Tuesday, July 31, 2007

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Games day 2007

I have bought a ticket for Games Day 2007. This will be my second Games Day ever, the first being almost 10 years ago. My memories are of long coach journeys, a noisy venue, queues everywhere and an amiable John Blanche. I didn't rush back.

I've decided to brave it again for several reasons. The first is that there are a lot of Games Workshop releases I am eagerly anticipating, including the new Chaos codex and the Apocalypse expansion. I know that the Chaos Space Marines will have been on sale for a week or two by the 23rd September but I'm really hoping that I'll get my hands on some Apocalypse pre-releases, in particular the Baneblade.

I want the super heavy tank to complement my planned Chaos Renegade Militia army. That's another reason I want to attend Games Day. Forgeworld should be there in force, so I'll be able to pick up most of the army while I'm there. I have my fingers crossed that Forgeworld will also release new models and that they will be for the Renegades.

Other swag which I hope to nab are Black Library books; I reckon Descent of Angels should be up for sale there as well as the Imperial Munitorum Manual.

The Golden Demon is of great interest to me because if push came to shove and I had to pick just one part of the hobby to pursue, I would pick painting. I want to be inspired by the conversions and paint schemes and maybe I'll enter something in the competition myself.

I mentioned John Blanche earlier, and he was the best part of the last Games Day I attended. He commented that I was a rarity in that I chatted to him about his drawing and painting techniques rather than just stand in dumb silence or try to hand over my manuscript containing 29 new Eldar aspects (this really happened!). My latest White Dwarf mentions that the design studio will be out in force so I intend to corner them if at all possible. I'm hoping for some seminars and maybe a sneak peek at the forthcoming Ork codex.

The mega battles and displays are always worth a look, too.

So there is plenty to grab my attention and my wallet. Of course, I'll report back any news and rumours to lone pilgrim as soon as I can.

Now I just need to organise that Chaos Renegade Militia army list so I know what models I need to buy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: The defence of Tor Thana

After some delay, here is my write-up of the third game in our Nemesis Crown campaign.

I had painted up the Marauders on foot to tabletop standard so I dropped a Sorcerer to fit them into the list. This meant I now only had one level one Sorcerer with just two dispel scrolls. I hoped Gary wouldn't have too much magic.

Gary picked a level four Sorceress with three level two underlings. Gulp! He had dropped most of his magic items and other extras to play with as many models on the board as possible.

This could be tough.

Armies 2000points
My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Armour of Damnation, Berzerker Sword, Gaze of the Gods, shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, Enchanted Shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • 12 Chosen Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 16 Marauders, full command, light armour and shields
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command, Warbanner
  • 5 Marauder Horse, champion, musician, flails
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Level 4 sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
  • Hydra
  • Chariot
  • Chariot
Terrain and deployment
You can see the layout of the terrain on the photo below. Again, Gary hadn't touched the board since our last game so I scattered the pieces randomly. It left a very wide open battlefield which would be ideal for shooting and magic heavy armies. Uh-oh.

I continued with the patented Volsung deployment technique - putting down my throw-away units in the centre till I had an idea where the pesky pointy-ears were deploying and then set up the rest of my army hard on one flank. In this case I had a very strong left flank and refused the right, which had the two Dark Elf chariots on it. I hoped to sweep the Knights around the rock spires and hit the squishy Elf centre hard with my Lord and the Warriors. In particular I felt Gary had put his spell casters in a very vulnerable position with only his shooty units near them for defence. Just one or two units in amongst them could disrupt his entire army.

The game
I won first turn despite the Dark Elves having the +1 bonus. I marched the hounds and Marauder horse up the centre to threaten the Repeater Bolt Throwers and all those Sorceresses. The warriors marched too, angling slightly into the centre. My Knights marched up the extreme left flank. My Marauder infantry moved up more cautiously and the furies went wide right behind a hill.

Gary had a unit of dark riders on each flank and marched each up to give my infantry units something to worry about. One of his chariots went stupid and stumbled forward and the other kept pace with it. On the right he moved the Hydra back to plug the gap behind the rocks.

Most of his action took place in the magic and shooting phases. He concentrated on my fast moving units in the centre and killed one whole unit of war hounds, two out of the second unit and three of my marauder horse, as well as drawing out both of my dispel scrolls.

The game looked like this after our first turns.

In my second turn I declared charges all over the place. My furies charge the dark riders on the right - they fled into the middle which left my furies out in front of the Dark Elf infantry and chariots. I think Gary expected me to charge with the marauders but I feared the counter charge from the chariots so I held the unit back instead.

On the right flank my smaller warrior unit charged the other dark riders. They fled too, but this time they stopped in front of another charging unit; my Lord on his daemonic mount who was going to charge out of the warriors and into the repeater crossbows. He went after the dark riders instead who were destroyed, but it did leave my Lord out in front of the rest of my army and feeling a little vulnerable.

I didn't need to worry. My marauder horse charged into the three sorceress who were rather conveniently lined up in a row. Of course I only wounded one, but I took no casualties in return. All the sorceresses passed their break tests. Boo!

Now my three hounds charged the level four sorceress. The repeater bolt thrower crew helped her out but their intervention was in vain. I killed one of the crew and took no wounds so I had won the combat. The sorceress, who was also the army general, failed her break test. She ran off the board. Both repeater bolt thrower crew failed their panic tests and ran too. Now the spearelves failed their panic test and ran off the board. This panicked the executioners who turned tail and ran. A charioteer took this as a bad sign and ran off the board as well.

By the end of the combat phase the dark elves had lost around half of their army. They had no realistic chance of winning the game so we called it another Chaos massacre.

So I had won the game and won the campaign. The forces of Sigurt Volsung were victorious and could now hunt for the Crown in peace while the Dark Elves slunk off to their Black Ark in shame. My warriors will be feasting on Cold One flesh tonight.

  • Chaos - Those last three war hounds. 18 points of models caused well over 700 points of damage.
  • Dark elves - Chariots for at least causing me to deploy in a certain way.
  • Yet again, another perfect game for my Chaos army. Obviously it was helped by Gary rolling such appalling panic tests as the centre of his army crumbled, but I still think I had the superior deployment. I could bring my army to bear in strength on the left without much chance of anything getting in around my flanks. On the right Gary actually had the advantage, with two infantry blocks, two chariots and the dark riders facing off against my furies, the marauders on foot and my chaos chariot. He didn't press his advantage though, and all I needed to do was hold his army off the flanks of mine. Even had the battle continued I think I would have been in a better position come turn three or four. Gary's positioning of the sorceresses was baffling to me; they were such juicy targets I just had to go after them, and I knew I could threaten them with multiple units from turn two onwards. Gary's plan was to focus his magic and shooting in one tight area of the battlefield but it failed spectacularly.
  • I would be surprised if I play against Gary's dark elf army again. Our campaign is now finished and we'll probably move on to other game systems for a while. I've never seen Gary so downbeat about an army before, or so angry during a game. It really makes it difficult for me to enjoy the game because if I am losing everything is okay with Gary (and I'm not happy) or I am winning and Gary is angry (and I'm not happy). It has been mounting up for weeks and weeks and came to a head during this battle. I think it is a combination of several things; it is a new set of rules for us and we are still getting things wrong, Gary is playing a finesse army when he normally plays more straightforward forces, we've been playing against just each other for almost a year. This last point is important. Gary and I are experienced players, having been involved in the Games Workshop 'hobby' for almost 20 years. We are both decent players and about the same skill level as each other. For a couple of years we played in out local gaming store against a variety of players, but over the past year (since Gary got a flat and his own table) we have just played against each other. Every game is a real test as we both know each other's games inside out and we know that any mistake we make will be ruthlessly seized upon. At the store it was different. We were strong players there, able to take on most armies and if not win, make a tough fight of it. For the first time in a long while, Gary is losing a lot of games and he doesn't like it. When I was losing against his dark elves in our early games I came up with a different game plan, I scoured the Internet for different ideas and I thought long and hard about the army I was facing. Gary isn't 'into' the games as much as me so he hasn't spent as much time addressing his problems as I did and it is showing. I think he'll get rid of the army rather than persevere with it. It's a shame because I think it is a real test of your gaming skill to succeed with different styles of army and he would become a more rounded gamer if he stuck with the pointy-ears. For myself, I think I could do with a break and/or play some games against different players.
  • Phew! I was going to round up my thoughts on how the campaign ran here, but I've waffled on about so many other things I don't have space. I'll write them up in their own post in the future.

BACKGROUND: Inquisitor Johannes Kepler

This is my fourth, and last, Inquisitor profile - Johannes Kepler.

Johannes Kepler, like Alexander Barbero, is an Inquisitor who came to the Skolarii Sector relatively recently. A senior Inquisitor Lord of great renown, Kepler had disappeared and had been thought dead for many years.

In 756.M41 he turned up on Mangalore, investigating cult activities amongst the noble trade families. Over the next century he built a case against the prominent Solondz family and toppled them from their position as the foremost noble family in the Kandaeon Worlds.This led to Kepler's immediate promotion to Protector of sub sector four.

Seventy seven years later he joined the Suprema. His formidable psychic powers made him unpopular with Barbero and Buirman, as did his outspoken Amalathian politics. Many within the Inquisition Skolarii would see Kepler as a natural successor to von Aschausen if it were not for his highly strung nature. Whether his occasionally erratic behaviour is due to his prodigious psychic abilities or his long, mysterious disappearance, no-one can be sure.

I'll return to the Inquistion at some point and describe the rest of the Inquisitors who make up the Imperium's finest in the Skolarii Sector.

I have lots of new material for this blog to come over the next week. Gary and I have played another game in our Nemesis Campaign, so I need to write up that battle report. I have also been working out some of the details for the two armies I have to complete over the following tournament season; my Blood Angels and the Hooded Chaos Renegade Militia. Finally, I'm looking to put a raft of models up for sale on e-bay.

There is lots going on in the wider Games Workshop world, too. Chicago Games Day has taken place over the weekend and all sorts of news and rumours are filtering through from that. The Chaos Codex is still providing some surprises and the massive Apocalypse release is coming into view.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

BACKGROUND: Inquisitor Franz Buirmann

More on those famous Inquisitors of the Skolarii Sector, this time around I have Franz Buirmann of the Ordo Xenos for your delectation.

Franz Buirmann represents the Odo Xenos on the Suprema. He is a bullish, blunt man with little time for politics. As a result he spends much of his time away from Jalein, roaming far and wide across the Skolarii Sector.

Both Alexander Barbero and Johannes Kepler have courted Buirmann's favour as they anticipate von Aschausen's departure, but so far he remains tight-lipped on his thoughts for the succession.

Buirmann presents himself as an orthodox moderate puritan but some have whispered that he is secretly a radical Inquisitor. They point to his former Explicator, Jean Baptiste Girard, who has swiftly risen to the lofty rank of Protector Ustra, despite his Istvaanian tendencies. Other radical Inquisitors have also prospered under Buirmann's patronage.

Only time will tell whether these rumors are true or are part of a plot to undermine Buirmann's shot at becoming High Protector.

The last member of the Suprema is Johannes Kepler, and I'll post his profile tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BACKGROUND: Inquisitor Alexander Barbero

Tut, tut, tut. This is becoming something of a habit. Yet another day without a post. I'm just mega busy at the moment and I am out and about six nights out of seven this week. Something has to give. It's obviously this blog. On the plus side I have managed to play another Fantasy game against Gary's Dark Elves in our little Nemesis Crown campaign. I'll post the full battle report over the weekend.

First up, as promised, another Inquisitorial profile.

As a fellow member of the Ordo Malleus, Alexander Barbero could be expected to be a firm ally of High Protector Johan von Aschausen. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While the High Protector is a staunch Amalathian, Barbero is a redoubtable Monodominant, a hardliner railing against von Aschausen's pragmatic approach.

Barbero is a relative newcomer to the Skolarii Sector. He was initially invited by Cardinal Astral Exume of the Udaeus Group to investigate the Klandal Coven and following the death of the Inquisitor General of Berin in the attack on Spire Eagle Resplendent, Barbero assumed her position.

Barbero's Monodominant stance matched that of the Cardinal Astral and the Inquisitor soon became the focus of anti-Amalathian feelings. With powerful patrons, both within and without the Inquisition, Barbero quickly rose through the organisation. He is now the most senior Monodominant Inquisitor in the Skolarii Sector and his faction has gained ground while von Aschausen falters.

Barbero is getting ready to make his move.

I'll be back shortly with a glimpse at Franz Buirman of the Ordo Xenos.

Monday, July 23, 2007

BACKGROUND: Inquisitor Johan Gottfried von Aschausen

My girlfriend made it safely back from the apocalypse. Well, the flooding of Gloucestershire anyway. She was tired and bedraggled, but safe. She has some horrific photographs of the river Severn encroaching onto the M5 and the driving rain they travelled through. It just goes to show how fragile our existence really is, and that for all our supposed technological superiority we can be brought to our knees by a bit of water.

So, onto gaming stuff. I had a bit of a tidy of my gaming room yesterday and found an old notebook tucked away in a dusty bag. It contained all my scribblings on the Inquisition in the Skolarii Sector. Most of it had already made it's way onto the lone pilgrim website but there were four descriptions of high ranking Inquisitors which hadn't. Together, they form the Suprema, the supreme council of the Inquisition Skolarii. I always enjoy reading my own writing when it is old and forgotten because it's like someone else wrote it. I keep thinking, did I really write this? Where did I get all these ideas from?

Anyway, I tidied up my notes and I'm going to post each profile up over the next few days. First is the most senior Inquisitor in the entire sector.

The current High Protector Skolarii is dying. He is almost 650 years old. He is the only member of the Inquisition Skolarii who can actually remember the first Chaos invasion of 333.M41. He was an Interrogator back then, and after the war he went on to become a field Inquisitor in his own right. Over the next 300 years he conducted a solid but unspectacular career. He belongs to the Amalathian faction; his old master, Cornwaller, having attended the conclave in person.

Von Aschausen became the de facto head of the Amalathian faction upon the death of it's previous leader, Belacevac. He did not want the position but his fellow Inquisitors insisted that that was the reason why he should take it. Reluctantly, von Aschausen swapped the field for the desk and began his political career within the Inquisition. He rose slowly but steadily up the organisation, from Inquisitor General of Meridium in 642.M41, to Protector Strophious in 811.M41, eventually becoming High Protector in 897.M41.

The High Protector always joked that his success was down to his longevity; he simply outlived the competition. Of course his Ordo Malleus origins stood him in good stead. Ever since the first Chaos invasion the High Protector has always been a Daemonhunter. He was also a stabilising influence upon the Inquisition Skolarii which had been left reeling following numerous shifts in power since the Variance Discords of the 7th century M.41.

In recent years Johan's public appearances have begun to dwindle and rumour has it that his health is failing. The Monodominants are already jockeying for position. Von Aschausen has always opposed change in the Inquisition Skolarii but the hardliners are fighting hard to bring in a raft of changes.

Just as the Inquisition seems to be entering a new period of instability the forces of the enemy are rising. Ork attacks have increased right across the sector, while the court of the Kjalter sector has evacuated to the Skolarii sector in the face of ferocious Chaos cult uprisings. Can Johan rally the Inquisition once more to meet this new threat?

I'll be back tomorrow with a look at the second member of the Suprema, Franz Buirman.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

BATTLE REPORT: Tyranids vs Black Templars

First things first; an apology for no post yesterday. I was working all day, then I hit the shops on the way home, picked up something to eat and then spoke to my girlfriend on the phone for ages (she's down in Gloucestershire at the moment where the worst of the floods are). After that I was so whacked I went straight to bed. And I had so many plans for the weekend...

Anyhoo, my post today will be short and sweet as I have tons do do and a wet girlfriend to pick up from the station. Rather than do all the hard work myself I thought I'd point you in the direction of a battle report with a twist. It is hosted by Blue Table Painting, a miniature painting service based in Utah in the US of A. The twist is that it isn't a text or picture battle report it is a video battle report.

So if you have a decent broadband connection and half an hour of free time I recommend you check it out. The easiest way to view the battle is to start with this thread on Warseer. Otherwise, you can head on over to YouTube and have a rifle through the rest of their vids.

Friday, July 20, 2007

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Death Korps of Krieg Command

Warning! Stunning models ahead.

I am currently ploughing through the Siege of Vraks Imperial Armour 5 book and salivating at the prospect of putting together a Chaos Renegades army, but in the process I have started to appreciate the humble Death Korps of Krieg. This is in no small part due to the most excellent Forgeworld models which have virtually covered the entire army list now. The latest release is the best yet and it could just tip me over the edge and force me to collect these dour Guardsmen.

If you don't believe me, just take a look at the Senior Officer.

You can see the other four models on the Forgeworld website.

I posted a rumour a while back about the possibility of a Codex: Daemons. This post, over on Dakka Dakka, contains a Q and A with Gav Thorpe in which he confirms this rumour. It also paves the way for chapter specific codexes for the traitorous Marines.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

REVIEW: Fulgrim, part two

Fulgrim is the fifth book of the Horus Heresy series and Graham McNeill's second book of the five. It's a monster, coming in at over 500 pages I reckon it is the single largest novel the Black Library have published. It is a meticulous account of the fall of Fulgrim and the Emperor's Children, but many readers will already know exactly what happens, so the key question regarding this book is does it successfully tell you why it happened?

There are so many different strands to the story that you have to feel for the author who has to draw them all together, trying to create a coherent whole from a myriad of different sources. He has to adhere to the facts of the Heresy as already described in numerous other publications including the encounter with the Laer, Lucius and Fabius' character arcs and the intersections with the action described in the other books. McNeill also has to cover the psychic scream which the Emperor's Children develop, their invention of sonic weaponry (which is very silly in the game, never mind a novel) and their desire for new sensations, sexual and otherwise. That's a whole lot of plot.

It only feels stretched towards the end of the book, when the events that McNeill is describing overlap with events told in the previous books. Necessarily he has compressed much of the story otherwise he would have to just reprint great chunks of the earlier novels and this means it would be an unsatisfying book to read on it's own. I also think that some events have been lightly sketched so that later authors can flesh out the plots of later books. If the reader comes to Fulgrim having read the rest of the series he will get much more out of it.

The influences on Fulgrim are clear; Caligula and the fall of the Roman Empire is an obvious one given that we are dealing with the god of pain and pleasure, but the Picture of Dorian Gray was a bit of a surprise.

McNeill describes the fall of Fulgrim himself exceedingly well. He piles on detail after detail of his gradual edging toward spiritual destruction. Some of the previous books have glossed over such details but in my opinion they are vital. As I said earlier, we need to know why he takes the actions he does.

The negatives are minor. I thought the portrayal of Ferrus Manus was problematic. If I were an Iron Hands fan I'd be upset at the fact that he seemed to be a bit of a doofus. For a Primarch he didn't half make some bad decisions, both in his handling of Fulgrim and his tactical choices. Sure, he was a stand up guy but he was as dull as dishwater.

The credibility of the Horus Heresey is really starting to be tested now. Although the fall of the Emperor's Children is well told in itself, when you examine it alongside the other events of the Heresy it all seems a little convenient. The legion was well along the road to damnation before Horus revealed his treachery and we are asked to believe that humanity, which has not encountered the forces of Chaos in it's entire history, discovers it in two different places and succumbs simultaneously.

These really are small niggles, though. Overall this is an excellent addition to the series and digs a lot deeper into the emotional backdrop of the Heresy. This might upset those who like to to read extended battle reports masquerading as novels, but I think it is encouraging for the forthcoming books.

I award Fulgrim an 8 out of 10.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

REVIEW: Fulgrim synopsis

I have decided to break this book review into two posts, partly because the book is so long it warrants a long synopsis and partly so that readers can more easily ignore the synopsis if they don't want to know the plot.

Fulgrim by Graham McNeill. Approximately 500 pages.

Laeran, the Great Crusade, c. 30,000. Ostian Delafour, sculptor, and Serena D'Angelus, painter, attend a recital by Bequa Kynska. Meanwhile, Solomon Demeter leads the 2nd company of the Emperor's Children into battle upon Atoll 19 of Laeran. The Atolls are floating coral cites that ply the skies of the ocean world. The Laer are a tough alien foe with technology matching that of the Imperium. It was recommended that Laeran be ignored because it would be a long and costly endeavour to conquer it. Fulgrim promises to take it in a month.

The Emperor's Children take Atoll 19. Delafour rejects the amorous advances of Kynska. Many more Atolls and underwater cities are captured or destroyed. The apothecary Fabius carries out autopsies of the dead aliens. He discovers that they are all different, perfectly adapted and engineered for their specific role. Fulgrim gives Fabius the opportunity to study the Laer biology with the prospect of being able to enhance the Space Marines own geneseed in a similar way.

The warrior lodge of the Emperor's Children meet in secret. Saul Tarvitz are made full captains. Fulgrim reveals that the majority of the legion will accompany the Iron Hands into the Perdus Anomaly but that a small contingent, led by Lord Commander Eidolon, will turn back to police territories already won.

The Emperor's Children launch a massive attack on the last remaining Atoll. Vairosean's company take heavy losses. Demeter's ship crashes into the ocean. The Laer ferociously defend a temple which contains a mysterious blade. Fulgrim battles into the temple and seizes the weapon.

An Iron Hands fleet hunts*, and is then ambushed by ships of the Diasporex, a conglomeration of pre Age of Strife humans and aliens. Primarch Ferrus Manus announces that the Imperial Fists have been recalled to Terra and that the Iron Hands will be reinforced by the Emperor's Children. Many remembrancers visit the Laer temple and are overcome with strange feelings. Delafour is prevented from going by Kynska. Demeter is tended by Fabius. Manus and Fulgrim meet.

Fulgrim suggests destroying the Diasporex fuel sources. Manus upsets Fulgrim by disparaging art. Eidolon provides Fabius with a secret laboratory aboard the Andronius in return for the promise that he will be the first to be enhanced. Fabius experiments with Space Marine pleasure centres, their muscle and bone properties and their metabolism. He also tries to replicate the Laer's sonic shriek.

D'Angelus begins to add her own blood to her paintings. Demeter and Vairosean spar. Vairosean is receiving a chemical stimulant from Fabius as he anxious to recover his standing following his company's failures in the final battle on Laeran. Demeter refuses to take the chemicals.

The Iron Hands find the Diasporex solar collectors and attack them. Kaesoron visits Tobias, an archivist, to learn more about the sensations he experienced in the Laer temple. Fulgrim starts to hear a voice in his head criticising Manus. Fulgrim is furious with Manus for launching the attack without him. He boards the Diasporex command vessel to claim the final glory. Demeter and the 2nd company take the bridge. Fulgrim argues with his inner voice which disparages both Demeter and Manus.

Eldrad Ulthran, Eldar Farseer, sees visions of blood, death and horror for humanity with only a tiny chance for redemption. The Emperor's Children leave the Iron Hands to explore the Perdus Anomaly. Eidolon, Lucius and Tarvitz rejoin the legion from their mission on Murder with the Luna Wolves and Blood Angels. The lodge meets again. Eidolon gives a biased account of his exploits on Murder which rankles with Tarvitz. Demeter quizzes Tarvitz who upsets Lucius.

Fulgrim explores a deserted paradise world. Aboard the Pride of the Emperor, Fulgrim's flagship, the remembrancers who visited the temple are driven to realise their frenzied visions. Fulgrim is enraged by Delafour who accuses the Primarch of creating art which is too perfect. Lucius requests to be painted by D'Angelus.

Fabius implants the Laer shriek into Eidolon. Fulgrim discovers five more deserted paradise worlds, but leaves them all without claiming them for the Emperor. Vespasian and Demeter share their doubts about the legion. D'Angelus murders another remembrancer to use his body for her painting of Fulgrim.

Eldrad meets Fulgrim on a deserted world. Eldrad warns Fulgrim of Horus' treachery. The will of the Laer sword goads Fulgrim into attacking Eldrad. Fulgrim kills an Eldar Avatar. Eldrad escapes, vowing never to trust humanity again.

An emissary from Terra informs Fulgrim that Magnus has displeased the Emperor and has been ordered back to Terra by the Space Wolves. He also tells Fulgrim that Horus has been seriously wounded and that innocent citizens were killed upon his return to his flagship. Fulgrim is instructed to remind Horus of his duties in the Great Crusade.

D'Angelus encourages Lucius to begin cutting himself. The voice in Fulgrim's head grows stronger. It tells him to side with Horus against the Emperor. Fulgrim meets Horus. With the aid of Erebus of the Word Bearers, Horus turns Fulgrim against the Emperor.

Demeter is fighting Orks upon Deep Orbital DS191. He is supposed to be relieved by Kaesoron and Vairosean. Thet do not respond. Vespasian challenges Fulgrim who murders his commander. Tarvitz rescues Demeter.

Fulgrim tries to turn Manus. The two Primarchs fight. Fulgrim defeats Manus and destroys much of the Iron Hands fleet.

Fulgrim sets off for Isstvan 3 but warp storms envelop his ships and many of his astropaths are killed. Eventually, the loyal Emperor's Children are sent to the planet's surface along with other loyal Marines of the World Eaters and Sons of Horus. They are virus bombed by the traitorous parts of each legion. Demeter, Tarvitz and Lucius survive. They help to fend off ground attacks by the traitor Marines. Demeter unwittingly helps Lucius to kill loyal Marines. Demeter is killed by the turncoat Lucius. Horus sends Fulgrim to Isstvan 5 to build a fortress.

Manus rushes to Isstvan 5. Delafour finishes his statue of the Emperor but is then murdered by Fulgrim. Lucius goes under Fabius' knife. D'Angelus finds the body of Delafour and commits suicide. Kynska stages a riotous concert for the Emperor's Children aboard the Pride of the Emperor. It's audience is overcome by sensations and begin to riot. Some of the instruments are seized and used as sonic weapons. Daemons materialise. The Astartes and remembrancers are engulfed in a maelstrom of death and debauchery.

The Iron Hands meet with the Raven Guard and Salamanders. They attack Isstvan 5 without waiting for the supporting legions. The fighting is bloody but the loyalists seem to be winning. The Night Lords, Word Bearers, Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors turn traitor and attack the loyalists who are massacred.

Fulgrim and Manus fight. Fulgrim kills Manus. Fulgrim immediately regrets his actions. In his grief he allows the daemon which was held within the Laer sword, and has been whispering in his head, to possess him.

Fulgrim presents the head of Manus to Horus. Horus makes the daemon promise to keep its possession of Fulgrim secret.

The Alpha Legion are sent to delay the Space Wolves and White Scars. The Night Lords are despatched to the Eastern Fringes to confront loyalist forge worlds. The Iron Warriors are to fight part of the Imperial Fists legion. The Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, Deathguard, Word Bearers and World Eaters make for Terra to attack the Emperor.

*Edit for accuracy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Proper Baneblade pics, Orks confirmed and the daemons are coming!

Rumours on that thar t'intarweb say that Games Workshop are planning a 40k Daemon codex for 2008. This fits with the earlier rumours which state that the new Codex Chaos Space Marines, due in September, will only have basic rules for generic daemons. Many of the rumours go on to say that the codex will cover both 40k and Warhammer. This is very unlikely in my opinion. It is far more likely that it will allow you to field all daemon armies (mmm, daemonic heavy support) and/or traitor guardsmen and Lost and the Damned style models.

Proper pictures of the new plastic Baneblades have emerged. This photo was taken from the US edition of White Dwarf magazine and appears in this thread on Warseer.

I'm really hoping to bag one or two of these bad boys at Games Day this year.

You might also want to have a poke around on this thread. Make a cup of tea first because there is a lot of information on the schedule itself. Stand-outs obviously include all the big boxed sets for the Apocalypse expansion and the confirmed dates for the Chaos and Ork codexes. It's going to be a green Christmas.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I had a monster hangover yesterday after a big drinking session on Saturday night. Never mix the grape and grain! So I really didn't fancy painting anything but I had just enough energy to flock my Chaos bases. I hadn't done this for a while so I had a lot to do; the Lord, Warhounds, Marauder horse, Marauder infantry and the movement trays.

As you can see in the photo, it really does make a massive difference to the look of an army. If you don't already add flock to your bases I'd recommend it. You get a lot out of it for not a lot of effort.

I use two types of materials, static grass and snow flock. Both are added with dabs of watered down PVA glue.

On the left you can see the final model I need to paint for the army - a Knight. I'm going to try and use the foundation paints to replicate the red of my other knights as this is a notoriously tricky colour to paint over black.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Game two analysis, part two

The comments have kept rolling in following the battle report so I thought I'd go through them before our next game. The first is from Zeb on the Warhammer Forum.

It seems like your friend is playing De the way you play Khorne... Except for the 8 levels of magic.

As others stated, he needs to slow down. Also to concentrate fire with his RBT's.

One thing that seems to have been wrong is that the lvl 4 can't be in a chariot, and that the four furies (in the pic they seem to be four) shouldn't have caused the Dark Riders to auto flee, since they still have Unit Strength 6 vs the Furies US 4 (or possibly 5).
Which also brings me to wonder about the first round of that combat, he did no wounds and you did one = a draw. But does he play Dark Riders without musician???! He needs to include that, just for the sake of rallying easier.

Good Luck, I know it takes time to learn the rules, I'm still learning 20 later...!

How come the lvl 4 can't be in the chariot? Is it something specific to DE?

As for the furies, there were 8 in the starting unit and they killed 1 dark rider for no casualties. That meant a draw. In the second round I think I killed another dark rider for no losses. That meant US 8 vs 6 and the Dark Riders auto fled. The furies pursued but didn't catch them and then got peppered by fire from the repeater bolt throwers and crossbows which took them down to four models.

I'll have to check if there was a musician in the unit - if not I'll recommend he includes one.

AndyP posts a lot of battle and campaign reports on the Warhammer forum. He has some strong views on the game and I am a fan because he plays warrior heavy Chaos lists. He wrote:

Characters can only ride in chariots if the unit entry in the army book (the bit with all the point costs) specifically allows them to ride in one. Compare the entries for the highborn and high sorceress. Neither of the DE sorceresses can ride in chariots.

Other than that, I like the pictures with arrows - it's very clear what's going on.

Regarding your friend's dismay with the dark elves. I would encourage him to keep at it - it takes a lot of practise to compete with DE. He shouldn't expect to win straight away. I would advise against making radical changes to the list. Keep practising with similar lists before trying something new - otherwise you're back to square one.

The rules queries regarding the chariots were a new one on me and I didn't even think to check with Gary during our game. I'll e-mail him these comments so he can make the relevant changes for our next game.

I think Andyp's thoughts on the Dark Elf army list are spot on. It's difficult to get to grips with a new game system, especially if you are playing an army that fights in a way that is outside your comfort zone. Gary's attempted solutions have been to put successively harder models on the board but these have all failed because fundamentally the Dark Elf army is not supposed to be played that way, and certainly not against Chaos. Whatever model Gary plays I can pick a harder version in my list. No, what he needs to do is press his own advantages which are manoeuvrability, magic and shooting while avoiding his weakness which is combat.

Chopping and changing the lists is not helping because he has no time to get used to how each unit works. My own experience has shown me that in Warhammer the way the army works as a whole is more important than how powerful each individual unit is, and that deployment is crucial. I think it would be more beneficial for Gary to concentrate on his tactics and deployment than tweaking his army list.

There was also an actual comment on the lone pilgrim blog itself. Glory be!

To Gary,

The Dark Elves are squishy. They should NOT be in combat earlier than turn 3. Turn 4 better. He needs to make you come to him (in the center) and then pounce your flanks.

He tends to throw the Dark Elves immediately forward, which really comes as a surprise..

The Dark Riders fled off the field? Perhaps musicians are needed specially since now a fast cav can MOVE after it rallies he can be just 10 inches away from the knights and since you have to charge him, he flees, rallies and then moves back to where he is denying you a march.

the Dark Riders that got charged by the hounds should never have been charged in the first placed.. Since either a) the riders have longer range. (14 inches for the hounds right?) and b) he could flee. He could have creeped the Dark Riders a bit first to ensure that he was in range but the hounds weren't.

Tag teaming units against one enemy is going to be needed.

And remember Chaos is a Large Hammer, the Dark elves are a Scalpel. The DE is a finesse army.

Good luck and good hunting.

btw did you make your fear/terror checks when you charged the hydra? if you pursued into it, did you make your checks

Looking at the last pic it looks like the Hydra went out alone. that's bad.. Treat it as a slower chariot .. One hitting a full unit in front cant win. It needs support. 2 chariots hitting at the same time though.. is another matter. :)

Hey archeteuthis,

We did make the relevant fear/terror tests - we tested at the start of my third turn because the hydra was within 6" of the chosen (with the lord) and chariot. Then we tested when both units charged.

I don't think I need to test when the hydra is fleeing as it's not quite so scary when it has it's tail between its legs.

Don't forget that my lord (on fear causing mount) was in the chosen so I had 9 LD with the re-roll for being Chaos Undivided.

Thanks for all the tactical insights, everyone. I'm passing them all on to Gary and I'm sure he'll put them into practice soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I've really been pushing myself to get the last models in my Warhammer Chaos army complete in time for our Nemesis Crown campaign. I had already painted the second warhound unit and Marauder horse and I now had to tackle the 16 man Marauder infantry unit. Gulp.

The first thing I had to do was sort out the movement trays for my embiggened army. You may have noticed I used unpainted and incorrectly sized bases in some of my earlier battle reports. The horror!

A lot of cutting and hacking later and I had completed three trays. I added some plasti-card underneath the bases to hold everything together then I glued sand to the edges. I undercoated everything black then painted Graveyard Earth over everything. Here is how they looked at that stage.

I then drybrushed Codex Grey over the textured bits followed by Fortress Grey. Another coat of Graveyard Earth tidied up the interiors. Here is what I ended up with.

The bases are now adequate for the tabletop but still need some love to finish them completely. I plan to add some static grass and snow flock shortly.

I had procrastinated enough. Now I had to tackle the 16 man unit. I had initially decided to paint them in five man batches and had painted all the metallics on the command models and a couple of others. I change tack when I found that I'd be able to have a couple of extended painting sessions. I decided to paint them all at once.

My first job was to get all the models up to the same level so I broke out the metallic paints. A couple of hours later I applied the washes and had a break. My next session took another couple of hours to get the flesh basecoat on. I used the Tallarn foundation paint and then washed it with a Flesh Wash. It's a little dark and messy but it'll do to get the models onto the battlefield.

After another break I then tackled the next big surfaces; the cloth. I experimented with the foundation paints again, this time with Knarloc Green. It's a lovely, vibrant colour and went straight over the black in one coat. I washed this down with an Ork Wash. Like the skin I wouldn't consider the cloth anywhere near complete but it will enable me to get the models into the game.

Here are the fruits of my labours so far.

Below is a close up. You can see how rough the models are in this photo.

Other areas that need some paint are the wood on the weapons, the ropes and skulls, the boots and the hair. I'll try and get that done before my next game.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 13, 2007

NEWS AND RUMOURS: So long, and thanks for all the Dakka

While I've been busying myself with the Nemesis Crown campaign there have been big things happening in the wider gaming community.The Dakka Dakka website seemed to be down for a while, so imagine my surprise when I finally got onto the website only to be greeted with this:

And you are charged to pass the lamp of knowledge onto those who follow after…

Ten years. It's been ten years since I first launched www.DakkaDakka.com as a site initially dedicated to simply tracking the league activities of a small group of 40k players in New England. Over that time, it has grown into something much bigger. It is now a worldwide, online community of miniature gamers that share their ideas and opinions, and a place where small businesses involved in the hobby can share their new business ventures with the gaming community.

I'm very proud to have been involved with Dakka and am thrilled with the opportunities it has provided. Through the Dakka fan community I've been able to see elements of the miniature gaming hobby and industry from a wide variety of angles that I'd otherwise never have experienced. Dakka Dakka has always been a labor of love, and it is nice to see that effort appreciated by fans and miniature gaming industry leaders alike.

Over those 10 years my life has also changed, in ways even more amazing than the growth of Dakka. I'm now a father of two young girls and I find that being a parent is really where I'd like to focus most of my free time. I just can't put the kind of time into Dakka that it deservers, or that you the Dakka community, deserve.

So, after much soul searching, I've decided that it is time for me to pass Dakka Dakka on to someone else who can continue the community and hopefully take it to the next level, whatever that level is.

I want to pass the site onto an individual, group, company or organization that is serious about the endeavor. In an effort to help ensure this, I'm going to put Dakka Dakka up for auction on E-bay. I'm not sure what the actual true 'value' of the DakkaDakka.com web site is, but having to put up at least some money to acquire it will hopefully ensure that the new owner(s) will have thought through their plans to keep it running and growing.

The auction will include the site, its current content, the URL (www.DakkaDakka.com), the Dakka Dakka burst Trademark, etc. If you'd like details on Dakka's traffic, Google Adsense revenue, our advertising, operating costs, monthly traffic, etc. please e-mail me at webmaster@dakkadakka.com and I'll send you the details.

The auction will begin at 9pm EST on Tuesday July 24th, 2007 and run on Ebay for 7 days. Thank you again to all the Dakka Dakka fans who've supported us over the years and frequented the site. Special thanks to our dedicated moderators.

Good Luck & Happy Gaming, Russ Wakelin Webmaster DakkaDakka.com 1997-2007

Two things grab me about this.

1. What will happen to the website and it's community? I think Dakka Dakka offers something unique in terms of it's gaming philosophy as it caters for the more hardcore tournament players. As a result its 'You Make the Call' rules queries forum was excellent. If I ever wanted a proper answer to a rules query, Dakka was the place I'd go. There was a certain bluntness to many of the poster's attitudes but once you got used to this there was actually much good advice, and a little humour, in the forums.
2. Selling a fan website on e-bay? I'm not sure I agree with Russ' belief that the highest bidder will have the greatest desire to run the site - what about bored little rich kids who fancy a laugh? In any case, anything that Russ gets he deserves for all the hard work he has put in over the years, but just what will the site sell for? I'll be watching the auction with some interest to find out.

Whatever happens in the future, I think that Dakka Dakka has declined in relevance over the past couple of years. I got into it relatively late but there were still good posters there who could stimulate discussion - Yakface of course is still prominent there, but JT was excellent on Tau tactics, HBMC for IG and even Mauleed, who polarised opinion. Now Mauleed seems to have left 40k behind, JT mysteriously disappeared and HBMC became increasingly cynical.

So perhaps its for the best. Maybe it will just fade away to be obscured by newer brighter lights, or maybe it will be reborn and head in a new direction. Who knows? We'll just have to watch that e-bay auction and wait...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Tactical analysis game 2

I posted our second battle report up on The Warhammer Forum and it has drawn more responses. The first highlights a quirk in our army lists.

Lovely report! Just as the other!

Just one thing; What is it about you and your friend bringing four dispel scrolls? That's alot! I've never attended a tourny with more than two.

Well, that's a funny thing. My intention with the Chaos army was to go magic light and pick a low level caster or two just to hold up the enemy magic. As you can tell from my list it is quite hero heavy and I plan to drop one of the sorcerers when I add another unit. I guess I just was afraid of the Dark Elf magical barrage (these are my first games at 2000 points).

Gary has played more aggressive lists than I expected and has sometimes played very little or no magic. That has made my magic seem quite good and Gary is now afraid of it (especially steed of shadows). I was somewhat surprised to see four scrolls in his list, though.

Also, we're both rookie players so expect to see some weird stuff in our lists, tactics and games.

If your warriors are charging into a combat they want to, on turn two, he(the DE player) is doing something wrong. With that army, he should have been march blocking you, and shooting/magic you to death. Or at least until he could easily defeat the scattered remnants. Charging the warriors on turn two is not needed, and he would have been much better of letting you move forward at a slow speed and then engaging later when it was to his advantage.

Sounds like he need to slow down a little and not just rush into combat. DE doesn't work like that. Major Combats shouldn't start until turn 3 at the earliest really.

These are comments that were echoed after game one. I had real trouble in my early games versus the Dark Elf dark riders as they got around my flanks and march blocked me. I sat down with the Chaos army book and had a good think about my options. I added the furies, the banner of wrath, the book of secrets (to utilise steed of shadows) and totally changed my deployment style. I added speed, shooting and more supporting units. I have never looked back since and Gary has never managed to come to terms with my army.

Some recommendations for Gary.

Take the sorceresses out of the chariots. If the chariots are stupid, the mages can't cast. This is very bad if he's loading up on magic! Try mounting some of them on dark steeds, or maybe a pegasus. You'll be able to march block, and get in range faster to use your magic.

I'd make the executioner unit smaller (12-15) and the spears bigger (20). He might also want a second unit of 10 crossbows or 5 dark riders. The executioners shouldn't be running up and hitting things in the face, they should be getting into the flanks.

I noticed in both reports your hydra kept engaging Chaos to the front. That's a bad place for him. Try getting him to attack the flanks of the enemy. You'll cancel his rank bonus, and your flank will offset his outnumber. The best thing is to use him with the spearmen, so the spears hit the front, and the hydra hits the flank. If the enemy turns to face your hydra then run your spears into his flank.

Dark Elves v. Chaos is an uphill battle. Take advantage of your magic and shooting early on. and don't engage the enemy until you've thinned out their numbers a bit. Keep trying!

In our second game I think Gary did a good job of stripping my supporting units away (like the marauder horse and the war hounds) but he didn't manage to get in around the sides of my army to lever the flank charges. I was trying to encourage him to combi-charge my units rather than hope that one hard unit would do it alone.

I likened it to the days when we used to play 2nd edition 40k. Gary generally based his army around a supertough Chaos lord who could beat anyone on the board in single combat. My plan was to either slam two powerful heroes into him and take him down or use my superior mobility to avoid him and then beat up on the rest of his army. Just throwing my hardest fighter into combat with the lord wasn't enough because even he wasn't tough enough to take the lord out.

The Dark Elves are the same in that they just won't be able to stand up to my Chaos units one for one. They have to use more guile and either gang up on my units or avoid them and fight only a portion of my army.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't suit Gary's playstyle. In 40k he plays Chaos with a Khorne slant, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and sometimes Necrons. In all those armies there are models that can pelt full tilt across the board and take on just about anything when they get to the enemy. I tend to favour the tricksy armies like Tau, IG and Daemonhunters who require more finesse because they don't have such big hitters.

Our roles have been reversed in Warhammer and I seem to have adapted quicker. All it will take is one or two battles where Gary works out the tactics and we'll be back on an equal footing again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Battle of Gnarled Oak Grove

This was our second game of the campaign. The first was for the Solsister river and was won comprehensively by my horde of Chaos. That meant I captured location three and could now launch an attack on location two: Gnarled Oak Grove.

I had to tweak my list a little as some readers pointed out that I had illegal wargear on my Lord (he had two pieces of magical armour). So I dropped the enchanted shield for a mundane one and lost the sword of might. This left me enough points for a berzerker sword. I gave the enchanted shield to my exalted and dropped a level two sorcerer to a level one. With the spare points I bought throwing axes for the marauder horse. I now had a shooting phase. Who-hoo!

Gary had made rather more substantial changes following his mauling in our last game. He went out and bought two chariots. Eeek! He also dropped the highborn in favour of a level four sorceress. Oh-oh.

This would be a very different game.

My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Armour of Damnation, Berzerker Sword, Gaze of the Gods, shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, Enchanted Shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • 12 Chosen Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command, Warbanner
  • 5 Marauder Horse, musician, flails, throwing axes
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Level 4 sorceress with extra power dice (Dark Hand of Death spell, Steal Soul, Doom and Darkness, Drain Life) in chariot
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell, Doom and Darkness)
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls (Wind of Death, Drain Life) in chariot
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
  • Hydra
Terrain and Deployment
Gary hadn't changed the terrain since our last game so we decided to roll a scatter die and move each piece 2d6 inches in each direction. I won the choice of deployment zone and picked the side with the rocky columns in it. This meant the wood (Gnarled Oak Grove?) was on the other side of the table but a bit further forward than the last game. I placed my units so that I could envelop the left flank and sweep my Knights around behind this wood to get at the pointy-ears rear.

Gary put his hardest hitting stuff near the middle, with a unit of Dark Riders on each flank. He now had more units so he could place his last chariot opposite my knights. Here is how it looked.

The game
I won first turn thanks to the +1 bonus for having the smaller army. I flew the Furies over to the extreme right, trying to tuck them in behind the hill. Everything in the centre marched forward. On my left I tried to be clever by putting the Warhounds in front of my knights to deflect the chariot away. The Dark Elves dispelled all but one of my magic spells without breaking sweat. A dark hand of death spell killed two spearelves.

I had miscalculated with the furies and the dark riders managed to charge them. Gary rolled appallingly and failed to kill a single daemon. I killed an elf in return and the rest of the unit held. The elf shooting wiped out both my first warhound unit and marauders entirely. Suddenly, my centre looked mighty vulnerable.

On my left, the chariot succumbed to stupidity and the sorceress hung on for dear life. The dark riders warily moved forward. The dark elf magic was shut down with the use of two of my dispel scrolls.

The table looked like this at the end of turn 1.

My furies pulled off an unlikely win against the dark riders on the right. The three survivors fled due to fear and the furies pursued but failed to catch them. I marched the rest of my warriors up the centre again. I was now close to charge range for the speedy elf units. Again, my magic was shut down with casual insouciance.

I charged the dark riders on the left with my warhounds. The riders held, confident in their prowess, but they obviously had the same rubber lances as their sister unit and only one casualty was caused on each side. Both units remained in place.

The dark elves began their turn positively by charging with the executioners against my regular warrior unit. I took the charge. The hydra marched up to flame the chosen warriors to no effect. On my right, the dark riders failed to rally and headed for the board edge. The repeater crossbows and a repeater bolt thrower killed four furies. The remaining bolt thrower missed my chariot.

On the left the sorceress in the chariot cast drain life. I let the spell through as I was desperate for the warhounds to be killed so that my knights could see some action. It was risky because I could potentially lose a knight or two. In the end it worked perfectly for me; all the hounds died while the knights all survived. I used my final dispel scrolls to hold the dark elf magic.

All eyes were now on the big scrap in the centre between the warriors and executioners. I issued a challenge with my exalted. The champion answered it and could possibly have killed my hero with a killing blow. He didn't, and my exalted caused two wounds. I saved the single wound the other executioners caused and caused two with my warriors. To add insult to injury, both of our magic users were facing each other. The sorceress rolled a 1 to hit while my sorcerer caused a wound on her. I had won the combat handily and the executioners broke. I rolled a 12 in my pursuit and ran the unit down. Ouch.

It was now my turn and I was in a very strong position to deliver the knockout blow. I charged the victorious warriors into the spearelves, the chosen warriors and chariot into the hydra, the furies into a bolt thrower and the knights into the dark riders. Everything worked in my favour.

The furies killed a crewman who broke. The repeater crossbows stayed, but the sorceress was panicked into fleeing off the board! Sigurt and the chosen took three wounds off the hydra and my chariot took off two wounds - the beast turned to run but was hacked to pieces by both units. My warriors barrelled into the spearelves and forced them off the battlefield. Finally, the dark riders fled but my knights just managed to catch them and run them down.

I caused so much carnage in just this one turn that the dark elf army was too shattered to carry on.

  • Chaos - Thaer the exalted and the warriors who met the charge of the executioners and then went on to defeat the spearelves.
  • Dark elves - repeater crossbows who wiped out the marauders in one turn of shooting.
  • Another bad defeat for the dark elves which left Gary distraught again. He had completely overhauled his list and added the chariots and so seemed optimistic. That feeling continued in the first two turns as the dark elf magic battered my chaos army and I had to use all four dispel scrolls. My attacks up each flank had faltered and my supporting units were killed in the centre. Obviously, the turning point was the defeat of the executioners. My exalted was the difference, with the elf lack of ranks hindering them too. The sorceress running off the board was the final kick in the teeth for Gary. He just doesn't know which way to go from here and was even talking about scrapping the entire army and getting something else.
  • On my own side of the table, it was business as usual for my Chaos Horde. Again I deployed in an effort to envelop one flank while largely refusing the right. I thought Gary's army was more of a threat in this game and was closer to what I expected to play against. My success lies in the fact that I am bringing my warriors into combat by turn 2 or 3 and so far nothing has been able to stand before them. I am sure that if Gary perseveres he will learn how to counter in time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

REVIEW: Mighty Empires

Mighty Empires is Games Workshop's latest campaign supplement for Warhamer Fantasy Battle. It costs £30. The box is minimalist indeed; it contains just six chunky sprues and a rules booklet. Each sprue holds eight tiles, making for 48 in total. They come in several varieties including mountains, rivers, forests, farmland and others. They are bigger than I expected at around 2.5" each. The tiles are double sided and are constructed with interlocking lugs, so that maps can be built and taken apart easily. Making the map itself is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with this set, regardless of playing games with it.

Each sprue also contains several markers. There are 72 pennant banners, 24 castle bits, 12 city bits and 12 mine bits. These are pegged into slots on the tiles so the map could conceivably be hung vertically on a wall.

All the bits come unpainted and would really benefit from a lick of paint. The booklet shows some suggested paint schemes which look quite tasty.

The booklet is somewhat disappointing. It looks promisingly thick but that is only because it is printed in several languages. The English version is only 5 pages long. Older gamers will go misty eyed at the memory of the original Mighty Empires game but most will agree that the campaign rules were a game in themselves and overshadowed the battles that they were supposed to support. At least this shorter version revolves around the battles. The basic idea is that you play games to gather empire points. These points can then be spent to capture tiles, build cities and expand and improve the empire. Events keep the players on their toes.

As I said, the rules are very short and simple but brevity is the soul of wit, so they say, and I'm willing to try them out before condemning them. Games Workshop have stated they want players to use Mighty Empires as a starting point for developing their own campaign rules. I'd like to give this a shot using my Chaos Horde against Gary's Dark Elves once I get the tiles painted. Hmm, which scheme to go for - Naggaroth or Norsca?

I give Mighty Empires a provisional 7 out of 10. I may revisit this score when I have painted the pieces and used the rules in a campaign.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Game one analysis

I posted a version of this battle report on the Warhammer Forum and it drew a few responses. I've reproduced some of them here. The first batch are some suggestions for Gary's Dark Elves. I've sent them on to him.

The dark elf player needs to bait the chaos more with dark riders and never flee from flyers unless your absolutely certain that he will not reach ( 20 inches is a pain).

More units to combine themselves to attack the brute force of the enemy.

An executioner unit against chaos warriors is not good. Supporting it with a dark rider charge to the flank will turn the tables.

Bad luck on the chariot misses though. Target priority would make you go after the hounds (take away the fast units for the dark riders to work their magic) and shoot up the warriors. Splitting up the bolt throwers (or making them be deployed LAST) allows one to see the fire lanes and forces one to choose which bolt thrower to silence.

Don't let him give up hope. The Dark elves need skill and patience and yes expect to have a lot of losses before you get it right.

Encouraging words.

Gary made a couple of mistakes and with DE's it is costly. I think he will have learned a few lessons.

DE magic is reliable and they should have at least 2 level 2's using death. His army has no punch he needs some Cold One Chariots as they are a steal at 95 points and some harpies because they do exactly what it says the tin.

cheers rob

he should look at www.druchii.net and get some help

I have had a quick skim of the website mentioned above and there look to be some solid ideas there.

When I played Dark Elves, I had a couple of rules that I always abode by.

Never try to be in combat before turn 4. While this rule wasn't always strict, you see how Gary's turn one charge turned out? Use shooting and magic to remove support units, then envelope and engage in later turns. Most armies I play benefit from this strategy.

Targeting priority. I would not have shot at that chariot with hounds/marauders/furies on the board. Expensive Chaos units can still take a panic check when a 30 point hound unit is wiped out.

Crafty Deployment. Deploy fast units first that can redeploy and shooters first, then load a flank with combat units.

Support. Never almost ever charge alone. Minimally infantry should always charge with chariot/hydra/ADDITIONAL character support.

Good basic advice, I think.

Regarding Gary's prospects on a rematch:

I'd say your armies match up pretty well, though I think yours has a slight advantage.

Here's my advice to Gary:
1) Don't receive charges from the chaos infantry. You have enough shooting to make them come toward you. Your elf infantry have 2" of charge reach on them. With the banner of murder, you've got even more. You still might lose some fights charging executioners into chosen, but you'll do better than the other way 'round.
2) Don't charge hounds unless they are right in front of something you actually want to charge and not angled such that your pursuit will carry you off funny. Hounds can't fight. Shoot them or ignore them, but don't charge them.
3) Play so that your bolt throwers get to shoot at the Chosen Knights. That's pretty much the only thing in your list that will deal with them, and boy, will they.
4) Since Chaos lacks shooting, get your Dark Riders out there to bait and flee the hard hitting stuff. should make it so you don't have to receive those nasty charges.
5) If you can change your list, take either more magic or less magic. 2 level 2s doesn't get that much done; 1 lvl 1 caddy is a much cheaper low magic.

With a little practice and some better feel for his more maneuverable army, Gary should be able to give you some better games that you'll both enjoy more.

More good advice. This poster also pointed out a rules error in our game.

Great batrep! Particularly like the pictures and the arrows and stuff.

In fact, one of the pictures makes one of those quirky little rules mistakes more obvious. I'm not trying to be mean, I just want to help you guys with the rules. This one went against Gary, so maybe that will give him some hope.

In Gary's turn 1, his executioners charge the warhounds, who flee. Even with his 6 on the banner of murder, they end up just shy of the Chosen warriors. The executioners should then move a failed charge move which is half the distance they could have covered for a charge. Your pictures pretty clearly have them moving the whole distance. Embarrassed

Had they moved a proper failed charge, they would have either a) been entirely out of range of the counter-charge by your chosen warriors the next turn or at least b) sufficiently far away that when they fled they would have escaped with the possibility of rallying. This could have made quite a different in the early progress of the game.

Ooops! All the more annoying because we had played the rule correctly in other battles. We probably just got too excited by the banner of murder. It wasn't our only mistake.

Unfortunately you have two pieces of magic armor on your Lord; you'll have to drop one. Armor of Damnation is too sweet, so just swap the enchanted shield out for a regular one.

Ooops again! I'm switching his wargear around for our next game.

Our battle report also got some comments on the blog itself. Check them out on the post below.

Let's see if Gary can turn things around in the second game of the campaign.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Clash at Solsister valley

The clash at Solsister valley was our first game of the Nemesis campaign. The outcome of this game would determine which player won location three, the Solsister river.

Armies 2000points
My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Armour of Damnation, Sword of Might, Gaze of the Gods, Enchanted Shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur, Lvl 2 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Unseen Lurker, Crown of Taidron spells)
  • Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • 12 Chosen Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command, Warbanner
  • 5 Marauder Horse, musician, flails
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Highborn on Cold One, Executioners axe, 1+ save
  • Noble, Strength six sword
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
  • Hydra
Terrain and deployment
The Dark Elves won the choice of table edge and placed the first unit, his repeater bolt throwers right in the middle of his deployment zone. I put down both warhound units, the chariot and marauder horse in my centre, largely ignoring the Dark Elf deployment. Only when I could see where his units of dark riders, the executioners and his hydra were did I decide whether to envelop the right or left flank.

I initially favoured my right, because the left had a wood in the Dark Elf deployment zone but Gary had deployed both units of dark riders on this flank. I wanted to restrict their mobility so I went for the left flank. I put both warrior units and the furies here. My last deployment was the knights. Normally I would put them on the flank of the warriors and completely refuse the opposite flank, but I was worried about how congested things would get on the left and that wood could hamper my attack. After some deliberation I put them on the extreme right. This meant they were unsupported but I felt confident they could handle the spearelves and repeater crossbows that faced them.

The dark elves had the highborn on my left flank, both sorceress' in the executioners unit and the noble in the spearelf unit. I had Sigurt, my lord, in the chosen warriors along with Angur, while the other sorcerer and Thaer were added to the regular warriors.

Here's how the board looked.

Turn 1
I won first turn. There wasn't much subtlety, as you would expect from a Chaos general, as I pushed my units down the dark elves throat. Only my furies hung back on my left to respond to sneaky dark elf manoeuvres. My magic did nothing.

The dark elf response was to charge with the executioners. My warhounds fled. Gary hoped to trigger a collapse of the centre of my army but I had ensured the lord was in a good position to contribute his 9 leadership. None of my units panicked. The executioners fell just short of the chosen warriors containing my lord (even though the banner of murder scored added six inches). The dark riders repositioned for later charges and baits. Both repeater bolt throwers shot at and missed the chariot. The spearelves shuffled back, and turned to face my chosen knights. The repeater crossbows killed four marauder horsemen. I used two dispel scrolls to shut down the elf magic phase.

Here's how the action looked at the end of the first turn.

Turn 2
My chosen warriors, containing Sigurt, and the chariot charged the executioners. They tried to flee but were easily caught. That meant I had also killed both elf magic users. My furies charged the dark riders in front of the wood who also fled. The daemons caught the cavalry and killed them. I flew Thaer out of the warrior unit and behind the highborn and last dark riders. On the right, my chosen knights slammed into the spearelves who lost the combat spectacularly and were overrun. This was a disastrous turn for the pointy-ears as they lost units all over the battlefield. The one ray of light for them was the repeater crossbows who saw off a whole warhound unit by standing and shooting then beat the last marauder in combat without taking a casualty.

The dark elves were down but not entirely out. Then Gary flunked the stupidity test for his highborn. Now he really was in all sorts of trouble. Instead of getting a flank charge into my warriors (with the sorcerer Boda in a vulnerable position) he just stumbled forward. The hydra charged my chosen warriors. It caused one kill while I cut down both handlers. The enraged beast became unbreakable as it stood over the broken bodies of it's masters. The last unit of dark riders pushed up my left flank, away from Thaer, and turned to shoot at the furies but they only killed one of the flyers. The repeater bolt throwers decided to hit something this turn and took three wounds from my chariot.

This is a snapshot from the end of the second turn.

Turn 3
I was now in a very comfortable position. The chosen knights moved up behind the repeater crossbows (I think we forgot to use their overrun in the previous turn). My furies charged the second unit of dark riders who fled off the board. Sigurt repositioned himself in the chosen warriors so he could lop some heads of the hydra. My regular warriors charged into the beast too. Thaer flew over the wood to threaten the repeater bolt throwers. The chariot moved up so it could charge next turn, if it survived.

The bolt throwers both missed the chariot, and the crossbows did nothing either. The dark elf general turned his cold one to face the rear of my warriors who were hacking into the hydra. In the ongoing combat the hydra finally went down under Sigurt's blows.

The battlefield looked like this at the end of turn 3.

Turn 4
My chariot charged one bolt thrower while my exalted charged the other. All the crew were butchered. My chosen charged the crossbows and trampled them into the dirt. Now came the coup de grace. My chosen warriors reformed to face the highborn. Angur cast unseen lurker on the unit and they charged into the dark elf general. The two generals faced off in single combat. Sigurt went first and hit with every attack. He then wounded with every blow. The highborn was smashed out of the saddle and killed.

The game ended with a Chaos massacre.

  • Chaos - chosen warriors (including Sigurt) for seeing off the executioners, the hydra and the highborn
  • Dark elves - repeater crossbows for killing the warhounds and marauder horse
  • From the Chaos side of the board this game was as close to perfect as I'll ever see. I lost about 200 points of my army for the total destruction of the dark elf army. From deployment to winning first turn to the dice rolls, everything went right for me. The dark elves were the complete opposite when their deployment didn't work and their dice rolls were poor.
  • I had expected to face a magical barrage in this, my first 2000 point game, with the dark elves able to choose a level four sorceress, but Gary chose a fighty leader instead. His own magic was reduced to just two scroll caddies.
  • I have never seen Gary so despondent after a game. He is really at a loss as to how to win a game against my Chaos army. I think his list has the edge in mobility, shooting, magic and ranked units if he picks the right list and uses it cleverly, but my list has more brute force. Gary is almost at the point of giving up on them altogether. If anyone has any ideas let me know and I will pass them on to him.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

GENERAL: Excuses, excuses...

Many apologies for my missing post yesterday.

I had planned to write up the first game for the Nemesis Crown campaign straight after work on Friday but I got a better offer. The Royal Shakespeare Company are in Newcastle at the moment and Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films) is starring in two plays, one of which I saw during the week. With no notice I got the chance to have a cup of tea and a chat with him before the second play. Obviously, I instantly forgot about my blogging responsibilities and subsequently lost my small posting window between work and seeing the second play. I got back home after midnight because there was a post-show discussion straight after the play. It's not often you get to shoot the breeze with an Oscar nominated actor so I stayed for that, too. He's a great guy, very warm and funny, so it was well worth it.

I was due to work on Saturday so I couldn't even put in a midnight shift and type up the battle report. I basically got my head down for a few hours then went in to do a full day's work. I'm home now and thus this post!

I called in to my local Games Workshop store on the way back and picked up a copy of Mighty Empires. Once I've had a good rake through the box I'll post up a review for this blog. While I was there I paid for my Games Day ticket. I'm hoping I can pick up some Forgeworld stuff when I'm there in September, as well as some Chaos Space Marine goodies and possibly some early Apocalypse releases (like the Baneblade). It's just as well I have built up a good war chest with my New Model Fund!

Anyway, normal service will be resumed tomorrow when I really will post the campaign battle report.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Nemesis Crown - Introduction

This is the first post in a whole series which will cover the Warhammer campaign Gary and I are playing against the backdrop of the Nemesis campaign. He will be using his Dark Elves while I will be fielding my Horde of Chaos. The campaign will be played using the simple location rules I posted a while back, with 2000 points armies.

We'll be using the time limit special rule with our campaign ending on 6th August 2007. There are only 6 weeks or so to play, we decided to stick with the basic five locations. The games are set in the Barren Hills and we've named the locations thus.
  1. The ruins of Tor Thana
  2. Gnarled oak grove
  3. Solsister river
  4. Dun hills
  5. Marchens Henge
The Dark Elves are camped out near Tor Thana so their base is location one. My Chaos horde is based at Marchens Henge which is location five. If you check out this map you will notice that the intervening terrain features match the ones above. It's almost like I did that on purpose!

Our first battle will be near the Solsister river in location three. I'll post the first battle report tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

REVIEW: UK White Dwarf issue 331

This issue comes with two free Mighty Empire tiles. They are bigger than I imagined and come with some 'special' markers representing a Dwarf brewery, a Wizard's tower and an Ork idol. These freebies fit Games Workshop's strategy with White Dwarf in their effort to make it an essential purchase.

As you might expect, a large portion of the mag (12 pages) is given over to promoting Mighty Empires. The first part of the article looks at the box contents and ways to paint them. There are some good ideas here, although the Empire and Bretonnia paint schemes look so similar it's pointless to include both. Perhaps a Lustrian or Norscan paintjob would have been more useful. The second part of the article examines a GW run example campaign. This is very lightly covered. Maybe this is just a taster for the later turns as only the first three turns are described.

The other new releases are the Warhammer Chapel and Watchtower. Forgeworld also shows off it's own Warhammer terrain but it is inferior to the new Games Workshop stuff. The Empire gets much love, with the Wizard boxed set, flagellants and Helblaster and Helstorm prominent. The kits are dissected later in the mag.

This Might of the Empire article is basically a big advert for the new models with army lists, tactics and painting tips.

The battle report is another advert for the Empire and pits them against the Beastmen led by Morghur in a Nemesis Crown scenario. It's mildly diverting and an improvement over previous reports as it has lengthy turn by turn descriptions of the action.

The Lord of the Rings is barely covered, with only one piece on Dragons. Again, basic tactics army lists and paint schemes are shown.

The main 'meat' of the issue is part two of the Blood Angels codex. While this is a welcome addition to White Dwarf it is a shame that it has been overshadowed by controversy. First the list was leaked on the web, so many people saw it early. Then there have been the discrepancies between each country's magazine and the mistakes in the list itself (incomplete drop pod and psychic hood rules for example). So we'll have to wait for the PDF on the Games Workshop website for the definitive list. All in all a bit of a damp squib.

Jervis' Standard Bearer column talks about painting and how far more people just paint the models than actually game with them. This will be quite a surprise to the 'GW cynically improves the rules to sell more models' crowd; for the majority of collectors this is utterly irrelevant.

The modelling workshop article is on desert gaming boards. It shows you how to build the table and then adapt it for each of the major game systems - by buying GW terrain. Useful for beginners I guess.

The final article of note is on tournaments. There is an explanation of the new scoring system, an interview with the Flame on! club and a look at Andrew Taylor's stunning Chaos Space Marine army.

I think White Dwarf is steadily improving but has some way to go before it matches it's previous heights.

I'd give this a score of 6 out of 10.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling