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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

After-action report on today's Warhammer 40,000 battle: Space Marines versus Orks and Chaos

It was not a good day to have played loyalist Space Marines.

And not even the presence of the mighty Marneus Calgar himself - chapter master of the Ultramarines - was enough to stave off the combined threat of a massive Ork Waaaagh! led by Ghazghkull Thraka and a surprise attack by several squads of Chaos Space Marines who appeared on the scene to... well, spread chaos.

So today was the first time in three weeks that I've been able to get down to the nearest friendly local game store (FLGS) for a battle or two of Warhammer 40,000, the far-flung future-based miniature wargame that's wildly popular all over the world. Once again I brought several squads of Space Marines from the Ultramarine chapter. By 3:30 a new game was starting with 1,800 points of tactical value allowed for each side. Now, my own complete Space Marines only number a little over 500 points... but as there were two others playing Space Marines we mustered our forces along the eastern side of the table. Leading our forces was the indomitable Marneus Calgar (a miniature that I'll probably be adding to my own collection sometime). Before us stretched the landscape of a world held by the Orks, and among the more prominent features was a tower of some sort (we figured it was an oil derrick drilling for Ork petroleum). But no matter why we were there: we determined to enforce the will of the Emperor of Humanity... and the Orks were goin' die!

I think those of us playing the Space Marines had a feeling not long into Turn 1 that this battle was going to be especially brutal. First it was our entire squad of Scouts that we lost, and I was hoping we could get to use them to great advantage with their sniper skill. Alas! The Scouts were among the first to go, perishing by the guns of Ork heavy weaponry. At the same time a squadron of three Ork Deffkoptas attempted to take out my Dreadnought but he easily evaded the attack (for the moment). And then as if we didn't have enough to worry about, a squad of Chaos Space Marines attempted to teleport in front of our forces. However these missed a roll and wound up stuck intangible amid the wildness of the Warp, so for the time being we didn't have to worry about these traitors to the Empire.

Meanwhile on the southern end of the table the battle was becoming one of heavy hardware as several Space Marine troop carriers and tanks engaged with Ork battlewagons and a number of Chaos Space Marine vehicles. Calgar himself was put in the midst of this action which saw at least one troop carrier explode (and costing the lives of all the Space Marines within it). I wish that I could report more about the southern front of the battle however as we were too busy holding down the northern end, that's the part that held my attention throughout the nearly three hours that we were in combat.

After the Orks and Chaos forces had resolved their moves and weapons fire for Turn 1, now came our turn. My own Space Marines killed four Orks with fragmentary grenade fire, and attempted to move into position to better engage the huge swarm that was the rest of the northern Ork forces... which threatened to overwhelm my position. And now I was faced with a tactical decision: should I attempt to take out the Deffkoptas or the ground-based Orks? After conferring with fellow "general" John, we decided to concentrate the next attack on the Deffkoptas...

...unfortunately, not long into Round 2 the Deffkoptas utterly destroyed my Dreadnought in one fell swoop!

And then the rest of the Orks rushed forward in a frenzy of lust and death:

From there, nothing worked. The Tactical squad of my Space Marines that was armed with missile fire still attempted to destroy the Deffkoptas... but on my roll I only got a 1! That wasn't just a miss, it was as miss as you can possibly get (think Stormtroopers from the original Star Wars movies).

As for the rest of the battle: the Orks made mincemeat out of my Space Marines and none of my rolls went good (save for taking out five Orks with one well-placed shot of fragmentary grenade). One by one I was having to remove the shattered corpses of my trusty Ultramarines from the field of battle. The Orks on the northern end moved down the battlefield to join their brethren, and the Deffkoptas roared ahead to continue their carnage.

All that was left after that was basically mop-up action as the Chaos Space Marines and the Orks decimated what remained of the Ultramarines. Marneus Calgar himself somehow made it off to fight another day, and Ork warleader Ghazghkull Thraka let out a howl of victory...

What happened next? Well, it was 7 p.m. and I was starving so it was time for me to grab some dinner. I can only imagine that the Orks and Chaos forces then turned on each other (and probably it was the Orks who started it).

So there's another week before the league at the aforementioned friendly local game store meets again to throw our armies of Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, Chaos at each other: plenty of time to study tactics and maybe even bolster my forces (I'm thinking maybe about investing in a Rhino tank).

By the way, if you play Warhammer 40,000 also and are in the Greensboro/Reidsville/Burlington area or so, write me at theknightshift@gmail.com and I'll fill ya in on the very exuberant league we've got going, and I'm always up for having a good-natured battle with a new friend :-)


Nilesey said...

Try playing Chaos. You get mutated Marines and even better the Chaos Daemons (: