Shadow War: Armageddon

It seems to me that the people who have the most to lose in the war on Armageddon are the Armageddonites themselves. While I don’t quite have enough Steel Legion to build a full Imperial Guard platoon, I do have enough to build a killteam for Shadow War: Armageddon. This is Killteam Rosthai, and they’re here to make sure that Armageddon remains in the hands of its sons and daughters. And the Emperor.

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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.

Fetch…THE COMFY CHAIR!

I talked about how I discovered the wonderful world of Inq28 here. I decided to build my own Inquisition warband based on the roles and composition of the old Witch Hunters codex, and many of which are based on characters from Dark Heresy games. Given the grimdark setting, they’re called Blake’s Eleven. Geddit? Like Blake’s 7, but there’s more of them. And they fight for the Terran Empire. But otherwise totally the same.

Inquisitor Meredith Blake

Lord Inquisitor Meredith Blake of the Ordo Hereticus. Witch-finder general, scourge of cults and proponent of THE CUSHIONS. I like to think of her as Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess but IN SPACE. And with a flamethrower.

Gnarrus & Callida

The brains of the outfit. As well as providing handy re-rolls to BS checks, these two sages know all of the arcane lore and obscure data which Inquisitor Blake is too busy setting cultists on fire to remember. I feel like these two really embrace the Blanchitsu aesthetic that a lot of Inquismunda leans towards; Callida, a scribe from the Sisterhood of Illumination, is a “warrior acolyte” straight from GW but seems like far more of a sage with her large tome in hand, and Gnarrus started life as an Empire battle wizard from Warhammer Fantasy, but has since found a higher calling.

Adstrum & Cavea

Straight out of Sinurbis Hive Precinct 9, Arbitrators Adstrum and Cavea (it’s the closest I can get in pig-Gothic to Starsky and Hutch) are the top investigators and interrogators bringing the light of the Emperor’s Justice to the darkness of the galaxy. I have some of GW’s brilliant old Adeptus Arbites models, but field them as a stormtrooper squad, and relished the opportunity to build some individual ones. Like many people, I’ve used the fantastic looking Mechanicus Skitarii Vanguard helmets, alongside their power mauls and handguns to build from the surprisingly useful bodies of the Genestealer neophyte hybrids.

Haugbui

+++Do you wish for… survivors?+++

Haugbui is no longer a man, but too alive to be a servitor. Who knows what dark technologies and physic energies keep him bound to this plane, to exact his dark vengeance on the enemies of mankind?

Haugbui is one of my favourite conversions, built mostly from AoS Chaos warriors with elements from the Militarum Tempestus Scions and Ogryns Auxilia. I really like the head in particular for the character imagination it can lead to. A haugbui is a type of draugr, or revenant spirit, but one bound to defend a specific location, in this case the Imperium.

Laurus & Duri

“Well this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” They’re little and large – well, actually they’re both large – and Laurus and Duri provide some useful muscle as warrior acolytes/crusaders. If only I could find some miniature bowler hats.

Trooper Rváč

A trooper of the Aschwald Siege Korps, Trooper Rváč joined Blake’s Eleven after using his bionic arm to punch an extremely powerful witch in the face following some extremely lucky willpower rolls. Rváč embraces the space feudalism of the grimdarker corners of 40k, based mostly on one of the shiny new Empire Greatsword models with some Skitarii weapons and Guard accessories.

Profligo

“We take the Imperium from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths and heresy, and we give it back to you… the people.” 
Profligo is a sanctioned psyker with a dangerously anti-authoritarian streak. Then again, the strength of the Imperium has always been in its people, while witch cults have an unfortunate habit of cropping up in the upper levels of the hive. 

Profligo is mostly an AoS Chaos warrior who’s seen the error of his ways and his universe.

Doctor Kosmas

As the crashed Ultramarine pilot from Battle for Macragge, Doc Kosmas was the first 40k model I painted by myself. When I got back into 40k a few years ago, I repainted him as an Imperial Navy officer character from our ongoing Dark Heresy game, and he’s now taken on a new life as Inquisitor Blake’s chief medical officer, here to plug holes in the warband and keep heretics alive long enough to answer the important questions.

Nobody expects the Imperial Inquisition!

I’ve always loved the Inquisition lore of the Warhammer 40K universe, and the secret wars that happen in the shadows to keep the Imperium safe from threats that most of them don’t even know exist. I originally got back into 40k after painting my character from a Dark Heresy game, then last year took on the old 6th Ed. Witch Hunters codex from my housemate, and cobbled together a warband of sorts to use as an alternative HQ flavour for my Imperial Guard force. 

I since discovered a thriving Facebook community dedicated to replicating GW’s niche 54mm scale Inquisitor game using the format of the sadly-defunct classic Necromunda, known as Inquisimunda, or simply Inq28. Rather than the giant battles of regular 40k, the focus here was on small, narrative games based around heavily customised and individual warbands and characters. The community showcases some stunning examples of customisation, often lovingly in the style of one of GW’s most iconic and atmospheric artists: John Blanche. Blanchitsu, as it’s known, makes for a wonderfully grimdark and characteristic setting and I was hooked immediately, and decided to build my own custom warband from scratch.
The 40K universe contains so many organisations, worlds and stylings that it’s a veritable smorgasbord of customisation options for the eager modeller and wargamer. As anyone who’s read the Ciaphas Cain and Dark Heresy novels of Sandy Mitchell will know, it’s also ripe for a huge variety of pig-Latin puns. Jumping on board with both feet, I began designing and building my own warband; Blake’s Eleven.