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hootier
31-01-2006, 17:15
Some friends of mine and myself went up from Colorado Springs to Denver on Saturday for the Colorado Mills' Dark Crusade event. I'm glad we went, albeit in that way you are glad you picked 50 pints of strawberries or glad you went to the dentist. It was horrible. Awesome idea - terrible execution.

The premise - 6000ish points of various chapters of Marines and Imperial Guard regiments were to attack a huge chaos and ork force, cross a bridge, assault a bunker, and kill the ork boss. Our force was led by Klaus Luther (http://us.games-workshop.com/news/events/gw-store-events/dark_crusade/default.htm) and we had to kill Dazgrakka Ragnarokk. I use "We" very losely. After the first few turns of the game had progressed, we (the Imperials) learned that the only way for us to win was for LUTHER to kill Ragnarokk himself. Luther, a BT Chaplain with a jumppack, had to cross a 4 foot table (our zone), a 3 foot bridge, and then another 4 foot table (the ork zone) to accomplish this. And he had to accomplish this without the benefit of a Landraider transport or even an accompanying squad with jumppacks. That's about 108 inches to move at 12 inches per turn. And did I mention that the game only lasted 4 turns?

Fortunately for us, and I use "fortunately" very losely, the GW GMs had this ultimate super-scripted ending ingrained into their heads. So about halfway through the game, they made some some ridiculously BS reason for three of our own squads to teleport onto the ork board. Luckily I rolled a perfect hit for the scatter on the deepstrike dice, and Klaus was able to land great and move into the bunker without getting shredded by 6000 points of shooting orks and chaos marines. The other two units that teleported with him were a BT assault terminator squad and a really really awesome flesh tearer chaplain and his death company (if the kid who these belong to is reading this, those models ruled!). Eventually the terminators held the outside of the bunker, slaughtering 5 obliterators in the process, while Klaus and the Flesh Tearer Death Company Chaplain went inside to face Ragnarokk and his bodyguard.

Now, it would hardly fit the idealistic throwdown scenario that the GW GMs forced us into if Klaus and Ragnarokk didn't fight each other one-on-one, so the Death Company Chaplain had to stand there hacking through some goober Boyz and couldn't help Klaus out at all. I thought that was terribly lame. If the GW people wanted Klaus and Ragnarokk to throw down mano-a-mano, then they didn't need 51 players, 18,000 points (I'll get to where the missing 6k points went to in a sec) and 13 hours of my time to make it happen. But the fact that an absolutely massive game was engineered only to have 95% of its results rendered absolutely pointless by the GMs really really pissed me off.

So there they were, fighting each other one on one while a badass chaplain just sat there watching, popcorn in hand, after slaughtering the boyz.

Oh yeah, the other 6k points. Orks and Chaos were on one side, defending. Imperials were on the other, attacking, like I said. All other xenos came onto any of the 4 short board edges as reserves in their own turn (so now there were three different armies) except they could fight whichever side their controlling players wanted! Most of the "other xenos" infantry models ended up attacking orks, while 6 Tau Hammerheads, 2 Fire Prisms, 1 Falcon, 1 Wraithlord, and 1 Monolith all came up on the flank of the Imperial side. While the destruction they wrought on us was utterly massive, it was equally utterly pointless since the battle was artificially being decided on the opposite end inside the bunker.

Let me reiterate the victory conditions:
1. For the orks, they had to keep Ragnarokk alive. SOmewhat difficult, given the GMs making up rules to get Klaus in there to fight him.
2. For the imperials, we had to kill Ragnarokk solo with Klaus. Very difficult, given 12k points of other stuff trying to kill Klaus and the incredible distance we had to travel.
3. For the "other xenos"? All they had to do was get a hit on the bunker. That's right. A glancing or penetrating hit on the bunker was sufficient. Utter crap. In turns 3 and 4, a xenos hive tyrant walked about 18 inches from it's own deployment zone (conveniently the short one right near the ork bunker) and subsequently assaulted the bunker. A single penetrating hit on the bunker brought the entire structure down and killed everyone inside, giving the "other xenos" the win.

Complete and utter garbage.

I know that the guys running the game had an incredibly hard job to do. They had to wrangle about 40 kids under the age of 12, while still making the game interesting for the adults, like us. But they failed horribly. It was blatantly obvious that they wanted Klaus and Ragnarokk to meet in singles combat. But why, please tell me, why did they need to involve everyone else do to so? It was a "fake" game with an ending that was staged. Nothing else on the table mattered in the results, but that didn't stop me from having to take charge of all these kids and try to get them going in a very coordinated assault across a bridge towards a bunker. At least for me, I felt like I was semi-involved in the outcome, since I was the general in charge of our actual assault troops. I was given command of 5 terminator squads, the flesh tearer chaplain and his death company, a marine bike squad, a Ravenwing speeder squad, and a GK teleporting squad. That is to say, I was in charge until the very end, when the Gw GM took charge of Klaus and made all the rolls. Yep, you heard it, when it finally came down to who would win or lose, I didn't even get to make the rolls. The GM made all the rolls! Now the two other generals - the artillery general and the line troop general - they had absolutely zero impact on how things turned out. I feel bad for them, because they had way more kiddies to wrangle than I did.

In any case, it sucked.

ReDavide
01-02-2006, 01:21
Man, that's just awful.

You'd think GW staff of all people would at least have some good instincts about how to put together a good scenario. Oh well. Do you happen to know if it was the local staff who thought it up, or some HQ somewhere?

(And btw, a guy in my area is saying that the Denver-suburbs GW has closed down, but from your report it obviously hasn't. Has it gone through some refurbishment or move lately that might have given him that impression?)

hootier
01-02-2006, 01:31
I don't know who really thought it all up. If I had to guess, I'd certainly say it was the local guys who dropped the ball, since I can't imagine "corporate" GW coming up with an idea that was so poorly implemented.

The scenario itself might have come down from on high, but for it to have worked, there really really needed to be some limits on the number of players, both on any certain team and so that there wasn't the necessity for a third team, so that it could have developed into a real game, rather than the artificial game we had instead.

That was my first trip to that store, so I can't say if it has recently moved. The mall it was at did appear to be very new, though.

Also, I am going to upload some pics I took of the event here in a bit.

grimsnagga
01-02-2006, 02:33
You know, this is the second "Dark Crusade bad" thread I've read. The other was "Dark Crusade Battle at Stoneridge" over at the GW boards, which seems to have had similar problems.

Not a good sign.

hootier
01-02-2006, 03:33
Sounds like something I need to go read. Pics coming shortly.

kardos
01-02-2006, 03:54
it sadens me to no end to hear of this. i was thinking of going to a Dark Crusade battle this weekend, maybe i wont waste the 2 1/2 hr trip and just play with the same old boyz in the area.

kinda reminds me of the campaign i held last year though. Certain people refused to play one another and others whined about army lists etc, so i scrapped it and am working on a new one for this summer (im thinking CITY FIGHT or Armageddon style as we have plenty of Orks and Imperials to slug it out)
again sorry you had a bad gaming day mate

Olith
01-02-2006, 04:04
Don't know what to say to that really. I did laugh at the Hive Tyrant winning the game though, your write up was good. What a waste of an event though. I've seen things done like that before in GW stores, but never with so many people involved. It may sound overboard, but i'd probably contact someone higher up in the GW corporate chain over it if I had been in your position.

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:11
As promised:

Firstly, here are some pics of the forces deploying for battle.

Some of the Ork and Chaos forces we faced, including a nasty supa bomba or somesuch nonsense:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/some_ork_forces.jpg

Some really nice looking Ork infiltrators. Two are disguised as a single cow, and one as a Christmas tree:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/orky_infiltration.jpg

A wide shot of about half of the Imperial forces on the table at the start:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/imperial_forces.jpg

Klaus Luther and his Black Templar Brethren deploying for battle:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/klauss_black_templars.jpg

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:11
My own Crimson Templar bike squadron:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/crimson_templar_bikes.jpg

The aforementioned Flesh Tearer Chaplain and his Death Company. The Chappy actually has a giant buzzsaw as a powerfist. It was really cool.
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/the_flesh_tearers.jpg

The right flank of the Imperial line being held by the Emperor's Finest:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/imperial_right_flank.jpg

Things are really getting started when the Imperial forces start advancing towards the bridge:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/attacking_the_bridge.jpg

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:12
The Orks start advancing towards the bridge too, in the form of a loveable, huggable Squiggoth named "Fluffy", loaded to the brim with Boyz:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/here_comes_fluffy.jpg

One of my Crimson Templar Terminator squads lands on the bridge to try to stop the pending onslaught of ork bikes:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/templars_make_landfall.jpg

Now things are about to get fun on the bridge:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/bridge_fight_develops.jpg

After a lot of action, the Imperial Fists hold their position on the bridge:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/fists_hold_bridge.jpg

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:14
At this point, the GMs realize there is no way Klaus will ever make it anywhere in the same ZIP code as the Ork bunker, so they start teleporting things.

Firstly, some of my Imperial "assault forces" teleport in front of the bunker:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/storming_the_bunker.jpg

And, to make things "fun", the Orks get some teleporting of their own, as Fluffy appears as if from nowhere!
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/fluffy_from_nowhere.jpg

The Templar Terminators and an unpictured GK teleporting squad made quick work of the Obliterators protecting the front of the bunker. The Flesh Tearers were the first ones inside, with Klaus's movement leaving him a bit short of the entrance. His retinue is shredded by shooting and he stands alone! By this point, the "other xenos" are everywhere!
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/klaus_going_in.jpg

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:14
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Imperial flanks are being absolutely pounded by enemy armor. This would have been the nail in our coffin, except that the GMs had already teleported Klaus onto the other board.

Six Tau Hammerheads appear on the rear right flank:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/tau_on_flank.jpg

While Eldar armor appears on the rear left flank, decimating everything in its path:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/eldar_on_flank.jpg

The Boyz riding Fluffy dismount and kick some butt of their own:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/orks_in_rear.jpg

hootier
01-02-2006, 04:15
After four turns, we had barely made any progress on the bridge at all, as the Orks kept slamming us with bike squad after bike squad along with a few chaos dreadnoughts for good measure:
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/the_bridge_holds.jpg

The two leaders meet in MORTAL KOMBAT! Or some rough approximation thereof. At this point, despite the fact that I was the general for our side playing Klaus, I had lost control to overzealous GMs. Just to get the picture, I had to raise my camera up above several rows of people in front of me. (Also notice the Flesh Tearer's Chaplain's cool buzzsaw):
http://www.synchronizating.com/images/mano_a_mano.jpg

And that was that.

kardos
01-02-2006, 09:06
wow nice pics, seems that it was still fun even thought they gimped the whole thing.

t-tauri
01-02-2006, 11:10
GW mega battles always descend into that kind of insanity with a cinematic/pulp kind of ending scripted by the staff running it.

Love the infiltrating pantomine cow full of Orks, though. :)

hootier
01-02-2006, 15:52
Well, if this is the norm, which you guys seem to be hinting that it is, then it'll be a really long time before I go back into a GW store for an event.

Killgore
01-02-2006, 23:00
bah, if only I was there with my Armored company with Baneblade, then yah would have got across the bridge!

hootier
01-02-2006, 23:41
While we definitely would have loved the help, even the Thunderhawk we had on our side got shot down in the very first turn.

Hence, it didn't even make it into the pics!

Killgore
02-02-2006, 00:34
so apart from the thunderhawk and squiggoth was there no other warmachines?

i would have thought a megabattle would be the idea place to bring out some more Forgeworld stuff

hootier
02-02-2006, 04:56
The Orks had two flyers. One was a Fighta Bomba (not pictured). One was something else that was more dangerous (the GI Joe plane from the pics).