+ inload: 9th edition Battle Report +

+ The Fall of Djaih Principal +

Member-Cardinal Naqib wept. I remember that most clearly; for seeing Astartes shed tears was utterly beyond my expectation. Every time I thought I had a handle on this Chapter, one of them would dumbfound me. 

It clearly had an effect on the stoic Primaris, too. Septimal looked discomfited; insofar as an eight-foot tall armour-clad giant could look anything other than intimidating.

Neither he, nor I, made any movement towards Naqib; but his weeping was taken up by an ululation of woe by the other Sons of Djaih that shared the shuttle. 

I turned away, horror running up and down my spine, and looked through the viewport. Built for Astartes, I was rendered doll-like; and had to stretch slightly to see, adding further to the unreal atmosphere.

Defeat. The loss of a world to the ork. 

It later became apparent that such losses were far from uncommon. Perhaps once or twice in an Astartes generation, the Gatebreakers' line – always tenuous and thin – would be broken by xenos. This was sobering to me; but not half so affecting as the grief-rituals of the Gatebreakers.

The whole journey back was accompanied by ritual wails of his brethren; but Naqib's grief was as genuine as ever I have seen. Unsurprising, perhaps, for a godling who has lost his birthworld.

Remarks – Inquisitrix Barbari Kills

+ So, 9th edition, huh? – First impressions +

+ Games Workshop recently released the Core Rules for the 9th edition of Warhammer 40,000 [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] as a preview, so I gave it a try last night, with a skirmish between greenskin raiders and the freshly-painted Gatebreakers. +

+ It was a small game – 15 power level a side; but the new rules give specifics on the size of board to use. My first impression is that little has changed from 8th; but also that the subtle refinements make surprisingly large differences. I don't want to draw too many conclusions from a single small game, but it's certainly promising! +

+ The more intimate – and scaleable – table size, combined with the reduction of overwatch and new terrain rules seemed to go a long way to getting the orks into combat, which I know will be welcomed by some of my gaming buddies (and lamented by others!). +

Chopping's back on the menu, ladz!

+ The big change for the better is definitely the clarity of the rules. From the previews, I was a bit concerned that the language had become extremely stylised and formal, to the detriment of readability, but that doesn't seem to be the case overall. +

+ The addition of summary bulletpoints and general layout is a huge improvement, and the additions and clarifications over 8th were minor but useful. I wonder if the latter is a sign of being designed for tablet/screen; the rules are much more compact and stripped-down, and seemingly designed for quick comprehension – exactly as you might expect for screen reference, rather than a traditional instruction manual. +

+ But as I say, I don't want to judge too much on abstracts; how did it play? + 


+ Djaih Principal +

+ Djaih Principal is – or was – a recruiting world for the Gatebreakers; one of the few under their purview which submitted candidates willingly, rather than them being taken by force. For the past centuries, this has made the planet a valuable source of manpower for the ever-overstretched Chapter, and a substantial number of the recruits from the planet – the so-called Sons of Djaih – have become officers or otherwise noteworthy members of the Chapter. +

+ The Gatebreakers rarely establish Chapter keeps, even on valuable worlds like Djaih – their numbers are too low and their area of responsibility too large and diffuse to make it practicable. As a result, their long-ranging sweeps of the sector often leaves decades between visitations. This was the fate of the planet; for the Gatebreakers' last recruitment took a substantial proportion of the world's most promising young warriors, just at the moment their presence was needed most. +

+ Of course, the few thousand individuals taken (for the Gatebreakers' harrowing implantation protocols work as much by fate as design, and failure is near-total) made little practical difference to the fighting strength of the planetary defence force, but as a symbol, they were so much more. The ork invasion found a surprised populace that quickly grew demoralised when their pleas for aid resulted in no support – all the more heartbreaking when they had seen the flower of their youth offered up to the sky-warriors. +

+ When the greenskin invasion came, it bulldozed the main cities in short order and drove the defenders into hiding in the matrix of steaming jungles and mineral deserts that make up the surface of the world. Eight long years passed, during which the enslaved populace was forced into manufacturing weapons and equipment for the ambitious and greedy ork warlord. +

+ At this point, salvation appeared to some, for the Gatebreakers returned. Alas, the strikeforce was heavily depleted; sent only to draw a further tithe for the Chapter, and ill-equipped for deployment. Restricted to minor strikes, the Astartes launched a series of stinging raids to liberate or support regions of resistance; but could not afford to enter extended warfare. +

+ What follows is the melancholy reports of the final action taken by the strikeforce before the Gatebreakers were to admit defeat and abandon Djaih. +


+ Mission and deployment +

+ We used the standard Only War mission in the pack, with the objectives (entrances to sewers occupied by the human resistance, and critical raw materials left in the ruin) spaced fairly evenly across the board. +

+ As a very simple starter game, the Gatebreakers were represented by three five-man squads of Intercessors; while the orks fielded a mob of boyz, a mighty deff dredd and a nobz mob. +

+ Early turns +

+ The Gatebreakers advanced through the ruins, their bolt rifle fire frustrated by light cover and the thick stone of the ruins. A handful of orks fell, but return fire from a large mob on the right flank took two marines out of the fight. +

+ Worse was to come – with the central squad prevented from offering fire support by intervening terrain, a clanking behemoth strode into view; blasting another of the depleted squad into smithereens! The cackling orks broke cover and charged into the Gatebreakers' hastily-made barricade. +

+ Scrambling to redeploy, the Gatebreaker's fire on the left was again frustrated, only lightly wounding one of the nobz. The central squad moved up into the ruins to claim an objective and in an attempt to lend support to the embattled and overwhelmed squad on the right, which left the left-flank squad on its own. +

+ Mid turns +

+ Mighty as the Astartes are, when faced with the cream of the greenskins (well, they're greasy and smell a bit of gone-off milk), they met their match. The nobz charged in, swinging their weapons and taking the Astartes by surprise. +

+ The fighting swung back and forth, but the orks were having the better on it. +

+ The central squad were caught in a quandry – charge their comrades in combat with the nobz, or continue to claim the objective and fire at the larger mob? Their Member-Cardinal opted for the latter, lending support fire that took down four or five orks as the two survivors of the right flank fell back. +

+ With nowhere to retreat to, the two survivors prepared to sell their lives dearly, and were swiftly overwhelmed. Their broken bodies were hefted into the air by the triumphant orks, who swiftly took to stripping the armour and looting their weapons +

+ The Deff Dread lumbered into a surprising burst of speed and managed to engage the central squad with the squeal of pistons and hiss of venting power. +

+ Closing turn +

+ Their foes downed for no loss, the nobz sneered and closed in on the Gatebreakers struggling against the Deff Dread. With a horrific tearing noise, the war engine sheared three of the Astartes into pieces. The last survivor commended his soul to the Ten Divine Princes, and voxed in a last report. +

+ Confirm: Beast Triumphant +


+ After action report +

+ A fun and quick game – particularly given that the other player was a (very indulgent!) first-timer. The new edition is quick to pick up for an old hand like me, but also looks nice and accessible. +

+ Tentative mechadendrites up for 9th edition; I'm looking forward to some bigger games with some variation in missions. In the meantime, I'll need to get painting – looks like the Gatebreakers need some heavy support! +


Suber said...

Interesting read, I was hoping for someone to share their first impressions, nice to know, thank you!

Lanferelle said...

Loving the Gatebreakers content. Just out of curiosity, which chapter tactic are you using to represent them?

apologist said...

Thanks Suber. It was a limited playtest owing to the size of the forces, but if you like 8th, it seemed like a good – and worthwhile – refinement.

apologist said...

Cheers Lanferelle (first comment from you, I believe? Thank you!). Regarding Chapter tactics, I haven't picked any yet. I'm leaning towards ones that require as little book-keeping as possible, and reflecting the low-tech raiding, void warfare focus of the Chapter.

With those in mind, Bolter Fusillades, Rapid Assault and Tactical Withdrawal are the most likely potentials. I've ummed and ahhed about the LD modifying ones, but don't think the Gatebreakers are inherently vicious enough to scare the sort of xenos in the rim, and likewise aren't as well-disciplined as the Ultramarines or Dark Angels, so don't really warrant LD boosts.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice.

Lanferelle said...

(I think i've been knocking about some of the tallowlands posts, though admittedly i'm hazy on what i had for breakfast so my memory isn't to be trusted.)

I may be completely wrong but it's my understanding that you can create your own successor via the chapter tatics in the main marine book and ALSO factor in one of the supplements for extra flavour.

I've been getting a White Scars vibe from these gents. The philosophical mien coming through the backround. Also, i feel like their rules would best represent the methodology of a chapter on the fringes, having to resort to harrying attacks due to lack of materiel. As someone who is building a Raven guard successor, i love those rules but do think thematically they pigeon hole you into the covert side of the range.

Knowing you're a hobbyist first and foremost, i feel like the white scars supplement will do a good job of representing the chapter whilst also maintaining a broad enough base in terms of model inclusivity.