My beautiful girlfriend the formidable Inquisitor Athena was my opponent this time around. She would command a force of Crimson Fists (the inquisitor would herself be controlling things from orbit and wouldn't be on the battlefield) whilst I would head a force of Rogue Trader era Salamanders.
The battlefield would be made of tradition retro war games scenery supplements with a 'Pegasus Models River' with a rather nifty bridge that was actually bought from the fish tank section of my local pet shop!
The battling forces would be identical each consisting of one Captain with a Bolter and Power Axe; two five man tactical squads with bolters; one five man assault squad with bolt pistols and one five man terminator squad with storm bolters (I still like to keep things simple weapon-wise while we get used to the rules.
Once the battle field was set up we drew our mission cards from the deck....
She drew 'The Assassins' meaning that her mission was to try and kill my commander whilst I drew 'Dawn Raid' and so had to try and roll my troops into her deployment area.
We then set up our forces; the Crimson Fists fanned out into a dispersed skirmish line whilst the Salamanders bunched around the bridge as the river itself was impassable terrain, and my mission card meant that there was a real impetus for my troops to close the intervening distance as soon as possible.
The Crimson Fists took the initiative and so went first. Sensibly given their mission parameters the blue marines mainly held firm in order to enable them to fire effectively at the Salamanders who had no real choice but to charge into the waiting guns.
The one exception to this static defence was the blue assault marines who fired up their jump packs and soared across the raging river like true Angels of Death. The scatter dice were kind and they landed on target before charging directly into their shocked enemy counterparts.
In the shooting phase the Crimson Fist terminators rolled very well on the sustained fire dice and were also supplemented by the bolters of the tactical marines managing to slay a number of Vulkan's noble sons!
In the assault phase the opposing Assault Marines went toe-to-toe and one warrior from each squad was slain in a torrent of bright crimson Astartes blood...
The assaulting Crimson Fists lost their WS bonus for charging this turn as their foe was cowering behind a rather lovely hedge!
In the Salamanders turn the majority of the green army went pelting over the bridge (only four inches though as they still wanted to fire), though one of the tactical combat squads decided to hang back and help out their assault brethren and charged into the on-going punch up...
Meanwhile the Crimson Fists tactical marines bore the brunt of the Salamander's bolter fire...
In the following turn the Crimson Fists moved tactically to ensure their deployment area was covered by fire, and then settled in for a further round of shooting. However after a good set of sustained fire rolls last turn the Terminators ancient wargear malfunctioned and three of the storm bolters jammed....
The assault continued apace; and the Crimson Fists managed to break the Salamanders assault squad; luckily though being Space Marines they were only shaken as opposed to truly broken...
A series of short ranged firefights ensued between the terminators and tactical marines around the bridge which were suitably bloody. The Salamanders Commander decided not to cross the bridge (as this would put him too much in harm's way) but instead joined in the ongoing melee and help butcher the last blue assault marine.
Dorn's finest realised that this turn of events was going to deny them the 5 victory points for his death and so instead moved to deny the Salamanders victory by barring their entry into the deployment zone. This move took the form of a massed charge which was supported by an advancing line of bolter firing infantry.
The fight by the bridge was a vicious massed battle with blades and blood flying in all directions; terminators bludgeoned each other with crackling power fists while tactical marines sparred with bolters and bayonets.
Though no side emerged victorious from the fight it managed to achieve Athena's goal and held up the Salamanders long enough to prevent them getting into the Fist's deployment area.
So with the game ending on turn four it was clear no side had achieved their Primary Goal; thus it fell to the tallyman to count the casualties and use these to work out Victory Points. Once the casualties had been assessed it emerged that the Salamanders had managed to achieve a narrow victory by two points...but it had been close; very close indeed!!
Another great game. I think it is at these small scale skirmishes that first and second edition 40k truly excel as each trooper has the chance to make a difference to the overall outcome of the battle. Additionally when the games get too big things can potentially become unwieldy, which can put off newer players, something which is further compounded by too many items of esoteric weapons/wargear! Nothing puts off newbies more than watching their opponent (boyfriend) scouring through four codex books and the wargear book to work out what is going on.
Overall....Great Fun!! I can't wait until the next game!!