Wednesday 19 November 2014

Holbronx campaign, Turn 7

A quick map update for turn 7, with only 4 turns left until sudden death everyone will be striving to seize those manufactorums and cities to maximise victory points.  All economies seem to have peaked now, so with lots of resources to spend there is sure to be a lot of 40k action coming up!

Sunday 2 November 2014

Apocalypse at Warhammer World!

An hours drive up the M1 took the three of us to Warhammer World in Nottingham.  It had been decided that we should have an apocalyptic mega battle to help decide the outcome of the Holbronx campaign, with Perhow and TJ teaming up against my Imperial forces at 8000 points a side.  At such a high points value we needed a huge table, and we were lucky enough to get a place on the excellent J'migan Bridge themed table that measures a whopping 12 x 6 feet!  Warhammer World is undergoing some works at the moment but the staff are no less welcoming and the themed gaming tables are totally awesome.  A visit is most recommended!

Tracked happiness awaits the interpid adventurer

We played end to end, focussing on the bridge as the main objective with each end of the table having a 'home' objective in their own territory, giving six objectives in all with standard secondary objectives.  It took over an hour just to set up over 16000 points of 40k troops, but by lunch time we were in full swing.

The belligerents are poised, ready to seize J'migan bridge
Turn 1

The loyalists rolled to take the first turn and the xenos/chaos pact failed to seize the initiative.  At this point I remember thinking that the first turn advantage might be weak with 48" of no mans land to cover, my misgivings would later turn out to be true as I lost control of many objectives on the last turn... the benefit of hindsight!  The Imperials opened up with a massive artillery bombardment, stunning the traitor tanks that were poised to roll on to the bridge, while on the left flank the Crimson Fist scouts infiltrated across the river bed supported by a drop podding dreadnought they quickly saw off a large mob of cultists.  A second dreadnought scattered off the table to go into ongoing reserves.

In my back lines I spottted a squad of eldar infiltrators, and a space marine assault squad moved forward to interdict them supported by a 'rifleman' dreadnought.  The assault marines ended up successfully holding off the striking scorpions for the entire game, but their exarch managed to kill off the dreadnought by the third turn.  The problems presented by the sheer size of the table started to present themselves, because infantry without transports are very slow!  This really started to hit home later on when my transports started to dwindle thanks to xenos energy beams :(

On the right flank a large contingent of tactical marines mounted in rhinos surged forward with the intention of crossing the river bed.  Supported by devastators, PDF heavy weapons squads and several Leman Russ battle tanks I had high hopes of this flanking force crossing the river bed and securing the enemy side of the bridge head.  However as we shall see the chaos/xenos pact had other ideas!

Elements of the Atrean Star Knights along with the Crimson Fists defend the PDF artillery
The pact appeared to be having trouble on the left after the early successes of the scouts, on the right a large contingent of bikers, both Nurgle plague marines lead by their warlord and Dark Eldar jetbikers rushed forward to try and refuse my massed attack on the right, it soon started looking like a blood bath would ensue on the river bed.  Unbeknownst to me an eldar grav tank that joined the force was carrying a squad of Wraith Knights.  I hadn't encountered these alien constructs before but I can attest to their combat prowess after seeing them in action, and I advise that you do not let them anywhere near your space marines!  The rest of the pact's first turn was uneventful, with their movement on the road blocked by the Landraider that had been stunned by my long range artillery fire I allowed myself to believe that things were going okay.

Turn 2

My first act of the second turn was to use my Officer of the Fleet to use his logistical nous to get me a 2+ reserve roll.  Thanks to his skills, two of my Valkyries, an assault squad, a 10 man terninator squad with a captain and two dreadnoughts all showed up on time.  At this point I decided to concentrate a large force on the enemy home objective, with 11 terminators and two dreads landing nearby I was aiming to silence the enemy macro cannon and butcher the cowardly xenos within.  By turn 4 I would realise the hubris of investing nearly a 1000 points of my elites in such a venture... as they are not actually 'objective secured' the objective was eventually snatched by an eldar skimmer on the last turn and all was for nothing.  Well at least they looked pretty while they were achieving nothing!  The assault squad was tasked with deep striking behind the nurgle bikers and flaming them, but they scattered widely onto the opponents river bank and lobbed a grenade at an enemy tank, which missed.  Aside from the artillery crippling more of the traitor space marine tanks and thinning out the nurgle bikers, it was a desultory turn for the loyalists.

The xenos started to deep strike their skimmers into my rear lines, supporting the eldar striking scorpions already present.  This attack was to shift my attention away from the assault on the bridge which aided the pact hugely.  My devastators and PDF weapons teams who were meant to be covering the advance across the river bed were quickly cut down by deep striking warp spiders accompanied by the xenos warlord, a rather cocky autarch who would meet his comeuppance on the end a my captain's relic blade.  This would be scant compensation however for a series of events that resulted in three squads of tactical marines perishing over the following turns and me losing control of the right flank.

Deep striking xenos and traitor units wreck the imperial ambitions on the right flank.
To make matters worse, three squads of terminators materialised on the dried up river bed, they would be the anvil against which my marines would be smashed by the xenos hammer.

Turn 3

Recognising the threat from the deep striking xenos in the rear, Pedro Kantor signalled his honour guard forward along with 20 sternguard.  Low difficult terrain rolls for the sternguard left Kantor and his honour guard badly exposed, but I hoped to get Pedro into combat where he would be safer, only for him to take wounds from overwatch fire then fail his charge roll.  Things were getting a little frustrating now and I could feel victory slipping between my fingers.  I later found out that I had been making my difficult terrain rolls on 1 dice when it should be two and pick the highest! That's a real 'rules 101' mistake that may have helped my game quite a bit, oh well.

The terminators and dreadnoughts attacking the enemy macro cannon, a full 6 feet behind enemy lines, finally managed to silence the weapon and kill the eldar wracks hiding inside.  They moved onto the objective and took cover in the ruins.  Back in the imperial sector the valkyries strafed the dark eldar raiders with their twin linked lascannons but didn't manage to actually destroy anything.

The PDF armour, now somewhat beaten and battered, continued to advance onto the bridge.  The second remaining squad of Crimson Fist terminators teleported onto the mid section of the bridge, hoping to protect the PDF armour from assaults.  My only consolation from this turn was that I finally managed to kill the nurgle warlord on his bike with artillery fire, but the tide had already turned to a point where the traitor's combat prowess wasn't really needed.

The traitors, sensing victory, pushed forward onto the imperial river bank and the Heldrake washed the river bank with warp flame, killing more power armoured space marines.  Their xenos comrades continued to catch the space marines in a withering cross fire from behind, using their monofilament weapons, shurikens and d-weapons the river bank was reduced to a steaming abbatoir.  Pretty much the only warrior left standing was the enraged company captain, who accepted the challenge of the eldar autarch, the autarch flounced into combat muttering arrogant alien insults, while the captain remained taciturn and waited for his opening the eldar did some showboating with his blade.  When the captain had seen enough he hewed downward with a single brutal strike from his relic clade, a strike that even the agile eldar couldn't avoid.  Cut in two the alien flopped to the ground, the captain had avenged his murdered brothers, but he knew the battle was already lost.
Kantor is surrounded without the support of his brothers.

 A further two Leman Russ battle tanks went up in flames then to make matters worse an eldar Wraithknight appeared and efficiently vaporised the terminators on the bridge.  The spelled disaster for the imperial armour as they were unsupported by infantry and open to assault by the traitor terminators.

In the imperial sector the cackling xenos opened up on Pedro and his honour guard and they were cut down to a man, his sternguard moved forward to protect their chapter master's stricken form and teleport him to the medicae bays on the battle barge.

Things looked grimmer than ever for the Imperials!

Turn 4

We had just about enough time to play a 4th turn and from my point of view this turn would be about damage limitation.  I still had several thousand points worth of forces on the board but nothing that was within striking distance of the objectives.  I desperately shelled the enemy bridge head with everything I had, killing dozens of traitor space marines, but to no avail.  The survivors trudged on through the carnage to secure the bridge.  To add insult to injury a xenos fast skimmer moved back to secure the pact's home objective, making the efforts of the first company completely futile!  After some discussion we decided to end it there, a full 6 hours of gaming managed to get us four turns, but we had to stop there as warhammer world wanted to close.  A further turn may have seen me recover some of the bridge, but it would have required no small amount of luck on my part to prize those objectives back.  A solid win for the xenos and traitors.

Traitor/ xenos pact   18vp
PDF/Space marines   6vp

A win for the pact!  They get 3 vp's toward the campaign total, though how they are shared out remains to be seen, it was an uneasy alliance at best!  


Playing such a huge game was great fun and a memorable experience, though it made me realise that there is a limit to how much one can remember when responsible for moving and shooting 8000 points worth of miniatures.  I think next time at this amount of points I might recruit a leuitenant or two to get on with the minor stuff while I take the command throne and concentrate on the big picture.  It was really challenging coming up against two experienced 40k players in TJ and Howard and unlike in smaller games where you can feel unlucky over a dice roll or two, in a game this size everything averages out and I can say that I was definitely outplayed through the superior sneaky tactics of my opponents. Well done to Perhow and TJ, top game lads.

We had a '3 colours' painted rule for this game and everything looked spot on when set up on the table, I even got to dig out some of my old rogue trader beakies, (who incidentally showed Pedro's lads how it was done) it was really cool to see all that painted 40k stuff on the table together, it isn't often we get to use all our toys at once is it?