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

Category: Wargames (page 1 of 4)

Street Bowl at Hobocon

Hobocon ran Ireland’s first Street Bowl tournament last weekend. Street Bowl is the smaller version of the famous Blood Bowl. Rather than representing professional teams from the big leagues, these are the back-alley, half-witted, drunken amateur teams. It’s more fickle than its big brother but still immensely fun. More of this, please.

Street Bowl uses a narrower pitch, about seven hexes wide. This makes it feel a little more congested than regular Blood Bowl but with only seven players per side, it actually works out much the same. The IGA provided four of their homebrew pitches. They do give the feel of a rougher pitch and they’ve added some terrain to show that this is true street ball. In this case, it’s a small town in Albion.

Grabbing my team as an afterthought on the way out the door, I lucked out. It turns out that playing on cobbles makes injury more likely so the well-armoured Orcs proved quite resilient. Team-building is similar to the main game with some limitations, you have a total budget of 600k to buy 7-11 players and your allotment of positional players is halved. To reflect the lack of training, rerolls are twice as expensive in Street Bowl and you really have to scrimp to afford one. I managed to pay for mine by creating a bare minimum team of seven players, which left me with no subs. I also had to sacrifice a positional player for a less capable lineorc. In the end, I chose to go with one black orc blocker, two blitzers, a thrower and three lineorcs. Say hello to the Red Starz.

Before kicking off, I had a quick look at the other teams playing nearby. We had two Dwarf players battling their way to a bloody stalemate. And probably quite relieved to avoid playing bashing teams, a Wood Elf and Pro Elf player duked it out.

My own opponent was another Orc player. Very similar to my own team, he was packing a reroll and two black orcs which gave him a strength advantage but he lacked blitzers. He also had that luxury, a substitute.

The kickoff saw the ball drop just behind my scrimmage line and an almighty scuffle ensued all down my left flank, engulfing the ball. My thrower managed to retrieve it but couldn’t find a safe path out of the melee. Blue’s black orcs gradually smashed through the line and with most of the Red Starz knocked out, my thrower was forced to break for the right wing. He was quickly locked down by the enemy but risked it all to break out and fire a pass to a waiting blitzer. He took off with the ball underarm and the Blues didn’t have any defenders in position or the pace to catch him. 1-0 to the Red Starz in a half which probably should have gone the other way.

The second half saw the ragged survivors step out onto the pitch. The lack of subs was beginning to tell on the Red Starz as several players remained concussed from the “incidents” of the first half. With only five players facing off against seven, it would be difficult to hold out for the win but a draw was looking likely. My only consolation was that my opponent would not be able to press the numbers advantage while also protecting the ball. As expected, he caged up and began feeling for a gap in my line of scrimmage. The Red Starz refused to get drawn into a brawl and focused on delaying the drive.

The third quarter saw his advance stalled around the midway point as the Red Starz line continued to hold. This was more due to luck than skill as the line was dangerously thin at times. But my opponent had used his reroll, which meant the chances of a game-changing turnover were high. I played cautiously and hoped for a lucky break. A screening player stumbled during a tackle, leaving a path to the ball carrier and the Reds pounced. A quick hit on the enemy thrower and the ball was stolen. My thrower fell back deep into my own half with the ball to try and buy time. The Blues moved up in pursuit but the Reds had committed themselves and most of their team were now trapped in a melee. The thrower waited to the last second before throwing a long pass into the opposing end zone. My loose blitzer took off uncontested as the Blues found themselves tied down. He arrived with seconds to spare and… failed to pick up the ball. But wait, a re-roll. Failed again. Game over.

Still, 1-0 and a casualty inflicted. Good start.

The last two games saw Orcs vs Dwarves on both pitches. The kick-off table for both games saw a stray pony running onto the pitch and across the line of scrimmage. Oddly, the slow stunties managed to dodge the worst of it while the quicker greenskins were trampled under his small but deadly hooves. I hope he ends up in a hot-pot.

Apart from my own opponent, the other dwarf player was the main contender for first place. To my relief, I glanced over at half-time to see that he was 1-0 down. Dwarves are not noted for their quick scoring game and that score meant that he was likely to lose and would be lucky to come away with a draw. Good news for my chances.

The idea of fighting a dwarf team proved more fearsome in my head than in actuality. He had a sub to spare and better odds in the melee. Or so theory would have it. After some lucky hits, the game became a whitewash. My black orc tore through the middle of his line and once the numbers went my way, I took the time to really cripple the opposing team. The shot above represents the state of play late in the first half. Two orcs per downed dwarf, waiting for them to stand up and take more punches. On the top right, we see the ball-carrying thrower relaxing by the end zone. By the time the whistle blew, two dwarves were dead and one knocked out.

The second half saw a vengeful, angry but woefully understrength Dwarf team line out. They had sworn mighty oaths of vengeance but it gave them no joy. They were brutally mangled again as the orcs quickly broke through to the ball-carrier. One touch of ultra-violence later, a greenskin pried the ball from the runner’s lifeless grasp and ran in a second touchdown. With that, the game was decided and only the fighting remained. The last quarter descended into blood-soaked madness as both teams just stood on the scrimmage line, exchanging punches and kicks. Even the death of my heroic blitzer didn’t dampen the mood as the solitary orc fan taunted his dwarven counter-part.

2-0 and overall tournament victory.

The prizes were of the “someone trying to empty their closet of random junk” variety so I donated them back to the con. This seemed to unnerve them so I assured them that winning was prize enough for me. But to leave me with something tangible, the con director awarded me the “Winz Hobocon” page thing. I feel so honoured.

Invasion of the Bunnies: Flames of War at the UK Games Expo

Dublin is 53.3428° N latititude.  This explains the daylight at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 27th.

Three Warheads travelled to the U.K. Games Expo in Birmingham to participate in the Flames of War tournament.  Veterans of league and club play this was, nevertheless, their first Flames of War tournament.  Would the lack of experience be their doom?

The trio arrived in Birmingham at 7:30 a.m. and made it to the venue an hour before the scheduled start of game one.  This gave them time to wander around and check out the vendor stalls. 

The venue
The tournament was held at the Clarendon Suites in Birmingham which is also an active Masonic Lodge.  James “Hammy” Hamilton organized the tournament and it was a flawlessly run affair.

Their lists
The tournament was 1500 points, Late War.  Ulick brought a fortified Sturmkompanie.  Brian took a Soviet Forward Detachment that was heavy in T34/85s and IS-2s.  Baz took the Ryanair of Airborne troops: Glider Infantry with lots of artillery support.

Game 1
The mission was “Dust Up” a so-called Fair Fight mission.  Rather than following the Armor attacks Mechanized attacks Infantry sequence, Fair Fights require players to roll-off to determine the attacker.  The victory conditions also require both players to attack into the enemy’s deployment area.  This is not a mission that suited Baz and Ulick.  Baz scored a draw, 3-1 in his favor, against German SS with StuGs and Panther Warrior Barkmann.  Ulick fended off his opponent for the draw but lost his reserves so the score went 1-3 against him.  Brian, on the other hand, was able to start with 9 T34/85s and 3 IS-2s approximately 16″ away from an objective and seized a win on Turn 4, 5-2.

Game 2

The next mission was “Hold the Line” which is played the length of the table rather than across the width.  The attacker starts with his entire force on the table and the defender must “Hold the Line” with half his forces until reserves arrive.  However,  the one boon for the defender is that this mission allows up to two defending platoons to be placed in ambush.  This had drastic consequences for Brian.  Ambushing Hornisse tank killers wiped out his precious IS-2s with one round of shooting.  The remaining T-34/85s were able to mete out some punishment but the game went against him 3-4.  Baz drew a short straw and faced an infantry list.  He then “won” the roll-off which placed him in the roll of attacker.  After a long game the referee called time at the end of Turn 4.  The score went 2-5 against him in game that would have gone his way had it reached Turn 5.  Ulick’s fortified infantry was the bright spot for the Warheads in the second round.  He faced a Soviet Light Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment.  After six turns of shelling the Soviets were unable to dislodge his troops from the objective and Ulick earned a 6-1 victory.  Pints were had and Brian contemplated the loss of his IS-2s.

Game 3
If the second mission favored the defender the last mission gave the attacking player the chance to get stuck-in quickly.  Typically, objective placement in this mission requires that the defender hold objectives on opposite ends of the table.  A mobile force can quickly concentrate on one objective and go for an early win.  This suited Brian’s list.  His Spetsnaz recon allowed 9 T-34/85s to infilitrate into enemy territory and lucky reserve rolls saw the IS-2s arrive on the first turn.  6-1 to the Forward Detachment.  Baz and Ulick both defended.  Neither of their opponents were able to bring enough to bear and the two earned wins, 5-2 and 6-1, respectively. 
This wrapped up the tournament.  In Battle Points Brian tied for 3rd, Ulick took 4th and Baz rounded out the top 5.  However, Ulick won “Best Sport” and jumped Brian to take 3rd overall.  Well done Warhead Ulick on a podium finish in your first Flames of War tournament. 

The trio headed back to the airport and made it home by midnight.  It was a long day but a great experience.  For €57 return the three stalwart Warheads travelled to Birmingham.  The U.K. has a steady stream of Flames of War tournaments so stay tuned for more tournament reports.

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.

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’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

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #2

Willkommen mein herren, to ze second instalment of mein journey into Flames of War (FoW).

Last time I discussed about what a cool game it is and some history behind my dudes, this time I hope to delve a bit more into the make-up of the list I’ll be playing; a mechanised German SS Company.

This is my chariot of choice^, the versatile Sd. Kfz. 251 (or Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 to the cool kidz) but we’re going to call them Skids from here on in mostly because it means me not having to pronounce that word in my head each time or use that ungodly acronym again. It was an incredibly versatile vehicle (pronounced va-hick-ill to our friends in Navan) with 23 official variants (like comms, artillery, weapon upgrades, AA, etc.) and a billion unofficial addons:

These vehicles form the core of my mechanised list, carrying around both my Commander, 2ic, platoon commanders and the platoons themselves. They have some neat special rules, some German and some just for half tracks and give you great bang for your buck. I won’t go too much into the special rules but will try and highlight just what makes these glorified tractors so good.
1. They’re Half-Tracks
– so they move 12″ just like wheeled vehicles and can go 18″ on roads. FoW is played on a 6’x4′ just like Warhammer 40,000 or WHFB so you can see quickly that transports tend to move at respectable speeds in this game too.
2. They don’t have wheels…
– so they don’t get stopped by very difficult going terrain types instead they need to take a skill test to get passed them. While this is dangerous enough at least it gives you the option of jumping on that objective whereas a jeep would just whimper and turn back.
The same applies to barbed wire so wheeled transports can’t even attempt to get passed them and tracked vehicles can. It’s not necessarily an easy skill test to make but like I said having the option of entering that part of the battlefield opens up for the game for you and, just as importantly, your opponent.
3. Mounted Assault

….that’s exactly what I was implying.
Back on topic, German mechanised units have this really cool special rule that essentially makes every Skid a Land Raider! It’s exactly as cool as it sounds, so these half tracks are more versatile than wheeled vehicles and more versatile again when compared with opposition half-tracked vehicles.
4. Halt! Hammerzeit!
– Obligatory picture to follow but first some rules. In FoW whenever a transport delivers it’s fleshy human cargo to an objective/assault/cover etc. they’re sent to the back of the lines i.e. removed from the game. Coming from 40k I was pretty shocked at this but was quite relieved when I read the German special rule that says they don’t go anywhere, they stay put and lay down a withering hail of fire.

As promised.
So this is roughly what they’ll look like for gaming purposes (ignore the Tiger tank).
At the front we have my commander and his second in command (2ic) and behind them two platoons of four Skids. One Skid in each platoon goes to the platoon commanders and each of the rest has two squads mounted up. I’m going to get cracking on painting this force up nice and quickly to get it to a tabletop standard hopefully.

So half-tracks are pretty nifty and I have a feeling that if I’m to master this list it will be through the use of these semi durable transports.

Next time: Getting out of Mein Kampfort zone.

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #1

Guten tadhg mein herren. So I’ve been given the distinct pleasure of being a member of the Irish ETC Team to go to Poland this year but for a change it’s not the 40k team (who instead will have to valiantly struggle without me) but the Flames of War Team!

I haven’t played Flames of War (FoW) much and was chosen more so for a) my interest and b) my previous gaming experience. This may sound all too hasty of the Captain (ETC Veteran MacNiocaill from last year’s 40k Team) but makes so much more sense when you look at the numbers of people currently playing FoW in Ireland. I’m confident I can adapt to a new game system in the time given especially given the similarities between this and Warhammer 40,000.
The more I read about it the more it seems like a cracking game; fast-paced, balanced, large variety of competitive missions to play and it’s got a price to beat the snot out of GW’s pricing as illustrated by this year’s illustrious Vice-Captain.
I haven’t quite decided on what exact list to use yet, all I know for sure is that it will be mechanised (rhino spam) and German (I did Nazi that comin’). On that basis I picked up Grey Wolf which is like a book full of codexes for the Germans serving near Russia during Operation Barbarossa.
For history buffs it’s full of geeky richness guaranteed to give you a raging nerd-on and if you’re getting into the game at all it’s a must have since it has all the most up to date legal German (and friends) lists.
The first list which caught my attention after reading through the book was a list based on the 5th SS Panzer Division, named ‘Wiking’. These guys were mega elite veterans who bought hook, line and sinker into the Nazi ethos and were all volunteers trained to a high standard and indoctrinated to believe that what they were doing was the bees’ knees.
From Wiki:
The 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking was one of the elite Panzer divisions of the thirty eight Waffen SS divisions. It was recruited from foreign volunteers, from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. During the course of World War II, the division progressed from a motorised infantry division to a Panzer division and served on the Eastern Front during World War II. It surrendered in May 1945 to the advancing American forces in Austria.
So you can see they didn’t stop until the last days (and I’m sure Herr Newbreed would point out they were more than happy to surrender to the Americans rather than the Russians). The difference in playstyle from these guys and traditional SS is however that these guys weren’t quite up to the standard of other elite units. Probably wouldn’t say that to their faces though….

….eyes….so cold…so distant….
They’re listed as Fearless Trained, differing from their Totenkopf (Super-Nazis) brethren who are Fearless Veterans (in game terms this basically means they’re both hardcore morale-wise (not moral wise though…) but the Wiking soldiers are a little easier to shoot at.
Obviously this disadvantage comes with a friendly points decrease (about 30% across the board) which I think is quite a bargain considering you still get access to all the nice equipment and list special rules.
As a start here’s what I’ve acquired (I say acquired instead of built because Paul Quigley previously owned all this stuff before giving it to me so I had very little work to do! Legend):
I’ll delve a little more into the special rules next time and the shape I want the army to take but for now I’ll leave it at that and once again thank Paul Quigley (so handsome) for his help in getting me started with the models, he’ll always be my schoiße-Kombo…..


Tyranid Primer

The 5th edition Tyranid codex has often been condemned as uncompetitive. As a long-time Nid player, I’d just like to say, yes, yes, it is. But the position is far from hopeless.

The internet is full of codex-wide reviews and plaintive cries of “I want a fluffy assault-focused horde”. I’ll be doing something a little different here. I believe that a tournament-focused Tyranids list is actually rather fluffy. It can rapidly produce a mass of bodies, on par with the Ork horde and its uniformity actually adds to the menace in a way that a fluffier list composed of a hodge-podge of Nid units does not. It’s core tactic is to use the mass of bodies available to gum up the enemy’s lines and hope that something cracks. What could be fluffier?

The Tyranid playstyle is rather different to the standard 40k style. Rather than focusing on assigning firepower to targets, it revolves around attrition, sacrifice and force preservation. The most common decision is not what target to attack but rather what target to block. Individual units are not particularly resilent but the overall force can be.

Army List

There are a limited selection of worthwhile units in the Tyranid codex. Some are first rate units in a third rate codex, others are inherently poor but used out of necessity.

The First Rates
These are the beating heart of a Tyranid force and act as a windvane. Generally, the number of Tervigons left in the field is a strong indicator of the condition of your army. The spawning mechanic and ability to buff gaunt units all make for a potent force multiplier.

Their ability to provide Feel No Pain saves singlehandedly grant the units around them a degree of resilence otherwise lacking.

Hive Guard
Frankly, these would be a solid unit in any codex. High toughness, accurate, a great gun and a good, if situational special rule. The range is a little short, but as the only source of decent anti-mech firepower, these become critical to your success.

This is something of a… lie. They are a first rate unit but only when spawned for free. They provide the bodies to gum up the enemy warmachine.

The Second Rates
Despite their many many failings, amongst them, paper armour and no way of mitigating the effects of cover in assaults; they can, when assisted by Tervigons and moving through cover, advance through fire and really cause difficulties for anyone without major anti-infantry firepower or flamers.

The only decent heavy AT gun you have. It’s accuracy is woeful but it’s happy to duel at range due to the fact that it boasts a 2+ save. As it’s a stand off unit, it can avoid the combat deathstars which chop through your MCs. And as a member of that fraternity, it’ll keep hitting at full power until its very last wound.

The Heartbreakers
The Zoanthropes attracted a great deal of attention in the early days of the codex. They have one of the best anti-tank options in the game. But once brought onto the field, it soon falls apart. It’s range is poor but that is not an insurmountable problem. However, it does require a psychic test to activate and its short range effectively forces it into range of the psychic defences which shut it down.

Very expensive, grants a variety of buffs. Actually quite useful. It directly competes with your Hive Guard though and falls over dead at the first sign of danger. Another false dawn. If it weren’t for the average toughness, this could have had some potential.

This suffers from the bane of almost all the Tyranid monsterous creatures. Toughness 6 and a 3+ save protects you from nothing. There are very few heavy weapons that will not wound you on a 2+ and also punch right through your armour. When your intended role forces you to move into range of such weapons, your life is short and rather pointless.

The Rest
Honestly, I could break them down unit by unit but in every case they fall short. They are either less suited to a role than one of the units above or when used in their intended role prove fatally flawed on the battlefield.

The main issue you face is the abundance of extremely sub-optimal match-ups. There are those that deny it but the codex simply cannot handle certain builds. Most of the newer codexes can, all other things being equal, swat you like the bugs you are. The staple of the Dark Eldar, the Venom skimmer, is your death. Barring ludicrous luck, you simply cannot defeat a force with more than six. They can simply gun down your shooting units and even your best melee units cannot drag them from the skies in any reasonable time. The Space Wolves have the benefits of many missile launchers which can hack away at support and synapse with ease. This is coupled with the psychic power, Jaws of the World Wolf, which really punishes the poor initative of your few decent units. The Grey Knights can also prove very very dangerous. The psychic power, Cleansing Flame, prevents you from using your numbers to win combats. And the army-wide force weapons neutralises your monsterous creatures. Hammerhand and psybolt ammunition works to counter your high toughness also.

In the special cases mentioned above, you play cautiously, preserve as much as possible and hope for runs of terrible luck on the part of the enemy. But outside of those, your chances are good against a wide range of lists. You the tools to go toe to toe with most codexes.

Onto the happy news, your overall strategy is actually quite interesting. In normal match-ups, you simply apply pressure to your opponent and exploit any errors made. The sheer mass of a Tyranid force can be intimidating. The pressure inflicted by your board control makes the opponent react to multiple threats and forces those errors.

The tactic is universally applicable to all armies but the concept of screening is utterly critical to a Tyranid force. This applies both on the squad and army level. Your backfield assets are vulnerable to any decent assault force and must be screened. Your counter-charging units must be screened until they are thrown into the fray. On the wider battlefield, you have the potential to clog large sections of the board. You can also use bait units in a manner few codexes can. When it comes to shaping the battlespace, the Tyranids excel unless they run out of bodies to throw into your path.

The ability to threaten multiple objectives simultaneously is critical as the Tyranids are quite slow. Your axis of attack can be clearly identified as soon as you start plodding in a particular direction. This means that you must commit your forces correctly at deployment, there will be no real chance to recover.

Overall, the codex retains an non-standard playstyle which has its appeal. A well-designed list has a mass to it which can let you bully through smaller forces. The ability to weather two turns of shooting and come out with a larger force is also deeply amusing, when it happens. Throwing unit after unit of termagaunts into Terminator squads and grinding them down through attrition is extremely satisfying. In essence, if you think you’d like being an Imperial Guard Lord Commander, you’d probably enjoy playing Tyranids.

Report from the Front – Retcon Results

The battle has been fought, and the victors have been found. Congratulations to Mike Tangney, Richard Flood and Jan Karnowski for coming out top of the tables in 3rd, 2nd and 1st places respectively! More details after the break.

The final standings were as follows:

Name Battle Points Victory Points Difference
1. Jan Karnowski 72 2791
2. Richard Floody 72 1693
3. Mike Tangney 71 4081
4. Peter Scott 68 1493
5. Darragh Cullen 68 652
6. Rowan Sheridan 61 2285
7. Chris Britton 61 1306
8. Alec Cornelius 59 396
9. Phil Johnston 50 -2307
10. Alan Condren 49 536
11. Ryan McMullan 49 -639
12. Johnny Fisher 48 1297
13. Anthony Caragianis 44 -1531
14. Adam Colgan 42 457
15. Chris Poulton 41 -1190
16. Ulick O Sullivan 39 -1018
17. Sean Naughton 31 -2022
18. Cormac O Tuairisg 28 -2661
19. Ryan Kirwan 24 -2509
20. Alan Garvey 23 -3110

 Congratulations to all those that participated.

Report from the Front – Retcon Round 3

After being captured, our informant has finally managed to escape and make it back with more information, which you can read after the break.

Round 3 progressed as follows:

Victory Points Battle Points
Jan Karnowski : Alec Cornelius 1010:750 11:9
Johnny Fisher : Peter Scott 1293:858 14:6
Darragh Cullen : Richard Floody 342:1090 4:16
Rowan Sheridan : Chris Britton 1585:520 19:1
Phil Johnston : Sean Naughton 1532:1360 17:3
Chris Poulton : Mike Tangney 576:1207 4:16
Alan Condren : Alan Garvey 1592:810 19:1
Ryan McMullan : Ulick O Sullivan 1311:536 19:1
Ryan Kirwan : Anthony Caragianis 993:591 10:10
Adam Colgan : Cormac O Tuairisg 937:780 10:10

With the standings at the end of the first day looking like this: 

1. Richard Floody 53 2339
2. Jan Karnowski 45 1785
3. Johnny Fisher 44 2075
4. Darragh Cullen 41 751
5. Alec Cornelius 41 671
6. Rowan Sheridan 40 1878
7. Mike Tangney 38 1824
8. Phil Johnston 38 -913
9. Chris Poulton 32 -153
10. Peter Scott 31 158
11. Anthony Caragianis 30 -120
12. Alan Condren 30 -271
13. Ryan McMullan 30 -484
14. Sean Naughton 24 -34
15. Chris Britton 22 -734
16. Ryan Kirwan 22 -932
17. Adam Colgan 12 -1505
18. Alan Garvey 11 -1566
19. Cormac O Tuairisg 10 -3272
20. Ulick O Sullivan 6 -1497

Report from the Front – Retcon Round 2

The battle goes strong. Round 2 has progressed as follows.

The smoke has cleared, and the round went as follows.

Victory Points Battle Points
Richard Floody : Mike Tangney 1474:1072 18:2
Darragh Cullen : Rowan Sheridan 1215:903 18:2
Chris Poulton : Johnny Fisher 553:1076 9:11
Peter Scott : Alec Cornelius 876:1190 6:14
Chris Britton : Cormac O Tuairisg 1850:330 20:0
Phil Johnston : Jan Karnowski 450:1650 4:16
Anthony Cariagianis : Ulick O Sullivan 1035:428 18:2
Ryan Kirwan : Alan Garvey 939:1156 11:9
Ryan McMullan : Alan Condren 1175:1247 10:10
Adam Colgan : Sean Naughton 805:1850 0:20

 Leaving the standings looking something* like this:

1. Richard Floody 37 37 1591
2. Darragh Cullen 37 37 1499
3. Jan Karnowski 34 34 1525
4. Alec Cornelius 32 32 931
5. Johnny Fisher 30 30 1640
6. Chris Poulton 28 28 478
7. Peter Scott 25 25 593
8. Mike Tangney 22 22 1193
9. Rowan Sheridan 21 21 813
10. Chris Britton 21 21 331
11. Sean Naughton 21 21 138
12. Phil Johnston 21 21 -1085
13. Anthony Cariagianis 20 20 282
14. Ryan Kirwan 12 12 -1334
15. Alan Condren 11 11 -1053
16. Ryan McMullan 11 11 -1259
17. Alan Garvey 10 10 -784
18. Ulick O Sullivan 5 5 -722
19. Adam Colgan 2 2 -1662
20. Cormac O Tuairisg 0 0 -3115

*Exactly like that in fact.

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