Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horus Heresy Board Game Report: An Imperial Victory

Today's game report is from the Horus Heresy Board Game. We played the second mission from the booklet, which is identical to the first except that you get to think about where to put your initial troops yourself. This involves a little bit of thought about which faction you want where (i.e. you should think about having Angron with his World Eater marines, but do you place them in a space port, or hold them in reserve for later in the game?).

The game works on an initiative based turn. If you have the quicker initiative, then you get to place commands and execute orders. The full rule book is available for download in pdf format from the publishers, so I won't go in to too much detail about them. I will note here though that it is very, very easy to forget an odd rule or two on the first few games that you have. But try not to stress about that!
The first picture shows the game after a few turns after the set-up point. I am controlling the traitor forces whilst my opponent controls the imperial forces (in grey). I have Angron and the World Eaters controlling one of the space ports near the bottom right of the picture (in red). Meanwhile, Magnus and the Thousand Sons (in blue) control a second port (top right) and have begun to spread out. The green guys near the palace are Death Guard which I've just dropped on to the board.

On the loyalist side, the Imperial Fists and Dorn can be seen in and around a manufactorum just north of Angron's position. Dorn's forces are spread out and Angron thinks they're going to be easy meat for the blood god. Meanwhile, Sanguinius and his Blood Angels are holed up to the West side of the board. The Khan and his White Scars are not visible: they're way off to the West of the board and out of sight. In the palace, the Emperor sits on his throne looking on. His has his personal guards around him and a few mechanicum forces. Various other tanks, infantry and titans are scattered around. But notice the tanks and infantry with the black bases just East of the Death Guard -- I've managed to turn several units traitor! Indeed, this is part of the set-up: the traitor player has the chance to "corrupt" some of the Imperial forces before the game begins. This often makes for an interesting opening!

My plan is simple. I'll let Angron loose on the South of the board and cause all sorts of mayhem down there. Meanwhile, I'll hold off any Imperial forces around the palace with the Death Guard marines. This should buy enough time for Magnus to make a charge through the palace and get to the throne room for a first assault on the Emperor!In the second image, you can see my plan in action! Magnus the Red has easily breached the palace walls and his marines are running amok inside the palace. He's still completely mad about the whole sorcery and Space Wolves thing a little earlier on... Also, you can see that I've reinforced my grip on the space port to the East of the palace -- Fulgrim has arrived with some Emperor's Children marines (purple) to debase themselves on Terra. Mortarion has even brought a traitor titan with him, just to show he's serious. Along the way though, Fulgrim manages to corrupt more Imperial units to the traitor cause.

However, my opponent has executed a well-timed plan. The fabricator general (top left of the palace) has rushed to the Emperor's side thanks to the Machine Spirit. But he's not alone. He's brought with him the might of Mars with a titan or two!

In the South meanwhile, Angron makes short work of Rogal Dorn and his pesky Imperial Fists. Dorn dies horribly at Angron's hand as the World Eaters begin to enjoy being in Khorne's service. This, of course, incenses Sanguinius. He's not a happy chap. He takes his Blood Angels and swoops in on Angron. Sadly for Sanguinius: Angron is up to the challenge. He dispatches poor Sanguinius as well.

However, the Khan is having much better luck. In a lightning strike, his marines decimate the Death Guard standing guard over the palace. They're just no match for his unexpectedly quick re-deployment! Especially since Mortarion is still having a friendly chat with Fulgrim in the corner of the Space Port. Pay attention Mortarion! Fulgrim is distracting you!

But my plan is working very well despite the Death Guard losses. Whilst the Emperor's Children engage Imperial Tank divisions, Magnus the Red storms in to the palace with the remains of his Thousand Sons to confront the Emperor. Little is said between them as they unleash their forces. Many Thousand Sons perish. Whole imperial infantry platoons with millenia of legendary dutiful service die. The Emperor seriously wounds Magnus, but Magnus fails to scratch the Emperor.

Realizing that the Emperor is in trouble, my opponent withdraws him to join up with the Fabricator General and his titan. Only now do they fully realize the gravity of the situation. Only now do they recognize that there can be no turning back. His sons have turned against him. Sanguinius and Dorn are dead. Jaghatai Khan's White Scars are losing against a tide of daemons summoned by Fulgrim. Angron will not give up his hold of the space port. They're going to have to take on Horus himself. The Emperor gathers his forces around him and teleports them on to the Vengeful Spirit.
The Emperor's forces (pictured above) clear the spacecraft's vaults of their daemonic infestation quite readily. But they were not expecting a swift counter-assault. Horus takes to the battle himself. Previously holed up in the control room of the Spirit, he descends in to the bowls of his space craft to find the Emperor there with the Fabricator General and some select imperial forces. But he has sent a signal out. Mortarion answers the warmaster and brings with him a battalion of Death Guard and Emperor's Children. But will it be enough?

The fight is at first evenly matched. But Nurgle's power flows through Mortarion and the Death Guard as they rust the Fabricator General's titan into the void. Although the imperial tank division stands up bravely to Horus, they suffer the price. Horus takes their souls. The Emperor's side lances the Emperor's Children in exchange for their sins.

As the fight progresses, both the Emperor and Horus take damage. But soon, there is only Horus and Mortarion standing on the traitor side. The Emperor and the Fabricator general are looking stronger, and they still have some troops left alive. In another exchange of blood, Mortarion and Horus almost slay the Fabricator General - only his bionics are keeping him alive at this point. But it is too little too late. Horus' auto-senses inform him that the Imperial Fleet has arrived.

The Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Space Wolves are here already. Horus and the traitors have lost and will now pay dearly for their heresy...


Kraggi said...

A good report, the game looks awesome and I only wish I had someone that I would get enough games against to justify the cost lol.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Kraggi -- it is a pricey board game indeed and I can fully relate to your points.

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