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The Blood Deserts of Auros IX
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The Blood Deserts
of Auros IX: Battle Summaries (Battle #15)
Battle #15: Entrapment
points per side)
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.
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:
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?
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.
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
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