Sunday, 12 April 2015

Everybody loves a Squat article from the lead pile blog

Don't believe Jervis Johnson's lies that the squats were eaten by a tyrannies.  From:

Everybody loves a Squat

None of the plethora of races that populate the 40K universe say 'Rogue Trader' more emphatically than the good old hairy Squat. No other race says over priced ebay hype louder than the squat as well but we can talk about that another day. Right now I simply want to revel in the glory that is the most sensible race in the universe (and ignore Jervis' throw away comment about them being eaten by nids).

Let's face it, we all know that the joy of Rogue Trader is that it's just Warhammer fanstasy in space and part of the hook dragged us all joyously into the (randomly numbered) far future was that we recognised all the races from our existing armies but they looked so much cooler with guns! And come on, doesn't a dwarf look far cooler chomping on a cigar and bracing himself against the recoil of an oversized bolter than stoically hefting a hammer?

So why are they contenders for the ultimate Rogue Trader race? Well first of all they were there from the start.

Front and centre! Mr first and only Space Dwarf, for a mere 60p (what can you get for 60p nowadays?) along with all his other first release mates. Even the dark elf guy had to wait till the next edition for friends but not Mr. Space Dwarf. No sooner could you say 'Cool! A Dwarf with a gun!' before he had a whole gaggle of diminutive mates to back him up in any intergalactic bar brawl.

In October 87 RT03 (yes, that's right number 3 behind marines and orks!) these 20 little hard-asses were unleashed. Followed shortly (ahem) by some command models (There are at least one more variant of each of these models).

Heavy weapon dudes             

A thudd gun

A mole mortar!

And dwarfs on bikes!!

All of these gorgeous stunties were lovingly crafted by the Perry twins and it is to my eternal shame that I own so few of them.
But just cos they had the basic army figures isn't enough for them to secure their place as Rogue Trader paragons.
Two squats appeared in the infamous Adventurers range (I've got both of these!)

And another couple were released as part of the small 'Medics range'
Not content with this level of astro-dwarfiness, Citadel had a whole other range of Squats sculpted by the Bob Olley for his Iron Claw imprint. (to be honest before putting this article together I didn't know about this ad or the squats in it, some of which I think are awesome little adventurer/character models, I knew of Bob's uniformed squats but these guys have really captured my attention). 

In fact I'm not even sure how many Squats Bob did while he was working for GW (quick check - according to the Olley's Armies page it's 60! plus the hover car!)

So we have loads of gnarly little badasses ready to shoot any greenskins or pointy-eared fairies, all this with only an army list in The book of the astronomican.

We have a very well represented race, plenty of models, support weapons, unique tactics and style. What's not to like? 

Secondly, more than any of the other races that were ported over to the 40th millennium, Squats just scream Rogue Trader. It's probably down to the fact that they never lasted very long beyond that edition (there was the ability to play them in 2nd). The imagery in the rulebook actually made them look like the hard fighting take-no-shit cool guys that everybody wanted to play, even more than the humans. Who better to take on the rowdy space drunks, the Orks. Squats looked like they could go toe-to-toe with the green skins and enjoy in a very grumpy kind of way. They wore a kind of uniform but only in a 'I'll wear it my way!' style that allowed a whole load of individualism. The squats lived in massive underground 'Strongholds' and they lent their fighting troops out as mercenaries to other 'Strongholds' or even other leagues. All mercenaries are cool!

Thirdly - Squats were pretty much just Rogue Trader. Although you could play them in 2nd edition there were no new models. All the squat models were released during the life time of Rogue Trader. All of the above ranges were around the first 12 months or so of RT's existance. Then in February 89, White Dwarf 111 published a fully detailed background article for the squats along with a full army list.

And along with it came a box set of plastic figures, something the pointy eared its didn't get for ages! Along with a big influx of new metal figures, Engineers, Warlord, Hearthguard, Ancestors, Exo armour, Ad-mech, new bikers, Heavy weapon trikes, eco-trikes and Chaos Squats! (although they were cursed by Citadels obsession with giving all their new models plastic arms!)
Plus adventurers and Pirates!
And by 1990 that's your lot. There were no new models for 2nd Edition (although squat models still kept appearing for Epic till 94) so the army you were playing with was an RT army. By 3rd edition squats had disappeared. So nothing says Rogue Trader more than Squats. It's just the way it is!
Obviously now we have to touch on the controversy of what actually happened to the squats. Fluff wise the standard response is that they were eaten by Tyranids. I always believed this was a grumpy response from Jervis Johnson to a question in a seminar. It's funny. But it also one of the main fault lines between Rogue Trader and it's decedents. It illustrates that the RT universe and what came after aren't really connected, they are alternate realities in which to game. If modern 40K existed in a universe where Tyrannids had wiped out several thousand homeworlds of a human (descended) race destroying millions of lives, wiping out one of the Empires most important allies, cutting off one of the key suppliers of technological know how and lost STC  as well as access to unique food growing technologies, you'd think someone would have mentioned it. You'd think someone would mourning their loss. You'd think someone would be sneaking back to the homeworlds to see if anything was left. In the 40K reality of today, squats never existed. There were no homeworlds. There were no heroic stunty allies. RT universe does not equal 40k 8th edition universe. They are two different realities. And that's the way I like it.
(Thanks to Orclord whose fantastic website Stuff of legends is where most of the images appear)
In reality (our reality) Squats died out cos nobody had any ideas. They could come up with mega-sized land train epic scale machines for them but just kept falling back on tired Dwarves-with-guns tropes as can be seen from the Unreleased figures that were designed as an attempt to revive them.
The near official response (again form Jervis on a now defunct forum) was that 
  • The designers felt that they "had failed to do the Dwarf 'archetype' justice in its 40K incarnation", and that the Squats were more of a joke race.
  • There existed a design disparity with the Warhammer 40,000 and the Epic-scale renditions of the race, which prevented there being a cohesive vision of the race.
  • Despite the efforts of the design team, they were unable to think up ways to revitalize the concept

Nobody wanted the job. So they were just ignored and died of abject neglect. Written out of history while other abhumans (ratlings, ogryns) shambled on into the future. Ho hum.
Nevermind, we still love 'em.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

End times tournament report

My list 2200 points 

Sorcerer lord level 3 fire, lammasu, charmed shield, talisman of preservation and earthing rod
Bsb shield, great weapon, helm of discord, luck stone
Hobgoblin khan on wolf, light armour, shield and warrior bane


23 infernal guard, full command and war banner hw and shield

2 x 20 hobgoblins with bows and shields- one unit with musician


2 x death rockets

Iron daemon skull cracker and hellbound


Kdaai destroyer 

Game 1 Karl - high elves
Modified blood and glory.

Karl ran Prince Imrik, a level 2 wizard in a white lion bunker with banner of the world dragon, 10 odd silver helms and three units of reavers.

My plan was to draw out his Knights for the hell bound iron daemon to charge whilst avoiding the White lions.  Those pesky fast moving elves prevented this and actually ended up rear charging the ID.

Anyway we played a game of cat and mouse with the high elves winning with Imrik charged the destroyer.  Thanks to my casting of a fulcrum and Karl's wizard being sucked down into the warp in turn 1 I had magical dominance and cast enough buffs and debuffs to keep the destroyer alive from the nasty charge of Imrik.  His armour and my flaming attacks meant this was a major grind fest.  A future flank charge on Imrik by the iron daemon as prevented by the aforementioned rear charge by the silver helms.

The destroyer eventually fell to Imrik.  The sorcerer left the safety of his summoned arcane fulcrum and ended up charging into a unit of reavers that had charged one of the death rockets.

End result 11-9 to me thanks mainly to the high elf wizard getting u key down the hole.

Lesson learnt from game 1- learn how to use my khan to redirect and get that iron daemon charging.
End times magic takes too long as I had too many choices with two full spell decks and one end times spell.
The host of the eternity king elves are a nightmare when in combat.

Game 2 Dan - goblins
Battle for the pass

This was a great game with dan running three big units of goblins, six wolf chariots, two manglers, two bolt throwers, stone chucka and two doom divers.  There were a heap of characters inc a level 4 and I think a level 2.

The manglers surged forward with the chariots coming down the flanks.  

Magic and death rockets took care of those damn manglers as the destroyer and and iron daemon surged forward.  The destroyer was charged by some chariots and the war machines unloaded on the sorcerer lord on another fulcrum and then switched to taking out the the death rockets.

The chariots ended up fleeing from the destroyer who slowly staggered towards the war machine corner on the left flank.   He finished the game crushing the stone thrower whilst on his last wound.  One unit of hobgoblins, the khan and the death rockets all died to a combination of magic and shooting.

The end times magic buffed the goblin lord's unit up to poison on a 5+ so I ensured I kept the destroyer a healthy distance away from them.

Daniel was a great opponent even when the extra cups of coffee I had, thanks Gavin, meant the numbers on the dice was beginning to get a little blurry lol.

End result was a draw 10/10

Lessons learnt from game 2- end times magic leads to multiple buffs that can even make a goblin unit pretty scary.

Game 3 will - chaos dwarfs
Dawn attack

It was time for a civil war on the ice table so I had the visual advantage.  Anyway Will was a great opponent and I am not too proud to admit I based my army list on one of his with the 2 units of 20 hobgoblins and sorcerer on the lammasu.

Will's list was sorcerer on lammasu, three units of hobgoblin archers, kdaai destroyer, iron daemon, 20 warriors, hellcannon and some fireglaives.

The dawn attack random deployment was pretty good for me with lots of sixes rolled and the subsequent heavy centre of my warriors, death rockets, lammasu and iron daemon.  Will was good enough to let me deploy my khan after we both had finished as I left him on the previous table - I blame the coffee.

Will's deployment was also centre heavy but my destroyer was facing off against his iron daemon on my right.

It was not long for us both to have summoned a fulcrum (again another stolen tactic from Will) and had our respective destroyers heading off in search of blood.  

Mine failed his first charge but Will's charged my redirecting khan on wolf which I hoped would bring him into a forest.  Will implemented his charge well and overran into my unit of warriors.  

I had positioned my iron daemon for a counter charge and then unleashed end times magic spam to reduce his destroyers strength, toughness or anything else to make him vulnerable.  Before the iron daemon hit the unstable rule had meant the magic reduced destroyer would lose combat and take a couple of wounds, the subsequent skull cracker charge was brutal and Will's destroyer was dead.  

On the right flank it took about three turns of combat for my destroyer to take out Will's iron daemon.  

End result was a 11 - 9 win

Lessons learnt - mounted sorcerer prophets do do allow rerolls of war machine artillery or scatter dice- I overlooked this when making my list so was a good reminder to read and reread your rules when taking something new.

Game 4 Casey - skaven 
Battle line

Casey army was big blocks of slaves, a storm vermin block, plague priest block, A bomb, 2 skaven cannons, 2 grey seers and a heap or warlock engineers.

This was a quick match - not in my favour.  Casey is one of the best players in WA and knows her army well.

I surged forward with the khan, iron daemon, destroyer and lammasu.

This did not go well for the iron daemon and the lammasu both falling to a cracks call and the destroyer being withered to death.  

Stand firm lads!

The last glorious shot of my army before the concession speech was made to a hand full of remaining hobgoblins.

The remaining infernal guard unit was zapped to death whilst I had not killed any full units of the skaven.

It was pretty much over at this point so I threw in the towel and congratulated Casey on a well played massacre of my dawi zharr.

0 - 20 

Lessons learnt skaven Magic has always hammered me in games and the end times makes it more unrelenting than ever.

Overall I had two wins, a draw and a massacre against.  Not bad for a silent army in the end times.

Learning to use the khan as a redirector in combination with the iron daemon was my personal goal for the tournament.  I think I did well in my third game when this was part of my plan but failed in my first game.

I think the fulcrum saved my lammasu more than once when I was rolling for miscasts as I found I cast more shadow spells using his level 1 lammasu thanks to the end times spam effects.  I enjoyed using fire but I think Hashut would have been better but hey this was an end times tournament and GW must have forgotten to make an end times Hashut spell.

I ended up seventh of the fourteen punters who came along.  I enjoyed every game and my opponents and everyone else I spoke to was a pleasure to spend a Sunday with even though the kiwis lost the cricket which was on the screen during the tournament.

I still think end times rules are incompatible with tournaments without any form of comp but the punters who came along meant I enjoyed this tournament much better than my first end times tournament.