Batrep #2: The Reaper Cometh

(Art by Sharpwriter at Deviantart)

 

The shelling had finally ceased. Clambering back onto the roof of the ruined administratum building that served as her command post, Canoness Lucia Trevalyne surveyed the damage: the hive sector, already a battered skeleton after weeks of fighting, had been reduced further by the bombardment, its ruins bleached white with fungal rot and its streets scoured to the granite by viral-bomb impacts. Nothing remained alive in this sector– nothing, that was, except she and her Sisters.

Her gas mask hissed as it filtered out the numerous contaminants that now shrouded the city sector in a bilious green fog. At her command, her forces wheeled into position: even as heavy weapon teams set up in elevated positions around her, below, in the city streets, tanks rumbled forwards– Rhinos, Immolators, Repressors and Exorcists, all in the same noble blue and white colours of the Order of the Blessed Damsel. She had wisely kept her forces back, out of range of the Death Guard’s mortars, and now her Sisters stood more than ready to repel the heretic assault.

Taking up a pair of magnoculars, Lucia watched the distant hive outskirts for any sign of the Death Guard approach. So thick was the toxic smog from that last bombardment that a fine, sickly mist surrounded them for miles on end. She had been hearing scattered, fragmented reports from Imperial Guard units in the neighbouring sectors– most of them hasty, panicked reports of positions being overrun by heretic infantry and armour, and of the enemy using massed chemical and biological weapons. A lot of the reports, however, had been…unusual, to say the least. Reports of vast clouds of flies blotting out the sun, of the dead rising to walk again…and of a vast, terrible angel of pestilence swooping down and visiting death and ruin to all in its path.

The thoughts made her unconsciously clutch her rosarius and mouth the Incantation of Purity. Let the heretics come and bring with them all the monsters of the Cicatrix, she thought to herself. They were the Sisters of Battle, the warriors of the Ecclesiarchy, and there was no foe that could stand against faith.

No sooner had she made this thought, however, when the first of those abominations arrived.

Lucia almost jumped when a silhouette became visible in the green fog, before it came staggering out into view. It wore the tattered coveralls of a lower hive factorum-worker, and was lurching with a painful gait. At first, Lucia thought the newcomer must be another refugee fleeing from the heretic vanguard…until she noticed that the figure was missing an arm. A bony stump jutted out from its torn shoulder, and bone protruded at odd angles from its knee and shin where its leg had been crushed. But it wasn’t just the figure’s disfigurements that Lucia noticed: bony spines stabbed outwards from its shoulders, in blatant mockery of the purity of the human form. Colonies of boils and tumours massed along its greying flash. But perhaps worst of all, its mouth was practically split from ear to ear in a hideous, rictus grin. The freakish thing seemed to be smiling at them as it dragged itself across the open ground of the ruined intersection towards the Sororitas lines.

Behind it, another silhouette formed in the fog, followed by another. And another. And another. Almost in an instant, a horde of the shuffling, grinning mutants shambled out into the open, more and more arriving with each passing second. They walked with a slow, lethargic gait, and moved silently saved for the dry shuffling of dozens of feet.

“To arms!” she shouted into the vox. “Armoured units, move into attack positions! All support units, fire at will!”

No sooner had she given this order when her position was hit by what felt like a powerful gust of wind. An overwhelming smell of rot, leprous decay, and foul chemical toxicity wafted over her and her Retributors, and despite her respirator, Lucia could feel it flooding her nostrils and mouth and invading her lungs. She doubled over, almost wanting to tear her mask off as she coughed and gagged. One of her Sisters shook her by the shoulder, and she looked up over the wall of the roof to see where her Sister was pointing.

In the distance, another silhouette was forming– a monstrously tall shape, almost as big as the building they stood upon, with vast, tattered wings spreading outward like some immense insect about to take flight…

This game was played a few months ago at one of my LGS. It was my third or fourth game of 8th ed, and the details are hazy at this point in time, so unfortunately this report is going to be extremely light on details. From what I do remember, it was a 2000 point game, between my Sisters of Battle and Death Guard.

My list was as follows:

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM BATTALION DETACHMENT

Saint Celestine- 2 Geminae Superiae, Legendary Fighter
Canoness- bolt pistol, eviscerator
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
9 Arco Flagellants
-Rhino
Ministorum Priest- eviscerator
Imagifer
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Repressor- 2 heavy flamers
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Repressor- 2 heavy flamers
6 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters
Exorcist
Exorcist

Note that while this game was played just after Chapter Approved, my opponent hadn’t gotten it yet, and so I agreed not to use any of the stuff from it. Also I was trying to keep things WYSWIG as much as possible, but even so, I was proxying a lot of my storm bolters and both of my Repressors. Also, Uriah Jacobus was standing in for an Imagifier, since I forgotten to bring her with me.

 

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My opponent’s list:

DEATH GUARD BATTALION DETACHMENT:

Typhus- Gift of Contagion, Miasma of Pestilence
Malignant Plaguecaster- The Suppurating Plate, Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality
5 Plague Marines- blight launcher
20 Poxwalkers
20 Poxwalkers
Helbrute- twin lascannon, missile launcher
Noxious Blightbringer
Foetid Bloat-Drone- 2 plaguespitters, plague probe
Foetid Bloat-Drone- 2 plaguespitters, plague probe
Chaos Land Raider- combi-flamer

SUPER-HEAVY AUXILIARY DETACHMENT
Mortarion- Blades of Putrefaction, Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality

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An overview of the battle. We were playing Cleanse and Capture, diagonal deployment, and it was only my 3rd game of the current edition to date against an army I was unfamiliar with, led by a Daemon Primarch. No pressure.

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The Big Guy, plus bloaty friend.

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Things were a bit crammed in my deployment zone.

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Canoness, Retributors and Imagifier hole up in a ruined administratum building, ready to rain death on the heretics below. Imagifier played by Uriah Jacobus: Intergalactic Man of Mystery.

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Repressors scout up. The plan, at least originally, is to bring meltaguns to bear on his Bloat Drones as early as possible.

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Turn 1, and I initiate a general advance, trying to grab objectives and bring as many weapons to bear on his Bloat Drones and Helbrute as possible. I’m resolving to ignore Morty for now.

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Repressor + Dominions advance to grab objective 1.

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Despite my best efforts, my Exorcists, Dominions…and, well, almost everything else that was in range did minimal damage to the Death Guard vehicles. Uh oh.

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Blurry battlefield ahoy

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Mortarion approaches…

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The Poxwalkers advance, and are promplty buffed to strength and toughness 5 by combined spells and Typhus’ bubble effect. Also, Miasma went up, forcing -1 to hit them. Bloat Drones, meanwhile, zoom out to be annoying.

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An Immolator takes some damage….

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….and the Helbrute uses its crazy “shoot twice” Stratagem to blow up my leftmost Repressor, leaving the Dominions stranded! Further shooting would reduce them to one girl. Thankfully, she narrowly avoids being charged by a Bloat Drone.

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My turn, and Celestine faith-jumps up to say hi to Typhus and friends. I’m pretty much hoping to have Celestine assassinate his characters.

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The Order maintains its general advance, looking to grab objectives and lay down heavy firepower wherever possible.

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With Mortarion right in front of the Dominions, it would be rude not to open fire…which they do, knocking something like 4 wounds off of him! The rest of my shooting is dismal, though, with my shots again bouncing off of Death Guard vehicles. Even more embarassingly, my Immolation flamers only manage to singe a couple of Poxwalkers here and there (those that are in range, anyway)

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Celestine charges in…and immediately gets hit by the area-affect mortal wounds power from both Typhus and Mortarion! Both Geminae get sick and die before they can even swing, leaving Celestine on her own!

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The fight goes badly, with Celestine fluffing her attacks and only doing a couple of wounds to Typhus. Embarassingly, not only does Typhus knock a lot of wounds off of her, but the Noxious Blightbringer does 2 unsaved wounds of his own! I actually have to spend a command point to keep Celestine from dying to morale! At this point, after using way too many CPs, I’m down to one.

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Overview of the battlefield. Note the Arco-Flagellants’ Rhino is positioned at the back, its cargo waiting for the right moment to counter-attack…

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Plaguemarines and their Plaguecaster buddy disembark to fling some spells.

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Another Immolator is blowed up. All of my tanks at this point are starting to take damage.

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Mortarion charges the Repressor, wrecking it.

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Poxwalkers charge the Arco-Flagellants’ Rhino, and almost manage to surround it. Almost. I learned my lesson from last time.

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A Bloat Drone charges an Immolator to tie it up and keep it from shooting.

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After taking several Smites in a row (I find it ridiculous that that power can target units in combat), Celestine resurrects, narrowly avoiding being charged yet again by the Poxwalkers.

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Their ride wrecked, the Dominions stare down Morty.

Start of my turn, my Sisters disembark wherever possible to fire into the Death Guard. The Arco-Flagellants disembark to deal witht he Poxwalkers, and Celestine goes after the badly-damaged Helbrute.

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Mortarion is down to 9 wounds at this point, and I am determined to end him. This time, sadly, all of my combined firepower fails to so much as scratch him or his Bloat Drone buddy. Come on, Emperor, I could really use some help here…

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Celestine charges the Helbrute, which is sitting pretty on 4 wounds…and whiffs horribly, leaving it still standing on 2 wounds! Aaargh!

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Do the Poxwalker shuffle! It involves shambling a lot and being quarantined by the CDC.

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My lone Dominions from the uppermost squad had been hiding and claiming objective 4 all this time. That is, until a Bloat Drone came her way…

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Arco-Flagellants charge in and destroy all but 1 Poxwalker. Unfortunately, this denied me Blood and Guts.

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Try as I might, I can’t kill Morty. Now that he has closed in, it has become quite difficult to avoid his area effect.

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After a good advance and charge roll thanks to the Blighbtinger, Typhus and Poxwalkers manage to charge Celestine again.

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A squad of disembarked Sisters takes heavy damage, leaving one lone Sister who is then probed to death by a Bloat Drone.

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Morty, meanwhile, mortifies my tanks.

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It’s not all bad, though. After dismantling the last Poxwalker they were fighting, the Arco Flagellants lose a few to firepower and Smitiing. Enough of them still remain, however, to charge the Plague Marines, ripping apart three of them for no loss.

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To my utter frustration, Celestine AGAIN whiffs against Typhus, and AGAIN falls to his Manreaper!

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Overview of the battle.

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The Plaguecaster and his buddies wisely fall back from the Arco Flagellants, pumping more firepower into them as they go.

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Having destroyed most fo the Sororitas units sent after him and shrugging off almost everythign I could fire, Mortarion goes after my firebase.

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The remaining Arco Flagellants and Priest continue to go after the heretics. In the end, the Plague Marines are wiped out and a wounded Plaguecaster is left surrounded.

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Charging in, Mortarion wipes out the Retributors, then the Imagifier. In a last act of defiance, my Canoness revs up her eviscerator and charges Mortarion…and fails to even wound him, before falling to Silence.

Sisters lose by a few points to lots.

Honestly, my luck was terrible this game, but also, I think I just got way too obsessed with killing Mortarion– amazingly, I echoed my mistake from the Sisters vs Orks game by obsessing over killing his big, nasty Lord of War instead of dealing with his other stuff. I was actually content to ignore him at first, but after I took off almost half his wounds in one round of shooting, I believed that I could actually finish the big guy off. Unfortunately, once he started getting his toughness buff and to hit modifier up, it became all but impossible to hurt Mortarion, nor slow him down. I guess the best thing I could have done was try locking Morty in combat with my Rhinos, and even then, that only would have worked for so long.

That being said, I was also way too reckless with Celestine, and ended up having her getting mobbed and torn down twice in a row when I really should have been using her to deal with Bloat Drones. Speaking of which, I think I may need more meltaguns in my army, because it got annoying trying to take down Bloat Drones, Mortarion etc with nought but bolters and flamers.

Lessons learned: bring more meltas, use the Living Saint a little more sensibly, and try not to get distracted by the enemy’s biggest, scariest unit. Hopefully, I will manage to actually win with Sisters in 8th edition at some point.

Mortarion watched as the impaled body of the Sororitas leader slid down the blade of Silence, her body putrefying and decaying rapidly even as her once pristine armour flaked and disintegrated with rust. Casually, he flicked his scythe outwards and flung the body aside as he surveyed the battlefield. Of the Sororitas who had opposed the Death Guard, none remained alive– the city square was strewn with the burning wrecks of vehicles, and scores of power-armoured bodies. Bodies which, even now, jerked upright and shambled into twitching unlife to join the thronging Poxwalkers, rictus grins twisting across their mutating faces.

It was another victory over the crumbling house of cards that his Father called an Imperium. Another host of blind fanatics sundered on the battlefield, justly rewarded for their misguided faith. Another world, slowly but surely succumbing to the inevitability of entropy.

“A fine victory, my Primarch.” Mortarion turned in the direction of the voice. Even with the fluids gushing in his throat and the horrendous damage that centuries of rot had done to his esophagus, there was no disguising the hint of mockery in Typhus’ tone as his wayward son strode towards him, his scythe dragging lazily on the cobblestones behind him with a grate of rust on rust. “The Grandfather will no doubt be pleased by today’s offering.”

Mortarion exhaled, the sound in his ancient rebreather sounding closer to a growl than a hiss. “Marshal our warriors back to the ships, Calas,” he rumbled, intentionally using the name Typhus had abandoned ages ago. “We are leaving.”

Typhus halted in his tracks. Even with his heavy faceplate, Mortarion could imagine the look of incredulity on Typhus’ face. “You cannot be serious!” Typhus spat, all pretense of respect for his gene-father gone. “The rest of this hive remains unconquered! It MUST fall to decay and degradation! We MUST complete what we have begun! Or are you so high and mighty that you would deny Nurgle his prize?”

Slowly, Mortarion rounded on his former First Captain, letting his tremendous shadow fall across Typhus as he glowered down at him. “Even after all that has happened, Calas, I am still master of this legion,” he growled. To emphasize the message, his grip on his scythe noticeably tightened as his wings spread. “Never forget that.”

Favoured as he was by Nurgle, Typhus was not so foolish as to challenge his Primarch, and he bowed in quick, craven deference. “Your will shall be done,” he muttered, “but where shall we go? Are you desirious of a rematch against your brother Guilleman?”

“No.” The Daemon Primarch’s gaze turned upwards towards the polluted sky. “Not yet, at any rate. For now, there is another of my brothers who shall need to be dealt with. For good or for ill…there will soon be a reckoning to be had with Magnus…”

Next Projects

With the new year looming ahead, I’ve found myself practically bursting with various hobby ideas and things I either want to get start or get into…and finding said ideas running up against things I’ve already started, or a limited budget. Here are some of the projects I’m considering getting into over the next year or so.

Thousand Sons

One of GW’s newer releases, the standalone Thousand Sons codex has caught my eye as of late. At first I was leery of it because of the emphasis it seems to place on Tzaangors over the actual Thousand Sons themselves, especially since all of its “new” units have actually been ported over from Age of Sigmar. But the more I look at the book, the more I find myself seriously considering collecting them as an army– while I see a lot of the new units as odd choices, at the same time they haven’t put me off. This isn’t helped by the fact that I’m currently reading the Horus Heresy book A Thousand Sons, or the fact that I always found a legion of sorcerous scholars, philosophers and librarians to be extremely cool. Furthermore, they serve the coolest Chaos god (don’t let those Khorne or Nurgle-worshipping fools tell you otherwise), have fantastic models, and in all honesty, given how they were wronged by the Imperium, I don’t see them as ‘bad guys’ to the same extent as the other Chaos legions.

The problem is, if I were to get into Thousand Sons now, it would be a case of bad timing. The Drukhari codex is coming, and with it will come plenty of playtime for my favourite spiky space pirates, which means I’ll have to seriously choose between taking them or the KSons out for games. Furthermore, if I do go for Thousand Sons, I would have to decide between their 30k and 40k versions– given the metas for both games, it will be difficult to collect a force that can do both, and this isn’t helped by the fact that 30k has gained serious momentum in my area. This is all, of course, to say nothing of how Thousand Sons might in turn lead to Daemons and/or Disciples of Tzeentch for AOS if I’m not careful.

I may end up putting Thousand Sons off in favour of updating my languishing Drukhari, but at the end of the day, I still feel the almost gravity-like pull of the Ninth Legion calling to me. I am making no commitments as of yet, but I can only resist the lure of heresy for so long…

Imperial allies?

(Illustration by DiegoGisbertLlorens at Deviantart)

A safer, and less costly option for me is the inclusion of new allies for my Adepta Sororitas army…and given how wide-ranging the armies of the Imperium are, the possibilities are endless. One of the most obvious candidates are Space Marines: I have an old, and somewhat neglected Crimson Fists force from when I first started Warhammer aeons ago, and it would be no big task to pull them out of their box, touch a few of them up, and field some of them to bolster my Sororitas (or vice versa, to field my Sisters in support of my boys in blue). Of course, if I do that, then I run a very real risk of temptation…namely of caving in to those nice new Primaris characters, or Hellblasters, or Aggressors, or aaaarghitsbeginningalreadystooopp….

Ahem. Alternatively, I could run Astra Militarum; a few cheap Infantry squads with some character backup would not only give my Sororitas a lot of cheap scoring units, but would also be an easy way to bulk up on command points (heck, I could easily run a brigade of pure IG infantry for less than 500 points). I also admit, I’ve been toying with this option because the current and forthcoming Necromunda models have given me the idea of a Penal Legion guard army, which would be incredibly fun to paint, convert and play.

Finally, there are certain Inquisitorial specialists I could add. At present, I have about 10 Grey Knight Terminators sitting unused in my cabinet, crying out to be painted. In addition to them, though, I’ve been toying with the idea of a squad of Deathwatch: just a simple kill team of 5-10 Veterans, all from a eclectic variety of chapters, led by a Terminator Captain or Librarian who can deep strike and then make use of their teleporting relic for extra cheesiness. I will admit, I’ve been kind of chomping at the bit to use Deathwatch ever since their codex came out in the tail end of 7th, since I’ve always felt they were one of the coolest “specialist” forces out there.

Of course, the big danger of any sort of ally force is that, if I’m not careful, it could turn into a new army in its own right– and thus the endless money pit that is miniature wargaming grows ever wider…

Age of Sigmar?

I still have abput 2500-3000 points of Lizardmen (based on old WHFB point values) from back when Warhammer Fantasy was a thing. I was one of the many who watched in perplexity a few years ago when Fantasy was brought to an apocalyptic end, and then morphed into Age of Sigmar. I did not jump on the Age of Sigmar bandwagon back then, and for the most part still have not now, but a few things have been steadily changing my mind:

  1. An active community– AOS has grown in my area (downtown Toronto and GTA) over the past few years, to the point where there is a very active player community.
  2. The rules have had time to evolve– according to the AOS players I’ve met, the rules have come a long way since their first inception, and are much better now thanks to the various iterations of the General’s Handbook.
  3. The AOS rules and 8th edition 40k rules are both rather similar, so I’ve already gotten an introduction of sorts through my main game.

I am sorely tempted to one day break my beloved lizards (or Seraphon, as they are called now for some reason) out of their long hibernation and resume upholding the ineffable will of the Old Ones, though if I do that, I will first need to familiarize myself with the AOS rules, and more importantly, with the Seraphon rulebook. Doing so will mean committing the time to doing so, though, and given how I’m lucky if I can get a game once a week due to my busy schedule, I’m not sure if that’s doable.

Infinity

I actually got into Infinity a few years ago because my girlfriend currently plays it. I have to admit, I rather liked the minis, and found the cyberpunk setting and the small scale a refreshing change from 40k (especially since the lower model count meant for a cheaper hobby). However, I have never been able to dive into it half as much as I was expecting: while I have started up on an Ariadna force (a faction of scrappy underdog colonists with modern-day technology in a future-tech setting) a few years ago, I have repeatedly had difficulty assembling many of the models– quite a lot of them have joins that are difficult to glue together, and some require a degree of pinning that seems beyond my modelling ability. At the moment, my Ariadnans have been on indefinite hiatus because (1) Toronto’s foremost Infinity group meets on a day that is rather difficult for me, and (2) whenever I turn back to Infinity, something 40k always grabs my attention instead. It has honestly gotten to the point where I wonder whether I should even persist with Infinity.

I hope to get a few more games of it in this year: then I may be able to make a more informed decision of whether to abstain while I’m ahead, or whether to dive headlong into a force of mechsuit-riding werewolf GI Joes.

X-Wing

X-Wing is another game that my girlfriend and I got the boxed set for, on the grounds that it is very easy to simply pick up and play: the models come pre-painted, there are terrain and markers readily available in the boxed set, and the game itself is quite small, with only anywhere between two and five ships per side, realistically. As of yet, we have yet to get a proper game in, but I can see keeping X-Wing as a nice casual side game for both of us to steadily expand. That being said, I doubt I would ever get into competitive play for X-Wing: aside from the fact that I already don’t participate in tournaments in 40k (more on that in a future post), what little I’ve seen of the X-Wing tournament meta speaks to a dizzying array of cards, gear and manoeuvres, and more than a few ships and combos that have roundly been decried as OP. At this stage, I feel somewhat unready to step into that…and beside which, I am reluctant to buy entire ships that I’m never going to use only because they come packaged with particularly competitive cards.

Fallout: Wasteland Warfare

I feel it needs to be said at this point that I am a big Fallout fan. Fallout 3 ranks as one of my favourite games of all time, and I absolutely love the grim humour and retro-future aesthetic of its post apocalyptic setting. It is for this reason that, ever since Modiphius announced they were doing a Fallout miniatures game (complete with beautifully rendered models), I have been awaiting this game eagerly.

Well, semi-eagerly. Before I dive into this game upon its release, I want to see, firstly, how popular it becomes in my area, and secondly, what the rules are like– both of which will dictate whether I get games in or enjoy said games. Modiphius’ premise of narrative campaigns, and of a settlement-building system akin to that in Fallout 4, intrigue me, but I want to see some games in action before I commit to it. Furthermore, while the models look amazing (those Brotherhood of Steel minis in particular demand to be painted), at the moment all of the factions appear to be from Fallout 4. This is not a bad thing, but I am hoping, further down the line, that Modiphius releases models for other factions from other Fallout games (the Enclave and the NCR, in particular).

Anyway, the year is still early, and I still have some time to decide what’s next (and beside which, I have other major life goals, like finding a new job and/or getting a place of my own at long last. Hopefully, when I have more space to dedicate to myself (and my manifold hobbies), I’ll be able to make a more informed decision…but regardless, I do intend to start something new this year. It is only a question of what.