For almost 20 years, my family and I have been good friends with our neighbors across the street, the Becker’s. Our kids are close in age, and have grown up together like siblings. The two “Becker Boys”—Nathan (19) and Dylan (18)—are ardent video gamers, but haven’t been interested in 40K, despite knowing for years that I play.
“Haven’t been interested,” that is, until Nate went off to college, found some friends who are into it, and came back home raving to his little brother about how cool it is. So, this summer, I taught them the rules, gave them tips on collecting and painting, and helped them acquire their very own armies.
We played a demo game (which ended very satisfactorily with their Chaplain besting my Necron Overlord in hand-to-hand combat), then a “for real” game (where, once again, their Space Marines took down my Toasters). Time, then, for something a little different.
Somehow—maybe I had mentioned it, maybe they had seen it in my garage—the Brothers Becker had learned that I have a 12″ tall Godzilla figure that I sometime use in 40K games. They asked—nay, demanded—to take on “Big G.”
Playing in the Big Leagues
In the few times I have used him, “Big G” has counted as a Tyranid Hierophant Bio-Titan:
When last seen in action, he had mopped the floor with a combined force of Astra Militarum and Aeldari. Concerned about how the NewbMarines might fare, I told the Becker Boys to bring everything they had:
- Three squads of 10 Tactical Marines each
- Three Razorbacks w/ twin lascannons
- Two squads of 10 Space Marine Scouts each
- Two squads of 5 Terminators each
- Squad of 5 Devastators w/ heavy bolters and missile launchers
- Four Land Speeders w/ heavy bolters and assault cannons
- Predator w/ lascannons and twin-lascannon turret
- Predator w/ heavy bolters and autocannon turret
Just to make sure this would be a fair fight, I added up their army’s Power Rankings using the Index, and found, to my surprise, that it was substantially higher (141) than Big G’s (90). I quickly pulled some figures from my collection, and introduced the boys to the Kurindans:
- Tyrant-King !Klrt, w/ Mutant Dracosaur mount (counts as Hive Tyrant w/ stranglethorn cannon, adrenal glands; Smite, Onslaught, and Catalyst)
- Troglodyte Captains, on Dracosaurs (count as three broods of three Tyranid Warriors each: two w/ deathspitters, one w/ barbed strangler)
- Troglodytes and Newts (count as three broods of 30 Hormaguants each, w/ adrenal glands)
- Titanosaur (counts as Hierophant Bio-Titan)
We played the game at my house, on a 4′ by 6′ table, using my “winter” terrain scenery. The mission was a smidge more complicated than the previous game: Only War, from page 187 of the rulebook.
We had four objective markers, two they could place, two I could place, for which one could score 2 Victory Points for each by taking and holding it at the end of the game. You could also score VPs for slaying the enemy’s Warlord.
I placed my objective markers deep in my deployment zone, near the edges of the board; Dylan and Nathan placed theirs along the right and left flanks, just outside their deployment zones. We set up our armies, with the NewbMarines spread across the board, Speeders clustered on their right, Troops out of their Razorback transports. Scouts started off on both of the Beckers’ objectives, and Terminators were kept in reserve.
I put one brood of Warriors on an objective, deep inside the shelter of some trees, and had another brood escort a huge clump of Hormagaunts on the other side of the board, intent on taking the other objective nearby. I positioned the Hive Tyrant and the rest of the Hormagaunts along my right flank, with “Big G” in the middle.
!Klrt, tyrant-king of the Kurindans, prodded his Dracosaur and it stamped forward, a myriad of Troglodytes surging ahead of him, across the snowy fields, using the tall pines as cover. After attacking the nickel mine in the Gleben province as a distraction while his main forces took the spaceport at Crawford’s Bend, !Klrt had marched his followers south, towards the planet’s polar region, destroying human settlements, devouring the slain and captured as they went.
The Kurindans’ Shamans—six-limbed, mutant psykers—had forewarned !Klrt of a company of Adeptus Astartes inbound from space to intercept them. The Marines had chosen this area to make their landing, with Scouts having set locator beacons to guide the others. Already, a sizeable number had arrived, and if the full fury of the company fell on them, even the towering Titanosaur who tramped beside them might not be enough.
Best then, to find the beacons, smash them, and butcher the Space Marines that had already reached the surface. Mounted captains lagged behind the main force, to deal with found beacons and to goad their Dracosaurs into spitting bolts of acid at the Marines opposing them.
Meanwhile, the Troglodytes sprinted through the trees, rushing at the Marines as they stood their ground and fired, !Klrt atop his Dracosaur loping behind them, his mount also spitting acid. A purple wave of clubs, axes, and other primitive weapons engulfed the Scouts at a nearby beacon, and continued toward the Tactical Marines beyond, ignoring those of their number that fell to bolter fire.
Roaring, the Titanosaur implacably trudged forward, its dorsal spines glowing blue-white as atomic flame spewed again and again from its gaping maw, melting one of the Predators. Razorbacks and Land Speeders poured their lascannons and heavy bolters and assault cannons into it, blowing holes in its charcoal gray, meters-thick hide.
Again and again, !Klrt used his psychic powers [Catalyst] to reinforce the great beast, allowing it to shrug off wounds and keep incinerating vehicles, or stamp Scouts and Marines underfoot. Nothing, it seems, could stop the Titanosaur or the Kurindans.
As !Klrt and his Trogs overwhelmed the the Marines on the xenos’ right flank, a mixed force of Newts and Trogs, led by captains on Dracosaurs, advanced on the left flank, and seized another beacon. As the lead Captain raised his club to smash it, the beacon lit up, the air behind the Kurindans shimmering.
Five blue-and-red armored Terminators appeared, their storm bolters tearing through the aliens. Diagonally across the battlefield, five more Terminators tromped into view, also firing at the rampage of Kurindans escorting !Klrt.
The searing blast of a lascannon bolt: a Predator variant using anti-grav technology scavenged from a Primaris Repulsor. Screeching and thrashing as it died, !Klrt’s mount threw him to the snow. Before !Klrt could rise to his feet, the Terminators were upon him and the Troglodytes, power fists smashing his followers. The Terminator sergeant slashed !Klrt across the snout with his power sword, and the Tyrant King knew no more, for a time.
He revived hours later, after nightfall, beneath a mound of the frozen corpses of his warriors. Evidently, they had died protecting him, swarming the Terminators before they could finish him off. Of the Marines, there were no signs, only the still-smoldering wrecks of vehicles. Of the Kurindans, there were only the massive footprints of the Titanosaur and hundreds of smaller ones—Newts and Trogs—headed back the way they had come.
His wounds fully healed thanks to the rapid regenerative abilities all Kurindans possess, !Klrt set off to find his people.
Space Marines: 5 points (2 objectives plus Slay the Warlord) Kurindans: 4 points (2 objectives) Winner: Space Marines
This game should have been a cakewalk for the Purple People Eaters, but it just goes to show you how out of practice I am, and how unfamiliar I am with 8e Nids, particularly the Hive Tyrant. Too often, I used !Klrt’s Catalyst power to bolster the Bio-Titan, when I should have been using it on him. As it was, the game ended with Big G still having half his Wounds, despite taking some serious hits.
Stupidly, I left !Klrt exposed instead of surrounded by the Hormagaunts with them, and Dylan made me pay for that by driving a Predator right up to him and blasting him point-blank with a lacannon. It’s a mercy that the other shots failed to drop him right there. No matter: the Terminators that reinforced the NewbMarines’ crumbling flank easily took him out in hand-to-hand combat.
As I alluded to in the batrep, Big G blasted and stomped his way across the board, nuking vehicles left and right, but I forgot that I could score points for Slay the Warlord, and failed to take out their Chaplain.
I also erred in putting my two objectives deep in my deployment zone. What I should have done was put them in the center of the board, where the Kurindans were headed anyway. Doing that might have drawn the Marines closer, where I could get more of them into melee. It also would have meant that the Warriors I used to hold them would have been able to contribute more.
As it was, I held onto one objective I placed, but the Warriors parked on it did nothing once the Marines they had initially been shooting at were killed by !Klrt and his Hormie homies, all other targets being out of range. I couldn’t keep my other objective when the boys dropped Termies in my backfield and killed the Warriors and Hormagaunts near that one.
Fortunately, Big G stood on one of the Becker objectives at the end of the game. Unfortunately, even he didn’t have enough time to blast all the Scouts and Speeders that Nathan and Dylan clustered around their other objective near the end of the game.
Once again, I had underestimated the wily Becker Boys, been careless, and had been beaten by my students. The next time, I vowed, I’d drop the hammer on them. More about that some other time.
When he isn’t playing or blogging about 40K, Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults, and adults who are still young. This Wasted Land, his latest novel, isn’t your typical teenage love story. It’s more like: Boy meets Girl–>Evil Witch takes Boy–>Girl goes to get Boy back.
He is also the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog. His first novel was Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons. With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.