+++ IMPERIAL RECORD: SW 016/7 V +++ +++ CROSS FILE: XENO-NC-3.0 TACT-WH-5.0 +++ +++ PLANETARY CO-ORDINATES: JANNERIA PRIME +++ +++ SUB-CO-ORDINATES: BUDSHEAD CARBON FUEL REFINERY +++ +++ SUB-ETHER ORIGIN: AV-VON +++ +++ TIMESTAMP 7012011.M41 +++ +++ TRANSMISSION OPENS +++
They came at us out of the north… ghosts, ghosts in the machines. Green lights in the dark. Metal men with faces like death. They didn’t speak. No chance to negotiate, no offer of surrender. They’ve cracked every building open – metal shattered like clay. They kill people, but they leave the machines standing. I can hear them moving down below. There can’t be a dozen of us left alive. They don’t want us. They want the refinery. I don’t know why. If you’re hearing this, don’t send help. There’s no-one here to help. Don’t avenge us. No fight in us – nothing worth avenging. If you’re coming… you’re coming to destroy the fuel. That’s what they’re here for. Don’t let them get it. They’re on the stairs. I don’t have much time. Domina, salve nos…
+++ TRANSMISSION ENDS +++ +++ RECEIVED ASTROTELEPATHIC DUCT: SW-AWE +++ +++ SPACE WOLVES CHAPTER +++ +++ DIVERTING SQUADRON CLAWS OF RUSS +++ +++ DESTINATION: JANNERIA PRIME +++ +++ OBJECTIVE: ENGAGE AND DESTROY +++
whip coils & particle casters *
4 Scarab Swarms
twin-linked particle beamer
* – yes yes yes I know. The ‘crons book is surprisingly strict in the restrictions it does have, vis. usages of ‘one’ and ‘any’ in army list entries. Not like they could hit anything with the casters anyway…
In a game this small I couldn’t be doing with expensive Royal Courts and Phaerons; the Warriors are just bodies on the board, there to camp one objective and, if necessary, shoot enemies off nearby ones while the fast stuff goes a-hunting. S6 guns should be enough to see off any vehicles I’m likely to encounter and the Destroyer Lord or Scarabs can always go after any AV14 that does show up. The Destroyers are ablative wounds, pure and simple; the Spyder gives me another ranged tank cracker and maybe a couple of extra Scarab bases, whose job it is to tie up and whittle down anything that can stand up to a sustained gaussing. The Wraiths are maybe slightly overequipped, but I wanted a few more decent S guns and striking first with Necrons seems like something to be relished where it can be achieved.
Awesome Mike’s Hairy Herberts
(joins Wolf Guard unit)
(Preferred Enemy: Infantry)
5 Wolf Guard
4 pairs of wolf claws
1 heavy flamer (joins Blood Claws)
10 Grey Hunters
15 Blood Claws
In lieu of Awesome Mike’s thought process, which I assume went “pick units from pre-existing roster for a small game which I haven’t really planned for”, have this small excerpt of pre-game banter instead:
“Well, I was quietly confident, but then I saw the Space Wolves book in your case…”
“I went for character with mine.”
“You can do that and still win. That’s pretty much why it’s a good book.”
Mission: Capture and Control
“Okay, so this is the one with two objectives…”
“Ah, the draw mission!”
Mike won the roll-off and chose to set up first.
I failed to seize the initiative and thanked the Triarch Mike hadn’t brought any big nasty templates.
Largely uneventful. The Wolf Guard plodded forward, the Rhino drove through four walls and parked up by the building with the Scarabs in it, and the Predator zapped two Warriors. It didn’t stick. The Scarabs didn’t even manage to climb the building walls and settled for running around the outside, now five strong after the Spyder strained out a new base; the Wraiths, Spyder and Destroyers failed to put a dent in the Rhino; and the Warriors shot up a couple of Terminators. Mike isn’t very good at passing 2+ saves, it seems. The Wraiths similarly failed to accomplish anything in assault (in their defence, rolling sixes to hit is hard), and I braced myself for unpleasantness.
Mike’s Predator backed up a bit and shot a Destroyer. Unimpressed at having its paintwork blistered, it decided that the Reanimation Protocols could go hang; the living would just have to wipe themselves out.
The Rhino sped forward again, disgorging its cargo of Grey Hunters into the woods harbouring my objective. Anyway, they blasted three Necron Warriors from the squad camping out in the woods, one of whom stood back up and made a rude gesture at them.
The surviving Terminators, meanwhile, made for the Wraiths.
“Yeah, I thought I’d strike first.”
“No, you’re Initiative 1. Whip coils.”
Mike continued his run of poor 2+ saves and two Terminators were rendered unto dust, while the Wolf Priest fumed and swore and couldn’t actually hurt the Wraiths, although he didn’t take any wounds for Fearlessness. I pretended I was playing Lord of the Rings and surrounded the Priest. Well, it looks nice.
Taking the bull by the horns, I set my back to the wall, my shoulder to the wheel, my nose to the grindstone and my knuckles to the ground. After a quick trip to the osteopath, a splash of TCP on the injured parts, and an inconclusive animal rights case, we got on with the game. My Warriors combined arms to blast a few Grey Hunters, the Spyder missed the Rhino right in front of it and nobbled a couple of Grey Hunters instead (heigh ho), while the Destroyer Lord decided that hiding in a shed wasn’t going to scour the pestilence of organic life from the cosmos any time soon and that chopping up Blood Claws was better than waiting for a lane to the Predator that would never come.
Note the cunningly placed ablative Destroyer, getting hit by power fists so that his Lord and master might survive a turn. Maybe. Mindshackle Scarabs could be a laugh here. Between them they chopped up a Blood Claw or two but the Destroyer, as predicted, was smushed. Meanwhile, the Canoptek Spyder gave up on shooting and elected to investigate possible uses for this claw-like appendage on its other arm.
There then followed a short break while Mike did his job.
The Scarab discovered that claws make good can openers, and that space-diesel is quite flammable. The six inch explosion failed to nobble any Warriors, but I’m pretty sure it killed another Grey Hunter. Mike, to his credit, did not say a bad word.
Finally, the Scarabs piled onto the Wolf Priest, intending to rip his armour off him with a few Entropic Strikes. Twenty-five attacks (apparently they could all attack him, because the ones at the back were within two inches of the ones in front, or some such) and not a single wounding hit – not that it mattered as Mike failed his armour saves against the Wraiths’ attacks and the Priest had some science done on him. The Necrons consolidated into the open, since nobody but the Predator was going to be shooting this turn and it’s not like the Wraiths cared whether they were in cover or not. Mike still didn’t say any bad words. That GW training must be doing him good.
The Grey Hunters let rip with their pistols, toasted a few brave little toasters with their meltaguns, and charged into the Warriors holding my objective, with predictable results.
Elsewhere, the Predator backed up and zapped a Scarab base (which Mike says he shouldn’t have done; if he’d have shot three times he might have managed three), and the Blood Claws piled into the Destroyer Lord. Alas, while the Wolf Guard did bash some nonessential components off with his power fist, the Lord chopped up two more Claws and hung in there.
The view at the top of my turn looked pretty good. Although I didn’t technically hold any objectives, I had a cunning plan to get them back. I told Mike of this, and do you know what he said?
“If your cunning plan is ‘shoot them to death’, mate, it ain’t that cunning.”
He doesn’t credit me with nearly enough imagination.
The two surviving Warrior squads performed a sort of sideways shuffle, clearing a space for the Spyder to close in without having to take any difficult terrain tests. Between the particle beamer (which finally hit what the Spyder had pointed it at) and the forty Gauss shots, all the Grey Hunters were reduced to tinned spam. Without the tins.
On the other side of the board, the Scarabs headed Predwards, while the Wraiths announced that difficult terrain was for suckers, and loomed ominously over both the Blood Claws and Mike’s objective.
The Wraiths barged in, crucially stripping the Initiative scores off some of the Blood Claws fighting the Destroyer Lord. He accounted for three, the Wraiths for four or five more; while the Wolf Guard finished off the Destroyer Lord with his power fist, it proved to be Not Enough, and the Space Wolves legged it. The Lord failed to reanimate himself and the Wraiths consolidated onto Mike’s objective.
Finally, the Scarabs remembered where their running claws were, and chewed the front off Mike’s Predator. Reducing AV13 to AV4? Good times.
With five Space Wolves left on the board, surrounded by assorted Canoptek nastiness and running for the hills, Mike called it a day.
I can’t fault my game too much – I did win, after all – although the Scarabs spent a bit too long buzzing around behind that building and I think they’d have been better tasked with swarming up the midfield, having an extra base added every turn, and preventing the Rhino from going where it wanted to go. I’m not overly impressed with the Destroyers either, although I suppose they did do their job of delivering the Destroyer Lord into a position where he could tie up those flame templates for a few turns and help clear Mike’s objective.
The trouble with playing staff members is you can never be sure they aren’t making sure you win in order to encourage you. I’ve known Mike for years and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t do that to me, but you never know… Anyway, I feel Mike’s list was a bit unfocused and lacking in redundancy, and I’m not sure why he felt the need to rush the Grey Hunters in ahead of the Terminators, or disembark them when he did – it’s not like they could assault anything that turn and lurking inside the Rhino might have saved them from a turn’s gauss flaying. As a result, I was able to concentrate two or three of my units on each one of his and that was pretty much the end of that. That said, he was arrestingly unlucky to lose all four Terminators by the second turn (I didn’t force him to take a stupendous number of armour saves – evidently enough, but not that many) and if they’d made it into my Warriors I could probably have kissed them goodbye.
Mike reckons Necrons must be his nemesis – he’s yet to beat them since the new book came out. Personally I think that’s karma for all those years of lining up four Dispel dice in front of my Army of Sylvania and informing me that I can just take my Grave Markers off the board (okay, so he only took the +3 auto-dispel Rune combo once, but I still hated playing his super-tough, utterly fearless Dwarfs with my poor skelliegogs), but I’m sure he’ll get me next time.