Saturday, March 20, 2010

Battle Missions: Chaos Space Marines

As promised, here's some thoughts on the chaos space marine's scenarios from the Battle Missions expansion that was released earlier this month. As with the Daemons scenarios, chaos space marines have 3 related missions in the book. These are: Pillage, Black Crusade, and Scorched Earth.

Whereas I felt that the daemon's battle missions were different time-slices of one whole narrative, the same cannot be said of the chaos space marine's battle missions. They have more of a feel of "here's some battles that they might find themselves a part of at any given time".

The first mission, Pillage, does what it says on the tin: the marines want some loot, and aren't afraid to cause a lot of damage along the way to get a hold of it! Mechanically, it adds a point system to the more usual objective based missions. I've played such missions before (using identical rules even!) and have an ambivalent opinion of them. They're okay, I guess.

In Black Crusade, the chaos marines are part of a once-every-millennium rampage through the Galaxy. At its heart, Black Crusade is simply a killpoints mission, but with the feel of Tyranids attacking thanks to a variant of the "without number" rule. If we know ahead of time that this will be the mission played, then I suspect I'd want to take lots of deep-striking units (terminators, raptors, obliterators) to ensure that my units (repeatedly) came on the board somewhere useful to score maximum kill points. I think this is a fairly bland mission that doesn't truly capture the idea of a Black Crusade -- I think Apocalypse would be better suited to such monumental ideas.

Scorched Earth on the other hand is the shining winner of the three chaos space marine missions. The use of terrain features to create a truly burned-out feel of a battlefield is a good one and I'm looking forward to playing this mission. Although the idea of having alternate rules for scenery is not a new thing, the specific rules about lines of sight being blocked by them excites me. It's a little bit of a nod to the 4th edition rules in some respects.

In a generic sense, all three of these missions would be well suited to the majority of the races in Warhammer 40,000. I think I would have liked to have seen something more specific to chaos marines: perhaps a daemon planet battle where the laws of physics aren't quite the same. Or even a "Quest for the holy artifact of Tzeentch" sort of battle. Maybe I'll take up those ideas at a later date and post some novel scenarios based on them.


Cawshis Clay said...

I agree with you! Many of the missions didn't seem as flavorful as they could be. I mean...the Eldar and the Guard's missions seem incredibly well suited to their armies.

The Chaos SM were underwhelming in that regard.

You've played +1 point for each turn a model holds an objective? I'd love to hear your opinion. As we get better in our games, I'm finding that the strategy of "move your landspeeder to take on turn 5" is getting kind of lame. Especially when we both do it! What were your likes/dislikes?

jabberjabber said...

Hi Cawshis Clay -- I actually played one of the holding objectives games in part of a tournament. I didn't do very well at it to be honest!

I'll try to write up a fuller posting about my opinions and tactica on this mission at a later date. They are very different to the usual swoop in and claim the objectives on turn 5 that we've all got used to.

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