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28 July 2016

The Ultio Expedition: Ep. 2, Bloody Introductions

Rilti Prime
Sector Six

Red Scorpions Lord Commander Culln faces a mission that seems hopeless.  Reinforcements are desperately needed in the Ultio system to stop the Chaos machinations.  Here, in Sector Six, there are almost enough troops to at least give the civilized universe a fighting chance, but this Sector is violently divided.
For Culln, it is unknown whether the local Imperial authorities will aid or oppose his mission.  Rather than landing on Sector Six Prime, he arranges to meet clandestinely on Rilti Prime with Captain Blackwood and a small force of Salamanders Space Marines to discuss the situation.

Librarian Balderius of the Grey Knights was on edge.  The fighting on Rilti had just ended weeks before, and now an unknown starship was attempting to land undetected.
Luckily, the Imperial Knight Wun Wun was near the landing site.  A quick call to the ready force, and Balderius was on his way.
The Battle

Culln and Blackwood were taken by surprise by the eruption of gunfire. As the explosive rounds impacted all around, the Salamanders' Captain began calling into his comms for information.  It became clear that this was a colossal mistake.

There was no time to try and talk the Grey Knights down.  Escape first, then contact the attacking Grey Knights. Blackwood issues the order to break east
Librarian Balderius ordered his forces forward.  Wun Wun would be the beater, driving the intruders east, toward the Dreadknight.

The Salamanders have a Manticore attached from the Imperial Guard, and it repeatedly fires at Wun Wun all the way in.
The Salamander scouts break cover and intercept the Grey Knight Purifiers to slow them down.
The Salamanders' have air support in the form of a Storm Talon, and combined with relentless volleys from the Manticore, Wun Wun is disabled.
...Blackwood and Culln make their break.

Unfortunately, they failed to see the Dreadknight.
Suddenly, the massive war machine hesitates, as if there was a flash of recognition by the pilot, and Culln and the Salamanders slip the net.  Wun Wun was severely damaged by fire and the Dreadknight was swarmed by Salamander reinforcements before he could pursue.

Librarian Balderius heard his headset crackle with new signals. 
“Cease Fire, Cease Fire! Balderius!
This is Blackwood, we are shooting each other”

What was Blackwood doing out here?   …and who was on that ship?

Kingdom of Colores Recon Flight
“Yessir, the Imperials got ahold of Lord Commander Culln first.”

Yes, the part of the Salamanders is being played by the Ravenguard. I didn't have my camera at the club when the game was played, so we used them as stand ins for the shots.

Thanks to the Narrative Guys for giving us a scenario to play.  We had four games with guys at the club playing the scenario and all of them went down to the wire.  As a note to the game above, the Grey Knights player had the game in the bag and he FORGOT to assault with his Dreadknight.  Yes, the key move of the game, that he totally set up...
and he....

Lastly, I know I should have waited to reveal my scratchbuilt Marauder Destroyer in it's own post, but I couldn't wait. Consider this a sneak peek. :)

17 July 2016

The Ultio Expedition: Ep. 1, Prelude

Imperial Sector Six Prime
Office of Sub-Ambassador Sulla Tigh
Sub-Ambassador Tigh
The "Kingdom of Colores" must be collection of mad men.  They have completely lost their minds.  This whole Sector is at the breaking point, and then they back the Rilti Rebellion against us???!!!.

Colonel John Andre (Imperial Intelligence)
Yes, Sub-Ambassador, unfortunately their barely concealed support of the traitors seems to have left us no alternative to the dissolution of the alliance. If only they had been more covert, we might be able to paper it over, but…

Sub-Ambassador Tigh
To quote my infinitely irritating Colores counterpart,
“Yes, quite”
Let’s table this for now.  You mentioned a signal intercept, what is that about?

Colonel Andre
The Astropathic Choir forwarded a fragmented message that seems to indicate an urgent visit by a ship of the Red Scorpions Space Marine Chapter regarding assistance in the Ultio Warzone…

Office of the Governor Genral
Travis Point
New Cypress, Kingdom of Colores
Sector Six

Admiral Jones (Colores Royal Intelligence Corps)
I am afraid, Governor, that the situation with the Imperials is moving toward an open break.

Governor General Andres
Let’s table that for now. What is this signal from a “Red Scorpion”?

Admiral Jones
Claims to be a Captain from the Imperial Space Marine Red Scorpions Chapter
This "Captain Culln" is asking for military assistance in a remote warzone

Gov Gen
Remote warzone? Good Grief Jones, if they need assistance, don’t they have enough local warzones? He should at least have the courtesy of not making us travel to the next Imperial debacle.

We should absolutely talk to this Captain Culln, and talk to him before his Imperium friends.

Admiral Jones
...but what should we do about his Imperium friends?  I mean, the local ones, who would like to kill us.

Gov Gen
Very confusing these Imperials:
Space Marine this, Mechanicum that, and now “Astra Militarium” rather than “Imperial Guard”. It’s as if it’s all just made up so they can sew new patches on each other’s uniforms…

Admiral Jones
It’s enough to put a man off his mid-afternoon cocktail hour.

Gov Gen
Yes, quite
The 290 Bunker Crew, my gaming club, has 9 players (including me) going to the Narrative Event at WargamesCon in Austin on the last weekend in August.  As it is the Narrative Event, there is a strong "narrative" component. We are starting with how the 290th Combined Task Force is put together, and will run the storyline from there.

Here is the facebook page of the "Narrative Guys" who are running the event:

Most cool, I get to share the event with my son.  Woot!

Looks to be fun!

11 July 2016

Flight Trials for the Marauder Destroyer

Just a beauty shot of my friend Nathan's awesome Forgeworld  model (with escorts)...

The Kingdom of Colores may have to ask the Treasury Minister if we can afford one. :)

03 July 2016

The Rilti Intervention: Air War Missions 5 and 6 – Final Assault

The Imperial subject world of Rilti has balked at paying unprecedented tax increases and military manpower confiscations, citing the need to keep their troops close to home.  An Imperial Space Marine Task Force was deployed to depose the government and restore Rilti to compliance

Although the initial Imperial offensive was stalled, the fighting skill of the Space Marine Task Force has been decisive and now they have broken through the Rilti defenses to the capital, Rilti Prime.

The most contested part of this campaign has been the sky.  A “volunteer” wing of mercenary pilots and their fighter aircraft (141st VFG) have battled in the skies against the Space Marine Stormhawks and achieved an unexpected amount of success, but never enough to reverse the Rilti failures on the ground.

After 6 weeks of fighting, the Space Marines stand just outside Rilti Prime for the final attack.

MISSION FIVE: Sweep the Skies
Before the ground attack begins, Ravenguard Librarian Bardalian details the remaining Stormhawks to sweep the skies of the enemy planes.  The Volunteer Group flying for Rilti are outnumbered, and fail to down any planes before withdrawing from the airspace in front of the capital.

MISSION SIX: Crushing Blow
On the enemy’s doorstep and having the advantage in airpower, Librarian Bardalian is still faced with the daunting task of assaulting an enemy in prepared fortifications.
 It is time…
The task force deploys its strongest assault unit,
“Wun Wun”, Imperial Knight Titan!

“Wun Wun” deploys on the Space Marine’s left, near the old quarter, where the more open pedestrian mall provides clear fields of fire for its massive weapons load. He is backed up by the jumpack Assault squad.  Librarian Bardalian, Terminators and the other 2 Tactical Squads deploy in the center across from the main objective in the Imperial Admin Building.
The Rilti defenders have no tanks left and deploy all infantry on the defense line. The casualties among Rilti Officers have been very high and the inexperience shows. Again, the Rilti troops are behind the key defense points and will have to redeploy forward to deny the Space Marines access to the city.

There are a few fighters left from the Volunteer Group to provide cover, but the Ravenguard will have the edge in the sky.

As the battle opens, the Ravenwing Librarian MOVES A BUILDING WITH HIS MIND, and brings the objective closer, keeping the marines from having to cover open ground.

Needless to say, the Rilti Command is shaken by this raw display of psychic power.

The assault in the center is slowed through the ruins of the pre-attack bombardment, and just as the Ravenguard Tactical Squads are in the open, 2 fighters sweep in and gun down half of the Marines.

But the Ravenguard strike back and Stormhawks eliminate the Rilti Command.
“Wun Wun” blasts through the Old Quarter and turns toward the center, while the Ravenguard Marines in the center slog their way forward through lasgun and plasma fire.
Both sides have taken incredible casualties, but no one is giving up this fight.  The crucial moment occurs when inexplicably, the Ravenguard Jump Assault Squad holds back, but the Imperial Knight charges forward unsupported.

As what happens over and over again with Armor in a dense urban environment with no infantry to cover the flanks, the Knight is swarmed from all sides and brought down.
It is an incredible and unexpected victory for the Rilti PDF.
Librarian Burdalian is incredulous.  He has to be physically restrained by his own men and pulled back from this attack gone horribly wrong.

Resisting an Imperial Task Force on the doorstep of the capital is a doomed effort. Even the victory of the Rilti PDF is only a temporary respite, because there are no more reserves to continue the fight. Inexorably, the Space Marines will take the city block by block. Resistance is futile.

Terms are discussed with the Imperial Administrators in the fleet.  The current Rilti leaders will accept exile and forfeiture of all property.  A generous offer to traitors, and the Space Marine contingents are outraged.
However, needs must and  the Imperium is desperate for the resources of Rilit. Further fighting can only degrade the industrial output of this world.

The Rilti volunteer air group (The Kingdom of Colores 141st  Strike Fighter Wing) has been withdrawn from the planet.  Important lessons were bought in blood. Now with seasoned pilots, and experience against some of the toughest aircraft in Sector Six, the 141st will be ready for their next deployment.

So, The Air War Campaign from “Death From the Skies”

The Good
-          - 6 Missions, and with the exception of Mission 4, all are playable and fun.
-          - A good mix of actual tactical play and some “beer and pretzel” games.
-          - The Campaign gave us a solid grounding in air tactics, and within the inherent limitations and extreme  shortcomings of 40k, a good expansion.
-          - Attack Patterns are KING…  you have been warned.
-          - The fears about the Dogfight phase extending game time are unfounded.

The Meh
The reason the Dogfighting phase doesn’t take too much time is that almost NOTHING ever happens.  Even if a dogfight takes place ( a 50/50 chance, unless BOTH players are willing), the worst outcome after all the charts is a single firing pass against a jinking opponent.  Not one plane was shot down in the Dogfight Phase during the 4 games where it was possible, and I think maybe 2 hits were scored. Our experience was that the phase was a big fat nothingburger.

The Ugly
Get to work right now on fixing Scenario 4 BEFORE you play it.  It can be the best, and I’ve gone on too long with my complaints, so just a warning it needs some gamer love to make it work.
Thanks for following along.

I just noticed a new follower, so a Big Welcome to Ikit Musker!