Friday, 10 June 2016

Expo & Summer Invasion

Sad Joe on Sunday morning. Last day at Expo.
It's Thursday when I'm writing this, back from the Expo for 4 days, back at work for 2 days and I'm still buzzing from all the sights, sounds and smells of the Expo. I had such a good time and I seriously can't wait to go back next year.
There is not much better in life than hanging with your mates chatting shit and playing games for 4 days. Still, it is nice to come home to your own bed.
I think I'm just in a happy mood altogether. Forgive me, I must try and be more whiney, otherwise Dan will shut me down..........

Quick reminder about Critical Engagement 2016 on 9th July - still some spaces left. Get in quick guys and gals. Facebook link here and tournament pack here

This post will run through my Expo and Summer Invasion and also there's a load of pictures too.

Joe, Ed and I traveled up to the murky waters of Birmingham on Thursday evening. We arrived a bit later than we wanted to (godamn traffic!) checked in and were greeted by the Hawk team of Simon, Louis, Sean and exOB member James we grabbed some food and drinkies then at about midnight we started to game, only one member of Hawk managed to stay up, so a big congrats to Louis. Catan came out and we went through a couple of games and got to bed about 2.30. Louis was hilarious in the second game, he kept nodding off - we made a few rolls for him. Unfortunately he came last in that one......

Friday morning hit us like a train, we were all up and excited, Ed even went to the gym (nutter). We scoffed breakfast and headed over to the NEC. The Bring and Buy (B&B) was calling and I had 20 items to be rid of (all 40k). Getting to the NEC 1hr and 15 minutes before the doors opened meant I was at the front of the queue with all my boxes. Dan and Alex met us at half 10 as the unwashed masses started to build.
When the doors opened there was a mass bundle (very orderly walk - we are in Britain you know) into the Expo. I rushed past everything and was first to the B&B (winner!!) I booked it all in and when I came out, wow there was a seriously massive queue built up to book stuff in.

The rest of the day I went around the traders playing games, hugging people and buying too much stuff. First stop was at Hawk and the extremely impressive Dark Ops board. Wow it is lovely. Check them out here

The board in all it's glory, must be amazing to play on

An actual underground (lit) monorail

New release from Dark Ops, the Hex buildings - I brought a few

One of 4 UCM towers - got one of these too

Underground hanger entrance with working lights
This was so impressive that I went straight over to Dark Ops and bought some buildings. Chatting to Steve Perry (what a guy) about the buildings we found out that Dark Ops have the exclusive licence for the replication of the faction logos so expect to see other buildings in the not too distant future.

Back to Hawk and I got tonnes of pictures of the recently released and yet to be released models (sorry for the lack of quality on the photos, it's difficult as the cabinets are glass fronted and lit).

The Aether - very pretty model

The Crossbow (honestly, it is there)

A pair of Firebirds

The LEO-pard

Mehmeds (wow that drill is big)

The very popular Njord

The one I'm most looking forward to, the Overseer (and Monitors to the left)

I spy bullshit - the Panther is lurking at the back

Ramses - such a beautiful paint-job

The Retaliator - and Crossbow again

Thor Bombard hidden in there

Thunder Wagons

Typhoons (even though it says Cyclone) 
The rest of the day was spent wandering around, playing demos of games, looking at all the cool things and buying stuff that I probably didn't need but I really wanted. We had some food in the evening then 4 of us set to play Shogun (basically a Japanese risk type game, but far better than risk) I smashed it while Joe and Alex double-teamed Ed almost into oblivion, he was getting very upset, which made them go after him even more. Sometime we are a cruel bunch! Then Dan whipped out A Game of Thrones board game. This was a long one, of the 5 starters, Alex had to depart early, he had had  a long day to be fair to him. Hawk James took his place and at the end, Dan using his Baratheons took Westeros and the Iron Throne - beating us all into submission. The Starks (run by me) came a close(ish) second. It is Dan's game, and he had played before, so I'm taking moral victory. We were the last ones up in the hotel and were chucked out of the games room by the night porter just as we were packing up.

Day 3 was Dropzone day. Alex, Joe and I all entered the Dropzone tournament. Ed took part in the Bushido Grand Masters event and Dan played in the Guild Ball tournament.

I will give a brief overview of the event and my games.
16 competitors in all and all the factions were represented at least twice - I think that goes to show that the game is still in a really healthy state.

My list was a test list and seriously lacked any anti-tank threat. I wanted to try Corrupters, Monitors, Vampires and the Scraider (Screamer/Raider). Fitting all that in meant my only real anti-tank threat was the 3 Hunters. I also had only 7 ground units and a Desolater that would score me points in a Focal point game, a total of 262 points worth and 260 for the boss.

Game 1 was Targets of Opportunity
Opponent was Sam from the Hand of the Sphere blog
He was running PHR including:
Nemesis and CV4 boss, Phobos, Ares, Odins, 2 squads of Helios, Medusa, Valkyries, Sirens, Longreach team and Janus

I won this game quite convincingly, Sam hasn't played for a while (real life and Infinity getting in the way). I extracted 3 objectives and held 1 at the end plus had a minor kill point bonus for a 17-3 win.
My personal highlight of the game was taking out the Medusa in the first activation of turn 2. My Raider flew up, I played Aggression on it and did 8 wounds, then I pulled Razorbirds to finish her off. Helios flew round the corner and removed the Raider, Hunters then rounded on the Helios and removed them. Really tit for tat and jumping on each others units.
Sam only had 3 units of troops and for this mission that doesn't help. I also managed to remove his Tritons on turn 3 which meant he was stranded.
Really enjoyable game and great opponent. Had a real laugh whilst playing, hope to play Sam again sometime.
I'm sure there was a Medusa here earlier........

The initial onslaught

End of game and look where we are, deep into PHR territory

Game 2 was Land Grab
Opponent was another Sam, he had UCM, an army I am very familiar with
Kodiak, Condor CV3, Ferrum, Snipers, Praetorians, 2x Legionnaires, 2 Archangels, 2x 3 Katanas, Eagle, Rapiers.

I made a couple of mistakes in this game. It was not going to be easy to win this as 5 focal points is the toughest mission for any Scourge player. Also the 2 Archangels can cause devastation to my force.
My first lucky escape came first activation of turn 2 when the Kodiak hit my grouped up Hunters. They were on a mission to wreck the Ferrum. Sam placed the small blast and covered all 3. AH CRAP! Sam then proceeded to roll triple 1, thank the dice gods!
I castled up a bit to make sure my units were covered by AA, 8 Minders are a very useful deterrent for Archangels.
I sent the Reapers on their own to the left flank as there was no serious anti-tank threat, the drones went after them, which I thought was awesome as I could just whittle them down easily, apparently the dice gods were now laughing at me......fickle bastards!
I moved up the Minders in turn 3 after bringing on my Corrupters, what I had forgotten was that it left my Corrupters exposed and an opportunistic Archangel run removed one. That was silly.
My personal highlight was using an Intruder beta to Core overload on 3 Katanas and remove them all. Also my Monitors did what they are supposed to do and removed the Praetorian Snipers and some Legionnaires who foolishly lined the windows.
My final mistake was not making sure that I had a troops squad to hold my back board objective. I ran it too far up the board and it got taken out by an archangel (and troops blew up in the air) this left 1 base of worms to hold my home focal point, 2 falling masonry hits saw to them on turn 6 meaning I lost the game 6-7. Frustrating to come so close to winning (had I not had to move my Desolatoer back to hold the Focal Point I would have won by 2 points. Sam had killed a fair bit of my army and had a 2 point kill point bonus to give him a 13-7 win.
I do have one gripe for the game though. Sam was a lovely guy, but was a really slow player. I am a fast player and nothing frustrates me more than feeling like I have to rush my turns just to make sure I get all my turns. Rushing means I make mistakes and I made a few which I wouldn't normally make. I pointed this out a couple of times, that he would need to speed up, by turn 6 we would only be able to do the crucial things and that was game. Still a really good game and I'd love a rematch sometime.

The flying castle

The demo castle

Game 3 was Secure the Flanks
Opponent was Charles and his Shaltari
Gharial CV3, 2 single Caimens, 2x 3 Kukri, Tarrantulas, Firedrake, Braves x3 Pungari, 4 Ronin, 2 Eden, 2 Haven, 3 Spirit

More armour 6 buildings and Focal Points - seriously who chose the frigging missions for this tournament? a blind homeless person??
Turn 3 broke me. I could not and did not recover. I lost the game 15-5 (tournament points) and 5-3 in victory points.
I will detail all that happened in turn 3 in a bit.
I knew there was a fair bit of demo in the list, not enough to remove a large building turn 1 or that early turn 2 so I was safe to dump all my troops inside. Turn 2 was a turn of failed searches for me, Charles finds his and extracts. I managed to be the occupier in the centre building, and actually, I probably should have let Charles do it. Also I should have fired some worms into my home building on turn 1. An extra search is an extra search!
So turn 3. I'll set the scene. My home building is left with 7dp and no-one inside, I'm in the centre building with all my infantry and a squad of worms it has 19 dp left. I activate my Exotics - Destroyers and Eviscerators. Both search, nothing. The Eviscerators get out and go to the left hand Focal Point, the Destroyers line the windows and shoot at a squad of Kukri - I knew it was a risk, but if I could take out a couple then it was worth it. Charles makes all his saves.
The Ronin and Gharial activate, They roll perfect dice and destroy the centre objective building killing all my infantry bar the Eviscerators. The rest of the turn went pretty much the same. Every single thing I shot was saved - EVERYTHING! I was removing models like a guard player. There was absolutely nothing I could do.
Turns 4-6 were just about holding on to what I had which was holding focal points and I had plans to try to win but the Shaltari energy shields were too strong for me. I managed to hold one Focal Point and contest the other (I don't know how) meaning I lost by the 2 points of the extracted objective, Charles also had a very favourable kill point bonus of +3 (over 600 points difference).
I did have 1 minor highlight, my Desolater killed all 4 Ronin and 2 Tarantulas with his lightning over 2 turns. Sorry that's it.

I finished with 29 points and bottom of the OB team. I have been relegated to the C team, on my own.
I also undeservedly won the best painted army trophy - I say undeservedly as my army was not fully painted. I grudgingly accepted it, but think I will be giving it to Alex as he painted his whole army and to a good standard.

I still really enjoyed the tournament even though I didn't do so well. I am a little annoyed at the mission choice for it as they were 3 awful missions for Scourge in general and not a good balance to it at all. I didn't help myself by taking a ridiculous list though. Talking of list, I took it to test some units, so what do I think:

Monitors: Very situational but the situations crop up more than you'd think. Cheap enough to be included in my lists. I can really see a use for them.
Vampires: Will never be used again in their current guise. Even if I have points spare. They are a waste.
Corrupter: Really liked their flexibility, were useful in all missions too. Need to be careful with them. I think some Ravagers may need to go into my list.
Scraider: Apart from the Medusa kill, did nothing all tournament. 110 is a lot of points and I need more anti-tank.

On with the Expo
Saturday evening was Dead of Winter, if you've not played it - give it a go, it's great. We managed to exile Dan as the betrayer, but he still won his mission. The only person to lose was Ed, but he deserved it as he single handedly helped Dan complete his exile mission!

Sunday started with a mammoth breakfast of kings, Alex and Ed entered the Infinity tournament so Joe, Dan and I headed over to the NEC to have another wander around the Expo. We left mid afternoon after cashing out of the B&B, (I made over £160 which covered room and board for the weekend) and was home just after 5pm. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend and followed by 2 days off work to recover.

Can't wait till next year.


  1. Nice write up Mike.
    To bad about your placement, but it still sounds like you had a good time!

    Cheers, Thunder

    1. It was a bit shocking, but with the list I took I don't think I could have expected any better really

  2. Was a really fun day, felt good to play PHR and dropzone again! (even if I did get pretty destroyed lol)

    Hope to play you again, Mike :D (with the bag full of new PHR toys I picked up from the hawk booth of course xD)

    1. New toys is always a nice feeling. Definitely want a rematch sometime!

  3. That table...that f***ing beautiful table.

    Great write up! I really like the personal style. Fells like you are just writing in a diary and we got all the memorable stuff and lots of pics as well.

  4. Really nice write up, Mike! Thank you for that!
    Hadn't Joe a bad tourney some weeks ago..?
    Are you planning to play Scourge at Invasion to beat Egge placement? :P

    1. I'm really undecided now. I know I took a silly list. But UCM is where my heart is

  5. Yeah i got trashed on my last game. Which made me sink all the way to the foundations of the table. Battle reports to come

    1. Sorry... But is it a gag boll in your mouth?

  6. I'm completely with you on the Scourge. Vampires are utterly pointless as they are. The Scraider doesn't make 2000 pts anymore but the Corruptor is awesome sauce.

    I've rediscovered my Scourge of late and have found the Annihalator to be frikking amazing. I would highly recommend giving him a go with his updated rules. I'm especially looking forward to seeing what he can do when partnered up with the Overseer. *Evil grin*


  7. you must forget that last sentance !!! :-)

  8. Whats the updated rule for the Annihilator?

    1. In the errata for Reconquest Phase 1 or in Version 1.1 for Reconquest Phase 1.

    2. A second profile for the weapon with small blast and devastator 2, the blasts are e12 and it is only 150 points

    3. Thanks guys haven't got 1.1 yet

  9. 150 pts that all scores on a focal point at that. :D