Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Small Form Factor Warhammers

Played in two, very small form factor versions of Warhammer and 40K over the past week.

First up was 40K at Stourbridge, using the Kill Team mission from the new Battle Missions book. Forces are only 200 points (that's half that of Stourbridge-favourite Combat Patrol) but the game is an individual skirmish game - each model counts as a unit on it's own so there is no need to maintain 2" unit coherency. Leadership tests effectively don't matter until you get to half numbers upon which you have to make an Ld test at the start of each turn or your whole force "bugs out". This is a direct lift from Necromunda/Mordheim but is trickier than the older games in that the test gets 1 harder each turn to avoid high Ld forces from hanging around for ever.

Force-wise, I took only 7 Sternguard Marines from my Crimson Fists army with whom I am still in the throes of a love/hate relationship. I don't have any actual, proper Sternguard figures so they were just normal metal/plastic beakies and modern marines pretending. Sternguard seem the best choice from the Space Marine lists as they can be tooled up in small numbers, being able to take support weapons at any squad size compared to the Tactical Marines who have to field full ten-man squads before being allowed to upgrade bolters to support weapons. Sternguards also have lots of choices of bolter ammo (one that ignores cover, high strength ones etc.) which I totally forgot about from being new to using them.

Anyway, Sternguard Squad Alpina looked like this;

(For obscure reasons, all Marines are named after German motor tuning houses)

All Sternguard have Power Armour, Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades

Brother-Sergeant Alpina - Close Combat Weapon
Battle-Brother Irmscher - Flamer
Battle-Brother Schnitzer - Plasma Gun
Battle-Brother Stohr - CombiWeapon (Bolter/Plasma Gun)
Battle-Brother K├Ânig - CombiWeapon (Bolter/Plasma Gun)
Battle-Brother Hartge - Bolter
Battle-Brother Brabus - Bolter

Combi-weapons are essentially the former (Bolter) with a single shot ability of the latter.

You pick three different Universal Special Rules (Feel No Pain, Tankhunter etc.) and assign them to three different models. This is actually a little bit clunky as it means that lots of little chits and markers follow the models around so that you can remember which one has Feel No Pain and which one has Counter-Attack etc.

We put every force on the table at once, Imperium vs Xenos with seven players which probably wasn't the ideal way to play but seemed to work out OK.

What I like about this is that it clearly isn't play-tested since lots of things make it creak around the edges and is impossible to play in tournament style. This is a good thing to my way of thinking.

Second up was Warhammer Border Patrol (PDF link) at Dudley Darklords. This is pretty much "Combat Patrol for Warhammer" with a tiny points allowance (500) and a few regulations to chuck out all the "Herohammer" stuff. This is the format I have been working towards with my Night Goblin army and so I fielded the following force as Turdspurt's Terrors having finished off the last of the painting and basing over the weekend.

The Blue Moon Bugger Boys arrayed for battle. Since this pic was taken I've added another rank of speargobbos so they are now 25 strong.

Turdspurt - 1 Night Goblin Big Boss - Light Armour, Great Weapon
The Blue Moon Bugger Boys - 25 Night Goblins with Shield and Spear, full command
Dogfelcher's Arrer Ladz - 25 Night Goblins with Hand Weapon and Shortbow, full command
Crackfinger's Arrer Ladz - 25 Night Goblins with Hand Weapon and Shortbow, full command
Special Brew Suicide Squad - 6 Ball-and-Chain Fanatics (2 per unit).

That's actually slightly under points as I can take another Night Goblin but the units are maxxed out (BP allows only 25 per unit) so I can't fit it anywhere! At 82 figures this is probably one of the largest forces you can field under BP rules - I have managed to draft up a 101 figure list but that lacks the Special Brew Suicide Squad and probably isn't all that good.

James W. fielded Dark Elves and Scott fielded his Chaos Warriors. Turdspurt's Terrors turned out to be quite vicious at this level, with a 4' x 3' table (the recommended size for this level of game) the battlefield is quite tight which plays into the hands of the massed shortbows (cancelling out their poor range) and fanatics. With the other players fielding quite expensive troops in small units, the cheap Goblins come into their own. While they are poor in combat, their rank bonuses, cheap command and cheap spears (fighting in two ranks) mean that they end up doing OK when the results are worked out so basically Gork is on the side of the big battalions and we have them.

The only game I did poorly in was a flukey one whereby I sent two Fanatics straight through a Chaos Warrior unit to no effect (snake-eyes on the dice for hits, no kills) and in routing the neighbouring Chaos Marauders pursued straight through into my own whirling Fanatic taking seven kills and routing the spearmen that had just won the combat. Still, if you aren't prepared to put up with chaotic random nonsense like this, pick another army. Such as, err... Chaos. Which turns out to be a well disciplined crack force.

We got six games of this (three each) in over an evening with most games taking about 20-25 minutes. Good fun although I suspect I'd have had a harder time of it if I had been facing larger armies of cheaper troops. James also kept forgetting that Dark Elves suffer Hatred of everybody and everything which not only short-changed him but all suggests that by hating the World and everything in it, wearing black eyeliner and claiming to be Otherkin, Dark Elves are actually an army of Emo kids...

The next step with the Goblins is to expand them to 1000 points but it might be worthwhile waiting until July when Warhammer 8th edition is released before doing any serious army planning.

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