Seems we managed to get in another game of the campaign earlier this week. My alliance of Guard and Iron Hands continued their trials and tribulations. The other campaign force is still under the furious attention of the paint brush so will be making their mission one debut in the near future. So my opponent took on the role of the local denizens again (as he did with the Iron Warriors). But first, what was this scenario and how did it tie into the campaign?
2.0 The Splinter
The Techmarine turned to the Inquisitor, "Lord, the thermal imaging is limited, but it does show that the mass is growing. There are definitely more bodies than we saw this time yesterday, though of what species I cannot say. They are still heading in this direction. At the current rate, they will be here in fourteen hours." A red blip flashed an emergency warning on the marines auspex. "Sir, we have a new contact. Sector five, range seven, and closing fast, much smaller than the main body. I don't know where they have come from but they will be here in eight minutes." The Inquisitor simultaneously glanced at the auspex and barked orders to those around him. In a second the atmosphere of industry changed to disciplined panic as fighting units moved to take up defensive positions and support crews moved to make a hasty retreat.
Inquisitor (any units, but those with infiltrate (or equivalent) lose this rule) vs Xenos, 1500 points. See page 221 for Big Guns Never Tire for rules for this scenario, with the changes listed below.
Set up. This game takes place at the landing site from the first scenario. Use the same terrain layout from the first scenario. STC data fragments may be recovered from any imperial structure that has not yet been looted.
Deployment. If the Inquisitor won the first game, he may choose which deployment map is used (p216). Additionally, he may give D3+1 units the infiltrate/concealed positions special rule. If the Inquisitor lost the first scenario, the xenos player chooses the deployment map and the Inquisitor can give D3 units the infiltrate/concealed positions special rule.
Victory. If the Inquisitor wins the game, destroyed units add one to their roll to see if they are available for the next game. Additionally, they subtract one from the d3 roll for losing experience.
The price of failure. The Xenos player can choose an appropriate character design upgrade for one of his surviving characters. This character may be used in subsequent battles until he/she/it is destroyed.
So we had a slightly modified Big Guns Never Tire game ahead of us. It was decided that it made more sense to let me use the hidden deployment rules (since I won the previous game) as it made more sense that my army had had time to prepare and conceal their positions.
I decided to take a gamble on my army selection as I was not exactly sure what army I would be facing. Since the scenario rewarded (and penalized) Heavy Support I decided to run with a Spearhead detachment. As many of my Imperial Guard vehicles would be holding the line and covering the retreat of there comrades. As it turned out, 1,500 was more than enough to fit all the Leman Russ and the Basilisk in one list under the watchful gaze of Tank Commander Martinez in his Vanquisher. Now I just needed to wait for the vanguard of the enemy to show up.......
Look familiar? This game is played on the same battlefield as the previous one and my gaming buddy did an amazing job (based off photos) of reconstructing the previous board. I also got to choose the deployment zone and shape for this game (the perks of having a win). Unsurprisingly with this many tanks I chose the to deploy across the short edges to hopefully give me as much time to shoot and not allow a larger force to envelope me.
My deployment, with this much terrain it was difficult to get the tanks all down, but I picked the heavier side for terrain hoping to rob my opponent of as much cover as possible. You can see that my enemy turned out to be Tyranids, some long abandoned swarm by the looks of it, beautifully painted as always.
I included an Aegis defense line as I figured that my forces had had time to build some rudimentary defenses before the Inquisitor decided it was better to withdraw from the area. I included a quad gun, not quite realizing that it has a BS
of 5+ that was -1 to hit non-flying units. Let's say even with 8 shots a turn it did nothing. Maybe I was playing it wrong, can it be crewed by someone to improve its ballistic skill? If so, where are the rules that allow that?
And it also really didn't assist my tanks much, except for it takes a fare bit of extra movement to get over the top of it. So that was a plus and it also made sense story line wise that my troops would have started to fortify.
The Tyranids setup all on one side of the table, a seething mass of claws and chitin. I mix of little and big bugs. I was a little concerned with Raveners and a Lictor sitting off table. I knew they could pop up almost anywhere and that worried me.
Commander Martinez sitting behind one of the Demolishers, sizing up how he should command his troops to react to the approaching swarm. I had first turn so I was going to try to hammer the leading big bugs, I figured the Gaunts really were not much of a threat to the tanks so if I could knock out the three Carnifex and Hive Tyrant I would be home and hosed.
My left flank was held by the two Leman Russ Exterminators supported by three Sentinels. The Basilisk sat next to one of the objectives (you can just see the aquila on the pole on the left above some rocks). It turned out that the Basilisk did not move an inch the entire game. This was for two reasons. Firstly to maximize its shooting, but also and more importantly to deny the Raveners and Lictor the ability to pop up behind me.
You see I am beginning to get this game a little and new that they had to be more than 9" away when they arrived, so I carefully position the Basilisk so that it stopped anything deploying in the left hand corner. If I hadn't done this I would have had to deal with 'nids in the back field very early on.
You can see the second objective marker (Tyranid remains in a jar) collected by Tasetus while exploring the planet after the initial landing. Maybe why this swarm got all riled up?
The only infantry to be included in the army. My Techpriest and his servitors. I figured he requested to stay behind to tend the tanks and continue the search for the STC
information that may be in the ruins. He spent most of the game searching, but unfortunately he found no further traces. He was lent a Chimera to make sure he could keep up with the tanks when they rejoined the rest of the army. If they successfully held these Tyranids back that is.
The Tyranid deployment was really tight and it looked quite formidable. I had thought they would spread out across the board in an effort to overwhelm my entire line in one go. I was not actually prepared for this hammer blow setup. In the end I think it really played into my hands......
Of the four objectives, this was the only one placed outside my deployment zone. I hope it isn't a sign of more bugs infecting the planet. With the other three objectives in my deployment zone it was pretty obvious my enemy was going to come straight at me.
And this is when the game started to go down hill for me. I was all set for first turn and felt really confident that I had set up well and my army had the upper hand. Then my opponent rolled a '6' to seize the initiative and that sinking feeling set in again. Almost all of the action took place in my deployment zone, apart from one cheeky break out on my left flank.
I used my Sentinels scout moves to retreat with the ones directly in front of the swarm and the ones on the left began to advance to hopefully distract the oncoming bugs. Plus I wanted to try and be in a position to score the line breaker objective too.
The bugs with little to know ranged weapons did what they did best and advanced. Rolling almost exclusively 5's and 6's that sinking feeling got worse. Then it got even worse when preparing to open fire for the first time I learnt that the Carnifex's all had spore clouds meaning that I needed 5's to hit them from my faithful tanks!
The bugs quickly closed the distance and I slowly backed my tanks up and kept my discipline and shot at the big bugs, although the Basilisk took a couple of pot shots at the Hormagaunts to try to reduce that unit of 30 which it did admirably.
I did need to do some careful redeploying as I had blocked the Tank Commanders lines of sight with the Demolishers, I really needed his extra ballistic skill in the battle.
My left hand Sentinels made great progress down the board and were able to really be a nuisance. Nine x strength six shots every turn is quite annoying to the opponent, but he didn't fall for it and no troops were diverted to chase them so my plan here had failed.
The other thing I have learnt to do is to have "layers" of troops, here you can see the Sentinels screening the tanks. I did have them fall back right next to the Leman Russ as I had a special surprise for when the swarm got closer and I needed that space in front of them clear.
The far side had the small bugs, Hive Tyrant and a Carnifex and a pair of Carnifex approached under the landing pad (you can see them hiding in the Shadows). I hammered one of these two and it was badly hurt as it got closer. The Hive Tyrant despite my best efforts and a HEAP of shots was going well, its Tyrant Guard and saving throws protecting it from the majority of the firepower leveled against it.
The one with the dice on its back had four wounds at this stage and the other one was unhurt. They sure can soak up a lot of firepower, those Spore Clouds are tremendous value.
Apart from losing Hormagaunts and some Tyrant Guard the right flank comes on largely intact. I am seriously worried at this point. They threaten to overwhelm me and once I get stuck in close combat I really have no way of getting out of it.
Since I prevented the Raveners and Lictor from appearing somewhere really useful they decided to turn up and harass my poor Sentinels on the left flank, they didn't want me to score line breaker or threaten the distant objective (which I was planning on doing). I didn't actually capture a photo of the Lictor at all, I swear there was one on the table, they really are sneaky (it turned up two turns after the Raveners)......
I did think that the Sentinels could hold for a while, they are pretty tough and these bugs really weren't equipped well to deal with even light armor. As the Raveners charged my faithful Sentinels (I really love my chicken walkers) open fire with absolute dead eye precision and the overwatch felled one of the Raveners! This must have taken the wind out of their sails as they also failed the charge to boot.
I can just imagine them thinking how to get the tasty meat out of that armored shell......
I diverted the attention of the "Commissar" Exterminator (black one at the bottom of the table) towards the Ravenors and Lictor, didn't want to risk them running amok if they did get through the Sentinels.
The Sentinels backed up and combined with the distant Exterminator wiped out another three Raveners, I knew they were still going to come at the Sentinels, but with only two of them I really thought they would be kicked to death.
But whilst I was distracted with the Raveners, it seemed one of the Carnifexes had finally breached my line and managed to roll over the Aegis. But the Demolishers began to line up their shots as there Tank Commanders steely words settled their nerves. Besides, they had seen to it the other one hadn't managed to reach the walls and this one was obviously badly wounded now too.
Besides, if they failed I had plenty of other willing shots lined up......this side of the battlefield was mine, the two Carnifexes had been stopped and the Lictors and Raveners were but a nuisance, the game was going to be decided on my right flank. There I was in real trouble of being overwhelmed.
With the turn count starting to add up, I knew in true Guard fashion I just need to win the attrition and to that end as soon as the swarm reached my deployment I sprung the first of my delaying tactics. The sturdy frame of my Chimera, expertly converted to carry two heavy flamers rumbled from behind the ruins to block the only clear path forward, unleashing two great streams of burning prmethium it set the Hormagaunts alight and another eight of them went down. Not content with this the driver gunned the engine and with tracks grinding he smashed into the brood managing to squash another two!
Far more than I had hoped for and more importantly forcing the swarm to destroy the tank or divert to go through the heavy foliage which would slow them down considerably.
The Hive Tyrant obviously frustrated that its progress had been slowed down pushed its way forward and it tore the armored sides from the Chimera. Its valiant crew will be remembered. They bought me another turn with their sacrifice, I hoped it would be enough.
At this stage of the game I was starting to get a little more confident. I still held three objectives, I had first blood and linebreaker and was in a position to contest the fourth objective that was loosely held by some Termagants that didn't have Synapse support......but I knew that it was going to be a brutal finish as the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex on the right were unharmed and my tanks were running out of room to reverse.
Having failed to kill the last two Raveners the Sentinels prepare to charge in and try to kick it to death, the Leman Russ moves to support the right flank. This is when the Lictor arrived to try to help the last of the Raveners. It managed to charge in and damage a Sentinel, but I killed the last Ravener, then in my turn I fell back and the Commissar Exterminator turned all its guns to bear and even its chameleon abilities weren't enough. Lictors I think need to be way tougher......
With the Chimera out of the way (I had hoped it would explode) the Swarm advanced again, but a hopefully fatal move occurred and the Hive Tyrant moved away from its Tyrant Guard, I really pounced on this opportunity and gave it everything I could (I wanted Slay the Warlord). But alas, a flurry of Command Points from both sides were spent and after the dust settled the Tyrant still stood with four wounds left. It would almost remain that way until the end. I just could topple the beast.
I tired the same tactic of delaying with the valiant Sentinels, they moved forward to bear the brunt of the Tyranids charge and they did rather well. Until the Hive Tyrant flexed its might and they quickly fell apart. But in a parting act of spite two of the Sentinels exploded! They put wounds on the nearby Carnifex, Warriors and Hormagaunts and the Tyrant, still not enough to kill it though.
I was still confident, my tanks were barely scratched just a wound here and there (as denoted by the markers). I just had to choke up the area and stop them contesting anymore objectives.
The poor Techpriest is finally brought to account, his Servitors had kept up an admirable rate of fire while he look for STC
info, but the Carnifex hauled its bulk up to have a tasty snack. But the luck was really with me and although gravely wounded the sacrifice of the Servitors meant the Tech Priest survived another turn.
But only one more as the Tyranid Warriors moved in when the Carnifex had lost interest.....it was fortunately over swiftly, hopefully enough of him remains we can download him into another form.
And the scrum commenced. Four of my Leman Russ were bogged down with bodies, but the Tyranids although scrambling all over them just couldn't seem to cause any significant damage. If the game ended soon I would still pull off a win.
The other Sentinels free of things lurking in the bushes escort one of the Exterminators towards the fourth objective. I was planning if the game kept going to take this one. I was confidant as without synapse control and the fact the tank would override control of the objective that this one would be mine.
One Demolisher fell back preparing a shot for next turn while the Vanquisher begins to take a beating. At this stage I held two objectives to one, with the other being contested. We both had linebreaker and I had first blood. I just needed the dice to be with me.......
And they were! It was pretty scrappy at the end and another turn may have been a different story, but this day lies with the might of the Astra Militarum. Hooray.
In the wash up I was surprised by how few casualties I actually suffered, three Sentinels, a Chimera, four Servitors and a Tech Priest. Not only had the rear guard succeeded they would be able to reinforce the rest of the army in strength.
This game I really felt like I did well, I kept the objectives at the front of mind, deployed well, chose the right targets are the right times and moved sensibly. First time in a long time did I think my plan worked well and I actually executed it. Although that many tanks would be difficult for any Nid army so I felt a little sorry for my opponent.
As it turned out, we forgot the bonus VP
for destroying Heavy Support which I did by bagging two Carnifex, so I actually came out on top a little bit easier than I had thought. It was a fun and tense game with some great ups and downs. Next time I think I will be taking the place of the locals and my mate will have his "campaign" army trying to make their way planet side in their first mission. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading.