Friday, 26 February 2010

Wednesday Night Gaming: Assault on Fortress Lorl

I fart in your general direction.

Another Wednesday Night has passed, so we bring you a battle report of a Planetstrike 2000 point game, in which I play Imperial Guard attackers VS Laur’s defending Space Marines.

You know the drill! We compare and analyse lists, look at the terrain, and onwards to the battle report!


From my previous posts regarding IG dirty tricks for Planetstrike, you can see from the above and to re-cap the overall list strategy, explaining what I intend to do with each component:

1. Exploit the Elite slots with Storm Troopers: Spam them, rely on their superior BS and Deep Striking capabilities to make up for the lack of that extra special weapon slot (which a Vet would have). Thus, I’ve sacrificed killing power for accuracy in deployment. Also, I have brought them in lean and mean (half-strength 5no.’s) to keep the points cost down to afford other goodies, but my melta-loadout and the sheer numbers of melta puts them strictly in bunker-busting duties. This battle will be my opportunity to try out my ideas on the possibility of Storm Trooper spam being a viable part of a list.

2. Bring 3no. Banewolfs for the role of bunker-clearing. Template, AP3 weapon and poisoned (with heavy flamer backup). This Marine killer is intended to come off the board quickly to get a shot in or two to let me occupy bunkers myself.

3. Heavy support Medusas, again for bunker-busting with the Bastion breacher shells (at only 5 points extra a piece) and heavy bolter backup. It’s normal Siege cannon is pretty good too due to AP2, and having to go first means I should get in a good rate of fire.

4. 3 Chimeltas (multi-laser, h.flamer) for the usual flexibility and survivability offered. Also, men in tin-cans are better able to occupy, and contest objectives.

5. The lynchpin is my Astropath / Officer of the Fleet combo. A must-have in any game situation relying on Reserves, especially Planetstrike. Cheap too!

In short, I seek to exploit the first go as the attacker, take advantage of deep striking where possible, blasting away at buildings with them and my artilleryh to put the defenders in disarray, sending in the Banewolfs to clear the buildings, and finally zooming in my chimeltas to mop up and occupy. Obviously I’ve taken a little bit of everything I like the look of, as opposed to full-on spamming (e.g. all chimeltas, or majority Banewolfs, etc).

Unsurprisingly, possibly because Laur is a follower of this blog and checks up from time to time to learn as much as possible on what I’ll be bringing to the table (My own fault really for shouting out my evil nefarious plans on the rooftops!), I should have guessed with greater certainty that he would’ve brought counter-list, and set up terrain, in such a way to neuter as many elements of my list as possible and take the bite out of my forces. Oh well!

Note: For this game of Planetstrike we played a ‘reversed list’ setup, in which instead of going through and introducing our forces at the beginning of the game, we only divulged what we had as we brought them onto the table as we played, revealing full lists later on. It was different, but I was wondering how many people actually played 40K that way?

Looking at the Ultramarine defence, here are my own thoughts:

1. No Tigurius, but a Captain on Bike, thus allowing a troop choice of bikes. And Scout Bikes. So some fast, manoeuvrable elements to help negotiate their way down the table and get where they need to. Useful, especially for the random board edge setup of Planetstrike.

2. Landspeeder Storm and some Scouts, again to take up the prerequisite Troop slot, and with a multi-melta to give some teeth to the Landspeeder. Personally I find Landspeeders to be a bit of one-shot wonders because of their AV 10 all-round. As soon as they stop turbo-boosting, their a juicy target and more often than not, a sitting duck from my gaming experience.

3. Lots of Devastators and a Vindicator. 3no. Devastators are the most amount of Heavies I have ever seen Laur ever field on battle. Bristling with Lascannons and multi-melta, they are on paper, the ultimate anti-mech-spam defence. We’ll see later just how effective they are.

4. 2 squads of Elite Termies. Ahhh, clearly the fact that Laur has been reading this blog and being unnerved by the Banewolves means he will do 2 things: Firstly, deploy terrain in such a way to deny me the use of my Banewolves on the first turn, and secondly rely on Terminators with their 2+ save to be better protected against my numerous AP3 hotshot and chemical cannon weapons. If I had known what I knew now, I would’ve taken Devildogs. :-)


Welcome to the death zone that is Fortress Lorl!

What Laur has done, is referred to as the ‘denied board edge’ strategy. He has placed impassable terrain in as much as a manner as possible jammed up against the Fortress Indomitable, to allow a squad, or maybe a vehicle to edge through any gaps. However, as long as a building is occupied there is no way I can bring any of my tanks through the gaps (due to having to stay away 1” from an ‘immobile vehicle’ as per the rules of occupied buildings). Also he has placed 2 more bastions in as central a position as possible, thus my Banewolves are unable to touch any of his buildings on the first turn. Drat!

In addition, he has placed as much difficult terrain (rivers giving 4+ save, fences and low-level walls and razor wire for 5+ saves) to discourage deep strike or promote mishaps, or force dangerous terrain tests on vehicles to impede my advance. How many vehicles did I have? 9, of course. What are the chances of immobilising any of my vehicles as they ploughed their way across the board? 9x0.167 (failure) = 1.5 average vehicles immobilised. Double drat!

I also noticed he ‘gave’ himself a comms relay, to help him re-roll his reserves roll. While I thought this a little bit cheeky, apparently in Planetstrike there isn’t a stratagem for this (and in fact we opted to play plain vanilla Planetstrike with no stratagems again) but a profile note in the rulebook, and Laur reasoned that a nice little fortress like this should have one for free, so I relented and allowed it (as long as I could get it in my next Planetstrike game too). I realised then of course, that this was to offset the need to take Tigurius, thus providing himself with another advantage.

I will say this, when I first saw the board I thought to myself: “Holy £@*&.

Then when the dust settled and I had a good butcher’s at the terrain, I came to realise that Laur had setup in a manner that would exploit as much of an advantage with his forces and put me at as much of a disadvantage as possible. He would force me to set up either on the flanks (west/east) or come in on the long edge at the south, where he would funnel my forces in a manner of his choosing, ideally to pick me off with all his heavy support. Meanwhile, his fast elements will pick off my forces one by one with their superior mobility and reach to compensate for their lack of range.

So really, he’s only doing to me what I did to him last week.

This would be a tough battle, for both of us (unlike say the previous game, where it certainly was an easier game for me, picking off his forces bit by bit as they arrived). I thought to myself: “You only live once, Why not?

And so the game began, with me choosing the obviously most heroic and fluffy of options, I picked the Southern (long) edge as my drop zone.


Laur decides to place all his Devastators on top of the bastions, thus counting as open-topped, reasoning he’d prefer to gain superior LoS and the option of using the Interceptor guns (Lascannons & missiles) upgrading the BS instead of relying on automated BS of 2.

The other 2 central bastions I had already guessed had Terminators inside them as I would not think him so foolish as to have normal vanilla marines with 3+ save inside. Also, Laur announces that every bastion/section of fortress is armed with automated Lascannons, instead of heavy bolters. Again, both Laur’s setup and army list has been tailored as much as possible in exploit the terrain and counter my list. However, there is the little matter of death from above..


I roll a 1, therefore only 6no, Firestorm attacks. While not quite as good as having 10 attacks, as you can see from the above graphic I did better than Laur from last week. While he had previously managed to stun and destroy a weapon of a bastion, I manage to bring the main tower down to the ground, killing 2 marines and pinning the rest. Result!

NOTE: Again, I have indicated KP values in this game in the case of a draw.

Calm before the firestorm

Boom boom pow


1. I roll to see what units I can deploy on a 2+ (thank you Astropath) and I can deploy 4 Stormies, 2 Medusas, 3 Banewolves, 2 Chimeltas and Marbo! In reserve remains a last group of Stormies, my last Medusa, and my HQ in a chimera.

2. Stormies either hit on target or scatter to where I want them, in melta range. There were a few near misses (scatter to mishap), but with Airborne Assault I get to re-roll and pretty much their bang on target! They all pass their difficult terrain tests, and Stormies on the East blow up another section of the fortress AND hot-shoot the Devastators into oblivion.

3. Stormies to the west fare a little worse, failing to blow up the last section of the fortress. However, with the 2 medusas at the rear trundling on, they both pop a bastion (killing a terminator), and said fortress section each with their bastion breacher shells, and one group of Stormies manage to get into assault losing one of their own, but killing 2 Devastators.

4. Marbo lobs his demo charge. Hasta La Adrian, baby! It kills another Devastator.

5. A rank of armoured death surges forward 12”, popping smoke. The Banewolves all pass their difficult terrain tests, while my Chimeras are surprise, surprise! Immune to the effects of ‘water terrain’, being amphibious.

At this point my morale is really high (and my opponent’s , low). After the first turn, my opponent only has one bastion still standing, and there is the matter of the Banewolf/chimelta/Banewolf double-decker iron sandwich of building-poppin’ death coming towards him. Moo-hoo-ha-ha!

NOTE: During the movement phase of my Turn 2, Laur realises he should’ve used his Interceptor ability of his bastion quad guns and fortress missile launcher/Lascannon to take out the Stormies. He also realises his comms relay is now buggered. D’oh!

It's raining men, Hallelujah! It's raining men..

Score is 1 KP to IG. Marines control 2 objectives, IG contest 2.


1. Laur rolls 4+ for availability and gets his Landspeeder + scouts, Captain + bikes, 1 squad of scout bikes, his Dread and his Vindicator. He rolls again for deployment, and while the Vindicator comes from his zone, his dread takes the east flank and everything else deploys from my table edge. Drat!

2. His remaining bastion fires its quad gun, taking out 2 Stormies. His side Lascannon does well to immobilise a Medusa.

3. Vindicator comes on, with its siege shield, ignoring difficult terrain. Laur takes aim with it and fires on the Stormie, but the Demolisher template scatters wildly and kills yet ANOTHER Devastator. I love friendly fire.

4. Termies take out a whole group of Stormies with their Cyclone missile launcher and Stormbolters, and the Dread’s autocannon kills 2 more.

5. Laur’s Captain fires his combi-melta and destroys a Banewolf! Not the result he wanted though, as he would have preferred to assault the vehicle and use multiple assault rules to catch the backs of a few more vehicles. A scout bike does the same, firing to no effect, but now assaulting a Banewolf to destroy its chemical cannon.

6. Landspeeder misses its melta shot, and the group of Scouts attempt to power-fist another Banewolf without much luck.

7. Stormies and Devastators are still locked in combat, but the Devastators lose another Marine and break in combat, successfully running off the board and leaving the Stormies to consolidate. Storm Troopers, winning in Assault? UNBELIEVABLE!

Traffic was murder round these parts.

Score is now 2 KP’s to Marines and 2 KP’s to IG. Marines control 2 objectives, IG contest 2.


1. My last group of Stormies arrives via deepstrike, with my Medusa coming in at the edge ! At this point, I actually make the mistake of forgetting to bring my last HQ/Chimelta on the table. Whoops. My bad. The Stormies land close to the last bastion, and this time Laur remembers to Intercept them! He kills 4, but the remaining Melta-gunner blows the bastion sky high, forcing the occupants to disembark!

2. At this point my Medusa to my left tries to shoot at the Dread at the far end, but because of hull-mounted sponson LoS rules, we both agree I ‘miss’ by default. Curses! Also, my other 2 Medusas only manage to kill 1 Termie, due to their being in 4+ save cover.

3. At my drop zone, 2 Banewolves (one with only 1 weapon) and my Chimelta wriggle their way into good firing positions and let rip! My Chimelta wreck the Landspeeder and a few Scouts with its heavy flamer, with the passenger killing more leaving the Sergeant. A heavy flamer shot kills a Scout biker but the Banewolf spews out its chemical cannon onto the Captain and his bikers. A whiff of that poisonous dog breath and it’s nighty-night to his bikers, while his Captain takes a wound (leaving 2 left).

4. My last Chimelta rushes forward, but cautiously enough to keep a distance from the Termies (but just enough to contest the ruins). However, it sets off a trap of cluster mines and receives a shaken and weapon destroyed result (multi-laser gone).

5. My Stormies shoot melta, then assault the Vindicator at its side armour with krak grenades, inflicting immobilised, then weapon destroyed, then immobilised (weapon destroyed again) results, thereby neutering Laur’s biggest gun (hurr hurr). The rest of my Stormies get into position as best as they can to contest.

6. Marbo charges the lone devastator. Here comes Marbo, the human Lictor, Marbo, the close-combat monster! On the charge, even with all his hits and fancy knife, the Marine makes his save and even manages to take a wound off Marbo leaving him with 2! (NOTE: Another error here, as I had incorrectly assumed Marbo had 3 wounds, only realising my mistake much later).

Score is 2 KP’s to Marines and 4 KP’s to IG. Marines control 1 objective, IG contest 4.


1. Laur rolls a 3+ and his last group of Scout bikers arrive from his table edge. They charge into Marbo, but lose 2 of their own, inflicting a wound. (NOTE: This should have killed Marbo there and then)

2. Group of 5 Termies conduct a multiple assault onto my Stormies. They kill 1 group (1 person), but lose 2 of their own in a bout of bad rolling. The other Termies start a ‘tactical withdrawal’ from their position, just in case.

3. Dread has a good round of shooting, forcing Weapon destroyed and immobilised results on the already immobilised Medusa, leaving it toothless. Scout bikes also wreck the other Medusa, and the Scout Sergeant blows up a Banewolf. The Captain however, misses his hits.

Score is 5 KP’s to Marines and 4 KP’s to IG. Marines control 1 objective, IG contest 4.


1. My last HQ finally remembers to come on. It fires everything (passengers, & heavy flamer) at the Captain but his invulnerable save, saves 3no. melta shots. The last Banewolf finishes off the Scout bikers, while a Chimelta flames the Scout Sergeant. Everything else repositions itself but does no further damage to the Marines.

2. At this point I actually forget to use my Stormies to shoot or assault anything. D’oH!

3. Similarly my Medusa has nothing to shoot at as Termies are either locked in combat, out of LoS, Dread is out of range AND I stupidly decide not to blow up the immobilised Vindicator in case it hurts my Stormies.

4. Marbo kills the last biker and borrows his clothes, while the Termies consolidate even closer after wiping out the last of the Stormies they were brawling with.

Score is 6 KP’s to Marines and 7 KP’s to IG. Marines control 1 objective, IG still contest 4.


1. The Biker captain goes all out to skulk behind the Medusa wreckage to minimise KP’s, while the group of Termies previously guarding their own bastion make a break for it.

2. The other group of Termies charge into the last remaining Storm Trooper squad, wiping them out then consolidating.

3. Laur’s dread opens fire on the contesting Chimelta, managing to shake it.

4. Meanwhile, Marbo finally kills the last Devastator and consolidates to the back of the ruins.

Score is now 7 KP’s to Marines and 8 KP’s to IG. Marines control 1 objective, while IG contest 3.


1. The shaken Chimelta moves cautiously to contest the right-middle bastion and get itself in a firing position. However, I forget it’s shaken after moving it, so it most definitely cannot fire! (D’oh!)

2. Another Chimelta re-contests the ruins of the bastion, preparing to unload its passengers in the subsequent turn, while the HQ Chimelta and Banewolf cruise up to the centre.

3. The Medusa attempts to blow up the immobilised Vindicator, but the shot scatters wild.

4. Marbo lets off a shot of his Ripper pistol and makes contact, but the Termie passes it’s 5+ invulnerable save. Also, I forget to assault with Marbo. Simultaneously, Stormies let rip with their hotshots, and with luck, manage to kill one Terminator!

Score is 7 KP’s to Marines and 8 KP’s to IG. Marines still control 1 objective, while IG again contest 4.


1. Laur realises he cannot turbo-boost his last bike over difficult terrain to attempt to re-claw back some objectives, unwittingly his defensive trick against me has turned against him! Instead, he turbo-boosts his biker Captain behind the Dread when it lays down some covering fire (that misses/fails to damage).

2. Meanwhile, the Terminators kill both Storm Troopers and Marbo. Alas, poor Sly, we hardly knew ye.

The tide has finally turned! It is 9 KP’s to the Marines, and 8 KP’s to IG. Marines now control 3 objectives, while IG contest a mere 2.


1. Hoping for another turn but getting ready in case this is the last gasp, the Imperial Guardsmen go for it! Both Chimeltas disembark their passengers which occupy the ruins, and charge (cruise) ahead as fast as they can! A turret-less Chimera manages to strain ahead to contest the ruins of the Fortress tower.

2. My Chimelta HQ and Banewolf veer round to provide some protection to the men in the ruins, but set off some cluster mines which fortunately do no damage.

3. The Medusa goes for the long shot, and it’s bastion breacher template scatters off, but still hits the vehicle at half-strength. Now, I could be wrong here and if so, would appreciate correction, but though at half-strength I was insistent that 2D6 + (half) strength penetration is the correct way to play it, so that was the way we did play it. Managing to crack it’s armour for the 6th time, I get yet another immobilised result which stacks up and destroys the vehicle. Hooray!

The tide swings back! A tense situation in which it is 9 KP’s to the Marines, AND 9 KP’s to IG. Marines only control 1 objective, while IG contest 3.


1. This could be the last stand of the Marines, dying in glory or in shame! Biker captain goes as fast as he can over difficult terrain, hoping to help out if there is a next turn. Meanwhile, the Dread opens fire and immobilises the Chimera! (definitely extremely tense at this moment).

2. The smaller group of Termies back away, while the larger group successfully carries out an assault and powerfists the immobilised Chimelta into submission, wrecking it truly.

A die is rolled and on a 2, the game ends on Turn 2!

Looking at objectives, it would seem a tie! Marines control 2 objectives, while IG contest 2 objectives, so now we come down to the wire and count Kill Points!

Upon reflection, the tally is now 10 KP’s to the Marines, and with only 9 KP’s to IG, Marines have won this engagement by a single Kill Point! Victory to Laur!


I got to hand it to Laur, both him and I thought this game was going to be like last week’s as it felt very much like he was on the back foot, from my first turn onwards.

I have noticed we both made real mistakes, that when stacked up, would’ve made a considerable impact upon the game e.g. remembering to shoot interceptor guns, bringing on my HQ when it was supposed to come on, remembering that Marbo only had 2 wounds, and at one point I did get confused between my Chimeltas and Banewolves as I was doing some proxying, then swapping around as the game went by. In the end, we played it as we played it, and the above result stands as a very narrow win-of-a-draw.

Who knows? If the Interceptors were fire there would’ve been more Bastions standing, or if Marbo were to die quicker or used his Hit & Run ability to get out of combat, I may have had an actual target for my Medusa to shoot at (I made the mistake of trying to shoot at the Dread when it couldn’t, but only did so because there were no suitable targets seemingly in LoS, range, or not locked in combat then). Or 2 further turns could have been played, and we both agreed that it would’ve been more than likely that with my still considerable forces and mech, I would’ve either re-contested to make it 3 to 2 (or 1) or wiped out his termies eventually, so in a way it was good for Laur and no good for me, that the game ended as it did.

What I will say is the Imperial Guard have such an impressive range of building-crunching weaponry (Vanquisher, Medusa, Devildog, etc) and MEQ-killing armaments (Banewolf loves frying bikes to a crisp!) that would put the fear in any opponent, and that Storm Trooper spam is a pretty viable build in Planetstrike attack with their deployment re-roll, but they don’t last long so ensure backup arrives when they need it!


In retrospect, I was pretty careless in my Turn 03, not shooting with Stormies, or being more aggressive with my Chimeras. I should have disembarked earlier and cruised them forward, not realising that there was always this 1/3 chance of the game ending by Turn 5 (I was so certain there would’ve been a 6th round!).

I also got distracted by KP-mania, and while I had to deal with the bikers as they would have ground my advance down to a halt, killing the Scout sergeant was unnecessary and I would’ve benefitted more from pushing another Chimelta forward into the ruins of the bastions.

I believe my overall strategy was still pretty good, as even Laur admitted I had forced his own plans into disarray (lack of devastators means no long range whatsoever), and the sudden appearance of the majority of his forces straight into assault means he had to make it up as he went along, reacting to every one of my reactions which I think is pretty much the only real strategy a Planetstrike defender can do really!

In the end of the day, I applaud Laur for pulling off the narrowest of victories. If he hadn’t worked the terrain to his advantage, and if he hadn’t tailored his list to counter-act me as much as possible, it would’ve been a much tougher battle like last week. With what he did, he stood a reasonable chance of winning, and in the end he pulled it off so fair play to him!

Hope you enjoyed this battle report, while Wednesday Gaming Night takes a break, to return in 2 weeks or 3!


1. RULES QUESTION: Does Hit & Run (e.g. Marbo) work only in the controlling player’s Assault phase, or ANY Assault phase? The BRB only says ‘The’ Assault phase, so the wording is unclear.

2. RULES QUESTION: When shooting say a Bastion Breacher shell (or say Devil dog melta cannon) which relies on a template (S10) but has 2D6 penetration (like in-range melta), if the hole of the blast scatters off the vehicle but still catches it, the rules say the base strength is now halved (S10 hit becomes S5 hit). However, is it still +2D6 armour penetration?

3. GENERIC QUESTION: How many people play a 'hidden list' setup? What I mean by this is when you only reveal the full extent of your forces as you deploy them, or reveal lists only the end of the game as opposed to before?

4. STRATEGY QUESTION: I note that both Laur and I did not have a single immobilised vehicle result, deep strike mishap or biker death from the masses and masses of difficult terrain. How would you have coped in terrain setup as hazardous as the one on this battle report?

Thanks for reading!

- Menzies


  1. Great battle report.
    I like the style you wrote it up in. Very brief, but just enough info to know what's going on.

    And I love the pics, they really help with the visual needed. Plus I like the fact you can click on them for a bigger view of the action.

    1. Hit & Run can be used in either players turn. However, I've never used it in my turn as it is my opponents turn next and I usually want that unit in CC.

    2. Yes, only the S of the weapon is halved. You still roll the 2d6.

    3. We rarely play hidden list. Though I have a system in my basement where I can lower a sheet across the table and we can do true hidden setup.

    It adds a huge element of suspense and is crazy fun!

    4. I'm an aggressive player and have no qualms DP into small areas.

    Victory goes to the bold and courageous. So go big or go home I say!

    Hope that helps.

  2. This is a brilliant battle report -an absolute pleasure to read. Cheers.

    I've often mulled Q1 myself, and I'm pleased to read above that it applies in either Assault. Good to know.

    I think you've got the rule correct in Q2. +2D6 applies regardless of where the template lands.

    With regard to Q3: because I have one regular opponent, we will often play with a "hidden list" mostly because we each already have a reasonably solid idea about what's on the other's shelf, so to speak. While this might be a bit unsporting (or at least standoffish) in random games against unfamiliar opponents, amongst common rivals and friends, I believe it almost essential to keep the games from stagnating into rote patterns.

    Again. Brilliant stuff. Thanks for posting.

  3. Cracking write up mate, on the questions ...

    1. Either players turn mate.
    2. S halved but still roll 2D6
    3. With hidden setup games, we normally save the list showing until the end of the game to keep the surprises coming.
    4. Just go for it, taking a defended position like this can't be done with caution, you just have to accept that your men are going to die.

    I'm loving these posts btw, excellent write ups mate.

  4. Thanks for the comments and answers!

    Me, and the rest of my local gaming group (Laur & Doug) will definitely try out more 'hidden list' games to keep it fresh.

    I quite like mocking up the Vassal-esque graphics (all Photoshop), and presenting the battlereports. Taking photos of the game sometimes gets in the way of playing it, but the more photos and notes I take the more accurate the report is. :)

  5. Brilliant stuff - I'm so jealous of these games and it's nice to note the human touches of forgetfulness in there, too!

  6. Thanks Admiral Drax! That is high praise indeed. :)

    Forgetting stuff is pretty commonplace in my games, we often forget certain rules, sequences, orders, morale tests, movement, etc.

    Sometimes when we'rep laying and we're feeling nice about it and it isn't too far gone, we let what has been forgotten 'occur' (e.g. oh I just forgot to shoot my tank and we're in the assault phase now).

    But if it's too far gone, we always say 'Oh well! You'll remember next time!' :)