04 June 2010

Hailed vs Hated: The Vultures Circle

So this is the part where we get to say woulda, coulda, shoulda. I often find one of the best parts of a game is the post-match disection and discussion. Your opinions and comments are most welcome, it can be very easy for the two of us to get caught up in the action so a third party perspective is often very revealing.

For now here are my own thought on the lists, how the game went, and whether things could be improved.

Blood Angels army list
Well, in my defence I did this list before knowing the mission, board size/layout, etc. and it was purely fluff driven. Alas the reality was plain for all to see I think as the game progressed.

I knew I didn't take Scouts for a reason and now I have been re-educated as to why. They may only be 1 point less on WS and BS than regular marines, but oh my word it makes a difference. In 5 turns of shooting a missile launcher unhindered at the Chaos Rhino the Scouts only managed to hit it twice, both occasions resulting in a penetrating hit and Crew Stunned (which granted was a little unlucky). The truth is that the Chaos transport should not have been there beyond turn 3, especially given that BSmoove forgot to pop smoke until late on - unforgivably poor shooting. The other Scout unit did mildly better, taking down a Chaos marine in the opening salvo of the game which probably contributed to their own survival in the final Chaos Shooting phase.

The Tactical Squad were a bit of a disappointment, unable to deal with a unit of standard CSM with a free round of shooting and several rounds of combat, often outnumbering them two to one. I should have taken an Assault Squad here to combat the extra attack CSM get as standard as well as taking a power weapon to tip the balance further in my favour.

The star of the show was undoubtedly Reclusiarch Dannen, who was never going to last long one-on-one against a Nurgle Chaos Lord, but managed to eek the fight out to a draw. His dispatching of the Raptors was a key turning point, and it was the bolter wound he took from the other CSM unit that came back to haunt him in the end.

However, I have to remember that the objective of this game was purely fluff (and to see if the concept of an e-battle was realistic) so in that sense I think the list worked well.

Blood Angel plan
I have to say that I wouldn't change anything about my initial plan. The idea of having the two heavy weapon units hanging back to protect my objective whilst sending my HQ and Tactical unit out to try and take the enemy objective was sound in this case. I realised quite early on that Chaos were limited in speed, which was also my advantage with my supercharged Rhino – hence the Raptors and Rhino had to go early to prevent me being caught out late in the game. They also had almost no long range or heavy weapon threat (other that the raptor movement and meltagun) so my Rhino could feel relatively safe. The initial charge would have been exceptional had Tactical Squad Kamor managed to finish of the CSM unit early on. As it turned out they go bogged down and the charge pretty much stalled.

The Chaos perspective
BSmoove had a good list here for the points and having a WS6 T5 Terminator in there gave me great cause for concern, having quite a lightweight list myself. The initial Chaos move straight towards the Scouts and my objective had me worried I'll be honest. The Scouts would never have survived any determined assault by the Chaos marines, given their inferior stat line and armour, and it was this that prompted me to move the Rhino in close on Turn 2. From reading the battle reports on A Gentleman's Ones, I saw that BSmoove could be defence orientated at times and was hoping that if I threw a threat next to his objective it would distract him long enough to keep my Scouts safe.

In the end it worked, even though in truth a single CSM unit of his might have been enough to hold up my advance, at least to the point I had lost my own objective. The indecision of CSM Squad Decadi was telling in the end. I think that, even once their transport was initially stunned, I would probably have pushed them on towards the Scouts on foot, running when possible, knowing that eventually I would get some CSM into combat and the Scouts would die quickly. Either that or it would force me to consider falling back to protect my own objective. BSmoove also made the ultimate fluff sacrifice, by assaulting the Reclusiarch with his Chaos Lord when hacking down Tactical Squad Kamor would have been the more efficient option. Like I said, it was all about the fluff and kudos to BSmoove for sticking to the storyline and providing us with a dramatic hero vs hero grudge match.

The process
How did the e-battle actually work, and did it work well? I don't have room in my house for a game board (I don't even own one), so it was never going to be an option to have something set up on both sides of the Atlantic. BSmoove set up his game board and took plenty of photos to send to me. I used those photos to create a scale map that we could use as common reference ground across the email, sending precise instructions and dice rolls to each other in the email text (yes, we trusted each other's dice rolling!). I would then update the map, as you saw, throughout the process and email revised jpegs across the pond. Our battle reports were written independently so, aside from factual results, neither of us knew what the other would publish.

Should we do something like this again I would do a couple of things differently. First of all I would try to get the map as accurate as possible, especially the models. The 4'x4' map was accurate this time round, but the positioning and size of terrain and models was only approximation. There's no way to get the process 100% accurate, but there is room for improvement. The other thing I would add is a marker to indicate heavy/special weapon carriers, as there could be an issue with line of sight/range and it would be too easy to 'move' the heavy weapon throughout the squad. Aside from that I was very happy how things went, considering this is a very new venture for the both of us. Obviously we're hoping to ramp things up in the future, but a good start to be sure.

And that's it for this week's Hailed vs Hated.

As you may know BSmoove is on holiday in Italy for the rest of the month, so it gives me plenty of time to get some more painting done before we create another unique encounter, and the next chapter of the Blood Angels 5th Company vs the Arrugginiti.