Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Battle of Borlingrav

A dull green hue filled the laboratory, lighting Servo skulls as they busied themselves welding and moving equipment.
"Lord Payne, the device nearss completion" A hunched servitor hissed as he scanned a large screen covered in readouts and displays.
"The machine's spirit is tainted" warned a tall cloaked figure silhouetted by yet another large screen. "It may prove too difficult to control"
The Inquisitor removed his hood revealing his white face bearing the branded inquisitorial seal upon his forehead, raw and red. His black eyes scowled in anger at the shadowed psycher. "If those hateful creatures could bend this power to their whim, the almighty will of the emperor can persuade it to do our bidding."
"It iss completed Ssire, we should make hasste to charge the capacitorss" The servitor made himself scarce.
"My thoughts become clouded sire, the hivemind draws near, I fear other evils lurk in its shadows"
"Make preparations to raise the device, It shall prove itself against mankind's enemies in battle this night. I will get the planetary defenced in order." With that the Inquisitor raised his hood and stormed up the laboratory stairway.

This weekend saw around 40,000 points of 40k clash over a lush gaming table. Day 1 saw the first wave of the invasion, the imperial forces were in abundance, Borlingrav Palace was prepared, but the Forces of disorder had many tricks up their sleeves.

Inquisitor Payne tries desperately to get the device under his control, aided by servitors, servo skulls and his most trusted associate "Inferno"
The lucky 88th man the Western walls of the Borlingrav palace.
The "Witch hunters" valiantly hold the airbase whilst a space marine armoured detachment speeds to their rescue. meanwhile the earthshaker battery clears a space in the tyranid swarm, before a Deathwind drop pod lands in it and makes an even bigger hole!
The Tyranid swarm approaches an earthshaker emplacement garissoned heavily.

Ready for a fight, the guard advance.
The rest of the space marine cruiser makes landfall.
The orks and Chaos have difficulty getting close to the palace gate, due to a serious imperial superheavy presence.
TAU battlesuits make it to the imperial lines.
Then the TAU superheavy, the "Man'o'War" makes planetfall, mounting a powerful particle lance beam.

Abaddon aids the tyranid invasion by dropping an orbital bombardment on the imperial defence lines.
50 Drones descend upon the battlefield.
these drones even set about inflicting wounds upon it's allied tyranids.
A lone warbike makes it into the front lines, whilst 3 trukks of boys disembark and set about ruining the superheavies with their special grenades
The Baneblade "Blade of Borlingrav" makes a particular effort to get into the fight, followed up by 20 conscripts.
Air support makes an appearance
The imperial defences on the hill make stirling progress against the tyranids, clearing them to theback table edge.

The moral victory for george, making it onto the imperial palace walls.

Whilst John P had made mincemeat out of the superheavies at the palace gates, despite having lost most of his army to the unweildy device.
Commissar Yarrick....'s twin brother makes a valiant effort as always, sporting his lovely pink hat
The doomsday device is left untouched on the evening of the first day.
The sound of the imperial guns became less frequent, Inquisitor Payne deduced that the battle outside was coming to an end. He scanned the palace walls as far as he could see, realising he had been so consumed in controlling the device he hadn't even checked to see if the palace had been breached. The only hint of the outside battle he had noticed was the insanely loud double explosions of the two superheavies going supernova.

"868, man the diagnostic displays and prepare for a readout!!"
"Ssire, the device is showing major malfunctionss in sseveral critical areass, it'ss sspirit iss fading fasst." With that, the main display on the control panel died, The machine was silent.

The first day was a steep learning curve for me. Being my first ever large game I found it tough keeping a balance between the two sides. on one hand I didn't want it to be a total wipeout for anyone, but conversely I didnt want it to seem like I was favouring any particular side.

My initial idea was for the imperial lines to attempt to stand fast against an unending horde of evil forces, overpowering numbers and enormeous war machines. unfortunately I didnt do a very good job of explaining this to some of the players who seemed to be annoyed (understandably) when the enemy models would just re-appear after they were killed. although In my defence, I wanted to see some terror in the imperial players' eyes, to make them less comfortable in their defensive lines.

Lessons learnt and with many players not able to make it the second day, and new players joining, we decided a slight change of scenario was in order to ensure a more enjoyable game for both sides.

The board was re-arranged slightly, moving the palace to the centre of the board, bulding a close quarters city scape to the right, and keeping the emplacement on the hill to the left.

My task was to stalk the city ruins and flush out the TAU flanking forces.

Leigh, with his huge imperial armoured force (when set out in neat ranks the tanks alone fill a 3 foot by 4 foot space) was ordered to hold the palace gate itself against a combined chaos and ork attack.He decided to hold most of his units in reserve and bring them on in small waves, to re-enforce the gate house in stages.
Tom with his combined guard and marines force was given the task of keeping the enormeous tyranid invasion at bay.

Enraged by the quiet doomsday device, Inquisitor Payne joins the Provost Squad (Commissar Yarrick, a commissar Lord and 2 commissars) Eager to get into the fight.

Three oblitorators materialize next to the Blade.

The lucky 88th are no stranger to the Urban landscape of Borlingrav. With a special hatred which only the 88th can muster, they took the fight to the TAU with bayonet and rifle butt.

The enemies meet in the confines of the alleyways

The Carnifex hands the Chaos marines some mints
The Chaos troops refuse them
The gun emplacement eyes up some juicy targets

The Inquisitor overlooked this modification when it resulted in a higher hit to miss ratio.
The provost squad meets the first ork wave into the palace.

Stompy earns a living doing adverts

The Blade of Borlingrav, missing its main cannons and only having a single structure point left, resorts to firing upon everything in sight.
Stormtroopers land, 2 squads are instantly maimed to a pulp by a stormlord, not before making an impact on the TAU back lines.

The killer kans make it to the guard front lines, signalling the beginning of the end.

Yarrick and Lord Payne die side by side.

A chaos sorceror walks in the front door of the palace

Whats left of the conscripts, led by commissar lord spears, challenge the farsight to fight

The Tyranids overun the defences on the hill.

The hovering Vulture and vendetta are the saving grace of the 88th.
The cool Shadowsword however, even with it's increased accuracy, fails to take out any of the approaching battlewagons.
Rooftop battles between the heavy weapon teams and the tau heavy guns raged on throughout the game.

the guard pitch a last ditch effort to clear the alien presence.
The Lord Commissar and conscripts continue their fight with the farsight, while Tsar Ivan (creed count as) rush through the buildings to clear more of the crafty xenos.

The vulture drops between some buildings, whilst the Master of Ordnance continues his wildly inacurate bombardments.
The battle wagons make it to the shadowsword, and begin the inevitable deathroller attacks.

Killing the Farsight, the commissar lord and his remaining conscripts take refuge in a small building, the other TAU commander makes it to the imperial front lines.

The Platoon Command Squad take on the remaining stealth suits.

The highest TAU commander meets Colonel Commissar Winters in close combat.

Yarrick...'s brother jumps back to his feet and leads the guard back out towards the enemy

Then it happened, the "cool" shadowsword went supernova!

Many guardsmen died, and so did many vehicles.

With the Fall of both flanks, the palace looked to be in great danger. the imperial defences would only be able to hold the invasion back for a short time, enough to evacuate the important commanders and the inquisitor himself, but not the Device.
The Second day was in my eyes, a triumph. although not without it's own difficulties.

The average age of the players had dropped from saturday, with some more of the younger players attending. this brings with it its own logistical nightmares, (in this case, too much trash talking and not enough dice rolling) but in general the kids had fun (especially the two lads who had spent all saturday being wiped from the board, who instead got to see their army overrun the defence guns) Tom was a little dissapointed in his armies' performance, being killed to a man is horrible for most players, but we explained to him he had done a fantastic job holding out as long as he had against such horrifying odds.

Me and george had a great time fighting in the confines of the city, generally TAU and guard are a fun army in close quarters, requiring "sniper" tactics with the big guns, and lots of close quarters encounters through the ruins - it definately brings out a confidence in assault for imperial guardsmen.

I would like to run a similar event again, but some main points I would like to see/do different are:
  • More painted models - especially the big stuff
  • more unified armies (especially the bad guys) - ie, all tyranid, or all chaos/renegades
  • more special characters (and by this i mean homebrewed stuff, we had our fair share over the weekend, but i would have preferred to have seen much more innovation)
  • more cityscape terrain - the city fighting was much more fun than an open ground scenario.
  • Evening gaming - early mornings didnt make the game enjoyable, it would be better played later in the day, as a relaxing evening with some drinks, as opposed to a 9-5 gaming "job"

All in all, plenty of lessons learnt for me, but a good weekend full of gaming.

a couple of quotes from the weekend:

"I came here to see big stuff blow holes in things, and I wasn't dissapointed" - John P after the first day.

"I know the rules better than you so I can command you about" - Dan (one of the younger lads) telling Tom (Another young lad) how it works in 40k... ;)

Cheers for dropping by



The Lucky 88th History

The Lucky 88th

The Royal planet of Borlina is just off the Cadian gate, once a thriving hive planet with a high percentage of royal and rich descendants from Terra itself. Now a diseased, war torn hell hole, home to a twisted secret the Inquisition would rather not recount.

The Curse of Borlina

During a Chaos incursion (Blood & Bile of the Rich Invasion 960.M41) Inquisitor Payne ordered the Orbital Bombardment of the entire planet, choosing Viral Bombing as the means of execution of the foul beasts and corrupted Governors.
Unfortunately the Borlina PDFs were also sentenced to death, whilst deeply in conflict with the Chaos forces.
Under pressure from Inquisitor Rayvenn (of the Black Storm), Inquisitor Payne mercifully ordered areas with high concentrations of loyal forces to be bombed with a weaker strain of the virus. Whilst the planet was bombed with Virus 1, a highly corrosive airborne agent which subsides after 1 day. Virus 13 (a Plague like virus with no corrosive element) was deemed legal for use over loyalist troops, who were forewarned, advised to find cover and don gas equipment. Low on supplies, deep in conflict and without gas equipment the lucky 88th miraculously fought off Virus 13 as if it was a bad case of flu.


A nearby Commissariat fleet jumped at the opportunity to put together their own personal force and made planet fall to gather together the pockets of loyal troops into a fighting regiment. This proved quite difficult, requiring the aid of the nearby Space Marine chapters (“Dragon Marines” and “Black Storm”) to seek out loyal forces.

The largest surviving regiment had barricaded themselves in the Master Palace, which impressed the commissariat no end, for it was a disease ridden nightmare, the very palace itself was a Nurgle infested monstrocity.
Having already adopted the name “Lucky 88th” due to the large amount of survivors from the 88th regiment the troops added a Lucky Ace symbol to their armour and vehicles, much to the annoyance of the commissariat who view it as graffiti and unofficial. In return the more senior commissars keep their gas-masks on when in combat to stir anger into the men, making them fight harder for the injustice caused to them. Lower Commissars tend not to test such practises, wary of the men turning on them when cut off from high command.

Recruitment: The Virus Run

Any outsider coming into contact with any surviving member of the Borlina virus attacks must first be inoculated from the infectious version of the virus which can be fatal to weaker immune systems. New Recruits however are not so lucky. Firstly they are put through a year of heavy training wearing gas masks. Graduation into the Lucky 88th is only complete after a gruelling month fighting through the Virus Run, a heavily infected area of the former Borlingrav Palace, now a Bastion of pestilence and disease. The survivors of this infamous death zone gain the respect of the rest of the regiment, except for the veterans who hate all outsiders including the commissariat.