Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Not Apocalypse at Darksphere

Last Sunday was scheduled to be Apocalypse at Darksphere.

So, having checked the event times, planned and scheduled, I got up at an early hour, having been ranted at by my wife about setting alarms at ungodly hours, and headed into central London.

I arrived to find myself the first non staff member there, with a good terrain set up already done and ready for gamers.


I was sure I took a photo of that! It's not there any more. I am clearly made of fail.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, no-one else turned up. Several people had booked in, but they just didn't show on the day. I was very confused, but Alexi (who is awesome) challenged me to as big a game as I could manage and scrounged up models to face me in a nice 5th edition game.

I don't have any shots of the battle itself, because I was too busy playing, but here's one of the shots I took of the terrain set up at the start. This is a quick shot showing most of the board viewing down its length - the only bit missing being a few extra ruins to the right in the corner, out of shot.

The big building on the left was treated as a proper building with AV12, and the cottage on the right of shot (the black one) was also a building with AV11.

We rolled up an Annihilation mission, with Dawn of War deployment, and Alexi chose to go first, choosing the side with more ruins, but without the big central building.

I won't "turn by turn" this, as it was a pretty big battle. I'm also not going to cover my full list beyond saying it was based on my Throne of Skulls list, with the addition of a Leman Russ Battle Tank, some Ratlings, Storm Troopers and a Primaris Psyker, and dropped the Penal Legion for space. The veterans were moved into the Valkyrie, and the Platoon Command Squad took the Chimera.

Alexi's list was very interesting. There were three Ratling Sniper squads, two Guardsman sniper teams, three lascannon heavy weapon teams and two heavy bolter weapons teams, two light command HQs, two Valkyries, one Leman Russ MBT and two Demolishers. The troops were rounded out with a Veteran's squad with a sniper and a heavy bolter, and both the main troops choices were just normal troops.

The battle was pretty brutal. We both came away with some learning experiences and had an interesting chat after the battle. The final result was 11 kill points apiece.

As a note, I let Alexi start using my dice after he suffered an appalling run of bad luck for the first two turns. The luck then seemed to average out after that. I did make a couple of silly mistakes as I got a bit cocky, but he didn't give up and really fought me back.

My learning points:
- Deep Striking Melta should concentrate on the tanks, even if you think you're doing well on that front
- Buildings are giant vehicles, and can effectively give you the benefits of mechanisation. This gives them the potential to be quite unbalancing
- Mid to late game, when you've dealt with most of the opponent's armour, don't under-estimate their infantry firepower
- Torrented pinning is a horrid thing
- I'm still lacking the ability to reliable get a large number or heavily armoured group of infantry out of cover

Alexi's learning points
- He hasn't done many missions in 5e (mostly Apocalypse) so realising that kill points don't care about unit points values was a bit of a system shock for 3 man Ratling squads
- His plan was a ton of pinning checks via snipers then massed firepower. My incredibly infantry light army put paid to this and resulted in him having a lot of troops sitting about waiting for a target

Joint learning points
- 5e has a major issue with random results on vehicles - I was just rolling a lot of sixes despite putting comparative or even slightly less anti tank fire into his vehicles, leaving the board very mismatched in the early turns!

I would also note that if we had rolled anything but Annihilation, I would have been smushed as I did not have the Troops choices to do anything in the face of his anti infantry firepower!

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