Saturday 12 October 2013

Battle Report - Battle at the Farm v2.1

Well as promised in my last post I am pleased to say that I have had not one but two exciting retro-esque battles today; and they were great!

My mate who is in the Navy was on leave today and so we agreed to meet up for a bit of wargaming fun while we were both about.  He turned up at my place fairly early and so we decided to try and squeeze two games in the time available. Normally we play modern 40k; but I have been trying to entice him into Old Hammer for a while now (he's been playing for years so he does actually remember the good old days which is handy) and so today we agreed to give it a go.

I decided to jump in with both feet and go full retro; so I broke out my original copy of Rogue Trader and stuck to the rules within it with none of the subsequent modifications introduced post 1987. 

Situation: To keep things simple we used a slight modification of the Battle at the Farm that is included within the original book. The main changes that we made were to accommodate the models we had available to us, primarily this meant that the Crimson Fists were replaced by a detachment of Salamanders led by the appropriately named Cando Petror.  Additionally the Orks were replaced by the forces of Imperial Governess Margareet Thatchot who was furious that some Imperial Space Marines had recently arrested her son.  Initially it was thought that the charge against her son was related to the instigation of a failed coup on a nearby planet; but subsequent reports indicate that the offence  was the much more serious felony of spraying graffiti (which clearly justifies the deployment of the Emperor's finest warriors). Wrathful at this insult to her family's honour the Governess has mobilised a squad of PDF troops and two units of her own personal female bodyguards (who look a lot like battle sisters) which are led by a senior Captain, and gone looking for the impudent Astartes who are holed up nearby in the ruins of an old farmhouse.  This has caused even further problems as this is in fact the location where Governess Thatchot has been hiding the credits that she has been skimming from the Imperial Tithe for the past decade.


Captain Petror's objective is simple, any who stand against him stand against the Emperor and so he will utterly annihilate them...thus none of the enemy forces must survive!

Governess Thatchot needs to retrieve the funds that she has stashed in the farm. Either she or her female Captain need to spend one turn together unmolested in the main farmhouse, or two turns if they have been separated and are on their own!

(These are almost identical to the objectives in the book itself). 



In true Old Hammer style I decided to go all out retro with the battlefield for this one.  So I packed away all my modern GW terrain, threw my Imperial Sanctorum in the wardrobe and then dug out my green battle mat, 80's scrubs and classic ruins.  I then proceeded to set them up exactly as per the layout for the scenario in the rule book; as shown.

It was a refreshing change to use such traditional, simple terrain and it brought all those glorious memories from my childhood games.


Governess Thatchot's Kill team consists of the Governess herself in Carapace Armour packing a plasma pistol and power maul.  The carapace armour gives her a 4+ save but she suffers a 1/2 inch reduction to her movement due to it's encumbrance.  The Captain of her female bodyguard wields a plasma pistol and a power sword whilst clad in power armour (4+ save; no movement penalty); her troops are packing bolters; bolt pistols; knives and power armour; one also has a chain sword.

The PDF squad are also in carapace armour and carry lasguns except for the sergeant who is carrying a sword (no power).  All the troops have back up weapons consisting of  laspistols and knives.

The Salamanders all wear power armour, with knives and bolt pistols. Fourteen carry boltguns whilst the final marine is wielding a missile launcher with plasma missiles.  Capatin Petror has a power sword and boltgun and has the best stats of all the models on the battlefield; he also wears a refractor field for a little extra protection


The Salamanders set up within the main farm house itself as per the directions in the scenario.  Each of the three squads then nominated a sentry; these were then deployed to stag positions around the perimeter of the main compound. My buddy placed his Commander so that he was deep inside the building and thus protected from speculative fire aimed at the location.  The trooper with the missile launcher was placed where his arcs of fire could allow him to acquire a target most effectively.

The Governess's forces we required to enter from the east side of the table and so all forces entered in such a way that the nearby hill provided the most amount of cover possible.  The Governess joined the PDF squad as they both had carapace armour so the movement penalty was thus focused all in one squad.  The female Captain joined one of her squads of bodyguards to augment their fighting prowess.
The Governess's forces went first and so they began the slog towards the farmhouse; there wasn't any shooting to be done and so they used to their reserve moves to edge even closer.
The Marines were now alert to the presence of enemy forces within their battle space and so began to move into defensive positions around the compound. The Missile Launcher trooper didn't move and so took the opportunity to fire a missile at the power armoured troops that had emerged from behind the nearby hill.  Stupidly I had left these girls in the open and as such they took a plasma missile in the centre of their tight configuration.  When the blinding light had dissipated one of their number had been reduced to a pile of smoking ceramite and ash.
The Governess's forces continued to try and get to the ruins of the farmhouse as fast as possible.  She and the PDF squad sprinted for the nearby orchard closely following behind a squad of the power armoured bodyguards. Meanwhile the squad that had taken the casualty last turn rapidly reconsidered the prudence of wandering around in the open when a big green psycho was packing a heavy duty rocket launcher scant metres away; and as such they ran behind the hill again.....heroes!

The Marines set up an effective firing line behind the walls of the farmyard and once they were in position they proceeded to unleash a hail of fire at the two squads of enemy troops who were now sprinting across their arcs.  This was the perfect distance for these hardened skirmishers and a number of the bolt rounds punched into their targets; however despite this the enemy's armour held and none were killed.  The trooper with the missile launcher could no longer see the enemy squad from last turn but decided to try a gambit by firing at the nearby hill and hoping that the shot would deviate onto the squad (a valid tactic in Rogue Trader). Sadly his fire was too accurate and the blast didn't deviate.

Still not much shooting from the Governess's soldiers this turn; they knew that they needed to get into the Farm House in order to achieve their mission and being disciplined warriors they sprinted into the sanctuary of the nearby orchard which they could use to cover the remainder of their approach.
The Marines fired a few ineffectual shots at the sprinting troops but achieved no success.  The missile launcher Marine tried the same gambit as last turn, but again he was too accurate and so his shot failed to deviate.
The female power armoured troops in the wood slogged through the dense undergrowth; but it was so thick that it substantially hindered their progress and as such they were reduced to half of their movement rate. The troops with the carapace armour were already suffering a movement penalty due to their heavy armour and so they decided to skirt around the outside of the orchard in order to maintain their mobility. The remaining squad were still trying to catch up with the main body of the force and so sprinted across the no-man's land that their peers had traversed last turn.

The Marines in the firing line unleashed another hail of bullets at the exposed squad, but again none of the hardy female troops were killed.  Missile Launcher boy tried his trick again, this time firing at the side of the wood in the hope it would scatter inside...How I laughed when his shot was again too accurate and hit exactly where he aimed rather than deviating where he wanted it too.  My opponent couldn't believe it. Usually his shots scatter far wide of where he wants them to land, so it was remarkably ironic that the first time that he has ever wanted them to deviate they persisted in being 100% accurate. I thought at one point he was going to crush his own models! Mwuhahahaha

Again the Governess's shock troops focused on rapid movement and started to mass in and around the edge of the wood. They checked their magazines and fixed bayonets as they prepared themselves for an all or nothing assault next turn!

The Marines knew the final assault was coming and so they too prepped themselves for the final charge. I literally wet myself laughing as the missile launcher repeated it's performance from the previous few turns!! This was a boon as I wanted as many guns as possible for the final assault and any casualties at this point could have swung the odds against me.
At last the time for bloodshed was upon us and carnage ensued.  The girls in power armour slung their bolters and drew their sidearms (+2 to hit at close range for a bolt pistol as opposed to +1 for a bolter). Inspired by these elite troops the PDF followed suit and unholstered their laspistols and levelled them at the nearby Salamanders.  The air lit up as solid bolt shells and blinding laser beams slashed through the walls of the farm house. This volley was brutal and when the dust lifted three Astartes lay dead, their super human bodies riddled with holes, even worse their noble Commander had also lost a wound as a bolt round punched through his ancient armour and by-passed his refractor field.
The remaining Astartes raged at this slaughter of their noble battle brothers; the floor of the farmstead was awash with the blood of the Emperor's finest and someone had to pay for this blasphemy with their lives. 

As one the tactical marines brought their boltguns to their shoulders, aimed along the weapon's iron sights and depressed the triggers of their potent firearms. The miniature missiles flew from the over sized muzzles of the bolters before igniting and punching into the bodies of their enemies; a moment after the the rounds entered human flesh they detonated causing massive internal damage to the targets.

Three of the brave female warriors lay bleeding on the floor, their broken corpses torn to shreds. Before their comrades could register the devastation that had occurred more horror followed as the missile launcher finally hit its target; the plasma missile erupted in a ball of superheated flame and caused a further casualty.
Unfazed by the recent massacre amongst their numbers the planetary forces still decided to charge towards the main building and fired their weapons at the Marines inside killing the missile launcher trooper and one other battle brother.  The gunfire exchange did not let up and as the Astartes returned fire one of the PDF troopers died in an explosion of blood shortly followed by two more female troops.  Additionally the female Captain took a wound from a stray bolt round.

Finally after what had turned into a vicious close quarter skirmish the Governess and her soldiery managed to get a substantial foothold within the main farmhouse.  The female soldiers and their PDF allies pour unrelenting fire into the remaining marines as they breach the compound's broken walls. Another of the Imperium's super soldiers was felled by this mass firepower.
'Give me a hundred Space Marines; failing that give me a thousand normal soldiers.'
There is a reason why Rogal Dorn uttered those words and the Salamanders were about to prove its veracity as they gunned down the last of the remaining PDF troops with pinpoint accurate shots to their faces; popping their skulls like overripe melons. Meanwhile the Space Marine Captain followed up his men's sterling efforts by charging into the female officer and the Governess, foiling their chances of accessing the hidden credits without having to fight their way through him first.
Captain Petror is a consummate killer; honed by the Imperium to be an Angel of Death and he easily cuts down the female officer with a sweep of his blade, tossing her broken body out of the building with a thrust of his hand before turning his homicidal attentions to the Governess.
The remaining bodyguard bundle into the fight in order to protect their charge, they are aware that they are outmatched but still swear to do as much as they can to keep Governess Thatchot alive.  Unfortunately their efforts are for nought as the Governess and the Captain strike each other simultaneously with their over-charged power weapons.  For a moment their is silence, and then both characters collapse to the floor, the life-force draining from their broken bodies.

Having watched both the Governess and their own Commander butchered at the hands of the Space Marines the female soldiers decide that the time has come to withdraw from the fight and consolidate their forces.

Additionally with the two characters dead their is no chance of them fulfilling the objective to recover the treasure from the Farm House. With this in mind they dash towards the table edge while the remaining Salamanders move after them in pursuit.

Conclusion: Phew; what a game! I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable battles that I have played in a long time.  It was full of tense moments throughout; and although it took a while to get into combat when it did the butchery was immense.  My opponent agreed that this game was more fun than anything modern 40K has to offer, primarily this was because it required the tactical placement of troops and also had a strong narrative element all the way through.  I think what makes Rogue Trader most enjoyable is that a game with 20 models per side their is lots of room to move your troops, ensure arcs of fire are covered and put proper tactics to good effect.  This contrasts with the modern game where there are so many models on the table that you will definitely be able to shoot something no matter where you move!!

All in all this was a fantastic experience; oh and who won?  This is Rogue Trader....who cares!

As for my second retro game today...well we dug out my copy of second edition Space Marine (Epic c.1991) and we spent a few hours engaging in some 6mm carnage...but I will save this battle report for a separate post!!


  1. That, sir, was a stirling example of a battle report - I love the narrative (and the characters!). I'd say its the best 'battle at the farm' report I've seen!

    Well done.


  2. Thank you kindly good sirs! I have to say it was a real joy to play; and goes to show even the simplest Rogue Trader scenario can be absolutely jammed full of fun. Once my mates are comfortable with the rules I might give the Wolf Time campaign from Chapter Approved: Book of the Astronomican a go (I've been inspired by Suber's recent battle report!)

  3. That was a great read, very well done!

  4. Oh man! That's been real fun! Great, awesome report! Full with the spirits of the game, just the ambientation totally caught me!
    I totally agree with your focus on the game and the conclusions, and I encourage you to go on with the Wolf Hour (I'm flattered by your words, pal).
    I've been also looking for some time/space/whatever for Epic for ages, I'll be keeping an eye over here! :)

  5. Mate no dramas; your bate report is what inspired me to get a Rogue Trader out again! And I'm still massively in awe of the awesome scenery you made!! I need to get me a Buddha for my temple!!

    Crack out the Epic definitely; I have all the versions but I think second addition Space Marine is the best! First edition is okay; but it was clearly just a stop gap to go with Adeptus Titanicus so it's starts to suffer when armies get larger or Titans are involved; and 3rd edition onwards just seems to lose it's appeal. I'll post my Epic battle report when I get the chance!