Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trucidos: First Contact

a compact 4x4 Battlefield

Month One of the Trucidos Campaign
Mission: Seize Ground (x3 objective markers)
Deployment: Spearhead
Size: 500 points
Forces: Dark Angels vs. Cadian Imperial Guard

Cadian Forces of the Imperial Guard

Just about the smallest 500 points the Imperial Guard can field...still weighing in at a whopping fifty five models! My marines would be outnumbered over 2:1 in the coming battle. Now as to why marines are fighting guard exactly, we just don't know. I think we're chalking it up to the whole "fog of war" thing.

The Dark Angels

Five hundred points of Dark Angels; a scout squad, a tactical squad, and captain. The scout squad, making their debut, was split into two combat squads filling two entirely different roles (one assault, one sniping). The tactical squad was also split into two combat squads for the game start.

Ray's army deploys around his new terrain piece

Turn 1: The fault of the entire battle lies on the shoulders of the Imperial Guard. Winning the initiative, they went first, and before friend-or-foe protocol was established by Dark Angels Captain Othniel, they opened fire with one of their autocannons on the marine snipers keeping watch in a dilapidated tower. The heavy shells ripped through the metal plating of the low wall and killed one of the scouts. The guard drew first blood. Othniel gave the terminate order and squad Primus, perched across the field in rusty towers, opened fire of their own with boltgun and missile launcher, killing three Cadians. The remaining snipers exacted retribution with their precision rifles, felling two more.

Another angle of Ray's stunning new terrain piece

Guard caught in a crossfire of scouts

Turn 2: The assault scouts hugged the base of a small rectory, hoping to scamper up and secure the objective when they saw the guard's platoon command squad approach around the corner. Shotguns blazing away, the scouts rushed headlong into the guard, Scout Sgt. Felix wielding a long combat blade as well as his Stalker pattern bolt pistol led the charge. Only the platoon commander himself survived the scouts' assault. A sniper in the tower was brought low by his own craft, victim to a guardsman's lasgun.

In their debut battle, the scouts were worked overtime

The surviving platoon leader stands defiant

Turn 3: Although the surviving guard platoon leader was outnumbered five to one, he dodged every blow in melee and lived to survive another round. The snipers in the tower locked in on the guard's HQ command and opened fire, mortally wounding the lieutenant...or so they thought. A guard medic was by his side in an instant, injecting stimulants and bandaging the grievous wound, their leader was saved.

missile launcher element of Squad Primus

Turn 4: Advancing guard on the other side of the field still came under fire from the entrenched combat squad of Squad Primus, high atop their own tower, boltgun and missile launcher a constant blaze. With only three objective markers to secure, the guards' superior numbers ensured almost sure victory. The marines had one marker secured, another hold was tentative at best, slipping every turn, and the third was outright lost to them. Captain Othniel himself took matters into his own hands, charging across the open field to single-handedly contest this third objective, he couldn't win it, being a non-scoring unit, he simply had to survive until the end of the game.

The last stand, but of who?

Turn 5: Othniel was a force of nature, firing with his plasma pistol, and charging into melee with his power sword with abandon. His efforts nearly cost him however. Although protected by his articifer armor's 2+ save, and his 4+ invulnerable save thanks to his Iron Halo, he still lost two of his three wounds. One was to a bolt from a plasma rifle, which is almost understandable, those are formidable weapons (a shame I failed the inv. save though). The second wound however came from a most unlikely source; a single shot fired from a laspistol of all weapons. I had really hoped the die roll at the end of the turn would end the game, but it did not, we had at least one more turn.

Turn 6: We knew this was most likely the final turn, so all scoring units (troop) choices moved towards their nearest objective markers to secure them. The assault scouts moved to the back end of the rectory, where they had started the game, and to just within reach of the objective, denying it to the waiting squad of guardsmen just on the other side of the building. The ground element of Squad Primus remained unusually ineffectual throughout the entire battle. They had traded shots with a guard unit, but nothing more. Their one job was to secure an objective however, so in this respect they fulfilled their role. The last objective was the domain of Othniel, and he secured it valiantly, although it swarmed with guard. The irony was he dared not fire a shot with his plasma pistol; as luck would have it, I would roll a '1' to hit, suffer a gets hot' backfire, and fail my invulnerable save, lose his last wound...and have that cost me the game. Instead, he stood there, power sword raised in defiance to any who dare cross him. The turn ended, as did the game. The Dark Angels controlled one objective and contested the other two, which otherwise were squarely held by the Cadians.

Conclusion: Dark Angels victory

Since we're playing a campaign game, we were able to roll for veteran abilities after the battle. The winning side can pick two units, the losing side one unit; each of these units in turn rolls for a random ability. Ray had an incredibly difficult time with this, being Cadians, once a unit received an ability, they technically become a 'named' unit, therefore fixed in composition. I had an easier time, but found my new abilities didn't augment anything really, just duplicate some of what I already had. I picked Othniel to receive a melee ability, which ended up being hit-and-run, useful if he didn't already have combat tactics, which is very similar. The overworked scout squad was also selected to receive an ability, and they received stealth. An amazing ability from the fieldcraft chart...if they weren't equipped with camo cloaks already which grants them, well, the stealth ability. Fortunately only my snipers had the cloaks, so now the whole unit benefits I guess.

It was exciting to kick off the campaign in such a grand fashion. We played two games side by side simultaneously. While I played against Ray, another battle raged next to us between the Andy's Necrons and the Tyranids of Hive Klandathu, belonging to Chris. Ironically enough, they rolled the same mission, number of objectives, and deployment as we did. They were finished much quicker than us however, with the Tyranids securing the win.

We get points for wins and losses sure, but remember the whole basis of the campaign is to build up some terrain, historically the one weak link in many games. Images like Ray's ruined building on the table top, along with nicely painted armies, I can now see, are what the games all about. Other factors play into the points system, like writing a quick piece of fiction or what-not from the perspective of your army, all of it however is made to be very easy to obtain. Even the terrain maxes out points wise, so it's a bit of a task to get three points (the most you can earn in a month from terrain) but not too terribly difficult at all to get two points for a piece. It's all being tracked on the Trucidos blog, with points totals for each player being tallied, so check it out.


As a bonus, Christmas came early! Andy presented us all with these amazing measuring templates before the game. They're the T.A.C. template made by Gale Force Nine, and have handy measurements on four out of five of their sides, with 40k specific items such as squad coherency, vehicle coherency, and assault movements. To say it came in handy is an understatement; yet another great way to kick off the campaign.

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