Friday, 9 November 2018

You Got Chocolate on my Peanut Butter: Slaves to Darkness vs Space Marines

Image result for realmgate

Which of GW's game systems is the mightiest? 

We've all thought it, right? Time to find out, as I, Kraken, 

and I, Stylus,

power up our super world collider and pit Age of Sigmar against 40K! After all - there can only be one!*

Bring an Axe to this Gunfight!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!


Warriors of Chaos

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Wow! These guys were very far back in the cupboard. They haven't been in a game for about two years, and the back shelf hadn't been kind to them. After quite a lot of sticking arms and weapons back on, they were ready to dust-off and go to war again.

And what a war - obviously, I'm going to be outranged, I'm Warriors of Chaos. Those bolter-armed loonies over there are just like the Wood Elves that used to shoot me to bits back in the good old days. Er, except they're heavily armoured and have a bunch of terrifying, multi-wound-dealing close combat characters who will murder me up close too.

Ah well - I know I will struggle to deal with their armour, their shooting and any vehicles who come along. So I can tool for them as best as I can.

A Sorcerer Lord seems a decent Mortal Wound dealer with the Wind of Chaos spell, plus a Manticore for mobility and combat potential. Chaos Knights with Glaives are fast and could hit Primaris troops hard in combat, plus they're pretty tough.

A big unit of Chaos Warriors, who are also tough and tar-pitty, some screening Marauders to clog his gun barrels with our dead, and the twin vehicle equivalents of a Chariot and a Warshrine, one for ramming speed and one for the protective bubble it brings.

They've all got the Mark of Chaos, no god-botherers here. And we'll see how fast they can die!
  • Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Manticore - Hellfire Sword, Master of Deception trait, Arcane Bolt, Arcane Shield and Wind of Chaos
  • 15 Chaos Warriors - Sword and Shield, Hornblower, Banner
  • 20 Chaos Marauders - Darkwood Shields and Axes, Hornblower, Damned Icon
  • Chaos Chariot - Exalted Charioteer, Chaos Greatblade
  • 5 Chaos Knights - Hornblower, Banner, Glaives
  • Warshrine

Space Marines

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

I've not tried to be too clever here - we're after a contest. So just a pick n' mix of Kasfunatu's Primaris Marines - I don't really have anything heavier than S4 bolt rounds, but I've got some nice punch in combat. And a Librarian, so I can navigate this magical landscape in safety.

  • Captain in Gravis Armour (HQ)
    Boltstorm gauntlet, Master-crafted power sword
    Warlord: Iron Resolve
    Trait: Santic Halo
  • Primaris Librarian (HQ)
    Force Stave
  • 5 x Intercessor Squad (Troops)
    Bolt rifles
  • 5 x Intercessor Squad (Troops)
    Bolt rifles
  • 5 x Scout Squad (Troops)
  • 3 x Aggressor Squad (Elite)
    Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets, Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
  • Redemptor Dreadnought (Elite)
    2 x Storm Bolters, Heavy flamer, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon
  • 5 x Reiver Squad
    Bolt Carbine, Grave chutes
  • 3 x Inceptor Squad
    Assault bolter
Chapter Tactic: Ultramarines


Obviously, these game systems aren't meant to be played together. They're remarkably similar, though, which is partly why we wanted to try rubbing their parts together like curious children! So we thought for a bit and came up with an attempt at rules.
  • Everyone can do Overwatch (unless they're Warriors of Chaos and eschew range, of course)
  • We use 40K combat rules, so chargers always go first, you can heroically intervene, etc
  • The introduce the AoS 'double turn' mechanic, the AoS Player can always choose to go first or second at the start of the game. If they go second, they can roll a dice at the end of each turn, and on a 4+ they get a free double turn! This can only happen once a game, of course, but we figured a double turn from a 40K army would probably spell doom for the poor primitives of AoS.
  • As veterans of Warhammer, we remembered Toughness values for AoS models from their origins (or approximated them as best we could) so that 40K weaponry could roll for damage appropriately. So Chaos Warriors have T4, for example, whereas the Warshrine had T7.
  • Otherwise models use their native rules and scrolls as written.
  • Anything that clashed or didn't make sense would be improved on the fly or resolved by The Most Important Rule!

Battlefield and Deployment

Snowy ruins? Well, alright then. As much line of sight blocking as I dare, plus lots of nice shattered buildings and forests to hide in. And maybe die in, as we're using the Mysterious Terrain rules from AoS. 

There's also a pair of Balefule Realmgates out there, one in each corner, and a Dreadstone Blight which neither of use remember the rules for. So we both avoid it all game, very wisely. 

The mission is an Objective Grabber - there are four objectives, one in the centre of each quadrant of the field (or near as dammit). These are worth D3 VPs to either side, and we'll consider Linebreaker, First Blood and Slay the Warlord if we need tie-breakers. 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Obviously, I can't hang about! Close combat is the only place that is a) safe and b) effective for my army, so my plan is to leg it forward, maybe using the portals to jump across if there's a chance for an ambush. 

The Sorcerer Lord leads the Chaos Warriors and Knights on my right flank, the Marauders and Chariot gather around the Warshrine on my left. 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

I opt for the traditional castle formation: a screen of two Intercessor Squads, protecting my Dreadnought, Aggressors and HQs. Thinking about it, it's quite a 40k approach - screens are useless against Arcane Bolt (AoS's version of Smite which doesn't require closest enemy model) and it's not like I have to worry about firepower.

Either way, the Scouts go into the top of the central ruined tower, because that seems thematic, and both Inceptors and Reivers go into deepstrike.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Once we're on the board, I decide to let Stylus go first. Weathering the shooting is a necessary evil, as the chance for a double turn is going to be my best bet for victory!

Space Marines - Turn 1

Here they come - whatever they are. Whatever realm we find ourselves in, the Codex Astartes will see us through.

The left-flank unit of Intercessors circle around behind the central tower. The main castle of Intercessors, Aggressors, Redemptor, Librarian and Captain all step forward to get into small-arms range of the advancing Marauders.

The Librarian warms up with his first psychic power - but the warp doesn't seem to work the same way in here. He rolls Perils and blasts three wounds off himself.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

The Shooting Phase is punctuated with a bark of bolt rifles, as I put everything into the Marauders. Half of them get wiped out, and a few more of them decide that running down the guns isn't the best career move.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

No actions for the Assault Phase - let them run onto my guns!

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 1 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

So far, so expected. Marauders are supposed to die in droves, it's their greatest strength on the battlefield - pity I wasn't able to make them immune to Morale, but I don't get CPs until the start of my turns, something that might need changing another time!

I stick to the plan. So the Warriors and Knights run forward to the Realmgate, planning to jump through and ambush the Marine castle.

The Manticore leaps forward, after casting Wind of Chaos on the Scout squad and rinsing a mere two of them from their perch. And my left flank advances with all available speed (although I forget the Chariot can whip itself to move faster). 

The Sorcerer Lord attempts a charge on the Scouts, but it's too far up to the top of the hill even after I use my command ability to reroll. I lose a wound to bolter Overwatch, too. That's going to get old fast, isn't it? 

However, at the end of the turn, I get a good roll - it's double turn time!

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 2

This is my big moment, so I'd better make it count. 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

The Chaos Warriors pile into the portal. Only two of them are lost to the warp, which is okay, as they're now in decent striking range of the Marine front lines. Once I'm into that castle, I've got a good chance of hurting it! 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

What I forget about, though, is those damn Auspex Scanners.

Yes, the Ultramarines are not so easily surprised! Apparently Auspex Scanners work on Realmgates too (it seemed fair enough - it's effectively a deepstrike) and my Aggressors open up on the Chaos Warriors. Their auto boltstorm gauntlets need some warming up, though. and only two Warriors fall.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Well, that could have been a lot worse. Everything else moves forward, the Knights rushing towards the Intercessors and the Manticore leaping the central ruin to flank the Aggressors. The Chariot and Warshrine back the Warriors, along with what's left of the Marauders. 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Charge phase! 

Overwatch proves more of an irritant than anything else. The Chariot soaks for the Warriors, losing a pair of wounds, but then it's in alongside a wave of armoured madmen. The Marauders fail to make it in, possibly a little nervous of all that firepower. Then the Manticore shrugs off a single hit from the Aggressors and the Knights take a single plink as they rush the Intercessors. As the Space Marine Captain heroically intervenes, I grit my teeth - but at least I can still hit him, we decide, as AoS rules don't stop you hitting targets you didn't charge. 

Alas, the combat isn't all good news. The Knights chew up their opponents, the double-wounding Glaives proving just as killy as I'd hoped. Only the sergeant survives, and even he's wounded.

Wounded to a horse, sergeant. A horse.

But I've positioned the chariot badly, bottle-necking the Warriors up so only half of them can fight. The marines' armour mostly saves them, although I beat up one and a half of them for very minor returns. 

Worst, though, is the Manticore. He whiffs his attacks on the Captain and fails to break through the Aggressors' armour at all. And then he dies as the Aggressors pile into him with all the power fists they can muster! Yikes!

Credit where it's due: it's the Captain's power sword that drives the fatal blow through the beast's heart!

(game note: anything with AP-3 is proving a real problem for the AoS forces. We may need to consider some kind of Invulnerable Saves for them).

Well, my bolts are shot. At least the Morale phase is kind, and nobody else is running off. 

Space Marines - Turn 2

The beast is slain! The lines are holding (barely) against the attack, but I've got a lot of big hitters on the board and all my reserves to drop.

The Intercessors fighting the Chaos Warriors break from combat, the Captain moves to the centre and the rest of the castle holds firm.

The Scouts, who have been mercifully ignored, shimmy down the mountain and start moving for the rear objective.

On the extreme flank, the wounded Intercessor sergeant breaks from combat and scrambles up the sheer cliff walls (to escape those deadly horse hooves).

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Jumping down from deepstrike, the Inceptors crash through the woods next to the Chaos Knights, looking to unleash a storm of mass-reactive rounds.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

The Reivers land on the other rear objective, in carbine range of the Marauders and lining up for a cheeky charge (easy to contemplate when your enemy has no Overwatch).

I can now bring all my fire to bear against the Warriors of Chaos. As long as I don't do anything stupid, I should have this.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Right away, the Librarian does something stupid: rolls a Perils again (this realm does not agree with him) and explodes. The resulting psychic backlash puts three wounds on the Dreadnought, three on the Captain, kills and Aggressor and wounds an Intercessor.

I'm starting to think that Librarian may have been a Chaos Sorcerer in disguise...

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Undaunted, my lines open up against the Chaos Warriors once again.I throw everything against them (even the Intercessors, thanks to their Ultramarine Chapter tactic). Having stood still, the Aggressors volume of fire is something to behold (might have been better if I'd had all three of them, eh Librarian?). But the Redemptor is, I'm afraid, a bit pants.

So when the dust settles, the toughness and armour of the Chaos Warriors mean that five of them are left standing.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

On the other side of the field, the Inceptor's Assault Bolters open up against the Chaos Knights, killing three of them. The Reivers pick off a few more Marauders.

I try to make a few charges, but both Inceptors and Reivers fail to make it it. I do wish I'd brought some plasma, as all these bolt rounds are making heavy work against T4 models, but it's looking good for me.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 3

Oh, Ultramarines. Truly, the Tyranids taught you well - keep shooting as you run away from combat!

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

There's too much gun and not enough screen out there. But I'm not going to stop trying. The Knights goad their steeds into the wood, and sure enough, make the charge. But they lose another one going in to that dreadful heavy bolter overwatch, and the remaining champion only has the hitting power to bring down one of the Inceptors. 

One is pretty good against an Inceptor! My guys hit back and can't knock him off his horse.

The Warriors sense their time in the sun is done here, so they pop back through the portal and charge the Scouts! That's more their power level (i.e. far easier to kill), and they don't even see it coming. But alas, the combat is a total whiff. Eight hits, no wounds! And they even scrape me with their return combat!

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

The Chariot and Warshrine charge the Intercessors again, and this time it's a wipe. The brutal fists of the Warshrine bearers smash the last of the Primaris into the dirt! 

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

I can't really follow up on this, though. If I do, the power fists of the Dreadnought and Aggressors are going to make mincemeat of me right away. And they'd still be able to fall back and shoot me next turn, so I hang tight for now. 

The Marauders reach the Reivers and immediately die to a man. Good work, minions, you may rest easy.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Space Marines - Turn 3

Time to finish up - and no pesky Librarian to get in my way!

The remains of my castle move into charge range of the big stuff, the Inceptors and Scouts fall back from combat respectively, and the Reivers move into range of the Chaos Warriors.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Shooting wipes out the last Knight, and blows chunks out of the Chariot and Warshrine. I follow up with charges against everything. The Aggressors smash apart the Chariot, and while the Dreadnought whiffs terribly, the Captain tears the Warshine from the sky

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 4

What's left to do? Well, the Warriors pile back into the Scouts, and this time they get results. Only the Sarge stays standing, and I consolidate round him so the nippy little bugger can't escape. 

It's a nice quick turn, and I'm entirely happy with it, as I'm sure my four remaining warriors can handle the counterpunch. 

Space Marines - Turn 4

Only the Chaos Warriors left, picking on my poor Scout Sergeant - time to mount a rescue!

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

In an unconventional move, the Dreadnought jumps through the Realmgate (don't roll a 1!) and survives the journey. Having seen the success, the Captain does likewise.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

With both Chapter heroes arriving in the rear of the Chaos Warriors, they charge right in and beat up the last few heretics.

A battle between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Ultramarines vs Slaves to Darkness.

Result: Victory to the Ultramarines!

Post-game Portal Hub

I came, I saw, I unleashed boltgun death. Page 1 of the Codex Astartes.

Drubba-drubba-drubba! Hear that? It's the sound of bolters drubbing me!

It's not really a surprise, is it? And in fairness to the fluff, it's an entirely appropriate result. Great fun, though, and I think the good old WoCs did pretty well in the circumstances! At least as well as I ever remember them doing in the closing ages of Warhammer Fantasy, that is. 

Yes, I wonder how they would have fared with some of the staples of a WFB Chaos list - like a Hellcannon or Chimera (the latter dishing our mortal wounds with its breath).

It's always going to be uphill for the Sigmarites. Their armies generally lack invulnerable saves, they don't have the same freedom with stratagems and they can't deal multiple wounds (especially at range) with nearly the same impunity as 40K armies can. But it's not a lost cause! 

Conversely, AoS wounds do carry over into other models, in both combat and shooting - so with the right kinds of weapons, you could wreak havoc with attacks that would usually be blunted by 40k rules.

I missed a few tricks (I forgot the Warshrine's blessings, for example, or my Warlord's Mortal Wound sword). And I did pretty well at closing the range and reaching combat. If the Ultramarines weren't so good at running away and firing over their shoulders, the cowards, I might well have had them on the ropes for longer. Slaves to Darkness is probably a sub-par choice to represent AoS, too, they're due a better army book. But was there anything I could have done better?

Agreed: the Warriors of Chaos is still an 'index' faction. Newer factions with shinier rules and units may have better access to damage output.

Generally, I think AoS need more characters for command options, definitely more sorcerers for wound output. And we should look at summoning options - that seems a good counter to deepstrike.

And using Realmgates to hop around the board was great! Simple and clear as 40K terrain rules are, they can be a bit boring. Stuff like teleporters is a hoot, we should use things like this more often in our 40K matches. 

So there's some mileage in this mash-up, I reckon! To help with the underdog nature of 40K firearms, we're thinking that the AoS player gets more points to spend on their army (maybe about 50% more?) and also a stack of Command Points in the manner of Battleforged 40K armies. Maybe even a free 'Hunker Down' strategy in the first turn, as +1 to save might help with the hosing. 

I agree with all of the above - although a 'Take Cover' stratagem wouldn't have made much difference here, where my small-arms fire just killed a couple of Marauders.

Well, seven of them, causing five more to flee. But who's counting! They're Marauders!

One thing for the 40k player to bear in mind is the 'Don't Be a Douche' (always important) - this was a very under-optimised list, and if I'd gone with a Hellblaster castle with HQ rerolls and a scout screen, it would have shredded the enemy armour.

But yes, I like the concept. In terms of armies at our disposal, unfortunately all the 'new' AoS ones are heavily combat orientated and all the ranged options (Dwarves, Empire, Wood Elves) are on the declining/neglected side. But we're sure to come up with something fun!

*not including spin-offs, rules reboots and third party games set in the same universe


  1. Great report. I remember doing something like this with 1st edition WH40K back in the 80s when I was still young and full of hope. It is like the brilliant WW2 Germans vs animated medieval armour in Bedknobs and Broomsticks! Keep up the good work

    1. Thanks! I used to love that Bedknobs and Broomsticks scene - hadn't made the connection, but it's spot on (except in the movie, the knights win!)

  2. The outcome wasn't really in much doubt at any point, but the concept is seriously awesome. I've thought about doing something similar at various times, but I think this is the most compatible the two systems have been since the Realm of Chaos days (when 40K gear was sometimes actually available as Chaos Rewards for Champions of Chaos).

    And yeah, the way Rend/AP is distributed is a big part of the different balance between AoS and 40K. There are multiple AoS Factions that don't even have a single Rend -3 option, and even those that do, it's usually a single Attack per Turn from Nagash or someone like that. Maybe just give the AoS side a flat +1 to their Saves to try to offset that?

    That Terrain is fantastic! The "ice" Realmgate looks almost like you got a replacement for the mystic flames or whatever they are cast out of translucent resin or something. Great stuff!

    1. Cheers - yes, the systems are so compatible, it was crying out for this kind of experiment.

      I think we came to the same conclusion: armour values, rend and saving throws are something to think about for balance. Maybe I'll take Ironjawz next and chop through everything!

    2. Thanks!

      The Ice Realmgate is done with ground glass and water effect resin, turned out better than I could have hoped.

  3. Reading this, there is hope that my Lizardmen/seraphon might do something other than gather dust (there are few AoS players in my area).

  4. Great fun, this looked. Well done.