Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013-14 40K Beer League – Chapter 1: The Arrival

The entire Ork Empire of Octarius has been nearly consumed by the countless waves of Tyranids that have descended since the Hive Fleet’s arrival. The outer planets of the Empire have been reduced to barren wastelands devoid of any life; every morsel of Ork organics annihilated down to the last spore. The war has pushed closer and closer to the capitol region where the Orks have formed their last stand while the tendrils of the alien invasion grow stronger.

Then there was the day a warp storm appeared along the outer rim of the Empire. Alongside the storm, a massive fleet of Imperial Space Marines emerged with their sights set on the extermination of all Xenos in the Sector. The Orks and Tyranids turned their attention to this new enemy and began to mobilize their forces to make sure the fleet would not get any further into the Empire. After all, if the Space Marines made it to the Octarius War battlefront, both the Ork and Tyranid forces would be eliminated. But as the Xenos approached the outer rim to meet the Angels of Death, two more enemies appeared. With the arrival of all these forces, the planets along the outer rim of Octarius became host to new battlefronts and what would become a massive war.

Last week I played my first game of the new season of the Winnipeg Warhammer 40K Beer League.
Host: DaveV (me)
I fielded the following semi-mechanized Eldar force, "Asurmen's Academy" (1000 points):

  • HQ - Spiritseer (“Speaker for the Dead”); Warlord Trait = The Dust of a Thousand Worlds
  • Troops - 5 Wraithguard; Wave Serpent transport (Holo-fields; TL- Scatter Lasers)
  • Troops - 5 Dire Avengers; Wave Serpent (Holo-fields; TL- Scatter Lasers)
  • Troops - 5 Dire Avengers; Wave Serpent (Holo-fields; TL- Bright Lances)
  • Fast Attack - 5 Warp Spiders
  • Heavy Support - Night Spinner artillery tank (Crystal Targeting Matrix)
Guest: JordanN
Jordan fielded a strong Chaos Space Marines force, the "Cult of Eternal Word" (999 points):

  • HQ - Sorcerer; plasma pistol; Sigil of Corruption; Psyker (Mastery Level 3); Veterans of the Long War
  • HQ - Warpsmith
  • Elites - 8 Chosen; Power Maul; power axe; power fist; Veterans of the Long War; Chaos Rhino (dirge caster)
  • Troops - 10 Chaos Cultists: Cultist Champion (shotgun); 8× autogun; heavy stubber
  • Troops - 5 Chaos Space Marines: melta bombs; flamer; Chaos Rhino
  • Troops - 10 Chaos Space Marines: Aspiring Champion (melta bombs); Lightning Claw; 7× close combat weapon; 2 x meltagun; Chaos Rhino
  • Heavy Support - 1 Obliterator: Mark of Nurgle; Veterans of the Long War

Beer (we started by splitting La Fin du Monde):

Camera Roll-174

From the briefing package:

This is a 1000 point game for two players. Both players will add units to their Cores until they form a 1000 point army list that follows the standard rules for Force Organization.

In this game, the different Factions are attempting to establish a position on the battlefront while discovering that the former battlefields from the War of Octarius are littered with non-organic resources that were ignored by Tyranid harvesting.

This game is intended for 4’ x 4’ table. Terrain suggestions include rocky pieces, craters, debris, and anything that looks like a former battle scene on a barren, lifeless planet.

Divide the table into four quarters. Players must then alternate placing markers until a total of six markers have been placed. A marker must be placed in each quarter, then the two remaining markers placed where the players wish, ensuring that no quarter contains more than two markers. The markers must be placed a minimum of 6” from a table edge and 9” from another marker. Note that these markers are not objectives, they are Resource Markers.

Once the markers have been placed, players will roll off to determine sides using the Dawn of War Deployment Map as described on page 119 of the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook.

Players deploy as on page 121 of the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook. No models may be placed within 1” of a Resource Marker.

The player who deployed his army first goes first unless his opponent can Seize the Initiative (page 122).

This Mission uses Variable Game Length (page 122).

At the end of the game, the player who controls more table quarters wins the game. If players control the same number of table quarters, the game is a draw. A player controls a table quarter by having at least one scoring unit completely within the boundaries of a quarter, and no enemy denial units completely in that same quarter. To be completely within a quarter, a unit must have all of its bases fully within the quarter boundaries.

However, if one player concedes the battle or his entire army is wiped out, the game ends and his opponent is awarded a victory. Likewise, if at the end of any game, one player has no models on the battlefield, his opponent automatically wins.

Note that Faction Point and Resource Point accumulation is independent of the Victory Conditions. The criteria for accumulating these points do not fall within the definition of ‘Controlling Objectives’.

At the end of the game, players will earn 1 FP for each of their scoring or denial units with at least one model in their enemy’s deployment zone.

Throughout the game, players will earn 3 RP for each Resource Marker they collect. A player can collect a Resource Marker by having a model from one of their scoring or denial units end its movement in base contact with the marker during their Movement Phase. Once a Resource Marker has been collected, it is removed from the table.


Reading the above, it rapidly became clear that the Victory Conditions, Resource Points and Faction Points are unrelated to each other. One could obtain all the available RPs or FPs and still lose the game.

Jordan won the roll for table sides. He chose the northern table edge. I won the roll to choose whether to go first or second. I chose to go second.

Jordan hid the Cultists and Obliterator behind the shipping containers to the northwest, and deployed the Warpsmith in a Rhino with 5 Marines between the containers and the junk yard. The other two units could infiltrate. In response, I set up everything in a loose line, anchoring the left flank with the Night Spinner. I was hoping to push back the infiltrators' deployment the full 18 inches away, and to the west. I would probably lose the Night Spinner early, but I planned to push everything into the northeast table quarter, and try to gain max Faction Points for the Craftworld Eldar faction. In retrospect, this use of the Night Spinner as a target was an error. The Wave Serpents are very resilient, and I think I could have left the Night Spinner in reserve, counting on my transports' Serpent Shields and Holo-fields to keep them alive for the first turn.

Below you can see the situation just before the game's start, looking north. The two infiltrating Rhinos were indeed deployed to the west. The Sorcerer was deployed to the far west, with the Chosen. Various 40mm round counters can be seen scattered about; these were the Resource Markers.

Camera Roll-175

The Chaos forces made a general advance, seizing Resource Markers as they went. The Sorcerer used the Puppet Master psychic power to make my Night Spinner use its Torrent on a couple of my other tanks; luckily, no damage. The Obliterator managed a lucky lascannon shot and blew it up, hence the "Destroyed - Explodes" marker below.

Camera Roll-176

The Eldar moved off to the northeast. Their fire destroyed the Warpsmith's Rhino APC, forcing the infantry to disembark.

Camera Roll-177

The two remaining Chaos Rhinos moved east to engage my forces, rather than to try for table quarters. Jordan's list was designed to kill things. They immobilized the Bright Lance Wave Serpent. The Spiritseer and some Dire Avengers disembarked to get close to the Wraithguard.

Camera Roll-178

The Sorcerer tried to use Puppet Master on the Warp Spiders, but they managed to shrug off the power, making their 1 in 6 odds "Deny the Witch" save.

Camera Roll-179

A close range firefight ensued. Most of a disembarked  Dire Avenger squad and a Chaos Marine squad went down. The Spiritseer attached herself to the Wraithguard. The Eldar shot into the Warpsmith's squad, but they rolled hot cover saves, leaving most of them alive. The Chaos Marines then assaulted the immobilized Eldar tank, destroying it with grenades.

Camera Roll-180

The Chaos forces concentrated flamer and gun fire onto the Wraithguard. I rolled a bunch of "1's" for armour saves, losing the last blue armoured Avenger and three(!) Wraithguard. At this point I figured the game was lost. However, it's not over until it's over!

The surviving Wraithguard and the Spiritseer kept moving north, to gain the Chaos deployment zone and try and score some Faction Points. Mass fire wiped out the Warpsmith and his squad.

The Chaos Sorcerer and the Chosen moved off in different directions. The Chosen moved east to engage the Wraithguard, while the Sorcerer moved south to join the much reduced Marine Squad, to bolster their strength. This may have been an error. Focused fire from the other Avenger squad (who had dismounted to the south) and the Warp Spiders wiped out the Sorcerer and his ersatz unit. Other fire reduced the Chosen down to four men.

In the photo below, the Cultists can be seen in the distance running south, to take the southwest table quarter. The elf spear man figure below is a marker representing the Psychic power Conceal, which the Spiritseer cast to help protect her unit.

Camera Roll-181

At this point we were tied, 1 table quarter each with one contested. We rolled for game's end, but we got another turn.

The remaining Chosen needed to roll a "10", on the lowest 2 of 3 dice (due to bad going) to get into contact with the Spiritseer's unit. They rolled exactly a "10", and subsequently wiped out my Core with Power Axe and Power Fist. The two remaining Rhinos reduced my last Dire Avenger unit down to 3 men. In return, the sole remaining Warp Spider moved into the southwest quarter to contest it, and Eldar tank fire broke the Cultists, who ran back north.

Camera Roll-182

The Eldar were now winning by one table quarter. We rolled again for random game length, and we  were forced to play a 7th and final turn.

The Cultists rallied and shot the last Warp Spider down. The Chosen destroyed the northernmost Eldar tank in close combat. The Obliterator moved, but could not quite reach the southeast table quarter to contest it. In the last three turns, the Obliterator (BS4) missed with its shooting, every time. The Rhinos failed to tank shock, or to even wound the Dire Avengers with their bolters.

The last Eldar tank moved up to the Cultists, and fired everything it had (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Catapults, and Energy Shield); IIRC it inflicted 10 or 11 wounds on the 4 hapless Cultists, who were swept away, despite going to ground...

Camera Roll-184

Below shows the final positions of our respective forces. All the Eldar had left on the table were 3 Dire Avengers and a single tank. The Chaos forces consisted of 4 Chosen, the Obliterator, and two Chaos Rhinos (which cannot contest table quarters).

Camera Roll-183

Result: Eldar Win

Chaos Space Marine Table Quarters: 0
Eldar Table Quarters: 1

Chaos Space Marine RP's: 12
Eldar RP's: 3

Chaos Space Marine FP's: 0
Eldar FP's: 0

It was a tense, close game, full of outlier die rolls. Once my initial plan was ruined, it was a challenge to try and salvage something. The firepower of the Wave Serpent is awesome; you just have to try and pick the right times to fire off their energy shield, otherwise they may be left too vulnerable to return fire.

Thanks again to Jordan for such a fun game!


Curt said...

I love that burn/destroyed marker for your vehicle, Dave! Very cool.

DaveV said...

Curt, thanks! These are from the Spikeybits line of pre-painted resin sci-fi wreck markers:

I also got pre-painted foam fire & smoke markers from Dream Pod 9, for those vehicles that don't explode: