Caledonian Uprising, a two day event with 6 games at 1850 points, and over 100 players. This was the largest 40k event I have ever had the pleasure of attending and I enjoyed almost every second of it. Most of this post will be a series of very short battle reports, but first i will say a few things about the event itself.
Firstly, it was extremely well run. I mean this very sincerely, there was not a single thing I think the organisers could have done to improve the smooth running of the event. All the games started and ended on time, the missions and scores were announced so all could hear, and with enough time to find your table. Above all, the few rules queries and rulings that myself and various opponents did require were dealt with extremely fast and each time a ruling was made, multiple judges were involved and the reasoning was discussed properly and openly.
Secondly, the soft scores were quite interesting. There has been some kerfuffle over this because some people think the soft scores are weighed too heavily. Purely on a personal level I disagree. I do this hobby because I enjoy all aspects of it, and I don't want to go to a big professional event and see a load of grey plastic after I have spent a lot of effort on my own army. Getting almost max soft scores is not hard, you need a painted army and not to play like a dick, and that is pretty much it. Most people only dropped about 4 points out of 50 for painting and sportsmanship so it was largely irrelevant anyway.
So, on to the games.
My army was my usual Imperial Guard hybrid list, with hard hitting Melta/Demo Vets, outflanking Storm Troopers, Vendettas and single Hydras. I am not going to use the names of players, as some people are funny about that sort of thing :)
Game 1 - Tri-Raider Chaos Space Marines
In the car on the way up I was joking about how I always draw soft lists in round one. I was reliably informed that I had now jinxed it and would face the eventual winner. Yeah, you guys are suckers. Fluffy chaos it is.
This was a strange list which i knew I should beat with relative ease. He had three chaos land raiders, three full Beserker squads, Kharn, and a squad of 6 plague marines in a rhino. Yep, that's it. However, while the secondary was Seize Ground, the primary was Kill points, so I knew I was in for a tough game.
My opponent played about as well as he could have done, and had me very, very scared on turn two because I had bombed forward with three squads and disembarked right in his face. Then, all my meltas (8 at short range) and lascannons (6) failed to do anything. Actually that is a lie, I immobilised one of them, and it was a very good thing I had, because, I had used chimeras to block the front exit and my unit had deployed to the side of the tank, therefore he could only get out on the opposite side, and then failed to kill the chimera in combat. Sure the other squad got mulched, but it could have been worse. To cut a long story short, I blocked the raiders in, outflanked with the Stormies and ate his plague marines (who were on an objective), and generally ran away shooting until the game ended on turn 6. I won both primary and secondary and on victory points, having almost wiped him off the table. Kharn was lascannoned in the face from about 36 inches away, Khorne wasn't very pleased.
I don't want to take anything away from my opponent in this game. I think he knew he was going to be up against it from the start, but never gave up. He was a great guy to play, and took the beating very well indeed.
Game 2 - Tau of the very shooty variety
This was a great game. My opponent was again, fantastic, and was very forthcoming in explaining all the strange Tau rules I'd completely forgotten since I last played them, what, 3 years ago... (other than one fantastic game at Blog Wars 1, sorry!!)
The mission was cleanse (table quarters) and take and hold (objective each). Priorities for me were the two hammerheads, his only three troops choices (two kroot, one fire warrior squad), and the squadron of piranhas.
I think it is fair two say that the Stormtroopers won me this game. With the help of the Astropath (best 30 points ever), they came on on turn two, on the correct table edge, and royally fucked up the poor guys day. Appeared right in the middle of his back line, and despite doing virtually no damage with their first round of shooting, they had the bad grace to suffer no damage in return, despite an entire Tau army shooting them in the face. This meant the rest of my army remained unmolested and could continue to pick off priority targets. By turn 4 the writing was on the wall, his hammerheads were gone, his troops were almost all gone (thanks psykers), and his mobility was almost gone as well. The stormtroopers held him up for 3 turns, by which point I had moved troops into the other corners and midfield and it would have been an uphill struggle to win.
I think my opponent was disappointed to lose this one, and rightly so, as Tau can often destroy armies like mine piecemeal. While I feel I played well, I was also very lucky with my hydras, knocking both hammerhead railguns off on turn one and two with glancing hits. However, I was terribly unlucky elsewhere (his suits would not die!). On balance though, the former was more important, as S7 shots against my av 12 was never going to win him the game. Another solid win for me, putting me on table 6.
Game 3 - Grey Knights
Oh dear. This game was the one moment of the weekend I did not enjoy. After two good games I was very happy to be drawn against what appeared to be a fairly unoptimised Grey Knights list. It was a strange mix of Terminator deathstar with libby, strike squad objective holders, death cult assasins, and a few rifleman dreads. For Grey Knights it could have been a lot worse.
Then I started rolling dice. At the end of turn two I had lost all hard hitting melta vets, both vendettas, a hydra and three chimeras. I had destroyed nothing. Yep, you read that right, nothing. At this point, my opponent said 'come on, I'm buying you a drink'. I was very grateful, because after I had downed half a pint I stopped and looked a bit more clearly and realised I could actually get a draw, or even win if my luck balanced out. I played a tight game, and succeeded in wiping almost all his termies off the objective they had deep stuck onto. My stormtroopers removed him from his home objective, and my reserved platoon command almost made it across the table to hold it. However, the dice deserted me again, and on the final turn not one of the three things I needed to draw the game was successful. I rolled a 1 for a run move to hold my own objective, I rolled a 1 and a 2 for a terrain check to hold his objective, and I failed to kill his last terminator who was on a third one. If any one had worked it would have been a draw on primary, if two had worked, i'd have won primary.
I always hesitate to blame luck for any victory or defeat, but a week on, I can't see any other way to look at this game. Despite a fun opponent, and a cool mission, what should have been a close game turned out to be a whitewash. I don't like to end on a sour note, so please be assured that I am not bitter about this game, just disappointed that it wasn't more enjoyable for either of us.
Next post - Games 4 to 6