Challenge games are always interesting because it allows people to cut loose and try to do whatever it takes to win. No hard feelings, no calls of cheese, and cut throat tactics. When you know its coming, it can make for a fun game.
Which is why last night I was ready to quit halfway through turn 2. I expected a down and out drag em to the ground kicking and biting match and instead I was getting removed from the table like I was not even there.
Scene: large 6x5 foot Cityfight table, big buildings, some streets for shooting. Armies are 2000 pts aside. Lawrence with his troop heavy rhino mounted army versus my troop heavy Eldar army centered around an advance of two wraithlords. Nightfight on first turn.
On turn one Lawrence gamely advances three rhinos and pops smoke leaving dudes inside, a brave gamble. A whirlwind shot lands killing 6 Dire Avengers but I accept it as normal casualties. On my turn one I advance en masse in two prongs into the two centre buildings; on my right a six man squad of scorpions with Autarch backed up by the 6 guardian jetbikes, 5 warp spiders, and guardians jumping out of the wave serpent. ON the left, two wraithlords, 10 man scorp squad, 6 man Seer Council, all supported by two vypers and 5 pathfinders.
I shot everything at those three rhinos. Two starcannons, two brightlances, EML, 6 Death Spinners, twin linked shuricannon, regular shuricannon, pathfinders. I got decent number of hits, decent number of glances... but on four or five glance damage rolls I rolled 3 every time except once when I got a 5. One immobilzed rhino.
Disheartening, but sometimes that happens. Downside was that all those marines inside were unaffected. On turn two Lawrence advances into position and makes me pay. Shooting kills the rest of the Dire Avengers, half the large Scorpion squad, one vyper, over half the guardian squad who promptly flee, and the weapon off the other vyper. That's 450 pts dead.
Then he assaults with his Chaplin and assault squad on one Wraithlord, tactical squad on other, and another tactical squad taking on both the jetbikes and small scorpion squad on the right. Wraithlords are in cover so I get to strike first and decide to go for the death blow on the Chappie, sending both (not three!!! *cries*) attacks on him, getting two wounds.... but Lawrence makes both 4+ inv saves. The powerfist from the sergeant and chaplin combine to easily pull the wraithlord down. The other wraithlord popped a marine but also got pulled down by a sarge with power fist. Another 300 pts gone.
At this point I was more than a little frustrated and actually wanted to concede. Let's review shall we? I had killed one marine and immobilized a rhino. In return I had lost 750 pts of 2000. I was effectively now in a 1250 pt versus ~2000 pt game. I was so despondent that I was certain his last assault on the jetbikes and scorpions was going to cripple my other flank even more and it would be a game of clean up the Eldar bodies for another hour.
Fortunately I decided to show how pointless it would be to carry on by fighting the last assault. And that is when the turnaround began. His assault bombed. Two scorpions died to the charge, but the marines lost some too and the combat was joined by the Autarch who helped to turn the tide.
On the other flank the assault marines and Chaplin consolidated into the Seer Council who proceeded to hold them in place while the remnants of the Scorpion squad assaulted and killed the Tactical squad in the building before coming over to help put the hurt on the assault marines. The warp spiders avenged the Guardians by taking on the tactical squad that flamed them and the power blades of the exarch made a good accounting, while the wave serpent removed the threat of the Land Speeder.
The Pathfinders were assaulted by the fourth tact squad and were no match in close combat for them, but provided enough of a road bump to keep them from getting the Shadow Weavers hiding in the building deep in my deployment zone.
At the end of the game, Lawrence has the Whirlwind, Predator, and Terminators all unharmed holding three buildings in his zone while one tactical squad is deep in my zone claiming a small building. My Shadow Weavers pass a leadership test from tank shock to hold one building, damaged jetbikes and small scorpion squad hold two in the middle, while the badly damaged but still above 25% Seer Council held the fourth building against the last assault marine.
A tie. Not a deserved tie and the VPs if they counted would show how the marines were in much better shape, but after being so far behind the ball early on I would take what I could get.
A great game once I got past the frustration of turn 2. A big thanks to Lawrence for being a good sport about it all.