Friday, 8 June 2012

Gravis vs. Drax - The Big Fight (or games to that effect)

Admiral Drax, aka Chris, started in the blogosphere not long after I set up shop myself, we've been in touch quite a bit, especially since we're a little under an hours drive apart in the soggy south-west of England, and are both avid Guard collectors and players. We've bumped into each other numerous times as well, at events like PAW, but we've never quite managed to get some games in, despite always intending too!

We're both employed in schools in the region, so have had the past week off, or nearly off work, so when Chris dropped an email across inviting me for a bash at his local indy store, the excellent Giant's Lair in Plymouth, despite the typical early summer weather, I jumped at the chance!

With 5th edition soon to be bid fairwell, and just because we could, we decided to play a couple of more unusual missions, the first of which was one of Drax's own creations entitled Advance to Contact. I'm not going to try and explain it too much, but essentially its infantry only, with a patrol (the attacker), coming upon a patrol base (the defender). The armies are both split equally with a random half being deployed by the defender anywhere on the board, and the attackers random half in the corner furthest from the defender. The attackers remaining forces all come on from his quarter on turn 2, while the defenders all arrive together in location decided by a dice roll, but otherwise using the normal reserves rules. The game is played for victory points to decide the winner.

I became the defender for our first game, which we played at 1000pts, my on the board half ended up being a small platoon with a Lord Commissar, a veteran squad and two heavy weapons squads, one with heavy bolters, one with mortars. Drax meanwhile had an Infantry Platoon with a special weapons squad, an autocannon heavy weapons squad and his Command HQ.

I formed up a blob led by the Lord Commissar and moved forwards, but found my Mortars and Heavy Bolter Squad out of range (a reoccuring problem for my Heavy Weapons!), Chris' early shooting did very little in the way of damage though. Without fire support (still out of range!), and with no guarantee of reserves things did'nt look too good for the blob - especially as I knew his would all arrive on his next turn. But wait, one lucky dice roll later...

My reserves all arrived behind him, my second Platoon with a special weapons squad, heavy weapons squad with heavy bolters and Command HQ, when his Command HQ got flamed, things did'nt look good, but despite lots of rapid firing there was'nt actually too much damage.

Despite the unexpected turn of events with my whole army on his doorstep Chris went calmly to work, bringing his reserves on to one side, effectively reorietating his battleline. Another Infanty Platoon arrived, with another Special Weapon Squad and his favourite if I'm any judge, the Penal Legion! He quickly did a shed load of damage, and it became very obvious, quite quickly that he was winning the numbers game, my expensive Veterans Squad and Lord Commissar eating up alot of points, which he'd instead spent on greater numbers (oh and one or two Flamers!).

Over the following turns the numbers played out, and though I did'nt go without a fight, and did dispatch all his officers, and most of those pesky Flamers (I had a vendetta against them!), by the end Chris still had a substancial firebase of four or five squads at near full strengh, while I was left with a couple of Heavy Weapons Squads, and a handful of Guardsmen. Oh how I hate flamer templates!

We called it there, with first blood to Chris and moved onto our second larger game.

This time we went for a 2000pts game from the Battle Missions book, I forget the name of the mission now, I believe something like Grand Assault though. The Guard player, or in this case one of them, which turned out to be me, is the attacker. There is a single objective in the center of the board, another in the center of the attackers deployment zone, and one other placed by the attacking player in the defenders deployment zone, after deployment. Being a fun game, rather then a serious one, we'd already agreed that my Malcador defender would be taking to the field, though it would take up 2 Heavy Support choices. I also put to the table a couple of big Platoons with Heavy and Special Weapons Squads, a Command HQ and Lord Commissar, Veterans in a Chimera, a Valkyrie, Marbo, a Russ and a couple of units of Roughriders.

Chris deployed first with a sturdy looking line of tanks including a pair of Russ, a Hydra, a pair of Griffons, a Veteran Squad in a Chimera, another Marbo, the Penal Legion, a Platoon of Guardsmen with Heavy and Special Weapon Squads, a Command HQ, a Devildog, and a pair of Hellhounds. Did I mention how much I hate flamer templates?

It's probably unsurprising then that almost all my anti-tank weaponry was directed at those chaps, and I did a fantastic job of immobilising just about everything I shot at. Could I destroy anything? No. Knock a weapon off? No. But at least they wer'nt going anywhere!

The Malcador pushed up the left flank, supported by a couple of units, and proved pretty much impervious, despite its lower then Russ armour, however as Chris had pointed out himself he did'nt have huge amount of Anti-Tank (no Lascannons!). Meanwhile on the right, where I had placed my third objective, things also went well, a Special Weapons Squad with meltas jumped out of the Valkyrie before the Hydra knocked it out of the sky (they spent the rest of the game trying to destroy the Griffons), the two infantry units around the objective succumbed meanwhile to weight of fire and I pushed forward, while the center milled around and was generally the subject of lots of Mortars.

This is not pleasant, especially when they are Drax's Mortars which are unnervingly accurate! I swear if he had another couple of squads I'd probably not have had any infantry left by the end of the game (possibly a slight exageration, but you get the idea)!

The two Marbo's arrived in the same turn, mine backed up the Malcador, and guess what, immobilised his last Hellhound which the Roughriders then finished off, the other Marbo on the other side of the table decided he did'nt like Roughriders and blew the other unit largely away, the two survivors left managing to kill him in return in assault. My Veterans were targetted by his, losing their transport, but moving up into cover and securing an objective, while following an amazingly bad string of roles the Penal Legion who had furious charge etc were beaten and then run down by a regular Guard squad denying him the center objective.

With this the game was largely over, as we were running out of time, but there was still the matter of lots of guns pointing at the Malcador, a Melta Vet Squad, a Storm Trooper Squad, and whatever else could hurt it left in his army - granted not that much by this point.

By rights the Malcador should have been toasted, or at least a little singed. It was not to be however, as everything either missed or failed to penetrate, in the final turn I dont think anything was actually done to it at all which was really really unlucky on Chris' part!

With that we bid our farewells until the next time, with two fantastic games - Chris is a model opponent - and what felt like a very fair outcome with each of us winning a game. So again thank you for what was an excellent evenigns gaming, here's to the next time!

I'm sure he'll be putting up a battle report shortly too, lots more pictures were taken on his camera, I'll link across to the other side of the stort as soon as I can!

Mission 1 on Admiral Drax's Blog
Game 1 on Admiral Drax's Blog, including many more pictures!


Mordian7th said...

Very nice! Looks like it was a fun game!

oink said...

between the three of us we could relly scare apocalypse events! Sounds like a great day of gaming!

Admiral Drax said...


I had a marvellous evening, and Gravis is a smashing opponent - very sporting and up for the 'cinematic'...which in my book is the way it should be.

I'm at my dad's now with very sporadic internet access (riding on the neighbour's wireless signal) so I'll post as much as I can as soon as I can this evening.



NB: I was indeed a little unlucky in the second game, but that doesn't negate the fact that he played the better game! It was certainly fun.

Dai said...

Awesome to see such good looking armies up against eachother and a battle report fitting to partener good pics!

Thanks for sharing!

Siph_Horridus said...

I'm in Plymouth this month - perhaps you two would like to test your mettle on Power Armour? My Relictors will relish the challenge.

Looked like an awesome night!

Admiral Drax said...

Siph: Drop me an email, mate (see profile) - it'd be a pleasure!

Col.Gravis said...

It was indeed a great couple of games!

Siph, I fear I may not be able to make another run down to Plymouth so soon, if you happen to be stopping by Exeter anytime let tme know though!