Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Summer of Shadows: Shadow War Hobby Project

So, Shadow War is good isn't it! In many ways it is the game that I've always hankered for. A small skirmish based game with fewer models but still set in the Warhammer 40K universe, and with narrative and progression for your crew as you play through a campaign. What's not to love!?

Nothing so far in my opinion, but then I've only played two games. Enough to convince me it is a winner though, even though I lost both games... and bravo to GW for this move. There have been a number of more positive trends coming out of GW recently, and this is certainly one of them.

I play with a bunch of grognards who have been gaming against each other since school and all pine for 2nd Edition Warhammer 40K believing it to be the pinnacle of the game, so SW with its obvious 2nd Ed/Necromunda vibe was an easy sell to some of our lapsed and reluctant participants and we were able to get five of us together to kick off a campaign at our FLGS Bristol Independent Gaming. Thanks as ever to Jim for being such a welcoming host! 🙂

We lined up as Orks (Snakebites - Me), Space Marine Scouts (Flesh Eaters - Craig the secret nerd), Chaos Space Marines (Nightlords - AVP Shaun), Eldar (Outcasts/Pirates - Dave the Scenery Savant), and more Orks (Bad Moons - Big Russ).

In my first game I played against Dave's Eldar and all I can say is... I hate grav platforms! I totally see the logic of how they work, and actually really like it in terms of how that ties in with the background and the 'science' if you will, but boy are they tough to play against! The Ork advance was steady until an entire flank got mowed down by a platform mounted Shuriken Cannon and I failed my subsequent Bottle Test. One of my Yoofs (Pork Rind) was out of action for the next game as he had a Head Wound (although this meant he would have Frenzy when he came back!), and one of my Boys (Pyfon) got himself captured by the Eldar to boot. As we were playing against rotating partners we agreed that the Rescue Mission could be deferred until we could arrange a follow up.

Da Boys of Kaptin Fang's Mob advance through the centre of the ruined city block
Da sneaky Elf-gitz hide in the rubble like wusses!
We didn't spot the rule about paying a Promethium Cache in ransom until afterwards, but it wouldn't have changed my decision anyway, a Boy armed with a shank and a slugga ain't worth a precious promethium! I stockpiled the one cache I got but spent some credits replacing my captured Boy like for like, and making use of the campaign house rule that you can bank unspent credits.

Two Boys plus Pork-Rind da Yoof advance down the flank trying to out manoeuvre the Eldar Grave platform. Wrong!
Too-inch da Spanner with his Big Shoota covers the advance of Pig-Spit and Swill-Pot da Yoofs
My next game was against the Flesh Eaters who had been victorious in their previous game against the Bad Moon Orks, and had spent a Promethium cache to acquire the services of a Deathwatch Veteran specialist. The mission was an Ambush! with the marines attempting to catch the Orks unawares, however, they obviously underestimated both the cunning of Kaptin Fang and the sheer numbers at his command, as the deployment rules played out allowing my Orks to effectively ambush the ambushers. The first turn would see immediate charges and hand to hand combat, dice rolls falling narrowly in the Scout's favour in one instance, but a scout falling to the double teaming efforts of two burly Yoofs elsewhere.

After splitting my massive mob into 4 groups and rolling two 6s in deployment the ambushed became the ambushers!

After downing a Flesh Eater scout in brutal hand to hand combat Adder-Boy da Yoof follows up into the Deathwatch Veteran. "Can't fault his bravery!" thinks Kaptin Fang briefly as they are both sliced open by the energised blade...

Sadly for the Orks, Kaptin Fang failed to take out the Deathwatch Veteran and the following turn saw the specialist eviscerate everyone within range with his power sword - and that was without us remembering to use the Xenos Hunter special rule which would have made him even more deadly against Orks! Apparently the look on my face was one of the best moments of the day for the Flesh Tearers player. Hmmm....

Elsewhere a Boy was knocked off his perch by a heavy bolter shot and fell off a building knocking himself out. A quick assessment of the situation and it was clear that while the ambush had been foiled, the Orks' only sensible option was to Bottle It! and live to fight another day, as the risk of incurring further heavy losses was all too real.

This hand to hand was close, but sadly went to the scout, and the Slugga shot of the Boy bringing up the rear failed to pin the Gunner, who then blasted him in the chest with a heavy bolter. Ouch!
Luck was finally on my side and my crew all made good recoveries, even Pig-Spit the Yoof who might of died, but now has a dead 'ard looking scar across his throat, and as he rolled 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger' so was promoted up to full Boy status. I banked the promethium cache again, but used some of the credits to recruit a new Spanner (Rattla') armed with a Shoota (until we can get him a Rokkit Launcher that is!), and banked the rest. I'm painting up some Grots and a Runtherd, and already have suitable models for a Mek Boy or Pain Boy, so may indulge in hiring a Specialist for my next game, which will hopefully be the mission to rescue Pyfon. Strangely, in the Eldar's next game against the Bad Moons, they captured another Ork Boy (with the same arrangement to defer the rescue mission). Clearly the Eldar are seeking to gather information on the Orks for some reason! Or maybe they are just making them touch each others butts?

Meanwhile in other parts of the ruined city...

Bad Moons vs Flesh Eater Scouts face off in the Industrial Old Town

Bad Moons - yes, I know they look like Goffs, but they are Bad Moons in fancy dress, OK?! - make an ill fated dash across the Flesh Tearers' kill box
It was not a good day for either of the Ork mobs and the two Nobs got their heads together afterwards and agreed that you can't just 'do a second edition' and charge them hoping enough of you survive to dismember them in hand to hand. Very un Orky. This was noted by oponents of the Bad Moon Nob who remarked that while his blind faith in charging staionary Space Marine Scouts showed commitment, it was like watching the French Cavalry in WWI.

The Bad Moons continued to have bad luck facing the Nightlords in a Raid, with the highlight being the Nighlords' Aspiring Champion punching the bunker door into pieces in the second turn with his Power Fist, ending the game. The same Aspiring Champion later punched a Flesh Tearers Terminator to death! The spirit of Konrad Kurze would be pleased! If it gave a shit that is.

So here are the results of the first round of games:

Flesh Eaters vs Bad Moons - Scouts Win
Eldar Pirates vs Snake Bites - Eldar Win
Snake Bites vs Flesh Eaters - Scouts Win
Eldar Pirates vs Bad Moons - Eldar Win
Nightlords vs Bad Moons - Nightlords win.

Nightlords vs Flesh Tearers - Nightlords win

I had to head off early but the chaps carried on playing and had a 'Fatal Four Way' of Flesh Tearers vs Bad Moons vs Nightlords vs Eldar, just for shits and giggles.

Thats a lot of pinning!
The highlight of the game was the Orks getting pinned so badly in the cross fire from the Scouts and the Eldar that the Nightlords felt compelled to help them. Such a severe break with the background caused a tear in the fabric of the universe and the entire of the space-time continuum was swallowed up in a second. Sadly that meant gaming had to stop.

Everyone had good fun and agreed Shadow War is a great rule set and we are already planning the next round of games, which will involve successive rescue missions on those sneaky Eldar for Kaptin Fang and his Bad Moon counterpart to get our Boyz back!

Thanks for reading - don't forget to share your own Shadow War exploits on the Middlehammer face book page for the 'Summer of Shadows' theme!