I have had a love/hate relationship with Warhammer 40000 since 1989.
Although I played a lot of games in that setting for years, I finally put it to one side in the mid 2000s. I stopped reading White Dwarf, stopped buying Codices and stopped painting 40K figures. I love the daft futuristic dark age setting but the games themselves extremely rarely lived up to the potential set by the background and so, that was that.
To make a long story short-ish, a few factors combined recently (namely the Horus Heresy series of novels, the totally unsuspected GW re-release of Space Hulk and the Fantasy Flight Warhammer/40K themed boardgames etc) that gradually worked on my subconscious to the point that I planned a gaming weekend with the main emphasis being on playing some small (400-600pt) games of 40K. I guarantee that I am more surprised at this than you may be.
Despite my 180 degree turnaround on earlier standpoints regarding my willingness to play games of 40K at all, I still wasn’t prepared to play the rules as they are currently written. Long time game co-conspirator MT and I decided to play using a hodge-podge version of the rules based mostly on our favourite 3rd edition, except where we didn’t want to because we felt that newer rules were better. None of the rules selected as “better” were written down in advance.
Needless to say, that made this is an imprecise art, best only attempted by players that have successfully played the game together for a long time and who are not obsessed with trying to screw each other over. I decided to play with MT anyway (thats a joke, geddit?) Despite the fact that “jamming” with rules sets isn’t really our scene and the high potential for friction it worked out for us for these games.
We mostly played scenario heavy games, rather than the line-them-up-and-knock-them-down dice fests that 40K is infamous for.
This short series will document a small number of those games, mostly pictorially.
GAME 1: Sin-Eaters Chaos Space Marines Vs Emperors Voice Space Marines
As this was the first game that I had played for a very long time we decided to go with a quick scenario-less game first of all.
Unsurprisingly both sides moved towards the middle, with the exception of the Emperors Voice Devastator squad who too the high ground in their deployment zone. So far, so predictable.
The Sin Eaters Plague Marine Squad Klaus and Possessed Squad Nemesis along with Squad Van Helden took cover in the ruined temple.
Sgt Klaus (with Klaus played by Brother Bakul in this instalment) is the only surviving member of his squad to reach the loyalist lines, where he begins to make them pay by bludgeoning them with his power weapon.
Chaos firepower almost wipes out a squad of loyalists, while Squad Nemesis is reduced to two survivors from reciprocal shots. Sgt Klaus shrugs off the assault marines attacks against his bloated undead and armoured hide and kills a marine.
The remnants of Squad Nemesis combine with Sgt Klaus to kill another pair of Assault Marines.
The Tactical Sergeant kills the two Possessed with his power axe but Klaus kills everything in the area including the Tac Sarge. Standing in the open and covered in gore, Klaus screams his defiance at the heavens. Then the Devastators on the hill finally get a target again and blow him into rotting, slimy chunks with heavy weapon fire.
The Loyalists win.
Conclusions:In theory, having a large number of units in a game can provide some redundancy so that odd changes in fortune can either be exploited or countered by units held for such a purpose.
That’s the theory anyway, it never applies to games of 40K as the armies are set up so close together and have been min/maxed in such a way as to render thoughts of tactical or strategic play more or less redundant. It’s a game of point your guys in the direction of the enemy and press “Go”.
This effect is exaggerated by smaller forces like those that we were playing with. That said, that game was essentially a standard game of 40K in microcosm.