Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Death on Acanthus II Part 3: A Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse Battle Report

Back to the battlefield!  World Eater Noise Marines & a Thousand Sons Sorcerer to front; Black Legion Rhino to right; Uriah Jacobus & entourage to left.

With pizzas consumed, caffeine ingested and some time out for rambling about politics, it was time for Dave & I to return to the living room for the last chunk of play before calling it a day.  I called Ailsa and told her how much longer I’d be – I don’t think I’d adequately explained how long a game of this size would last, as she seemed surprised to discover things were still far from over.

Turn 4 commenced with another Finest Hour from myself – the last one I could trigger, with the Tzeentchian sorcerer getting a boost.  This was very risky – he’s far my most vulnerable character – but anything to make him more potent would give me a chance to make headway at the upriver flank.  He joined the assault between the Noise Marines and the Sisters, slaying the leader and gunning down the opposition as they broke and ran.  Backed up by the arrival of some Chosen laden with special weapons, they opened fire on anything which was emerging from combat to prevent the complete collapse of my line.

The Sorcerer also spent one of my precious Strategic Victory Points to trigger an orbital barrage, dropping a whopping 15” template (!) on the bridge and annihilating most of the Tau who had formed up around the objective there.  While Dave had more to come up and try to reclaim it, at least I could manage it better now – especially as his Librarian had perished in melee to the Noise Marines there, leaving them free to move up with some heavy firepower.

Finally clear to advance down the bridge.

Down river, Fulgrim had connected with the Terminators and the effect was quite striking.  I spent weeks assembling and painting him but this was his first actual combat… and he ended up making 10 attacks against the Terminator Sergeant, chopping him into tiny pieces.  The Blade of the Laer proved just as deadly as Dave had feared, and he swore again to keep his HQs as far from me as possible.

Standing head & shoulders above the competition.

Unfortunately, back table did not prove as successful.  The Raptors now had both the Marines & Drones to deal with and that combat remained a bitter stalemate.  I had just six models up against nine marines and a half-dozen drones – time was not on my side, my only hope being to force a leadership test and run down those trying to escape.

The never-ending melee

With Dave’s turn, he triggered his own Finest Hour and Penelope De La Fleur, his Canoness who has popped up across our narrative, dove out of her Rhino and led her unit of Celestians towards the Sorcerer & Noise Marines.  Heavy firepower was deployed and the Sorcerers unit was all but eliminated… but the Sorcerer broke free before assault, and one more marine with the unit’s standard somehow survived.

The Black Legion Chosen move up to assist in getting rid of Canoness De La Fleur

Downriver the skimmers and jet packs of the Tau sprung their units through my gap and allowed them to swarm over my back line.  The Rainbow Warriors were wiped out and the bunker objective fell, as those dregs of cultists who were hoping to claim it found themselves annihilated. Similarly the bridge, no longer under the control of penitent engines or sisters, was retaken by Vespids who leapfrogged out of the water and onto the river crossing.

Last stand of the Rainbow Warriors

Saint Celestine perished on my turn as the Land Raider, crippled but not destroyed, open fire as she attempted to slip away from the  bridge and join battle with the weakened units at the forest.  Unfortunately she has a special rule that brings her back to life a second time, so on Dave’s turn she popped back to life and jump packed towards the bunker objective, clearly hoping next turn to take it beyond all reasonable doubt. 

Let she who is without sin pull the first trigger.
You may dimly remember from the first part that Dave kept two units of Kroot in reserve – these finally hit the table, outflanking to the sides and appearing behind my lines.  The bunker objective was now in the gun-sights of one, giving St Celstine covering fire; the other moved towards the forest.

As the turn ends, the real hammer blow was struck.  Those units lingering at the back of the line didn’t fire into my front line…. They instead tried to take pot shots back at the turbine, where the only way to claim the objective was to put my Raptors into visibility.  Enough firepower was expended that the unit was wiped, and Dave still had a single jet pack unit remaining that he could send up to the turbine.  He couldn’t claim it this turn – but he’d denied me my big win to the rear, and kept me out of the running.

The turbine objective, vacant for the taking.

The clock was chiming 20:00 and home time was upon us.  As the last break commenced, Dave had scored the spire and bridge objectives while I only had the forest.  That meant 3 x 2 = 6 more points for him, but only 3 points for me.  I was sitting on 7 points, but he had a rather meaty 16. 

We agreed to meet again the next morning for another turn or two each – Dave’s wife was returning at about 2pm, so that was our deadline to wrap up.  Unfortuantely this meant this would be our last break which gave me some strategic woes – both my remaining Strategic Asset cards were now useless.  (Destroying objectives to deny them to the enemy is less useful when you are where I was at this point.)  The heart, though, remained who could claim those rearmost objectives – worth double points, at break four they would be worth 8 points each and could swing the game either way.

The rock spire objective and surrounding area as of the end of the day.

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