Saturday, 6 August 2016

Test Game for Custom Mission

Test Game: Take the Walls [Custom Mission]

One of the things we want to do is play out an attacking force breaching a city, and fighting their way into it (hopefully). Since there isn't a mission which lays out how to do this, we are trying to figure out what point totals, special rules and/or other things need to be addressed.

In this mission, the attacker is trying to force a breach in the defender's city walls. Even though the Imperium is the attacker for the Damaocles Gulf Crusade, we figured it didn't matter who attacked and defended, since we are trying to figure out how to make the mission work, for all armies.

So the Marines defended for our test game, and things did not go so well for the attackers. Since both sides had 2000 points, trying to force a breach in a line of Marines who are dug in a defensive position and don't have to move was a difficult proposition, as you will see.


Ultramarines

10th Company Task Force: 3 Scout squads with sniper rifles

Armoured Task Force: Techmarine, 3 Predators

Combined Arms Detachment: Sgt Telion (Warlord), Chaplain Cassius
          4 Tactical Marine Squads w/ Missile Launcher, Rhino

Tau Empire

Hunter Cadre
XV8 Commander w/ 2 Plasma Rifles, Onager Gauntlet, Jammer (Warlord)
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, 3 Strike Teams w/ Devilfish, Longstrike Ion Hammerhead
10 Pathfinders, 4 Piranhas w/ Seeker Missiles

Armoured Interdiction Cadre
3 Railgun Hammerheads, Skyray

Setup

The Marines man the wall, minefields and tank traps block the advance.
There are 3 objectives. One is in the center of the gate, and the other two are on either flank right behind the buildings. Taking any one of these objectives indicates the Attacker has gained a foothold on the wall. The Defender must hold all three objectives to win the game.

So, each 6"x6" building is a large building, holds up to 30 models, and has 5 hull points. None of the building have an access point or fire point facing the enemy, though each building does have a roof access point. Being on the roof always gives a 4+ Cover Save regardless of 25% obscurment. Ground vehicles treat the buildings as Impassable, though Skimmers do not.

Here, the Marines have Combat Squaded, and have a nice 20 man rapid reaction force able to respond to wherever the Tau try to force a breach.

For their part, the Tau have deployed a little farther back than the 24" line from the wall, but the Marine Missile Launchers and Autocannons can still reach them.

For this game, we rolled to see who goes first and the Marines won. In the future, the Attacker will go first, as they have to launch an attack before the Defender can respond to it.

Turn 1 Marine

Not having to move, the Ultramarines open fire with their three missile launchers in the combat squads, and three autocannons on the Predators, and the conversion beamer on the Techmarine. The Marines down one Piranha with the long range shooting.

Turn 1 Tau

The Tau realize they need to try to soften up the line somewhere before they try to advance, so they focus on the center of the Marine force, where 3 Predators and 3 Dreads guard the gate into the city. 
The Pathfinders markerlight the dread on the left, and call in some seeker missiles, which make short work of the Dread, Ignoring Cover.
Longstrike overcharges his Ion cannon and fires a blast targeting the Dread in the center of the gate, stripping a hull point off 2 Predators.
The Armoured Interdiction Cadre (AIC) declares the center Dread as the point for their Predictive Targeting Matrix (PTM) and fire 3 railgun shots into the left side Predator. Two shots fail to damage, and the third penetrating hit is saved by the barricade.

Predators, Dreadnoughts and Heroes prepare to hold the gate at all costs.

Seeker Missiles do their work.

The Ultramarines mourn the loss of an entombed Brother.


Turn 2 Marine

Missile Launchers, Autocannons and a conversion beamer stab out from the walls again, this time targeting the Railgun Hammerheads and a Piranha, no damage being inflicted this time. The Marines can do nothing else until the Tau begin their attack in earnest.

Long range firepower crisscrosses the field.

Turn 2 Tau

The Tau realize that if they are to achieve a breach in the city walls in the time allotted, they need to begin advancing. The Riptide, Longstrike and the AIC all pour firepower into the gate with Overcharged Ion Cannon blasts, Hammerhead shots and a few more Seeker Missiles. The heavy cover provided by the gate defence barricades sees little damage inflicted. 2 more hull points are stripped off 2 different vehicles. The Tau application of firepower plan is being thwarted by the heavy cover, which is stopping more than its fair share of damage!

Also, a slight error was committed this turn. Deep Strike was disallowed behind the wall, but the Tau sneakily still did it anyway, and since the Commander didn't scatter, was placed with nice line of sight to Sergeant Telion, and cut him down with a volley of plasma fire that he shouldn't have been able to shoot.
The Tau begin their advance, though they have inflicted minimal damage to the Ultramarines.

Turn 3 Marine

The 10th Company combine their firepower with the two surviving Dreadnoughts on the Riptide, and manage to find 3 weak spots in its armour thanks to Rending.
The missile launchers combine fire at a Hammerhead, stripping one hull point and making it Jink.
The Predators down another Piranha with Autocannons and Heavy Bolters.
The 20 Marines behind the wall unleash a hail of bolter fire at the Commander, dealing him 3 wounds.

The Tau Commander is feeling a little lonely. Maybe he should be outside the wall, where he's supposed to be.

20 Ultramarines raise their bolters and take aim. T5 2+ Armour, will it be enough?


Turn 3 Tau

The whole Tau line advanced
The Commander targeted Cassius, dealing 3 Plasma wounds, which Cassius promptly ignored with 2 Invul Saves and a Feel No Pain.
The three Devilfish grouped and targeted the right most unit of Ultras, wiping them out, with markerlight assistance from the Pathfinders, who were Pinned.
The Riptide, Longstrike and the AIC all poured another fusillade of firepower into the gate, doing another 2 Hull Points worth of damage, but not actually killing any of the vehicles defending the gate.
The Piranhas tried to Fusion Blaster the Dread right in front of them, but were just out of range. They knew they would be Jinking very soon.

The Tau line grinds forward slowly.

Turn 4 Marine

The 10th Company finish off the Riptide.
The left Dread downs a Piranha, as does the center Dread.
The Missiles and Autocannons make 2 Hammerheads Jink and strip 2 Hull Points while Immobilizing the Hammerhead.
10 Marines gun down the Commander.
Cassius points to the gap in the line, ordering the reserve force to man the wall.

The Marine line holding strong, though a gap has opened up on the far right. 20 Marines stand ready to fill it though.


10 Marines manage to bolter down the Commander. That'll teach him to cheat!!

Turn 4 Tau

The 3 Devilfish again grouped, killing 3 of 5 Marines right in front of them.
24 Fire Warriors poured pulse rifle shots into the Scouts on the left of the gate, killing 8. The two survivors fll back off the wall.
Longstrike and the AIC again pounded the Dread guarding the gate, and again could not get past the cover.

Two survivors fall back from the wall, spattered in the blood of their fallen Brothers. 
Fire Warrior Strike Teams disembark at the tank traps, ready to try to force their way onto the wall.

The view from the wreckage of a Piranha. The Ultramarine position stands strong.

One Devilfish preparing to pop up and over the wall.
At this point, Tau Command realized that it would be a fruitless waste of lives to try to force a breach at this point considering the strength of the defenses still. The attack was called off, Fire Warriors embarking quickly in their transports and withdrawing.


Summary

Even though it was called at the end of turn 4, some valuable lessons were learned.

1. Having the entire force defending at the start of the game is pretty powerful. Either some units needs to be in reserve, or the attacker needs more points. 

2. The hills terrain was setup 24" from the walls, to represent the kill ground that would encircle a city that was being actively defended. Covering that 24" is very hard in the face of an equal sized defending force.

3. We had disallowed Deep Striking / Outflanking / Infiltrating behind the wall, because the whole point of the scenario is to see if the Attacking force gain force a breach in the city defenses. Maybe we should just allow everything. But a Drop Pod Marine army would then just drop behind the wall, completely negating the narrative of the scenario.

4. Designing balanced missions is harder than it looks!

Anyway, we'll be making some adjustments and trying this mission again. 

Until next time, happy gaming!

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