Posts Tagged ‘report’
First things first:
The Black Planet, 4182013.M41
External Planetary Monitor Derv was concerned – not a state of mind to which he was accustomed, in all honesty. The job of External Planetary Monitor was not, in general, one that required a great deal of concern, or indeed concentration; by and large, the job did itself, the ancient computers ticking off incoming and outgoing vessels against flight plans and manifests, and displaying alerts on the Monitors’ monitors on the rare occasions when something didn’t tally. Derv would dutifully forward these alerts to the Navy Yeomanry Planetary Defenders, the Black Planet League of Merchant Venturers, and His Imperial Majesty’s Galactic Internal Taxation Subdivision – unread, of course, since the penalty for tampering with taxation records was too fearsome to contemplate – and then go back to occupying his time in some other fashion.
Nevertheless, he was concerned, and said so.
“Moon’s gone a funny colour.”
Derv’s immediate colleague, Torq, emitted a vaguely interested, vaguely dismissive, vaguely responsive grunt, and returned his attention to the screen in front of him.
“You’re not going to look, then?”
Another grunt. This one managed to convey irritation, a mild personal contempt for Derv himself, and a deep-seated wish that Derv would clear off and leave him, Torq, to his vitally important duties.
“Stop playing Dark Millennium and look, you slag.”
Having exhausted the possibilities of grunting, or expended his expressive capabilities in the medium too soon – a peril confronting all early-blooming geniuses – Torq thumped the monitor, called it a brainless son of a fragbunny, did the same to his controls, and then finally turned to look at Derv.
“Well, I’m dead now, and we’ve lost Armageddon. I hope you’re happy. That’s three weeks of dedicated grinding down the tube, thanks to you.”
“Shut up and look at the moon, Torq.”
“Which one? Coalfield?”
“No, the little one.”
“No, the really little one.”
“That’s not a moon, is it? That’s spacejunk. Has to be.”
“Torq, spacejunk is small. Wulfruna is far away. We’ve been through this.”
“Why’s it green?”
Derv sighed, and gently laid his face in his palm. “It isn’t. Usually.”
“Think we should report it?”
“That’s what I was asking!”
“Well, take some initiative and do it and don’t bother me when I’m in the middle of a twenty thousand player kill-fest again, all right? You’ve got no sense of what’s important, that’s your trouble.”
Derv reflected on this as he typed up a brief report, enclosed a series of grainy, poor-quality images, and punched in the commands that would send his message not down the usual sub-aether channels, but directly to Naval Astrotelepathic Regional Command. Torq had said the same thing when they’d been raided by eldar pirates the year before, of course. Not that he’d noticed. He’d been too busy fighting the Battle of Ichar IV on his monitor to notice the war going on outside his window. Not for the first time, Derv contemplated an intervention, before deciding – as usual – that it probably wasn’t worth the months of complaining that were bound to result.
Over the next six months, Derv’s barely-literate description of events, along with some of the worst examples of stellar photography the Imperium had ever seen, was passed like an unwanted takeway through NARC, back to NYPD as a strictly internal matter of no interplanetary interest, briefly through the dark and foetid halls of GITS where it had been sequestered as a cover for tax evasion, back to NYPD to be stamped as clean, back to NARC for transmission as a matter for the Explorator fleets rather than planetary defence, and finally, reluctantly, hurled into the galaxy at large for any passing explorer to wrap their grubby mitts around it.
The Explorator vessel which did eventually pick up the message and make a brief stop above Wulfruna spent a grand total of thirty-two seconds in low orbit before being struck by what its final transmission described as a hissing column of pure black oblivion, attended by an all-frequencies broadcast of indecipherable machine code which the Explorators had initially mistaken for the latest release by the ‘popular’ ‘experimental’ ‘technical noise producers’ Standard Template Deconstruction, and naturally switched off.
A further three months passed as the transmission was assessed, examined, standardised, verified, appended to a heavily-annotated copy of Derv’s report, and finally released to the galactic aether at large as the most bureaucratically correct distress call in recent history. It was at that point that the Hawk Lords Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes got hold of it, and decided to do something useful.
The learned Dr. Shiny is among my longest-serving opponents. Our respective armies – Skaven and Vampire Counts, Eldar and Chaos Space Marines, or Khador and Cryx – have been battering each other with startling ineptitude for something like fifteen years now. In all that time I’ve heard nothing but complaining out of him; his troops are inept, his dice hate him, his rules are outdated and his tactics are largely based on the certainty that everyone’s going to die. However, his ceaseless whinging is at least entertaining, and so I have allowed him to live thus far.
He hasn’t played any sixth edition 40K yet, having been distracted by Bretonnians, and since I was at his end of the country for the New Year festivities I thought it might be high time to rectify the situation. It was going to be a spot of WFB, but play was rained off due to my lack of time or, to be honest, enthusiasm for repainting and restoring a Vampire Counts army I’m not even sure I want to play games with.
We settled on 1200 points – this would give us a game which even we could finish in a few hours, despite the inevitable banter, confusion, rule-checking and general shenanigans. This would also give us a game in which every model was fully painted, and you can’t say fairer than that of a Sunday afternoon. It helps, of course, that we were throwing down in the cavernous and well-equipped gaming paradise of The Giant’s Lair in Plymouth, a superlative venue with a decent shop, quality boards, lots of space and a neat line in fried foodstuffs courtesy of host and legend Swabs. Photographic services were provided by Hark’s shiny new phone, hence the marked improvement in the image quality and the capacity of the photographer to surprise Shiny and actually get him in shot for once.
High above the Black Planet, so far out that it’s barely in orbit at all, there spins an industry-blighted little rock which the human colonists below have dubbed ‘Wulfruna’. Centuries of overzeal, embezzlement, mismanagement and general neglect by Imperial executives have left the moon classified as ‘Dubious Extremis’ for tithing purposes and largely ignored until the defence lasers on the Black Planet’s surface need testing, but that doesn’t mean nobody cares. Long before the Imperium ever got its claws on the place, Wulfruna was a battlefield on which the War in Heaven raged; webway gates and dolmen portals dot the land between the abandoned and decrepit Imperial bastions, and every so often, the dwellers in Commoragh or the inheritors of the Charnovokh dynasty find reason to open their dread portals and raid. The objective is always the same; valueless in itself, Wulfruna is a place where many pathways meet, and the moon affords access not just into the webway or the parasitic parallel structures of the Necrons, but onto the Black Planet itself…
In another bout of the swift, on-the-button, up-to-the-minute, cutting-edge-style reporting you’ve doubtless come to expect from me, I’ve sat down to play some sixth edition 40K a mere month or two after release. I’m on the ball, me, not to mention the wire and the button. In my defence, this lassitude has largely been down to the matter of dragging large cases around my workplace all day if I’m to get a game in of an evening. I’m quite reluctant to do this (the dragging, that is, not the gaming) and so not many large-scale 28mm games get played these days. However, since I was going up to Wolverhampton to see friends, colleagues and Vampire players Ben and Jess, and since Ben had secured a second-hand Necron motor pool for me, it seemed like the Right Time to pack the rest of the metal mickies (and one metal Michaela) and play a rematch of our last game, in which Tekeshi v1.0 ended up on the wrong end of a huskblade…
I’ve been playing Malifaux lately. The greatest attraction of the game, so far, is that I can comfortably fit my entire crew and full set of gaming aids inside the satchel I normally take to work, and still have room for a book to read on the coach.
This is not to suggest that the only appeal of the game is ‘it’s small’, far from it. It’s been fun from the word go, partly because I’m utterly incapable of taking it seriously. The wealth of options on each model’s card is compounded by the alternating activation sequence and the range of victory conditions in play at once, creating a tactical environment where I just can’t keep track of or evaluate everything - so I’ve stopped trying to keep track of everything, and just gone for what seems entertainingly destructive.
It’s not optimal, but Malifaux doesn’t strike me as a game that someone of my, ahm, limited faculties will ever be able to play ‘optimally’. The only parts I’ve not enjoyed, so far, have been the ones where I go all Warmachiney, trying to wrangle the exact positions and angles of models and exploit the precise dynamics of sequence and mechanic; those have all been quite stressful and have seldom resulted in any genuine tactical advantage. I’ve only been enjoying the games when I say ‘hang the sense of it all and blow stuff up’ – fortunately, that seems to be working out for me.
This Thursday just gone, I tried a brand new (relative to m’self, anyway) game. I say ‘relative’ because, well, Epic has been around for quite a while. So long, in fact, that while I dimly remember playing one game when it still had ‘Titan Legions’ on the front, it’s been through two total revisions since then. It might as well be a completely new game as far as I’m concerned – especially since all I remember about Titan Legions is being enthralled by the little spinny-roundy void shield counter in the base of each Titan, a piece of business which I still think should have survived into games like Battlefleet Gothic (where it’d have done nicely to indicate the relative positions of ships in the third dimension, and made the whole thing feel a little bit less… seafaring).
Anyway, I also dimly remember promising I’d try to say something intelligent about new games when I tried them out, so here it is; I quite like Epic. I’m not immediately head-over-heels for it like I was with Freebooter’s Fate, not yet, but I quite like it.