Noise Marines Army

August 31, 2009 · 5 comments

A Noise Marines army on Warhammer Tau? Actually, I forgot to bring my Tau with me to James's place today, so I had to borrow his Chaos army for a game.

Now, as someone who was formerly a follower of the 'ruinous powers' prior to embracing the 'greater good' of the Tau Empire, I thought this would be a great way to try out the Noise marines army I'd had forming in my mind.

Unfortunately, James doesn't have the army I wanted, so I proxied it using miniatures from his currently shelved Thousand Sons army.

James took his usual 1500 points Space Marines army, while I took a relatively cut n' paste list of:

Daemon Prince: mark of Slaanesh, wings, lash of submission
Daemon Prince: mark of Slaanesh, wings, lash of submission

5 noise marines with sonic blasters, led by champion with powersword and doom siren
Rhino with extra armour

5 noise marines with sonic blasters, led by champion with powersword and doom siren
Rhino with extra armour

5 noise marines with sonic blasters, led by champion with powersword and doom siren
Rhino with extra armour

2 Obliterators
2 Obliterators
2 Obliterators

Thoughts on the Noise Marine Army:
As you can see, this army is really thrilling on paper -not!

In truth I wanted to take what I'm convinced is the only way to play Chaos competitively without Plague Marines. But if you want to be really cheesy, simply swap the Noise Marine squads for Plague Marines squads with 2 plasma guns and a champion with a powerfist.

Anyway, we played 2 games.
First game was disastrous for me as I hadn't really figured out the army and it made me realise how comfortable I've become playing my Tau.

Second game was disastrous for James (despite my terrible dice rolling), which led to a solid victory for the powers of Chaos. However, the army is incredibly boring to play, isn't quite as versatile as my usual Tau mechanised force and made me realised why I stopped playing Chaos Marines in the first place...other than the comical failure of armour saves.

While I've always loved the look and feel of Chaos (and cackling madly to myself), the force seems like a bit of a gimmick, a bit of a one-trick-pony -essentially not a 'real' army. Orks (for example) are a real army, because you can imagine picking a huge variety of things from the Codex and creating all manner of forces from hordes of boyz on foot to speed freaks, battle wagon krumpanies and the like.

I can't imagine anyone playing an Apocalypse game with a Chaos army due to the limit of viable units. Even then, I regard the Chaos space marines army as depicted in the 4th edition codex which revolves around the Traitor Legions from the Horus Heresy, not random chaos renegades. No chaos purist would ever contemplate mixing plague marines, bezerkers, noise marines and Thousand Sons in a single army. They'd murder each other before they even got to the enemy!

So while I continue to contemplate a second army to compliment my Tau, I'm sad to say the Chaos Marines shall not be it.

Although it was refreshing for James not to march his Space Marines straight down my throat, which is what usually happens when I'm playing Tau.

Tau Reinforcements

· 0 comments

Things have been quiet with Warhammer Tau of late. I haven't played much Warhammer 40K this summer due to one thing and another. But that's about to change. Especially when we have another weekend of Warhammer in Nottingham coming up. So with a campaign in the planning stages by yours truly, I've ordered a suitable amount of Tau reinforcements for my army.

I just typing this up while the washing is spinning, before I drive to James's for a spot of dinner and a game of Warhammer 40K on this fine and sunny British bank holiday Monday. Sadly no photos this time, as my camera battery has died and I appear to have lost the charger since moving into my apartment, which is a real bother.

Anyway, I've nearly finished painting my twin flamer/missile pod Tau Battlesuit squad. So with everything in my army case painted, it's time for the next wave of Tau reinforcements.

7 Tau Battlesuits
5 Tau Skyrays
Loads of Bits from The WarStore

In the meantime I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Space Hulk boxed set. I had a quick look at the box in my local gaming store and was very excited. So excited that I nearly told off the shop owner for not assembling the whole thing so we could play a game!

It sounds like the washing is finished. I'd best be off!

40K Scenery

August 29, 2009 · 6 comments

More 40K scenery! Things have been quite on the Warhammer 40K front of late due to life, the company I work for moving and Call of Duty: World at War. In fact, it was playing Resistance: Fall of Man that inspired me to purchase so much fine 40K scenery in the first place.

Fighting across a ruined landscape of shattered city buildings was a real blast and I feel the same about scenes from Call of Duty, especially when the Russians invade Berlin, surging forward through a network of interlinking ruins with wave upon wave of men.

I feel rather shallow at describing the excitement of these scenes when so many people fought and died in the second world war. But it is a rich tapestry from which to draw our inspirations in a war games hobby that involves little plastic men shooting at one another through the use of dice.

Anyway, enough philosophy, especially when we're likely to embark on a Stalingrad inspired 40K campaign.

The good news is that I've commissioned more 40K scenery to be made by Black Knight Studios from more ruined buildings.

Originally I was going to get some Tau Empire bastions made for Planetstrike, but soon realised that defending a ruined building was far more cinematic. I can then fortify it with wooden planks across the windows, barricades made from rubble and whatever battlefield debris my troopers find.

I think we're overdue for a proper 40K campaign along with a diverse mixture of terrain boards and 40K scenery to fight across. Typically, it's up to me to write and plan such things. So until I do, I think we'll all remain a little bored with our games of 40K.

However, the next big Broxbourne Wargamers Massive 40K day isn't far off. I'd better get those last two Tau Battlesuits painted!

Tau Apocalypse Art

August 22, 2009 · 4 comments

When it comes to Tau artwork, there's an illustration from Apocalypse and Planetstrike that I always find stirring.

Not because it's shows the Tau kicking arse against the monstrosity of the Tyranids, but from the classical perspective of an art critic.

It's very rare nowadays that anyone talks about Games Workshop artwork, unless it's fan art generated on the net. So as someone who studied Fine Art as part of their degree, I feel that the Games Workshop art studio has come on leaps and bounds in recent years by not only employing traditional media, but by utilising traditional methods of picture layout and construction.

I'm still struggling to acquire a full image of this Tau VS Tyranids artwork as it seems to be cropped in various places from a variety of sources.

There's a heck of a lot going on in this picture, but the real beauty of it isn't the attention to detail, the thousand Tau Battlesuits dropping out of the sky, the line of Tau Hammerhead gunships forming a battery line, the towering monstrous creatures or the Tau aircraft moving to intercept them. It's the sense of depth and dimension which creates an open space in the centre and to the right of the picture. This gives everything in the picture a perfect sense of scale while the Tau Battlesuit stood atop a fallen Carnifex gives us a great visual reference to measure the size of the varying figures throughout this piece.

Traditionally crafted art like this seems a far cry from the days of old which featured rather two-dimension efforts in a crisper comic book style and with the release of grander projects like Planetstrike and Apocalypse, Games Workshop is producing some fantastic art. I can't wait to see the illustrations inside the new Space Hulk rulebooks!

Painting Tau Battlesuits

August 18, 2009 · 6 comments

I've been painting Tau Battlesuits this weekend, which feels quite therapeutic, having not painted any of my Tau army for quite a while.

I've only done 1 of the 3 twin linked flamer Battlesuits which seem to have featured in countless battle reports for the past few months without every actually being painted. So with my second Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament on the way, I thought I'd better pull my finger out and get my Tau Battlesuits painted.

I'm very pleased with this one, because he's probably the cleanest of all my Tau Battlesuit conversions. He's also armed with a fantastic twin linked flamer conversion, which I 'borrowed' from the guy who runs the Advanced Tau Tactica forums.

I had to make a few moderations due to not having all of the same components or sheer laziness, but the essence of the design is there. Basically it's a plasma rifle block with the fuel line repositioned, a flamer fuel tank stuck on top and then the front of the Tau flamer with an extra nozzle stuck on the front. Finally a small rectangular chunk of plastic from the bottom of the pulse carbine handle fills out the bottom of the plasma rifle body, bringing it in line with the underlying support strut of the flamer.

For painting, I undercoated the gun in my usual Privateer Press Paint "Thornwood Green", applied the highlight (a Thornwood Green/Bleached Bone 70/30 mix), figured out which bits would look better in brown, then painted on two subtle orange stripes. Done!

I need to write up a Tau Battlesuit painting guide one day.

SPACE HULK

August 17, 2009 · 5 comments

Space Hulk is back and I'm very excited. I played Space Hulk to death after getting my hands on the Space Hulk point and click from Tearsdown.se which is sadly no longer available.

Space Hulk has been in the rumours for well over a year, so I was a little scheptical, but Space Hulk is finally here!

I've ordered my Space Hulk box this morning. I was tempted to get 2, then realised I was being a bit silly and bought just 1 instead.

Space Hulk Tactics

Having played the Space Hulk point and click game more than any sane person should, I've learned that Real Space Hulk tactics are very different to the 'obvioius tactics' normally employed.

Playing the Genestealers is relatively straightforward, unless the Space Marine player is incredibly lucky.

Playing the Space Marine terminators however, is a very tricky and tactical affair. Simply setting up 4 guys in a room, looking down each corridor is a recipe for disaster.

In Space Hulk, you not only have to create crossing lanes of fire, but get into the habit of getting your guys into position.

One example, is what I like to call Room Cross Fire.
You place 1 Space Marine in each corner of a room (if you have 5 guys, place the heavy flamer in the middle).

The Space Marine in the bottom right corner looks North, the Space Marine in the top right corner looks West, the Smace Marine in the top left corner looks South and the Space Marine in the bottom left corner looks East. Put them ALL on Overwatch and you've covered every angle with the firepower to put down ANYTHING that comes into the room, even if one of your guns jams.

That's all on Space Hulk for now until I get my box in the post. Then there might be a Space Hulk blog from me. Who knows?

Choosing a Tau Army

August 12, 2009 · 23 comments

For many people, choosing a Tau army isn't something on their minds. Rather, I get asked by a lot of people why on earth I chose Tau for my Warhammer 40K army.

Usually this is because they simply cannot find enthusiasm for the Tau Empire, it's look, feel or background. In fact, one guy told me how the Tau army was boring in every way. He explained how the army had no character, it was boring to play, boring to play against and just how much he disliked the models. Although he did remark on what a lovely job I'd done with the orange stripes.

So I thought that now was a good time to explain exactly why I play Tau, what makes the Tau so appealing not as a tactical force to play but as an army with a rich background and a strong theme.

Tau Background
Space communists. Most people believe that the Tau are communists in space with their Greater Good philosophy (how very democratic of them) with their miniature designs taking inspiration from the Ashigaru for their Firewarriors while Battlesuits are styled like Samurai and Stealth Suits are made to look like high tech ninja. Let's not forget that all their vehicles are named after a kind of fish and each caste is named after an element.

The comparison to the Japanese Feudal Period ends and we're plunged quite abruptly into the scattered tale of Games Workshop shoe-horning this new race into the Warhammer 40K universe.

In a nutshell, the Tau were discovered by an Adeptus Mechanicus explorer fleet, catalogued and forgotten. The Tau were busy fighting one another much like in the Japanese feudal period. But then the Ethereals appeared, united the Tau race and led them to work together and develop technology at a radical speed. The Imperium returned, came into conflict with the Tau and got their arses shot off.

The Xenology book (now out of print) explains how the Eldar genetically engineered the Ethereals to become leaders of the Tau, controlling them with their highly developed scent/musk glands reverse engineered from a Q'orl hive queen.

(For those not heavily into the unknown races of 40K, the Q'orl are insectoid wasp-like creatures with bionic implants.)

Then of course, we have Commander Farsight breaking away from the Tau Empire and forming his own enclave. This is a reference to Japanese history when Saigo Takamori's Samurai made their last stand against the Meiji government in the Battle of Shiroyama, which formed the historical basis for the movie The Last Samurai.

Other Influences
Like many of the armies in Warhammer 40K, the Tau draw on many other influences in the same way that Space Marines could be compared to medieval knights, that Tyranids take some elements of their design from Dinosaurs and how the Orks have been inspired by English football hooligans and Mad Max.

I think it's due to these types of cultural references that few people play Tau.
This is because few people fall into the right age category.

The real inspiration for the Tau comes from the late 80s and early 90s, which means that most 40K players are either too young or too old to truly appreciate the finer influences of the Tau Empire.

Turrican
Please note that this image is taken from Mega Turrican on the Sega Mega Drive. I couldn't get a good photo of the original Turrican on the Commodore 64.

Made in 1989, Turrican was developed for the Commodore 64 by Rainbow Arts and ported to other systems later. Turrican was a ground breaking game and bearing in mind that I must have been about 6 years old when I played it, it had a big influence on me. The slogan on the back of the box read "Shoot or Die" and the electronic music by Chris Hülsbeck was just as ground breaking as the game itself.

In Turrican you control a lone warrior fighting hordes of mutant creatures and cybernetic monsters and were aided by an advanced suit equipped with powerful weapons.

Turrican was a platform game and a shooting game, which meant you jumped around a lot, shot things a lot and had to defeat some of the most ingenious Bosses every devised (or End-Of-Level-Guardians as they were then called).

Turrican II followed in 1991 and was every bit as amazing as its predecessor, but with more levels, a jet pack level, ever more ingenious Boss fights and some of the best video game music ever made. Chris Hülsbeck, who created the music for Turrican II is an inspiration to a large number of electronic and industrial musicians even today.

The Manga Video Boom
In the mid-90s Anime came to our shores in wave of VHS tapes released by Manga Entertainment with titles like The Guyver, Detonator Orgun, Cyber City Oedo 808 and AKIRA.

During a time in which the Sega Mega Drive dominated the video games industry, it was suddenly very clear where so many video game influences had come from, including many of the earlier Commodore 64 games, like Turrican.

A lot of people online dislike the Tau, claiming that they're too heavily influenced by modern anime. The irony is, that the Tau are heavily influenced by the early 90s anime, which is a far darker genre. After all, this is what the Japanese took from films like Robocop and ALIENS before mixing it with their own ideas and feeding it back to us.

However, there was a consistent theme running through anime, which was the empowerment of technology. The Guyver and Detonator Orgun for example, give us a protagonist with heroic intentions, but either due to their age, class or circumstances they find themselves weak and powerless. But then, they acquire a tank, giant robot or space fighter and are able to fight an alien menace, a mutant horde or an insane computer that's turned the populous into cybernetic zombies and save the day. Much like Turrican really.

Stylistically speaking, many of the Tau Battlesuits and vehicle designs hark back to even older anime, borrowing a number of aesthetic elements from Robotech, which began in 1985. I've watched parts of it, and while it's dated quite horribly, the robot designs are quite impressive and clearly show an early inspiration for the Tau Battlesuit.

CONCLUSION
As a guy in his late 20s, the Tau army fills me with visions of Saturday morning adventure cartoons, the video games I grew up playing, 80s-90s anime and feudal Japan. Throw in my own militaristic colourscheme and I've got an army that's rich in character, fun to play and tells a story with every battle.

I think that if you're building an army based purely on what Games Workshop gives you, then you won't get the most out of this hobby. You need to find your own inspiration for an army.

I'm not saying you should go crazy with conversions or over the top theming. But these are all great ideas to throw into the melting pot, even if they're not clearly represented on your models. Could you tell that all these ideas were incorporated into my army every time I play a game? Of course not. But that doesn't mean your inspirations can't be inside your head.

I hope that my article has thrown some light on the inspirations behind the Tau Empire (or my inspirations at least) and will encourage many more people to play them.

1500 Points Tau Army List

August 11, 2009 · 20 comments

Here's the 1500 points Tau army list I intend to take to this year's Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament.

Tau aren't one of the strongest tournament armies under 5th edition 40K, but they can give a good account of themselves and that's what I intend to do with them.

Last year I wasn't happy with my Tau, so I borrowed James's Deathwing army and had a blast, coming 1 position away from qualifying, which wasn't bad considering how badly I played.

This year, a lot more competitive players are attending Heat 1 of the 40K Grand Tournament, so things are expected to be a lot tougher.

All the same, I'll do my best with the Tau and pray for as many Annihilation missions as possible :)

1500 points Tau army list

Tau Shas’el with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock (comes as standard), Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones


NOTE: some of my eagle eyed readers have pointed out that my usual list was 10 points over, having unintentionally added a bonding knife to the Broadside team and a Target Lock to the Hammerhead. Fortunately I haven't had to use either of these upgrades in any of my games!

ANOTHER NOTE: Please also note that the Tau Battlesuit team in this army photo are armed with missile pods and burst cannons. I'm currently painting the unit with missile pods and twin linked flamers.

ONE MORE NOTE: I'm sick of playing James's space marines, dark angels, deathwing and ravenwing. I need to get some games in against other opponents with different armies. Am currently pestering a Tyranid player from Essex for a game.

I need to do a lot of work on my Tau army. Not only does it need to triple in size, it needs a lot of Battlesuits, commander variants, troops and most importantly...Commander Farsight!

After the Grand Tournament, I'm contemplating fielding a similar army to this, but with another Hammerhead instead of the Broadsides and another Firewarrior team in a Devilfish instead of the twin linked flamer battlesuit team...or instead of the commander's bodyguard. There are plenty of options to play around with.

VIP Transport Conversion

August 9, 2009 · 2 comments

I saw this simple conversion over at the Advanced Tau Tactica this morning. Normally I'm not a fan of taking toys, sticking some 40K bits on and saying "Hey look, it's a 40K vehicle", but this one works rather well.

Basically, they've taken a Jedi fighter craft, stuck a fusion blaster, Tau aerial and shield generator on it and painted it in Tau colours.

Because we're planning some Apocalypse games and Planetstrike games integrated into a lengthy campaign of sorts, this got me thinking -what would an Ethereal cruise around in?

Obviously, a Devilfish full of his elite Firewarrior bodyguard would be the first choice for such an important official.

But let's say, it's an ambassador of the water caste or a valuable earth caste technician?

In the background it says that Piranha recon vehicles are used for scouting, fast attack and ferrying VIPs to key locations.

But I think I may have to 'borrow' this conversion as a better representation of a more 'civilian' Tau vehicle.

It's getting rather cold and lonely in the Tau 40K blogosphere lately with only Tau of War and The Hunter Cadre as comparable resources to read. So I'm finding myself frequenting the Advanced Tau Tactica more and more as a source of conversation and inspiration.

Tau VS Space Marines Battle Report 2

August 7, 2009 · 7 comments

August 8, 2009

This second Space Marines VS Tau Battle Report come from my new apartment. Please forgive the glowing Television screen. It's not the movie Poltergeist, it was infact Kerrang Radio playing on the telly.

Last time James's new Space Marine army gave the Tau a kicking. But this time the tables turned -and oh how they turned!

I always say it takes me 3 games against an army to truly defeat it and this Space Marine army is no exception. Many of you commented on the last battle report asking where his Land Speeders, terminators and attack bikes were. Truth be told, James doesn't need them to create an effect force when he favours sheer numbers of men in order to grab objectives.

Maybe one day he'll realise that his Dark Angels are still rather good, especially when combined with Outflanking Ravenwing squads? Time will tell.

Without further ramble -on to the battle report!

1500 Points 40K Battle Report:
Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: James Le Grys, Space Marines

1500 Points Space Marine Army
Chapter Master with relic blade, storm bolter, hellfire rounds, orbital bombardment

Chaplain with jump pack and melta bombs
10 Assault Marines including sgt with powerfist

X3 Space Marine Tactical Squads
Sgt and 4 space marines, plasma gun
5 space marines, lascannon
Razorback with twin linked heavy bolters and extra armour

10 Sniper Scouts

Techmarine with Thunderfire Cannon


1500 Points Tau Army
Tau Shas’el with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, black sun filter

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod, black sun filter

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

TERRAIN
Joel had come round that evening to check out my new apartment, so we let him set up the terrain. And he chose on some kind of whacky street-based set up. I was game, as was James and we rolled for Objectives, getting 4 in total.

James won the roll off and made me go first.
I placed an objective in the 2nd building from the right in my table half. He mirrored the placement of this objective. I then placed my last objective in the building on my far right. He placed an objective in the 2nd building from the left in his table half.

With fairly dense terrain around the centre and 4 closely placed objectives to fight over, this could be a very interesting and hard fought game.

Tau Set Up

I kept everything off the board, but my Tau Battlesuit command team. They deployed as far forward as possible inside a building. If James Infiltrated his Sniper Scouts, as I knew he probably would, they'd get a face full of plasma and missile pods for their troubles.

James kept everything off the board, but put his Scouts into Reserve and they could be Outflanking. He'd probably try to charge one of my tanks and glance it when they arrived and I would have to bear this in mind for later. Similarly, any Battlesuit or Broadside teams would have to remain more than 12" away from the sides of the board. Their firepower is too precious for them to be tied up in close combat.

TURN 1
The Tau army cruised on to the board at top speed, taking positions behind the buildings. Skyray on the left, with the twin flamer Battlesuit team behind. Two Devilfish in the centre and one Devilfish and a Hammerhead on the right. Meanwhile the Broadside team waddled on 4" just behind them. Now to wait for the arrival of the Space Marines.

The Space Marine razorbacks took up position around the central building, firing their smoke launchers. The combat squads with lascannons ran behind them. On the left flank the Assault Squad led by the Chaplain jumped behind the nearest building, while the Techmarine with Thunderfirecannon trundled towards the building on the far left flank. No shooting, so it was over the Tau.

TURN 2
While going first in Dawn of War can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to deploying your army, you effectively get the first round of fire in, even if those does come during Turn 2. As I've found before, if you're trying to shoot in Turn 1 of Dawn of War, you will be disappointed.

So I took the opportunity to make the most of my first volley in Turn 2 by destroying one of the Razorbacks, blowing the turret off another and stunning another...but it had extra armour, so it didn't make much difference. I was quite unlucky with my rolls, but hey, I'm getting used to that.

The Space Marine Chapter Master stumbled out of his destroyed Razorback, along with the combat squad he had joined. Only 1 of them had died in the explosion. They passing their pinning test.

In response, James surged forward with his two remaining mobile razorbacks, disembarking one of the squads on the edge of the central building with the Assault Squad and Chaplain a few inches behind.

The combat squads with lascannons held their position and began firing on the Tau tanks, but either missed, failed to penetrate or their shots were deflected by the Tau disruption pods.

The disembarked combat squad, heavy bolters from one of the Razorbacks and the Thunderfire cannon ALL took aim at the Tau Battlesuit command team in the centre building, killing both drones and one of the Battlesuit bodyguards, but they passed their morale check and held their position.

Meanwhile the Chapter Master called in an orbital bombardment on the Tau Battlesuits with twin linked flamers, hitting and wounding 3 models. One shield drone was destroyed, the other saved and one of the Battlesuits was instantly killed. The squad passed its pinning test, failed its morale check and fell back towards the table edge.

The Sniper Scouts didn't arrive from Reserve.

TURN 3
To stem the advancing tide of space marines, The hammerhead immobilised the Razorback on the right flank, while the combined efforts of the Tau Battlesuit command team and the twin flamer battlesuits who rallied mere inches from the table edge destroyed the Razorback on the left.

The Broadsides managed to get the Thunderfire Cannon and its techmarine gunner within line of sight and destroyed the artillery peice, but the techmarine was very much alive. This would make things much easier for when my Tau Firewarriors would have to disembark en masse and put down the Assault Squad.

In James's turn, the Assault Squad jumped over the destroyed Razorback and ran to the edge of the Tau occupied building which housed one of the objectives.

With every other immediate threat eliminated, the Tau army was ready to pounce!

The Sniper Scouts didn't arrive from Reserve.
The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank began running for the objective on the left flank.

TURN 4
The Skyray moved in, the Tau Battlesuit command team moved in, the twin flamer battlesuit team jumped out from behind the Skyray, ready to jump back if need be while the Tau Battlesuit command team acted as bait to draw the Assault Squad into the range of the twin linked flamers next turn.

The Tau Broadsides turned for face their smart missile systems towards the Assault Squad, the Hammerhead hovered in a ruin, it's massive railgun ready to fire.

Finally, two of the Devilfish surged forward, disembarking their 6 man firewarrior teams from the rear hatch who rapid fired with their pulse rifles.

The Assault Squad was wiped out in an orgy of destruction, leaving only the Chaplain reduced to 1 wound and with a markerlight remaining on him. The Skyray fired off 1 seeker missile (have you noticed that I fire these a lot now?) and obliterated its target.

To make things worse for James, the Hammerhead and two Devilfish were still yet to fire, making short work of the combat squad next to the destroyed Razorback.

Robbed of his prize unit, James was now playing the defensive game...but that didn't stop one of his combat squads from charging one of the Devilfish on the right flank while the Sniper Scouts finally arrived and Outflanked from the right flank also before running towards the objective in the Hammerhead occupied building.

The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank continued running for the objective on the left flank.

TURN 5
The only threat to my objectives were the Sniper Scouts. They had to die! And so two Devilfish, one which disembarked its firewarriors and the Hammerhead decended upon the doomed Scouts. The Scouts were mercilessly wiped out.

Meanwhile the Broadsides and Skyray finished off the combat squad which had been left out in the open after foolishly charging one of the Tau Devilfish transports.

This left the last Devilfish to land on top of the objective in the central building, while firing its smart missile systems into the Chapter Master's squad. The Battlesuit teams also added their missile pods to the salvo, wiping out the entire squad, but for the Chapter Master. One of James's objectives was now unclaimed.

In retaliation, a lascannons from the stationary space marine combat squad fired at the Devilfish parked on the roof of the ruin, but one failed to hit and the other shot was saved by the vehicle's disruption pod.

Meanwhile the other combat squad ran towards the objective in the central building, only just managing to get within range to claim it.

The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank reached the objective on the left flank.

We played for 2 more Turns, which were uneventful. I couldn't push the attack without moving Devilfish off of my objectives and James lacked the firepower to inflict any serious damage.

CONCLUSION
A draw. Well, it didn't feel like a draw. But I think this simply shows how Tau struggle in an objective grabbing mission. I did everything right, defended well and prioritised the elimination of each threat.

I feel that James played rather recklessly with his Assault Squad and walked them all into my guns. Although it makes me appreciate the sheer volume of firepower the Tau can bring to bear, especially when you stop thinking about ignoring people's armour saves because you can simply drown them in weight of fire. Even James's consistently above average passing of armour saves couldn't save the Assault Squad, or the Chaplain.

The one thing James did say after this game was the he could have taken melta guns for his combat squads in Razorbacks -which is very true. But then he said he'd rather keep the plasma guns and not tailor his army to beating my list.

As for me, I've overcome my fear of the Thunderfire Cannon and Obrital Bombardment. There's nothing you can do about it for a turn, so you just have to take it on the chin and get on with it. But, spreading out your Battlesuit units minimises the damage Orbital Bombardment can inflict. I always wondered why James never hit my Broadsides with it, but it's because I deploy them with their shield drones in a line, he can only catch 2 models with the blast template. Guess which models I'm going to take those hits on? -The shield drones of course!

Turn 5 Tactics

August 1, 2009 · 3 comments

You have to plan for Turn 5. My last game ended on Turn 5 and I so desperately needed another turn to get to the objectives. Fritz from the Way of Saim Hann blog is forever winning his games because they end on Turn 5. Although I'm convinced he says "Anything but a one" when he rolls his dice.

I played James in my new apartment last night (battle report soon!) and kept my Turn 5 tactics in mind. Once again, we played Seize Ground, which I'm sick to death of. I'm longing for a nice, easy game of Annihilation, which the Tau seem to excel at.

He made me go first, which makes last turn objective grabbing a lot tougher. But, I kept in mind that I needed to have my objectives on Turn 5 regardless. And it worked. It worked so well in fact that we spent the 2 following turns (yes, we played until Turn 7) doing very little beyond taking pot shots at one another. Although in hindsight, I could have been far more gung ho and contested one of his objectives...which would have been risky. But instead I opted for shooting repeatedly at one of his squads, hoping I could whittle them down enough or make them break and abandon their objective.

So far, it's only the Seize and Control mission which gives me problems and I have to build Turn 5 tactics around grabbing those objectives. The other missions don't seem to bother the Tau at all.

In Capture & Control, you simply deploy your base marker slightly to the left or right of the centre, at the back of the board and defend it.

In Annihilation you're too busy killing to care. In fact, you'd rather have as many turn as possible! I certainly did when I was playing Glenn Moore's Eldar at Carnage 2009.

Stay tuned for the latest Tau VS Space Marines battle report!

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