Monday, March 31, 2014

Imperial Guard through the ages

With the dawning of a new era for the Hammer of the Emperor, I thought I'd take a look back at the Imperial Guard from their conception, because why not. I'll go ahead and confess right now to not being a big fan of the new name, 'Astra Militarum.' Re-naming the next Space Marine codex Adeptus Astartes is no great leap at all. They have been the Adeptus Astartes all along, Space Marines was widely acknowledged to be the low gothic or common name for them. Astra Militarum, on the other hand, is something somebody in Nottingham pulled out of his ass.

Anyways, here we go, Imperial Guard through the ages! We'll also look at how much the cost of special weapons changed throughout the editions:

Rogue Trader era!

I literally have zero experience using/playing them, or with 40k at all, in the RT era, back before the Dawn of Time, so we'll just skip right over it.

2nd Edition! The Dawn of the Modern IG

 2nd Edition was the era of some Truly horrific models. There's a reason nobody fields 2nd edition Ork, Tyranid or Space Marine models anymore. IG is the glorious, beautiful exception to the rule. Tallarn Desert Raiders, Ice Warriors of Valhalla, Mordian Iron Guard, Praetorian Guard and Cadian Shock Troops were all sculpted for 2nd edition, and in my opinion have held up phenomenally well for all that time. Catachans too, buuuuut.... they've never been my favorite. Though I guess the metal models looked about as good as their mediocre plastic counterparts. Truth be told, I still prefer these old school Cadians to the new plastics.

The army wouldn't look too terribly different from a modern IG, other than it being FAR far smaller (a 1500 point list included in the codex has like, two or three vehicles, and less than 50 infantry, which strikes me as absurd.)

One of the biggest differences, and most interesting to note, is the role of the Imperial Commissar. In this edition, Commissars lead by example, inspiring their men and overseeing morale... Without executing a single one of them. The Grim Darkness of the Far Future was still rather shiny in this era.

A bare-bones Imperial Guard infantry squad cost 100 pts, and a Heavy Weapon squad (3 teams) cost 60 pts, with the cheapest option being Heavy Bolters, at 10 extra points EACH.

Flamer (7) Grenade Launcher (10) Plasma Gun (6) Melta Gun (6) Sniper Rifle (n/a) Power Sword (6) Power Fist (10) 

3rd Edition
Personally my favorite IG cover artwork. Very understated and dignified, compared to some other factions. This era saw the introduction of one of my favorite Imperial Guard regiments:

The Armageddon Steel Legion:

This gave us the great fluff for the 3rd War for Armageddon and Commissar Yarrick, and Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers. Good stuff. This was also the point at which I started playing 40k. Commissar's gain the Summary Execution rule, everything gets a little cheaper, but Guard truly suffers from the ability to leap straight from one victorious combat into the other. That's right, those damned Khorne Berzerkers can eat your sacrificial squad of guardsmen, and then immediately assault right into another one. Never mind that I can only fire at most 2 shots from each lasgun per turn, IF I STAND STILL (3rd edition was NOT kind to shooty armies), those khorne berzerkers could get to roll 3, 4, 5, hell maybe 10 or 12 attack rolls in a turn, maybe even more if they just keep slaughtering things. That's fair, that's REAL FAIR.

*cough* moving right along...

A  bare-bones IG infantry squad cost 60 pts, a heavy weapons squad (3 teams) cost 35 pts before weapons, and the cheapest is the Heavy Bolter at 15 pts each, for a total of 80 points.

Flamer (3) Grenade Launcher (8) Plasma Gun (8) Melta Gun (8) Sniper Rifle (n/a) Power Sword (10) Power Fist (15)

Late 3rd/kinda 4th Edition: The Modernization/Focus on Cadia begins

At long last, the Imperial Guard gets some phenomenal new models in the plastic Cadian sets! Finally, cheap plastics that aren't those horrendously over-muscled Catachans. I don't mind the muscles, it's the poor sculpting. And the fluff expands a bit to give us Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade!

Even if the Imperium more or less lost outright, through a combination of poor coordination, Chaos Trickery, and maybe some actual cheating but the jury's still out, the world wide summer campaign was a blast, and I wish that they'd do another one. Plus we got these fanastic models:

 This was also one of my favorite guard codexes due to the inclusion of Doctrines. You could super-customize your regiment with special rules, give them close combat bonuses or shooting bonuses, make them all drop troops (an entire IG army deep striking, just picture it), or chem fueled penal legions, storm troopers as troops, the list goes on and on. This was one of the IG high points, especially since it includes rules for Ibram Gaunt, expands on Schaeffer's Last Chancers, introduces Creed and Kell, the two great Cadian Heroes, and special weapons get a bit cheaper.

 A bare-bones IG squad cost 60 points, and a Heavy Weapons squad cost 35 pts + weapons (the cheapest being the Heavy Bolter at 15 pts each again, for 80 pts)

Flamer (6) Grenade Launcher (8) Plasma Gun (10) Melta Gun (10) Sniper Rifle (5, but you have to buy Light Infantry doctrine) Power Sword (5) Power Fist (20) 

5th Edition:

I won't go into it, since everybody knows the 5th edition Imperial Guard, with cheaper special weapons, vehicle squadrons, wider access to transports, new special characters and special rules. Without a doubt the strongest IG codex of all, helped somewhat by the new blast rules (models that are even Touched by the template are hit, not just those entirely covered, and those partially covered on a 4+), etc. etc.

A bare-bones IG squad cost 50 pts, while a heavy weapon squad of three teams cost 60 pts with a mortar (the default armament) with upgrading to heavy bolter (which was cheapest for all the other editions, and therefore the benchmark) being 5 pts each, for a grand total of 75 pts.

Flamer (5) Grenade Launcher (5) Plasma Gun (15) Melta Gun (10) Sniper Rifle (5) Power Sword (10) Power Fist (15)

The Valkyrie/Vendetta is scary/powerful, and possibly one of the first OP IG units. Personally, I really missed the wider array of options given us by the Regimental Doctrines, and I've really hoped they'd put them back in for 6th edition. Only time will tell, and we all look forward with bated breath to the new codex, no matter how much we might despise the name change:


IG regiments range greatly in size depending on author, home world, and edition of the game. In the 2nd edition, a regiment was made up of Every soldier that home world drafted to the IG at that moment in time. Not multiple regiments, but one single huge one. So in Eisenhorn, the 50th Gudrunite Rifles is literally 750,000 men, while the Tanith regiments (from the era of 3rd/4th edition) were 2,000-2,500 men each upon founding, oy. Granted, they were designed to function as a unified fighting force, operating closely together.

Steel Legion regiments canonically are about  2,100 men (12 companies of 175 soldiers), while Cadian regiments are 8,000 pairs of boots on the ground. It seems to me that strength wise, it's better to think of an Imperial Guard Regiment as having the fighting power of a modern Division, even if they tend to be far more specialized.

Combat operations involving huge numbers of troops, upward of 20 regiments or whatever, are never addressed as being organized into larger fighting formations than 'regiments,' but logic would dictate that, to coordinate these forces, the regiments are brigaded together under a higher commanding officer of the Departmento Munitorum. Like in the American Civil War, these brigades would be known by their commander's name, Hook's Brigade or whatever. Alternatively, the would be called after their Battle Honors (The Iron Brigade) or if they were all/largely drawn from the same place, they could take the appropriate name, re: the Irish Brigade. So for larger operations, several regiments would be grouped together like that. It's not a big deal, and it's never addressed in the fluff, but my way seems logical, and I feel like the fluff ought to mention something along those lines.

Friday, March 28, 2014

40K Summer Campaign

"The Night of a Thousand Rebellions" swept through the Segmentum Obscurus in a tidal wave of blood. Through chaos meddling and the aid of the traitor legions, hundreds of imperial worlds found themselves besieged or overthrown in the space of a few days as hidden cults and recidivist elements came boiling to the surface, overthrowing their rightful lords and turning from the light of the Emperor.

Even on worlds where Chaos failed to take root, secessionist elements took advantage of the widespread disorder to throw off the yoke of imperial tyranny and become their own masters.

The Imperial response was swift, but not swift enough to prevent the Legions of Chaos from establishing a foothold in the region. Both sides must now fight tooth and nail to gain control of systems writhing in the throes of rebellion and anarchy. And all the while, alien intelligences gaze hungrily through the void, eager to feast on human worlds ripe for the picking, or else slake their bloodlust at the altar of battle..."


Monday, February 3, 2014

Risk: Legacy!

 I got Risk: Legacy for Christmas. I'll be straightfoward, this is a whole new ball game. The game is designed to be played 15 times before the board is 'completed.' Each game changes the world. Cities are placed on the board, continents are named by the victors, territories are changed, for better or worse.

At first, I was really reticent to actually place stickers on the board, tear up cards, etc. It goes against every instinct I have as a gamer. But this game is so exciting, I decided to go with it. Besides, who actually ever Gets 15 games of enjoyment out of Risk? If you do, you've definitely got your money's worth out of it.
 Right when you open the box, you're greeted with the sight of these mysterious card sleeves. I can't wait to open them, who KNOWS what's inside?!?

And the back of the board itself? You're Literally signing on for an entirely different boardgame experience. With trembling hand, each player took up the pen to affix their name to this grand undertaking...
 Each faction, at the very beginning, chooses between two different special rules, affixing the sticker to their faction card and throwing the other away. I chose the Khan Industries faction, whose special rules are "At the start of each turn, place one army in any territory you control that holds a HQ" or something about "If you capture a territory and draw the card for that territory, you may place an army there." Something like that, I chose the first one. The Saharan Republic lets you make an number of troop-consolidation moves at the end of your turn, or make one as usual, with the exception that the territories don't have to be linked for you to move troops from/into it.
 Look at those huge, caution-taped sections there! What's inside? Why so much larger than the card-packets? Do they contain more troops, of different sizes? It could be Anything!

 The continent names are all blank, as a winner of a game, you can choose to name a continent, or place and name a Major City. As winner of the first game, I placed and named the city of New Carthage!
 And hidden on the inside of the box, underneath the tray?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Firestorm Armada Battle Report

Some of us San Marcos sci-fi junkies got together to throw some dice around last night. This was our third game, so we're still figuring things out as we go. Example: The realization that all Dindrenzi Furies have Mines was a mid-game epiphany for the Dindrenzi players.

The lists came to 910/915 points

Behold, the assembled fleets!

DFN Trident Class Destroyer (70) x4 = 280
DFN Hammer Class Frigates (25) x4 = 100
DFN Fury Class Cruisers (60) x4 =240
RSN Banshee Class Dreadnought = 230
RSN Phoenix Class Destroyer =65                         for a total of 915 pts

I know you can't field a single Phoenix class destroyer, we were pretty much trying to throw an equal number of points, and this was the most effective way to do it. Cut us some slack, lol. We were also playing a little fast and loose with the allied point percentages, but the Dreadnought was my only large ship for this side, etc. etc. We're still trying to get a good handle on the rules, so just, y'know. Let it happen.

Sentinel Cruiser (65) x6 = 390
Pilgrim Frigate (20) x6 =120
Razorthorn Battleship = 180
Veydreth Gunship= 90
Veydreth Destroyer (65) x2 =130                    910 pts

Again, an almost entirely legit list... except that the Veydreth gunship was supposed to be 2 to a squadron. Moving right along. TO BATTLE!

The Dindrenzi show their TRUE colours! heh heh, I'm just trolling, you guys. Couldn't help it.

Our intrepid Dindrenzi fleet commanders

The Dindrenzi positioned the majority of their medium ships on their right flank.
The Dreadnought and both Frigate squadrons were in the center, near the
craters we used as impassible, line of sight blocking terrain, while the final
squadron of Tridents and the singular Phoenix class Destroyer were on the
Dindrenzi left.

An enthusiastic Terran admiral shows his.... um, Enthusiasm, I guess,
and you can see our deployment, with the Veydreth and a Pilgrim squadron
on our right, a battleship in the center, supported by two of the veydreth, with
cut engines and hidden killer, while our six cruisers and remaining three Pilgrims
amassed on our left flank to challenge the might of the Dindrenzi squadrons facing
them there.

A mighty Terran battleship turns its turrets on the distant foe

The fearful RSN Dreadnought powers up its engine and blazes forwards
to meet the only foe worthy of its attentions.

Sidenote, I'm pretty happy with how my Dindrenzi paint scheme turned out.

With their engines powered down, the Dindrenzi Tridents are a major threat to the Terran
cruiser squadrons, so the stalwart squadron of Pilgrims races forwards, trying to close the range
enough for the Terran targeting computers to acquire a target lock.

Outnumbered and out-gunned, the Veydreth Gunship takes a brutal pounding as it makes an
almost parabolic course through the narrow confines of the whatever-the-heck-the-space-terrain-

But the plan becomes clear as a series of formidable mines now choke the access points
that would allow the Dindrenzi forces to outflank the vulnerable Veydreth destroyers and come in
behind the Razorthorn.

This shot is from the very end of the game, but you can see the danger-zone of the mines, marked
with those neon orange/yellow dice, brilliantly deployed to keep the Tridents/Phoenix outside of RB2,
and therefore unable to target those Veydreth destroyers who kept pouring fire onto the enemy
Dreadnought for the entire game.

As the Dreadnought closes in, the Razorthorn brings its fearsome broadside to bear.
That orange, ornate die is there to signify sector shields to the starboard side.

Six dice thrown turns into a fearsome 20 hits!

Overcome with emotions, the thrower of said dice takes a moment to celebrate.

The massed Cruiser action heats up as the lines close up. The scatter dice you see
represent mines, which the Dindrenzi players only noticed at this later stage of the game.

And promptly begin dropping them right in the face of the Terrans, willing
to risk destruction so long as they drag a few more Terran naval officers
into the crushing oblivion of the void along with them.
Sadly, these mines
were quite ineffective.

With the Dindrenzi Cruiser task force crippled, the 5 remaining Terran Cruisers
make their way towards the enemy Dreadnought. With the two Veydreth destroyers,
5 Sentinels, and a wounded Razorthorn pounding away at it...

... and the damage mounting, the dreadnought's effectiveness is degraded
until it is little more than a floating hulk, venting atmosphere into space, it's engines
failing and multiple containment breaches across all levels.

At this point, we called the game in favor of the Terrans. Another turn or two might have seen the Tridents/Phoenix move into range of the surviving terrans, perhaps destroying another Cruiser squadron or even taking out the badly wounded battleship. Sam's brilliant minelaying tactics seriously hampered Dindrenzi movement along that entire flank, rendering almost 20% of their fleet impotent for most of the battle.

MVP for the Terrans is split between the Razorthorn, who negated FOUR critical hits with shields, heh heh, and those dinky, sneaky little Veydreth Destroyers, sneaking along the back field, throwing tons of dice at range while entirely untouched themselves.

The RSN's Dreadnought did a hell of a lot of work, being the only ship to target the Terran Razorthorn, and do tons of damage on it, too, DESPITE having almost all of the critical hits they inflicted negated by the shields. Even though it faltered in the end, it took a tremendous pounding and still wasn't destroyed.

As always, we had a complete and total blast playing, and I really hope that y'all enjoyed reading this battle report. It's the first one I've written up for this site, so I'm hoping I did an okay sort of job with it.

Comments, feedback, etc. welcome.

Victory: terran-logo-web1.jpg

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Imperial Fist character for Only War

Battle-Brother Markus Cato of the Imperial Fists won great renown during the Khai-Zhan Insurrection. Traitors and cultists on Khai-Zhan, spurred on and aided by the Night Lords traitor legion, rose in open rebellion against Imperial rule. The loyal elements of the PDF, aided by the formidable Cadian 122nd, held off the enemy attacks until reinforcements could arrive in the form of several more Cadian regiments and the 5th and 9th companies of the Imperial Fists.

Markus Cato and his squad, as part of the 5th company, were heavily engaged against the Night Lords. The capitol city of Vogen was the primary objective, and thanks to the Loyalist strongholds of the Cadian 122nd headquarters and the Arbites precinct-houses, the Imperial reinforcements were able to gain access to the city easily. What followed was a bloodbath. For three weeks, Cadian foot and armored elements, spearheaded by the Imperial Fists, fought their way through the shattered streets and sewers of Vogen, overcoming one traitor strongpoint after another. Promoted to Sergeant in the second week, Cato led his men ever onwards until Imperial forces had driven the enemy to the gates of the Palace of Peace itself.

Never was there a strucure less aptly named.

Masters of Siege warfare, both in attack and defense, the Imperial Fists were given the task of breaching the walls of the palace. The loyalists were at great disadvantage, for the walls were formidable and thick, and the narrow streets and alleyways surrounding the Palace denied the loyalist forces the use of armored units which would have otherwise greatly assist in the siege.
It fell to the Imperial Fists to breach the walls, allowing the rest of the imperial forces to gain access. Many of his battle-brothers fell in hellish hours it took to make the breach and hold it, but finally defenders, exhausted by the bitter defiance of the sons of Dorn, drew back apace, and the Cadians and PDF troops could brave the gauntlet of fire. The end had come for the insurrection. The Night Lords fought bitterly, stiffening the resolve of the cultists. Cato and his fellow Imperial Fists were instrumental in rooting out these dangerous foes, and in the long and bitter twilight struggle that followed, Cato slew several of that accursed Legion. After three months of bitter siege, the Palace of Peace was free of the taint of Chaos.

The loss of so many of the men under his command, friends and brothers all, eats away at Cato's heart. A stricter adherence to the Codex Astartes could have prevented several of their deaths, he is sure of it, and he has spent a great deal of time punishing himself for his percieved failures. Around his neck he wears a small leather pouch, and within it are the knuckle-bones of his two closest friends- Arminius and Cadfael-who died at his side at Vogen. Amongst the many lines of devotional script and verse are the favorite pieces of devotional scripture.

Arminius' reads: "Betwixt the wash of the river and the waft of the wind, let my sins be transfigured to virtues."- Catechism of Hagia, Book I, Chapter 3, verse XXXII

Cadfael's says "I tread the path of righteousness. Though it be paved with broken glass, I will walk it barefoot. Though it crosses rivers of fire, I will pass over them. Though it wanders wide, the light of the Emperor guides my step." It is a quote from Dolan Chirosius, The Great Confessor, an Imperial Saint martyred by an apostate cardinal 4,000 years ago.

That two of the finest warrios and greatest men he has ever known would choose such humble scriptures such as these is eye-opening to Cato. While the fires of battle burn bright in his stomach, his heart is touched by the love of the Emperor, and a devotion to the higher ideals of mankind.
He is gregarious and outgoing, slow to quarrel unless provoked. Though comfortable leading others, his percieved past failures weigh very heavily upon him. He will shirk from no duty, but he is not sure if he better serves the Emperor as a Leader or a Follower.

WS  45                                                       Wounds- 23
BS   41                                                   Fate Points- 3
S     48
T     43
Ag 42
Int 47
Per 40
WP 63 (+10 for being Imperial Fists, +5 for XP spent)
Fel 46 (+5 for XP spent)

Thursday, May 23, 2013