The Jungle is turning 20 years old, and we’re celebrating! Come back every day from February 2 through February 8 for new material!
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, in the summer of 2019, I taught them the rules, gave them tips on collecting and painting, and helped them acquire their very own armies. Nate has gone for Space Marines, while Dylan purchased 2000 points of Space Wolves from Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel.
We did two demo games against Necrons, then a “for-real” game against a proxied-Tyranid list that I hurriedly slapped together and didn’t use well: the result was three easy wins for the newbs. As the Boys had the rules down and were confident, it was time to take off the training wheels.
Dropping the Hammer
Our next game was an Open Play, “bring-what-ya-got” slobberknocker with my Dvergar Steeljacks (Space Dwarves using Adeptus Mechanicus rules) against all of their Marines and Wolves.
I had heaps of proxied Skitarii Vanguard, Secutarii Hoplites, Skorpius Dunerider transports, and Tech-Priests, as well as five Kastelan Robots, modeled by Warhammer Fantasy River Troll figures.
The Becker Boys had Scouts, Tactical Marines, Grey Hunters, Land Speeders, Swiftclaw Bikes, Terminators, Wolf Guard Terminators, a Drop Pod, Rhinos, Predators, a Whirlwind, a Land Raider Crusader, and—oh yeah—Logan Grimnar.
We played at my place, on a 4″ by 8″ table, with a ruined lab in the center. In the lab was a stasis chamber that both sides were attempting to reach; whoever held it at the end would win—there were no other victory conditions. We also laid roads around the lab, granting +2″ Movement to anyone on them.
Steel boots tramping, tank wheels grinding through the mud, the Dvergar came over a rise and, through the morning fog, spotted their target, the crumbling remains of an Imperial station where human archeotech was sure to be found. They continued forward, a great horde of them, set to plunder.
The fog parted, rose, and the Dvergar realized that they would not have the ruined laboratory without a struggle. A great force of Adeptus Astartes and Space Wolves—the latter, the Dvergars’ oldest enemy—was approaching.
The Dvergars’ Warspar—their commander in a great mechanical suit—raised his gun-arm, and without a word, all of them broke into a run, unfettering the five enormous Space Trowe (“trolls,” the Fenrisians would call them) to thunder ahead of them.
Terminators materialized along one flank, and a Drop Pod of Grey Hunters touched down along another. Marines advanced, firing, inflicting minimal casualties on the Dvergar. The Space Wolves’ Whirlwind rained down fiery rockets, killing one of the Trowe. Also deadly were the assault cannons and heavy bolters of the Land Speeders, but still the Dvergar kept coming, using the slick roads to move in fearlessly, relentlessly, on the Angels of Death.
The Imperials pressed forward, blowing holes into the walls of the outpost, a Tactical Marine squad and a Grey Hunter pack storming the lab to secure their prize, a still-viable stasis chamber that was supposed to hold preserved technology from tens of thousands of years ago.
Dvergar Crawlers plunged deep into the Marine lines, disgorging Steel Troopers armed with baleful electro-axes and -hammers that made a mockery of armor. Following them, mopping up survivors, were Dvergar skirmishers with lethal electro-rifles. Logan Grimnar and his Wolf Guard Terminators ran to get to the fray, but they were met by squad after squad of Dvergar who whittled them down with concentrated fire.
As the Marines were beginning to disengage the stasis chamber from its settings, the front doors of the lab were smashed open. The gray Space Trowe stamped inside, followed by the Warspar. Several explosions blasted open the walls, and black-armored Dvergar flooded the lab.
Roaring and hissing, the Trowe waded into combat, ignoring overwatch fire, their primitive clubs and axes of bone and rock easily swatting aside and crushing Space Marines. Within moments, the lab—and the battle—was theirs.
At the risk of bragging, I was incredibly impressed at how well my entire army performed. The Vanguard and Hoplites are cheap and their weaponry is AMAZING (the latter’s arc lances are S6 in shooting and melee).
The Kastelan Robots are massively expensive, points-wise, but were totally worth it in this scenario, where they didn’t have to face much incoming fire (I did lose one to the Whirlwind) before getting stuck in. The Duneriders delivered (literally), and my Tech-Priests effectively repaired them whenever they took damage.
After the game, I pointed out to the Boys that were not nearly aggressive enough with their heavy hitters, particularly Logan Grimnar, his Wolf Guard, and Nate’s Terminators. Instead of walking (like the Space Wolves did), or beaming down in the general area (like Nate’s guys did), they should have teleported directly into the lab to have any hope of fending off the Robots.
The good guys also would have been much better served by running a refused flank against my horde, instead of spreading out and spreading themselves too thin. If they had bunched into a wedge along one side, they could have applied all of their strength against a portion of mine.
Finally, I advised them that they need to improve on working as a team. When Pat and I run his Space Wolves and my Fighting Tigers together against anyone else, we’re nigh unstoppable, because he focuses on the close combat, and I have his back with the shooting. Once the Becker Boys get some more practice, they’ll do much better.
Make sure you come back tomorrow for more content as we celebrate the Jungle’s 20th birthday!
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.