Monday, 22 April 2013

New Tau / DA 6-part campaign trial run - Redemption and retribution

Alex (From the Fang) and I have been keen to start a new campaign for a while now and have decided to try out the new Vetock codices, with me getting to grips with Tau and Alex DA. I've written the campaign and found that having something that looks balanced on paper can be quite different to the tabletop reality. To test this out before we start the campaign proper we had a test game of the first scenario the other day. The Tau were victorious, due to a combination of poor luck on Alex's to hit rolls and a list that didn't really play to the mission. (lots of terminators fare poorly against mass s5 shots) The scenario itself wasn't too unbalanced, and I'm tweaking it before the rematch. Here are some photos and a batrep from the Tau perspective (Alex will be posting a DA perspective on his blog I believe) as well as the scenario. Cheers.

Redemption and Retribution

The third sphere expansion of the Tau Empire continued following the Mu’gulath Bay campaign. Amongst the next worlds encountered by the Tau expenditionary forces was the barren rock known to the Imperium of man as Andros. It was an unremarkable world, not even ripe for colonisation or mining due to some ancient disaster that lay it to waste. It did however hold one point of interest: an ancient shrine dating back to the days of the great crusade and Horus heresy. The Lions Sepulchre, as it was known, was said to hold a great relic of the Primarch Lion’el’Jonson, founding gene-father of the Dark Angels and their successor legion. The sector of space in Ultima Segmentum was entrusted to the Angels of Redemption Chapter of Space Marines, who maintained a permanent small but adequate garrison to guard the Sepulchre. When Tau forces encountered the garrison, hostility immediately broke out, the Angels incensed by the xenos’ presence in this most holy of places. An astropathic distress call was sent to the parent chapter on a coded frequency, not wishing to involve outsiders in the Angels’ affairs.   

This is a 6-part campaign for Warhammer 40,000 with Tau Vs Dark Angels. All rules are that of the main rulebook and codices unless stated otherwise. Special characters are not used in the campaign unless otherwise stated. Each mission results in either a win, loss or draw. Wins are worth 3 points, draws 2 points and losses 1 point for each player and should be recorded throughout as this will give the overall outcome of the campaign.  

Note, missions 2-5 are supposed to be portrayed as occurring simultaneously.
Note, although normally any Dark Angel or successor army may take sacred standards in command squads, for the purpose of this campaign we will assume only one Angels of Retribution Sacred standard is present. The same one must be used throughout and can only be used by one of the armies in mission 2-5. Other banners may be taken as normal. 

Mission 1: Planetfall

The Angels of vengeance arrive discreetly in orbit answering the call of their brothers. Evading the xenos vessels, a team of scouts is deployed to secure the Sepulchre. When they find their brothers dead, the ancient shrine desecrated and the relic gone, an oath of vengeance is sworn against the foul xenos. But first, the relic must be recovered, and to this end a strike force is assembled to bring retribution to the nearest xenos outpost and begin the quest for the sacred relic. The enemy commander must be captured and interrogated, but above all must not be allowed to escape and bring news of the Angels assault to his commanders.

Mission special rules:

Fight or flight: The mission is played by setting up the bastion centred 24” from both long edges and one short edge. The short edge nearest the Tau bastion is the Tau table edge, the opposite short edge is the DA one. All Tau units must be placed within 24” of the bastion in which the Fireblade must begin the game in. Six devilfish transports are set up in the centre midline of the board. The Dark Angels objective is to either kill (capture) the cadre fireblade in close combat. Killing him by ranged fire or should he die in a vehicle explosion results in a loss for the Dark Angels. The Tau objective is to get the Fireblade off of the board by vehicle on the Dark Angels table edge. As the vehicles are unmanned, the fireblade must embark upon them in order to make them active, at which point they act normally and may even fire that same turn. Should the fireblade still be on the table at the end of turn 7, the game is a draw. The Dark Angels get the first turn and night fighting is not used in this battle. The points level is 2000 points for this game.

Tau Special rules:

Forward outpost garrison: The Following units are available to select from for the mission. Only one HQ may be taken and that is the cadre fireblade, which must start the game in the bastion. Fire warriors, Kroot, XV8 battlesuits, stealth teams, pathfinders, piranhas, XV88 broadsides. A bastion must also be taken for free armed with 4 burst cannons. Any XV8 battlesuits or piranhas must start the game in reserve.

Motor pool: Six devilfish are set up in the centre of the board. These are unmanned and may only be used once a unit of Tau (not Kroot) embarks them by donating two of the unit. These are deducted from the embarking unit and are from then on a permanent part of the vehicle. Alternatively, a single fireblade can crew the vehicle, but may only disembark should the vehicle be immobilised, wrecked or explode. The fireblade can also be a passenger in a previously commandeered vehicle. Upgrades may be bought for the vehicles as normal. Note they may still be destroyed even when unmanned.

Dark Angels special rules:

Death from above: The Dark Angels may only use units that arrive by drop pod, teleport, are flyers or have the deep strike special rule. Normal FOC restrictions apply.

Confess xenos scum: An interrogator Chaplain must be part of the attacking force. Should he not survive, one of his bretheren will gladly take over the interrogation…..

Battle report

Tau set up at the beginning of turn 1. Note that the reserve rule for piranhas and XV8s had not been conceived before the trial run

DA beginning turn 1: The Terminators and some tactical marines arrive behind Tau lines taking them by surprise. One squad of Terminators mishaps and ends up back in reserve. 

DA end turn 1: Several fire warriors and many of the pathfinders are killed by the surprise attack. None of them break, however, much to the Angels of Redemption's ire.

Tau turn 1: The Tau retaliate, killing half the Chaplains squad (including the banner of fortitude), 2 Deathwing Knights, the entire squad of Terminators that killed 9 pathfinders and a few tactical marines.

Dark Angels turn 2: Two squads of Terminators and the nephilim arrive on the other side of the board and another drop pod of tactical marines deep strikes next to the motor pool. The Deathwing Knights assault the Broadsides, who despite suffering only a wound break and run. Several nearby firewarriors do the same as their squad is assaulted and reduced to 3 members by the Chaplains squad. One of the devilfish is blown up and another immobilised as the Angels try to cut off the Fireblades escape.

Tau turn 2: The Tau retaliation is fierce, with one of the newly arrived terminator squads being wiped out and the other reduced to a single man. One of the squads in the bastion disembarks, paving the way for the fireblades escape. The nephilim takes multiple hits from the missile broadsides leaving i with a single hull point.

DA turn 3: The Angels plight becomes deperate, with few units remaining they try their best to destroy the Tau vehicles, blowing up another, but still leaving 3 intact. 

Tau turn 3: Realising this is but the first wave in a planetary assault, the Tau Fireblade exits the Bastion and makes his way to the remaining devilfish. The Tau concentrate their fire and eliminate much of the remaining enemy forces, including bringing the Nephilim down on top of a devilfish (almost destroying it). 

Turn 4: With time short and the outcome pretty much decided, we agreed to call it a Tau victory on turn 4.

Although scenarios are always more fun than bog-standard 40k, we couldn't help but feel this game went a bit one-sided from the word go. After discussing in depth we concluded that it wasn't so much the scenario but rather the way the Dark Angels forces were utilised. To balance this out we've adjusted the parameters slightly, allowing less Tau on the board initially by making XV8s and piranhas have to come in from reserves. Also, by making adjustments to the list (some landspeeders and devastators in place of nephilim and some terminators) it would play better to the scenario. We also agreed that focussing more fire early on at the transports, although leaving the Angels vulnerable to more return fire, would ultimately pay off by restricting the Tau chances of winning.

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