9/02/2013

Warhammer 40K Campaign: Retake Amerigo Chorale part 2

Last game is documented here.  The results dictated the forces of Chaos would either hunt down who was responsible for the planetary laser's destruction -- because let's face it, on a Chaos ruled world, one faction screwing around with another would NOT be unusual -- or, a portion of their fleet would poke around the immediate area and see if the Imperium had arrived in system.

The Chaos player decided on the latter, so it's off to space for Battlefleet Gothic!

Storyline:  The small Chaos task force did indeed discover a rather sizable Imperial presence in system, just beyond an asteroid belt to mask their approach.  With some quick thinking on the part of the navigators and Admiral, the Imperial ships were able to block psychic and practical transmissions from the Chaos vessels back to Amerigo Chorale.  The Chaos fleet had to run in order to warn the planet.

Setup:  The Mission is adapted from page 147 of the Battlefleet Gothic Armada rule book.  The "PlanetKiller" and the Mars classd battlecruise have been omitted from the scenario.




Chaos fleet: Slaughter Class cruiser -- Lamb's Head
                    Devastation Class cruiser -- Rabid
                    Iconoclast escorts (x3 squadron)--The lepers 
 


Imperial fleet: Tyrant Class cruiser* -- Hernando de Soto
                        Gothic Class cruiser -- Froom
                        Cobra escort (x4 squadron) --  Ice Squadron: Nervy; Fearless; Stalwart;
                                                                        St. Beard
*We don't have a Tyrant class cruiser so we are substituting a Dominator which looks very similar.
 

Objectives: Chaos:  For every ship that flees off the Imperial deployment side of the board, 2
                                randomly rolled planetary defenses will be maneuvered into place to engage
                                the Imperial fleet when they arrive to make orbit and invade.

                   Imperial fleet:  Prevent Chaos vessels from leaving the area and destroy them.

Gameplay:  Turn one saw the Chaos cruisers head directly for the asteroid belt in the center of the board.  Leper squadron  headed away 90 degrees from the cruiser to go around the asteroids.  The Imperial Captain of the Gothic cruiser Froom attempted to lock on to the Devastation class and failed, wrecking the special orders for the imperials that turn.  Ice Squadron fired torpedoes into the Leper squadron, knocking out two of their number immediately.

Turn two the Lamb's head Slaughter class cruiser rolled awesomely on the "all ahead full" orders, getting to scream away a full 46cm.  (Only 21 more cm to go to the end of the table!) The last of leper squadron cut loose with it's weapons battery, annihilating The Nervy from Ice squadron outright. And the Rabid put a critical hit on the Gothic Cruiser Froom, crippling it's engines.  In response, every Imperial Captain achieved their "Lock-on" orders, prompting the Lamb's head crew to roll for "Brace-for-Impact".   The tyrant was able to hit the Lamb's head, but no critical damage was scored.  In the meantime, the torpedoes of the Gothic cruiser permanently dropped the shields of the Devastation class cruiser.  At the end of the turn, the Gothic cruiser Froom repaired it's thrusters.

The third turn saw the Lamb's head get away from the scene, score chaos team.  The remaining iconoclast escort turned and threaded the needle of Ice squadron, running right past them.  They turned to follow, but awkwardly, their fire ineffective against the running Chaos escort.  The Devastation class ship would not get away, taking the fury of two Imperial cruisers and exploding into a debris cloud.   
In the end, Ice squadron couldn't turn in time to pursue the remaining iconoclast and Chaos earned another two defense satellites.



Next game:  Either a kill team to knock down some of the defense satellites, or the invasion begins with Battlefleet gothic...

8/21/2013

Warhammer 40K Campaign: Retake Amerigo Chorale


The first game of the campaign is a game of Kill Team a-la 4th edition as determined by the Imperium.  The forces of Chaos decided on this map tile as the start location of hostilities:

Imperial Guard Kill Team:
Taken from the Troop/Veteran squad entry of the IG codex.

1 veteran sergeant
9 Veterans                         70point base

Sergeant: Power weapon  +10
                Plasma Pistol    +10
1 sniper rifle                     +5
1 autocannon*                  +10
1 grenade launcher           +5
3 Shotguns                        free
3 lasguns                           free
                                        110 points

*The autocannon, while only strength 7, is a second heavy weapon choice for the squad and violates the "Immutable Laws of Kill Team" page 218 of the 4th ed. rulebook.  This gives the Chaos player 2 additional brute squads at the beginning of the game, and also and additional 25 points to spend on his officer or team gear.

It was decided not to use the codex doctrines for the veteran squad, but instead choose "Specialist Kit" from the Kill Team rules as it is an ongoing campaign they will be involved in and the kits stack game to game.  This squad took "Backstabbers" which allows them a generous d6 roll of 2-6 to avoid awarding the brute squad player a warning klaxon if they are able to wipe out a squad in an assault.  With two extra brute squads starting on the Chaos side, this would come in handy.  At 10points, this brings the squad's total to 120 points, 40 points below the 160 point max.

The Chaos Traitor Guard Brute Squads:

We have a partial, working traitor guard codex of our own design, but went with a WYSIWYG and Dark Vengeance stat line approach for the brute squads.

Base number: 10 squads of 3 models
Additional:     +2 squads for rules violation
Base boss points:  20 points
Additional:           +25 points for rule violation

Keeping the junior officer fairly generic, the Chaos player spent 40 points of "Reinforcements" from the Brute Squad Specialised Kit page 226.  This meant as soon as the Chaos player collected 3 klaxon counters, he would gain another "aware" brute squad every turn after.  With 12 brute squads already crowding the 4x4 play area, this wouldn't be a long process.

Objective/Storyline: Sabotage

The Kill Team has been inserted in secret to silence a major planetary defense laser in anticipation of a larger invasion now that the Imperial fleet is amassing just outside the system.  By rules of the campaign this first battle took place here on the first map tile from Planetary Empires:  A fortress was placed here though does not play a factor in this kill team mission.



 



Summary:

While the insertion went unnoticed, the Kill team wasted no time closing with their first victims, quickly wiping out the unsuspecting brute squad, but failing their Backstabber roll with a "1".  Not the silent start they'd hoped for an a klaxon was awarded to the Chaos player.  The Chaos player rolled "6" to activate squads on his side, but only controlled 3 after the control rolls were made.  The imperium player moved the brute squads he controlled away from the defense laser of course, closer to the ruins bordering the western table edge.  The other three squads made moves to pinch the Kill Team and force them to run a gauntlet of guard posts where inactive squads waited dutifully.  Shooting in this turn saw the loss of the Kill Team's grenade launching grunt  -- per 6th edition rules, closest to the firer takes the hit.  This same squad died in the following close combat, but again the Kill team failed their Backstabber roll and another klaxon went to Chaos.





The Chaos player consistently rolled "6"'s to activate squads, and while the Imperial player was able to keep two squads from ever participating, Chaos did succeed in bottle necking the Kill Team into the gauntlet leading to the cannon, acquiring 3 klaxon counters by turn 4, engaging his "Reinforcements" specialist kit.  Also, in turn three another of the Kill Team fell to enemy fire.

In the end it was a race to the cannon, but the Kill team was able to set their charges and protect them for a full turn.



Results: Victory Kill Team.
Consequences:  No defense laser fire in Battle Fleet gothic game representing planetary invasion

The Chaos player now had a choice to do a second Kill Team game to exact revenge and wipe out the kill team, or do a Battlefleet Gothic game to determine if there was actually an enemy fleet on their doorstep.  Battlefleet Gothic was chosen!  Battle report #2 on the way!










 











8/11/2013

Long Overdue Warhammer 40K Campaign

I finally got on board and purchased 6th edition of Warhammer 40K by way of the box set: Dark Vengeance.  As always, Games Workshop's boxed sets are a generous miniature give-away and could act as a stand alone tabletop game. But the "need" for more is built into the system in general.  It's just that trying to keep up with the seemingly never ending alterations and price increases that more-and-more define Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K, seems to drown out what's important.  SO, we've decided to do something retro and actually have fun with the hobby.  It's campaign time!

Our campaign will use: Battlefleet Gothic, Warhammer 40K 4th edition Kill Team, Planet Strike, Warhammer 40K 6th edition, Cities of Death and Planetary Empires for mapping purposes.

BACKGROUND:

Year: 999M41
Segmentum: Pacificus
Planet: Amerigo Chorale


Amerigo Chorale had been hidden from the Imperium by a millennia long warp storm, completely cut-off and presumably lost to mankind.  In response to a final entreaty for assistance, early relief efforts ended in the loss of a partial fleet and Imperial Guard task force.  (The Inquisition suspected treachery in this matter but were unable to pursue a rigorous follow up.)

With the advent of Abbadon's 13th Black Crusade,  the warp storms obscuring Amerigo Chorale suddenly dissipated and the planet started screaming...

...literally.

In the warp, the planet's signature became a navigational hazard to reinforcements rushing to aid Cadia and stem the flow of Chaos forces from the Eye of Terror.  Disparate Imperial elements were redirected to silence Amerigo Chorale if possible, pending an Exterminatus Action by the Inquisition.  (There is rumored to be Xeno tech or ancient STD human tech on the planet, so the Inquistion and Mars both were interested in reclamation of the planet if possible.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES:

Imperials: 1) Reclaim the planet for the glory of the Imperium; 2) Find and "silence" the 8 psychic choirs sending out their disruptive navigational influence into the warp 3) Confirm existence of STD or Xeno Tech, locate and secure.

Chaos forces: Kill the invaders and maintain psychic choir disruption of warp travel.



MAPPING:

Fun, gorgeous, practical.  These tiles rule!
 


We will use Planetary Empires in reverse.  This is a Chaos held world and has been for centuries, so our use of the tiles, with the exception of the first chosen by the Chaos player, will be random.  (We have a d6 system worked out for this.)  Turns for Planetary Empires will alternate, but will necessarily be kicked off by the invading Imperials.

To begin the campaign, the Imperial player(s) could choose from a game of Battlefleet Gothic or 4th edition Kill team to pave the way for invasion.  Kill Team it was.  Battle report pending.

Game on!





6/07/2013

The "Female Doctor (Who)" Gimmick


Jumping the Shark: definition 3 according to the Urban Dictionary.com website:

"...the point when a television series shows it has run out of ideas and must resort to stunts to retain viewer interest. Derived from a scene in the last years of Happy Days when the Fonz waterskied over a shark."

"Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of "gimmick" in a desperate attempt to keep viewers' interest."

Clever readers will be quick to point out that Happy Days lasted for years after this scene. This observation is true, but off point.  The "stunt"/"gimmick" parts of the definitions are what count here.  As the last several years have demonstrated, the writers for Doctor Who are hardly out of ideas, so changing the Doctor's gender -- an inexplicable desire on the part of a minority of "fans", that raises it's head everytime the character has a regeneration pending -- is simply that, a gimmick. It serves no narrative purpose in the revived series, or in the broader context of the show's half-a-century history; it does nothing to enhance, flesh-out or otherwise actualize a character that -- apparently surprising to some -- has continued to develop and grow as portrayed by "white" males from the U.K. 

I know there are some hardcore arguments for the sex-change like: "It's about time", "the show's about change" and my favorite: invoking the throw away line about the Doctor's Time Lord friend, the Corsair, in the 2011 "series 6" episode: The Doctor's Wife, about how he/she regenerated into a woman a couple times.  It's a sign of our times I think, that this, coupled with his/her ritual tattooing of the ouroboros on every one of his/her regenerations, doesn't indicate the Corsair may have had some unresolved mental or emotional issues...  And we know, for Time Lords, this sort of thing can be brought on as early as the age of 8.  Remember what happened to the Master when he looked into the "untempered schism"?  Well, he didn't become a girl, anyway.

Demonstrating "the female Doctor" as gimmick and nothing more is simple. How? We'll take the statement:  "The next Doctor could be a woman!", and play with it.

"The Next Doctor could be blind!"  Comedic and dramatic gold here!  Not a lot of advocates though.  Not as "sexy" or as part of the current cultural focus is it?  Being blind...


Damon Wayans as "Handi-Boy"
"The next Doctor could be crippled!"  Now THAT is jumping the shark.  First off, no one under 40 knows what "crippled" even means and second, this is just a play on the disability mentioned above.  Screw those disabled people!  Let them get their own hero!

"The next Doctor could have six arms!"  He's an alien, right?  The show is "about change" goes the online chorus, correct?  Romana regenerated into a blue midget on a whim.  (See Destiny of the Daleks). Eccelston's Doctor did imply he could have two heads after regenerating in the  Parting of Ways... but that was a throw-away line to ease Rose into the idea of him regenerating.  The Corsair thing, THAT was meaningful!

"The next Doctor could be a chain smoker!"  THIS I personally would like to see.  If you faced what the Doctor faced on a regular basis, you'd be lighting up too.

"The Next Doctor could be Pixar animation!"  Omg...that would be like selling Star Wars to Dis... never mind. 

And on and on ad absurdum.  (Actually, a few of those ideas are WAY better than a sex change for the Doctor...)

Now, my own personal take on the Doctor's ability to regenerate is also simple.  He sucks at it.
"That's the problem with regeneration.  You never know quite what you'll get."
Unlike other Time Lords like Romana or the Master or even the Corsair -- assuming he didn't have emotional and mental issues -- the Doctor really didn't have a handle on the physicality of his regenerative process until his 10th incarnation.  And even then, he pushed himself past his limits and blew up the Tardis console room... kind of the explosive diarrhea of regenerations.  "Held it too long... I can make it... uh oh...I don't wanna go!" BABOOM! Bang! BLAMMO!
So over the course of 50 years of show time and 750+ years of onscreen Time Lord lifespan, (assuming Hartnell's Doctor was around 500) the Doctor has "died" from old age, forced regeneration, radiation poisoning, being mashed to bits from a fall, blood poisoning, physical trauma, gun shot wounds followed by exploratory surgery, eating the time vortex energy, and radiation poisoning again... and none of those triggered his mythical estrogen reservoir to make his man parts go away in favor of being a female.

Here's another problem.  Why the disrespect to women?  Seriously. Why do they have to be used parasitically to alter an established, firmly male character and even spark a debate like this?  Don't they rate their own hero?  Are there no more Xena's, Buffy's, Lara Croft's, Scully's, Ripley's, Sailor Moons, She-Ra's, Kim Possible's, Bat Girl/Oracle's, Sarah Connor's Princess Leia's etc. in writers' imaginations? You can't tell me the Doctor needs a sensitivity make-over.  He's more than made up for that in the last 8 years.  He should grow and evolve as the Gallifreyan man he is and always has been. (Potentially with a human mother, but that's another debate over a throw away line)
There are plenty more stories and generations of writers to tackle further Doctor adventures, don't throw away the show on a gimmick or "just because".



"You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" Heston I'm telling you now...Don't Blink




6/03/2013

New Scenarios for Fantasy Flight X-Wing 2



This scenario is pretty straight forward.  No real consideration was given to point value because it can go either way depending on player skill and of course...the dice!

Mission: Escape from the Death Star

Obi Wan Kenobi has disabled the tractor beams and gave his life to ensure that Luke, the droids, Han, Chewie and the Princess could escape the Death Star.  Now the Millennium Falcon and her crew confront the Imperial pursuit.  (Mission assumes a playing area roughly 4'x3')


Mission Set up:

Player 1 - Rebels:
*Millennium Falcon
  -Han Solo
  -Chewbacca
  -Luke Skywalker
Battle Honor: Expert Handling

Player 2 -- Imperials
Black Squadron Tie fighters x4
Battle Honor(s): Player's choice




The Millennium Falcon is Set up one full blaster template from the center of one of the short board edges.  The tie's are not placed on the board for the first turn, and the Falcon player has one free turn of movement.  On turn two, the Tie fighters move onto the board by placing their move template(s) directly on the same board edge the Millennium Falcon entered from.

Mission Objectives AND Victory Conditions:

This is a brawl.  Either the Tie's are going down, or the Falcon is.