Saturday, February 6, 2016

Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth Game

Howdy folks!

I promised I would write up a game report after I had played one, so here it is. My friend Rob and and I had played a quick test game a few weeks back, but this was our first full game. I played a tactical squad of Ultramarines (seen here) and he played a five man Terminator squad, and tactical squad of Word Bearers. It was a great, and tense game. We played it on my recently finished bug hunt corridor set and treated each corridor section (or half section) as a hex in Betrayal at Calth game terms. It worked really well. We didn't really bother with weapon ranges because this was inside a cramped industrial interior, so we just assumed all weapons were in range.

Here is the table layout built from the basic set of Bug Hunt Corridors from Fantasy Arc:

The Ultramarines were defending the elevators on the right side of the board while the Word Bearers entered via the central hallway on the left side. The Word Bearers objective was to exit the board using the elevators to allow access to the next level. My strategy was to bottleneck the Word Bearers up in that entrance for as long as possible. To that end I sent a lone Terminator and a 3 man team of tactical Marines with a flamer in the first middle two rooms ready to rush out to the central hallway and block the Word Bearers path. With the way the Betrayal at Calth rules work, using Bolt Guns to pin your enemy (a critical effect of Bolt Gun fire), you can take away Tactical Points from units. This worked almost perfectly for me for the first few turns. The Word Bearers just couldn't get a foothold and were stuck in the entrance. Rob's Word Bearers plan was to punch through with Terminators and follow up with tactical Marines. Brute force.

Here are the pics and action from the rest of the game.

The Ultramarines Terminator Sergeant deploys from the room and rushes right into the fight.

The Word Bearers smash through the bulkhead and swarm into the hallway but are held up by concentrated combi bolter, bolter, and flamer fire. They don't take any losses, but the withering fire holds them back.

Terminator Sergeant rushes into position.

Ultramarines ambush the Word Bearers as they breach the bulkhead.

Tactical Squad on the move...

Tactical squad takes up position and opens up with their missile launcher.

The Ultramarines plan was working perfectly until the Word Bearers were able to inflict some casualties on the Ultramarines first line of defense. With the loss of the Terminator sergeant and two tactical marines, the lone flamer falls back down the central corridor. However, the time he bought allowed the Ultramarines to take up positions on their second defense line and the rest of the tactical squad begins pouring fire into the Word Bearers Terminators, killing a few.

The Terminator sergeant and two tactical marines sacrifice themselves...

The Ultramarines play their first Command Card: Swift Vengeance.

The Ultramarines flamer stands his ground, but is pulped into red meat by the Word Bearers power fist

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Things had been going well for the Ultramarines until the Word Bearers reorganized themselves and concentrated their fire on the missile launcher that had been causing them so much trouble. With casualties mounting, the Ultramarines line is wavering. The Word Bearers, however, have watched their Terminator squad wiped out and are forced to bring their tactical squad into the fight. They charge down the hallway, Bolt Guns blazing and into the teeth or murderous Ultramrines fire. The climax of the game finds the Word Bearer sergeant and the last remaining Ultramarine fighting a melee to the death. The last standing Ultramarine had withstood a rad grenade, bolt gun fire, and now a crazed Word Bearer sergeant whom he gunned down. Still, his bravery was not enough to stop the onslaught and the rest of the Word Bearer tactical squad charges in and finishes the job with bolt guns, pumping rounds into his lifeless body.

A truly epic moment is when the last Ultramarine is confronted by the Word Bearer sergeant who calls to him, "Would you fire upon your brothers?". Temporarily plagued by doubt, with his sergeant dead and all his brothers lost, grimly the last Ultramarine loaded his last magazine, raised his bolt gun...

and emptied it into the face of the charging Word Bearer...

"Why yes brother. Yes I would."
The death count was brutally high. The Word Bearers achieved their objective of reaching the elevators, but they lost their full Terminator squad and part of a tactical squad doing so. The Ultramarines sacrificed their entire force, but it may have been worth it to buy time and whittle the Word Bearers down. Entering the next level without Terminators to soak up their inevitable Ultramarines barrage of deadly fire is going to be difficult.

For the Emperor! For Calth!

An epic game with a good friend. I'm really liking these rules. They play so fast, are full of character and tension, and tactical nuances. Plus the Command Cards are just so much fun. Looking forward to a lot more games of this. I'm thinking it would be really easy to mod this to play on a regular tabletop without hexes. Give movement Actions 3" per Action, 6" per run, and give the weapons regular ranges in inches and you are good to go.

More to come...

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