Saturday, 24 June 2017

Revenge is a dish best wolfed down...

Welcome to my first real foray into 8th Ed Warhammer 40000 or 40k as it is known. I'd dabbled before but some of the rules (and the people who bent... ups I mean played them) had put me off bigtime - basically for the feel I got out of it it was way too convoluted with seemingly layer upon layer of rule mechanics which basically didn't flow. GW to their credit (or diminishing credit rating perhaps) listened and REBUILT - this is not just a new edition, it is a new streamlined game... SO with the promise of a decent sci-fi game and the lure of having a VIKINGS IN SPACE army in the Space Wolves I was in....

Bjorn took a deep breath and looked at the grotesque figure spread out over the stone... So it was true, the Seer had been right all along. But at least now they knew it was so, the confession had taken a while, in fact Bjorn was impressed with the man's bravery, but in the end no-one resists the blood angel, it had been when Bjorn cracked and pulled his 3rd and 4th rib out of his back that the captive had blurted out the truth.

Bjorn and his fellow wolf packs had waited long for this day, the day the stories of the skalds ended and the day action began. A figure burst through the hall door,
"So it is true Brother, it is really so... the Spireguard live!" blurted out Ubba, his younger brother, "At last the Old Gods have given us a chance to avenge our Father..."

Bjorn nodded, then snapped his head back and HOWWLlllled, "Gather the packs Brother, it is time, it is time."

For an age the Wolves had thought the Spireguard of Prospero to be perished, perished at their claws on the field of battle. But then three years ago the Seer had had a vision, red coated men training for war, training to continue the advance of abomination... Now the pack knew where their hated enemy were building... Now they would strike.

Bjorn bent down, fresh tracks, the Spireguard were sloppy, not knowing that vengeance was about to pounce...

Today sees my wolves take on Richard's  (Shado's) Guard army who are the Spireguard. In reality I have little faith, even the levelling of the playing field with the new field will be hard to undo the years of experience Shado has... that and the guard are reportedly very strong in this edition... BUT hey this will be the start of my Packs revenge on the traitors of Prospero, the OLD GODS know it !

This is how it all went down in a small mining colony... We are planning on a series of games building up in Power (easy unit costing) as we go along. Today the two forces were 50 POWER - around 800 points worth, played on a 4x4. The mission was 'No Mercy' which doesn't use tactical objectives and the deployment zones we rolled saw us using opposite corners with a 9" no go zone in the middle of the board. I finished setting out first having only five units and chose to go first - Shado challenged but failed to seize the initiative.... Game on!

Bjorn surveyed the small planet shown on the holo-board in front of him. A small mining colony which had seemingly been abandoned a year ago, now it seemed it was the training world of the Spireguard. Scanners blipped, the holo-map zoomed to show a detachment, possibly on patrol, possibly holding some important ground. Bjorn knew that the Battalion Detachment shown in front of him outnumbered his Vanguard by 3 or 4 to 1. But he also knew the pack was a match for anyone, and any numbers. Twenty minutes later his pack members had 'ported' onto the planet the only wolves staying back were the FNG - the Primaris marines sent to bolster the packs numbers. Bjorn spat, they may have Wolf coloured armour, but they weren't Wolves and never would be. Refusal to join the hunt was given to all but one unit of the Primaris, even Bjorn thought the HALO ability of the Inceptors may be useful.

At the first sight of the Wolves the Spireguard had reacted quickly, forming up around a hill. Intefi, the Company Commander smiled, the appearance of the 'puppies' was a surprise but he had been on a heavy weapons firing practice mission, Ratling snipers were covering the flanks to snipe the indigenous animals as they ran from the fire. Now the pack of mangy wolves had landed right in his firing range... His grandfather would be pleased at the revenge that would be gained this fine day.

Bjorn knew the only way was to sweep into glorious battle, run head first up the slope towards the Spireguard, Darul, his trusty thunderwolf, slavered and growled his half canine half tech mind conjured up the feast to come.

 Arne had long been Bjorn's friend, now he was leader of the Wulfen berserkers, they needed not combat drugs, just the promise of a glorious death and passage to the Allfather's banquet table. He saw the Spireguard hiding on the grav trains tunnel, hoping they were safe...

Bjorn felt danger, snapping his vision to the rock formation to his left he caught a glimpse of light... snipers!  Flicking his wrist communicator into action he called down the Primaris.

Sigmand signalled his two team members - time to drop, he had to show Bjorn and the pack him and his new gene seed kind were worthy of being pack members...  Tufeti looked up, what was that noise? Like a Terran mammal caught in bright lights he couldn't take his eyes off the blur of light, then the bright explosion of colour in front of him, and then the red explosion, that was a micro-second ago his brother, then pain, then nothing....  Sigmand grinned, that would show his squad were worthy.

BEFORE AND AFTER THE DROP- spot the difference!

A cacophony of howls cast the air asunder, the Spire guard on the hill glanced nervously at each other, in the distance they could see the Wulfen charge their brethren in the valley.
"Load and lock!" the order spread along the line...

The guards couldn't believe the speed the rabid pack had covered the ground between them, they opened fire wildly as their foe literally pounced upon them, but their lasguns shots seemingly bounced off the force shields of the pack. Suddenly there were claws and hammers tearing and striking at them. Begging for mercy they were snarled and laughed (if you could call it a laugh) at...

Thunderwolves bore their riders across the field of battle... Floki invoked the help of the Old Gods, an aura shone around the units around him, shimmering the air making them indistinct, the guards squinted and the nozzles of their weapons wavered.

My turn ONE had been more successful than I could have ever have imagined. I must admit I had come into the game with an air of trepidation around me, the sheer fire power of the guards coupled with the mission meaning that they could basically just defend the hill seemed unsurmountable. What surprised me was the charge threat of the Wulfen... they can advance (adding a d6 inch) and then charge which is coupled with a re-roll if they fail. Their 3 up invulnerable save courtesy of their storm shield was amazing all game. Dropping infront of the ratling sniper squad (which I was very scared of because of the threat of mortal wounds and their proximity to my Warlord) was awesome (for me at least). By the end of turn one I had received 3 victory points - one for a cheeky first blood and two for taking 2 units out the game).  However, I suspected that my inner jubilance was about to be shattered. 

Spireguard units prepared to fire, emerging from cover, a walker strode its long legs over the ground, its targeting computer homing in on the Thunderwolf riders in-front of it. Grenades were loaded into their launchers... All hell was to be unleashed on the enemy. Echoing around the valley floor the might of the Spireguard armoury ignited... Intefi smiled, perhaps a medal would be put his way when he presented the pelts of the hated Wolf packs to his superiors... When the noise, heat and haze disappeared he surveyed the results... A tight knot formed in his stomach, blood drained from his face while a metalic taste formed in his mouth. He shook his head believing that when he looked again he would see the true reality. But no, his eyes were not deceived, on rushed the packs - no one had fallen.

Between what to be fair was way below the odds rolling on Shado's part and the ability of my thunder shields of taking the 'invulnerable' part of invulnerable save far too literally the shooting had caused no casualties... Indeed I think only one wound was caused by an incredible amount of dice. While his luck did change later it would be remiss of me not to say how shocking some of the Spireguard rolling was. For instance this roll from later on in the game :

Bjorn rejoiced in the song of battle ringing around him, his bloodlust was up, his pack were tearing through the ranks of the hated enemy. Everywhere he looked his brothers were literally ripping the red uniformed enemy apart. The walker charged Floki, who survived, denting the metal monster then moving back - summoning the Old Gods to smite the foe. Flames erupted from the Wolf Hunter squad, the red hot liquid seeping into joints, the pilot tried to open the escape hatch but was engulfed as the walker blew up. Sveneric reeled back from the blast, his comrade screaming as flames engulfed him.

Meanwhile the Thunderwolf riders charged into battle while Bjorn and the Wulfen dispatched more squads of traitors.

By now it was Shado's turn 4 of a possible 5 and things were still going swimmingly well, the victory points were up to 9-0 in my favour. But things could quickly change. After destroying yet another unit my Wulfen and Bjorn were in danger of getting swamped. 

Intefi knew he had to do something, and do it quick. Barking out orders into the local comms network he got all available units to shoot and charge the Wulfen, they were taking out too many of his troopers... He allowed himself a slight shudder of relief as two of the foe fell to overwhelming fire and then the pack was surrounded.

Arne and his remaining pack member stood back to back, their fallen pack members lying at their feet -  his storm claws shimmered. Both of them let out a blood curdling howl and the troopers charged in to be met by swirling claws and fangs dripping with blood.

Unbelievably they survived and tore a hole in the troopers... it was nearing the possible end of the game. 

Bjorn howled in triumph and turned Darul back, while his loyal pack members covered his path, Arne finally fell as the troopers pulled back and grenades rained in... Many a skald will be singing songs of his journey to the Allfather.

At the end of turn 5 I was well set, miles ahead on VPs and with a lot of my small force intact. But oh the nuances of 40K the game randomly went on, Shado saw a shimmer of hope, if only he could wipe me out completely. But again the close combat ability of the Wolves and the 3 up saves; saved the day. 

Bjorn sat at the long table in the ship orbiting the planet, drinking to the pack members who had made the journey to the Allfather and were now feasting and fighting in his great hall. Next time they would take more than a vanguard and aim to wipe the Spireguard traitors from the face of history.

Entfi waited outside the supreme commander's office, sweat running down his back, possible excuses coursed through his brain. But in reality there could be no excuse, his next command was likely to be a squad rather than a platoon.... But whatever it was he would not forget the face of Bjorn; one day revenge would be his, one day... Just not today.

What can I say - I loved the game, there was lots of looking things up, I think Shado was surprised how 'different' but the 'same' the game was. A lot of the time in the game was spent looking stats up - definitely worth copying the index pages and making up cards of the units used in the force. can't believe how smoothly the mechanics went though, gone are the clunky seemingly different mechanics used for each different 'type'. 

Can't wait for the next installment !


  1. Great battle report - really fun to read!

    I have had a couple of games, and have come to the firm conclusion like yourself that little unit stat cards will be the way to go - I remember 90% of the rules but it is always that one time you can't remember if your rules give you re-rolls on wounds or hits and you spend ages looking up the unit details!

    1. I took the Welsh Wizards advice and just printed out the list on Battlescribe which has all info on it :)