Saturday, 31 December 2011

Battle Report: Snatch 'n' Grab

You read it here first, folks:  the first ever engagement of 2nd Battalion!  In a game opening our first campaign, fifteen men of 1/7th Company, 2nd Battalion escorted the Battalion X.O. and his Artillery Officer through some deserted streets, evacuating him out of danger after an unexpected shift in the front line.  Except ... they're not deserted.  Lurking in the rafters are a squad of rebel Stormtroopers, backed by a master sniper and tasked with killing the X.O.  In addition, the Artillery Officer is to be captured at all costs:  he knows the positions of all the regiment's artillery!

This was a very small scale game, played on a tabletop (not got a board yet ... ) with a few pieces of terrain from the Imperial City set.  It was designed as a quick (almost Kill-Team) game with a few models on each side, without adhering too strictly to points limits.  As well, we played it with an almost RPG feel, so we came up with 'house rules' on the hop.

Imperial Troops

2nd Battalion X.O., 4 Guardsmen (lasguns, Platoon Standard, Sgt with close combat weapon)

Artillery Officer, 4 Guardsmen

10 Guardsman* (Sgt; laspistol / close combat weapon, Heavy Bolter)

Rebel Troops

8 Stormtroopers* with hellguns

1 Master Sniper (Vindicare Assassin).

* The units were both split half-and-half into combat teams.

The Board

The game was played on a board about 5' x 3', with a line of buildings down either side and an open street in the middle.  The Imperium deployed on the southern flank, the rebels in the north.  All the buildings had balconies and multiple layers, as well as enclosed rooms in places.

The Mission

The Artillery Officer's bodyguards
move cautiously up the murky street
In the first turn, the X.O. moved out along the eastern flank, screened from the view of the street by the ruined Imperial Palace.  The Artillery Officer tried a similar tactic along the western path, with the two infantry combat teams pushing straight down the centre, trying to keep the heavy bolter central in case of any trouble.

As the Artillery Officer stepped off into the street, a shot rang out from a bird's nest and one of his bodyguards crumpled to the floor.  Passing their pinning test with ease, the Officer resolved to push on regardless.  The sniper remained hidden, and so none of the Guard could return fire.

The X.O. and Battalion Standard Bearer
Next turn, the X.O. carried on moving northwards for the objective, taking care to remain hidden from the sniper's bullets in the rafters.  One combat team took up position in a ruined cathedral, and the second (with the heavy bolter) pushed further on, trying to secure a position on the steps of the Imperial Palace.

Guardsmen using the ruined cathedral for a vantage point
Another shot rang out, and one of the guardsmen in the cathedral fell dead from the sniper's shot.  This time, however, the others managed to pinpoint his location: he was dug in to a tower, right at the northward end of the main road.  It was clear that any attempt to get past him to the extraction zone would be very difficult ...

The Sniper would prove a deadly and immovable
adversary throughout the whole game
As the third turn began, the Guard troops were making good progress despite some casualties from the enemy marksman, but still no sign of the Stormtroopers.  All that was shattered as the whining drone of the Valkyrie moving into position.  As the guard continued pushing up, the heavy bolter got into position on the steps of the palace just as a combat team fast-roped onto the western building where the Artillery Officer was hiding.  They leapt into combat, but in the whirling melee neither side could gain the advantage.  Over on the eastern flank, the X.O. and his bodyguard were engaged in a fierce gun battle with the other stormtroopers, each on either side of the ruined palace, exchanging fire over the wrecked and shattered floor.  One of the X.O.'s men managed to take down one of the stormtroopers with a lucky las-bolt.

Over the fourth and fifth turns, the raging combat on the western side still failed to yield a clear winner.  Even when the squad from the cathedral clambered down and made their way into the fray, the Stormtroopers held their own.  The heavy bolter on the steps of the palace barked into action, targeting the sniper and managing to inflict a wound, but the steady sniper fire whittled the 5 men down to 2.  Meanwhile, things looked better on the western flank when the X.O. managed to kill off the last of one of the stormtrooper squads.  Eventually, the close combat on the western side brought the stormtroopers down to two men as well.  With the sniper wounded and only two models left on the field, victory looked all but certain for the guard - albeit a bloody one.

The tables were dramatically turned as the turns continued.  Despite being heavily outnumbered, the stormtroopers managed to beat the combined squads of guard and broke them both, scattering their terrified and exhausted members southwards.  One of the squads was overtaken and hacked down with bayonets, and the Artillery Officer was finally captured.  With the final two guardsmen being expertly dispatched by the sniper, the situation was reversed and the X.O. found himself in a tricky position.

The two Stormtroopers were extracting northwards, bundling the Artillery Officer to the Valkyrie.  The X.O. had to choose: give chase to the stormtroopers, and risk his own life to try and save the Artillery Officer?  Or, knowing he was the primary objective, stay safe in the alleyway and deny the rebels a complete victory?

In the end, after eight turns of fast-paced, cut-and-thrust action, the X.O. decided to keep himself safe and let the stormtroopers escape.  Both sides had paid heavily: from a table total of 29 models at the start of the game, both sides could only offer 7 now.  By hiding in the alleyway, the stormtroopers had got away with the Artillery Officer but the X.O. was still safe.

For now...

Artillery Officer:  CAPTURED
Executive Officer:  SURVIVED
Result:  NARROW IMPERIAL VICTORY

Despite their victory, the Imperium paid dearly to save
the X.O.  Some of the casualties lay bloodied
where they fell, on the steps of the Imperial Palace.






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