Sunday, 28 July 2013

Eldar Avatar

After my last Epic 40K battle report, my brother asked me what I was using for my Eldar Avatar. The truth is that I can't remember. It's a plastic toy which I picked up in our local supermarket about four years ago, but I can't remember the range it's from. All I did was repaint it, and put it on a 40mm frontage base.

Here it is.

Feel free to ID the original model for me.

I do have a 'proper' Epic 40K Avatar as well, but he's currently in for repairs as his arm has fallen off. Technically the lists only allow one per army, but my Eldar are painted in two colour schemes so I can pit them against each other. In the 41st Century no-one is really your friend, even other Eldar ...

Friday, 26 July 2013

Vitoria 200

Last night Ralph put on his Vitoria 200 game, delayed from a month ago (which would have been the actual 200th anniversary). I have to say that it's not a battle, or indeed a conflict, with which I'm very familiar, so I will probably let Ralph fill you in on the details when he gets around to writing it up on his own blog. I shall just post pictures and my usual commentary.

We used Black Powder, and Ralph's collection of pretty 28mm figures. Bryan and I had an Anglo-Portuguese force consisting of three infantry brigades and one cavalry brigade. We were tasked with forcing a river crossing in order to cut off the retreating French army. Some French that were not retreating would oppose us.

We devised a plan, and Bryan, who doesn't know about these things, let me have the cavalry.

Here are our troops.

There are no French visible yet, as Caesar and Dave hadn't decided where they wanted to put them. The town was our first objective, then the bridge beyond it. We had eight moves in which to take them

Some French start to appear.

I had an infantry brigade which included a Portuguese regiment; you can see it here, at the back. Along with the cavalry I was tasked with covering our left flank and keeping the French busy, whilst Bryan's two infantry brigades did the hard work of assaulting the town. My infantry was to move across and help if the French didn't tie us down too much.

The cavalry advanced in fine style. They always do when I command them. Then they die like flies.

The section of river I was facing was the only bit that was fordable, so the French pushed across in force. Seeing disordered infantry in columns in front of them, the British cavalry charged.

The French formed square, and the cavalry retreated. Sadly the dashing hussars got so shot up by artillery on the way out that they kept running until they reached Lisbon.

Our infantry formed up in lines. Well, they are British.

Ralph took some pictures for his 'private collection' :)

A gap in the photos - my lead British infantry regiments got slaughtered and their demise wasn't documented. One was charged by a French column, and just ran whilst the other - a Scottish regiment - stood disordered under artillery fire until eventually the survivors just wandered off to drink whisky and play cards.

The French then attacked the Portuguese regiment.

Over the course of the next few turns, the Portuguese fought off - as in routed - two French regiments, caused a supporting regiment to rout and caused another infantry regiment to retreat from the battle with a single volley of musketry.

In fact that single Portuguese regiment caused more French casualties than the rest of the British army put together, and stopped the French dead on our left flank.

The final position. Bryan's troops had just taken the town, and were pushing on to the bridge.

The first British regiment crosses the bridge into the French rear.

We took the town, but only at the last minute and at great cost. The French had really held us off fairly well, so the game was declared a draw. Had we been a turn earlier in achieving our objective the French position would have been sufficiently compromised for us to have claimed some kind of victory.

Of course, the Portuguese have won undying fame. They took one hit in the entire battle. Medals all round, I say.

And I only lost one cavalry unit.

Beethoven wrote a piece of music about the battle. Here it is.

Thanks to Ralph for putting on a gorgeous spectacle. I have one or two minor issues with the rules but, as I think the authors intended, they are really just a set of suggestions and are open to tinkering.. I may need to tinker when I run some games of my own.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Epic 40K HOTT - Eldar vs Chaos

I tried another 72AP Epic 40K HOTT game today, using the march-moves I outlined in my previous post. They didn't have much effect on the game, aside from allowing a more rapid approach early in the game, but the game itself was an incredibly close and bloody fight.

Here are the armies ready for battle.

Chaos war-machines. The Titan with the back-banner was one of the generals.

The Eldar.

They have an Avatar, of course.

One Eldar command was made up of bikes and grav-tanks, classed as Riders.

Early moves.

And the first combats,as Wraithguard and Dreadnaughts (Blades) fought the war-machines. They held out for much of the game, but were eventually overcome.

Meanwhile the Avatar led the Eldar advance, as it hit the Chaos left and centre.

The first casualty of the game - a Chaos Titan taken down by Aspect Warriors; Warband, in fact.

The Eldar bikes work round the Chaos flank.

Warband Aspect Warriors fight Chaos Space Marines (Blades). Like their Eldar equivalents, the Marine Blades held off these attacks for much of the game, losing only one element in the whole battle.

Falcon grav-tanks fight Chaos Land-Raiders.

By this stage the Chaos left had broken, but individual elements put up an heroic fight and stopped the Eldar from advancing much further.

The Chaos CinC - a Magician - destroys the Avatar in close combat.

The Eldar CinC - also a Magician - held off a flanking attack and avoided destruction. The tank in the distance wasn't so lucky.

By this stage casualties were even.

The Eldar kept trying to finish off the Chaos left.

The Eldar Titan fell to an assault by Chaos Marines, supported by Daemonettes.

This loss caused the Eldar central command, under the CinC, to go demoralised. On the next bound they lost the CinC, flanked as before, but with less will to fight.

However another Eldar Warlock destroyed the Chaos Tower of Skulls, to keep the losses even. This meant that the Eldar kept fighting.

The Eldar Warlock attempted to ensorcel the last remaining Chaos war-machine. Its command had just broken, but it didn't flee. A flee would have taken it off the table, and its loss would have broken the Chaos army.

Unfortunately with no general the central Eldar command couldn't hold any troops, and enough of them fled to push their army to breaking point.. The Eldar lost the battle 36AP to 34AP, so it was very, very close. Two Chaos commands were demoralised, but it's actual losses which count, and they held on just long enough to inflict them on the Eldar.

Here are the final positions.

The Chaos stronghold, and their God, which never appeared.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Tyranid Menace

I'm running an Epic 40K game at the club in a couple of weeks, so I thought I'd better reacquaint myself with at least some of the armies, as it's been a while since I've had them out. I also wanted to try out some ideas we've been discussing for adding DBM-style march-moves into such games. We've found that often a command on one flank breaks the troops opposing it, but is then too slow to cover the distance to provide any real support for other commands.

I went for a 72AP game, and purely because they were the first troops I laid my hands on, ended up with an Imperial (mostly Space Marine) force against Tyranids. As anyone who knows me knows by now, I do 72AP games as 72AP games; I don't just use three 24AP armies.

Here's the Imperial force. It's a mix of two Space Marine chapters, plus some Sisters of Battle:

There's eight Knights, twelve Blades (the Marines), two Riders, six Warband (the Sisters), two Behemoths (Titans), a Paladin (the Sister's Living Saint) and a Hero (the Imperial Commander). The Hero and one of teh Blades were commanders for the Marines, whilst one of the Warbands was also a general. The Imperial Commander was designated the CinC. Most of the Sisters were placed in one command, to deal with any flank heavy in bad going, whilst the Marines were placed in another command under a sub-general. They also had the two Titans attached to them. The rest of the troops - the Imperial Commander and all of the tanks - were in a final command.

Here are the Tyranids. There's a lot of them:

That's twenty-four elements of Hordes at the front; they were lumped into one command. There were eight Knights (the 'tank' creatures), which were put in a command with the one Behemoth (the Trygon). A final command was made up of six Warband and two Beasts. Like the Imperial Sisters command this would cover the flank with the most bad going. Each command was led by one of the three Magician generals; two Hive Tyrants and the CinC, a mighty Dominatrix. She took the 'tank' command, aiming to lead it in an unsubtle assault on the Imperial centre, whilst the Horde command covered one flank with sheer numbers.

I mentioned march moves above. I would allow any group or element to spend PIPs to make extra moves, but only if those moves did not start, end or go within 600p of any enemy element. A fairly simple rule.

The Imperials defended, and placed this terrain. In the foreground were a couple of built-up areas, whilst a field was all the was in the centre. Beyond them were two insignificant patches of rubble, and a couple of ridges. I used my randomised terrain system, adapted from an early release of DBA 3.0.

And here are the armies set up. In the foreground the Horde command faced the Space Marines, whilst around the built-up areas the Sisters faced Tyranid Warband and Beasts. In the centre the giant Tyranid assault creatures were opposed by Imperial Land-Raider tanks.

The Imperial Centre. The Warlord Titan is their stronghold. Some Sisters cover one flank, whilst a smaller Titan covers the other.

Massed Marines stoically await the attack of endless numbers of bugs.

And here they are. Bugs, bugs and more bugs. Hordes in all their glory.

The Tyranid centre. Beyond the massive Dominatrix can be seen a block of Warband creatures.

Over on the Imperial right, a small force of Sisters of Battle hold the ruins.

The lines advanced ...

And kept advancing. Some early march moves allowed the Imperial army to grab the small field in the centre, but for a turn or so they allowed the Tyranid Hordes to keep up with the advancing 'tank' line and protect its flank. So, whilst it's a minor addition to the game it did have an early effect.

The Imperials attacked first, assaulting the advancing Tyranids in the centre.

They mostly drove the Tyranid line back, and managed to destroy one of their elements. First blood to the Imperials.

The Tyranids on the Imperial right attacked the ruined city.

And the Sisters suffered the first Imperial casualty.

Any fight with this many Knights on both sides ends up looking messy, as elements recoil and pursue. In the foreground the Sisters were stuck in a long slog with their Tyranid Warband opposite numbers.

The Sisters had held their two Riders and the Paladin in reserve initially, but moved them up now to prevent their flank being turned by the superior numbers of Tyranids.

The Titans entered the fray, facing the Trygon in a fight that would remain a draw for much of the game.

The next two pictures show the key moment of the battle. On the Imperial right the Hive Tyrant sub-general had turned the flank of one of the opposing Warbands. The first fight was a draw, and on their turn the Imperials slipped an element of Sisters on bikes in behind the opposing general. This was the ensuing combat roll.

And it meant the the Hive Tyrant, unable to recoil, was lost. The Tyranid left flank was now without a commander.

In the centre the Sisters destroyed two elements of Warband, also in the Tyranid left-flank command. The command was 8AP down, and would have to roll a 5 or 6 for PIPs on its next turn to not go demoralised.

Join The Space Marines. See The Universe. That part of it occupied by bugs, anyway. The Imperial sub-commander led his Marines against the oncoming Hordes, preventing them from threatening the flanks of his Titans, allowing them to support the tanks.

The Imperial Commander moved to plug a gap in the line. Both side were losing tanks (or tank-equivalents in the case of the Tyranids) at a steady rate.

Remember that critical PIP rill? It needed to be five or more. It wasn't. The Tyranid left was now demoralised, and split up without any general, most of it fled the field in confusion. This now left most of the Sisters of Battle free to exploit an open flank.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Whilst lacking the PIPs to ensorcell the Imperial Commander, the Tyranid Dominatrix moved into a position to oppose him.Although one factor down in any close combat, she was hoping that overlaps could be created and exploited in order to even the odds or give her an edge.

The Sisters used march moves (and a roll of 6 for PIPs) to rapidly move into the Tyranid rear.

On the other side of the battlefield the Space Marines were getting stuck into the bugs, but by this stage it was obvious that the battle would be won on in the centre or on the other flank.

The centre again. One of the Titans had fled after fighting the surviving Hive Tyrant, and was now attempting to rejoin the battle.

The Tyranids needed to do something clever. they had a few options open to them as well. But these were the PIP rolls for their three commands. At the key moment of decision in the battle, the Tyranids basically did nothing for a turn.

Being the CinC, the Dominatrix could still move for one PIP; the extra PIP for being a Magician was offset my the bonus PIP for being a CinC. With little to lose at this stage she assaulted the Imperial commander; the Imperial centre. although holding, was close to breaking, and the death of the Commander would be enough to take it over the edge. The Tyranid losses were high enough that losing their CinC wouldn't lose the Imperials the battle, but it would certainly leave their stronghold vulnerable if the centre command collapsed.

The fight was a draw.

Rather like the ongoing one between the Titan and the Trygon.

The Sisters continued their flanking move. They were now in a position to seriously threaten the Tyranids.

But before they could do anything the battle was lost; the Imperial Commander killed the Dominatrix. With their CinC gone, and having sustained more losses than the Imperial force, the Tyranid army collapsed and fled.

Here are the Tyranid losses; 33AP, including two generals.

The Imperial losses were very light for such a hard-fought battle; 10AP, mostly tanks from the centre. One more element lost from that command would have broken it.

This was the final position. the bugs and Marines were still fighting, and had things not collapsed so quickly elsewhere that battle would have begun to have had significance. The Sisters of Battle were thh true stars of the game, though, holding the Imperial left in the field throughout the game, allowing their tanks to do their work, whilst routing a Tyranid command as well.

A great game, and the march moves didn't seem to unbalance things too much. Whilst the victorious Sisters didn't get back into the fight, they would have done had it lasted one more bound. And the multiple moves had some interesting minor effects in the early stages of the game as well. At this stage I don't see any need to change them, but I will test them with at least one more game.

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