And so the weekend, which was causing so much fuss for Louise, is finally over and she doesn't need to paint anything for a couple more days.
And what a weekend of gaming it was! 5 games, 6 opponents, a teammate and a lot of invulnerable saves to roll!
Before I go into some relatively sketchy details of each game, I'd like to thank all my opponents as I didn't have a single bad one this time! Unfortunately though, I left my opponent tracker at Nottingham, so had to guess who I played from the results sheet - I knew three of you just from names, but the remainder, if I got your name wrong and you see this I apologise.
My first game got me off to a tremendous start, but was a bit embarrassing really. The Loyalist deployed in the centre and the Secessionist within a band around each table edge so we could effectively surround them (well, I couldn't, I was Deathwing). My only requirement was if i was in y deployment zone, i had to be 6" from the nearest enemy. The goal was to take out the three HQ Choices with each one counting as an objective with the player with the most kill points gaining a further objective. If the Secessionist had less units on the table at the beginning of the game, then he got +1 for the first turn
My Opponent was James Fownes, who was also using Dark Angels, and his army was a nice mix of Belial and Deathwing, Landspeeder Samial Ravenwing and power armour. Quite frankly, he, nor many of the loyalists it seemed, stood little or no chance. His deployment was sound, his force was adaptable and not too cheesy (unlike my own), and he made no tactical errors either. The major problem was simply that he had nowhere to run, and needed turn 1, but typically because of that, I got turn 1! By the end of my player turn 1, I had killed two of the three characters and had clearly gained the most kill points, by the end of his turn 1, i had won 4-0 and had lost 5 models.
that game was immensely weighted towards the secessionists and as such it was the one game I was certain in advance i would win. James never really had a chance, but that had nothing to do with me or him, but the scenario (Ok, if i hadn't used a dick list, maybe not quite as much, but still). Word around the hall was that there were very few if an loyalist victories for that game.
As expected, Game 2 brought me back to earth with a bang, but despite losing was the best game I have had at an event. I played against Chris Jarrett and his Red Scorpions, with the mission being to capture a comms bastion worth two objectives, and then I think it was a kill points mission on top. I can't actually remember too much how badly I lost, only that I did, that it was a cracking game and a smashing opponent and that I vowed to kill Culln (which luckily I didn't place a time limit on). I also failed in this mission to kill Culln by the way.
I also remember thinking that I had made a fair few tactical errors in this game, which in fairness I think was the only game where I did make multiple errors. I do understand why though, I had begun drinking!
Game 3, and the last one for Saturday, and it was the mission I was least looking forward to - I needed to get three rhinos from my 12" deployment zone to my opponents 12" deployment zone at the far end of the table. Obviously the opponent would be able to destroy them (and so could i) but they gained sustained assault so would re-enter from my table edge. If a Rhino suffered a penetrating hit, then there was a chance of it exploding. I really couldn't see this one going too well, and that was before 'clarifications' were made by the events team!
My opponent for this one was Dean Walsh. Dean had a good solid list and was a solid and fair player, and despite not enjoying the mission, I did enjoy facing him. The problem though was that we had a different interpretation of the objective rules (lets be clear, it wasn't an argument and we could each see the opposing point of view, we just felt our own was correct) and because of this, rather than d6 it, it was only fair to ask the events team.
I wanted 3 clarifications made: 1) if the Rhino was destroyed, did it return to play in the next player turn or game turn (key as Dean had turn 1 and I needed to know if I'd get it back in my first turn to give me more time) 2) did Dean just roll to see if the Rhino blew up in the event of a glance or pen hit, or did he also roll on the regular vehicle damage table and 3) could the rhino self repair.
On all 3 points, the events team ruled against me, so we played on that basis until it became clear that I could neither wipe dean out nor get a rhino over to his deployment. Dean had played well and deserved the win.
The trouble was however, that it later turned out that the ruling ought to have been in my favour for all three points. I hadn't realises this myself, and instead Dean had approached my to apologise and i think offer a re-match, however given his extremely good grace and the fact that he would have undoubtedly have won anyway, I thanked him and told him it was ok. Much, much kudos to him for that! You have to admit, there aren't that many people at an event that would do that after an event game when they didn't need to.
With that, day one was over and we went drinking. By all accounts we didn't miss a great deal with the boarding missions - i could live without 3 campaign points to be honest as I wasn't likely to be in contestation for much anyway.
Sunday morning and game 4: In an unusual turn of events, I wasn't hung over, I didn't need to live on the bog and purge all morning and I found myself sitting in Bugmans an hour and a half early. The sausage and egg bap was nice mind; though Ben and Sam thought it odd I ate it with a knife and fork.
The game itself was an amended Planetstrike mission whereby i was trying to defend 3 teleport pads which on a dice roll of 6+ would be removed in turn one, turn two a 5+, turn 3 4+ and so on. I faced off against Rick Isley and his Ultramarines. This was just the game I needed this morning, as although I lost, it was clear that I was going to lose quite quickly so we were able to take our time and have a good chat. Essentially it came down to could I roll a lucky dice or two early, and/or hold Rick at bay, which I could not. In the end I managed to get one pad off, so Rick deservedly won 2-1.
Game 5 was the Apoc team mission and I was paired with Chris Steel who used a balanced power armoured force. We faced a reasonably balanced opposition who had a bit of bad luck on results. One of them was Nigel with a Culln led Red Scorpions force, and because I cannot find my card, I cannot be sure the name of his team mate.
My entire 2k army had 18 models in it! Beliel, an Interrogator Chaplain, the Command Squad Deathwing, a regular Deathwing unit, 2x Landraiders and an Ancients Assualt force comprising three ven Dreads and a Techmarine.
The mission split the 8x6 board in to three equal parts and the secessionists were permitted to choose which end. Naturally we chose the built up, defensible end of the table. The victory conditions required us to hold two objectives and in addition nominate a single HQ from our force to act as the Tyrant's Lieutenant. If that HQ was slain, then it would be replaced with a third objective. Chris and I had thought we simply needed him to stay alive to count - had we realised, I think i would have let the character die. In addition, the loyalist could not deep strike in to the secessionist deployment zone for the first three turns without causing a mishap.
The Loyalists took the first turn as standard, and due to the campaign points accumulated were allowed to infiltrate 1 infantry squad and they chose to deploy a 10 man terminator squad.
For our own deployment Chris held one side of the board alone with half his army whilst my Ancient's assault force took up position to support the remainder of Chris' force near to the foremost objective. Due to the Ancient's assault Force granting me Flank March, I kept the Land Raiders and Terminators in Reserve ready to counter strike from whichever board edge i wished. I wasn't alone, as Nigel's teammate also had this idea, and brought his dreadnoughts on as soon as he was able from our rear. Luckily for us though he arrived on the other side of the table to the objectives, no doubt trusting Nigel to take the other side whilst he softened up our counter assault later. To be fair, that’s what I would have done in his place, but perhaps a little more centrally.
Meanwhile, right down the other end of the table in the loyalist deployment, Nigel brought on his Baneblade to sit back and snipe. Without any fliers on our side, it looked like a good decision, but I brought on my flank marching terminators in the regular Landraider right next to it and spent most of the next three turns after initially immobilising it and causing one structure point of damage, tearing it apart a gun at a time before eventually causing an apocalyptic explosion which also took the lives of two terminators. A noble death however as they sold their lives dearly.
Back at the other end of the field, the Techmarine fell to Culln whose adjoining Terminator squad was in return being hacked apart by a combination of the dreadnoughts and the newly arrived Beliel squad and one of Chris' tactical marines. Before Beliel arrived, it looked initially like Nigel was going to take the objectives as in addition to Culln and the terminator squad he also had a second terminator squad, a vindicator and an LRC ready to support the advance and he was actually getting pretty close, seemingly unopposed, but that was just the bait i wanted him to take! With some supporting fire from Chris I was able to whittle down the terminators, take the Landraider out of the running and stave off the vindicator from firing for another turn to give time to focus more attention upon it. Chris meanwhile was still having to keep the opposing Ancient Assault force honest, stop two Landspeeders (one being a scout laden storm) from advancing on my position and also block advancement across the board and position his assault squad to be reading to move to contest either objective if needed.
We played on until we had 3 minutes left on the clock at which point it was clearly a decisive victory with no hope whatsoever of either objective being even contested by the loyalists. In summary for this battle, I feel tat it was again weighted in the secessionist’s favour, despite the background for the game, but i think that Chris and I both complimented each other's forces, communication well together right down to the order in which we took shots, and generally a better focus on what we needed to achieve as a single force rather than as two allied ones. For that, my thanks to Chris for being a great team mate, and also to Nigel and his team mate (if i figure out his name, I shall insert) for being worthy opponents.
And with that, the Secessionists won the weekend. I had a thoroughly good time, met some great people, saw the odd old face and am looking forward to part 2 next year!