Monday, March 3, 2008

TAU versus Chaos Space Marines

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition
Opponent: Gary
Mission: Seek and Destroy
Mission level: Alpha
1st turn: Chaos Space Marines
Points: 1000
Location: Rabux
Background: The Tau inadvertently stumble across a secret Chaos stockpile of weapons and supplies as they continue their conquest of Rabux. Khornate Berzerkers rush out to spill the blood of the interlopers.
Imperial Control: Unchanged

  • Aun’El’Tau’M’yenEthereal
  • Shas’Ui’Tau’Kais’Coar'Mal - 5 stealthsuits
  • Shas’Ui’Tau’Kais’Mal’Coar- 5 stealthsuits
  • Shas’La’Tau’Han’Dan - 8 Fire warriors, pulse rifles, Shas’ui
  • Shas’La’Tau’Mont’Yr - 8 Fire warriors, pulse rifles, Shas’ui
  • Murabla - 15 Kroot
  • Shas’Ui’Tau’Yu’Rang - 2 Broadsides with twin linked railguns, smart missile system and Multi-trackers, 1 hard wired drone controller and 2 gundrones
  • Shas’La’Tau’Or’Es’Mont’Ka - Hammerhead with Ion Cannon, smart missile system, multitracker, decoy launchers, seeker missile
Chaos Space Marines
  • Glaive Lieutenant
  • 8 Bloodletters
  • 8 Fleshounds
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers, Aspiring champion with powerfist
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers, Aspiring champion with Daemonic Talons
  • Defiler with mutated Hull
This was our very first game of 40k 4th edition using the new rulebook. I actually picked it up from the Post Office on the way to the store so we were really unsure on the rules, frequently working them out on the fly as queries arose. This meant we made many mistakes during the game, but hey ho, what better way to learn?

We chose to play an alpha level mission so that we wouldn't have to use a whole raft of scenario rules on top of the new game rules. Gary rolled the die and it came up Seek and Destroy. After a bit of flipping through the book we deduced that the Tau had 7 scoring units and that the Chaos army had 5.

Terrain and Deployment
We played on a 6x4 table with moderate terrain; mostly woods with a couple of low ruined buildings. I set my Broadsides up on the centre right, covering the edge of a building behind which the Defiler was hiding. I had a Fire Warrior squad on a low hill in the centre with the Ethereal attached to make them fearless. They had a Berzerker squad in their sights. The Hammerhead went behind a wood on my left in which the Kroot were deployed. My Stealth teams secured each flank.

The Game
Gary won first turn and raced forward, both Berzeker units failing (or is that passing?) their rage tests, putting them within assault range on the second turn, and giving the Daemons a good summoning position. His Defiler rounded the building and hit a Fire Warrior squad with it's ordnance shell. I had anticipated this (in fact that squad were bait) so the squad was well spaced and I only lost 3 Tau.

My Hammerhead and Broadsides had the Defiler in their sights. I rolled for the 'head first and destroyed the Chaos vehicle with my first dice roll of the game. Get in!

This meant my Broadsides could target the Berzerkers who were dangerously close to them, and they killed several. The Fire Warriors with Ethereal thinned them out some more, then finally the Stealth team peppered the Khorne troops with burst cannon fire. I wiped out the squad, meaning the Daemons could only arrived on my left flank.

Gary diverted his Glaive Lieutenant from my left to the centre, and the Fire Warriors and Ethereal on the hill, but he was just out of assault range. The Bloodletters arrived and rolled excellent difficult terrain tests to contact the Kroot in the woods. In almost an exact copy of our last game the Bloodletters killed the Kroot but took many casualties, they then caught up with the Stealth team and wiped them out too, although they were reduced to just one model.

Meanwhile, towards the middle, my reduced Fire Warrior squad moved up to unload rapid fire shots into the Berzerker squad and killed a couple. In return they were assaulted and failed their morale check, subsequently being run down due to their low initiative. The Berzerkers then summoned the Fleshounds who turned the game back into Gary's favour.

The Glaive Lieutenant was taken out with another railgun shot from the Hammerhead, leaving my Ethereal and company safe on the hill for another turn, but then the Fleshounds came steaming in. The Tau were all wiped out and the morale checks forced by the death of my Ethereal meant that my surviving Stealth team routed off the board. The 'hounds then swept on toward the Broadsides and eventually tore them down.

In the last turn Gary had two scoring units; the Berzerker squad and the Fleshounds (although both units were heavily mauled), and I had one; the Hammerhead. I hit the 'hounds with a submunition shot and a hail of smart missile shots and obliterated them, tying the game.

Result: Draw

Learning points
  • A lively and exciting game with the new rules. I was pretty pleased with the way in which we kept the game flowing without having to stop and consult the rules too much. Of course we made mistakes (the Bloodletters shouldn't have made combat because difficult terrain checks are subtly different now, we constantly forgot about fire superiority) but it will take a bit of time to get things 100% right.
  • The return of wipeouts after combat is nasty, especially with my low initiative Tau. My Kroot, Fire Warriors and Broadsides were all killed due to this rule. We later discovered that models have to be in base contact to utilise this rule so that may reduce it's impact somewhat, but it's certainly a rule to look out for.
  • My Hammerhead was awesome in this game! Two shots, two kills, worth well over 200 points, and then it got me a draw by killing those pesky Fleshounds. Nice.

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