Epic-S Beta 1.1 playtest battle.
Chaos Vs Imperial Guard.
6000pt forces, 600 VP target.
It's been a very long time it seems since I last did any kind of battle report. This is mostly because I have been really trying to bash out my new Epic rules that have been steadily progressing all year.
I finally feel in a position to really give these new rules a good work out with a proper big cruncher of a battle. The two forces that are the most ready for fighting are the forces of Chaos and the Imperial Guard, so it makes sense for the battle to be between these two. If the rules work alright in such a large battle (in a report no less!) then it will be a good indication that more work could be done on the other forces.
With no opponent available, I will have the rather strange experience of fighting against myself, but as the purpose of the battle is to test the rules on a large scale then I don't think it will really matter much...
I've deployed most of the foot troops from both sides in positions to assault the city. Hopefully this area will turn into a scene of complete carnage as 4 of the 8 objectives are contained within. Dominating the centre of both force's battle lines are the Imperator Titans. These two immense war machines have not made any playtest appearances yet as I have not had chance to field large enough forces. Needless to say, I am most looking forward to seeing what these two will do under the new rules. The eastern side of the battlefield will be for the forces of Khorne to try and claim against the massive firepower of the Reaver Titan and Imperial Guard tanks arrayed against them. Though the Chaos force looks quite weak compared to the Imperial Guard's, I am using a brand new rule that is being tested for the first time here: summoning. There are no less than 3 Daemon packs waiting to arrive right into the thick of the action rather than having to run across open ground getting shot at by all those huge guns. But will they arrive soon enough? Only time will tell...
The entire Chaos battle line surged forward as one, intent on closing the gap with their enemies. The Doom Wings screamed down the western flank, attracting immediate fire from the Leman Russ tanks and Heavy Support platoon stationed there. The foul engines of Tzeentch looked for a moment like they would evade the entire wave of incoming fire due to their immense speed, until at last one took a solid hit from a Leman Russ tank at almost point blank range. By then though it was too late for many Imperial Guard troops. The infernal fire spewed forth by the surviving Doom Wings wrought tremendous casualties on the Guardsmen making their way through the city (including a Section HQ squad), as well as claiming the lives of a few Imperial Beastmen and a Leman Russ tank.
The charge was well under way all down the Chaos line. The Lord of Battle led its minions forth, but its long ranged weapons only succeeded in rending another Leman Russ tank apart.
The well prepared Imperial defences blazed their reply. The Imperator Titan's barrage weapons all missed their intended targets, but its Defence Laser gave Magnus the Red a taste of things soon to come, blasting a huge hole right through his torso. The Daemon Prince needed immediate assistance from his God's magic to keep him mortal and fighting. The Imperator now turned its attention to the Khorne engines, letting rip with an awesome volley from its Plasma Annihilator, turning a Death Dealer to molten slag, and almost completely destroying the Lord of Battle. The mechanical Greater Daemon suddenly found itself completely disabled, its wheels destroyed, and its reactor overloaded. It would take no further part in the battle unless it could repair itself, or find favour from its God and gain some assistance.
Around the feet of the Imperator, the Shadowsword tanks continued the attack upon Magnus the Red, ripping the Primarch apart again and again with their Volcano Cannons, but each time the magic of Tzeentch saved the Daemon.
The Reaver Titan took its turn, firing its Warp Missile and causing impressive damage on the Imperator Titan of Nurgle, as the huge machine stepped forward from its perch atop the hill. The missile's unique systems allowed it to bypass the Chaos Titan's shields and armour, exploding deep within the machine, causing heavy internal damage and disabling its movement completely. The Princeps guiding the monstrous Titan roared their defiance and returned fire, though only managed to kill a Shadowsword and one of the Leman Russ tanks now threatening the heavily damaged Lord of Battle. Magnus the Red also returned fire and found some small kind of revenge, his Beam of Power taking apart the Storm Hammer tank before it even had the chance to fire its many Battlecannons.
At the end of the turn the Lord of Battle failed to repair its reactor, and would sit helplessly and furiously as the battle raged around it for another turn at least. As four objectives were still unclaimed, the rather conservative victory points for turn 1 were 139 to 124 in favour of the Imperial Guard. There was still a long way to go yet...
Both forces now made more of an effort to grab the open objectives. The Chaos Beastmen charged to take objective 4, as the Commissar in the center of the Imperial lines moved forward in his Rhino to take objective 6 from under the nose of the disabled Lord of Battle. Things were starting to look interesting at objective 8, as the Leman Russ tank squadron there moved to place themselves right on top of it to face the Minotaur Warband charging to meet them. The Rough Riders who had been waiting in reserve nearby moved up in support of the tanks.
The Doom Wings again signalled their intent to cause mayhem, and the nearby Leman Russ tanks wheeled round to open fire. Still one surived to pour more flaming rain down on the beleagured Guardsmen who had already lost their Section HQ, leaving only two squads remaining as the flames cleared.
In the city the fighting turned into a close ranged firefight. Death Guard traded shots with the Imperial Heavy Support Platoon, who managed to cause enough damage to Mortarion that the Primarch needed to be saved by Nurgle's gifts. The two units of opposing Beastmen looked set to fight it out for objective 4, until nearby units rained fire down on their position. The Chaos Champion and the Death Guard fired one way, while the Inquisitor and the Tactical Guardsmen fired the other. The Chaos Beastmen took more casualties, but the Imperial Beastmen lost their Section HQ and would not be able to move for a while as they waited for new orders.
In the middle, Magnus had to again call on his God's aid as Volcano Cannon shots courtesy of the Shadowswords blew his body apart. He immediately countered, destroying one of them and breaking the company. Wanting to be rid of the painful tanks once and for all, the Nurgle Imperator attacked the remaining one with its Defence Laser, but missed. Its remaining volleys began the long process of stripping shields off its Imperial counterpart.
In reply, the Imperial Imperator scored a direct hit with its Hellstorm on the Chaos Cultists, irradicating 8 of their 10 squads in an impressive attack. Without a line of sight to their Greater Daemon, who was still moving through the city, the morale of the remaining two squads failed and they turned to run. Its Seige Mortar also scored a direct hit, again on Magnus. But this time the Daemon's mortal body actually stood up to the punishment and assistance from the dark Gods was not required. However, assistance was required for the Lord of Battle, who came under another furious attack from the Imperator's Plasma Annihilator. Somehow at the end of it, the monstrosity still stood, and thanks to Khorne's gifts found its reactor back online.
The Lord of Battle's spirit howled in pleasure at being able to fight once more, and it immediately opened fire. It managed to destroy another Leman Russ tank and strip some shields from the Reaver, before the Reaver's counter attack found its way through the Daemon's armour. The attack struck a vital system, and the Chaos Gods allowed the inevitable to happen, believing they had bestowed enough help upon their minions for now. The Lord of Battle expired in a thunderous explosion, killing two nearby squads of Death Guard. The sight of losing their Greater Daemon did not phase the nearby Minotaurs, who still moved on objective 8. However, with no Khornate Greater Daemon remaining on the battlefield, the Bloodletter pack could no longer be summoned to the fight.
On the eastern flank, the Disc Riders decided they had finally crept into a suitable firing position and popped up, opening fire with their Lascannons at the Leman Russ tanks at objective 8, scoring direct hits and obliterating all 3! The Leman Russ company was shattered, though its HQ tank fired back as the Disc Riders tried to get back into cover, killing two of them in reply.
Thanks to their decimation of the Imperial armour, the Chaos force took a turn 2 lead of 368 to 325, but their numbers were really starting to thin.
It was now reaching crunch time, with both forces coming under pressure. In an effort to drive the Chaos force away from objective 8, the Rough Riders bravely charged up and over the hill into combat with the Minotaurs to try and hold them back. However, the Minotaurs were blessed by yet more Chaos magic, growing to twice their size and easily hacking the Rough Riders down. The surviving horsemen could take no more and routed. The last Death Dealer joined in, charging at the Leman Russ HQ which was trying to defend the objective. The tank stood no chance as the machine of Khorne turned it into scrap. Return fire from the Reaver Titan destroyed the Death Dealer, though the Minotaurs were left in clear control of objective 8. The Death Guard on that side of the battlefield fired back at the Reaver and stripped it of its two last shields, but the Disc Riders popping up could cause no damage on the Imperial machine.
In the city things got a little more interesting as the Plaguebearers of Nurgle were summoned to the battlefield. One however materialized right on top of a squad of Chaos Beastmen, killing all involved. Bloody fighting now took place between the two forces for objective 4. The Plaguebearer's stench and the support of the Chaos Beastmen allowed them to slaughter all but one squad of Imperial Beastmen, who bravely fought on and managed to take down one of the Nurgle Daemons. In reply, the Inquisitor and Tactical Company HQ Unit ordered their men to open fire, but somehow the surviving Plaguebearers survived 12 direct lasgun hits without taking a casualty. Only the Inquisitor and the HQ Unit themselves had any luck, killing the last Chaos Beastmen and one of the Plaguebearers. The attacks though still could not stop the Chaos force claiming objective 4.
At objective 1 Mortarion and his Champion moved in to clear out the counter-attacking Imperial Guard there. Together with Death Guard covering fire they defeated the Guardsmen who had charged into the building and forced the last Leman Russ tank to flee. Only the Commissar now stood in a position to do anything, but for now he could not stop Chaos securing that objective as well.
Figuring he needed some cover, Magnus the Red made for a nearby building, pausing only to destroy the Shadowsword HQ tank before it could target him again.
The Imperators traded volleys, but once again only managed to take out a few of each other's shields.
Moving to secure objective 2, the Heavy Support Platoon charged across open ground and into the building. The last Doom Wing again looked to make a nuisance of itself, cleansing the building with unholy fire and killing all but one squad of the Guardsmen. To their credit, their morale held, enabling them to keep the objective.
It had been a much bloodier turn, swinging the battle clearly in the favour of Chaos, though leaving both forces in a total mess. The victory points were now 531 to 345, with Chaos looking in control.
The turn started with a successful summoning of the Tzeentch Flamers. They appeared right by the last full platoon of Guardsmen and threw themselves immediately into battle. The Inquisitor charged in to try and even the odds, but the Flamers were under the influence of Chaos magic and slaughtered all their foes except the Inquisitor who managed to defeat one. The Chaos Imperator opened up on the survivors and killed several more, before turning its attention to the Reaver Titan. It was able to strip the Reaver of its defences, but the titan-killing Defence Laser missed what might have been an important shot.
Near the Flamers, the last two Plaguebearers were cut down by their foes, as the Tactical HQ unit and last Beastman squad charged into the objective 4 building to try and secure it. Magnus the Red however had other ideas, using his Beam to bring down the building. One HQ squad managed to jump clear of the blast to keep the objective contested.
Once again the Guardsmen had no luck at bringing down Daemons with their lasguns. This time it was the Flamers who survived several accurate shots, which just could not find a way through their hide.
At objective 1, the Death Guard Champion charged at the Commissar, but the Imperial hero defied the odds to hack down his opponent, only to be cut to ribbons moments later by supporting Death Guard boltgun fire. In response, the Imperator Titan opened up with its barrage weapons, destroying a building in which 3 squads of Death Guard were moving through. With those casualties the Legion was broken, though their morale stayed unbreakable under the stern eye of their Primarch. The Imperator continued its bombardment, and reduced the Chaos Imperator to its last shield, but could do no more.
The last Doom Wing still haunted the skies, swooping low to incinerate the last two squads of Guardsmen from what had been a full platoon at the start of the turn. The Inquisitor was also caught in the flames but his armour held out.
Mortarion ignored the plight of his most trusted followers to spread his wickedly effective Nurgle's Rot amongst the Imperial Guardsmen. They suffered tremendous casualties, and now only 4 models of the 33 from that company were still in play.
Near objective 6 the Commissar charged forward to try and drive the closing detachment of Death Guard away. The fight ended in stalemate and that objective also remained contested.
The Reaver Titan opened up with all its guns on the Minotaurs now very close to assaulting it. Four of the beasts were taken out, just one shy of breaking the warband.
At the end of the turn, not that it mattered, the last two Cultist squads rallied just before leaving the battlefield. The last Leman Russ tank however did not, and carried on its escape route at full speed.
Hardly anything now still stood on the battlefield, but because of the contested objectives and the still operational Titans, neither force had yet reached the victory target. The points were 563 to 398 in the favour of Chaos.
End Of Battle
That was where I decided to stop the battle. I figured the next turn would either prove easy for the Chaos to win by taking objective 4, or it would become an awkward stalemate that would only be broken by the demise of one of the Imperators.
So what was it like to play the rules on a pretty big scale? I have to say I quite enjoyed it, with a few little niggles. I can't believe that the game didn't end properly in turn 3 or 4 when the Imperial force seemed to crumble and Chaos take charge. Still, it has allowed me to make one or two tweaks to the rules that I may not have caught by doing smaller test battles, such as taking a couple of shields from the Imperator Titans and a small modification to the AP table. Overall though I think the rules work really well, keeping the essense of the old Epic Space Marine ruleset, and really just cutting out all the fat that made those rules so cumbersome to play. The shooting changes and the addition of the AP table give a lot more individuality to standard troops such as Guardians, Space Marines, Guardsmen and the like, who were exactly the same at shooting in the Epic Space Marine rules, which is completely frelling stupid.
My problems in this game were mainly due to the fact that I was concentrating more on doing the report than I was taking notice of the rules, such as on turn 3 when I gave the Imperial Beastmen orders and sent them into combat when they had just lost their HQ and should not have done such a thing. Late on in the battle I also realised I'd not been giving the Leman Russ tanks all their attacks. Silly little things like that.
But nevermind. I'm glad all the crazy work this year is starting to pay off. With the inclusion of the other forces and a bit more tinkering it should be a fun game to play.
End Of Battle