Thursday, 22 December 2011

Xmas Battle Report - A fair exchange is no robbery...

Tales From the Maelstrom Xmas Battle.

With Christmas rapidly drawing closer and the realisation that we hadn’t had a game for a good long while, when Andy suggested we should have another xmas game I not only thought it an excellent idea but jumped at the chance to host this one.

This was not an entirely altruistic gesture. For a start it meant I could remain in the comfort of my own home on a particularly foul day but more importantly it meant I could get a chance to use some old 80s limited edition Christmas models that had been sitting in the cabinet upstairs unplayed with for some time.

So with a date arranged and a prior evening spent running up a scenario and playsheets all that was needed was for the maelstrom lads to turn up – and this time nobody had to worry about forgetting any models as I’d provide all the forces (not entirely true as Colonel Kane was press ganged into bringing a fair bit of his own scenery over!). Regrettably on the day one of our number couldn’t make it down but this was no detriment to the battle as I’d planned this to be a GM’d scenario and I’d just take over the third party myself.

So on to the plot… On the distant imperial backwater planet of Yoole, Rogue Trader Saturnalius Klaus and his warband have arranged a clandestine meeting with the dreaded Eldar Pirate Prince Oberon. Klaus is hoping to obtain luxury Eldar novelty goods to deliver to decadent imperial xenos artefact dealers and in return the Eldar are expecting a shipping manifest of Imperial trade convoys ripe for the picking… simples eh?

Only there were, as always, a few spanners in the works. Neither party actually had the promised goods or any intention of handing the real items over (the elder crates contain the 40k equivalent of pound shop tat and the ‘shipping manifest’ is the known route of an imperial hazardous waste disposal scow); furthermore unbeknown to both parties the fanatical and zealous Inquisitor Scrooge and his retinue have discovered the deal and are waiting to ambush the traders as soon as contact is made.
Should our third player have made it he’d have found his own task fraught with complications, not only are his glorious back banners constantly getting in the way (moving through any doorway or window is barred on a D6 roll of a 1) but his veteran space marine bodyguards are blind drunk – having discovered one of the few alcoholic beverages in the Imperium that causes complete failure of the marines hyper efficient poison removal glands and implants!

So without further ado on to the battle.

At first both sides warily made their way to the town square to the rendezvous underneath the towering statue of justice, while the Rogue Trader causally screened himself behind a meat shield of Servitors the Eldar Prince decided to cover his own approach by sending small band of warriors to the high ground. In the few turns it took to meet up Andy’s Rogue Trader secretly used his astropath to scan several of the central building for any sign of an ambush but by chance failed to nominate the Tavern that inquisitor Scrooge was using as a hide out.

As both parties met a discussion was roleplayed out that reached an inevitable stalemate, the tension was broken by the Elda psyker prince casting ‘wind blast’ buffeting the rogue trader’s forces to the ground.

With the Rogue Trader floored, the Eldar wasted no time in running their hands over his sack for the shipping manifest and not a moment too soon as at roughly the same time as two of the burly servitors picked themselves up, the doors of the tavern burst open. The Inquisitor stated that they were all under arrest, however, the two drooling space marines flanking him obviously didn’t add too much gravitas to his words as at that moment the proverbial excreta hit the fan…

As brutal short range firefight broke out that would be somewhat tedious to explain in detail but needless to say the Eldar second in command leapt from point to point with his jump pack and flamed the marines while the remaining elder warriors had a shoot out across the roof tops with the Inquisitors own astropath, his tech priest and his loyal Gyrinx ‘sak-kat’.

Beneath the statue several rounds of a brutal close combat took place between the aliens and the Rogue Trader which eventually ended with the timely remembrance that the Rogue Trader carried a webber.. One blast of this in close combat literally wrapped things up with Prince Oberon immobilised! Still taking fire from the Eldar on the rooftops the retinue decided to scurry off with the prince as there prize rather than the gift crates!

At this point the firefight turned into something of a benny hill chase as the asropath teleported across the table carrying the bound elder noble and the elder gave chase led by the lieutenant born aloft on his jump pack... lumbering behind waving their bolters in the Inquisitor and his retinue began a long pursuit of both the miscreant parties.

Eventually the elder managed to jump pack their lieutenant to within flamer range and down the rogue trade with a burst of searing fire – at around the same time the jokearo managed to hotwire the power loader outside the tavern. As the jokearo slammed the walker into top gear to rescue his leader and the astropath, he came under a hail of shuriken catapult fire which did minor damage to the vehicle itself but did manage to cause special damage to the accelerator, forcing the jokerao to race around at top speed.

The inquisitor moved closer to the Rogue Trader in an attempt to rescue and then arrest him but was cut down by the remaining elder warriors – shot in the back of all things! His space marines were similarly disposed of and so, leaderless and without their ‘muscle’, the techpriest and asptropath decided discretion as the better part of valour and legged it.

Meanwhile a confusing climactic hand to hand combat took place as the jokearo and astropath took on the elder 2ic and his last few warrior... but alas las pistols are no match for a powerclaw on a 16ft high armoured walker and after several round s the jokaero emerged triumphant; with a bound elder prince carried aloft in the power claw and the body of the rogue trader draped across the back decks.


All in all it was an entertaining and classically ‘rogue trader’ game that really did need a GM as a lot of improvisation and ‘winging it’ became the order of the day. I’d attempted to put in as many classically rogue trader elements as possible (gyrinxs, jokearo, psykers, hidden items, porta racks, webbers etc etc) and perhaps there was too much as much remained unused or forgotten. A good example would be Andy’s jokero who started the game with enough basic and close combats weapons in component parts to potentially be able to make a las cannon in a few turns, but with so much else to think about this fun element was overlooked… luckily the jokearo’s mechanical ability came to some use in fixing the power loader that saved the day!

In retrospect I should also have assigned psychic powers in advance rather than letting players have a random amount of abilities and points… while on average this works, this time according to sods law Martini Henri ended up with an Eldar Prince with one measly power and only a handful of points with which to use it and for my own part I completely forgot the Inquisitor was a psychic also!

It might have swung the battle massively if i’d have remembered to give the Eldar the web solvent and webber I was planning to give their side too but to me the chaos and randomness is part of the Rogue Trade charm.

So with that one under our belt at the end of 2011 we all feel a little more invigorated to get in a bit more gaming in the new year.. I hope so as I need an incentive to actually paint the other few kilos of 80s lead sitting in the painting queue!


Pontiff/Major Hazzard


  1. Nicely written! It was a really great game to play in, cheers for GM'ing it so well :-)

  2. By the way, once you've read this there's another Christmas Rogue Trader Battle Report here...

  3. Great report... typical Eldar: "the Eldar wasted no time in running their hands over his sack"... yikes!

  4. Nice report and great to see such classic figs in use.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

  5. Love the classic games and narration. Hope for many more in 2012.

  6. It was looking good until...

    "Neither party actually had the promised goods or any intention of handing the real items over..."

    ... and then it went into overdrive. Brilliant report, just like all the write-ups you post here. Lots of twists and turns and it really had that RT mood. A pleasure to read.

  7. Brilliant!!!
    You made me SOOO envious again! :D
    Great work!

  8. Brill!!!
    A pleasure to read and watch!

  9. Stop showing figures tipped over for being hit or killed; looks ridiculous, and stop using black bases for miniatures. Use clear bases from litko. VASTLY improves your layout. Also, where'd the babe justice figure come from?

  10. @TC, I'm not a fan of setting miniatures on their sides either, but in the spirit of the chaotic fun of this game I think its forgiveable.
    Bases however are a matter of opinion - I find the clear plastic ones horribly distracting, I prefer a simple, neutral paint job on a standard textured slotta base.
    The statue was made by a friend of mine - its based on an anime character he bought in Japan and its been extensively dressed using modelling putty.

  11. Great table set-up! It really captures the atmosphere!

  12. Great Report. Great Table. Great Blog. Just read the whole archive over the last couple of days. I was about to change my entire gaming collection over to 15mm, but I reckon now that I'll save at least some 28mm stuff for a few games of the old Rogue Trader. I've even managed to find a willing opponent.

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  14. Ah I thought i wouldnt be too long before the war games police found us.

    TC have a read of 'why we play'.

    We lay models on their side as we usually incorporate the necromunda 'pinned/down/dead' mechanic in small scales games... also how else do we show that the models are either knocked down by the windblast of incapacitated by the webber? Counters, paper notes... do i make a set of models of figures struggling against a gale for *every* figure i have? It's just the way we play, you might not like it but... we do.

    Like Andy I too prefer neutral bases. I think clear plastic bases make models look like action figures and detract from the appeal.

    As I said, the entire game was played using my collection of 80s citadel miniatures. I collect, paint and base them in the style of the era.

    Sorry for the lengthy post I just resent being told how to play a game with my friends in my own house or how to paint and base my own collection!

  15. In my opinion the game was ruined by the fact that it's clearly not snow on the board. Serious lack of effort there guys. Order some in from the north pole for next time!?!?!? Love Mrs. Major Hazzard. xxx

  16. PS - has anyone seen my desiccated coconut anywhere?

  17. You spoiled that game completely by not taking it seriously. There's no place in 40k for things painted like Bagpuss.

    (What is that model, btw?)

  18. Yes, but honestly? What do you expect from a guy who expects people to pay to see his blog archive?

  19. Ah i think that comment caught me on a bad day (I would mention something about losing *hours* of play on Skyrim by forgetting to save regularly but you know that would make me look a bit foolish... :) )

    The model is a limited release 'Gyrinx' model for Rogue Trade that was sold on mail order flyers but never made it to the main shop releases (as is the Jokearo for that matter, the only one off that offer I can't find is the 'death ferret').

  20. My, your blog is popular now! I wanted to ask: You mentioned drooling space marines: Should I take it that space marines were very different creatures back in RT days?

    1. Those particular ones were - the Christmas Marines were a novelty release in 1988 or there abouts :-)

  21. Amazing! What a beautiful game! I keep going back over the photos and wishing I could play, too!

  22. Great report, so many classy OOP minis. You have some gems.