Basement Warhammer

In which our hero actually plays a game for once.

Eagle hunting wolf cubI just wanted to drop a quick note here as a record that I do, in fact, occasionally play Warhammer 40,000. It’s not a battle report as such, but I’ll post my learnings, such as they are, and also a bit about how this came to be. If you couldn’t tell from this awesome picture, I played my Eagle Eyes (Raven Guard tactics) against his Space Wolves.

Why basement Warhammer?

I prefer to play in someone’s home over a shop for several reasons. Both forms have their place, but for me it’s a personal preference. Shops are great for building a community, but if you don’t hang out often it can be awkward. I don’t care for some of the personalities at the shops, nor for the ex-wife (and sometimes current wife/girlfriend) bashing that goes on there all too often. I don’t really care to play pickup games with WAAC guys (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman playing a TT wargame there, probably for reasons just mentioned, among others) that use net lists. It’s cool, I just don’t really care for it. Shops also close early so it’s tough to get a good game in, and there are a ton of distractions, of course. Basically it’s just not as fun for me.

I like my Warhammer casual, friendly, and with people I would genuinely enjoy just hanging out with and chatting hobby stuff. That’s how I roll (dice). I want the person I’m playing to feel like a cheesy bastard if they pull any rules-lawyering garbage. So sue me. It’s a game and I like to have fun. I don’t mind losing at all, but I don’t want it to be a one-sided mess. Also, I like the idea of building up a closer community over time, and building some history and narrative between the various forces.

Facebook to the rescue (no, seriously).

I really don’t care for Facebook, but frankly it’s great at social groups. I created a group because I had a couple buddies that were just starting to get into the hobby, and they didn’t know each other. Each of them had a couple friends that were also getting into it, so I figured I’d do a little matchmaking so we could start to create a core group. I want to keep it very open for new members, and since it’s going to be for home games, I also made a little bio to let people know what I’m about. I hope some of them do the same. I want to stick to a no religion/no politics sort of guideline unless people agree before hand, and also make it clear if someone has pets or allergies, an aversion to alcohol or drugs, etc. I want people to feel comfortable and focus on just having a good time.

On Saturday, I went over to Josh’s house and brought no less than 6 boxes/bags with me. I guess that’s the state of Warhammer these days. We arranged it all on the Facebook group, and a couple other members even came by just to hang out and do a little hobbying! Very cool. One of my six parcels happened to be a six-pack of beer, and I was able to enjoy one while I played. It was that kind of thing. We played on a small table he built himself, with terrain he built himself, and it was a really nice way to spend a Saturday.

So, Tibbs, how did your game go?

Raven Guard tacticsNo pics. I’m sorry. We ran a small 1,000 game, in part because my buddy Josh has just a 4 by 4 table and I hadn’t played in so long, it made sense to start smaller.

My list:

+++ Raven Guard vs. Space Wolves (999pts) +++

++ Space Marines: Codex (2015) (Combined Arms Detachment) (344pts) ++

Chapter Tactics * [Raven Guard]

+ HQ (125pts) +

Librarian (125pts) [Mastery Level 2]
··Armour of Shadows [Bolt Pistol, Force Staff]

+ Troops (219pts) +

Scout Squad (99pts) [Camo Cloaks, Missile Launcher (Frag & Krak), 4x Scouts, 3x Sniper Rifle]
··Scout Sergeant [Power Axe, Sniper Rifle]

Tactical Squad (120pts) [Plasma Cannon, 4x Space Marines]
··Rhino (was supposed to be a drop pod, but I forgot it at home…) [Storm Bolter]
··Space Marine Sergeant [Bolt Pistol, Boltgun]

++ Space Marines: Raven Guard – Talon Strike Force (Formation Detachment) (655pts) ++

+ Formation (655pts) +

Raptor Wing (345pts)
··Land Speeders
····Land Speeder [Heavy Bolter, Typhoon Missile Launcher]
····Land Speeder [Heavy Bolter]
··Stormtalon Gunship [Skyhammer Missle Launcher]
··Stormtalon Gunship [Skyhammer Missle Launcher]

Shadowstrike Kill Team (310pts)
··Scout Squad [4x Close Combat Weapon, 4x Scouts]
····Land Speeder Storm [Heavy Bolter]
····Scout Sergeant [Bolt Pistol, Close Combat Weapon]
··Scout Squad [4x Close Combat Weapon, 4x Scouts]
····Scout Sergeant [Bolt Pistol, Close Combat Weapon]
··Vanguard Veteran Squad [Jumppacks]
····Veteran [Bolt Pistol, Lightning Claw]
····Veteran [Bolt Pistol, Lightning Claw]
····Veteran [Bolt Pistol, Lightning Claw]
····Veteran [Lightning Claw, Lightning Claw]
····Veteran Sergeant [Relic Blade, Storm Shield]

In a nutshell, I wanted to use some formations from the Kauyon book, so I worked in a Raptor Wing and a Shadowstrike Kill Team. I’ll get to it in a bit, but both of them are probably just about an auto-include for me in the future. I felt like I needed to include a CAD, and the only real HQ I have in a librarian right now. I have a chaplain in Termi armor, but he doesn’t make sense in any lists, and an old captain with the wrong paint scheme and a weird loadout. He’s got a Relic Blade and a combi-melta. I don’t think I’d use him kitted out like that. I have a jetpack for my libby, but he’s not really kitted out for assault right now. He’s magnetized, but I need to decide how to arm him. But, I really wanted to try Psychic stuff since I haven’t yet in this version of the rules. Everyone asks me about the sniper sergeant with a power axe… I made him because I thought it looked BA, and in one game he held off a Chaos Lord in termy armor for 3 rounds of combat. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep it. I may switch it out at some point, but I still like him. I meant to take a drop pod for the tacs and put the librarian in it, but I literally forgot it at home. So, I had to use a Rhino instead. Lame, I know.

The game itself, Tibbs. How was it?

Thanks for being patient… Well, I was playing against Space Wolves, and my opponent was keen to try out the new Wulfen. He used some counts-as models (see? One more reason to game at home because I didn’t go all WYSIWYG on him). About half his force was tied up in a formation from the new Wolf book, with I think 6 Wolf Guard in termy armor, including his Warlord. I can’t remember well, but I’ll tell you why in a moment. Besides that he had a sniper scout squad, and a big squad of power-armored Wolf Guard in a drop pod. I think that was actually it.

We set up, I messed around with all these newfangled cards to pick a Warlord trait (I got Concentrated Attack, and I don’t think I had a chance to use it at all) and I chose powers from Divination, pulling Perfect Timing and Misfortune, along with Prescience as my Primaris power. My army only laid down the Land Speeders and the Rhino for deployment, and he just had his Wulfen. We then put out our infiltrators and I got pretty lucky, since I had 3 infiltrating squads and he just had the one. I got to go first, so I placed my snipers right in the middle of the board.

Once all that business was done, he took his first turn, bringing down his drop pod right away. After that, he went to bring in the Deep Striking terminators, but since his pod with a locator beacon wasn’t on the board at the beginning of his turn, he couldn’t use it. He placed them in a fairly conservative position and proceeded to scatter right into the corner of a building. Mishap, rolled a 1. We were both a little stunned, as nearly half his points went up in a crackle of lightning and the stink of ozone. He was a great sport about it, frankly, and then I realized I had a Land Speeder Storm pretty close by. Sure enough, it was close enough that he could roll an extra 2D6 for scatter. He was saved! And then… He rolled another 4 inches, and that placed him right in a piece of scatter terrain and they died anyway. We both had a good laugh about how my special rule could have saved him, but to be honest it was a tough battle for him after that.

We were playing Maelstrom missions, and he did pretty dang well with achieving his objectives. I think he got all 3 in the first turn alone. I had a rough time with them, throughout, in part because it was hard for me to keep track of. I should have used my speeders to sidle up to them and take a few here and there. Ah well.

Now, my formations were a bit of a mixed bag. He took one of my scout squads from the Shadowstrike Kill Team out before turn 2, so I couldn’t use their …On Target rule to the fullest. They still had to scatter, but they were able to charge the turn they came in. Automatically on Turn 2, as it were, since On Time… allowed me to chose to pass the Reserves roll. They proceeded to wipe out his scout squad and claim an objective, but unfortunately it took an extra turn. I forgot to roll Hammer of Wrath, let alone the reroll for Raven Guard Chapter Tactics. I think I would have done it in one turn if I factor in those hits. All in all, getting to bring them in any time was a boon, for sure, and charging when they come in? Forget about it. Who wouldn’t use that?

The Raptor Wing was, similarly, a mixed bag. I brought the two Stormtalons in on Turn 2, again automatically from the Incoming Support special rule. I brought them in from the side and didn’t even bother moving them, but now that I think of it they should have come in from my table edge. It was close, so I most likely would have still put them in pretty much the same place. Something to note for next time, I suppose. They enjoyed a BS 5 thanks to Strafing Run and they would have re-rolled hits from the TL Assault Cannons had I remembered to do so. Add the Skyhammer Missiles and they hammered on the Wulfen who were caught out in the open. Both of those weapons deny the 4+ cover save, and I even managed to cast Misfortune to add Rending to the Skyhammers. Despite that, it took two full rounds of shooting, plus a few bolter shots and even heavy bolters from the Land Speeders to take them all out. My god, those Wulfen are tough. I think you could safely charge them up the field, to be honest. They only have that 4+ save, but they also have FNP 5+ and two wounds apiece. In fact, the squad of 5 was already down two wounds by the time I got to them with the ‘Talons. I was really impressed with their performance and I told him to buy some immediately.

My speeders always seem to do well, and they made a dent in the PA Wolf Guard before some CC scouts finished them off. At that point, Josh conceded the game.

It wasn’t glorious, but it was fun for both of us despite him getting hit pretty hard. We both attributed the victory as much to his misfortune as anything else, as that one squad would have really pushed me to split my attention between them. As it was, he didn’t even really have anything that could hurt the Stormtalons. Kind of a sad day for the Wolves. The take home message for me was that Wulfen are insane and they need to be put down before they hit combat. They could tarpit just about anything, I think.

I was pleased with my formations and especially the ability to mitigate bad Reserves rolls. This has always been something I worry about, but these two formations work very well with my preferred play style and, as I said, I think both of them may as well be an auto-include for me. I really wanted to get one more formation in, but I couldn’t pull it off in 1,000 points without running VERY barebones. I prefer to leave a bit of tactical flexibility in my squads, personally, so if anything I would have larded my boys up with more goodies, given the chance.

Hit me in the comments with suggestions or questions.