This first appeared as a topic on the forum To return to my batrep registry, click here.

It was a cold night, January 18th, 2007. That night, a young man walked in out of the dark and the cold carrying a sewing box. The numismatists at work had asked, and he had replied to the effect that it was just for a game.

That night, I spent some time at the Air Traffic in the Burnsville mall and played a game of 40k with someone who was soon to depart to return to his studies at some college or university in Wisconsin. It was the first with a blossoming Imperial Guard army that, up until that point, I had spent a year and a half painting.

That night, when I got home, I decided to write a little thing about it. After all, I’d been a member of the forum for awhile, and thought people might like to see how one of their own had done.

I had played a few little games with this army before with my roommate and a friend. Usually it was something on the order of a handful of my dudes against my sentinel, or a handful of my dudes and my sentinel against some of my old eldar. The games never really went above like 250 pts. In any case, they were just between friends as I tried to learn the rules.

But this time, it was different, this time I was out in the scary world of tabletop warfare all on my own, out in the public. Thus, the battle report series known as my “public game” series was borne.

And here we are now, one full calendar year from then! I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my thoughts, and to answer questions and to talk with some of the people in this community who have followed along.

I’ll start with a common topic: painting. My first color scheme for the mighty Folerans was to have grey armor with terracotta clothing (with thin, red, diagonal lines across them). For some reason, I mist have put red and desert together and thought it would work. In any case, my second scheme, that of brown and white and grey, was the one I stuck with.

As an odd little secret, my original inspiration for this was the color of pistachios. While the tan color didn’t wind up flying (I painted the shirts tan (bleached bone) and then decided to highlight white. I liked it so much that I wound up just going with the white), you can see the remnants in my guardsmen’s pants, which are the base fortress grey color with almost green color camo on it (rotting flesh, FTW).

In any case, it wound up that the scheme worked for me like it did for zebras, and that was good enough for me.

Another thing to note is that a year ago, I don’t think I’d ever even touched greenstuff. I definitely think that my modeling skills have improved over the past year, and am interested in seeing what I’ll be doing in the next year.

While my win record is far from perfect (31 wins 11 draws 10 losses). It’s something that I’m personally proud of. I definitely heard, before playing, that guard was not a newb-friendly army. Hopefully, I can offer proof that you can do decently with guard straight out of the box.

That being said, I did have a little help. Not only from the quality members of this forum (esp. the Imperial Guard Tactics and Army Lists board), but from the imperial guard codex itself. If you flip to the first page it says:

“While the infantry of the Imperial Guard is its anvil, the tanks are its hammer, and with the right coordination of the two arms there is no enemy that can’t be battered into submission.”

Thus, my original strategic thinking was that my tanks were going to do a majority of my killing. This then meant that my infantry would do a lot of drawing of the firepower while the tanks did their job (which was later expanded and influenced by me reading the Defense chapter of Von Clausewitz “On War”). This very quickly turned into my strategic mantra for almost 50 games: “My non-tanks kill the things that threaten my tanks, and my tanks kill everything else”.

Needless to say, this strategy served me well. The problem, though, was that things started creeping up that this strategy didn’t cover. The first glitch was my 11th game, where I learned that devastators in cover were something that I couldn’t root out in time for my tanks to do anything, unless my tanks helped out (at their own peril). I was likewise blindsided by such things as drop pods (my first and almost only loss to space marines) and tau suit spamming.

For each of these new occurrences, I kept on changing my list to accommodate for the new threats. I added a priest, for example, with the original intent of killing devastators (in retrospect, a very lol decision). I also started equipping my line squads with missile launchers to keep tau suits away.

In any case, as time went on, and more and more of these patches were applied, the tactic started to show signs of wear. When my chonically unlucky tanks took a mega nose dive in the statistics department (hitting and wounding worse than a small mob of shoota boyz), it became clear to me that I should consider retiring the tactic. The future (and my ability to paint and assemble models) only holds where I’ll go from here.

The one advantage to this is that as I changed stuff around, it makes it so that I’ve nearly tried one of everything in the guard codex. Thus far, I haven’t fielded a commissar, psyker, rough riders, ogryn, or ratlings, but I think I’ve tried everything else at least once (and more than likely still have the model for). Thus, this year has been a really nice introduction to my codex, and has given me a bunch of models that I can shuffle around in the future.

A lot of things can change over the course of a year. For me, it’s pretty apparent. For starters, last June 16th I got married to my wife Allison who I met just weeks before starting my guard army. After taking a couple of weeks off from writing battle reports, I then moved 500 miles away to Illinois. There I started playing at the Armored gopher, a place where the atmosphere is of inverse quality to the lighting.

After about 6 months of battle report writing, and after having failed to find a job, I decided to try and make something of my battle reports. Collecting other battle reporters, along with a few people I scraped off of the fiction board, I started The Ailarian: Your Weekly 40k Online Magazine. While it hasn’t taken off in the way that I had hoped at the beginning, I’d like to think that, in the least, I’ve been able to get articles that would have otherwise sat completely unattended on the project boards up onto the internet for public viewing.

As well, I’ve gotten more work done on my army. While it isn’t painted yet, I did manage to assemble and paint 22 imperial guardsmen, while half finishing a sentinel and a chimera. As well, I finally have a real army case now (thanks to my wife) replacing what had become 3 boxes, 2 books and a bag full of dice and templates.

As well, I went back and looked at my games (yes, all of them) an calculated the totals for my “Hero of the Game” and “MVP” awards:

Hero of the Game: For the completion of one’s ordered task in a brave and effective manner, in disregard for one’s personal safety.

13 – An infantry squad (not attached to a chimera)
10 – A sentinel (or both)
7 - Armored fist (specifically, the squad)
4 – My army command squad (in general)
3 – A junior officer
2 – My army senior officer (in specific)
2 – A mortar gunner
1 – My priest (in specific)

Most Valuable Player: For the completion of one’s ordered task with unnecessary aptitude, or with such effectiveness that the pursuit of a victory, or the mitigation of defeat, would have been significantly hindered would that unit have been absent.

17 – My basilisk
7 – A sentinel (or both)
6 – My demolisher
4 – My army command squad (in general)
4 – My armored fist (chimera and dragoons)
3 – My priest (in specific)
2 – My hardened veterans
1 – An infantry squad
1 – My hellhound
1 – My Leman Russ

Anyways, This is it for my Public Game series. I deeply hope you've enjoyed them. Make sure to come back later when I start my 5th edition, ground-pounders army action!