I should also note that I was going to use the Open War cards that I finally decided to pick up. But the cards aren't made for smaller battles and battlefields, so we agreed to just do the standard "Kill and 12" mission. After all, the only true goal is to push around our dolls and roll some dice, right?
The battlefield was simple. I added a couple of hills and tree bases because it makes sense that Imperial forces would try to catch the enemy before they get into the heart of the cities. Otherwise, it was a densely-packed table with plenty of line-of-sight blockages all over the place.
I chose to play the Imperial Guard, er, I mean Astra Militarum for this one. My Ultramarines haven't been performing great and they needed some rest, so I relieved them and brought in the big guns. My force consisted of a Company Commander, Platoon Commander, Primaris Psyker, three Infantry Squads rocking flamers and riding in Chimeras (the heavy stubbers aren't modeled, but I took them), an autocannon Heavy Weapon Squad, a Hellhound, a stock Leman Russ, and a Basalisk. It was meant to be a cross-section of the IG's arsenal while not being particularly spammy or cheezy.
I was worried about the force that my son decided to take. It didn't really seem all that powerful to me and simply lacked the numbers that could stand up to my many flamers. He took Old One Eye, a Broodlord, two Thornback Carnifexes, 2 smaller units of Genestealers, a unit of Warriors, and a unit of Hive Guard. There was some speed, some monstrous tough-guys, and some pretty decent shooting considering that I'm wearing nothing but flak armor.
|Chitin and Claws!|
I won the roll-off for deployment and focused my vehicles behind the buildings (especially hiding the Basalisk) and the Armored Fist units (the infantry riding in their Chimeras) on the nature side. He deployed the Carnifexes in the city, hid his Hive Guard (I hate those things so much), and put his mobs of 'stealers on the nature side as well. We did the roll-off for first turn and, of course, I got it by having the fewest drops.
|Deployment and Game On!|
The first turn saw the very little actually happening. I ran the command Chimera towards the center of the line, planning on being the 'countercharge' unit and charged the Hellhound foward. My shooting phase saw me plink down a couple of Genestealers and, using my tanks and artillery, putting some wounds onto Old One Eye. After all, I didn't want him to get too close. In return, the Genestealers and their Broodlord attacked the Hellhound and damaged it pretty hard, but didn't kill it. Everything else, of the larger variety, just began their implacable advance towards me. Using his Hive Guard and a well-timed strategem, he took out my Heavy Weapons squad and earned First Blood. I really hate those guys.
|End Turn 1|
The second turn saw me move up with my Armored Fist section and disembark a unit or two to lay down some flame on the surviving Genestealers. I chose not to retreat with my Hellhound, hoping he would kill it off and I would explode in his lines. A bit more big guns focusined on Old One Eye saw me able to finish him off and earn the Slay the Warlord. Battle Cannons are so good! The Genestealers almost finished off the Hellhound, falling just one wound short of finishing it off.
|One more wound. Really?|
|End Turn 2|
Turn 3 was bad for the Imperium of Man. The remaining two Carnifexes were now in range to charge through the ruins into my tanks and the Broodlord was busy chomping his way through a transport. The Chimera retreated so that the Infantry Squad could unleash lasgun fire into them, but this is where my son remembered his rules. The Warrior was closer and behind a bunch of rocks and couldn't be seen, so my troops were too skittish to shoot at the monster in front of them. The transport had retreated, so it couldn't shoot at all. That meant that the flank was completely wasted. Only the targeting of the Basalisk would help, only it failed to wound the Warrior. The Psyker got out of his transport and started making his way toward the tank line to support and the two Chimeras chose to start up the middle and put some wounds on at least one of thes Carnifexes. It didn't work. The helpful gaze of the Emperor was definitely not on us. Meanwhile, the Tyranids simply continued their implacable advance and peppered shooting- shooting my retreated Chimera to bits and finally charging both Carnifexes into my Leman Russ . His Hive Guard even shot a whole squad off the table (did I mention I hate those things?). Funny enough, my son's tactics again paid off as the first monster to charge was behind a building and unable to be seen, so I couldn't fire overwatch with my big tank. The other simply sauntered in unworried. It was a bad turn for me and a great one for my son's Tyranids.
|End Turn 3|
In desperation, my next turn started with the Infantry Squad moving up into a position to finish off the Warrior and Broodlord, a Chimera aiming to help, and the other Chimera dashing across the battlefield to try to stop those Hive Guard. The Basalisk finished off the Warrior, splattering it all over his Broodlord and distracting him long enough take some fire from multiple directions. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to finish him off. The Carnifexes were slowly beating the Leman Russ, but at least it was shielding the artillery from harm for the time being. The Psyker climbed into the ruins and began the Smite-storm, at least hurting the injured monster a little more. But the 'nids weren't done just yet. The Broodlord charged and wiped out the squad that shot at him and the Hive Guard peppered the incoming Chimera even more, slowing it down as the tracks were shredded. And the Carnifexes just continued to beat on the Leman Russ.
|End Turn 4|
Still the IG fought on. The Company Commander set up to charge the Broodlord but watched as it was obliterated with multi-laser fire from the Chimera (whew!) and the Leman Russ continued to hold out. The Tyranids were down to few models but they were all making a dent as he continued to beat on the heavy tank and spread Hive Guard ammo onto transports all over. At this point, we had to roll to see if the game continued. With some amount of suspense and the Guard's victory in had currently, the die stopped on a six and the game continued. Nooooo!
|End Turn 5|
The next unwanted turn was as bad as the 3rd. The damaged Chimera couldn't get much closer, so the last Infantry squad hopped out and started beating feet to the remaining Hive Guard as the transport moved closer to support. They were able to kill one of the last two and charged into combat with bayonets fixed, but couldn't quite finish him off. Unfortunately, the Leman Russ finally succumbed to the massive talons of the Carnifexes and the Basalisk was now unprotected. Even with the Psyker tossing Smite in their direction, it wasn't enough to kill one and the end was certainly near. With the 'nids doing all the damage they could in their turn, it came to another roll. The Imperium really needed this one as the game was tied. But the die fell on another six and the game continued.
|End Turn 6|
The final turn saw the Guardsmen finally kill the last of the Hive Guard (moral victory!), but also saw the Carnifex killing the Basalisk. While there was nothing left of the xenos but two Carnifexes, it was still a defeat for the Imperial Guard, er, Astra Militarum. With the secondary objectives and kill points counted, it was a victory for the Tyranids, 9-7.
It was a great game. Were it not for the random game length, the Imperium could have pulled this one out. But the Tyranids were not to be denied their chance to cause havoc and they certainly did. What I was most happy about was that my son is actually using tactics now. He still missed some rules like the rerolling for the monstrous scything talons, but his use of line-of-sight blocking terrain and order of charges is really making my goal of dominating him difficult. Stupid learning.
As I write this, my wife and son are playing Age of Sigmar and her Legion of Nagash is dominating Nurgle. I don't remember the last time she lost a battle since that darn army book came out. Maybe I need to dust off my Ironjaws and see how well she does against them...
Until next time, Happy Gaming!