Ooops….

We’ve all been there. It’s late, beer/ wine/ cocoa in hand, money in the PayPal account, browsing eBay… you find something that looks too good to be true, you put a bid on it thinking “what the hell”, the next morning you get THAT email:

“You WON Item no XXXXXX”

Ah, crap.

In my case, what I had won was this:

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Don’t drink and eBay, kids!

So I duly paid my £10 plus postage, and a couple of days later I was blessed with the arrival of a semi complete copy of the 2nd Ed 40k box set plus the Dark Millennium expansion. Now, I’m assuming the seller held up their end of the bargain, because I can’t remember the details of what I bid on, but what I got was:

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20 Space Marines
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Not awful, but I think there’s room for improvement – will bathe them in meths and have a go myself!
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A pair of Ork’s – one mostly ‘armless…
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Lots a’ Grots!
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What to do with you little fellas…
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A TON of cards- man, we hated trees back in the day!
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100% GW, 100% tournament legal!

Now, quite what to do with this unexpected new acquisition – we’re pretty deeply committed to 20mm as our scale of choice with a load of new scenery built for that scale, so the minis may remain display only.. suppose the Grots could be some sort of Ogre race, the Marines some sort of gigantic superhuman genetically altered superwarrior (hang on…), and the templates are all gauged for 28mm.

So we pondered for the length of a beer and though “F**k it, who cares?” – we’ll use the templates and our wee 20mm minis and run some retro mini 40k for giggles. A serendipitous rummage through the loft yielded up the  2nd Ed Guard and Ork codexes from the mid 90s, tattered but unbowed, so we set about tweaking the Hazzard 1977th and Da Skooderia to be 2nd Ed legal. Results will be posted over the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to running some retro 40k with teeny models! And let’s not forget Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi spinoff, where humanity takes it’s first steps into a wider galaxy…. we can call this market research!

Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon 😉

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40k Mashup! 8th Ed meets Rogue Trader.. in 1/72!

Just over a month ago, Games Workshop – the company everyone loves to hate – rolled out the all new, super shiny new 8th edition. But this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the book that started it all – dear old Rogue Trader

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Thanks for stealing my childhood, you bastard

Those of you who recall this mighty tome will remember the scenario included towards the end (and may even recall the cut out counters supplied to play it with – yes, I’m serious!) – the now legendary Battle At The Farm!

For those not familiar with the arcane legends of the late 1980s, the Battle At The Farm was a surprisingly in depth scenario detailing the invasion of Rynn’s World, the untimely snuffing out of all but a fragment of the Crimson Fists chapter of Space Marines, with the fifteen surviving Marines and their leader Commander Pedro Cantor running afoul of an Ork patrol led by the devious Thrugg Bullneck and his sidekick Thrugg who have hidden a cache of jewels in the ruined farmhouse that the Marines have holed up in…

Now, despite buying the Rogue Trader book in 1991, I’d never actually fought this battle, and as it turned out neither had Dan, and so with GW making 8th edition core rules available for free online, we cobbled together some DIY Marines and recruited some Orks in from Da Skooderia to make up the forces we needed. In addition, I had my first dealing with blue modelling foam to make Bultha’s Rise (the low hill featured in the Ork deployment zone) and Dan attacked foamboard with scissors, knife and glue to create the farmhouse itself – shout out to Mel The Terrain Tutor and Luke’s Affordable Paint Service for their sage advice on terrain construction and painting (If anyone’s interested in seeing how we made them, let us know in the comments).

So, the order of battle:

Marines: 

Pedro Cantor – Marine Major Hero, power armour, refractor field, power glove, 2 bolt pistols

14 Marines – power armour, boltgun, bolt pistol, knife

Marine – power armour, missile launcher with plasma shells, bolt pistol, knife (and as events would show, serious visual impairment)

These were organised into 3 5-man squads, each posting a sentry. Pedro Cantor was  independent.

Orks:

Thrugg Bullneck – Ork Hero, flak armour, plasma pistol, bolt pistol, chainsword

Hruk – Ork Champion, flak armour, boltgun, boltpistol, knife

19 Ork Boyz – flak armour, boltgun, knife

These were organised into 4 5-ORk squads, one led by Hruk with Thrugg as an independent character.

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Marines cluster in the farmhouse ruins
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There’s trouble brewing…
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Two squads rush to form defensive positions, while Pedro leads the third squad in a flanking manoeuvre through the orchard.
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First turn’s firing – the only weapon in range is the missile launcher, area effect weapon needing 3+ to hit…  FAIL!! To hit ANYTHING!!
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Ork turn 1 – led by Thrugg, the whole force advances through the scrub towards the farmhouse, apart from Hruk’s squad who peel off to deliver a flanking manoeuvre of their own – no firing as everyone is busy charging (well, advancing) forwards…
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Marine firing turn 2… “Humie hates da trees, boss. Stay away from da trees”.. Crimson Fists missile launcher operator failing to cover himself in glory!
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Inside the farmhouse.. “HE’S RIGHT F**KING THERE! WHAT’S YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION MARINE?!?”
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Ork turn 2 – with bolters mostly out of range, Thrugg leads a sweeping advance while Hruk’s ladz try sumfink sneaky like..
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I said mostly out of range – one squad fires, downing a sentry – first blood to da Boyz! (Note – we were using Rogue Trader statlines, Toughness 3 and a 4+ save… Marines die pretty easily in this edition!
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Marine turn 3 – right hand  squad moves into the outbuildings to try and thin out the green horde… 
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Success! Sort of – one Ork Boy downed, as humanity’s finest finally hit something.
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Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day… and for once the Marine missile launcher accomplishes something!
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Pedro leads the left hand squad through the orchard.. 
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Ork turn 3 – Thrugg leads the way, icing a Marine with his plasma pistol, while the rest of the Orks advance
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Marine turn 4 – deciding caution is the better part of valour, the remaining defenders begin a tactical withdrawal
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Hruk’s squad falls as the Marine flank attack led by Pedro Cantor pumps them full of bolt fire
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Losses from the plasma missile prove too much for the Ork squad to take, fleeing the field (as per new 8th ed rules)
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Ork turn 4 – with bolters now in range, the boyz slow to fire their weapons, taking a toll on the defenders (including missile launcher)
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A Crimson Fist flees! The shame!!!
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Marine turn 5 – It’s lonely in the farmhouse now… the remaining three (!) defenders prepare to sell their lives dearly…
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But have no fear, Pedro Cantor is here!
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Marine bolters cause more casualties, and more Orks flee the field
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Ork turn 5 – Down to one last mob and Thrugg, but so close to victory, the remaining Orks wheel to face the Marine flank attack, dropping two Marines and wounding Pedro!
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Taking advantage of Thrugg’s distraction, another Ork flees the field
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Bellowing his defiance, Thrugg charges Pedro but super accurate overwatch fire from the Marine commander downs the Ork warboss!

And that’s that – with both Hruk and Thrugg out of commission, the Orks have no more chance to win the game. A wounded Pedro Cantor and his five remaining Marines have carried the day – just!

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable game, but 8th still suffers from the curse of IGO UGO… however there is a pleasing element of granularity with the weapons and statlines… in any case, we’re going to refight this soon using the prototype rules from “Future Force Warrior” – Apocalypse: Earth’s sci-fi sister game and see how that stacks up. Meanwhile, props to GW for making these rules available for free and happy gaming!