Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Shadow War Campaign Final Mission Part Three

When we last left the Shadow War Campaign Final Mission, the Sisters of Battle had taken the lead having captured their primary objective and carried it off the table via their deployment zone.

Part one, covering the mission and deployment is here.

Part two is here.

When we left things in Part Three, the Sisters of Battle had just carried their Primary Objective off the table, securing them 3 victory points. As they were in second position on the leader board, that meant any other Kill Team than the Orks needed 4 Victory Points to beat them and win the campaign.

Enough Orks had recovered to try and drag their primary objective, the Doomsday Device, back towards the table edge.

But they were now coming under attack from Blood Angel Scouts and Tau, both of whom needed to go through the Orks to get their own objectives and both of whom needed to stop the Orks if they were going to win the campaign.

But despite the heavy attack, the Orks kept struggling on.

Meanwhile, having lost the Data Bank that was their primary objective, the Chaos Marines started moving towards the centre in the hope of claiming Victory Points elsewhere. And the Sisters were not resting on the laurels. Grabbing one more piece of Archeotech would cement their victory.

The Dark Eldar had broken away from the Tau and, with their high speed, were certain to make it to the table edge.

With their primary objective lost, the Tau turned their guns on the Orks. Their slim chance of a victory depended on securing all four remaining objectives. But just as they really started to focus, their shooting failed. A series of utterly appalling rolls meant that even it point blank range they missed, or if they didn't miss failed to wound or if they wounded the Orks made some truly ridiculous saving throws. The Orks were being pinned, but still dragging their objective inch by inch to the table edge.

On the far side, the Sisters of Battle Seraphim had seized a second objective, while the rest of the Kill Team tried to surpress the Chaos Marines with supporting fire.

But they had reckoned without the Dark Eldar. With their primary objective secure, the Succubus and Homunculus saw an opportunity to take another victory point and steal victory from the Sisters.

The Orks were inches from victory and the last few survivors desperately tried to fend off the Tau, whose shooting had not improved. At the same time, the Blood Angel Scouts were still trying to take their primary objective.

The Succubus charged the Seraphim, who had little chance against her in hand to hand combat. Meanwhile, the Chaos Space Marines were closing in on the surviving Sisters from behind.

But the Chaos Marines were not about to surrender a piece of archeotech to the Dark Eldar and they turned all their firepower on the Succubus.

But all this was, ultimately, a sideshow, because on the near side, Trukk the last Ork still standing, dragged the Doomsday Device over the line, giving the Orks 3 victory points. As they were at the top of the leader board, any other team needed 4 victory points to beat them.

The Blood Angels, Dark Eldar and Chaos Marines fought over the one of the remaining pieces of archeotech...

...and the Tau secured another piece of archeotech, which happened to be the Blood Angels primary objective.

The rest of the Tau positioned themselves to prevent the remaining scouts from trying to take it back.

Had they managed to take another piece of archeotech, the Dark Eldar could have won the campaign. But it was not to be. The Chaos Marines had taken one from the Succubus and the Tau took the last.

At this point, I brought the mission to an end. The Tau and Chaos Marines could have fought over the remaining objectives still on the table, but it would have been a fight for fourth place and Sunday evening was drawing in.

The scenario and the campaign had a winner. The Orks, Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar had managed to carry their primary objective off the table, each winning 3 Victory Points. With a three-way tie, the campaign was decided by the campaign leader board, which, at the end of round 5 stood as follows:

Kill Team
Data Caches
Team Rating
Adeptus Sororitas
Dark Eldar
Space Marine Scouts
Chaos Space Marines

All three teams were equal on data caches, but the Win-loss ratio was the clear decider. The Orks had secured a lucky victory, as they had throughout the campaign, but a lucky win was still a win and the victors took their place on the podium.

The Final Mission was over, the campaign complete. But I still have one last post planned. Come back soon for the Shadow War Campaign Debriefing.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Shadow War Campaign Final Mission Part Two

Part Two of my report on the final mission of my Shadow War Campaign. Part One, covering the mission rules and deployment is here.

The Orks took the first turn and advanced quickly, swarming over the archeotech.

The Sisters of Battle advanced more cautiously, sending out a scout ahead while the rest followed on.

At the end of turn 1, the Dark Eldar and Blood Angels arrived, deploying on opposite sides on the far left and near right.

The Dark Eldar quickly found themselves under heavy fire from the Orks.

While the Sisters broke off part of their forces to pursue this new threat.

The Orks had seized much of the archeotech, but were now under heavy fire from all sides.

And at the end of the turn the Chaos Space Marines and Tau arrived.

The Sisters poured fire on to the Chaos Marines, doing no damage but keeping them pinned.

Meanwhile, the Seraphim seized their primary objective.

Despite being delayed by the Sisters and Orks, the Dark Eldar continued their advance.

While on the left, the firefight between the Orks and Tau was developing in the Tau's favour.

The Dark Eldar started to push through to the centre.

The Orks still had much of the Archeotech, but struggle to move it under fire from the Tau, Blood Angels and Dark Eldar.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the field, both the Chaos Marines and Sisters of Battle were pursuing the same objective. Most of the Sisters Kill-Team provided covering fire, while the Seraphim handed off the Data Bank to Sister's Ursula and Beatrice. The Sisters had little luck overcoming the Chaos Marines high toughness and armour, but while they were all pinned they couldn't advance.

Enough Orks had been taken down or out of action that the Dark Eldar were able to seize their primary objective, the weapons cache, and start to make progress towards their deployment zone.

The Tau were in difficulty. Their primary objective was the same as the Dark Eldar and they needed to move at top speed to get it, but they had to go through the remnants of the Orks to get it.

I hadn't considered, when planning this scenario, that the Shadow War rules require you to shoot at the nearest target unless a more distant target is easier to hit. This meant the Tau couldn't prioritise the Dark Eldar over the nearer Orks, even though killing Orks didn't help them achieve their primary goal.

But by the end of turn 5, enough Orks had recovered to make a decent go at recovering the Doomsday Device. They might not be able to take the bulk of the archeotech as they had hoped, but they could still achieve their primary objective. The Blood Angels and Dark Eldar had also secure their primary objectives, but were struggling to move them under heavy fire.

But it was the Sisters of Battle who would take the lead, carrying their primary objective off the battlefield first. Because they were second on the leader board, this meant that any Kill Team other than the Orks would need 4 Victory Points to beat them and win the campaign.

And that seems as good a place as any to take a break. We'll see how the other teams got on trying to catch the Sisters in part 3.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Shadow War Campaign Final Mission Part One

When I last posted about my Shadow War campaign it was December 2018, I had just completed round 5 and four of the six Kill Teams had gathered the 10 data caches I had decided was necessary to finish the campaign. Since then, I let things go quiet, partly because I got absorbed in my Blood Angels and Death Guard painting project and partly because I needed the time and space to bring the campaign to a suitably climactic end.

The original Necromunda Campaign rules, on which Shadow War's rules are based, had nothing to say about actually ending a campaign. You simply continued to play games and build up your gang until everyone died, got bored or grew out of wargaming entirely.

Shadow War improved on this by introducing victory conditions using its concept of Promethium Caches. Once one Kill Team collected 15 caches, if they won one more mission they would win the campaign. So far, so basic. For my campaign I changed the Promethium Caches to Data Caches and reduced the required number for victory to ten. But I never wanted to end the campaign or just another basic mission, I wanted something suitably climactic to round every thing off and provide a proper sense of closure. I wanted nothing less than a no-hold barred, all against all, six way Kill-Team mega fight.

But doing this was going to take time and space. As may have been apparent from previous mission reports, I usually played Shadow War on a 4' x 4' space that took up just over half of the table in my hobby room. This allowed me to clear enough space for a game by just pushing everything else to one end of the table. But for a six team fight I needed more room. That meant utilising the whole table. Also, if a normal game of Shadow War between two Kill Teams took me a couple of hours to play through a six team game was going to be a lot longer. So I also had to wait for a completely free weekend.

A six way finale needed its own special rules. Plus, I also needed to give some advantage to the currently winning Kill Teams or the rest of the campaign would have been pointless. With that in mind I devised a scenery in which six valuable pieces of archeotech would be placed near the centre of the table. I also allocated six deployment zones. The Orks and Sisters of Battle, as the two Kill Teams at the top of the leader board would deploy first, giving them first shot at collecting the archeotech. The Dark Eldar Wyches and Space Marine Scouts would arrive on turn 2 and the Chaos Space Marines and Tau on turn 3. When they deployed, each team would be randomly allocated a specific piece of archeotech to be their primary target, which would be worth 3 victory points and the rest would be worth 1 each. The goal of each team would be to get as much archeotech of the table through their deployment zone as possible and, because this was the final mission, no-one would bottle out.

The rule rules I devised for the scenario are here.

This is the table layout. After Five rounds of cityscapes I wanted things to try a different battlefield look. And, with six teams to keep track off, plus assorted special operatives, I didn't want too much crazy terrain and certainly not any high vantage points that would allow any team to dominate the game with long range shooting.

This was the final table layout.

The Orks choose a deployment zone on the centre of the near side. This left them vulnerable to attack on two fronts, but also gave them the most direct route to the archeotech. This was a calculated risk, but the hope was that they would be able to use their superior numbers to defend each flank. Unfortunately, their primary objective was the doomsday device, which was on the far row of archeotech.

The Sisters took the deployment zone on the far right side, hoping to use the extra mobility of their Seraphim to seize their primary objective, the data bank.

Deployment was complete and battle was joined. We'll see how it went it part two.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Blood Angel Update

Having made a pretty decent start on my Death Guard, I thought it was a good time to go back to my Blood Angels, starting with a regular Marine Tactical Squad.

I'm in no way a competitive player, if I were my Blood Angels would probably be all Sanguinary Guard and Death Company with the compulsory troop choices made up of Scouts and, maybe, Intercessors. But I was never going to feel comfortable about that. I decided I wanted my army to have a theme and that it would represent the Fifth Company of the Blood Angels Chapter.

I chose the Fifth Company because they are a Battle Company, which means I can have a nice mix of different troop types and their company badge is a black blood drop, which looks cool. At full strength the Company would have Six Tactical Squads and Two each of Devastator and Assault Squads. But, thanks to losses sustained in the Tyrannic War, my Company has been augmented with Primaris Marines who are  still being integrated into the company structure - what this means is that I don't have to paint up all ten squads if I don't fancy it. Though I do have enough Tactical Marines for four.

My Tactical Marines are a mixed bag of models, some of whom I got when Warhammer 40,000 3rd edition was released. Some came from the 7th edition Kill Team box, which I planned to use as an excuse to get back into 40K, and then didn't. And some are Blood Angel Tactical Marines from the Starter Box, which I bought principally for the Baal Predator.

I have mixed and matched the different parts and models together so that no one squad looks too over done and I am quite happy with the result so far. I've got my technique for painting Blood Angels pretty well practised now. These were Painted in Mephiston red, with a wash of Carroburg crimson and edge highlights in Evil Sunz Red.The Black areas are Abaddon Black highlighted with Vallejo Black Grey and the bone and parchment areas use Privateer Press Menoth Base and Highlight with a Griffin Sepia Shade.

My next edition was something of an indulgence, but I couldn't resist a Furioso Dreadnought, who I have named Brother William for, reasons. I've been wanting a Dreadnought in this style since they first appeared, in metal, in 40K 2nd edition, but I only now got round to buying one.

I used the same basic techniques as the regular Marines, albeit with a lot more metal. I also added a fair bit more battle damage in the form of metal chips and scrapes around the edges and quite a few transfers, most noticeably on Brother William's right leg. The only thing I am less than happy with is the Wings, which look rather too white in the photos, but are actually Vallejo Silver Grey with Off White highlights.

One nice feature of the kit is the way the arms slide on and off fairly easily and stay in place with no glue, so I painted up both right arm variants, allowing Brother William to be kitted out with Two Furioso fists or one fist and a Frag Launcher as the mood takes me.

As has probably become apparent, what started as a Project based on the cheap Models that came with Warhammer 40,000 Conquest magazine has rapidly turned into an excuse to buy loads more models. This most notable in the squad below, fire Hellblasters with Assault Plasma Incinerators. In my defence, the Blood Angel specific box, which comes with a couple of upgrade sprues, is limited edition and rapidly vanishing off the shelves of discount hobby stores, so I snapped this one up while it was gettable. Also, the Hellblasters that come with Warhammer 40,000 Conquest only have regular Plasma Incinerators.

So far, I have only painted half the box, the other half have Heavy Plasma Incinerators. This was the first squad I undercoated with Mephiston Red spray, which sped things along a bit.

I'm not really a fan of either of the Primaris Captain models that have been released so far. The Gravis Captain looks chunky and awkward and the regular one too flat, as though he was cast in one piece. On the whole, I much prefer the Lieutenants, particularly the Chapter Specific ones. I picked this one up because I didn't like the idea of all my HQ units being specialists, I wanted at least one regular officer.

I pretty much stuck to my standard colour scheme, albeit with a gold shoulder logo and some electric blue lightning on the power sword. The Logo on his tabard is a transfer. And, as I write this I realise I forgot to add the Fifth Company Blood Drop to his right shoulder pad.

Finally, no Blood Angel Army would be complete without a Death Company Squad. I may not want the whole army made up of them, but I wanted at least one squad. These guys are actually pretty old models, dating back to third edition 40K, when I wanted to add some extras to the Marines I got in the starter box and the Blood Angel codex had just been released and seemed like more fun than conventional vanilla marines.

Although the bodies are pretty old, they do have at least a couple of more up to date weapons, most notably the Power Fist which my brother gave me, I think, from a Sanguinary Guard box he picked up cheap and cannibalised for parts.

I have actually had these picture ready for a couple of weeks now, but have been very slack about posting them. Since then I have completed a Chaplain and Rhino to accompany the Death Company. But with those completed, I am going back to the Death Guard for a bit. Pretty soon I should have what feels like enough painted models for a decent sized game.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Death Guard Return

So the Blood Angels are one half of Warhammer 40,000 Conquest, what about the other half?

When Games Workshop first released it's new Death Guard range I was in two minds. I had collected a Death Guard army before, back in Warhammer 40,000 4th edition (I used some of the models for my Shadow War Kill Team) and I have mixed new and old models in one army before, but I wasn't keen to do it again this time. One reason was that the old and new models are barely in the same scale. The new Death Guard have basically expanded to match the new Primaris marine and the old ones look pretty tiny next to them.

The other problem was the way I had painted the models. They were originally painted for a small campaign/tournament during a brief period in the early 2000s when I was a member of games club. I painted them very quickly using a method of dyrbrushing layers of grey over a brown undercoat. I was quite happy with the results, but there were two basic problems. Firstly, the results looked good from a distance, but look quite scrappy up close. The second was that I used yellow as a secondary colour, which has the odd effect of making the grey look purplish-blue, which was not at all the effect I was going for.

So I didn't want to add the new models to my old army, but I wasn't at all sure I wanted to start a brand new one. My little brother forced the issue a bit by buying me the Plague Brethren box for my birthday along with a box of the easy-to-build Plague Marines. But I set them to one side for a while, thinking I might use them as Plague Marines in another Chaos Marine army, possible Black Legion or Word Bearers.

But when Warhammer 40,000 Conquest came along and, particularly, when they sold off a Myphitic Blight Crawler for £7.99, I couldn't resist and took the plunge. When issue 12 of Conquest came with a Foul Blight Spawn I picked up two copies and used the first to test my new colour scheme.

I wanted to stick with my grey-drybrushed-over-brown because I thought it came out well, but I wanted a different contrasting colour and a way to neaten up the overall effect.

I gave the Blightspawn and undercoat of Army Painter Leather Brown and then drybrushed Vallejo Dark Grey and Neutral Grey over it. I then did a lot of edge highlighting in light grey which, I think, helps to pick out the detail. The armour edges were painted in Death Guard green, given a wash with Athonian Camoshade and a highlight of Deathguard Green mixed with Vallejo Olive Green. The metal areas were painted in Vallejo Natural Steel with a two heavy washes of GW Agrax Earthshade to give it a tarnished, rusted look. Some other areas were painted with Vallejo Bronze, given a wash or Seraphim Sepia and then a touch of Vallejo Verdigris Glaze (which I think I applied too heavily on the Blightspawn).

I had 9 Plague Marines by this point: The Plague Brethren and two sets of Easy to Build Plague Marines. I thought about converting one of the easy to build, so I could build a squad of 7 all of whom were unique, but then I realised the multi-part Plague Marine box came with close combat weapons and I couldn't resist grabbing a box. I then mixed and matched models to get two squads of unique individuals.

This first squad is for medium range fire support and includes two Blight Launcher Marines, Four Bolters (one with an Icon) and a Champion with a Plasma Gun and Powerfist. They were painted substantially in the same way as the Blight Spawn, though the fleshy areas were painted with Vallejo Rosie Flesh, washed with Reikland Flesh shade and highlighted with a mix of Rosie Flesh and Elf Flesh.

The picture below is a step by step of the Champion.

I found my drybrush, then edge highlight technique worked quite well on bone, which was handy as I always struggled to paint bone well. I used Privateer Press Menoth White Base and Menoth White Highlight, which I've had sitting around for years, along with a wash of Seraphim Sepia.

The Lord of Corruption came with Conquest Issue 19 and was my first official Character. I made the slime yellow on all my marines because I was already using green on the armour. I'm not sure if its snot or pus.

The Myphetic Blight Hauler uses the same techniques as the Marines, though the fleshy area at the back looks particularly bloated and gross in rosie flesh.

I painted my second squad of Plague Marines and my Biologus Putrifier at the same time. Using the same techniques as above though, by now, I think I was doing a better and more subtle job.

I'm particularly pleased with this squad. Five of them are from the multi-part Plague Marine box set, while the one with the Meltagun is one of the Plague Brethren and the one with the Bubotic Axe and Plague Knife is a conversion mixing parts from an easy to build marine with spare parts from the boxed set. This lot are a close combat squad, advancing as quickly as possible using assault weapons to provide support.

I badly wanted a Daemon Prince for my army. I had painted the official Nurgle Daemon Prince model for my old Death Guard army, but I wasn't keen to repaint him, include him in the new army in the old colour scheme or get a new version of the same model. Then I discovered that the Daemon Prince could be upgraded to have wings and hit on an idea.

I have seen a lot of Nurgle Daemon Princes that combine parts from a a Plague Drone with a Plastic Daemon Prince, but never one that went so far as to replace the legs to create a centauroid-fly hybrid. So I went on Ebay and got myself a drone. My original plan had been to get the Daemon Prince boxed set and use the upper body with just the bulbous lower torso and wings of the fly. But, having looked at the fly, I liked the idea of retaining its armoured carapace. So, I went back to Ebay and found someone selling the chest and arms of the Daemon Prince (along with some other random Daemon bits).

The finished Daemon Prince has the torso and arms of the Daemon Prince model attached to the front of the fly, which still has its wings. I also used one of the fly heads. The Cables come from a Defiler's Power Scourge. The organic chimney piece is part of a Tyranid bio-weapon while the trio of power coils are spare parts from old 40K buildings, while the large chimney on the back is actually from the very first plastic battlewagon model. I wanted the model to have a slightly steam punk feel, but the cables and other bits also help to fill the gaps. I have never been confident with green stuff.

The dead Space Marine is the spare easy-to-build Marine from Issue One of Warhammer 40,000 Conquest spliced with Zombie parts.

I stuck to the same colour scheme as the rest of the Marines, but left the unarmoured areas in Army Painter Leather Brown. I gave the whole thing a wash in Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted by mixing Vallejo Heavy Skintone with the Leather Brown.

That's it for now. I still have a fair bit more to paint, but I am taking a break to go back to my Blood Angels for the time being.