Friday, 1 August 2014

Battle Report, Slow Grow League Week 6: 750 pts vs Astra Militarum

Oh deary me, I'm late with my weekly battle report!

My scheduled opponent couldn't make the game, so I subbed in a game with the Commissar running the slow grow. He was also running an Astra Militarum force, but with a very different set of army selection choices to me - infantry squads with heavy weapons, a veteran squad with a Lascannon, Commissar Yarrick, and a much bigger Conscript squad - and no tanks!

So, firstly, no, I haven't bought a Skyshield Landing Pad. This was one of the store ones and we set it up in the middle, assuming a straight battle, then rolled the sideways deployment. I rolled the Warlord trait which grants Outflank, and sent the Veterans and the command squad in the Chimera off to reserves to do something sneaky.

The Lascannon in the veteran squad was a big contribution to the decision to reserve the Chimera. While it's got a solid armour value, it's a much more inviting target than the Russ, and has the extra benefit of forcing the short ranged squad inside to walk. The Veterans ended up behind the Aegis line on his right flank - aware of the risk of outflanking, he put his Aegis line into a circle at the end to protect them.

We were doing the tactical objectives mission where the number of cards you draw increases as the game goes on. I started off with a careful advance, making sure the Leman Russ stayed out of the way of the Lascannon until I had it neutralised.

A battle cannon shell hit the roof of a building, taking out the Heavy Bolter which was overlooking my advance.

On turn two, my Veterans arrived from outflank. You'll notice that I position them so the closest model was the Commissar, so he was going to be rolling a lot of "Look out Sir" checks.

With the Chimera, I stuffed up. I should have moved it on six and used the heavy flamer on the Veterans. As it was, I moved it on 12, leaving it with much reduced shooting.

The Veterans opened up very effectively, although the Fire Shield from his psyker had killed one of the flamers and the sergeant! I still had the demo charge, though, and it was brutally effective on the closely packed conscripts.

With the death of the Commissar, the leadership of the psyker wasn't enough to keep the conscripts on the field and they fled! This was pretty lucky for me as it meant the Veterans weren't going to be annihilated in response - there were still enough conscripts for weight of fire to be very damaging.

Fire from the roof of the building still reduced the hits, though.

The return fire on the Chimera was unlucky, leaving it only Shaken. Still, that meant the Heavy Flamer was getting another turn without firing.

Lacking the flamer, I decided to use my turn 3 to Tank Shock the Veterans to force them out of their Aegis line and into some fire lanes. Sadly for me, the Death or Glory was successful and immobilised the Chimera.

Still, the shooting left the platoon commander fleeing and Yarrick on a single wound.

The squad on the roof were finally cleared off with concentrated fire.

The Chimera, unsurprisingly, didn't last the following turn...

And Yarrick charged into combat.

A plucky Guardsman survived!

But chose, perhaps wisely, to flee.

Meanwhile, my squads converged on an objective I needed to score.

Fleeing into the open, my Guardsman had the unlucky situation of the Commissar drawing a mission card to wipe out an enemy unit in close combat. He rallied to face the Platoon Commander running him down...

To no avail, as he was cut down. Unfortunately for the Platoon Commander, he'd been left too far in the open to get back to his lines, and he was shot down in revenge in the following turn.

The Veterans claimed a stray objective, proving they were useful.

And a few of the conscripts bravely advanced off the landing pad to grab another objective I needed to score.

The Leman Russ had come forward to find more targets, and my concern about the Lascannon was proved correct - he was left immobilised from a long ranged shot!

While the conscripts who held the objective didn't make it, the game was over, with a win for me - the first win of the slow grow!

I was quite pleased with how this one went, with me only making a couple of tactical mistakes and generally getting my target priority right. While I claimed a lot of victory points towards the end, this is part of the mission design, and reflected how much of the board I was controlling compared to my opponent, now pushed back into a single corner.

Still, an excellent game, and I'm finally off "zero points"!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Sometimes, you just have one of those days. Or weeks.

Last week's progress post was full of enthusiasm and bright plans, with intentions of putting something together for the Dark Sphere "Dakka on Bakka" tournament. That something was a Firestorm Redoubt. I am now going to share with you some wisdom that I have gained in the past week.

This is what the Redoubt looked like as of earlier this evening. I had about half assembled it on Sunday night, when I realised something was wrong and asked Sim for advice. She pointed out that I'd totally stuffed the assembly and I should rip it apart now to have any hope of salvaging it. Pulling apart most of a day's work is pretty sad, I can tell you.

My darling wife is now in the midst of putting right my disastrous mistakes, and my first fortification should be ready to take the field by the tournament, though I suspect it will not be fully painted. It's a while since I've taken the field without a fully painted army, but it will help motivate me to get the blasted thing finished.

Also, hair bands are apparently awesome at holding glued bits together. The main lesson, though, is that the kit is incredibly precise about what bit needs to be where. Don't go "eh, that'll do" on one bit lining up - it will royally stuff you up three steps down the line!

How I cheer myself up

The most common way I get myself out of a bit of a mood is to go read other people's blogs. You can see which ones I commonly follow and read down the right of the screen. Other people's hobby is kind of handy.

It can sometimes also help to consider retail therapy. Of course, if you are feeling down about how little painting you've gotten done out of your backlog, or how little money you have this will not help. There are two teensy little things which are trying to lure my money out of my wallet right now.

First, there's "Operation: Icestorm", a limited edition starter set for Infinity. Regular readers of my blog will recall I had my own little "Infinity Week" some time ago. This has just gone up for pre-order around the world.

The other temptation is the Kickstarter for Infamy: Welcome to the Big Smoke, which is another one of these British Indie chaps. It is a little pricey, but the miniatures do look gorgeous.

Finally, if all else fails, take a nice break. In this case, I met up with some of my family in Colchester and went around Colchester Castle. It's now a museum, and had a ton of interesting and thought provoking stuff. It was good to get away from the modelling a bit, although for me this happened before my Firestorm Redoubt related disasters.

Other Honourable Mentions

I also find writing army lists, reading books (gaming related or otherwise) and writing blog posts as good breaks from the painting and modelling side of the hobby. Are there any other common ways people have of cheering themselves up after a hobby related disaster or similar? Have I missed anything big? Or do you have an odd way of cheering up you don't think anyone else does?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Battle Report, Slow Grow League Week 5: 750 pts vs Dark Eldar

Week 5 of the Slow Grow League rolls around, and who do I draw to play? My darling wife. Her 750 list consists of a Succubus, a small Wych squad, a small Kabalite warrior squad, a Razorwing Jetfighter, and Ghazghkull Thraka.

7th Edition. Unbound craziness.

This isn't a particularly broken list, she's just learning the game and taking cool stuff.

We played with the new tactical cards. She was using the Ork ones, while I was using the standard set. We got the mission where the number of cards you have decreases as the game goes on - your best hope of victory is grabbing a lot of objectives early on.

The Xenos forces go first, with Ghazghkull making for an objective with his backing band, Da Ammo Runtz, providing his theme music.

The Wyches sprint across the field, heading for another objective.

I roll terribly for moving through the difficult ground around the ruins, and the squads edge forward.

Of course the Razorwing shows up straight away. With an excited scream of "SPACESHIP!!!"...

Gaz finds a nice objective to sit on.

While the Razorwing turns the Chimera to mush.

My conscripts turn up successfully with an "Outflank" from my Warlord trait, and proceed to sit behind Gazza a bit nervously...

And then demonstrate to the Kabalite Warriors in the ruin the principle that if you fire enough terrible shots down range, eventually, enough will hit - wiping out the Kabalites!

The rest of the army advance, cautiously skirting Gaz, but trying not to get too close to the Wyches in the ruin.

Sim decides to send Gazza onwards towards another objective on her cards.

While the Wyches head back to murder some conscripts to death.

The Razorwing picks its target, obliterating the command squad!

And not only that, causing enough collateral damage that the infantry squad with the psyker flee, only just falling short of the board edge.

The conscripts try and taunt the slow moving Ghazghkul into charging them, shooting him repeatedly in the back until he's down to only one wound (the rest of the army helped a bit too)...

The infantry squad redeemed themselves at least a little by rallying.

The veterans ran on towards an objective.

And a brutal fight broke out between the Wyches and the conscripts, despite the Grav Wave generator the conscripts were holding. With the conscripts having "Objective Secured", Sim was trying to slaughter them off the objective.

Meanwhile, Gazza decided to punch a psyker to death.

Sim started to realise that this "Priest" chap I'd been talking about meant that my men didn't run away any more. We had to look up some rules as to what happens on the second and onwards rounds of combat, because she'd never had to do one of those against Guard before!

(The Priest refused a challenge and hid at the back like a coward, but oddly enough, that doesn't remove Fearless.)

The Veterans discovered the objective in the Manufactorum was a Skyfire Nexus. At this point, Sim decided them to "show them her nail art" in a charming gesture from Oz, which I understand is a friendly gesture used towards wargaming models who are vexing her.

Here is a prettier picture without the hands in shot.

It took Gazza a little while to punch all the Guardsmen to death directly, as he wasn't allowed to run them down.

The Veterans made for gaining Linebreaker.

While the other infantry squad discovered another booby-trapped objective (along with the one in the wood) to gain me a victory point for recon.

The Razorwing decided to brave the Skyfire Nexus and try and deal with the Leman Russ.

The combination of Fearless and Sim's appalling luck with the dice mean that the conscripts weren't quite managing to win as such, but they were holding the Wyches and Succubus up nicely!

The infantry squad grabbed the bunker to grab another late victory point.

After the Commissar Lord was saved from being shot in the back by Gaz (clearly repaying the favour from the conscripts earlier) by a brave soldier pushing him out of the way, he decided to put a few more bodies between him and the angry Ork with a cannon as a hand gun.

When you play your wife, sometimes tactics that might not be OK in a tournament setting are let slide. The Razorwing comes in close for another shot at the Leman Russ.

Just to make it clear quite how balanced the Razorwing is...

The veterans take a couple of casualties, but hold!

The Dark Eldar are still trying to murder the conscripts, but there was a single Dark Eldar turn when they had been pushed back far enough that the Dark Eldar could claim the objective but the conscripts were too far away, gaining an extra victory point for the Dark Eldar.

Sim runs a "dice shaming" policy, and puts any dice that fails her back in the box. This is the state of her dice boxes by the end of the game. She was really suffering absolutely abysmal luck.

At the end of turn five, it was all over. The game ended 7 - 6 in the Xenos' favour - their early lead clawed back by the Guard making a late run on objectives, but not quite enough to bring it back for me. Going into Week 6, I only have one victory in 7th edition, and none in the league.

I like to think that this combat is probably still going on in the universe...