Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2005 game 2
Opponent: Scott Waugh
Mission: Cleanse - Gamma level
1st turn: Dark Eldar
Points: 1000

Again, apologies for the quality of the photographs.

Dark Eldar
  • Archon with Shadowfield, Punisher Helm, 5 Incubi, 2 Warriors with Splinter cannons in Raider
  • 2 x 5 Warriors with 2 Splinter cannons in Raiders
  • 5 Jetbikes
  • 6 Hellions
  • Ravager
Terrain and deployment
Scott won the dice off to chose table quarters, naturally, so he picked the one with lots of terrain.

Dark Eldar deployment

We had classified the domed buildings as area 3 terrain (remember that, because it crops up again later in the game), so it meant he could hide his Raiders behind them. He had his Ravager out on my left, his three Raiders pointed toward the middle of my army and his Jetbikes on my right. His Hellions started in reserve and would deep strike in.

Exigator deployment

I used Squad Abraxar as a push-back unit once again, but they couldn't see the Dark Eldar army as they were hidden behind a large terrain piece in the centre of the board. Squad Krall and squad Infractis deployed centrally on a large rocky hill. This gave me some cover to shoot out of and a decent counter charge position. I fully expected the pointy ears to rush me in the centre, so I placed my other units in supporting positions.

Squad Profuge went on the left, threatening the Ravager but also available to provide suppressing fire to the middle. I dropped Squad Imber on my extreme right, principally to face off the Jetbikes, but they could also cover the centre if required. Ferocitor started deep in my starting quarter. With his high movement, along with the Dark Eldar speed, I knew he would still contribute to the battle.

My Obliterators were to teleport in later.

Turn 1

The Dark Eldar zoom forward on turn 1

The Dark Eldar won first turn and, as I thought, rushed my lines. Fortunately for me Scott rolled appalling dice (and I rolled lucky cover saves) and I escaped with only two casualties to Squad Profuge. In a risky move, Scott skirted his Jetbikes round the central terrain to snipe at Squad Abraxar. He fluffed his rolls and they were now in clear view of my heavy bolter Havocs.

Squad Infractis counter-charges...

I blew the Dark Eldar Jetbikes out of the sky with Squad Imber and then stunned the Ravager with Squad Profuge. In the centre Squad Infractis broke cover and slaughtered the foremost Raider squad, while covering fire from Squad Krall popped their ride. I had pretty much won the game with this awesome first turn, I hoped, but I was still wary of the Archon. I have seen these Shadowfield equipped characters in action and know that they can be deadly if the dice don't come up 1's.

Turn 2

...and is massacred

Squad Infractis paid for their sally forth; they were assaulted by the Archon and Incubi and reduced to a single model who failed his morale check and ran away. This was actually fortuitous for me as it left the Dark Eldar HQ sitting out in the open in front of all my guns. It was my turn to roll poorly, though, and the Archon and a couple of Incubi survived my shooting phase. I still managed to take down the Ravager with a lascannon using Squad Profuge, though, so it wasn't all bad.

Turn 3

The Archon loses her Shadowfield in a torrent of Fury attacks

Squad Abraxar received the charge from the Archon and bodyguard but a couple of Marines survived and the Dark Eldar were locked in combat. Both my Obliterators and Furies passed their reserve rolls this turn.

I brought the Obliterators on in the Dark Eldar deployment zone, to shoot down the last Raider and claim the table quarter. The flaw in my plan was the heavy terrain. I scattered on top of a domed building, and my opponent declared I was automatically destroyed.

Remember how we classified the terrain at the start of the game? Area 3. Not impassable. I pondered for a second and then decided to pull the Oblits. This was for a couple of reasons. First, was for sportsmanship - I didn't want to get into an argument. Second, I was winning comfortably anyway and I thought I could manage without them. I hoped I wouldn't regret my decision.

I summoned the Furies off Squad Krall, and even though they scattered wildly, they still made combat with the Archon. Ferocitor hit the Incubi and wiped them out, then the Furies forced five saves on the Archon. Scott rolled a crucial 1, and the Shadowfield went out - along with any flickering hope of a Dark Eldar comeback.

Turn 4

Ferocitor delivers the killing blow

Predictably, the Archon was slaughtered by Ferocitor and the Furies moved out to capture the Dark Eldar deployment zone. Game over, pretty much, but there was one footnote.

The Hellions finally arrive...right in front of the Havocs

In a final cruel twist of fate by the Dice Gods, Scott's Hellions finally arrived on turn 4, only to scatter right in front of my Havocs. They didn't kill a single Marine with their shooting. You can probably imagine the carnage I caused in the following shooting phase.

Scott survived the game with a single Raider.

I captured the three scoring quarters and picked up another massacre.

Result: Win- You massacred 'im

Learning points
  • I know how dangerous Dark Eldar can be, but I also know they depend on a good first couple of turns. They either win big or lose big, depending on the early game, and Scott had appalling luck in the first turn. He gambled on a very aggressive start and it didn't pay off. Them's the breaks.
  • I was having a few bad dice rolls myself. I had lost all the rolls for table quarters and first turn, and I hadn't gotten any reserves before the third turn. With two massacres under my belt and the army playing well, I was praying for better dice in my third and final game. I would need them as I knew I'd be playing a tough army; they would also have scored two massacres and we would meet on the top table.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CHAOS SPACE MARINES versus Space Marines - Dark Angels

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2005 game 1
Opponent: Ashley Eddon
Mission: Cleanse - Gamma level
1st turn: Space Marines - Dark Angels
Points: 1000

The first thing I have to do, before I report the battle, is to apologise for the state of the photographs. The hall was very dark that day so many of them are blurred and shaky. I have still included them anyway in the hopes that they will help convey the action better than my rambling words alone can.

Space Marines - Dark Angels
  • 5 Terminators
  • 2 10 man Tactical squads with Plasma cannons and 1 Rhino
  • 10 Devastators with Missile Launchers and Plasma cannons
  • Commander with Lightning claw

Terrain and deployment
Ashley won the roll to choose the table quarter and picked the one with a large wood in it.

Dark Angel deployment with Squad Infractis on the other side of the wood

As you can see in the photo above, Ashley set up around the fringes of the wood, with his Marines in nice, neat firing lines. I took the opportunity to place my infiltrating close assault unit (Squad Infractis) on the opposite side of the woods, out of sight and within striking distance of virtually all of his units.

The Dark Angels are pushed back deep into their starting quarter

Ashley had his Terminators and Commander on the left, facing my starting quarter. I had squad Abraxar acting as pushback in the centre, while squad Krall supported them on the left. Lord Ferocitor had a perfectly proportioned building in a perfect position to hide him until he was required to charge out.

Turn 1
Ashley won the dice off and elected to go first.

The Terminators advance and Squad Abraxar take heavy casualties

Ashley pushed his Terminators 6" toward my lines and killed four Marines from Squad Abraxar in his shooting phase. The rest of his army stayed put, save for the empty Rhino, which he pushed down my right flank, toward Squad Profuge.

Rhino rush!

In my turn I drove Squad Infractis to the right, through the trees. My thinking was that they would be screened from the rest of the Dark Angel army by the large wood while they took on the Tactical squad, and then I could use them to summon the Furies to strike at the centre of Ashley's line.

Turn 2

Battle is joined

By my second turn I had destroyed the Rhino and achieved close combat with Squad Infractis. With my Power Fist I knew I had the edge, but it might take a couple of turns to whittle down the 10 Marine squad.

The Dark Angels dominate the centre

I knew I would lose the firefight in the centre so I charged in with Ferocitor to tie up the Dark Angels for a turn or two. He took out three Terminators before the Commander slashed him apart with his lightning claw. The Dark Angels survivors marched forward to take on the rest of my Exigators.

Turn 3

How many attacks?

On the third turn I got my Furies and the Obliterators. I summoned the Daemons in from Squad Infractis and they got in a charge against the Devastators. In a rolling melee, the Furies took the Marine shooters down below half strength before the nearby Tactical squad rescued them, but then the rest of Squad Infractis arrived to finished off both units.

The cavalry arrives

My Obliterators beamed in right next to the Terminators and Commander (hit-tastic!). When the smoke cleared from their twin-linked plasma guns the Terminators were nowhere to be seen. That left the Commander looking down the barrel of the missile launcher from Squad Abraxar. Boom.

We didn't bother to tot up the scores as it was clear I'd won comfortably; the Obliterators would have moved to take one quarter, I had brought up Squad Profuge to take the Dark Angels starting quarter and Squad Imber (the Havocs) held the last scoring quarter.

Result: Win- You massacred 'im

Learning points
  • One game, one win. So far, so good. To be honest I knew I should win the game as soon as I saw my opponent's army. Plasma cannons aren't as good as they once were with the new blast rules and 10 man Marine squads are just too inflexible, especially in 1000 point games. Still, you can only beat what is in front of you, and when I failed to kill a single model in my first turn of shooting I began to get a little worried. Like my test games, the battle turned when my Furies and Obliterators showed up on turn 3.
  • My dice were really beginning to worry me after this game. Like my test games I lost the roll to pick table quarters, lost the first turn and my deep strikers were late arriving. Maybe it was because I was awarded competitor number 13? To be fair, though, placing the first unit on the table is a big help. It meant I could force Ashley to set up deep in his deployment zone and position my infiltrators nearer to his starting quarter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gauntlet tournament 2005 introduction

I was halfway through re-inventing my Exigators Chaos Space Marine army when I was invited to the Gauntlet Tournament 2005. Having gone to the two previous Gauntlet Tournaments in 2004 and 2003, and had a cracking time, I bought a ticket on the spot.

There would be somewhere in the region of 50 players fighting it out to be crowned king of the North East of England.

Tournament Rules
The scoring for the Gauntlet tournament works as follows. Points can be collected in three areas; gaming, painting and army selection.

Three games are played in one day, with a maximum of 30 points available per game. The highest score possible from gaming is therefore 90 points.

There are 54 points up for grabs in the painting category. Although the exact method for calculating scores was never made public, I understand that marks were awarded for highlights, washes, drybrushes, basing, unit markings, conversions and originality.

Army Selection
Each army was judged before the tournament on the basis of the army list and supporting background material. 36 points were possible. Troop choices were encouraged, while too many Heavy Support or HQ units were frowned upon. Armies with a coherent background and the squads to match were rewarded while min-maxed armies, with lots of duplicate squads lost points.

The overall best points score available was therefore 180 points, although this would clearly be very difficult to achieve. I knew I wouldn't win best painted army this year even though I had won it in the last two. My army was very rushed by my standards, and I knew I had cut corners in some places. Besides, predominately black armies rarely win best painted awards. Aside from all that, I had played Morris in a test game and his Ultramarines were absolutely awesome. They were heavily converted and beautifully painted. To be honest they blew my army away and I strongly believed he would get the best painted nod this year.

In regards to the actual army list and battles themselves, I knew I was in better shape than previous years. The Chaos list in general is stronger than the Daemonhunters and Imperial Guard list by some distance, and I had the opportunity to play some test games and tweak my list. Having won only one game in 2003, and two games in 2004 it seemed logical to go one better in 2005. My objective in this tournament was therefore to win all three games I played in.

A tall order indeed, as I knew it would give me a shot of winning the whole tournament, but I felt confident and relaxed this time around.

All three games on the day would be Gamma level cleanse missions.

There were seven different outcomes for each game, depending on the final victory point tallies. It wasn't just about winning, it was about how much you won by. This little table sums it up:
  • You massacred 'im (+1001 or more victory points) 30 points
  • Decisive victory (+501 to +1000 victory points) 25 points
  • Marginal victory (+201 to +500 victory points) 20 points
  • Draw (-200 to +200 victory points) 15 points
  • Marginal loss (-201 to -500 victory points) 10 points
  • Decisive loss (-501 to -1000 victory points) 5 points
  • Massacred (-1001 or less victory points) 0 points
The Army
The obvious choice of which army to take was my Exigators (having taken Imperial Guard and Daemonhunters in the past). The problem was that the tournament was only four weeks away and I had an entire army to finish. My solution was to run a painting blog on lone pilgrim (and simultaneously on Dakka Dakka) to get the bulk of my army battle ready.

Once I had some idea of the models I had available I sat down with the Chaos Codex and began to write up some army lists. All three games would use a gamma level cleanse mission, so I knew I was guaranteed to be able to utilise deep strike and infiltrate. I also knew the mission objective was to capture table quarters.

Exigators v.1
My first list was an all-infiltrating infantry army. I would always deploy second after my opponent, which in theory gave me the ability to pick off juicy targets once I had seen my opponent's deployment. It also meant I could begin the game having already captured two quarters with infiltrating squads.

The list contained a souped-up character killing Lord and a pack of Furies for counter charge duties, a couple of las/plas squads and heavy bolter Havocs to provide a firebase, and two Obliterators dropping in to claim the enemy starting quarter. I thought this was a strong list for the mission so I played a few test games to try it out.

The list was a disaster. The all-infiltrating aspect of the army failed miserably to provide me with any sort of tactical advantage. My opponents all had at least one set of infiltrating troops themselves and that meant a dice off to see who set up their infiltrators first. If my opponent won (which they invariably did - the gits!) they could steal some prime terrain, and pretty much that entire table quarter, denying them to me. Even if they lost the roll and I got first deployment, their own infiltrators would pick the other free table quarter and severely cramp the rest of my deployment.

My tactical advantage was eroded further by not having any units starting with regular deployment. With no 'pushback' unit my enemies could deploy right up to the edge of their deployment zone with impunity. In my test games with this army I was defeated before I began the game.

The only plus points were the Obliterators and the Furies. The Obliterators killed two Defilers, a Hammerhead and a Chaos Lord in their first three games, and the Furies were a real nuisance, locking units in combat with their speed and wearing them down with a flurry of attacks. In one game they took out an entire Havoc squad on the turn they charged. Nasty.

Nevertheless I had to have a rethink.

Exigators v.2
My second version of the list dropped the Lord for a Daemon Prince, saving me a few points. The Prince had Daemonic Stature and would therefore have to start on the table, but he was still well equipped to take on enemy characters and Daemonic Speed was faster and cheaper than Daemonic Flight. I dropped infiltrate from a las/plas squad so that I had a pushback unit and this also saved me some points. I dropped a las/plas unit and with those extra points I managed to squeeze in a six man assault equipped squad.

I still struggled in my games, though. The Daemon Prince was a points sink. In order to prevent him from being shot to pieces early in the game I had to hide him away, but that meant he struggled to see any action at all. Additionally I just wasn't coming across the powerful characters I had been expecting.

The main problem I had was the size of my army. I had few men overall, and each squad was small, meaning it was easy to drop them below half strength to prevent them from taking table quarters. The assault squad was especially vulnerable consisting of only six men; it either got blown off the table before it made combat or it was so severely depleted that it couldn't hurt anything when it got there.

On a more positive note the Obliterators continued to impress, often winning me a load of points by occupying a table quarter, and the Furies always seemed to make their points back in enemy kills. I especially valued their ability to disrupt the enemy due to their unpredictability and their speed.

Back to the drawing board again.

Exigators v.3
With the tournament on the horizon this would have to be my final list for good or ill. I reduced my infiltrators still further, down to just three squads, saving me points. I also shaved nearly forty points from my Daemon Prince. He would now get spanked by enemy characters, but he could still do some damage to MEQ squads (Marine or EQuivalents) and maybe vehicles. With the savings, I padded out the assault squad to eight members.

  • Chaos Lord Ferocitor - Mark of Chaos Undivided, Daemonic Stature, Daemonic Speed, 2 Close combat weapons, Frag grenades
  • 2 single Obliterators
  • Squad Infractis – 8 Chaos Marines, Mark of Chaos Undivided, Infiltrate, Bolt pistols and Close combat weapons, Aspiring Champion with Power fist
  • Squad Profuge - 5 Chaos Marines, Mark of Chaos Undivided, Infiltrate, Bolt guns, Plasma gun, Lascannon
  • Squad Abraxar - 5 Chaos Marines, Mark of Chaos Undivided, Bolt guns, Missile Launcher
  • Squad Krall - 5 Chaos Marines, Mark of Chaos Undivided, Bolt guns, Plasma gun, Lascannon
  • 8 Furies
  • Squad Imber - 6 Havocs, Mark of Chaos Undivided, Infiltrate, Bolt guns, 4 Heavy Bolters

My final test games were much more satisfactory. The Exigators now seemed much more balanced and optimized, with each unit having a clearly defined role and the whole army having several solutions to different enemy formations and tactics. The Daemon Prince died more often but he generally won more points back than he cost, and he was a cheap non-scoring unit anyway. My assault squad now always achieved combat and had the numbers to cause some casualties. The Havocs were devastating against light infantry and light vehicles, while the Obliterators continued to shine. The Furies always seemed to appear in the nick of time and overwhelm the enemy.

Another good point of the list was it's composition (which was marked for the tournament). It had a cheap HQ, one Elite pick, four Troop choices, one Fast Attack squad and one Heavy Support unit. I had at over 40% of my points in Troop choices and that was more than double the number of points than I had in any other category.

Now all I had to do was test the army in the heat of a competitive tournament.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gauntlet tournament 2004 aftermath

This was only my second ever tournament so my aim was to improve on my first. I finished 9th from 50 players in 2003 despite winning only one game. It was a fluffy good looking army, which won the best painted prize, but was terribly uncompetitive. This year I beefed up my list somewhat and took a harder Imperial Guard army. It wasn't 'cheesy' by any means but it had some bite at least and I felt it could force a good game from most opponents. I had hoped to win two games instead of just one.

I hoped I would be competing for best painted again. My Imperial Guard army had twice the number of models of the Daemonhunters I took last year and had more converted models. The only weakness I could see was that the army was in standard Cadian colours. Would the judges mark me down on originality?

When the results were announced I was very pleased to have finished in 3rd place overall. I was most pleased, though, by my second win for best painted. The judges were torn between two armies and the feedback I got was that my characterful little conversions had just edged it for me. Result!

Here's the certificate which hangs proudly on my wall:

So what else did I get out of the tournament?

I learned that just taking an Imperial Guard army doesn't mean you will automatically be able to outshoot the enemy. I was rudely disabused of this notion in my second game and it's a lesson I won't forget; look at your opponent's army/list first and then work out a plan.

I also learned that movement trays work just great. It made my army very easy to transport from game to game and looked good as a display during the painting judging. Sure it was basic but it was more than most other players had. I'll take any edge I can get.

I was more determined than ever, after this tournament, that I would plan my next tournament well in advance and get all of the painting finished before the day so that I could get some practice games in. It would also mean I could choose the units and models I actually wanted to play rather than settle for what I had painted.

And I wanted my army to be really competitive. If I was going to improve upon this year's result then it would mean winning all three games and that meant taking a hard army. I wouldn't do anything outrageous, creating a copy and paste 'netlist' or butchering the background but I wanted to play with an army that had real potential instead of tying one hand behind my back before the tournament started.

Overall I learned that I enjoyed the tournament experience and I would be back next year!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Chaos Space Marines - Iron Warriors

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2004 game 3
Opponent: Mr Talbot
Mission: Pitched Battle
1st turn: Imperial Guard
Points: 1000

Chaos Space Marines - Iron Warriors
  • Daemon Prince
  • Predator Annihilator
  • 8 Chaos Space Marines in Rhino
  • 5 Chaos Space Marines with lascannon
  • 3 Obliterators
  • Basilisk

Terrain and deployment
I didn't get the full name of the guy I played in my third game so I only know him as Mr Talbot. After being outshot in my previous game I was looking forward to regaining that advantage only to find I was drawn against an Iron Warrior army!

It was a tough army too with a lot of hitting power in shooting and assault. I felt that played well it should own my Guard army. The one big weakness it had though was it's low model count - I counted a grand total of twenty models.

I deployed centrally around a small wood. Captain Kennell and the lascannon anti-tank squad hid inside with the Basilisk behind. The Infantry squads layered up in front with the conscripts on the outer edge.

This pushed the Iron Warriors back from the centre and they ended up deploying in each corner. Mr Talbot placed his Basilisk, lascannon marines, Daemon Prince and Obliterators towards my left flank and his predator and rhino on the right.

The game
Thankfully I won first turn. I stunned the predator on my right flank and on the left I targeted the Chaos basilisk with my own but missed. The action was split neatly between my left and right flank from that point on.

On the left we traded basilisk shots for three more turns until I destroyed the vehicle. Mr Talbot advanced his Obliterators in the open and I killed one per turn. I dropped the first two with missile launcher shots, and the last fell to a lascannon shot.

The Chaos Space Marines on foot stayed put and pumped shots into my basilisk until they destroyed it in the fourth turn. I never got close enough to threaten them so the squad survived to the end of the game.

Surprisingly the Daemon Prince didn't die either. He advanced up behind a small wood and then just hid there for the rest of the battle. I think my opponent was too worried by my firepower to expose him. Funnily enough I didn't fancy sallying out and taking him on at close quarters!

As a result my army took extremely light casualties on this flank.

On the right Mr Talbot sat his Predator and Iron Warrior marines out in the open plinking away at my conscripts at long range. I'll never know why he didn't whiz the rhino forward and try to take me on in assault.

My lascannons took out the predator and rhino in quick succession and the rest of my infantry began to whittle down the Chaos marines. I dropped my Stormtroopers in nearby but they whiffed their shots and took six casualties in return. The two survivors failed their morale test and began to retreat. Maybe it was the same two stormtroopers that made it through my first game alive?

I won the uneven firefight and wiped the squad out to a man. They just couldn't stand up to the hail of lasgun shots along with the odd missile launcher, grenade launcher and plasma gun.

Result: Win - you massacred 'im (we didn't bother totting up the points as I was so far ahead)

Learning points
  • Although my opponent had a hard army list his tactics were poor. He should never have split up his forces and he should have pressed the assault at every opportunity. It just goes to show that it's not all about the army list in 40k - I think player skill is a bigger factor in deciding the winner of a game. Of course the list matters when player skills are equal but good players can often bridge the gap between the lists.
  • After this game I was pleased that I'd won two games out of three, which was an improvement over last year, but I was kicking myself that I'd lost that second game. If I had even pulled out a draw I might have been challenging for the top spot but I knew I would fall short.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Imperial Guard

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2004 game 2
Opponent: ?
Mission: Pitched Battle
1st turn: Imperial Guard (opponent)
Points: 1000

Imperial Guard
  • Command squad with heavy bolter
  • 2 Infantry platoons with a mixture of heavy weapons
  • Heavy weapon platoon with 7 heavy bolters and 3 lascannons
  • Leman Russ
Terrain and deployment
I made a fundamental error in my approach to this game because coming into the tournament I assumed I would always be able to outshoot my opponent. I should have revised my opinion when I drew another Imperial Guard army for this game but I didn't.

The table was relatively bare with scattered rocks the main feature. There were some withered trees and a couple of ruined buildings near the centre. My opponent placed his army strung out along his deployment zone largely in the open to maximise his heavy weapon arcs of fire. He placed his Leman Russ on my right flank in cover.

I put most of my army in and around cover with Kennell and his command squad in the central wood with my lascannons. There was a line of Guardsmen screening out in front of them then the conscripts out beyond that. My stormtroopers would deep strike in.

The game
I quickly realised that I was screwed in a straight up shooting war in this game. Heavy bolters would be far better against my Guard than my missile launchers would be against his Guard.

I had deployed better in the sense that I had used cover and layered my squads and my opponent had put most of his heavy bolters out on the right flank. That meant that there were big blind spots in his firing arcs around the buildings in the centre and I could use these to advance into and engage his units piecemeal. But I had also deployed with the intention of sitting still and shooting.

My opponent made a mockery of my layering when he shot his Leman Russ battlecannon against Captain Kennell's squad. He spend several minutes laying his tape measure on it's side and trying to thread the shot through the conscripts, infantry squad, another infantry squad and then the lascannon anti-tank squad to put the template on my command squad. Of course the shot managed to kill my commander instantly.


I pummeled his Leman Russ with missile launcher shots but it was behind cover and I couldn't even scratch it. After a couple of turns of trading largely ineffective firepower with each other I decided I was going to have to take the initiative and advance if I wanted anything other than a minor loss or a bore draw.

I sent the conscripts and the foremost infantry squad up between the buildings to take on the left flank. I also dropped the Stormtroopers in amongst his squads, close to the board edge in a very risky deep strike. They scattered but survived and we now had a game on.

I managed to clear three squads from the flank and had his command section cowering in the corner of the battlefield just as the game ended. Of course my own units had taken a hammering on the way in and I only had a handful of men left myself. The frustrating thing was that I had forced numerous morale checks on all of the squads and not one had failed. If they had they would have run straight of the table because they were all hugging the edge.

The funniest, or most depressing, part of the game was on my opponent's sixth turn. Up until this point he hadn't moved a single model in the entire game. Because I had advanced, his Leman Russ had no shot to my squads. He deliberated for several minutes about whether to move or not and then decided not to.

It meant he moved nothing for the entire game!

Result: Loss - marginal loss (672 victory points to 1107)

Learning points
  • This was one of the least enjoyable games of 40k I have ever played. My opponent was okay as far as rules went (other than that dodgy shot with the Leman Russ) but his army was just awful. I can't understand how he could have gotten any enjoyment out of playing a list that just sat and shot for the whole game. It is the first and last time I have ever played an Imperial Guard gunline and it made me determined to never play such a list myself.
  • At least my Stormtroopers performed in this game. They gunned one squad down entirely, finished another off in assault and then shot up the command squad despite taking heavy casualties. If the game had gone just one more turn they might have killed off the enemy commander and turned the game.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2004 game 1
Opponent: Dave Allen
Mission: Pitched Battle
1st turn: Orks
Points: 1000

  • Warboss and retinue in trukk
  • Mad Dok with Cyborks in trukk
  • 3 Seperate Killer Kans
  • 30 Grots
  • 10 Flashgits
  • 10 Tankbustas
Terrain and deployment
Warhammer World was packed with excited gamers before the first game of the tournament. While we were waiting to discover our first opponents I got talking to a fella with a well painted Ork army. In turn he admired my Guardsmen. When the tournament organiser announced that we had to find our own opponent we quickly agreed to play each other.

I later found out that my opponent was none other than Dave Allen, of White Dwarf fame (I think he now works for the Black Library as a web developer). All you old veterans out there can check Dave out in UK White Dwarf 300 as he took part in a Tale of Four Gamers.

Dave was a thoroughly nice chap and a pleasure to play against.

We played on a snow table, devoid of much terrain typically for Warhammer World . There was a small stream on my left running from one long board edge to another. There were a few small bases of trees in my left deployment zone. There were a few scattered trees across the rest of the table but it was largely bare.

I fancied my chances.

Although my deployment strategy was sound for this game I rather fumbled it's execution. I got to place first and put down an Infantry unit front and forward to push back the Ork deployment. The rest of the platoon hugged my table edge with my lascannons.

I put the second platoon down on my right flank. I placed the basilisk on my far left behind the trees.

Then I realised I had the Conscripts...which should have been my push back unit. Oh well, I stuck them up on the hill with my infantry squad anyway. My Stormtroopers would deep strike in.

The Orks mass on the far side of the stream

Dave had his two rock hard HQ units in their trukks opposite my centre and right flank. His grots, Flashgits and Tankbustas started near the river on my left. He placed a Killer Kan on each flank and one in the middle.

The game
Dave won first turn and rammed the trukks down my throat, going for the bait squads I'd put in the middle. He advanced his Orks through the valley toward the basilisk and my firebase.

Orks incoming!

Dave managed to get an angle on my basilisk and blew it up with his tankbustas with his first shot of the game.

The Imperial Guard gunline

The Warboss and Mad Dok leapt from their trukks and charged into the poor old Imperial Guardsmen on the ridge. What followed wasn't pretty...


The conscripts were predictably wiped out to a man with the Warboss in the thick of the carnage. The regular Imperial Guard squad fared a little better thanks to the sacrifice of the conscripts and locked the Mad Dok and his retinue in combat for a crucial turn.

Blood in the snow

That left the Warboss and his retinue hanging in the breeze and I duly shot every gun possible at them. Only the Warboss emerged and he was wounded.

Where 'ave my boyz gone?

The Warboss staggered toward my lines but was cut down in another round of shots. By then the Mad Dok had untangled himself from the combat on the ridge just in time to face the Imperial Guard firing line. I had taken out both trukks so all the Orks were now on foot and although he survived two turns he got shot in the face just before he could lay his hands on my Guardsmen.

Tankbustas stalk past their target

With the attack repulsed on my centre and right I just had the Orks on the left to worry about. The Orks steadily advanced up the valley past the wreck of my Basilisk.

The stormtroopers deep strike in

In order to capture a table quarter I deep striked my Storm Troopers deep into the Ork deployment zone. Unfortunately they scattered out of shooting range. The Flashgits turned back and moved over the stream to fire their modified guns at the new arrivals. In a hail of explosive shells the Orks killed six Stormtroopers. My two survivors broke and started the long slog back to my deployment zone.

Imperial Guard squads move up to capture ground

I began moving my squads up to try and claim extra table quarters. The only problem was that both Killer Kans on the flanks were still alive. My lascannons all decided to miss for a couple of turns so I lost a squad on my right and the far right quarter remained unclaimed.

The Killer Kan assaults the Guardsmen while the stormtroopers continue to fall back

On my left platoon command squad 36, had to step forward round a wood to hit the other Killer Kan with their meltaguns. Fortunately the gamble paid off and the Ork walker was reduced to molten slag. With the Tankbustas dead too, and the Gretchin and Tankbustas too far away from the action the game was over.

My two surviving Stormtroopers had even made it back to my lines unscathed. I imagine Captain Kennel would have had them shot for cowardice!

Result: Win - decisive victory (1150 victory points to 621)

Learning points
  • After comparing army lists and looking at the table I felt vary confident and that confidence wasn't misplaced. To make things worse Dave spread his deployment too much and that meant I could destroy his army one unit at a time.
  • I made a right hash of the Stormtroopers. All they did was give up victory points. I need to be more thoughtful about their placement in the future. They are fragile!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gauntlet Tournament 2004 - Introduction

The Gauntlet 2004 was to be my second ever tournament, following the Gauntlet 2003 last year.

It was to be the same format, with 50 or so gamers from the North-East of England traveling down to Warhammer World and playing 3 games of 40k in a Swiss-style match up. Points were gained for winning games as well as for army selection and painting. At the end of the day the points would be totaled and an overall winner would be announced, as well as a winner for best painted army and best general.

The Army
After the last minute rush to finish my Daemonhunters army for the Gauntlet 2003 I was determined not to make the same mistakes again. This time around I picked the Imperial Guard as my army. The new Cadian figures were released the previous autumn and I had bought the army box set really early. That left me with a good six months to paint up the figures and get some practice games in. No problem.

Or so I thought.

Here is the list that I took:

  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell (Junior Officer with Honorifica Imperialis), Company Standard, Medic, Missile Launcher
  • Anti tank squad, 3 Lascannons
  • 8 Stormtroopers, meltagun, plasma gun, deep strike
  • Infantry Platoon 1
  • Command Squad 36, Junior Officer with power weapon and plasma pistol, 2 meltaguns, 2 plasma guns
  • Infantry Squad 501, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 541, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Platoon 2
  • Command Squad, Missile Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 609, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 812, Flamer
  • 20 Conscripts
  • Basilisk, Indirect fire
The list I wanted to take included a small counter attack element in the shape of 5 Rough Riders but I had a very specific conversion in mind for them. Horses didn't fit with my idea of a quite hi-tech Guard army like the Cadians so I was going to convert them into bikers. They would take a lot of work but would be the centre-piece for the army.

In the event I simply ran out of time.

The Conscripts seemed to take an age to complete and I had a mini-crisis just before the tournament when I decided to pull all of the Voxes out of the army. That meant I had to build and paint an extra model for each squad the day before the tournament. In all I completed 90 models - double the number of Daemonhunters I took last year. Still, it could have been worse - last year I was painting until 2:30 in the morning.

This year it was only till 11:00 the night before!

I built a movement tray for my Cadians. I was worried about playing a large army in time restricted games. I knew from test battles in my local store that the Guard took a while to deploy and if I played one game straight after another I could have a nightmare keeping the models in the correct units. The movement tray was my solution. I kept it near the table as I played and placed casualties on it as I went, keeping the units together. I also thought it would help to display the army in the best way for the painting judges.

Tournament Rules
The scoring for the Gauntlet tournament works as follows. Points can be collected in three areas; gaming, painting and army selection.

Three games are played in one day, with a maximum of 30 points available per game. The highest score possible from gaming is therefore 90 points.

There are 54 points up for grabs in the painting category. Although the exact method for calculating scores was never made public, I understand that marks were awarded for highlights, washes, drybrushes, basing, unit markings, conversions and originality.

Army Selection
Each army was judged before the tournament on the basis of the army list and background material. 36 points were possible.

The overall best points score available was therefore 180 points, although this would clearly be very difficult to achieve. After finishing 9th last year (and winning best painted army) I knew I would have a tough time improving my final ranking. Having said that, I knew far more about the tournament this time, knew what type or armies I could expect to face, and had a much more competitive army myself. My own goal was therefore to finish above 9th and to improve my gaming scores (I only won one out of three last year).

Each game used the same mission: Pitched Battle. Armies would be deployed along the long table edges, up to 18" in and can set up no closer than 24" from enemy units. Infiltrators set up last, at least 18" away from enemy models. Elites and Fast Attack choices could be kept in reserve.

Nightfight would be played on the first turn on the roll of a 1, last turn on the roll of a 6.

Victory points were earned as normal for destroying enemy units, but 200 extra points were up for grabs per table quarter.

Finally, the game would last six turns.

There were seven different outcomes for each game, depending on the final victory point tallies. It wasn't just about winning, it was about how much you won by. There were seven different outcomes for each game, depending on the final victory point tallies.
  • You massacred 'im (+1001 or more victory points) 30 points
  • Decisive victory (+501 to +1000 victory points) 25 points
  • Marginal victory (+201 to +500 victory points) 20 points
  • Draw (-200 to +200 victory points) 15 points
  • Marginal loss (-201 to -500 victory points) 10 points
  • Decisive loss (-501 to -1000 victory points) 5 points
  • Massacred (-1001 or less victory points) 0 points