Wednesday, April 26, 2017

30k Rogue Trader Battle Report

Anti-Horus terrorists strike! The travails of the Horus Heresy...

As noted in our previous posting here on the blog, our great friend Curt was in town for a short visit over the Easter long weekend.  We staged an Epic 30k game that saw Byron's newly painted Death Guard get their first taste of action on the gaming table. The game was great fun, another opportunity to enjoy a great game in a great setting with some excellent friends! But the gaming wasn't finished - Curt was back briefly on Easter Monday before he and Sarah had to return to Regina, so we had a chance to push the toy soldiers around the table one more time!

The poor Sons of Horus column has been hit by vile so-called "Loyalists"...what will happen next?

Curt and I really enjoy the 30k setting, and we also have great memories of Rogue Trader, the original rules for 28mm sci-fi skirmishing from Games Workshop. So I thought I would set up a little Rogue Trader game set in 30k for Curt and I to play that night.

Survivors of an Astrates-sized IED...probable some vile thing devised by the Mechanicum...

Sons of Horus Chaplain prepares to lead the Scribe (hidden among the Marines) to safety, no matter how pissed he is that some Loyalist dopes blew up his ride...

While the current edition of the 28mm 30k/40k game really tries to be a mass-battle game (and hey - it looks like GW will try again...let's reserve comments on that for another time...) but what is so fun about Rogue Trader is that a very small force can offer a very engaging game. That is what I hoped to set up for Curt. An extra twist - I set the game up to be cooperative, where Curt and I would play on the same side against random actions by the opponent.

The Raven Guard move out, keen to get some measure of revenge...oh, and defend the Emperor, I guess...
The scenario envisioned an ambush by Raven Guard Marines against a Sons of Horus armoured column, on an un-named, but presumably somewhat road-to-Terra-adjacent planet.  As keen followers of the setting will know, the Raven Guard were one of the Legions trapped in the "Dropsite Massacre".  But Horus couldn't kill ALL the loyalists...some Raven Guard survived, joined isolated garrison units etc. to fight on as a so-called "Shattered Legion" - fun and entertaining for a scenario, part of why I love 30k so much...

The Raven Guard move in to mop up...

Horus' own Legion goes down fighting in close assault!
So for this game, we imagined a detachment from the "Shattered Legion" of the Raven Guard landing on some planet to cause some trouble for the Sons of Horus.  The Warmaster's XVI Legion happened to be transporting a high-value persona - represented by Curt's wonderful tribute figure painted for me during the 2015-16 Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - and they are ambushed by a small force of vengeful troops from the XIX Legion, the Raven Guard.   The numbers of figures on each side were small - 20 Raven Guard tactical Marines, with a high-ranking hero to lead them (probably a bitter survivor of the, er, "incident" on Isstvan V) and 15 Sons of Horus with the Scribe, who fought only with the goal of getting the Scribe off of one of the long table edges, and dying properly for the Warmaster, humanity's last hope...overall, this would be almost nothing for a 7th edition game, but plenty of models for a Rogue Trader game.

Curt and I each took command of some Raven Guard...

The Chaplain plots the escape...
The Raven Guard have other ideas...

The game opens with all of the vehicles already knocked out by cunning IED-type devices placed by the Raven Guard force.  The Sons of Horus realize they are being attacked by pro-"Emperor" terrorists, and try to organize an escape for the Scribe (he has important information the Warmaster needs to have his dark Mechanicum allies drain from his skull, uh, "preserve"...yes, that's it) while the Raven Guard move in to capture the Scribe, get a little revenge for events on Isstvan V, and escape before the heavy reinforcements from the Sons of Horus arrive...

Meanwhile, a point-blank gun battle develops...I love Rogue Trader...+1 to hit at this range! Suck it, Warmaster!
So Curt and I played some basic Rogue Trader as the Loyalist side, with the Sons of Horus moving randomly against us.  Our goal was to capture what Dave V would have referred to as "The Potato" - the Scribe - and kill a bunch of Horus' lads in the process!

On this night the Loyalists were successful. They slaughtered the Sons of Horus down to the last Marine, and captured the Scribe for their own purposes.  They paid a high price (about 50% casualties), but given their level of motivation, I've no doubt these Sons of Corax were pleased to have delivered a small counter-blow against the followers of the Warmaster. fixated on anger...if they would just chill, this whole Heresy wouldn't have needed to kill billions...but anyway....

Things end poorly for this acolyte of Horus...
The Sons of Corax achieve a measure of revenge...but the memory of Isstvan V will endure...
In all the game lasted about an hour-and-a-half.  It was basic, not-too-detailed, but tons of fun. I just love Rogue Trader, and I love 30k, and the two work well together.  Is Rogue Trader flawless? Well, or course not...the more narrative you can be, the better the game will be. And with Rogue Trader, less is more - in this game, everyone was carrying bolt guns other than the officers.  But it can still be a lot of fun, and I hope to run a variant of this scenario sometime for the broader Fawcett Avenue group!

It was great to have this little bit of fun with my great friend Curt. Until next time! Horus for Hope!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Death Guard Bloodied - Epic 30k Battle Report

Super heavy tanks from the 14th Legion prepare to bring hope and change to another world in the so-called "Imperium"
I was very pleased to host some more Epic 30k carnage last week! The game was notable for a couple of reasons.  For one, my great friend, Fawcett Avenue Conscript founding member and Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge host Curt was in town for a quick visit.  Curt loves 30k and loves Epic, so I knew an Epic 30k game would be a fitting way to mark his appearance here in Winnipeg. A further bonus is the game offered the chance for Byron to get his Epic 30k Death Guard force out on to the table for the first time.  Byron completed a Death Guard force during his mad-cap participation in the most recent edition of Curt's Painting Challenge (see here for example of this work, including his Epic Death Guard).

We all know what happens to newly-painted figures when they hit the table for the first time...I wanted a scenario that would ensure the baptism-by-fire happened in a fun and orderly fashion.  So the basics were simple...seize three objectives, or cause six formation breaks on the opposing force.  Byron had painted some drop pods for his troops, so I set up a drop-pod assault, backed by Titans and heavy armour.  The Sons of Barbarus would confront the loyalist dupes of the Imperial Fists, with both sides backed by Titans!

A view of the table as hostilities commenced

There was one other wrinkle - only infantry stands could capture an objective.  Even if you slaughtered all the infantry, you would not win it back unless you sent your own foot-sloggers into the breach.  I hoped this might balance things a little...both sides had oodles of firepower, but the loyalists had only two infantry detachments, giving the rebels a slight advantage in terms of grabbing the objectives, and forcing both sides to consider the use of their Marines carefully with Titans and super heavy tanks all over the place...

Drop assault! The Death Guard grab one objective...
I set the game for six turns, but with so many big guns on the table, we kind of knew it wouldn't last that long...Byron and Mike F took command of the Death Guard forces, while Curt and Dallas commanded the deluded loyalists fighting on behalf of the so-called "Emperor".

The engines of Legio Gryphonicus prepare to move out
Legio Mortis makes ready to bring hope and change...

Byron's Death Guard landed three detachments via deep strike - two tactical detachments landed in drop pods, while an assault detachment landed via jump pack.  They captured two of the three objectives, and plotted to use a detachment of Terminators riding in Spartan APCs to capture the third one.

Another drop pod landing...the Sons of Barbarus prepare to capture the objective
Curt and Dallas knew the Death Guard might capture that third objective at any moment, and so took very prompt action to, er, "liberate" one of them, using a Reaver and a Warhound to absolutely ventilate the relevant building.  Fight for the 14th Legion they said...anyway, it was a tough go for that tactical detachment as they disappeared beneath templates fired by the apocalypse launchers, and then the gatling cannons, and then the volcano cannon, and then the plasma blastgun, and then the vulcan mega get the idea...

Forces clash in Epic 30k - note the Spartan and surviving Imperial Fists fleeing in the top right of the photo after the Death Guard assault detachment saw them off...
Note the pending retribution for the Death Guard assault detachment...lots of firepower prepared to exact revenge...ouch!
Byron and Mike did not quit, however, but they doubled down instead! They sent the assault detachment forward to confront an Imperial Fist tactical detachment mounted in Spartan APCs, routing them before they could even dismount! Mortarion would have been proud, and would have promoted the lot of them...if any had survived the follow-up counter-blow from the Legio Gryphonicus, the Horus Heresy is brutal!

Death Guard armour and dreadnoughts move forward

The Loyalists buckled down and focused on another objective, concentrating fire on one of the Legio Mortis Reavers and destroying it, and then capturing an objective back from the Death Guard thanks to the support of Titans and a Glaive super-heavy tank.  For their part Byron and Mike suffered from some bad luck on the command rolls, and could not get their Terminators to the third objective in time.  By the time they did, concentrated fire from Dallas' and Curt's formations broke a sufficient number of rebel formations to cause the Death Guard to fall back, and plot their revenge...

"Great job! We captured an objective!"

Somehow the loyalist fools have captured an objective back! That Titan was soon to be at an end as the loyalists concentrated their fire...

In all, a hard-won victory for the loyalist side.  The objectives were tempting to seize, but not easy to hold, particularly with lethal firepower stalking all over the table. I absolutely love the 30k setting (as you can tell with a brief search of this blog) and I have to say that the Epic rules engine is an absolutely marvelous match for it.  The scale allows for the large sweep of troop types, vehicles and Titans to appear on a 6' x 4' table in a way that is hard to achieve with 28mm figures, and the rules mechanics are just excellent for offering the flavour of the setting, along with brutally efficient combat resolution.  Players must make decisions and can't do everything they want, creating some command tension without undue complication.  Epic really was a fantastic set of rules...

This poor tactical detachment from the 14th Legion was broken a second time, sealing the fate of the Death Guard attack...note the Glaive in the top right of the photo - the Volkite Carronade is a heck of a thing to come up against...
A big thanks to Dallas, Byron and Mike F for joining the game, and thanks to Byron for bringing his awesome Death Guard models out to the game.  Was great to see them on the table! It was a lot of fun to game with our friend Curt once again. 

Now that the Death Guard has endured their "first game" blooding, watch for them to appear in more menacing fashion in further Epic 30k action on the Fawcett Avenue tables...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Painting Challenge Wrapped Up - Epic Warlord Titan and SAGA Warlords

The seventh edition of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has concluded.  In fact, in concluded, like, nearly a month ago, on March time flies! Anyway, after a slight delay caused by real life etc. here are the concluding submissions I made to the Challenge.

SAGA Warlords

These figures were submitted as part of the final theme round - which if I recall correctly was "characters from a movie, book, TV or song" or something along those lines.  Anyway, if anyone out there has listened to "Horse Soldier" by Corb Lund, you will recall some lyrics referencing the opponents of the Crusades.  This lined up nicely with my SAGA project, so I did two warlords - one for the Crusaders and the other for the Saracens.

These are 28mm figures from the Perry's incredible First Crusade range. The shield decal on the Crusader Warlord is from LBMS. These shield decals are a total life-saver, as there is just not enough time in the world to be painting all of the shields...

Warlords for my SAGA Crusade warbands...Crusader on the left, Saracen on the right, both 28mm figures from Perry Twins' amazing range of First Crusade castings
Completed four point SAGA Crusader warband

The Crusader warlord figure finished off my four-point SAGA warband for the Crusaders.  The Saracen warlord is the first figure I have painted for that warband, and while I'm keen to get that finished, the Saracens are at the back of the priority list again for now as I try and track down some different figures, and the general waxing and waning of different painting interests. You know how it goes...

Anyway, for the second year in a row I managed to submit something for every theme round, and that worked out rather nicely!

Epic Warlord Titan - "Curtgeld"

Warlord Titan, old school style!!
In each edition of the Painting Challenge Curt will ask participants to submit a figure in line with a theme that strikes his whimsy as he organizes the proceedings.  These figures have come to be known as "Curtgeld". There was a twist this year as he asked for participants to work together - the Curtgeld had to be some kind of joint effort between at least two of the Challenge participants.

WIP photo - you can see all of the black sections and the unfinished base...that would fall to Iannick to complete!

Challenger Iannick suggested we team up for an "all-Canadian" Curtgeld. After we bounced a few ideas back and forth we settled on doing an old-school plastic Warlord Titan from the original "Adeptus Titanicus" game.  Curt loves Epic and loves the old school GW models, while both Iannick and I are big fans of the Horus Heresy, and Iannick is a recent convert to the madness that is Epic 30k.  I was pretty psyched about the project.  Fortunately I had a few of these lovely old plastic models still on their sprues in my hoard, so I dug one out and got to work on it. 

These classic models lend themselves very well to the unique challenge of sharing the painting duties on a single figure. The pseudo-medieval markings used by the Titan Legions, and the style of armour plating they wear, make a divided/reverse marking pattern possible.  It's still tricky, but possible.

I did the basic assembly, priming and metal components, and painted the purple "half" of the armour sections.  Iannick painted the other half of the armour, and finished off the ground work, completed the base (which included the old void-shield-counter wheel!) as well as the Marines on the base, which add a lovely sense of proportion to the machine.

In our hobby-ing I think we have all, at some time or another, over-painted, re-painted or heavily updated a model or figure that we either received second-hand or just wanted to re-do. In fact, as you can see elsewhere in this blog, my good friend Dallas is quite the master of that kind of project.  But jointly finishing the painting of a single figure would be really tricky, and I have to credit Iannick for the outstanding results, because he had the hard part - the finishing!  He did a great job with the bands on the leg armour, the colour and the basing. The model benefits tremendously from his smooth, careful painting style.

The photos of the finished model are so nice thanks to Iannick and his hipster light box.  He did a very helpful set of tips on miniature photography as well, so go check that out on his blog.  You will also see cool halflings, hilarious theme submissions, and more Epic 30k awesomeness, and that is just from the recent Painting Challenge. In fact, Of Marauders and Citadels is a blog you should add to your list!

Great work Iannick - this was a lot of fun!  Your painting skills are tremendous!  Thanks very, very much!

It will also be great fun to light this thing up on the table during a game of Epic sometime...

The Missing Curtgeld...

I was also collaborating with former Conscript Sean M on a Curtgeld, but Canada Post did us in, as Sean's work did not arrive at my place for completion until the day after the Challenge was finished. I have committed to Sean that I will finish it regardless, so watch this space for progress on that score - before the summer I hope. Life has kept me away from the painting table for a few weeks, but I hope to be back at it soon.


The seventh edition of the Painting Challenge was a real blast. I had a great time in my side duel with Iannick, Jaime and Alex, particularly because I was successful! While it was a lot of fun to send a figure over to Jaime's collection last year, I had been plotting for revenge for nearly a year, so it's nice to see a plan come together!

The best part of the Challenge, however was the spirit of fun and encouragement that built between the participants, and letting your own priorities and focus be tested (and bested) by inspirational jolts which come courtesy of the other submissions.  While I did finish a lot of 30k stuff (yay!) I also ended up dusting off and painting up figures from my Warmaster Collection as well as ending up dipping into a new game and period (SAGA Crusades).   It's more than my own fiddly attention span - it's also the excellent and inspiring work of the other participants!  And while the others continue to inspire my wandering, it is also a lot of fun to see some of the settings and scales which I am so keen on spreading among other participants.  I expect next year will see even more 30k, and particularly Epic 30k, even as I'm already plotting some kind of "Hail Caesar" insanity...

A number of the very talented participants in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will be testing their skills in the "Lead Painters' League" as well, so be sure to check that out.  If you can sort out the Lead Adventure Forum and the League's byzantine rules etc. you can even vote for them!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Legions Maxximus - Team Yankee Battle Report

As reported previously, Conscript Greg and I ran two games at this year's Legions Maxximus tabletop gaming convention. Greg's Sunday-morning Epic 30K game gained rightful accolades (it looked amazing and played great too), and in the afternoon we ran a Team Yankee mega-game on an 8x5 table.

Here's the blurb: "It's 1985 and the Cold War has suddenly gone very hot indeed! As the Soviets roll across the West German frontier in a seemingly-unstoppable horde of infantry and armour, NATO desperately musters its forces to stop them. A small British armoured battlegroup is surrounded but fighting a determined rearguard action. Can the West German Bundeswehr kampfgruppe rescue the British survivors and continue the fight? Or will they be swamped under the rising Red tide? Tanks, infantry and airpower collide on the battlefields of World War III!"

The initial deployment for the Soviet forces was behind the rail line.

The trapped British battlegroup deployed in the town sector. You can just see the Chieftains around the houses at centre right of the photo, with FV432s behind the petrol station and infantry deployed in that building and in the "McPizza King" right in front of it. Lynx Helarm attack helicopters near, and Swingfires in, the woods.

Here's a higher view of the battlefield; British are at lower-centre left.

Panicked civilians crashed their cars by the Shell station, abandoned them and fled before the advancing Soviets.

Lynx Helarm choppers lurk.

It's on! The Soviet tanks surge across the highway.

View from the Soviet lines as the tank company moves off.

Chieftains light up the FOO in BMP at the treeline.

British deployment quite visible here as the Soviets advance (top centre) - Chieftains at bottom right, Swingfires and helos by the trees just above them, and infantry in the McPizza King.

The Lynxes and Swingfires had a good first turn, lighting up the Soviet SAM launchers and along with help from the Chieftains, decimated a motor rifle company. However in the Soviet turn the ZSU-23-4s got into action and, well... pwnership happened.


As the Soviet T-72s advance they land a few lucky shots - Chieftain brews up.

Over on the other flank, the lone survivor of a T-72 platoon lines up a flank shot on a Chieftain


Chieftains come under fire from Hinds appearing on their flank... not good. The Brits had no anti-aircraft capability and that was a problem for them as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the West Germans from reserve...

Hinds have a target-rich environment. Meanwhile, a Soviet assault on the McPizza King was repulsed, bloodily.

Marauding Hinds take out the last of the Chieftain troop.

Meanwhile, Leopard 2s of the Bundeswehr arrive from reserve to try and salvage the situation. The T-72 company is in a veritable shooting gallery as the Leos heat up the barrels of their Rheinmetall 120mm guns...

Soviet scrapyard...

Over at the McPizza King the British defenders peer out over stacked up pizza boxes and see this...

Motor rifle company closes for the kill.

M109Gs of the Bundeswehr arrive and take aim at the massed Soviet infantry about to assault the McPizza King.

Leopard Zug zips down the highway but is destroyed by the Soviet Frogfoot ground-attack planes. Still no AA on the table for the Allies.

Just as a Team Yankee game should look... massed burning vehicles everywhere.

Conscript Greg reckoned the game ended as pretty much a draw. The British battlegroup was broken and such of the West Germans that made it onto the table were pretty much destroyed as well, except for the M109Gs. The problem for the Allies was not so much the overwhelming amount of Soviet armour - they could deal with that - but the utter lack of any AAA to oppose the Soviet airpower was fatal. Not only did the Hinds impose their will on the Chieftains, but when the Frogfoots showed up things went pretty pear shaped.

However the Soviet losses were... significant, with most (all?) of the battalion's tanks destroyed, and a motor rifle company erased as well. It was a great game and certainly looked very cool with stuff burning everywhere!

Much thanks to Conscript Greg for supplying the board, roads, and most of the buildings, as well as the scenario idea and all of the Soviets (and there were a lot!); also thanks to Conscript Bill who played in the game, and Nathan for making a great last stand with the Brits in the McPizza King! (and of course to Garth of Maxx Collectibles and Bryan of Legions IV Hire for inviting us out to run our game!)