It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I thought I’d talk about a game of Warhammer 40k I had last week! It was my second such game in the last eighteen months, Necrons vs Astra Militarum, and we went for a total of 1500 points. Not that I’m any kind of regular of course, but I was trying a couple of things that were different from my first game, though kept the core of Lychguard and Immortals…
(I didn’t have my phone with me, unfortunately, so apologies for the dearth of actual game pictures!)
I had four squads of Immortals, three Lychguard with warscythes and two squads with swords and shields. I also had a unit of Deathmarks, one unit of Wraiths, a Cryptek, an Overlord (with Resurrection Orb that I didn’t realise had a points cost), and an Annihilation Barge. 1493 points all told, against lots of Imperial Guard (the Praetorian version), a Chimera, a Leman Russ Executioner, and a Leman Russ battle tank. Urgh!
My first two rounds went pretty okay – I managed to thin out a lot of the guardsmen, and my Deathmarks came in round two and annihilated the platoon command squad. I’d managed to get my Wraiths across the table and locked up two squads of the guard in close combat, which was kinda fun! But that was kinda where my luck ended. I did manage to destroy the Command Squad with my Wraiths, and my Lychguard managed to wipe out a squad of Ogryns, but that was that! The Executioner tank managed to pull the game back from me, and wiped out far too many of my chaps, while my Annihilation Barge continued to do nothing but fire at the trees.
Overall, it was a really good game for me, as I continue to attempt to learn the game. It was really just a battle game, where we both tried to wipe out each other’s forces, which I think made things kinda straightforward as I wrestled with the rules, but while I think I do have a fairly decent grounding now, it’s the sort of thing that I feel I need to try and get more games with to let the rules sink in.
I mean, sure, movement is fairly straightforward and, having no psykers in my army, my actual role in the Psychic Phase is minimal. Shooting is okay, as I’ve not somewhat gotten my head around the business of subtracting the unit’s Ballistic Skill from 7 to find out the number you need to equal or exceed, though I find that overly-complicated. Having to then compare the weapon’s Strength to the target’s Toughness to find out if you actually wound the model you’re firing at has always seemed like an unnecessary step, especially given the fact there’s no easier way of determining this than consulting a chart each time. Though I’m sure, given time, a lot of the numbers will sink into memory. I do hope they do something with this in 8th Edition however, as it makes the game into a general morass of dice-throwing to resolve a single shot. We’ll see.
Close combat is where I still fall down, and one of the main reasons for me bringing all those Lychguard and the Wraiths. I actually think the overall mechanic of the game here is quite good – models declare a charge, during which the defenders get to fire back in a panic, then each model batters the other in Initiative order. Given that this is a game, and thus needs a rules set, I think this is the best implementation of a melee – rather than all of your models getting to go first simply because you were the one who charged, you know? It allows for a lot more tactical decision-making as you try to work out if it’s worthwhile declaring a charge, if your models are predominantly lower Initiative than your opponent and so forth. I also really liked the idea of Leadership tests, and models being hunted down as they run off the table. More than anything, though, I love the fact that Commissars shoot troopers in the head to prevent running away, that was very entertaining and highly flavourful to me!
Of course, for the actual meat of the fight you’re still working with byzantine charts to work out whether you hit and wound your opponents, so I hope they can do something with that, but still!
I lost this game due to losing too many of my units to that damn Leman Russ and its plasma cannons. I had three units of Lychguard with warscythes because, in my last game, they shredded at least one tank, but having to walk them across the table really didn’t do me any favours. Time to both get that Night Scythe painted, and get another one, I think! My Reanimation Protocols didn’t always go so well, so I think I may need to start looking at doing more with Crypteks (the one I brought didn’t join any unit, and was taken out fairly soon anyway). Even that Overlord having the Resurrection Orb didn’t save him in his unit, which I suppose was just as well, given the fact I forgot to pay for it!
Even though I lost, I did really enjoy it, as I’m getting a much better handle on the rules and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong, I still forgot a lot of rules – critically, my Wraiths having an invulnerable save – but I think the overall framework is sinking in more. More importantly, as mentioned on Sunday, it’s made me start to look critically at how I build up new units for the army, going for stuff that looks useful rather than what looks cool. I’ll never be a power-gamer, and I’ll always go for style over substance, but in building up that group of Praetorians at the weekend, I just didn’t see the point of building them with particle shredders…
So overall, I think Warhammer 40k is a game that I’d really like to get to know better – which is a relief, considering the sheer weight of miniatures I have for this game is enough to sink a battleship! Now, I just need to get moving and actually get some more games in!