Thursday, May 5, 2011

Battle Mission Debrief: Surgical Strike

Are motivational posters cliche for blogs now? I've always liked this one. This week in the Devouring of Reth campaign we fought the battle mission Surgical Strike. We've been playing Battle Missions since the book came out; they provide a great way to play 40k that isn't the same old same old. I incorporated two battle missions into this campaign (I believe Brian put a few into the last one).

Most of the battle missions are weird deployment, or weird victory conditions, or whatever. This one we chose to illustrate the narrative. The Blood Angels were tired of fighting a long drawn out battle and decided to drop behind enemy lines and "cut the head off the giant". This mission simulates that well.

There were some concerns going in. The defender has to keep their general alive, only receiving +1 wound, attack, and leadership to a chosen HQ. All units within 12" are fearless and gain counter-attack. These are great, but with TLOS it would be easy to pick out most generals' units. (MC HQs would be really easy to take out!).

I compensated by giving the general some cover in the middle; this would be their HQ building or nest or similar. There was plenty of other cover on the board as that is the way 5th edition works.

The attacker rolls on turn 1 from either table edge (can mix their units between the two). They get a certain number of bonus KPs for killing the general - this number goes down each turn. If they don't kill the general they lose. The defender simply has to keep their general alive long enough to win on KPs.

The concern revolved around it being too easy to kill the enemy general. This is a valid concern for quite a few armies. We learned from playing it out that it is much tougher for MCs, because they can't attach and it is harder for them to get cover. We also learned that Eldar with their toughness 3 are very easy to double and kill instantly.

Josh's Eldar general was doubled up in turn 1 by assault cannons and vindicators and assault cannons and vindicators. It was bad. They called it shortly into turn 2 because he wouldn't be able to make up the ground.

This is where I would make my first change. Josh suggested the general that is to be killed should receive eternal warrior. I don't really see a huge problem with that. The attackers only have one target and can focus all their fire on it.

The next change I would make is to limit rolling on first turn to fast attack slot and troops slot, or something similar. This is supposed to be a quick surgical strike and vindicators don't really represent that well. They could come in reserves turn 2. Perhaps give the attacking army preferred enemy or twin-linked or something similar to give them some sort of balance.

All in all, out of 7 tables, 4 of the generals were killed (Chaos lord, Ork Warboss, Swarmlord, Eldar... thing). It seemed crucial to attach the general to a HUGE unit that could go to ground for better cover saves. My Tyranid Prime (I was prepared to take my hive tyrant, as he is the narrative's main protagonist (YES!) but my opponent attacked a place where I couldn't use him per the campaign rules) attached to a unit of 15 devourer gants.

The first gant squad was killed from under him so another moved into range for him to attach. My opponent, Elric, did his best to kill my general and managed to put 2 wounds on him (he had 4). He regenerated 1 near the end of the game.

My list was like so:

Tyranid Prime, regeneration, bone sword, lash whip, devourer
Hive guard x2
Hive guard x2
Carnifex Brood x3 2 TL devourers with brainleech worms
Trygon Prime with adrenal glands
Genestealers with broodlord
15 gants with fleshborers, AG, toxin sacs
15 gants with devourers
Tervigon, AG, TS, catalyst

I think that was it. Elric avoided shooting the big stuff and focused on my general, which was good. It was too little too late, though, as my MCs got in and blew up all his stuff (he played Space Marines).

I played Larry over the weekend on this mission with his GK and managed to get some great rolls to kill Mordrak and a bunch of terminators with devourer shots and poisoned furious charging gants.After that I tied up a bunch of his firepower and he rolled really badly. The tyranid subcommander lived through this week!

Taco (Swarmlord Tyranids) and Chuck (IG steel wall BOOM) had a great slugfest. Chuck won on KP 4-3 since the Swarmlord died. It was very close.

Some photos of the games (all my stuff will be painted this month!).

Geneguard's awesome Deff Skullz

Campaign board

Daemons deploy

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