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Birthday Spankings 2010
Birthday Spankings 2010 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
“There,” Shamshir Talatra said, pointing to the towers not far away. “That’s where the ammunition is stored. And there, and there, and there,” he said, pointing to several places not far away, “are hatches that will allow entry, through maintenance ducts, into the compound.” He adjusted the macrovisors in his helmet. “It’s lightly guarded,” he said, noting the forty-some-odd Guardsmen on duty. “Should be easy to take. A frontal assault to distract them, while our men get into the hatches—”Lots of people my age dread their birthday, but not me. That’s because every year, Kenton and I get together for some 40K brutality. This time, we thought we’d use armies from two of the more recent codices—Imperial Guard and Chaos Space Marines—at 2250 points each, like this year’s Grand Tournament.
The Fighting 501st: Imperial Guard (2245
Fearful Symmetry: Chaos Space Marines
(2250 points) by
I swiftly learned that that would not actually happen, however (more about that later).
Set-Up and Deployment
by Kenton Kilgore
Pat wisely chose the portion with several fortifications and good lines of sight. “Pillage” mandates that one deploys one HQ and two Troops and keeps everything else off the board, so Pat put down the second Company Command Squad (the one with the lascannon); the Infantry Platoon (with all its lovely, lovely heavy and special weapons); and the Vet Squad with Sgt Harker and his heavy bolter.
My plan for holding Shamshir back went totally out the window; nor could I surround him with his Termie bodyguards. Nevertheless, I set him up at the point of my deployment zone and backed him with Rudra 1 in their Rhino: with a bit of luck and some running, Shamshir would be able to reach the IG lines by Turn 2. I sent Rudra 2 (in their Rhino) off to go grab another objective just outside my deployment zone.
According to the mission parameters, the Chaos Marines had the first turn, so off I went.
by Kenton Kilgore
Shamshir Talatra followed after on foot, running in the Shooting Phase to cover ground and hopefully get out of line of sight of Pat’s guns. Meanwhile, Squad 2’s Rhino rolled up behind another objective and got out, staying behind scenery to avoid getting shot at. My plan was that on Turn 5, when the end of the game was nigh, they would move onto the objective, out into the open, weather a turn or two of fire from Pat, and hold it.
In the Shooting Phase, Squad 1 unloaded on Gunnery Sergeant Harker and his Veterans, killing GSH and seven other dudes. The remaining two guys broke and ran. First blood goes to the Fearful Symmetry!
Pat immediately swiveled a whole bunch of dakka my way. He successfully Ordered his fleeing Vets to Get Back in the Fight, and commanded the two closest Infantry Squads to Fire First and Second Ranks. Everything else also opened up in the general direction of Squad 1 and Shamshir.
The lascannon team whiffed craptacularly, rolling three “1’s;” the suddenly-reinvigorated Vets were out of range; a plasma gunner in an Infantry Squad fried himself; the Platoon Command Squad’s autocannon did skadoosh against Shamshir; and a missile launcher lived up to its name—“miss”—when fired at my Main Man Shami. Nevertheless, Pat still had enough go-juice to kill five guys from Squad 1 and pasted Shamshir with a lascannon: my “Run” roll had only been a “2,” not enough to get my pseudo-Chaos Lord out of line of sight or close enough to Squad 1 to avoid being a target. Though Squad 1 made their break check, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of 5 guys taking on all of Pat’s army. Ulp.
Not to worry, I told myself, with some good Reserve rolls, I’ll summon some Daemons and start kicking ass up and down the IG lines. Guess how that went….
Why he should have been so happy was because he had an Officer of the Fleet, forcing me to subtract 1 from all my Reserve rolls. So instead of the hoped-for Daemons arriving to save Squad 1’s bacon, or even some big guns (my Havocs and Defilers) showing up to siphon off some heat, all I got was Squad 3 in their Rhino. Yippee!
Trying to squeeze lemonade out of the lemons I had so far, Squad 1 moved up, intending to charge one of Pat’s Infantry Squads. Squad 2 held their position. Squad 3, in their Rhino, moved towards the objective Squad 1 had bypassed. I maneuvered Squad 1’s Rhino around and shot dead both of the last Veterans, keeping their flamer and melta-gun from causing any trouble.
Rudra Squad 1 charged the Infantry Squad, killing five of them and losing one of their own: even in close combat against IG stooges, I was still getting whapped with the Bad-Luck Stick. The Guardsmen broke and ran (which, actually, was NOT AT ALL what I wanted to have happen) and my guys caught them and wiped them out. I rolled a “1” (of COURSE) on my consolidation roll, so instead of my guys jumping into the nearby cover to weather the inevitable [poop]storm of fire about to come their way, they stood around like stripy statuary.
In Pat’s Movement Phase, he showed me what Reserve rolls should look like: coming onto the board this turn were a squad of Ogryns, mounted in a Chimera; the Devil Dog; and the other Veteran squad, inside the freaking Vendetta. Rapture. Pat Ordered more Guardsmen to Fire Ranks, but failed to get a squad to Move! Move! Move! towards another objective, atop a landing pad on the other side of the board.
The shooty-shoot part of the show
began with the Vendetta missing Squad 1 with a shot from its lascannons.
No matter. The lascannon team killed two Symmetricals, and though another
of Pat’s plaz gunners Shake-n-Baked himself, fire from the Infantry Squads
and the dismounted Ogryns killed everyone but the Aspiring Champion, who
failed his Morale Check with a “12” (no more Icon of Chaos Glory for a
re-roll, thanks to the Icon Bearer getting perished under the Torrent of
Fire rules) and fell back 11".
Originally, I had intended for Rudra Squads 2 and 3 to hold objectives while the Daemons spindled, bent, folded, and mutilated the IG, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen. Changing roles, the Daemons would run onto both objectives while Squad 2 saddled up in their Rhino and Squad 3’s Rhino rolled forward—or, should I say, attempted to roll forward, seeing as how it immobilized itself on some unavoidable difficult terrain. Sigh. This bad luck streak I was having was *really* honking me off.
In the Shooting Phase, as the Daemons scampered into position and Rhino 3 repaired itself (huzzah for little victories!), the Bronze Tyger, my version of a Defiler, fired its twin lascannons into the Vendetta, knocking off its nose-mounted twin lascannons. Nice, but I would preferred something a bit more…I don’t know… “boomy.”
On Pat’s turn, his other Company Command Squad and Chimera (say that three times fast), came on, as did his Leman Russ Exterminator and his Hellhound. The Ogryns got back in their ride, and Pat’s Infantry Squad that had started moving across the board was out of range of Orders to Move It, Move It, so they just kept going. Pat successfully Ordered his lascannon heavy-weapon team to Bring Down the Bronze Tyger, and they succeeded in immobilizing it.
Just for something to do, the Hellhound’s hull-mounted heavy bolter (“Holy alliteration, Batman!”) gunned down the Aspiring Champion from Squad 1, who had still been falling back. The Vendetta played tit-for-tat with the Bronze Tyger, knocking out its lascannons. The Exterminator fired on Rakshasa Pack 1, but the plentiful 4+ cover saves they were afforded saved them all. The rest of Pat’s fire from various sources was ineffectual.
Meanwhile, the Daemons hugged their objectives and Rhino 3 rolled forward towards another one, out in the open: to try to take it would mean exposing my guys to lots of heinous fire, but as I was crawling frantically to get back into the game, I really didn’t have much choice, now did I?
Pat’s Demolisher came on at the beginning of his turn, and Infantry Squad Green continued moving towards the objective on the landing pad. Pat started to shift his tanks towards the objectives that my Daemons held. His lascannon team was ordered to Bring Down Bronze Tyger 1, but cover saves came through. The Platoon Command’s autocannon took out the twin lascannons on the newly-arrived Bronze Tyger 2; the Exterminator did all of zero kills against a Daemon pack; and the Devil Dog managed to immobilize and knock the bolter off Rhino 1, which was empty. The Ogryns plodded towards the other Daemon pack, firing their ripper guns and killing two.
…but until then, Rhino 2 drove up behind Pat’s Devil Dog and Rudra Squad 2 dismounted, shooting it in the rear: shaken + melta cannon destroyed = All Good to me. The Bronze Tygers fired their havoc launchers on the Platoon Command Squad, killing four (and silencing the autocannon), but not taking out the Commander. Speaking of Havocs, they fired their lascannons and autocannon at the Demolisher, but the latter had no chance against the Demo’s front armor, and the former’s shots bounced off (as well as a laser beam bounces, anyway). The Termies unloaded their heavy flamer and bolters on the pinned Vets, killing six of them: the last two began to fall back. Rudra 3 ran towards their objective.
Firmly believing that the best defense is a good offense, I moved one Daemon pack forward and the Rakshasas charged the Ogryns, killing one of them (T 5 and 3 Wounds each is no joke!). The Ogryns whiffed on their return attacks (no kills), fumbled their Morale roll, tried to fall back, and were caught and destroyed. Pat was NOT happy about that. I pulled the Rakshasas back to the objective and waited for him to take Cruel Revenge.
Pat’s other Company Command got out of their Chimera, not far from the Daemons that had just hacked down the Ogryns (and hacked off Pat). The two fleeing Vets were Ordered to Get Back in the Fight. Infantry heavy weapons fired on the Terminators, doing bup and kiss. The Exterminator unloaded its seemingly 4,018 shots against Rudra Squad 1, who managed to only lose one (poseur) Chaos Marine. The Command Squad’s Chimera fired its heavy flamer on the same guys and the Ogryn’s ride fired its multi-laser, combining to kill two more. Green Squad stopped to fire their heavy bolter at Rudra 3, to no effect.
The Hellhound fired on the Ogryn-killing Daemons, sending three of them back to the Warp. The melta gunners of the Command Squad fired on Rudra 3’s Rhino, but its smoke launchers (deployed on my turn) saved it. Foregoing an easy shot on Rudra 3, Pat had the Demolisher fire on the Terminators, but they were out of range of its Pie Plate of Death cannon.
Whew! Now all I needed was for the game to end. Pat’s Loyal Green Die ™ (his favorite die, which, ironically, used to belong to me), however, had other ideas, and the game continued.
Ordered to Fire on My Target, the lascannon team and another infantry squad took down one Termie. The Ogryns’ Chimera fired on them as well, but came up with nada. The Hellhound moved closer and gave Rakshasa Pack 1 another flame bath, killing six this time. The Command Squad moved up and shot dead another Daemon, and the Exterminator switched targets and took down another Daemon, too.
The Demolisher fired on Rudra 3 (I *knew* that was coming) but missed by 7" (my guys dodged something a lot larger than a bullet there). The Command Squad’s Chimera gave them some burny love, to the tune of three guys killed, and the rallying Vets shot another out of his stripy boots, but my guys held!
The Company Command charged the Rakshasas, killing two Daemons but losing the Priest (and his eviscerator) and the Astropath (who bore a certain resemblance to a cackling, cowled character from several very popular sci-fi films…). The Company Commander evidently forgot to charge up his power fist, because he rolled two “1’s” to wound, and the combat was drawn.
The Loyal Green Die ™ said that the game was over, and when we counted up, the Fearful Symmetry had two objectives (one held by the mostly-ignored Rakshasa Pack 2, one held by Rudra Squad 3), two were contested (Rakshasa Pack 1 and the Command Squad; Green Squad and the Terminators); and one was held by Pat’s Infantry Platoon (I had been mistaken in thinking that by killing the Platoon Command, the objective was no longer held). Somehow, someway, despite all the hard hits my guys had taken, they had prevailed….
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
There are three distinct phases to a game of 40K, and failure in any one could spell disaster. The first phase is army selection. For this game, I had put together a solid list with plenty of anti-tank capability, plenty of scoring units to hold objectives, plenty of mobility, and some solid close combat units for a Guard army.
The second phase is deployment. I had a solid fire base that gave excellent cover and clear fire lanes. I had taken the Officer of the Fleet, which would give me superior numbers as reserves came on. There were three objectives within easy reach of my deployment zone, and all I had to do was to secure and hold those three objectives to win.
Unfortunately, I failed at the third phase – the actual play of the game. While I had made a solid plan in my head, I failed to execute it by sending my reserves to my right flank to try and address the two objectives that I did not care about.
And why did this happen? Although I was not fully conscious of what I was doing, I got a little too pleased with myself (as Kenton noted) and took my focus off the objective. The game of 40K does not forgive hubristic tactical errors, and I paid dearly for mine. By diverting my reserves to the right, I had nothing that could deal with the Terminators when they planted themselves on an objective (not that they could claim it, but neither could I while they were there.)
Even more frustrating was that I failed to dislodge the squad of less-than-good-Marines that was sitting on the objective right in front of my lines because I lacked the firepower to do so. Really? Imperial Guard not being able to shoot something to death? Gah!!!
Still, there is no better way to spend a birthday than drinking beer and playing 40K with your best friend (at least that we will admit to on this website), so I have to thank Kenton for humoring me. These two armies are slowly building up a little history, which I look forward to developing in future games. Now, back to Kenton.
by Kenton Kilgore
I also improvised fairly well, something I normally am not very good at. I had meant for the Space Marine squads to hold objectives while the Daemons beat up on Guardsmen, but the Rakshasas’s late arrival (well, later than I would have liked, anyway) and lack of mobility made me switch their roles, for the most part. And at the beginning of the game, I had sworn off the “Death Valley” objective, recognizing it for the fools’ errand it was. It was only desperation that made me send Squad 3 to take it, and only a poor decision on Pat’s part (firing the Demolisher at the out-of-range Terminators instead of Squad 3) and a bad dice roll the next round that let me keep it and win the game.
So there’s no gloating, no exultation in victory, just relief that I didn’t get embarrassed, and some small satisfaction at having actually won. Like Pat, I enjoyed having an excuse to get together, hang out, and indulge in some adult beverages. Happy birthday, old fruit: let’s do this again next year, shall we?
Posted May 2010
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