My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

In the Emperor's Name - Battle Report

Some New Troops

First up are my Epic scale (6mm) Chaos Minotaurs.


For some reason their noggins are glossy and it looks like they have steel helmets on them, but they don't. The banner comes from a fan site that makes banners and badges for the computer game Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War. There are some really great banners there and by shrinking them down and touching them up with a few dots of paint they really make the unit pop.

Next up are the Khorne Chaos Space Marines on Juggernauts.

FrontSide

The color looks a little odd, the orange is almost neon in the picture, but these little buggers were really fun to paint. I decided to paint them "knightly", allowing for different color schemes, and put banners from the above fan site on their back banners. In hindsight I should have painted all banners white, glued the banner decal on, then painted another color for the border trim.

Speaking of which, I printed the banners on clear "window" decals that are inkjet compatible, which I purchased from Staples. The first few I tried to varnish, but the ink bled. The final solution was to take clear school glue and put a generous dot of it on the decal, not swishing the brush applicator at all. This caused the least amount of color bleed or loss and really helps protect the decal and fix it in place. After the glue dries you can apply matte varnish.

A Practice Game of In the Emperor's Name

I decided to put these little guys to work today, trying out the free rules In the Emperor's Name. I used the board that I still have setup from my last Flames of War game, so buildings are a little out of scale (15mm), but don't really look that bad. (I think most buildings are too small, especially for a skirmish game. In this case a 15mm building is the right size, but the doors and windows are too big.)

On the right side of the picture is the North. I was (futilely) trying to play tree models as single trees, meaning they were where they were and they would not move. Fat fingers and magnetic bases were not accounted for, however. I think trees should be played as is, when skirmishing, and woods should not be generic area terrain with wandering trees. Some day ...

My Attempt at a Panoramic Shot
The North has a woods in a deployment area (6" from each baseline) before running into farm fields segmented by hedges and stone fences. Country lanes (okay, freeways in this scale) run across each side's fronts. Plenty of crop fields that would normally completely conceal infantry, but I made a fateful decision that it would only partially conceal them. I also determined that the hedges were rather low and provided concealment across, but did not block line of sight. Bad decisions all ...

Deployment

Chaos

Chaos got to select the side to deploy on and ended up deploying first. They chose the side with the woods so they could attempt to run the Minotaurs up to the East woods, out of line of sight. (I would later find out that was an incorrect assumption.) The Juggernauts would advance up the center, through the mass of light cover, looking for an opportunity to shoot or charge.

Chaos Deployment (looking from the North baseline)
Khorne surely must have been displeased by the idea of his Chaos Space Marines on Juggernauts hiding in the woods ...

Imperial

Having seen the Chaos deployment, the Space Marines divided into two sections, one lead by the Captain and the other by the Sergeant. The Captain took six Marines to charge up the road on the right, directly into the Minotaurs. Once they defeated them they should be able to flank the Juggernauts. The Sergeant led the Marine with the Missile Launcher1 and two other Marines up the center to establish a base of fire and tie up the Juggernauts.

Imperial Deployment (looking from the South baseline)
Turn 1

The Juggernauts advance out of the woods into a field, still out of range from all except the missile launcher. The Minotaurs advance around the end of the hedges, heading towards the East woods, as planned. Meanwhile the Captain heads up the road, also heading for the East woods. The Sergeant moves slowly up the center, trudging through all of the cover.

Three things immediately come up, regarding the rules. One is whether you incur a movement penalty for moving through cover or through each separate piece of cover. I chose the latter, but reflecting back it would seem that I would be equally slowed if I ran through one long piece of cover as I would if it we four separate pieces.

Second, ITEN allows you to toss grenades at a point on the ground, rather than targeting a specific figure. I can deal with that with grenades, I suppose, but with a frag missile I am not so sure. I decide to play it straight, so my frag missile can cover all four Juggernauts.

Lastly, the rule for running in the Shooting Phase states that you can only do so if you are out of line of sight of all enemy. That pretty much means that unless you have a really dense terrain board, that is not going to happen. I allowed line of sight over multiple hedges and crops because the Juggernauts and Minotaurs are tall. But that turns out to be detrimental as it makes everyone in sight, so no one can run, despite being out of range.
The Sergeant signals the missile launcher to drop a frag missile onto the Juggernauts and it is a perfect hit, but the Juggernauts lumber through the explosion without a scratch2.

Turn 2

The Captain moves farther along the road towards the East woods while the Sergeant continues to advance up the center. The Minotaurs pull off a tricky move by ensuring they end out of line of sight of the Space Marines so that they can run in the Shooting Phase (but it really does them little good), while the Juggernauts decide to sit behind the stone wall and shoot at the advancing Marines.

Khorne must have been displeased with that un-Khorne-like behavior as when the Marines opened up with their bolters, three Juggernauts went down! (That was needing a '6' to hit, followed by missing a Grit roll of 3+ and only seven shots were needed to get that result three times!)

Return fire by the Khorne Battle Captain takes out a single Marine in the Captain's retinue.
At this point I start reading a little deeper in the rules and find that figures (friendly or enemy) do block line of sight (unlike the new version of 40K), target selection is declared before any rolling occurs, and there is no hit allocation; the firer selects the target and may thus have overkill on a target. There also appear to be no morale rules beyond Terror.

Put another way, this is not really simplified 40K rules, but simplified skirmish in the 40K universe. The rules definitely produce different results.

Other examples include: figures in Powered Armor (e.g. Space Marines) can move and fire heavy, crewed weapons. Bolters and Bolt Pistols count as heavy, crewed weapons (!), thus an Ork firing a Bolter on his own cannot move and fire. (It appears that the designations for Bolter and Bolt Pistol are incorrect, or else the rule is supposed to apply to Very Heavy weapons.) What can move and fire is not the same as in the 40K rules, so expect a different game and set of tactics. That is not bad, but if you find yourself playing 40K a lot, you will probably start blending the rules.
Turn 3

Although the Space Marines and the Minotaurs were very close (with the Minotaurs gaining the East woods), they were not yet in melee. Space Marine fire kills one of the Minotaurs in the woods, but that is all that happens. Next turn should see a melee.
Another problem with the rules is the contradiction about how running works. At one point it states that a run is 3" minus terrain penalties, and thus you cannot run in hard cover. In another place it indicates that a run is 1D6", and thus if you rolled well you could run in hard cover. I chose to use the 3" rule.

To be honest, even with skirmish scale, I prefer modern and future rules to represent "close combat" as not just being in base-to-base combat. Of course, if you are armed with a two-handed axe or power sword, base-to-base looks better.
Turn 4

The Blood Angel Captain roars out a charge and all of his retinue charges into the woods crunching into the Minotaurs, who bellow out their challenges in return. The Juggernaut leader, not wanting to miss out, heads for the East woods to seek out the enemy Captain in single combat. The Sergeant, however, has his team break cover and head for the fight. This allows the Juggernaut leader to swivel in his saddle and gun the enemy Sergeant down. The other Marines are so stunned their return fire is completely ineffective.

The battle in the woods was gruesome, but the Minotaurs came out on top, losing only two while the Space Marines lost three. The Captain, however, had not been able to reach so his Terror had not yet come into play.

Red glass beads in the photos represent casualties.

Turn 5

The Juggernaut charges into the woods against the Captain, parries his Power Sword with his own, then cleanly removes the Captain's helmet for him (the Captain rolled a '1' for his Grit roll). And so we draw a curtain to close on this grisly scene as one Blood Angel Space Marine remains in the woods facing four Minotaurs and a Juggernaut ...


A minor victory for Chaos, as they lost only their secondary leader while the Space Marines lost both their primary and secondary leaders.

Review

The game definitely goes fast and is heavily luck-based as wounds, toughness, and armor saves are all rolled into a single D6 roll. But that is okay as this factor is what makes ITEN fast and furious and 40K itself is heavily luck-based.

I think a second game, changing how I interpreted the line of sight rules, will produce better results.

What I Did Like

Reducing down all of the 40K stats to one or two and then reducing the numerous rolls down to one hit and one save works well, if you are seeking fast and furious. It is very easy to handle several retinues at one time and I could easily see running 40K sized forces, if the weapons were all defined.

I am not sure about the lack of morale, in this or any other game. At this scale it seems like it would be a hindrance, and certainly between Space Marines and Chaos. As it stands, I was not disturbed by a lack of morale rolls.

Line of sight is required from figure to figure, not unit to unit, as with 40K. I think going figure to figure leads to more realistic formations being adopted on the tabletop. Nothing looks more absurd than a phalanx of Space Marines, packed shoulder-to-shoulder, all getting full firepower to the enemy, because it is a more efficient use of space.

Cover basically adds to the Armor rating the figure has – +1 for soft cover (concealment) and +2 for hard cover – making it harder to score a hit and thus not requiring a separate cover save roll.

One note for those used to 40K-like turn sequences: although their is a Melee Phase, it does not include a separate charge move. All movement occurs in the Movement Phase, so if a figure charges into contact it cannot fire in the Shooting Phase (unless it has a pistol), nor can it be shot at by the charged figure (unless it has a pistol). I think that would apply to all 40K weapons classified as "Assault", but ITEN specifically says "pistols".

What I Did Not Like

Nothing really leaps out at me as something I did not like. Rather, there are some things I would probably change, just because I am starting to like my games a certain way.

Another set of rules by Forge of War is FUBAR. The basic concept is fast and furious with a few rolls and simple (one-page) rules. (ITEN is longer mostly because of its retinue generation rules and wargear descriptions. The core rules are only a couple of pages long.) One concept it has, that I like, is that each team (retinue in ITEN) chooses an action, which defines what you can do that turn. So you might choose move, fire, move and fire, assault, etc., each with its own advantages and penalties. Although I like FUBAR's activation/command and control rules, I like ITEN's combat resolution better. I could see merging these two sets of rules.

I did not see a lot of options for the players in terms of tabletop tactics. This was something that actually got me to spring for $100 to try 40K Sixth; all the reviews talked about how tactical it had become with figure placement, damage allocation, etc. I definitely think changing ITEN to a FUBAR-like order system where each turn you cannot do everything would definitely help.

I prefer not requiring figures actually make base-to-base contact in order to melee, mostly for modeling reasons (swords and banners sticking out). This is more of a concern in 28mm than in 6mm as 6mm usually fits comfortably on the base. Nonetheless, I like Joe Morschauser's method of all figures within a certain distance of an enemy figure being allowed to fight. However, as this is a figure-on-figure system, you really need to work out who is fighting whom, so base contact is probably the best way. (Note to all: using magnets as the base, as opposed to adding a magnet to the bottom of the base, makes close combat really close!)

All in all, the things which caused me the most concern were elements I either got wrong (line of sight) or were because of expectations that they worked the same as with the new version of 40K.

Just a Note

Although I used 6mm troops, I used the full distances (for 28mm figures) listed in ITEN. (Yes, grenades had a full 3" blast radius.) I felt this was much more in scale with the figures, save for the range of a thrown grenade (12", or half the distance an assault rifle can fire).

Final Analysis

Definitely a "try this one again" set of rules.


1 There are no rules for a Space Marine's missile launcher, but there are from the Imperial Guard's grenade launcher and the Ork rokkit launcha. I made mine +0 SV and 48" range, with the frag missile having the same effect as a grenade (3" blast template). Essentially it was a longer ranged grenade launcher for an additional point. Note that I did not have krak missiles. Next time ...

2 Like 40K the frag missile ignores the normal chance to hit and uses the infamous scatter die. This is 1/3rd chance to hit, and 2/3rd chance to scatter a random direction D6 inches. Of course a frag missile has little chance of hurting the Juggernaut, needing a '6' to hit their high armor.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog and Forum Pages

Popular Posts

Followers

About Me

My photo
Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").