Monday 13 March 2017

40K Casual Tournament at Dark Sphere

On Sunday, I pottered down to Dark Sphere with my darling wife to take part in a casual 40K tournament. The idea was pretty simple - three games of 40K at 1,750 points, with an emphasis on the casual side of things.

The ticket price was £6, which is basically what Dark Sphere charges for 3 table hires for 40K. There weren't any prizes, but we got a couple of thank yous for taking part - some Sisters of Silence art cards, and a pot of paint each.

This was a new thing for Dark Sphere, and they were openly soliciting feedback at the end. I'll certainly be sending them a few thoughts. From my point of view, it was mostly little niggles, and the event was broadly enjoyable and fun.

I was running a "Castellans of the Imperium" detachment from Gathering Storm I. This let me take a mash of Imperial units from lots of different places - Inquisition, Guard and Militarum Tempestus all together.

First up, I came up against a Tau list, beautifully painted with lots and lots of big stompy robots. I was a bit nervous about the firepower it could put out, and this was soon proved right by my big Guard infantry platoon getting wiped out, along with Coteaz, before I could take a turn.

After that, it was mostly just mopping up. There was nowhere I could bring on units without something shooting them to death - even those dropping out of line of sight of any units were blown apart by interceptor units with indirect fire weapons.

In the end, the victory points stood at 18-2 in the Tau's favour. I'd maybe caused two wounds to one of their units, and almost everything was dead. It was just a case of removing models. My opponent was friendly and fun to play against, but it didn't really feel like a game as such.

 Next up, I found myself facing a beautifully painted Imperial Fist army. My opponent was just getting back into 40K after some years away, and was painting up an Imperial Fist force suitable for use in 40K or 30K.

We were playing the Emperor's Will mission, with both of us having a single objective, and we speculated on a few different narratives that could have caused the fight - was it a Heresy era battle putting down rogue psykers, a conflict in the aftermath of the Heresy when Dorn objected to the Tactica Imperialis, or maybe it was the Inquisition trying to suppress some secrets when some warp storm delayed Fists emerged in the 41st millennium?

This was a much closer game, with good back and forth in casualties. The Guard took some hits, but in turn took out a lot of tanks and wiped some key squads of Marines off the board. The Storm Trooper squads did some excellent work trying to capture the Marine objective, but weren't quite able to make it, leaving us both with our own objectives and Line Breaker, but the Marines having gained First Blood for the win.

Finally, I faced a beautifully painted Dark Eldar force who had recently joined the Ynnari. This is the new death aspected Eldar force. I really loved that we got to have a "Gathering Storm I" list face off against a "Gathering Storm II" list.

We were doing the Maelstrom of War mission where you have to hold objective points to get instructions that actually score points.

Sadly, I was unlucky on the cards - I ended up with four cards to capture two each of the objectives held by the Dark Eldar, and failed my reserve rolls twice for my Storm Troopers so they never dropped in.

I did manage to get some things to line up properly, though - I used psychic powers to grant one of the platoons rerolls to hit and Ignore Cover before ordering them to open fire with "First Rank Fire" from an officer - the resulting firestorm took out most of a Reaver Jetbike squad, and an exploding Venom took out the survivor.

So, I ended the event with some complicated feelings - my lists aren't doing well in the current meta at the moment, even at a casual game. I enjoyed the games, but I think if there'd been more than one close fought battle, then I'd certainly have enjoyed them more.

I don't play 40K enough to work out the entire problem. Is it just me not playing enough? Is it that my army selection isn't competive with all the new releases and I need to change up my units? Are the Guard simply not a reliable choice with the current Codex? Is it the terrain choices made on the tournament boards not granting enough cover?

I'm going to ponder this question a bit longer, and work out if the effort I'm putting into this is worth the enjoyment I'm getting out, or if there's things I can put the same effort into and get more enjoyment from.


  1. Your first game sums up all that is wrong with 40K, while the second one highlight the good side, so unless your a full blown tournament you'll get a lot of these kind of no fun games at tournaments.

    The thing with 40K these days is that it is so varied with so many different things that balance is impossible & unless the two player's talk about the game they want to play first then onesided game are very likely even in friendly game's, so no my friend it is not just something you are doing wrong.

    1. I was pretty sure this was the case, but I wanted the opinions of people who've been playing more 40K than me recently. :)