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Events and Battle Reports
Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/12/02
Introduction and Army List <> Battle Summaries

Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/12/02: Battle Summaries
Dream Wizard’s Rogue Trader Tournament (RTT), held on Saturday, January 12, 2002 started at 11am. Dream Wizards is a fairly large store located in Rockville, Maryland, about an hour from my home. There were to be three games, not four like last time, which was fine with me. The RTT was run in “Swiss style,” with opponents determined randomly for the first game and then winners playing winners for succeeding games. Players were paired up between games, told which tables to go to, and informed of the mission to be run once everyone had arrived at their table. Each game had a two-hour time limit.

So, how did my “new and improved” Fighting Tiger army do?

Game 1: Old Rivalries Renewed
The first game was a special scenario called “Like Ships in the Night.” In this mission, you try to get your army into your opponent’s table quarter while they try to get into yours, and the first turn is fought using the Night Fighting rules. Out of the 25+ people there, who was randomly assigned to play me? My old friend (and nemesis) Patrick Eibel. “It’s a small world,” all right. 

Long-time visitors to the Jungle might know Pat as the guy whose Orks kicked around my Tigers in the Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign. Actually, the Orks are Pat’s secondary army: the one that he devotes most of his time and attention to is his 7000 point Space Wolf army. For the RTT, he brought:

  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader Hengist, 9 Gray Hunters (Pack “Mimir”) and Rhino
  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader Hafdan, 9 Gray Hunters (“Pack Kvasir”) and Rhino
  • Wolf Guard Hodr, 9 Blood Claws (Pack “Mjolnir”) and Rhino
  • Wolf Guard Modi, 9 Gray Hunters (Pack “Angrboda”) and Rhino 
  • Predator Destructor (“Stalking Wolf”) with lascannon sponsons
  • Predator Destructor (“Howling Doom”) with lascannon sponsons
Pat and I have been playing 40K since 1987, and we’ve played so many games against each other that you might as well just flip a coin to decide who wins. This game was no exception. We both tried to drive our transports into the other guy’s zone, him hoping that hand-to-hand combat would win the day, me hoping that heavy weapons would slow him down (by taking out his Rhinos) and whittle his ranks so I could counterattack with the Redhead. 

Fighting Tigers take on Patrick Eibel's Space Wolves
Above: Fighting Tigers take on Patrick Eibel's Space Wolves

We traded punches fairly evenly for the first five rounds, with my big guns doing a lot of damage to his Wolves. Then around Turn Five, some of Pat’s Gray Hunters managed to hunker down inside my deployment zone, protected by ruins that blocked line of sight to my lascannons. Knowing that we were running neck-and-neck on Victory Point totals, I sent in the Redhead and her accompanying squad to dig them out. Admittedly, charging into a pack of Space Wolves is not the best idea when you play “vanilla” Marines, but I had to do something. 

What happened? Kshatriya Khandar Madu ran right into Battle Leader Hengist and both commanders perished beneath the other’s blades. The Gray Hunters beat back the Tiger counterattack and Pat moved one of his Predators into my deployment zone for bonus points, even as I moved a unit into his deployment zone. The final score was Wolves 1099 Victory Points, Tigers 978, another close win for Pat.

Game 2: “On my signal, unleash hell”
The second game was “Suicide Squad.” This is where you nominate one unit to be hell-bent on killing the enemy, even at the expense of their own lives. Especially at the expense of their own lives. You get bonus victory points if the unit dies and lose victory points if they survive the battle. I nominated my 5-strong Tactical Squad (the one accompanying the Redhead) as my “suicide squad” and set up against Chris Kahler’s Alaitoc army, the “Spike Fish Rangers”:

  • Avatar of the Bloody-Handed God
  • Farseer with Fortune and Mind War
  • 15 Alaitoc Pathfinders in 3 squads
  • 6 Rangers in 2 squads
  • 10 Guardian Defenders + starcannon + Warlock (with Conceal) 
  • 10 Guardian Defenders + starcannon + Warlock (with Conceal)
  • 3 Vypers with starcannons in 1 squadron
  • 3 Wraithlords with bright lances
I know a lot of players would say that such a list is “cheesy,” but I don’t believe in that concept. While three Wraithlords is enough to make most gamers soil their shorts, I was delighted to see that Chris had sunk 440 points into four plodding units (the Avatar and the Wraithlords) that would never see hand-to-hand combat until I wanted them to. 

You see, one of the Eldar’s biggest strengths is speed: once I took out his Vypers, Chris would have no more speed, as all of his other units were either slow or could not move and fire. As an added bonus, all those Ranger long rifles were absolutely useless until my guys got out of their rides, and because my troops started in their vehicles, the Ranger Disruption Table (page 19 of Codex: Craftworld Eldar) was not a factor. 

Chris got the first turn and gave me a minor scare. In his first round of firing bright lances and starcannons, he shot the turret off the Predator Annihilator, destroyed the weapons on Khandar Madu’s Razorback, and immobilized one of my Rhinos loaded down with Tactical Marines. Worse still, those Marines had no long-range weapons, so they sat in my deployment zone, hoping to restart their Rhino (using the rules from page 72 of Codex: Chapter Approved) for FIVE turns. That’s right—they only got the Rhino started on Turn 6.

Fortunately, I didn’t need them. Over the next few turns, I shot down Chris’ Vypers; zoomed up my Tactical Squads to open a can of hand-to-hand whoop-ass on the Guardians, Pathfinders, and Rangers; and used lascannons (from my tanks) and heavy bolters (from the Speeders) to pick off Wraithlords that came too close. I wiped out his “suicide squad” (a unit of Guardians) without them killing off anyone and charged my “suicide squad” into some of his Pathfinders, easily chewing them up for lunch. 

At the start of Turn 4, Chris made a fatal error. His Avatar and his two surviving (but wounded) Wraithlords were closing in on my Predator Annihilator, Razorback (with lascannons) and accompanying Tactical Squad (which had dismounted to use their missile launcher). Unnerved by the havoc my Tactical Marines were wreaking on his side of the board, Chris turned his Avatar and Wraithlords and started marching them back the way they came to help out. There was little hope of them reaching hand-to-hand combat by the end of the game, and they were only exposing themselves to more heavy weapon fire. 

Before I polished off his “big boys,” I charged my “suicide squad” into the Avatar, where they were swiftly defeated, gaining me an extra 150 victory points. The Redhead fell to the Farseer’s Mind War, but that was of little consequence: the Eldar had been thoroughly routed and I spent the last few turns picking off targets. In the end, I brought down the Avatar, all three Wraithlords, and the Farseer with lascannon blasts. Final score was Tigers 1593, Spike Fish Rangers 476: a crushing victory for Team Stripeypants!

Game 3: “There’s a new kid in town”
Scott Zink wasn’t a new player but his army was the latest race to join the 40K universe: the Tau. I was literally overjoyed to face this new challenge, because although I had, of course, heard about Tau, I had yet to play against them. Fortunately for me, our table had a good amount of scenery and the mission was “Dawn Assault,” with the first turn using the Night Fighting rules. Scott brought:

  • Shas’el Commander with plasma rifle, missile pod, and 2 Shield Drones
  • 3-man Crisis Team with 3 missile pods, 2 plasma rifles, a fusion blaster, and 2 Shield Drones
  • 3-man Crisis Team with 2 missile pods, 1 burst cannon, 1 plasma rifle, a twin-linked burst cannon, and 2 Shield Drones
  • 11 Fire Warriors and a Shas’Ui, with pulse rifles
  • 11 Fire Warriors and a Shas’Ui, with pulse rifles
  • 19 Kroot Carnivores and a Shaper
  • 8 Gun Drones in 1 squadron
  • Hammerhead Gunship with railgun and smart missile system
  • 3-man Broadside Team, each with smart missile system and twin-linked railgun; with 2 Shield Drones
Nasty, eh? I knew this would be another one of those games: the kind you win big or lose big. 

Scott's Tau army
Above: Scott Zink's way-cool Tau army, ready to unload on the Fighting Tigers

Scott went first and promptly blew the heck out of my Predator Annihilator, but I wasn’t too upset with that. I rushed everything I had—and I mean everything—forward in a desperate race to get into the relative safety of hand-to-hand combat. The smoke launchers and the extra armor on each transport were invaluable: in Turn Two, Scott’s big guns hit my Rhinos and Razorbacks several times and scored nothing more significant results than “Crew Shaken” or “Weapon Destroyed”: no big deal, as I wasn’t about to get into a firefight with the Tau.

Tau vs. Tigers
Above: Tau vs. Tigers: the armies collide
Photo © copyright Scott Zink, January 2002. Used with permission.

Finally, Scott managed to destroy or immobilize most of my transports, but by then, my Tigers were in position. About 30 of them, led by Kshatriya Khandar Madu, crashed into the Kroot and butchered them, then swept into a Crisis Team. On the other end of the board, 10 of my Tactical Marines had wiped out Scott’s Gun Drones, broken the other Crisis Team in hand-to-hand combat, slaughtered a Fire Warrior Team in hand-to-hand combat, finished off the other Fire Warrior Team (who had already taken casualties from shooting), and charged Scott’s Broadside Team. 

Fighting Tiger Tactical Marines challenge the Tau Broadside Team
Above: Fighting Tiger Tactical Marines challenge the Tau
Photo © copyright Scott Zink, January 2002. Used with permission.

As expected, the melee was fierce and bloody, with the Redhead carving up the Tau Commander, Tai’Zo in single combat. The Broadsides, with their Save of 2+, easily shrugged off the attacking Tactical Squad, and I wasn’t able to scratch the Hammerhead, but that was no matter. At the end of the game,the Fighting Tigers held 3 table quarters with the last contested: another great victory!

Bring on the Redhead!
Above: "The Redhead" leads her forces in a furious assault
Photo © copyright Scott Zink, January 2002. Used with permission.

At the end of the day...
The judge awarded points in various categories and used them to determine winners. This is how my scores broke down:
 

Loss, Game 1:
10 points
Victory, Game 2:
30 points
Victory, Game 3:
30 points
Appearance: 
20 points 
(out of possible 20)
Pub Quiz:
11 points 
(out of possible 11)
Sportsmanship:
56 points 
(out of possible 60)
Composition:
20 points 
(out of possible 20)
Total:
177 points

I outscored all the other competitors to win the highly-coveted Best Overall Prize. I was literally dumbfounded when the judge made the announcement (my exact reaction was an incredulous cry of "WHAT???").

The surprised winner
Me, the surprised winner, holding the "Best Overall" 
trophy and a $50 gift certificate

While I had enjoyed using my bike army in the previous RTT, I found that careful adherance to the Composition guidelines, good sportsmanship, a snazzy look to the army, and some good playing was enough (barely!) to win. If I could offer any advice to others, it would be:

Choose a balanced army. A balanced army can shoot well, fight in hand-to-hand combat, move, and take casualties. It has a better chance of winning and will receive higher scores for Sportsmanship and Composition (for more, see Building a Balanced Army)

Load up on Troops. It helps on your Composition score and they excel in smaller games like the ones you'll play at an RTT.

Get lots of rest the night before and stay mentally and physically fresh during the tourney. Playing 40K in a tournament atmosphere can be exhausting. Make sure you eat breakfast, take the opportunity for lunch (if you can), and drink fluids. Too many carbonated beverages may make you jittery or hyper, which may lead to you make bad decisions. 

Be a good sport! I cannot emphasize this enough. Smile, introduce yourself, shake hands, provide copies of your army list, wish your opponent good luck, cut the other guy some slack, and don't quibble over rules (argue only when it's absolutely necessary). For more, see these pointers on"gaming etiquette."

Appearance scores are more than just painting. Use conversions, make a scenic base or diorama to transport your army, have a cassette player with "theme music," write up a background story, wear a costume, tote a (fake) 40K weapon or bring along your own banner. Almost anything that distinguishes you and your army from everyone else and their armies is good. 

I am not the world’s greatest painter, but "Appearance" is more than just fancy paint jobs. The judges were impressed by the sheer number and look of all those tiger stripes, as well as my coordinating tiger-face T-shirt, my  orange-and-black "Tiger Dice", my stuffed animal "tiger mascot" that I displayed during each game, and the "tiger-feet" slippers that I wore during the tourney. Laugh all you want, but those slippers got some attention and were darn comfy. I know someone whose feet did NOT hurt at the end of the day.

It's gotta be da shoes
Above: "It's gotta be da shoes." The footwear of choice for RTT champions

The Pub Quiz is all about 40K fluff, or background material, and the only way to know it is to read the books over and over again. 

Don't let a loss discourage you. Keep trying--even if the battle seems lost, keep plugging away: you never know what may happen. Conversely, don't assume an opponent is beaten until the game is actually over. Play your smartest and hardest but don't be a jerk.

I know I'll be entering more Rogue Trader Tournaments, and I hope you will, too. Maybe I'll meet you across the table someday!


Above: The Best Overall trophy from the Rogue Trader Tournament, January 12, 2002

Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/12/02
Introduction and Army List <> Battle Summaries

Related Pages
Other Rogue Trader Tournaments
 

Posted January 2002
 

Top

Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle