Battle Bros Season Four, Chapter IX: We’re Great at This Game

THE BROS ARE BACK and they’re not alone. See which innocent souls they’ve dragged into the foolishness of Necbromunda. Battle Bros is an ongoing bi-weekly column where Drew (PantsOptional) taught his brother Chris (head58) how to play Warhammer 40,000 and now is being hoisted by his own petard as he learns Necromunda. Catch up on their past adventures here.

Meet the Battle Bros


The older of the two brothers, and for once the more experienced in what is to come.


The younger brother, slowly realizing the horrors he has unleashed upon himself.


CHRIS: You didn’t ask for it but you’ve got it all the same! Another installment of sweet Necbromunda action. Seriously, just between me and the roughly 1000 of you who keep coming back to read these every two weeks, are you okay? Is this a cry for help? Or is this just Drew’s wife clicking 1000 times out of pity?

DREW: Wait, I haven’t checked the stats. Is it seriously around a grand? I figured we had like, low two digits. You learn new things every day! And then refuse to retain them.

CHRIS: Either way we’re all stuck in here together so let’s talk about the latest round of games in the campaign. This is “week 5” of the Winkie World campaign, where our gangs are scrabbling for control over an old, abandoned theme park deep in the Hive. Yes it’s a dumb theme but I’m running with it and none of you can do anything to stop me.

I recently moved to a new house (do not recommend) and had proposed we all meet up there to play Garageamunda. But this was late June in New England, not the heat wave Drew whinged about last time but the humidity made my garage very, very moist and not conducive to human occupation. Despite our usual levels of self-hate we gave in and played inside, in air conditioned comfort. It was terrible.

Oh, and I did welcome my brother to my new home in truest Battle Bros fashion: icing him with a bottle of Chicago’s finest.

I turned the corner and stepped into 2010, for better or worse.

After Drew’s adventures against Allan’s hand flamer-toting Corpse Grinders I was not exactly looking forward to facing off against them. But I had a goal in mind: Kill Boss Jubb. My gang’s boss has bottled out early in the past two games in a row, leaving his fellow Goliaths hanging in the wind. To my mind this has left the rest of the gang feeling pretty salty. Plus he blew 130 credits on the dumb Sumpkroc who only seems to be able to fail charges, set himself on fire, eat hot chip, and lie. There have been quiet rumblings that he’s not fit to lead, that he should be replaced him with someone who might have a better chance against the oncoming flesh eating cannibals, but his closest advisors say he just had a cold and was a little sleepy during those fights, he’s just fine.

DREW: Oh man, who would be the funniest Dem to replace Jubb? I’ll put money on Buttigieg, rolling into the Hive with that cringe-ass dance and just immediately accidentally bumping into an Ambull which eats him.

CHRIS: You almost said it right there already. We’re in the K-Hive, baby. We’re gonna dieeeeeeeeee. It’s gonna be California Uber Alles part 3.

But back to “happier” matters. We rolled the absolutely perfect mission for furthering my personal fanfiction. “Parley Showdown” from the Cinderak Burning book features two gangs coming together so their leaders can have a chat, but one gang decides violence would be more fun. We set up on a Zone Mortalis board, but all starting fighters needed to deploy in a 12 inch diameter open space in the center of the board (at least 9” away from any enemy models) so honestly the terrain didn’t matter very much. Also since this is supposed to be a peaceful parley nobody brings guns. It starts with only four fighters on each side, which has to include the leader, so we each picked folks with only melee weapons. Not a terrible hindrance to Allan’s Corpse Grinders. Victory condition is taking out the enemy leader.

Eddie Van Halen Intensifies

This may have been the shortest game of Necromunda, or really of anything that I’ve ever played. Three activations, done. We pretty much knew from jump whoever rolled priority would win this one and spoilers, it wasn’t me.

Activation One: Allan had his Warp Horror, Monsieur Macron, charge Boss Jubb. Because we had to set up 9” away from any enemy models it was a long shot and he didn’t quite make it into range, ending up an inch or two away from Jubb.

Activation Two: I suppose I could have not taken the bait, maybe tried to roll Pizz a super long charge against Allan’s leader, but reader, you should know by now I’m just not that smart. Boss Jubb charged the Warp Horror and absolutely flubbed the Willpower check needed to actually attack it. Now, we may have made a rule mistake here because the Warp Horror’s Terrifying ability says the attacker simply can’t make a Fight action at all, which I now suspect means it shouldn’t have been able to make a Reaction attack. The whole Close Combat phase simply shouldn’t have happened. But a) I’m 99% sure nobody has ever played a perfectly correct game of Necromunda, b) I’m the arbitrator so I only have myself to blame and I was the one harmed by the call, and c) it played into the narrative I wanted anyway, so I am not in any way mad. Monsieur Macron smacked Jubb hard, dealing seven damage after a dazzling array of armor save failures. Five injury dice came up with four Flesh Wounds and a Seriously Injured. Ouch! The Sumpkroc also charged and proved he was made of better stuff than his owner by chomping the Horror for a couple points of damage.

Activation Three: Robuchon the Reaver, one of Allan’s Cutters, charged Jubb to administer the coup de gras. Fin. Jubb was out of action, and with a 61 on the Lasting Injury roll he was in a bad way. Too bad we didn’t have the credits to pay the rogue doc. What a shame. But that’s life in the Hive Primus healthcare system.

I think that Sumpkroc murdered Chris’s camera. It also murdered Drew’s Photoshop.

Boss Jubb is dead. Long live Boss Pizz.

DREW: So let me see I have this right: you lost after only one activation on your part and even managed to do that wrong? If you asked me to boil down the idea of this column into a syrup, forty to one ratio like a maple shack, this would be the exact outcome. I tip my hat to you, sir.

CHRIS: I’ve said before, anybody reading this column for our mastery of the rules is in for untold disappointments. I’m actually a little sad that Pizz was my only champion and thus the only one legal to promote to be the new Boss, because he loses his combat chems and now caps out at a paltry 7 attacks on a charge. But he now can lead group activations so it’s a decent trade.

With Jubb dead the gang also decided to sell off the Sumpkroc, giving them enough credits to bring in a new Champion. Welcome to the new guy, The House! I’m sure you will have a long and prosperous career in the gang.

DREW: If I wasn’t gunning for Pizz before, I am now. In fact I may have a surprise for you next game. No peeking!

Over on the other side of the house, things weren’t going much better but at least I lasted longer than you.

CHRIS: You lobbed that slow ball right over the plate but I ain’t swinging.

DREW: We rolled up Escape the Pit, which is all about taking the money and running. Your goal is to drag loot caskets to a central escape point and out of the map from there. The scenario very heavily suggests the escape point should be placed high up in vertical terrain if at all possible, so we opted to place a massive and unwieldy crane in the middle of the map which wasn’t actually fastened together at all. The fact that we didn’t topple it is a minor miracle.

In hindsight putting this together was a minor act of hubris.

If you know anything about these two gangs, once again the Elves v Dwarves (Dawn of Grudges) comparison rears its ugly head. Eschers are relatively fast and agile, known for having very good Initiative checks which keep them from tumbling to their dooms off of high places such as, say, a massive and unwieldy crane. Squats are literally space dwarves so they’re slow and steady. (Don’t think about those three words in that particular order very hard, they suggest nothing.) It’ll be harder to wound them but they’ll have a harder time getting to the top. In other words, this scenario seems like a slam dunk for me.

There’s an operative word in that sentence: seems.

CHRIS: Aesop says “you’re welcome.”

DREW: Our game lasted all of four turns, which is again exactly how many activations the game on the other side lasted. The first turn was, as these things often are, mostly just boring movements which don’t translate very well to text. There was a brief exchange of fire from one of Josh’s Squats which resulted in me learning the hard way that loot caskets do not in fact provide cover as they are not considered terrain so my efforts to drag them and place them in between my gangers and the Squats were wasted. I suppose also one of my Little Sisters (Juves) was Seriously Injured but I don’t really count expendables getting hurt as notable.

CHRIS: It’s entirely possible I was wrong about loot caskets not providing cover, I refuse to look it up. It’s also entirely possible I adjudicated that way just to fuck you over.

DREW: No, as far as I can tell you were sadly spot on and I just made a bad assumption but I appreciate the spite. Turn two was a little more active and was a little hit or miss for me. Physicist Barbie, the latest wielder of the combi-bolter/needler, cracked off a great shot against Anthracite. We haven’t posted lists in a while so you will be as surprised as I was to learn this was Josh’s Squat which had a flamer and which would have been in prime position to roast at least two of my gang if not three. Once again all of the good things which I do are completely accidental.

On the flip side, Weird Barbie left her Little Sister to die on the ground below and made off up the crane with the loot casket only for one of the Squats to squeeze off a shot at her. It didn’t wound her but the size of the crane’s platform guarantees that anyone shot there has to make an Initiative test on one die not to fall off. “It’s fine,” I said out loud in full earshot of the gods, “Eschers are great at this, I only need to roll a two – fuck!”

The highest Initiative rating in this photo is a 3. Of course I failed the thing I’m good at.

CHRIS: These are the moments that make this terrible life worth living.

DREW: I know I’ve (justly) derided those who blame their loss on the dice, but something was clearly in the air over at the Cool Kids Table. Aside from the one shot to drop Anthracite I couldn’t get anything done and the number of ones rolled was frankly appalling. It wasn’t just me, either, as Josh spent something like two entire turns trying to kill my other Little Sister (Stacie) with multiple Squats and failing to do anything besides knock her down. If you’re wondering what happened to me in turn three, just imagine a single pip on a die haunting your dreams, forever.

CHRIS: Based on the sheer volume of shitty dice at that table the whole day either Josh’s innate bad rolling has leveled up and become contagious, or I need a young priest and an old priest.

DREW: The capstone of this bad dice rolling, however, was when my gang bottled out at the end of three on yet another unhelpful dice result. Once again I wasn’t too worried as most of my gang was within twelve inches of my Queen, President Barbie, and they could use her Cool stat of 5+ to stay in the game. Naturally she failed her Cool check and so did all but one of the rest of the gang, at which point we ended the game with Physicist Barbie voluntarily fleeing on turn four.

The postgame wrapup was a little kinder to me, with most of my gang coming out okay and the apprentice clan chymist really paying for himself as most of my chem-alchemy purchases worked out to be absurdly cheap. I loaded up again on Venom (my Bad Blood and Hyper combo meal) and a nasty little surprise which I prepared exclusively for Chris.

Speaking of nasty surprises, tell ‘em about the Bad Pizza Decisions.

CHRIS: We just moved to a new town and there are a half dozen pizza places in striking distance. All of them are fucked up in one way or another, a reflection of this town. Pastrami and mustard as combo toppings seem to be common. One place does omelets with fries and garlic bread – I don’t know about you but an egg dish that’s been in a delivery driver’s car for longer than it took to play my first game today is not something which excites me.

One place caught our eye because it offered catupiry cheese, a staple of strange Brazilian pizza concoctions. We both swear it had a full-on Brazilian Garbage Pizza on the menu when we looked a week ago, but we must have jumped timelines again because it wasn’t there now. But what they did have was a Beef Stroganoff Pizza.

I want to give you a minute to absorb that.

And really, how could we not order that? So let me tell you two things: 1) this was a deeply unpleasant pizza to look at. Someone’s dog barfed in a cardboard square after it ate another dog’s vomit. There was a collective gasp when we opened the box. 2) this was not a pizza that could be eaten in any way human people eat slices of pizza. This fucker was saucy. Trying to pick it up would have been a fool’s errand. It was a goddamn casserole, but not like Chicago pizza is, like a bad casserole. Okay, that still describes Chicago pizza, but you get where I’m going.

They should have sent a poet.

Also, it was delicious. I have no idea how. It just somehow worked.

DREW: It is a mystery, as the kids used to say in the dead forum.

CHRIS: So see, sometimes good things can come from truly terrible decisions.

Next Time: Nothing Good Comes from Our Terrible Decisions

Also, there’s Robot Guilliman (not a typo or a mispronunciation). Really!

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