Kieran and I managed to get together for a game of 40K the other week. We've decided that we're going to turn the occasional games (including Coldsteel Dan) into a campaign - the Fourth Edethorian War. Read the background to that setting here and I'll be doing some posts in the coming weeks about what we have in store.
Terrain has always been an issue for us - we have a set of Cities of Death terrain, but a recent game between Kieran and myself suggested we were stretching our limited supply of terrain too far when we had a game which ended rather quickly and bloodily. So for this game we decided to mix in the Necromunda terrain from our campaign earlier this year and create a proper cityfight game. Multiple levels, no open streets, the whole thing. This involved a loosening of the rules to make movement simpler, particularly with regards to narrow gantries and multiple levels - but it seemed to work.
The game was a mere 500pt-er, but what a game!
- Platoon Command Squad
- 5 Ratlings
- 10 Hardened Veterans
- 2 squads of 10 Guardsmen
- Armoured Sentinel
- Commander with 5-man Tac Squad
- 5 Assault Marines
- 5 Scouts
|Arial reconnaisance photos from before the battle. The objective is the narrow ruined building top centre.|
We played a simple Take-and-Hold style mission, piling scoring units onto a central objective. Kieran opened the game with a deep strike right next to the objective, while I moved two squads into the tall buildings overlooking the objective. For the first three turns, all I could see were the scouts who proved implacable with their 3+ cover saves. Eventually, with two heavy bolters and five snipers laying down a barrage, I took them down to one man.
At the end of the third turn things began to warm up. I'd maneuvered my veterans into position to seize the objective so the infantry could come and hold it undisturbed. However they exposed themselves to a barrage from the Commander's tactical squad and were withered to two men in short order. A valiant rooftop charge finished off the scouts, but they were killed taking the majority of my points and battle plan with them.
In desperation, the Platoon Commander charged the Assault Squad, predictably ending with their being cut to ribbons in short order (the IG, that is). By the last turn, Turn 5, I had one squad of infantry on the objective and the other behind it. The Assault Marines and Commander's Squad were closing in.
|The view from the top of the silos, where I managed to deploy one of the infantry squad. It wasn't as|
good a field of fire as I'd hoped, and I had to get them to sprint to the objective to contest it in the last turn.
A barrage of bolter fire and psychic powers smashed the objective squad to below half-strength, and with the Assault Marines comfortably in close combat the Spears of Mawdryn looked like they had the game. It was only a run in the last shooting phase that brought the untouched infantry squad onto the objective, forcing a draw.
The game was a real nailbiter. Frustrating for me, as I didn't get the lucky dice I've come to expect now and things were much more fairly matched with all the close-in streets. My sentinel and Ratlings weren't nearly as effective as I'd hoped they'd be due to the limited fields of fire - they may have accounted for three marines in the whole game between them. If anything this was definite proof that terrain makes a difference, and that big games do not necessarily equal fun games. Even with only fifteen models Kieran put up a dashed good fight and came very close to winning the first game of the campaign. Well done!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed - watch out on Kieran's blog next week, as he'll be doing a detailed post on the Necromunda terrain. Coming up soon I have a WW2 update and some more thoughts on how to administer a 40K campaign.
|Kieran's idea of fusing Necromunda and 40K terrain worked splendidly. The building in the centre|
(with the walkway running off it towards the left) was the objective building.
Kieran's Thoughts: All I can say is what a belter of a game. Games like this are what the hobby is all about, the reason we do all that painting, those conversions and write that fluff. Whilst this was only a simple, straightforward 500pt game it was one of those battles that felt like we were recreating (creating? 'Tis the future after all...) an actual skirmish rather than playing a game of 40k.
The terrain certainly added to that considerably, the terrain I put together for the Necromunda campaign weekend added with the existing stuff created a table that looked like a genuine working city. Well, used-to-work – this is the grimdark future after all. Ed took some cracking photos but even they don't do it justice.
But overall it was a ruddy superb game played at a good pace. My initial plan seemed to largely work. I tried to get my Scouts (or rather Saethwyr) into a position where they could make the most of the cover near the objective and fire krak and frag missiles with impunity. Ever wary of the sentinel creeping round the corner (which looked the dog's proverbials amongst the terrain) I opted to target the massed ranks of troops first, a krak missile and close combat / melta bombs with the sentinel were an option if needed.
Those Scouts definitely deserve a posthumous decoration. They constantly took fire from the whole of the assembled Palladians and survived turn after turn, with the missile launcher-wielding Scout eventually being taken out in close combat.
I decided to take the Tactical Squad, containing the patrol's commander - Maeloc the Druid, via the direct path to the objective, giving the psychic powers and bolters maximum potential targets early on. The Assault Squad dropped into a clearing away from the thick of the action and would be able to sneak round to the objective if needed (counting as scoring troops in this scenario) or being able to deal with any dramas arising on the flanks (such as the Palladian Veteran Squad) – and making the most of the narrow alleys of the “Tallax Slums” to avoid getting shot at too much...
In the end the Assault Squad got themselves onto the objective with supporting fire from the Tacticals, and a final round of combat in the last turn ensured this was a well-fought draw.
There was never a dull moment, the battle was fast paced and there were some real tactical decisions required – the terrain definitely helping it from turning into a simple shooting gallery. All in all, the campaign couldn't have started in a better way. Hats off to Ed for excellent organising and for being a superb and sporting opponent as ever.
|And again. The fences and barricades across the street made for a really interesting battle.|
|The Veteran Squad line up for battle...|
|But in the end it was the infantry who did most of the work. As always!|
|Ratlings were surprisingly ineffective due to poor line of sight, even from the top of the buildings.|
|The Guard moving up into position...|
|... supported by the Commander and Honour Guard. Once he died, morale went to pieces|
and I couldn't issue any orders. Should have taken better care of him.
|Curse those blasted fences!|
|Second Lieutenant Aelius only took over a few days ago. Here he is being sensible, directing the battle.|
|A sneak preview of some of Kieran's lovely Mawdryn marines and their commander...|