Battle Report 13 - True Heroes
Tyranids vs. Space Marines (Iron Hands)
Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)
- Date - 01JAN2002
- Points - 1500
- Scenario - Rearguard
- Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played
by Michael J. Casavant]
- Red Talons Chapter - Iron Hands Space Marines
[played by Lars Ericson]
- Result - Victory for Space Marines
- Losses - Phage: One Spinegaunt brood, one Gargoyle brood.
- Losses - Red Talons: 3 Land Speeder Units, Razorback,
Rhino, 1/2 Tac Marine squad x 3 (?), Predator Annihilator
lost its turret.
- Grand Tournament Scale (Victory Points Difference) - N/A.
- 0-299 Victory Points = Draw - neither side holds the
- 300-599 Victory Points = Minor Victory - You have won
the battle, but only just!
- 600-1,199 Victory Points = Solid Victory - You have decisively
defeated your foe!
- 1,200+ Victory Points = Massacre - You have ruthlessly
crushed your foes!
For the first time in my experience, I am finally getting to
try out the way the book suggests battles are selected - Pick
the scenario type, pick Attacker/Defender, show up and roll randomly
for the mission.
Naming convention: The food that have faced Hive Fleet Phage
have named the Hive Tyrants that continue to plague them. The
one that trudges forward implacably with an escort of Tyrant Guard
they call "Thunder." The swift winged beast that races
across the battlefield and shatters bodies and vehicles alike
has been dubbed "Lightning." They have also named the
Carnifex engine of destruction, "Mjolnir."
We chose the buildings to work like woods normally do. Using
Cityfight rules instead may sound reasonable, but Cityfight rules
were designed to make a game playable in, well, a city fight,
and they don't translate well outside of that milieu.
The terrain was challenging. There were only two useful pieces
that blocked LOS, the large buildings/woods and they were large
enough to be problematic for flying (or jump pack) units to fly
There was some uncertainty on how to play
with the Hidden Setup in terms of rolling for mines and booby
traps. Rearguard requires the Defender to split his army into
two forces and he randomly gets one of these forces. Since Rearguard
only allows the Defender to take half of his list, the question
is - does he get to place Hidden Setup markers for the whole list?
I said no because of the wording in the scneario - "The units
in the other force are not used in this battle." However,
it's never that easy. Hidden Setup reads "When using Hidden
Set-up you will need a hidden set-up marker for every unit in
your force (including those in reserve or not starting on the
tabletop for some other reason)." My rationale was that the
scenario wording takes precedence. We are effectively playing
a game in which the other half of the Defender's force does not
exist, whereas the Hidden Set-up refers to starting on the board
or not. I feel the parenthetical statement is to cover unusual
cases, like Lictors, for example, which neither start on the board
nor in Reserves. I wanted to be a good sport so I decided to be
generous and let Lars have all of the markers. It had a dramatic
effect. Instead of zero extra markers, we had a half dozen. Lars
called GW and hashed it out over the phone later and, yes, the
Defender only gets markers for the force used in the battle. Good
to know for next time.
OK, so no good deed goes unpunished, right? Well, as luck would
have it. Lars proceeded to roll and all of the markers that were
uselessly off to the side and rear were not used, but there were
three CONTINUOUS strips of minefields in front of the Defender's
position. Oh my goodness...that pretty much defined the game for
Minefields (refresher) - any unit that moves over the mine field
rolls and on a 4+ is hit with a Strength 6 hit that allows a normal
save. Statistically, that means most of my broods would lose half
their numbers just moving over them. So I did not. I probably
just should have cried havoc and rampaged over the mines anyway,
but oh well, hindsight is 20/20 and all that. How many dead 'nids
does it take to deplete a section of minefield? We may never know.
Lars did a good job setting up. I realized in hindsight that
I should have questioned something on Hidden Set-up. There was
a Rhino at the edge of some cover that did not block LOS, lichen
that represented some sort of low lying cover, like bushes. The
Hidden Set-up rule requires that the vehicle be positioned in
such a way that it is hidden, as in LOS is blocked in some way,
not simply behind any cover or counting as hull down. Ah well,
live and learn. On to the carnage!
I went around the minefield and charged right at him. Did you
get that the first time? I know, it's pretty complex.
Sorry, no pictures, I forgot my camera and Lars did not have
Lars has a diagram in his
The game ended somewhat prematurely at the end of turn 5. With
the large swath of bonus minefields, I would have had to be lucky
to inflict enough casualties to win by Turn 6. I would have needed
at least Turn 7 to have a good chance of winning.
Basically, the minefields kicked my army's chitinous tush. I
gambled on more turns and cirumvented the huge valley o' mines,
and rolled snake eyes. Also, the list I took was not well set
up to deal with the number of vehicles and dreads he ended up
having. Oh, to just have had one less minefield. Well I was being
such a good sport, no sense ruining it now by whining. Viva la
Red Talons! :)
Important note: Although this game was not very tactically challenging
games I have played, it was one of the most enjoyable. There was
very little bickering about stuff and the game went smoothly and
quickly, in spite of Hidden Set-up. Most of that is attributed
to Lars and I trying to proactively identify rules we found confusing
or potentially contentious before the game started.
Lars did a great job of setting his men up. His mines were placed
well, and he used cover extremely well. Curse him! :)
Lessons Learned (and relearned)
- The standard formula for arranging battles is pretty nice.
You get a chance to try more specialized forces
- I changed too much of my list. I ended up with little vehicle/Dreadnought
killing capability and I should have expected at least two or
three vehicles even with half of a Space Marines army fielded
by Lars. I was actually feverish at the time I composed my list,
so I blame an altered reality. :)
- Hidden Set-up
- The Defender only gets markers for units involved in the
- Vehicles must be hidden not just in cover or hull
- Yes, my suspicions were correct - Lictors pretty much suck
unless you have a special mission that greatly benefits from
their special abilities. There are two scenarios that I could
see them being useful in:
- The enemy is forced (or strongly encouraged) by victory
conditions to move through/near cover outside of their deployment
- You are trying to bypass Sentries without raising an alarm.
Of course, Litcors can't infiltrate, so they have to trudge
across the field and engage the Sentry while the rest of
the army hangs back. Not necessarily a good thing. In Sabotage,
for example, you really don't have the time, as the game
turns start as soon as the Attacker begins advancing onto
- None. There was nothing really clever to do here. I ran at
a bunch of stationary Space Marines hiding in cover.
Rules Questions & Clarifications
- You only get Hidden Setup markers for units used in the battle
that do not start on the board. So for Rearguard, only for the
force portion that is used.
- Hidden Vehicles - I contend that the vehicle cannot simply