TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2022, Part 7: Crusade Weekend

Welcome back, Dear Reader! It’s only been a couple of days since my previous article on my progress through 2022, but I felt it was worth writing a quick update before this weekend, when I’ll be going to the Ettin Games April RTT.

In case you missed it, we recently picked up work on a new version of Administratumthe premier Crusade tracking app. Since our Patreon beta launch we’ve been working hard on adding new features and getting things ready for a public beta next month (think early May). As part of that, I invited most of our development team down to my house for the weekend to play some Crusade games, plan future updates, mash out some code, and generally eat a shitload of meat.


Everyone shows up Friday night, with Pendulin and Condit arriving first. I’m putting the finishing touches on the Tempest of War cards review for the next day, so while I’m doing that they play a 1500-point game of Tempest. Generally speaking, the amount of models people will travel with for something like this is the biggest barrier to overcome, and I’ve asked people to bring around 1000 points each but to ideally be able to flex up to 1,500 as needed. Pendulin and Condit each have 1,500 on hand, while Greg and Phil will bring 1k each.

Pendulin and Condit setting up for their test game

Pendulin wins with his Custodes but it’s a pretty competitive game until turn 4, when things just kind of turn and he wipes out Condit. Around two thirds of the way through the game I head back over to the airport to pick up Greg and Phil, who are both arriving from Baltimore on the same flight.

When you set up a weekend like this, it’s important to have a food plan. Typically when we do our big group vacations and rent a house somewhere with friends, I take on a lot of the cooking and provisions chores – there are few things I enjoy more than walking into the grocery store that first evening with a list of $500 in groceries and sending people around as I talk to the butcher about what kind of meat they have. Makes me feel like the quartermaster of the group as I pick up six pounds of potatoes, four heads of lettuce, eighteen bags of limes (Graham will use them all for margaritas), and six loaves of bread. This means that when my crew comes to visit, we’re gonna eat, and I’m going to see to it.

Friday night’s meal has to be Tex-Mex. We could go out but that’d take away Warhammer time and not everyone in our group is comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant in Texas, so I order pick-up from Pappasito’s Cantina. The Pappa’s restaurants are a local chain but they offer take-out and the family platter comes with a very solid combo of carne asada, chicken, ribs, jalapenos, onions, and shrimp brochette, plus a bunch of guac/beans/pico/mole/rice and a ton of tortillas. Phil’s gluten-free, so we get some corn tortillas for him. We demolish two of the family platters and end up with ample leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

Let the Games Begin

That night we kick things off with some 500-point Combat Patrol games just to throw the lists around and get things set up in Administratum. In total six players will vie for control of the Fucko system:


Pendulin – Veneris Imperium

Blade Champion
Blade Champion. Credit: Pendulin

Pendulin has brought 1,500 points of his Adeptus Custodes, with a captain, blade champion, some Vertus Praetors, sisters of silence, a trio of Allarus, some Custodians, and two(!) dreadnoughts – one Achillus and one Telemon. There’s a lot of meat here but his biggest challenge is that he’s bringing Shadowkeepers. They’re great against Ghaz but not so great when they’re catching mind bullets in the face from Thousand Sons Sorcerers.

Condit – Clan Haarmek, Torchbearer Force

Iron Father Feirros | Credit: Garrett “John Condit” Severson

Massive props to Condit for bringing the most narrative army here, running a Torchbearers force representing some primaris marines looking for their lost chapter with the help of the mechanicus and Custodes. The Torchbearers seem crazy good on paper until you realize that mixing Custodes with Admech and Space Marines just makes the army worse than going full Custodes. Still, it’s a cool concept and it lets him take models from all three groups, while using some of the more inspired White Dwarf rules we’ve seen over the last year.

Phil – Ghaz Goes Fast

Credit: Kevin Stillman

Phil’s been playing Orks since 7th edition, when he joined us for one of our earliest campaigns. He’s bringing just the dumbest Ork force imaginable. I’d love to do it better justice but Greg already covered it pretty well two days ago. Phil’s mostly running Ghaz in a transport, plus a squad of boyz. It’s dumb as hell.

Greg – Tau Federation Space Force

Tau Broadside Battlesuit with Railgun
Tau Broadside Battlesuit with Railgun. Credit: Jack Hunter

Greg’s reign of terror continues – he’s brought along a nasty army of T’au battlesuits, mostly centered around a trio of rail rifle broadsides. Most of the time they’ll be supported by Breachers and an Ethereal, on that Outer Conclaves bullshit.

Swiftblade – Warriors of Mournspire

Credit: Swiftblade

Although Swiftblade isn’t on the Administratum development team, most of the crew know him and he’s interested in getting in some extra games. Plus he helps us get to six players, which is very helpful for balancing the player counts in our games. He’s bringing his Drukhari, albeit tooled down for narrative games. He’ll come over on Saturday and Sunday.

TheChirurgeon – Space Wizard Fucko Brigade

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

My force is more Thousand Sons bullshit, led by a Rehati-equipped Exalted Sorcerer who can triple cast. The rest of the force are some Rubrics and Scarabs, and just for funsies I’ll later add a Mutalith and my Dreadnought.

The Friday Night Games

The table set up for two combat patrol/incursion games to run side-by-side

We play a couple of quick games on Friday night, with me taking on Pendulin’s Custodes followed by Greg’s T’au. I keep taking the Thousand Sons Agenda that rewards me for casting witchfire powers, and this keeps piling XP on my Exalted Sorcerer, who is absolutely burning through enemy units shitting out Doombolt, Firestorm of Tzeentch, and Smite every turn, usually for 8-10 mortal wounds. I roll up some Chaos Boons for him, deciding to roll the dice later on the third one to see if I can score an apotheosis.


We get to bed around 1 am, and it helps that my mom as agreed to take my son, Bryce, on both Friday and Saturday nights for the weekend. I pick him back up in the morning and then it’s time for breakfast. Here’s where the leftovers come in – there’s plenty here, so I scramble up 10 eggs, re-heat the meat and jalapenos in another pan, and pop the tortillas in the oven for a bit and we’re good to go. This makes for a banger set of breakfast burritos and then we’re good to game again when Swiftblade shows up around noon.

At this point we decide to try running something resembling a campaign. War Zone Octarius: Critical Mass is the best of the books GW has released for this in my opinion, as it has a series of tree campaign layouts we can copy. We decide to run the BADSQUIG scenario with one twist: We replace the first round mission with one of the Planetstrike missions from the Catastrophe Crusade book, to represent the attackers making planetfall.

We escalate the campaign to 1,000 point armies and then split into teams: The Imperium players, Condit and Pendulin, plus Swiftblade with the Drukhari assisting against Chaos, against the forces of Chaos, Orks, and Tau, acting as vicious raiders acting only loosely in concert.

The defensive set-up Condit made for the Catastrophe mission

My planetstrike game is the Drop and Demolish mission against Condit, who promptly drops his army into a bastion surrounded by defenses while my army struggles to make its reserve rolls and get onto the table. I’ll eventually squeak out a close win as my Exalted Sorcerer Amon Warpweaver manages to blow the bastion apart on turn 3 while the Mutalith kills the units who took shelter inside. Greg wins his game against Swiftblade, giving us a 2-1 victory for the round.

The Thousand Sons press forward, attempting to sabotage the Custodes stronghold

Next up is Sabotage, and we get a winner bonus this game – when we generate our battleforged CP we can roll a D6 and get an extra one on a 5+, which is pretty solid. I’m up against Pendulin’s Custodes again. I’ve added a mutalith, forgefiend, and Dreadnought to my roster to get it up to 1,000 points, and I get lucky when Pendulin biffs several charges in order to end up standing around as I murder him with mind bullets. Phil wins his game against Swiftblade’s Drukhari and Greg beats Condit’s Torchbearers so we take round 2 as well.

At this point we end up grabbing some local bbq for lunch, picking up a couple pounds of brisket, some cheddar-and-jalapeno sausage, baked beans, and mac and cheese, plus some biscuits. It’s solid fare that serves as a late lunch/early dinner and will pretty much carry us through the evening. Also it’s Texas so everyone kind of expects bbq and who am I to disappoint?

Round 3: Team Onslaught

Round 3 is our biggest game of the weekend, and Onslaught game that sees Greg, Phil, and I combining our three Incursion forces against 3,000 points of Pendulin and Condit’s armies. We use the full 6×4 table for this one – it’s not quite the full length Onslaught calls for but with only 3k points it’s more than adequate. Our winner bonus here is a free pregame move.

The Praetors fuck up Ghaz’s transport, killing him when it explodes.

This game runs for a while – not a super long time, but it’s a long one – and it’s full of ups and downs. The Imperium team jumps out to an early lead as Phil’s meganobz run right into Condit’s Kastelans, only to be forced to fight last and die. Then the Imperium team destroys the battle wagon holding Ghazghkull, causing it to explode, followed by Phil rolling a 1 for his lone occupant. RIP Ghaz, who died trying to get out of the wagon.

The l’il dreadnought that could


This basically meant that Greg and I had to pick up the slack and make up for being down about a thousand points. Fortunately, we were up to the task. In part because of my heroic little box dreadnought, who fired his twin lascannons at Condit’s redemptor and did boxcars (10) damage to it, killing it. It promptly exploded, taking out a Vertus Praetor, a Kastelan, several rangers, a Custodian, and an admech character.  Big fuckin mood.

Things got tense toward the end, particularly as Greg struggled to try and chew through Pendulin’s Custodes. Pendulin kept reminding Greg that he would not, in fact, be re-rolling anything and Greg was not particularly happy about that, so we kept reminding him every time he rolled. It was pretty great.

By the end we had secured a very narrow victory – 62 to 54, with Phil killing us on the paint score. A tough game that could have gone either way, even after the Redemptor exploded. Just an incredible seesaw match. We hang out for a bit and crash around midnight.


Day three and Swiftblade has agreed to come back for One More Game. We decide to grab kolaches for breakfast. This is where I can hear Greg “Klobasnek” Narro telling me that they’re not actually kolaches – the real kolaches are fruit pastries – but the things everyone in Texas knows and eats as kolaches are basically like pigs-in-a-blanket with cheese and sometimes jalapeno. We pick up a dozen that morning at a local bakery. We ate a lot of jalapenos over the weekend. I think Greg was having some real Rough Shits by the end.

We set up two tables for Sunday’s games – I’ll run 2,000 points against Condit and Pendulin’s team, while Swiftblade is running 2,000 against Greg and Phil combining forces. My team has won every round up to this point but we still need to create some stakes for the last game or what’s the point? So we decide to improvise a bit: We’re still doing the Legendary Break the Stalemate mission, but we settle on the idea that if both Imperium teams win, they win the campaign; otherwise, my team wins. This seems like a fine compromise – it still advantages the team that won so far, but makes a victory possible for the other side and makes both games matter. Let’s do this.

I fill out my list with a Rhino, some Warpflamers (who aren’t fully painted), a Defiler, 5 more scarabs, an Infernal Master, and a Terminator Sorcerer. Oh, and I scored my third Chaos Boon last night so I spend the RP to turn Amon into a Daemon Prince. This means he can’t have Rehati any more, and that actually makes him quite a bit worse, but it’s too cool to pass up and frankly the army is a bit too strong for Condit and Pendulin so tuning it down helps quite a bit.

My son helps with deployment (he is 5), and that ends up being a huge mistake (he is 5). I get the first turn and score a cheap 5 VP that make a huge difference, but don’t kill much outside of a few rangers. Condit remembers his BLOOD FEUD with my dreadnought and promptly moves forward and kills it on turn 1. RIP boxdread – you were too pure for this world.

Things go OK for me until the bottom of turn 2, when the other half of Pendulin’s army shows up and makes a bunch of 9″ and 10″ charges, destroying my Defiler, which then explodes and kills my Daemon Prince. Great. I still manage to hold on for another turn and drag things out, but ultimately they’re able to table me. Fortunately, my early points help a lot here and after paint scores are factored in, we end on a 55-55 tie. The bad news for them is that Swiftblade has let them down, losing to Greg and Phil and costing them their shot at the campaign or even a tie result!

Once again the bad guys win because good is dumb. I had a blast jamming out half a dozen games over the weekend and it was great to play with some people I don’t get to play with often these days. Administratum worked great for all of this, and throughout the course of the event we identified some key features/adjustments we’d need to make. I also got some great insight into how I’d want to run a one-day Narrative event using Crusade, which has made me feel much better about the Narrative event we’ll be running at the next Goonhammer Open in August.

Next Time: The Ettin April RTT

Well that was enough narrative play; next time we’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming as I recount my attempts to go better than 2-1 at the Ettin RTT. I’m bringing Thousand Sons to that too, but trying to get more stuff painted up this week in order to avoid bringing Magnus to yet another event. Wish me luck, Dear Reader.

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