February has been a fairly unsettling month so far - Mrs had a wee holiday, I had a chest infection, job interviews, a birthday party and a funeral. Honestly, it's been very up and down, leaving little time for my nerdly pursuits. I've not picked up a paint brush all month and only managed two games so far this month, both early on.
First up I had another Dystopian Wars battle against Gaz at the club. We're both going to a tournament at the end of March (Gaz is actually running it) so we've been working on some of the more complex rules and, of course, our lists! For this occasion, I proxied a squadron of three Gunships with the cruiser models.
The two fleets looked were:
Empire of the Blazing Sun
Tenkei Sky Fortress
Tanuki Class Gunships x 3
Yurgi Class Destroyers x 3
Uwatsu Class Frigates x 5
Torpedo Bombers x 5
Torpedo Bombers x 5
Fighters x 3
Fighters x 3
Kingdom of Britannia
Magesty Class Dreadnought
Tribal Class Cruiser x 3
Orion Class Destroyers x 4
Doncaster Class Bombers x 2
Hawk Class Scout Rotors x 2
Dive Bombers x 5
Dive Bombers x 5
Both fleets were heavily weighted to my left (err, port) side, with only the cruisers, gunships and some tiny flyers on the other flank. The Brit Dreadnought decided to halt and make use of it's long range firepower, while the rest of the fleets closed in on each other exchanging fire.
The following turn saw my frigates mauled by the British bombers and destroyers. In return, I destroyed one scout rotor and one cruiser and damaged the remaining cruisers, bombers and rotors. The tiny flyer squadrons repositioned on the battlefield, making use of their long movement range, although no squadrons engaged the enemy. The Brit Dreadnought took a lot of rocket hits for no damage, but inflicted none in return.
It's a running joke that I make a priority of wiping out Gaz's destroyers (they mauled me the first time he used them and I was scarred by the experience.) My Dreadnought, Sky Fortress and remaining frigates combined to wipe out the British destroyers, bombers and rotors. More long range fire at the Brit Dreadnought, but for little effect. My gunships destroyed another cruiser and effectively crippled the last. Gaz powered his Dreadnought forward, putting a point of damage on my dread and finishing off my destroyers. All the torpedo and dive bombers on the table had used their ordinance, so it was down to the three large ships to finish the fight.
Having managed to manoeuvre side on to both my Dreadnought and Sky Fortress, Gaz unleashed the full might of his Dreadnought. Both my ships were damaged, the Sky Fortress' assault marines were heavily depleted and my Dread lost it's shield generator. Again, my return fire was completely ineffective (although I managed to knock out one of the two generators with a game card.) Our time was up and the Empire of the Blazing Sun had proven clear victors. A victory only tainted by my inability to scratch the British Dreadnought.
I still have serious misgivings over the new Kingdom of Britannia rules Spartan Games have released. And I have severe misgivings over that Dreadnought! Although it's only devastating up close, two shield generators AND a load of defensive fire mean it can take an heap of punishment . My rockets and heavy guns simply struggle to get through that!
However, I'm feeling much more comfortable with my Empire of the Blazing Sun (apart from the paint job, which is starting to look like the rush job it was.) Three gunships will definitely be going on the tournament list, while the three cruiser won't even be going in the box! I like the Sky Fortress well enough, but mainly for the two extra flyer squadrons and the rockets, but it's still too puny at mid range for the hefty points price. I think I'll try the same list with either the Tsukuyomi Gyro or, possibly, three Inari Scout Gyros.
A few days later, we had a run through of the Horus Heresy board game from Fantasy Flight Games. We randomly chose our sides (I was the Imperials whilst Gaz was the traitors) and worked very slowely through the first few turns, getting comfortable with the rules.
The game is set during the final action of the Horus Heresy, the seige and assualt on the Imperial Palace. As many of you may know, the history of 40K has the Imperial defenders barely holding off the overwhelming Traitor forces, when the Emperor is somehow able to teleport onto an orbiting space ship and kill Horus, albeit at the cost of his own life.
The board game lets you recreate this play for play with the Emperor, Horus, eight primarchs, space marines, daemons, titans (and more) all present in the game, with areas on the board representing the Imperial Palace itself, space ports, factories and Horus' orbiting battleship. However, there are a few other ways to secure victory without following the traditional path. Obviously, killing Horus or the Emperor (wherever they may be) is fairly straightforward way, but you can also win by holding all four space ports (denying or allowing reinforcements) or by the Imperials holding out until the end of the game (at what point Imperial reinforcements arrive in overwhelming force!)
There are some great mechanics in the game. The initiative tracker gives you lots of strategic options, as does the card driven combat, while the Tactical Map is a small game in itself! Like many Fantasy Flight games, there are lots of random and fluffy events (orbital bombardment? Yes please!) and the scenarios booklet lets you play the board game in lots of different ways.
All in all, great fun and a great evening game, even though I lost through leaving two of the spaceports undefended (in my defense, if I was more familiar with the Unit Limit and Initiative rules, my assault on the space ship would have been much more effective though!)
No games this week, but I've a couple days to myself now and plan to get some painting done and, with any luck, something finished!