Saturday, August 14, 2010

AstroPeg 2010 Day Two: Game Five - Sulfur Flats

Overview: War is hell. This place proves it. Stinking sulfur vents, flows of the yellow mineral that crack under you and drop you into scalding volcanic water. It's terrible place for a battle, but the tall cliffs and deep fumaroles to either flank make it the only way through. There is movement ahead through the yellow veils of sulfur smog. The enemy knows that this is the only way too and you won't be passing without a fight.

This game was against BrockJ and his traitor Imperial Guard, "The Ikarus Colonial Alliance, IDF Force 656":


- Company Command Squad led by Colonel Stranki (counts as the special character Straken), 3 x Flamer, Heavy Flamer, 2 x Bodyguards, riding in Chimera w/ Multilaser and Heavy Flamer
- Infantry Platoon
- Platoon Command w/ 4 x Plasma Guns, riding in Chimera APC
- 10 x Guardsmen w/ Flamer and Autocannon
- 10 x Guardsmen w/ Flamer and Autocannon
- Heavy Weapon squad w/ 3 x Lascannons
- Heavy Weapon Squad w/ 3 x Autocannons
- Vet squad, 3 x Melta Guns, Missile Launcher, Shotguns, riding in Chimera APC
- Penal Legion squad
- Banewolf fast tank w/ Chem Cannon and Multimelta
- Leman Russ Battle Tank w/ 3 x Heavy Bolters
- Leman Russ Demolisher w/ Plasma Cannons

Brock fielded a balanced force; lots of bodies, hits hard from range, and has close up capability with Straken and his boys.

Objective: You score Victory Points for destroying enemy units. (Personal note: "Ah, old school objectives.")

The terrain was scattered with sulfur deposits impairing movement and visibility. The sulfur flats (bright yellow ground) were difficult terrain, and provided a 6+ cover save.

The prevalence of difficult ground limited the Eldar movement options. I won the roll off and decided to go second. Brock has set up everything except the Penal Legion in a gun line across the northern table edge. From west to east was the Banewolf, the mounted Veteran squad, infantry squads, the mounted Platoon command, the Autocannon squad, the Leman Russ, the Lascannon squad, Straken's Chimera, and the Demolisher:


I declined to set up, using reserves denial to prevent two turns of Guard shooting at the Eldar. Not much happened for the first couple of turns, until the Eldar started moving onto the board.

There was some empty space in the northeast quarter. I decided to push up the east flank, and demonstrate with the Vypers to the southwest. That way, the Banewolf would be out of the fight for most of the game, and I could hopefully get in some ground action away from the bulk of the Guard infantry.

I tried deep striking the Warp Spiders beside the Lascannon squad - each S6 hit could quick kill one of the heavy weapon stands! However, they mis-aimed their jump due to the sulfurous mists, and landed south of their intended drop zone. I pushed the two Fire Dragon skimmers Flat Out, aimed straight at the Leman Russes, moved the Farseer and the Autarch fast up the eastern table edge, followed more slowly by the two Avenger squads and the Night Spinner in the southeast table quarter. The Vyper squadron failed to come on board.


The Night Spinner killed some Guardsmen. Then, a lucky shot from the Bright Lance armed Serpent destroyed the Demolisher!


In response, a Dragon Serpent got blown up by heavy weapons fire. The Fire Dragons were forced onto the ground, to try and hoof it towards the distant gun line.


The Lascannon squad had to go. I Fortuned the Farseer/Autarch duo and assaulted the Lascannon heavy weapons squad, wiping it out.

To consolidate, I pushed the pair 3 inches north. The photo below shows the Autarch and the Farseer. The ghostly figure is a WFB figure I use as a marker to signify a unit having "Fortune" cast on it.


In retrospect, this was a fundamental error. I knew Straken was on the board, but I just moved the Eldar leaders into charge reach of that IG monstrous creature. I was hoping to shield them from more tank fire. What I should have done was pulled them away - just outside the Guard charge reach, but well within their own.

More guardsmen and weapon teams died from long range Night Spinner fire. IIRC, that tank killed and/or broke a few squads of IG during the course of the game.


The Penal Legion appeared on the western table edge. Straken's team dismounted, shot at the Eldar HQs, killing the Farseer and leaving the Autarch with only one remaining wound. The Autarch fell in the assault phase of the turn.


The Vypers appeared to the southwest and killed some more guardsmen. I was hoping for side shots on armoured vehicles, but Brock moved his tanks so as not to reveal such weakness. Everything else I pushed north and east.


Eldar fire killed off all the Company Command squad except Straken. Of course.


In a risky move, I ran the dismounted Dragons and tried to assault the remaining Russ and a Chimera with Melta Bombs. Even an average die roll on their assault move would get them into contact, but they fell short.


By this point of the game, both sides had taken significant casualties. Making a quick calculation, we realized that we were within 150 VPs of each other - if the game ended now (due to random game length) Brock and I would draw.

Brock rolled, and the game continued.

A very good turn of IG shooting followed, resulting in the Dragons being burned down by the Banewolf, two more Wave Serpents destroyed, and a squad of Avengers dismounted and broken.


The game wound down with the Eldar maneuvering as best they could. The Avengers eventually rallied, and a couple more Guard units were wiped out, but it was too little, too late.

In the end, the Eldar had destroyed half of the Imperial Guard (in Victory Point value), but had lost over two-thirds of their own force.


Result: Imperial Guard Win

This was an exciting, action filled game. After the destruction of the Demolisher, both sides basically traded off, killing unit after unit. It turned into a war of attrition, not at all what the Eldar are good at. Brock handled the Imperial Guard forces well. As it turned out, this was my only loss of the entire weekend.

Please click here for Game Six - Temple of Doom

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