to Auros IX: Battle #5 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
For this game, we each had 8000 points, but cramming all those figures on my 8’ x 4’ board would be difficult, to say the least. Kenton and I agreed to start the game with each of us having 2000 points of our armies on the board, then bring on the rest in 2000-point increments each turn, starting with Turn 2. This nicely represents waves of units rushing to battle, and hopefully would alleviate crowding.
Usually, we list our entire armies at the beginning of our battle reports, but for this one, it makes more sense (and is easier to read and comprehend) to say what units show up on the turn they arrive. So let’s talk set-up and deployment and go from there. Brutality awaits!
Setting Up by Patrick Eibel
As we had for every game in the campaign, we played at my house on the Blood Deserts boards that we used for much of the first Auros campaign. Something that we’ve never mentioned before is that after that first campaign, Kenton gave me those boards as a symbolic prize for “winning the planet.” So that’s why all the games for this new campaign have been at my place. Not to mention, I have a new baby, so getting out for gaming is not as easy as it used to be.
I set up the table according to the standard Apocalypse rules, dividing it roughly into thirds, which I marked off with painter’s tape. It’s our habit that one person arranges the board and the other guy picks what side(s) he wants, so Kenton chose the end with plenty of open areas for shooting.
We then took turns placing objectives, two in each deployment zone, plus two in the “no-man’s land” between them. Objectives at my end wound up on top of a bastion and in the wreckage of a Fighting Tiger Rhino that had broken down in a stand of scorched trees (yes, you can find the occasional clump of trees in the desert. At least, that’s what Kenton says, and he used to live in Arizona).
One objective in “no-man’s land” was among a collection of oil cans and the other was atop another bastion. An objective in Kenton’s zone was at an “oil refinery” and the other was at the tippy-top of a watchtower attached to a fortress.
We agreed that all the bastions and fortresses counted as 3+ cover saves, and that the hills and craters were difficult terrain. We also agreed to an 8-hour game to be played over two days: whoever had the most objectives at the end of the 8 hours would be the winner.
Kenton won the roll to see who would go first and deferred, allowing me the first move but necessitating that I set up first.
Turn 1 by Kenton Kilgore
I love when Pat plays Greenies or Nids, because then I can chillax for a long while with a beer or twelve while he sets up all those dudes. Pat took the opportunity this game afforded him to try out a number of Orky datasheets, some from the Apocalypse book, some from the Games Workshop website. He started off the game with the following on the board:
Ork deployment. That big black thing is Pat’s Big Mek Stompa, made from cardboard
When he got done plunking down all that, I set up these fellows, most of them in or near the Big Honkin’ Fortress™ (BHF) in my deployment zone:
Because I don’t own any Apocalypse-sized Space Marine units, Pat was kind enough to loan me his Baneblade. Almost all of the units I deployed at the start of the game were static, long-range shooty units (even my Chapter Master, with her Orbital Bombardment) that could start spitting out serious firepower as soon as Pat’s Fungus Fellows trundled their happy green butts towards me. Which, because I had made him go first, he would have to do. I may only be a Steelers fan, but I’m not a complete idiot.
Fighting Tiger deployment. The thing next to the Baneblade is a scratch-built vehicle that “counts as” a Whirlwind
I did, however, goof with my Techmarine. I assumed that Parvin was allowed, by the Bolster Defenses rule, to upgrade any fortification so as to adjust the cover save by 1, allowing me a 2+ save in this situation. However, that is not the case: Techies are allowed to fortify ruins (normally a 4+ save), which was not the building type my guys were occupying. I didn’t realize this until well after the game was over, and my guys made a lot of saves they should have failed.
On the flip side, I completely forgot about the signums that my Devastator Sergeants were packing, so during the battle, my guys missed a lot of shots they otherwise would have made. In the end, it was probably a wash, and I don’t think either error had any real effect on the outcome of the game.
Apocalypse allows each side at least one Strategic Asset, and for his lone choice, Pat took Careful Planning. Because of the funky way we were handling Reserves for this game, we agreed that Careful Planning would allow Pat to start bringing his reinforcements early, so at the start of Pat’s turn, he brought on:
The bad news was that Pat had 4000 points of Greenies opposing 2000 points of Our Stripey Heroes. The good news was that 1) almost all of the Orks were too far away to hurt my guys, and 2) the board was now, as we like to say in the business, a “target-rich environment.”
In the Movement Phase, the Orks tramped forward, which they would continue to do throughout the game (Orks are creatures of habit like that, you know). Eager to get cracking with his Big Mek Stompa, Pat fired the lifta-droppa (out of range of the “White Tiger” Land Raider), the gigashoota and the deth kannon (doing nada against Dev Squad Agni 2 Mh), the supa-rokkit and Gaze of Mork (hitting but not damaging the “Tyger Tyger” Predator), and the big shoota (out of range of Dev Squad Agni 2 Gh).
Deffguns from the Lootas did exactly “bup” and “kiss” to “Tyger Tyger,” and the Boom Wagon’s gun was out of range of Dev Squad Agni 1 Gh. All that sound and fury, signifying nothing, as Willie the Shakes so aptly said.
After doing some slight movement of the Land Raider and the Baneblade, I had the Tigers return fire. Whirlwind shooting accomplished exactly zip, with the mass of Ork infantry out of range. The Bane’s main gun did skadoosh against the Big Mek Stompa, as did the Orbital Bombardment from Khandar Madu.
On the plus side, lascannons from the Land Raider, Baneblade, Predator, and Devastator Squads stopped all of Pat’s Battlewagons dead in their tracks. I was willing to put up with the Stompa’s nonsense (especially if it was going to shoot as poorly as it had), but one can’t ignore van-loads full of screaming, foaming Ork maniaks amped up on steroids and gangsta rap and armed with sharp, pointy, and/or choppy kitchen utensils and gardening tools. It’s just not healthy.
The start of another turn, and time for more of Pat’s guys to shamble onto the board. In came:
· 20 ‘ard Boyz w/ Battlewagon (same as the mob from Turn 1)
· Nobz Mob consisting of two w/ klaws, two big choppas, one combi-skorcha, one Painboy; three w/ sluggas and choppas; one w/ a Waaugh banner; all w/ cybork bodies, mounted in a Trukk
· Nobz Mob as above
· Trukk Konvoy [datafax] consisting of 4 units of Trukk Boyz (w/ rokkits) and led by a Nob w/ klaw and ‘eavy armor
That’s about 6000 points of Orkiness facing off against 2000 points of Tigers, but again, most of those Orks were, at that moment, no threat to the Marines.
Fire from the Boom Wagon took out a Devastator Marine from Agni 2 Mh. The Stompa’s lifta-droppa did just as its name suggests, scooping up the “Sabretooth” and bopping “Tyger Tyger” on the head, immobilizing the Whirlie (no big deal) and destroying the lascannon turret (yoi!) and the right lascannon sponson on the Pred (double yoi!)
The rest of the Stompa’s massive guns went to work on my Devastators, dropping two from Agni 2 Mh and one from Agni 2 Gh. The Killa Kans clanking along with the Stompa fired at the Devs as well, but were out of range.
At the start of my turn, I brought on the following:
These were more mobile units that were able to respond to the Ork’s movements, with a mix of anti-vehicle and anti-infantry weaponry to take out rides and pesky Fungus-oids that got too close.
Attack Bikes and Sternguard, most of them mounted in Razorbacks, reinforce the Tigers already on the board
Duly reinforced, the Tigers moved on to the blasty-blast part of the show, killing 10 guys from Sho-T’s Green Tide, knocking down one power shield on the Stompa, taking out a Battlewagon full of ‘Ardboyz (killing some of them in the kersplosion, too), nuking another Battlewagon (loaded with Mad Dok Grotsnik and Burna Boyz), and making another bunch of ‘Ardboyz go to ground (and thus, doing nothing next turn).
As I had hoped, the game was becoming a shooting gallery, with Orks getting jeeted out of their rides, forcing them to waddle slowly down the length of the board, taking more and more casualties the closer they got. It was looking good for Team Stripeypants, but then, it was looking good for the humies at the beginning of the Battle for Helm’s Deep, too, didn’t it? And then THAT rapidly turned to suck….
Pat’s final group of guys came on:
The Trukk Konvoy used its ramming ability to shove one Trukk far forward towards the Tiger lines, at the expense of knocking off said Trukk’s big shoota. No matter—there was plenty more dakka to be had.
Da Kult uv Speed zooms onta da bord, waaaaaaaaaayze away from da Tiggers—but donchu worry, deyse gotta kunnin’ plan….
Pat apparently doesn’t like Attack Bikes (or what they do to Orks), because he threw a bunch of fire at them. The Deff Koptas and R2Ork2 were out of range, the Killa Kans and the other Ork Dred whiffed, but the Lootas killed one Attack Bike from Kali Squadron 3, and big shootas from the Green Tide wounded one Attack Bike from Kali Squadron 2.
More effectively, the Stompa’s lifta-droppa picked up the Vindicator “Tiger Claw” and plopped it on Kali 2, wiping them out. The fall also immobilized my tank and knocked out its demolisher cannon. The giga-shoota on the Stompa killed one Attack Bike from Kali 1 and wounded another before the deth kannon polished off the squadron. Rude!
Fortunately, the Gaze of Mork did nada to the Land Raider Crusader White Tiger 2, and the Stompa’s big shoota failed to hurt anyone from Devastator Squad Agni 1 Gh. More fortunately, none of the Orks were anywhere near charging range, and that’s always a Good Thing.
Inspired by their mascot, Spot, the Tigers continue to hold the line
On my turn, the following Tiger reinforcements came on the board:
I picked these shorter-range, uber-shooty units (some with some serious close-combat ability) to show up at this time because I thought that by Turn 3, the Orks would be all over me like white on rice. They were not (yet), but these new guys were still good to have around.
Terminators, Tornadoes, and a Dreadnought show up at the other end of the Tiger line to stave off the oncoming Greenies
My shooting took down several (i.e., I forgot to count) members of the Green Tide mob, as well as the runaway Trukk (and its Trukk Boy passengers) who were near my lines. Our Stripey Heroes also immobilized another Trukk (and its cargo of insaniak Ork Choppa Boyz), wrecked the Boom Wagon, and shot down two Deff Koptas. More importantly, however, I managed to knock out the last shield on the Big Mek Stompa and take out its Annoying-As-All-Get-Out lifta-droppa!
With no more reserves, Pat’s guys kept on with the keepin’ on. The units in the Kult of Speed group used their special Strategic Redeployment ability (granted to them by their datafax) to make a zoggin’ ‘ooge move up the board—a much longer move than they would ordinarily be able to make—uncomfortably close to my lines. Suddenly, my guys were in real danger of being engulfed by a tsunami of Orks.
A zoggin’ ‘ooge ‘orde uv Orks
Fortunately for me, Ork shooting still remains on the “Not-That-Good” level. Deffkoptas and ‘Ard Boyz fired at my Attack Bikes, to no avail. The second unit of ‘Ard Boyz (Pat could bring more than one, because there are no restrictions on number or types of units in Apocalypse) were out of range of my Terminators. Lootas took out two Land Speeders from the “Tiger Shark” squadron and shook the other one. Big shootas from the Green Tide had 30 shots on the “Flying Tigers,” hitting 7 times, shaking one, stunning another, and blowing the assault cannon off the third.
The Killa Kans stunned one Speeder from the “Flying Tiger II” group, and the giga-shoota from the Stompa immobilized one Speeder from the “Tigers Maruti” and stunned the other. But that was all for that, and still no Orks were in charge range of my guys.
At start of my turn, my final detachment came on from reserves:
Yes, as a matter of fact, I *do* own eight Tactical squads, and I like using them all. When fighting greenskins, my strategy is to spend most of the game shooting them, then rush to grab objectives when the tide of Orks has turned into a puddle. These Tac Squads were coming on the board at this time to go grab (or at least contest) some real estate. As for the SM Captain, I just like the character (first introduced way back here) and I brought him strictly for fun.
I finally used my Strategic Asset, which was Strategic Redeployment. At the beginning of the game, I had thought I would use it to get away from Orks that were too close, but now I used it to unclog the massive traffic jam of vehicles and infantry that I had in my deployment zone, repositioning units that were blocked by others or by terrain.
Shrouded by smoke grenades, Rhinos full of Tactical Marines rumble into the battle
The Baneblade, the Terminators, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks, Land Raiders, and the remaining Attack Bikes and Land Speeders surged forward, the Rhinos firing smoke launchers. The Baneblade killed six Warbikers and two Nob Bikers. Termies and Dreads killed five Orks of the Green Tide, Whirlwinds killed three more (damn those 4+ cover saves!).
With one lascannon left, the Tyger Tyger Predator took out the giga-shoota of the Stompa. Devastators shook two Kans and a Trukk, killing four passengers. Speeders destroyed another Trukk, killing four more passengers and pinning the survivors. The Attack Bikes’ multi-meltas fried another Trukk and killed four of its passengers (do I hear an echo in here?). Other shooting took out an additional Kan and shook another.
The end of Turn Four and *still* no hand-to-hand combat with Orks. That has to be some kind of record.
As they are wont to do, the Orks kept surging forward in a huge line from one side of the board to another. Shooting from Lootas, Bikers, and Foot Boyz broke down one of my lead Rhinos, taking off the guns and immobilizing it. Pat’s Warbuggies shot down a Land Speeder, and the rokkits of the Tankbustas (disembarked from their ride this turn) dropped my Dreadnought Vashtar. Fire from the Killa Kans took out one member of Devastator Squad Agni 2 Ghuyarashtra, which, while unspectacular, is better than what the Big Mek Stompa managed against the same target.
The Orks relentlessly advance….
Surrounded by the Green Tide, Warboss Sho-T BigHed finally called a Waaaugh!, but Pat rolled a “1” and the Boyz, seemingly frustrated with the lack of “gettin’ up-klose-an’-perzonal-like,” started fighting prematurely and failed to reach their targets, the Terminators.
The home team was more successfully at the other side of the table, where the ‘Ard Boyz assaulted and wrecked an oncoming Rhino (power klaws are bootiful tings). A mess of Trukk Boyz assaulted the last two Attack Bikes, and while two Boyz purchased the agri-world, the Nob (again, with power klaw) waxed the Bikes but good.
Carnage as the Tactical Marines and Sternguard dismount from their transports and open fire on the Orks
Time was starting to run out. I had Tac Marines clamber out of the wrecked Rhinos as best they could, but some failed difficult terrain checks or couldn’t stay more than an inch away from Orks and were destroyed. Despite a target-rich environment, the Baneblade crapped out on me, its big gun taking out two Nob Bikers (and wounding one) and two regular Bikers, while its demolisher cannon and lascannons missed.
Elsewhere, more Marine shooting stunned the driver of the Stompa, and a Whirlwind took down a measly two members of the Green Tide. Combined shooting from Tac and Sternguard squads (the latter of whom had finally disembarked from their Razorbacks) took out the ‘Ard Boyz (despite them hugging cover), and immobilized or crippled Warbuggies.
The Terminators of Indra 1 Gh fired into the Green Tide, killing “lotz” (i.e. the Ork name for any number greater than five), then charged. The Orks dropped one Stipeypants, but the Termies hammered nine, then caused the Orks to lose six more due to the morale rules regarding Fearless troops.
Terminators of Squad Indra 1 Ghuyarashtra charge into the Green Tide mob
Venerable Dreadnought Shiva the Destroyer fired into the Tankbustas, scorching nine of them (heavy flamers are beautiful things), then charged and killed two more. But after 7 hours and 50 minutes of play, we called the game, with Sho-T’s Blood Axes holding four objectives and the Fighting Tigers with two. Pat took the game and the campaign!
Campaign Points for Pat: 13
Campaign Points for Kenton: 4
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
Once I saw the board and determined Kenton’s strategy was to sit back and shoot, I realized that my task was to hold the two objectives in my deployment zone and seize the two in the neutral zone. To accomplish this task, I designated the two Loota Mobs to hold the objectives in my zone (one of them started the game on one), and sent the remainder of the army to clog the middle. My plan was to throw so much at Kenton that there would be no way for him to kill everything.
By the time Kenton made his move to contest no man’s land, it was too late. I had too many bodies in position to keep him from getting close to the objectives. This was by design, as I focused my shooting on either fast units (bikes, speeders) or on shooting units that could threaten a lot of my scoring units. Kenton noted in the write-up how little close combat there was. This also was by design, as I was more concerned with screening the units in the back rank than sending suicide squads into his guys.
Preparing for the game was really a lot of fun. 8000 points allows you to field a whole lotta Orky goodness, and I still had units in cases! I really had fun picking datafaxes that would work with my army. Some were awesome – the Dred Mob was uber effective – and some were more interesting on paper – the Konvoy really never got going (pun intended).
This game really lived up to all expectations as the last battle in the campaign. Although we don’t do it frequently, there is just something innately cool about really huge battles.
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
As I alluded to earlier, it’s silly for “vanilla” Space Marines to rush towards Orks, because despite what initial success one might have in the Shooting Phase, the much-more numerous Orks will simply own one’s Marines in the Assault Phase. The key to winning against them is to sit back, winnow them down with shooting, then go get objectives and secure victory. Pat, being no dummy, designed the perfect army to counter that. Had the game continued for a few more turns, I might—might—have gotten some units in position to challenge or take some of Pat’s objectives, but I doubt it. I was playing the same old strategy, and Pat had a new and better game plan. Hats off to him.
Several things went wrong for me in this battle. I had several expensive units that either did nothing at all (Chapter Master, Space Marine Captain) or spent most of the game doing nothing (the Sternguard units inside their Razorbacks), only acting when the battle was already decided. This was an Apocalypse game, yet I didn’t take advantage of any of the numerous Space Marine datafaxes available. The Baneblade, while interesting, was not effective considering its points cost: Pat had and made lots of 4+ cover saves against it. My forces were jammed into one end of the board and often got in each other’s way. I should have Deep Struck the Terminators and Land Speeders down at the other end of the board to challenge for the objectives there and make Pat divert some of his forces away from my lines. And so on.
Nevertheless, the game itself was a lot of fun to play and I had a great time. After the sh*tfest that was Battle #4, I thought I would never—no hyperbole—never play another game of 40K ever again: I really, honestly, was that honked off. Though I lost this game, it restored my enjoyment of the hobby, and I am looking forward to many more years of friendly competition against my best friend.
Posted April 2011