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Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play and Solo Learn Experience

Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play and Solo Learn Experience

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Project Blog by lawnor Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 51

About the Project

I'll be teaching myself 40K by working through a small escalation league against myself only. I'll be looking for help, asking questions, and giving my thoughts and opinions on the game itself, and as a solo experience. I'll be pitching my Space Wolves against my Tyranids and recording the battles here.

This Project is On Hold

Post Fourth Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0


  • The scenario states that everyone draws one objective at the start of their first turn, but they get more every turn thereafter.  Should the Nids be drawing more at the start of the SW turn or only at the start of their turns?  I went with only on their turns but I really wasn’t sure.
  • The Orbital Bombardment strategy says I must pick a visible point on the table to hit.  How is that LOS determined?  Can I see over models to see the ground for area effects like this?  I was going to target elsewhere, but the only thing I knew I could see over the Terminators was the Hive Tyrant so I went with that.
  • I keep stringing out long lines of units to control multiple objectives and still keep the enemy in range.  I could take a 30 man unit of Termagants and wind them around 4 objectives like a snake.  It seems wrong somehow.  Am I cheating doing this?  is there anything to stop be doing this?



Before I continue and start sounding negative, let me say that if a  friend turns up looking for a game I will most likely say yes.  I am not giving up on 40k.  It has some merits.

Preparing for this game was a miserable affair.  I had had friends around for gaming so everything had been put away.  Getting out all the models for both sides, preparing the table, digging through the stacks and stacks of printout needed and getting everything ready took forever.  i got up from my painting table around 2.30 to play, and took the first photo of the deployment at 3.50.  I didn’t feel like I was dawdling either, but I must have been.  Even then, it was a painful experience that had me thinking about giving up before I even deployed.

I know setting up takes time for any game, but it seemed to take longer and more effort this time.  I think the extra 2 foot of table makes life harder as I can barely fit it in the room.  The amount of models needed is excessive.  The Nids had 2 30 man units.  I usually play Warmachine and I don’t always have more than 30 models in my whole army there.  As such along with having an oversized table, every available free space had models and foam trays all over it, along with stacks and stacks of printouts.  I could barely move.

Once the game got going things did pick up.  The terrain was making things awkward and decisions had to be made.  It was more interesting.  The extra Psykers were fun.  The Tyranids definitely want to get more of them on the table.

Changing from fixed objectives to ones I can score right away and replace seemed like a good idea, but, in this game at least, they appeared irrelevant.  Games seem to mostly run down to one side being wiped out before the turn count expires and that victory condition trumps any VPs earned (I think.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.) so the objectives and VPs felt largely pointless.  Perhaps with more games and experience, and more tactical play my opinions on this might change.  I’d have preferred to see a VP goal that can bring about an early win, be it “first to X points”, or “If a player has Y more points than their opponent”.

I did find there were too many rules sheets and stat sheets to keep track of.  I had 2 different sets of Stratagems, 2 10-ish page sets of stat sheets printed from Battlescribe, all looking identical.  I had the main set of objectives and 2 faction specific pages worth.  I also had the rules and the scenario.  Pages upon pages upon pages.  Then throw in the phases system.  This means I’m not dealing with the Hive Tyrants sheet and then the Carnifex’s sheet.  I need all the move values on all the sheets.  Then I need to dig through and find all the psychic abilities.  Then I need all the shoot stats, and then all the melee stats.  It’s never one page and its done.  All the sheets ended up in a mess.

I know that if I was playing my 50th game I wouldn’t be so dependant on the paperwork as I’d just know stuff.  I also know that if I was committed to this and had my preferred lists I could prepare cheat sheets.  A Psychic phase sheet.  Double sided a5 or smaller stat cards for each unit.  A deck of cards for each sides objectives so I could have in front of them exactly what they were aiming for and ignore the rest.  I could plan which Stratagems were relevant in advance, and perhaps have cards for those too.  There are things that could be done, once a player focuses on an army and a list.  It is a hurdle to overcome when getting in to the game though, double so when so playing both armies.

When I looked at my watch and saw I should already have dinner in the oven and I hadn’t finished round 1 I was not happy.  When it was gone 9 and I still had 2 turns at least left and I needed a shower and sleep and I’d been playing for more than 6 hours I was really unhappy.  I know that its taking me longer as I do not know the rules that well.  I also know that solo playing a game I do know takes a little longer than usual too, and I lose time every round clearing stuff off the table to take pics and document what happened.  I still feel that the game would take longer than I would like and I’m still 500 points off of  “full size” armies.

I do not feel that 40k is the game I am looking for at this time.  It needs way to many models and takes far too long to play, and there’s just too much work involved for how much fun it is, both in set up and strip down, and in terms of fighting with all the printouts.  Also just squeezing around the table without knocking stuff off of shelves.  The pricing is scary too.  A box of 3 Zoanthropes is £40 rrp.  In order to build a max unit and get the Neurothrope I’d need 3 boxes (and have 2 models spare).  That’s £120 rrp for a 6 man unit and a solo.  That feels excessive, especially when 2 of the models wouldn’t even be needed.  I dread to think how much I’d have to spend to get both factions up to a vaguely competitive level.

If a friend turns up on my door looking for a game of 40k I’ll probably say yes, but I’ll be checking the time available first.  I do have a friend who is interested, but has a new child so hasn’t really been available for a while.  I’d also want to play as the Tyranids, but they are all stupidly shaped and a PITA to transport, especially on a bicycle so I probably shouldn’t plan to take them out of the house.  This means that if I spend more money on 40K I really need to think about which faction I want to play.  I also get frustrated just moving the Gargoyles around the table because they are top heavy and spiky and those wings get in the way.  Moving a unit of 30 gaunts who want to stay base to base is annoying too.  Everything is in the way of everything else.  Overhanging the base is something all games are guilty of, but GW seem to be more guilty than others.


40k is probably a good game if you and a friend want to get together across a whole day and play one big game, roll some dice and talk toot, drink your beer and eat your pretzels, not really getting overly invested in the game.  I do suspect that for the cost and the effort involved you might be better off looking in to other games instead though, but its not a bad game if that’s all you’re after.  If you’re looking for something where you and your opponent are invested in the game and you feel like you are making decisions every step of the way and its you and not which way those 90 dice rolled for that one attack that decides the outcome then look elsewhere.


I think for now I am going to walk away from 40K solo play, and find a smaller scale, quicker game to try.  I have a few.  I am considering starting Home Raiders next.

Post Fourth Battle Thoughts and Questions

Given my issues with 40K do people think I might have more fun with any of the following?  Is the play experience comparable, or are the games significantly different?

  • Age of Sigmar (I have an unopened copy of  Realm of Chaos Wrath and Rapture, and 3 second hand built big daemons.  Should I open it or ebay it?)
  • Necromunda
  • Kill Team

Also, is there any aspect of these games that make them unsuitable for solo play, such as lots of hidden information?

Battle 4: 1500 Points

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments



Relic: Miasma Cannon on Hive tyrant

Warlord Trait: Perfectly Adapted

Hive Adaptation: Synaptic Imperative

Space Wolves

Relic: Wulfen Stone on Rune Priest 1

Warlord Trait: Tenacious Survivor


Scenario 2: Contact Lost with Deployment 2: Dawn of War.  There are 4 round tokens down for objectives, numbered 1-4, and there are 2 round black tokens you can’t see the writing on.  The smaller one is objective 5 and the larger is objective 6.

The Space Wolves one the roll to chose sides and the roll to deploy first.  They also finished deploying first so chose to let the Tyranids activate first, because they were concerned about the ranges on the Termagants guns.  This way only a few would get them in range and then when they activate they could fire all their guns.


Round 1 Tyranids

They rolled up Objective 53: No Prisoners (Wipe out an entire unit).

The Termagants, both Hormagaunt units, Tyranid Prime, and the Warriors advanced up the table.  Everyone else walked.

The Hive Tyrant put The Horror on the Terminators.  The Nuerothrope put Catalyst on the 30 man Hormagaunt unit, and the Zoanthropes put Onslaught on the Termagants.  There were no other valid targets in range for further Psyker powers.

5 Termagants were able to shoot at the Blood Claws, managing to kill 3.  18 Termagants were able to shoot at the Terminators, but only did 1 damage.  The hive tyrant missed his shots at them.  The Tyranid prime took a shot at Rune Priest 1 for 1 damage only.

The “Single Minded Annihilation” Strategy (2CP) was used on the termagants allowing them to kill off one Terminator and 1 more Blood Claw.  The Blood Claws failed their Morale check, and its reroll and lost 3 more men.

End of Tyranids Round 1 ActivationEnd of Tyranids Round 1 Activation

Round 1 Space Wolves

Objective 35, “Defend 5”  is drawn.  The Space Wolves have to control 5 for 2 turns.  Thankfully the Iron Priest is next to it already and the Nids can’t get anywhere near it.

The scenario states that everyone draws one objective at the start of their first turn, but they get more every turn thereafter.  Should the Nids be drawing more at the start of the SW turn or only at the start of their turns?  I went with only on their turns but I really wasn’t sure.

Everyone walked in to position.  At the start of the shooting phase the strategy “Orbital Bombardment” (3cp) was used and dropped directly on to the Hive Tyrant.  Unfortunately a 1 was rolled for its AoE.  A reroll (1cp) was bought but a 2 was rolled so only the Tyrant was affected, but it did take 3 Mortal Wounds.

The strategy says I must pick a visible point on the table to hit.  How is that LOS determined?  Can I see over models to see the ground for area effects like this?  I was going to target elsewhere, but the only thing I knew I could see over the Terminators was the Hive Tyrant so I went with that.

The Predator fired its bolters and its once per game bomb in to the Hormagants, but only killed 2 of them.  It fired its big guns at the Neurothrope doing 1 damage only.  The Grey Hunters and the Terminators killed 15 Termagants.  On the other side of the table, the Land Raider, Intercessors and Blood Claws killed 7 Hormagaunts from the smaller unit.  The Land Raider fired its big guns and its bomb in to the Carnifex but wiffed horribly, doing nothing.

The Terminators tried to charge the Hormagants but failed the roll.  The Blood Claws charged their Hormagaunts and killed 5, taking no casualties in return.  The Strategy “Honour the Chapter” (3cp) was used by the Blood Claws, allowing them to kill 4 more.

End of Round 1End of Round 1

Round 2 Tyranids

Obj 36: Defend 6 (Control 6 for 2 turns) and Obj 15: Terrify (Remove enemy unit through morale check failure) were rolled.

Everyone walked in to position, and then the Hive Tyrant cast smite and Psychic Scream at the Terminators, doing 4 damage and killing 2 of them.  The Neurothrope put Catalyst back on the Hormagaunts and Smote the Grey Hunters for 3.  The Zoanthropes smote the Grey Hunters for a further 7, killing all but their leader, who is on 1 health.

The Termagant ans the Tyrant shot up the Terminators, killing 2 more.  The Warriors and the Tyranid Prime shot up the Intercessors, doing 3 damage.  7 of the Gargoyles shot at Rune Priest 1 amd 3 shot at the intercessors, but to no effect.

Strategy “Single Minded Annihilation” (2cp) was put on the Hive Tyrant and a reroll (1cp) was used, but he was still only able to kill 1 more Terminator.

The larger unit of Hormagaunts charged the Grey Hunter and the predator, losing one man to overwatch.  The Carnifex charged the Blood claws,and one died to the shock of it all.  The Carnifex then killed the remaining two, completing “No Prisoners”.  7 Hormagaunts then missed the Grey Hunter despite him being buried in a sea of them.  The remaining 15 then scratched at the paintwork of the predator who punched (?) one of them to death in return.

The Intercessors and the Terminators passed their morale checks, but the last of the Grey hunters panicked and ran away, completing “Terrify” for the Tyranids.

At the end of the turn, the Space Wolves complete “Defend 5”, scoring VP.

Round 2 End of Tyranids ActivationsRound 2 End of Tyranids Activations

Round 2 Space Wolves

New Objectives:

Secure 3 (Capture objective 3)

Behind Enemy Lines (Have 3 units in enemy deployment zone

Hold the Line (Have 3 units but no enemy units in deployment zone)


Rune Priest 1 Smote the gargoyles, killing 3, and then failed to cast Tempest.  Rune Priest 2 smote the Hive Tyrant for 2 damage, but failed to cast Murderous on the Gargoyle.

The Land Raider fired his guns in to the Carnifex, bought a reroll but still only did 1 damage.   It also killed a Gargoyle.

Rune Priest 1 and 2 shot and killed one more Gargoyle each.  The Intercessors, Iron priest,  and Rune Priest 2 missed the hive Tyrant.  The Terminators gunned down 8 more Termagants, before charging in to them, killing 4 and taking no overwatch damage.  The intercessors charged the Tyrant doing 1 damage only.  The Hormagants were able to do 2 more damage to the Predator and no one else was effective.


I appear to have forgotten to take a photo at this stage.  Sorry.


Round 3 Tyranids

61: Kingslayer (Kill a warlord)

13: Dominate (Control lots of objectives)

46 Dominion (I forget)

The Zoanthropes crit smites the Terminators doing 5 damage.  the Neurothrope put Catalyst back on the Hormagants and Smite the Predator for 2.  The Hive Tyrant Smote the Terminators for a further 3, killing the last, but failed to Psychic Scream at the Intercessors.

The Hive Tyrant and Warriors shot up the Land Raider for 3 damage.  The Prime and Gargoyles failed to hit Rune Priest 1 before charging him ineffectually.    The Prime Charged the Intercessors and the Hormagants charged the Land Raider, all to no effect.

The Carnifex Killed 2 more Intercessors.  Rune priest 1 killed 3 more Gargoyles, and the Hormagants did 2 more damage to the Predator.

I have mostly given up paying attention to the Objectives at this point.  I cannot keep track of them all across both sides.  I’ve stacks of stat sheets from Battlescribe, photocopies of Stratagems and objectives and scenarios everywhere, and the rule book full of bookmarks.  Too much stuff everywhere and I can’t keep it straight.

Round 3 after Tyranids ActivationRound 3 after Tyranids Activation

Round 3 Space Wolves

Rune Priest 1 Smote the last gargoyle to death, an Rune Priest 2 Smote the Carnifex for 1 damage.  Everyone moved in to position.  The Intercessor shot their pistols in to the Carnifex and missed.

Rune Priest 1 charged the Hormagaunts, killing 2 of them.  Rune Priest 2 charged the Carnifex doing nothing.  The Carnifex killed the last of the Intercessors and moved up to engage the Land Raider


Round 4 Tyranids

The Zoanthropes failed to smite the Predator, but the Neurothrope smote it for 3.  He also put Catalyst back up.  The Hive tyrant smote Rune Priest 2 for 3, and Screamed at Rune priest 1, but failed (Sore throat?).

6 Termagants hot the Iron priest for 1 damage, and the prime failed to shoot Rune priest 1, before charging him to death.  The Hive Tyrant killed the other Rune Priest with his sword.  The Carnifex hit the Land Raider for 3 more damage, and the Hormagaunts were able to kill the Predator at last.



I got up to play the game at around 2.30pm, and it was 9.15pm at this stage.  I was tired and I had work the next day and I needed to get ready for it.  There were 2 Space Wolf models left on the table and lots of Tyranids.  The Land Raider might even die during its activation, and all the Smites would have killed everyone at the start of Tyranid Round 5.  Nothing the remaining Wolves could have done would have changed the outcome so I called the game there and then.

As I believe killing all your enemies wins you the game outright, all those VPs and objectives are irrelevant.  Victory to Hive Fleet Leviathan.

Battle 4 Prep: 1500 points

Tutoring 1
Skill 0
Idea 2

I’m thinking I might have time for a game this weekend so I’ve prepped some higher points lists.  I’m going to have to proxy now as I really feel both sides need Psykers and more HQ units to qualify for more CPs.  Here’s the cliff notes version along with the Privateer Press models I expect to use as proxies, but you can find the detailed lists below.  If you have any suggestions or feedback please speak up.


I will also be switching from “Eternal War” missions (Fixed objectives only cored after the game) to “Maelstrom of War” (Objectives score immediately and new ones are drawn from a random but faction specific supply).  I am hoping that by making the scenarios more dynamic, and VPs more immediate that the game will be less of a brawl in the middle, and present me with more tactical choices across the game.


I know I have sounded negative about the game so far, and I am leaning towards that way.  However I have also found myself looking at prices for new minis and checking ebay for stuff so something has some of my attention.


Space Wolves

Iron priest
Rune priest x2 (will be played by blackclad wayfarers)
Blood claws x10 (will be played by Tharn bloodtrackers)
Grey hunters x10
Intercessors x5
Terminators x10
Land raider


Hive tyrant
Neurothrope (will be played by Blackhide wrastler)
Tyranid prime (will be played by JagaJaga)
Hormagaunts x30
Hormagaunts x22
Termagants x30
Warriors x3
Zoanthropes x6 (will be played by Gatormen)
Gargoyles x10


See the pics below to see what my proxy models will be, for the benefit of anyone wanting to follow the pics in the battle report.

Blackclad Wayfarers standing in for Rune PriestsBlackclad Wayfarers standing in for Rune Priests
Tharn Bloodtrackers standing in for Blood ClawsTharn Bloodtrackers standing in for Blood Claws
Blackhide Wrastler standing in for a NeurothropeBlackhide Wrastler standing in for a Neurothrope
JagaJaga standing in for a Tyranid PrimeJagaJaga standing in for a Tyranid Prime
Gatorman posse standing in for ZoanthropesGatorman posse standing in for Zoanthropes

Post Third Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1

My thoughts:

  • The Wolf Guard could probably have charged turn 1, getting in some early damage and preventing them from being shot.
  • I’ve been playing Synaptic Adaptation wrong.  I’ve been rolling it per point of damage when it is per successful wound.
  • I’ve not noticed that Smite does d6 damage if you roll high enough on the psychic test.
  • Once the game got to round 3 I was barely involved.  I was just rolling dice for situations I could not influence.  I didn’t really make any significant decisions after turn 1.  I’m starting to feel this is how the game is.  Is this the case?  Is the game all about building and deploying your lists and then mostly watching to see how it unfolds as little more than a dice rolling spectator?  While I can see some casual enjoyment in that, its too expensive and too long a game for that to hold much appeal for me.  Or am I just not in to the game enough to appreciate its tactical options yet?  Do I need a game or two against a real opponent to see what the game really is?
  • A 6×4 table is huge and a little impractical in my home.  I imagine this is the case for a lot of people
  • Diagonal deployment zones cannot accurately be measured while terrain is on the board.
  • Only really being able to score VPs once the game is over largely seems to makes them irrelevant, given everyone appears to die before then.  In my whole 3 games I’ve never seen one side score x and the other x+1.  It’s always a landslide after a tabling.  Perhaps if they could be scored every round and there was a target to hit (first to X, or first to have Y more than their opponent?) to win instantly they would be more relevant?  For a game known for encouraging narrative play, the games do seem to be be geared towards just killing.
  • This game took forever.  I think I started setting up around 3pm, playing near 4pm, and didn’t finish until 9.15pm, and still needed to tidy up..  I did take a break for dinner and I was constantly stopping to take photos and make notes and I do still have to keep checking rules and stats, but that still seems like a long game.  hopefully I’ll get quicker soon!
  • I really hate the Gargoyles.  Not the stats.  They are fine.  The models.  individually they look ok, but they take up more of a storage case than a unit should (A whole box for 1 unit!) and they are awkward to move around the table
  • I hate the flight stands too.  They need to be glued together to be picked up without falling apart, but once glues together they also need 1 models worth of space per stand, meaning the Gargoyles need more than one box to store or transport.  If anyone knows a way to dry fit flight stands so they stay together but can be taken apart for storage please let me know.



  • Can models with flight see over all terrain?  If so, at all times or only during their activation?
  • Do models with flight essentially ignore terrain?  Can they end their movement on top of any non-harmful terrain?
  • Toxin Sacs do 1 more point of damage.  Is this as part of the same attack or a separate attack?  If 2 marines are involved is that 2 damage to one guys, or does the first guy die to the hit and the second to the Toxin Sac?
  • Does the Toxin Sac trigger when the model with the Sac is wounded or wounding?
  • Do models with flight block line of sight
  • How do you handle Toxin Sacs and saves?  Do you roll vs the 6’s separately, or do you saves counter 6’s before non-sixes or the other way round?
  • I have the Wrath and Rapture set so I can try my hand at Age of Sigmar eventually.  Is AoS significantly different to 40k?  Does it feel different?  What if i was playing with the same Daemon models in both games?
  • Additional question: Forests and LoS. I assume a model on one side of a forest cannot see a model on the other side? I assume we are not expected to model each individual tree? Can a model just inside one edge of a forest see and be sen by models outside the other edge? Across any depth of forest?
    In Warmachine models cannot see across a forest of any thickness, but once inside, they can see or be seen through up to a depth of 3″. Thereafter LoS is blocked. How does 40K handle this? I may be overthinking it.

I’ll be going up to 1500 or maybe 2000 next game.  I’ll be adding some proxies for stuff I don’t own.  if you have an suggestions for models for me to look at please speak up.  Each side wants 3 HQs, and more psychers all round seems a good idea.  I’ll be reading the Stratagems more closely and seeing what models I  need to take better advantage of them.  I’ll also take a look at the scenarios with changing objectives.  Perhaps that’ll open up the game for me?

I might not get a solo game in this weekend, as I have a living opponent so I’ll be playing Warmachine for the first time since mid February.

Battle 3: 1000 Points

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
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It’s a few days after this battle now, and I realise my list creation was all wrong.  not that I went for bad choices.  I just entered things in to battlescribe that I didn’t mean to.  I gave things the wrong weapons, and worst of all were the Terminators.  I added Terminators, and I played with Terminator models on the table.  I spent the whole game wondering why they were a big deal when they didn’t seem to be much better than regular marines.  Turns out I’d added Wolf Guard and not Wolf Guard Terminators.  Doh!  Anyway, I played with the weapon choices I had meant but didn’t notice the Terminator goof until a few days later.  So here goes.




Relic: Miasma Cannon on Hive tyrant

Warlord Trait: Perfectly Adapted

Hive Adaptation: Synaptic Imperative

Space Wolves

Relic: Wulfen Stone

Warlord Trait: Tenacious Survivor


Scenario 3: The Scouring was rolled, along with Deployment 6: Vanguard.  Space Wolves deployed first.  Tyranids finished deploying first so got to go first, but the Space Wolves were able to steal the initiative.




The diagonal deployment zones seemed like an interesting idea, but instantly ran in to issues of measurement.  How do you measure them?  I marked out both ends of both deployment with dice and then used a laser line as best as I could, but i couldn’t reach high enough, and I couldn’t deploy and hold up the laser so as you can see by the pic, deployment may have gone a bit wibbly.

I tried to place the heavy hitters where they could be useful but remain screened by infantry.  The Termagants chose to deploy where they could get in range of the Grey hunters in their first activation but stay far enough back that they couldn’t be engaged before shooting.  They have been outclassed by the Hunters every game so far. I’ve assumed flying models can stop on terrain of any height or type?Can they also see through/over it at any time?  I’ve also assumed later on that flight stands don’t block line of sight?

I ran in to questions about forests  and LOS too.  (The green bits of cloth and the template in front of the Termagants)  I assume no one can see from one side to the other, but can people in them be seen at any distance from the edge?  In the absence of a clear answer, I played them like in Warmachine.  No one can see across them, but anyone in or out can see through a depth of up to 3″.

Round 1: Space Wolves

They move up the table to get the enemy in range of their guns.  The Grey Hunters couldn’t get close enough to charge the Termagants, but i wonder if the Wolf Guard could have, with their movement of 12″.  I didn’t give it any serious though until after they had moved and I couldn’t measure anything anymore.  A successful charge there could have changed the game.

The Grey Hunters shot 3 Termagants.  The Wolf Guard shot 2 Hormagaunts.  The Venerable Dreadnaught only shot one Termagant.  The Dreadnaught shot at but missed the Hive Tyrant.  The Vindicator shot its big gun at the Carnifex and its support weapon at the Hormagaunts and missed with both.  The Iron priest missed his shot at the Hormagaunts.  The Predator shot at and missed the Tyranid Warriors.

No one was close enough to shoot.  All in all, a massively ineffective round.  The dice were against the Space Wolves.


Round 1: Tyranids

The Tyranids advanced up the table.  The Termagants moved up just enough to get everyone in range of their guns, but staying as far back as they can to make charges as risky as possible.

The hive tyrant put The Horror on the Wolf Guard, effectively lowering their leadership and attack skills by 1.  He then can Psychic Scream on them, doing 2 damage and killing 2, because I thought I’d added Terminators to my list but they are regular marines, despite the models.  Doh.

The Warriors, Termagants and Gargoyles all shot at the Grey hunters, killing 7 of the 11.  The hive Tyrant and the Carnifex shot at the Wolf Guard killing one more of them.

I used my first Stratagem here, “Single-Minded Annihilation” (2cp) to allow the Termagants to make another round of shots.  This killed 2 more Grey hunters, leaving only 2 alive.  Wary of an upcoming charge, I also put “Caustic Blood” (1cp) on the Hormagaunt, meaning that if anyone hurt them they would take damage in return.  The hope was that either the enemy would hit me back and then die, or be forced to not attack in order to survive.  Either way, its a win for the Hormagaunts.

The Hormagaunts then charged the Wolf Guard, taking no overwatch damage, but successfully killing 3 more Wolf Guard, leaving 4 alive.  The Space Wolf player (also me) spent some time doing the maths and thinking it through and opted not to counterattack this turn.  A morale check was coming up which could cause the unit to flee, but losing everyone now is definitely worse and there is a stratagem that can bypass the morale test.

The Wolves put “Insane Bravery” (2cp) on the Wolf Guard, autopassing their morale check.  The Grey Hunters failed their roll by 3 and the last survivors ran off the board like little girls.  That’s 1VP to the Tyranids for “First Blood”

Round 2: Space Wolves

The predator moved up the table enough to secure line of sight on key targets.

the Wolf guard shot 2 Hormagants with their pistols.  The Vindicator shot the Carnifex for 5 damage, and then fired its once per game missile at it and missed.  It bought a reroll (1cp) and landed 4 damage, killing it.  The Dreadnought and Predator fired their loads at the Hive Tyrant without effect.  The Predator fired its Bolter at the Gargoyles, and the Venerable Dreadnought used its gun and flame thrower, killing 6 Gargoyles.

Both Dreadnoughts then charged in to the Hormagaunts, only killing 2 of them.  “Laugh in the Face of Danger” (1cp) was then put on the Wolf Guard to increase their melee potential.  They were also in range of the Iron Priests relic.  They wailed on the Hormagaunts and killed 6 of them.  Two of them then struck at the Iron priest for 1 damage, 2 of them could strike at the Venerable Dreadnought and chipped its paintwork for 1 damage and the rest were able to kill 2 more Wolf Guard.  The Iron Priest lashed out and cleared those ‘Gaunts off of him and the Vindicator, now finding itself engaged, was actually able to punch(?) a Hormagaunt to death.

All morale checks passed.


Round 2: Tyranids

The Hive Tyrant, Gargoyles and Hormagants moved in to better ranges.  The Hive Tyrant then cast Smite at the Wolf Guard killing the last 2 survivors.  it is only now that I notice that a smite roll of 10 allows me to do 6 damage instead of 3.  I wonder how many times that’s come up and I’ve not noticed?  He then Psychic Screams at the Iron priest killing him to death.  That’s 1 more VP for the ‘Nids.

The Termagants, Gargoyles and Hive Tyrant doing 5 damage.  The Hive Tyrant then failed to charge the Vindicator.

16 Hormagaunts then hit the Dreadnaught for 4 damage, and 3 flailed ineffectually at the Venerable Dreadnaught.  The Vindicator and both Dreadnaughts then killed 5 more Gaunts.

I have no notes for what the Warriors did so I assume they moved up but couldn’t get the Predator in range.  They were kind of boxed in behind the Termagants for most of the game.

Round 3: Space Wolves

It gets pretty simple and repetitive from here on.  Using 1 reroll (1cp), the predator shot the Hive Tyrant for 5 damage.  The Dreadnaugh punched one Hormagant to death.  13 Hormagaunts flailed at and missed the Dreadnaught.  The venerable killed 2 more, and the Vindicator one more.  Round over.  I wasn;t needed for this except as a fleshy dice tower.


Round 3: Tyranids

Tyranids advanced with a mind towards controlling objectives as well as killing.  The hive Tyrant Smite’ed the Vindicator for 3, and failed to Psychic Scream it.  The Tyrant, Gargoyles, Warriors, and Termagants then shot the predator for 5, leaving it on 1 hp, so why not finish it off?

The Gargoyles then went in for a charge, taking no overwatch damage, but failing to kill it.  The Hive Tyrant charged the Vindicator doing 3 damage.  The Hormagants tried to kill the Dreadnaught but forgot how to use their claws (0 damage).  The Wolves countered, only killing 4 more Hormagants.

End of Round 3End of Round 3

Round 4: Space Wolves

5 more Hormagants died, and the Vindicator took 3 more damage.  Not much to say or do at this stage in the game.


Round 4: Tyranids

More positioning to allow ranges and controlling objectives.  Smite and Psychic Scream did 4 damage, killing the Vindicator.  The Venerable Dreadnaught was now out of melee, so the Hive Tyrant shot it for 6, and the Warriors moved up and finished it off.

The Hive Tyrant then charged the remaining Dreadnaught doing 3 damage.  The Gargoyles finished off the Predator.  The Dreadnaught and the Hormagaunts used harsh words against each other only it appears.

End of Round 4End of Round 4

Round 5: Space Wolves

The Dreadnaught missed the Hive tyrant, who struck back for 6, killing him and ending the game.



First Blood = 1 To the Tyranids

Leader Kill = 1 to the Tyranids

3 Normal objectives controlled = 2×3=6 to the Tyranids

1 Primary Objective = 4 to Tyranids

Linebreaker (model in enemy deployment zone) = 1 to Tyranids

13 vs 0 to the Tyranids.

Round 5: Game OverRound 5: Game Over

Post Second Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0

My thoughts:

  • After everyone engaged the game mostly played itself without any input from me.  Roll dice, remove casualties, move the turn tracker along.  No real opportunities for problem solving, tactics or strategy.  It’s almost like the game is decided by deployment and how lucky your dice are.  I am aware that this is a low points level game, and having more units on the table, especially infantry screens for heavy hitters, should change this.  As will experience.  I’ve not added in stratagems yet either.  They could really help here.  I am also aware that I’ve been listening to people bad mouth 40K for a very long time and that could be affecting my opinions.  I am trying to keep an open mind.  I want to like this, even if only so I have an excuse to buy more cool minis.
  • I realised after the game that I was casting 3 psychic powers per turn with the Hive Tyrant instead of the two he is allowed.  This probably affected the outcome.  Not sure by how much.  I’ll make sure I don’t do this again.  Every game I get a little better at following the rules.
  • I’ve just been looking in to CPs and Stratagems working out how to maximise them all.  Having 3HQs to qualify for the =(CP detachments seems like a good idea, so I’ve gone to try and look up what the cheapest HQ option is for each faction.  I’ve gone to the book and remembered that the stats are on one page and the costs are on another and some stats are in the codex and some are in the core book and weapon costs are elsewhere too.  So to work out that simple question I need 2 books open on a total of 6 pages and that’s ignoring the errata.  I had a quick look on their roster app which doesn’t use points and it only gives me names of models with no idea what they are.  Comparing it to their web shop I’m given different numbers oh HQ options, and searching the shop for things listed in the app sometimes yields no results.  This is a really poor way to run a game and makes me incredibly frustrated.  It makes me want to close the books and walk away.  It’s creating barriers between them and my wallet.  What are they thinking?
  • Might be more to come



  • Do you have to charge in a straight line?  I’ve not seen any rule stating this and I’ve seen chatter implying otherwise.
  • Do you fire all your guns on overwatch, the same as in the regular shooting phase?  I’ve been assuming so.
  • Can you see through your own unit to shoot etc?  – Yes.  I checked the rules
  • What is the definition of a unit?  Is that anything from the rule book?  Any individual model, or anything that makes up a stat entry, or just whole squads of grunts?
  • If I have a rule that lets me reroll 1s, can I reroll the reroll if it comes up 1s?  If it was reroll misses I’d say no, but this would require “luck” to get the second reroll, like exploding 6s in Mantic games.
  • If after AP you need to roll a 7 or over to save, is a 6 (the max roll)  still a pass, or is no save possible?  I’ve assumed no save is possible so far.
  • How does Line of Sight interact with the height of other models?  I’ve been working under Warmachine rules without thinking.  Is this a case of true LoS, or can anyone see a tall model over small models?
  • In Justin’s recent playthrough it appears they are rolling morale tests after the shooting phase and after the melee phase.  It is only after both are over, isn’t it? I’ll admit I was only paying half attention as I was painting.
  • Likewise, they seemed to be using a lot of Stratagems and CPs.  They do not refresh between turns, do they?  You have your pool and you can only spend it once?  I don’t know how much they spent, but it seemed like more than I can see how to earn, at least with my limited collection and experience.
  • I’ve just looked up stratagems and instead of being the dozens I thought I’d seen it appears there are only 3 unless the scenario says otherwise.  Are there more in other books I should be aware of?  – I’m seeing some faction specific ones in the codecs.  Dunno if there are more anywhere else?
  • May be more to come


Thought and opinions are welcome on my terrain set up and my tactics (and my writing style and content).  I’m doing this to learn, after all.

1000 Point List Build Suggestions Wanted

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

So I’m going to upgrade to 1000 points before my next game.  I am starting to see what I need to add to make each side better, but advice is always welcome.  Given I’m not buying anything new for this just yet, out of the models I own, what lists would you build using the stuff I own, listed below:


Hive Tyrant x1 (Weapons glued on: Heavy Venom Cannon, Lash Whip and Bonesword)
Gargoyle x30
Warrior x3 (Weapons glued on: Devourer, Lash whip & Bonesword, Rending claws.  Deathspitter, las Whip & bonesword.  Devourer & Scything Talons)
Hormagaunts x52
Termagant with Fleshborers x20
Termagant with Devourers x20
Ripper Swarm x6
Purestrain Genestealer x1
Carnifex x1 (All options magnetised)

Space Wolves
Tactical Marines x12 (1 Plasma gun, 2 meltaguns)
Terminators x10 (Random weapons glued on, Details over here)
Marine Scout with Rocket Launcher x1
Tech Marine x1
Land Raider x1 with Lascannons
Predator x1
Rhino x1
Vindicator x1
Dreadnought x1
Venerable Dreadnought x1
Intercessors x3

Magnetised Dreadnought weapon options:

Left: Hand with Storm Bolter, hand with Flamer, Missile Launcher

Right side: Lascannon, 2x Assault Cannon

I’m not completely against proxying or pretending something has different weapon options attached, so long as I can keep track.

Left to my own devices I’ll be removing the Rhino from my list and looking to include a Dreadnought and try out the Vindicator.  The Nids only have more infantry available so lets bring some melee to tie up the enemy, and increase the number of guns in the termagant unit?  With an infantry screen available, the Carnifex will likely want a gun too so it can contribute early game.

I’ve built some lists and attached them below for anyone who is interested.  Feel free to offer advice or pass judgement.  I don’t own any more HQ units or I might have added some to increase my CP’s.  I’ll be playing with Stratagems this time around too.

Battle 2: 500 points

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1

I’m going for 500 points and sticking with the same listss again while I learn the basics.  It seems wise to keep it simple for now.  I’ve opted to deploy terrain as I do when playing Warmachine.  I’ve put a Line of Sight blocker in the middle of the table, then placed another around 9″ away from that.  I then place the next within 9″ of the centre piece and of the last piece placed.  This is repeated until I’ve gone round the board and then I fill in any gaps with what’s left.  Terrain is chosen at random from the selection available.

I’ve opted to go for the scenarios for the Battleforged lists, working under the assumption that they are the most balance friendly.  I’ll be sticking with those with fixed objectives for now.  I’ve rolled up Scenario 1: Retrieval Mission, and randomly selected Deployment 3: Search and Destroy.

The Hive Tyrant chose Psychic Scream and The Horror as his 2 extra psychic abilities and all other options remain the same.  Deployment sides were randomly allocated, and the Space Wolves won the roll to deploy first, and then each side deployed a model/unit in turn.  The first side fully deployed gets to decide who goes first.  This was the Space Wolves.  Very much wary of that Carnifex they decided to go first so they could pump some shots in to it from the Predator, but the Tyranids rolled a 6 and stole the advantage!

Round 1: Tyranids

Everyone advanced up the table and the Hive Tyrant successfully put out all his Psychic powers on to the Grey Hunters, doing 3 damage, and debuffing them with The Horror.

The Termagants shot the Grey hunters with 60 shots, 34 hit, 10 landed, but 9 were saved.  Once again I forgot they can reroll 1’s.  If I reroll a 1 and it comes up 1 again, can I keep rerolling?  The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant also shot their load in to the Grey Hunters for no effect.

The Carnifex and moved up around the building and assuming you don’t have to charge in a straight line (?) could charge the Predator.  Overwatch landed doing 5 points of damage and scaring me, until I remembered the Synaptic Adaptation.  For each point of damage any Tyranids take I can roll a dice.  If it comes up 6 the damage is removed, and 2 6’s came up.  The Carnifex charge did an epic zero damage, and the Predator struck back for the same.  Ineffective, but the Predator now cannot shoot anyone.

The Grey Hunters lost a man and have their leadership reduced by 1 so could fail their morale on a 6, but they do not.

The Tyranids just got the first kill.  The objective, “First Blood” is scored by the first side to kill a unit.  How is a unit defined?  Does one model count, or does the whole squad have to die?  Does a vehicle or a solo count?

Round 1: Space Wolves

The Rhino advanced down the table ready to camp the Objective, while maintaining Line of Sight on the enemy.  The Iron Priest stepped out from inside the ruins by the Predator,and the Grey Hunters moved up ready to engage the Termagants.  Both shot at the Termagants, killing 5.  The Grey hunters then charged the Termagants.  They lost a man to overwatch, but killed a grunt in return.  Everyone else flailed ineffectually doing no further damage.  The Hunters passed their morale checks again

Round 2: Tyranids

The warriors advanced up the table, looking to get in position to be more useful next turn.  The Hive Tyrant dumped his psychic abilities in to the Grey Hunters again, doing 1 kill and putting The Horror on them again.  The warriors shot at the rhino for no effect, but the Hive Tyrant did 9 damage to it.  Everybody in melee slapped away, killing one more Termagant and doing 3 damage to the Predator.  Everyone passed Morale checks.


Round2: Space Wolves

Seeing how things are going and if he stays still the Predator will die and he’ll take a Carnifex to the face, the Iron Priest advances ready to hopefully roll well and tilt things back in his favour.  He heals the tank for 3 and I have no record of if he shot anyone so he might not have had a valid target.  I suspect he shot at a Warrior but had no effect.

The Rhino shot and missed the Warriors and the Grey Hunters pistols killed off two more Termagants.  The Iron Priest charged the Carnifex for 2 damage.  The Grey Hunters stabbed 1 Termagant but took a casualty in return, and the Carnifex landed 6 damage on the Priest, killing him.  This is the first time a whole unit has been killed so scores the First Blood Objective (1VP), if the first models death doesn’t count.  It also scores the Slay The Warlord objective (1VP).

That’s 2-0 to the Tyranids at the end of round 2.

Round 3: Tyranids

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant advanced in to position.  Psionics killed 2 more Hunters and put The Horror back on to them.  The Hive Tyrant shot and killed the Rhino.  The Warriors then charged the Predator, doing a masive 1 point of damage (oooh!).  The Carnifex hit it for a further 3, and another Termagant dies to the Grey Hunters.  Everyone passed Morale checks and the game just seems to be static and everyone punching each other from now on.  Not exactly exciting.


Round 3: Space Wolves

The pistols fire into the Termagants, missing everyone but wounding a nearby pigeon (It’s a Xeno Pigeon so its ok). Melee plays out across the table killing 2 more Termagants, 1 more Grey Hunter and damaging the Predator for 4.  All morale checks passed.

Round 4: Tyranids

Seeing the end in sight, the Hive Tyrant moved to within 3″ of the objective and Psychered the Hunters again, killing the last grunt, wounding the Pack leader.  That left a total of 3 wounds over 2 models in the unit.  I ummed and aahed over it and decided the Termagants probably wouldn’t do that much and the Nids would win whether or not that objective was scored and so he charged in to finish them off.  Unfortunately he then rolled badly and failed to contribute to the combat.  Rubbish!

The Termagants did 1 point of damage, the hunters did nothing, and the warriors hit the Predator for 3 damage, killing it without it exploding.


Round 4: Space Wolves

One final slapfest resulted in the Wolves doing no damage, but the Hive Tyrant landing 3 hits at 3 damage each, killing the last of the Wolves, ending the game.


Final Scores

First Blood: 1 to Tyranids for killing the first unit

Slay the Warlord: 1 to Tyranids for killing the Iron priest

Linebreaker: 1 to the Tyranids for having models in enemy deployment zone at the end of the game

Take and Hold: 3 to the Tyranids for holding objectives at the end of the game


That’s 6 : 0 to the Tyranids at game over

Two hours later while watching TV I realised I had been casting 3 psychic powers every turn instead of the two the Hive Tyrant can.  Those damn dirty Nids had been cheating all game!  Might have made quite a difference if an extra couple of Termagants had died every combat.


Thought and opinions are welcome on my terrain set up and my tactics.  I’m doing this to learn, after all.

Post First Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 3
Skill 1
Idea 3

I made a few mistakes early on by looking at the wrong stat sheets.  I need to make it more obvious what one I’m looking at.  Perhaps add a pic of the unit somewhere?  Gluing them to card might also be nice.  I also often forgot to take the The Horror psychic ability in to account when the Grey Hunters were attacking.  The big mistake I made which I didn’t realise until 2 days later was that I completely forgot to even look at the Warlord Traits, or the Hive Fleet adaptation.  That might have changed things.

I plan on playing a game or two more at this points level to help get everything straight in my head and running smoother.  I need to either keep the Termagants back this time or swap them out for Hormagaunts, assuming they are better in melee.  Once i’m a little more comfortable I can build some 1000 point lists.

Thoughts at this time

  • Tactical Marines are powerful (Or Termagants are poop?).  They have high defences and good attack.  Rolling 5+ 3 times in a row to hurt them doesn’t let much get through at all.  The Nids need something to deal with that
  • The Rhino appears more useless than I thought when not acting as a transport
  • I can’t roll over a 6 on Psychic tests
  • Volume of attacks is a thing.  Heavy hitters that only roll 1 dice might be shiny and expensive, but then they live or die on the mercy of 1 dice
  • When I rolled the scenario and 3 objectives vanished I was convinced the Tyranids had a huge unbalanced advantage.  I was sure the scenario was inherently unbalanced.  The competative player in me hated it.  How can the game be competative when it just hands a victory to one player before the game even begins?  But then I stepped back and thought about it from the viewpoint of this game not being competative and decided that it created an interesting setup and a fun challenge, so long as neither players “fun” mattered on trying to win.  This game could be enjoyed by looking for ways tocrack the tyranid nut, rather than looking for a fair shot at winning.
  • Once the sides clashed and everyone was involved in melee the game really seemed to bog down.  There were no choices left to be made.  The game essentuially played itself without me and I could have been replaced with a very small shell script.  This doesn’t make for a fun experience.  Perhaps with more models on the table more options will become available, or fights will end sooner, or the melee guys will just act as a screen for my guns behind them?
  • more to come perhaps?



  • How big should an objective be? Google-Fu suggests 30-40mm but no hard and fast rules.  Apparently Chapter Approved says 25mm is fine, but opinion is 40mm is best
  • Can models see through and pass through an objective, or does it count as a model or terrain? – I’ve seen reference to people stood on top of objectives?  Unless I see or hear otherwise I think I’m going to play objectives as just a point in space without mass or volume for now.
  • How was my terrain setup?  About right, or any comments or suggestions for more balanced and interesting games?
  • If multiple models charge the same target in the same round can the target shoot the second charger, or just the first? – From Google-fu charges happen one at a time so once engaged you cannot overwatch a second charging unit
  • How many ranged weapons can be used at once?  I know it says all of them, but does that include all the grenade options too?  If Bob is carrying a sniper rifle, a bolt pistol, a bolt gun, a melta bomb, a krak grenade, a frag grenade and a nuke can he really fire them all in one round? – From Google-Fu These rules are clarified elsewhere in the book.  Its All Pistols or all guns, but not both.  Once per turn one model per unit can forfeit its shoot to throw a grenade.
  • The opposite appears to be true for melee.  If I am conjoined twin octopi with 16 limbs and a different blade or club in each and a bite attack, but an attack stat of 2 I can still only make 2 melee attacks and I’ll probably use the same (best) weapon twice to do so and ignore the rest.  Is this correct?
  • Can any pistol also be used in melee, or just the ones that mention it on the stat profiles? – Pistols can be fired during the shoot phase by models whose units are with 1″ of enemy models.  They must be fired at the nearest enemy unit.  Nearest to itself or its unit?
  • Are tanks as manoeuvrable as people, or did I miss the rules covering how much they can turn?  I assume they don’t have arcs of fire given the side guns on the predator fire together meaning they can both hit a target to its right even though the left turret would have to shoot through the body to do so
  • Smite: is the D3 damage to a single model only or can it be spread over a unit? – From core rules Mortal Wounds always carry over to a new model
  • Are there limits on who can control an objective? – It appears anyone can score, but different scenarios have different rules, but its usually down to model count within 3″ so lots of grunts can be good
  • Is there any way to leave melee combat and still have an action, even if you take damage to do so?
  • How about for tanks?  It makes no sense that a mouse could engage a Land Raider in melee and the land Raider can’t move until after its killed the mouse.  It should be able to ignore it and keep going, and just casually crush it beneath its tracks. – From google-fu, Seems tanks are trapped in melee and need infantry screens to stop this happening
  • If I have a unit of 40 Termagants spread out and Captain Bob moves up and gets 4 of them in his melee range can the Termagants 5-10″ away in that unit use their guns while their mates are engaged?  I’m assuming not, but it makes sense that they could.
  • Can you shoot a model in melee? – No, unless you use a pistol and are part of the unit engaged in melee with it
  • And maybe more as I think of them?

Advice, comments and constructive criticism gratefully accepted with respect to any aspect of this project, my writing, or the games played within it.  I’ve never written a battle report before and I don’t usually read them either so I’ve no idea if this reads well, or makes sense to others.  The lighting is not the best in my games room.  It is fine to play by but I know it doesn’t lend itself well to great photography with my phone.

My First Battle: Tyranids Vs Space Wolvas At About 500 Points

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 5


I’ve aimed for about 500 points, built out of the stuff I own only.  I’ve tried to get a mixed bag of troops so I can experience a little of everything.  My lists were as follows:

Space Wolves

HQ: Iron Priest

Troops: 1x Unit of Grey Hunters (GH) = 11 men?

7x Basic Grey Hunters

1x Grey Hunter Pack Leader

1x Grey Hunter with Meltagun

1x Grey Hunter with Plasma Gun

1x Wolf Guard Pack leader with Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer (Who I originally assumed replaced the GH Pack Leader, but now I think is in addition to.  Anyone care to comment?)

Heavy Support: 1x Predator Tank with all the Lascannons

Dedicated Transport: Rhino (Purely there to make up points, not to transport anything.  Surely his guns must do something?



HQ: Hive Tyrant with Heavy Venom Cannon, Lash Whip and Bonesword

Troops: 20x Termagaunts

.              3x Warriors (Devourer, Lash whip & Bonesword, Rending claws.  Deathspitter, las Whip & bonesword.  Devourer & Scything Talons)

Heavy Support: Carnifex with all the Scything Talons



The Space Wolves don’t have any psykers but will take the “Saga of the Hunter” Warlord Trait.

The Hive Tyrant gets Smite and 2 other Psychic powers.  I chose, “Catalyst” and, “The Horror”.  The Warlord Trait was, “Heightened Senses”, and the Hive Fleet Adaptation was “Leviathan: Synaptic Imperative”.

Have I forgotten anything?


Setup & Scenario

I am playing the introductory scenario, “Only War”.  I deployed 4 Objectives more than 10″ away from each other.  I rolled to see which side the Tyranids would deploy on, and who would deploy first, and deployed both armies.  I then rolled for the Primary Objective and got, “Ancient Relic”.  I randomly rolled which objective would remain (Objective B,  below) and removed the rest, which I felt instantly gave the Tyranids a game winning advantage as they were right on top of the remaining objective marker.   The Tyranids won the roll off to activate first.

Both sides after deployment, but before the objectives were rolled for and removedBoth sides after deployment, but before the objectives were rolled for and removed

Round 1 of 5: Tyranids

Everyone walked down the table, putting 3 Termagants within range of the Grey Hunters.  The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant moved in to shooting range of the Predator.  The Carnifex advanced (Rolled a 6) and snuck around the back of the building to lay ambush on a tank the following turn.  The Carnifex tried to buff his troops but failed all his Psychic rolls.

The Termagants shot the Grey hunters for 3 damage, which was all saved.  I’m pretty sure I was looking at the wrong stats for this giving them a save of 2+ by mistake.  The takeaway from this is that I need to make the Battlescribe printouts more easily identifiable.

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant put all their shots in to the Predator doing an epic 1 damage to it in the end.


Round 1 of 5: Space Wolves

The Grey hunters held their ground.  The tanks advanced forward to open up their lines of fire and close ranges.  The Iron Priest moved up to heal the Predator with his free end-of-movement tank heal, returning it to full health.

The Rhino and the Predator shot at the warriors, only doing 2 points of damage.  The Grey Hunters shot and killed 6 Termagants.


Round 2 of 5: Tyranids

Everyone advanced forward.  The Hive tyrant tried to cast Catalyst on the Termagants and failed his roll, but was able to cast The Horror on the Grey Hunters.  I suspect I often forgot to take this in to account throughout this game though.

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant put their shots in to the Predator for 1 damage, and the Termagants put 39 shots in to the Grey Hunters for 1 kill.  I’m not sure I wasn’t still running off the wrong save value.

The Carnifex charged the predator and got shot for 2 damage, but did 6 damage, taking none in return. The Warriors also charged the predator but took not overwatch damage.  They hit the tank for 2 and took no damage in return.  The Hive Tyrant joined in, taking no shots.  The Predator was close to death so it directed one of its attacks on the Rhino (1 damage) and the rest on the Predator, killing it without it exploding.

The Termagants charged the Grey Hunters and lost a grunt.  I didn’t write down what happened next, but there’s only 11 Termagants in the next pic and no more dead Marines.


Round 2 of 5: Space Wolves

The Iron Priest shot and then charged the Warriors, killing one and taking no damage.  The Rhino attacked the Tyrant doing and taking no damage.  The Grey Hunters killed 3 more Termagants without any casualties

Round 3: of 5: Tyranids

No one can really move as everyone is trapped in melee.  The Hive tyrant tried to buff the Termagants and debuff the Grey hunters, but both spells failed.  The Carnifelx charged the Rhino, doing 4 damage only.  The warriors attacked the Iron priest, doing no damage, but taking 6 in return, wiping out the unit!  The Termagants fought the Grey hunters, but lost 6 more grunts without hurting anyone.  The Rhino attacked the Hive Tyrant, doing no damage but also not taking any back.

Round 3 of 5: Space Wolves

The game is coming to a close and it looks like the Nids might have this if they can get a heavy over to the Grey hunters, so the Iron Priest decided to abandon combat and make a move towards the objective.  he walked his max and put his shots in to the Carnifex but didn’t hurt him.  he then threw his grenades at the only enemy in range, the Hive Tyrant, again for no damage.  The Rhino attacked the Carnifex, doing nothing.  The Termagants attacked the grey hunters but lost one more grunt.  The Hive Tyrant hit the Rhino for 3 more points of damage, leaving it on 3 health.


Round 4 of 5: Tyranids

The end is in sight, but no one can get to the Iron Priest, or get out of melee to shoot him this turn.  The only hope is to kill everything ASAP and try and get to him next turn.  The Hive Tyrant smites the Rhino as the nearest enemy and hopes for a max roll to kill it, but only does 1 damage.  Horror successfully lands on the Grey Hunters again.  The Termagants and the Grey Hunters fight once more and the last of them die without hurting any more marines.  The Rhino attacks the Carnifex without effect and then the Carnifex kills it.

Round 4 of 5: Space Wolves

The Iron Priest moves closer to the objective and fires his gun at the Hive Tyrant for no effect.  The Grey Hunters walk up and unload all their Bolt Guns and Pistols in to the Carnifex, doing 2 damage.  The Plasma Gun supercharges and blasts it for 4, killing it dead.  The Meltagun and all the grenades are put in to the Hive Tyrant causing 2 wounds.  They then all charge in to the Hive Tyrant, trapping the only remaining Nid in melee.  He overwatches for no effect, but they aren’t able to hurt him in melee.  The Tyrant lashes out and kills 2 more of them, ending the round.


Round 5 of 5: Tyranids

The game is already lost, but lets see how much damage I can do first.  The Tyrant Smites the Grey Hunters for 3 damage.  I have no idea if that’s 3 damage as one attack or if I can spread that out over 3 models.  Any ideas?  Given the rules say it targets a unit and not a model I’ve assumed for now it can take out 3 models.  They tyrant then lays in to the marines, but only kills one more of them.

Round 5 of 5: Space Wolves

The iron priest moves up to claim the objective (3″ from the centre) and shoots,  doing nothing.  The Grey Hunters lash out, doing nothing.  The Tyrant is able to kill 1 more of them and then the game times out.



Reading the scenario, it appears the only way to score points is from the objectives, so the Wolves Score 6 and the Tyranids score 0.  Game to the Space Wolves.  Does it say elsewhere that points are scored for killing enemy models?

Preparing For My First Game

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 5

Preparing The Models

I had a project log covering over here.  I’ve painted Orks, Tyranids, and now Space Wolves.  I’d have to say that GW seem to have designed their paint schemes and models around the concept of simplicity and repetitiveness.  To allow people to get 3 colours down simply and effectively if that’s all they want to do.  Take the Marines.  Spray blue.  Pick out the guns in iron and the eyes in red.  There’s your 3 colours with no effort.  If you’re happy with that then great.  You’re table ready.  This is great for getting new people to paint their first unit, but I find the uniformity across whole armies leads to tedium far quicker than in other systems.  I painted a Cryx army over a couple of months the other year and I did not get bored doing it.  Painting that may Space Wolves, or Tyranids, regardless of the models would bore me to death.  There doesn’t appear to be as much character or variation amongst GW models, at least from the ones I’ve worked with.  I know they do have some awesome, characterful models, but these seem to be the exception, not the rule.


Reading The Rules


The rules seemed like a quick and simple read, but I am someone who learns by doing so we will see how clear and helpful they are when I come to play and discover how little I remember.  I didn’t like that the actual rules don’t start until you are 170 pages in to the book.  I understand you need to set the scene and lure people in before getting to the work, but that struck me as excessive.  it was in the way.  This will become a problem whenever I need to reference pages while playing as I’m flicking backwards and forwards between different pages.

I read a little of the Space Wolf codex too.  I didn’t appreciate the first few pages of that.  The tone was all about how you can buy, built and paint an army.  There was no mention of playing the game.  It really made the book feel like a sales tool, rather than a games manual.  It didn’t endear me to GW at all.


Preparing Lists

Well, this was a huge frustration.  Stats in one section.  Weapons in another.  Points costs for each in two more sections.  Then throw in the codec’s and the Chapter Approved changes.  I tried using the GW army builder but then it doesn’t work in Points and I wanted to.  I also couldn’t find mention of Space Wolf Space Marines anywhere.  I had to go away and research what they were called, only to find out there’s 3 different types.  While I built my Tyranids, I did not build my Space Wolves.  Working out what I owned and if it was even legal was confusing and hard work.

I did build my Nids though.  I bought the old Start Collecting box with the Hive Tyrant and some Warriors.  I was advised to not worry and just build what I liked the look of.  I picked 3 different build options from the instructions for the Warriors and now I find out one of them is not a legal option.  Cheers GW.  Now I need to pull the arms off a model I painted and add new ones.  How often am I going to have to do things like this?  At least I wasn’t a Squat player back in the day, I suppose.

Battlescribe was a big help in setting up and pointing my lists correctly (I think), although I did have to know what everything was before hand, but I suppose that’s to be expected.  I printed out my lists before play so as not to be running two unfamiliar armies off of one screen.


Setting Up The Table

I’ll be starting at 500 points.  The book suggests a 4×4 table for this, and suggests 2 pieces of terrain on every 2×2 section.  No real talk of how big a piece is, or how much of it should block line of sight, or advice on breaking up lines of fire.  Should I be putting down 7-9 walls randomly, and having a mostly open table, giving guns a huge advantage, or lots of tall building to break up fire and give melee more of a chance?  Any time I’ve seen a 40K table it seems to have lots of gothic ruins on it so I opted for lots of buildings.  I have used my Deadzone Terrain, because it’s what I own.  What do people think of my layout?  Any advice for constructing fair and balanced table layouts?  Is this enough stuff?  Should I mix up the type more?

Preparing For My First Game

I’m using the suggested starting Scenario to begin with, “Only War” (p187).  it talks about using 4 objective markers “represented by any suitable marker or piece of terrain”.  I cannot find any definition anywhere of what that means.  All I can find is that you must be within 3″ of the centre of an objective to score it.  Is anything less than a 3″ diameter circle considered suitable, or are there rules or accepted conventions covering the size or shape?  I’ve opted to use my objective markers from Warmachine.  Standing Stones mounted on 50mm bases.


Deployment Zones

The game talks about splitting the table in half and allowing deployment anywhere on your half of the board up to 12″ away from the opposing deployment zone.  Fair enough.  Does this mean you could split the table in half in either direction?  I assume diagonally is out of the question unless specifically mentioned in a scenario?  What about on a 6×4 table?  I always assumed you played along the long edge.  If you split the table so people are at the 4 foot ends and deply 12″ from the middle then what’s the point in the extra 2 foot, and surely people will have issues reaching their models if you don’t have 360 degree aces to the table?

Introduction and Goals

Tutoring 4
Skill 3
Idea 9
No Comments


Despite not playing 40K and only intentionally buying one small starter army mainly to paint, I now own 4-5 starter armies depending on how you count them.  Given I’ve spent the last month or so painting up my Space Wolves I thought it was about time I learnt to play.  Inspired by @Evilstu ‘ s article series I thought why not learn to play against myself?  My meta has shrunk from about 8 of us to just me for now until my friend gets his shifts changed, or some toddlers grow up so now seems like a good time to try solo play.  It’s either that or “leave the house” and “be social” and I can’t be having with that!



My plan is to start small and play a few 500 point games until I can get through them without forgetting rules or powers, looking at the wrong stats or spending all the game looking things up.  I’ll then up the points size and try again and again.  I own around 1600 points worth of Tyranids and Space Wolves so I’ll be using those armies, and trying not to buy anything new, at least until I decide I’m enjoying myself and want to keep playing long term.

I’ll be writing battle reports between games and sharing them here.  As I go I’ll run in to issues and be asking questions here I’d appreciate answers to.  If you see me doing something odd, or killing things I shouldn’t be able to, please speak up and make sure I’m doing things correctly.  I want to learn as much as I ant to have fun.  I was thinking I’d put my questions in colour to make them stand out, but I’m not seeing that as an option, so let’s see about putting them all in bold, shall we?

As I go I’ll be giving my thoughts, not just on the games I’ve played and the models I’ve used, but also on the rules and the experience of both learning the game with minimal GW experience, and playing the game as a solo experience.



Here’s a little background to provide context to my perspective on things.  Skip this bit if you want.

I’ve been wargaming for around 6 years now.  I mainly play Warmachine, but I’ve dabbled a little in other games here and there from time to time. For those that might not know, Warmachine is a competitive play focused game with tight rules with clear definitions.  It has fluff, but it isn’t written with fluffy narrative play in mind.  It encourages tight precise play.  I understand that this is not the 40K way so I expect to have some perspective clashes because of this.  I will try to keep an open mind though.

Growing up in the 80s & 90s I was very much aware of GW.  I had Hero Quest and Space Crusade.  At some point I got my hands on a copy of Rogue Trader, and a Fantasy two player box that had elves and maybe undead in I think?  My only opponent was my younger brother and we did not have the money to actually buy anything (This was all second hand) so we could never deep dive in to anything and I’m sure I did the brotherly thing of misreading the rules in my favour every battle.  Other that those experiences 25ish years ago, I got in a couple of demo games of 8th Ed 40k 1-2 years ago at low points but otherwise haven’t touched it.  GW has always been there in the background of my life in one form or another, but apart from brief focused stints at Dawn of War I’ve never done the deep dive beyond the 80’s board games