Where is Part 1, you ask?? This four-part campaign is being posted over two blogs, mine here at BrinksChoasTheory.blogspot.com and over at CreativeTwilight.com where blogger Thor has graciously invited me to guest-blog a bit over there.
In the first blog entry I described my idea for running a multi-battle campaign. Now we get into the Hyperion Campaign itself. Please keep in mind that I wrote this more than a year before 6th edition came out. I’ve done my best to adapt it but am not all that familiar with 6th ed yet.
Episode I: The Icarus Platform
He who controls this orbital facility will dominate planetfall and the surface.
The Board: This is the interior of a space station in disrepair, which is difficult to portray. It should be somewhat of a cityscape, though may also have large high-ceilinged chambers and distribution bays.
Deployment: One HQ and two Troops within 12” of your board edge. If any of them can infiltrate, scout, or outflank, feel free. All other units (save the Advanced Party) are in Reserve, even other infiltrator units.
Units: As this is a quick insertion on a relatively small orbital facility, the only vehicles allowed are Walkers and no units classified as Flyers or Flying Monstrous Creatures, as there isn’t enough room inside the station for them to maneuver without hitting a bulkhead. Nor can there be any Artillery units deployed on this mission. (“You want to blast us out of orbit?”) All other unit types are acceptable.
First Turn: Roll off to see who deploys and plays first. After deployment but before the first turn, the opposing player may try to Steal the Initiative, succeeding on a 6.
Objectives: Roll D3+2 objectives and take turns placing them on the board with at least 12” between each. These represent control nodes and each are worth 3 Victory Points. Mysterious Objectives apply but treat Skyfire Nexus as Nothing of Note, since there are no Flyers inside the station. Secondary Objectives Slay the Warlord, First Blood, and Linebreaker also apply for 1 Victory Point each.
Victory: The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins. At the end of turn 5 roll for a turn 6, and then for a turn 7 (variable game length rules).
Advanced Party: A fourth unit (in addition to the HQ and two Troops) may Infiltrate at deployment, having been sent ahead of all others to secure a beach head onboard. They need not have the Infiltrate ability, but do now.
Boarding Parties: Due to the lightning-fast nature of such an operation, Fast Attack choices count as scoring units for this battle.
The Dark Side: The platform begins play on the dark side of the planet Hyperion. Turn One uses the Night Fighting rules. At the beginning of each game turn thereafter, roll a die. If the current turn number or lower is rolled (1 or 2 on turn 2; 1, 2, or 3 on turn 3; etc.) the platform has rolled onto the bright side of the planet and Night Fighting ends.
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Episode I was the only piece of this campaign puzzle that Ben and I got to play before I was ordered to move to hot-ass
Texas. As described in the blog entry at Creative Twilight, we played my Crimson Fists against his Dark Eldar. In a very quick narrative, it went something like this:
After Action Report, Icarus Station:
The Fists were lead by Captains Diomedes and Maverick, the assault master and pistolier, respectively; superheroes extraordinaire. They were not privy to the Dark Eldar’s presence on the station, and so deployed slowly. The biker squad they brought along, thinking the station was empty, especially took their damn time (didn’t arrive from reserve until turn 5); they, along with their shuttle pilot, decided to get drunk instead and so showed up late to the party. Too late to be much help, as it turned out. Captain Dio must have been drunk too because he never managed to hit with more than one of his four attacks at a time... Anyway, as the marines deployed into the dark orbital platform (night fighting in effect) they heard a terrible bellow: The DE’s unit of grotesques went berserk in the first turn, killing a few of their own warriors before imploding on themselves. At least the dice gods were scorning both of us equally all game, though the marines had a terrible time of it all...
I deployed Captain Maverick’s command squad, sniper scouts with Chiron (Sgt Telion), and my tactical squad, which split into combat squads: the plasma cannon taking up a rear firing position while the sarge and flamer went mobile. My sternguard were my advanced party, deploying behind an impassable wall which they would spend 3 turns dancing around until finally half of them would squeeze off a few rounds just before the whole squad would get liquidated by a haemonc just as they’re about to get some action. The 5-man tac team would get jumped and butchered by summersaulting Incubi, who charged, beheaded them, and then jumped back behind some warriors before the marines could even swing back. Never in the game did I get a charge off – the DEs were always on top of me first, robbing me of my charge. I did win combat a couple times and routed them, but they rallied and came back before I could follow-up. The only unit I could have charged was some warriors who I instead accidentally wiped out with pistol fire on the way in, so no charge. In fact, Maverick’s famous two-pistol bravado never once fired (see this blog entry to get the skinny on this character), and Dio’s jump squad moved their 12” from reserve and later made a 3” consolidation move, but that was it for movement on my jump squad. You see, I had failed to prepare myself for DE warp portals – in the first turn they were set and opened and from there any chance at thinning them out at range went out the window. The night fighting did disappear after the first turn, but it didn’t matter much.
Chiron, the super-sniper-scout, did make use of his special ability to allocate his own shots, taking bits out of an opera singer heamoculus (great converted model, wish i had a picture). My devastator squad fired their heavy weapons plenty once they came in but their fire wasn’t that helpful in the end. Two reaver jetbike squads twice bladevaned the plasma cannon detachment, who were then killed by wyches. And that damn biker squad... You see, they were all enjoying a beer in the boarding craft on the way over (remember we thought the station empty), including their pilot. They docked at the wrong port and only one marine bike at a time would fit through the airlock. So 6 half-drunk bikers pushed 5 big-ass bikes one at a time onto the station, thus they didn’t show up until turn 5. They did, at least, take part in the vengeance rounds (5 and 6) at the end of the game, during which they, the Devs, and the scouts all fired what they had at the Haemonc and 3 grotesques that liquidated the sternguard squad. The bikers in turn 6 charged toward the Grotes, did a quick spin-out and eliminated one of the reaver squads. But at that point there was no saving the game—Dark Eldar controlled 3 of the 4 objectives, all along the mid axis and I couldn’t contest enough to prevent their victory. So I just killed as much as I could (the “vengeance rounds”).
But I skipped over the best part. The real battle was on the other side of the board, where I felt like I was being slaughtered, but I guess Ben did too. It was my two HQs and their mean close combat marines versus a hell of a lot of dark eldar. The dice favored no one, else it might have ended sooner. Two captains, a fancy command squad, and 7 assault marines fought incubi, warriors, wyches, a haemonc, and a huge hellion squad led by the hellion super-HQ. (Wow, I guess my boys did do pretty well after all!) The marines all died in the end but they took quite a few xenos with them and lasted till turn 6. As usual with our games, there was a huge dog pile on one spot of the board where the blood got ankle deep.
So in the end I had only the devastators, bikers, and scouts left, and no objectives. Had we been playing killpoints it would have been a very close game, i might have even taken it, but the eldar had firm control of the station’s command nodes. The Icarus Platform went to the Rancid Blade.
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I wrote that right afterward, and must have been both tired and disappointed – the tone was kinda harsh, doncha think?
So after the Platform is taken by one player, the fight goes down to the surface of planet Hyperion. Tune in this weekend at Creative Twilight for the next episode of the campaign...