Friday, April 6, 2012

Battle at the Farm 40K RT Battle Report

As teased previously on the blog, last night we finally played the "Battle at the Farm", the first battle of the planned mini-campaign pitting Conscript Greg's Crimson Fist Marines and RT Imperial Guard against Thrugg Bullneck's Space Ork Raiders and the rest of my RT Space Orks.

The Battle at the Farm, as every 40K enthusiast knows, was the original scenario included in the ur-40K rulebook, "Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader", published by Games Workshop in 1987. As the year 2012 represents the 25th anniversary of "RT", we'd collected some armies and planned a mini-campaign to commemorate it.

"Bultha's Rise"...

The eponymous "Farm"
The battle pitted three 5-man Crimson Fist squads, plus Captain Pedro Cantor, against Thrugg, his hench-ork Hruk, and four 5-ork squads with bolters. The Marines deployed around the Farm. The Orks entered play from the east, Thrugg's patrol's goal being to recover some schwag he had stashed earlier in the farmhouse. He also carried a communicator with which to summon reinforcements. Thrugg will do this only as a last resort, however, since he wants to keep his schwag to himself!

Conscripts Frederick and Mike A. each took a squad and deployed opposite the Farm. Conscript Mike F. and me took the others around the leeside of Bultha's Rise and made for the orchard.

Carnage on the ridge as the Marines open fire!
Things didn't go so well for Mike A. and Frederick as the Marines (and their plasma missiles) decimated the squads, leaving only Hruk and two other survivors. They pulled back out of range and followed the others around the Rise.

Thrugg and the boyz hotfooting it around the Rise.
Marines open up on Hruk's boyz

Sneaky Marine with missile launcher in the Farm building
The Marine players, Greg B., Dave V. and Bill, spotted Thrugg's flanking maneuver and threw a speedbump towards the orchard... a lone Marine with captain Cantor following behind!

First the boyz took care of Brother Beaky...
...then proceeded to light up Captain Cantor!
Cantor and his Marine companion confronted the Ork force in the woods, taking out a couple of Boyz in close combat, but the rest of the Orks surrounded them and opened up... even Cantor's 3+ refractor save couldn't stop that many bolter shells!! (Remember, in the RT era, power armour gave a 4+ save and Marines were only T3!) 

Fists break from cover, making for the Rise, and safety from the approaching horde
Even after disposing of Cantor, Thrugg realized that there were still too many Marines and not enough Boyz left for him to feasibly accomplish the mission without reinforcements. Thrugg needed to take a whole turn to activate his communicator and then roll a "6" to succeed in contacting the main force, which he miraculously did! The reinforcements would arrive in d6+4 turns... and when they did, every Marine left on the table would be considered lost! I rolled a "1"... for once, an excellent result! This meant that the Marines had only 5 turns to exit the table from the Eastern edge or be considered killed!

Mike F's surviving boyz repositioned from out of the woods and opened fire on the fleeing Marines.

Here at last was Thrugg's chance. As most of the Marines bugged out, there were only three Marines left behind to guard the Farmhouse and the hidden schwag bag. Thrugg seized the opportunity to charge in, fillet the Marines with his brutal chainsword and spirit away his ill-gotten gains before his reinforcements arrived... the dice were thrown for his two close combat attacks and...

...he whiffed. Big time. We saw more singles in that combat that at Happy Hour at the Palomino Club (Winnipeg reference). Seriously, there were alot of "1"s. Thrugg took out one Marine and died, broken and alone, and poor.

The game ended and victory points were calculated... four Marines had escaped at 1VP each. Three Orks lived, each worth 1/2 VP. No other bonus points were gained by either side [EDIT: The Orks picked up two bonus VPs for successfully calling for reinforcements - thanks Dave V. for the reminder!], so the game turned out to be a Crimson Fist vistory, four points to three-and-a-half. A nail biter!!

"War is Gilles" - attributed to Captain Pedro Cantor
An excellent game! It was great to play the original 40K scenario which, in over 20 years of playing 40K, I'd never before played. It had some real role-playing elements that are generally lost today, and was a ton of fun.

Thanks to Greg for bringing the Fists and to the guys for coming out. Watch for the second game in the mini-campaign next week, when the surviving Crimson Fists attempt to elude the Space Ork main force and rendezvous with an Imperial Guard force!


Lead Legion said...

Great game report. The battle of at the farm was the first 40k game I ever played, back when I was a sprightly eight year old.

I've loved it ever since.

pahoota said...

Thank you for this. Great to see RT getting some love. Space Marines will always be toughness 3 and Eldar will always be bee-men in my mind!

Curt said...

Great batrep! Very nostalgic (sniff). Wow, from that one shot it looks like those Orks on the hill got completely pwned. Greg, you should have used your nifty Litko marker for that!

Great looking game!


Mr Papafakis said...

great stuff,

a good friend of mine & i replayed battle at the farm about a month ago, with similar results.

if your interested you can check out the battle report on his blog:


Mr Papafakis said...

a good friend of mine & i replayed battle at the farm about a month ago, with similar results.

if your interested you can check out the battle report on his blog:


Anonymous said...

a good friend of mine & i replayed battle at the farm about a month ago, with similar results.

if your interested you can check out the battle report on his blog:


DaveV said...

It was a fun tense, game. I enjoyed playing a lot!

Curt, I am reminded of the 40K campaign you ran in the summer of 1988. Good times.

IIRC, the Orks also received 2 points for providing a sitrep to their HQ, to bring their total from 1&1/2 to 3&1/2.

I enjoy narrative games more than the basic scenarios provided in the current 40K rulebook. This is why, when I play at tournaments, I like Astronomi-con, Mechani-Kon and 40Kegger. Their story-driven scenarios make for a more cinematic gaming experience.

More than Nostalgia
Some Rogue Trader rules were very clunky, like the vehicle rules (Grav vehicles moving 240 inches? Calculating turning radius? Really?). However, there are some elements of the RT-era rules that were IMO good rules, that I miss from the current edition of 40K:

1. Stand and shoot: In an age of firearms, it's absurd that in 5th edition you can walk up to someone without them shooting at you. When my beakie sentry went down to the Orks in the woods, as related above, it was because he rashly charged them and got shot for his trouble.

2. Pistols in close combat: Thrugg died beacause my "Horatius at the Bridge" Marines in the farm could actually use their pistols in close combat, using bolt ammo that negated Thrugg's armour save. In the current edition of 40K, being armed with a pistol merely adds to a model's attacks in close combat. There is no actual benefit from the charcteristics of the weapon's profile.

3. Hiding: Models in RT could actually hide in cover, giving up their actions in order not to be targeted. Which leads to...

4. Going prone: Troops in RT can gain the benefits of soft cover by throwing themselves to the ground. In 5th ed., going to ground merely adds +1 to your cover save, but you give up your actions to do so. I guess you can't fire from the prone postition. But, wait...

Kevin H said...

Great game guys! Sorry I missed out (I wanted to make it out for this one!), but I was still feeling a bit wiped out from my recent flu.

@ Dave
Good call-out on the old (missing) rules. Sometimes "new" isn't always "better"...

Wes said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I have not played 40k in years because it went away form this type of gaming. I am of course rooting for the Boyz, to kick some space marine assets.


Dan said...

Amazing game. Shame for the campaign that the main characters went and got themselves killed. Perhaps you could roll on an injury table (can't remember if RT had one. If not you could consider rolling on necromunda's or similar.) Cantor and Thrug always seemed to be a large part of the story. You can still get a Dead result anyway.
Can't wait to see what the Orks can do when they're armed with a heavy weapon.
Is the rest of the campaign 'official' or is it made up?

Greg B said...

@ Salacious Crumb - I think we will find to way to have both Cantor and Thrugg hang around - perhaps as "heavily wounded" for now...

Dallas said...

Thanks for the comments, we had a lot of fun with the game. Salacious, the campaign is completely unofficial and will incorporate some of our other RT era collections... Stay tuned for more... :-)

sho3box said...

Cool report. I seems to have played out how I remember many RT era games to have done: amusingly.

I am looking forward to reading about Pedro & cos further adventures.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for using the original figures from that era. A very enjoyable read and fitting tribute for the 25th anniversary.