Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Retrospective: 7 August 2010 Counteroffensive VII (Game 2)

Opponent: Phil (Imperial Guard) was a new player to the 40K hobby, and he and his young son had shown up at Counteroffensive hoping to get in a few games with more experienced players.  While my able colleagues took on the enthusiastic younger gentleman, I faced off against Phil’s mix of Guard units with 1500 points of my “counts-as-Tau” Slann lizardmen.  I removed the two Piranha and one unit of Pathfinders (moving “their” transport to the Fire warriors) to make points, while Phil had the following:
  • Commander with Standard, Astropath, Vox, and Medic
  • 2x Platoon Commanders (one with Vox/Missile/Commissar, one with Plasma Pistol and Vox)
  • 4x IG infantry squads w/Vox (Lascannon, Autocannon, HBolter/Melta, Missile/Plasma)
  • 1x Veterans with 2 Flamers, Heavy Flamer, and Meltabombs
  • 2x Leman Russ MBT (one with HBolter sponsons, one with MMelta sponsons)
  • 6 Ogryn (in Reserve)
  • Marbo (in Reserve)

Mission: Spearhead/Capture & Control (corner deployment and 5 objectives)

Terrain: A generally open table-top with a heavy slope upward in one corner (my deployment area), and a large mesa in the other corner (Phil’s deployment area).  Ruins and woods were scattered around the rest of the table in-between.  One objective was at the base of my sloping rise, another behind the mesa in Phil’s corner, and the remaining three were scatter about in between, in various bits of area terrain and/or cover.

What Happened?
I got to pick corners and deploy first, and chose the big, sloping hill (of course) in order to maximize my LOS and firepower.  I was worried far less about cover, of which the big slope had exactly none.  I set up my one unit of pathfinders behind some ruins to one flank, and deployed my Broadsides and Crisis Suits in the open, the Crisis Suits as far forward as possible so as to get into cover ASAP.  My two units of Fire Warriors stayed in reserve, while the Kroot bands each deployed forward into woods terrain during Infiltration.

Phil deployed his units…behind the big LOS-blocking mesa in his corner.  He did deploy two units in the open, however – his HQ (which he deployed on TOP of the mesa), and a unit of Guardsmen (which he deployed to one flank, in the open).  He also deployed both his tanks, as well as his Ogryn, in reserve.

The colonel, all by himself, looking rather surprised he’s still alive

Naturally, I didn’t look this gift horse in the mouth.  The Colonel’s squad evaporated, although I wasn’t quite able to kill the old man himself.  The unit of infantry next to him also evaporated, and I realized that I was initially actually deployed a little too far away from the Imperial Guard – so used to deploying far back was I that I hadn’t anticipated facing a slow force like Guard that would start out of range!  Happily for me, however, Phil set about to remedy this problem by…moving all of his units forward into the open.

My Kroot immediately jumped a nearby unit of Guardsmen, while my guns annihilated a few more guardsmen, eliminating three more units this turn (for a total of five).  The Guardsmen had managed a few pot-shots with their guns, but even when one of Phil’s tanks and his Ogryn reserved onto the table, they did a grand total of Not Much.  IG bullets and shells veered wildly to one side, missing their targets by a country mile.  Meanwhile, the Tau continued to wreak merry havoc on the poor humans, although the planned “shoot up Ogryn and assault survivors with vicious Kroot” plan managed to fail badly, leading to the Ogryn spending a happy turn or two chasing down and stomping one of my two units of Kroot.

The Ogryn happily chase down a unit of Bright! Orange! fleeing Kroot.  
The “Stealth Suit” is actually a mission objective.

The rest of the battle was pretty much a clean-up action, as the Tau mercilessly hunted down the stragglers, killed the Guard tanks, and took a little damage in the process.  By games’ end, I had a total of three objectives, and had lost one unit of Kroot, and one transport.  Phil was still, tenaciously, holding on to one objective (hiding behind the big mesa), and had just two units left on the table – a unit of Veterans, and his second Leman Russ, which arrived from reserves very late.

Turning the Tables:
The Guardsmen made a number of very odd decisions starting in the deployment phase, each of which made things much harder for them.  For starters, they deployed all their shooty infantry units – out of LOS, behind a big hill.  Then, they deployed their HQ completely in the open.  And then, they spent much of the game running forward, trying to hurt me, rather than setting up in cover and shooting me up lots.

As a result, my Pathfinders were actually somewhat superfluous – there simply weren’t a whole lot of Guardsmen in cover for the markerlights to affect, so they ended up sniping with their Pulse Carbines at nearby units when they came close, instead. 

That said, Phil did do a fair amount of damage to my Crisis Suits, and I lost several of them during the game.  But he was never able to completely wipe out any one squad, and as a result, I still had all my units of suits still bouncing around flinging shots downfield at the end of the game.

 This is kind of a microcosm of how the game went for the two sides. 
 In this picture, it’s the very end of the Tau movement phase.

The Ogryn did manage to do very well, even given how badly my Kroot whiffed, but Phil simply didn’t have anything in his army to back them up and exploit any gains they made.  Instead, the Ogryn wiped out a unit of Kroot, and then stood around in the open as some Crisis Suits moved nearer and blew them away.

Marbo starts looking in the classified section for another line of work.

Phil is a new player, and still learning.  He does have a good core to his list, but needs to work on deployment and playing to the strengths of his army.  He did make (I think) an excellent decision to start his Leman Russ tanks in reserve, rather then letting them get shot by my Broadsides at the very start of the game, but ended up shooting them mostly at targets of opportunity when they entered, and losing the tanks shortly thereafter.  Practice, practice, and he’ll get better, I’m thinking.

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