Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dust, rubble and the grind of tank treads: Cities of Death in 6th Edition

We gathered our forces for a game of adapting Cities of Death (COD) Mission, Relief Force, to a 6th edition set of rules. I pulled out some more terrain for the event and combined with my buddy's stash, we set the stage.

An isolated garrison of Tau Imperial troops holed up in a large ruined building. The position had been fortified with the COD strategems. Tau forces were allowed 2 strategems and a bonus key building strategem. The chose Fortified Building, adding +1 cover to units within it, and Plunging Fire, which confers a -1 cover save to units being shot from higher levels of the building.  The bonus key building strategem was Ammo Dump, which gives a single unit to-hit re-rolls each shooting phase.

The Imperial Guard were moving a large force through the area, after having located the isolated Tau troops defending the vital location. They chose to take siege shells for their demolisher and a demolition strategem which sets a bomb within a building to destroy it during the game. Both strategems were made for destroying buildings and it was clear the Imperial Guard were planning to flatten the area.

At the start of the game, Tau troops held the position with the rest of the army on the way in reserve. The plan was to stage a brutally efficient counter-attack against the numerically superior Imperial guardsmen and their armored vehicles. 

Aggression is the only valor here. 
Kroot meet the Imperial advance head-on while the Fire Caste plunges fire into the enemy. 
The heroic efforts of the Kroot are repelled as street-to-street combat erupts in the center of the board. Tanks ram through the buildings and force their way around and into the improvised bunker. 

Just as things begin to liven up, Tau piranhas race to eliminate the Guard heavy weapons. 
Battlesuits and skimmer tanks arrive to deliver their blows in hasty counter-attack. The Tau commander is blown to bits by a well placed demolisher round, a cry that reverberates through the Tau commincation system. The coordinated assault nearly spirals into a chaotic fight for survival but a wizened Fire Blade pulls it together. His calm determination enables the Tau to re-focus their counter-assault. 
But their pace is dragged down as imperial fire forces them to take cover among the ruins and wreckage.

 They watch as guardsmen pour into the building by leaping over damaged barricades. Close-combat breaks and the Tau hold their own...for a time. 

Their numbers weigh the defenders down such that none can escape the multitudes of enemies. Editors note: Those Kroot are on the Imperial side by the way, the splitters!

The victorious Guardsmen celebrate by unleashing the worst of what it means to be human. 

A couple notes about the game. 
We didn't really think too far ahead in adapting the old COD rules to 6th Edition so there were some decision points. The biggest disconnect is within the rules for setting up a game, determining deployment order, first turn and terrain set up. We pretty much winged it and even just gave Tau first turn since it seemed too much like a foregone conclusion. Fire Warriors and Kroot really can't defend themselves too well against heavy vehicles. However, in this game I feel they did rather well. 

The strategems really help in these kinds of special missions. They add flavor and narrative while enhancing what you can do on the tabletop. While the guardsmen didn't get to destroy any buildings, I would have loved to see that. What a thematic approach for the Imperial Guard - blow it to smitherines!

About the mission.
This is one I have been seeking out for a long time. For years I have mentally mulled about building a "take the town" mission and this one is fits the vision I had in mind, with some tweaks. Basically, the defending player sets up his troops units in a piece of fortified terrain towards the center of the board. His opponent then sets up his entire army and attacks. The remainder of the defending player's forces come in via the usual reserves rules. 

With this in mind, I realize I should have traded the plunging fire strategem for the Deep Strike strategem. Being able to deep strike my suits would have made for quicker delivery of burst cannons and missile pods in important points. 

Anyway, I think this mission provides a structure for a classic Take the Town, Bunker, Hill, whatever game. Additionally the use of strategems helps to add some more depth to game. 

That's kind of gaming I am looking for at least -theme, special missions, realistic environments and classic matches.


nelsonus said...

Seems like a really fun game. To me, there is no better map than a busted up city. It really isolates units and creates a great feel of intimacy between units.

For example, you can stab ahead with an assault unit down an alley way in a city fight and the only unit that can see them are in dire straights and have to blow them away before they reach. If this was on a regular map, the assault unit stabs forward and gets obliterated by ten units in the defenders army.

Tau and IG are also fun for this type of fight because cover really helps them. And you can imagine the soldiers flinging themselves behind walls that are getting busted down.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan (nyhil) said...

I love the board. It's amazing the effect good terrain and placement can have on a gaming experience.

Tim said...

Dan, this game was simply awesome and for me, it embodies how I try to approach gaming these days. Terrain is really important - it needs to be a thematic theater set so that the players can really get absorbed into the game.

AJAX said...

Thank you so much for an awesome battle report. I need to convince the guys at my store to start using more terrain. I really love how city fight games ending being awesome because it comes down to units and not piles of units...again thanks for the awesome battle report.