You heard right. Last weekends game was a three way free for all. I must say that it was fun for everyone. We all went into the game realizing that it was going to be hard to account for all variables like one might in a tourney setting. So, everyone let their guard down and just had fun.
And man, oh man, was it a blood bath. It may be more accurate to describe it as an explosion fest. I have never been involved in a game with more vehicle explosions (and most of them were my vehicles). I ended the game with 2 Assault Squads (who had been driven from their transports by explosion), 1 Assault Squad in a fully functioning rhino, and 3 DC with Corbulo. Everything else was wasted during the game. Good fun for all.
There is one picture of the terrain and one picture of the deployment. Every other picture is taken at the end of each turn.
We decided to play the following scenario: Deployment was table quarters, and we rolled dice for random appointment to a particular quarter (rather than choosing). The mission was bases. Each army had one objective to place in their deployment zone. Furthermore, each army general was left on the table if killed. Each dead general became an objective. So, there were at least 3 objectives, possibly 6. Furthermore, we randomly rolled each turn for the turn sequence (who would go first, second, and third).
As the dice fell out, O'Shavo Roger and I ended up on the same side of the table, and Silchias Ruin occupied the table quarter adjacent to mine on the other half of the table.
Silchias Ruin deployed his Jetbike Seer Council (foot model proxies) and reserved everything else. This meant he had two Dire Avenger Wave Serpents, one Striking Scorpion Wave Serpent, Warp Spiders, and two Fire Prisms in reserve. He placed his objective on the edge of a wooded hill.
I decided to deploy my tactical squad inside their rhino on my objective, which I placed inside brush/woods area terrain. I deployed the 3 Baals with two Attack Bikes tucked in behind them. I also deployed DC and Corbulo in Rhino with Furioso and Dante tucked in behind. So, I had 3 Assault Squads in Rhinos held in reserve.
O'Shavo Roger decided to deploy two Railheads, a Devilfish with Firewarriors, and two firewarrior units behind a ruined building which contained his objective. In reserve he had his crisis suit general, a 3 member crisis suit team, six member stealth suit team, and Farsight with 4 bodyguards and shield drones.
In the very beginning, I made my plan. The Tau and I occupied one half of the table together. That meant that there were two objectives on my half of the table and one objective on the other half. So, I decided to go hard after the Tau. I would take his objective. That would give me two. The Eldar (and Tau) would have to come to me and stop me from controlling objectives.
Turn one: Night Fight rules in effect this turn.
Eldar: Fortune up, and guide. He moved up behind a ruined building. It seemed as though he wanted to wait until the other two armies attacked each other before engaging.
Me: DC, Furioso, and Dante move full tilt towards the Tau leaving a firing lane up for the Baals. I got two overcharge rolls and one stall on the Baals. They opened fire on the Firewarriors behind the ruined building. I cut one unit down to 4 firewarriors, and the second unit took casualties and failed a morale check. They chickened out and ran off the table edge. A good round of shooting for me. Lascannon from the tactical squad targeted a Railhead, but they failed the night fight role.
Tau: He moved everything away from me except for the four firewarriors. They moved into the ruins to claim his objective. Night Fight rules saved me from the Railheads this turn.
Tau: He moved further up the table away from me with his tanks, and he settled his 4 firewarriors in the ruins around the objective. His shooting prooved devastating this round. Railhead one blasted the DC rhino with the result explosion. The explosion also killed one of the DC inside. As you can see in the picture at the end of turn one, Dante was hiding behind that Rhino. Now he was exposed. Railhead two blasted Dante. I failed the invulnerable save resulting in Dante's Instant Death. Reserve rolls produced his General in crisis suit and a crisis suit team. His commander killed one of my attack bikes that was hiding behind a baal predator.
Me: The loss of Dante this early was a hefty blow. However, I realized that this meant there were now three objectives on my end of the table. Things were unfolding well for me. Reserve rolls produced the poweraxe assault squad in rhino. I drove them straight towards Objective Dante. The DC and Furioso advanced toward the Firewarriors in the ruins on his objective. I assaulted with them. The Difficult terrain rolls excluded the DC from the fight. However, Furioso had enough movement. He crushed the Xenos scum in the righteous fury of the emperor. I moved the Baals to have firing angles on the Tau general and Crisis team. One Baal missed the overcharged engine roll. I decided to move it over and angle the front armor towards the Railheads, while turning the turret back to fire the Assault cannon at the Crisis Team. After the smoked cleared from the Baals firing, the Tau commander was dead, and two Crisis suits were dead. (With the Tau general dead in my deployment zone, I had four objectives close by on my end of the table. My opponents would have their work cut out for them in trying to stop me from claiming these four objectives.) Tactical Squad lascannon out the top hatch missed a Railhead.
Eldar: Two fire prisms turned up from reserves. He fired on my Baal in the center of the table with no result. One missed completely, the other failed to penetrate the side armor. His seer council turbo boosted toward the heart of my deployment zone (and two objectives).
Eldar: Reserves produced three wave serpents. One parked on his objective. The other two zoomed flat out down the table edge towards me. One of his Fire Prisms blasted my Baal in the center of the table, result: vehicle stunned, but extra armor downgraded it to shaken. His seer council assaulted a Baal predator, result: vehicle explosion (I really need to make more craters. We used my dice bag to represent the difficult terrain of the crater).
Tau: Reserves turned up his Stealth suit team and Farsight with bodyguard. Stealth suit team landed in my deployment zone and fired on a Baal predator, result: shaken. They used the jump jet move in the assault phase to move away from the DC. Farsight tried to land in the same place. He scattered off the table edge. The roll on the mishap table said the opponent could place the unit. Silchias and I rolled off to see who got the honor of placing the unit. I won the roll-off, and I placed Farsight and company in the wooded hill next to the Eldar objective. (I did this because I knew that O'shavo Roger would not try to move all the way back down the table towards my zone. That would mean doing nothing with that unit. He had to engage the Eldar. I was not going to be able to devote anything towards the Eldar objective. This proved to be huge.) Farsight's unit fired on the Wave Serpent holding the Eldar Objective, result: Vehicle Explosion (this time, a white paper towel would serve as the crater). Two Dire Avengers from a 5 Dire Avenger squad were killed in the blast. O'shavo Roger fired a Railhead at my shaken Baal in the middle of the table, result: Vehicle Explosion (another white paper towel became a crater).
Me: Furioso (now without the leadership of Corbulo) ran out of the Ruins towards a Railhead (closest enemy). Reserve rolls turned up the two remaining Assault Squads. I parked one (powersword) on the Tau general. The second one (powerfist), I drove up beside Dante. The poweraxe Assault Squad which was near Dante hit overcharged engines and drove into the ruins, parking on top of the Tau objective. With my shaken Baal (the only one remaining), I tank shocked the Seer council. The reasoning: there was a chance that they would run, and I wanted to present a target for the council. I hoped that Silchias Ruin would forget the objectives and eat the Baal predator with that Seer council. Turn four was coming up, and he was running out of time for destroying my objective-controling troops.
Tau: The Farsight unit wrecked a Fire Prism. One Railhead fired on a Wave Serpent failing to penetrate. The second Railhead exploded my Furioso. The stealth suits blasted the Fusion Guns into the rear of my Baal, result: Vehicle Wrecked. The Devilfish angled towards the Eldar objective.
Eldar: Warp Spiders arrived from reserves. They fired on Farsight doing some wounds. The Seer council landed behind my Tactical Rhino. They blasted in the shooting phase, result: vehicle wrecked. In the Assault phase, they assaulted and destroyed my Tactical Squad which was forced out of the vehicle. The two remaining Wave Serpents moved 12" forward and fired everything into the Assault Squad Rhino which claimed the Tau General objective, result: Immobolized and Weapon destroyed. Fire Prism blasted a Railhead, result: Vehicle Wrecked. Warp Spiders continued working on Farsights unit dealing some casualties and wounds.
Me: I repositioned the Rhino which controled the Dante objective. My DC assaulted and destroyed the Stealth suit team. I left each Assault Squad in their Rhinos on the three objectives. We hunkered down in hopes that the game would end favorably on turn five.
Tau: Farsight destroyed the remaining Dire Avengers on the Eldar Objective. The Devilfish was short on movement in trying to claim that objective. He opted to burst cannon the warp spiders killing a few. Remaining Railhead blasted my Rhino in the ruins on the Tau objective, result: Vehicle Explodes.
Eldar: Wave Serpent one moves tanks shocks my Assault Squad off the Tau objective, landing in the ruins. Wave Serpent two unloads the Striking Scorpions and moves into the rear armor arc to fire on the rhino holding the Tau General, result: Vehicle Wrecked. I strategically placed my five Assault Marines on the side of the Rhino opposite the Striking Scorpions (outside of assault range and out of LoS). The Striking Scorpions moved up to contest the Tau General Objective from the other side of the Rhino by running during the shooting phase. The Seer council drove over my DC toward the Dante Objective using their maximum move plus the Eldar jetbike assault move to barely get within three inches of the objective. Warp Spiders try to vent some more frustration out on Farsight.
A quick objective check before I took the last part of turn five: Eldar: 0, Tau: 0, AS: 0.
Me: I was in a tight spot. Silchias Ruin had done what I thought could not be done. He had contested all three of my Assault Squads and totally wiped out my Tactical Squad leaving me with no objectives. I had two options left. I tried them both.
I moved my Assault Squad that was next to the Tau General objective. You remember the one hiding from the Striking Scorpions. The Scorpions were contesting this objective, and there were at least 8 Scorpions, too many for my five Assault Marines. I moved them towards my base objective. The one in the brush/woods, which my Tactical Squad had held from the beginning of the game until the Seer council killed them. They did not have enough movement to make it. So, I knew that it would depend on the number of inches I rolled on their run die. I rolled a five, which was sufficient to run through the brush and the rhino wreckage and claim this objective.
My second option. The Seer council was well within assault range of the DC. However, the DC could not hope to win the battle. I just needed them to survive the first round of combat. I moved the DC a little further away from the Seer council in the movement phase. I tried to make it so that only one DC would reach combat with his 6" range. It was successful. I engaged the Warlock farthest from the Dante Objective with one DC, moving the others as far as they could go. This forced Silchias Ruin to use his reaction move to engage with his Farseer, Warlocks, and Autarch. Moving to engage in this assault took them out of the 3" range to contest the objective.
The game ended on turn five. Objective count: Tau: 0, Eldar: 0, Angels Sanguine: 2.
My analysis: Let me begin by saying that this game was tremendous fun for all involved. Furthermore, the fact that I won had as much to do with dumb luck as any grand tactics.
The deep strike mishap of Commander Farsight was huge. The fact that I won the roll-off to be the opponent who placed his unit was huge. I had nothing, and I do mean nothing, when it came to traveling across the table and contesting the Eldar objective. Placing Farsight over there meant that O'shavo Roger would do that part for me. If Farsight had landed in my table quarter, then the Warp Spiders would have landed in my table quarter as well. It would have been impossible to claim objectives in that mess. I was able to grab one objective on the last turn that the Eldar were not contesting. If the Warp Spiders were in that quadrant, then he would have been contesting that objective. Who said that the Eldar are the ones manipulating all the other races. This time, the Angels Sanguine (Marines) manipulated the Tau into doing the dirty work.
I guess that I would say, everything that you do during your games needs to be directed towards achieving the mission goal. This mission goal was objectives. So even something as small as placing your opponents mishapped deep strikers should be done in such a way that it fits into your plan for accomplishing the mission.
Also, assaulting the Seer council in order to draw them away from the Dante objective is exactly the kind of table top move that will push you over the top as a general. What do I mean? Using the rules of the game to your advantage. I forced my opponent into a compulsory move that he did not want to make.
But get this, YOU MUST BE PAYING ATTENTION, THINKING, IN ORDER TO SPOT THESE OPPORTUNITIES. I almost missed it. I literally said the following as I was playing through the fifth turn: "Well, I could move to set up the assault over there with the Death Company, but it won't accomplish any . . . . Wait!" At that moment it hit me. I had already written off that objective and almost didn't realize that I had a chance to reclaim the objective by drawing away the Seer council.
Stay awake. Stay sharp while you are playing for the entire game, or you will make mistakes and miss chances. And remember, 40k is not always about destroying things. Many times, it is just about moving the models around on the table (Fritz said this first, not me), even your opponent's models.
It is always a blast playing with the guys in our local group. O'shavo Roger is learning and improving with his Tau. He always has a good time, and his opponents do as well. Also, Silchias Ruin continues to improve his game. He has really hit on a strong Eldar list, and his tactics are always improving. He has proven himself to be a cunning table top general. The difference in this game was probably our roll-off for placing Farsight. If he had won that roll-off, I fully expect that he would have won the battle.
Thanks for the great game!