Monday, September 18, 2017

Alpha Within, Iron Without - 30k Battle Report

Alpha Legion Headhunters move out toward their objectives inside the loyalist base at Paramar V

Over the past several months there has been some continued expansion and escalation in our 30k collections.  I'm a huge 30k nerd of course, and with my painting spirits animated by fun books likes "Legion" by Dan Abnett and the amazing "Praetorian of Dorn" by John French, I have been building up the Alpha Legion forces I started back during Curt's most recent Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Dallas, meanwhile, has started painting up some troops from the IV Legion, the rugged, dependable and so-oft-abused Iron Warriors.  After returning from a wonderful visit to my cabin in Sault Ste Marie, I was pretty psyched to get all of this newly painted stuff out on the table for a scrap.  Dallas obliged, hosting a 30k game last week - here are some photos!

View of the table as the game begins - the Alphas have appeared from their various vehicles and crates, and they must reach the slurm machine near the Mechanicum node at the top right of the photo.

Of course, both the Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors fought under Warmaster's banner in the Horus Heresy, so a game pitting the two collections against each other called for a bit of nuance within the setting.  Fortunately, Forge World itself already provided a handy backdrop for just such a game - the fall of Paramar V, as profiled in "Horus Heresy Book III: Extermination".   The Alphas are tasked to capture this world, and an isolated group of Iron Warriors, unaware of the Warmaster's rebellion or Perturabo's decision to join it, are caught up in the assault, joining the Mechanicum garrison in a final defence.  Thus are the Alphas thrust into battle against some of Perturabo's sons.

Lernaean Terminators prepare to move out.

Heavy support squad, backed by an apothecary

Besides, the Alpha Legion's motives are always so complex and opaque, they could conceivably be pitted against almost anyone...

Iron Warriors despoiler squad moves to reinforce, arriving down a corridor on the base
Kyr Vhalen positions his small blocking force, anchored on the very tough dreadnoughts

The main story of the fall of Paramar V, a vital mechanicum and fleet re-supply depot as well as a critical communications link, is one of a big-time ground assault.  But I wanted to have a bit of Alpha Legion flavour to the game.  The Alphas are notorious for deception, trick plays, underhanded moves and infiltration. So I suggested something along those lines to Dallas in the context of the fall of Paramar V.

Alpha Legion Praetor and his familiar try to inspire progress on the assault

The table would be set up to represent the interior of the facility, a maintenance hangar-type area.  Weeks prior to their assault, the Alpha Legion had connived to send a shipment of "damaged" vehicles from the XVI Legion to the base for repairs. As these were vehicles and associated supplies from the Warmaster's own legion, and the launch of his rebellion was as-yet unknown, these vehicles would a) not be inspected closely, and, b) be placed somewhere important.  When the time came for the assault on the base, a large team of Alpha Legionnaires would spring from these vehicles and associated "supply crates" to launch a critical blow from inside the defences, having essentially mailed themselves behind enemy lines.

IV Legion Deredeo dreadnought lays down heavy fire
The defenders would include Dallas' Iron Warriors, bolstered by some 40k Adeptus Mechanicus models standing in to represent the Mechanicum garrison on the base (no reason these cool models can't be in a 30k game).  The Alpha Legion force was overwhelming, larger than the combined defenders by about 50%.  The challenge for the attackers was the isolated location of their objective - a slurm machine in which Alpha Legion operatives had pre-placed and hidden a critical device that would, once activated, shut-down the automated shields and defences of the base.  They would have to move flat out to make it there in six turns...

The Alpha Legion's heavy fire group tries to take down the enemy dreadnoughts

For rules we used the new 8th edition of 40k. I am aware that GW has made the (absolutely baffling) decision to maintain 7th edition for the Horus Heresy gaming, but as is so often the case, the fans of GW's games tend to be as much or more nimble and competent stewards of the game than GW itself.  Fan-driven and created 8th edition rules for the 30k setting have appeared in amazing short time, and we made use of these for our game.

Iron Warriors look to block the dreaded Lernaeans...

Frederick, Indo (aka "the voice of Alpharius") and Mike A played the Alpha Legion attack force, while Dallas, John and Mike F took command of the defenders. Battle was joined!

Dallas' fantastic Mechanicum models were part of the doomed defence
The Alpha Legion troops sprung from the various vehicles and crates in which they had been hidden, and swarmed towards their objective.  The defence of the loyalists was anchored around a trio of Iron Warrior dreadnoughts - one Deredeo class and two Contemptors.  They all fell in glory, but took a number of Alpha Legion troops down in the process. 

Tough outing for the IV Legion! The Lernaeans reduce the 15-model Despoiler squad down to three survivors...ouch!

The stars for the Alpha Legion side included their own Deredeo dreadnought (wow, those things are amazing), their heavy support squad equipped with missile launchers (scary enough in the 7th edition, even more vital in the 8th edition and the new way that vehicles and dreadnoughts take damage) and the Lernaean Terminators, who carved a pretty bloody swathe through the defenders. I have never seen Terminators be so effective on the tabletop...

KABOOM! An Iron Warrior dreadnought explodes after sustained abuse.

The defenders suffered near total losses, but after six turns the Alpha Legion strike team had not yet reached their objective, so it was a phyrric victory for Kyr Vhalen and his defenders of Paramar V - although poor Kyr Vhalen got hit by multiple krak missiles in the final turn, so was not really in a position to enjoy this bitter success.

EDITOR'S NOTE - upon reflection, Kyr Vhalen, as a character, wasn't a legit target for the missiles, with that big tactical squad right nearby.  Oops.  We'll chalk that up to more Alpha Legion trickery...

The Alpha Legion strike force surges ahead

Contemptor dreadnoughts put a beating on an Alpha Legion tactical squad

The Lernaeans step in to finish the opposing dreadnoughts

Of course 30k/40k as a rule set continues to boast a number of large flaws, but as a not-too-mentally taxing game it is a lot of fun to roll out for the group. I have really started to enjoy the 8th edition (after a bit of a bumpy start) and I think, in particular, the 8th edition of the rules will be a lot of fun for 30k players out there.

Kyr Vhalen finishes the game as a recipient of multiple krak missiles...looking back now, I don't think he could have been targeted as he was a character...but that is the Alpha Legion for you, always sneaking around the rules...

Thanks to the guys for playing and to Dallas for hosting.  Was great to see his Iron Warriors and Mechanicum guys out on the table, and I hope it inspires further painting and collection escalation on his part (and keeps Mike F going on his Imperial Fists).  Outnumbered and mounting a last stand, it was a pretty rough scenario for the Iron Warriors.  Once Dallas gets more of them painted, we'll have to set up a game where they enjoy a bit of a more balanced chance.

Alpha to omega! Horus for hope!


john de terre neuve said...

Great photos and report Greg. You all seem to be really enjoying yourself with 30K.


Curt said...

Stupendous looking game guys! I love seeing all those Dreadnoughts and Termies out cutting a dash. It looked to be a real fun brawl. Well done.

I think there must be some sort of soporific effect in replaying those absolutely sh*te rules. Similar, I suppose, to repeatedly hitting yourself over the head with a board: 'No, but really, it feels sooo good when I stop...' ;P

Barks said...

Lovely looking game, great pics.

JamieM said...

Excellent stuff! I find myself very much in two minds about 40k/30k at the moment.... sometimes I have great games and they're ace, sometimes the games are so lopsided it's a waste of everyone's time.... I do like the simplicity of the new rules, but am still struggling to get balanced games in.

Iannick said...

Looks like great fun! I love the terrain, especially that Horus billboard! Briliant!

Dallas said...

Excellent report Greg, thanks for picking up my slack in posting it! Your models looked awesome and the scenario was really cool.