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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!