40K: The Defence of Wæliscbæc.

Astra Militarum vs. Ældari, 800pts at Bristol Vanguard.

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Colonel Kentigern grimaced as the sea air gusted again, full of salt and fish. Before him, the giant salt plains of Wæliscbæc stretched on, a great white expanse punctuated only by the clusters of processing plants and workers’ habs that marked the industry here. It was a well-chosen beachhead, far from the prying eyes and colossal defence batteries of St Augustine’s, and had the local workers not raised the alarm, it could have been weeks before the alarm was raised. But now the Iskan 31st were here, and the perfidious xenos would pay for their temerity.

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Tonight’s mission saw both teams compete to control three equally spaced objectives, scoring 1VP a turn for the closest objective, 2VP for the middle, and 3VP for the furthest from their deployment. The Iskan 31st fielded a mechanised company backed by light artillery.

TURN 1:

The master of ordnance’s artillery salvo proved underwhelming to say the least, failing to inflict a single casualty. He came in far more handy supporting the Wyvern, which alongside the mortar section next to it succeeded in wiping out most of a unit of Rangers camped out on a hab-block overlooking Objective 1. A flurry of sniper fire finished off the rest; First Blood and 2VP to the Iskan 31st. Once again, Guard sniper squads prove surprisingly useful for their points cost. Captain Ansgar’s Executioner advanced on the second unit of Rangers in the hab-block, inflicting a couple of casualties and providing some mobile cover for Section 112. Nearby, Squad 111 advanced to secure Objective 2 for an additional VP.

On the right flank, Section 113 and Captain Bevyn advanced towards the central objective behind the cover of a hab-block. Steve’s Waveserpent had been protected by all manner of incantation and sorcery which meant that despite the sheer volume of fire poured on it by Leman Russ Aeron and a Hellhound, it proved remarkably tricky to wound. This would become a recurring theme.

Steve’s turn, and the Waveserpent advanced to disgorge a bevy of Wraithblades, who promptly proceeded to charge and rip great chunks out of Aeron’s hull. Luckily the Emperor protects and the Leman Russ survived the onslaught. Always potent in the psychic phase, one Farseer left Captain Bevyn wounded, while the other made the Wraithblades even more deadly and unkillable. On the left flank, the surviving Rangers started to chip away at the Guard advancing on their position, scoring a few kills in Section 111. The Eldar now secured Objective 3, netting them a handy 2 VP.

AM 3 : 2 Æ

TURN 2:

Guard artillery helped clear up the Rangers overlooking Objective 1, as Ansgar’s Executioner moved in to finish them off, opting for the quick VP over directing fire at the jetbike-mounted Farseer overseeing the Eldar left flank, in retrospect perhaps a mistake. On the right flank, the Wraithblades continued to be incredibly difficult to kill, shrugging off entire volleys of lasfire, and only beginning to take wounds under close-range tank fire and being charged by Ogryns. While the Ogryn’s charge didn’t acheive spectacular results against the Wraithblades, they at least bought some time for Aeron to withdraw and bring her armament to bear.

Having dropped its deadly cargo, the Eldar Wraithserpent circled back to Objective 1 and unleashed a furious volley of Shuriken fire on Section 111. With a crack, a unit of Guardians supported by a weapons platform emerged from the Webway, opening up on the survivors of Section 111 and driving the Guard off Objective 2.

AM 4 : 5 Æ

TURN 3:

Guard vengeance for Section 111 was swift; the sniper section quickly put the weapons platform out of commission with a flurry of mortal wounds, before the combined frag rounds of the mortars and the Wyvern turned the surviving Guardians into flesh confetti. Captain Ansgar turned the full might of his Executioner on the Wraithserpent, but failed to bring it down, leaving it hovering on a single wound. The honour went to a corporal from Section 112 with a plasma rifle, who put both rounds through it at close range. With the left flank clear, objectives 1 and 2 were both open.

On the right flank, the Ogryns didn’t last too long, but without all of the Farseer’s power, wounds were starting to claim the Wraithguard, with the last one falling to a point-blank headshot from Aeron’s lascannon as they attempted one last charge.

With the Wraithblades down, the Farseers used the pyschic phase to unleash their full might, tearing through Squad 113 and causing casualties among Col. Kentigern’s command squad.

AM 7 : Æ 7

At this juncture, although the VPs were level, the Eldar were down to just their two Farseers, while the Guard were about to claim at the very least objectives 1 and 2, to net 4 further VPs, and still had all their armour and artillery, and a good chunk of infantry left on the field. Steve chose to concede honourably, leaving the Guard in command of the field while the Farseers slipped back into the Webway to ponder their next move.

ASTRA MILITARUM VICTORY

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Kentigern looked down at the dying Eldar and spat into the salt. Around him, the air was filled with the moans of the wounded and the bustle of the medicæ as they hustled to and fro, tending shuriken wounds and lacerations. Nearby, a section of guardsmen whooped and cheered one of their comrades as they clustered around the smoking wreckage of the xenos tank. Kentigern allowed himself a smile, the fight had been hard but his men had done well. The ground around the western habs was strewn with the bodies of at least a score of xenos.

“Sir?”

Captain Bevyn appeared, his face wan from the greivous psychic shock he had received. Still, he’d found time to light another cigar.

“The witches escaped back into the Webway, Throne curse them.”

Kentigern nodded.

“So I expected, but at least they left their men behind. The enemy took heavy losses here today. The company did the Emperor proud and taught the xenos an important lesson; this is Imperial territory, and we intend to hold it.”

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There Will Be Blood… Bowl

Following the success of our first foray into Bloodbowl, Jade and I lined up a second feature. This time, the Kemperbad Kestrels and the WAAAGHbergines would go head to head at Old Trollford. Once again, we limited ourselves to one half, although we started working in some extra rules.

Kick-off on the Ork pitch.

Kestrels won the toss and elected to receive the kick, which bounced around for a bit before ending up in the hands of #3 thrower Pflege, who took the opportunity to throw to nobody in particular, rather than the waiting hands of #5 catcher Zwölfbäume. Thankfully, star blitzer #1 Willhelm von Ipol and #7 lineman Gerhardt had also given chase to try and hold off the Ork players who now closed in.

Loose ball!

Thankfully for the Kestrels, the Ork thrower flubbed the pickup, and a successful block from Gerhardt knocking down the Ork #4 allowed von Ipol to dodge an encroaching Greenskin lineman, snatch the ball and pass it downfield to Zwölfbäume, who continued the run of terrible luck in the rolls so far by promptly dropping the ball right next to him.

On the Ork second turn, their #11 lineman came charging in to recover the spilled ball, but Zwölfbäume promptly redeemed his previous performance as the Greenskin failed his dodge roll and was knocked down, spilling the ball in his own endzone. This allowed von Ipol to show his star quality again, charging forward to take the ball and touch it down, putting the Kestrels ahead 1-0 at the end of their third turn.

Touchdown! 1-0 Kestrels

The WAAAGHbergines restarted strongly with their #2 blitzer bursting through the Kestrels line blindside to catch a well-aimed pass from their #5 and head towards the endzone. He was thwarted just a few squares short by Kestrels #3, Pflege, and #11, lineman von Kreuz, who blocked his path before von Ipol blitzed in to make the tackle, driving the Ork against the touchline, but failing to knock him down.

Solid defence from the Kestrels

The Ork 4th turn was cut short as their #2 failed to dodge the converging tacklers and the ball went to the crowd for the throw-in. The ball went to Kestrels #4, thrower Jungs, who failed dramatically to deliver it into the waiting arms of catcher #6, Mai, with the ball bouncing to a waiting Ork lineman.

Kestrels turn 6 saw Mai, clearly furious at Jungs’ terrible pass, lay out the unfortunate Ork and send the ball flying, while the Kestrels’ linemen continued trying to find the breakthrough that had so far eluded them.

Flying tackle.

The centrefield had already descended into a chaotic melee of blocking with neither side able to land a telling blow, until the WAAAGHbergines #9 collided with his opposite number Schieffer, knocking both down but sending the unfortunate Ork off KO’d.

Muddle in the middle.

Turn 7 saw the Kestrels pack finally seize the initiative, as Mai recovered the ball and raced for the endzone. Blitzer #2 Michl Braun was able to slip past the Black Ork Blocker in his path to lay out his Greenskin opposite number, while the Kestrels linemen sought to clear a path for Mai.

This breakthrough was totally planned. Honest.

The plan was nearly successful, but an Ork lineman, #11, remained, who chased down Mai, but met with terribly bad luck. His tackle was rebuffed, and he found himself stunned in the mud, allowing Mai to run over the line in turn 8 and put the Kestrels 2-0 ahead.

It is not this guy’s day.

Final Score:

Kestrels 2 – 0 WAAAGHbergines

This game was a lot of fun, and I’m not just saying that because I won. The Kestrels played well in the end but we both had our fair share of awful rolls. We’re starting to get familiar with the rules which is makinh the whole thing more fluid and enjoyable, and overall things seem quite intuitive, apart from one stand out point: Black Ork Blockers don’t have the “Block” skill. Explain that one GW.

Bloodbowl: Match Time!

Like many people, I eagerly anticipated GW’s re-release of the classic Bloodbowl boxed game at the end of 2016. Jade and I split the teams between us; my human team became The Kemperbad Kestrels, pride of north-eastern Reikland, and Jade took on the WAAAGHbergines, a team of temporally confused Kommandos. Having familiarised ourselves with the helpfully provided trainingg drills, this week, we finally got round to our first proper match.

My only previous experience with Bloodbowl was watching my old housemate steer his Nord team to the top of the UK online second league, and Jade’s a total novice to wargaming, so we decided to limit ourselves to the base rules and to only one half.

Kick-off at the Kemperdrome!

The WAAAGHbergines received the kick-off, which promptly missed every player and bounced about all over the place, before eventually being salvaged by a thrower, #3.  The Orks surged upfield while The Kemperbad Kestrels gave chase, with blitzer Willhelm von Ipol and catcher Johannes Mai closing in. Unfortunately, lineman Daniel Kohle bounced off his Greenskin counterpart in the centre and knocked himself out, ending the turn early.

Turn 2 saw the Kestrels struggling to land tackles, with von Ipol and Mai both driving back the Ork #3 but failing to knock him down, and lineman Steffan Gerhardt closing in. Unfortunately, in centrefield, things bogged down with #10 lineman Jan Hußkel driving back his Greenskin opposite, but #9 Heinrich Schieffer struggling vainly against a Black Ork blocker, although thankfully avoiding injury. Unfortunately this left the outside field open for the WAAAGHbergines to surge through the gap.

The inability of the Kestrels to land a proper tackle on the Ork thrower came home to roost in turn 3, as he hurled the ball upfield to the blitzer and two linemen who had rushed up the outfield. At least the pressure meant he flubbed the pass, which scattered between the three of them, turning the play over. The turnover didn’t last long, however, with Kestrels #3, thrower Daniel Pflege diving in to try and salvage the ball but instead getting piled on by two Greenskins and knocked unconscious.

In turn 4, the WAAAGHbergines’ #1 blitzer salvaged the ball and raced towards the Kestrels’ endzone, although a failed drive in the centre ended up with a lineman on both sides knocked down. Kestrels’ #4 thrower Beren Jungs sprinted back to blitz a tackle that could have been heroic and game-saving, had the ball not scattered immediately into the hands of an Ork lineman who trotted over the line to put the WAAAGHbergines ahead 1-0.

After the restart, the Kestrels were determined to come back fighting in turn 5. Pflege, back from the KO Bin, salvaged the ball and headed upfield while von Ipol and Hußkel cleared a path for catcher Mai. A missed pass left the ball in Greenskin hands at the end of the turn, but the unfortunate Ork lineman was dumped unceremoniously on his back by Hußkel in turn 6, with the ball passing to von Ipol, who aced a long-bomb upfield into the waiting arms of Mai.

Hußkel lays out an Ork Lineman, while Mai races for the endzone.

Unfortunately for the unlucky Mai, he was still one square short of the endzone when the Ork #1 blitzed back and knocked him fully into unconsciousness. The ball bounced to him but he flubbed the pick-up, giving von Ipol the perfect opportunity to showcase his star power, sweeping in to nab the ball and run it into the endzone for the Kestrels in the last play of the game, and drawing the scoreline level at 1-1.

Von Ipol scores the match-saving point.

Final Score: 

Kestrels 1 – 1 WAAAGHbergines

Overall, we had a lot of fun with our first proper game of Bloodbowl, and the scoreline was respectable. It was a bit of a learning curve to get started, but the rulebook is nice and helpful and by the end we’d really got into it. We’ll build ourselves up to longer matches and incorporating more of the rules, but I can see this becoming a regular fixture.