by Kenton Kilgore and Patrick Eibel
Welcome to the first battle report of the new (and hopefully improved) Jungle. Pat and I played this, our first game using the 8th Edition rules, a while back, but Real Life™ has kept us from chronicling it until now.
Jungle visitors told us that they really enjoyed the storytelling aspect of our latest campaign, The Ongoing Narrative of War (Pat and I thought it was a lot of fun, too), so from now on, that’s the style in which we’ll do all our batreps. To make sure everyone has a good understanding of what’s happening during the dramatization of the action, we will, when necessary, note or explain something in game terms by putting it in [brackets] so that you’ll know it’s an aside, and not part of the actual tale.
So, let’s get it—and this new site—started!
Rethinking the Dvergar
by Kenton Kilgore
Ever since I first started assembling my “Space Dwarves” army (don’t call them Squats!), I’ve used the Codex: Orks rules for them, albeit as a mechanized force wearing ‘eavy armor. Though they’ve been fun and challenging to play, lately I’ve considered changing them up, mostly because my best friend and fellow Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel plays Orks in various configurations (he has an extensive collection), as does my brother-in-law Drew. Our little gaming group is very small, so we don’t need another Ork army. But how to reconfigure them?
Seeing as how I own the Index: Xenos 2 book, I thought that it won’t take much work to transfer over my Dvergar to the Genestealer Cult rules and take them for a spin against Pat’s Greenskins. To make the test drive even more interesting, I thought I’d go with a “shooty” list.
Dvergar Steeljacks Gold & Black List (2000 points):
Gold Detachment (Battalion)
- Gold Warspar. Counts as Magus w/ autopistol, force stave, Smite and Mind Control. Warlord Trait: Tenacious Survivor
- Living Ancestor. Counts as Acolyte Iconward w/ autopistol, rending claw, blasting charges
- Regulars Gold Squads 1 through 5. Each squad counts as Neophyte Hybrids w/ autopistols and blasting charges; 7 w/ autoguns, 1 w/ mining laser, 2 w/ grenade launchers in each squad
- Regulars Gold Squad 6. Count as Neophyte Hybrids w/ autopistols and blasting charges; 8 w/ autoguns, 2 w/ grenade launchers
- Trowe Packs 1 and 2. Each squadron counts as 3 Cult Sentinels w/ autocannons
- Dvergar Crawlers #43 and #92. Each counts as Cult Leman Russ w/ heavy bolter, battle cannon
Black Detachment (Spearhead)
- Black Warspar. Counts as Magus w/ autopistol, force stave, Smite and Mind Control
- Regulars Black Squad 1. Counts as Neophyte Hybrids w/ autopistols and blasting charges; 8 w/ autoguns, 2 w/ grenade launchers
- Regulars Black Squad 2. Counts as Neophyte Hybrids w/ autopistols and blasting charges; 8 w/ autoguns, 2 w/ mining lasers, 2 w/ grenade launchers
- Regulars Black Squad 3. Counts as Neophyte Hybrids w/ autopistols and blasting charges; 10 w/ autoguns, 2 w/ mining lasers
- Dvergar Crawlers #7, #36, and #86. Each counts as Cult Leman Russ w/ heavy bolter, battle cannon
Speedo’s Kult of Speed (2000 points)
by Patrick Eibel
As I write this, I am recovering from surgery to remove a kidney stone, so I sub-contracted out my part of the write up to Speedo. Unfortunately, Speedo is not so good with some of the details.
Speedo: “Alright, lissen up, yooz! There is only one ting you need to be in da Kult of Speed: be supa-fast and dead ‘ard shooty. Dat means I had lots of gits wit’ shootas and big shootas in Trukks. Der wuz a booty-ful Dakkajet painted red to go fasta. Der wuz a mess o’ Lootas wit’ dem freeky-deeky guns wot put out lotsa dakka. Der wuz a bunch o’ Burna Boyz dat rode wit’ me. Der were some Wartrakks wit’ twin linked shootas and a Skorcha for some foopy goodness. Der mighta been some other stuff, I lost track once da ‘ead bashin’ started.”
by Kenton Kilgore
We played at Pat’s house, on a 4′ by 6′ table that Pat had set up scenery for ahead of time. As this was the first 8e game that either of us had played, we kept it very simple and did the Only War mission from page 187 of the main rulebook, setting out objective markers around the battlefield.
We then rolled and came up with Ancient Relic as the Primary Objective, and randomly determined which counter would stay, with all the others being removed. Unfortunately for me, the remaining counter was in Pat’s deployment zone, atop an Orky fort. Fortunately for me, I had Dirty Sneaky Genestealer Tricks ™ up my sleeve.
Pat deployed his Boyz first, sensibly camping out his Lootas on the fort, with his tanks on his left flank, and his zoomy Bikes and Buggies on his right, near the table’s edge. I parked my Crawlers (proxied Leman Russ tanks) in a line facing his forces, my Trowe Space Trolls (Sentinels) alongside them, and deployed Regulars Black Squads 2 and 3 (Neophyte Hybrids) in buildings. The rest of my guys were held in Reserve, to pop out close to the objective (and hopefully in rapid-fire range of Pat’s Greenies).
Stupidly, I forget to Scout move my Sentinels: the perils of playing a new army. I also failed to Seize the Initiative, so Pat went first.
In the course of his budding career as a proppa Ork warlord, Speedo the Big Mek had visited and ransacked at least four…five…lots o’ worlds. And yet, he had not—to the best of his limited recollection—encountered these hairy, midgety gits that da ‘oomies called the “Dvergar,” or “Dvergoo,” or “Dvergitz,” or whatever (like most Orks, Speedo cared little for what an enemy was named, preferring instead to ponder whether it took one or two shoota blasts to kill them).
Returning from a moderately successful afternoon jaunt into Imperial territory here on the contested planet Strickland IV, Speedo was nonplussed to discover that in his absence, a force of Dvergar had decided to encroach on his warband’s territory. While simultaneously happy and disappointed that the invaders were not more of those wretched Deff Twinkies who had recently bedeviled him, he was unsure whether he ought to be flattered or insulted that these beardy freeks seemed to be instigating a confrontation with him and his ladz.
Speedo—an Orky intellekutual—considered all these things for approximately three or four seconds before shrugging and bellowing the order to attack, vehicles rushing forward while his Lootas moved up from their lookout positions atop the Kult’s fortress, their deffguns spitting fire downrange.
At first, all went well, with big shootas from Trukks gunning down one of the hulking Trowe before it could hurl a boulder as big as a Space Marine at the oncoming Orks. Fire from another Trukk and a Wartrakk severely wounded another Space Troll. The Dakkajet—the crown jewel of Speedo’s army—riddled Dvergar Crawler #7 [in game terms, -4 Wounds]. But despite the Battle Wagon’s killkannon and the Lootas scoring several solid hits on Crawler #36, it was but mildly damaged [-2 W].
Worse, more of the Dvergar suddenly appeared on the edges of the Kult of Speed’s camp. Among them was the Black Warspar, commander of the smaller, spearhead detachment of the Dvergar, who attempted to use his psychics against some nearby Orks, but the fickle Warp fouled his Smite power, nearly killing him [-3 of 4 W].
Despite this, the Dvergar’s mine guns, grenade launchers, and mining lasers cut through several Lootas and Trukk Boyz. Gunfire and rocks hurled by the Trowe destroyed a Trukk.
“Zoggin’ ‘eck,” Speedo grumbled. He turned to his Trukk’s driver. “Don’ just sit dere: wheel dis around and let’s go krump ‘em!”
Had Speedo studied recent records of the Space Wolves—which, of course, he had not—he would know that the Dvergar had always rushed to the attack in ironclad troop transports, to engage their opponents with sidearms and electro-combat weapons. If he had ever met and conferred with Warboss Nadzdrag, he would learn that the Dvergar had recently switched tactics to close-range shooting. But he would still not have anticipated most of the Dvergar tunneling up from out of the ground. This was a wholly new tactic, but in this case, ignorance really was bliss.
No matter to either Speedo, or the nameless Gold Warspar who directed her fighters towards the Ork enclave. In their raids against the human settlements, the Orks had nabbed a particular piece of archeotech—an ancient engine of unknown origin and use—that the Dvergar had, for reasons only they held, coveted. The Gold Warspar and her troops were to recover it, regardless, as always, of the cost in lives. “As always,” because to the emotionless Dvergar, lives—even their own—have no value.
As Trukks screeched closer, Boyz spraying gunfire and flaming burnas, one squad of Dvergar Regulars was annihilated, and many more from several other units also perished. Rokkits slammed into Crawler #36, damaging it further [-3 W]. Banking, the Dakkajet struck at Crawler #86 [-2W]. Boyz dismounted from their Trukk and charged another Dvergar squad, losing two to overwatch fire and another pair in the melee, but cutting down three Space Dwarves.
Undeterred, the Gold Warspar silently ordered her minions to continue their advance, redirecting squads to deal with the oncoming Nobz and Trukk Boyz. Close-range gunfire and grenades combined with long-range bombardments from the Crawlers’ mine cannons to rip through the Greenskins, while mining lasers (and a blast from Crawler #92) destroyed two Trukks and damaged two others.
“Dey’ze tryin’ to take me tingy-tingy ting,” Speedo realized, of the archeotech that he and his Boyz had only recently stolen from the Imperials. He reached for the mic of one of his pride and joys, the portable cee-bee unit he had lovingly built into his armor rigging, and alerted his Boyz. “Yoi! Back ‘ome, pronto quik-quik! Errybody! Dat means yoo, too! Dey wants to take our new magik…errrr…whatever it is!”
Almost all the Orks swarmed towards the fort, where the Lootas continued to guard the archeotech, but the Skorchas and Wartrakks, who had penetrated the Dvergar back line, fired, killing four of the intruders lurking in a building. As it swung around, the Dakkajet killed two more in the same building and three beside it. Meanwhile, heavy weapon fire from the Battle Wagon and the Trukks did only piddling damage [-1 WD] to Crawler #36.
The Orks returning to the fort gunned down 6 Regulars from two squads, then smashed into the Dvergar attending the Black Warspar, hacking them down and claiming one of the attacker’s leaders.
Still the Steeljacks came, the Gold Warspar Smiting a Kultist, the guns of the others dropping six more. The cannons of the Crawlers cleared away Boyz recently dismounted from their Trukk, while mining lasers from other squads exploded the transport, the huge conflagration killing three nearby Orks; damaging the Battle Wagon, a Wartrakk, and two Trukks [-2 W to each]; even scorching the Gold Warspar herself [-2 W].
Ignoring her wounds, the Gold Warspar, the Living Ancestor, and their accompanying squad charged the nearest mob, killing three and injuring the Nob.
The Kult formed a wedge to fend off the Dvergar, but if the Gold Warspar was relieved, concerned, or frustrated that the Orks she and her squad had just been fighting suddenly chose to fall back out of melee to join in the defense, it did not show beyond her metal mask.
Instead, she and her fellows resolutely stood their ground as a Skorcha swept by, dousing them with fire [-1 W each to the Magus and Acolyte Iconward, and killing a Neophyte Hybrid]. But the survivors had no hope against a recently-arrived mob of Burna Boyz, whose flamethrowers incinerated the Warspar and the Living Ancestor, along with the rest.
The Dakkajet once again unleashed a hail of pitiless supa shoota rounds into the Dvergar, slaying 5. A Wartrakk’s big shoota took out two more, but its squadron-mate failed against the advancing Trowe.
Indeed, the Trowe quickened their pace. Despite the seeming lack of leaders, the Dvergar showed no signs of hesitation or doubt, redoubling their efforts to reach their objective, firing as they came, supported by the thundering mine cannons of the Crawlers, who destroyed another Trukk. Two the Trowe scaled the walls of the fort, mounted the roof, and threatened to take the ancient Imperial engine.
“Dis…dis ain’t right,” Speedo muttered to himself. He didn’t need his precious cee-bee anymore: all of his dwindling forces were well within shouting distance as they continued to pull back to protect their prize. “‘Old ‘em off, ladz, ‘old ‘em off!” Speedo’s thoughts wandered to the jalopy—a mishmash of a Trukk, a Rhino, and the remnants of several Deff Twinkie jetbikes—that he had been tinkering with over the last few days. If it ran—and Speedo had not yet test-driven it—perhaps it would be useful for a hasty but necessary getaway should his “ladz” fail him.
The Skorcha, the Wartrakks, the Burna Boyz and the remaining Trukk fired on the Trowe, but the Space Trolls held steady, despite one being minorly wounded. The Dakkajet lent its considerable prowess, killing one Trowe and almost another [-3 W], but the dull-witted brutes would not yield.
Screeching their defiance, the hulking monsters parted to let their Dvergar masters claim the Orks’ prize.
“Nertz,” Speedo growled. He hadn’t yet figured out what the ‘oomie engine did, nor what he would have done with it once he had, but it grieved him worse than a Squig-infested pustule on his pockmarked arse that now he would never find out.
Winner: Dvergar Steeljacks (proxied Genestealer Cult)
by Kenton Kilgore
The new 40k’s been out long enough (and I already gushed long enough about it) that there’s no point in going over how the game mechanics worked for Pat and me, and what we thought were improvements or not over 7th Edition, and blah blah blah.
Instead, let me discuss switching over the Dvergar from the Ork rules to the Genestealer Cult rules. I liked the novelty of playing something different, that neither Pat nor I knew like the backs of our hands. I liked the funky infiltrating rules that let a huge chunk of my army start in Pat’s ZIP code. I really liked mining lasers (24″ range, Heavy 1, S9, -3 AP, D3 Damage).
But starting at about Turn 3, I rapidly become bored with this army, because it’s “Astra Militarum Lite.” As in, despite the way-cool sneak-attacking in Turn 1, really, it’s the Imperial Guard without most of the cool tools. It’s medium-sized squads of lightly-armored, BS 4+ scrubs with pea shooters (autoguns) that struggle to hurt Orks (5+ “to wound,” with no reduction to armor save), even when rapid-firing (On a more positive note, frag grenades from launchers were marginally better).
And how badly did the Index nerf battle cannons? From going from being able to take out whole squads at once (in Editions 2 through 7), to d6 hits on 4+ each. Whoop-de-frickin’-frackin’-doo. I understand that the game designers ameliorated this in the AM (IG) codex. Good thing, too.
Yes, I could have deployed my squads closer together (perhaps on Pat’s left flank?), and not spread them out so much, thereby concentrating my basic weapon firepower. Yes, I could have been more aggressive with my tanks, moving them up so as to pressure Pat more, instead of standing still in my deployment zone.
And while those tactics would have made the army more effective, it still wouldn’t have done anything for my ennui. I’m not a fan of the IG, else I’d already have an army of them, and during this game, I learned I’m not a fan of off-brand IG, either. So, back to the drawing board on how to run my Dvergar in the future….
by Patrick Eibel
This was my first battle with the new rules against a live opponent (practice games at home don’t count), so I think things went pretty–
Speedo: “Oi, we still talkin’ ‘bout dis scrap? Those freaky buggers had some right good dirty tricks, but da ting about dirty tricks is dat next time I will know what they are. We had a good scrap, da ladz got some target practice in, and we go on to fight anovva day. I not gonna get to mushy ‘bout who won or lost what. It was a propa fight. ‘Nuff said!”