I'm also conscious of the backlog of games I've played recently that I'd like to feature on the blog and would like to clear the decks before the big weekend. Rather helpfully Warlord Paul has written up a fine report of the game we played at the last Blog Con meet up at the Elvington Air Museum (well worth a visit if you're ever in York!) - you can read it here.
So, onto the next game we played a while ago now, during the Battle at the Farm get together I held at my folks' place up in the Lakes.
After a good full English (and me nearly severely burning my hand by foolishly catching the frying pan full of hot oil I had ready for the fried eggs!) we played through the eponymous Rogue Trader scenario, Battle at the Farm.
Now that we had our eyes in and our dice arms warmed up we were ready for bigger (smaller?) things in the form of a three way game of Space Marine (Epic 2nd edition).
Ollie had brought along his rather fine looking proxy Tau force in the form of the Okami Technocracy Combine from Onslaught Miniatures, Richard took control of the Space Marines from my Executioners Chapter and I commanded my Imperial Guard army.
The scenario was one I pinched from WD172 which contains a handy article by Mark Watts with a list of suggestions designed to provide exciting alternative set-ups fro your Space Marine games. There is a brief introduction to the piece that many Oldhammerers would heartily approve of -
Over the years I have fought many battles of Space Marine with my favourite armies - the Eldar and Imperial Guard. These forces have been fine-tuned to the extent that I can easily tailor them to take on any particular opponent and be fairly confident of victory.
Beyond the occasional upset from a new war machine or unusual tactic (both of which should only be a surprise once!), all my regular opponents and I had become fairly set in our ways. What we needed were some fresh ideas to challenge both our tactics and armies. The following set of scenarios emerged from a series of games we played where we radically altered the set-up conditions. They also provided many more hours of enjoyable and exciting gaming.
So as you can see from the first few pictures our set up wasn't exactly a conventional one. I figured that, as Ollie's Tau seemed somewhat outnumbered, I'd give him some kind of advantage. The Flank Attack scenario seemed to offer just this and it fit with our respective forces. The technologically superior and more mobile Tau had out maneuvered the more static Imperial defense lines.
The game starts with a surprise flank attack on one of the Lucky 7th's artillery positions, while the main Tau force races to cut off the nearby Executioner Space Marines.
The first hurdle however, was working out the army organisation for the Tau - not an easy one when you're flicking up and down army lists on a PDF on a slow lap top! Once the Tau had sorted their lives out we were ready to start.
The advanced deployment of the Tau meant that we were straight into the fight!
|Wait a minute - I didn't think the Tau had Titans! And what are the Eldar doing here?|
Order counters were revealed for Turn one - lots of First Fire for the Tau Titans and artillery as well as the Lucky 7th's guns.
The Executioners move quickly to react to the surprise attack...
... as Tau forces move swiftly into firing positions.
Suddenly the streets of the abandoned settlement are filled with Giant Mecha as the Lucky 7th's Regimental HQ Leviathan is charged! Imperial escort robots compute the threat and react accordingly.
Another nearby manifold of Imperial Robots react to approaching Tau gun drones.
Formed up and ready to go, the Executioners' Land Raider company revs its' engines. Up on the hill, battle lines are drawn up and bolters checked and loaded as the Tactical Marines prepare for the coming onslaught.
With a roar of engines and fluttering of pennants, the Predator company swings round to confront the advancing aliens. Amidst the tumult comes the deep bass rumble of the Super Heavies. A Baneblade crests the hill to bring its battle cannon to bear while a Stormblade moves to counter the threat of the enemy Titans.
Having firmly taken the initiative with their surprise attack, the Tau open up with all they've got. The Titan's weapon systems zero in on the Baneblade and despite its near impenetrable armour, the great war machine is left a smoking ruin by the fusillade.
Continuing the hail of fire, the Titan lays down a barrage of missiles on a nearby Manticore battery, luckily only destroying one of the launchers.
The Guard fire back! The beginning of a long and bitter artillery duel begins between the Tau Titan and the Artillery Company.
Shells rain down on their target, void shields flashing and crackling as they wink out of existence. Yet the Titan shrugs off the fire storm with ease.
Back in the city streets the beleagured Regimental HQ desperately fends off its attackers. Wave after wave of Tau battle suits are raked with bolter and small arms fire, yet more swarm over the giant machine. Inevitably a weak point is found and the stricken Leviathan is rent with explosions. Scant few of the original Tau force are left to relish their victory however.
Once more the Tau heavy support units go onto first fire orders to rain yet more destruction on the Imperial lines.
A valiant counter counter charge by the Predator Company seeks to stem the flood of Tau troops...
Mindlessly obeying their programming the Robots fight to the death, completely outclassed by the towering Tau Battlesuits.
A second unit of Robots advances to meet the threat on the right flank, while the third Robot unit easily crushes the last remaining Tau Gun Drones.
As Death Strike missiles soar overhead, the rest of the right flank erupts in desperate close combat as the Land Raider company charges the advancing Devilfish.
Meanwhile the Tactical Company advances to support...
but is charged by a second unit of Tau Battlesuits! Things look bleak for the Emperor's finest...
Laser cannon swiftly track the missiles streaking overhead and one of the Death Strikes is shot out of the air.
To add to Imperial woes an entire battery of Bombards is destroyed by Tau barrages.
Destruction continues to rain down and the Basilisks are next in line.
Imperial counter fire switches to a softer target and now it is the turn of the Tau artillery to burn!
Having destroyed one of the Tactical Company's sections, the Tau Battlesuits continue to rampage through the ranks of Space Marines.
One section escapes the carnage and advances on the approaching Tau troop carriers, supported by Guard Sentinels.
Sensing that victory is close the Tau General consolidates his position in the city streets among the ruins of the Leviathan.
Too little, too late. Despite the Predators valiant charge, it is not enough to stem the tide of the Tau onslaught.
The wreckage of the last Death Strike missile falls from the sky in a streak of flame and with it fall any Imperial hopes of salvaging a victory.
The Tau turn and recede into the smoke of battle as mysteriously as they appeared...
So all in all a good game and it was great to play a bit of Space Marine! It took us a while to get our heads around the rules for all the different Tau units on Net Epic which did slow the action down a bit. In hindsight, they might have been a bit overpowered too - ironic really as we were worried that the massed Imperial artillery would have been the problem!
In any case, it's certainly whetted my appetite for the big game of Epic we also have planned for the Oldhammer weekend in August.