“The Eldar struck just before dawn, appearing as if from nowhere in vast numbers. Before the local PDF could respond they had seized the Fortress of Redemption and the local mining complex. As fate would have it, the local garrison had just received shipment of a new complement of anti-aircraft guns from the nearby Squat refugee settlement.
A handful of Squats were still just outside the city gates preparing for departure, as the alarms went off, slowly they turned their ponderous vehicles about and prepared to engage the Eldar Raiders alongside the humans.
For hours the war raged. Casualties were horrendous on both sides. A graceful Eldar knight was brought to its knees, its spiritstone shattered by precision bombardment. A massive mushroom cloud heralded the launch of Squat rad bombs, and gave the orbiting defence platforms a target to fire at.
The mighty Avatar of Khaine himself was seen stalking the battlefield, wrecking tanks and troops alike until he was banished by the stalwart defenders. Two more Wraithknight stalked towards the Imperial lines, the Guard massed their fire, but could not fell the mighty spirit walkers. Defeat seemed inevitable…
Then, as suddenly as the attack started, the Eldar were gone. Whatever their purpose had been in attacking the city, no one can say, certainly they had taken nothing, and left carnage, but it is not the Eldar way to waste lives. No one had reported sightings of the Dark Eldar leaders, and several Squat mining teams had not appeared for their assigned duties. Were the two events connected?
What was the Eldar’s mysterious objective?
Was this all part of some larger plan as yet unclear to the Imperium?
These questions loomed large as the Squats and Humans counted their dead….”
A couple of months ago a few of us were talking about large 40K games, it’s not that often we got to use most of our collections, so striking while the iron was hot I decided to try to get something organised.
Gaz and Sam would provide the unified Eldar, while Jon and took the role of the PDF and their unlikely Squat allies! (For those interested, Jon’s homebrew Squatdex can be found on the Resources Page).
The plan was simple, spend a day playing 40K! We’d opted for 15K per side, this meant that all of us could use large proportions of our individual armies (in Sam’s case it would be the largest force he’d commanded to date!)
The split was as follows, Gaz 10K Eldar and Harlequins, Sam 5K Dark Eldar, Jon 6K of Squats and I’d be bringing 9K of Imperial Guard.
Mission wise we gave it a lot of thought in advance. We wanted to avoid a gun line (a static IG army is a scary thing!) As such we opted to use tactical objectives. The would be two sets of numbers objectives meaning that take and hold was more practical, especially on a 6’ by 12’ board, as a bonus we decided that if you managed to capture both the numbers objectives you’d gain D3 rather than the standard 1VP. First Blood would not be used as in a game this size it would effectively be a free VP to the side that went first. In addition to the tactical objectives we had 3 static objectives, one in the centre of each set of board, the team that held them at the end of each even numbered turn would gain 3VP’s per objective, this would ensure a good fight was to be had!
For the terrain we wanted to have as much as possible, we’re all believers in the phrase ‘terrain makes the game’. The board was also themed so there were distinct areas, half of one set of boards became the Squat’s mining complex, one board was a ruined city and the centre was hills and open woods to form the transition between the two areas. When we were getting the board ready we realised we had more terrain than we thought and some of the items we’d hoped to use just wouldn’t fit! (Next time, next time!!)
For deployment we wanted to try something different in the form of hidden deployment, to avoid it taking forever or us having to mark out units on a map we instead hung paper across the centre of the board (which both sides added their own propaganda to…) This worked beautifully and lead to a few shocked looks when the screen came down, especially with 3 Wraithknights stood side by side!
Each player rolled a D6 for first turn with the highest team total taking it, the Eldar scored 7 between them and Jon’s Squats produced a 3 at which point I produced one of my patented dice rolls and rolled 6 giving us the first turn. The Eldar were given the chance to seize, but due to how we’d established first turn there being no deployment advantage as we’d opted for hidden we declared they’d need a double 6 to take the first turn, a 6 and a 5 appeared on the dice leaving the Squat Guard alliance very relieved!
The game saw massive casualties on both sides, the Eldar had the upper hand in most ways, they’re faster, better shots, better in combat and dominant in the psychic phase, the Alliance had numbers!
The Eldar had held a number of units in reserve, what they hadn’t counted on was the Guard Naval Officers making the reserve rolls far more difficult as they needed 6’s rather than the standard 3+.
The downside with games of this size is they take ages to play! In the end we got through 3 full turns and the game ended with 22 Victory Points apiece, a draw felt a fitting way to end!
There were numerous highlights throughout the game including the Wraithknights surviving everything the Guard and Squats could throw at them (damned Feel No Pain!!), the Squat Termites disgorging 2 Exo-Armour Units and a Warrior squad to lay waste to the Seer Council and Eldrad, the Dark Eldar jumping the gun and attacking at night (which made the IG very happy due to the increased cover saves!), the Guard Tank Destroyer being totally obliterated (a 6 on the D chart!) by a Wraithcannon shot (so much for my 2+ cover save! Yay for night fight!!), the Hellhounds roasting the Dark Eldar in their transports and the Alliance AA guns blowing the Eldar flyers out of the sky.
Things I learned:
- Guard Artillery is very scary in large numbers!
- Wraithknigts just don’t die!
- Squats were the Hammer to my Anvil!
- Wraithknights just don’t die!
- Hidden deployment really changes things!
- Wraithknights just don’t die!
- Terrain makes the game!
Gaz’s Lowlights and Highlights:
- Seeing the sheer number of Guard and Tanks
- Jon & Matts first turn of shooting (Ouch!)
- Look of terror in seeing an extra Wraithknight
- Popping the Tank Hunter!
- The groan of despair with the amount of Psychic dice I was generating
- The feeling of pride when Matt and Jon unleased 60% of their army into 1 wraith knight and it still kept coming.
- The Avatar almost taking out the Land Train
- Scraping the last victory point with the death of Jons Squat.
- And the turn where Jon and Matt were shooting each other (the joy of scatter.)
- Tunnelling up under the Seer Council, and mowing them down with small arms fire, then the last surviving squad member taking on the Farseer…
- The Hearthguard popping the Avatar with some precision shooting…
- Missing the assault on the D-Flamer Wraithguard because Matt killed two of my droids earlier on with a missed barrage….
- Starting the game with a mushroom cloud….
- For me it was a great opportunity to test the squats out, and hopefully they are not too cheesy.
- The final turn, when Matt and I were sitting 12 points ahead…and you guys just kept on racking them up to pull the draw, that was epic.
- It sucked that the Eldar reserves were so horrendously screwed. Maybe the Archon and his Incubi were responsible for my miners tunnel collapse? It would explain a lot….
- The giant robot spider ruining the Rangers day was nice,
- But I think the best part has to be the Dark Eldar commander jumping the gun and deciding it would be a great idea to attack at night.
- Highlight of my night actually rolling to wound and killing a squat.
- Low point two Razorwing being smashed out of the sky and my reserves not making the game!
- Also highlight when Matt thought he had killed a unit with a “character” in and was about to score a victory point (now looking back could have put it 23 22) but I don’t take characters in my squad!!! The look disappointment and anger #priceless
Overall an awesome game that was great fun to play, we’ll have to do it again, next time we’ll allow more time!