Wednesday, 30 July 2008

5th Ed. & The Praetorian Guard

Here, as promised are some of my thoughts on 5th Ed. that were prompted by my first game in the new system. A lot of these will be from the Imperial Guard perspective, so may be of more use to some than others.

The Praetorian 43rd assembles, armed with new tatical insights and meathods...

IG & the new Vehicle Rules
Strength 4 defensive weapons proved to be the annoying change that it promised to be. I was frustrated that I couldn't use my Hellhound's Heavy Bolter in combination with the Inferno Cannon, as I used to be able to. I think the 'Chimera rush' may be a new tactic, moving your armored elements forward as far as possible on the first turn, popping smoke then becoming a static firebase for the rest of the game. Strength 4 was however counterbalanced to an extent by the new blast template rules. I found my heavy ordnance to be much accurate on the whole. The real icing on the cake is the fact that there is no longer a penalty for moving and firing your battlecannons etc. This means that while Chimeras etc. may become more static, the Leaman Russ (or even a direct fire Basilisk) now has no real reason to stay still. Combined with the fact that armour 14 has become even harder to take down, the Russ & Demolisher have become better than ever.

IG & Run
Running is a surprisingly viable tactic for the 'static' guard, even in a gun line. Check my last battle report for a description of the guardsmen shuffle. In addition to this any last minute dash for the objective, or move away from a CC unit has been made easier. The only advice I have is to take Heavy Weapons out of your line squads so running becomes less of a trade off against fire power. With the increased amount of cover around, Fire Support and Anti-Tank squads should find it easier to hunker down somewhere safe.

IG & Indirect Fire
Indirect Fire is a godsend in high cover environments, as the shot is counted as coming from the center of the blast marker (thus negating most cover saves). This makes Basilisks even more devastating, there really is nowhere to hide. The lack of BS modifier on the scatter didn't seem to make much of a difference, but I may just have had some lucky rolls. Either way, I am strongly considering buying a Mortar squad, for the same reasons.

Close Combat & Rear Armour
This is going to be real issue for the Guard, those armour 14 tanks look less mighty when faced with a Carnifex in combat. However, I really think this is how it should be, and it will prompt some interesting tactical decisions, so its all to the good in my opinion.

So there are some of my thoughts, nothing earth shattering but some stuff worth noting for any treadheads out there. Enjoy...

Friday, 25 July 2008

Praetorian Guard: 1500pts Battle Report Vs. Tyranids

Well, after a long hiatus this blog is back with a big post & hopefully some excitement for you all. I have managed to combine three ‘firsts’ in one go:
  1. My first 5th Ed. Battle
  2. My first battle Report
  3. The first look at my final and oldest army: The Glorious 43rd Praetorian Guard

I was not playing at my usual gaming club with its beautifully modelled and painted armies and boards, I was instead matched up against my an old friend for our first attempt at 5th Ed. Below are not showcased stunning armies on great terrain but an odd mixture of eccentric (largely concrete & garden based) terrain and armies we painted when we were 14 years old. However in spite of these factors (or perhaps because of them) a great evening was had by all.

As night falls Guardsmen rush to repel the enemy...

The 43rd Praetorian Guard - 1500pts

Close Order Drill
Independent Commissars

1 Cmd Squad - Officer, Vet. with Company Standard & Heavy Bolter
1 Fire Support Squad - 2 Autocannons 1 Heavy Bolter
1 Anti - Tank Support Squad - 3 Lascannons

1 Independent Commissar (Attached to Conscripts)
10 Ratling Snipers

1 Infantry Platoon
1 Cmd Squad - Mortar
5 Guard Squads (3 Grenade Launchers, 2 Flamers)
1 Remnants (8 Guardsmen, 1 Meltagun)
34 Conscripts

Fast Attack
1 Hellhound

Heavy Support
LR Demolisher - Plasma Cannon Sponsons
Leman Russ - Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Basilisk - Indirect Fire

I had wanted to try an infantry heavy list for quite some time, so I raided my Guard collection for all the models I could find and managed to muster over 120 infantry, giving me 102 scoring troop models! I also included a mortar & some ratlings, to see the effects 5th has had on these units. The only other 5th ed. inspired move was to leave heavy weapons out of the line squads, so that running was not such a big trade off vs. shooting.

Tyranid List (From memory and with little knowledge of Tyranid bio-morphs etc. I will request a list when I next see him)

1 Flyrant

1 Shooty Tyrant

Fast Attack
2 Separate Raveners

20 (?) Genestealers split into 2 squads
30 -40 (?) Spinegaunts & Hormagaunts split into 3 squads

Heavy Support
2 Separate Zoanthropes
1 Close Combat 'Fex (He was keen to see if this would be anymore useful with the run rule)

Mission: Secure and Control w/ Spearhead (Table Quarters)


Winning the roll for first turn & realising how bare the non cemented side of the board looked, I elected to choose board edge, and thus deploy and go first. I deployed in a gun line, with the Hellhound and Demolisher to my left, ready try and lead the infantry onto the objective. The rest of the infantry formed up behind the conscripts for that 4+ save. The Lascannon teams nestled themselves safely into my bunker/objective.

My opponent deployed in cover as best he could, expecting a withering amount of fire from my lines. He placed his flyrant (not WYSIWYG) as far forward as possible, hoping to get to grips with guard squads as soon as possible.

Turn 1

With a roll of 6 my opponent gleefully seized the initiative and took the opportunity to advance en mass towards my line, killing off a few conscripts in the process. The key move was the rapid advance of the Flyrant, which set itself up for a turn 2 charge into my lines.

In my turn I moved my Hellhound and Demolisher out to meet the approaching horde. I do love the fact that there is no penalty for moving and firing ordnance, from the guard point of view it helps counterbalance strength 4 defensive weapons.

Shooting was brutal. Through the combined fire of the Hellhound, Demolisher, Ratlings, Lascannons and lastly a lucky Battlecannon shot, I was able to take down the Flyrant - which was easily the biggest threat. My remaining fire managed to take down a Ravener, 17 Gaunts and a Zoanthrope, severely weakening the 'nids advancing past their objective. I also used the run rules for the first time, to perform the 'Guardsman shuffle' - moving back away from the ratlings, allowing them to fire, then running back, granting them a 3+ cover save. Sweet.

Turn 2

With the death of his Flyrant my opponent experienced some synapse issues. This however resulted in his largest Hormagaunt brood fleeing 16 inches towards his second tyrant…and closer to my lines. Joy! The rest of his army continued its advance, severely hampered by the difficult terrain on the right of the board - it was however a necessary compromise for the cover the ruins provided. Zoanthrope fire managed to kill my Hellhound, and a few more conscripts bit the dust.

In response I moved my Demolisher out further, and it promptly failed to hit the Zoanthropes that were bearing down on it. The rest of my fire was largely ineffective, due to cover saves conferred by the ruins. However the Basilisk continued to punish the foes of the Emperor from its concealed position, eliminating 11 gaunts and 7 stealers - the lack of cover save being a God(Emperor)send.

Turn 3

The wave of teeth and claws continued to move towards the increasingly worried looking guardsmen. The Zoanthropes rounded on the Demolisher, ready to inflict a killer strike, and did indeed blow the siege tank sky high. However there was a silver lining as a previously wounded ‘thrope suffered a Perils of the Warp attack, and was promptly eaten by a daemon. The changes to that rule are vicious, try rolling a 6+ inv. save twice!

3 guard squads on my left flank moved out to avenge the loss of their Demolisher with a hail of Lasgun fire (and unsurprisingly failed to leave a scratch). I began running more and more squads to try and make some ground towards the enemy objective, finding myself just as hampered by terrain as my opponent. The rest of the force focused the on remaining Tyrant and Carnifex, wounding the former once and the latter twice. The Basilisk continued to impress, killing off a large number of the remaining stealers.

Turn 4

And finally the Tyranids had a taste of combat. While the rest of horde advanced through the terrain (my opponent was suffering badly from difficult terrain tests, run & fleet rolls, and was really slowed to a crawl) the Carnifex reached the Leman Russ, whose crew had run out of room to reverse. Striking its rear armour the tank was torn apart with ease by the Carnifex (as it should be!)

On the far left flank a lone genestealer charged the only guard squad that had gotten out of my deployment zone. The enraged beast promptly ripped apart 3 of the squad, who then failed their moral check and were run down. 1 genestealer beating 10 guardsmen in a single round? I do believe that’s how it should be, and it was only made possible by the simplified system for combat in 5th Ed.

The stealers victory was (literally) short lived. Unable to consolidate into a new combat it was forced to stay in the open and was promptly cut down by vengeful guardsmen, along with the last Zoanthrope. In other shooting the Tyrant was reduced to 1 wound. And to my great delight the Carnifex was horrifically speed-bumped by the conscripts, which along with the independent commissar, represented a 20+ wound, unbreakable unit for it to chew through.

Turn 5

The long awaited Gaunt charge now reached my lines. However my opponent’s forces had been horrifically depleted by 4 turns of IG fire. In an effort to engage all my front line squads (and thus minimise return fire which, with no ability to consolidate into a fresh combat, would be inevitable) my opponent spread his forces too thin. This combined with the fact that the guardsmen were striking from cover actually resulted in me winning all the combats. The defenders killed 7 gaunts & 3 genestealers for the loss of 4 guardsmen (over 3 different squads). This was officially crowned the worst Tyranid charge in the history of time; we challenge anybody to produce a worse example!

The IG then began what was effectively a mopping up process. A guard squad continued its advance toward the enemy objective. The Tyrant was rended to death by the ratlings, the last Ravener was killed and the remaining gaunts were successfully ‘basilisked’ down to around 10 models. The Carnifex remained stuck in combat with the persistent conscripts.

Turn 6

Turn 6 began with the remaining gaunts fleeing due to a complete lack of synapse and ended with the Carnifex still stuck in combat with the conscripts - this despite the loss of their Commissar. The two remaining hapless conscripts passed their leadership test on a double one; the Commissariat evidently inspires fear even in death!


The game ended with the IG just reaching the enemies objective, while holding their own. It was a crushing defeat, both in objective terms and casualties inflicted.

My opponent was severely hampered by several crucial factors. The table quarters deployment allowed me to occupy the most cover, and forced him to make a long detour through difficult terrain to get his 4+ saves. On reflection he may have been better served by going left, through the open ground and getting perhaps a 3rd turn charge, as opposed to a 5th turn one. Additionally, had his flyrant survived my shooting and been able to cause havoc in my lines on turn 2, the resulting split in fire may have allowed his troops to advance under less pressure.

However a fun day was enjoyed by both, fighting over some truly ‘interesting’ terrain, knocked up that morning. I’m intending to write up some thoughts the game has prompted on 5th Ed. and the Guard, so look out for that shortly.

The Imperial battle line readies itself for the storm

The Praetorians bravely face the full horror of the Great Devourer, and prevail!

Private Jones and his trusty flamer approach the remains of the mining settlement, securing victory for the forces of the Imperium.

The Emperor Protects!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Dark Angels: The Dark Fortress

This, I believe, is the one major issue with wargames & blogging.

By its very nature wargaming is a slow process. Players rightly want to lavish time on painting their models, and may spend long periods between games with little to report. I have really enjoyed the process of starting this blog - it has been rather frustrating this past week that I have had nothing to add to it. I do wonder how some of the blogs out there find the time to produce so much excellent content!

The Painting of the Deathwing continues - but I am only nearing completion of model number 3 - over a week after finishing the last (Thank God this force has a small model count)! I have also been without a game for a few weeks. I'm hoping to get a few games next week, indeed I should be playing my last games with 4th Ed. Is it heresy to be still lagging behind at this point? Either way, there should be some battle reports to look forward to.

So, in an effort to prove to the world, any myself, that this blog is not already dead I've decided to showcase a Deathwing inspired website I have stumbled upon. The Dark Fortress has a great collection of fluff, pictures, and tactics on our bone clad friends and is well worth a look.

I really wanted to draw attention to the truly stunning Deathing force of 'Wolferine' that can be found here. This page alone went a long way to convincing me that the 'wing had to be my next army. This* Standard Bearer simply makes me want to cry like a little girl. Well, more than usual at any rate. I think its just superb, and if anybody can give me a straightforward tutorial on how to paint faces, and more particularly stubble (like this*) then I would be eternally in their debt!

Next time on The Astronomican: I hope to be able to set up a group shot of my one remaining army - The Guard. Any guesses as to what regiment the horrible blighters are from?

*As annoying as links are, I didn't want to post pictures of these models directly on my blog - they are not my work and I would hate for anyone to think otherwise!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin