Skirmish gaming at Shorehammer 2019

Warhammer 40K blog

No one said it was easy to stay alive in the 41st Millennium.

The fate of the Corvus Cluster was decided—at least, in part—by attendees at the Shorehammer Convention, Nov. 21-24, in Ocean City, Md.

That’s because the Corvus Cluster actually was there—sponsoring eight skirmish games set in our little corner of the galaxy.

In an earlier post (click here), I listed the scenarios to be featured at the show. Many included a “hero” of the Corvus Cluster, such as Abnightus, Count Feracci, and Inquisitor Serillian. All two-and-a-half-hour events were designed around a narrative, a story that logically aligned within the tales already told of the Corvus Cluster, and the results of each of these stories will be used to further our narrative campaign.

In other words, the results of the convention games will affect what happens in the months ahead.

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The Corvus Cluster made its first foray into Shorehammer.

For example: In the event known as “The Ritual of Pestilence,” the 3rd Company of my illustrious Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter were sent to the war-torn world of Dozaria to prevent the Death Guard from opening a portal to the Warp that would allow hordes of Nurgle Daemons to enter the Materium.

If that had happened, the fight for Dozaria would have shifted decisively in favor of the Death Guard as thousands of daemons swamped the struggling Imperial Guard regiments fighting to defend the world.

Thankfully, a meltagun-wielding Space Marine destroyed the portal on the last die roll of the last turn of the game. So, instead of Dozaria falling within weeks, it now remains possible that the Imperium can stop the traitor invasion.

(Of course, the skirmish game did not decide the world’s fate. It just tweaked it a bit. So, don’t take it for granted the Imperium will win the war.)

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While small skirmish games were featured in Corvus Cluster events, entire armies were battling it out in the convention’s 40K tournaments. (No, that’s not our table in the foreground.)

Many convention attendees came for the tournaments, but participation in my narrative games was better than I expected. All my games had players, and their response to the dedicated table and the narrative style of the games was very positive. Several players said that their experience had convinced them to try more narrative-style games when they returned home.

That doesn’t surprise me. Over the course of the games, people seemed to really enjoy engaging in a story than simply pitting armies against each other without any background story. As much as I could, I tried to give players the experience that they were the star of a book or movie—that they were really “there” trying to change the course of history.

I think, if nothing else, I gave them a nice experience. After all, who wouldn’t, for example, want to play an inquisitor who must fight his way across a mutant-held town in search of information that can destroy a dangerous cult?

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A player ponders his next tactical move. This table featured dedicated and detailed terrain with as many tactical challenges to it as I could imagine. I’ll share more about the table soon.

It was a very busy time for me. I ran a game Thursday night, three each on Friday and Saturday, and one Sunday morning. As a result, I barely registered what was happening at the rest of the convention. New friends told me they had a good time. Certainly people were yelling and laughing during a large, multi-player, Armageddon-scale battle on the first day of the convention.

Meanwhile, tournament gamers could be overheard Saturday evening boasting of their great exploits and bitter defeats during the day. So, it was clear the convention was a success. I highly recommend looking up the Shorehammer website and considering a visit next year.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing up an account of each of my narrative games. After all, that’s what this blog is about: recording the great deeds of the Corvus Cluster. Sometimes it is the small, individual actions of individuals that change the course of history, and the great deeds I witnessed at the convention must not be forgotten.

I’ve already started planning another high-quality, dedicated table for next year’s convention. Now that people know what a Corvus Cluster event is all about, I’m hoping we’ll see more people participating. It was a good introduction for our Corvus Cluster Narrative Games, and I’m already counting down the days until I return to Ocean City.–TheGM

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.


Categories: Conventions

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2 replies »

  1. Oh wow, this sounds absolutely tremendous! I wish I could have attended and played, but as an Oregonian I am an entire continent away from Maryland. I must say, though, that your approach is inspirational to the max. Is there a plan to wind down the Corvus Cluster campaign at any point, or will it remain as a persistent setting forever and ever?


    • Hey, Patrick! The plan is to keep the Corvus Cluster going. We’ll be ending 739.M41 on New Year’s Eve (and beginning 740.M41 on Jan. 1), which means we’re only a bit over two years away from the Damocles Crusade (spoiler alert!).

      Obviously we can’t give up before that major event, and frankly we’re having so much fun we could see this going for a long time.

      Glad you liked our efforts at Shorehammer. Our campaign means we never run a 40K game without some context, some furthering of our story, and that makes every game more fun. I was happy to advance some of the Cluster stories with new people, and we hope to keep welcoming people into the fold in any way we can.

      Keep gaming!



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