Friday, August 3, 2012

BATTLE REPORT: Rumble in the Jungle, Part 2

In the steamy jungles of Germanium Prime there was an old Imperial outpost forgotten decades ago and overgrown with thick tangle vines.  The ruined buildings were home now to night monkeys and swarms of the deadly Godzilla mosquito…

Actually, it would have been cool to use the strange terrain rules, but as this was one of our first goes at 6th ed rules, we kept the complications to a minimum.  The board looked good, just a handful of sparse ruins among large sections of vines and plastic leaves.  The jungle itself was very thick, to the point of being Impassable Terrain – you couldn’t get a model inside it, though they could still hide along the edges of the foliage for cover.  The first turn rolled up as Night Fighting as well, which set an even better scene.  The Dark Eldar’s Orgy of Naughtiness had the first turn, with a unit of warriors set up within ruins and two venom transports slithering among the shadows, one carrying the Archon and his court, the other with five Incubi ready to pounce.  Their objective (one of two large and forgotten tech components, which both sides needed… um... for building the old Cobra weather control device—yeah, that’s it) was planted in a clearing near their edge of the board.  The Alliance for Decency had a predator and razorback positioned (five sternguard inside), neither with much to shoot at, the sniper scouts infiltrated into the ruins that sheltered their objective, and the Autarch and his Eldar jetbikers were hiding behind another ruined wall.  Azimodais, my warlord, chose not to try to steal the initiative, thus the first turn went to the Dark Eldar.

TURN 1: 

Having little on the board and nothing to shoot at, the DE has little to do that first turn.  The warriors hold their position, waiting for targets, and the two venoms snake around and advance toward the Alliance.  Then the treetops shudder and the earth shakes as the Crimson Fist drop pod makes planetfall.  It actually deviates a little bit into their turf, more than I planned, but it slams into the jungle floor and pops its hatches, ten tactical marines and their warlord psyker unload in the smoky fog.  Thanks to the new Snapshots rule my heavy bolter marine can still fire (love that rule—now heavy weapon boys can still be active in the game without giving up their shots).  The tac squad unloads into the DE warriors, who have no cover from this angle, killing a few of them (the pod’s stormbolter joins in too).  The sniper scouts have a missile launcher and he fires a frag at the two warriors he can see, taking a few more warriors out, though the DE stand resolute.  The sternguard’s razorback fires its twin-linked heavy bolters at the inbubi’s venom, though firing through darkness and foliage at a flat-out skimmer gives it a 2+ cover save, thus no effect.  The Autarch and his biker boys vault over the wall, fire at and then assault the Archon’s venom, the laser lance tearing up the small craft and wrecking it.  The DE warlord and his court of freaks unload and prepare for a fight.

TURN 2:  

Under the new reserve rules, each roll is for a 3+ on turns 2 and 3, and then anything left enters on Turn 4 automatically.  (We didn’t look into the Ongoing Reserves stuff yet).  Due to either a communications gap or the other Naughty forces just being too eager to spill blood, all of J’s reserves come in on Turn 2.  This was not as planned, as he still has a Warp Portal yet to activate (and J was pretty pissed).  This also frightens Azi and his men, who feel they are dominating the enemy’s side of the board, until a crowd of wyches led by Lelith come on not far away, along with hulking Clawed Fiend and Beastmaster, a Razorwing Jetfighter and 3 Reaver jetbikes.  The jet glides in silently below the tree canopy and lets go with two dark lances and two monoscythe missiles, nuking my razorback; the sternguard pile out, and once again my shootiest unit is stranded on the wrong side of the board with no targets! (Always happens to them – must be their sucky commander’s fault.)  The Reavers shoot at the predator tank with little effect. 

The warriors unload on the tac squad, the first marine taking 3 hits before dying, the second not as many.  (The shoot the first man in line rule is kinda cool, though marine power armor still takes it well.)  The wyches shoot their splinter pistols with little effect and then the beastmaster and his pet charge (we forgot the new “can’t assault from reserves” rule).  Having not expended his psychic points from the last turn, we decide that it is logical that a psyker can use a psychic shooting attack as Overwatch (again, we’re muddling our way through the new rules).  Azi unleashes Psychic Shriek on the clawed fiend; he rolls 3D6 and subtracts the target’s Ld score (for the mindless beast, a 5) and the difference is wounds with no armor or cover saves (in this case, 4, just enough to do the job).  The eye sockets of Azi’s creepy mask glow green and the air is filled with a terrible scream… and the huge beast falls mid-charge, ears bleeding, his dead body tearing up grass and earth as it continues in a forward drag along the ground.  The thing’s master, hovering on his little goblin glider, is torn to shred as bolters, a flamer, and a heavy bolter all fire overwatch on him.  The incubi, having allowed the Master Blaster team to absorb all the overwatch shots, now jump from their venom and charge.  Normally these guys are marine-death but the dice were against them today.  They sliced and diced with inhuman speed, cutting down only 2 or 3 marines (including my fave power-mace wielding sergeant who didn’t get to swing!).  The marine counterattack kills 4 of the 5 incubi, Azi’s force sword cutting their armor and some tac marines getting good blows in with the blunt ends of their bolters (and bad save rolls on J’s part).

On the other side of the board, the DE Court unleash their ranged attacks, the Medusa’s gaze rotting two elder bikers right on their mounts, and then charge.  The Archon and his freakshow kill another guardian and wound the Autarch with their serrated and poisoned blades, and the Alliance Eldar, now just the Autarch and his Warlock companion, kill two of the Archon’s lackies.  The fight holds at a draw at the end of the DE turn… and continues into the Allies’ turn.  Again the Archon gets the initiative, his deadly huskblade penetrating the Archon’s chest and sucking every drop of moisture from his flesh and bones.  The dried husk of the Autarch falls off his bike still clutching his laser lance.  The Archon then points at the slow-moving Warlock; his remaining court of freaks leap hungrily onto top of their Eldar cousin, knocking him from his bike and tearing him a piece at a time out of his wraithbone breastplate. 

The Sternguard run for cover, firing snapshots at the lightning-fast Razorwing, failing to hit.  The snipers also fire on the jet, a krak missile buzzing past harmlessly.  One sniper round hits and “rends” enough to inflict a hull point of damage.  The predator tank moves into position to unload next turn on the Archon and his minions(who, by the way, consolidated into the jungle for cover). 

Azi, being a psyker of extraordinary skill, casts his enfeeblement curse (a biomancy power) on the wyches while still engaged in combat with the last incubus.  (My understanding is that most psychic powers can be cast in and out of combat, and this power, while not seeming too great at first, proves to be an awesome weapon).  The last incubus slashed the legs out from under one marine and is then crushed under the bulk of the tac squad’s assaulting bodies.  Just yards away, the Crimson Fist’s drop pod is still smouldering and firing its stormbolter into the wyches and sending out a homing signal (has a locator beacon).  Thus when the Assault Squad arrives from reserves their deep strike is perfectly coordinated.  They land in formation next to the on-coming sorority of wyches and unleash their flamer.  The huge gout of flame (along with 4 bolt pistol shots) devours seven of the ten wyches, sending them screaming into the jungle as burning silhouettes.  Lelith, however, is unimpressed.


The Orgy of Naughtiness’s Razorwing screams above the battlefield, streaking past the ruined tower holding the marine snipers and unloading on the exposed side of the predator tank.  The tank’s armor holds, however (can’t remember if it did a hull point of damage or not but I don’t think so).  The now empty incubus venom swoops around the trees and fires on the sternguard squad, but their armor holds as well.  The Archon and his crew stick to the jungle cover, having nothing to face off against but the predator tank.  The DE reavers make a sharp turn and turboboost over the assault marines and tac squad, inflicting vaneblade and exploding caltrop hits on the assault squad.  One jump marine and the sergeant are killed, their heads taken off as the bikes burst through their ranks and then disappear.  (My super-cool, double-lightning-clawed sarge never got to do anything…)  The last two warriors also spray the assault squad with toxic splinters, maybe killing one more, though the powered armor was proving nigh-invulnerable today. 

Lelith and her last 3 wyches charge Azi and his tac squad.  Again, Azi still has a psychic power point unspent and so Overwatches his psychic shriek.  At the same time the marines are firing their weapons, the flamer creating a wall of fire between them and the Eldar.  The trio of wyches never reach the flames, dropping to the ground holding their ears, their minds bleeding out onto the jungle floor.  Lelith’s mind proves too elusive for the psychic attack, and she dodges the bolter rounds and leaps through the flames, somersaulting into the marines.  Now this is where that psychic enfeeble comes into play.  They were too close for the “always count as moving through difficult terrain” part of the curse to matter much, but Lelith’s S and T are both reduced to 2s now.  So even with her 5 bonus attacks on top of her normal attacks, even though her shardnet hair is reducing the attacks of those in contact with her, and despite the fact that her well-placed blades ignore armor, with S2 Lelith needs to roll 6s to wound these T4 marines.  Her blades strike deep under two marine ribcages, ending their lives, but she fails to wound beyond that.  And being at T2, my marines only need 2+ to wound her.  She would be brutalized by the number of hits and wounds on her, both by Azi’s force weapon and the mighty marine fists, but she manages to dodge most of the blows (she takes 2 wounds).  The combat is a draw.

 Marines’ turn.  The landspeeder deep strikes in following the pod’s beacon and fires on the rear end of the Razorwing as it’s streaking by—no hits.  (And that is the extent of the speeder’s role in this battle.  Well worth 50 pts, I’d say...)  The sniper scouts fire on the jet with another lucky sniper hit; no damage done, however.  The predator opens fire with 2 heavy bolters and an autocannon into the leafy green, blowing the Lhamaean to little bits but failing to hurt the Archon, whose shadow field deflected everything that came his way (2+ invuln save until it fails and flickers out).  The sternguard change course (now that the jet has passed over them) and advance toward the venom that shot at them.  With dragonfire rounds (ignore cover, like the jink save) and a combi-melta, they bring down the small skimmer.  (And celebrate that the 25-point-per-model unit actually did something. ‘Bout time!)  The assault squad, out for revenge, leaps over the tac squad’s melee and charges the reaver bikes, shooting down two with bolt pistols and tearing the last one apart manually.  This leaves just the final showdown to continue: Lelith again strikes with unparalleled speed and grace, but in her feeble condition she only manages to kill one marine before they finally overwhelm her (even with 3+ invuln saves in combat, she could only pass so many of them…).

The game had to end at Turn 3: for one thing, both J and myself had to get home, as this game took twice as long as normal due to location changes and looking up rules in a 400+ page book; and because by the end of this turn there was little doubt the Crimson Fists would win the game.  With Lelith’s death, the tactical squad and Azi had a clear run for the DE objective (and being Troops were a scoring unit).  Unless the Archon got past the tank and managed to reach and kill the scouts (and probably the sternguard too), the marine Objective would be safe.  The Jet was the DE’s biggest wildcard, likely causing lots of havoc yet but of little value for scoring other points.  The Rumble in the Jungle concluded and the Alliance for Decency won the day.

MVP:  I like to name a Most Valuable Player for my army (and sometimes a Boobie Prize Winner) and in this battle it was definitely Azimodais, my brain-frying, strength-sapping Librarian and Crimson Fist Warlord. 

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