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A Series of Unfortunate Dice Rolls

Charlie: When someone tells me that they're unlucky, I assume it's confirmation bias. Some people seem oblivious to all the times they've been fortunate and bemoan all the times they aren't, failing to notice that things average out over a long enough time span.

Le sob.

That having been said, a universe of infinite possibility means that some people will be luckier than others, and some people... some people will be Maisey.

I've been gaming with Maisey for just over a decade now, and when things go wrong for him, it tends toward the ridiculous. So now, because it amuses me, here are my favourite top three Maisey dice fails. If you've had similar tales of woe, please brighten Maisey's day and share them in the comments.

Third place: the noble veterans

Losing a squad of terminators is painful. Losing all five in a single shooting phase is even worse, but at least the enemy usually has to use up their snazziest guns to get the job done, or win through sheer weight of fire. Even before terminators gained an extra wound with the coming of 40K's 8th edition it would take an average of 180 lasgun shots to bring down five terminators.

So what killed Maisey's terminators? A single platoon of guardsmen? One good shot from a plasma cannon? Maybe a freak psychic power?

Nope. It was a gaggle of gretchin.

With grot blastas.

How many gretchin, you ask?


Second place: the mighty sorcerer

Normally this character is known as Phanek, but for now let's call him Squawkums McFail. He was involved in a raid on some ork-held ruins whilst in search of a MacGuffin, and Maisey was getting frustrated at how many things hadn't gone his way that turn. "Right," Maisey announced, "I'm casting Smite on those orks; I just want to get something killed this turn."

For the record, the orks were retreating. This was just an evil sorcerer venting his frustration on the nearest smiteable object.

Naturally, Maisey rolled snake eyes for the psychic test. No problem, he thought: we have command points in 8th edition for this exact problem! He re-rolled one of the dice. Another 1 popped up. Right then, miscast it is... so Squawkums inflicted three mortal wounds on himself which, since he was already injured from a previous miscast, took him out of play. Clap clap.

This would normally be the end of it, but we were playing a campaign with a very simple unit persistence rule: roll a D6 when a model's taken out. On a 6 it's fine, on a 5-2 it misses the next game, and on a 1 it's dead.

I think you can guess what Squawkums rolled.

There are times when Maisey's ability to roll 1s is so potent that even he is reduced to helpless mirth for the better part of five minutes. Credit where credit's due: he had at least managed to kill something that turn.

First place: the elite sniper team

Way back when Maisey was first getting into 40k he was immediately attracted to the Imperial Guard (that's the Astra Copywritarum to any young'uns reading this). Something about the poor bloody infantry's fatalism, and the boomy-ness of the tanks, I think. There was one fly in the ointment: he was constantly missing. A 4+ to hit might as well be a 6+ if you're one of Maisey's minis. As his frustration mounted, he flicked through his codex in search of something more dependable. Something that would be impervious to the malice of the cubed betrayers.

Then he found it: regardless of the model's ballistic skill, sniper rifles always hit on a 2+.

Perfect! Maisey immediately bought six snipers plus six spotters, lovingly painted them up, deployed them for their first game, and with a vindictive grin declared his first target, dice in hand. If nothing else, I knew I'd be taking some pinning tests.

We watched as six dice dropped from his unfurling fist. They tumbled across the table, spinning and bouncing between ruins and guardsmen.

They settled.

The universe paused for a moment.

Maisey stared in disbelief.

Stunned, I reached for a calculator, taking refuge from my befuddlement in statistical calculations.

He had achieved the nearly-impossible: six ones.

I love you, man. You're 1 in 46,656.


  1. The first thought that springs to mind is your Eldar Superheavy Grav Tank. The first time I'd ever seen a resin model, or a Superheavy, and it's first shooting phase revealed to me it was as deadly as it looked. My poor first ever army, unimaginative Ultramarines, was not equipped to handle it and the limited number of Lascannons I could bring to bear either bounced off the armour or, when I thought I'd done well and scored some damage, found it all negated from blooming space-elf trickery (4+ holofield save to negate all damage rolled at the end of the shooting action). Right at the end of my shooting phase I noticed an overlooked tactical squad (at the age of 16 I thought tactical squads were boring and pointless) and for lack of anything better to do, fired a krak missile at it. At this point I was somewhat salty about the whole holofield thing and insisted we get that 4+ save rolled before I wasted more of our time rolling on tables. With that out of the way I then proceeded to roll six after six after six, as blood drained form your face and the smile stretched on mine, until the entire unscratched superheavy, most expensive and most impressive model on the board in all regards, blew up in the first turn from a single krak missile.

    That and your allied Imperial Guard little parking problem pretty much put the nail in the coffin to that proto-Apocalypse game we'd been preparing for for months.

    1. Haaa! I think that was my first proper encounter with shiny new model syndrome. So salty.

  2. I think this is Maisey again, but Dark Angel squad, all the plasma. Sergeant shoots plasma pistol, overheats, fails save, dies. Plasma gunner shoots, overheats, fails save, dies. Plasma Cannon operator clenches sphincter, shoots, overheats, fails save, dies.

    I remember just staring at that squad along with the moose in mute incomprehension.

    1. Yup, that was me again. That squad is still on the subs bench as I just don't trust that much plasma in one place.

    2. I guess they'll be firing on standard mode from now on... :D

  3. My top 3:

    3: 10-strong Dark Angels Dev Squad with 4 Plasma Cannon open fire. All 4 overheat. Three fail their Saves. The Squad also fails their Morale Test and flees off the board.

    2: A game of Battlefleet Gothic. The Scenario requires you to put some stuff in Reserves, so I go with a couple of my faster Cruisers (I can't remember the name, this was ages ago) even tho they're the core of my fleet, because they have a rule that will let them show up on a 2+. I finally lose on Turn 11, without those Cruisers ever showing up.

    1: I had a WHFB Dwarf Army for a while. Took a Bolt Thrower with the Master Rune of Skewering for a once per game unmodified 2+ to hit. Missed with that shot 17 Games in a row.

    Oh, almost forgot: During 6th Ed, I ran Abaddon only twice. Both times he got hit with Terrorize, which removed Fearless and forced an immediate Morale Test, while in combat. Both times, I failed to Deny the power, failed the Morale Test, and failed to win the Init Roll-off despite having higher Init and got run down. He's been in the back corner of my minis cabinet since then, facing the back wall, thinking about what he did.

    1. That's a good list. You have my sympathies my friend!

    2. Those had me giggling over my breakfast. Seriously dice, WTF. I particularly love Abaddon's corner of shame! XD

    3. Every bell curve has its far ends. I've definitely spent my time out there. At this point, they're more amusing than anything, but some of them were seriously frustrating at the time.

    4. I know what you mean! These days I try to see today's epic fails as tomorrow's anecdotes.

  4. Don’t forget your self immolation gag plasma command squad Charlie: Captain and his four plasma gunners jump out of the Chimera, and seconds later the captain is on his own, surrounded by four puddles of steaming goo.

    1. Join the guard, they said. See the world, they said. Fire the plasma gun they said. Perfectly safe, they said.

    2. It's an honour, they said.

  5. I remember trying to cast spirit leech on a 1 wound terrorgheist in the last turn of the last game of a tournament that would have seen me potentially get the best WoC trophy. I rolled 6 dice and only barely managed to cast the spell even with the +1 form my mage. Think I rolled a 9 on 6 dice. My opponent wiped the sweat from his brow and promptly dispelled it with his 2 remaining dispel dice. I was Mr Grumpy-Chops for most of the drive home, I can tell you

  6. On the flip side of the coin, however, I remember Volgin rolling 2 1's on his 6+ wards against a massive greatsword to the head, which then became to 6s thanks to the third eye of tzeentch. This allowed Volgin to shrug off said greatsword and he then also managed to wrestle Von Rudiger of his horse if I remember correctly.


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