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The Blood Deserts of Auros IX
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The Blood Deserts of Auros IX: Battle Summaries (Battle #15)
We've included this section for those of you who might be curious as to how the the games and the campaign actually played out. For the sake of brevity, we're presenting summaries of the battles instead of turn-by-turn transcripts. Remember that each army's goal is to secure five objectives. 

Battle #15: Entrapment (2000 points per side)
The front hatches of the newly-commissioned White Tiger II silently opened and at first all Talwar Chakram, Tiger of Varuna, could see in the darkness were scores of red eyes. Then the autolenses in her helmet amplified the available starlight of Auros IX’s pre-dawn and she saw the enemy clearly: ill-formed rows of verminous Gretchin--and behind them, dozens of brutish Shoota Boyz. The Orkoids roared in defiance, but Talwar ignored them. Mere noise, she told herself. Nothing but the posturing of cornered animals. She raised aloft the Sacred Hide that Shiva himself had made and the slaughter began. 

To her left, two squads of Tigers of Rudra dismounted from their Maneaters and attacked with flame and bolter rounds. To her right, the Tigers of Puchan opened fire, Scout Kazi handling the autocannon with ease. He will make a fine Tiger of Rudra, she thought to herself, provided he lives. Behind her, the Tigers of Indra in their Terminator armor stepped out of the Land Raider Crusader, paying no attention to the veritable storm erupting from White Tiger II’s Hurricane bolters. In front of her, the seeming wall of Orks and Gretchin was literally exploding in a shower of black ichor that spattered against Talwar’s brown and white Terminator armor. 

“Cease fire!” she ordered. A few dazed Orkoids still stood. Talwar could clearly see the base of the crude radio mast that the Orks had built out of scrap and parts cannibalized from a captured Fighting Tiger Rhino. She glanced back at Kshatriya Malgudi, the Terminator Sergeant, who nodded. As one, Talwar and the other Terminators charged into what was left of the Orks. 

Over the clash of arms and the shrieks of the dying Orks came a horrible snorting sound. Lurching out of the shadows behind the base of the radio mast came an Ork Killer Kan—and then another. And then another. Following them was an Ork Dreadnought, its armor painted white. 

A trap, Talwar thought to herself. And we have stepped into it. Keeping her eyes on the great mechanical beasts, she gave the orders calmly. “Tigers of Rudra, fall back to your transports. Remember your role. The objective is all. Tigers of Indra, stay behind me.” Her grip tightened on the haft of her crozius arcanum. Her weapon was powerful enough to smash through almost any armor. But not the armor on these monsters.

The Ork walkers were upon them. Talwar thought she could hear the white one laughing. Noise, she told herself. Only noise.

Let's dance, greenskin!FOOOOP! Termie with heavy flamer
Left: Talwar Chakram, Tiger of Varuna. Right: Terminator with heavy flamer

WHAT WE DID DIFFERENTLY: Alternate scenarios like “Midnight at the Oasis” and “Blitz” are all well and good, but I wanted to get back to the original missions Pat and I had chosen at the beginning of the campaign. I had regained the initiative by winning Battle #14 (The Need for Speed) and I wanted to catch up quickly in the race to reach five objectives, as Pat was leading 3 to 2. My choices were “Sabotage,” “Assassins,” and “Take and Hold.” Of the three, “Take and Hold” seemed the easiest.

Of course, because Pat and I had already run this mission before, we weren’t content to just do the same thing. In this battle we experimented with:

  • a redefined objective
  • new mission rules 
  • Sho-T Bighed's new suit of mega-armor
  • new Fighting Tiger Scouts
  • White Tiger II—a Land Raider Crusader
Redefined objective:The original objective for this mission was to “Destroy Ork Munitions”; the notes for it said that the Space Marines would “attack [the] largest Ork ammunition factory on Auros IX.” A good original concept, but when we played it in Battle #7 (Disarmament), the terrain piece we used for the factory building was so large that it was quite easy for units to get next to it and claim it. At the end of Battle #7, we had effectively tied, so to break the tie we rolled a die and Pat won. 

To prevent that from happening again, I suggested we make some adjustments to this mission and “Sabotage.” The objective for this mission would become “Destroy Ork Communications” and the terrain piece used would be a radio mast (much smaller than the factory piece). The objective for “Sabotage” would become “Destroy Ork Munitions” and the terrain piece used would be the factory we had used in Battle #7 (which will make “Sabotage” easier for both of us if we ever replay it).

New mission rules: A while back, Lee Loftis over at the Millenium Gate had a number of excellent suggestions in his“The Same, But Different!” article about ways to add some variety to well-worn missions. Reading over Lee's suggestions for “Take and Hold,” Pat and I decided to use #1 (Place the objective as normal, but scatter it 1, 2, or even 3d6") and #5(Use the Night Fight rules).Because we had used Night Fighting before (Battle #8), we altered that suggestion and assumed that this time the attack was at dawn, limiting the Night Fighting to the first turn.

Sho-T's new armor: Previously in this campaign, Sho-T ran around in 'eavy armor while his Nobz wore mega-armor. In a fight, he wasn't the guy to worry about—I always concentrated on killing the Nobz (and taking out their power claws) rather than sweating Sho-T. While that crafty tactic drew hostile attention away from Sho-T, Pat decided that it wasn't very “fluffy”: everyone knows that the Warboss should be the biggest and baddest at everything! So Pat bought a new figure for Sho-T and is using the old Sho-T figure for Speedo the Big Mek. Ironically, Speedo used to have mega-armor—perhaps he lost it to Sho-T in a bet, maybe after Battle #14 (“Speedo, I’ll bet ya yer armor dat yoo can’t bust troo da Tigerz’ lines….”). 

New Fighting Tiger Scouts: Recent games have convinced me I could use some mobile Scout units. In addition, I recently received a bunch of free I-Kore miniatures that would make excellent Scouts, so I used this battle to test them out. 

White Tiger II: I also wanted to take my Land Raider Crusader for a test drive. This mission seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out.

So what happened?
 
Premise: The Fighting Tigers again attempt to destroy the Orks’ communications capability. This battle was fought using the “Take and Hold” mission from page 145 of the main rulebook.
Tiger Strategy: Converge several units (two Tactical Squads in Rhinos, Terminators in the Land Raider Crusader, three Land Speeders, Scouts, Bikes and Attack Bikes) on radio mast, killing defenders and securing objective before counterattacking Orks can dislodge Tigers.
Ork Strategy: Stall Tigers with Gretchin, Shoota Boyz, a Looted Basilisk, three Killer Kans and R2Ork2 until Trukk Boyz, ‘Ard Boyz (in a Battlewagon) and Sho-T BigHed can finish off the Tigers and retake the radio mast.
Play of the Game: On Turn One, my force butchers Pat’s Gretchin and Shoota Boyz. The objective is ripe for the taking—so long as I can negate the Killer Kans. All three Land Speeders (with multimeltas) move in to fire—and the Killer Kans are about an inch out of sight (because of the Night Fighting rule). The Kans go untouched and, in Pat’s turn, crush my Terminators. Though I eventually negated the Kans and R2Ork2, dealing with them diverted so much of my firepower that I was in no position to stop the Ork reinforcements.
Winner: Orks. By literally an inch!
How the Orks won: Pat’s reserve forces were fast and damn hard (Sho-T and his mega-armored Nobz in a Trukk, 20 ‘Ard Boyz in a Battlewagon). They got to the fight quick and--like the Kans and R2Ork2, packed a mean punch. 
How the Tigers lost: For want of a searchlight, the battle was lost. I rolled a 3 on 2d6 to determine how far the Land Speeders could see: 9", and the Killer Kans were only 10" away. By all rights I should have gotten at least two penetrating hits on the Kans, hopefully crippling them. As it was, the three Kans and R2Ork2 pounced on my Terminators (deploying from the Land Raider Crusader) and smacked them around. The new 5+ invulnerable saves helped but they couldn't stop the inevitable. 

I had a chance of winning later in the game after I lured the Ork Dreads away from the objective and my Tactical Marines surrounded it. Simultaneously, I was delaying the Ork reinforcements. Had the game ended on Turn 4 (as many of our contests using Random Game Length have) I would have won. Had the game ended on Turn 5, I probably would have won. But by Turn 6 my poor Tac Squads were no more, wiped out by the Orks. 

Objectives Secured: Orks 3, Tigers 2.

POST-GAME ANALYSIS: Here’s what we concluded about the new elements.

Re-defined objective: A smaller objective was definitely better—although had the game ended after Turn 5, it could have wound up in a tie (like Battle #7) because we had about the same number of guys around the objective. Unfortunately for me, the game went on an extra turn, whereupon Sho-T and his Nobz settled the matter by wiping out my Marines.

New mission rules: These were a lot of fun and definitely made the game more interesting. At the beginning of the game, we placed the radio mast in the exact center of the board and then rolled 2d6 to see how far it would move: 9" directly toward my table edge. Hoohaw! Poor Pat was almost ready to concede the game after Turn 1, when my transports zoomed up to his Gretchin and Shoota Boyz, my Tigers fried them with flamers, blasted them with bolters, then assaulted the rest. 

The Night Fighting rule was okay, too: we both agreed that using it only on the first turn kept it from becoming tedious. I hadn't planned on it, and ultimately, it cost me the game. I need to add some searchlights to as many vehicles as can have them. You just never know when you’ll need them. 

Sho-T’s new clothes: As I mentioned, I never sweated Sho-T much before, but now he absolutely rocks! He and his seven Nobz were unstoppable. In addition to being a lot tougher, Sho-T also packs a Kustom Shoota and has a mega-boosta to compensate for his armor’s bulkiness. Definitely the “burliest Ork about!”

New Fighting Tiger Scouts: I had two 5-strong squads: one “Assault” Scout Squad with close combat weapons and bolt pistols, and one “Tactical” Scout Squad with boltguns and an autocannon. Pat and I were very impressed with how they performed, and eventually I'll fill them out to 10 members each.

beedeebeedeebeedeebee: Yer f****d, Space Marine!The “Assault” Scouts were originally supposed to run up and claim the objective while no one was looking. That plan changed when I failed to destroy the Ork Dreads straight away. Faced with R2Ork2 (right), and realizing there was no way my Scouts were going to get past him, I sacrificed them to keep him away from the objective. Yes, yes, I know, there is no such thing as an expendable Space Marine—not even a Scout. But those Scouts almost won me the game. 

After the Ork Dreads had flattened my Termies, the Killer Kans went chasing after the Land Raider Crusader and R2Ork2 went after some Attack Bikes—leaving the objective unguarded. My “Assault” Scouts took on R2Ork2 and kept him tied up for 3 turns. Though they couldn’t hurt R2Ork2, they refused to break (thanks to the Veteran Scout Sergeant’s Leadership of 9). This allowed my Tactical Marines to reach the objective without getting mauled. All for 103 points.

The “Tactical” Scouts were even better. My lord, did that autocannon put the fear of All Things Stripey into Pat! Using the Infiltration rule, I deployed them 18" from the nearest Orks and let ‘em rip. While Pat managed to knock out three of the Scouts with a lucky shot from his Looted Basilisk, the other two hung on until the very end of the game. The autocannon brought down one Killer Kan and emasculated the other two, blowing off their power claws. Pat also tossed quite a bit of firepower from his Battlewagon at them, to no avail. Good job, newbies! 

White Tiger II: I experienced firsthand how sickening Land Raider Crusaders are when I faced two (in a Black Templar army) at a recent tournament.Having tried it out, I love this vehicle. In the first turn, I moved 12", dropped Talwar Chakram (my Chaplain in Termie armor) and five Termies (one with assault cannon, one with heavy flamer) right in front of  the Orks defending the radio mast, then leveled those greenskins with 12 shots (re-rolling misses) from the Hurricane bolters AND three shots (re-rolling misses) from the assault cannons (fired at BS 2 by the tank’s machine spirit). In the next round, my LRC moved 6", fired its multi-melta and used the machine spirit to fire the assault cannons again, this time pasting Pat's Looted Basilisk. Man, was he one unhappy camper!

As I’ve mentioned, I’m fond of creating distractions, as it’s usually easier to distract the enemy than it is to destroy them. Well, the LRC is an enormous distraction. After the Killer Kans and R2Ork2 wiped out my Terminators, they could have (probably even should have) backed up and parked on the objective. Of course, that would have left my LRC free to blast them to bits. So the Killer Kans moved away from the objective, chasing after my LRC. While they did manage to catch and destroy it (lucky so-and-so’s), they were so far away that both my Tactical Squads were able to surround the objective and park their Rhinos so as to block the Kans and R2Ork2 from reaching them. If Pat’s reinforcements hadn’t arrived in time, or had the game ended early, I would have won. 
 
 
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The Blood Deserts of Auros IX
Intro <> 2 Player Rules <> Multiplayer Rules <> Alternate Scenario <> Battle Summaries




Related Pages
Fighting Tigers Glossary and Pronunciation Guide

 Posted March 2001
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle