New Year, New Army: Alpha Legion ZM Force – Update 2


A little more about the kind of dude that I am: I’m either super hot or super cold when it comes to social situations.  I want to hang out and make plans, but the solid introvert in me also wants to go into my basement and ignore the world as well.  I want to paint all of the minis, but yet I end up playing video games more often than I should because of that thing called immediate gratification.  From my experience I think I fall in line with most folks in the hobby: quiet, well-meaning, and probably a little more socially awkward than cares to be admitted.  But this time around I got my models painted, my list together, and with a few nudges from Tyson, I took the 90 minute drive south to Milford, MA, to actually meet people and play some games of Heresy.  But enough about me painting broad strokes about the experience.  Let me go into more detail about what happened.

Open Day Prep

On March 18, 2023 the folks at New England 30K hosted an open day event as part of their Ides of Heresy at TJ Cafe & Games in Milford, MA.  I thought this was a great opportunity to complete a milestone in my NYNA Alpha Legion project, and start getting my feet wet with a little Heresy.  I’d been hemming and hawing about attending but finally decided to commit to being there.  As previously stated this was an open gaming day, so nothing was really off the table.  In the end I made a little coordination to play a couple of lower point Zone Mortalis games with Tyson and possibly other folks who may have been interested.  To that end I brought my 1K ZM list that I’d been working on diligently for the past couple of months:

  • Compulsory HQ: Cataphractii Praetor; includes volkite charger and paragon blade
  • Compulsory Troop: Tactical Squad (x15); includes vexilla and chain bayonets, Sergeant is equipped with artificer armor and a power fist
  • Troop: Support Squad (x10); armed with rotor cannons
  • Elite: Contemptor Dreadnought; Gravis power fist (x2), in-built heavy flamer (x2)
  • Elite: Cataphractii Terminator Squad (x6); includes power fists (x4), Sergeant is equipped with magna combi-weapon (meltagun)
  • Warlord Trait: Hydran Excursor
  • Rite of War: Pride of the Legion
The crew prior to their first combat foray.

A Day of Gaming

The event started around 11am and I arrived about 12:15.  With my bug out bag on my back and hobo case* in hand, I approached the entrance to TJ Cafe & Games.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect even after seeing photos on the cafe website, but it goes without saying I was blown away.  This was definitely a great place to play.  Huge, clean, incredibly well lit, and with a built-in cafe for drinks and light to medium snacks, it was pretty amazing.  And the stock levels for any type of gaming…just wow.  I was sorely tempted to scoop up as many Heresy related models as possible, but as we say at home, I was a good puppy and somehow demonstrated restraint.  It was then that I made my way to the private area in the back where Warhammer tables abounded.  You could seriously fight in any environment or any world you could imagine.  I quickly found Tyson at the back of the room setting up a Zone Mortalis game and mosied my way over.  Tyson introduced me to several of the NE30K crew and offered to play me in my first game, which I most certainly accepted.

Alpha Legion defenders deploy for the first time in Game 1.

Game One

The first game saw the Alpha Legion as defenders and the Ultramarines as attackers.  Tyson walked me through the game basics to start: deployment, objective mechanics, how doors worked, and any special rules.  Ultimately Alpha Legion won the roll off and I elected to go first.  Since everything in my force counted as Troops and had Line, I was able to start scoring immediately.  I went up against an Ultramarines force packing a lot of firepower, including Volkite Breachers and a unit of Invictus Suzerains, and thought it best to play it safe. Opting to keep the doors locked and simply shift around a little.  You know, typical sneaky Alpha Legion play.

Ultramarines start to close in while the Alpha Legion play it cool.

Overall this worked pretty well.  I was able to build up points for a couple of turns while waiting for my Tactical Squad to move up and relieve my Praetor and Cataphractii Terminators to go hunting, while being supported by my Rotor Cannon Squad.  Plus, by keeping my Dreadnought on a leash, it forced the Suzerain and Breacher Squads to split up; the Breachers opting to move towards the Terminators and the Suzerain to take a longer route around.

Both forces do a little dance before moving forward to combat.

Now while my Praetor and Terminators were moving towards the objective across the hall with the Rotor Cannons in hot pursuit, the Ultramarines had other plans and seized the objective with a Tactical Squad, and this is going to sound terrible, but a beat stick squad with either a Champion or Delegatus attached.  I can see Tyson pulling out what little hair he has left on his head because I don’t remember their names, but unfortunately I’m drawing a blank.  After a little shooting from them and the Volkites, the beat stick dudes come screaming across the hall and right into the Terminators.  This is where things start getting interesting.

We finally start seeing some action.

Back and forth, forth and back, both the Ultramarines and Alpha Legion get stuck into combat.  This is where I thought my Praetor was going to shine, but alas it was not to be.  When I say he whiffed, he whiffed hard and was taken out in the first round of combat.  The whole affair was pretty brutal, with both sides taking a beating.  But after a couple of rounds of combat the Cataphractii armor of the Alpha Legion held and they were able to take out the remaining Ultramarines.  Unfortunately this left the Tactical Squad in the open to eventually face the remaining Terminators.

After some brutal combat the Alpha Legion seized the objective but at a high cost.

By this point the game was pretty much over.  The Alpha Legion had significantly out-scored the Ultramarines, but in true fashion the XIII Legion continued to march for Macragge.  The Tactical Squad remained steady in trying to square up with the Cataphractii Terminators, while the Volkite Breachers tried to repeat an earlier success in breaking the Rotor Cannon squad’s morale.  Unfortunately for them, the Contemptor was finally let loose and their fate was sealed.  After spraying the Breachers with torrents of promethium, the Contemptor closed in and tore the remainder of the squad to pieces.  In the end, the Alpha Legion formed a successful defense and took the field for the Hydra (as was the plan all along).

The Alpha Legion Contemptor right before it noms on the Breachers.

Game Two

Riding on the high of the first game, after a quick break Tyson and I re-racked for a second game.  Now I’m thinking to myself it’ll be another tough fight but the Alpha Legion will come out on top once again.  This proved to be my first mistake among many, however.  The Ultramarine list this time around was super elite and they were sporting a Contemptor kitted the same way as mine.  Plus they were the defenders this time, forcing me to actually do something versus loitering in the ship corridors like the first game.  Eventually the Ultramarines won the roll off, set the objectives, deployed first, and went first.  Safely nestled away they started scoring points immediately.  The Alpha Legion ended up splitting forces with the Terminators and Praetor against one door and the Contemptor at the other.  Now did I mention I’d apparently forgotten how doors worked?  Through a combination of poor deployment and initial movement, I wasted precious time rearranging my force to get power fists up front and the Contemptor into position.  I didn’t think things could go much more downhill from there, but once again I surprised myself. 

The Terminators made it through their door on turn one while the Contemptor was only able to open up a Jack Torrence sized face hole in his.  In the meantime the Rotor Cannons came in only to be backed up by the Dreadnought standing in their way.  The Tactical Squad quickly followed only to make an immediate left hook to destroy a smaller door and do a mad dash to the only objective not being controlled.  At this point, however, the damage had already been done with Tyson running away with points and the Ultramarines chatting behind sealed blast doors while smoking lho sticks.  When I finally did get into some type of position, the Ultramarines simply opened the doors they were behind, and proceeded to massacre my Terminators with withering bolter fire and a  follow-on charge.  Probably the highlight of the game for me, aside from my abysmal rolling which in all honesty was pretty hilarious, was when the Contemptors got to grips with one another and just went to town.  Each striking at initiative, they beat each other to a pulp and destroyed their opposite in a full turn of combat.  It truly was pretty epic watching them beat one another senseless.  And for those wondering my Praetor completely and utterly whiffed in combat, and was taken out in the first round.  After two games of ZM I’m not totally sold on his value, but at least the model looks great.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

At day’s end I had an absolute blast meeting new and familiar faces, getting a chance to roll dice, and being able to see some great tables filled with awesome terrain.  So I think it’s fair to say the day was an overwhelming success.  As far as the project goes I’ve definitely hit my original goal getting my ZM list fully painted** and playing a couple of games.  The back half of the year will be interesting in regards to overall completion.  There’s lots of work to be done on the infantry and support sides: I still need to wrap up the second 20-man Tactical Squad, the Quad Launchers, and the second Contemptor. 

On a positive note, however, I have all of the Terminators built and primed, the Apothecary built, the Vigilator and Recon Marines built and primed, and the Spartan built and primed.  But I think before moving forward I need to reevaluate my list and make some changes.  Once I get that completed I can really see what direction to head in based on a solid road map. 

Until next time: Hydra Dominatus. 

*It’s one of the OG black GW cases.  Sure it’s old and dusty, but I love it just the same.

** Albeit with a few corrections based on my apparently terrible basic math skills.

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]


A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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