Earlier this month I met up with the Wargames Oregon crew to play In the Emperor’s Name, which is a skirmish game focused on warband-sized games set in the Warhammer 40k universe.
It’s a free, downloadable ruleset that I’ve played quite a bit over the years. ITEN is a bit rough around the edges, but if you want to throw a handful of 40k models on the table and get playing ASAP, it’s a great option. I particularly like the narrative approach to the game … the creators encourage unique characters and scenario-driven gameplay.
As before, we had a variable number of players. I expected three but we ended up with four. No big deal! We tosssed a few extra pieces of terrain onto the battlefield, shuffled up our deployment areas, and got started.
We split up into two teams (Chaos Space Marines vs. Dark Angels and Imperial Guard) and played a scavenger hunt scenario, where each side was tasked with exploring a ruined industrial sector in the center of the table and securing valuable loot and archaeo-tech. We had a fun time speculating about exactly what each loot token represented. Were they energon crystals and portable promethium furnaces? Or did they represent used Game Boy cartridges and slightly dented iMacs (circa 1998)? Only the miniatures know, and they ain’t talking.
I didn’t get too many photos of the game itself, but I did manage to document a rather epic showdown between Vincent’s Dark Angels Dreadnought and my own newly painted Chaos Helbrute. The two figures stomped toward each other while the infantry scurried around seeking loot tokens.
After a couple of turns of tense dice rolling and rulebook-flipping, my Helbrute emerged victorious in this clash. Vincent, ever gracious in defeat, produced this nifty smoke marker to denote his trashed Dreadnought.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Oliver was having good luck advancing his Chaos marines in the face of fairly withering firepower from the opposing Imperial Guard player. I managed to catch a photo of Oliver’s Chaos cultists as they broke from behind cover to charge across the field.
Every time I see these cultist models I’m tempted to pick some up, even though I already have 30+ suitable cultist types in my Pig Iron Kolony Feral collection. But you really can’t have too many cultists, right?
Anyway, with the loss of their Dreadnought, the Dark Angels couldn’t do much to prevent my Night Lords from seizing the industrial sector in the center of the table. One marine even fell in single combat with a vile, chittering little critter I’ve nicknamed The Flesh Engine. Creepy!
By the end of the game, the forces of Chaos had prevailed by scavenging more loot tokens off the battlefield (and also inflicting pretty heavy casualties). Here’s the final shot of the game, showing my Chaos Lord lording over the industrial facility while his marines gather up armfuls of what are probably old VCRs and transistor radios.
ITEN gave us a pretty good game this go-round. I’d played a couple games earlier this year that were a bit lackluster and really exposed the limitations of the ruleset, but these games were a lot more interactive. I think the key is having a scenario with objectives, to prevent every game from devolving into a meatgrinder killfest.
The size of ITEN (about 5-10 figures per side) is ideal for our group, as virtually everyone has a small handful of sci-fi figures they’ve been looking for an excuse to paint up. We’re already discussing some rules tweaks to modify ITEN a little bit. Stay tuned for more!