Cheaphammer 40k FINALE! – the 2nd Ed Revival Project : Battle For The Bridge

And lo, it has come to pass – ALL DA LADZ against Dan’s thin red (well, black) line of Space Marines in the climactic game from the 1993 2nd Ed box set Battle For Armageddon mini campaign.

On the Marine side – two tactical squads of Space Marines, each comprising a Sergeant with bolt pistol and chainsword, a Marine with a missile launcher, a Marine with flamer, and 7 Marines with bolters. For the Orks, it was the Dread, twenty Boyz armed with bolt pistols, axes and stikkbomz and no fewer than FORTY Gretchin, all armed with autoguns – quite the horde!

Forces were organised as follows:

Marines (all Space Marines have Mk7 power armour, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades):

Squad Raphael (red shoulder pads):

Sergeant Raphael – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – flamer

Squad Mephisto (blue shoulder pads):

Brother Mephisto – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)

Squad Lazarus (grey shoulder pads):

Sergeant Lazarus – bolt pistol, chainsword

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – flamer

Squad Cleon (cream shoulder pads):

Brother Cleon – boltgun

3 Space Marines – boltgun

1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)

MarinesDone

Orks (All Orks and Gretchin wear flak armour):

Da Krusher – Ork Dreadnought armed with two power klaws, heavy bolter and lascannon.

Grugnat’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.

Snikbog’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.

Grit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Grot’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Scumbo’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

Fergit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.

OrkzOnParade

The Marines got points for wiping out as many Greenskin mobs as possible, while the Orks got a 5 point bonus for getting a mob of six models or the Dread into the Marine deployment zone. Game length was four turns.

Turn 1

To everyone’s surprise, the Orks won the first turn and barrelled forward, Gretchin screening the boyz who were hugging the available cover until they could get within bolt pistol range.

Gretchin fire patters ineffectively off Marine power armour..
..meanwhile, Da Krusher’s lascannon stabs out and downs a marine from Squad Lazarus
Marines hunker down and fire wherever possible, bolters and frag missiles downing an Ork and 7 Grots

And with a Leadership of only 5, it should be no surprise that Scumbo’s Mob break and run for it

Turn 2

This time probability reasserted itself and the Marines scored first turn.

Squads Lazarus and Raphael venture out into the open, hoping to close the range and bring their flamers into play
Krak missile from Squad Mephisto smashes into Da Krusha, sending it out of control – it promptly barrels into the nearest unit, the Gretchin of Grot’s Mob!
Marine fire take its toll on the Greenskin horde…
But humie isn’t having it all his own way! Da Boyz close the range to the exposed Marine combat squads, and three of humanity’s finest fall to bolt pistol fire.

Turn 3

Once again, the Marines won the first turn and the missile launcher teams desperately pumped bolter fire and frag missiles into the oncoming greenskins, while the flamer teams attempted to manouevre in to use their devastating short range weapons to better effect..

Marines pump fire into the oncoming horde, but will it be enough?
Seeing Da Krusha out of control, missile launcher teams focus on thinning out the greenskins with frag missiles.. this proves to be a mistake, as the pilot promptly has a change of heart, wheels around and barrels into the Marine lines, vapourising a brother with its’ lascannon.
“It’s too much!” Gretchin take shelter in a ruin after losing seven of their squad to Marine fire

Turn 4

First turn passed back to the Orks and the boyz burst from behind the screen of Grots to engage the Marines at point blank range!

“WAAAAARRRGH!”  Boyz charge forward, gunning down Squad Lazarus in a hail of bolt pistol fire
It gets up close and personal in the games’ closing moments..
Gretchin blaze away with their autoguns as da boyz get stuck in! Meanwhile, Da Krusha savages Squad Mephisto

 

The weight of fire batters through the Marine power armour..

 

Squad Mephisto marines fall to assault saw and power klaw!

 

Greenskins rampage across the battlefield, overwhelming the remaining Marines!

At the end of the turn, we totted up the points – Orks 4, Marines 1 – a solid win for the Greenskins!

Dan owned up to a lack of concentrating fire on single mobs, as he caused a solid amount of casualties but not actually wiping out or seriously damaging complete units. I did get pretty lucky with Da Krusha’s lunatic rampage not just taking down three Marines from Squad Mephisto but also taking him squarely into the Marine deployment zone! However if Dan’s flamer teams could have gotten in range, or if he’d finished off Da Krusha with a couple of extra krak missiles, things could easily have gone the other way..

So if you’re keeping score, that’s 2-1 to the Orks, so a Greenskin victory in this mini campaign! Props to Dan for a brilliant job on his Marines (whatever he may claim to the contrary) and being a gentlemanly and sporting (if perennially unlucky) opponent.

This project has been a blast, but it doesn’t have to end here – we’re toying with adding a few bits to make these forces 8th ed legal, and just maybe to take them on a pilgrimage to Warhammer World itself, for a game on the hallowed tables themselves! A great way touch base with the roots of what got us into this hobby in the first place.

Till next time, stay thrifty out there, yo 😉

Advertisements

CheapHammer 40k: The 2nd Ed Revival Project Pt. 6 – Second Marine Combat Squad

…Or “An Odyssey in Edge Highlighting And Going Partially Blind”…

As Jim has raced through his Greenskin horde with impressive and ever improving results, I seem to have gone backwards! *gnashes teeth*

With these two combat squads I decided to deviate slightly from the template laid down by Duncan on Warhammer TV (at the risk of being burned as a heretic) and try something a little different – after priming with cheap black £1 spray paint, I gave these lads a base coat of Vallejo German Grey and darkened them down with a couple of thinned black ink washes. When these dried, I hit them with a drybrush of German Grey giving me a nicely modulated basecoat…

…Which I then proceeded to ruin..

Now, I’ve seen edge highlighting done well in the old ‘Eavy Metal pages of White Dwarf, I’ve seen it done well on Warhammer TV and on the display stuff at Warhammer World, but I’ve seen a LOT more examples of it done badly and hamfistedly (many of them my own work, it must be said, and I will name no names otherwise), and it seems to me that the problem lies in thinning the paint for the highlight enough and being patient enough for the colours to modulate subtly.

Now, to give them their due, GW seems to have thought this through with their colour selection, as Duncan and Peachy’s videos show the various shades blending together beautifully, but they also tend to use a minimum of two dozen colours every time they paint something. And GW paints ain’t cheap.

So, using what I had to hand, I tried to blend some highlight colours – I took the base Vallejo German Grey, dialled in a little of the light blue grey Crown house paint (water based, so probably still acrylic in nature) to gradually lighten it, took up the old Windsor & Newton series 7, drew breath and started.

The next layer was for the super high exposed edges, and for this I blended in a little bone craft paint to lift it still higher. I also hit the recessed parts with pin washes of black ink to give depth, and went to bed pretty satisfied with my work.

Looking back on it the next day though, I found myself considerably less satisfied – the highlights look blocky and heavy handed, the washes a bit unsubtle, and disturbingly I found that if I bring a model too close (ie less than about 6 inches from my nose) my vision starts to get a bit blurry, so I’m starting to ponder glasses or one of those magnifying glass/ holder things I’ve seen. Any thoughts, internet?

Anyway – pics, see for yourselves and see if you agree with my assessment.

Combat squad headed by Veteran Marine as I only had three sergeant models.. note the sponge chipping – think I went a bit heavy handed there, oh well..
This was the squad I felt I went a bit too heavy with the pin washes… still, they look ok from two feet away!
Ready for action!
Group shot of the entire force
Time to kick some greenskin ass!

Next up, Jim’s got the rest of his ladz based, varnished and ready to rock, so it’ll be time to throw down for the third and final game of the campaign! Stay thrifty out there, we’ll see you soon.

CheapHammer40K – The 2nd Ed Revival Project: Game 2 – High Ground

The dust of broken glass ground underfoot, and the smoke of a million corpse-fires fouled the air. Boss Bludguzzla WarBastard IV took to his feet and breathed deeply of the Armageddon stench. Beautiful.

He belched, cocked a leg and let go an insouciant, musical fart. “I luvz da smell of roastin’ humiez in da morning”.

Turning to the motley assortment of Orks gathered in the shell crater before him, he waved a hand toward the biggest ruin on the horizon.

“Dat’s where they are, ladz! Sneaky gitz holed up in dat temple wiv a missile launcher. We’s got to splat dem so we can bring da Dread around and get da boyz ready to kick some proper humie arse. Cumlicka!” 

One of the larger Orks cocked an ear. 

“You takes your ladz up da front. Keep shootin’, keep their heads down. Ratbollock!”

A second oversized Ork shuffled to attention,

“You ladz folla mine, we’s going to get round da side of ’em, chuck da stikkbomz, and go feth ’em up, up close and personal like”

WarBastard jammed a magazine into his bolt pistol.

“Dat concludes da breefin’. Let’s go feth it up! WAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!”

“WAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGHHH” rose from more throats than an Ork could count (somewhere between 8 and 20) – and the Boyz rolled to war once again…

Welcome to Mission 2 from the 2nd Edition Scenario Booklet – High Ground! After a close fought first round (no spoilers here), and some frenzied painting on my part after a a couple of lucky eBay wins fleshed out my Ork forces to full strength, Dan and I warmed up the shed and got busy deploying Ork and Marine alike for the next round.

The two sides deploy
View from the Marine position in the ruined Shrine Of The Emperor Triumphant – frag missiles at the ready, it’s a target rich environment!
Da Boyz cluster in the ruins, making use of what cover they can find

Turn 1 kicked off with the Marines gaining the initiative – no point in breaking cover yet, and no one in range, so they elected to hunker down and blast a frag missile into the densely packed boyz mobs facing them..

Lacking the artillery dice from the early 90s, we agreed that “1” would equal a misfire, so…..
……yeah. Misfire, exploding both launcher and Marine. Cue some innovative swearing from Dan.
The Orks dash forward, using the ruins to shield them from Marine fire
Well, partially.
Orks charge toward Marine lines – a few fall, but will it be enough?
“Dere day are ladz!” It’s not all one sided – a Marine falls to Ork bolt pistol fire
“Squad Broken” – 25% losses in one turn, the Marines fail their morale check!
But Marines don’t run – although shaken, they stay in the fight, and return the favour, breaking an Ork mob with bolter fire

While Boss Cumlicka and his boyz died to an Ork taking the Marines on in place, Bludguzzla and Ratbollock led their boyz in a kunnin’ flanking manouvre, hurling frag stikkbomz onto the hated humiez

Frontal assault is always a bad idea
“FIRE IN DA HOLE!” Stikkbomz take down another Marine
Sergeant Taddeus leads his remaining Marine out to counterattack the Ork assault with bolter and chainsword!
Taddeus and his brother stand against many times their own number of boyz (by this point it was already past turn 4 and an Ork victory, but we were enjoying ourselves too much!)

 

Bellowing his war cry, Sgt. Taddeus barrels into the Ork horde..
And falls a hero, dead Orks on every side!

And there we are, and Ork victory, but what a game! Right from the off the Marines were on the back foot, their most potent weapon blowing itself up – but what says 40k more than the last stand of Marine Sergeant Taddeus, surrounded by Ork corpses? Brilliant fun, despite 40ks inherent limitations, very cinematic – the game really wrote it’s own story, and isn’t that exactly why we play these things?

Next up, a truly epic battle as 20 marines face a dreadnought, 20 Orks and 40 Gretchin as our campaign reaches its conclusion! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon 😉

Christmas in Armageddon, and a Happy New WAAAAAAARGHH!The 2nd Ed Revival Project – Game 1: Against The Odds

Brother Lorenzio tapped his comm-link again and muttered a curse. No matter what he did, he couldn’t tune out the sibilant high frequency pulsating that he would almost swear sounded like some form of rhythmic high pitched bell… He put it out if his mind as the sonorous voice of Brother Sergeant Garcia came across the squad net.

“Stay close, brothers, the enemy is lightly armed but numerous. Brother Fiorian, your flamer to the fore.”

The net chimed as Brother Enricio chimed in. “Forgive me, Brother Sergeant – enemy sighted, three contacts, each ten strong, bearings 294, 012 and 027”

The combat squad clustered behind a ruined wall. Garcia’s voice across the net again – “Close and destroy, brothers. Grenades and flamer, bolter and sword. On me!”

With that, the five Space Marines roared their assent and charged toward their foe..

Welcome to 2019! Over the last few months, Dan & I have been working on a plan to utilise the contents of our accidental 2017 purchase in the manner they were originally intended – recreating the mini campaign in the scenario book included with 1993’s Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition box set. It’s taken a little while, but now we’ve got the urban board, the ruins, as well as enough Marines and Gretchin to tackle the first scenario in the booklet – “First Blood”.

So, with bellies strained to bursting point with mince pies and mulled wine, we deployed troops (Dan taking the Grots) and had at it!



Marines cluster in the ruins at the bottom left, three Grot mobs close from the top..
Seeking to close the range and utilise their superior short range firepower, Marines forgo shooting in this first turn and run forward, flamer to the fore… in retrospect this was a rookie error, as…
Massed autogun fire takes down Brother Fiorian’s flamer… damn, that was going to come in handy!
Bolter fire downs two Grots in return, but the Marines know they don’t want to get bogged down into a shooting match here, they need to get in close and use the force multipliers that are frag grenades..
Brother Enricio falls to massed autogun fire, caught out in the open! This forces a Leadership test, as the Marines have lost 25% of their current strength… but being Marines, they pass it without a hitch! Meanwhile, as Furst and Secund Mobs engage the Marines directly, Furd Mob forgoes shooting to infiltrate around the flank, real sneaky like…
“On my command, brothers!” bellows Brother Sergeant Garcia, “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” – three frag grenades arc toward Secund Mob, immolating the unwary Grots!
With fully half their number torn apart by grenades, and a paltry Leadership value of 5, it surprises precisely no-one when the Grots turn and flee!
Furst Mob form a gun line flanking the Marines, autoguns blazing!
Autogun fire patters off his armour like rain, but one slips through and Sergeant Garcia falls! “Avenge me, brothers….”

And they do! Frag grenades all amongst Furst Mob, killing off half the remaining number..
The survivors turn and flee..
A hail of frag grenades take down the fleeing survivors, but…
Secund Mob rally in the ruins and turn their autoguns on the two remaining marines…
Brother Salatian falls to their fire, but Brother Lorenzio anchors himself and pumps rapid fire bolts into the Gretchin, felling two of them
Bellowing his vengeance, Brother Lorenzio barrels into the sole remaining Grot, gutting it from head to gizzard with his combat knife!

All in all, a very fun game, fortune went back and forth between the two sides – allowing my flamer marine to lead the advance was a rookie error, as that flamer template against the close packed Gretchin would have been carnage!

A few criticisms – why (oh WHY OH WHY OH WHY…) must I move and then shoot? Why can’t I shoot and then move? And why phases????? It just seems unnecessary unwieldy complication…

But overall, it was a giggle, and while there are definitely better systems out there, 2nd Ed 40k is genuinely FUN, nostalgia angle entirely aside. Next scenario will be soon, just as soon as the frankly spectacular hangovers Dan and I are currently nursing decline to more manageable levels. In the meantime, happy new year and a prosperous 2019!

Happy Christmas! And what’s half of 40k?

…20,000, of course! And that’s how many views I discovered we’d had when I checked our stats a few days ago – pretty amazing stuff for our geeky little blog! So this is a quick fill in post to thank all of you who keep coming pack to discover what we’ve managed to build out of cardboard and junk picked out of the recycling – all of you who like, comment and share, it’s really a wonderful feeling to think we’re connecting with people across the world. Particularly when we’ve learned so much from other posters on YouTube, TMP, Dakka Dakka and Warseer – building on their ideas and spreading the word to others. So a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you out there in cyberspace!

This is probably our last post of 2018 – certainly the last sober one – so what’s in store for 2019? Well, we’ve got the 2nd Ed 40k Armageddon campaign to fight, a Firefight campaign to play through– not to mention that in the war torn world of Apocalypse: Earth, the vital plasma generator complex at Skalk Point is still in the hands of the evil Holy Soviet Empire! And with Buffalo 2-7 devastated by the losses they took, it’s going to be the League Of European Nations leading the charge to retake the facility.. that’s going to be a scrap to look forward to! And let’s throw in the fact that June 6 2019 will be 75 years from D-Day – there has to be some way to commemorate that…. plus the Betrayal at Calth campaign to run… oh, and I have a project I want to try using foamboard to build a variety of vehicles for Epic… let’s see how many of these projects we can turn from ideas into actual models this coming year!

And as a teaser for our next battle report, let us present scenario #1 from the 2nd Edition mini campaign book, “First Blood”!



Marines and Gretchin deploy to fight it out in the rubble of a ruined hive world…

Stay tuned, stay thrifty, and have a fantastic Christmas! See you in 2019..

CheapHammer 40k -The 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 1 The Plan

So, hands up who remembers this?

20171109_205218

As it happens, we don’t either – don’t drink and eBay, kids! So, we were wondering what we should do with this haul – loads of Grots, a full complement of 20 Marines, and a couple of Orks in various states of repair… not to mention the cardboard cutout Dreadnaught, plus the very brightly coloured Codex Imperialis and campaign book.

 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only bold primary colours

Now, this raises an interesting, almost paradoxical conundrum – because we can’t afford proper 40k minis, we’d got sunk deep into 20mm (aka 1/72 or 1/76 or HO) gaming, meaning all our terrain was designed and sized for this. So getting our hands on actual 40k minis kind of threw the plans out a bit. As discussed before, we planned on using them as proxies for OOP systems like Firefight, Space Crusade etc (not to mention freely downloadable ones like Deadzone), but with all this… stuff… it was more or less a given that at some point we’d end up giving 40k a try again, and we’ve had a couple of little skirmishes with our new skirmish board.

And yeah, compared to modern systems, this old girl is a bit clunky. But we got to thinking – both me and Dan got into 40k in 1991 (albeit independently of each other and hundreds of miles apart) and by then the 1st edition Rogue Trader had evolved massively from it’s origins as an almost unplayable (in practical terms) RPG/ skirmish game and was heading towards the slick and shiny and GLORIOUSLY colourful subsequent editions. Dan and I both remember getting the 40k box set – and be aware, a 40k box set was a brand new thing back then, never been done before! – for Christmas 1993, and working our way through the mini campaign missions given in the book. If you’re unfamiliar, this set focused heavily on the 2nd War For Armageddon, and featured a three (four?) mission campaign of Blood Angels vs Orks.

Then Dan reminded me that 1993 was 25 years ago exactly.

Hmm. We should mark this occasion.

We did something similar last year, commemorating 30 years of 40k by playing The Battle At The Farm from Rogue Trader using 8th Edition rules, and had a blast, but we figured, you know what? 2nd Ed was our edition. Goblin Green bases, primary colours – the grim darkness of the far future had never looked so appealing. Army lists existed from the drop, rather than being gradually added over six years of White Dwarf articles.

Or  Warhammer 40000 Compilations.

Or Warhammer 40000 Compendiums.

Or Warhammer 40000 Battle Manuals.

You have to figure by this point, the game had evolved quite away from it’s origins, and was badly in need of a rewrite! And so it was…

You bought wargear with cards rather than having a 15 % chance of having it. The thing had been tested, and many mechanics from 2nd Ed actually form the backbone of 40k as we know it now, love it or loathe it. We may not have had Tau or Necrons, but we had Squats, dammit! (at least for a while..) And so begins our new project for the remains of 2018 – painting up the contents of our unwitting haul to replicate those halcyon days gone by – we began with the Marines, and Dan has a load of Grots ready for the camera – then there’s the scenery to make… lots of ruins (which we’ll make 3″ by 3″ to also be Deadzone compatible – muy Skinflint).. plus we have found a very cool papercraft of an Ork Deff Dread… And then come Christmas, we’ll run the whole campaign!

So, here’s raising a glass to our “origin story” within the hobby – we may not be the seasoned grognards in at the birth of it all with Rogue Trader, but we were there for 40k to find it’s feet and become what it is today. And for all it’s (many many ) faults-  it will always have a place in our hearts.

CheapHammer 40k – the 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 2 – Deathwatch

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS ACTUAL CITADEL MINIATURES.

I KNOW :-O

So, some of you may remember these guys from an earlier post:

20171109_205617

..and our wondering exactly what the hell we were going to do with them, being as we’re pretty heavily committed to our beloved uber-cheap and thrifty 1/72 figures.

You may also remember our dabbling in the Horus Heresy game “Betrayal At Calth”, which we picked up sans miniatures for £4.99.

And I think you can start to see where this is going.

Thing is, over the years GW have published a great many games set in the 40k universe – Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Advanced Space Crusade as well as the current generation (Betrayal at Calth, Burning Of Prospero, Deathwatch Overkill) – all cracking good fun, easy and quick to set up and crucially, with a very low model count. 20 Marines and a big crowd of Grots to play the bad guys is plenty for these types of games (not to mention the nostalgia factor of those 2nd ed sculpts.. opening that box was Christmas ’93 all over again!), and as we discovered with the Calth box set, many players by them for the minis and disregard everything else. As for the older games, rules, tokens etc can all be found online and downloaded for free (often there are fan remakes to be found too – check out this one).

As a side note, I’m also hoping to track down a copy of Alternative Armies’ Firefight rules from 1991 – that was a brilliant game, fast paced and utterly addictive!

If you like sci-fi skirmish games, you need to try this game.

All these games are board or tile based, so easy and quick set up, perfect for a quick hobby fix!

(edit – add Mantic’s Deadzone 2.0 to that list – just downloaded the rules from their site and very much looking forward to trying it out!)

So, onto painting them – I figured the Marines should be Deathwatch, as that seems to fit with the fluff of small scale alien (or heretic) -hunting skirmishes in narrow streets, cramped arcologies or abandoned spacecraft, so I stripped them using meths, primed with black spray paint, popped a beer and watched Duncan’s excellent Deathwatch painting tutorial video, and had at it!

I did deviate slightly from the Duncan’s template – black acrylic basecoat (cheap £1 store black), light drybrush with Vallejo German Grey, then took a deep breath and tried some edge highlighting, having mixed the grey with some bone and a little blue, and was pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve seen edge highlighting look pretty cack handed and splodgy (particularly when I’ve done it), but I think the trick to it is ensuring your paint is thin and you create a smooth colour graduation. Clearly all that time painting weeny 1/72 figures has helped get my eye in as these chaps came out better than anything I painted back in the 90s! Metallics were Vallejo silver, washed with thin black ink, skulls were bone washed with thinned brown ink and the red was a cheap £1 acrylic that I layered up with some yellow to create highlights. Flesh was craft paint skin tone washed first with Vallejo skin wash and then thinned brown wash.

For basing, I was briefly tempted to go full retro – PVA, sand, Goblin Green, remember that? – but instead took things a little further. I put a bit of home made texture paste (sand, PVA, filler powder, water) on the base before the priming stage and after I’d painted the model, painted this dark brown and drybrushed up with a couple of layers of lighter browns. Then dabbed on a bit of PVA and drizzled on some flock, than another dab and drizzled on some Garage Floor Dust (TM) which is one of the best basing materials I’ve ever discovered, despite it’s humble origins!

Finally I edged the base in black as I wanted a cinematic look (and brown just looked weird) and done! So the first group are complete, and (deep breath) – here are the pics!

Bargain At Calth (or – 30k for under £5? YES WE CAN!)

How do, Dan here again – getting the hang of this typing malarkey. Jim’s given me the keys to the blog as long as I promise no naked belly dancing pictures.

I promise nothing.

Since we started dipping our toe back into 40k and it’s boutique cousin, 30k (aka the Horus Heresy) a while back, we’ve been hearing the name “Betrayal at Calth” bandied about with much excitement about the variety and quality of the miniatures included in it. The consensus seems to be that it’s an excellent starter set for anyone planning a 30k Space Marine army, containing 30 Marines in Mk 4 power armour, a Chaplain, a Terminator Captain and 5 Cataphractii Terminators, plus a Contemptor Dreadnought – yours for just £95.

Hmm.

£95.

Hmm.

That kind of goes against our cheap ‘n’ cheerful, DIY ethos. But as it turns out, Betrayal At Calth is in fact a board game with miniatures – in intent, at least. To 99% of the internet, it’s miniatures with some dice and bits of cardboard cluttering the box up.

However, this can work to our advantage – a little bit of eBay reconnaissance shows that there seems to be a cottage industry in buying BaC boxes, stripping out the minis and selling them on.. but that leaves the game pieces for sale at absolutely knockdown prices.

And thus it was that we discovered a seller offering the complete BaC kit sans minis for £4.99. Yes, you read that right. Well, we’ve sold a couple of copies of Apocalypse: Earth over at Wargame Vault, so we cashed in and went for it. A few days later, and lookie lookie what turns up in the post:

Shiny shiny.

Typical GW, even the box is laaaaaaarvely, loads of artwork and pics of beautifully painted minis adorning the side – a nice throw back to the days of the 90s classic Space Crusade.

Rulebook, board segments, cards, dice and tokens

Beautifully illustrated rulebook, replete with plenty of fluff, gorgeous artwork and photos. 

The rulebook contains some in depth fluff on the battle of Calth and the Heresy (Spoiler alert – Word Bearers are BAD GUYS) which give plenty of atmosphere, as well as containing the rules and six scenarios to play through. My only criticism here is the rules are somewhat unclearly expressed – the Critical Hit rules weren’t clear until we watched a Warhammer TV playthrough of the game, and it was only then we realised about rubble hexes giving cover. This is in the rulebook, just not where you expect it to be. Props to GW for including a handy reference chart on the back page, though, good thinking!

 

The board

The board itself is a hex board, four interlocking sections that are double sided and depict the ruined arcologies of the once verdant world of Calth. These can be rearranged to create all manner of different floorplans with red bordered hexes representing blocked terrain and dotted line bordered hexes representing rubble – slowing movement but conferring a cover bonus.

Dice – contain Hit, Critical Hit and Shield symbols

There are also a deck of cards giving reference stats for all the units

Gameplay wise, it’s pretty straightforward, every unit has a Bulk rating (how many can fit in a hex), Melee and Shoot ratings all allowing different numbers of dice to be rolled.

But straightforward doesn’t mean bad. In fact, this is a really fun game, fast paced and cinematic with the Command Cards adding an extra dimension (a special mention is the Word Bearers’ “Would You Fire On Your Brother?” – sneaky… very sneaky..). It seems to be pretty well balanced as well, we’re pretty much even on victories through the first three scenarios. Alternating activation and the tactical point system makes it much more flexible than 40k/ 30k and has produced some great moments.

In terms of replay value, although there are only six scenarios included in the book, there’s plenty of variation to be had in terms of weapon loadouts etc. There’s also a lot to be said for the “board game” nature of BaC – quick set up and pack down, missions play through in 30-45 minutes meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for replay, campaigns etc.

Now..the million dollar question – is it worth the money? £95 is a LOT of money.. but if you’re coming at it from the perspective of a 30k player looking to start an army (or armies) it probably is – certainly, by comparison to most GW starter sets, it’s a bargain. However, we’re not really arsed about that, we’re thinking about the £4.99 we paid for the game itself, and the answer is a resounding YES. BaC is fun, fast, and a great laugh. Not only that, but it’s given us some ideas…. Originally we were planning to play this with flats or tokens, but then we remembered these guys.

I’d thoroughly recommend this approach to anyone with an existing 40k or 30k collection, as GW have a few tidy looking games out at the moment which plenty of people seem to buy purely to asset strip the miniatures from – Burning Of Prospero and Deathwatch Overkill look particularly interesting, not to mention all the long out of print stuff floating around the net in PDF form. And not just GW – there’s a fantastic game I remember playing as a kid called FireFight which was tile/ boardgame style – I’ll get my Google Fu on the case!

So, in the meantime – Space Marines and greenskins are going to get a repaint, and not only that, but we can investigate a whole host of other classic GW (and others) boxed games – look forward to DIY Space Crusade, Space Hulk, Advanced Space Crusade and a whole bunch more!

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

 

 

2017 – A Year In Review (and plans for the year ahead..)

January is a bleak month. Christmas decorations are down, work is back and you can’t start the morning drinking Buck’s Fizz without someone frowning at you.

Particularly the passengers that get on my bus.

Anyhoo, time to think about the year just gone and the year ahead.

2017 was not a great year in terms of gaming, in that we didn’t really play that many games – but the ones we did were pretty freaking great, including the biggest ever Apocalypse Earth battle and an Epic rematch. What this year was, though, was the year our blog grew up. Seriously:

2016 – 4095 views, 1897 visitors, 6 likes

2017 – 18,358 views, 10,297 visitors, 36 likes.

Woah. Just woah. That’s quite some improvement.

And it would seem that y’all out there have a lot of love for the dastardly Holy Soviet Empire – these three posts got over 1000 views each!

While 2017 may not have been too great in terms of games and battle reports, it was pretty great for us both in terms of painting and modelling, starting with the discovery of Wyloch, then Mel The Terrain Tutor and Lukes Affordable Paint Service. Honourable mention to Duncan Rhodes from Warhammer TV for teaching us the wisdom of two thin coats rather than one thick one!

So this led to a revamped board, a complete revamp of all our scenery, a repaint job on both Apocalypse: Earth factions, a cheapskate take on the 40k Imperial GuardOrk and Space Marine factions – we’ve been busy!

Incidentally, our blast markers seem to have caused quite a stir – I would put a tutorial together, but the entire idea was something I copped from Mel, check out his original video here.

So for 2018, what’s the plan? Well, life has a way of fething up your plans as soon as you make them, so we’re not going to get too carried away… but, some resolutions all the same:

Da Skooderia WILL hit the table. 40k in 1/72 is ON, yo.

We’re going to explore the other Apocalypse: Earth factions – it’s all been about the Atlantic Alliance and the Holy Soviet Empire so far, but there’s also the League Of European Nations and the Asian Communist Federation to check out.

Escalation is surely due in Epic scale as well, I keep seeing Dan looking at yogurt pots and  pictures of scratchbuilt Gargants…

We’ll also be revisiting Hyperian Wars and there’s a couple of other projects in the offing: Future Force Warrior takes Apocalypse: Earth 200 years into the future as humanity takes it first steps into the stars, and Apocalypse: Earth – Black Ops explores more detailed small scale encounters in the secret wars against the Greys, bringing an RPG element to the fractured world of the Apocalypse War. The rules will cover small scale skirmishes and role playing campaigns where your fireteam members will be able to develop, gaining new skills and equipment as they face ever darker and more sinister threats…

So, that’s what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead. However, it’s January – and that means we’re both skint. So a pact has been made – no spending money on hobby stuff for a month, we’re going to improvise and use what we’ve got… necessity being the mother of invention and all that… So let us leave you with a shot of what’s on the modelling table right now – two ancient battered Matchbox cars getting the Orky makover, because Da Skooderia are coming to town in 2018!

Warbuggies
How can he drive while holding an axe and a club? Because he’s Kimi-freaking-Raikkonork, that’s why!

Stay tuned, stay thrifty,  and let’s see what we can put together without cracking open the credit card….

 

A Green Christmas II: This Time It’s Farcical! Epic Space Marine Battle Report

Seasons greetings all! It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the onset of age, the passage of time speeds up to frankly alarming proportions. I’d swear blind that not five minutes ago Dan & I were raising a glass after a cracking game of the GW classic Space Marine (where the Redeemers Space Marine Chapter fought a valiant action against the villainous Ork hordes of Waaaagh-Bozzhog), and then I check the calendar and discover it’s actually a YEAR.

I know. Shocking. And HIGH time we remedied things.

Back in January, my Redeemers got themselves all tidied up and based, and organised into a 4000pt force and not long afterwards I got busy with the hot glue, cardboard and drinking straws and turned a piece of Christmas present packaging into a majestic Leviathan superheavy command vehicle for the Hazzard 1977th Imperial Guard regiment..

As it stands, said Leviathan is the the sole Epic scale member of the 1977th, so it would be the Redeemers going to bat again with a token measure of Guard support.. The list looked like this:

Special Cards:

Medic – 50pts

Warlord Titan – Rocket Launcher, Laser Blaster, Chainfist, Quake Cannon – 900pts

Imperial Guard Leviathan – 350pts

Company Cards:

Space Marine Veteran Company – 850pts

Space Marine Devastator Company – 1000pts

Land Raider Company – 600pts

Support Cards:

Whirlwind Detachment  – 150 pts

Terminator Detachment – 300pts

Scout Detachment – 150pts

Grand total – 4350 pts

20171226_112733[1]
The Redeemers Strike Force 01
Now, as some of you may recall, we screwed the maths up a little last time out, so we were determined that this time we were going to get things right, so army cards were checked, double checked and checked again for good measure – this time before the beers came out. For WAAAGH-BOZZHOG, Dan was able to bring out all three of his painted up Ork clans, plus the mighty Slasher that had wrought so much carnage last time out:

Special Card:

Slasher Gargant (Snapper, Chainfist, Observation Turret) – 600 pts

Clans:

Goff clan w/ Gutrippa, Bonecruncha, 2 Lungbursta squadrons & Skullhamma Battle Fortress – 1200pts

Evil Sunz clan w/ Gobsmashas, Mekboy Dragster, Bowelburna, Spleenrippa & Nobz Warbikes – 1150pts

Bad Moon clan w/ 2 Weirdboy Battletowers, 2 Braincrusha squadrons, Squig Katapults – 1400pts

Grand Total – 4350pts. And this time we’re sure.

Terrain:

We rolled up a health mix of terrain, including several towns – too many, in fact for the buildings we had supplied in the box so we broke out some of the home made sci-fi terrain we made earlier on in the year (which never made the blog- might have to remedy that) to fill in the gaps. This worked out quite nicely – the Orks would be rushing to loot the vast giga-storehouses of Hazzard’s finest export moonshine, certainly a mission which would require the Redeemer’s immediate attention!

For what seems like the first time in living memory, Dan won the deployment roll off and opted for the southern table edge with a greater concentration of objectives, leaving the Redeemers slightly on the back foot – but not to worry, the Emperor’s finest would save the day and ensure that Imperial liquor cabinets would not run dry on this most festive of occasions! First to 50 Victory Points would be the winner…

Imperial Deployment & Plan

Bugger, I wanted that side! Right, never mind, a Marine is nothing if not adaptable.. looking at the terrain and bearing in mind the experience of the previous game, my rough plan was to get the Leviathan, Devastators, Warlord and Whirlwinds into position and firing as quickly as possible to whittle down the Ork numbers and counterattack with the Veterans and Terminators when the time was right. Scouts would sit on the backfield objective and protect the Whirlwinds while the Land Raiders would act as a fire brigade.

To this end, I placed the armour and the Leviathan covering the open ground on the right flank, Devastators would advance to capture objectives 2 and 3 and plaster fire into the oncoming hordes. I debated what to do with my Veterans and Terminators and eventually decided on something audacious – Veterans would charge forward onto Objective 6 and use that either to springboard an assault or pull back in a fighting retreat onto the Devastator’s guns, while the Terminators would ambush any unwary stragglers. With this rough plan in mind, the Redeemers and the PDF crew of the Leviathan finished their final weapons checks and turned to face the enemy..

Ork Deployment & Plan:

Haha, for once the dice gods favour me! Right, my basic strategy with this army was three pronged – Evil Sunz would loop around and charge in, pinning the main enemy unit in close combat, before pulling out and leaving the central column of heavier but slower moving Goffs to finish them off. Meanwhile the Bad Moons and the Slasher wold provide covering fire and if any close combat targets of opportunity presented themselves, the Slasher would take care of them. Following this, Bad Moons deployed onto the hill with orders to advance onto objective 7 and 5, while the Goffs would charge “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” with the intent of pulverising any Imperial unit foolish enough to stand in our way, and the Evil Sunz would secure Objectives 2 and 3. From there – we’d see what happened..

20171226_224620[1]
The armies deploy..
20171226_224629[1]
Bad Moons hold the Ork backfield objectives and provide covering fire with the Slasher in support
20171226_224634[1]
Goffs mass in the centre, Skullhamma to the fore
20171226_224637[1]
Evil Sunz prepare a flanking charge

20171226_224648
Redeemers Veterans and Terminators, with the Medic, realising they’ve massively misjudged deployment..

20171226_224658[1]
Imperial centre – Whirlwinds prepare to rain fire on the greenskins, Scouts ready to move up to secure objective 8 and protect the artillery while the Warlord gets set to stride into the fray!

20171226_224710
Imperial right flank – Land Raiders and Leviathan anchor the flank while the Devastators prepare to secure objectives 2 and 3

20171226_224730
The view from the Imperial lines… ulp!

Turn 1:

The Imperials won the initiative and forced the Orks to move first. This was somewhat intimdating as the Bad Moons and Slasher grabbed three objectives on the Ork right, while the Evil Sunz floored their throttles and hurtled toward the towering peaks of Objective 3, and the Goffs bellowed a mighty WAAAAAAGH, charging through the buildings in the centre towards the hated humiez!

20171227_213747
Evil Sunz deploy forwards, capturing objectives 1 and 2 and contesting 3

20171227_213808
The Goffs emerge from the Ork centre..

20171227_213833
Bad Moons roll forward onto Objective 7 to lay down covering fire

20171227_213853
A sea of red and green…

20171227_215603
Land Raiders swing out to spring the trap – but will it be enough?

20171227_215615
The Leviathan picks it’s targets…

20171227_215632
Veteran Company take a gamble and charge forward to capture Objective 6 with Terminators in support

20171227_215639
Devastators scale the hill to capture Objective 3

20171227_220357
Whirlwinds bring the pain to the Bad Moons, destroying infantry and Braincrushas

20171227_222622
Leviathan adds it’s Doomsday Cannon to the fray

20171227_223910
Why I hate ball rounds: Pt 1- Before…

20171227_224104
Pt. 2: After…

20171227_224648
Pt. 3 – Dan reminds me that I have – had – a Medic in there, giving everyone a 5+ save

20171227_230102
Imperial firepower pounds the Bad Moons

20171227_230105
The Devastators ready themselves for Orkish assault

20171227_230112
In the open ground in front of Objective 2, Imperial Land Raiders engage the Orks

20171227_231347
And in the End Phase, these two muster up vital Orky psychic energy to unleash the next turn…

Turn 2:

The turn began with a mighty WAAAAGH and the roar of greenskin V8s as the Orks won the initiative and opted to move first. A wave of red and green engulfed the Devastators on the commanding heights of Objective 3 – hunkered down on First Fire orders, the Marines grimly zeroed their sights, waiting until they saw reds of their enemies’ eyes..

20171228_215415
Evil Sunz swamp the Devastators on Objective 3

20171228_215430
Goffs thunder forward toward the Imperial centre

20171228_215435
Forging ahead, the Skullhamma plows into one of the Terminator detachment’s Land Raiders.

20171228_215443
Bad Moons and Slasher lay down covering fire

20171228_222951
Imperial artillery lays into the Goffs, felling ten stands of infantry – the boyz push on regardless!

20171228_223017
The Warlord turns his laser blaster on the Bad Moons, killing some unwary boyz while the Goff Nobz take down his remaining Void Shields

20171228_223027
Evil Sunz assault into murderous fire from the Devastators

20171228_224422
They steam in hard, but the Devastators still hold the hill!

20171228_224453
Meanwhile, the Skullhamma demolishes a Land Raider in the woods..

20171228_224531
..before the Terminator infantry (on advance orders) destroy it in turn. That’s what you get for messing with a man’s ride.

20171228_225338
At the end of Turn 2, the marines hold 5 objectives, the Orks 3 – Imperial fire has detroyed the Skullhamma and broken the Evil Sunz, who are forced to fall back, but the Veteran Company is almost entirely wiped out. So the score stands Orks 24 VPs, Imperials 38!

Turn 3: 

The initiative stayed with the Orks for this one, who opted to move first. The Evil Sunz assault had been a costly failure, but with unexpected good fortune on the other flank – wiping out an entire company of valuable Redeemer veterans – would we be able to refocus and redeploy to take advantage?

 

Turn3EvilSunzregroup
Evil Sunz fall back to regroup and rally on Objective 1

Turn3WarlordDies
Belly gun reloaded, the Slasher fires another lethal ball round – direct hit, straight to the plasma reactor! The Warlord erupts in a pillar of nuclear fire

Turn3BadMoonWeirdboys
Hunkered down on first fire orders, Bad Moon Weirdboy towers lash the Redeemers, finishing iff the Veterans in the ruins and killing a couple of Devastators – it’s not over yet!

20171229_221308
The Imperial right flank, buttressed by the Leviathan, grinds forward, wiping out the Evil Sunz survivors and reclaiming Objective 1

Turn3End
As Turn 3 comes to a close, the destruction of the Warlord and the proximity of the Goffs in the gulley to Objective 3 has flipped things around again – Orks now lead 37 to 28!

Turn 4:

With the Warlord down, the Imperial left flank was reduced to a few stands of Terminators, but equally the Ork left had crumbled and the Bad Moons had taken heavy casualties to the point where they were perilously close to breaking – even at this stage, it was anyone’s game!

The Orks won the initiative and opted for a bold, aggressive strategy..

20171229_223312
The Slasher barrels forward to destroy the few remaining vehicles of the Veteran Company and capture Objective 6

20171229_223317
Goffs close assault the Whirlwainds and the Scouts charged with protecting them (note the large smoking crater where once had stood a Warlord Titan…

20171229_224636
Goff Gutrippas against Whirlwinds – not a chance

20171229_224641
Scouts fight valiantly but are overwhelmed and outnumbered

20171229_225652
With the Imperial forces out of position, the charge of the Goffs and the Slasher has pushed the Orks up to 46 VPs, but the Goffs suffer just enough casualties to break them, putting the Imperials on 45…

Turn 5:

The Imperial side won the initiative and opted to go first – with the remaining Orks running wild, only an equally aggressive strategy could pull things back!

20171229_230530
Land Raiders burst through onto Objective 4, laying into the remaining Bad Moons

20171229_231113
The remaining Scouts fall to Goff Nobz and armour, and the Orks capture Objective 8

20171229_231117
Imperial fire cripples the Bad Moons, finally breaking them…

20171229_231547
And as the Devastators recapture Objective 3, it’s all over! 59 VPs to the Marines, 46 to the Orks.

Conclusion:

What a game! Right until the end it could have gone either way, especially after the Warlord disintegrated (as he seems wont to do every game).. and the ballsy charge of the Goffs and the Slasher almost swung it. Had the Evil Sunz assault gone better it would have been all over for the Marines, but Dan admitted to getting to unfocused, trying to capture Objective 2 as well as carry the assault. A bit more concentration of force would have enveloped the Devastators and most likely annihilated them. And what the hell was I thinking putting my entire Veteran company in the warehouse?? I may as well have left them at home!

The Goffs are a weird bunch, clumping infantry and tanks together means something very hard hitting but at the same time hard to position right, and it was only really Turn 4 when they were in position to do something significant – and by then they’d suffered enough casualties to have broken. Dan’s going to try mounting them in Battlewagons next time… ulp.

Most Valued Player for Dan was undoubtedly the Slasher, 600 pts but chewed it’s way through 1850 pts of Marines and Titan – nearly half my force! For me, I was impressed by the Leviathan, it’s long range cannon let me put the hurt on the Bad Moons from the opposite end of the table, and in the end that helped push us over the line.

So while we mourn our Veteran brethren and Warlord (and Scouts.. and Whirlwinds.. and Dan managed to kill a stand of Terminators to break them too..) the Leviathan leads a battered taskforce of Land Raiders and Devastators to secure the remaining precious stocks of Luna Luceat liquor. The Imperial Festive Season must go on!

Happy New Year everyone, stay thrifty into 2018!