Author: The Dark Muse

Air Caste in Retreat

Air Caste in Retreat

This is the first game of our “Invasion of Planet No’ohrm Ha’an D” series of battles. The prior fluff is here: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ and the rules for the mission are here: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/11/assault-neo-normandy-missions-1-strategic-air-war/. Next game will be a second Aeronautica Imperialis mission–a bombing run against strategic infrastructure.

Kor’Vre Vior’la Ires had been the Navigator and Weapons Operator on his Tiger Shark AX-1-0 for three years. Seconded by the Air Caste to the No’ohrm Ha’an system for system defense, Ires’ combat wing had been stationed on the fourth planet in the system for quite some time. The system itself had strategic expansion import, and there were a few times that the wing had been deployed in full combat status. Most recently an Ork Rok fortress drifted into the system outskirts, and disgorged that race’s motley forces across the sixth and seventh planets of the system. Ires’ plane had downed three Ork Stompas as they raged across the chemical fields of one of the planets, saving countless T’au lives from their cruel guns. With his pilot Kor’El Diaron dodging the thicket of flak fire they monstrosities kicked out, Ires could focus on using the paired railguns of their plane to demolish the Orks’ heaviest of equipment.

The fourth planet was a good spot for a base, as the planet was itself a delightfully relaxing place. Covered in natural vegetation and the ivory and limestone constructions of some past civilization made it smooth for them to all settle down and into the pace of life there. Even amidst military drill, the atmosphere of calm and comfort filled the planet. Apparently the only predator species on the planet were occasional feral gyrinxes, which made the basic animal life of the place calm. Ires was watching a few birds alight on a tree outside the ivory structure where he had made his home outside the barracks, when the peace was shattered. The warning sirens went off–shrill in the warm air. “Scramble” Ires recognized immediately, and without even grabbing his personal pack he dashed fast as he could across the smooth courtyards and garden terraces to reach the airfield the Earth Caste had carved from the greenery.

As Ires settled into his navigator’s seat in the plane, he was already asking Diaron what she knew of the threat.

“Came out of nowhere. A fleet of Aeldari ships sporting all sorts of make and marking apparently. More than just pirates and raiders tho. This is an invasion force.”

Ires’ computer was spitting out threats, both in the space above the planet and the atmosphere of the planet itself. Seems like the fourth planet was the focus–the board was lit up with enemy fighter craft streaking in formation across the skies. They seemed to be targeting the two main air bases, and already the pair of Gal’leath class Battleships from the Merchant Fleet in high orbit were broadcasting distress calls. Had the capital weapons of the Aeldari stricken their main system ships? How did the Water Caste not warn them of potential attack?

Diaron guided their Tiger Shark into formation with the swarming Barracudas and other Tiger Sharks. If the capital ships were crippled, it was a good thing that they had taken the time to build terrestrial bases for some of the air forces perhaps. Maybe the Water Caste were more prepared than they expected.

Drone-captured video feeds of the enemy attack wing registered on their instruments. “At least three different color schemes amongst the Aeldari planes,” he said to Diaron over the comms. “Three Craftworlds?”

“Perhaps,” she replied. “Or perhaps just raiders? Though this is a big force for raiders.”

Ires had never faced Aeldari in actual combat before, only in computer-run simulations. He was prepared for them to have both perfect formations and then break into individual… flourishes… of pursuit when the battle enemy was reached. He was not ready for how flawless their ability to fly really was in person. Even the computer simulations could not capture the daring-ness of their maneuvers, so perfectly executed. Diaron could fly circles around Ork and Imperial fighters, even in their large Tiger Shark bomber. But she might as well be flying a bulk air tractor compared to the Aeldari’s grace and precision.

At least they had firepower volume, Ires thought. The railguns were actually not so effective against the swarming lighter craft, but Ires’ smaller armaments and turrets started to take their toll in sheer mass of fire. The Aeldari were perfection, but delicate perfection. It was all about closing fields of movement. Ires watched a foe plane snake through six columns of fire from four different T’au vessels. Even the slightest gap in fire would be used by the Aeldari to escape. Ires programmed the targeting solutions to closer bursts–waves of fire that hopefully formed a wall. The few Aeldari planes that had been dropped took only a couple of hits to down at most.

Ires managed to down a Phoenix class bomber (according to the ident computer, that was the designation), and proudly broadcast the basis of his firing solutions to the wing’s gunners at large. However, in that moment he noted just how many planes had been lost. The Aeldari first strike had eliminated too many ships, taking out as many of the Barracuda fighters as they could manage first–then turning on the slower Tiger Sharks. Diaron had already gotten the call, and was snaking their way out of the conflict space. They and a sole Barracuda managed to get free and shake pursuit. While the Aeldari had taken losses, it wasn’t as dramatic as what the T’au wing had suffered.

Diaron guided the Tiger Shark up out of the atmosphere, and toward the fifth and sixth planets in system–engaging the gravitic drive to make further distance from the spot of conflict at rapid pace. There were ample ground assets on the fourth planet, and the dense hedgerows of the the green countryside would make for slow going for a conventional invasion force. The T’au might have time to regroup, and with time could surely outnumber the Aeldari. The question was whether the remnants of their fighter wing, the other fighter wing, and the remaining space fleet could protect the skies or not. In the short term, the Aeldari would have the advantage. The air war had begun to be theirs, and if they would start with strategic air attacks or a full-on assault, only time would tell. Ires found himself thinking about his pack, back on the ancient terrace where he had been bunking. Was the design Aeldari? Or some other lost race? Either way, he had lost friends and his dwellings, at least for the moment with the latter. He began writing up a more nuanced firing solution to share with the wing’s Kor’O when they could reach contact. The Aeldari would go no further if he could prevent it.

Painting Progress

I painted up yet more Aeronautica Imperialis planes for this game. Two more Phoenix bombers joined the ranks, both with Starcannons to serve as close firing attack craft.

For longer range, I built and painted a delightful Forgeworld model: the Vampire Hunter. It’s a great looking plane, and I love the look of it (please Forgeworld… re-release this one in 40k scale for us). It’s rules in the game are underwhelming. Sort of a long-range heavy damage plane. Not awful, but my Phoenixes and Nightwings did way more work during the battle than the Vampire.

Finally, I’ve also been working on my 40k Drukhari forces. Added another 5 Wracks to my completed pile, which was fun. I’ve got more of these on the docket as well, as I want to flesh out some big squads of bodies for the invasion scenarios. Needs to be those masses of soldiers unloading off of Raiders onto the beach to assault the T’au lines. And Wracks will be part of that.

All told a lot of painting done! Yet more to go. Much more.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 116 PL

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 295 points

Hulks of Omen – Drawbridge Games

Hulks of Omen – Drawbridge Games

About two years ago now, the amazing Ryan built an enormous 12-foot wide, 4-foot long Space Hulk board for Drawbridge Games’ grand opening celebration at their new location. We ran a special Space Hulk event with it: https://the-dark-muse.com/2021/07/05/drawbridge-grand-opening-celebration/. We ran that event at 25 PL and focused on infantry only with a single HQ character–which is quite similar to what the Arks of Omen rules utilize for those boarding action games. Thus, it’s time to run a new version of the Drawbridge Space Hulk event, with the all-new Games Workshop rules.

When: February 16th, with deployment starting at 6:00pm. Dice roll at 6:30pm sharp. Players who will arrive later can let us know and we can be ready for your force to cut their way in from an appropriate external bulkhead.

Who and What: You! All players are welcome, it’s a $5 entry fee for the event. Bring an Arks of Omen Boarding Patrol, using the mustering rules on page 64 of the Arks of Omen book. Short version is 500 points consisting of HQ 0-1, Troops 0-3, and Elites 0-3. Only infantry allowed and nothing with the Fly keyword, and only a few exceptions (found here: https://www.warhammer-community.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/qPJwZxeX8lH4HarK.pdf). Force Warlords gain a single Boarding Action Enhancement (page 63 of Arks of Omen), but no other Warlord Traits or Relics. If you’ve got questions, just inquire on the Drawbridge Games Events facebook page. All models need to be painted–the usual three colors rule applies. If players cannot bring 500 points, they can bring fewer if they wish (as we want everyone to feel welcome to join in, no matter how much you’ve got painted of late).

Background: Amidst the flotilla of Arks of Omen that have been unleashed by Abaddon and Vashtorr, sails the overhauled and dark techno-purposed Space Hulk Baccillum Dulcis. Thought scuttled by an alliance of Imperial forces, the hulk had burst its way back into the warp where it was re-engineered into one of the fleet. Laden with forces of Chaos in the grand assault, once more a rushed set of Imperial defenses dispatch to take out the Hulk as it emerged once again–this time in the Scylla Quintus system. At the same time, varied Xenos forces have converged on the Baccillum Dulcis–keen to get their hands on lost techno-arcana (or to just plain fight in the case of the Orks, and to just plain eat in the case of the Tyranids).

Three Teams: The assembled players will be divided into three teams fighting their way through the Hulk. They will roughly be Imperial, Chaos, and Xenos, tho numbers may mean some adjustments and allies of convenience amidst them. This time the Chaos team will be set up in the middle, as they occupy the Ark, while the Imperial team establishes a joint assault from one side (and Xenos raiders strike across other varied points.

Procedure: Rules for Boarding Actions will be in play, particularly the measuring, visibility, and allocating attacks rules. There will be a set of defined mission objectives that are given in secret to each player for their own 500 point force to try and accomplish, which will add toward the score for their side. The side that scores the most mission points from these across all team members will win the event: either triumphing and forging onward in the case of Chaos, scuttling the Ark in the case of the Imperials, or making off with particularly choice prizes in the case of Xenos. We won’t use any Command Points given the size of the game, and there may be some other changes that we need to do given the situation–but on the whole it should run using these rules pretty smoothly.

Prizes: As always, we’ll have a few prizes for the event that we’ll give out–and all players can win (not just those who side has victory). Players get one entry into the prize draw for attending, and one entry for each new unit they painted specifically for this event. This time our best painted variant will be “coolest boarding force” which is both about painting skill but selection of units that make up a proper boarding party–and winners of that get additional entries. Finally, there will be bonuses for completing portions of your secret mission, as well as bonuses for every player on the side that wins the event. Players must be present at the end of the night to be part of the prize draw.

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

As I indicated in my prior post, a few of us at my LGS (the outstanding Drawbridge Games, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA) are doing a Warhammer 40k re-fight of the Normandy invasion in WWII as a series of linked campaign games. The story set-up for the entire invasion can be found in this post: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ We’re doing the missions as Tau as defenders, with Aeldari (both Drukhari and Asuyani) as attackers. I’ll have a blog post about how each of the battles fares as we play them, but I also wanted to set up the parameters of the various games that we’re playing so that if others were inclined to do their own Normandy-themed campaign they could. There are four phases of the campaign, which include multiple games within each phase. The four phases are: the Strategic Air War, the Airborne Landings, the D-Day Coastal Landings, and the Consolidated Invasion. We’ll be using a modified version of the Planet Strike rules from Games Workshop to guide these, where we’ll fight every battle but they result in consequences for further battles down the line, from rules modifications, bonus units, or just different missions based on results. Huge kudos to my friend Ryan for putting together the core of these rules for the set of games and having the idea for it in the first place.

Phase One: Strategic Air War

This phase of the invasion involves the dogfight squadron battles to establish air supremacy, followed by an attempt by the attackers to strategically bomb the supply lines of the defenders in the lead-up to the invasion. We’ll play this out with two sequential games of Aeronautica Imperialis.

Game One: Air Supremacy

The attackers are seeking to gain air superiority by tackling the defender air assets directly. This game played as a standard Aeronautica Imperials dogfight with two equal sides. Points for enemy flyers eliminated are used to calculate margin of victory.

For our game, we’re having a whopping 500 points vs 500 points (or more!) battle, with the mighty Tau Tiger Sharks and Barracudas being struck by swarming Aeldari Nightwing Fighters and Phoenix Bombers. We use the optional damage rules, as tailspins, smoking hits, and on-board fires make for a much more amusing game overall.

For outcomes, a victory by the defenders slows the ability of the attackers to completely own the skies on landing day. However, they still have the strategic advantage at this point of the war in the air, so there’s no bonus conferred for a defender win. If the attackers win, however, the leave the skies of the shores undefended while the defenders’ air force withdraws to protect more inland targets. That awards the attackers the following ability for the D-Day Coastal Landing missions in Phase Three.

Tactical Bombing Run: Once per game in the D-Day Coastal Landings battles, the attackers can call in air support to soften up a visible-by-air hard target and/or defensive position of the defenders. During their Command Phase of any term, the attackers can nominate a single enemy unit or fortification, and roll a d6. On the score of a 3 or better, the bomb hits on-target. They get a +1 to the roll if the target is a Titanic Vehicle (in this game, that’s the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Suit or the KV128 Stormsurge), and a +2 to the roll if the target is a Fortification. If they target an infantry unit, then instead there is a -2 to the roll. On a successful 3+ hit, the target takes 2d3 mortal wounds. On the result of a modified 6, all units within 3″ of the target take 1d3 mortal wounds. If the target is a fortification, on a hit the fortification takes 2d6 mortal wounds rather than 2d3, and units inside take 1d3 mortal wounds. This also can explode on a modified roll of 6 as above (as ammo stockpiles or critical machinery detonate).

Game Two: Strategic Bombing

The attackers are preparing for the coming invasion by bombing roads, bridges, railways, and landing pads to deny options from the defender in preparation for the looming coastal assault. This game is played as a modified Aeronautica Imperialis bombing mission, where the defender has three bomb-able ground targets that can yield points to the attacking forces. Each has 5 structure points, and yields 5 victory points for each structure destroyed plus a bonus 5 if destroyed completely. Two of the targets have defenses that can return fire as normal until destroyed.

Again, we’re hoping to have 500+ points of planes per side in our fighting of the battle, which makes for a pretty epic air combat, and again use the optional damage rules as well for the game.

For outcomes, again the defenders are trying to just hold on and keep their defenses intact. A win for them ensures that their reserve forces and materiel are un-interrupted. However, a win for the attackers in this mission will disrupt the reserves of the defenders. They gain the following bonus during the D-Day Coastal Landings phase of the battle:

Delayed Reserves: The Defender in this scenario suffers a -1 to all reserve rolls using the Planetstrike Mission Rules reserve charts.

Once the Strategic Air War phase of the invasion finishes these two missions, it moves on to the second phase: Airborne Landings (which will be the next rules post on this site).

Painting Update

Air Force and Airborne units both are things I’ve added to my painted pile. I had four Aeronautica Aeldari planes done, so I added two Phoenix Bombers and a Nightwing to increase the force (and I have more to finish).

And while it’s looking a bit ahead, I also finished up a unit of Scourges to help flesh out the Airborne troops of my force for that phase of the invasion. I’m super-pleased with the Hawk Wing paint scheme on these, which matches the first unit of Scourges that I painted up with Haywire Blasters.

All-in-all a good amount of painting progress to get ready for the Assault on Neo-Normandy invasion missions that we have ahead these next few months.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 113 PL total, 5 PL in 2023

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 198 points, 86 points in 2023

The Invasion of Planet No’ohrm-Ha’an D

The Invasion of Planet No’ohrm-Ha’an D

FYI. This is the draft version of the fluff background for a set of games that I’ll be playing with some friends, pitting Tau vs Aeldari in a linked campaign that does a 40k version of the Invasion of Normandy from World War II. Changes will be made as the narrative solidifies.

“Ah, good kin. So glad you could join me. Your seer-sight did steer you right, I assure you.”

The Warlock exchanged a bemused glance with her Autarch at the words uttered by their host. To call them “kin” was near-insult, and the Warlock’s visions were clouded with all manner of warning signs. Even finding this eddy of the Webway with their own small craft, and docking with this entirely suspect Voidship left them near-convinced this was a bad plan from the start. This was a Drukhari ship, and their host an Archon named Yraleath.

“I assure you… relax” Archon Yraleath continued, attuned to their discomfort. “As you well know, this is about mutual gain for your Craftworld and my Kabal both. Our ancestors draw from the same source, and that bloodline shares roots long hidden, but now found.”

Yraleath swept his hand to a large drawing easel that floated just above the deck on a grav-suspensor platform, which contained an elaborate set of sketches. Unfurled star charts and a few open tomes were also on the easel. Flecks of paint and ink, and worryingly perhaps other substances given some of the jars that littered what seemed to be the Archon’s study, were everywhere. But the core of the sketch was clear: an elaborate tree housing a gem, beside what were clearly hand-inked battle plans.

“The Peridot of Isamena,” Yraleath said, his hand gingerly patting the canvas painting. That name provoked another glance between the two Craftworld visitors, this time more of surprise. “Ah, yes. You recall Isamena’s name at but a mention. She who wove the stones and the earth, one of the engineers who helped grow your very Craftworld.” The Autarch gave a clear nod of confirmation, and the Archon continued. “Isamena was not only a traveler on your home amidst the stars. Her lover, a Corsair named Ynakara, may be less known to you. Ynakara walked many paths, including the streets of Commorragh. And their children walked with Ynakara, and their descendants number many amidst our Kabal. One of your great architects and engineers, but also our greatest of grand-mothers. After a fashion.”

“When she grew weary after so many years, Isamena left your Craftworld, as you well know. What I have discovered is that Ynakara helped her find a place to settle. And there she worked on growing her most wondrous and massive creation… beyond your lovely Craftworld, of course.” There was only the slightest hint of jeer in the phrase, and both Warlock and Autarch let it wash away. “The Peridot of Isamena, a gem gradually woven up from the earth amidst the cluster of a Juniper tree in the direct center of her garden, a garden woven to cover an entire planet. All those natural lines, all that energy, all converging in a single point. A most auspicious rock.”

“Thru much research and investigatory… hmm… raids, I’ll say, I’ve located the planet where our shared ancestor made her retreat. And as far as I can tell, the world-garden is still very much intact. Her touch is everywhere, in every tree and stone. With all energy centered in the Peridot. And all the more surprising, it yet stands despite the current… occupants.” Yraleath pointed toward the star charts. “What is the phrase that pertinacious Farseer of Ulthwé uses for them? Striplings? Those young striplings of space, the T’au, are the ones who hold the planet now. At least they are not the barbarian Mon-keigh of Terra, who would tear it all down in an instant if they knew one of ours had a hand in it. But the T’au have a muse of beauty at times, so I do believe they would preserve another species’ garden for its own sake. At least not unduly plow her woven creations into the soil out of xenophobic spite.”

“There are reasons you would seek Isamena’s creation, and reasons my Kabal would be interested in mounting a raid there as well,” he continued. At this the Warlock knew there was more unsaid in the Archon’s offer, but chose not to push on it. However, she did resolve to report the suspicion back to the Seer Council upon return. “It will take more than a usual sort of raid, of course, as the stripling T’au have quite a force on this world. The nearest Webway access leaves a system to traverse. The T’au refer to the system as No’ohrm-Ha’an, and the fourth planet, designation “D”, is the one where Isamena’s lost garden lies. We’ll need to arrive in force in the system, and mount a full invasion to root the… bovine in battlesuits… out of the city where our prize lies. That will take your armory of ships and the fabled Wraith Host of your halls. I need your military might for a proper invasion of the beach-side coast if we’re going to be free of the T’au. You need my forces, our speed, and my most brilliant battle plans to make it all a success, not to mention my help in finding the center of the garden when we get there.” Yet another glance was exchanged between the Warlock and Autarch at the strange self-serving confidence of their strange host.

Yraleath rolled up the canvas pages and drawn diagrams and carefully tied them with a length of reddish twine of some sort. He handed them to the Autarch. The Warlock took a look closer, and saw that the twine was likely a length of dried and cured intestines, and knowing the Drukhari, it would be those of a sentient creature surely. She would have to inform her Prince of that fact, but perhaps at a moment when he did not bear it in his hands in front of their host. As surely the reaction would be one of disgust, and care to avoid seeming even slightly rude was needed here.

“Think it over, my kin.” The last words of Yraleath echoed in their minds they exited his study and started to walk the halls of his vessel back to their own craft.

“This would cost so many lives,” the Autarch muttered. “The operation he sketched looked immense at first glance–a full air war, multiple insertions of raiding elements by drop craft the night before, then a mechanized shock assault across water onto a fortified beachhead. Those T’au may be a young race, but their guns are formidable.” Their Craftworld had encountered the T’au on occasion, and even their temporary emplacements and air defenses loomed as deadly both their minds.

“You’ll bring this to the Seer Council,” he continued. “Look to the skeins of fate, as you do. If this is true–and I don’t trust our ‘kin’ entirely on that even–but if true, we must act on it. I can awaken the Wraiths and stoke the forges of Vaul. We can bring such destruction to the skies and shores of the T’au that they will be forced to leave the planet, to withdraw back to their other holdings. At least long enough for us to transplant what we can of the garden of Isamena back to a spot where we can tend it. And see if her soul resides in the Peridot, as having her wisdom and guidance once again would be of great help in these troubled times.”

The Warlock sighed as she took her seat when finally back in their own craft. Isamena had chosen to retreat from the Craftworld when she grew weary. Now they were on the precipice of bringing not only fire and death to the planet of her refuge, but perhaps to bring her dormant spirit into service once more. That alone gave her pause. But to leave such wonders in the hands of the T’au Empire, to not have them within the halls of the Craftworld, that too must be considered. The Warlock mused to herself whether the seer-sight would “steer them right” indeed. No’ohrm-Ha’an D? A vision of darkness and haze over beaches littered with Aeldari bodies crowded her sight as their ship took off and slipped back into the cold stark void of space.

Bummer Bowl 7

Bummer Bowl 7

Welp, it is the end of the calendar year so it was time for yet another “Bummer Bowl”, the event where I and a few others at our local gaming store Drawbridge Games compete for who is the least good at a given miniatures wargame. This year we played Aeronautica Imperialis, because it’s so delightfully random as a game. It’s a tournament, where the loser is the one who advances rather than the winner. And everyone is trying to avoid the Bummer Belt, a wresting belt with all sorts of trash glued to it to (more each year) that must be displayed as a mark of shame in our gaming area for the calendar year. Try as I might, I failed… so here is me receiving it in the “Loser Ceremony” hah.

I brought an Ork Air Waaagh, because I’ve been trying hard to stick to Orks for a while. And that proved to be a good decision in some ways, as there are some benefits to Ork planes in the game. But their bigger stuff is a liability, because we use the optional damage rules (with fire and smoke). And lots of points in a big model that loses the ability to shoot entirely if it’s lit on fire, and then slowly can take damage if the crew cannot put the fire out, is bad enough with those rules. Gets all the worse when Ork crew proves to be simply terrible at firefighting. So it was two games of my Ork Mega Bommer getting lit on fire with lucky hits then slowly burning to death while it lumbered around the board. Not my finest moments of gaming, hah.

Still was a great time and good friends to do a silly event with. So was all good. Next year I am DETERMINED to not lose the Bummer Bowl. I need to practice and get ready and hone a list for whatever system we decide to play, only to have us decide to swap two weeks before the event and then just have to get super-lucky at the event.

In addition to the Aeronautica planes I painted for Bummer Bowl, we had an all-flyers event this day as well at the amazing Drawbridge Games. And I got two newly painted Ork Flyers ready for that as well: a Burna-Bommer and a Wazbom Blastajet.

Above is the Burna Bommer, and I just plain love the way the Ork airplanes look. This one is loaded with racks of napalm missiles, and I look forward to taking it into battle in games. Below is the Wazbom Blastjet, which is amusing at least–it’s got a force field projector as well as some crazy heavy weapons that it brings to the battle.

I didn’t stop at painting airplanes tho. I haven’t mentioned it here yet iirc, but my big plan for 2023 is to do two things: a series of Ork “Normandy Invasion” events pitted against my friend’s Tau empire forces. Right now I’m starting to prep the drop assault forces for some skirmishes before we get to the larger games. That meant needing an HQ choice that could accompany Kommandos and Storm Boyz. And I thought, why not a Kommando Big Mek, who shoots a portal from the plane to the ground with a Shock Attack Gun, then uses a tellyporta to fling himself through? Just crazy enough to work? So I modded up a Shokk Attack Gun Mek with a Kommandos head and a little tellyporta on top his gun aimed at himself. And I modded the grot being hoovered up by the gun with the head from the Kommandos kit grot as well as a little backpack. Pretty pleased with the very silly result.

Finally, I finished up a Battlewagon. I’ve had this one mostly painted for a while, but it needed to have the highlights completed. So on a snowy evening in last night I cranked out this model as well.

I’m really pleased with the painting progress I’m making. If I push a bit this holiday week, where I do have some time off, I might even hit an exceedingly artificial goal of 365 Power Level/Points (across two games with totally different point/power systems but whatever). Which isn’t itself a milestone, but still represents a whole lot of Ork painting in the year 2022. I also painted a ton of Genestealer Cults stuff, a bit of AdMech stuff, and some Necrons stuff too. It’s been a lot.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Orks Power Level Painted: 125

Aeronautica Imperialis Orks Air Waaagh Points Painted: 197

Fly for Your Life

Fly for Your Life

[For the musical cue for this article, play this in the background: https://youtu.be/Jv1ZN8c4_Gs]

So Bummer Bowl 7 is approaching, which for those who don’t know is my gaming circle’s annual miniature gaming tournament where the loser of each round advances, and the overall loser of the event wins the highly-non-coveted Bummer Belt–which is covered in the plastic spoons that were used as prizes in the early days of the Bummer Bowl (the original was fished out of a trash bin for that express purpose).

Yes, sadly I am the Bummer Belt holder for my loss-win of the tourney in 2021. Hoping to change that this year.

This year, like last year, we’ve selected Aeronautica Imperialis as our game of choice for the Bummer Bowl event (we’ve also done Warmachine/Hordes and Blood Bowl in the past). It’s a fun system with goofy and really swing-y luck-based results that none of us play enough to be particularly great at. While last year I ran my Genestealer Cult-infected Imperial Navy force, this year I’ve been working on an Ork Air Waaagh. And I’ve gotten a bunch of models all painted up for the event!

It’s the same color scheme as my Ork force, and I’m really pleased with it. Above are (L-R) a Dakkajet, a Fighta-Bommer, and a Grot Bommer (plus two little autonomous gretchin-piloted grot bombs that move around the board as markers).

This set above (L-R) is two more Dakkajets, plus the the big beastie, the Mega Bommer. It’s such an absurd thing, I simply loved the model. It’s like a bumblebee: that stubby lumpy thing should not be able to fly.

For the event, the squadron will have no upgrades whatsoever (most of those pretty bombs and missiles will remain in the launch bays). I’m really looking forward to it, as it was a lot of fun to paint them up, and I really do enjoy the randomness of the game and the way it plays. We use the optional rules for damage type, where planes can be trailing smoke or lit on fire–or spin around in a sudden tailspin–and they’re a complete blast for making the game extra silly and random.

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Orks Power Level Painted: 94

Aeronautica Imperialis Orks Air Waaagh Points Painted: 197

Dogfight December #2

Dogfight December #2

Just like last year, TANKS-giving was a blast, so we again this year are going to do the follow-up game for December: a game of 40k plane mayhem. Again, the game is a big event that lets new and experienced players group together, play a fun mega-event, and win some prizes.

WHEN: Thursday, December 15th. Set-up for game, pictures, and painting accomplishments inspection at 6:30 pm, dice start at 7:00pm.

WHY: A motivation to paint flyers (and select skimmers) of all types for our 40k armies, and then to field them in one glorious free-for-all battle. Fun at the event, motivation for painting new things, and prizes for the winners are the reason we do these events.

WHAT: Players will bring a flight team consisting of two painted Flyers (or selected skimmers) to compete for aerial supremacy. Each flight team will indicate a “Primary” and a “Wingman”, and players are strongly encouraged to come up with call signs for the pair. The goals of the game will be to rack the most confirmed kills while surviving as long as you can. If for some reason you can only field a single painted flyer, that’s fine–you just lost your Wingman in your tragic backstory! Models need to be painted to tabletop standard (the general 3 colors approach).

HOW: There will be a door prize raffle with some great 40k prizes as always for our big events. Everyone who shows up with a painted force of two flyers (or selected skimmers), gets one entry in the draw. For each plane that you have painted new for the event you’ll get an extra ticket with your name in the prize drawing. The winners will get five extra tickets with their name in the drawing, including both competition victory as well as best painted Flight Team. As for the game, we’ll use the playing card system as often is the case with our big events: each round every player will be dealt a card that will determine turn order after turn one. Turn one is slightly different, as more expensive (by PL) flyer teams will have to enter the board first (in order), which will help balance out the advantage of having more capable vehicles. Finally, eliminated players will have a special way to affect the battle even when they’ve been shot down.

WHO: You! Entry is $5 for Drawbridge Gatecrasher Members (only $35 for the entire year, and includes 10% discount on all purchases for that year plus 20% on select pre-orders), and $7.

SPECIAL RULES: Flight Teams use their formation to protect each other. Thus, when targeting in your shooting phase you simply indicate which other Flight Team(s) in range of your weapons you’re targeting. The “Wingman” of the pair is always hit and wounded first. Until they’re downed, the Primary does not take damage. Accordingly, Wingmen may choose to fly more defensively than their Primary partner. Each of their active turns they choose to fly more defensively, the Wingmen halve the number of shots and range of their weapons (rounding up). But if they do so, they get a 4+++ “Feel No Pain” style save against wounds (replaces rather than stacks with any similar rules they might have). When the Wingman plane has been eliminated, the Primary can itself choose to fly more defensively for the same benefit (and automatically gains this condition if its Wingman was shot down while using this mode, until the start of its next turn). Heavier flyers (e.g. Super-heavy or Titanic keyword models) cannot fly defensively, cannot be the Wingman model (only the Primary plane in the Flight Team), and can be specifically targeted even if the Wingman model remains alive (as they’re so big). As this is a Dogfight, there won’t be any charge phase or combat phase (similar to TANKS-giving), as that will keep the game flowing smoothly.

“It came from behind!”

So what can you bring? The list below has everything that we’re permitting. If something is missing let me know and we can talk about adding it.

Space MarinesArvus Lighter, Corvus Blackstar, Dark Talon, Fire Raptor, Nephilim, Sokar Stormbird, Storm Fang, Storm Eagle, Storm Hawk, Storm Raven, Storm Talon, Stormwolf, Thunderhawk, Xiphon
Armies of the Imperium*Arvus Lighter, Avenger, Lightning, Marauders, Sky Talon, Thunderbolt, Valkyrie, Vendetta, Vulture
CustodesOrion Assault Dropship, Ares Gunship
Ad MechArvus Lighter, Fusilave, Stratoraptor, Transvector
ChaosArvus Lighter, Avenger, Fire Raptor, Helldrake, Hell Blade, Hell Talon, Lightning, Sky Talon, Sokar Stormbird, Storm Eagle, Thunderbolt, Thunderhawk, Valkyrie, Vendetta, Vulture, Xiphon
AeldariCrimson Hunter, Hemlock, Nightwing, Razorwing, Voidraven
NecronsDoom Scythe, Night Scythe, Night Shroud
OrksBlitza Bomma, Burna Bomma, Dakkajet, Wazbom Blastajet
T’au EmpireBarracuda, Manta**, Razorshark, Remora Drone***, Sun Shark, Tiger Shark
Tyranids and Genestealer Cults*Harpy, Hive Crone, Harridan
* Genestealer Cults can mix Imperium Flyers with Tyranid Flyers (the only cross-faction pairing allowed). ** Must be the actual Forgeworld Manta model… no cheeky scratch-builds for this one. *** Remora Drones can count two drones as one Flyer for purposes of a Flight Team, but a team cannot be simply 4 drones.

Note that models that have drones or spore mines can use those models and rules as part of this event. Any additional models placed do not count toward surviving until the end, but can give the player additional things to do in their turns.

You get to select the shared Faction keyword for your force (e.g. Night Lords, Ultramarines, Szarekhan Dynasty, Bad Moons, Kraken) and use the rules for that as normal. In the case of fielding Genestealer Cults mix between Imperial and Tyranid, you pick a Cult (e.g. Four-Armed Emperor) that would apply to the Imperial unit and a Hive Fleet for the Tyranid unit.

As always, potential players can direct any questions about the event to me or Drawbridge’s owner Enrico on social media.

Ground Shooting

When a player is eliminated, they can still affect their opponents on their phase. After each round of activations is done, all eliminated players get to indicate a single model each that takes a number mortal wounds depending on the round of the game (wounds can be shrugged as normal if they have that rule or are flying defensively). This represents various flak, stray shots, and defensive grids.

TANKS-Giving 2

TANKS-Giving 2

Hard to believe it’s been a year since our first TANKS-Giving event at Drawbridge games. Similar to last year (https://cryptektactics.com/2021/09/26/tanks-giving/ ) it’s a chance for everyone to field a big mess of tanks and tank-like 40k vehicles in one big ‘ole scrum of a battle.

WHEN: Thursday, November 17th. Set-up for game, pictures, and painting accomplishments inspection at 7pm, dice start at 7:30pm.

WHY: A motivation to paint tanks and cars of all types for our 40k armies, and then to field them in one glorious free-for-all battle. Fun at the event, motivation for painting new things, and prizes!

WHAT: Players can bring up to 55 PL of tanks and sorta-tank-like vehicles (see full list below). All models must be painted to tabletop standard. The things you field DO NOT need to have the same keyword! So if you want to field a Land Raider next to a Rukkatrukk Squiggbuggy and a Dark Eldar Ravager, well… do it. No HQ, character, or named vehicles allowed. This year we are allowing Lord of War choices, so paint up them big behemoths if you want. Also, this is a shooting war–so while some tanks have melee options there will be no charge or combat phases, to keep things rolling nice and smooth. As always, if I missed something just contact me on socials and verify if it’s permitted.

HOW: There will be a door prize raffle with some great 40k prizes as always for our big events. The one announced prize will be the living tank himself, a Ghazgkhull Thraka. But that’s certainly not all! Everyone who shows up with a painted force, from a single tank to a full 50 PL of mixed vehicles from various factions, gets one name entry. For each newly-painted (painted for this event specifically) model, you’ll get an extra ticket with your name in the prize drawing. The winner (last tank or team of tanks standing) will get five extra tickets with their name in the drawing. And we’ll vote for best painted single model as well as best painted overall tank-squad, winner of both getting extra entries to the drawing as well. As for the game, we’ll use the playing card system as often is the case with our big events: each round every player will be dealt a card that will determine turn order.

WHO: You! Entry is $5 for Drawbridge Gatecrasher Members (only $35 for the entire year, and includes 10% discount on all purchases for that year plus 20% on select pre-orders), and $7 for General Admission.

So what can you bring? Well, things with tracks and wheels mostly, but certainly skimmer tanks too. There are a few exceptions for armies that have limited options (e.g. Tyranids get their two gun-focused bio-beasts, and some forces get sorta-walker-but-still-tank options like the AdMech Dunecrawler). Forgeworld and super-heavies are welcome, just let me know in advance to double-check.

Adeptus AstartesGladiator, Hunter, Impulsor, Land Raider, Predator, Razorback, Repulsor, Rhino, Stalker, Vindicator, Whirlwind
Adepta SororitasCatigator, Exorcist, Immolator, Rhino
Adeptus CustodesLand Raider
Adeptus MechanicusDunecrawler, Skorpius
Astra MilitarumBasilisk, Chimera, Deathstrike, Hellhound, Hydra, Leman Russ, Manticore, Taurox, Wyvern, Baneblades (and all the other super-heavy tanks that share that same rough chassis)
Chaos DaemonsBurning Chariot, Skull Cannon, Soul Grinder
Chaos Marines and Thousand SonsLand Raider, Predator, Rhino, Vindicator, Defiler
Death GuardBlight Hauler, Land Raider, Plagueburst Crawler, Predator, Rhino, Vindicator
Leagues of VotaanSagitaur, Hekaton Land Fortress
EldarFalcon, Fire Prism, Night Spinner, Wave Serpent
Dark EldarRaider, Ravager, Venom
HarlequinsStar Weaver, Void Weaver
NecronsAnnihilation Barge, Doomsday Ark, Ghost Ark, Triarch Stalker.
TauDevilfish, Hammerhead, Piranha, Sky Ray
OrksBattlewagon, Bonebreaka, Boomdakka Snazzwagon, Gunwagon, Hunta Rig, Kustom Boosta-Blasta, Megatrakk Scrapjet, Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy, Shokkjump Dragsta, Trukk, Kill Tank
Genestealer CultAchilles Ridgerunner, Goliath
TyranidsExocrine, Tyrannofex

Models are straight off of the datasheet, so no faction rules (e.g. Legion, Chapter, Dynasty, Hive Fleet, etc.). No command points or strategems, nor relics or non-datasheet upgrades (e.g. Ork Kustom Jobs). If a model’s datasheet has a synergy rule for other models, then it works only on models from the same Codex.

It was a great event last year, so I’m excited to see if we can top the turnout both in players and models both this year. Again, you can bring combinations across different factions as you’d like. So it’s a great time to experiment with something new alongside an existing force, or make progress on a few projects you’ve got sitting in the pile of shame. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much armored fury we can muster!

Orktober 2022

Orktober 2022

It’s that time of year again! ORKTOBER!

We’re doing “Git Race 2” on Thursday, October 6th, which will be similar to our Git Race from 2019 event (https://leviathancult.com/2019/09/03/orktober-2019-git-race/) but with newly-done rules.

Git Race 2

Welcome to the careening light-vehicle bashing demolition derby race for glory (and fungus glory). Each participant can field a single one of the vehicles from the following list:

FactionAvailable Racing Vehicles
OrksTrukk, Kustom Boosta-Blasta, Shokkjump Dragsta, Boomdakka Snazzwagon, Megatrakk Scrapjet, Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy
Space Marines (all chapters)Rhino, Primaris Impulsor, Primaris Invader ATV
Adeptus MechanicusSkorpius Dunerider
Astra MilitarumTaurox (all variants), Chimera, Hellhound (and variants)
Sisters of BattleRhino
CSM, Thousand Sons, and Death GuardRhino, Blight Hauler
TauDevilfish, Piranha (all variants)
Eldar (all sorts)Wave Serpent, Raider, Venom, Starweaver, Vyper
Genestealer CultGoliath Truck, Achilles Ridgerunner
NecronsGhost Ark
Chaos Daemons and TyranidsSorry, none of these. Daemons players add a Rhino for your CSM allies, and Tyranids if you’re not into Genestealer Cult then get thee to one of their Goliaths!

The rules are simple. It’s an Ork racetrack where the Bad Moonz have assembled to watch a demolition derby take place while they’re killing time before the next Waaagh launches. They’ve looted a bunch of different vehicles and kept them roughly as-is: to see which bits are killy and which bits are sturdy–to save both.

All vehicles have the following modification: they are now BS 5+ and Leadership 7 (obviously, as they’re driven by Orks), and whether Ork or not they’ve got no Clan affiliations (or other codex faction rules, obvously). The goal is to race around the track, causing as much damage and making as many laps as possible. When a vehicle is wrecked, it’s pulled to the side of the track and repaired by a swarm of mekboyz and grot spanners (and injured drivers replaced or jury-rigged by painboyz). Wrecked vehicles lose a turn of shooting and movement (their next turn), then tear off back into action the following round. There is no charge or melee phase–as everyone’s intent on racing rather than raw crumpin’. That said, collisions can happen, particularly at the point where the track criss-crosses. If your movement takes you within an inch of another vehicle at the end of the move, you can choose to sideswipe (each vehicle takes 1 mortal wound), or ram (both vehicles take d6 mortal wounds). It’s a breakneck race, so shooting can only be done at vehicles that are ahead of yours in the race (mario kart blue shell rules). And driving can go off the track if needed, but that reduces speed by d6 inches for that turn. For the figure-eight intersection, vehicles can test their leadership on 2d6: if successful they can take the jump side of the intersection (yes, there’s a jump!), which adds a bonus 6″ to their move for that turn.

We’ll track number of laps, number of spectacular crashes, number of jumps, and number of times each driver reduced an opposing racer to zero wounds. Players will get bonus entries into the prize draw for the top of each of these. And everyone will get an entry for playing. Multiple great GW prizes to be had (Games Workshop themselves provided prize support for our event, owing to the success of the prior one!).

A Few Old School Orks will come out of the woodwork for this one
Cult of the Four-Armed Omnissiah: Begins

Cult of the Four-Armed Omnissiah: Begins

So I’ve been fiddling with my Genestealer Cult again, owing mostly to running a gang of them in Necromunda. And I realized that I wanted to do allies for them, but not really enthused with Imperial Guard or with Tyranids either at the moment. And I realized that there could be some potential for doing some conversion work and making an Adeptus Mechanicus force from a remote Forge World where the Mechanicum was itself infiltrated by members of the cult.

“The Omnissiah shows the value of mechandendrites and other additional limbs, so don’t mind my third arm.”

I like the idea of having an Ad Mech force a well as the Genestealer Cult, as it gives some fun options for painting and modeling. And I already do like my color schemes–and they click well enough on Ad Mech bodies. I’ve also been inspired by some cool AI-assisted art that’s been making the rounds on social media–visions of a very bleak surface of a Forge World.

I got in two games of Necromunda, one against Tony’s Delaque squad, and the other a three-way match between my force, Tony’s Delaque again, and Ryan’s Enforcers. Tony won the first as I was down some of my best crew members from my first match. I won the second as Tony’s and Ryan’s forces beat up each other, and I sort of swept in after and cleaned up.

I’m hoping to be somewhat balanced in my progress: expanding the Genestealer Cult as I have a lot of models yet to go for them, but also building up a small Adeptus Mechanicus exploratory force. I’m picturing a lot of more service-based Ad Mech stuff to complement the Genestealer Cult’s industrial feel. And every model having some sort of hint of the Cult to them, at least the non-vehicles. The Cult of the Four-Armed Omnissiah grows!

Painting Progress

Finished up 10 Neophytes, to keep that core base of the force growing. I want to have at least 60 Neophytes finished up total, to really have three big squads with different types of armaments to give a lot of flexibility in selecting models.

Anybody order a survey team?

And as I said, I also completed the first of my Adeptus Mechanicus models: a Tech Priest Manipulus (seen above, but here again for good measure).

Overall some good progress on the Genestealer Cult. Hopefully more to follow soon!

Painting Challenge 2022 Progress

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult and Associates Power Level Painted: 90/365