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So, though I have several things in various states of assembling and painting, I played my first 200+ pts. game (my first in public, rather than just with friends, to boot). It was a ~865 pt. meat grinder, infantry guard vs. my guard which had 1 min. platoon, 1 armored fist, 1 basilisk, 1 demolisher, 1 flag-bearing stripped down HQ and 1 lascannon sentinel.

He deployed first. He also got first turn.

His setup was about 700 points of infantry on my left (a whole platoon had infiltrated to about mid-board). I had all of my infantry on my left and all of my vehicles on my right / center.

turn 1

the game started with my autocannon in my platoon HQ taking a pot-shot at a squad because of a surveyor that could see 18" away. It missed. Question: does a unit with a surveyor get to shoot at ALL units within X" or at one enemy squad? It seemed really unclear, so I just opted for one.

He then proceeds to move up all of his infantry. A heavy weapons squad with 3x autocannons blows up my chimera and half of the guys inside. A missile launcher fires over the wreakage of the chimera, and nails a shot through a window to hit my basilisk. It gets a glancing hit, and rolls a 6... On the left, he shoots one of my squads almost into non-existance. Basically, he's just hosed 1/3 of my army turn one. Ouch.

I then shoot at his nearest infantry squad and his platoon HQ, bringing the former down to less than half strength and the latter to his Lt. and a lasgunner.

turn 2

He moves more guys up into the grinder, manages to finish off the squad he shot at earlier and wound my platoon HQ. My demolisher, now in place behind a hill, but with a great line of sight to his frontline infantry, totally wastes the platoon I shot at earlier with plasma cannons. My heavy bolter manages to score 1 kill after two rounds of shooting. The remanents of the armored fist walk over closer to the demolisher.

turn 3

He sends in even more guys. My platoon HQ dies, but he doesn't manage to do all that much to the other squad. My demolisher finishes off the platoon HQ (and takes a nearby guy down with the scatter). My company HQ and the remaining squad finish off his platoon HQ. He blows up my sentinel.

turn 4

He advances more. He manages to put the hurt on my squad, but leaves the heavy bolter and the grenade launcher (and I think one other guy) thankfully, the company HQ was nearby with the flag... My armored fist gets to shoot with a frag grenade and kills 3 guardsmen, while my heavy bolter, again, kills nothing (that heavy bolter killed 1 stinking lousy guardsman in 5 turns of firing. BOO!). My demolisher does a lot of missing.

turn 5

His 2 units of stormtroopers drop in (2 groups of 5 with a plasma and meltagun each). One scatters badly out of range, the other scattered just enough so that he was hitting the side armor of the demolisher rather than the rear. Nothing scratches the demolisher. His infantry finish off my remaining squad (but not the armored fist one). My demolisher, upset with being shot at immediately vaporizes all 5 stormtroopers that were in range with a demolisher cannon. My Armored fist platoon shoots his other stormtroopers with a heavy bolter (no wounds...) but manages to kill two stormtroopers with a frag grenade.

turn 6

His infantry advance, but there's no longer anything he can shoot at but the demolisher (the company HQ is hiding behind the hill and the armored fist hid behind the demolisher). His other stormtroopers move forward but are unable to get through the demolisher's side armor. My infantry kill one more of his stormtroopers (once again, nothing with a heavy bolter) and my platoon HQ charges them with no wounds dealt by either side. My demolisher crunches the nearest advancing infantry squad.

So, in the end, it was a brutal massacare of my forces, as he still had a whole platoon, a very tooled up HQ squad (which did nothing due to its deployment) a heavy weapons platoon and some snipers (who I didn't mention because they did absolutely nothing) vs. my demolisher and a handful of guys. In some ways I still consider it a partial victory, as my opponent had NOTHING left that could even dent that demolisher who, for the next 10 turns would have just mopped up his army. I also consider it a minor vicroty in that we found out later that I had 864pts where my opponent had a full 1000. I think I would have done better if I'd had that hellhound... :)

So, what did I learn from this? The first, and most obvious, is that nothing beats a demolisher when it's parked with a short-ranged firing lane that the enemy has to run throuh. The second would be that frag grenades are actually not to shabby (Each time I fired, I'd hit two, or, more likely, three. I think I got about a squad's worth of guys down with my two grenade launchers). The third thing is that when luck goes badly against you, you can still do pretty decent by just consolidating and defending, especially if it's behind a hill that blocks line of sight. And, of course, there was definitely some bad luck on my part with the basilisk and the 21 heavy bolter shots that killed ONE guardsman.

So, that's it for my report. Though it was a loss, it was not a wasted experience.