Wednesday 5 February 2014

Help the Aged....with War!

Sadly my elderly mum hasn't been too well recently and the doctors have told her to get a hobby in order to take her mind off her ailments. She's never really been one for hobbies and so this recommendation has been largely ignored...until now. Today I decided that she would play her first game of second edition 40k; and after much persistence she agreed....which is a double achievement as she hates my miniatures; in fact she spent most of my teenage years shouting 'Are you upstairs with those bloody little men again?' .... I hope my neighbours didn't hear as that sentence could be easily misinterpreted.

Anyway I dragged her into my games room; set up a battlefield circa 1993 and set about challenging  her preconceptions.

From past experience I have learned that war gaming can be a little intense for beginners, particularly when the usual complications occur around different models and weapons having different stats, thus requiring different dice rolls; etc! For us old timers it's all part of the fun; but for a tepid beginner the thumbing through multiple books and head scratching causes boredom and disinterest in a few minutes.

In order to negate this problem I simplified things in extremis.... Both armies would consist of four five man combat squads; all armed with nothing but the ubiquitous bolter. For those of you who've played HALO multiplayer online then think of it as the slayer match where everyone has battle rifles!! Additionally each army needed a leader and this was represented by a lowly Sergeant with a bolt pistol and chainsword. Essentially this simple situation represented two small scouting forces engaging each other across No Man's Land. The objective was kept equally simple, instead of mission cards I said that the goal for each player was to kill more models than their enemy......Easy!

The armies were represented by Crimson Fists controlled by my mother and Battle Sisters (using SM stats) commanded by my good self!!

I also dealt with the initial set up as this can also be a bit intimidating for a new player, and I placed both armies into mutually defensible positions on opposite sites of the battlefield.

Once the troops were in place I gave mum a quick brief as to how things worked and then moved into the game proper. We agreed that I would take the first turn so that she could see how things worked in action. This wasn't massively exciting; some troops moved towards the Crimson Fists whilst those sisters that were in good fire positions stood firm so that they could maximise their efficacy through the Space Marine's Rapid Fire ability.

The battle sisters in the tall ruins in the centre of my line then opened up with a highly accurate volley at their opposite numbers...

And when the smoke cleared, two blue space marines had been despatched to meet the Emperor....

How I laughed; until scant seconds later my mother's Astartes warriors retaliated and scythed down four of my sororitas from one squad....

And another one from a separate unit....bugger

Already things were not looking good for the Ecclesiarchy's shock troopers. Hopefully I would be able to pull things back or face a horrendous defeat at the hands of a pensioner....

As you can see from this photograph I had one of my squads on each flank trying to perform a pincer movement whilst those troops in the centre were acting as bait and bearing the brunt of the enemy fire.

A situation that continued as the lone survivor from the centre squad was gunned down; leaving the army commander feeling a little exposed....

The left hand squad decided that the safest place for them was in close combat and so threw caution to the wind, charging into the Crimson Fist squad hiding in a nearby building....

Only two of the squad managed to make contact whilst their comrades jogged in behind, after a brutal melee the durability of power armour was proved once again and no combatants from either side succumbed to any injuries

The centre battle sister squad again proved their skill at arms, cutting down two space marines that had foolishly crept out of cover moments before. These sisters were turning the tide by themselves, and I decided that should they survive the battle they would likely be elevated to the status of Celestians. 

The affected Crimson Fists then rolled a nine and failed their leadership test, luckily being Space Marines they were merely shaken as opposed to being fully broken...

Meanwhile my squad of sisters who were covering the right hand flank sprinted into the cover of the nearby woods so as to avoid being gunned down like dogs....

The left-hand assault turned against me as the Crimson Fist's leader bundled in to help out his brothers. His chainsword rose and fell, and in a few moments three sisters were dying on the floor, their blood turning the mud into a swamp; they were shortly joined by a fallen Fist.

The blue space marines consolidated into the remaining nuns, who failed their leadership test.... However as they were using Space Marine rules they were also shaken as opposed to broken. 

A further sister in the centre ruins breathed her last as she was slain by a bolt round to the face...

Needless to say this angered her squadmates somewhat, and after they had finished scraping her brains from their otherwise pristine body armour they took aim and cut down two of their aggressors.

Both sides proceeded to lose another trooper to the swirling melee on the left flank....

On looking at the numbers involved this lone sister knew that she was done for, and so said a final prayer to her God-Emperor before getting ready to sell her life as dearly as possible.

The Sister's Commander took a quick pistol shot at the centre Space Marine squad, and amazingly managed to get a kill in...huzzah!

Simultaneously the sisters on the right flank emerged screaming from the woodline and charged into the marines holed up in the ruins....

And managed to kill two space marines in return for one dead sister....

However tradegy struck as a lucky shot from the Crimson Fist's skirmish line ended the life of the Sisters of Battle Commander...such an ignoble end for a hero of the Imperium....

Devastated at the loss of her leader the fighting spirit left the sole survivor of the initial melee, and her weapons fell from her bleeding hands as she allowed the Space Marine Sergeant to ram his chain sword threw her bared throat.

And with this final death turn four drew to a close and the game ended. A quick tally of the casualties revealed that I had in my mother, the shame. I am considering a posting to a penal legion.

Joking aside this was really good fun, even she grudgingly admitted that she had enjoyed it. I found it really speedy to play when I removed all the special weapons and just went down to bolters. I would recommend if you are trying to break in a new opponent to the joys of second edition then it's worth placing some similar limits on your games until they are confident with the basics. It can make all the difference to how much they immerse themselves in it. Then you can gradually start introducing special weapons and characters....

I'm already planning our next game!


  1. Wow. I never thought I'd ever come across a scenario where a guy lost a game of 40k to his mom.

    Just. Wow.

    Still - it sounds like all the right reasons, so good for you. I hope she feels better soon! (and you - that ego's gotta be hurting right now!)


  2. Tell me about it! I don't know how I'm going to live with myself!

    There's nothing that I can say in my defence!!

    Oh well .... At least she had fun lol!

  3. Just when you think you've seen it all, the internet happens.

    Hope your Mum's health improves.

  4. Cheers guys! I'll pass on your regards!

  5. I'm in complete agreement...I can't EVER imagine this happening in my life...;)

    This is certainly the Quote of the week too!:
    "Hopefully I would be able to pull things back or face a horrendous defeat at the hands of a pensioner...."


    thanks for this....:)

  6. Brilliant.

    Noa matter what the outcome, you managed to play a game of 40k with your mom. Even on my deathbed, my mother would never have a game with me...

    You are my hero from now. Just get her to paint herself an army and you're my god.

    Thanks for this post, I couldn't help but smile all the time I was reading it.
    I wish her the best health wise but I'm pretty sure some quality time with her kid must have helped somehow.

  7. Cheers dude! I think it took her mind of off stuff for a bit. I've even got her painting one ultramarine with me!!

  8. Oh, man, this is so... new! Couldn't have ever imagined a situation like that and then here you are. Great work! And great battle too!

  9. Now this is an original post.

    You took on the role of Jervis Johnson to her Andy Chambers.


  10. may have a point there. But like Jervis I'll roll out my stock answer
    'For me it's not about the winning and's about the narrative!'
    (Though clearly in this narrative...I lost)

  11. So cool seeing old school 40k in action ... somewhere ... anywhere! Bravo sir! Bravo!!

  12. Pleased to be of service! I'm hoping to get smother game in soon so I'll try and get a BATREP up when I'm done!!!! Hopefully I won't be crushed by an old woman.......AGAIN

  13. That's a great post. Like those above me, I'm in awe of getting your mum to play 40K! Get her into Orks! Best wishes and get well soon.