Friday, 28 September 2012

Campaign game 1 - Imperial guard vs tyranids

100 DAYS
The race to save Omega
"There is a cancer eating at the Imperium. With each decade it advances deeper, leaving drained, dead worlds in its wake. This horror, this abomination, has thought and purpose which functions on an unimaginable, galactic scale and all we can do is try to stop the swarms of bio-engineered monsters it unleashes upon us by instinct. We have given the horror a name to salve our fears; we call it the Tyranid race, but if it is aware of us at all it must know us only as Prey."
— Inquisitor Czevak at the Conclave of Har
Mission One – Day Five -- “The Awakening”
It is three days since the first blood was spilled in the battle for Omega. Reports of civilian disappearances, relayed to Planetary Command from various settlements and industrial sites scattered across the world’s single continent, have been largely ignored. No authority at the capital Zenica has any conception of the looming horror, nor the threat of every wasted day to the continued existence of life on the planet.
When a platoon from the small military outpost at Jablanicka fails to report after routine patrols, Captain Besic reacts with customary caution. He sends out two patrol groups, one to investigate the disused chemical plant to the West of the outpost, and one to search the woods to the East. The events of the next few hours, so far beyond the most awful imaginings of the Jablanicka men, would have knock-on effects of the most severe importance.
The race to same Omega had begun.
Mission Length:
As per standard missions.
Deployment etc:
The Imperial Guard set up first, deploying anywhere on the board except for the 12” within each short board edge [note: I’ve done a preliminary set-up on an 8 by 4 board for this – I think we’ll need that much space to make this work because of the ‘escape’ victory conditions and because of the amount of infantry]. The Imperial Guard player may not use any reserves.
The Tyranid player places his entire force in reserve. Units that enter play using the outflank rule may enter from either short board edge, as chosen by the Tyranid player.
The Tyranids take first turn.
Victory Conditions:
The aim for the Imperial player is to have as much of his force having escaped the battlefield, as possible at the end of the game. This will allow the greatest chance of warning Imperial Guard Command of the impending Tyranid threat – but having one squad escape the battlefield may not be enough, as the route back to the nearest friendly forces is long and dangerous.
For each unit that exits the battlefield add points as shown on the following table:
Unit type
Company Command Squad
Platoon Command Squad
Any other unit (including tanks and dedicated transports)
*If the unit escapes the battlefield while mounted in a Chimera, add an additional 1 point to reflect their increased speed back home (therefore a Platoon Command Squad that escapes in a Chimera would score a total of 4 points – 2 for the squad, 1 for the Chimera and a bonus of 1).
Units that are broken at the end of the game, or exit a table edge while broken, score nothing.
At the end of the battle add the total Imperial Guard score and compare it to the total number of Tyranid units on the battlefield. This table explains who has won the battle and suggested rules to carry forward to mission 2:
Score difference
Impact on Mission 2
IG win by 10 or more
Significant IG victory
Imperials take first turn, can chose Elite units and flyers
Level, or IG win by 1-9
Minor IG victory
Imperials  take first turn, can chose Elite units
Tyranid win by 1-4
Minor Tyranid victory
Tyranids take first turn. Imperials cannot chose flyers
Tyranid win by 5 or more
Significant Tyranid victory
Tyranids take first turn. Imperials cannot choose Elites or flyers.

As the battle was to be played on an 8x3 and we were somewhat pushed for time, Commissar Bob set up his 2000 pts prior to Old two eye and I arriving. His force was made up of several platoons of troops and command squads, sentinels, a few chimeras and a couple of leman russ tanks. This build was intentional given that we were playing a scenario with a small outpost under surprise attack rather than a planned assault – it made sense that elites and fast attack should be restricted so we had agreed no veterans, stormtroopers or flyers.
Similarly, the tyranids were limited to units that would be seen in an alpha strike at the beginning of an invasion. Therefore, no big nids save the harpy and no warriors were present. The force mainly comprised genestealers, gargoyles, lictors, the parasite of mortrex, deathleaper (an HQ for this scenario) and a harpy.  We had selected our warlord power for the nids to allow us to reroll reserve rolls. Commissar Bob set up mainly in the middle of the table with most units clustered and a few towards each flank.
 Turn 1
Nids got turn one automatically and it was decided both for time constraints and to give the nids a bit of an edge we could bring on reserves from turn one. Everything moved on except one unit of 10 gargoyles and deathleaper. Genestealers moved on from both flanks while the harpy took one flank and the parasite, gargoyles and lictors the other. Shooting was minimal due to the units we had and therefore the turn was fairly uneventful.
The imperial guard struck back with a lot of firepower, killing several genestealers and wounding the harpy thanks to the leman russ autocannons and 3 heavy bolters – very effective against flyers! Once the dust had settled, neither side had taken much in the way of casualties.
Turn 2
The last reserves came on with deathleaper appearing in the middle of the board to threaten the Imperial Guard commander. The Ymargl genestealers and harpy harried the Imperial guard forces to the west, while the gargoyles and ranks of genestealers did the same on the east. The Imperial guard retaliated with firepower killing the harpy and killing several of the Ymargl stealers. On the East side, the casualties mounted amongst the genestealers and lictors.
Turns 3-4
The Tyranids continued to put pressure on the Imperial Guard while the retaliatory firepower felled many of the beasts. The Imperial Guard outlying forces were now all but gone with the Leman Russ tanks holding the centre. The tyranids were flagging in numbers on the wooded East side of the board, whereas the  industrial West was still dominated by a unit of genestealers preventing the Imperials from escaping. Deathleaper engaged the enemy commander in combat over several turns until the colnel was the sole survivor, breaking and fleeing.
Turns 5-7
As nightfall descended on the outpost the battle came to an end. The last few survivors piled into the remaining chimeras and raced off the Eastern board edge, abandoning the outpost and leaving the last remaining men and tanks to their fate. For this was simply the first wave of many and their duty was to warn others of the impending tyranid threat, rather than die alongside their comrades. The battle was over, but the war was yet to come…..

Imperial guard minor victory – 2 chimeras and units were able to flee the board edge, with only 3 tyranid units being left on the board at the end. This will enable the Imperial Guard to take elite units in the second game of the campaign.

Mission One DEBRIEF - Minor Imperial Victory
The Imperial forces at the Jablanicka outpost were scattered by a swift and determined Tyranid pincer movement. Amid the carnage, two squads managed to evacuate the battlefield stowed in their trusty Chimera transports. They left behind only a pair of Leman Russ tanks - exposed and easy prey for the next wave of the attack that arrived in the early morning - and chastened, traumatised Captain Besic, who escaped a mortal tussle with a Lictor of unusual size and ferocity, but could not rejoin the fight to save the brave men who selflessly stepped in to protect him.
Besic would crawl and dodge his way through 20 miles of Tyranid infested territory for some days, arriving back at base to doubtful reception. Stripped of his command for abandoning his troops, Besic would spend much of the next month in confinement, until desperate need forced the hand of Imperial command and he was restored to the front line as a lowly lieutenant.
Of the two squads who escaped death at Jablanicka, one was surprised by Gargoyles on their route back to Imperial lines, and were never seen again. The other team were fortunate enough to avoid the enemy on their perilous journey, and returned to give a breathless, barely coherent account of their defeat at the hands of a Tyranid invasion. However unlikely their reports seemed to the high brass, when placed in concert with multiple stories of mysterious disappearances in the region they demanded to be taken seriously. Imperial command immediately requisitioned hundreds of crack troops to defend key resources and command centres.
Commissar Bob – the Leman Russ exterminator was without a doubt the unit of the match, with the amount of shots it could pour out it made short work of the harpy and any other units it turned its attention on.
Jimbo – the harpy was a disappointment, failing to inflict any real damage for the two turns it survived. On the plus side though it did soak up a lot of Bobs firepower for those turns and so did its job.  
Old two eye – the Ymargl stealers and broodlord were both units I had not used much before and both proved resilient and able to inflict massive casualties on the Imperial forces. I liked the restricted army lists in the scenario as it enabled me to take units I normally wouldn’t bother with and gave me thoughts for future games.

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