Wednesday, December 28, 2011

League Players & Missions

The sides have been chosen, scenarios picked, now it is time to turn it up and see who is going down.

We will have a League Day, High noon January 15th, 2012  to start the mayhem.

The Commanders:
Farseer Gillian-      Eldar
Harbinger Jeff-       Dark Eldar
Tyrant Pete-            Tyranids
Shas’o Matt-           Tau
Warlord Marcus-    Orks

The League Battle Scenarios page has been updated to list all of the Missions in detail.

Battle One
Mission: Cleanse
Deployment: Spearhead

Jeff vs.Pete
Gillian vs.Matt
Marcus Mission skip

Battle Two
Mission: Recon
Deployment: Spearhead

Jeff vs. Marcus
Gillian vs.Pete
Matt Mission skip

Battle Three
Mission: Take and Hold
Deployment: Dawn of War

Gillian vs. Marcus
Matt vs.Pete
Jeff Mission skip

Battle Four
Mission: Seize Ground
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Matt vs. Marcus
Gillian vs. Jeff
Pete Mission skip

Battle Five
Mission: Seek & Destroy
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Pete vs. Marcus
Matt vs. Jeff
Gillian Mission skip

Due to all of our scheduling crazyness the battles do not have to be played in order. For example if Pete showed up and Matt and I were available, Pete could play his Battle Five and then Battle Three.

When all the battles have been played we will move on to Round Two, and everyone will be allowed to change their list up.

Just over two weeks to go, now it is time for some work-up games!
Should we post our army lists? I enjoy seeing other players ideas and lists, so I think so. Let's hear your thoughts on this and we will decide by the kickoff date.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Non-Powered Armor League is Go!

Actual forces may vary.
An idea long time in the making is finally here. A 40K League without Space Marines.
Why? Hmm, good question. There was a very good reason many years ago, but for now it is why not.

Here are the rules:
Standard force organization chart, 1750points. Your army may not have any troop choices that have a 3+(or better) save. So no Space Marines of any ilk, Sisters of Battle, or Necrons. And also you cannot take Mega-nobs, Wraithguard, et al as troops due to special rules.

Each player will play each other once in round one. So in a six person League everybody will play five games. After Round one is complete all players will be free to change their army list but not their race.

Points will be awarded to winner/defeated by the level of victory and loss for the game:
Massacre: 5/0 VP
Major Victory: 4/1 VP
Minor Victory: 3/2 VP

If the mission objective result is a tie, then we will go to Kill Points for the tie breaker, if still tied then each side will get 2 points.
The Kill Points:
HQ 3
Elite 2
Heavy 2
Fast 2
Troop 1
Dedicated transport vehicles 1
Plus bonus Kill Points per some missions.
Up next, the Missions, the Players, and the Schedule.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Gods of Chaos

No, not this one, I'm talkin' 'bout dice.
 Chaos. Fate. Luck. Call it what you like but the majority of games that have conflict in them need some way to represent the vagaries of battle. There are no sure things in war. History is full of lucky shots, missed shots, heroic stands against all odds, and attacks that should have been a pushover, fail or turn into a meatgrinder. How best to simulate this? H.G. Wells, considered to be the father of miniature wargaming, used a small projectile firing cannon to knock down the enemy troops in his wargame rule book, Little Wars. But this was an imperfect solution as it depended on the shooting skill of the player and could not address the difference in quality of troops and/or equipment.

Some Naval wagames of the same time used straight statistics: Gun Size A beats Armor Class B at 4,000 yards and does 5 damage points. Effective but turns a chaotic swilling battle into chess. No choking at a critical point, but no amazing heroics either. Not bad for game, but real world combat does not follow set conditions. Some way was need to represent the "friction" of warfare.

Enter our little six sided friends and tormentors. The Prussian Army is credited with the first use of dice in a wargame, Kriegspiel, used to train the officer corps. Wargaming did not really catch on in the public sector for entertainment until the 1960-70s. It became popular, followed by role playing games (some of which used dice with more or less than six sides!) And now here we are with our game of toy soldiers in the Grim, Dark future. And throughout it all dice are the way to determine chaos and uncertainty in battle.

How people deal with their dice is a very personal thing. Some days the dice just hate me, and I am okay with that. I have had more than my fair share of awesome dice. But why do dice seem to act up at just the wrong times? Are they just randomly generating numbers based on the spin and velocity of your throw plus whatever manufacturing defects they were produced with? Or can you exert your will upon the cubes of doom?

 I don't know. Both seem true, depending on how the game is going. I do like watching people's (myself included) dice and rolling rituals. Throw lots of dice at once or just a few at a time? Do you "sit out" the ones that roll badly? Run through the whole pile of dice then start over? How often do you buy new dice? Someday soon I am going to track the dice rolls in a game and see what the distribution is like. I am curious if some dice tend to roll certain numbers more than others, and if so by how much.

As we play in a decidedly non-competition fashion we have come up with a house rule for these little random generators of fate. Borrowed from some game you play outside, we use the Mulligan rule. One fine day many years ago, Wolf Lord Jeff was falling before the horror of my Tyranids. His elite Wolf Guard Terminators unleashed a hail of storm bolter and assault cannon fire into a swarm of Genestealers that were way too close for him. He missed with every shot. We were both dismayed. I remembered a rule that my grandfather had demonstrated while we played a round of golf. I told Jeff to take a Mulligan, and re-roll the entire attack. He did and it went much better, though he was still wiped from the field a turn later. The point is you get a chance to change fate, the one time you just need those wounds on the Hive Tyrant, you have to stop that Leman Russ, that Guardian unit must not break and run, you have a second chance. The cinematic element is a strong reason I play this game, so it is nice to get that heroic second effort, even if it fails. Because after all, the dice always know.

 Mulligan: This allows each played to re-roll all the dice in one instance. For example, a unit of fourteen Genestealers attack in hand to hand and only get three hits out of twenty-eight attacks. The 'Stealer played may opt to take their Mulligan and re-roll ALL the to hit rolls. The instance may be twenty attempts to wound or a single leadership test. Usable once per game by each player.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Finale

After a string of victories the Armageddon 23rd pushed towards the last remaining hive node and spawning pits on Zircon III. Heavy units of the 1st company "The Emperor's Reapers" engaged the remaining monstrous swarm backed up by a Heirodule.
The 1st company sustained heavy losses but the combined firepower of a Shadowsword and Baneblade broke the back of the Tyranids. The hated Heirodule took three turns to put down, but down it went in a hellish glare of superheavy weaponry. The Imperial forces have claimed victory in this campaign after 15 hard fought battles (including two Apocalypse) the final tally is Imperial 8, Tyranids 7.

There were a few battle reports I didn't have the time to write up and my camera is on the way out, and the cheap back-up tends to produce nice looking shots on the LCD screen only to find they are blurry when I download them. So here are a few of the pics from the battles along the way.

Trygons are very handy in the anti-aircraft role.

Artillery safe in the corner behind cover? Not really.

Sly "I got This" Marbo's last moment.

Never deep strike in front of a Shadowsword.
 Thanks to all the Warlords for a fun campaign!
Next up we will start the long fabled No Power Armor League.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lictor Redux

"There's Something in those trees..."

Lictor. One of the iconic Tyranid creatures, a master infiltrator, pathfinder for the Swarm, and a peerless killer with lighting fast speed. I want the stats to reflect this once again. Starting with it's debut in 1995 the Lictor was a bit of a boogyman. It would pop out and murder a squad then be put down in a hail of gunfire. Fine, but the current rules for it have it poping out and then getting shot up before it can even move or assault. I went through all four editions of the Tyranid Codices to make the Lictor of my nightmares.
So here are our current house rules for the Lictor. I'm am only listing changes or additions to the current rules.

Preternatural Reflexes: The Lictor receives a 4+ invulnerable save to all attacks.

Cameleonic Skin: Lictors always start the game off-table. At the start of any Tyranid shooting phase the Tyranid player may place any number of off-table Lictors onto the board. They may be placed anywhere that is more than 6" from any enemy model. If the Lictor is placed inside a piece of terrian it may be up to 1" away from an enemy model. Lictors may shoot or fleet and assault on the turn they arrive.

Pheromone Trail: Each Lictor taken allows the Tyranid player to re-roll one Reserves roll per turn regardless of whether the Lictor is in play or not.

We have playtested these rule changes five times now, and they work very well. The 4+ dodge seems overpowering but it isn't in practice. I would like feedback on these house rules if you try them out.
Good Hunting!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Labor Day Slug-Fest

Shoot the big ones early and often.
 Lead by the armored spearhead of the Armageddon 23rd Steel Legion a combined Imperial force rapidly re-took territory lost to the Tyranid invaders. It was of course a trap. An unprecedented swarm of Tyranid monstrous creatures surged out of the city ruins and headlong into the Guard. Massed fire from a Lemen Russ company lead by a pair of super-heavies tore into the massed 'Nids. Very accurate fire rained down from a supporting battery of Catachan Manticores. Scores of lesser Tyranids were incenerated.

Then the Trygons, Lictors, and a Mawloc showed up. The Barbed Hierodule shot up the Baneblade and destroyed the Stormsword. It was a pitched back and forth battle, but in the end, the Guard ran out of tanks before the 'Nids ran out of Carnifexes, and that thrice-dammed Hierodule.

We played the "Rolling Thunder" mission from the Imperial Armour Apocalypse II book. 50% of each army must be tanks, monstrous creatures, super heavies and the like. Our game had 5000 points per side. The game flowed very well and moved fast for a large battle.

Awaiting deployment, a Tyrgon enjoys the Nacho spawning pool.
Both sides took heavy losses, the Tyranids won, but not by much. The next mission will be a clash of scouting forces looking for a weak point in the enemy lines.
Tyranids 6, Imperium 5.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Oh sure, Matt looks sane

Matt's Creation

Inside he is an evil madman. He just had to go through the Tyranid codex and find The Doom of Malan'tai.
Then he made one and made us very sad with the life essence-ripping and the Cataclysm, and the stupid, stupid 3+ invulnerable save.

Many hapless Guardsmen, Eldar, Orks, and Marines dropped dead before this terror. So I did the only reasonable thing: I made one for my 'Nid army as well. And it was good.

I like the Doom. It is fun, and just a bit overpowered, and can be killed by a well place Krak missile. It scares people and they focus lots of firepower upon it, letting the other Tyranid critters to do as they like.

We have a new house rule for the Doom:

Bursting the Bubble: If the Doom suffers Instant Death by any means it explodes in a STR 4, S" radius explosion. S being equal to the Doom's strength before it suffered Instant Death. All non-vehicles in the blast radius are affected, friend or foe.

My version

We have used this rule twice now and it is entertaining, so it will be staying with us.

Now Matt is eyeing the Tyrannofex...

Campaign Update
The PDF made a heroic stand at the gates of the spaceport stopping the headlong Tyranid advance dead in its tracks.
The lead elements of the Armageddon 23rd Steel Legion followed with a armored breakout deep into the Tyranid lines.

Last Sunday saw four games played as the Space Wolves joined the fight. The Steel Legion fought two games against Matt and Gillian's 'Nids using an update to a old classic scenario, Tyranid Assault. The 'Nids have six turns to kill every defending model on the table. Starting on turn two any troops that have been killed may re-enter as soon as they have a minimum or more squad size. All other killed units are placed into reserve.

Mrs. Blackheart's Tyranids Advance

Redeemer. Accept no substitution.

The Steel Legion hung on to win both games, one of them by two Guardsmen and a Sentinel. Wolf Lord Jeff split his games with the Hive Mind. That makes the current score Imperium 5, Tyranids 5. Can the Imperial forces continue to rally? Will the Hive Mind regain the initiative? Only the dice know.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This Ain't the Summer of Love

Tyranid splinter swarm Dagon has made planetfall on the agricultural planet of Zircon. Elements of the Armageddon 23rd Steel Legion are two days away and making best possible speed. Space Wolf and Dark Angel Strike Forces have responded and are en route. Xenos Inquisitor Lord Augustus and his company are also on the way. The Zircon P.D.F. have contested the landings but have taken heavy losses.


The (late) Summer campaign has kicked off. Tyranids vs the Imperium. It is scenario based wrapping up with a Apocalypse game at the end of September. Three rounds have been played with crushing losses for the defenders of Zircon III. The first games where Planetstrike, two games of the Battle mission First Contact, and for round three the mission is Ambush.

The Ambush mission went very badly for the P.D.F. We will tweek the starting distance, of have the defender go first. The hapless Guard were wiped out in two turns.
The plan is to have as many games as possible and total up the wins and losses to see which side gets the planet.

The current score is: Tyranids 4, Imperium 0.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Playing or Winning?

The side that makes the fewest mistakes wins. This is a military axiom that has been handed down for many generations. I was taught that in the late '80s and found it applied to most aspects of life.
Especially wargaming. Crushing your enemies on the tabletop is one of life's little joys. Victory through a great plan and/or taking advantage of a developing situation is rewarding. Crazy good dice rolls just when you need then? Yeah, I like that a lot. Your opponent forgets to activate a unit? This happens on the real battlefield, so I am okay with my miniatures having comms problems as well. 
But this is a game, not the real battlefield. At what point is winning no fun?
Like all things, it depends on who you are and what you want. I play games to have fun and socialize. Two things that become more uncommon as stupid adult responsibilities mount. These days I am more interested in playing the game and having a good time than winning. Don't get me wrong, I still have an aggressive nature and like to win. If you have made a tactical error on the field I will make you pay for it. But what if you forgot to deploy a unit or two? What if she forgot the a Bright Lance can hurt a Land Raider?
On the flip side of  bloodlust is the want for your opponent to play the best game they can and have a good time.

I used to go to a lot of 40K tournaments. Rogue Traders, Leagues, and the Grand Tournaments when they where still held in L.A. I won some, (RT and League, not the GT) and had loads of fun for a while. A few years ago things seemed to change. A group of players began to emerge, ones who did not care if the people they played against had the slightest bit of enjoyment. They just wanted to win. They would "play" the game without the fun that usually goes along with playing with toy soldiers. One morning I woke before a RT and realized I didn't want to go. I didn't want to fight over rules, the gameplay based on Codex tricks and cheats. And my favorite, the temper tantrum or sullen pouting when they realized they were going to lose. I have not been to a tournament in six years. I have stopped by and watched for a bit, but it still seems to be only 25% of the players I would like to play a game with.

Which in a very rambling way leads us back to the way I play now. And the way all the people I play with do. We have a multitude of house rules, which in the near future I will inscribe on this very blog. The most important rule is oddly Games Workshop's old rule: Have fun. We allow forgiveness on a whole host of common mistakes, as long as your turn is not over yet. I think the coolest thing we tend to do is talk with our opponents about what to do on a turn. Let's look at an example shall we?

Matt had brought along the Tyranids and I the Guard. We were playing the First Encounter mission out of the mission book. I had two great turns of shooting the hell out of Matt with my tanks. His forces were scattered and it look bad for Matt. Then on turn three he got both his Trygons from reserve. He rolled well for which table sections they came in on. The sections with my tanks.

He was going to deep strike them on the table close to my tanks, but still endure a turn of massed firepower before he could assault. I helpfully suggested he just move them on normally and fleet towards the hated Leman Russes. Tragically for me he took my advice assaulted and killed three tanks.
Did my advice make for a better game overall? Yes it did. I got the firepower base ripped out of my army in one fell swoop. Matt's army would have been finished off if my tanks were not stopped that turn. The last two turns were very closely fought. Yes I lost, but it was a good game that hinged on one moment and was much more enjoyable then the Guard just shooting up the scattered 'Nids for a easy-ish win.

Is there a point here somewhere? I hope so. There is a fine line between showing mercy for a rules/codex issue and tactical errors. I always want to play against my opponents "A" game. If I can help them find it, so much the better.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The 4,000 point shot.

Showtime! The 6'x8' table is out and covered in all manner of fortifications. 3,500 points of mis-lead Imperial Guard are dug in next to their Alpha Legion "allies". Over half of the Alpha Legion lurk in reserve.

Across the no-mans land of tank traps and razor wire 2,500 of Eldar and the vanguard of the Blood Angel force deploy. Many Blood Angel units and all of the 2,000 point Space Wolf forces await off table.
The item the renegade magos has uncovered is an ancient weapon of vast power. (Chaos Doomsday Device, the object on the round base with the gold top in the middle of the table right in front of my big bastion)

The Blood Angels armored strike force head straight for it. The Eldar forces sweep along the left flank keeping a good distance from it. Does Farseeer Gillian know some thing we don't? The Blood Angels fire at and damage a Leman Russ MBT, and take out a squad with their Chimera. The Eldar fire at the Doomsday device. A volley from a pair of Wave Serpents with Bright Lances damage it. Twin Pulsars from the Scorpion super heavy grav-tank finish it off. Chaos Lord Pete rolls on the dreaded Chaos Doomsday Device Chart of Devastation and comes up boxcars. Critical Mass! All matter within 6D6 is destroyed. Pete rolls for 24". Big bada-boom.

The field before the cataclysmic explosion:

And after.

In the expanding mushroom cloud I lost about 2,000 points worth of Imperial Guard and most of the fortifications. Pete had almost 1,000 points of the Alpha Legion sent back to the warp. And Matt had over 1,000 of Blood Angels vaporized. Eldar. Not to be trusted.

Turn 2 saw the arrival of the drop portion of the Blood Angels and the Space Wolves. The game went on for two more turns, but the combined renegade force was off balance and crushed. Three of the victory objectives went up with the Doomsday Device leaving two deep in the Eldar/Space Marine side of the table. The Alpha Legion took one until Jeff's Wolves arrived at that table edge.

The Eldar were the overall winner. When asked about the slaughter of her allies she replied, "These things happen."

Then we had two pounds of great Carne Asada and booze. It was a very nice day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Have you Seen this Tech-Priest?



Magos Ozanam has begun an unauthorized dig on Leavitt II. An Imperial Guard Armored Company was sent to stop this activity and detain Ozanam until the arrival of Inquisitor Lord Augustus. The last report from the unit's Commissar claimed the entire company had joined forces with Magos Ozanam. Several unidentified warships entered orbit and began landing operations. It is believed that Ozanam has struck some sort of deal with Renegade forces known to be in the Kelton Sub-sector.

Lord Augustus has placed a plea for assistance. By the Emperor's Grace a Blood Angel strike cruiser had been dispatched to recover a Chapter artifact that Magos Ozanam had taken from a Imperial shrine has responded. Contact has also been made with a Space Wolf detachment and the always enigmatic Eldar said Ozanam must not uncover what was buried on Leavitt II.


This years Carnage-asada will be a 14,000 point Apocalypse battle. The Alpha Legion will be reinforcing the renegade Magos in his fortress at the center of the battlefield. The Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and Eldar have come to stop them. All armies have their own secondary missions. The Primary mission is to hold the objective markers and keep everybody else from accomplishing their goals.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The countdown to Carnage-Asada '11 has begun!

Monday May 30th forces from all over the war-torn Kelton sub-sector will descend upon the mining outpost of Leavitt II in an Apocalyptic battle.

And we will be BBQing...carne asada! See, the carnage of the game with the BBQ, oh never mind.

More details soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lupis Rex advances with the lead elements of the 23rd Armageddon Lancers.
Friday the 13th. Hell of a good day to re-launch my rambling nonsense.
Welcome to the Home of the Atomic Warlords. Let's start by describing what I hope to do here. Mostly this little blog will be about Warhammer 40K. Yeah I know the interwebs don't really need another 40K blog, but this one is mine. It won't be about "power" lists, the latest meta-game, or how to beat up small children at tournaments. Or how to avoid being beaten by children.

This blog will develop campaigns, scenarios, and modeling. We will show off our battles and armies. Wax poetic about how we play the game, and if you are really lucky, some philosophy of gaming in general.

The Atomic Warlords are an informal gaming group based in San Diego, CA.
Mostly we play 40k, mostly. But we do play other board and card games that I will yammer about later.

I love 40k. The background, the fluff, rolling dice with my friends and playing with little toy soldiers. Yes, GW isn't perfect, and the game mechanics of 40K really aren't as well, but I still love it. I have been playing this "Stupid Fracking Game" for 19 years. Yes, I have a lot of 40K stuff. Yes, I will be posting about all of it.

Stay frosty,