Scarbag’s Saga: Curse of the Red Git!

Santa Cruz Sector, December 2016.

Senior Lieutenant Scarbag Flashboy was given the mission of helping by dropping his stormboyz into the front lines and attacking heavy support targets of opportunity in one of the many battles in the Santa Cruz Sector against the Imperium.  In the target rich environment of a general Imperial Guard advance, the target in question turned out to be a manticore.

Everything went according to plan.  Their air assault went perfectly.  Actually it was 11 inches off target and another half inch would have dropped the entire squad into no man’s land, but it all worked out so that is what counts.

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Death and rude gestures from above courtesy of the semi-mysterious Red Git!

The manticore blissfully continued to fire its gigantic storm eagle missiles at distant ork units as the stormboyz prepared for their attack.  Bundles of grenades were checked, rokkit packs dialed to full throttle red line, and Scarboy himself produced a steel bar to jam into the tank’s track.

A few guardmen ran in their general direction but they were apparently retreating from general ork mayhem and soon disappeared in the fire and smoke.

Suddenly a deffkopta roared overhead in a red streak, spewing oil, gears, and stikbombs in its wake.  The ground vibrated under the stormboyz’ feet.  As they stood watching aghast, their now useless weapons falling from their hands, the deffkopta pilot corkscrewed a pair of rokkits into the missile tank.  The remaining two storm eagles detonated in a hellish fireball.  All that was left of the manticore was a burning crater.

Naturally Lieutenant Scarboy found himself stand alone, dumbfounded and patting out flames on his uniform, with all of his boyz laying dead around him.  Those who hadn’t been vaporized of course.

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The distinct red deffkopta flew back and hovered over Scarboy.  It was shedding even more parts than before after being damaged in the explosion. Clearly the only thing keeping the increasingly grotesque machine in the air was the pilot’s invincible belief in his own airmanship.

‘You! Ya you, da stoopid grot dat be on fire. Zog off an’ die, mate, cause I’m da bestestz an’ I’m da fastestz too!  ‘Cause I’m da Red Git!’ the pilot screamed.

‘Wot?’ The stormboy looked up.

The pilot replied with a rude gesture and tossed a ticking melta bomb at Scarbag’s feet.  He zoomed off cackling into the sunset.

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‘We need ta talk,’ the drone said.

Lieutenant Flashboy became introspective as the ebb of battle drifted away from him.  He woke up when the melta bomb laying in a nearby puddle of mud and fuel misfired with a depressing fizzle rather than the usual white hot boom of coruscating light.  The ork sighed and kicked some muck onto his now smoldering boots.

A universal drone trundled up to him on squeaking treads.  Waaagh! Hungry has always made good use of the ubiquitous drones as ammo carriers, mobile bombs, soldiers (remote-controlled or sporting a primitive AI), and especially for recon.

A tinny voice come from a crackling speaker on top of the drone.  “My name iz Big Mek Fixxit an’ we need ta talk if yer lookin’ fer revenge.”

‘Revenge?’ Flashboy asked.  The drone had his full attention.

Imperial Guard vs. Orks (1500 Points)

Santa Cruz Sector, December 14, 2016.

So I played my first game of 40K recently at Mythic Games in after taking well over a year off.  It was Guard versus Orks. Eternal War Scenario: Big Guns Never Tire.  Some pictures from our game:

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Manticores deliver an interesting and indisputable form of Detante.

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Boyz piling out of their wrecked trukk: a pretty common sight for these guys.

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Outflanking mechanized infantry on the attack.

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Tearing the turrets off of APC’s and throwing them with lethal effect at the disembarking infantry.

“Break Their Will” Scenario

Aerial view of trench bombardment.

I first saw this scenario at Mythic Games in Santa Cruz, California.  It was their 40K “Scenario of the Week” at the time.  I liked it because while fairly simple, it promoted a style of play that was a little different than the classic Eternal War or Maelstrom missions.

Set up is as per a standard game of 40K.  There are no secondary objectives, nor are any objective markers placed on the board. Night Fighting wasn’t listed either, though I suppose if both sides agreed you could include that rule. The game ends as per the normal rules.

Players achieve victory points by meeting the following conditions:

  • One victory point for each enemy unit reduced to half strength or below.
  • Two victory points for each enemy independent character killed.
  • One victory point for each challenge won.
  • One victory point for each of your units over half strength in the enemy deployment zone at the end of the game.

Our “Break Their Will” Battles

Khorne Daemonkin, Orks, and Necrons vs. Orks (1000 points, August 2015).  A hard fought battle on both sides with many failed charges by the orks on both sides with the end game turning into a bit of a swirling battle of annihilation in the center of the board.  The mixed forces won a solid but by no means overwhelming victory.

  Ultramarines vs. Space Wolves (1250 points, Spring 2015).  A tough “war game” battle between two chapters honing their tactics.  The Space Wolves were aggressive, especially their chaplain, but what these men of the Fang had going for them in ferocity they lacked in experience.  The war games were close but in the end the Ultramarines, led by a highly experienced Captain Reuben, taught the new comers some valuable lessons they won’t forget when they battle the enemies of Mankind.

Orks vs. Orks: Archeotech Hunt

Ethereal Mark and I decided to play the Archeotech Hunt Scenario with 1000 point ork lists.  The idea was that two big meks belonging to the same Waaagh! heard about an area rich in exotic technology ripe for the plucking.  So both meks gathered together their henchmen and snuck off … only to find their hated rival staring across at them!

We implemented a number of rules specifically for this game:

  • The warlord must be a big mek.
  • A warboss cannot be fielded by either army.
  • Big Meks and meks have the Objective Secured rule themselves, but they do not confer OS onto other members of their unit.

The boyz clash early in the fighting.

Early Game: Ethereal (or Big Mek, rather) Mark’s tankbustas sped their trukk into a ruin and blazed away at my battlewagon and deff dread.  He also began tightening a circle around my army with large numbers of boyz to my left and skorcha buggies backed up by a squadron of deffkoptas to my right.

My plan was to counter attack with the force field-protected battlewagon full of boyz supported by my walker, cut down his bold encirclement, barrage his large troop concentrations with my heavy mortars and carry off all the archeotech, then lord it over all of the other big meks … especially my rival with his fancy, yellow mega armor!  Unfortunately things didn’t turn out quite that way.

Mark’s tankbusta trukk barely weathered the fire from my battle wagon and other assets.  This allowed him to go on the attack and assault my wagon, blowing it up.  I had a bit of luck in that only a couple of the 20 choppa boyz were killed. The tank killer orks were not done yet and managed to immobilize my walker and then rushed in to finish it off, only to fall victim to its huge, snapping claws.  Still, they did finish off the dread but were now a spent force.  They had done very well all things considered!

Mark’s tankbustas had seized the initiative, throwing my forces on the defensive from which they never truly recovered despite some last ditch attempts at heroics.

Mid Game: Despite the efforts of my mortar goblins Mark’s circle was tightening.  My single deep striking deff kopta and small squad of jump orks did manage to rocket into a good position behind his forces.  As Mark later pointed out, this caused a delay while he secured the objectives in his rear area, thus slowing down the encirclement of my forces, which allowed my big mek to lead a brave counter-attack!

A meganob, looking victorious in yellow.

End Game: My warlord, seeing that all was nearly lost and that the bravest greenskins in his miserable warband were a bunch of goblins, decided to force the issue.  Leading a still large force of shoota and choppa boyz, they climbed over the smoking wrecks of enemy skorcha buggies and picked through ruins toward Mark’s advancing big mek with his boyz.  Mark’s big mek oozed confidence and was resplendent in yellow mega armor.

My leader tuned his force field to Waaagh!, raised his lucky red wrench on high, and called for the charge.  Although my boyz did inflict decent casualties among the enemy orcs with their dakka, the ruins and distance were too much and the charge failed.  The Mega Mek’s forces held despite losses and advanced into the ruins firing their weapons and building up for a counter-attack.

My brave mek made a sudden decision.  Despite still having a goodly number of willing fighters around him not to mention a enraged nob with a power klaw, he suddenly threw the whole thing up and ran from the battlefield before either group could get stuck in.

That pretty much put paid to the battle with Mark’s mega mek firmly in charge of the archeotech site and his rivals either dead or fleeing.  He won a resounding victory!  My cowardly big mek was never seen again.  Rumor has it that the aforementioned nob krumped him later or possibly my ork engineer hightailed it to parts unknown.

Happier Days, Circa 2013: Deploying into Anti-Air Formation

As a bit of a post script, the heroes of my army, the plucky artillery goblins, spiked their guns and hopped down escape tunnels that they learned how to construct from the artillery mice.  Better to live to fight another day rather than end up some nob’s lunch!

Steel Legion & Officio Assassinorum vs. Orks

The orks have seen a lot of battles versus the Imperial Guard, especially lately, though this is the first time we’ve lined up against this particular officer.  We played 1500 points and decided upon the “Big Guns Never Tire” scenario from the Eternal War series.  The goal here was to hold objectives at the end of the game and destroy your opponent’s heavy support units while preserving your own.

He had two battle tanks as his heavy support.  Other vehicles included four or five chimera and a valkyrie gunship with embarked storm troopers.  His troops were all (or at least mostly) veterans with those scary-looking german helmets and gas masks.  (We imagined that our battle was a small part of what happened during the Third War for Armageddon.  Perhaps the vindicare assassin was dispatched to kill Ghazghkull Thraka, who apparently was elsewhere.) The orks opted for a slight variation on Colonel Fixit’s Command Group list.

An ork rok hurtling in for a landing accounts for the over exposure in this picture.

Early Game: The orks had more than their share of luck in the beginning stages, which sort of set the tone for the evening. They charged ahead and despite a hail of battle cannon shells, laser fire, and volleys of grenades all of the ork vehicles were still rolling.  No one was more surprised by this than the greenskins.

Guard tanks exchanged fire with ork artillery, causing light casualties among the zzap guns.  The humans maneuvered, stacking their armor and mechanized infantry on their right flank to meet both advancing squads of trukk boyz.

Things look bad for the Vindicare Assassin but he’s all right … for now.

Mid-Game: The imperial right flank crumbled with surprisingly light ork casualties.  By the time the greenskin troopers were a spent force, they had broken through and wrecked the command chimera, Den Mother.

A valkyrie gunship reinforced the battle and along with the assassin tried to stop the nobz battlewagon rolling down the center of the field.  The half track shrugged off multiple lascannon hits, but a turbopenetrator round finally blew off a wheel and temporarily stopped the wagon.

Meanwhile a strike squad of ork jump infantry rocketed into the fray, surrounding the assassin. The assault sergeant popped a red flare and called in an air strike.  Captain Daniel, the Steel Legion company commander, ordered a nearby squad of veterans to focus fire on the stormboyz and eliminated this distraction, though the storm nob took cover and guided in the aircraft for as long as he could. The assassin, laying on his back behind some 50 gallon drums, managed to score a perfect if unlikely shot right into the MIG 15’s engine as it flew over him. Trailing oil and black smoke, the pilot returned to base his strike mission (as far as he was concerned) completed.

Looks cool but the real reason is I forgot to pack my flight stand. 😦

End Game: Despite the heroics of the vindicare assassin, a late gravchute insertion attempt by the storm troopers, and the coolness under fire of Captain Daniel, there was no stopping the orks this time.  The ork big guns fell silent.  Artillery goblins watched through periscopes and field glasses, chattering excitedly back and forth on their radios, as a greenskin ring of infantry closed around the remaining imperial platoon.  In the end the assassin spent his seventh life and died to a stray nob shoota bullet as he bravely held his position awaiting an extraction order, which never came.  Someone at the Office of Assassins will want answers to some hard questions!

We ended the game with the orks in possession of five of the six objectives and both Steel Legion heavy support tanks were burning hulks.  Hopefully the rest of the Third War for Armageddon doesn’t go as badly for the Imperium as it did here today.  Otherwise Commissar Yarrick is not going to be pleased!

The Emperor’s Shield

“Captains!  Another centennial contest is upon us, and we shall once again determine who is best suited to be the Emperor’s Shield.  The Lords of Terra welcome you to Olympus IV to test your mettle against your fellow Adeptus Astartes.  These battle exercises help to hone the skills of all our chapters for their eternal war against the xenos pestilence and the scourge of Chaos.”

I recently participated in a mirror list tournament at Endgame in Oakland, CA.  Thank you very much to TO Adan for organizing and running the event.  Also, thanks to First Captain Reuben of the Mythic Angels for tactical advice, loan of a squad of his honored and ancient assault marines, as well as logistical support transporting my chapter to the Alameda Sector.

The list everyone played was:

Headquarters
Captain in power armor with power sword and bolt pistol.
Librarian in power armor with force staff and bolt pistol. He was level 2 and his powers were Iron Arm, Endurance, and Smite.

Troops
Two units of ten tactical marines. The sergeant had a chainsword and bolt pistol. Special weapons were a flamer and missile launcher. Each squad had a rhino with a dozer blade as a dedicated transport.

Elite
Dreadnought with an assault cannon and power fist with a built-in storm bolter.

Heavy Support
Predator with auto-cannon turret and lascannon sponsons.

Fast Attack
Land Speeder with heavy flamer and multi-melta.
Five assault marines. The sergeant had a plasma pistol.

Game One: Assaulting the Green Marines’ right flank.

Adan assigned chapter tactics and the first game was Ultramarines. We were also allowed to pick warlord traits, but we could only use a specific trait for one game. I picked Master of Ambush and used this to concentrate my forces somewhat on my opponent’s right flank. This was the only game where the trait had much of an effect on the battle.

The idea was to take one of his backfield objectives, which was behind good cover, and have one of my combat squads with the missile launcher hold this strong position and blast away. I’d have threats coming from my own side of the board as well so I could swing around and subject whoever was in the center of the board holding the important objective there to a (hopefully) withering crossfire.

Things worked out but not nearly as well I hoped. My opponent did have to direct a goodly number of his forces to react to the outflank, but it turned into a bloody stalemate. I did win the game decisively, but mostly because of Chapter Tactics: Good Luck. For example, my assault marines deep struck but ended up in a bad position where they got tied up by a dreadnought. They lost a couple of marines, failed their morale check and promptly ended up 16″ back where they were in prime position to kill a land speeder threatening my forces. After that they joined in on the final attack on the center position. My predator won the tank duel that lasted three turns, and so on.

Still, sometimes as the saying goes it is better to be lucky than good and I had my share of it in this tournament. In any case, it was a very fun game and I hope to play the Green Marines again someday soon.

Game Two: Close quarters in the Zone Mortalis Light!

The board for this match was very interesting in that it was what Adan called “Zone Mortalis Light” in the middle, surrounded by thick ruins. Again we were fighting for objectives and I believe we were Raven Guard. The rules for the ZML were no vehicles except the dreadnought could enter and the walls went up to “infinity” so you couldn’t shoot or move over them. Also, our flamers were twin-linked against any unit inside the zone.

As might be expected this was a very tactical game inside the zone. Both sides were doing their best to maneuver so they got to be the ones charging. Outside the zone it was a bit more of a free for all with my rhinos tank shocking all over the place and our heavy units trading fire. My opponent pulled off a great move when he blocked off one of the entrance to the ZML with both of his rhinos. Right in the face of my advancing forces! He also pulled off some late game unlikely but exciting charges against my tactical marines covering one of the ZML entrances.

This was a hard-fought game where by the end our captains ended up dueling each other to a draw. However, my land speeder, despite immediately immobilizing itself in a ruin when it deep struck, did manage to cripple both Adan’s predator and his dreadnought. More good luck. This allowed my dreadnought to pick his way unopposed into the ZML, where he did good work supporting my infantry and holding the central objective.

Game Three: Imperial Fists assault marine on the attack!

The last game was a first for me: I’ve never played on the top table at a tournament before. The terrain was fairly sparse and we were fighting for kill points. A couple of forests and several large hills. We were Imperial Fists this time, which suited my opponent because that was his preferred chapter!

The early fighting mostly came down to a long-ranged battle to control a long firing lane between two hills. My opponent won the roll off for table sides and wisely deployed his predator in a forest at his end of this lane. This allowed him to control the action there, supported by both his missile launchers. My response was to use the hills for cover as best I could and counter-attack. We both tried to turn each others’ forces around a plateau on my far left flank. This ended up in a somewhat bloody draw. He had a small advantage in the fighting, but I got first blood when his deep striking speeder landed too close to my forces.

My opponent had the early advantage overall mainly because he had control of the firing lane. My speeder was able to pull off a very risky drop right behind his predator. I hoped to destroy it with my multi-melta but had to settle for shearing off one of its lascannons.

This was a very close game that came down to the final turn. Things were looking bad when his assault marines drove back my supporting infantry and stunned the walker with a lucky plasma pistol shot. His librarian jumped alone into an empty rhino and moved flat out toward the fighting to help finish them off. If he succeeded my opponent would cement his victory.

Instead, my other, less harried missile launcher squad managed to wreck the rhino as it moved across the contested firing lane. From there the librarian jumped out and continued on his way. My dreadnought recovered and pushed back the assault marines, despite being covered in krak grenades. Another shot, either by my predator or a missile launcher (I forget) and the librarian was dead. With time running out I was up by one kill point. Tough game against a very good opponent. Honestly, I felt like I was fighting off balance for most of the game.

A memento for the chapter’s trophy room.

First place was the plaque seen above and a nice gift certificate, which I used toward buying a new predator. Although the ancient predator I now possess, pulled from a lake by orks and then rescued by the Space Wolves or Ultramarines (depending upon who you ask) has given me good service, it has burned far too long in the crucible of war. Its machine spirit deserves an honorable retirement or at least a good, long rest.

So, all that remains now is to add a gold ribbon to my Wolf Standard and go back to fighting all of that xeno pestilence and Chaos scourge!

Orks Versus Grey Knights: “Uh, Sir, that’s a little too close.”

As if the Grey Knights didn’t have enough trouble.  They semi-successfully defended “the relic” from a covetous space marine chapter, when a bunch of orks rumbled onto the very same battlefield twenty minutes later.  Almost makes one feel bad for the boys from Titan, except there is no pity in the 41st millennium.

The mission was “Cleanse & Control” and we played 1500 points.  As far as I could tell there were four units of knights in power armor.  Most of them seemed to be interceptors, but how is an ork to tell?  One group sat out the entire game sheltered inside a ruin guarding an objective and presumably trying not to get shot up.  (I imagine those were not interceptors!)  Lord Draigo also graced the battle with his presence.  He was accompanied by a librarian and a host of terminators.  Rounding out the marine forces was a dread knight.

Early stages of the battle: The storm trooper sergeant’s head on a stick.

The orks figured they were going to sneak in right before dawn, after the beakies finished beating the crap out of each other, bundle the shiny relic into a trukk and high tail it for home before anyone knew what they were about.  Consequently it was the Too Many Chiefs detachment from page 102 of the codex.  Pretty much everyone important wanted in on the glory.  Two warbosses showed up, one on an enormous motorcycle and another (Warboss Hungry) in a battle wagon lording it over a gaggle of nobz.  Then there was the jump infantry commander — some junior lieutenant who happened to be borrowing Zagstruk’s stat line.  The less said about him the better.  Otherwise, pretty much any ork who could find a ride showed up.  I’m not sure who the mortar battery hitched a ride with, but goblins are nothing if not resourceful.

Early Battle: The orks spread out all over the field.  They wanted to control the objectives early and take advantage of their mobility before the marines blew up all of their lovely transports.  The assault lieutenant drove his large squad of jump troops down the middle of the field.  He wanted to impress both warbosses.  Further it didn’t occur to him that a small squad of marines would dare bring the fight to him.  But bring it they did.  A group of five or six marines charged guns blazing into three times their number of orks.  When the dust settled all of the orks were dead or routed, including the green lieutenant.  Just as well.  Saved higher command the trouble of executing him for being an incompetent git!

Otherwise the ork plan seemed to be working.  They were recovering valuable archeo-technology out from under the very beakies of the grey beakies!  “Fer da Greata Gud an’ da Revulushun!”

The Junior Assault Lieutenant puts some of his men through their paces in happier days.

Mid-Battle: The goblin mortar battery, for which the orks are (in)famous, was placing accurate hits on strike and interceptor squads.  They weren’t doing much against power armor-clad troops, but this heavy shelling could not be allowed to go unchallenged.  The marine commander ordered his dreadknight to teleport in on the ork right flank.  The artillerymen took one look at that ugly, giant walker shimmering into existence ten feet from their position and high tailed it back to base.  This allowed the Grey Knights to secure an objective valuable both for its skyfire potential and as a treasure trove of hidden supplies, i.e. victory points.

The battle raged back and forth with both sides exchanging small arms fire.  Neither could be said to control the situation.  Despite the early surprise by the orks, the Grey Knights were able to re-secure much of what they had originally lost.  Lord Draigo teleported in with a large squad of terminators, though due to some garbled communications he almost materialized directly inside the strike squad corporal, who was fumbling with a particularly high-strung teleporter beacon.  Still, all turned out well.  The terminators withstood a powerful ork air strike with minimal casualties, and anchored their lines with a force the orks had no means to approach head-on, sideways or any way whatsoever.

Late Battle: The orks did meet dread knight threat.  General Hungry ordered his battle wagon to proceed at top speed toward the ork right flank.  He radioed the bike squad leader to back up his efforts and engage a supporting interceptor squad.  The ork bikers took more casualties from riding at top speed directly through the walls of a ruin than they did from the fight itself.

“Furst man ta krump dat fing gets ta be boss nob!” he bellowed, standing on the cab of his wagon waving his klaw.  Hungry mentally congratulated himself for speaking in orky pidgin, then promptly tumbled off accidentally on purpose with all of the frantic klaw-waving.  He almost got left behind.  Three nobz killed each other in their zeal to reach the dread knight.  Another nob or two died shrieking beneath the walker’s huge blade.  In the end they ate the grey knight driver and spent the rest of the battle fighting over who would get to pilot the new “dread”.

The remaining bikers dismounted and stood in a circle around their leader’s motorcycle, trying to figure out how to get a suit of power armor untangled from his forks.

Meanwhile, Hungry received a communication from the battle analysts aboard his command strike cruiser.  They had determined that the orks had achieved as much as they could possibly expect in their opportunistic raid.  Any further indulgence in battle would most likely only serve the ends of the Grey Knights.  So he sent up the red flare and as one the orks rolled, ran, flew, crawled and swam for home, leaving the marines scratching their heads and wondering what the hell just happened.  Theories included that Tigurius from the last battle summoned the orks using some “unknown and possibly broken” summoning spell.  (Wouldn’t it be typical of Roboute Guilliman to pull something like that?)

In any case, the game ended in a draw.  Happily, I achieved style points by having Hungry fulfill his Saga of the Cowardly Warboss by not putting himself in a situation where he had a good chance of dying. (See post-script.)

Saga of Wat? Yooz can’t do dat in 40K!

Post Script:  As has been mentioned before in the dim recesses of the past, Warboss Hungry (so named because of his appetites for goblin flesh) is rather unusual as ork warbosses go because he believes in using guile, tactics, and intelligence over strength and brute force.  In fact he is secretly a coward, though he goes to great lengths to not appear so.  In fact he is quite well-spoken, speaks several languages fluently and is an avid reader on a variety of subjects.  Shockingly, he is capable of loyalty and friendship, and has close ties with non-orks on many different worlds, especially amongst the Tau.  If he has a failing with his men, it is in the heat of battle he sometimes forgets to “speak orky” and the boyz don’t understand a word he is saying.

The upshot of all of this is Warboss Hungry must be fielded with the “Finking Cap” upgrade to account for his intellect.  He also has the “Saga of the Cowardly Warboss” though if he knew that his reality were in fact a 40K game he’d prefer to call it the “Saga of the Tactical Super Genius.”  Those of you who are familiar with the concept of sagas from the old Space Wolves codex know that the idea is to gain style points by winning the game while playing your character the way your saga says you are supposed to.  If you don’t, then you have to redeem your honor the next time around!

So Hungry’s saga requires that he not subject his person to anything where he has a good chance of getting killed.  Charging a dread knight with a squad of ten nobz?  Send in some “boss nob” mook for the challenge, let the rest of the nobz do the hard work and take credit at the end.  He gets word his powerful nob bodyguard is staging a revolt to replace him as chief.  Does he reassert his authority by fighting it out with the alpha-nob?  No, he “agrees” fresh blood is needed, steps down as boss and then manipulates the nobz into multi-charging three squads of terminators led by Logan Grimnar the next battle and letting nature take its course.  So, you get the idea.

Next Time: My impressions about playing in my third “Twin-Linked” tournament up in Sacramento with my charismatic partner, General Mark, of the Farsight Enclaves.