Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Into the Underhive, Gauntlet, and other stories.

Alas, I havn't had much painting time since my last post. Well thats not quite true- I've done rather a lot of painting. Mostly on my house though. Still managed to squeeze in some figures though. I was a little miffed at not being able to go to Phalanx (st Helens) this year so I treated myself to some figures online instead, and picked up 6 boxes of em4 plastics for less than £15 and free postage. Mostly these were the space rangers, allowing me to put together a small force. Also included were a box of little space ships and some Mechs which I assume were intended for games like Battle Tech. No idea what what to do with them yet but I quite like them, though the mechs don't go together brilliantly.

Here are the finished rangers- Or Captain Corusants Cataphracts as I've been calling them.
Enough for a 1000 point game in 2nd ed 40- a Tac squad with Lascannon and Flamer, and Dev squad with 4 heavy plasma guns. Camo scheme used is that of the Royal Scots Greys in Italy during ww2. Tempted to get another 1/48 Sherman tank for support in that camo too ( I have one but I would want one to scifiificate!) Due to the lack of variety in the rangers set I did a couple of conversions. Its ok for the big heavy weapons, but I got the flamer from my bits box. The captain got his arm moved ( a fairly major task- that plastic is bloody thick!) a head swap, and a large mace from the bits box as well.  Hopefully we'll get to see how they perform on the table soon!

As the title suggested Necromunda has been high on the agenda this month. My new gang, the Laserburn Boys, has been painted and bloodied! Mostly built from 3 boxes of EM4 gangers plus things from the bits box, I'm sorry to say I consider this set the worst of  the EM4 plastics but they still scrub up ok with some effort. I replaced all the pistols with proper laspistols as they seemed deformed, though the rifles/carbines are better. The knifes were replaced as well for the same reason. With only 5 figures (with little interchangeability between them) head swaps were a must, though I was surprised to find myself with very few female heads, so some  mods to their hair-do's and a varied paint pallet was used to mix things up a little. Anyway, heres a pic-

They fought their first gang fight against a Cawdor mob last week, and got shot to pieces in their efforts to close to melee!  Boro Gyn (dark hair, back right with the lasrifle) got torn apart by a heavy stubber with the opening shot, Caram (Juve with green hair) went down at the same time, and 3 other gangers were down in short order. The laserburn boys didn't even get to hit anyone back, bottling it at the start of turn 3. And not doing any damage to a gang with a lower gang rating meant almost no Xp was collected!  Oh well.

This was just one of a string of defeats that has afflicted me this month.  It all started in FOW. We are currently fighting the Market Garden campaign, and my Armoured Recce opened the ball by charging headlong into a mass of German tanks. Things went well to start with , my Cromwells outflanking and burning 7 Panthers for minimal losses. This rather surprised the huns, who fell back on their Stug-like assault guns behind. Onwards the Cromwells charged, scenting imminent victory; the German CO was dead and another platoon killed would have forced a company morale check. The speed of the cruisers helped 15 of my tanks get within close range of the enemy's side armour- 15 shots at 3's to hit , no saves possible and destroying on 3+. Average dice should have killed more tanks than the Germans had remaining. Alas, a flurry of 1's and 2's later and they hadn't even been hit! There was no such issues with the return fire though, and only my CO was still standing when the smoke cleared..only to fail the Company Morale moments later! From certain victory to utter defeat in a single shooting phase.
A subsequent FOW game went no better, this time facing an infantry company with a whole regiment of AT guns attached. Rather predictably this was all over in just a few turns.  However light is on the horizon. 

Back to 40k the following week with Peribon Krate and the Trevuntular Grenadiers continuing their campaign against a Khornate incursion. Having carved their a bloody path through quite a lot of the blood go's followers they appear to have attracted the attention of the Chaos commander. Unfortunately this turned out to be a Daemon Prince, and the Grenadiers simply hadn't brought firepower sufficient to the task of banishing him. His Mortal lackeys were cut down with relative ease, by a Hellhound dispatched to support the Grenadiers, burning Minotaurs and Chaos Knights alike. Most of the lesser Daemons fell to the well directed las-volleys of the Grenadiers but the Heavy Weapons failed to make their mark against their larger cousin, as he tore the grenadiers apart in melee. A small cottage and its grounds provided only a temporary redoubt; with casualties mounting, and Commissar Tachikowa unable to remember which pocket he'd put his Stasis Grenade in, Peribon Krate ordered the retreat and reported the Daemon Princes presence to Headquarters. This will need some specialist attention!

With 4 defeats in a row it was time for the big one - Gauntlet!

This is the Deeside Defenders annual event, a whole weekend of gaming! I'd only be there for a day- a few of us normally take the opportunity to run a really big game, and Rick had cooked up a Pike and Shotte Scenario- the Swedish invasion of England! We only managed to get 7 of our normal group together for this but this still resulted in around 2000 figures on the table.
We set up a 20 foot long table and were allowed to set up 6 brigades each (both sides having 12), with reserves arriving at randomly chosen points along the table edge. Both sides had different objectives; for the English it was capture the Farms (presumably to fortify them as strong points), for the Swedes it was simple- they scored points for getting within 12" of the English table edge. Looked pretty tricky for the English- we were rather hugely outnumbered. Whilst my 5 Parliamentarian Brigades were full strength 5 of the 7 Royalist brigades only consisted of a single regiment of Pike and Shotte! The 12 Swedish Brigades by were all at least equal to our biggest brigades. On top of that, the Swedish were using the rules from the new Warlord games supplement Devils Playground- They're pretty superhuman at the best of times but were also commanded by a General that allowed all their guns to fire twice a turn, turning their 40 guns into 80! Our own artillery consisted of a mere 7 guns by comparison.  
Deployment was a bit wierd. Each side was allowed to deploy two brigades halfway across the table, the other 4 had to hang back. The Swedes deployed first but would also get first turn. Due to our shortage of numbers therefore we placed the English thusly- A large Parliamentarian Brigade (Essex's) and a large Royalist Brigade as far forward as possible and just left of centre, with the slightly weaker Royalists digging in around the farm there. Threee of the single regiment brigades were deployed in the town on our extreme Right, with Ruperts Brigade of Horse to provide some support

The Swedes to the Left, English to the Right with the left hand of the English
 line closest to camera in the centre of table. 

The understrength Royalists fortify Little Pontefract, and Ruperts
 strong Horse formations form up in support.

The Swedish Centre. With so many Guns in their line and so few English troops
we were unable to deploy anything to oppose them. This left a huge gap in our lines and nothing
between the Swedish hordes and their objective.
The English Centre. Essex's Parliamentarians on the left have and  the Royalists
dug in around the farm. The English were too few to cover the rest of the left flank.
The Swedes have already surrounded the central farm house and with nothing to
oppose them in the centre are attacking from two sides. Essex orders his men forward to try
and relieve pressure on the Farm. Only one regiment obeys and succeeds in overrunning a
 gun despite the  "Double Shott" rule!

Swedish reinforcements arrive behind Windmill Hill . Essex urges his troops forward and
they comply, but are now facing 3 brigades!
Polish Mercenaries in English pay arrive on the extreme left and secure an
objective, and there they remain.
Fighting below Windmill Hill intensifies- a fourth Swedish brigade has arrived
but Essex urges his troops on regardless! The English have overrun several guns
and even managed to drive back the leading Swedish units, causing major congestion issues!
The Swedish Centre, with no enemy to the front, had amused itself with outflanking the two
English enclaves, whilst their mass of guns took long range pot shots at Ruperts immobile Horse. When Fairfax's
squadrons  arrived they found themselves in a large open area with guns facing them on all sides! With no other option they charged, and the "Double Shotte" guns did dreadful work, cutting down swathes of cavalrymen. But the Swedes didn't have it all their own way- due to the number of dice rolled for each shot misfires were inevitable and 4 guns blew up!

The Royalists around the central farm were in trouble with heavy casualties and Swedish units threatening
to lap around behind their position. To make things worse the mass of Swedes around
Windmill Hill had managed to punch through a gap between the Royalists and Essex's Brigades. Help came in the form of a large Brigade of Parliamentarian infantry who had marched from the far left flank, and Cromwell himself, whose Ironsides drove back the marauding Swedish Horse and plugged the gap!

The endgame- The English have stabilised their line- The Royalists around the farm are more secure, as the mass
of Parliamentarian units hits the Swedish line at one end. The traffic jams around Windmill Hill have enabled Essex, now supported by Cromwell, to bottle up no fewer than 5 Swedish brigades! The Poles managed to get a bit of skirmishing in on the far left, but still held the farm. Fairfax and Ruperts respective Cavalry Squadrons were falling back, shattered by Swedish Guns,  but the Swedes infantry were still stalled by the three Royalist Regiments holding Little Pontefract. 
At this point time was called and our GM Rick counted up the points. The English had held 2 of their Objectives. The Swedish, (despite the undefended four foot long gap in our centre!) had failed to get a single unit near our table edge. More points were added for Broken Brigades and the English claimed the Victory, 23 to 13!

An excellent and enjoyable game, and well done to Rick for masterminding it. It was made all the better by a sweet Victory over a more powerful opponent! All players agreed afterwards that something needed to be done about the "Double Shotte" rule. The English players felt the equivalent of 80 guns was a bit much when we were already so out numbered and only had 7 of our own. The Swedish players felt the firepower was fine, but that the increased tendency to explode was not realistic!
How did we manage a victory? Dogged defence by the Royalists at the central farm and around Little Pontefract, combined with the Earl of Essex leading his brigade right into the attack at the exact position where 5 Swedish Brigades were constricted by Windmill Hill and the river and unable to bring their superior numbers to bear. The resulting traffic jam took them the whole game to sort out, and the English made the most of this, pressing the attack to constrict the Swedes further.

Now I suppose we just have to see what happens between the surviving Royalists and Parliamentarians...

Thank you and good night!