Well having now had the real acid test and played a guard game of annihalation (back to work next week, had three games since the new codex came out, one of each... that's quite lucky) and as I lined up my 25 kill points and looked at the 11 facing me, I felt the familiar guard routine of Annihalation = Lose was set to continue. It still feels like it is, but at least what I had on the table performed better, and it was a much closer game overall, and thus more fun. I still would have had to wipe the enemy out to win, (and it was one of those annoying results where you have majority of the forces left but kil points are what count) but at least he wasn't so far ahead that it wasn't close, the game finishing on turn 6 at 12-8. We then played another turn to see if I could have pulled it back. Yarrick got back up, I finished off his thousand sons, but the chimeras taking shots at his rhino and dread failed. His dread then pegged another chimera, giving us a game turn 7 score of 12-9 to Rich.
Adding up under the old victory points rules, I had 747 left to Richs 180. Thus it was particularly annoying to lose. But his dread had come barrelling down the flank (with another dread in tow) and while I'd got one the other had rather uncoperatively always left it's front armour on show. My right flank had gone far better, limiting the defiler to a single chimera before killing it. Unfortunately this left me trying to get the surviving meltaguns from one side of the field to the other, and with a combat raging in the middle of the field (plus the bulk of the terrain being within my own lines) I couldn't get the men across. They ended up joining in with the massacre of the thousand sons.
Yarrick proved far easier to kill, but as tenacious as his reputation suggests. He was dragged down by lesser deamons, but he regained consciousness as they moved on to other targets. He was then struck down by a chaos sorcerer, only to rise to his feet once more. He then charged the marines again, taking a few of them with him this time before being dragged down. But he got to his feet once again, ready to charge the survivng marines once more, before combined fire from 3 squads, 3 chimeras, and a hellhound denied him his target.
Straken proved an asset again, his gung ho attitude inspiring his men to take the lesser daemons down over several rounds of combat. Also, an interesting case cropped up. Straken replaces the company commander. He is part of the command squad. Nowhere on either the company commander entry, or the Straken entry, does it say he is an independent character. He is part of the squad. This has two benefits. The first is stopping each guard command section costing 2 kill points for 5 guardsmen. The other interesting one that cropped up tonight - as he isn't an independant character he can't be targetted in combat. They must simply engage the squad and let the wounds fall where they may. This kept him in the fight a round longer, helping the guard to overcome the daemonic presence in the end.
Overall this army list was lacking in long range anti tank. Against an army that wanted to sit back and shoot (and had armour 13 or better) i'd have trouble closing to meltagun range. On the flip side, against an opponent not expecting to face 12 armour 12 vehicles, it was slow goign trying to crack open the tanks and let the soft juicy guardsmen fall out. I think this is what kept Richs score relatively low. I will have to see how an infantry heavy army and a balanced army face up to the annihalation challenge at some point. But I'll still take an objective based game any day of the week.
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