Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Battle for Voidspan Point

Tonight at my gaming club I ran an End of Turn campaign game for our Crusade of Fire campaign, and it was a campaign game with a difference - it was the battle for Voidspan Point!

Above, is the battleground in question (you can find the image in the big 40k rulebook) Of course, recreating something of this epic magnitude was simply beyond me, so I improvised a battleground that would represent something akin to the spacestation above. There are a few images from the game scattered throughout this blog post, so judge for yourself how well I did, given I was working with thin polystyrene sheets, cocktail sticks, and a few Bastions, skyshields, and aegis defence lines...

We had random deployment, which left my orks (on a team of their own cos my teammate couldn't make it down) with Imperial players nudging into my lines on each side. Normally something to look forward to, except that the Orks had made a secret deal with the Imperials - with the Chaos team running away with the campaign, the Orks decided they were harder, and therefore more worthy of a krumping. Or something like that. The orks and Imperials would effecctively ignore each other until the chaos had been dealt with. Once I was sure the chaos couldn't win I was of course planning to stab the Imperials in the back, they're only stinkin umiez after all, though with my team mate not showing up that plan didn't look quite as likely...

So, the Imperials had 3000 points. The Chaos forces, the same. The orks, already underdogs at only 1500 points, now only had 750. So you can see why I wasn't exactly confident of victory...

My Voidspan... Spot the difference?
The Imperials got the first turn, and some inquisitorial henchmen made a suicidal rush towards a couple of daemon princes. Admittedly, they were surrounded by four, as the chaos forces seemed to think the big brutes were the way to go for this battle. The henchmen managed to take a wound off a daemon prince... but little else, before being annihilated, giving up First Blood and a Warlord point.

The chaos daemons (who had jammily been drawn a Skyshield landing pad as their deployment zone!) arrived safely, and a unit of screamers started zipping around playing merry hell with Imperial forces. The henchmen were finished off effectively putting Neil out of the game on turn 1, apart from a Callidus assassin in reserve.

The Orks then got their turn. The lootas blasted a few shots around at random, but the dead eye award has to go to Bugrit, my Big Mek with Shok Attack Gun. He lined up a shot at the daemons, hoping that with them standing so close to the edge of the pad he could knock them off into the void. He scattered slightly, so instead of clipping two units he just completely covered one... but as he'd rolled a double 6 for the strength I was more than happy with that! A double 6 tears a hole in reality and all models touched are removed from play. So the daemons went home early.

The next turn had the Imperials and the chaos shooting merry hell out of each other, with Imperial flyers ignoring chaos efforts to deal with them (the chaos team had only brought a single helldrake, apparently not expecting the enemy to bring flight capable vehicles to a void battle... er... Three Storm Ravens, Two Dakkajets and a Storm Talon later... would have been SIX Dakkajets if my teammate hadn't bailed on me of course... I'm not letting this go easily by the way ;-P) Some more daemons arrived, targetted some more Imperials, and again Dead Eye Bugrit took aim. Strength ten this time, and half of another unit is gone (being somewhat preserved by taking the lions share of the hits on the herald...)

Cosy on the walkway... until the Heavy flamer got involved...

The chaos had by this point realised the truce existed and were starting to target the Orks and their damn shooting as a matter of priority. They cleared a way along the walkway through some Fenrisian wolves and lootas and locked my Ork horde in combat. Bugrit had been silenced. The lootas did have some fun though, managing to force a grounding check on a daemon prince who had risked a flight over the void. We made it clear at the start of the game that flying monstrous creatures could cross the void, but if they failed a grounding check they'd be treated as infantry - and suffer the same consequences. The big red daemon failed, and his wings well and truly clipped, he spun off into the void uttering language that would make a sailor blush...

Brutal close quarter fighting in the centre and brutal aerial support meant that by the time we started rolling for the final turn, there was very little left (Although Abaddon and his retinue had FINALLY showed up, cowards that they are!) The ork ground forces were taken out, leaving the dakkajets to carry on the fight.

Turn 5, with two objective buildings held, Chaos is heavily in the lead. A Stormraven destroyed the bunker around abaddon, causing a wound and forcing him to flee back towards his retinue. He was grateful that he didn't have chance to reach them, as mere moments later, a dakkajet strafed them. It got 6 hits. It needed 2s to wound, but any 6s would cause decompression and count as AP2. With incredible precision accuracy the Ork pilot shot the individual neck seals from all the terminators, getting forcing 1 armour save and 5 invulnerable saves. The chaos terminators struggled against the onslaught, and as the last choking survivors were trying to reseal their wounds, another jet strafed across and finished them off.

Into turn 6 , the chaos were ahead on secondary objective points, so even if Abaddon weren't standing on top of an objective, they'd still win. The chaos needed to die. The Stormravens played their part, taking out the last of the daemons and the helldrake. However Abaddon was down to the Orks. Realising the dakkajets would overshoot, I would have to send them off. However, the Callidus assassin, in a fit of over-exuberance, had broken the truce and killed the last of my ground forces. Which meant with no other ork units on the table (cough, missing ally, ahem) I had to circle one of the jets on the table... meaning there was no way he'd get to target abaddon next turn. IF there was a next turn.

Flyers proved their worth in this game, but also showed their weakness at the end - despite having 6 flyers, only 2 could maneuver into a shooting position for the final turn.

There was.

The imperial effort, with most of the flyers out of position following their successful killing of the rest of the chaos forces, could only summon a Storm Talon and a Predator to shoot at Abaddon, to no effect. Abaddon had nothing he could do, so he just braced himself for the returning dakkajet.

In the final throw of the dice, the Ork pilot blazed in across the station. He had abaddon in his sights. 9 shots. 9 hits. 7 wounds. But sadly none at AP2. Still a lot of dice to roll... statistically he should live, but who knows... The dice are thrown. There's a 1. There's another! And... sadly, no more.

Abaddon, having been thoroughly strafed, picks himself up. With blood and pus and chemicals leaking from his armour, he raises his arm towards the departing dakka jet, and in a surprising gesture for a being so far removed from humanity, uses the claw of Horus to give him the finger.

So there we had it, with the landing pad held (presumably for reinforcements) Abaddon gifted chaos the victory. The survivors?

Rich H - Abaddon, on a single wound
Rich A - none
Rich F - none
Tom - none

Rob P - none
Jason - a predator and a storm talon
Neil - a Callidus Assassin
Tim - two Stormravens

Ginge - Two Dakkajets
Rob W - plenty of survivors, safely hiding in an ice cave on a planet far from the action. How UN-orky!

It does irk me somewhat that a solitary surviving model gave chaos the victory but those are the breaks really. They played to the mission and won.

I think the Imperials were wise to bring the flyers, and the predator for fire support was a good call - no one really had anti tank as no one was expecting tanks. But the same player brought a razorback and a rhino - i think more boots on the ground might have been helpful there.

I think if my ally had shown up we'd have killed the chaos quicker... and turned on the Imperials sooner. Then I think someone would definitely have won simply by tabling all other opponents. It would probably have been the Imperials as Stormravens are a pain in the arse, but I reckon it would have been close.

So the Chaos victory allowed them to grab extra land, before the standard deployment which lets them get first dibs on land anyway. This is why I wanted the Imperials to win this game, to give them a helping hand back into this one. Half the Imperial and Ork players didn't get ANY territory on the new planets. If you're planning to run this campaign yourself, you may want to reduce the number of flags that are issued to players in turn 2.

Of course the campaign isn't over. With Tom having a brilliant Grand Warlord trait for a chaos player (he earns bonus points for having strategic objectives, and getting to choose first means pretty much every flag he has is ON a strategic objective) he is earning a huge amount of points for his personal tracker. This means his teammates are going to have to use their territory score towards their personal points to keep pace with him. If the chaos players start having to put their territory score towards themselves, then the Imperial forces have a chance to play catch up. Assuming they stop fighting amongst themselves and agree to put their territory scores towards the TEAM score. Having the most points on the Imperial team means absolute jack right now. They need to get their team score up.

Little bit in love with this gun tonight...

In summary on tonight though, we had a cracking game. I was a little apprehensive - bunch of experimental rules, 9 players, 3 teams... all sorts of potential pitfalls. But we managed to get things to work out really well. The game progressed quite smoothly, and a fun time was had by all. It was also an incredibly close game, which all the best ones are. For the chaos to have one more failed armour save be the difference between total victory and being tabled shows how crazy close it was!

And what else have we seen? Ork weapons. Can be unreliable. But can also be FANTASTIC!