Thursday, August 27, 2009

Me vs. Space Marines or Why Vulkan Can Kiss My Arse (Even When He Is Not Vulkan)

Yesterday my buddy Travis shot me a text asking if I was down for a game of 40k. My plan was to get a little more painting done last night, but Travis is one of the few guys I can play without having to go very far (His house is maybe a mile from mine). On top of all that, Travis is a graveyard nurse on a cardiac floor so his schedule is always wonkey. If he calls me I am happy to hop to, cause I never know when I will see him again.

There are some other things worth mentioning about Travis. First and foremost, his painting has come a long way since he started a little more than two years ago. Each model he does looks better than his last. His stuff is looking really sharp these days, and mine is looking really the kind of gray that is unpainted. When I arrived at his house he showed me a bookshelf thing, where in his marines were on display.
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog

The photography doesn't do the minis justice, I was kind of in a hurry and it was super dark. needless to say his shit looked great, and inadequacy settled over me like wearing a pair of underwear the second day in a row, wrong and yet familiar at the same time.

Travis has the whole Second Battle for Armageddon thing going on with his marines (Blood Angels, Salamanders, and Ultra Marines). If you know that, his stuff is really cool. If you don't, you just think his army is made from loans from friends, or ebay auctions, or that he has some kind of disorder.

The other thing to know about Travis is that he pretty routinely kicks my teeth in, no matter what I am playing. I used to win a lot in 4th edition, not so much in 5th. I have no excuses for my failures, and the shame of defeat only has a fleeting stay with me, perhaps because it is so oft a visitor. But normally when I am playing Travis I don't lose so much as am humiliated, shamed, and made to wear the ball-gag.

So with one fully painted, and four partially painted, fire warriors I stood against a superior general and beautifully painted army for 1250 points of inevitable pain.

Travis brought:
  • Chaplain Cassius (We'll get to this...).
  • Sternguard 6 man in a Rhino (Powerfist, Melta x2, Combi-melta).
  • 2x Tac Squad 10 man in a Rhino (Multi-melta, flamer). On of the sarges had a power weapon and the other had a powerfist.
  • Predator /w Heavy Bolter Sponsons.
  • Assault Squad 10 man (Flamer x2, Sarge had power wep). It should be noted that Travis completely forgot this squad was in his army and the first I knew of them was when I was translating his list to this blog entry just now, so really he only brought 1,025 points against me. I feel even worse now...
  • Vindicator.

As for me:
  • Sash' O with AFP, positional relay, and missile pod.
  • Crisis suit with burst cannon, missile pod, multi-tracker.
  • Stealth suit x3 (Bonding knife, hw drone controller, marker drone x2).
  • Fire warriors 10 man (Bonding knife) in a Devil Fish (Disruption pod, multi-tracker).
  • Fire warriors 7 man (Bonding knife).
  • Kroot 9 man with Shaper and 8 Kroot Hounds.
  • Pathfinders 4 man (Bonding knife) in Devilfish (Disruption pod, multi-tracker).
  • Hammerhead (Rail gun, smart missile system, disruption pod, multi-tracker).
  • Piranhas x2 (Target lock, targeter x2, disruption pod x2, ion blaster x2)
We rolled randomly for set up and mission. We ended up with Capture and Control with Dawn of we always do. Travis' table appears to only want to play under very specific conditions, namely Capture and Control and Dawn of War. We seem to play this mission a lot, and really should stop rolling for the game we are gonna play.

Travis is working on his terrain when he has the time so while it is not yet as pretty as his army, it certainly does the trick. This is the table we played on:
From Mars Project Blog

Good fire lanes, some places for taking cover, I like it. I am not sure why we bothered rolling to see who sets up/goes first as I have never actually gone first in a game Travis and I have played. In the name of decorum we did, and he won. Not necessarily a bad thing in this instance. I have noticed that often in Dawn of War people will ram what they put down right up the middle, taking half the board. This means that my army has a whole turn to focus fire on the closest unit, while the others have to cross the length of the theory (Not so much in practice relative to this game). His objective was placed a little off of center to his left. Mine was almost exactly across from his.

Travis deployed a rhino with his Tac Sqaud and Cassisus right on the center line, slightly left (his) of the middle of the table.
From Mars Project Blog

It is at this juncture that I would like to point that mutha' effin' model in the pic above with the spear. That is Travis' Vulkan conversion. Vulkan has terrorized me to a point wherein the English language can no longer articulate the feelings of loathing and fear, the only similarities of expression could be found in the screams of mad men. In this game that conversion served as Chaplain Cassius, which was eager and able to live up the reputation that this model had created.

I only deployed one Devilfish with 10 fire warriors on my own board edge, on about a 25" diagonal from the rhino. The hope was to get that Rhino to come a little closer, making it so that I had a better chance of seeing it with Night Fight. My path finders walked on the board with their Scout move, hell and back gone behind cover. They wouldn't move all game, just light crap up.

Turn 1

First turn for him was pretty standard. Everything walked or drove on the board. His center Rhino didn't move.

Bottom of the turn rolls around to me, I bring in everything within about 24" of his single Rhino, save my deployed Devilfish which I move up so that the 10 man fire warriors squad is just within rapid fire range after disembarking. My plan is simple, open the Rhino with the combined might of my entire effin' army, sans the Kroot who are in reserve and seven fire warriors. Once the Rhino is open, the 10 fire warriors spend marker light hits to go to BS 5 and they, and who ever else is left, unload into the Cassius squad.

Well a lot missed shots, flubbed Night Fight rolls, and three penetrating hits later the Rhino is Immobilized, Shaken, and Weapon Destroyed. But it is still there.

Turn 2
From Mars Project Blog

Top of turn 2 Cassius and the Tac Squad get out of their Rhino, eager to eat some fire warriors in assault range. Travis moves his other Rhinos up, as well as his tanks, and now the Vindicator is a threat. Travis assaults the fire warriors and eats them with Cassius and company. Already the prickling sensation and accompanying fear sweats begin to overtake me as I witness such a display of savagery on this models' behalf. I have seen what he is capable of, and I know fear.

My turn 2 the Rhinos are close enough that they are scary because they are full of scoring marines that can steal my objective. I need to start shooting at them, which means that I need to leave Cassius and his asshats alone. I break off a lot of drones for more shots and use the big guns on the Rhinos. I get my Kroot in on the 2+ and have them outflank to try and bait one of the Rhinos towards them. All said and done, I immobilize the other two rhinos, not destroy mind you, because apparently Rhinos can't actually be destroyed. His guys will have to walk in, so that is good. In the mean time Chaplain Cassius and his crew only eat about 800 points of Tau shooting this turn. I kill the guy with the flamer...and only the guy with the flamer.

Turn 3

Travis' Turn 3 Cassius and company have to assault detached drones cause I used them make a wall between Cassius and my other seven man fire warrior squad. A lot of marines have to walk, including the Sternguard, who shoot the hell out of one of my piranhas. Travis' predator and two five man Tac squads shoot into my Kroot, killing a lot. Travis forgets that you can't assault if you rapid fire, so my other piranha survives an inevitable ass kicking, only getting Stunned.

My turn 3 I focus fire on Cassius and the Tac marines again as they are still the only thing really threatening to contest my objective. The Kroot hit an "8" last shooting phase for a morale check, in it to win it, so they go barreling into the Tac squad they baited away. Cassius and company get a lot of marker lights this turn from pathfinders (3 of 4 hit!) and drones, and I unload into them. I kill four more marines, rawr! What am I left with?
From Mars Project Blog

Cassius and the powerfist sarge, the squad is now toughness six. I have to feed Cassius a crisis suit to block his ability to get into my objective holding fire warriors, since they are my last remaining scoring unit that has a prayer in hell of surviving another turn. The Kroot do their thing and his one remaining marine sticks in the fight, preventing my Kroot from being shot to shit.

Turn 4

Travis' turn 4 sees a lucky (For me!) Vindicator shot go off the board, sparing my fire warriors. His Sternguard bring down the remaining piranha with an Imbolize, but since it was Stunned last turn it just settles to the ground. Cassius whips the hell out of the crisis suit. And more marines walk towards me. My Kroot kill the remaining marine in this assault phase.

My turn 4 the grounded piranha gives the Vindicator its ion blaster and stuns it, apparently no Imperial tank can be killed. More shooting, and finally, in turn effin' 4 Cassius goes down. My Kroot go barreling into the next closest marine combat squad, get their asses thoroughly kicked but the one remaining Kroot sticks on a "5"!

Turn 5

Travis' turn 5 rolls around and he doesn't have a lot he can do. He has nothing close enough to contest, even if they hit a "6" for their run distance. His Predator takes a few shots into my remaining fire warriors but only gets one kill, yeah for cover saves. My remaining single Kroot gets whupped in his assault phase.

My turn 5 and my remaining fire warriors jump in the Pathfinder's Devilfish, which then books it over to park on my objective. A couple of detached gun drones manage to kill one Sternguard. Other than that, nada.

I let Travis roll and the "2" shows up, so that is game. His is holding his objective (which I was never actually within 12" of):
From Mars Project Blog

And I had mine:
From Mars Project Blog

A draw.

All in all the game went as well as it could for me. Especially now that I am aware that an entire jump squad was forgotten about. I do not enjoy people complaining about dice, dice rolls, and bad luck. Dice are part of this game, and they are with you or they aren't. Presumably Cassius and his squad surviving 4 turns of shooting means that dice were not with me this time. However, I am not willing to discredit the fact that it is actually that "Vulkan" model. Somehow those few ounces of plastic have garnered power of my very being, and it manages to do the impossible.

As for Travis, he just affirmed what he already knew. Chaplain Cassius is a fuggin steal, especially in these smaller point games, and the 85 point Predator is choc full of kicking ass. He played well, as he always does, and there is no doubt in my mind that he would have won this had he brought the full 1,250 to the game.

Need to get back on track so I am going to paint tonight. Headed to the west side (Seattle area) this weekend so I will lose Friday and Saturday from hobby stuff. Got to get a big chunk done tonight so I can finish my fire warrior series next week.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Nice little batrep. I want to see those Salamanders in person sometime. Travis and I chatted a bit last OFCC about em and I am sure I could learn a thing or two for my own Salamanders (who have languished since the new codex came out).

    Looks like someone needs to get cracking on some painting. Maybe we can get together for some beer drinking/painting sessions.


  2. I can't believe I forgot a whole squad. I'm an idiot. That being said, I just got the best blog name ever!