Sunday, January 11, 2009

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Chaos Space Marines

Game: Warhammer 40,000 3rd edition
Opponent: Gary
Mission: Recon
Location: Luzon
Background: Commissar Yarrick arrives to help out the inexperienced Captain Kennell just as more Khorne forces arrive on planet. Perhaps this is the beginning of a major Chaos invasion of the sub-sector?
1st turn: Chaos Space Marines
Points: 2000

Imperial Guard
  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell, Junior Officer, Honorifica Imperialis, Company Standard, Medic, Missile Launcher, Sanctioned Psyker
  • Commissar Yarrick
  • Anti tank squad 3 Lascannons
  • Sentinel, Autocannon, Extra Armour, Improved Comms
  • 8 Stormtroopers, Sergeant with powersword, 1 meltagun, 1 plasma gun, deep strike, infiltrate
  • Inquisitor Kurven, psycannon and emperor's tarot, 2 veterans with plasma guns, plasma cannon servitor, 2 sages, mystic
  • 3 Deathcult Assassins
  • Infantry Platoon 1
  • Command Squad 36, Junior Officer with power weapon and plasma pistol, 2 meltaguns, 2 plasma guns
  • Infantry Squad 501, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 541, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Platoon 2
  • Command Squad, Missile Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 609, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad, Flamer
  • 20 Conscripts
  • Armoured Fist Squad 812, Flamer, Chimera with multi-laser, Heavy Bolter, Heavy Stubber
  • 5 Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, 2 meltaguns, rhino
  • Sentinel, Multilaser, smoke
  • Sentinel, Multilaser, searchlight
  • Basilisk, Indirect fire
  • Leman Russ, Heavy Bolter

Chaos Space Marines
  • Bloodthirster
  • Glaive Lord
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons, aspiring champion with Daemonic Talons, in rhino
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons, aspiring champion with Daemonic Talons, in rhino
  • Mutated hull predator with hull heavy bolters and twin-linked lascannon
  • 5 Havocs with 4 missile launchers
  • Dreadnought with Lascannon
  • 8 Bloodletters
  • 8 Fleshounds
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers, Aspiring champion with powerfist
  • 8 Marines, lascannon and plasma gun
  • 4 bikers
This was our first game of 40k following the Gauntlet Tournament and we were keen to try something different. The Gauntlet only required 1000pt armies and we had played a number of practice games leading up to the tourney, meaning we had been playing smaller games for 8 weeks or so. Before that we had played a variant of the Vogen campaign instore, and that was all 1000 point battles too. In fact, looking back on my gaming diary entries, I found that I had played shockingly few large games at all, despite now having the new battle bunker to play in.

So Gary and I got together and decided to play a few 2000pt battles. This would allow us to field things like Terminators, Greater Daemons, bike squads, multiple ordnance weapons, special characters and lots of other things too powerful or too expensive for smaller games.

Terrain and Deployment
We arrived at the store late (damn taxi) and although we claimed a table, we had great difficulty locating any terrain for it. All we had were two ruined buildings and a stone pillar, so we strung them out across the middle of the table. There was also a large hill moulded to the table covering the whole of my left flank.

Gary set up first and placed his Predator near the building on my centre left, denying me any set up on the hill. I set up my own battle tank, the Leman Russ, near the other ruined building on my right centre, pushing back the Chaos deployment on that flank. By the time we had completed deploying I had two distinct firebases; the one on my left consisting of the Stormtroopers, Basilisk, an Infantry platoon, and the Chimera, while the one on my right contained everything else and was definitely the stronger.

The Chaos army had most of its shooty, static squads on or near the hill to my left in a kind of stand off with the Guard. The rest of the army was facing my right firebase, using the blind spot of the ruined building to shield them from incoming fire. Virtually all of the Chaos assault elements were on this flank.

The Game
We both knew that first turn would be crucial, and that the Cadians had the edge with the Emperor's Tarot. Predictably, Gary won the first turn.

Many inexperienced players would quail at the sight of the Imperial Guard gunline and hug cover, feeding units in one at at time for fear of taking casualties. Not so Gary; he raced forward with all of his mobile elements, knowing full well he would take some losses, but that something would get through. With over a quarter of his army arriving in the shape of daemons he needed to have his icons in advanced positions for turn two.

Most of the Chaos movement was to the right and centre, with the only movement on the left the Lord with Glaive. In the shooting phase Gary took the Earthshaker gun off the Basilisk and killed a few conscripts.

In reply, my Cadians killed two of the Havoc squad on the hill, while the Stormtroopers instantly killed the Glaive Lord with their meltagun. My Inquisitorial Stormtroopers zoomed straight for the Predator and leapt out of their rhino. The shots bounced off its mutated hull harmlessly. The Chaos bikes took the brunt of my lasgun and plasma gun fire in the centre and were wiped out. I also popped both rhino's.

After some deliberation at the top of the turn I had moved the Russ 12" backward behind the building. My thinking was that I had few real targets (both squads in the rhino's had dismounted prior to my turn and were hidden behind their rides, I had enough plasma to kill the bikes, and ordnance wouldn't be that effective at taking out the Predator or Dreadnought), and I was worried about its survivability. The Predator already had a bead on its side armour and all those powerfists and Daemonic talons (not to mention a Bloodthirster!) were potentially within assault range next turn. Sure, I could get off a shot now but at the cost of being virtually certain to be destroyed. Instead I hoped to be able to target the Chaos Marine squads as they advanced around the building.

Both the Bloodletters and Bloodthirster arrived from the warp this turn, the 'letters near the left flank and the Bloodthirster out on my extreme right flank. All the Chaos Marines in the middle advanced toward the Guard and would make combat next turn. I was in serious danger of being overrun.

On my left I should have had an advantage as both armies traded shots but the Bloodletters swung things in the Chaos favour. Over the next few turns the Havocs consistently rolled better and took out the Sentinel and Chimera and took the Command Section to below half strength, for the loss of four Marines. The Bloodletters concentrated on the infantry, wiping out twenty of them.

My Stormtroopers that had killed the Lord headed for the Predator despite seeing it's heavy bolters annihilate the Inquisitorial Stormtroopers (6 hits out of 6, 5 wounds caused!). They were intercepted by a Chaos squad who had diverted from the centre and were sliced up in close combat.

The main event was on the right flank, though, and things started getting juicy when the Fleshounds arrived. They dropped right next to the Inquisitor's squad, ready to gut them in close combat. My Mystic allowed me to take a free shot as they arrived, however, and because they were all bunched up following their summoning, I reckoned I could take out a good 5 or 6 of them. Of course I rolled appallingly; the plasma cannon servitor rolled a 1 to hit, then got a 1 on the re-roll from the sages, then failed his armour save and died, another veteran died due to a plasma overheat and I only killed one dog. D'oh!

I lost most of my firebase to the Daemonic assault from the 'hounds and the Marines and Berzerkers in the following turns. I held up the Bloodthirster with a Sentinel and a Death Cult Assassin for long enough to get three wounds on it as it left combat, but I just could not shift that last wound. The Leman Russ was lost as a result, though it did take out a Marine squad before it disappeared...

Yarrick helped to finish off the Fleshounds and few remaining Marines but went down to some very jammy 'to wound' rolls (Gary needed a 6, 5+ and 5+ and got it!).

The Bloodthirster looked like it would mop up the Guard as it swept into my last Sentinel, but in a last ditch attempt to kill the behemoth, I threw Command Section 1 at him and they managed to take him down with a meltagun shot.

Both sides had taken heavy casualties going into the last two turns but it looked like Gary had the points advantage, especially with the Bloodletters in my deployment zone. He withdrew his Predator and Dreadnought to keep them safe from harm while I threw everything at the Daemons to cause just one casualty and take them below half strength. Not only would I get the victory points for the unit but I would prevent them from claiming the bonus 200 points for being on my board edge. They passed every single saving throw I forced upon them, and with that the game ended.

Result: Loss. Our estimates were right; Gary was 469 victory points up and took the game.

Imperial Control: Reduced 2%

Kennell's Commendation: Command Section 1 gets the nod here as they accomplished what no-one else could; finally taking down the Bloodthirster.

Learning points
  • What a blast this game was! Lots of movement and colour, good tactics, average dice on each side; it really could have gone either way.
  • Mutated hull is really nasty, making all the difference to Gary's Dreadnought and Predator which both survived a game they would normally be destroyed in.
  • I hate it when I buy something for a specific task and then they fail to carry it out. The Inquisitor was a case in point here; I knew I would be dealing with summoned Daemons, so I placed them front and forward (in more danger) so that the Mystic would come into play. And what happens? I kill more of my own guys than Daemons! Gary was rolling around on the floor laughing.

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