Friday, June 26, 2009
First game of Planetstrike!
Mission: Planetstrike! (just standard, no variants)
Forces: 1k of 24th Fortunan and 1k of Craftworld Sam vs 2k of attacking Ulthwe
Sam and I went for more static defenders backed up by plenty of firepower, while the aggressor went for mech Eldar accompanied by jump troops, fully taking advantage of the 6 elites choices.
This being our very first Planetstrike game, there was plenty of looking at the rules to figure out exactly how everything worked. 1st step was defenders set up terrain and objectives, so Sam and I set up our board thusly:
We figured that between my lascannons, mortars and LRBTs and Sam's dark reapers and rangers we would want a board that had as little LOS blocking as possible, while still making our fortresses hard to take. Thus we placed them up on high positions with absolutely no area terrain anywhere to give the attackers respite. The two Imperial-style bastions were armed with 4 automated fire heavy bolters, while the Eldar tower was armed with four automated bright lances. Seeing the board, Aaron decided to attack from the board edge with the Eldar tower.
Now we moved to strategic assets. We settled on 6 points for this part. Defenders chose a Battle cannon turret for the leftmost tower, ammo stockpiles for the bottom tower (twin links weapons of one unit firing from inside) and denied drop zone, forcing Aaron to rechoose his board edge, which he switched to the opposite edge.
After choosing to come in on the opposite side, defenders deployed and the barrage began. Aaron had chosen an asset that allowed him to have 2d6+number of bastions barrages, each barrage being Str 9 AP 3 ordnance blasts. Ouch. He rolled for 12 barrages and set about taking out troops. The bottom tower was cracked open and the battle cannon was blown off of the other Imperial tower. So much for our assets... In addition the troops that we had not put in reserve were hammered repeatedly, but not to quite as devastating effect as I would have expected. The attacker focused most of his firepower on the objectives, probably a good idea.
Turn 1 saw the entire Eldar host come on the board. Aaron had chosen the Eldar specific asset allowing him to roll for his entire army at once and then choose which elements came in and which didn't, as well as allowing him to reroll deep strikes. Thanks to two autarchs he got everything in on a 2+ and deep struck warp spiders and swooping hawks right next to my exposed infantry platoon. They were slaughtered to a man by combined Eldar firepower.
On our turn 1 most of our reserves entered the board minus my lascannon Leman Russ. Unfortunately we were plagued by terrible shooting and only managed to annihilate the swooping hawks (minus the Autarch and Baharroth) and take out a single Vyper, the latter thanks to Stompy Jr.'s impeccable marksmanship.
Turn 2 saw a quick reversal of fortunes. Aaron annihilated a guardian squad, but was singularly unprepared for two LRBTs annihilating the warp spiders and taking huge chunks out of his dire avengers. It also helped that he forgot to assault with them, allowing me to target them with impunity...
We played two more turns, with each showing another marked decrease in Aaron's fighting power. I had to call the game on turn 4 as it was getting quite late, but even then I'm not sure if our forces would have won thanks to the "Attackers always win ties" rule for taking objectives, as well as the fact that any unit can claim an objective. To win we would have had to completely wipe his forces from the map, not that that would be at all out of possibility thanks to my tanks.
In all, it's a really fun expansion that lends all sorts of interesting tactical decisions to the game. Reserves become exceedingly important for both sides, as anything out in the open at any point during turn 1 is fair game for having large templates dropped on them. Automated guns aren't terribly effective but can make your opponent sweat quite a bit during the game simply due to the sheer number of them. I think the most fun thing though is allowing the defenders to set up the terrain, as it allows for tons of variation. Do you want cover that your troops can benefit from during orbital bombardment or do you want to keep the LOS clear for your heavy weapons? Do you want more bastions for interlocking areas of fire and more defensive options or should you opt for the minimum 3 to keep the number of objectives easily defended?
You also don't need to play with anymore points than in a normal game to enjoy Planetstrike, though more points and bigger boards will lead to more delicious carnage as always. The changes for required and optional units gives enough flavor on its own. For instance, the attacking team was comprised entirely of aspect warriors, something that a normal game couldn't handle very well and works hugely to the Eldar's advantage.
I hope to play another game of it on Saturday, so I'll try and post some more thoughts and feelings then.