Archive for the ‘Warhammer’ Category

Deff Kopta Attack at Dawn

Planet Stalingrad is a unique planet on the rim of Imperial Earth space. The crystal oceans of Stalingrad provide for a rich strain of promethium not found elsewhere. The major continent, called Stalingrad Prime, has for this reason become an all-encompassing manufactorum-city that spans the entire continent. At its peak, Planet Stalingrad was home to over 1 billion souls.

The landmass stretched a quarter of the way around the northern quadrant of the globe, divided by numerous rivers which all begin their trek from the springs in the arctic mountains. The rivers are what gives the promethium to the crystal sea, and the largest processing plants straddle the mouths of the rivers as they pour into the seas. Along the riverbanks, which snake for hundreds of miles across the landscape, the most influential and rich have their land-holdings, including the planet’s fortress-palace on an island in the confluence of the world’s two greatest rivers, the Dnep and Volka Rivers.

Once a member of the Empire, the planetary government chose secession when they realized how important the crystal seas of the planet had become. The planet hosted its own chapter of Space Marines, called the White Guards, who helped defend the planet, along with its Planetary Defense Force, for two decades against the might of the Imperium, until they found their doom in a Tyranid invasion fleet. With the empire standing by with their weapons sheathed, Planet Stalingrad was decimated by the mindless hordes of the Tyranid, who swooped in, annihilated all life on the planet, and moved on.

7th Companny, Satyr's Raiders chapter of the Blood Angels

Now a relief force has come to bring Planet Stalingrad back into the fold, and once it is secure, the empire will begin sending colonists to repopulate the world. The vanguard of the counter-invasion force is 7th Company of the Blood Angels, known as Satyr’s Raiders. The dreams of Empire are however being checked by a great host of orks. Led by Zigzag, the ork raiders who call themselves the Totem Goffs, have been pouring troops onto the planet for the loot left unattended. In a stolen imperial battleship re-christened the Deff’s Head Totem, the pirate Zigzag is a force to be reckoned with, and as the orks return to their stolen ship with more and more loot, Zigzag has become blinded by the lust for wealth. From a secret moon-base, he sends his troops down to the planet and chuckles to see the Imperium send more and more fodder into the meat-grinder known as Planet Stalingrad.

Gretchin gits

Players Aside
The idea for the Stalingrad campaign came out of the need for my son and I to find a wargame to play together. Originally it was meant to be a WW2 game, and I have always harbored a fascination for the urban fighting of Stalingrad in World War 2. So, to make a long story short, we came up with this idea once we were sure Warhammer 40k was the game for us.

This campaign is a chance for us to learn the rules, throw some dice, and hopefully wrest a planet from spend some quality time together, blasting away at each other’s armies with bolters and shootas. We are starting small and ignorant of most of the rules. We have so far played four battles, including when we played as a team (Orks and Space Marines, I know, right?) twice at our local friendly game store. The first game we won, but the veteran whom we played was using an experimental army. The second battle we lost, but it was difficult because there was little to no hand-holding, and sometimes our opponent would be quietly moving and rolling so fast we had no idea what was hitting us.

Luckily at home, we can learn at our own pace, though there is no guarantee we are learning correctly. Also, there are some rules that you just don’t get unless you play against veterans. The idea that you cant measure before taking a shot, but have to guess and hope it is within range, is one such rule. Nonetheless, we are making some progress, and last night included vehicles, assaults, and plenty of difficult terrain.

Map of the battlefield - after many casualties

The Set Up
At the time of this battle, the Space Marines army was valued at approx. 770 points, while the ork army was valued at approx. 715. The reason for the questionable points is that I was using his partially built Rhino as a looted transport with no options, worth 35 points, and I also upgraded all my nobs to ‘Eavy Armour and Twin-linked shootas.

Gretchin gots loot and ride to war in style

My ork army was composed of the looted rhino with a platoon of 10 gretchin and a runt-herder in transport. Behind that, was my troop of 29 orks and a nob, and I had 2 big shootas and a rokkit-launcher along with 26 boys with pistol and axe. The nob had a twin linked shoota and axe. My warboss stayed with my squad of 5 nobs, and finally, I had my set of three Deff Koptas, known as Mosquito Squadron, hiding behind some rubble.

Jack’s battle-force was made up of his 10 space marines split into two squads. One, with the missile launcher, took refuge in a tall ruined building, while the other squad prepared to advance. Besides the space marines, he had a troop of 5 terminators, a dreadnaught, 5 assault marines (beginning off-map for a drop strike) and his captain.

The battlefield was made up of a tall golden statue in the center of the map, and four ruined buildings spread outward, and another 4 or 5 piles of rubble. There was a length of road leading out from the statue in all four directions, and it made the battlefield look sort of like a central square surrounded by ruins. Of course, the golden statue was the single objective of the battle, and our forces rushed to take it. Jackson won the roll, but chose to go second, so with a roar of “Wag!” the orks set off with a run.

The Battle

The battle began with my looted Rhino pulling forward towards the statue at full throttle. It was hurriedly painted red, so it went extra fast. Gretchin could be seen hanging from every handhold, and with their heads and weapons poking from every hole and opening in the tank. The nobs ran full tilt and behind them the ork boys also moved up. Finally, the Deff Koptas came tearing around a ruined building to strike at the platoon of terminators, and one of the rokkits had a direct hit, first blood was scored!

The ork boys fired their two heavy shootas into the building housing the space marines, but failed to cause any casualties. Nobody else was in range, so it was time for Satyr’s Raiders to retaliate. His troops moved up, then a missile streaked out from the space marines building, impacting amongst my ork boys. Limbs flew and he took out 6 of them with his frag missile.

Anyone home in there?

Next my gretchin piled out of the looted Rhino and found cover in, around and under it, and fired at the dreadnought, to no affect. The Deff Koptas fired another salvo of missiles, taking out another terminator, and the ork boys ran forward to stand in the shadow of the golden objective. Captain Satyr led his terminators forward and a huge clash of arms erupted under the beneficent gaze of that long dead hero of Stalingrad.

The gretchin left the safety of their Rhino and stormed forward to assault the dreadnought. They did very little damage, but by banging their pistols against the hull of the walker, they were able to daze the pilot, rendering him immobile for a few crucial seconds.

Wounded Captain Satyr retreats under cover of his drop squad

The nobs were slaughtered by the terminators, all except the Warboss Zigzag and his nob platoon leader, Iron Claw, who tore through the terminators with their power claws. Eventually Captain Satyr stood alone against the two orks, and he started to take wounds. He was nearly dead when the orks took cover against the assault squad dropping in from orbit. They managed to recover the unconscious form of their captain and the first battle ended as a draw, or a stalemate, as neither side was able to take and hold the golden statue.

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Space Rangers to the rescue!

This weekend my son ( whom readers may know as DM JB JR on Wednesdays) bought the Warhammer 40,000 Starter Kit “Assault on Black Reach.” Warhammer – both Fantasy and Sci-Fi 40K – is a tactical wargame that uses miniatures of the same scale as Dungeons and Dragons, i.e. one figure takes up 1” and represents a single unit. There is also a role playing game that goes by Warhammer FRPG. Games Workshop, out of Great Britain, has been producing Warhammer for over 20 years, and it has achieved a fair amount of fame over the years. The lore is rich, gritty, and expansive. It is the pinnacle of painted miniature wargaming.

My only experience with Warhammer has been massively multiplayer computer game of the fantasy version. This is my first experience with the science fiction themed Warhammer 40,000 franchise, but I do have lots of wargame experience stretching back all the way to my Squad Leader filled youth. This will also be my first experience with miniatures wargaming, something I have been interested in trying out. Wanting more war in my gaming has led me to search for a fix, and until now I was eyeing the WW2 scene, specifically Flames of War vs. Axis and Allies Miniatures. I think those will now take a back seat due to my son’s fortuitous purchase.

When my son first came to me with the idea of spending $90 of his birthday money on a new game, I was hesitant. That is a lot of cash to be dropping on something untested, but after a few conversations on the subject, and a few weeks of waiting for it to be in stock and thinking about it, he was still sure, and so I relented and let him pick up the game. There is a good feeling that comes along with supporting our local game store, Basement Games in Zona Rosa, and the store is heavily into the Warhammer scene, so it was a perfect fit. (Now I just have to convince my wife to let us spend two evenings there per week inste4ad of one!)

About the Box

The Starter Kit comes with everything you need to start playing, including two introductory armies – the Space Marines and the Orks, which must be assembled and painted. The box also comes with the complete rule book, miniaturized down into soft-cover digest size, some dice, a few burst and range templates, and a thin but colorful booklet that gives stats for the included armies, as well as painting guides and other unit information.

The last book also doubles as a “Codex” which is a guide available for each army, and is a must-have item for anyone running an army. Luckily, my local game store loaned me a copy of the Orks Codex, but we don’t have one yet for the Space Marines. The included “codex-lite” seems to have everything we need for the included units, so it will work until we expand beyond our starter armies.

The box contains no maps, map tiles, or terrain of any sort. When I asked about this, they informed me that you could use anything as terrain, and indeed some battles featured entire rooms where the terrain was whatever happened to be lying around. It uses a system of measuring and line of sight that allows for this. There are also plenty of terrain features that can be bought or made. Personally I have had a hankering to play in a Staligrad style camapaign of a series of block by block urban street fighting engagements, so I plan on seeking out or making some awesome urban terrain for a planetary conflict I am calling Planet Stalingrad.. I wonder how the mechanics of the game deal with “destructible” terrain.

We's da Totin' Goffs, meat want!

The Miniatures

The figures come in plastic on sprues like most modern models, and have plastic 1” (or larger) bases. These sets are known for their “ease of construction” and in most cases only one or two gluing were necessary. One thing I am learning about Warhammer is the love of customizability of the armies, and for the orks at least, there were a multitude of heads, arms, and bodies to glue together in whatever combination one preferred. This results in a completely unique army, where even in a group of many of the same unit, each one will look unique. I was surprised about this, and it has become one of my favorite things about the game so far. I relish uniqueness in all things.

The Empire army did not seem to have quite the same level of customizability as the Orks, but we can make up for that with unique painting schemes, like my son has done. He chose the Imperial Space Marines as his army of choice, leaving me with the Orks. I am ok with that choice, and though I usually prefer armies of quality over quantity, I am looking forward to playing with a different strategy than usual. I love these Orks, and have decided my army will be a sub-set of the Goffs who call themselves the Totin’ Goffs. The theme appears to be mainly black/white chessboard pattern. Maybe I will try and come up with a black/white skull symbol.

The Game
So I have never played the game, and really haven’t even broken open the manual other than to peruse the pages, so I have no idea how the game plays. Right now we are in the stage of getting our armies glued and painted, tough we plan to start playing as soon as we can, and paint isn’t required for that, so who knows, we may have a game on soon.

Battling on the Crystal Seas of Planet Stalingrad

Well we had our first game, or at least the first two rounds of The Battle for Planet Stalingrad Phase 1 the Beach head: Capturing Dzherizinsky Nuclear reactor on the Crystal Sea.

Captain Nob-Slaughter charges and takes out an entire squad of Nobs with his power sword. He leads his company by example.

A squad of ork boyz attacks the heavily armed walker and a lucky shot puts it out of commission quickly. The orks rip into it like its dinner time.

Well that was out first game, and it took about an hour and a half, mostly of looking up each rule as it came up. Most of the rules are straight-forward and make a lot of sense. It hard to get used to hit-wound-save and the rules for vehicles get a little confusing, but I think in genereal, it is a game that will be second nature once the rules are internalized. I love the “true line of sight rules:” Put your eye at miniature level, ad see if you can see the enemy target.

There area few areas Im not sure about. like how to keep track of wounds on multiple units, and other fiddly bits, but luckily we will have a crash course in learning the game this Saturday. The son and I will be heading to Basement Games, our local game store (and host of our weekly D&D Encounters) where Saturday is Warhammer Day. Hopefully we will get to play a few battles, even if we are too newb (or our armies are too small) for the tournament.

There you have it. We have opened up a Pandoras Box of fun I can tell already.

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