Thursday 31 December 2015

Game of the Year: Angels of Death vs Tyranids Part 2

Hi folks,

By this stage in the game Wade and I stopped using the proper names for the game phases. We now called them, Death Phase 1, Death Phase 2, Death Phase 3, Death Phase 4 and the Dead Phase. Seriously, from Sgt Waz's movement to shooting phase we were losing models. The psychic phase was particularly brutal. At the start of the 3rd turn the Swarmlord unleashed a psychic blast which killed my Company Champion, leaving the Master open to direct fire. In the following shooting phase (Death Phase 3), the flying Tyrant and surviving Gargoyles shot him to death, earning some victory points.

The Crone and the Harpy combined to harass my Devastator Squad, pulling them from the battlements where they had taken cover all game. I was really starting to lament not having any anti-flyer weapons, our Stormraven was destroyed too soon!

During the Space Marine turn Dante and his bodyguard deployed by deep strike behind the Biovores, killing one with their meltapistols. We were on the hunt for VP's as well, and they were the best target at that point in time. The Blood Angels also mowed down the last Tyrant Guard and prepared to hold objective marker VI from the Swarm Lord and Dimachaeron. On the left flank the Vindicator obliterated a brood of Termagants, whilst the Dark Angels assault squad, Mephiston and Corbulo continued to feed more Termagants into the meat grinder, scoring some easy victory points as Mephiston slaughtered the Tyranid Prime with his force sword.

Turn 3 Victory Points
Tyranids: 5
Angels of Death: 5

Unfazed by the loss of so many little gun-beasts, the Tervigon produced another 13 of the blighters and sent them on their way to capture objective IV. Thankfully, it wouldn't be able to produce any more. Wade and I both knew we had to break out of that combat fast, or the victory points would start racking up against us.

In a bid to protect the last Biovore (...and a potential three VP), Sgt Waz shot at Dante and his squad with the Tyrannofex's rupture cannon and shreddershard beetles. As the meltapistol toting Marines were at the front of the squad, so that the Biovores would be in range last turn, they bore the brunt of the Tyrannofex's shooting. Both pistoliers died, complicating the marines attempt to earn the maximum VPs; we wanted to eliminate a unit (1 VP) in the shooting phase (1 VP) using a unit that has jump packs (1 VP).  The Harpy nailed a shot on the Death Company Dreadnought's rear armour, destroying it. Damn that thing was getting around! The Tyrannofex charged Dante but was cut down by his power axe and a Death Company thunderhammer. Revenge was swift and extra bloody, as the Blood angels Tactical squad was caught between the Swarmlord and Dimachaeron. They all died in one brutal close combat phase (Death Phase 4).

During the Space Marine turn I sniped at the last Biovore with my immobalised Dreadnought's twin-linked autocannon,  causing a wound! Dante and the last two Death Company marines took their shots but just could not take the last wound. We scanned carefully through our remaining models and not a single one had line of sight. My Dreadnought and Tactical squad in the ruins continued to pour fire into the Gargoyles and flying Tyrant, whittling it down to two wounds. The Vindicator didn't dare fire at its only viable target, for the risk of killing Mephiston.

In the assualt phase Dante easily accounted for the last Biovore, netting us 2 VP. The Dark Angels assault squad, Mephiston and Corbulo massacred the last Termagants in the close combat. The Dark Angels rolled the maximum move distance for consolidation, capturing objective IV ahead of the Termagants! For the first time in the game Wade and I were in the lead and, boy, did we celebrate.

Turn 4 Victory Points
Tyranids: 7
Angels of Death: 8

After the cheering had subsided, we took stock of our position and realised just how precarious it was. We had tactical objectives that awarded points for killing psykers and monstrous creatures but we had very little units in position to take advantage of them and Sgt Waz still had a lot of scary things running around. The Tyranids needed to cause a unit to be pinned and be in possession of twice as many objectives to cash in his remaining objectives. This in mind, Sgt Waz drew more tactical objective cards and made his move (Death Phase 1).

The Tervigon aimed its stinger salvo at Mephiston and managed to take off his last wound. The Dimachaeron charged the Tactical squad on objective II, massacring them in close combat and consolidating towards my assault squad. During the Space Marine turn we charged the Swarmlord with Dante and issued a challenge for a VP but, frustratingly, couldn't take him down for even more. Corbulo and the Dark Angels assault squad managed to mop up the termagants in close combat, staying in control of objective IV for another turn and earning some points for destroying a unit in close combat.

Turn 5 Victory Points
Tyranids: 10
Angels of Death: 10

As time was getting away from us, we all decided that Turn 6 would be the last turn. The Tyranid turn the flying Tyrant fired a volley of brainleech worms at my Dreadnought in the ruins, glancing it to death. In close combat the Swarmlord killed Dante our Warlord, securing him a vital VP. The Dimachaeron charged and wiped out the Dark Angels assault squad, which were acting as a speed hump for Corbulo. Taking a look at the objectives under control, the Tyranids had achieved another victory point for controlling twice the number of objectives of the Space Marines. Sgt Waz would also secure a point for Linebreaker, we had no way of killing all the monstrous creatures in our deployment zone!

So... we needed three victory points to earn a very unlikely draw. Anything more would bring the house down. We drew some more tactical objective cards, one of which required us to recapture objective marker II...

After a very difficult terrain roll followed by a run of 6 inches, my last two Devastator marines snuck into range to capture the objective! Another of our cards would award us a VP for making a successful charge. So... Corbulo, having watched the Dark Angels Assault squad die to protect him, charged in to avenge their deaths...

In the final combat of the game, the two remaining Death Company marines survived a round of close combat with the Swarmlord (on two wounds, worth two VP) and put two Thunderhammer hits on him. Both wounded him. The Swarmlord failed both saves. Then passed both Feel No Pain rolls on 5+!


Death by shame :-)

Turn 6 Victory Points
Tyranids: 13
Angels of Death: 12

What a close and frantic game! The Tactical Objective cards afforded the Angels of Death a chance to win even though they were outclassed from the start and very nearly wiped out by turn 4. Games like this remind me of why I love the game and, for the first time in a while, gaming is starting to inspire my modelling and painting. Suddenly, The Hammer of Caliban detachment is looking pretty cool... and a Nephilim...

See you across the table,


Wednesday 30 December 2015

Game of the Year: Angels of Death vs Tyranids Part 1

It came to my attention not long ago that I have only played 40K once this year, and that was a 2nd Edition game. To make matters worse, I have only played three games of 40K since 5th Edition. Feeling old and rusty, I asked Sgt Waz if he would run a game for Wade and I and show us the ropes (again). Playing 40K in 7th Ed. for me is a strange experience. I have every rule-set of 40K still floating around my brain, some of the information is relevant and the rest is... archaeological in its significance. It was great to have a player who is experienced in the current competitive meta to give us a shake-down run. We soon found that 40K is like a very good old friend, despite the years between visits nothing had really changed; we had an absolute cracking game.

Sgt Waz set up his Tyranid army across from us and it was terrifying. He just kept reaching into his case to pull out Tyranid monstrous creatures, including a Tervigon, Tyrannofex, Swarmlord, flying Tyrant, Hive Crone, Harpy, Mawloc, Malanthrope and a Dimachaeron. He started the flying Tyrant in formation with two Gargoyle broods and piled termagants around his Tervigon, with Tyrant Guards surrounding the Swarm Lord and two Biovores in the backfield sitting on an objective.

Yes, that is an A-10 Thunderbolt crashed in the middle of the battlefield. Assuming this battle doesn't take place on Terra, the USAF is still using the venerable Warthog way past its "best by" date.

I chose to field a pared-down Demi-Company of Dark Angels; I am 10 Tactical marines short at the moment of a full one. My Command Squad was lead by a Company Master with the Mace of Redemption and a combi-plasma. His squad was supported by two Tactical squads armed with a multimelta, lascannon and flamer, as well as three Dreadnoughts armed with DCCWs, twin-linked autocannon, assault cannon and plasma cannon. They were deployed to refuse the Tyranids foot-slogging left flank. In the centre of our deployment zone I placed a 5 man Tactical squad over an objective marker armed with a plasma gun and plasma pistol, supported by a Devastator squad with plasma cannons and an Assault squad. Lastly, I infiltrated a Scout squad with sniper rifles and a heavy bolter (with hellfire rounds) onto another objective, in the hope of sneaking some early victory points. With a bare-bones Lion's Blade Strike Force on the table, I was well placed to steal objectives off the Tyranids with Objective Secured and defend it with Supreme Fire Discipline.

Wade chose a 1500 point Blood Angels army that is typical for him: excruciatingly low model count committed to high-risk deployment tactics. His list complimented mine in a weird way, but I knew I may not have any support for the first couple of turns.

The Tyranids had the first turn and advanced rapidly. The winged detachment on the right flank moved towards the scouts in preparation for a charge. The scouts passed all of their cover saves to avoid wounds from shooting and performed admirably during overwatch as expected. Unfortunately, the Nids made their assault roll and wiped out the squad, capturing the objective in one fell swoop; so much for winning early points, the Nids were up by one with First Blood. The Harpy also managed to immobilise my Dreadnought with the twin-linked autocannons, but as he had the range and a good field of fire, I wasn't too concerned.The Tyrannofex targetted our "counts-as" Vindicator and prevented it from shooting during the next turn.

On the left flank the Termagant swarm and Tervigon moved forwards towards two objectives in no-mans-land, whilst every other monstrous creature (except the Mawloc...) began the long foot slog up the center of the board. In response, the Dreadnoughts and Stormraven gunship combined to snipe the Malanthrope out of existence, denying the monstrous blob its cover save, and my Tactical squad unleashed a flamer on the Gargoyles, followed by a flamer and heavy flamer from a Blood Angels Tactical squad in a Rhino. We killed a lot of Gargoyles that turn :-)

Unfortunately, our fun didn't last long...

Turn 1 Victory Points
Tyranids: 2
Angels of Death: 0

The Mawloc emerged underneath my 10 man Tactical squad and wiped out 7 marines in the first hit. With enough room to deploy, it didn't cause any more damage. The Hive Crone, flew to the center of the board and ripped the Stormraven open from bow to stern, killing all of the Death Company on board.

Mephiston, the Death Company Dreadnought and Corbulo survived the crash but were now stranded in front of the Termagant horde led by a Tyranid Prime.

The Dimachaeron charged and destroyed the Blood Angels Rhino transporting a Tactical squad, whilst the Harpy and Tyrannofex destroyed my plasma cannon Dreadnought. The Termagants charged Mephiston and Corbulo, who accepted the challenge from the Tyranid Prime and survived a round of combat.

My Company Master, Dreadnought and Tactical squad all charged the Mawloc, hoping to take it down before it could disappear into ongoing reserve. The Company Master administered the killing blows with his Mace of Redemption. The survivors of the other Tactical squad moved towards the objectives in the ruins, whilst my Devastator squad and immobalised Dreadnought killed a Tyrant Guard and wounded another. My hope was to isolate the Swarmlord before it reached close-combat.

My Dark Angel assault squad jumped to the rescue of the Blood Angels heroes, hacking into the Termagants whilst Mephiston focused on the Tyranid Prime. Another round of combat rolled by without a decisive outcome; the center of the board was now a meat grinder.

Turn 2 Victory Points
Tyranids: 3
Angels of Death: 2

To be continued...

Monday 28 December 2015

Dark Angels 3rd Company: Dreadnoughts TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

This unit of Dreadnoughts is perhaps the project most dear to me on my 2015/16 To-Do list. It is definitely the longest running, with the Dreadnought on the right having a long and chequered history. In fact, each of the Dreadnoughts has an interesting story attached to them, which I will share in between photos. I don't think they will be the best executed project this year (my money is on the Iron Snakes Techmarine or Centurions eventually taking that honour). In particular, the colour of "Dark Angels Green" is  bit lighter than the contemporary equivalent, "Caliban Green". This makes some of the optional arms a little darker than the rest, but I can live with that. You will see what I mean as we go down the rabbit hole, starting with the most recent (but not youngest...) member of the squadron.

I call this Dreadnought "The Sergeant", because he has a banner :-) I completed this model for Dreadtober a while ago, though his base is a recent addition. The close combat weapon can be replaced by a twin-linked autocannon for MOAR dakka, but I like the option of hitting harder in assault, particularly as a squad.

This model is a very old one, released during 2nd Edition in the 90's. When Dark Vengeance was released I swapped all of the Chaos stuff to my mate Heinz for a whole heap of old Dark Angels stuff. This guy was the cherry on top; I had desperately wanted one of these guys back in the day, so finally blagging one hit me right in the feels.

I bought the next Dreadnought when the new plastic kit was first released. I armed it with a twin-linked lascannon and missile launcher because, like I said, I had a soft spot for the classic Dark Angels dreadnought load-out. It didn't feel the same though; I miss the days when you could fire d3 plasma missiles at something.

I sometimes still field this guy with the missile launcher, or swap the lascannon for the twin-linked autocannon. The lascannon arm has parts from the Ravenwing Master kit to add a bit of Dark Angels flavour.

The dreadnought close combat weapon only has one little added detail: a hooded Angel of Death figure. I have armed my Dreadnoughts with stormbolters whenever possible as, even though heavy flamers can be very effective, I seem to have ridiculous luck with them. The number of times I have picked the last wound off a character, squad or monstrous creature beggars belief.

The next Dreadnought is my oldest, in fact, it was one of my first 40K figures. It was a Christmas gift from my mother, who was dubious about buying something so expensive and small. But she new it meant a lot to me and bought it anyway. For that reason it will always be a special part of my collection.

It is actually a Blood Angels Dreadnought, again from 2nd Ed., which I originally painted and converted as a Legion of the Damned Dreadnought, before they even had a full list. There was a skeleton from Warhammer Fantasy pinned to the left torso and flames everywhere. I loved that damned Dreadnought!

One of the guys I played against regularly (lets call him Joffrey...) berated me for having an army made up completely of Legion of the Damned figures, to the point where I painted over everything in Dark Angels green and bought myself an Angels of Death codex. I started kicking myself that I hadn't waited a few months to get my Dreadnought: I could have gotten a cool Dark Angels one! I decided that I would put my own stamp on it, so spent over an hour sawing off the multimelta barrel and replacing it with a plasma cannon barrel from a Devastator marine, using a blunt hacksaw blade with no handle. I can still feel the pain. Dark Angels weren't all plasma cannon spam in those days and there was no official plasma cannon model for a Dreadnought, so my first conversion (ever) was recognised as a very special one at my FLGS. It also owned people; in those days you could super-charge Dreadnought plasma cannons, unleashing a Str 10 shot with a large blast marker.

A few months later the LotD army list was published in a White Dwarf.

The assault drill is a new addition from Forgeworld that I had lying around for ages. The original close combat weapon has been lost and I often mount a missile launcher to replace it. I have found the combination of plasma cannon and missile launcher can be quite effective, using frag missiles to thin out swarms and krak missiles to take out MEQs and light vehicles.

For now, I am calling these guys done! Perhaps one day, if I find the right green paint, I'll touch up some of the weapons so they fit the rest of the scheme more perfectly. Until then, they are ready for their first game against Sgt Waz's Tyranids and I get a big green stamp:

See you across the table,


Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas (and Dreadnoughts and Other Things)

Hi folks,

Merry Christmas!! I hope you are all having a wonderful time with your families, wherever you happen to be in the world. I'm guessing a few of you are having a white Christmas this year, but over here in Australia we are sweating bullets.

I have recently returned from a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland, which was a feast for the senses. I saw lots of coral formations, anemones, fish and sharks (the Black Tip Reef Shark above is affectionately named "Pup", because it behaves like an excited puppy), as well as some inspiring land-forms. In particular, there were beaches made entirely of bleached coral that sound like broken glass when you walked across them; it looked a lot like the bases I do on my Nids!


When we got home to Sydney though, it was damn hot, pushing 40 degrees, which has slammed the breaks on my painting projects. Even with a wet pallet and drying retardant medium, paint is drying on the brush faster than I can use it. I can forget about spray undercoats as well, the paint is drying before it hits the miniatures! I did manage to knock together some bases for my three Dark Angels Dreadnoughts, using flock, static grass, small pieces of slate and some laser cut ferns.

As you can see they are missing some arms that they had this morning, and one has a hole in the top of its sarcophagus where I will be placing a Dark Angels icon. All of my Dreadnoughts are going to be equipped with close combat weapons of some description for the purposes of gaming, so I thought I would work on them today as well. If I hadn't decided to do that they would be finished and I could give myself a stamp :-) Another example of me making a rod for my own back; ahhh well.

I didn't get anything interesting for Christmas this year. Before we left on holiday my dog sustained an injury that required her to have... exceptionally expensive... surgery. That has blown us out of the water for the foreseeable future. On the upside, Gypsy is gradually getting her sight back, which is far, far more important. I have plenty of stuff to paint anyway ;-)


See you across the table,


Tuesday 22 December 2015

Tukkayid Campaign: Jade Falcons Part 1

Hi folks,

I would lying if I said that I haven't been looking forward to starting the Jade Falcon part of the campaign. I have been a JF fan-boy forever. This has required a lot of loyalty in the face of adversity, as they have been portrayed pretty harshly in the Battletech universe; there is a lot not to like about them that I have blissfully ignored.

The first Jade Falcon scenario is one that KuriboGoomba and I were very familiar with. The initial ambush of the Jade Falcon invasion force by Comstar is portrayed in one of my favourite books, "Falcon Guard" by Robert Thurston. In it, the defenders launched their assault from hidden positions in an orchard, striking the Clan Mechs rapidly and then fading away. One Clan Mechwarrior in a Gargoyle, Faulk, is engaged by a Bombardier and is forced to eject. As he escapes, the ejection trajectory takes him through some stray fire that amputates his leg; his screams can be heard in the cockpits of his compatriots. Obviously, we were both keen to relive this scene in a "what if" kind of way.

I chose a Gargoyle A to represent Mechwarrior Faulk (3/4) and a Stormcrow A (Mecharrior Leehma, 3/4) for its accurate close range brawling ability. In reserve I had Mechwarrior Khastis (3/4) in his Hellbringer Primary; we had a feeling that the Clanners were going to have a very hard time. The Comstar Mechs, controlled by KuriboGoomba and Wade, consisted of a Bomdardier, Thug, Hunchback and Sentinel deployed in secret. I placed my Mechs withing three hexes of the center hex and Comstar Mechs proceeded to boil out of their holes.

The Gargoyle is represented by a Summoner model, I really need to get myself a Gargoyle figure, I seem to use them all the time.

In the free turn of fire the Comstar Mechs were afforded by their ambush, they managed to maul Faulk's Gargoyle. The Thug opened up into its rear armour with PPCs and SRMs, whilst the Bombardier hit it with indirect LRM's. Even the Sentinel caused damage with its Ultra AC 5, punching some holes in the Gargoyle's center torso. The next turn the Gargoyle rounded on the Thug and unleashed two PPC's and a large pulse laser into it, causing heavy damage. The Stormcrow moved to intercept a newly appeared Hunchback, causing significant damage to several locations, before all four Comstar Mechs combined there firepower to destroy the Gargoyle with three engine hits.

The Stormcrow blasted away at the Hunchback, forcing it to withdraw in order to prevent any chance of me recovering a victory from the game. With the Hellbringer appearing from reserve smashing it with PPC's, there was no choice but for it to run off the board. With that the Stormcrow and Hellbringer turned their attentions to the Thug, which they flayed with heavy fire for two turns.

Like all of my games so far, the damage I dealt was spread to evenly, preventing me from taking the big Mech down. I wasn't the only one having trouble, we played out a whole turn with no hits from any Mech! Roll after roll we failed to hit easy shots (at 5+ on 2d6), failed to achieve critical hits, failed shutdown rolls on 4+, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail. The situation prompted Goomba to show us this picture on his phone, which I share now to reflect the bleak hilarity of the situation:

Eventually the Thug fell, having failed a piloting skill roll after taking more than 20 damage in one turn and a gyro hit. The rest of the Comstar Mechs ran off the board to preserve their marginal victory.

The game played out very similar to the story, thanks to Goomba and Wade's focus on taking down Faulk early on. Our consistently low rolls after that were so frustrating, all we could do was laugh and try to stack the odds in our favour. I think the dice Gods were the real winners last night.

See you across the table,


Saturday 19 December 2015

Experimenting with Clear Resin

Hi folks,

I have been experimenting with wet-effects for a while now,  and I have been particularly fascinated by the clear resin some people have been using to represent clear, deep, water. Every year there seems to be several Golden Daemon entries that include deep pools of water on the bases, with various novel inclusions, such as fish and other beasties. I am planning to use a shallow pool of the stuff on a terrain piece I am working on, but wanted to try it out on something less important first. That in mind, I knocked together another, more simple, terrain piece I am calling "The Spring". This was my first clear resin experience, so if you have any tips at the end please share them! If you haven't used a two-part epoxy resin before, this may help you avoid some pratfalls :-)

Step 1: Preparing the surface

The terrain piece needed a section where the resin could pool and be contained whilst it hardened. I had a few ideas about how I could achieve this, but I settled on a ring of course shell grit. The PVA was poured directly from the bottle in a ring shape and the grit piled over the top and left to harden overnight. It is also possible to tape up deeper wells with masking tape, but you need to remove the tape before the resin completely sets (but after it has stopped flowing).This requires a greater knowledge of the resin hardening time frame than I currently have, but I'm keen to give it a go sometime.

Step 2: Painting the spring

This step isn't really necessary in most cases, water is after all transparent in nature. The base I was using, however, didn't have any detail to see beneath the resin, so I figured some colour would be better than nothing. I used a rough blend from turquoise to black.

Step 3: Buying some resin

There are plenty of different two-part resin products out there that are suitable for this kind of job. In particular, craft stores usually stock the stuff for people who make their own resin jewellery. I picked up two sets of Craft Smart Liquid Gloss for a steal when a local art supply store had them on sale("shop smart... shop... Craft Smart"). Groovy.

Step 4: Mixing the resin

Well, this step is more crucial than I initially realised; it turns out you can avoid a lot of pratfalls by doing this properly. As suggested, the product comes in two parts, the resin (which is the more viscous fluid) and a hardening agent. The two were transferred in equal amounts to a clean disposable container. This needs to be done as accurately as possible, as getting the ratio wrong prevents the resin from setting properly. I used a syringe to do this, which is stupid, because it introduced sooo many bubbles to the fluid mixture. I'll do it differently next time, as minimising the bubbles produced in the mixing stage is vital for the final look of the product.

I stirred it with the provided flat wooden for about three minutes, a little too vigorously, introducing even more bubbles. I would suggest that if you ever are in the same situation you make your stand right here; get rid of the bubbles. This can be done by heating the stirred mixture in a bowl of warm/hot water, sonication, removing individual bubbles with a toothpick or short blasts of a heat gun. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Even just letting the mixture stand for a few minutes before pouring gets rid of a lot of bubbles, as they rise to the top over time. If I had realised I had more time I would have used it to get the mixture as clear as possible before proceeding. Avoid getting water (even vapour from your breath) in the resin as it will go cloudy; it is hydrophobic and you get light scattering from the emulsion that forms.

None of the chemicals present are particularly good for you, so I wore safety glasses and gloves. Use nitrile gloves if you can get them.

Step 5: Pouring the resin mixture

I transferred the resin to the terrain piece using a syringe, which was stupid :-) Next time around I will just pour it gently from the mixing cup. The ring of PVA and grit held up pretty well, some resin seeped through but it set quickly. You can use a brush to mop up any stray bits; make sure your workspace is level to save yourself a lot of hassle during this step. I then enclosed the entire project in a box whilst it hardened to prevent dust from ruining the finish.

You can clearly see the worst clusters of bubbles in this shot. I wasn't too concerned, natural springs often have bubbles of gas, but it did get me thinking about how to avoid them in the future. 

Step 6: Everything else...

After the resin had well and truly hardened, about 6 hours, I finished off the piece with some more, dry-looking, grit and flock. There are still a handful of bubbles visible but, for a first pancake, its not that bad, et viola:

With a practice run under my belt I am fairly confident I can tackle my Japanese garden themed terrain project. If you have any experience working with clear two-part resin let me know.

See you across the table,


Thursday 17 December 2015

X-wing: Den of Thieves

Hi folks,

I teamed up with Wade, KuriboGoomba and Sgt Waz to try out another scenario from the X-wing miniatures game expansions; Den of Thieves. This mission comes with the Millenium Falcon so we figured it would showcase the versatility of the ship we all love.

The mission is a fairly simple one in theory. One Rebel ship gets a smuggler token and can be used to capture Imperial containers that are moving from one side of the board to the other. Of the three containers, the Rebels must catch two to be victorious. This requires the smuggler to roll more critical hits than the defender rolls successful evades, which is quite difficult the first time around. Luckily, any critical hits rolled that are evaded accumulate and can be used to make the roll easier in subsequent turns. The Imperial player gets to assign two ships as escorts, which increase the containers movement by 1 for each escort within range 1. Wade and Sgt Waz chose Luke Skywalker in an X-wing (R2-D2), an A-wing and the Millenium Falcon (Squad Leader) flown by Lando Calrission for their fleet. KuriboGoomba and I took a bomber wing: Redline in a TIE Punisher with a Fire Control System, as well as Major Rhymer and a Gamma Squadron Pilot in TIE Bombers as the escorts. Everyone had Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes and Concussion Missiles. The Rebels set up pretty aggressively, with an A-wing surprising us in the backfield with the smuggler token!

Relying on the difficulty of capturing the containers on the first try, Goomba and I raced the TIE's forwards to try and take out a Rebel ship before we had to deal with the A-wing. The alternative; flipping to engage the X-wing, would be disastrous, stressing our ships and leaving the Falcon and X-wing at our backs with the containers moving in the opposite direction towards our enemies! Luke took some early fire from the Punisher's lasers, which afforded it two target locks after the attack. In return, the Millenium Falcon damaged the Gamma Squadron TIE Bomber.

The next turn the A-wing swooped on the nearest container but failed to roll any critical hits at all. The TIE Bomber piloted by Major Rhymer and Redline performed K-turns in preparation for engaging the nimble smuggler and Luke. The Gamma Squadron TIE peeled off the formation and took on the Falcon, dealing some heavy damage with a plasma torpedo before succumbing to the bigger ship's turret and a critical hit (Direct Hit!).

During thee next turn the Falcon and the X-wing both swooped towards the center of the board to support the A-wing. Captain Rhymer got a shot off, stripping the A-wing of its shields, whilst Redline blew Luke Skywalker apart with a Concussion Missile. The return fire from the Rebels was all successfully evaded by the Imperial Ships and the A-wing, with no accumulated critical hits, failed to capture a container.

The A-wing then delicately threaded the needle between Falcon and Punisher and boosted out of Redline's firing arc, trying to steal a container on the way! Captain Rhymer put the fear of death into the plucky little pilot with a Concussion Missile but couldn't take the little ship down. Redline opened fire on the Falcon causing significant damage, evading all of the return fire.

The next turn the Rebels gave the smuggler token to the Millenium Falcon (finally, the galaxy can start spinning again!) and tried to capture a container but only succeeded in adding to the critical hit pool. The TIE bomber swooped around to try and engage but failed to score any hits, whilst the Punisher made a wider turn with the aim of firing some shots in the last turn along the board edge and escorting one container off the board early. The other two containers were getting close to the board edge now, one lagging behind the other, and the Rebels were sweating!

During the next turn the Rebel players had a long and critical discussion about what they had to do to win the game. It was very interesting to listen to the whole thought process, which culminated in the development of a secret plan. Step one of their plan required the Millenium Falcon to successfully capture a container immediately, which it did...

Step two of their plan was to cheat! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!! If we hadn't overheard the whole thing in detail we may have come to blows over the shenanigans ;-) My gaming mat overhangs the table by a fair amount, so Sgt Waz propped up the extra couple of inches with his hand, doubling the distance the last container had to move and providing space for maneuvers that should have seen the Rebels leaving the board.

The Falcon had one last chance to capture the final container but their cheating, low-down, no-good, scruffy-looking nerf-herder hearts were crushed as they rolled no critical hits. In vain they rolled another half-dozen times but failed to roll enough critical hits to beat what I had rolled on the defense dice. 

Look at that cheeky  grin; shenanigans indeed!

So, despite the nefarious tactics of scummy Rebels, the brave Imperial Navy had won the day, successfully escorting two out of three containers. This scenario was great fun to play, made even better by the company and our "don't let rules ruin a fun game" attitude. If you would like to give this one a go yourselves, consider house-ruling; give the Falcon a bonus to capture the containers, but the Falcon has to survive the battle to cash in any containers it captures. It seems fitting and the containers were ridiculously hard to get.

See you across the table,