Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tigger Visits the Big Apple: 19 Nov 2011 (Intro)

It has been some months since I last played Warhammer 40K.  In large part, that’s because much of my gaming time this year (2011) has been spent playing the following miniatures wargame:


That’s only partly tongue-in-cheek, as of course D&D in all its incarnations has always been somewhat “wargamey”, and the current two editions (Pathfinder and 4e) are both particularly well adapted to widespread use of miniatures.

When I learned that my friend Kenton “Fighting Tigers of Veda” Kilgore, a.k.a. “Tigger”, would be dropping by New York City briefly on the weekend of 19 November, and would be badly in need of some entertainment for a few hours in the early afternoon, I was happy to escort him to the local gaming establishment (the Compleat Strategist on 33rd Street in Manhattan) and have a little friendly game of 40K.

The newest, biggest St. Francis fanboy
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Go Red Flash!

I put together 1500 points of Sisters of Battle, using the new White Dwarf minidex “update” to the Sisters, and after growling a little at how badly this weakens the Sisters list (at least on paper), figured I might as well try things out on the table-top.  Tigger promised to field 1500 points of his Dark Eldar, and we had a potential match-up.

Based on the on-line advice of the ascerbic Stelek, and the rueful Kirby, I put together the following list, based on the models and units I actually own:

The Swinging Sisters of Battle (1500 pts)
  • HQ: Archprelate “Awe/Stun” Powers (Uriah Jacobus)
  • Troop: 2x10 Sisters with Melta, Multimelta, and Rhino transport
  • Fast: 3x5 Dominions with 2xMelta, Combi-melta, and Multimelta Immolator transport
  • Heavy: 10x Retributors with 4x Heavy Bolters, and Multimelta Immolator transport
  • Heavy: 10x Retributors with 4x Heavy Bolters
  • Heavy: Exorcist
This is a list that appeals to my preferred style of play, which is to stand off and blast the opponent (though in the case of Sisters, the range band is somewhat closer-ranged than I normally might choose).  Unfortunately, it does this for more points, and with less punch, than many Marine or Guard lists, and the ‘ace-in-the-hole’ of the previous codex, the fast-moving Immolator with Heavy Flamer and fire-points, is no longer.  Immolators in the new minidex can no longer move 12” and fire, no longer have fire points, and the army no longer has access to cheap, numerous Troops choices, relying instead on expensive, only marginally effective Space Marine wannabes.

Tigger, meantime, brought his Kurindans (a proxy Tyranid list), based largely on the fact that his Dark Eldar were currently on campaign, and thus unavailable for use (translation: he had forgotten that his Dark Eldar were literally not at his house at the time).


Krinophora-Adelphe Theophany Jones, Sister Superior of the Monastery of the Sisters of the Emperor’s Mojo, also known in vulgar Imperial slang as the “Swinging Sisters of Battle”, looked over the ruined cityscape and gave a deep sigh. 

A mere century previous, the fighting orders of the Ecclesiarchy had been strong, fully-funded, well-equipped, in a position of great military and logistical strength.  Although a series of reforms in the previous centuries had undermined recruitment, the different orders had managed to make up for the manpower shortages through a combination of technological might and seconded support units from local imperial units.  The Swinging Sisters had been no exception, and Sister Jones remembered well the years shortly after her initiation, riding ‘shotgun’ in the monastic Immolators, frying xenos and chaos scum with well-aimed melta blasts out of the top hatch next to her ‘tailgunner’.  She could still hear the cheers and whoops of allied PDF squadrons as they sent supporting blasts of autocannon fire over her position, could hear the blistering hive-dialect curses of the Arbites over the regimental vox-frequencies as they maneuvered their transports to supporting or flanking positions.

But the game of Imperial politics is never-ending, and the light of the Ecclesiarchy was clearly dimming in the far-distant councils of the Lords of Terra.  There were continued budget cuts from higher up in the Ecclesiarchy, and unspoken embargoes by the Forgeworld tech-adepts, meaning that the technological edge once enjoyed by the military Sororitas orders had nearly vanished.  Replacement parts, and replacement adepts, were in short supply, and the Sororitas were forced to rely once again on raw manpower.  But that manpower that was no longer forthcoming.  PDF squadrons were mysteriously no longer available, Arbites post commanders would mysteriously no longer respond to reinforcement requests, and recruitment from the orphans of the Imperial Collegium had reached new lows.

Theophany was a faithful daughter of the Emperor, but the present circumstances faced by the Sororitas Orders were notably trying.  And now, tasked with defending a nameless backwater imperial outpost, largely abandoned for nearly a millennia, from the bestial forces of some two-bit xenos horde, Sister Theophany Jones was facing the unpleasant likelihood of heavy casualties among her already thinly stretched forces.

Possibly the only good news was the presence of the Archprelate Powers.  Or was he an Inquisitor, or perhaps a ranking member of the Administratum?  He had worked hand-in-hand with the order for as long as Theophany could remember, though his rank and title seemed ever-changing, and his imperial duties often spectacularly ill-defined.  She thought only the Canoness or Inhumenia might know exactly who or what Powers was, but as a veteran of the order, Theophany had faith that the mysterious Powers’ presence was a sign of good fortune.  As he was fond of noting, he had ‘mojo’.

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