Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hive Fleet Sharktopus - First Contact

So the tabletop wargame - Warhammer 40k from Games Workshop - has been getting a resurgence of popularity among my group of gaming friends recently. There have always been a few dedicated players around but now just about everyone I game with is playing.

I actually played 40k long ago, I had a buddy that was big into the game and I put together a Space Marine army -the Dark Knights - with a color scheme based on Batman's costume (blue and grey and yellow, not the totally black modern one). But I never played often and when my group started playing Warmachine - from Privateer Press - I sold off all of my Space Marine figures to buy my first Cryx models.

We have not played Warmachine for a while - they released a 2nd edition and while all of the models are still usable our group lost interest. So I wasn't playing any wargame sat the
moment but I wasn't really looking to get in to a new one, so I resisted all the pleas to pick up a 40k army. I probably could have sold my Warmachine army to start a 40k army but I just couldn't bear to part with them.

So I was the odd man out in our group, which isn't anything new as I'm also one of the rare guys that doesn't play Magic. But eventually I caved and decided I'd looking in to putting together a small army.

I decided that if I was going to get a new army I would get the one I liked the most and went with the Tyranids. They are awesome looking and I love the idea of a massive hoard of slavering monsters streaming across the battlefield. I put together a basic army list and started getting the models but I just didn't have much time to devote to the hobby and after a month or so I had purchased some models but had not had time to assemble them, I didn't even have enough yet to make a full army to learn to play.

All that changed when my buddy Travis picked up some models from a guy getting out of the game and was cool enough to sell them to me at the same amazing deal he got them for. Suddenly I had plenty of models to play with - so next order of business is learning to play.

Tyranids don't have a society as such, they have a hive mind and are really more like small parts of one big organism. They are currently invading the far edges of the known galaxy and are broken up into gigantic Hive Fleets. They are like giant tendrils snaking in from their home galaxy, devouring everything in their path to propagate more of their kind to continue their conquest.

Three of the official Hive Fleets are named after mythological sea monsters - Hive Fleet Kraken, Hive Fleet Hydra, and Hive Fleet Leviathan - so when trying to come up with a name for my army my brother suggested naming it after the greatest sea monster ever - the Sharktopus.

Played my first Tyranid game today against my brothers Grey Knight Space Marine force. The Grey Knights are a special force of Space Marines dedicated to wiping out Deamons and Chaos. Since they are used to taking crazy monsters I figured I was in for a hell of a fight.

We played a 500 pt game. Setting up the table we rolled for our mission and ended up with Seize Ground where there were certain areas of the board we were fighting over - the goal was to keep control of as many of these spots as possible until the end of the game - but to be honest I knew my guys were going to try to win by eating the other army, I just can't imagine a Tyranid Warrior camping on some random spot when there is devouring to be done. We also rolled to see what kind of deployment type we would use. We ended up with Dawn of War. We both were able to deploy just part of our army but were closer together than normal, only about a foot apart and the first round of the fight used the night time fighting rules. This represents two small scouting parties that stumble across each other first thing in the morning, the rest of your army comes in from the edge as reinforcements on your first turn.

I went with a total melee army - the Sharktopus does not fuck around as they say. My HQ choice was a Hive Tyrant with two pairs of scything claws. That gave him 4 attacks a turn with the ability to re-roll any misses. For my first troop choice I took a huge swarm of 17 Hourmagaunts, these little buggers are really fast and each have two scything claws, so they re-roll any 1s on an attack. For my second choice I took a nice sized squad of 8 genestealers, these guys are cool because they are actually independent of the Hive Mind and can strike out of their own. They have claws that let them Rend, so each 6 they roll for damage gets armor penetration. I also took a small squad of 4 Warriors, these guys had one set of scything talons and another set of rending claws so their attacks have both benefits.

I didn't get to start with my Warriors on the board, they were my reinforcements but everything else was out. My genestealers had an ability that let them start anywhere on the board as long as they were out of sight of the other army so they were on the other side of the table behind a large building.

My opponent was a leader guy with a big sword, a sniper guy, and a troop transport with a squad of "purifiers" - I think they like fire or something.

My first turn I was able to get my Gaunts up quickly on to the Knights leader, but this guy was crazy tough. I moved my Genestealers towards him but was not close enough to engage yet. My Tyrant moved through some ruins towards the transport but didn't have enough move to make it out. My Warriors came running up to help but were nowhere near the battle.

Next turn the leader guy kicked the dump out of a few of my poor gaunts. He has some crazy psychic power - apparently all of the Grey Knights are psychics - but lucky for me the Tyranid Hive Mind plays havoc with mental powers and makes them roll an extra die (that's bad) so most of the time the powers were not going off. The troops in the transport jumped out and went to help the leader guy while the transport fired its one shot "missile of crazy damage" at my Tyrant. Not sure what happened but somehow I only took one hit from it. The sniper came on the board but lucky for me he can't move and shoot.

My Tyrant finally bust out of the ruins and ran up on the transport. I didn't destroy it but I got enough lucky rolls to take it out of the fight as it could no longer move or attack. My gaunts and stealers kept fighting the Knight and their leader, they outnumbered them 4 to 1 but Space Marines are tough and my guys were dropping like flies.

The sniper finally got to take a shot at my Tyrant and man was that a bad ass gun, if I wasn't lucky I would have taken two more hits and would have been down to just one hit.

My Tyrant left the tank and charged the Sniper, once I got a hold of him it was all over. My Warriors finally made it to the big fight just in time as most of my little guys were gone.

It took me two more turns to get my Tyrant into the fight and all my Gaunts and Genestealers were dead. The Knights leader was one tough son of a bitch, he only had one wound left but I had not been able to would him with tons of attacks. I think he would have taken out my Tyrant because after charging him I found out he had special training versus Monstrous Creatures - but he tried to call upon his psychic powers and rolled three 1's. His power went off and damaged everything around him - but his brain exploded at the same time. My Tyrant and last surviving Warrior were able to finish off the last two Knights.

I won on a technicality as my last Warriors just happened to be in one of the control zones at the end of the game - but I am really looking forward to repopulating Hive Fleet Sharktopus and taking on my next opponent.

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