Monday, September 5, 2016

Not dead!

Radio Silence (And some Rogue Trader)

So... sorry for not posting in two months. Nothing crazy going on, just lots of work and I decided to spend my spare time painting and modelling instead of blogging. I've been working on an Epic scale force and plugging away at some non-Oldhammer related hobby stuff.

Sadly I won't be able to make it to USA Oldhammer day this year due to work obligations, but I did make it to Historicon and another Oldhammer Basement Bash and got a few Rogue Trader games in. Also, i'm looking forward to getting an Epic force put on the table.

Follow me to greatness!

Battle At The 2016 Oldhammer Basement Bash and Fancy Dress Ball!

So, in a mad effort to re-create the styles of the late 70's and early 80's Con-Fusion hosted another Oldhammer get together at his home. Sadly I missed the first day of it due to work, but I managed to make it on Sunday and catch a game of Bloodbowl and test out my Battle at the Farm scenario. You can read up on some of it at Sean's blog here

At the time I was planning on running Battle at the Farm at the US Oldhammer Day so I figured it would be a good time to play test the game. Now as much as I love a good shot of the ol' nostalgia, the Battle at the Farm scenario just doesn't make for a good participation game. For those who don't know, Battle at the Farm is the introductory scenario in Rogue Trader. The scenario out of the book is low model count and the forces are pretty basic..... so I jazzed it up a little bit.

The Farm?? It's that damn Alamo again!!

The scenario calls for fifteen marines; 13 regular troops, one with a missile launcher and one commander. I settled on ten marines with one melta gun and a heavy bolter plus ten standard humans and an Ogryn. The ork force is pretty much what was called for in the book, but I added a conversion beamer and a robot..... because 'Merica.

The board was set up close to what the original scenario calls for except that the orchard was shifted to provide some cover for the advancing orks. Also.... The orks had a conversion beamer.

Speaking of conversion beamers, let's all take a moment to dissect this statement....

"A beamer cannot miss a target and not explode somewhere. If deviation causes it to miss altogether, simply extend the line of fire until a target presents itself, or the maximum range is reached."

Let that sink in.

So... turn one. The orks get the first turn and aside from a movement toward the general vicinity of the farm.... one of the decides to fire..... his conversion beamer. Now, remember...

 "A beamer cannot miss a target and not explode somewhere. If deviation causes it to miss altogether, simply extend the line of fire until a target presents itself, or the maximum range is reached." 

So.... in theory, if an ork with a conversion beamer is standing on top of a hill and decides to shoot at a human standing on top of a wall and the shot then deviates directly backwards towards the firer, then the shot should be resolved with the firer at the center of the explosion. In theory.

Well... in practice that's exactly what happened.

And that pretty much ended the Orks experiments with conversion beamers

Orks being orks, they shrugged off the explosion with a hardy laugh and kept on advancing. The humans easily avoided any casualties on the first turn as the orks only heavy weapon had killed himself and their boltas were hilariously out of range.

The ork force prepares to advance on the human survivors

The human survivors take cover behind solid walls...and wait

The humans laid down as much fire as they could muster, but with their average ballistic skill, range penalties, and soft cover in between them and they orks, their fire was pretty much ineffective. The marine heavy bolter on the other hand was devastating. There was little hop for whatever ork squad got caught in its crosshairs. The ork side was pretty much ineffective until it got the robot to within bolter range and it was able to pulp the standard humans with its three bolters. Unfortunately by the time the robot had gotten that close the ork force had been reduced to only a handful or orks... and the Space Marines hadn't even moved forward yet.

The orks advance up to the orchard and take cover from the unrelenting hail of bullets

Oi! Get cover behind dat barrel!

By the time the orks had managed to advance up to the farm and slaughter the humans, the marines had moved into position and really unloaded on the poor orks. Ultimately the humans were victorious, but by this point in the scenario ork reinforcements should have begun to arrive on the board. Eventually the humans would have been overrun.... eventually. 

Marines move up to the wall

How much longer can the humans hold out?

Overall I think the game went well even though it did get a bit monotonous. Next time I run this scenario I will add a few more heavy weapons into the ork list. I think at this point our regular gaming group has worked out most of their weird bugs in Rogue Trader to the point where we can start adding in some more complicated house rules. I did experiment a bit incorporating the stealth rules from Osprey's Black Ops into a game of Rogue Trader.

In this game a small band of pirates had to infiltrate an enemy compound and sabotage a radar station. The stealth rules work pretty well and can be incorporated into Rogue Trader without any major modifications. In this game I used the card activation system from Black Ops in which a particular suit represents a specific troop type (Jacks=soldiers, Ace=leader). When a model is activated it can choose to perform one action which must be one of the phases from the standard Warhammer turn (shoot, move, close combat, psychic, etc) In the case of making a reserve move, this counts as running and it generates noise counters.

The enemy compound

To be honest i'm still working through the stealth rules from Black Ops. There are situations that were highly counter-intuitive. For example, a guard can get shot square in the chest and if he survives it does not automatically raise the alarm. While I understand the abstraction, it creates some pretty ridiculous situations on the tabletop that just don't make any sense. It's going to take a few more games before I feel really comfortable mashing the rules together with Rogue Trader.

Space Pirates sneak up to the enemy compound

So moving forward there are a couple things other than stealth that I want to incorporate into my Rogue Trader games. Random activation adds a new dynamic to the game and should be fairly easy to incorporate. Black Ops has a really great "suppression" mechanic which allows models to lay down a hail of bullets to pin an enemy with volume of fire. Suppression adds some serious tactical chops to the game and I think it will make the game more dynamic. I also want to add "overwatch" back into my games. Overwatch is another great mechanic that often gets overlooked in Rogue Trader that makes the game a bit more tactical.

Sooo.... stay tuned and in another two months I may post again!


  1. Conversion beamer.....laughing my arse off :D

    Nice to see/read you blogging again :)

  2. Suppression is always a fun problem on a tabletop. If you've never encountered StarGrunt II you might check it out. It's a great system with some serious tactical grit that might give you a few ideas. (It does wonderful things with unit experience, morale, and command and control.) Anyway . . . some great stuff in the AAR. Stealth sounds like a great addition if'n you can make it work about right. (For instance, snipers are seriously demoralizing!)

    1. I bought an old copy of that about six months back. I really like the rule system & I'm keen to give it a try. Your right, tactically it's a pretty awesome game.

  3. Haven't played that scenario since I first cracked the RT book open as a lad. (All the blue-paper cut out marines and orks are gone now...)

    Sounds like your rules switch should sort it out though.

  4. Great report! I did not know this even happened. I like the idea of incorporating other rule bits into the game to make it more fun and interesting. Card activation is something I've been wanting to do for awhile. Aside from Space Hulk I think I used overwatch the most in games of Squad Leader. You've got it wrong. The hobby is 90% blogging and bullshitting about miniatures and only 10% painting and actually playing. ;)