Badger was round on Sunday, so we got in another couple of games testing the expanded nationality rules for M44, plus a game of BL.
In M44 we decided we wanted to have another look at the British and German rules, plus try out one of the Scenarios from the Front- ie. a scenario designed by a fan using the online scenario editor DoW provides for purchasers of M44 (and BL too). So we chose #1525U. Operation Charnwood: Phase 1- Drive on Caen, designed by M44 veteran Brummbar.
Badger and I both agreed that the scenario was fairly balanced: challenging to both sides and fun to play. With hindsight, our two 5-3 victories for the British has left me with the feeling that the historical balance might be a bit off. I thought that all these operations around Caen were unsuccessful? Also, Badger and I both liked the idea of having AT guns differentiated from artillery. We played Brummbar's variant from the scenario first, then I looked up his more detailed variant rules he'd posted to a thread on the DoW M44 forums. We felt something wasn't right, and we tossed ideas back and forth for some time. In the end we decided that simplest was best: what's the difference between field artillery and AT artillery? The latter need LOS. So that was it: AT artillery are identical to regular artillery except that they need LOS to the target. We found that this worked just fine.
Then it was off to Uchronia. I had a scenario already in mind following a recent heated controversy over at the DoW BL forums. So we were playing Scenario #12A. Crossing the Rhone, where I was to take on the feared Archpriest, Sir Arnold of Cervolles (banners) with the mercenary army of Seguin of Badefol (pennants).
The battle was long and hard, with a lot of preparatory manoeuvring, but in the end the Archpriest won out 6-3. There is a lot I could say about this game. Enough for now that we both thoroughly enjoyed it, and that I would say the result doesn't show just how close-run the battle was; Badger might demur of course! Also of interest was the fact that the game revived my interest in straight BL, after my recent thoughts about the innate superiority of Epic BL. This was perhaps the most surprising result of the game for me.
2-1 Badger :(
Following on from these titanic tussles, Andy beat me in a game of Fluxx on Monday; and I took a small measure of revenge against Ros last night, beating her 2-1 in our first Carcassone rematch.
More important perhaps than all of that though was that I played my first game of Warhammer 40K in, oh, I don't know how long.
Andy's been patiently bugging me to play 40K patrol for ages now. Casting around for a game to play on his bank holiday Monday visit, he suggested a game. I agreed. I was going to play my very own Penumbra's Talons space marines, naturally enough, while Andy would have a choice from the rest of my collection. He chose Orks. We chose our armies, set out a tabletop, and set to.
Andy had some 50 assorted greenskins in the form of 2 mobs of Ork boyz and 1 mob of Gretchins with a slaver. Facing off against this horde I first toyed with the idea of using a lot of tac-marines and heavy bolters. Then I decided to make one of the heavy bolters mobile by mounting it on an attack bike, and I was off. I ended up going with:
- 5 scouts: heavy bolter, sniper rifle, bolters
- 3 marine bikers w/2 flamers and 1 attack bike
- attack bike
- 2 landspeeder Tornados, operating independently
My plan went like a dream: the scouts were wiped out, naturally enough, but they diverted 1 ork mob away from the centre of the action so that my bikes could get to work on the other greenskins. This they did, with the bikes and attack bikes dealing with the gretchin and holding off the advancing ork mob without too much difficulty. My Tornadoes were held in reserve, and in the event I only needed 1 of them to deliver the coup de grace to Andy's 3rd mob hurrying to the scene of the action after they'd dealt with my scouts.
What a great game! The Talons have never really looked so good in action before (as compared, that is, to in my imagination). The Patrol rules also shone: my force would've been illegal under regular army-building rules, so what this showed was how 40K Patrol is a great way to experiment with new formations. As a marine player, I was also pleased to note that the 40K4 tweak to attack bikes (W2/Sv3+ instead of W1/Sv2+) is both logical in itself, and at the same time makes sense in that it allows attack bikes to feature in the patrol game. On top of all that the game played very smoothly, reminding us that the Warhammer 3-dice engine is still a very good tabletop gaming system. I imagine Andy's already working on an Imperial Guard patrol to settle the score!