Gaming Thoughts – VonSmallhausen 2014

So, regular readers will have seen all the buildup and preparation of my stuff ready for VonSmallhausen which happened at the nearby Pigmar Wargaming Club venue on Saturday just gone.

It’s safe to say that I don’t think I put in enough practice for this event, and went with what some would consider a sub-optimal army list – however, I had entered this tourney purely for the fun of it, and so wasn’t particularly fussed about my outcome (which was just as well when you find out where I placed!). The timetable called for four games over the course of the day – I knew it’d be a bit of a slog, but I was well up for it, given how infrequently I’d played 40k in 2013.

Game 1: Dave Helps (Space Wolves)

Our first game involved a fairly standard game using Dawn of War setup with Victory Points awarded for destroying units as a primary objective. However, this differed from the standard setup in that the amount of VPs awarded for destroying a unit differed depending on it’s points cost (I think it was something like 1VP if the unit cost between 1 and 99pts, 2VPs for 100-150, 3VPs for 151-200 and 4VPs for 200+).

This game was a fairly even back and forth slug-fest. Dave had first turn and began the game with a drop pod full of Combi-melta Wolf Guard battering my bikers, although some extremely lucky cover saves meant he didn’t kill all of them. The rest of the firing was fairly ineffective thanks to some Scouts going to ground inside a ruin for a 2+ cover save from a large Long Fang unit plus a Vindicator.

My first turn plan to take out Dave’s Quad Gun with my Sternguard failed as they managed to either miss it or it made its saves. I was able to take out the Wolf Guard unit with my remaining bikes and some Tactical squad support though.

Turn 2 saw me get incredibly lucky and avoid a Vindicator shot with a smoke cover save, although I did lose the rest of my Bikes from a drive-by Plasma-ing from Dave’s Grey Hunters. All was not lost however, as my Stormraven arrived and nuked his Vindicator, while I was able to take out the Quad Gun with some other shooting (I forget what, but it may have been the Scouts and possibly a surviving Sternguard).

On the third turn I went for a Linebreak with my (incredibly lucky) Rhino-borne Tactical Squad. However, Dave had done something similar in his turn and so also got Linebreaker, despite my best efforts with a suicidal Scout Sergeant charging his Rhino to try and plant a Krak Grenade! Dave’s Rune Priest was also able to use his Force Weapon to kill my Captain off in combat.

In the end, Dave was up 12VPs to my 9, resulting in a loss for me.

About the only time my army was all on table at once - at least they had a matching dice bag! - click to enlarge
About the only time my army was all on table at once – at least they had a matching dice bag! – click to enlarge

Game 2: Mike Tipple (Imperial Guard)

Here’s where the silly mistakes began which led to my downfall through the ranks!

This was an unusual mission – Deployment zones were 12″ by 24″ rectangles in each corner of the board. We each had to deploy most of our force in one corner, with a single scoring unit (plus transport if applicable) in the diagonally opposite corner. The main force also had an Ambassador model (a Standard Bearer, in my case), and had to escort it to the opposite corner (deemed the Shuttle Zone). The Ambassador behaved much like the Relic from the mission of the same name (i.e.: no moving more than 6″ per phase).

I got the first turn and went for the throat of Mike’s forces, sending the Sternguard straight at a pair of Leman Russ tanks which were facing my main force in their deployment zone. However, the Veterans decided they didn’t want to damage the wonderful paintjob on the tanks and so they were left unscathed. However, my Drop Pod, along with some fairly heavy terrain, was blocking their line of sight to my main force, which helped them, although meant certain doom for the Sternguard in Mike’s first turn.

Even my Stormraven decided that the tanks were too nice to destroy and failed to do much more than glance one of them when it arrived on Turn 2.

Mike takes a shot at my Bikers with his Leman Russ Squadron - click to enlarge
Mike takes a shot at my Bikers with his Leman Russ Squadron – click to enlarge

As the game went on, I was able to clear out Mike’s Shuttle Zone which containted a large combined squad of Guardsmen. The Attack Bikes proved their worth and single-handedly saw them off! I was able to tie up Mike’s escorting unit (another large Guardsman blob), however, due to me messing around turn 1, my own Ambassador was still out in no-mans land by the games end.

Silly Mistake #1: Due to me forgetting that the deployment zones were different from usual, I was unable to get Linebreaker as my Rhino-borne unit ended up just outside of Mike’s deployment area.

The end result saw Mike winning on VPs, as he’d also achieved his Covert Operation (a secret objective) where he had to exit a unit off of the board through my Shuttle Zone.

Game 3: Rob Uter (Space Wolves)

Our third game was another standard mission using Hammer and Anvil Deployment and The Relic as the main objective.

Silly Mistake #2: Forgetting how fast Beast units are, which meant that my initial gamble of having some nearby infiltrated Scouts ready to rush in and grab the Relic failed, as they were charged by Rob’s large unit of Fenrisian Wolves and wiped off the board on turn 1.

A large unit of Combi-Plasma toting Wolf Guard in a Drop Pod saw off my Bikes before they could do anything, and to be honest this game was over by turn 2, as Rob was able to swamp the Relic with his horde of Grey Hunters while my broken and battered force was only 3 models strong by the end of turn 3. Even managing to achieve my Covert Operation of killing off Rob’s most expensive Heavy Support unit (a unit of Long Fangs, which I had charged with my Sternguard) couldn’t prevent me from losing this one heavily!

Game 4: Will Emery (Tau Farsight Enclave)

Another standard mission to finish the day, using Dawn of War deployment and a slightly modified version of The Scouring as our Primary Objective (the modifications meant that objectives were deployed after forces were deployed, and that the values were assigned at the end of the game unless you used your unit to ‘Probe’ the objective to discover it’s value, at which point the value was assigned with a D6 roll on a table – I’m making it sound more complex than it actually was, but I’m going from memory!)

I had slapped one of my objectives in my deployment zone, one in another ruin just outside it on the right-side of my deployment zone, and a third on my extreme right flank behind a line of sight blocking piece of terrain. Will had placed one in his deployment zone, one in the dead centre of the table in some dense woodland and another on my right flank, just outside of his deployment zone.

I sat one Tactical squad on the objective in my Delpoyment Zone, the Scouts infiltrated onto the one in the ruins outside of my Deployment Zone while I lined up a Rhino to go for the other objective on the extreme right.

Will had placed his Pathfinders on the objective in his deployment zone, with two units of Fire Warriors ready to move up and grab the other objectives he’d placed.

I was all set to go first, then Will rolled a (somewhat inevitable, I felt) 6 and Seized the Initiative. Oh dear.

Luckily for me, his first turn of firing only managed to reduce a combat squad of Marines down to one man (Damn Riptides), and thanks to some more law-of-average-smashing cover saves, only put a single wound on my Attack Bikes with 4 Battlesuits with dual Plasma Rifles and 6 Stealth Suits with Burst Cannons firing at me.

On my first turn I dropped my Sternguard in to hammer his Commander and bodyguard, which saw them reduced down to 1 man and a wounded Commander. I then charged him with my Bikes to tie him down in combat and finish the job. This is where Silly Mistake #3 happened, and what ultimately cost me the game. By getting carried away with this combat, I resolved it start-to-finish and then handed the turn over to Will. Of course, after I’d done this, I noticed my Bike Squad sitting pretty in a wood only 5″ from a unit of Fire Warriors who deliberately hadn’t fired their Grav Guns at a nearby Riptide as I wanted to use the Bikers to see off his scoring unit with a charge. This was definitely game-changing, and Will promptly capitalised on my HUGE error by hitting them with 9 Markerlights from the Pathfinders, which then allowed all of the nearby units to Ignore Cover and boost their BS to 5, leaving my bikes as nothing but a smoking pile of wheels and corpses.

The most apt way of summing up my feelings at the time into a single image
The most apt way of summing up my feelings at the time into a single image

The random value of objectives also ended up heavily in Will’s favour, with the 4VP objective sitting in his deployment zone with the Pathfinders. I had charged the remaining 2 Sternguard in to try and get them off of it, but after a couple of turns of combat they were unfortunately killed off (the shame of it, Marine Veterans losing close combat to Tau!), and despite my best efforts, I was unable to do enough damage to them with any other units to force a morale check. I’d managed to contest the central objective, but the two objectives I did hold were only worth 1, 2 and 3VPs each, which left Will with a 4VP and 3VP objective, beating me 7VPs to 6!

Looking back, if I’d remembered to charge the Bikes in, I could’ve denied Will a scoring unit and then wouldn’t have needed to contest the central one as I could’ve either claimed it for myself or had more options to see the Pathfinders off of the 4VP objective.

All in all, despite 4 losses, I had a good time, and it’s helped boost up my interest in 40k that I’ve been lacking in over the past year or so (although I think the Marines might end up only seeing the table in casual games – I’m definitely taking Eldar to my next tournament!).

Also, placing last meant that I got a nice little trophy and certificate:

Top: Darren wins Best Painted, as expected. Bottom-left: My Wooden Spoon trophy and certificate Bottom-right: Craig takes the top spot with his Daemon army! (no, that says 'flick'...)
Top: Darren wins Best Painted, as expected.
Bottom-left: My Wooden Spoon trophy and certificate
Bottom-right: Craig takes the top spot with his Daemon army! (no, that says ‘flick’…)

So what’s next for me and 40k? Well, I won’t be expanding my armies much over the coming year, although as I mentioned towards the end of last year, I want to concentrate on painting up what I actually do own – I’m currently shedding a lot of stuff on Ebay that I’m just not using, but the stuff I am keeping will all (hopefully) get a paint job over the course of the year, starting with this lot:

All of the Eldar I own as of January 2014 - click to enlarge
All of the Eldar I own as of January 2014 – click to enlarge

Watch this space!


  1. A very interesting battle report. I think it is cool that you went for an army that might not have been super optimized, but that you liked and enjoyed painting. In historical gaming that is even more important, as I rather have a more or less historically correct (or say as correct as possible) army list, than something that is too optimized and makes no sense.

    Do you have any pictures of the painting contest winner?

    Do you intend to repaint all the Eldar or will you only add finishing touches and some more models?

  2. Glad you enjoyed the report! I didn’t take any pics of the winning army on the day, but since he’s one of my regular opponents, I do have other images of his stuff on my Twitter feed (he’s also posted a few of his own bits: and His awards are well-deserved, let me tell you!
    Also, he does have a blog although he doesn’t post enough pictures on it!

    Luckily, all of the Eldar has pretty much only ever had a base-coat of red, with maybe some details here and there, so I won’t be re-painting so much as finishing them off! I think the Guardians are the only ones I’m re-painting from scratch, since they’re so old!

  3. I always find these scene amusing. Like a Tudor Wattle and Daub building would still exist in the 40th century?

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