Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rogue Trader - The last hurrah - Marines v Eldar v Hellsreach Slavers

Optimus fobbed off family commitments and managed a final game before quiting the country. Some discussion and a roll on the random narrative generator meant we soon had the following:

Mutie the pig and his slaving company had ambushed some early model Imperial Walkers with their vastly superior Hellsreach model. The spoils, heretical xeno tech of Eldar design, would make Mutie rich if he could get them to safety. He called in a dropship to pick the group up.

Ultramarine Commander Gideon, flush with success after his triumph over Vlad Kirby, intercepted the slavers call. He personally led his battle brothers in the attempt to retrieve the heretical tech and at the same time bring the Emperor's justice to these slaving scum. 

Eldar exodite Che-vy Ba-io had been too late to prevent the trade of his people's technology to the mon-keighs. He would have to get the goods back the hard way. He didn't mind. Killing mon-keighs was a fun diversion.


The walker strode across the field under the careful guidance of Lou Diamond Goldblum. Normally the slavers all rode in the walker but it was currently crammed full of xeno tech leaving only room for the pilot, a gunner and an outrider. The rest of the gang fanned out at the walkers feet.
Mutie on the left was not long for this world. Upper left, my thumb ruining a good pic.
Slivers of silver shot from the treeline raking the slavers. Mutie looked on in shock as high velocity shuriken tore apart his torso. For the boss it was over quickly. For his fellow slavers the terror was just beginning. On the slaver's flank the Ultramarines moved into the trees to prepare an ambush.

Lou Diamond Goldblum manoeuvred the walker to allow Papa Walken to fire a macro cannon round into the forest from which the shuriken burst had come. With a 3" burst template the macro cannon would deviate on a 2+. In a surprise to no one the round deviated badly missing everything.
Foot slogging slavers were in for a bad day. Those in the walker would need to keep their heads down to survive.
Che-vy Ba-io and his exodites hunkered down in the tree line. Their scatter laser tried ineffectively to damage the hellsreach walker. A second group of eldar broke off to tackle the troublesome marines. The only good mon-keigh is a dead mon-keigh.
The walker had to break the exodite line in order to get the xeno tech to safety.
The marines completed the humiliation of the slavers, gunning down the few left in the open. A krak missile streaked towards the Hellsreach Walker but failed to do any damage. It did however give away the marine heavies position and he was blown apart by the Eldar's lascannon.
The Ultramarines were left in the walker's wake. There was little their bolters could do.
Lou Diamond Goldblum pushed the walker to its limit striding away from the marines and towards Che-vy Ba-io's exodites. The sole surviving foot slogging slaver dove into the forest in the wake of the walker, trying his best not to get shot.
The maco cannon blasts huge chunks of earth into the sky killing 0 Eldar.
The earth shook as the walker strode towards the exodites. The crew of the walker kept their heads down and successfully avoided their foes las and shuriken fire.
Che-vy Ba-io and a fellow exodite prepare to spring from the woods and board the walker.
Che-vy Ba-io was not going to let the walker escape. He and a companion broke from the woods and tried to board the lumbering machine. While Che-vy's companion was crushed under foot the exodite leader scaled the walker and levelled his multi-laser. He had the mon-keighs at his mercy.

Che-vy thinks he has the drop on the mon-keighs. He's wrong.
But it was not to be. Lou Diamond Goldblum left the wheel and spun about, levelling a stub gun at his alien foe. The round tore through Che-vy's helmet and the xeno's delicate body tumbled from the walker's railing to land with an unceremonious splat on the ground below. Papa Walken, who had thus far killed no one with his inaccurate macro cannon fire, pumped his fist in the air to celebrate Che-vy's death. Unfortunately this meant his arm was above the protective railing and it was torn off by a hail of shuriken. 
Che-vy is blasted off the walker. Papa Walken loses his arm and plummets to his doom.
After his companion's death Lou Diamond Goldblum focused on keeping his head down as he piloted the walker off the board and to victory!
The Hellsreach Walker gets out of dodge.  A single slaver survived to celebrate victory!
With the walker gone the marines could do little other than work off some aggression against their Eldar foes. It was not without cost for Commander Gideon was sliced in two by a lascannon blast and two brothers were lit up by a flamer. In response the Eldar were purged with bolter fire. The handful of remaining exodites quit the field.
Pesky interfering Xenos. Steel yourselves brothers. For the Emperor!
That was probably the best game we had even though it was thrown together at the very last minute. The walker and in earlier battles the dreadnought confirmed that vehicles are very tough to damage. Sustained fire weapons like shuriken catapults seem superior to the forever deviating area effect weapons. Flamers seem the exception to the general uselessness of area effect weapons but only when lighting up foes at close range. The macro-cannon looked devastating on paper but after being fired about 10 times in various games managed to kill 0 opponents. A deviating macro cannon round might kill something in a massed battle but not in a skirmish game.

It was interesting relearning rules we haven't touched in ages. Nothing in Rogue Trader is too game breaking as long as you employ the rules to suit the scenario. It's a serviceable system that still has plenty to offer.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Rogue Trader | Pulp Alley - Imperials v Space Pudding Cult

Optimus had been looking into 2 hour wargames material and talked about moving away from the 'I Go, You Go' wargame. The idea of playing a game not built on the warhammer chassis appealed. I'd read Cheetor's Get to the Chopper battle report using the Pulp Alley rules and figured this was a system worth trialling.

Imperial Loyalists - Militia man Toby (follower), Trooper Karl (ally), Eddie the dreadnought (leader), Astropath Stelark (ally), Trooper Di Vito (ally), Brother Boreal (sidekick)
Cult of the Space Pudding - Sniper Jean (ally), Lay brother Franz (sidekick), Preacher Schwartzenhelm (leader), Muppet the cyber-hound (follower), Claude (ally) and Tuco (ally)
Plot point: Shotgun hobo was once a scientist before going native. He knows the code which grants access to the Hellsreach bunker. Will he share it with either side?
Turn one - The Loyalists prepared to interrogate Shotgun hobo in the southern ruins while Eddie the dreadnought stalked Muppet the cyber-hound through the perilous woods.
Brother Boreal discovered a cache of data slates dumped in the forest. He used them to determine the code to access the underground bunker and soon he was piloting the Hellsreach Walker.
Given the walker's height the Space Pudding cultists were hard pressed targeting its pilot. They raced to the higher ground of the nearby ruins.
The ruins were perilous terrain and Optimus played several fortune cards to ensure the cultists had a bad time. Several booby traps were set off felling Claude and Muppet.
The cultists took the high ground at great cost and exchanged fire with the walker. They ignored the challenging plot point of Shotgun Hobo's female captive. While she knew the access code to the bunker it was too late now. The walker had been unleashed.
Brother Boreal couldn't steer and fire the walker's cannon so he picked up Trooper De Vito to act as gunner.
Eddie and the walker blazed away and felled Lay brother Franz momentarily. Luckily for the cultists he recovered. Trooper Karl had earlier been executed by Preacher Schartzenhelm as the cultist stormed the ruins.
Trooper Di Vito aimed the walker's macro cannon at Preacher Schwartzenhelm and let rip. Unfortunately for him, and thanks to a well timed fortune card, a round misfired taking him out of action.
Optimus was particularly proud of killing Muppet the cyber-hound. Muppet had dodged a hail of bolter fire from many sources before falling to a mine buried at the base of some ruins. 
While the Hellsreach Walker buggered off, Eddie stayed and exchanged fire with the surviving cultists. He tore up Jean the ratling sniper but found Brother Schwartzenhelm and Lay brother Franz harder to hurt. The Pulp Alley rules worked well in providing a pulp feel which ensured leaders and sidekicks were hard to take out of action.
Brother Boreal piloted the Hellsreach Walker off the board. The Loyalists had won.
Optimus and I agreed that the Pulp Alley rules worked well for a Space Opera | Rogue Trader style game. The rules gave each side a competitive chance through the entire game while our recent Rogue Trader games have seen one side dominate. The survivability of leaders and sidekicks did feel odd though perfectly fits the Pulp flavour. By the end of the game all allies and followers had been taken out of action leaving battered sidekicks and leaders still standing.

That's it as far as wargame reports go, at least for a good while. Optimus will be heading back overseas but while he was in Aus we got a decent amount of oldshool gaming in.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Rogue Trader - Vlad Kirby vs the 1st Ultramarine Combat Engineers

Classic Ultramarines vs Orks diorama. This is what we were aiming for.
Optimus and I managed two games of Rogue Trader and a game of Pulp Alley while he was in Aus. This scenario was a follow-up game to the whipping that was Vlad Kirby's enslaved Orks verse Silver Skull Space Marines

Optimus had acquired some 90's Space Hulk tiles and was eager to use them. We mocked up Vlad Kirby's underground bunker and unleashed the 1st Ultramarine Combat Engineers, equipped with las-cutters and supported by fearsome dreadnoughts. Would they be able to withstand Vlad Kirby's psychic onslaught?

Vlad Kirby had successfully fended off a strike force of Silver Skulls, incensing the Marines orbiting the planet. The spiteful Astartes began an orbital bombardment, levelling the sector. Once they had finished their ship's astropath picked up a faint psychic signal. Vlad and his Orks had retreated underground. They would need to be dug out.

The 1st Ultramarine Combat Engineers, equipped with siege dreadnoughts, were shuttled to the planet's surface. They would not risk another teleport incident. Commander Gideon would lead them. He would play only a minor role in the skirmish.

The Ork's defences were scattered. They were unsure which tunnels the Ultramarines would breach and so they tried to guard all of them. The narrow corridors meant they could not repulse the marines with massed bolter fire. The killing was going to be up close and personal.

The engineers breached the northern tunnels and were met with a burst of fire from the Ork's flamer. With typical Ork accuracy it deviated badly.

The western tunnels were also breached and Eddie the dreadnought stormed down the narrow confines. Grotnob the Ork revved up his chainsword and challenged the metal giant. The dreadnought answered with a long burst of bolter fire.
The Orks rushed reinforcements to meet the rampaging Eddie, raising a barricade to delay the brute. Their bolter fire pattered of its armour like so much rain. A strength 4 hit verse toughness 6 is hard to pull off, add in a 3+ armour save and it ain't happening. 
Vlad made his move. He raced down the corridors, intending to fry Eddie's mind. Meanwhile the Ultramarine squad in the northern tunnels moved to engage the Orks that were attempting to flank them. An Ork flamer lit up Brother Bethor, Brother Marius and set the siege dreadnought aflame. Ignoring the napalm licking its metal body the dreadnought launched a plasma missile at its foe. Superheated plasma washed over the room leaving nothing but charbroiled chunks of Ork in its wake.

Things looked grim and dark for the Orks. While bolters and flame throwers could theoretically damage the dreadnoughts the Orks were having no luck. It was up to Vlad.

Vlad could hear the sounds of combat, the whine of chainswords, howling Orks and the repetitive thud of explosive bolter rounds. He stalked through the tunnels towards the carnage and contemptuously stepped into the sights of Eddie. Vlad prepared to shrug off Eddie's twin linked bolters for the chance to fry the dreadnought pilot's mind. Eddie gave him everything he had. 2 twin linked bolters barked forth, both hit. 3 shells scored wounds. It was enough. Explosive bolter rounds detonated inside the chest of the Space Vampire leaving scraps of flesh spattered across the corridor. Commander Gideon, who up to this point had done little except punch an Ork's head off, celebrated his victory over the notorious Vlad Kirby by giving Eddie the dreadnought a high five.

Vlad Kirby! Noooooo!
Optimus (aka the one) can consider his honour redeemed after his Marines were routed last game. Dreadnoughts are tough and I chanced my arm facing down Eddie with Vlad. While the odds might have been with me, luck was not. The corridors called for non standard tactics. The Marines came up with the better tactical plan, using their dreadnoughts to spearhead their assault.

This was another challenging scenario. While tactics have played a part in both our recent Rogue Trader games, luck proved the deciding factor. Once again it was the strength of the scenario that keep things interesting, fresh and fun. Rogue Trader remains an excellent, characterful skirmish game.