Friday, 17 June 2011

Blog Wars Game 1 - Atreides vs BroLo

Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare yourselves for a series of battle reports of epic proportions.  I played three fantastic games at Blog Wars but as usual I had a bit of burnout afterwards so I am only now getting round to writing the reports.  I had my SLR and tripod with me on the day so I wanted to try something new.  I set up the shot at the start and took a photo at the end of each player turn from the exact same location.  This means it is possible to follow the course of the entire battle from turn to turn (in theory). 

In the first game I faced off against Brother Loring (Brolo) of 3++ fame.  He took an interesting Black Templar's foot list.  I was pretty scared, if I'm honest, as I know he knows his shit, and I had rarely played against Templar's before.  However, I needn't have worried, as he turned out to be amongst the most gracious opponents I have ever faced.  At the start, he explained all the special rules to me in detail, and continued to remind me throughout the game if I was about to do something really stupid.

His list was as follows:

Emperor's Champion - Accept Any Challenge - 140
Marshal - Terminator armour, Storm shield, Lightning Claw, Adamantine Mantle, - 180
Chaplain Grimaldus - 195
Assault Terminators - 6 terminators, (3 x TH/SS, 3 x PoLC), Furious Charge - 258
Terminators - 2 x Assault Cannons, 2 x Chainfists, Tank Hunters - 265
Terminators - 2 x Assault Cannons, 2 x Chainfists, Tank Hunters - 265
Crusader Squad - 10 x Initiates, Meltagun, Powerfist, 3 neophytes, frag grenades - 228
Crusader Squad - 10 x Initiates, Meltagun, Powerfist, 2 neophytes, frag grenades - 218

My list was:

Company Command Squad - Colonel Straken, Medic, Bodyguard, Flappy Banner, Chimera
Veteran Squad - 3 Meltaguns, Chimera
Veteran Squad - 3 Meltaguns, Chimera
Platoon Command Squad - 4 Meltas, Chimera
Infantry Squad - Commissar (power sword), Sergeant (power sword)
Infantry Squad - Sergeant (power sword), Meltagun, Autocannon
Infantry Squad - Sergeant (power sword), Meltagun, Autocannon
Platoon Command Squad - Autocannon
Infantry Squad - Commissar (power sword), Sergeant (power sword)
Infantry Squad - Sergeant (power sword), Meltagun, Autocannon
Infantry Squad - Sergeant (power sword), Meltagun, Autocannon
Vendetta Gunship
Vendetta Gunship
Hydra Flak Tank
Hydra Flak Tank
Hydra Flak Tank

Onto the game.  It was seize ground with spearhead deployment.  My objective is in the bottom right, and Brolo's is in the ruin at the top of the photo below.


This is what our deployment looked like.  Brolo deployed all his termies as close as possible to me, clearly hoping to swamp me early.  His crusader squads formed a second wave.  I deployed my hydras and vendettas to take full advantage of the relatively open terrain.  As a result all of them would be able to fire to full effect all game, which, in the end helped swing it my way.  My infantry blobs were deployed as close as possible to the front while maintaining their cover saves.  Straken is in the central chimera, and the two veteran squads in chimeras are both in reserve.  My cheap PCS with autocannon hides behind the hill on top of my objective.

BroLo end of turn 1 (actually, i moved the chimera and infantry squad on the left and then remembered to take this photo)
In his first turn, Brolo moved and ran forwards with pretty much everything.  The termies on the right tried to shoot the Vendetta but were out of range.  I escaped unscathed.

my rolls to hit with power weapons turn 1
My end of turn 1 (all the infantry in the left blob are actually dead)
On my first turn I largely maintained my position.  The infantry blob on the left moved forwards and got ready to charge his deathstar.  Everything else I had shot at his right hand termies, wiping them out to a man.  This was important, because it denied Brolo 50% of his ranged shooting all game.  My left hand blob charged, and were cut down in short order.  It must be said that in this particular combat I had tragic rolls.  The hit roll above represents just one group of furious charging power weapons (blue) and normal attacks (yellow).  However, I badly underestimated the power of his death star, particularly with the holy relic, and was in for a nasty shock.  Despite this fact, I should statistically have had 3 or 4 men left, who would have been stubborn, and therefore kept Brolo in combat for his own turn.  At this point (it's only turn 1!!), I started to get worried.

BroLo end of turn 2
Brolo consolidates his minutely depleted death star towards my other infantry blob, and in his turn, moves forward in preparation for a charge.  His crusader squads move forward and one takes a potshot at my chimera in the ruins on the left, but he fails to hit.  His remaining termie squad tries to shoot my vendetta but whiffs again.  This will be a recurring theme, and if I had to pinpoint one thing that swung this game, it might well be this.
In the assualt phase, his deathstar multi-charges Straken's chimera and the second infantry blob.  He manages about 5 pens on the chimera and wrecks it.  Straken and his squad deploy behind and I turn the chimera round to signify it is dead.  The infantry squad takes quite a beating but they get counter attack off and manage to kill a few termies and 'kill' Grimaldus.  He passes his LD test though, and fights on.  Brolo shows just what a fantastic guy he is here, when he advises me to allocate a power weapon wound on my own commissar so I run away and don't get stuck in combat.  I hadnt thought of this (my inexperience with the list is showing) and it really benefited me.  As a result, the 12 or so members of the squad (including 3 power weapons and 2 meltaguns) get away, and are free to rally next turn with the help of Straken.

My end of turn 2
At the start of my turn 2 I roll for reserves and get one of my vet squads.  I zoom them up the left flank with an eye to contesting Brolo's objective in the late game.  In the middle, I get ready to charge the deathstar again, this time with Straken and the remaining members of the second blob squad.  The chimera in the center moves out of the ruins and the PCS inside lend their 4 meltaguns to the fire on Brolo's death star.  All three hydras, Strakens squad, both vendettas and any remaining multilasers all shoot the deathstar before I charge in.
Because I have furious charge, all my important attacks go off.  Straken beats down the Emperors Champion (hell yes) (Editor: HaHa, PUSSY!) and the rest of my men drag down Grimmy and most of the termies before being wiped out themselves.  By the end of my turn 2 there is only the unwounded Marshal and a single thunder hammer termie left standing from the unit, which is still in combat with Straken, who passed an ungodly number of fearless saves and stuck around.

BroLo end of turn 3
In his turn 3, Brolo moves his shooty termies towards the far vendetta with the aim of charging it if his shooting doesn't do the job.  This vendetta is particularly important because it has the ability to contest his objective, so it has to be destroyed.  He decides to move one crusader squad backwards to hold his objective, and the other advances on my PCS chimera.  In the shooting phase, he again fails to hit with his meltagun, but destroys it's multilaser and shakes it in the ensuing assault.  I was pretty lucky here, and it was another pivotal moment, because it allowed me to complete a ring of blocking tanks around my objective in later turns.  The termies fail to hurt the vendetta (surprise surprise) and are about 1/4 of an inch out of range to charge it.  Straken is butchered by the Marshal but he has done his job (and outlived Grimmy ;) )

My end of turn 3
I again roll for reserves, but my remaining unit of melta-vets decline to appear.  I was pretty devastated about this, but in the end, it was a blessing, as you will see in turn 4.  The other veteran squad moves up another 12", and it is clear that given 5 turns it will be able to reach the objective if not blocked or disabled.  The PCS dismount from their chimera and move into the ruins, and the tank moves at full speed to block the Marshal and remaining termie.  The far vendetta moves back another 6". In this turn I decide to focus on thinning his crusader squads, which was largely ineffective, but I did drag down a few scouts (Ed: Neophytes he means, bear with him, he's special) and maybe 2 power armoured dudes.  All in all this was an uneventful but important turn.

BroLo end of turn 4
Brolo realises he isn't going to catch my vendetta and moves his shooty termies back, I assume to help protect the objective.  His far crusader squad moves into the ruin, completely surrounding his objective.  The Marshal and termy move round the front of my tanks, and the crusader squad shoots and charges my chimera (remember it moved flat out). In the shooting phase the termies whiff once again (ok, they shake it this time).  The crusader squad charges in but fails to kill the chimera.  It is left as a weaponless, immobile hulk, but crucially, it still blocks movement.  Lucky, perhaps, but it is what I had hoped for.
Incidentally, I cant quite remember what happened to my melta PCS.  There is a single guy with meltagun left.  I think he was either shot at and ran, or assaulted and escaped, but he runs off the board by the end of the game.

My end of turn 4
At the start of my 4th turn my second squad finally decides to show up.  This is extremely good timing, as it means I can complete the blocking ring of tanks, and it allows me to put a large amount of fire into the crusader squad, wiping it out with heavy flamers, hydra autocannons, vendetta lascannons and meltaguns. 
my far veteran squad moves up again.

I forgot to take pictures of turns 5 and 6, as the game was pretty tense and I needed to think, but suffice to say, the last thunder hammer termies from the deathstar was killed, and the Marshal was unable to break through the blocking ring of tanks, so it all came down to whether I could contest Brolo's objective.  When the vendetta moved to the center on turn 5, the shooty termies finally got the charge, but continued in their run of epic fails, as the best they could do was knock a weapon off, and shake it.  We rolled for turn 6, and we got one.  I was rather pleased, as it pretty much guaranteed me a win.  Brolo wasn't, as it was still a draw at this point.

End of Game

At the end of the game, I held my own objective with the PCS who had done nothing all game, and contested Brolo's with both the vets chimera and the vendetta, giving me the win.

All in all, this was a great game, and I learned a huge amount.   I misjudged a few things in the first two turns, but after that I played a tight tactical game, and helped by a bit of luck at crucial moments, I was able to pull off a win at the last second.  I will be prepared next time I face Templar's, and it helped my understand the some of the strengths and limitations of the infantry blobs, which I had not appreciated until then.  I would like to thank Brolo again, because without his kind help and fantastic sportsmanship, it is doubtful I would have won this game!

I hope you all enjoyed the report.  It was a mission to write (I've never done one before, and wont be making a habit of it!) but I will be covering my second game next week some time in the same way, so stay tuned!


  1. Venerable Brother17 June 2011 at 19:57

    Great report, great photos, great opponents for each other to play first game, its really useful having a friendly dude when playing versus something like Templars that we don't normally see...
    Mistakes are useful though hey, we all make them and thats the beauty of it..we learn all the you say mate, you'll be prepared next time..

  2. Great report Andy - Templars nearly prove to be the bane on the sons again!

    BroLo sounds like a great guy to play as well.

    Btw Andy you've done that kill the commisar trick to run away to me (I think I charged with Belial and 1 dude if I remember correctly) - but that was with your old list and you really just wanted to get out of combat to shoot I think.

  3. I remember when BroLo was famous not for being on 3++ :P.

  4. As a man of prodigious comment power, far and wide was the reach of his mighty words, before finally settling his restless soul alongside convicts and cons in a land far away, a great den of infamy known as "3++" Bored.

  5. if i do this again, i really must remember to turn the big red dice to the correct turn number before taking photos. it makes it very confusing.

  6. It was indeed a great game. I've thought a lot about the game since and I should have been even more aggressive than I was. The parking lot was going to be the inevitable end to the game and half of my melta weapons (1 meltagun) were sat on my home objective.

    It was a great game and one of the best I've ever had. I'd happily give you a rematch any time.

    Good write-up.