Space Crusaders

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I have mentioned several times in the past of my fondness for the old board game Space Crusade. I have played many hours using both the core game and even making up my own scenarios, including rules for all sorts of other miniatures in my collection.

I also have a copy of the White Dwarf supplement which introduces rules with different races to replace the space marine squads. As I have always liked orks, I decided to collect a mob of Blood Axe Kommandos to send in to the hulk.

The first batch of blood axe kommandos, including an original metal kommando on the left.

Also, inspired by a recent post on Azazel’s Bitz Box, I painted up two old-school metal marines that I have had lying around for some time.

Space marine apothecary

Although apothecaries are usually bedecked in all white livery I decided that, in a galaxy that doesn’t recognise the Geneva Convention, it would be rather reckless to present oneself as such an easy target and so I gave him the basic Iron Eagles livery, with white and red shoulder pads.

Space marine veteran sergeant

I really like this old veteran sergeant model and hope that, as he is holding an auspex device, he might help me to remember to use the ‘Scanner’ equipment card which allows you to look at face-down blips. It’s a really useful card if you’re on an assassination mission and need to find a particular alien to kill, or if you just want to find out what’s in the next room without blundering in there, unfortunately I constantly forget to use it!!

My hobby activities will be slowing down next month as I am moving in with my fiance next week until our new house is ready and my hobby stuff will be put in storage, I have put together a small ‘portable nerding kit’, so I can keep on with some model assembly but the paint shop has been shut-down for the time being.

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Space Hulk

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“A spiral of kaleidoscopic colours coalesced in the void, a violent outburst of warp energies exploding forth into real space. It grew with surprising rapidity until vomiting out a monolithic conglomeration of spaceships of varying origins, some of human construction, many more of a distinctly xenos design and all fused together by the insane vagaries of the immaterium. With the warp rift closing behind and multi-coloured tendrils of impossible light bleeding from its surface, it drifted silently amongst the stars with anything but stately grace.

Panic took hold of the whole sub-sector as the space hulk, codenamed ‘Lugubrious Ruin’, gravitated toward the human inhabited planets. Desperate calls for aid were sent by astropathic communication, pleading for assistance from the administratum. The first sign that any notice had been taken of these petitions came in the form of a sleek and deadly battlebarge, bedecked in the grey and gold livery of the Iron Eagles space marines.

The astartes vessel, the ‘Unendingly Overwrought’, made straight for the hulk and launched boarding torpedoes. Interred within, veterans of the 1st Company clad in the few rare and revered tactical dreadnought armour suits possessed by the legion, sat ready for action… “

It has been a long time coming, as I’ve had these models assembled and undercoated for quite a few years but never got around to painting them. I made a commitment to myself to get my Space Hulk collection painted by the end of 2017 and I have been doing the marines in small batches throughout the year. I’ve only got the librarian and another basic terminator to do before I take on the chitinous hordes of genestealers!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, these are not the original miniatures (except the deceased marine of course), but I was never a big fan of the minis from the boxed set anyway and prefer my own personalised ones.

 

Hell’s Bells!

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“From a realm of chaos and madness they came, aberrations and madmen, vomited forth from hell with nothing upon their insidious minds but slaughter and desecration. They were legion and no mortal force could stand in their way…”

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I procured a copy of Warhammer Quest: Shadows Over Hammerhal and I have been merrily beavering away over the summer, glueing them together. I’ve also been painting them up in small batches and here is the first wave.

Viscount Bubo Spittlesucker III, lord of the blight. He of the sticky armpits.

Galgore the bloody-handed and his band of Khornate reivers

Trontek the inscrutable and his acolytes are blessed with the presence of a child of Tzeentch, a chittering Tzaangor.

 

board of wargaming?

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Over the past few months I have found myself wandering away from table-top wargames, toward miniature board-games. This has been due mainly to the ease by which games like Space Crusade can be set-up and played, within a single gaming session, rather than the two or three sessions it takes to play out Epic battles.

I have made mention before of my adventures in Space Crusade, Lost Patrol and Dreadball, so I thought I would talk a little more about some of the projects, both old and new that have been at the vanguard of my hobby activities of late…

Space Hulk

Out in the deep black no-one can hear you scream!.. This fast-paced and tense game of blazing storm-bolters and scything talons, is always an absolute blast to play!

Several years ago a friend of mine had the idea of buying a copy of the game components on eBay, along with a couple of boxes of genestealers and ask if I’d want collect a set of terminators to go with it. The project was eventually left with me and I have played many of the scenarios from the book over the years.

Betrayal at Calth

Going under-ground… In the Arcologies of Calth, Roboute Guilliman’s indomitable Ultramarines fight bitter subterranean battles with Lorgar Aurelian’s arch-betrayers, the Word Bearers.

Another project idea, this time from the ubiquitous Graham. The components for this game can be found at a very reasonable price on eBay and using our collected Space Crusade minis, we have played all but the last scenario from the rule book.

All in all, this is a very simple game with quite a lot of depth. I really like the tactical options created by the consolidation rules, which allow you to separate and link up troops within hexes, allowing you to create ad hoc fire-teams. Each force has their own set of cards which can be used during play and give a distinct ‘flavour’ to each (I love the foul desecration and meat shield cards, which are used by the Word Bearers!)

Warhammer Quest: Shadows over Hammerhal

Whatever you do, don’t split the party!.. Dungeon dwellers unite in this revamp of an old classic.

Last but by no means least, my newest acquisition is Warhammer Quest: Shadows over Hammerhal. I looked at both this and Silver Tower, but decided that I rather liked the possibilities presented by a GM lead game, rather than cooperative play.

Being that I lack any competitive edge and enjoy creating fun and interesting games, playing the GM would suit me rather well, along with the fact that I much prefer to play the nefarious bad guys than the doughty heroes of course!

I have read through the short story, found in the ‘getting started’ book, but have yet to play. Hopefully I shall be putting the dungeoneers through their paces very soon…

AoS: Death & Destruction

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Sat in his lair, Orruck warlord Naythorn Pain of the Ootribe was not at all content with the general lack of violence and debauchery of late. It had been a slow year and sitting around twiddling his thumbs sat ill with him, there were foes to best and land to pillage, yet none would take on the challenge!

He would have fallen to misery, followed by rage and finally the wholesale slaughter of the entire tribe, had his scouts not come thundering into the settlement with news of a great cloud upon the horizon, an army on the march for sure! With the eagerness only the greenskins can show for war, they mobilized to meet the threat…

As the Orrucks deploy their battleline, the impetuous charioteers charge forward.

Orruck ‘Ard boyz prowl through the ‘mythical menhirs’

Whooping their bestial war cries, the Orrucks thunder toward the Khemri phalanx, upon the backs of their monstrous porcine mounts.

As the boar riders smash into the Undead front rank, splintering shields and femurs alike, they are suddenly engulfed by the shambling horde.

As the greenskin cavalry is beset by skeleton legions, the Orruck ‘ard boyz clash with the Ushabti constructs.

The Orruck’s savagery is no match for the Ushabti’s near limitless resilience.

Whilst most of the wargaming folk of this fair Isle made their way to the great city of Londinium, to the spend all their hard-earned guineas at Salute 2017, my good friend Pancake Payne and I decided to get together for some gaming goodness.

He was very eager to learn to play Age of Sigmar, so we threw down some models and terrain, and got down to some dice rolling. Being a training game we dispensed with a scenario and simply got down to the basics, which is great for learning (or indeed reminding one’s self of) how to play the game, but it does lack the interest factor that a good scenario would provide.

I wrote a post reviewing my first encounter with Age of Sigmar, which can be found here, and although I stand by my initial thoughts, I do feel that this game can be let down by the amount of dice rolling that is required. That being said, getting together with Pancake is always good fun and although I did manage to gain the upper-hand over his greenskins, they were definitely tough enough to make it a hard-fought victory for the legions of Khemri.

Beware the Shaggoth!

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At the border of the manling domain of Sylea, where the verdant land is pierced by the jagged peaks of the Dracos Tooth mountain range, the gateway to the Dead Lands.

Many foul beasts make their lair within the mountains, but none are more abhorrent than the loathsome Shaggoth! This abberation is said to be part ogre, part dragon and wields a mighty axe which can cleave a horse in twain.

Since the manlings first settled in these lands, they have been blighted by the Shaggoth’s penchant for pillage and slaughter. Many a hero has rode into the mountains to slay the beast, none has ever returned…

Bird-brains & Devil-dogs

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” With your heart beating in your ears and your breath ragged in your lungs, you flee for your life. The distant hills echo with the howls of beasts and you know that they have your scent. Doom comes on necrotic paws and you realise that you cannot out-run the relentless advance of death itself.

Taking a look behind you causes you to stumble. Rolling and careening through the dust and scree, you finally skid to a halt. As you lie dazed and confused, the sounds become distant in your ringing ears… again those unearthly howls. 

It takes a moment to regain your composure… You have to get up! You have to keep running! Scrambling to your feet you dash forwards, your legs feel like jelly and your feet are like lead… but you must keeping going!

Rounding a large boulder you are stopped dead in your tracks. Before you stand a triumvirate of horrors. They are head and shoulders taller than you and each has a desiccated animal head, reminiscent of the gods of the ancients.

You sink to your knees, your head bowed. This is it! The reaper has finally caught up with you! And as they begin their inexorable advance, despair finally overwhelms you and you begin to sob…”

 

Bureau de change!

In this post I am going to talk a little about how I have ‘revolutionised’ my painting area this weekend. Firstly a picture of the setup I have been using for the last couple of years…

This old desk has been with me for the best part of a decade, even travelling back to my parents house when I was made redundant and went back to college. It cost 15 quid from the charity shop and although very tatty, was money well spent.

In the future I hope to sell my house and move in with my girlfriend, eventually sorting her house out for sale and buying one together. When this happens I will have to put most of my ‘rubbish’ in to storage in the attic. However, she does understand the need to accommodate a ‘man-cave’ for me to paint in and even with space being at a premium in her 2-bed terrace, she has been kind enough to let me have a corner to set something up when the big move finally happens.

In return I looked for a piece of furniture which not only gives me an area which I can paint at, but also stores all my painting and modelling ‘gubbins’ out of sight, so as not to spoil her ‘shabby chic’ decor…

This should fit in well enough with my girlfriend’s decor (she’s ok’d it at least)…

When its opened-up I have more storage and working space than before. There’s even a light that comes on when the lid comes down…

More storage underneath…

And the pièce de résistance… A felt lined drawer in which I can store finished, in-progress and test miniatures.

 

Embarking on an Epic Space Crusade

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The ever dastardly Graham and I play many different games set in the world of Warhammer 40k, and for someone as tactically challenged as myself, simply keeping a tally of wins and losses holds little interest.

Instead, we combine the multitude of different games into a flowing narrative campaign. This stops things from getting stale and lets me concentrate on being creative, rather than cursing my ill luck and general lack of tactical nous.

A Brief History of Time

There was a time long ago, when space marines were space marines and demons were just a figment of the imagination, so don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Known as the Golden Age of the Imperium, it was a time when the mighty Emperor of mankind was less ‘throne-bound’, and got out and about the galaxy a little more, leading His demigod sons the Primarchs, in their quest of inter-galactic genocide.

However, it all started to come undone the day the Emperor realised that He had left the oven on, and had to rush back to Terra to attend to it, leaving His favourite son Horus in charge until He got back. Horus was brought low by an envenomed blade and started to hear voices from the Warp. The daemonic susurrations told him that the Emperor didn’t even posses an oven! And was actually going back home to the adoring fans, gaining all the glory while His sons did all the hard work.

Horus did what any right-minded son would in such a situation. He plunged the whole Imperium into civil war, sending it into a catastrophic downward spiral from which it would never truly recover.

In the wake of what become known a the Horus Heresy, the space marine legions were disbanded and sub-divided into smaller chapters, so that no-one would be able to wield such power ever again. One such space marine chapter was the Iron Eagles, formerly of the Ultramarines legion, which is the subject of our story.

Betrayal at Ardera IV

In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, mankind was still plagued by the myriad hostile aliens (no rest for the wicked and all that!) On the agri-world of Ardera IV, an Ork Waarghhh! was gaining impetus and simply had to be stopped before the green tide scoured the planet clean of all humankind.

Ardera IV was a planet within a sector of Imperial space simply chock full of agri-worlds, exporting a plethora of produce to feed the Imperium. Ardera’s main export being that of oils and chemicals derived from triffidicus plants. These six-foot tall carnivorous plants, were not only able to walk, but could fire a stinger out around seven to eight feet, allowing them to incapacitate their prey. On the plus side however, they contained an oil which could be refined to create many useful fuels and chemicals. It was said that a quarter of a billion lho sticks were lit every minute thanks to triffidican oil.

Triffidicus plants were by no means the only indigenous species upon Ardera IV which was inimicable to life. When man first set foot upon her, the planet was simply teeming with strangler-vines, exploding spore frogs, spine-shooting cacti and much more besides. After a century of cultivation however, the flora and fauna become manageable enough to sustain a colony of thousands of triffidicus ranches.

With the ork incursion, came much upheaval. Vast swathes of land fell into the greenskin hands which were left un-managed, allowing the triffidicus plants to break free from their ranches, to seek food (of which in the aftermath of the fighting, there was plenty to spare!) In their wake the death forests started to reclaim the planet. The orks had to be stopped and to this end a vast imperial crusade was sent to Ardera, including a battle group of the Iron Eagle space marines.

Framing the Conflict

I’ve laid out some battle dioramas on my BattleCry game board (complete with new frame to stop it moving around) This creates a pictorial story which will give you an idea of how we combine different games to forge a narrative and push the story along…

Aeronautica: A fierce air battle ensues across the skies of Ardera IV, as the Imperials struggle to gain  air superiority over the Orks. Mighty Titans can be seen far below on the surface.

Epic: The defenders of hive Menddrica ready themselves to repel yet another ork attack.

The greenskins swarm toward the hive. Fortunately the Imperial defenders have ‘angels upon their shoulders‘. The Imperial navy’s persecution of the air war has been exemplary, allowing units to be spared to support the ground conflict.

‘Big guns never tire!’ Though they will be surely tested this day!

Both Gork and Mork are in attendance today (or at least there ork built proxies Boom Boom Mancini and O’wd Yella). Reaver titans of the legio Hydra Cordatiss square up against the xenos abominations.

Space Crusade: At the tactical level, the troops of the Imperial Guard strive to protect the hives all important anti-aircraft guns.

Behind the lines there seems to be treachery afoot. A cabal of space marines confer with the Ork warlord, as an emissary of the foul Word Bearers legion performs some arcane ‘mumbo jumbo’.

Lost Patrol: A reconnaissance platoon of the 7095th Devlan Mudders struggles through the death forests, somewhere deep behind enemy lines. They are urgent to get back to friendly lines with the critical intelligence that they have gained on the enemy.

The forest is full of hidden dangers! Will they get back to deliver their news of the Iron Eagles treachery?

So what in the name of Terra were the Iron Eagles doing conferring with the enemy?! Will the recon troops bring word of this treachery to the Imperial defenders? Only time will tell…

Leader of the Pack

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The Sun shone pleasantly down upon the sylvan glade, bathing all in its warm rays. Insects buzzed lazily through the trees and a deer grazed upon the lush grasses. All was well with the world…. but such peaceful bliss simply couldn’t last.

A pall of dust lay heavily upon the horizon to the South, and in time, the crunch of many feet and a cacophony of discordant drums and bugles drifted along the breeze. This could mean only one thing… the heralds of destruction and disorder were on the march and all hell was soon to be unleashed

The Orc war host is on the march, set to cause havoc and destruction

I’ve been busy painting up a new addition to my orc war band, the scourge of the Dead lands, Orc war boss Urxkull Crag-Tooth…