Saturday, April 3, 2010

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 1)

Opponent: Tien (Tyranids).  A cheerful younger gamer with an eclectic but quite punchy collection of Tyranid models, Tien was fielding a number of very nice conversions in his list, including Giger-esque Ymgarl Stealers, multi-legged kitbashes standing in for Tervigons, and an imposing Broodlord straight out of the Space Hulk game.  This was my first game against the new Tyranids, and I wasn’t sure how well my infantry-heavy Guard army would do, but there’s no better way to learn than to face the chittering horde.

Army: (2000 pts)
  • Hive Tyrant with lots of Psychic Powers
  • Carnifex with all Talons, and Bioplasma
  • Trygon Prime
  • Mawloc
  • Zoanthrope

  • x3 Hive Guard
  • x10 Ymgarl Genestealers
  • x10 Gargoyles
  • 2x Tervigons
  • 2x10 Termagants
  • x15 Hormagaunts
  • x10 Genestealers with Broodlord upgrade
Mission: “Cleanse” – table-quarters deployment, and the first two turns are played with Nightfight rules.  Primary objective: capture quarters (as objectives).  Secondary/Tertiary bonuses: gain the most VPs, and kill the enemy’s most expensive HQ choice.

Terrain: Cityfight.  The table had a lot of low ruins (about eight) scattered about, with two pieces of area ruined terrain as well.  There was one large intact three-story building in my corner, and a large multi-story factory building in Tien’s corner.  (We treated both as area terrain, to make things simpler).  Line-of-sight at ground level was decent, but with plenty of obstructing terrain no matter which direction you looked.

What happened? 
Tien won the roll-off and chose to set-up and move last, giving me choice of corners and the top of the first turn.  I immediately chose the corner with the best LOS – which is to say, I chose to set up in and around the tallest building on the table.  The best way to avoid obstructions at ground level, after all, is to shoot over them.

Knowing that Tien had several units that could outflank or burrow (deepstrike) in, I set up several units of guardsmen as ‘bubblewrap’ in the lower levels of the structure, and also placed several units of ‘bubblewrap’ protecting the rear and flanks of my vehicles, set up to either side of the building.  I had one Executioner on the far left, and the rest of my vehicles towards the middle of my long board edge, all hunkered down in cover and ready for bear.

After a little thought, Tien chose to set up half of his list on his side of the table – with Nightfight rules in effect, he was pretty sure he could rush me fairly successfully before I could get too many shots off.  The Gargoyles, Stealers, Ymgarls, Mawloc and Trygon were kept off the table – the Stealers would outflank, the Ymgarls would pop out from somewhere, and the other three units would be deep-striking.  I was just happy that there were so many units in Reserve, as it meant that there would be fewer targets to start things off.

The Nightfight rules crippled my firepower in the first turn, and even after the bug horde rushed close enough for my units to see them, fewer than half my units had visibility in turn two.  However, what I could see was enough to kill a nearby unit of Termagaunts, and as a result the Tyranids were only able to jump one of my squads of infantry in the bottom of Turn 2.  However, I did have to first deal with a Trygon Prime in my backfield, as it burst from underground and puked over some nearby guardsmen.  Two units of Genestealers had also jumped my left flank, trying to pull down a Hellhound and Executioner – but I had been careful to move all my tanks the previous turn to make that task more difficult.

As it turns out, the Trygon is a Monstrous Creature that is so large, that it has trouble getting a cover save.  As dawn broke on the top of the third turn, I had more than enough firepower to drop the Trygon (in fact, one squad alone did 5 wounds to the beastie), leaving me with plenty of dakka to deal with the Ymgarls and Stealers – and also the Hive Guard brood, and the Gargoyles that had deep-struck nearby, and no less than two units of Termagants.  I was impressed.  Tien was somewhat less cheery, though similarly impressed.

Tien’s Mawloc appeared the following turn in the middle of my infantry ‘castle’ in the large building, after first burying alive most of several nearby squads.  But with few targets left on the table, and at point-blank range to most of my infantry squads, the Mawloc went away almost as quickly as the Trygon had.  The Hive Tyrant, Hormagaunts (who had finally chewed through a surprisingly resilient squad of Guardsmen), and two more units of Termagants also got shredded.

But time was now running out, even though we had played only four turns.  Tien had been burping out Termagant broods all game long, and although he had started with two, and I had destroyed five, he still had five (!!) units of the little beasties, and between them and the two Tervigons still on the table, that was seven units that could contest corners.  He also still had a Zoanthrope and Carnifex left alive, though the latter had managed to eat only one squad of guardsmen in three assault phases (having lost two in a row before finally devouring the last of the annoying little humies – how embarrassing!!).

Yet I had managed to contest only three corners (moving Chimeras with a Lieutenant into two neighboring corners), giving Tien a comfortable 1-objective victory at the bottom of the fourth turn.

Turning the Tables
The foreshortened game is really what did me in – and a good portion of the blame goes to me, for showing up with an army list that I had never played before.  Practice with an army makes games go quicker, and I certainly had more than enough firepower to kill Gaunts and monstrous critters.  By this point in the game, I had lost a *grand total* of two guard squads, and had the range and guns to easily drop at least two Monstrous Critters (a wounded Carnie, and a Tervigon), and still wipe out at least two squads of Gaunts.  That, and get in position to contest all four corners… but none of that matters if you run out of time, does it?

In a foreshortened game, it’s a little harder to see what I could have done, although I might have been better off moving the Chimeras earlier, and working on the assumption that I would be playing only four turns instead of five-plus.  The Imperial Guard certainly demonstrated that they could badly hurt an opponent in the shooting phase, but given the mission objectives, anything short of a complete tabling (and that seems unlikely given that for the first two turns, I basically wasn’t shooting) isn’t going to do well against a much more mobile opponent.

Ah well.  I think the lesson I learned here is to play tournament games as if they are a four-plus turn game, instead of a five-plus turn game.  Tien definitely kept his eyes on the mission objective, burping out as many Termagaunt broods as possible, and spreading them around the table throughout the game.  If I go into a game with the assumption that I will play only four-plus games, and plan accordingly, I should do better in tournament settings.

No comments:

Post a Comment