Monday, April 29, 2013

More 40K Beer League Action

The Winnipeg Warhammer 40K Beer League has been proceeding throughout the winter. I have had the opportunity to play fun games with several opponents, and to try some interesting beers. The following are after action reports on the four most recent games I played.

Chris' Necrons

Host: DaveV
List: List 1 (Mixed-Mech Eldar Swordwind with Farseer and Wraithlord, available to view here:

Guest: ChrisB
List: List 2 (Necrons, available to view here:

Beer: Boddington Pub Ale

We played The Scouring scenario, with Vanguard Strike deployment.

The Eldar deployed in the southeast corner of the table behind the junkyard and along the road; I made sure that they would be out of range of any Tesla weapons in Chris' deployment zone, at least for the first turn. Chris' Necrons set up in the northwest corner, near a couple of  objectives, with a Night Scythe flier and some Warriors held in reserve.

The most valuable objective (4 VPs) was located in the southwest table quarter. As it turned out, the Warrior Squads deployed on the ground would not take an active part in the fighting, taking cover and holding 5 VPs worth of objectives.

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In the first turn the Eldar moved cautiously behind the junkyard.

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Necron Scarab Swarms moved up to screen the 4 VP objective.

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The Eldar re-arranged their forces, sending the Wraithlord west and placing the Fire Dragon skimmer on the left side of the formation of Eldar skimmers. Scatter Laser and  Shuriken Cannon fire depleted the ranks of the Scarab Swarms, who moved behind the cover of the supply hut.

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The Necron flier then showed up, deploying its Warriors and blowing up the fire Dragon's transport, scoring First Blood!

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The Eldar kept moving west.

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The Necron plane tried to take out the Fire Storm anti-aircraft tank, but failed, so it flew off the table next turn.

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The Farseer and two squads of Dire Avengers disembarked, to support the advance of the Wraithlord.

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The Wraithlord charged home...

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...and was soundly defeated by the Necron Overlord and its Mindshackle Scarabs.

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The Night Scythe showed up again from the north, whereupon it was shot out of the sky by the Fire Storm! More Dire Avengers dismounted, to seize a the 2 VP objective by the Fire Storm. Meanwhile, in the distance Necron Warriors can be seen, hunkered down on objectives of their own.

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The Scarab Swarms charged back into the fray, destroying the Farseer`s now-empty transport. The Necron Overlord charged into the Farseer`s squad, but was (surprisingly) laid low through a combination of Snap Fire and the Farseer's superior swordsmanship.

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The Farseer and her band moved west, wiping out a squad of Warriors, staying within charge reach of the Scarab Swarm...

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...who charged them in order to prevent the Avengers from controlling the 4VP objective.

As the game wound down,  more Dire Avengers can be seen just to the east, controlling a 3 VP objective.

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Result: Draw
VP's for Host: 6
VP's for Guest: 6

This was a close game. Indeed, Chris was winning (he had control of 9 VPs of objectives for most of the game) until...he wasn't. The turning point was when his Overlord, obviously over-tired from killing the Wraithlord, charged the Farseer and her Avengers, and was struck down for his trouble.

Below is a photo of the most important game accessories used that night.

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Collin's Chaos Space Marines

Host: DaveV
List: List 1 (Mixed-Mech Swordwind with Farseer and Wraithlord, available to view here:

Guest: CollinM
List: Chaos Space Marines (including a Bastion!)

Beer: Dos Equis and Dorval (Belgian)

We played The Crusade scenario (rolling 4 objectives), with Hammer and Anvil deployment.

The objectives were placed just north of the rock formation, in the open between the warp gate and the tower, at the base of the central  tower, and in the woods in the southeast table quarter.

Collin's Bastion was near the tower and an objective; clearly he would keep Troops inside until late game. Collin deployed forces in and on the Bastion; Havocs were on the roof, manning the Laser and crewing their own anti-tank weapons. Behind the Bastion were some bikes, including the Chaos Lord. Just to the south was placed a Hellbrute and a Rhino full of Chaos Marines. Another Hellbrute can just be seen north of the spired tower. The Eldar were deployed in a phalanx in the southeast corner, gaining cover or masked completely from fire coming from the Bastion.

Facing a Bastion, with its armament and AV14, was interesting at this point level of game. I decided to try and ignore it.

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The Eldar couldn't hide everything. Chaos forces took first turn and managed to Shake the Fire Storm.

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The Eldar moved so as to bring the lead Chaos elements under fire. The Fire Dragons moved flat out near the Hellbrute to the north of the Bastion.

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Chaos fire blew up the Dragons' Wave Serpent, scoring First Blood, but the Aspect Warriors survived unscathed.

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Concentrated Eldar fire on the Chaos Lord's retinue wiped them out and left the Lord wounded.

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The Chaos Lord moved back behind the Bastion, out of harm's way. Return fire killed most of the Dragons.

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Eldar fire destroyed the Rhino and its contents.

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In a wild melee the Wraithlord and a Hellbrute destroyed each other.

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Some Serpents moved southwest, as the Fire Storm moved north. The lone Fire Dragon killed the second Hellbrute with a lucky shot.

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A shot from the Bastion blew up another Wave Serpent.

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As the game moved toward its end, Dire Avengers disembarked from the Fire Storm and ran towards the objective there. From out of the Bastion moved some Chaos Cultists, to seize another objective. The Lord moved into charge reach of the yellow-helmeted Dire Avengers.

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Two more Dire Avenger squads controlled the remaining objectives. The Lord failed his charge roll, and the game ended with the Chaos forces controlling one objective, to the Eldar's three.

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Result: Eldar Win
VP's for Host: 10
VP's for Guest: 4

I provided both Mexican and Belgian beers for our consumption.

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Keith's Imperial Guard

Host: DaveV
List: List 2 (Mech Swordwind with Autarch, avaialable to view here:

Guest: KeithG
List: List 1 Imperial Guard (Adeptus Arbites serving a warrant, available to view here)

Beer: Granville Island Maple Cream Ale

Keith's Imperial Guard forces were a themed Adeptus Arbites police force, using Codex: Imperial Guard. Keith even had a printed Arrest Warrant he was trying to serve upon the Eldar Autarch!

We played The Crusade scenario (rolling for four objectives), with Dawn of War deployment.

The objectives were placed within the warp gate, by the ruins to the northwest, at the base of the tower, and  to the northeast in the open by the river.


Looking west below, Keith can be seen to have deployed his Hellhound, Chimera, and Leman Russ Demolisher. His Valkyrie was held in reserve, with his second Veteran Squad and  a priest. The Eldar deployed in a loose skirmish line along the southern table edge, mindful of the large blast marker thrown by the Demolisher.


The Imperials made a general advance to the south. In response, the Eldar moved north and west, moving Fire Dragons flat out towards the Demolisher. During the shooting phase, the Eldar managed to immobilize one of their own tanks, in the centre of the table, with a mis-fired Night Spinner's web - oops!


Keith really, really needed his Valkyrie aircraft and its embarked infantry squad to come on from reserves in the second turn; he didn't get them. He disembarked his Inquisitor and a Veteran Squad. The Demolisher damaged but failed to destroy the Fire Dragon Wave Serpent.


Long range Eldar fire killed several Veterans and damaged the Chimera. The Dragons disembarked and blew up the Demolisher with a close range volley of Fusion Guns. This changed the tenor of the game, since the Imperials could no longer control the centre of the table with the Demolisher's heavy cannon.


The Valkyrie came on in the third turn. Keith tried a bold move, a high speed insertion of the Veterans via grav chute. Unfortunately, they deviated right onto the Fire Dragons, suffered a Mishap, and were all killed! The Chimera killed most of the Fire Dragons with its Heavy Flamer.


Eldar return fire wiped out the Inquisitor and his retinue, and destroyed the Chimera and the Hellhound.

With only the Valkyrie remaining, Keith elected to put it into hover mode, moving it into the warp gate, and taking shots at the rear of the immobilized Wave Serpent.


However, the Serpent only lost a second hull point.


Eldar infantry disembarked and moved to seize three objectives. Eldar tanks surrounded the Valkyrie and blew it up with concentrated fire.


Result: Eldar Win
VP's for Host: 9
VP's for Guest: 0


Keith introduced me to beer from a microbrewery in British Columbia.


Jason's Imperial Guard

Host: Dave Violago
List: List 2 (Mech Swordwind with Autarch, available to view here:

Guest: Jason Lane
List: List 1 Imperial Guard (available to view here:

Beer: Sleeman's Honey Brown Lager

We played The Scouring scenario, with Vanguard Strike deployment; 6 variable-point objectives.

I was wary of Jason's three Leman Russ tanks, and decided to concentrate on the vulnerable, but plentiful (50-man) infantry force.

The photo below looks west. The Imperials set up in the northwest corner, leaving a Valkyrie and a Veteran Squad in reserve. The Eldar deployed only three skimmer tanks (two with Dire Avengers, one with Fire Dragons), keeping the remainder in reserve. The Imperials moved southwest slowly, failing to damage the Eldar tanks. In response, the Eldar advanced quickly, moving two tanks flat out past the Imperial line. This would hopefully divide their attention and force their heavy tanks to reveal their vulnerable rear armour to fire.

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Below, looking west. Jason's dice abandoned him, as the Imperials failed again to inflict any damage.

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The remainder of the Eldar tanks came on from reserve. Fire Dragons and Dire Avengers disembarked to, respectively, destroy a Leman Russ (First Blood!) and wipe out a Platoon Command Squad. Eldar tank fire killed the Master of Ordnance, who had been dropping large blasts randomly across the countryside. The photo below looks south.

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The Valkyrie came on from reserve in the northeast quarter. Imperial tanks destroyed the main gun of the Warp Hunter artillery tank and killed a Fire Dragon.

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Concentrated fire killed off the remnants of the Imperial infantry, including the Company Commander (the Warlord). The remaining Fire Dragons advanced east onto the low hill. A very lucky Melta shot destroyed the Valkyrie and all its embarked infantry!

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A Leman Russ backed up away from the Warp Hunter. The Demolisher advanced and killed three more Fire Dragons. The lone survivor grimly hung on, dug in on the hill.

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The weaponless Warp Hunter moved forward to jam the Leman Russ against the western table edge. A Wave Serpent managed to gain the rear of the Demolisher, and blew it up with Shuriken Cannon fire.

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The last active  Imperial unit, the Leman Russ tank, fired futilely at the massed Eldar skimmers. Eldar infantry moved to seize two objectives (worth a total of 7VPs). Some yellow-helmeted Dire Avengers can be seen to the northwest, taking cover behind a forest to score Linebreaker. The Night Spinner immobilized the Leman Russ.

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The Imperials were left without a response as the game wound down. Men of the match were the Fire Dragons, who destroyed a Russ, and managed to shoot down the Valkyrie.

Result: Eldar Win
VP's for Host: 10
VP's for Guest: 0

Jason provided Sleeman's Honey Brown, which is a favourite of my wife and myself.

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The Beer League had provided me the opportunity to play folks I don't usually get to play, and has introduced me to some great new beers.

I look forward to the playoffs!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X-Wing Miniatures - Smuggler's Ace

A few weeks ago I hosted another game for the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts. I am a very big fan of the Star Wars franchise; over time I must have seen the original movie (Star Wars: A New Hope) maybe 40 or 50 times. So, I introduced the boys to a new game. The Star War: X-Wing Miniatures Game, from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG),
"is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios."

The Core Set a starter set that features three unique missions, each with its own special rules and conditions for victory, cards, and fully assembled and painted starships. FFG has released several Expansion Packs adding new Pilot Cards and Upgrade Cards for existing ships as well as entirely new ships. All require the Core Set in order to be played. The models are very nicely painted and weathered. The Millennium Falcon is a particular favourite of mine.

The game mechanics may be thought of as a cross between Wings of Glory and Check Your 6!  Players secretly choose maneuvers each turn, limited by ship type and speed. Orders are revealed. Ships are moved in ascending order of skill, and then fire in descending order. That is, poorer pilots move first, better pilots shoot first. This allows better pilots to pull actions out of their back pockets (say, to do a barrel roll to avoid fire), as the less experienced pilots reveal their moves.

(The game uses cardboard dials to choose maneuvers. From reading the message boards, over time these dials may wear out due to use. So, for this game I made up some maneuver sheets like for CY6! for the players to record their maneuvers.)

The Core rules and FAQs may be downloaded for free, here.

I obtained a couple of Core Sets, several ship models, and obtained a Space Game Mat from Gale Force Nine (they also have a Space Station Game Mat suitable to use as the surface of the Death Star). I decided to run one of the pre-printed scenarios.

Mission 4: Den of Thieves

Because of their fundamental role in the Imperial Navy, Sienar engineers are vital to the Empire's hold on the galaxy. Their ceaseless toil is responsible for the most recent starship prototype, currently in transit to rendezvous with the Imperial Fleet. Alliance Intelligence discovered it only days ago and offered a substantial reward for the prototype's capture. Rebel-aligned smuglers are prepared to ambush the vulnerable equipment, and the modest Imperial escort must safely deliver its precious cargo.

Mission Setup:
Rebel: 100 squad points

Imperial: 100 squad points

The Imperial player places his ships within Range 1-3 of the Imperial edge of the play area and not within 1 of the neutral edges of the play area. Then the Imperial player chooses two of his ships and assigns one escort token (hothie edit: 2 of these are included with the Falcon) to each (insert the tokens into the tower of each ship's base).

Then the Imperial player places three container tokens (hothie edit: 3 of these are included) within Range 1-3 of the Imperial edge of the play area. A container token cannot be placed within Range 1 of the neutral edges of the play area, and it must be Range 3 or farther away from each other container token. The container tokens must e oriented to face directly toward the Rebel edge of the play area as depicted in the setup diagram.

Then the Rebel player places his ships within Range 1 of the Rebel edge or the neutral edges of the play area. A Rebel ship cannot be placed within Range 1-2 of a container token. Then the Rebel player assigns the smuggler token (hothie edit: 1 included) to one of his ships, inserting the token into the tower of that ship's base.

Special Rules:
Steal Action: The Rebel ship with the smuggler token may perform the Steal action on a container token within Range 1. To perform the steal action, the Rebel player simultaneously rolls 3 attack dice and 3 defense dice. If he rolls more :Critical Damage: results than :Evade: results, he removes the container token from the play area and places it next to his Ship cards. If the number of :Critical Damage: results is equal to or less than the number of :Evade: results, he places one tracking token on the smuggler's Ship card. Each tracking token automatically adds one :Critical Damage: result to each future steal action roll. The steal action may be performed even if the ship has stress tokens.

Containers: Container tokens do not count as ships or obstacles, and they cannot be attacked or destroyed. At the start of the End Phase, each container tokens executes a :Straight: 2 maneuver toward the Rebel edge. If a container token is within Range 1 of one ship with an escort token, it executes a :Straight: 3 maneuver instead. If a container token is within Range 1 of two ships with escort tokens, it executes a :Straight: 4 maneuver instead.

Escort tokens: When a ship with an escort token is destroyed, the Imperial player may place that token on one of his other ships at the end of the End Phase. He cannot place it on a ship that already has an escort token.

Smuggler token: At the end of the Planning Phase, the Rebel player may assign the smuggler token to another one of his ships. When the smuggler token is assigned to a ew ship, discard all tracking tokens from the previous ship.

Rebel Victory: collect two container tokens next to your ship cards
Imperial Victory: Two containers must flee off the Rebel edge of the play area. You may win even if all of your ships are destroyed.
Byron, Frederick and Kevin ran six Imperial TIE Fighters from Black Squadron, led by the video game character, Howlrunner. I ran a couple of Rebel X-Wing starfighters, one piloted by Luke Skywalker and another by a rookie pilot. Brian ran the Millennium Falcon, crewed by Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Rebel Forces:
  • Millennium Falcon w/ Han Solo, 50 pts (Acquire a Target Lock; Focus; Han's Special Ability - When attacking, you may re-roll all of your dice. If you choose to do so, you must reroll as many of your dice as possible.)
    • Chewbacca (When you are dealt a Damage card, you may immediately discard that card and recover 1 shield. Then, discard this card.)
  • X-Wing w/ Luke Skywalker , 29 pts (Acquire a Target Lock; Focus; Luke's Special Ability - When defending, you may change 1 of your focus results to an evade result.)
    • Determination (When you are dealt a face up Damage card with the Pilot trait, discard it immediately without resolving its effect.)
  • X-Wing w/ Rookie Pilot , 21 pts (Acquire a Target Lock; Focus) 
Imperial Forces:
  • TIE Fighter w/ Howlrunner , 20 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus; Howlrunner's Special Ability - When another friendly ship at Range 1 is attacking with its primary weapon, it may re-roll 1 attack die.)
    • Swarm Tactics (Increase your agility by 1. If you are hit by an attack, discard this card.)
  • TIE Fighter w/ Mauler Mithel , 20 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus; Mauler's Special Ability - When attacking at Range 1 roll 1 additional attack die.)
    • Marksmanship (When attacking this round you may change one of your focus results to a critical result and all of your other focus results to a damage results)
  • TIE Fighter w/ Dark Curse , 19 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus; Dark's Special Ability - When defending, ships attacking you cannot spend focus tokens or re-roll attack dice.)
    • Stealth Device (Increase your agility by 1. If you are hit by an attack, discard this card.)
  • TIE Fighter w/ Night Beast , 15 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus; Night Beast's Special Ability - After excuting a green maneuver you may perform a free focus action.)
  • TIE Fighter w/ Black Squadron Pilot , 14 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus)
  • TIE Fighter w/ Academy Pilot , 12 pts (Barrel Roll; Evade; Focus)
Other skills:
  • Acquire a Target Lock (You may place a pair of target lock tokens. You may choose to spend the target lock tokens later during the Combat phase to increase your chance of hitting the targeted ship.)
  • Barrel Roll (You may perform a barrel roll action.)
  • Evade (You may place one Evade token near your ship. You may choose to spend the Evade token as the defender during the Combat phase to add one additional evade result to the defense roll. Unspent Evade tokens are removed from all ships during the End phase.)
  • Focus (You may place one Focus token near your ship. You may choose to spend the Focus token as the attacker during the Combat phase to change all focus results on the attack dice to damage results. You may choose to spend the Focus token as the defender during the Combat phase to change all focus results on the defense dice to evade results. Unspent Focus tokens are removed from all ships during the End phase.)

In the photo below, I can be seen just prior to the start of the game, wearing a suitably Star Wars influenced shirt from TeeFury.


Brian set up the Millennium Falcon in the corner, near the Imperial edge, hoping to steal a couple of containers. I set up the X-Wings on the opposite side.(Note the nice factory-applied weathering on the model.)


The two X-Wings focused on Howlrunner and her wingman, who were escorting a Container. The two TIEs in the centre moved in opposite directions to bring fire on both Rebel players' ships.


Luke's skills and powers are mostly defensive. However, I was rolling hot with the attack dice and managed to nail Howlrunner's TIE.

"The Force is strong with this one."


The Millennium Falcon was fighting three TIE Fighters, taking damage, but Brian was able to destroy another Imperial fighter. Meanwhile, the two X-Wings maneuvered to get a Container-escorting TIE fighter in their sights.

"Watch your back, Luke!"


The Imperials would have scored two more damaging hits on the Falcon, but Han spent a Focus and managed to Evade both of them.

"I have a bad feeling about this."


The X-wings destroyed their TIE Fighter, stealing a Container. However, despite using the Chewie card to avoid a critical hit and gain back a shield, the remaining three TIE Fighters ganged up on the Falcon and destroyed it.

"Get to the escape pods, Chewie!"


By this point, the Imperials had successfully escorted the two other Containers such that the X-Wings were too far away to intercept them before they exited off the Rebel edge of the mat. In retrospect, after the first TIE Fighter went down, an X-Wing should have peeled off to help out the Millennium Falcon

Result: Imperial Victory

People seemed to have a fun time, and some of the guys have since picked up ships of their own. The game does have a few limitations. Foremost is the lack of a third dimension. However, and most importantly, this feels like a dog-fighting game. Where was this thing when I was a kid?