+ inload: Battle for Geostation Erpes +

+ Alien Wars: Battle for Geostation Erpes +

+ A Warhammer 40,000 8th edition battle report (with apologies to Rogue Trader) +



+ The preamble for this scenario, and a copy of the mission itself, can be found here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +


+++

+ Apologist's Orks: Luggub's Drop Legion +


"Iss quiet." murmured Thrugg, slowing his pace and brushing aside the scrub with the blade of his choppa. "Almost... too quiet."

The ork beside him, Urglab, brightened up. "Too right, boss!" he said eagerly, ratcheting his shoota and firing a burst off into the woods. Thrugg closed his eyes and sighed as the squad leader, Splatta, cuffed Urglab soundly round the ear.

Splatta drew alongside Thrugg. "Wot izzit, boss? Reckon yer can smell oomies?" Thrugg nodded. The two orks remained kneeling in the scrubby cover for a moment in silence, before Splatta looked down and ran his thumb along his blade, testing the edge. "Might be da ones we burned last time we were 'ere, don'cha fink?"

"Nah," Thrugg shook his head distractedly. "We ate dem, remember?" For a moment he paused, brow furrowed, before continuing slowly, 'Sides, dere's sumfing... diff'rent about dis oomie smell..."

+++

+ Bob Hunk's Crimson Fists: 4th Co. Strike Force Cerulean Rampart   +


Brother Gomez tapped two fingers to the Chapter symbol on his pauldron as Grimstone passed by on his patrol of the farm perimeter. The Captain returned his salute distractedly. Damn greenskins, he thought. The Astartes were no stranger to hardship, but the hero of Fell Reach and the Antares Wars found grubbing around on a backwater agri-world frustrating – doubly so when the inhabitants had revealed they had neglected their orbital defences for months; and even the Crimson Fists had been forced into hiding.

Still, they were alive, and ahead of the main ork force. If they could avoid interdiction by roving ork patrols, the Fists would be back in Driffield Urb within hours; and they could begin a counter-insurgency to uproot and throw back the orks.

Grimstone's jaw tensed as he heard a brief rattle of small arms nearby...

+++

+ Theatre of war +

+ Temportus system; Driffield sub-urban Region; Geo-station Erpes +

Geo-station Erpes – top right of this pict-capture – is an example of a basic agri-world climate monitoring station.
Little more than a collection of sensors to the north-east of a small farm, the Geo-Station was destroyed along with the farm and its inhabitants within days of the ork invasion. The burned-out ruin of the farm  acted as a temporary barracks for a platoon of orks for a few days before they moved on, having stripped the nearby orchards of provender. 

A few days later, retreating Crimson Fist forces paused in order to attempt to use the Geo-Station for communion with the local town. As night fell, the Crimson Fists settled down for a brief respite. Unfortunately for them, an ork patrol had been sent back to investigate raised electromagnetic levels from the Geo-Station...

+++

+ Deployment +


Grimstone's Marine are dug in behind thick bocage. The two sentries (marked with muzzle flashes) are front and centre, and Grimstone accompanies the squad on the east. The two lieutenants are with the second squad, opposite the rad-apple orchard.

Using a split deployment, the orks use the orchard and low scrub to cover their cautious approach, leaving a central gap. Thrugg is on the western flank, leading two small squads towards the farm through the orchard.

+++

+ Turn 1 +


Crimson FIsts (CF): A sentry picks out the approaching greenskins through the trees. With the Crimson Fists' Chapter Tactics making cover useless, a single bolt explodes a luckless ork.



Luggub's Drop Legion (LDL): Thrugg urges his troops forward, directly towards the farm. While cover won't help, being out of line of sight will!


LDL: Second-in-command Hruk opts for a more cautious approach, finding the sweet spot within the orks' range, but outside of the marines' rapid fire. Trading shots, the orks clip one of the Astartes, sending blood spattering. Cursing, the marine resumes his place in the line.

+ Victory points total +
CF: -1
LDL: 1

+ Turn 2 +


CF: With time pressing, the Fists on the western flank break cover and move into the orchard, relying on their spirits of their battlegear to protect them.



CF: Rapid fire! Deadly boltgun fire cuts down one mob of orks. The nob is killed cleanly; the alarm remains unraised.



LDL: It's now or never for the orks. Urged on by Thrugg, the remaining mob decides chopping is the better part of valour and flanks the marines.


LDL: The mob and Thrugg charge the Crimson Fists' squad simultaneously, forcing the group to split to defend themselves. Unfortunately, this leaves them in range for the Lieutenants to both heroically intervene.
Apologist's note: D'oh! I thought I was being ded kunnin here, but clever positioning of the lieutenants rendered my trick moot. 

LDL: A fierce axe attack brings Brother Gabron to his knees, and Splatta administers the coup de grace, ending this hero's tale. Retribution is swift; and the orks (including their squad leader) are quickly finished off by his squadmates and the marine officers.

"'Ere, can't we talk about dis?"
LDL: Even Thrugg is no match for three bio-engineered star knights. His blows land, but fail to find purchase in the ancient Mark IV armour.


CF: The response is swift; Thrugg is bludgeoned into unconsciousness.

+ Victory points total +
CF: 3
LDL: 2


+ Turn 3 +


CF: Their way clear, lieutenant Griguez dutifully orders his men to sprint for the northern border. The other lieutenant accompanies them, but ducks eastward slightly, so lend his embattled brothers fire support from his auto-bolter.


CF: Knowing time is against them, Grimstone orders his men to break cover and advance on the orks.


LDL: Wortoof's squad knocks another marine sprawling, but the bloodsoaked Astartes gets back up with a grunt.


LDL: The ork firepower is just not enough; the remaining orks hesitate between advancing and staying put.


CF: Before the decision can be made, combined fire from Grimstone's squad and the distant lieutenant combine to wipe out Wartoof's mob...


LDL: ... except for Wortoof himself. The nervous old ork grabs his communicator and raises the alarm – disastrously for Hruk, who now has no chance of regaining his loot.
Bob Hunk's note: The Alarm roll by Apologist means that I've only got two turns to get the Crimson Fists off the northern table edge...
+ Victory points total +
CF: 3

LDL: -3


+ Turn 4 +


LGL: It's do or die now. The orks have to hold as many Crimson Fists back as they can, to trap them on the battlefield before the reinforcement arrive and end the mission.


CF: Firepower from the Crimson Fists kills Wortoof and Hruk's mob, but leaves the canny ork alive. Grimstone charges, his power fist energising...


CF: ...and before Hruk knows what's hit him, he's crumpled in a broken heap, leaving the field entirely to the Crimson Fists.
Apologist's note: The mission doesn't end when the orks are wiped out; as the Fists still need to make their escape. This added some tension, as the late breakout meant that the squad would have to make two good advance rolls to get off the board. It was a clever ploy by Bob Hunk to charge Hruk, as it gave him a crucial extra burst of speed.
+ Victory points total +
CF: 5

LDL: -3


+ Turn 5 +


CF: Aside from the groans of dying orks, the field was silent. But victory could still elude Grimstone and his men. Urging them forward, all the remaining Crimson Fists sprinted for the safety of the northern border.


CF: The lieutenant looks back before exiting the field, shepherding his men as he goes. Six Crimson Fists Astartes are secure.

+ Victory points total +
CF: 11


LDL: -3


+ Turn 6 +


CF: Injured, stumbling, some of the the squad cannot keep up with their brethren. Bitterly, the Captain is forced to continue his retreat as engines rumble ominously in the distance. Just one precious Astartes from the squad makes it off the field before the night erupts into explosion from horizon to horizon with battlecannon shells and mass-driver cannonfire falling all about.


CF: With Command Points to spare, Bob Hunk nervously rolls for his Captain's advance...  and scores a natural six – the only result that would get him off the board to fight another day!


LDL: With just two marines off the board this turn, the remainder are quickly butchered by the overwhelming  force of the full ork army.

+ Victory points total +
CF: 9

LDL: 2

+ Result +

Crimson Fists victory!

The brave survivors live to fight another day.
Falling back to Driffield Urbs, Grimstone and the six survivors vow vengeance on the orks.

+++

+ Conclusion +

+  A fantastic game; we really enjoyed ourselves! Bob Hunk and I discussed the scenario afterwards, and agreed that it was a little unbalanced in favour of the marines – but that was clear from the start. When playing games like this, think of them as scenes in a film. It creates a bit of distance and stops you getting too involved in events! Such an approach works best with small-scale skirmish games, as there's (typically) not as much time invested in the game, so you can roll with the punches while your spirits are still high. If you do want a closer, more competitive experience, Bob Hunk suggested the following:

  • Using Tactical marines rather than Primaris
  • Removing the Lieutenants
+ A variant that occurred to me on the way home would be to use Nob rules for all the orks (with Thrugg as a Warboss). The stat changes for Primaris make Nobz a more credible threat at the numbers faced. Basically super-orks to face super-marines! +

+ A spectacle and an ongoing narrative +


+ For games like this, it's all about enjoying playing setpieces that bring up unexpected tension – will Thrugg survive? Will the Captain escape? – and might lead to something else. Bob Hunk and I are pretty fired up for a sequel to this game; and perhaps we'll go for a larger, evenly-pointed contest at some point. If we do, that will be informed by the events of this game – perhaps it'll give Bob Hunk some ideas for a Warlord trait, or maybe I'll be able to model a banner with some Crimson Fists trophies front and centre. It's stuff like this that makes your army yours; and really gives them a history that develops with you – it ain't all about winning! +

+ In any case, here the result was rather irrelevant compared with the spectacle of the game. Playing this scenario with a good friend, using lovingly-built modern iterations of the classic forces, on a fully modelled board that was made specifically for the game, has been a long time in preparation – and worth every minute, I think! +

+ Strike Force Cerulean Rampart will (hopefully) return in: The Battle of Jadeberry Hill +

9 comments:

  1. Great looking game. Excellent use of photo effects to sell the story.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks – but no photo effects here; Bob Hunk's Crimson Fists are all wired up with LEDs :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Cheers dude – good to see you here :)

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  3. This is simply so awesome there are no words to cover it. Kudos to you!

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  4. Seems like you had a great game, and it looks splendid too!

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  5. Fantastic, you really managed to tease out the spirit of that classic scenario. It made for a great read.

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  6. Lovely stuff - the LED effects really assist the photo lighting - certainly have to keep pushing to even secure a close victory - great scenario.

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  7. Beautiful! Great figs, story and game.

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