TURN ONE: The Onorevoli went first, but there wasn’t too much accomplish in these opening moments. The Scouts snuck forward in hopes of getting their teleport homer a bit closer to the relevant action. The Scout Bikers sat still in hopes of drawing the Raptors into a booby-trapped building. In an already familiar move, the Dreadnaught dropped in front of the Rhinos and immobilized one, while the Devestators took pot shots and immobilized the Defiler that had absolutely no intention of going anywhere anyway –ah, nice work boys.
The Iron Warriors applied the pressure that I’ve come to expect early and often. The working Rhino of Berzerkers darted across the north end of the table, while the Raptors raced down to the southeast (but stopped just shy of the trap. Alas). The other squad of Berzerkers piled out of the immobilized Rhino and had a good think about what they were going to do for the rest of the game.
In a genuinely stunning, spectacular, and statistically improbable round of shooting, two Iron Warriors were reduced to their component molecules on account of Plasma malfunctions.
Utterly outraged by the accidental carnage, the disembarked Berzerkers made the unexpected decision to assault the Dreadnaught that had just mangled their transport. I was convinced that this was tremendous folly. As it turns out, the Dread must have been as surprised as I was by this turn of events, and required the remainder of the game to slowly sift through his opponents. Both units were functionally, and quite effectively, out of the game. More fool me.
TURN TWO: The Scouts inched forward a bit further, but they were sure to keep a wall between themselves and the mobile Rhino. Realizing that the enemy had no taste for bait, the Scout Bikers quite sensibly turbo-ed themselves away from the Raptors toward the advancing LR Crusader on the opposite end of the action.
The Devs, once again, found themselves with target priority issues. The Defiler still loomed, but the Raptors were clearly closing quickly. They chose the Defiler and utterly failed to even scratch its daemonic paint –which, in turn, made their priority decision look really, really silly.
The remaining Rhino raced forward once more in an effort to reach the corner before the LRC blocked its path.
In a moment of wondrous déjà vu, the Daemon Prince arrived with astonishing accuracy in the Onorevoli backfield and set himself up for any number of assaults the next turn. Likewise, the Raptors aligned themselves to complete the pincer movement on the Onorevoli positions.
More statistical improbability: a third Iron Warrior incinerated himself with plasma venting problems, this time an Aspiring Champion. -ahahahahhhahha hahhahah ahaha aha aho ahe ahem. yes. For the trouble, however, the Drop Pod lost it’s Missile Launcher.
TURN THREE: The Onorevoli Terminators arrived just behind the IW’s mobile Rhino and prepared themselves for an ambitious execution of Fritzian tricksiness (in particular, see: blocking access points). Scouts, Termies, and the LRC moved forward to either block the front, side, or rear of said Rhino. Now they needed to pop it and all the remaining Berzerkers would be unable to disembark –sealing their fate... No dice. The Rhino remained unharmed. The theory was sound, but the execution was left wanting.
The Scout Bikers also appeared to be in on the action with another timely turbo boost but, to be candid, these ambitious few Bikers had other Fritzian ideas in mind for late in the game (You can find him here and here. In my humble opinion, Fritz's devious and cunning approach to the game is refreshingly brilliant. His use of Eldar Jetbikes to collect cover saves and swindle late objectives is both tremendously effective and perfectly fluffy. It’s a rare combination of both tabletop competiveness and hobby acumen, but I digress…).
For his part, Telion remembered the ineffectual humiliation from last game and inspired his snipers to take two wounds off the Daemon Prince with some very keen shooting –a dish best served cold?
The theme of this turn for the Iron Warriors was assault (both preparation and execution). The Berzerkers jumped out of their Rhino and aligned themselves to make a mess out of whomever stuck around next turn. The Daemon Prince stuck into Telion’s squad but only managed to kill four… Thankfully, Telion’s stoicism kept his boys in line. Finally, the Raptors made a daring assault into the Devestators and absolutely pasted them. The Raptors then consolidated to the relative safety of the far side of the building (which may have been a mistake in the end).
Having recovered their senses after the plasma calamity, one squad of standard CSM moved diagonally across the table on the long road to my objective.
TURN FOUR: This was a truly noble and inspired turn for the Onorevoli.
Seeing that things were going quite badly on the home-front, and perhaps still smarting from an unfortunate round of CC last game, the LRC turned around and delivered the Storm Shield Librarian into the side of Ref’s Daemon Prince. We both quietly understood that, this time, it was personal. Moreover, the Librarian was sure to remember that he had a Storm Shield stuck to his left arm. A few more Scouts fell to the DP’s rampage, but the lingering malice of the Librarian was enough to finish the already weakened Prince. Huzzah!
The five Tactical Marines in their Rhino and the other Librarian raced around the building and shot up over half of the Raptors –and here the psychic power Avenger really shone brightly. There were still four Raptors on the table, to be sure, but I really couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. The two most pressing prongs of Ref’s pincer movement were blunted if not entirely destroyed.
The Scouts on the opposite corner then moved with both heroic purpose and monumental bravery to position themselves between an imminent Berzerker charge and the Terminators whom they so steadfastly admired. Their fate was sealed, but a combined round of modest shooting meant that they wouldn’t be getting pummeled next turn by quite so many slathering Berzerkers.
The Scout Bikers had now nearly completed their lap around the table and found themselves at Ref’s doorstep next to the combat between the Berzekers and my Dread, which was dragging laboriously on and on and on.
Pitmann’s Obliterators finally arrived, but drifted wildly into Telion. For the second time in two games, the mishap table allowed me to place them where I wanted, although I would have preferred if the warp had simply swallowed them whole. This time I tired to ensure that they would be out of the game and so sent them to the extreme west of the table where they could not take crippling potshots at my LRC, etc. (more on them in a moment)
The CSM squad continued it’s long march across the middle of the table toward my objective, but everyone was too occupied to take much notice.
The Berzerkers shot ineffectually and then charged their only possible target, the Scouts. The combat was about as brutal and one-sided as they are allowed to be, and all Scout names were duly noted for posthumous honors.
The Raptors quickly analyzed the two threats in front of them and decided to jump the relatively isolated Librarian. The combat was fast and ferocious; the Librarian took a wound but gave one in turn. Draw.
The Defiler found the Scout Bikers in the open and placed a well-aimed shot directly on top of them, killing two despite their generous cover save. The remaining Biker was traveling too fast to notice that he was now utterly alone.
The Obliterators stumbled around a bit, saw a Rhino in the distance, flung one shot each off the hip, and immobilized it. All I could do is shake my head.
TURN FIVE: The now stranded five man Tactical squad saw the shape of things to come and piled in to help the Librarian. Together, they dispatched the remaining Raptors, but suffered four casualties in return. Ouch. Only the Sergeant remained alongside the bloodied but motivated Librarian, both of whom consolidated as best they could back toward my objective.
The Terminators fired and then assaulted the Berzerkers, dismantling them with only a single casualty in return. Scouts avenged, but it was an otherwise empty gesture in what was now the lonely, forgotten northeast corner of the game.
The SS Librarian and LRC moved to intercept the CSM squad that was ambling across the middle of the table, and thinned the crowd admirably.
Finally, my lone Scout Biker turbo-ed once more and found himself in the open, but within three inches of Ref P’s objective… (begin holding breath now).
There wasn’t much left to do at this point.
Pitmann’s Defiler nearly decimated Telion and his Snipers with a well-placed, well-timed series of shots but, when the smoke cleared, two honest men remained on my objective.
Ref’s otherwise bored CSM squad (at home but minus two plasma gunners) turned and assaulted the Scout Bike who had the cheek to skid onto his objective uninvited. Miraculously, the Biker lived through this round of combat; I have no idea how… (wait for it).
IF the game ends here, the ONOREVOLI WIN –having claimed one objective and contested the other.
…TURN SIX: (and breathe).
My last Tactical Marine continued his desperate sprint back toward my objective. The Librarians closed on his remaining CSM squad and thinned it to a single Iron Warrior, who still sprinted forward in hope of some distant, warped blessing that was not to be. He was neck and neck with my Tactical Marine at this point, but unlike my Sergeant, he had two Librarians and a Land Raider to slip past before reaching said objective. Full credit for the effort anyway.
The Biker managed some impressive saves and stuck around for the first half of the turn but lost his resolve in the second. He fell, finally and nobly, to the CSM horde surrounding him.
The Defiler once again landed a perfectly placed series of shots on the two last Snipers and finished them… (inhale and hold).
IF the game ends here, the IRON WARRIORS WIN –having claimed one objective to none.
…TURN SEVEN: (and exhale).
The Dread finally finished the Berzerkers that had mugged him on turn one. He was missing one arm but seemed otherwise untroubled by the day’s events.
In a desperate sprint, my final Troop choice, and remember it only takes one model, needed to roll a four or more to get close enough to claim my currently unmanned objective. (you know what to do).
I rolled a five.
The game ended here as a DRAW –each army having claimed one objective. Both armies abandoned the field, bloodied and bitter, thinking, “so close, yet so very, very far.”
See you Thursday for the final bit of head-scratching and chin-wagging when we cover “The Vultures Circle.”