What a difference a week makes. We sat down for our second session, and it went a lot smoother this Sunday. We lined our forces of chaos up against the Imperial Guard and Space Wolves again. Instead of a mere three turns like the week before we got through four turns. It was pretty decisive at that point. The Guard and the Wolves rallied in the second game against us to pull out a victory.
The Imperial Guard
See I knew something was up the first week. It just felt like they weren't very effective when we fought. This week- our guard player held nothing back. He didn't sink as many points into Chimeras for his troops and brought two of the Leman Russ Punishers against us. One of them was a special HQ choice that added Rending to the tank and made it BS4. Way more impressive. There was also a Munitorium officer in the Company Command who was dropping an Ordnance Large Blast round after round. That threw me a little - I was aware of how powerful the Marine Orbital Strike looked if you field a Chapter Master, but this guy is popping it round after round- four turns of KABOOM! I had a little different set-up in terms of my actual models. A lot of the game was foot-slogging without cover and even with my Invulnerable saves it was very hard to pull it off even with Marine armor and Invulnerable saves.
The First Turn Matters
The biggest most impressive damage in this game was on the first turn. I was dealing with trying to manifest psychic powers this week, and I lost a ton of models on the first turn. Stuff that would have helped me later on. The Space Wolves dumped a transport literally on top of us and while we rocked the unit that exited the drop pod, we didn't hit the locator beacon in the vehicle with enough shots to destroy it. So by the top of turn two we had an additional drop pod carrying a Dreadnought and a terminator squad in our deployment zone.
My brother still can't roll for shit against vehicles. I have never seen so many low numbers come up on the dice. Turn after turn, round after round, his Helbrute with TL-Lascannon failed to penetrate Armor 12 or Armor 14. It was like as hard as we hit these vehicles there were just too many to shoot at. Not when they are rocking the kind of damage they are doing. I lost my HQ by the second turn I think after being sandwiched between the deep-strikers of the Space Wolves and the heavy armor of the pair of Leman Russ Punishers.
Might Over Magic
I still wish the daemons had not lost their shooting attacks. My most impressive piece on the board was my Exalted Flamer. It is just way to hard to depend on the psychic phase to attack. Against a ML2 psyker and rolling 10+d6 dice myself it just didn't go well. Losing two casters in the first turn hurt me AND I didn't bring in my second unit of Horrors until the second turn. But overall- I just felt like during the game if I am manifesting warp charge on a 4+ and my opponent is dispelling them on a 3+ in a 12" bubble then there is an awful lot wrong with the daemons having a +3 Leadership.
I didn't take full advantage of some of the list-building aspects of the game. I didn't summon anything. No Malefic Daemonology, no Cursed Book - instead I decided I would try to actually manifest Witchfire powers. The beams did very well. Or at least they didn't do badly. After had my reserves arrive I laid an auto-hit high strength shot into the rear armor of the super HQ tank and got a good result on the damage chart. But I could have built a more optimized list. I was still dragging my feet a little and like I said, I lost a lot of models on the set-up.
Playing Well With Others
In the first game we were much better off in terms of our initial set-up. We moved in conjunction with each other while our opponents stumbled over each other. There was a lot more terrain on the board last time, but we were stuck in the open this week. My brother placed both his transports on one flank and the rhinos were basically ignored until after my initial force was dead. His Obliterators came in at the end of turn two (well, two out of three) and they were pretty impressive. I just needed something like that to screen my advance of Horrors. The two small Thousand Son units I ran were pretty much the only thing on the board in terms of what to shoot and despite their durability they were just facing too much shooting. We really needed a better plan. We really needed a chance to concentrate on key pieces in the opponents army and it just didn't happen.
It was a fun afternoon and I am happy to see us getting back to all of it. Sweeping across the field to smash into your opponent is pretty cool. I enjoyed walking away from the game with more respect for the Astra Militarium. I love it when the first thing I think about is how to improve my forces to take on my opponent. I still think the game takes way too long. It is overly complicated, but we saw some improvement this week. My brain goes really fast. It is hard for me to have patience with the dice rolling aspects of it sometimes. I try to help out my friends by saying 'x' amount of rapid-fire shots, 'y' amount of total shots with this, and roll a different dice for this one - but it just seems to bog down the attacks so much waiting for someone to pull it all together and roll.
I don't think any of us are ready for three games on a Saturday that you would see at a tournament. They just move the models around and roll the dice really slowly. It is like commit, know your attacks, know your opponents, and GO FOR IT. It doesn't have to be a speed based game, but we aren't really optimizing our turns to get through each round in a timely fashion. Have a plan about what you are going to do before it is your turn in the initiative. Be planning your attacks. I also feel like there are some mistakes we are making. The shouting match I got into with my brother over the Munitions Officer was hilarious. It was like, yeah I understand the fluff says the weapon is located on a capital ship off the board- but there is no rule that says he can move and fire this ordnance weapon or split fire from the Command Squad.
Ah well, it was a good game. Not sure what our plan is for our next session. Each of our Sunday games thus far, I have missed an event - one was a Flights and Bites thing at a brewery and the other was a free tasting of an early release for an upcoming brewery. It doesn't bother me that I have missed either of these things. I kind of enjoy my Sunday Tabletop game, so hopefully it will continue. I have hardly scratched the surface of the models I can field in the last two games. I haven't fielded a single thing that was a duplicate in two weeks. It is almost more fun for me to try out these models I have been building against my opponents.
EDIT: Just realized we did the Master of Ordnance wrong for the Astra Militarium Company Command Squad totally wrong. We weren't scattering the template 2d6 on a hit and an extra D6 on an arrow result. It might not have made a huge difference in the game, but that is exactly why we need to play more, read more, and do things right. I was shocked at how powerful that guy felt on the board for such a low point cost.