Scavenging Scavengers May 15, 2012Posted by Tim in War Games.
Tags: Warhammer 40k
Writeup: Warhammer 40,000, 750points, Dark Eldar vs Orks
Is there a name for those who scavenge upon scavengers? Perhaps there ought to be. Not that 115th Viridian Regiment of the endless and ever-present Imperial Guard cared for such grammatical distinctions any more. Utterly unprepared against the full force of the roaring green tide of Clan Bombfunk, the stalwart defenders of the Emperor’s domain lay now in slaughtered ruination, butchered to a man.
As the main Waaargh sweeps onward through the night to fresh conquests and battles, one thieving warband under the conniving eye of Warboss Klakclaw stops off at the newly abandoned Imperial supply depot for a little constructive looting. The spoils and shineys are so beguiling that not one Ork notices the approach of something new to the east; several somethings, sailing on shadows of the faint pre-dawn gloom – spiked and jagged, curved and black, and emitting a keen eldritch music on the dark dawn breeze, with every intention of scavenging the scavengers…
I feel like I’ve been relearning how to play Warhammer 40k at roughly two-year intervals, all my life. It is quite a spectacle when it gets going though, particularly when your regular Nemesis gives you the Ork army to play with. We’d been working gradually upward from 500 point starter book introductory games using Dark Eldar and Ork armies, and this week saw us start experimenting with vehicles, as part of two 750point forces.
I’d got the Orks, which I’m henceforth calling ‘Clan Bombfunk’ because…well, why not? The army consists of four units, a squad of Nobz (a name that will never cease to make me snicker like a 12-year-old) which also has the Warboss in, a squad of ranged Boyz (rank and file troopers) with guns, a squad of close combat Boyz with axes and pistols, and a new addition, a squad of Lootaz, Orks who have looted very large guns in previous battles, mostly gear for anti-vehicular work. Also new was the introduction of a Battlewagon as transport for the close combat Orks. We didn’t have one of those handy, so ended up using a battered Dark Angels Land Raider. Looted, I expect!
The Nemesis was Dark Eldar again and spent his 750 points on two squads of rather standard-looking elves with rifles, one squad of quite exotic looking glam rock BDSM elves with flails, nets and other point-blank unpleasantness, and to these, added two special floating elves with four arms each and big cool trenchcoats. All very emo. These three squads were then loaded on board three admittedly very cool looking Jabba the Hutt sail barge things, as transport.
“Look boss! Flyin Boats!”
Some setup dice rolling later, we’d settled on the ‘Annihilation’ objective, where the point of the exercise is just to kill the enemy, and I’d lucked out with deployment in the fabulously detailed Forge World ‘Bunker’ board panel. The game type was ‘Dawn of War’, which meant that battle started in darkness and only the first three units start on the board, with extras arriving in later turns. Practically this meant all the Dark Eldar started on the table, but I had one unit off-board, so decided to put the close-combat Boyz squad in the truck and hold that as a kind of response cavalry, to be used later into the fight as needed. The shootey Boyz were easily deployed; I dug those in behind the sandbags and the Boss squad behind them, overseeing things. Above the bunker was a smaller fortification, in which I entrenched the Lootas, with a commanding view of proceedings, and off we went.
Almost immediately, my Nemesis took one look at the Lootaz on the hilltop with 10x 48″ range anti-vehicular gun, one look at his entire army in their delicate vehicular transports and pull the sharpest left turn I’ve ever seen, intent on throwing everything he had at the Lootaz. Each sail-barge had some kind of hefty AV gun on the front, and being ‘Open-Topped’, troops inside can also use their guns on targets in range outside.
“But now dere shootin da building!”
“Uhhh… if… we stand in front of da building, dey can’t shoot the building!”
“Gud idea Boss!”
Cunningly enough, my Nemesis decided that the best way to deal with Orks in cover, was to destroy the cover, so we dug around in the rules and found out that the tower was for rules purposes a stationary vehicle and he had at it, managing to collapse the place with the Lootaz still inside. Orks being Orks, this merely stunned them for the following turn, and reduced the intact building’s cover save from 3+ to a ruined 4+. I giggled a lot, but he then followed up this demolition with some kind of plasma flamethrower things from his Homunculi, which was an entirely different matter, killing several Lootaz outright, and the following turn they failed a leadership test and legged it off the table, without even firing a shot. Very disappointing!
It didn’t all go his way though, and in his zealous panic to murder my Lootaz, he parked one of the barges in range of my entrenched Shoota squad. The thing I like about Orks the most, is the sheer quantity of dice I get to roll. Sure, I usually have to get sixes on all them to get anywhere, but the Shoota squad was 20 strong, and they get two dice each when firing. Moar dakka, indeed! Orks are abysmal marksmen though, and often only carry guns because they like the noise they make, so even with an initial 40 dice roll, only about three shots made it all the way through, and one of those managed to cripple and crash one of his sail barges. The riflemen on board leapt out and legged it for some trees and a sporadic gun battle ensued that lasted the rest of the battle.
“Sorry we’z late, Boss! We stopped for eatz!”
Having finished pillaging a nearby Imperial Little Chef, my Battlewagon was now allowed to join in, so I piled that in to help the Lootaz. It was too little, too late to save them from fleeing, but it did a decent number in revenge. Also an ‘Open-Topped’ vehicle, I was able to bring three Big Shootas to bear on the lead sail barge and managed to ace the dice rolls, causing the thing to explode, showering everything within 5″ with burning fuel, killing off most of the occupants and routing the remainder, effectively removing the second Kabalite squad from play entirely.
“Mekz! We GOTS to get us one of da hover boats!”
It was at this point that the Nemesis made his play of the match. Because the Raiders are hovering vehicles or skimmers, they can happily ignore terrain obstacles, such as the main depot sandbag walls, and 3″ high back wall of the compound. With a mighty swoosh, he sailed it clear over my fortifications and then unloaded his close combat Wytches and Homunculi directly into combat with my Warboss and Nobz squad. Pretty hairy stuff! The hand-to-hand got quite ugly – the close combat Dark Eldar get all sorts of buffs involving ‘pain tokens’, exotic weapons and combat drugs, bringing them comfortably up to par with the typically close-combat strong Ork Nobz and Boss, and he had more numbers. To be frank, I was losing badly, and in a move born of desperation and theatrics, I decide to pile the Battlewagon in over the back of the depot.
Desperation ruled, and I didn’t care if I wrecked the truck driving it off the cliff, as long some close combat Boyz stumbled out of the wreckage and into the brawl, reinforcing the Warboss. As it happened, the truck came up short, but close enough that the Boyz could try a ‘Waaargh!’ – a special Ork rule where by once per game, you can make all the Orks charge an extra D6″ in their assaulting phase. I lucked out with a six and they all leapt out of the truck, over the edge of a cliff and onto the startled Wytches from above. It was awesome. Big damned heroes!
Now able to absorb incoming melee damage into a 20-strong squad of axe wielding maniacs, the tables turned and the Wytches and Homunculi started to evaporate. It was at that point, with two turns remaining, that the Nemesis conceded defeat.
At that point, he was technically in the lead. Points are scored for units destroyed or fled and the tally was 1-0 to him at that stage, with my Lootaz gone entirely from the table, while his routed Kabalites still had a turn or two of fleeing before they counted. The other Kabalite squad was down to four or so, and dug in with 16 Shoota Boyz plinking away at their cover – a matter of time only. The Wytches seemed unlikely to survive two more turns of melee, which was purely down to my kamikaze Choppa squad joining; the Warboss squad itself was down to the Boss and one Painboy (A sort of Orky medic – don’t ask…), each with one wound point left – on the edge of extermination. Remaining empty vehicles don’t count for win points. on the other hand, I still had thirty or so good old Boyz, all waiting their turn to pile on in…
We agreed that a Dark Elf win seemed unlikely at that point, and went down the pub instead.
A bold sally, born of narcotic bravado and agony-fueled ecstasy, but there are limits to what can be achieved by the flesh, even under the madness of the Dark Eldar. Faced against a more wholesome kind of madness, the darkness failed. The Orks seemed unconcerned as the straggling remainders of those would-be reavers fled into the shadowy spaces from whence they came. Loud celebratory gunfire and coarse jeering soon faded away as the Orks returned to the grisly business of looting the dead; gathering weapons, gathering strength and gathering themselves for further, endless conquest…
Things I Learned:
Initiative vs Squad Size; I really need to Go First whenever I can. I actually let the Nemesis go first, figuring that he’d move the Raiders out of cover for a clear shot by my Lootaz, but he moved them in further than I thought and building are not nearly as good as I thought. In close combat I suffered a bit too – my low Initiative score means he gets a free first go at whittling my troops down, and reducing my strength severely before I get to retaliate.
I guess the best defence here is simply to have Very Big Squads. Boyz squads go up to 30 models each, which I can use as a buffer to better survive the first round of incoming. This also has the bonus of adding vast numbers of attack dice, (Who cares if you need sixes, if you get to roll 80 dice to do it with?) and also give the Orks a huge boost to morale, preventing them fleeing so much. The Lootaz could really have done with being as big a squad as allowed, because of that.
Beware Skimmers: The Raider flying clear over my defensive line was a bad shock. I probably need to defend the back line better to avoid this being so much trouble in future – my Nobz were all exposed! Transport vehicle options seem a worthwhile investment for both sides in general, allowing greater mobility for slow foot troops, and offering cover while on the move.
On the whole, there isn’t much I’d have done differently though – I won, after-all – but what will be interesting to see, is what the Nemesis has learned and what will happen next time.