Showing posts with label epic40k. Show all posts
Showing posts with label epic40k. Show all posts

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Epic 40K Encounter

I tried another Epic 40K Portable Wargame this afternoon, once again pitting those renegade Imperial Guard against some heroic Space Marines. I decided to try out some thoughts on the damage effect roll I'd initiated in my previous post. I like the Sudden Death option for this style of game, as it makes the 40K world fast and deadly, as it should be. But I wanted to fin-tune it a little for different troop types.

I rated each unit as having either 2, 3 or 4 strength points, basically as in the normal rules. A unit increased its strength by 1 if it was elite and reduced it by 1 if it was poor. This gave a range of 1-5 strength points.

When a unit is hit it rolls a D6 for the effect. If the score is equal to or less than its strength then the unit retreats 1 space. If it can't retreat then it is destroyed (but I allow diagonal retreats - if the unit can legally move into one of the spaces to its side, and then straight back it can do so). If the unit rolls greater than its strength, then it is simply destroyed.

This is basically the same as in the existing rules, with a simple +1/-1 factored in for the unit's strength. But it's easier to remember and resolve.

Both forces consisted of 36 strength points.

The Marines had: 6 x Infantry (at 5SP each) and 2 x Tanks (at 3SP each)
The Guard had: 4 x Infantry (3SP), 4 x Tanks (3SP), 1 x Super-Heavy Tank (4SP), 1 x Cavalry (3SP) and 2 x Artillery (2SP). In fact that was only 35SP, so I should check my arithmetic in future.

Exhaustion was 12SP for each side.

The Super-Heavy Tank had a starting strength of 4SP, a move of 2 and a range of 4. Working out rules for Big Things like this is on my to-do list.

I placed two ruins towards the centre of the board, then randomly placed more terrain. Both sides would enter from opposite sides, from any of the centre four squares on their edge. Victory went to whoever controlled the ruins after ten turns.

Here's the position at the end of the second turn. The Guard had got most of their forces on the board, and already taken out one of the Marines' tanks, but the lively duel was developing on the right-hand side. On the left of the picture the Marines had occupied a ruin.

The Guard pushed their tanks forward in the centre. I scrapped the rules that infantry and cavalry couldn't harm tanks, but they did take a -1 when firing at them. I think this balances them up nicely for this genre, taking into account the fact that the infantry do tend to have access to some portable AT weapons. Infantry close-assault tanks at full strength.

The Marines pushed forward aggressively in response. They could afford to do this because, if hit, they are only destroyed on a '6', retreating otherwise. Their push destroyed the Guard tank holding the ruins, so that by about Turn 4 the Marines held both objectives.

The Guard had numbers on their side, though, and were able to assault the Marines in the ruins relentlessly. Artillery drove them out, and waves of infantry destroyed them. This highlighted the downside of the Marines; each unit lost counts far more towards their exhaustion point than those of the Guard. With two tanks and some infantry lost, the Marines were close to breaking.

The position about halfway through the game.

As the Marines tried to retake the ruins they had lost, the Guard used their numbers to flank them. Despite this the Marines did briefly reoccupy the objective, but I'd made a tactical error in sequencing; they did so before the Guard took any actions that turn, and the Guard used their artillery to drive the Marines straight back out again. Had the Marines held off for a couple of activations, the Guard would have either committed their artillery elsewhere, or been forced to forgo its use for that turn.

The super-heavy tank was now in action. The artillery shelled the other ruins, and the Marines in them died to a man. This broke their army, forcing them to break off offensive operations.

I played out the rest of the turn. The Guard occupied the second area of ruins, whilst the Marines made a steady withdrawal.

One unit found itself surrounded, but resisted all attacks.

The position at the end of the game. It had lasted eight of the ten allotted turns. The Guard could afford to sit tight since the Marines couldn't push forward and take back either of the objectives. Guard losses were two tanks; their infantry seemed to be impossible to hit.

I was quite pleased with how the game played out, and feel content sticking to my dice-based initiative system, which forced some interesting decisions on both sides. I might try a couple more games with these somewhat conventional forces, before trying out something more exotic.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Hill Defence

I tried out another portable Epic 40K game this morning, just to get the ebb and flow of the mechanisms clear in my mind. I found that the initiative system I described in the previous post worked quite well once you got used to it, and that coordinated efforts were possible with a bit of planning, even if you had to gamble sometimes.

I diced for a random terrain setup, and ended up with this rather nice defensive position. So I decided to try unequal forces in an attack/defence scenario.

The Imperial Guard defended, with four poor infantry bases, two tanks and some medium artillery. They had defensive positions across the front of the two hills and the pass in-between.

The Marines attacked. They had the same number of units, but the force was made up of three tanks and four elite infantry.

I gave the Marines twelve turns in which to take the hills. They got off to a bad start when the very first initiative roll was a double '1', which instantly ended the turn.

On the second turn they advanced their tanks into range of the hills, and took them under fire. The tanks would be able to sit outside of the range of the infantry's weapons and bombard, forcing the Guard to either risk a game of playing the odds (would they be wiped out before the time limit expired?) or to counter-attack.

The Marine infantry followed the tanks, working onto the flanks.

On turn three both sides scored a kill; a Marine tank destroyed the infantry in front of it, but a retaliatory strike by the Guard artillery destroyed the tank. With hindsight they should have shot at one of the tanks that hadn't acted yet that turn, but I wasn't thinking.

The Guard sent their tanks to attack the Marines advancing on their left, hoping the artillery would cover the other flank.

The tanks took up position in the woods and bombarded the Marines, who returned fire. Neither side inflicted any hits. With a slight edge, the Guard pushed forward one of their infantry units, hoping to withdraw it on the next turn before the marines could respond. Its firing was also ineffective.

The Marines responded with one of their infantry units swinging across from the other flank into a close-assault, but this failed to inflict any hits either.

The Guard responded to the open Marine flank by launching an assault of their own, which was also ineffective.

The Guard counter-attack had now left them exposed. Could the Marines exploit it?

On the Marines' left, their fourth infantry unit attacked the flank of the Guard position, but again the close combat was inconclusive. The fire from the supporting artillery wasn't, though, and destroyed the Marine infantry.

The Marines pushed a tank forward to assault the position, but it also failed to score a hit.

The exposed Guard infantry had been forgotten in the excitement of the action on the other flank, and they were shot down before they could withdraw.

The Guard launched a local counter-attack on the Marine tanks, and destroyed one. This pushed the marines over their exhaustion point. The attack had failed, and a withdrawal was now the only option.

This was the position at the point the Marines stopped their attack.

Their infantry pulled back to the baseline, but the Guard tanks advanced, firing as they came, destroying another unit.

The last Marine tank was trapped in the pass. Guard infantry attacked it from both sides, but in an amazing set of rolls the tank not only survived, but destroyed both attacking units. This caused the Guard to reach their exhaustion point as well.

Their tanks stopped their pursuit, but continued firing, and another Marine infantry base was lost.

The surviving marine infantry and tank withdrew unmolested. Their losses were thee bases of infantry and two tanks. The Guard lost four bases of infantry.

Rather than have infantry unable to affect tanks with their firing, I allowed them to hit, but they increased the roll by one when rolling for effect, making it more likely the tanks would retreat. However all combats ended up with units being destroyed; not a single unit retreated.

This adjustment gave me some thought as to how to factor unit strength points into the Sudden Death system.

The basic 'save' roll when a unit is hit is as follows:

3 or less - Unit is destroyed
4 or more - Unit retreats, or is destroyed if it can't.

Effectively an Elite unit gets +1 to the roll and a Poor unit gets -1.
My adjustment for infantry shooting at tanks gives a further +1 on what is effectively the unit's save roll.

What I would try is this. Units generally have a strength of 4, 3 or 2. A unit with a strength of 4 gets a +1 to their roll (so is harder to destroy and more likely to retreat). A unit with a strength of 2 gets a -1 (so is more easily destroyed). This makes infantry more resilient, and things like artillery weaker in combat. Further adjustments could be made to reflect heavy tank guns having better armour penetration, and so forth. There's maybe scope for all kinds of modifiers and chrome.

So, an average infantry unit (SP4) hit by shooting would be destroyed on a 1-2, but would retreat on a 3 or more. An elite infantry unit is only destroyed on a 1. An average tank (SP3) would be destroyed on a 1-3 if hit by another tank, but only a 1-2 if hit by infantry fire.

Retreats are easily blocked on a  square grid, leaving units very vulnerable. I'd be inclined to allow diagonal retreats if no other option is available.

All this is food for thought ready for the next game.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

A Portable Epic

Having now read Bob Cordery's 'The Portable Wargame' and 'Developing The Portable Wargame', I decided to give the rules a try. Not that I haven't played such games before. However I've been quick to rewrite and add things from the word go, and I thought that it would be interesting to try the game 'out of the box'.

I decided to try the WWII (or 'Mid 20th Century') rules, using a couple of Epic 40K armies. I skipped commanders, because I don't have any suitable individual figures, but otherwise just ran the units as in the rules. This meant that infantry shooting can't destroy tanks, for example, which doesn't entirely fir the Epic 40K ethos, but there you go.

I pitted a force of Space Marines against some renegade Imperial Guard. All troops were average, which meant that the guard infantry and the marines were, in fact, functionally identical, but since the Marine bases have five figures each and the Guard have ten, I thought this balanced out nicely.

Here's the armies and battlefield set up.

Yes, the terrain is based on the Battle of Hook's Farm. This may be a classic 'scenario', but it's not one I've played before. The rocks acted as buildings, providing cover for everything, the trees were woods (again, cover for everything) and there was one patch of rubble, which slowed all movement, but only gave cover to infantry.

Both sides had four bases of infantry and three tanks. The Marines had a base of landspeeders (classed as cavalry), whilst the Guard had a base of medium artillery.

There was plenty of cover in the middle of the battlefield, and that's where the infantry ended up.

I say I used the rules straight out of the book. I didn't. I made two changes.

Firstly I modified the factors so that tanks in buildings or in woods didn't get a cover bonus if attacked by infantry. So they can hide from shooting, but not an infiltration-style close assault.

Secondly I changed the initiative system. Instead of one side activating all of its units, and then the other, I used an opposed die roll. Both sides rolled a D6, and the highest roller got to activate a single unit. They then rolled again, with the highest roller activating something else. This continues until all units are activated, or the turn ends. And end it could. If a double was rolled then the turn would end if the number on the dice was equal to or less than the number of doubles rolled during the turn. So a double '1' would always end the turn. A double '2' would end it if it was at least the second double rolled, a double '3' if it were at least the third and so on. If the double didn't end the turn, then the side that didn't act on the previous roll got an activation.

This is a lot simpler to play than explain, and meant that whilst most turns saw most units activated, on a few turns not everything got to at.

The fighting was intense, and there were lots of close combats because of the restricted nature of the terrain. One thing I wasn't sure about was whether a unit which has an enemy adjacent to it has to actually engage in close combat. There were a few points where I felt that an activated unit was better off sitting tight than risking a combat roll against something facing it. I may just house-rule this and say that close-combat is optional, and see how it plays out.

I was using strength points, and the game played out over several turns, with units slowly accumulating hits. Eventually the Marines reached their exhaustion point, but the Guard reached theirs the turn after before they could exploit their advantage, and the game ended in a stalemate. Only one unit was actually lost; a unit of Marine infantry.

I set up the game again, but this time I used the Sudden Death option. This gave a much more satisfying battle, with each move and attack being riskier, since an exposed unit could easily be picked off by a single shot.

Tanks duelled on the one flank, whilst once again the infantry ducked and hid in the centre.

The Guard tanks broke through, and turned the Marines' flank, forcing them to their exhaustion point.

A follow-up attack by the Guard saw more marines fall, but the Guard then lost their attacking unit, forcing them to their exhaustion point. However with only four losses to the marines' five, I gave the battle to the Guard.

The initiative system seemed to work OK, although it does make coordinated attacks difficult to achieve. I shall try it some more and see how it pans out.

The Sudden Death option gave a more satisfying game but, of course,  at the cost of one of the features that helps delineate different unit types; their strength points. Thus an artillery unit (two strength points) is now as tough as an infantry unit (four strength points). I'm not sure what the answer is there. The strength points would work, I think, for anything 19th century and earlier, where warfare is more attritional, but Sudden Death does rather suit this style of 'modern' warfare. I shall have to ponder the possibilities; I rather like the idea of an Epic 40K Portable Wargame now I've tried these armies out. Next time, though, I might use less terrain, or spread it out some more so that there is more scope for shooting.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Holiday Games - Part 1

I have just got back from our latest camping holiday - two weeks looping down into Victoria, up and along the Murray River, and then back up into New South Wales for the long trip home. As ever I took plenty of books and games, as we like to mix walks and visiting tourist attractions with lots of relaxed downtime in our various camps.

Here's our route (without the side-trips and outings). It's a total of 2,660km. We stayed at seven different locations, three of them for three nights each.

This trip was the full debut of our new camper trailer which gives us tons of storage space (well, not quite tons, but a lot) for camping equipment, thus freeing up the car for useful stuff like games and books. So I was able to be a little more ambitious in what I took, even if I did eventually leave a few things at home.

I'll do two reports on games. The first will cover the one miniatures game I took - HOTT.

I packed four boxes of Epic 40K armies, plus a board and minimal amount of terrain. HOTT is surprisingly portable if you plan what you take carefully. During our first week we had a day so hot that no-one wanted to moved out of the shade, so I played a few games to while away the morning.

I started with Dark Eldar vs Tyranids. The Dark Eldar defended.

However as a fast, mobile, army, it was they that launched an attack, throwing warband at the Tyranid centre which was mostly hordes supporting a couple of magicians.

They got there unscathed, after poor PIPs left the Tyranids virtually immobile.

However the attack was thrown back, and the Tyranids exploited an open flank ...

... to destroy the Dark Eldar commander, and pick up a swift win.

Winner stayed on, so in the second game the Tyranids defended against the Sisters of Battle. This army is a mix of warband, paladins and heroes.

The hero (a Chaplain), paladin and bikes attacked the Tyranid centre.

The Tyranids tried a flanking move, and held back the Sisters' own flank supports.

Local militia held out on a hill against attacks by Tyranid Malefactors.

The attack in the centre went badly, with the Chaplain diverted, and the bikes destroyed. The lone Living Saint killed a mighty Hive Tyrant, however ...

... and in a foolhardy attack swept through the Tyranid line to take their stronghold and pick up an unexpected victory.

The Sisters of Battle found themselves on the offensive once more in the next game, facing an Ork Kult of Speed. This consisted of massed riders backed up by hordes and warband.

The Orks attacked swiftly, driving back the bikes and militia facing them

With the Sisters' right flank neutralised, they then turned on their centre. The open battlefield really allowed riders to shine, as they quickly redeployed from one part of the battlefield to another.

The main lines met, with the Sisters smashing the Ork's right flank, held by a mob of Mad Boyz.

In the centre, though, both Living Saints fell to a mighty Ork war-engine.

The Sisters exploited their advantage on the Ork right to attack their stronghold, but were thrown back.

Meanwhile the Ork Warboss found himself under close attack.

He survived, and with the support of his fast vehicles turned the tables on the Sisters to pick up a win.

This third game was great fun, and could have gone either way, with both armies getting excellent positional advantages, only to lose critical combats.

Abut a week later, at another campsite, I played a fourth game, with the armies coming full-circle as the Orks fought the Dark Eldar. I didn't get any pictures, but both armies deployed massed riders. the Dark Eldar clinched a victory by supporting theirs closely with warband.

In my next post I'll look at the boardgames we played.
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