Tuesday, 4 November 2014

053. Ackland leads a cavalry charge...

Our monthly catch up has swung around once more with nary a post from me in between the last catchup - I have been lax in applying myself to the hobby - with luck that will be changing soon and I can get some regular content up.  In the interim, below is the pictorial biography of another Sunday was well spent at Rays (Col. Ackland) throwing dice and moving miniatures around the board.

Ray had myself, James and Dale around for a couple of games.  The intent was to play 2 matches each at 1,000 points, with the match results deciding the teams for our next match that is going to be held as a 2 v 2 at my place in a fortnight.  Ray was keen to try out his home brew cavalry codex (see more about that here at his blog) he has been working on and I had agreed to be his guinea pig after giving feedback on it over the past fortnight.

I had initially reviewed his codex cold, and made comment about a number of the orders and unit options, and I carried that discussion through to the games day.  My main concerns were that too many of the orders/unit options seemed to add quite a few too many extra rules to a units profile for one or more phases of the game, adding to some already rules heavy units as a result of the basic unit builds Ray had established.  

As we discussed on the day when talking through Dales Raven Guard army selection, generally, an all comers list will not specialise in anything and do reasonably in each phase of the game (movement, shooting and assault - I'm leaving the psychic phase out for now as none of us have played that phase yet).  Dales army, being assault focused, was always going to be weak in the shooting phase, but have benefits in the move and assault phase. The additional trade off here being the army needed greater tactical finesse to ensure that the units survived the opposing players shoot and over watch phases to a) get across the board in tact, and b) make it into combat where it should generally excel.

Ray's home brew codex seemed to ensure that in some instances, a unit would actually be buffed in each phase - benefiting in movement from the cavalry rules, in shoot by receiving buffs to its shooting from orders, or an ability to run/charge as a result of an order, and in the assault phase due to the nature of the unit profiles and weapon load outs.  While the units were still just Guardsmen on horseback, with low general strength, the weight of dice they could generate (see picture later) meant they could be sure to get some wounds on a target unit.

Ray pointed out to me that aside from a couple of character profiles, he had actually only amalgamated existing unit entries/orders from the FW DKoK lists and the Astra Militarum Scions lists - what I thought was overpowered home brew, was actually legitimate GW/FW unit entries/rules.

Anyway, for the interest of those who have stuck through the wall of text, here are some photos of the day.  Ray has also posted from his point of view - see the link above to his blog.

The table set up - Ray picked up a new gaming mat (a giant mouse pad) on some Kick Starter - it was very cool
The only shot I have of the other lads game - Dales Raven Guard v James' Imperial Fists
The start of Rays cavalry getting set up as well as his Lascannon support
My lines - we set up on opposite corners and were playing the Scouring mission
My plucky Grots nabbed a secret objective worth one point that was in my deployment zone
My right flank - a mob of Boyz and some Deff Koptas
My left flank - some Kans, my Warboss and Nobs, and another mob of Boys
My list was composed of my Orks - but it turned out I didn't have enough for a full 1,000 points so I (unwisely it seems in the end) kitted out the two 10 Boys mobs with armour and also armoured my Nobs and loaded the Boss up with kit.  I realised midway through I would have been better off scrounging more Boys from one of the lads to beef up my unit sizes, and maybe tried to fit in some Grot Big Guns as I had a lack of ranged capability (not really an Ork strong suit I know), and the armour saves from the 'eavy armour, never really came into play due to the dearth of AP3 being used against me.

Looking across no mans land at the massed cavalry
The view from the other side on Rays right flank
And his left flank
Standard pre game cheese shot
Ready for the first dice roll - Ray won first turn.  He sneakily scouted a unit of Veterans (Hussars with Melta Bombs and Shotguns) behind the top left Baobab tree nearest my Kans.  His first turn saw him edge his right flank Lancer units and Company Command  towards my centre mass - looking for that first turn charge using his orders.
He pushed another unit of Veterans (Hussars on the far left), Storm Troopers (Heavy Dragoons) and Storm Trooper Platoon Command forwards on the left towards my Koptas and centre unit of Boys.  We were fighting under the Night Fighting rules on turn one (the Orks suffering a barrage of smoke from the Cavalry lines in preparation for the charge)
Rays first troop of Lancers charges my Nobs and Warboss - the Boss's armour seeing off the charge and the Nobs munching the Lancers in return - First Blood to me.
I threw my Koptas towards his ST Platoon Command on the left flank, my twin linked Rokkits corkscrewing off into the smoke and doing no damage - and the ST seeing off my charge with Krak Grenades (they had higher initiative so went first).  It looked at this stage like it was better to be charged than the charger!
Ray advances towards my Boys on the left flank, line abreast during the second turn.
My Orks await the next charge in the centre
My poor Kans saw one of them being immobilised by a stray Lascannon shot, and then the unit was wiped out by the charging, Melta Bomb wielding Hussars.  I did take one down on the way in with my Kustom Megablaster.
Ray sweeps his Command around the left, and the second troop of Lancers to the right, ready to pincer my Nobs and Warboss between them.
On the right, a unit of Storm Troopers sweep past my Boys, heading for an objective, while the Platoon Command and Hussars drop half the unit to well placed Hot Shot.
The scrum kicks off between the cavalry and my Nobs
While the Boys on my right flank cop a pasting
Lances levelled, the cavalry ride in
With Ray's higher initiative, some of my Nobs are dropped
These are the dice rolls for the 5 man command and the Lancers (this was after suffering the Hammer of Wrath impact hits as well) - the red dice are the Colonels power maul - the green for the Lancer Sergeants sword.  Although Ray was rolling bucket loads of dice, my high Weapon Skill (including the buff from Da Lucky Stikk) and high Toughness was meaning he wasn't getting many wounds on target.
The combat finished up like this - I thrashed the Lancers (even with their save and Feel No Pain), and took the command squad down to the Colonel - who promptly used his Hit and Run move to break combat and back away.
At this point the game was a tale of two sides - in combat Ray just couldn't cause enough wounds to bring down my Nobs - being high toughness and two wounds, and able to dish out a lot of punishment of their own when it was finally their turn to retaliate.  My other flank though was crumbling with Ray able to outmatch me with his movement, shooting and follow up assaults.  He was maximising the use of an order to convert his rapid fire Hot Shot carbines to twin linked assault weapons which meant his Storm Troopers (Heavy Dragoons) were able to soften up my Boys with shooting and run the rest down in combat.  I had no answer to that on the right flank.  In hindsight I would have been better dropping the points investment in the armour save and reinvested those points in adding bodies to the units.  Weight of numbers would have tipped the balance in my favour I think, or at least allowed me more time to recover some other units to aid that flank.

After the messy combat with the Nobs, I split my Warboss off to chase down and assault the Veterans (Hussars) who had destroyed my Kans.  Da Lucky Stikk helped me out in this combat, getting me some crucial re-rolls when I needed it enabling my Boss to munch the Veterans without much hassle.  The remaining 1.5 Nobs also managed to chase down the Colonel and do him in for the loss of the previously wounded Nob, and a wound from the final Nob.
Here's my Nob teebagging the good Colonel - Ray and I are quite juvenile sometimes.  Slaying the Colonel though earned me another victory point for 'slaying the warlord'.
By this stage it was getting late and I was needing to wind up and head off.  My force had been reduced to the Warboss and solitary Nob (with only a single wound) lurking in my top left hand corner, and the unit of Grots holding the solitary objective claimed so far (this picture is from  just before Ray wipes out the last of my boys in the centre).
These Grots died miserably to a brace of Acid Grenades launched by the marauding Hussars.
A later than normal start time, pregame banter and general jibber jabber during the game itself meant that both Rays and mine, and Dales and James' first games went over time.  At this point of the game I called it - My Warboss was not going to be enough to see off the balance of Rays army on his own.  My other commitments meant I did not get chance for a second game.  

Ray volunteered to play against both the boys in a 2 v 1 match up, and his general jamminess seems to have stuck with him, seeing him win that game in an 8 points to 7 end game - I assume he will post about it over on his blog at some point.  It looks like it will be James and myself v Ray and Dale at the next catchup at mine in a few weeks.

My final thoughts on his home brew were that some more thinking was needed on the order system as right now it seems too powerful a bonus to already good (relatively) units.  Ray in some cases was able to dominate all three phases of the game.  Visually, he also outnumbered my force (recognising my points allocation across my force and upgrades chosen was not ideal) which doesn't sit right if the idea is that my force was a horde and his a small specialised detachment.  I did talk to him about enforcing some form of limit on the number of specific unit entries chosen.  He had two units of Lancers, two units of Veterans, two units of Storm Troopers, and only a single Dragoon unit (standard guardsmen squad equivalent).  His force was nearly all 'elite' and no basic troop.  This meant each unit was already accessing a number of special rules, and then getting buffed with yet more if an Order was successfully passed.

Bottom line though - it was extremely fluffy, extremely well modelled, and at some point when he finishes it all (like I'm one to talk), will be extremely well painted.  It was a really characterful army, and it was a good outcome from a narrative sense - the mounted charge seeing off the low tech, foot army.  Would I play it again - definitely.  Would I take my Orks - not in that list configuration ;).  Lets see how they fair against my Wolves Ackland!

Cheers all,

Muppet