So we decided to play a game over Vassal. But knowing us, we aim for the epic so we wanted this to be part of a campaign.
Anyway, we settled upon having rising point levels and set the first game at 1000 points, deciding on using the Battle Missions book and using the scenario First Contact (pg 82 for anyone who has the book). Let's continue.....
Hive Fleet Wergo (Tyranids)
HQ -260 Points
Hive Tyrant (Wings, two Twin-Linked Deathspitters) ………….260 Points
Elites - 60 Points
Troops – 680 Points
Hormagaunt Brood (20 Hormagaunts w/ Toxin Sacs)……..160 Points
Hormagaunt Brood (20 Hormagaunts w/ Toxin Sacs)……..160 Points
Hormagaunt Brood (20 Hormagaunts w/ Toxin Sacs)……..160 Points
Termagaunt Brood (20 Termagaunts w/ Adrenal Glands) ……110 Points
Warrior Brood (3 Warriors)……90 Points
Total = 1000 Points
So this was my army with which to munch on some Space Marines. I had had a look at the Battle Mission we would be using and made this army reflecting.
It was highly possible that the Space Marines would be split up, so I drafted in three Hormagaunt broods, planning to swarm anything that is isolated and eat it for breakfast.
I was anticipating tanks, probably Rhinos, as the Marines try to rally somewhere, so I brought along the best tank-busting Tyranid around, a Zoanthrope.
The Flyrant is by far my favourite unit on the board, as well as my favourite model in the game, so I had to have one. Kitting him out with two Twin-Linked Deathspitters meant he wasn’t cheap but I trusted he would repay those points tenfold.
With my last 200 points I took some more shooting in the shape of a Termagaunt Brood and 3 warriors in case any of my broods went out of range of my Flyrant or I didn’t want them running with Instinctive Behaviour.
Strike Force Oceles (Space Marines)
HQ -140 Points
Librarian Fardossi (Terminator Armour w/ Storm Shield) ……..40 Points
Elites -450 Points
Terminator Assault Squad “Red Dawn” (5 models, Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield) ….. 200 Points
Sternguard Veteran Squad “Emperor’s Chosen” (7 models, 4 Combi-Flamers, 3 Combi-Meltas w/ Rhino)..245 Points
Troops -410 Points
Tactical Squad Karax (10 models, Flamer, Missile Launcher w/ Rhino) ……205 Points
Tactical Squad Redann (10 models, Flamer, Missile Launcher w/ Rhino) …...205 Points
Total – 995 Points
So this would be my army. And I had a plan. I knew that in the mission I needed to hold objectives, while also possibly having a split army, so I didn’t want any units that needed others to support it.
My main unit, the one that I hoped would do the most damage was my Librarian in Termie armour with a bodygaurd of Assault Terminators.
I wanted these guys on an objective as soon as possible and hoped nothing in the Tyranid army would be able to make them budge.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sternguards and so, after kitting them out with some combi-weapons, hoped that they would be able to adapt to whatever they had thrown at them.
I put them in a Rhino, not so much for them to use, but for me
to use as a metal sheild.
My two Tacticals were kitted out with the weapons to combat any threat and I wanted them to hold their own, so they were both full 10-man squads with a Rhino, meaning they can move and take some punishment as well as giving it out.
We split the board into six and put an objective into the centre of each section.
Then I placed terrain into section 1,2 and 3 while the Tyranids player put terrain into 4,5 and 6. We agreed on using rocks, ruins and hills.
The ruins provided cover for those behind it, but allowed those behind it to fire
other them. They were also impassable.
All of the hills had around 4” elevation and counted as open ground.
And the rocks were impassable and obstructed LOS.
We were playing the First Contact mission from the Battle Missions book so the Space Marines would deploy first, rolling a dice for each unit and the placing it in the appropriate segment on the board.
I rolled first for Fardossi and Red Dawn. I rolled a 1 so put the Terminators and Librarian in the top left corner.
I knew these guys were my real hard-hitters, and that my list rotated around them beating back the endless hordes so I put them right on the objective and hoped that the rest of my army could get close to them.
Next up I rolled for the Emperor’s Chosen and their Rhino. This time I rolled a 2. This was good for me, because the Sternguard were my other hard hitting unit that I hoped could do some damage to the ravenous beasties.
And the ruin surrounding the objective just made it better, giving my shooty unit some protection from retaliation. I put the Rhino just outside of the ruins, hoping to use it as a metal shield to defend against any charges against the Emperor’s Chosen.
I rolled a 1 for Tactical Squad Redann. This was getting better by the moment; I now had three of my units gathered around two objectives. I put the Rhino that the Tacticals were riding in between the hill and the ruins so I could use it as some terrain itself, at the very least it could cause the bugs some problems and slow them down a bit.
I didn’t plan for the Tacticals to stay in the Rhino, rather to disembark as soon as possible and climb the hill, where they could lay down some fire and come down to help out the Terminators if anything should go awry.
My last unit to deploy, the Tactical Squad Karax, yet again riding in a Rhino, turned up a 4. This wasn’t as good as I planned, it meant that they were further from the rest of my force than I would like. I knew I would need a solid corner of the board, and my previous dice rolling had decided that.
So I put the Rhino down right on the border of the fourth section, ready for it to rev across the board and bunker down with the rest of the Space Marines.
I was pretty happy with how my rolls for deployment had gone. I had got together a solid base of operations which was what I had wanted in the first place. So I was all set for the hordes, “We March for Macragge!”
For the Tyranids in First Contact, none of them were deployed before the first turn, but he did get to choose who came in the first turn, and who came in later.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, he wanted to be able to swarm me before I could rally together. So everything was going to be coming at me on the first turn. That left me a little worried as I knew how many bodies he had to throw at my guns.
Tyranids Turn 1
The Tyranids had the first turn, and it was time for me to know just where my enemy were coming from. All I could pray was that he rolled as few 1’s and 2’s as possible. For the first time, I was hoping that my enemy rolled well. But only time would tell.
He rolled first for his Flyrant, which was his serious unit that I was really worried about. Hordes I could handle, a Monstrous Creature that can fly?
Not so much.
He rolled a 3, which I was quite happy about, I mean it could have been better and he was still near my Sternguard, but at least it wasn’t a 1 or 2. He came in on the right table-edge, but distance didn’t mean much to the winged beastie.
Next up was Zoanthrope. If anything was going to bust my Rhinos before I could use them as shields, it was going to be that floating brain. Yet for this unit, I hoped for a 1 or 2.
Dangerous from far-away he may be, but up close I’d be able to handle him quickly, before he can fire off more than one or two brain blasts. He rolled a 6.
That wasn’t what I wanted. Off over on the other side of the board he could fire off his shots, safe from me getting at him unless I left my relatively safe corner of the board, and that would be all but suicide.
He rolled for all three of his Hormagaunt broods at the same time, getting a 3 a 3 and a 4. This meant two things, one my Sternguard would be getting some serious numbers coming in from the right and two; I could expect my Rhino heading up the board to be closely followed.
Next up he rolled for his Warriors. I hoped that they would be thrown far off, away from where they could do anything to organize the swarms of Gaunts. And he rolled a 5, which meant that my wish had come true.
The Warriors were away from anywhere they could organize the swarms, now all I
would be facing, at least for a while, were mindless hordes.
Finally he rolled for his Termagaunt brood. This time he rolled a 6, which put them away from the rest of the Tyranids, except from the Zoanthrope, which just meant it was going to be harder for me to get at it before it blasts all my lovely Rhinos to pieces.
So all the Tyranids were on the table, but now it was time for them to move; but not before he had to roll for his third Hormagaunt brood, to see whether it reverted to its instinctive behaviour or not. He needed a 6 or less off 2D6.
He made the roll and ended up with 5 and a 1, miraculously
passing the test.
The Nid player moved all his units towards my corner, the Hive Tyrant gliding.
The Warriors moved into the south ruins, taking an objective. All the Tyranids then ran in the shooting phase as well.
Space Marine Turn 1
I kept my Librarian and Terminators around the north-east objective but I moved all my other units.
My Sternguards got out of the Rhino and took the objective in the north ruins while their Rhino moved off to block the Tyranids coming in from the East, hoping that it could slow down the swarm, even if only for a turn or two.
My first Tactical Squad got out of their Rhino as well and ran up the hill while my other Tactical Squad moved north in their Rhino, before disembarking and running up the hill as well.
I hoped that the extra elevation would let them support the rest of my army.
My Sternguard killed five Hormagaunts from one of the broods with their Bolters. My first Tactical Squad fired the Missile Launcher with Frag rounds and killed 4 Hormagaunts from the brood coming north.
And my other Tactical Squad killed 7 Hormagaunts from the same brood. Last to shoot was my
Sternguards Rhino, which only killed one with its storm bolter.
So in total I had managed to kill 12 Hormagaunts in the first turn, only 73 Tyranids left on the table!
At the end of the first turn Space Marines controlled 2 objectives while Tyranids controlled 2 also.
Tyranids Turn 2
Again all the Tyranid units moved towards my corner. The first Hormagaunt brood swerved off to avoid the Rhino of the Sternguard while the Hive Tyrant glided again.
The Warriors stayed in the ruin on the second objective.
The Hive Tyrant killed 3 of my Sternguard with his Deathspitters while the rest of the Tyranids ran bar the Warriors.
Space Marine Turn 2
The Sternguard moved forward slightly while their Rhino turned around and came back towards them. None of the rest of the Space Marines moved, I wanted to be able to effectively bring my heavy weapons to bear.
The Sternguard killed 9 Hormagaunts, one of them using his combi-flamer. One of my Tactical Squads killed 7 and the other wounded the Hive Tyrant.
The Sternguards Rhino tried to hit the Hive Tyrant but missed. Another 16 Tyranids down and a wound off the Hive Tyrant. A good solid second turn and
only 57 Tyranids left on the table.
And the end of the second turn the Space Marines held 2 objectives while the Tyranids held only 1.
Tyranid Turn 3
All the Hormagaunt broods moved again towards my corner, while the Hive Tyrant switched to Swooping as it came towards my one objective.
The Warriors were the only one who didn’t move, staying on the south objective.
The Hive Tyrant fired again, this time on the Terminators, but did no damage, as the rest of the Tyranids moved forwards again by running.
The first Hormagaunt brood charged into my Sternguard but the Overwatch for the Veterans killed 4, with two of the Sternguards firing their combi-flamers.
The second Hormagaunt brood also charged the Veterans. 1 of the Sternguards was killed, and 2 Tyranids were killed in retaliation.
Space Marine Turn 3
I didn’t move any of my units, ready to bring my heavy weapons to bear, except from the Sternguards Rhino, which reversed away from the north objective as I knew it was useless where it was, and one of the Tactical Squads Rhino, which moved to block the Hormagaunt brood continuing to come south.
Both of my Tactical Squads, and two of the Rhino’s, all fired at the Flyrant, as I knew he could do some damage if he reached my corner. I knocked another 2 wounds off, meaning it was down to only 1.
The Rhino I had moved to block off the Hormagaunt brood killed 1 of the Tyranids from the same brood.
In the fight around the north objective, the Hormagaunts failed to kill any of the veterans, but two Tyranids were killed.
The game was still in the balance in my opinion. After all, there were only 48 Tyranids left. That meant I had managed to kill 37 Tyranids at the cost of only 3 Space Marines.
At the end of the third turn the Space Marines held 1 objective while the Tyranids held another although the north objective was contested.
Tyranids Turn 4
The Hormagaunt brood coming north, reduced to a lone Tyranid moved around the Rhino, not falling for my attempts to slow him down.
The Termagaunt brood continued to move towards my corner, but the Zoanthrope turned away and moved towards the north-east objective.
The Hive Tyrant once more glided towards my Terminators and Librarian, getting worryingly close. Meanwhile the Warriors continued to sit on the south objective, keeping it under Tyranid control.
The Hive Tyrant fired once more, targeting the Terminators again. To my shock, one of the Space Marines was killed outright.
The Zoanthrope, Termagaunt brood and lone Hormagaunt all ran, continuing in the same direction as they had moved before.
The Hive Tyrant declared a charge on my Librarian and his Terminator bodyguard, easily making the distance.
In the fight going on around the north objective, the Tyranids finally managed to inflict damage, killing 2 of my Sternguards. Heroically my Sergeant killed 2 Hormagaunts in revenge.
In the fight between the two Warlords, my Librarian and the Hive Tyrant, the Tyranid struck first, killing 2 of my Terminators with ease.
However in a glorious moment Fardossi killed the Hive Tyrant in a single stroke, knocking off its final wound and removing it from play.
Space Marine Turn 4
With the Hive Tyrant down, I decided the time for sitting in my corner was over, time to take the fight to the Tyranids!
One of my Tactical Squads moved down from the hill they had been standing on for most of the game and got back into their Rhino, heading south towards the south-west objective.
My other Tactical Squad shot at the approaching Termagaunt brood and killed 7 between the Missile Launcher and Boltguns. Meanwhile my Librarian summoned Lightning and finally wiped out the Hormagaunt brood that was heading north.
In the north ruins, the Veteran Sergeant continued to hold off, even managing to slay 1 Hormagaunt.
The Tyranids were starting to look seriously depleted. Only 36 were left on the table to my 24. The odds were starting to look more and more in my favour.
At the end of the fourth turn, the Space Marines and Tyranids continued to hold 1 objective each.
Tyranid Turn 5
The Termagaunt brood veered left, turning away from the north-west objective in favour of following the Rhino of Squad Karax that was already roaring towards another objective.
Across on the other side of the board the Zoanthrope continued on its path towards the north-east objective while the Warriors remained on the south objective.
None of the Tyranids fired off their weapons, instead the Zoanthrope pushing itself forwards once more, claiming the objective it had targeted.
The Termagant brood charged the Rhino carrying one of my Tactical Squads and knocked off 2 hull points.
The conflict in the ruins around the north objective finally drew to a close, as the last Veteran was killed by the two broods.
Space Marine Turn 5
I knew I had to get as many objectives as possible; the game could end anytime, even at the end of my turn so I made a last desperate bid.
One of my Tactical Squads moved quickly out of their assailed Rhino and moved towards the south-west objective even as my Librarian used Gate of Infinity and him and the Terminators appeared by the north objective.
I moved my other Tactical Squad down from the hill to secure the objective that my Librarian and Terminators had just left behind as my Sternguards Rhino moved towards the north-east objective and my other free Rhino moved towards the south objective.
The only shots I made were by the Veterans Rhino against the Zoanthrope, successfully scoring 1 wound.
I charged my Librarian and Terminators into the smaller of the two Hormagaunt broods on the north objective. The Tyranids failed to do any damage, but between the 3 Space Marines, I managed to kill 4 Hormagaunts.
The Termagaunts destroyed the Rhino they were attacking, but it had already unloaded my Tacticals so it wasn’t much of a loss.
I rolled for the end of the game, and rolled a 3, meaning the game would continue. I breathed a sigh of relief; it meant I could grab a draw, if not a win.
At the end of the fifth turn, the Space Marines held 1 objective
while the Tyranids held 2.
Tyranid Turn 6
The Termagant brood set off around the ruins, hoping to reach the south-west objective before my Tactical Squad could while the only free Hormagaunt brood turned away from the north objective and headed towards the south-east objective instead.
The Zoanthrope fired for the first time, and I was glad it was the first time. It blew apart the Veterans Rhino in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, around the north objective, my Librarian and Terminators finished off the Hormagaunt brood they had been fighting to claim the north objective.
The Termagaunts also seized an objective, the south-west objective under Tyranid control.
I had 2 objectives while the Tyranids had 3. I had to fix that if I was to have any chance of winning this game, or even not losing.
Space Marine Turn 6
I used Gate of Infinity again, trying to get my Librarian and Terminators across to the north-east objective to deny the Tyranids of it, even if it meant leaving the north one.
It worked again, but I lost one of the terminators to the warp, meaning only 2 Space Marines stepped forward to fight for the objective.
The last remaining Rhino turned as I tried to use it to block the Hormagaunt heading down the board.
I continued to push forwards my Tacticals towards the south-west objective. If I couldn’t have it, then the Tyranids couldn’t either.
I fired with that same Tactical Squad, killing 9 of the Termagaunts with ease as the last Rhino fired off its Storm Bolter and killed 1 Hormagaunt from the brood moving south.
My other Tactical Squad also targeted the Hormagaunts with their Missile Launcher and killed 3 more.
In the final move of the turn, my Librarian and lone surviving Terminator charged the Zoanthrope on the north-east objective.
With ease the two Space Marines killed the Tyranid and claimed the objective. And in the nick of time as well.
The Tyranid player rolled for the game to finish and came up with a 1, meaning the battle ended there and then. The objectives were 2 apiece, meaning it was a Draw.
Well I really thought I had that early on. It was only when my Hive Tyrant dropped that I really started to doubt my chances of winning.
My Hive Tyrant was also brilliant, responsible for the demise of three Sternguard Veterans and three Terminators. He impressed me in both shooting and combat, and I’m sure if he had stuck around longer he might have won me the game.
But that leads us onto the bad. Forty Hormagaunts were held off by a couple of Sternguard Veterans for two turns where they were useless to me. And to make it worse I lost seven of the Hormagaunts.
That one thing pretty much unravelled my whole plan as it meant my Hive Tyrant felt almost the full
force of the Space Marines, meaning he was all but dead by the time he reached Fardossi.
The Termagaunts never got the chance to fire, the Zoanthrope only got to fire once and the Tyranid Warriors were forced to sit on an objective the whole time. That’s about 200 hundred points all but wasted.
My unit of the match? It would have to be the Hive Tyrant; he was the only model that I brought to the table that did any sort of damage to the Space Marines.
But it’s a draw, and this game was a steep learning curve on how to beat the Space Marines, next time it will be different.
Space Marine Conclusion
Well my plan held, but it was the wrong one. By sitting in one corner I limited my ability to grab the objectives so when the game drew to a close I only held two, meaning a rightful win was replaced by a draw.
Fardossi was incredible; his Gate of Infinity power pretty much won me the game, allowing me to clear one objective and seize another.
Not only that but he killed not only the Hive Tyrant but also the Zoanthrope, a true hero of the Imperium who will defiantly be returning in the next games, easily my unit of the match.
All in all, I’m pleased with all my units. Squad Karax and Squad Redann both did their job, supporting the rest of the army.
Special mention should go to the Missile Launcher wielding Space Marine of Squad Redann, who single-handily killed nine Tyranids and wounded the Hive Tyrant twice.
The Emperor’s Chosen managed to hold off the Hormagaunts for a long time as well as killing plenty of the Tyranids.
Red Dawn was good, working with Fardossi to dominate everyone they met. And the Rhinos were surprisingly useful, especially in the later stages of the game.
It may have been a draw this time but next time I won’t wait for them to come to me, the fight...will be taken to them!.