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Game of Two Halfs

A Bristol Brawl Report

My First tournament of a miniature wargaming variety for 2 years is the Bristol Brawl pt. Deux and I have decided to write a report of how to loose.

The brawl consists of seven games – 3 1500pts and 3 500pts and one 2000pts. I chose to use my Foot Space Marine force (The Infidels) as the 1500pts and my non-mechanised Imperial Guard (Cherions) as the 500pts.

The Space Marine army was forced upon me by virtue of being the only 40K army I have a painted 1500pts. Unfortunately, this was going to prove a major disadvantage. The Imperial Guard were a 500pt list I designed with no play time and I finished painting them @2am on the Saturday morning (they include 30 conscripts)

Game 1 (1500pts – Seek & Destroy Alpha)

vs. Jacob Curran – Dark Angels (lost 651 vs 2299 (1-15))

An army with 7 Plasma Cannons that was quite clearly not going to advance on me was always going to be a difficult task. I spent most of my time with my Tactical squad with Lascannon and my Devastator squad attempting to roll a 5 or 6 on the vehicle chart. I only managed to immobilise one of them but the other immobilised itself in a wood after I destroyed it’s two Heavy Bolters. To cap it all my Terminators tried the walking slowly towards a devastator squad tactic which I should have know was stupidly fatal. I could have forced Jacob to come to me and hid my Vets & Assault Squads.

My Assault Squad (without Jump Packs) was charged by a Dreadnought and my Vet Serg failed to roll a 6 to hit it with a Melta Bomb (darn!) and Jacob’s Command Squad charged through 11” of woodland to destroy a tactical squad, veteran squad & assault squad. All told a very steep learning curve learning all the things I already knew already. Darn!

Don’t walk forward towards Plasma Cannons.
Transports are our friends
Jump Packs would have been good
Why doesn’t my Veteran Sergeant with the Vets have a Power Fist??

Game 2 (500pts)

vs. Chris Evans – Dark Angels (won 499 vs 277 (6-2))

Chris had the worst luck imaginable with saving throws for his tactical squad which included 3 being destroyed by my 30 conscripts in one turn. The Hardened Vets did very little in the game as everything I shot at seemed to die. The only bit of misfortune on my side, was my conscripts being charged by a chaplain, 2 dying and the rest failing their Ld test whilst standing next to the Lieutenant. A good game for me although difficult to tell if my Imperial Guard force will be able to cope in the other games to come.

Conscripts are good at massed fire.
Heavy Bolter vs. Land Speeder = Good

Game 3 (1500pts – Recon Gamma)

vs. Phil Curran – Dark Templars (lost 1042.5 vs 1818 (4-12))

Recon was always going to be difficult for me. Not helped by the fact the game began at Dawn so I lost the first turn of shooting. However, I felt if I could stop some of Phil’s units in Close Combat I would stand a chance. In Phil’s first turn he moved his Crusader as far forward as possible and discourged his Black Templars led by the Emperor’s Champion. However, he misjudged the distance and couldn’t charge anything. He opened fire at the Assault Squad and killed one (including fire from the Land Raider). In my following turn I charged with my Vets and Assault Squad. 59 attacks later (including 4 from a Power Sword) there were 2 dead Black Templars and I was in a lot of trouble.

The only good point after this was the Terminators Deep Striking in Phil’s deployment zone and destroying 2 lurking Land Speeders. I was less disappointed in this game then that against Jacob (above). I felt I made few actual errors and with a little more luck on the charge I could have easily had the Emperor’s Champion and his bodyguard running and dead. Ah well it was not to be, and I still had a great game!

Picture: Having watched the Veterans be butchered, the Assault Marines attempt to sell their lives dearly against the Black Templar

Slow troops make Recon very very difficult. My future Imperial Guard army may also have this problem.
Deep Strike is very good in Recon missions if it is not alpha.
Why doesn’t my Veteran Sergeant with the Vets have a Power Fist??

Game 4 (500pts)

Vs. Adam Sandal – Space Wolves (lost 115 vs 500 (1-7))

This game started fine although the conscripts refused to move through the wood in which I deployed them. The Hardened Vets then charged a Grey Hunter squad with a character leading it. They promptly attacked and killed exactly as many Vets as there were meaning I could use my 4 Power Fist attacks – gutted! One more save!

Adam then had to stand in front of my conscipts (within 12”) and a squad with an autocannon. 1 dead space wolf and me banging my head against the table. In addition my Lieutenant couldn’t convince his squad to move further than 2” through the wood. The conscripts were then charged, took casualties, killed one space wolf (getting me half points for the unit), promptly failed their Ld test, rolled a 1 for Initiative roll off and were taken off the board again…. Needless to say it was all over really.

At this point in the day I was getting a little tired and bemoaning the harshness of dice rolls. I should already know that the dice hate those that complain about them.

Don’t charge space wolves with Hardened Vets. Let them use their turn charging you. At least they won’t consolidate into their Rhino when they kill you!
You can’t win with Guard if you only pass 2 Leadership tests even with an Officer looking on.

End of Day 1

So after the first day I had accumulated a massive 12 points and was plum last. 13th. No-one below me. Hopeless in all aspects. Hmmmm….. So off to the pub!

Iron Acton has three pubs, and this one (The Lamb or something I think) was the only one I hadn’t been to before. Good company, coke (was driving home later), and much talk of the day gone by. A perfect end to a slightly less than perfect day.

A New Dawn

And then Sunday came along. Got up, into car and drove off to Iron Acton, where I was first to arrive. Fortunately, I knew the location of the key and set about opening up the hall. Mark arrived shortly and handed out the games, tables and mission.

I just hoped that I wouldn’t end up last as I could hear Alex’s call of ‘Nooob’ ringing in my ears. Would I ever live down the first day? Well, the only way to banish the shame was to get right back on the horse and get killing armies.

Game 5 (1500pts – Take & Hold Gamma)

vs. Mike Ayres – Dark Angels (won 2140.5 vs 237.5 (15-1))

My third Dark Angel opponent of the tournament (I was getting a little sick of green) but a mission that I thought I had a chance in (as there was only half as far to walk as in the Recon mission and I had quite a few units with which to score.

I deployed most of my army directly behind the objective (in a wood) except the Assault Squad and the Plasma Gun armed Tactical squad, which I deployed on the left.

Having got the first turn, I moved my entire army forward, including my Devastator Squad which Mike had ensured had nothing to shoot at. In fact, this unit moved during the first three turns and seemed to cause Mike more trouble by doing that (and always ensuring it could see one of the Rhinos) as it ever does with shooting at things. It took Mike until turn three to realise that I had managed to place my entire (virtually uninjured) army on top of the objective (except the flanking force) before he moved into action. Both tactical squads re-entered their Rhinos and sped towards me. One of these was destroyed by the assault squad’s plasma pistols and the marines inside entangled. (After four died). The other was let through though as my Devastator squad opened fire on the Assault squad which had unfortunately rolled double 1 for its difficult terrain test the previous turn (requiring 2” only!) Mike then had to advance across a little open ground and was virtually wiped out by my firebase. Even my Terminator with Assault Cannon survived. I only lost 12 marines in this game. A testament to good luck and also to the realization that moving heavy weapons isn’t necessarily bad.

Sometimes advancing with a Devastator squad is great.
The two Plasma Pistols in the Assault Squad are worth their weight in gold.
If I ever use a Whirlwind I shouldn’t park it in front of said Assault squad.

Game 6 (500pts)

vs. Steve Pearce – Tau (won 370 vs 297 (5-3))

This game was played against Steve’s son, Matt. However, Steve still helped him substantially with some tactical advice. I have to say well done to Matt, and I hope that he will join the ‘circuit’ as his own general soon as I am sure he will do well (he can certainly roll dice!)

Matt’s army included 4 Drones with Twin linked Burst Cannon from the Imperial Armour Forge World book, which scared me rigid. His first turn began with the Stealth team attacking my Hardened and wiping them out (exactly 10 wounds caused at AP4), and then leaping back to cover. My heavy bolter unit moved forward with support from the Lieutenant whilst the Autocannon missed completely. Matt’s next turn was similar to the first. His stealth team leapt out of cover, but this time they charged my Imperial Guard. After killing a few, and me killing one, I passed the Ld test and prepared to counterattack. The Lieutenant charged with his flamers, two were killed by the stealth team, but three more were killed by the original squad, the Stealth team fled, were caught, and I consolidated into cover. Once again the Autocannon missed.

The Burst Cannon were now in range of me and then opened fire at the Lieutenant’s squad which died. I then took revenge on the Burst Cannon, firing at them with the entire Conscript Platoon and the autocannon, killing 2, reducing their Ld and sending them fleeing from which they never rallied… Huzzah!

Looking for revenge, Matt fired his other drones at my Heavy bolter Squad, killed all but one and then assaulted the survivor and killed him. However, his D6 move failed to get him hidden and the rest of my army opened fire.

The rest of the game included a small amount of fire from the fire warriors and my autocannon, but neither could kill enough and I had scraped a minor victory.

Picture: The Conscripts & Autocannon fire shot after shot.

As requested by Alex, I had beaten (although not hammered) Steve’s Tau. As the tournament ended Alex finished 2nd, 3 points ahead of Steve. I had done my bit!
And seriously, the Tau should have beaten me. With no overwatch rule I could not have caught the constantly bouncing Tau. Once they charged to kill off a few of the units, I had them caught and easily disposed of them once the guns of the conscripts were brought to bear.

Game 7 (2000pts – Cleanse Omega)

Vs. Steve Evans – Pre-Heresy Emperor’s Children for both (won 1492 vs 603 (14-6))

The first Big ‘Un I had played and what a great game. Unfortunately, Steve couldn’t overcome my massive fire superiority (as all 2000pts deployed due to the escalation rule).

I destroyed one Devastator squad in the first turn and then, despite losing my Hardened Vets to his assault squad in turn 2, I destroyed the army piecemeal as it arrived on the board.

Picture: Steve was outnumbered from the offset as 2000pts of foot troops was deployed

However, Steve showed his experience and kept the home quarter contested with a tactical squad I could never destroy, one of the neutral quarters with an attack bike behind a hill I couldn’t reach and an audacious piece of generalship in the other quarter on the final turn. The second attack bike, and a tactical squad, advanced into the quarter on the final turn of the game (the bike moving more than 18” and gaining a 2+ invulnerable save). I destroyed the squad but couldn’t get through the armour of the attack bike. I finally threw in my last hope - the Lieutenant’s squad after firing the flamers. If Steve’s Attack Bike with 2 attacks failed to kill the Lieutenant then I would have 3 power weapon attacks against his (now normal) 2+ save. However, it was not to be. The Lieutenant died after failing to save the one wound suffered, the flamers couldn’t wound it, failed their Ld test and were caught. There were no more turns so Steve had contested three of the four quarters and I only held my home one.

An all infantry force is awesome with the Escalation rule in play. However, it can suffer so much in the other missions that it is a huge risk to take.
Maybe giving my IG the drop troop doctrine will allow me to negate this as I can choose which to deploy and which to drop depending on the mission rolled.

Picture: Conscripts move forward to cover the pinned Terminators.

A Happier Ending

And that was the end of Sunday and the tournament and I had moved off my position at the bottom of the table in style. In fact, I had managed to score the most points of any player on the second day and finished joint 5th with Jacob Curran (the Dark Angel player who beat me 15-1 in the first game) on 46 points.

Of course, being last after the first day meant that turn I did manage to avoid Steve Butler (1st) and Alex West (2nd) but I did play Steve Pearce (3rd) so I was very happy with the result and especially the comeback.

Maybe next time Alex won’t have so much cause to yell “Nooob” at me across the hall…. then again….

Now where’s the other 1000pts of my Imperial Guard army?

Declan Waters
Sunday 10th October 2004
Member of Bristol Big 'Uns
Commander of Infidel Marine Chapter
Senior Officer of Cherion Imperial Guard

Many Thanks to Steve Evans for the pictures
©2004 Bristol Big 'Uns