Ahem.

(Welshman- 1 month in a row)

Welshman sends in the latest addition to his massive Ultramarines army. Let’s look at the detail work. The scrollwork is particularly pleasing, he’s clearly mastered the worn paper look. I’m hoping that’s a nice marbling effect on the Ultramarines symbol and not just spillover from the endless blue. Beautiful vehicle, it’s a pity that it’s going to be used by those smug, self-righteous, robotic smurfs. Again, I note the cunning use of a curved piece of paper to improve the photo quality.

(Lowry- 1 month in a row)

Last but not least, Lowry sends in our solitary Warmahordes entry, the ever chirpy Rupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord. Somehow, every single player looks at his scarecrow-like appearance, ragged clothes, excessive facial hair and decides that he must be a filthy ginger. Having tried to paint this model myself, let me just say that he’s done a great job on the stitched air bladder. Out of interest, was this photo taken on a sink?

So, a big thanks to all our contributors this month. We’ll be doing another roundup at the end of May so get your masterpieces into prd@onthestep.net before the end of the month.

Rules Refresher
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #3

Well even though Owen paints much better Skids than me (see comment section on last week’s post) I’m going to throw up a picture of my horrendously painted models anyway. I’m going for a snow effect colour scheme for my boys (the vunderfull vaffen SS) fighting the filthy communists on the Eastern Front. I wanted to go for something that looked like the paint had literally been slapped on by an incompetent buffoon. This is something I turned out to be quite effective at for whatever reason…. 
Buffoon couture.

How I did it was by undercoating in black first then giving the hull a coat of Fortress Grey and the tracks a drybrush of Boltgun Metal before inking the whole damn thing with watered down black ink. After this I got a fine sponge (the densely packed stuff you find in figure cases) and dabbled a little bit of Skull White onto it. After removing most of the white (like you would before drybrushing) I liberally dabbed the white onto the model to create a kind of pebbledash of white paint on the hull.
This actually represents accurately what the Germans did themselves on the Eastern Front since whitewash paint wasn’t really available they literally slapped whatever white looking crap they could onto the side of their tanks.
Not this kind of white looking crap…

My room smells like Chaos Black spraypaint now…and beer…but mostly spraypaint.
It was good to do a bit of painting again since it’s been a while and, for once, it wasn’t power armour! It was even better that I got all of this done in about 45 minutes:

Yes I said 45 minutes…and this game is cheap as hell, Y U NO PLAY ALREADY??!
So it was time to find myself a real life opponent. I’m taking part in the Warheads inaugural Flames of War League which is on every Thursday night in Gamer’s World, Dublin. It’s an escalation league so it goes 1250, 1500 and then 1750 points values to get everyone up to playing ETC level as quickly as possible. At first I thought I’d be borrowing whole armies for weeks but like I said above the stuff is so unbelievably easy to paint and you can do an entire army for about fifty euro even with the PhD workload I’m able to field more than half an army of my own stuff already!
So my opponent this week was the wonderful Bazweena (or Irish ETC Captain Barra to you and me):
always the bridesmaid…
Baz, getting into the swing of competitive ETC play early on in his Flames of War career was fielding some complete bullshit shield list of American sky riders (I shit you not a complete glider army…) which comprised the 40k equivalent of 25 thunder hammer/storm shield terminators supported by nine imperial guard basilisks.

Aerial recce shot of my pretty tanks about to get blown sky high by that massive plane on the right.
The mission was a lot of fun (any objective mission in FoW is ended at the start of your turn if you have any objective without the enemy nearby….) and was pretty close right up to the end. We fought over the French town of…let’s just say Bourgogne, pictured in exquisite detail below.
I quite like the terrain actually and a lot of the FoW stuff for the league has been provided by the players taking part!
At the back of his table corner Baz had a bunch of artillery whereas over on the right of the picture he had a platoon of US Airborne holed up on an objective (horribly difficult to shift when dug in and concealed).

Our spotters had spotted a major firefight unfolding between the German Heer and some lowly Canadians. Apparently we later found out the dastardly Canucks called in a massive airstrike and Padraic’s sad-face told us all what Canadian air-power was all aboot.
Back to the mission at hand for me, I made full speed towards the nearest objective and after softening the burger-eating invasion monkeys up with some MG fire I assaulted them in numbers and because of the awesome German half track rules (last week’s post!) came off the better for it. Unfortunately Baz spent the entire next turn firing every piece of artillery on the continent at my poor half tracks and destroyed all but two of them in one fell swoop.
🙁
Still though it didn’t need to be troops on the objective to take it just anything in my force so my Panzers moved into occupation mode and braced themselves for a withering round of fire to come from the artillery confident that if  they survived Baz had no troops nearby to contest.

I’ve got you now American swine-dog!
So Baz shot me with some stuff while moving his reserve airborne (who had arrived by now) closer to my tanks hoping to assault that turn and deny the objective to me. Logically when he opened fire with the artillery I removed the closest two Panzers until I got bullshit-rules-lawyered by our gracious Captain who claimed that by the ‘rules’ he could assault a tank that had already been blown up and consolidate onto the objective (dick).
What did Jew say?

By now the rest of Baz’s army decided to show up and blow the last of my tanks to smithereens.

You win this round Bazweena….

It was a learning experience to say the least, a big step up from my first game which was basically rolling to hit and kill etc. This game was much more intricate with Baz not holding back on any rules.

Next time: I said a glass of juice, not gas the Jews!

– Joey

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