The Fate of Bavgad Prime IV – Week 1

Bavgad Prime IV is a small mining colony in the Segmentus Pacificus, a mere 2800 light-years from Macharia. Being slightly isolated, the population is in total autonomy, producing his own food and energy, and contributing to the Imperial Expansion by regularly sending their quota to the closest forge worlds.

Being an easy prey, the planet fell into the Chaos hands at the end of the 36th millennium; but five millennia of enslavement later, the population was free again during the Macharian Crusade. The reconstruction has been fast, the planet is back to a high mining rate, fulfilling its duty for the Imperium of Man and peace has reigned ever since.

But in the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, there is only War.

That's the backstory for a month-long league Black Knight is running, the post-titular 'Fate of Bavgad Prime IV', whose first round was last night. I have to say, I was quite impressed by the professionalism on display here. There's an actual map of the planet, with hex tiles from Planetstrike laid out into six continents of between six and ten tiles each, connected to each other not unlike the continents on a Risk board. That is, there are certain points at which two continents are close to each other, points denoted by a red line on the black 'sea' base of the board, and only there can you hop between places. There are special buildings that confer advantages, stackable advantages at that, in a battle, such as the Holy Site (allows 1 unit to re-roll LD once per game), Ammo Depot (allows 1 unit to re-roll failed shooting) and Power Generator (allows 1 unit to re-roll failed to wound) and the Spaceport (allows you to attack non-adjacent enemy tiles). And every player was given a little pile of Warhammer Fantasy Battle bases to mark up at the store's painting station with their army's icon, to show the spread of their influence on the map and give people at least some idea of who they're challenging. It's pretty dang impressive, is what I'm trying to say.

Though I really can't imagine how my Tau Empire cadre managed to blunder into a planetary free-for-all out in the old Macharian conquests. That's the exact opposite end of the galaxy!

Well, one learns to live with such minor details in 40K. For myself, I'm on a relatively small continent with Graham the Grey Knight and the only other Tau player in the campaign. Although I have been getting steadily better at handling Graham's Grey Knights, I figured I'd try not to fight someone I go up against regularly. And of course, us Tau players have to stick together, so I didn't want to charge straight at him, though that did mean he got two special buildings in his territories since Graham struck out away from him, as well. Lucky bugger. Anyway, hopping off the edge of my continent, my Mantas deposited my cadres strike force on a mountainous tile defended by the Imperial Guard, for the first of many battles to come on Bavgad Prime IV

My Cadre:
Shas'el w/AFP, MP, PR, HW-MT
3 x XV8 w/PR, MP, MT
3 x XV8 w/PR, MP, MT
3 x XV8 w/TL-MP, Fl
9 x FW w/Devilfish w/D-Pod
9 x FW w/Devilfish w/D-Pod
6 x FW
5 x Pathfinders w/Devilfish w/D-Pod
XV88 w/ASS
XV88 w/ASS
Hammerhead w/Railgun, 2 x BC, MT, D-Pod

Opponent: Blake Chrystian (Imperial Guard)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Objective: Annihilation

Primaris Psyker
Techpriest w/2 x Servitors
Platoon Command Squad w/Chimera
20 x Guardsmen w/Heavy Bolter
10 x Veterans w/Meltabombs, 2 x Meltaguns, Valkyrie w/Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter, 2 x Missile Pod
3 x Leman Russ

So, my least-favourite deployment (at 1500 I can't scatter Blacksun Filters all over the place, while Imperials have free spotlights) and my least-favourite objective, against one of my least-favourite enemy armies (Wall O' AV14, plus melta). Off to a bad start, and it only went down hill from there.

Blake put down a Chimera with the Psyker and the Command Squad inside on the table, while I put my commander down, close to the midline but sheltered behind a nice big piece of terrain. I was hoping to have him pop out and suppress the Chimera, then pop back into cover. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The Guard army walked on the edge, save for the Valkyrie and its squad in reserve, with the tanks clustered together behind the Chimera, on the left side of the table (my perspective). The Chimera lit up my commander with its spotlight, and the entire Guard army opened fire on him. To his credit, that guy weathered a truly monumental hail of firepower; he shrugged off the Heavy Bolters on the Chimera, one of the Battle Cannons and two Lascannon shots. In the end, though, he fell to the very last Lascannon round Blake had to send his way, depriving me of my forward fire point, and more critically my AFP in a battle against Guard.

My own army rolled on my side, save for the six Firewarriors I left in reserve, and proceeded to do very little, indeed. I dropped the Pathfinders off in a forest on the left side of the board, but since they'd moved they couldn't shoot, so I ran them to get them more spread out. And then, with a combination of poor Night Fight rolls and weak results on the vehicle damage table, I proceeded to immobilise the lead Chimera, and take off its turret. Hardly a strong opening, and it largely set the stage for the battle to come.

Blake's Guard army ground away at my left flank, with his Valkyrie deep striking to deliver its meltagunners straight into the path of my Hammerhead and his Leman Russes blasting away at the Devilfish, Deathrains and XV88 on that side of the board. I lost the Railgun off the Hammerhead, then one of the Burst Cannons, lost the Devilfish, the Deathrains, the XV88 and the Pathfinders, leaving me with a one-Burst Cannon tank cruising up the left flank to go plink away at the 20-man Guard squad and the de-meched Fire Warriors sheltering in the woods, on the corpses of the Pathfinders. In return, I... killed the Veteran squad. Oh, I also immobilised the Valkyrie and took off its Lascannon and both missile pods, but despite repeated volleys of Missile Pods and twin-linked Railguns, I could not destroy that thing. And the Techpriest managed to fix the Chimera's engine, and then its turret, negating even that flimsy accomplishment. The final score was 7-1 against, giving me 2.5 (showed up, lost, painted but not based) out of a possible 5 points for the evening. Not an auspicious start.

And, honestly, not the most fun evening I've ever had. Don't mistake me, Blake was an excellent opponent, and he did his best to offer up a good, clean fight. But it was just one of those nights where the dice just will not roll your way, no matter what, and that does grind away at the fun after a while. By turn three it was obvious the game was over, and despite managing to preserve half my army my total inability to kill anything that wasn't a de-meched Guardmsan with no cover saves meant it was just a long series of failing to hit, or failing to do damage, or rolling abysmally on the vehicle damage chart. Hopefully next week the dice are a little more willing to meet me halfway.

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