Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Summer Conclave

With Eoin giving out to me about how he has been writing all of the blog posts of late, I thought it only fair to contribute by posting about the most recent event that I attended.

Conclave is an annual event run by Gary and the lads from The Gathering in Limerick. The event took place in Thomond Park of Munster Rugby fame and it was probably one of the best venues for an event I have been lucky enough to attend.

A large spacious room was provided with generous amounts of room and terrain on each of the tables, upon which games of Warhammer 40K were to be played on the Saturday, with Warhammer Fantasy being provided on the Sunday.
Awesome Prizes including art by Ken Coleman

I went up early Sat morning with Richard Flood driving the pimp-wagon and Daire O Mahony and Hugh Murphy in the back. The trip went nice and quickly as we were all in the mood to discuss our armies for the day, some ETC stuff for Richard and of course 6th Ed in all of its imminent glory!
This place is grand, but it's not Cork, like

The event was scheduled to begin registration from 9 to 10, with the event due to kick off at half 10. We arrived at 5 past 9 to learn that we were the first there and had to wait until nearly half 11 before the games got underway. While deploying we were then told to rush it since we had little time.

I am a real ball buster about punctuality so this really stuck in my craw, as did the very long breaks in between rounds and being informed that I was not allowed sit at the event, since it was a safety hazard. These issues were all sorted out mainly thanks to Kevin’s Rynn and Stronach, and to be fair to Ryan the event organiser, it was his first time.

Nevertheless an event that I was supposed to be home from for half 8 or 9 ended up with my getting home closer to half 10. This was a long old day and this could have been helped.

The rules pack for the day called for a 2250 list using Imperial Armour rules. No super-heavies but everything else goes: Awesome. I was looking forward to this as I am a poor man and have no Forge World stuff, so the chance to see some in the flesh was great. There were a few bits and pieces around the place but nothing major. Luke did have pretty much a whole IAA force of Eldar but unfortunately I did not get to play him.
How Floody's might look if he had painted it.

My list was:
The Sanguinor
JP Priest
5 Terminators, 3 TH/SS, Claws, Srg (who gets the Sanguinors Blessing) Claws
Furioso dread, Blood Fists, Extra Armour
10 Death Company, BP/CCW, 2 Bolter Fist, Lemartes
2 x Snippy DC Dreads
3 x Storm Ravens, all Extra Armour, all MM, 2 have TLC, other has AssCannon

It is hilarious and a version of a list I had brought to Itzacon, though this time I had no scoring units at a tourney with 2/3 missions involving objectives!

Game one I was drawn against young Eoin and his Ork Horde, and I mean horde.
A Whole lot of Orks

He had:
Ghazghkull and some Nobs in a Truck
Snikrot and some Kommandos
Mega-Nobs in a Truck
Deff Dred
3 Killa Kans
Mob of Boyz (100 boyz)

I later discovered that this is an Apoc formation so was technically illegal, but I had a laugh and was suitably scared looking at this wall of boys across the table. Eoin was a lovely young man and has a good head on his shoulders. He played well and made me work for the first few turns but I eventually got the charge on Gaz and his Nob squad with Sanguinor and Meph, the latter taking Gaz apart and the former inflicting some wounds on the Nobs. They took a few slaps of Power Fists back but still won combat, get surrounded in the process meaning they could not be charged by the approaching Green Tide.

Most of the Armour had been taken down by my Ravens taking turns to move 6” and unload their Blood Strikes, normally bagging a few Orks in the explosion thanks to AP1 and the sheer amount of boys on the table!

I was now able to make the assault on my terms and as Mephi and Sang finished off the Nob squad in his turn, Mephi, his job done jumped back into a Raven to lick his remaining 2 Wounds while the unscathed Sang stood in the middle of the table to ensure everyone got +1A.
The Death Company, Sang, a DC Dread and the Furioso charged the Boys and killed the Warboss and caused 50 Wounds, to none back, with him inflicting 8 Wounds back, I failed 3 and FnP’d them (Including one on Lemartes)

This left him to take 50 fearless Saves, wiping the unit. I next got to run in and kill his Mega Nobs and then had a Raven parked on each objective as we waited for Snickrot and the Gretchen to turn up, at which point I killed them.

20-0 to me as the only damage taken was a Wounded Mephi.

So after a pretty good round I went up against Hugh. I had played him the Thursday prior to the event and was fairly confident that I could take him, but I hadn’t counted on my inability to roll above a 3+ until turn 4!
Pictured: What Hugh Sees in the Mirror

He was running his usual Templars list with a few extra toys.
Marshal, TDA, Claws
Terminator Command Squad, Tank Hunters, 2 x Cyclone
Emperors Champ, AAC
2 x 5 Terminators, Tanks Hunter, 2 Cyclone
5 TH/SS Terminators
3 x 5 Marines, Bolters
3 x 2 Typhoon
3 x Auto Las Preds

He got first turn, forcing me to reserve. My toys turned up one at a time and he easily dispatched them killing the occupants with ease. The Sanguinor managed to get into combat with the TH/SS Termies, where he stayed continuing to roll all 1’s to hit for 3 turns. I eventually managed to do some damage with my Termies joining the Sanguinor to take out the TH/SS Termies and a Squad of Cyclones.

Mephi took out two Preds, the Champ and all of the Troops, the Speeders and Cyclones managed to slag all of my DC with the exception of Lemartes who in turn 6, due to being the only model left was able to use his JP to get into combat with the closest Unit of Speeders, who had closed in on my DC. He managed to kill them both, claiming what I thought was a draw on KP’s.

A hard fought game that I thought I had pulled back, only for Hugh to realise that we had miscounted the KP’s forgetting the Sanguinary Priest.

17-3 to Hugh.

Game 3 was against Kevin Stronach and his Eldar. He had some scary stuff for me to contend with.
Kevin realises that Phil Mitchel has really let himself go

Farseer, Doom, Guide, Spear, RoW, RoWit
Banshees in a Serpent
Dragons in a Serpent
10 Wraithguard with Warlock
5 Avengers
5 Warp Spiders
2 x Wraithlord

Mission is Dawn of War and I go first, setting up the Sanguinor out of sight in the middle of the board with the rest rolling on in the first turn.

I was cagey with my forces as I was scared he might roll a 6 with any one of his Wraithcannon on my transports removing the Model, and thus the occupants from play!

I turbo on and take some long shots at his Wraithseer who shrugs off all of the Wounds. The Sanguinor moves forward still hiding.

His turn one and his forces arrive but fail to see anything, with my raven all having moved about 20” instead on their full move just in case.

Turn 2 and I used the Gunships to Kill the Wraithseer and the Falcon  pinning the Avengers and the Farseer on that side of the board. Sanguinor moved forward and charged the Wraitguard, dispatching a few with the third Raven containing the Termies Parked on his lines after Turbo Boosting to get into position to rear shot his Dragons, only for him to pass his Boost save.
This left his Dragons free to move over and wreck my DC Raven in the centre of the board, which he did thanks to Crack Shot ignoring my boost, his other shooting bounced off with his Banshees getting into a position to counter charge any further offensive.

Mephi debussed and moved to help out the Sanguinor dispatch the Wraithguard while the Termies moved back to charge the Pathfinders and the Banshee Tank, the Furioso moved to cover them, hoping to kill the Banshee transport and hold up the occupants. The DC and their Dread made light work of the Dragons and their Serpent with the Dread blowing it up with a rear armour shot, killing a few Dragons in the process. This wreck provided a huge piece of dangerous terrain however that my DC would be forced to charge into and having dispatched the Dragons, they were forced to go through and remain in due to them raging at the closest enemy, who was the hapless Farseer and his Avengers bodyguard, who were now the only part of his army left. The Termies and Dread made combat Blowing up the Serpent and a few of the Banshees in it and easily dispatching the Pathfinders.

So began the slow march at the Avengers and Seer.

Kevin unloaded the Avengers with Blade-storm into the DC only for FnP to ruin his day, his Farseer moved bravely forward throwing his Spear and then Charging a DC Dread only to roll 1’s and 2’s on the Chart, both of which are ignored thanks to one of my favourite Special Rule titles “None Shall Stay My Wrath”.
Seriously, none can stay it.

The clean-up was straightforward here and gave me my second 20-0 for the day. It wasn’t until I got home and began preparing this blog entry that I realised we had forgotten the Warp Spiders, which totally gives Kev the moral victory. Great game.

A successful day at the office gave me a respectable 43 points giving me third spot and most importantly finishing above Hugh who finished fourth. Suck it Hugh.

Though I did have some issues with aspect of the organisation as I have already stated, I must say that I had a great day out with some fun and challenging games. My thanks to the organisers and I look forward to returning to the event, especially if it is likely to be in the same venue.

I totally played in Thomond Park!!
I have played here, honest.

King of the Gnoblars 2012

As I wrote about in a previous post, I recently started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle. My main reason for starting was the fact I signed up to play in a Fantasy tournament run my WAC member and all around handsome man, Rob "Lovely Jumpers" Gleasure. The event was King of the Gnoblars and it was a 2400pt, 5 round Fantasy tournament held on the 3rd and 4th of March in UCC. Here's where you'll find the rulespack. The event was using SCALE a very interesting version of comp, if you'd like to find out what SCALE is then you can read the rulespack, read my previous post, click this link.
I'm not kidding about his jumpers. They're at least 3 times as lovely as this one.
Well the list that I was bringing, thanks to input from the aforementioned Prod Rob and everyone's favourite red name, Nigel "Got tabled by the Child" Kavanagh was:
High Elves [SCALE SCORE - 0]:
Level 4 ArchMage, life, 4+ ward, scroll
Level 2 Mage, shadow, jewel of the dusk, seerstaff [pit of shades, mindrazor]
Noble with BSB, GW, armour of caledor
28 Lotheran Sea Guard, shields, flaming banner, FULL COMMAND
30 Spearmen, shields, FULL COMMAND
20 Swordmasters, FULL COMMAND
28 White Lions, FULL COMMAND
5 Reavers
5 Reavers
Repeater Bolt Thrower

For those of you who don't know about/play fantasy here are the main parts of the list: Magic and White Lions. I'm not going to lie, the magic usually bites me in the ass but those White Lions, they win all the things.
Do you want to throw down?
Anyway, after finishing work on the Friday it was time to get some food and head to the pub to meet the lads who were coming down from Dublin and the North. After several pints there, a couple of us headed across town to meet Dan "Bye Buster" Ahern who had been out with some work people. I would give you some kind of a humourous account of what happened here but I was in no state to be remembering what went on. Something, something, shots, true story, something, something. What I do remember was that I had loads of fun and the hangover the next day was totally worth it.
A toast in memory of my liver.
So the next morning I made my way over to UCC to get ready for my first game. This involved recieving serveral different models from various different people. After I had my army it was time for my first game. Game 1 was a challenge against WAC player and fellow 40k-head Hugh "I'm sorry" Murphy and his Chaos Warriors. Thankfully the open lists system means I have easy access to his list which is here:

Warriors [-1(0]):
Kholek (605),
Throgg (175),
Level 2, tzeentch, disc, golden eye, scroll, third eye (235)
BSB, tzeentch, shield, biting blade, 4+ ward (200)
18 Warriors, tzeentch, standard, musician, shields, blasted standard (366)
7 Trolls (315)
5 Dogs (30)
5 Dogs (30)
Shaggoth, ahw (275)
Giant, slaanesh (265)
It could use more cat-lasers. Just saying.
My first tournament game of fantasy. How exciting. Well, Hugh had brought an army of Troll-things including a guy called Kholek Suneater who has 18 wounds is strength 50 and auto kills everything within a 2 mile radius, or something like that. Who could destroy my whole army if he got across the board. So.... I had to stop that. His main weakness is his lowly initiative 1. This makes him a perfect target for a spell called "Pit of Shades" which is a blast template that makes you pass an initiative test or die. Just like Jaws of the World Wolf, yay. So this entire game was basically me trying to pit of shades him while he tries to stop me.
Get it? I love puns.
In my first attempt at the spell I manage to random the random and it both scatters off him and blows my wizard up. In my second attempt I once again randomed the random so it scattered off of Kholek and blew up my wizard again. This time the wizard dies. No more "Pit of Shades". Stupid fantasy.
How do you scatter off him? He's the size of a house.
So without Pit of Shades I was kind of boned. However I still had one tactic left in my arsenal. The tactic that has now become known as fantasy-ing someone. I basically threw some dice at the problem until it went away, randomly. More specifically I cast "The Dwellers Below" at Kholek. The Dwellers Below is like Pit of Shades except it's a Strength test and, thankfully, can't scatter. You might remember from earlier that Kholek has Strength like 1000000 or something. This is where the, in retrospect, best and most balanced part of the fantasy rulebook comes in. You auto-fail all characteristic tests on a roll of a six. Guess what Hugh rolled? A four. Ah no, I'm kidding, this is fantasy, he totally rolled a six and Kholek died a fiery magic death.
It's a bit good.

So with Kholek dead it was just a case of killing things with White Lions until the game was over. With everything counted up it was an 18-2 win to me. Thanks for rolling that 6, Hugh.
Game 2 had me up against an actual fantasy player, John John. I think I heard somewhere that he usually plays Salamanders, I think, anyway this tournament he was playing Orcs and Goblins with this list:
Orcs and Goblins [0]:
Warboss, armour of destiny, warrior bane (170)
BO Big boss BSB, shield (117)
NG level 2, scroll (110)
SO level 2, obsidian amulet (135)
SO level 2, shrunken head (155)
20 Night goblins, standard, bows, 3 fanatics (145)
36 Savage orc big 'uns, musician, standard, ahw (431)
20 Night Goblins, standard, bows (70)
Wolf chariot (50)
11 Trolls (385)
Spear chukka (35)
Spear chukka (35)
1 Troll (35)
1 Troll (35)
24 Squigs, 15 handlers (237)
Rock lobber (85)
Doom diver (80)
Mangler (65)
Mangler (65)
Pump wagon, spiky roller (60)

To be perfectly honest, I have no clue which of those things were which when I played them. However, I have grouped them into 4 different, easily distinguishable categories:
1. Things that killed me with magic
2. Things that killed me from far away
3. Things that killed me close up
4. Things that could have killed me but I was already dead when they got there.
Foolish plan 1: Playing Fantasy
I did have fun though. I got to run my Reavers around. I also got hit with a weapon that involves putting a foot template on my units. Nice. John John went on to get second which I like to think i contributed to with conceded, through various different scenario conditions, about 130% of the victory points I started out with.
Isn't Maths fun?
So that was 0 points for me. Leaving me on 18 total. Class. That amount of points meant I was playing against Chris Mince, who was playing Vampire Counts. He was taking advantage of an apparent loophole in the comp that meant that Manfred Mac Vampirestein was a really good choice as general of your army. There were about 4 or 5 people using this guy at the tournament. His entire list was:

Vampires [0]:
Mannfred (530)
Vampire, vampires, dragonhelm, scroll, seed of rebirth, beguile (177)
Necro, level 2, vampires, cursed book (135)
33 Zombies, standard (104)
34 Zombies, standard (107)
20 Zombies, standard (65)
5 Wolves (40)
30 Ghouls, ghast (310)
Spirit host (45)
2 Bat swarms (70)
Corpsecart, lodestone, spear (121)
29 Grave guard, GWs, champion, standard, barrows (418)
3 Vargheists (138)
Mortis engine, blasphemous tome (240)

It was around this time that I had renamed the Magic Phase, the Random Phase. I also had Ivan "Nudie" Sheehan sit down next to me and help me explain to Chris why his game system was ridiculous, random and stupid. We also explain he should totally come play an actual game, like 40k. All of this happened why Chris was soundly beating me into the ground. I remember one of his things being big and making all the things around it much better. I then tried to kill that thing and failed. Ah well. At least I got a whole zero points out of the game. Chris's toys were really, really beautiful and it was nice to be thrashed by them.
Unfortunately not available in the High Elf Codex.
Well that's enough stupid, random fantasy, on to the drinking. A bunch of us headed over to the Bierhalle, a very nice restuarnat with a large selection of craft beers. For the first time since we first met I was out drinking with Rob so I decided to make him drink a couple of  "craft" beers. "Craft" in this instance is code for 15% alcohol. After 3 or 4 of these and a very nice burger we took off into town. The night was a mixture of shouting, drinking, comparing fantasy to 40k, drinking and towards the end tequila. Oh so much tequila. Rob is a fiend for tequila.

I have no idea where Rob found that hat.
After we finished up all of the tequila in the world we headed for home. Rob was staying at my house and myself, himself and Nick "Nuns with Guns" Meade stopped off to get some food on the way home. Rob, telling us he was okay for food, elected to sit down on the raised footpath for a "breather". Then, while myself and Nick were inside the classy food establishment Rob began to vomit so spectacularly and with such fervor that by the time we came back outside an crowd of more than 10 people had gathered to cheer him on. I felt so proud of him but also understood exactly why his wife had not let him drink with me. Oh well, home to bed.
You can do it, Rob.

I have the feeling that I felt somewhat better than Rob in the morning as we both traveled to UCC for the final 2 games. As we arrived we found that we had all been locked out. Oh no. Apparently no one agreed with me that we should abandon all hope of ever getting in and just go to the pub. Some people *shakes head*. Eventually we managed to make it in. After informing everyone of what had happened to Rob the night before it was time for game 4. I was playing Mike from Limerick, one of the genuinley nicest guys I've ever played against in any game. He was using this list:
Warriors [0]:
Lord, tzeentch, steed, aethersword, 4+ ward, favour of the gods (344)
BSB, nurgle, shield, flaming banner (170)
Level 2, nurgle, spell familiar (155)
Level 2, death, scroll (145)
Level 2, fire, charmed shield (125)
17 Warriors, nurgle, shield, FC, rapturous (352)
35 Marauders, nurgle, FC, flails (225)
29 Marauders, khorne, FC, GWs (195)
19 Marauders, tzeentch, FC, shield, l/armour (154)
5 Dogs (30)
5 Dogs (30)
9 Knights, nurgle, standard, banner of rage (445)
Warshrine (130)

He had some terrible luck in this game but that didn't stop us from having loads of fun. Surprisingly the Swordmasters were the bosses in this game. Winning one combat, overrunning into another combat and then ALSO GETTING TO FIGHT IN THAT COMBAT DURING THAT PHASE. What a silly, silly game. Thanks to Mike's terrible luck the game ended with me having 20 points.

Good job, dice.

So going into the final game I was up against Mal who was playing Vampire Counts. Again with Manfred Von Bite-ur-neck:
Vampires [0]:
Mannfred, hellsteed (560)
Vampire, vampires, hellsteed, h/armour, lance, shield, dragonhelm, other trickser's, scroll, quickblood (229)
Necro, vampires, cursed book (100)
Wraith (60)
Wraith (60)
40 zombies, FC (130)
40 zombies, FC (130)
40 zombies, FC (130)
22 zombies, FC (76)
5 Wolves (40)
5 Wolves (40)
5 Wolves (40)
5 Wolves (40)
10 Black knights, FC, flaming (300)
27 Grave guard, FC, greatweapons, barrows (404)
2 batswarms (70)
Corpse cart (90)

This game only got to about turn 3 which is mostly likely due to me being a massive newb. It was a little different to Chris's list which was nice. This Manfred was on a horse with some friends(also on horses). Unfortunately for me, Mal cast a spell on the awesome white lions of awesome which reduced their leadership and they ran away. Without enough turns to rally I lost them all. I was sad. But hey, random game is random. Game ended as a 15 - 5 win to Mal.
Okay, that's me deployed. Your turn 1.
So after 5 games I was on a very respectable 43 points. This meant I came 15th out of 22 but much more importantly I came third out of all the 40k players there. Result. Also, surprisingly, I won most sporting opponent. All I can say about that is everyone must agree with my, rather loud, opinion that fantasy is a stupid, silly and random game. It sure is fun though. I'll be looking to play more in the future. Thanks Rob for a great tournament and thanks to all of my opponents for putting up with me.

Next tournament report is about my travels to Galway in "Itzacon: The Revenge of Warpcon"

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Board Game Review - Settlers of Catan

So while hanging around in Dublin last weekend I finally picked up my own copy of Settlers of Catan (Settlers). So I thought I would write a fairly basic review of the game that, even though I've played it more than any other board game, is still my favourite.
Note the proximity of those sheep to that woods. 
Settlers has a special place in my heart as it's the first board game I ever played with the SkibbWargamers before I ever even started playing 40k. The game is fantastic for playing with people who are not gamers for many reasons:
The rules are simple and take very little time to explain.
Nobody is eliminated, all players play until the end of every game.
You get to say "Has anyone got wood for sheep?"

Settlers is a 3-4 player(3-6 if you buy the expansion) board-game about a group of settlers trying to control the most influence on Catan, the most hexagonal of all the islands.
I would settle the shit out of this place. 
The game revolves around collecting, trading and spending resources. Each one of those hexagonal tiles(hexs) denotes a resource. Mines for Ore, forests for Wood, quarries for Brick, fields for Sheep and other, yellower fields for Wheat. Settlements can be built on the outlines of these tiles. each player at the start of their turn rolls 2 dice. Any hex with the rolled number on it produces resources. Now I'm not going to go in depth into what the odds of each number on a 2d6 is, I'll leave that up to this guy. However, I will tell you the most likely number to come up is 7.

You might notice there is no 7 on the board above. That's because the 7 activates "the robber", my favourite part of the game. A little grey counter that whoever rolls the 7 gets to place on any hex. That hex cannot produce resources while it contains the robber, also the person who places the counter can steal 1 resource from someone with a settlement touching that hex.
And then I said "No more wood for you!"
The object of the game is to acquire the most victory points. 10 victory points will net you a win. You get victory points by building items. You can build roads, villages, cities and development cards. Each item takes a certain amount of resources to create. That's basically the game. Pretty easy, huh? The fact that all the hexs are in different positions every game means it's seriously re-playable. If you'd like a more in-depth run down of the rules and the game here is a video of Wil Wheaton and some people playing.

After buying the game I was surprised to hear that some of the guys I was up in Dublin with had never played it before. I quickly remedied this as we had 2 games on the way home. The board fit on those tiny train tables really easily and will now be my go to game to bring for trips to Dublin. The game was hilarious as always with somebody(Dan) building 3 cities around a single hex and not being too happy when I dropped the robber right into the middle of it. Ivan was that player who never had any of his hexes get rolled while Dave was saying things like, "I'll roll a 3, it'll be fine" and, true to form, rolling a multitude of 3s. Standard.
I'm not saying anything.
It's also worth noting there are several expansions. Seafarers, which brings building boats to travel to islands into the equation. Cities and Knights, which emphasis city development and armies. And finally, Traders and Barbarians, which, I don't know, involves traders and barbarians n' stuff. (I only heard about this one when I googled some images of Settlers)
Know in America as Catan: Boats and Hoes

So that's essentially the game. I urge anyone who hasn't played it to give it a go at their earliest convenience and anyone around my general vicinity, give me a shout and we'll organise a game.