Sunday, June 14, 2009

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Imperial Guard

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, Gauntlet Tournament 2004 game 2
Opponent: ?
Mission: Pitched Battle
1st turn: Imperial Guard (opponent)
Points: 1000

Imperial Guard
  • Command squad with heavy bolter
  • 2 Infantry platoons with a mixture of heavy weapons
  • Heavy weapon platoon with 7 heavy bolters and 3 lascannons
  • Leman Russ
Terrain and deployment
I made a fundamental error in my approach to this game because coming into the tournament I assumed I would always be able to outshoot my opponent. I should have revised my opinion when I drew another Imperial Guard army for this game but I didn't.

The table was relatively bare with scattered rocks the main feature. There were some withered trees and a couple of ruined buildings near the centre. My opponent placed his army strung out along his deployment zone largely in the open to maximise his heavy weapon arcs of fire. He placed his Leman Russ on my right flank in cover.

I put most of my army in and around cover with Kennell and his command squad in the central wood with my lascannons. There was a line of Guardsmen screening out in front of them then the conscripts out beyond that. My stormtroopers would deep strike in.

The game
I quickly realised that I was screwed in a straight up shooting war in this game. Heavy bolters would be far better against my Guard than my missile launchers would be against his Guard.

I had deployed better in the sense that I had used cover and layered my squads and my opponent had put most of his heavy bolters out on the right flank. That meant that there were big blind spots in his firing arcs around the buildings in the centre and I could use these to advance into and engage his units piecemeal. But I had also deployed with the intention of sitting still and shooting.

My opponent made a mockery of my layering when he shot his Leman Russ battlecannon against Captain Kennell's squad. He spend several minutes laying his tape measure on it's side and trying to thread the shot through the conscripts, infantry squad, another infantry squad and then the lascannon anti-tank squad to put the template on my command squad. Of course the shot managed to kill my commander instantly.


I pummeled his Leman Russ with missile launcher shots but it was behind cover and I couldn't even scratch it. After a couple of turns of trading largely ineffective firepower with each other I decided I was going to have to take the initiative and advance if I wanted anything other than a minor loss or a bore draw.

I sent the conscripts and the foremost infantry squad up between the buildings to take on the left flank. I also dropped the Stormtroopers in amongst his squads, close to the board edge in a very risky deep strike. They scattered but survived and we now had a game on.

I managed to clear three squads from the flank and had his command section cowering in the corner of the battlefield just as the game ended. Of course my own units had taken a hammering on the way in and I only had a handful of men left myself. The frustrating thing was that I had forced numerous morale checks on all of the squads and not one had failed. If they had they would have run straight of the table because they were all hugging the edge.

The funniest, or most depressing, part of the game was on my opponent's sixth turn. Up until this point he hadn't moved a single model in the entire game. Because I had advanced, his Leman Russ had no shot to my squads. He deliberated for several minutes about whether to move or not and then decided not to.

It meant he moved nothing for the entire game!

Result: Loss - marginal loss (672 victory points to 1107)

Learning points
  • This was one of the least enjoyable games of 40k I have ever played. My opponent was okay as far as rules went (other than that dodgy shot with the Leman Russ) but his army was just awful. I can't understand how he could have gotten any enjoyment out of playing a list that just sat and shot for the whole game. It is the first and last time I have ever played an Imperial Guard gunline and it made me determined to never play such a list myself.
  • At least my Stormtroopers performed in this game. They gunned one squad down entirely, finished another off in assault and then shot up the command squad despite taking heavy casualties. If the game had gone just one more turn they might have killed off the enemy commander and turned the game.

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