Thursday, January 22, 2015

There's a muton under my futon!

And it's wielding the blaster launcher!

Honestly! It's not gas, it's the blaster launcher!

Ahem. Let me get me back together.

Wednesday saw the dawn of Deadzone campaign.

It'd mostly be normal campaign as presented in Deadzone rulebook, except with a few tweaks. Campaign lasts 10 battles and Contagion zombies are used in missions 3 and 8, and last game is 100 point game.

Dying models would always receive one die and point cost from gaining ranks was modified also.

Strike Force building was opened up a little with four initial clearances plus two extra clearances for items.

My initial roster was:

2x ethereals (stage 3a leader)
5x mutons with plasma rifles (stage 3a)
3x plague hounds
3x muton with heavy plasma (stage 3a HMG)
2x celatids (plague swarm)
1x sectopod (plague strider)

3x extra ammo
2x frag grenade

Game 1:

First mission for X-Com aliens was Quietly does it. At first I thought it would be quite interesting - a mission for Plague that doesn't have any objective for killing enemy models. But that was at first sight...

Anyway, though I really wanted to take the strider in for a spin I didn't think it would be a wise choice in such a mission. I'd have 28 points tied to only one model, so if I'd lose it my survive objective would become threatened right away. And since it's 28 points and one model, I wouldn't have many models to infiltrate anything.

So alien Strike Team was:
2x ethereals
4x mutons with plasma rifle
1x muton with heavy plasma & extra ammo
2x plague hounds
1x celatid

Enforcers had:

Enforcer sergeant
2x enforcer
Assault enforcer
Enforcer sniper
Enforcer with missile launcher

Enforcers started game and deployment zones were corners. Ugh. Infiltration would be a pain. Well, at least my side had a nice building I could hide in.

First picture is from the end of full game round 1.

Apparently it's been too long from last Deadzone game, because I was kind of caught by surprise in how easily you can draw LoS in this game, after all. First turns most devastating effect was some Enforcer using Blaze Away on the cube I had plague swarm and a troop muton. Both went straight down to suppressed.

Having suddenly lost to enemy needing mostly to dominate the location markers earlier, I thought it might be a good idea to contest the upmost objective somehow. I send agile ethereal leader there with plague hound who had big, nasty, pointy teeth (AP 2).

Heavy plasma muton tries to Blaze Away at the missile launcher, but even with extra ammo nothing happens. Well. To the enforcers, at least. Missile launcher shoots the suppressed muton very dead.

Turn 2, and Enforcers have the initiative.

I somehow completely miss that Enforcer with missile launcher goes on Overwatch. Another regular Enforcer advances mid-field and blazes away at cube containing the agile ethereal and plague hound. Both fall to the ground, though I don't remember how badly they fell. Plague hound, I think, was just pinned.

Well, in the second picture you can't really see it, but enforcer sniper walks somewhere behind the blue building and shoots my precious ethereal dead. With a pistol. This is not first time when pistols are the main damage dealers...

Anyway, the overwatching enforcer had a crazy amount of Time Units in reserve, when it attacked with overwatch three (3) times in a single turn. First I noticed the overwatch by jumping down from the green building with celatid. I don't remember if it did anything, but three successes on overwatch roll gave the enforcer another attack when celatid sprinted to regular enforcer. The two missiles scored one wound on celatid. And the melee itself... well. Despite hitting on 3+ and having some AP in the acid bite, nothing happens. Not even a single wound. Just... nothing.

But then I needed to deal with the missile launcher, so muton with heavy plasma climbed up a building. And bang. Yet another missile, which thankfully didn't do anything. And the worst of all was that the enforcer still didn't lose overwatch! But then blaze away suppressed the enforcer with that horrible repeating-machine-rocket-launcher, or whatever he was wielding. No more overwatch. Ditto.

Enraged regular muton tried to finish what celatid even couldn't start, but failed just as miserably. This time there was potential damage at least, which were stopped by armor value.

My pride of the whole team, plague hound with AP 2, latched on to sniper's leg and wouldn't cause any damage, but wouldn't let the hold go off either.

Two mutons move + sprinted inside the metallic building - just being out of reach from the assault enforcer.

And next turn the assault enforcer uses jump pack and goes up to the second floor. How annoying.

Celatid and muton against enforcer in the middle fail to do any damage again. And one muton gets to the missile launcher, but zero damage.

Another muton attempted to blaze away at assault enforcer, but damage to aggression level.

Some enforcer tries to relieve sniper from melee with the plague hound, and throws in a grenade. Yeah. Well, the explosion wasn't that great and both combatants were just pinned and thrown to one of the neighboring cubes. But even during a frag grenade explosion the plague hound wouldn't let go of sniper's leg, and they both fly to the same cube. And that was their story, both doomed to spend an eternity lying down next to each other.

Well. What can I say. I still did have over 50% of points remaining though, so perhaps I'd manage to survive just a little more and then break off from the melee in middle and sprint away.

Nope. Next shot by enforcer trooper, who had personally thrown the grenade over sniper and hound, downed my other leader, which scored assassination victory for the Enforcers. Phew. Finally the torment had ended. Aliens... you really don't live up to your name as unforgiving and merciless killers you were back in '94... there was not a single casualty with Enforcers. Heck... I don't think there even was a single wound on any of them.

None of the models that had been disabled during play died completely. One ethereal suffered -1 Fight, and one of the hounds rolled the very same result. Celatid had to miss next game because of the wound it had at the end of game.

Game 2:

Ahh, a second game. Perhaps I'd get to field the awe inspiring sectopod now! I draw a mission card and... well. My mission is "swarm"... which had no other goals than infiltration.

And yet again Enforcers started game and deployment was in corners. It's a shame the other Celatid plague swarm had injured during last game and missed this game, since with 13 point models I'd score 3 victory points. And swarms are fast.

Then I had to forget my dream of fielding sectopod yet again. Though 28 points would be three victory points if it succesfully infiltrated the enemy deployment zone, if I did lose it to Enforcers' AP 8 weapons (no exaggeration here) would I even have enough points in game for a victory? Well, who knows, since my Strike Team was:

Ethereal with -1 fight
3x mutons with plasma rifle, one with frag grenade
Muton with heavy plasma & extra ammo
2x plague hound
Silacoid... I don't know how or when or even why, the hound with -1 Fight had been turned into a silacoid in-between the games.

Enforcer sergeant had gained an ability in last game, so it had to miss a game practicing new moves. And looks like there was only one sergeant in the whole Strike Force, since Enforcers had:

2x Enforcer troopers
Assault enforcer
Enforcer engineer with two sentry guns
Enforcer sniper
Recon drone

During their first batch of activations, Enforcers set up one of the sentry guns, which are on overwatch. I nearly wet myself when I saw a model in overwatch, such a terrible experience the crazy enforcer with missile launcher had been.

But it turned out that not every overwatch is a horrifying slaughter. Frag grenade wielding muton survived the first shot, and then the gun went silent for the rest of the turn. Since there were quite a few Enforcers in adjacent cubes, the muton lobbed frag grenade at engineer. Engineer was thrown to same space with assault enforcer, and both were pinned.

Ethereal uses command action and moves celatid, and then celatid uses move card, a sprint from Agile, and normal move. This way it managed to enter the space with engineer and assault enforcer. It tried to chew assault enforcer first, and you can almost guess what happened. Well, it did inflict one wound on the assault enforcer, so perhaps not all was in vain?

The rest of aliens mostly just ran to hug the doge. One of the mutons (one with AP1 claws, even) got shot by a sniper through a small hole in the wall.

Second turn started quite promisingly, when celatid scored its first kill (and my first kill in whole campaign! And... And... my only kill, too. Sob.) as assault enforcer attempted to break off after engineer had fled the scene. Though now the celatid was just sitting there in middle of enforcers.

Also, a regular muton found intel (+1 victory point), though this may have happened a turn earlier.

But that was the extent of my luck that turn. Heavy plasma muton entered a cube with an item, which was booby trapped. The resulting explosion packed a plague hound and the heavy plasma to the same square, and afterwards a Blaze Away by an enforcer killed them both.

Celatid had suffered an injury somewhere, possibly from the sniper. Because of that I was scared of activating it in front of overwatching sentry gun. As a hindsight I should have risked it. Getting shot by a sentry gun should be more unlikely than being shot to pieces by every other enforcer next turn. But the killing spree with missile launcher was too fresh in my memory. And as a result celatid was shot to pieces.

Doing some quick maths there I no longer had enough models standing that I'd win even if I somehow managed to infiltrate the all with no casualties. I conceded the battle, and that gives no victory points at all. Well, I wasn't aware of aborting a mission and just killing enforcers was an option, too. Though considering how well my melee specializing faction had killed enemies in melee lately, I'm not sure if the end result would have been different.

So now was time for injuries. Yay, my favorite and very familiar part! This time I had five casualties, but at least I got lucky here. Only real injury was blurred vision (-1 to shooting skill) for celatid... who has no shooting skill at all.

Now I got a ton of ranks, however.

Both ethereals got veteran dice. I guess that comes handy in command actions. Two mutons with plasma rifle got +1 to their shooting skill. I guess that's not too bad, perhaps their Blaze Away starts to do at least something. A third muton with plasma rifle got a veteran die.

Heavy plasma muton got an ability and chose Spotter. Celatid also got an ability, and I guess it's not a big surprise that it chose Brawler. Also, one of my doges got a skill, and it took AP 1 in melee.

Silacoid hound gained +1 to survival stat.

Well, next game we will be using zombies from contagion. We also chose to draw missions for next game, and I picked up... oh, no. I'm not telling which one I picked up.

Oh, and this time there is the other side of the story available with more narrative to it. Here is the Enforcer side of things.

"We ignore your Hollow threats"

Tuesday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

We were testing Steamroller 2015 around, and my list was:

Void Seer Mordikaar
- Bronzeback Titan
- Archidon
- Basilisk Krea
- Cyclops Shaman

Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer
Aptimus Marketh
Void Spirit

Objective: Stockpile

I guess I'd take the Bunker for Mordikaar in a real tournament list, but it'd felt rather unfair to pick the Bunker as I knew I was facing Cygnar. Anti-KD effect felt remotely useful, and the stand up for free in control phase seemed worth a try with Hollow. Turned out it was completely useless idea, since Hollow unit wouldn't ever be within 4" of the objective - and on top of that I had taken Tyrant Commander into my list anyway, who makes things stand up. Oh well.

Opponent was playing:

- Stormclad
- Ironclad
- 2x Hunter

Maximum unit of Nyss Hunters
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Journeyman Warcaster
Arlan Strangewayes
Alten Ashley
Gorman di Wulfe
Lanyssa Ryssyll

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Scenario was Incoming, and Cygnar started play, so that was bad news straight from the beginning. First picture is from the end of Skorne turn 1. Full Tilt is on Ironclad and Arcane Shield on Stormclad. There were no surprises from Skorne in terms of spells - oh, wait. There was! Hollow was on Praetorian Swordsmen and Basilisk Krea, Cyclops Shaman and Mordikaar himself had cast Paralytic Field. But this is first time in recorded history when I use Banishing Ward pre-emptively. Not that I've used it as a poor man's Purification many times, either. Mordikaar cast it on Bronzeback Titan so that it'd be protected from Kiss of Lyliss.

Turn 2 Nyss Hunter run to engage Skorne front line. Was Mordikaar being pushed away from scenario game? What a disgrace! The picture puzzled me greatly, but I think I forgot to take a picture at the end of Cygnar turn 2, so Void Spirit and Cyclops Shaman have already activated.

Hunters shoot Archidon and a Cataphract Cetrati. At least I think the other Hunter shot Archidon, but the damage could have come from Alten Ashley, too.

Void Spirit runs to cause a command check on Nyss Hunters, but they pass.

Cyclops Shaman takes aiming bonus and stares Cylena Raefyll very dead. If a look could kill... well, it just did. I should have activated Shaman first, though. Getting scared would have been more likely, then.

The rest of Nyss Hunters fell to attacks made by Praetorian Swordsmen, Archidon, Cetrati and even the Basilisk Krea. Oh, and add in the Tyrant Commander too. Def 15 could have ruined my game here, but luckily it didn't. Only a few surviving Nyss could have delayed some of my forces an additional turn. But that's iffing there.

Aptimus Marketh cast Ghost Walk on Bronzeback Titan, who afterwards charges even more Nyss. I had to get something to the zone to contest it.

Mordikaar uses feat, giving +3 Def and Poltergeist to all but two or three Praetorian Swordsmen who were away from the control area.

Turn 3 most attacks made by Cygnar missed their targets. And since one Praetorian Swordsmen on the enemy zone stubbornly refused to die, nobody would start scoring points just yet. Gorman tries to throw some black oil at maximum range, hoping for a lucky deviation. Much to my relief the oil eventually landed nowhere.

Ironclad attemps to tremor Bronzeback down, but rolls 5,1,1 or 4,1,1, barely missing. That one could have had a drastic impact on the game. Especially if either of us would have remembered Cavalry Charge +2 bonus, meaning the attack would have hit. Perhaps the warjacks could be converted to ride on a horse, so it would a be a little easier to remember?

Then Bronzeback brutally mauls the warjack down with just initial attacks, and with Train Wreck on it even ate one of the few remaining Nyss Hunters.

I think Aptimus Marketh cast Ghost Walk on Cataphract Cetrati, who then charged. Well, only one of them did, and the rest just ran. Hunter loses melee weapon as a consequence. I didn't really have anything more I could have thrown against Hunter, so nobody started scoring scenario points, again.

Void Spirit charges Gorman di Wulfe and causes command checks on a bunch of solos. Lanyssa Ryssyll fails her command check. But this is just me bragging here. She died to blast caused by Void Spirit and successful decimation of a living enemy.

Praetorian Swordsmen soften up the Hunter on left, and enraged Archidon with Lightning Reflexes on finished it. Archidon sprinted to a position I hoped would be more threatening to Kraye next turn - and in case Stormclad decided to charge 13" + reach, Bronzeback would be able to charge it next turn.

Turn 4 first scenario point is scored by Kraye, as Stormclad and the rest of Cygnar's army clears their friendly zone. The last remaining Hunter doesn't ease the situation on Cygnar's part at all when it missed objective with armor piercing attack.

The Hunter in question is then wrecked by Cetrati, and Mordikaar enters the zone. Praetorian Swordsmen and Archidon try to do something to Stormclad, and if I remember right the melee arm dropped dead.

Turn 5 Cygnar has pretty much lost the game, and after "all in" assassination attempt at Mordikaar with three Fury for transfers, we stopped playing.

It was a tough match-up for Kraye. Additional defense from Mordikaar's feat blunts most alpha strikes and in case of Kraye who mainly plays with alpha strikes coming even from another game table. That's how fast his warjacks are. But still there were some moments where the tide could have turned - most glaring being the tremor failing to knock Bronzeback down - even when it should have.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Farewell Steamroller 2014 (and a game)

A few days ago I played a 50 point Warmachine game. New steamroller documents weren't out then yet, so it was played with 2014 ruleset. Though I'm not entirely sure if 2014 will go away from casual one-off games, since the personal choice of objectives would need to be taken into account when you build your list.

But on to the write up.

My list was:

Void Seer Mordikaar
- Bronzeback Titan
- Archidon
- Rhinodon
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Aptimus Marketh
Void Spirit

And opponent had:

Epic Caine
- Hunter

Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers + Officer
- Hunter
Maximum unit of Greygore Boomhowlers
Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard
Lady Aiyana & Holt
Journeyman Warcaster
Professor Pendrake
Alten Ashley
Gorman di Wulfe
Taryn di la Rovissi

Scenario was Destruction, and Skorne started game. First picture is from the end of Skorne turn 2, where Mordikaar used his feat. Hollow is on Praetorian Swordsmen. I was hoping it'd give me good chances of playing the scenario. And it really seemed like a possibility when Void Spirit ran forward and caused a command check on Alten Ashley and Greygore Boomhowlers. Alten Ashley passed the test. Boomhowlers did not.

My initial thought had been I'd fly Archidon close enough Caine to threaten with an assassination next turn, but I got scared of Gorman di Wulfe, who was covering Caine. So Archidon flew mid-field instead. Praetorian Swordsmen ran to engage Cygnarans, and two even got to charge Caine's Hunter. Oh, and Mordikaar tried to snipe Gorman by combining Essence Blast with the standard bearer of the swordsmen.

Rhinodon (the empty large base) and Bronzeback had to screen Mordikaar, since I heard somewhere that Caine has absurd threat range... now where did I hear that again... oh, from every player that has ever played against Epic Caine!

The trollkin were standing in way of dwarves, so not much happened on Cygnar turn 2. Boomhowlers did re-group, though. The only real casualty was the removal of Praetorian Swordman officer with a magic bullet.

Turn 3 Aptimus Marketh casts Ghost Walk on Cataphract Cetrati, and the Cetrati then charge forward, targetting some trollkin and Gun Mage Officer's Hunter.

Then I was in distress. If I charged enemy objective with Rhinodon and destroyed it, that'd be three scenario points there. But Bronzeback was in the way of the charge. Archidon had taken some damage last turn, and it'd have to take a free strike from at least one Boomhowler grunt and one forge guard. Unless I moved Mordikaar up, and cast Ghost Walk on the flying reptile - and open up a possible Gatecrasher assassination. Choices, choices!

Well, since I felt quite secure at this point, I didn't go for the objective at all. Bronzeback relocated itself when Rhinodon and Basilisk Krea screened Mordikaar.

... oh my. Now that I'm writing this I realise my greatest mistake. I got no excuses for this brain flatulence, because I had been thinking if it was worth it to cast Ghost Walk on Archidon.

I could have cast Ghost Walk on Rhinodon instead and charged the enemy objective! Bronzeback could have screened Mordikaar then. The fool that I am.

Anyway. Swordsmen charged all around the place, most notable kill being Gorman diWulfe.

Cygnar then, and Caine uses his feat to shoot Bronzeback off the board. The rest of Cygnaran military assets put a real effort to remove Praetorian Swordsmen unit altogether from the game - and succeeded. A couple of Gun Mages were tying up Cataphract Cetrati.

On turn 4 enraged Rhinodon finally charges a small gathering of mercenaries and enemy objective. But things didn't go as planned. The Boomhowler who was contesting the zone passed his Tough check way too many times and left Rhinodon with not enough Fury to destroy the objective.

Looking back again I should have used Rhinodon to wreck the objective, and use other models to kill the tough troll. But I don't remember when I did all this - perhaps I had already activated too many models and I wasn't sure anyone other than the Rhinodon could have killed the troll? Who knows. But whatever the activation order had been, at least Basilisk Krea would have been available for troll removal, since it used its animus and charged the objective to give Rhinodon a chance to survive.

And Krea's sacrifice was worth it. Cygnar dealt with the basilisk first and shot it down. Archidon died also, so suddenly I had only the often laughed at Rhinodon giving Fury for my warlock.

Turn 5 Beast Handlers enraged Rhinodon and whipped a couple of enemy models dead - most important being the Boomhowler contesting zone. Then Rhinodon did manage to wreck objective, but it took the very last Fury available to it - meaning I didn't have any transfer targets any more. Perhaps I should have activated Rhinodon first and Beast Handlers after, so I could have had tranfer target.

Well. Finally Skorne was at three control points, and it pains me to know I had my chance to be there two full rounds earlier... This game was bad play on my part. Perhaps I got too excited when Boomhowlers failed their command check.

Then it's Cygnar turn, and even without a feat Caine advances and shoots Mordikaar back into the void where he belongs.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New year starts with cross dr... I mean cross demonstration!

One of the Mordheim players here had voiced some interest in Warmachine, and today we played two demo games.

It was a cross demo between Warmachine and Hordes with following lists:

War Witch Deneghra
- Leviathan
- Nightwretch
- Deathripper


Kaya the Wildborne
- Feral Warpwolf
- Scarsfell Griffon
- Gorax

It didn't seem to cause too much unnecessary confusion that we used both systems. In fact it seemed to cause less confusion than when I have included a solo or two in demo games. A video battle report or two did wonders in absolutely necessary rule referencing - I almost didn't need to explain the basics at all, and games could start right away with me explaining as we go.

Kaya did win both games, but in first game it took very last possible attack I was able to make, and Kaya was at one hit box then. Second game Kaya beat Deneghra personally in melee, but again she had five or less hit boxes remaining.

I don't know what else there is to say since it was a demo game. Fresh blood is more than welcome in this city. Or if the demo player picks up Cryx, then fresh... undead... flesh?

Oh, nice. And I just broke the "arrow up" button on my keyboard.

Friday, January 2, 2015

No bronzeback in the great pine woods of Kuhmo

Well, this comes a few days late, but it was last game of Warmachine for 2014.

And it was a 35 point game of Skorne vs Protectorate.

My list was:

Void Seer Mordikaar
- Archidon
- Rhinodon
- Basilisk Krea
- Cyclops Shaman

Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Aptimus Marketh
Void Spirit
Bloodrunner Master Tormentor

Opponent was playing:

High Exemplar Kreoss (umm... that's Rhupert)
- Crusader
- Reckoner
- Devout
- Reckoner (the handless jack)

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Daughters of the Flame
Visgoth Rhoven & Honor Guard (Saxon Orrik + exemplar)
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Vassal of Menoth
Hierophant (a zealot)

Scenario was Supply and Demand, and Skorne started game. There's a quite lot of proxy models so the pictures are rather a memory aid for me here.

First picture is from the end of Skorne turn 2, where I misjudged the distance for Rhinodon to charge Daughters of the Flame. Well, it's only purpose was to hopefully clump enemy models and fish in a heavy warjack or two. But I hoped I could have taken one or two Daughters to grave with it.

Well, Rhinodon succeeded in fishing out the Reckoner. But there I was, then... Reckoner mid-field, and no serious P+S to wreck it. Not that I'm trying to say here Rhinodon would've been serious wrecker... Oh dear, why do I even build any Skorne lists without my beloved Bronzeback?

Defender's Ward was on Daughters of Flame, which was highly annoying too, since Mordikaar doesn't have any tricks against crazy high DEF. Uh oh. Looked like my only chance here would be to get some kind of awkward assassination, and that's why I tried to protect my Archidon.

Even back-striking Praetorian Swordsmen (who materialised behind the Daughters) were not enough to inflict any real casualties. Oh, and the Void Spirit in the first picture had ran in middle of the Daughters. But there were so many commanders around that it wasn't even an effort for the Daughters to succeed in their command check. Oh well. Visgoth & Honor Guard made short work of the Void Spirit.

Next Kreoss used his feat but the results overall gave some hope. Mostly just Praetorians died, and nobody cares about Praetorians. Mordikaar the least.

I try to shake things up (pun intented?) and after two rounds of one-pointing Reckoner it started to show some signs of slowly going down. But the few Praetorians that Revive brought back didn't break anything important even during this turn, so I charged Cyclops Shaman in. The shaman broke Cortex. Perfect.

But then Kreoss started pushing aggressively into the control zone. He re-cast Defender's Ward on himself, and Mordikaar was easily under Lamentation effect, too.

Perhaps this was the position for my awkward assassination? Well, I wouldn't be able to wreck four warjacks and a warcaster with only Praetorian Swordsmen, so I had to try something desperate.

Archidon charged the Reckoner and tried to get a critical pitch and then throw Reckoner right into Kreoss. Had that succeeded I'd shoot him with Mordikaar's ranged weapon and cast two revives with 12 Fury and get two automatically hitting boosted P+S 12 combo strikes at him.

But there was no critical pitch, and I started hammering panic button and escaped with Mordikaar way outside both of Lamentation and the Kill Box. So Protectorate scored two scenario points, but I got to bring back three Praetorians instead and even have some Fury for transfers, and I need to learn to use actual dots instead of commas.

Well, there isn't much left to tell. Game continued for a few rounds, but there was no chance for Skorne this time. Eventually Protectorate won by scoring yet another two points from Mordikaar being out of Kill Box and then destroying the objective.