This is a part of the author's "Public Game" series. To view other battle reports in the series, click here.

This game wasn't for the escalation league. Instead, this was a game that took place right after the last one between me, and a person who I had been meaning to play against for some time now. He watched the last game as it unfolded, and wanted to face off against me given mostly the same set of variables, to see if he could do any better.

THE CHALLENGER: Our requisition for "Super Ultra" status hasn't come in yet...

5-man group of scouts with heavy bolter
5-man assault marine squad, sarge with plasma pistol, hell of style Dreadnought with missile launcher, assault cannon.

10-man tac squad with meltagun, plasma gun, in drop pod

Uber HQ of Doom in drop pod
- Force commander with fist, other upgrades
- Apothecary
- Champion of some sort with power weapon
- standard bearer
- 2x dudes with bolt pistols, chain swords
- 3x dudes with meltaguns

... I think. It was a little hard to know for sure.

THE DEFENDER: If we wear blue, do we become "ultra"?

I used list 3g, same as last time.

We played the same mission (take and hold) on gamma with the same terrain (except that some was removed to place a fortification on the objective), and same sides. He won for deployment, I won for first turn.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

So he's running a drop army. That basically demotes my tactics to "displace and wait". Hopefully the drop pods will show up early enough so that I can just smear them and have time to get onto the objective. Thankfully, there is now a bit of fortifications there, so I can start my vets square on the objective.


Melchoir waited impatiently.

He had been told that forces were coming to attempt to take back the little landing field. Of course, higher ups couldn't send reinforcements, Melchoir knew that. He had been informed that the attack would be made by drop pods (of course), and that they would encounter an advanced force sometime soon.

"They're here, Melchoir," came a voice over the net, "enemy scouts have infiltrated into the building on the left."

"Allright, men, let's clean them out of here, and keep our eyes peeled for drop pods."

The first response was from the earthshaker, who blasted it's massive cannon to the right.

Sometimes, Melchoir didn't want to know.

For my turn, I'm going to have to wait. The name of the game will be getting the squads on the field out of the way quickly, so I try and accommodate by shifting a couple of things around.

In shooting, my basilisk fires at the assault marines behind the building to the right. History is again made by my basilisk. I think, quite possibly for the first time ever, my basilisk scored a "hit" on its first shot of a game. Unfortunately almost half of the hits failed to wound, leaving two of the space marines to figure out what the hell had just happened.

My russ then tries to battlecannon the scouts, as they're close together, and there's a dreadnought nearby. Unfortunately, the shot scatters far away in the wrong direction, so nothing comes of it.

Two missile launchers and two lascannons then shoot at the dreadnought with only one of them hitting, and that one being only barely able to glance it, for a "vehicle stunned" result.

Without his force commander on the field, and being both under half strength, and having been hit by an ordnance barrage, the assault marines easily fail their pinning check.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir had called in for reinforcements after he heard the news. It wouldn't do any good, though, as all available forces other than his had been moved out.

He knew that he couldn't defend an open field against drop podding space marines. Instead, he had forged a different plan.

Basically, Melchoir's forces would retreat to one side of the field, and try and kill the drop pods in the middle of the field where they landed.

Thankfully, he hadn't gotten any crap from Sanario about "retreating" (the priest had since learned that Melchoir's sense for tactics generally trumped his feelings of glorious combat), but he did take an earful from Stips' replacement officer. There was a reason that they were called "junior"...

With a pinned unit, a stunned unit, and a 5-man squad with a heavy bolter, my opponent didn't do a lot of moving.

In shooting, his heavy bolter opened up on my dudes in the center, killing one of them.

After this point, the field looked like this:


Melchoir had grumbled a lot, but he was inwardly relieved. The entire line was moving out, except for his group.

He had done the obligatory complaining to the magistrate marshall, but in the end, his mind was unchanged. After all, someone needed to stay behind to secure the drop zone. Otherwise, it might become very difficult for them to recieve reinforcements, and they risked a flanking attack.

For a mission of such importance, the mission was placed on Melchoir. Plus, he was good at courtyard fighting.

He had nothing to do but watch the mass of men and tanks roll and march forward into the city.

At least they had given him a direct-line vox set between his group and division HQ intelligence, so he would be notified in advance of any incoming attacks on his position.

With his assault marines mostly neutralized, I thought I'd bring in my sentinel to put some more material on the objective.

Otherwise, everything opens fire. The battlecannon, with an unmoved, straight shot, managed to scatter both 4" completely off the scouts, and not in a direction where it threatened the dreadnought. Meanwhile, my basilisk made history for a third time that night: he hit with two earthshaker shots in a row. Unfortunately, one of the two shots failed to wound, leaving the assault marine commander all on his lonesome.

He repeats his last round of not knowing what was going on by failing his pinning test again.

Meanwhile, the same barrage of doom opens up on his dreadnought. I manage just one hit, which fails to even glance the vehicle...

After this point, the field looked like this:

The small, ruined building was tense as the magistrate marshall carefully went over the details of the plan.

The whole line was to move into the city as a flanking action, while three whole lines were busy trying to shoot it out further in. The marshalls from the other nine groups had been there, which, counting Melchoir, had made his line the best reinforced that it had been since he had arrived on this forsaken planet.

They were all given their orders. Melchoir was to remain at the drop site and defend it against counterattacks. His forces were still not quite in order after the reinforcements from earlier that day, and Melchoir felt he needed a little bit of time before he saw action again that day.

He still had to do the obligatory complaining, though.

In his turn, his now freed dreadnought moved forwards through the building. It's assault cannon was still well out of range, and it's missile launcher missed again. The scout's heavy bolter, though managed to ping another one of my dudes in the rubble.

After this point, the field looked like this:


Melchoir had looked forwards idly, watching the troop formations that were organizing on the field in front of him. He watched Commander Marshal Keller directing his group. Nearly a third of the forces assembled were his. Clearly someone had ambitions of running his own line. After all, he practically already did.

"The replacements have been entered, and the vehicles have been resupplied, sir," the junior officer had told him.

Melchoir gave a grunt of satisfaction before waving the new junior officer away. He wondered how the new JO would pan out. He looked like he could bethe kind of man who had impressions of himself greater than his station, but Melchoir didn't know for sure. He hoped he was wrong.

A messenger had come up to him after his officer had left, The magistrate marshall was collecting the group officers in the ruined building to his left.

In my turn, my troops on the right displace a little, now that they don't have to fear any assault marines coming at them. My sentinel goes forwards a little bit so that if the lone assault marine did decide to do something, it would be more likely to pick off the sentinel instead. I mean, that dreadnought should be going down this turn anyways.

In shooting, my russ lines up a direct shot at his dreadnought, but manages to scatter a whopping 5" away. Then I shoot with my 2 missile launchers and my two lascannons. All of them hit. One of them manages to penetrate, which, due to it being hull down (the shot was from the right side sentinel), the resulting glance managed to shake the vehicle...

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir could not believe his eyes. There was now the entirety of the Leman Sigma line crammed into the tiny drop zone. Nearly a thousand soldiers were clustered together by group, and by platoon, with the officers frantically trying to keep order. He had been told that more of the line was coming up, and that it was going to be big, but he didn't know that it would be THIS big.

With this addition, Melchoir had figured out that there was now probably a whole division in the city, all from the vaunted Foleran First. It was rare that there would be soldiers from a single place all fighting together in a single place, at least it was on this planet.

In any case, it was an awe inspiring sight to behold. He hadn't seen this many Folerans packed into one place since before he was a marshall.

My opponent's turn begins with his assault marine failing his last man standing test (where is that force commander when you need him?) but somehow rolling less than a 10 for his flight distance, keeping him on the table.

Otherwise, the only movement was from his shaken dreadnought (grr...).

In shooting, his scouts failed to wound any of my guys, thanks to their good 4+ cover.

After this point, the field looked like this:


"And make sure that the basilisks get their ammunition!" Melchoir had called out as his junior officer jogged away.

"What do you want me to do?" Sanario asked, putting his shirt back on and reaching for his stack of carapace plates.

"I think you've done enough," Melchoir replied, "Plus, I want to give my new JO a little workout to see what he's made of.

Sanario nodded as he took a long swig from his canteen.

Melchoir looked behind him. Another valkyrie was taking off after having somehow managed to bring an entire platoon to the clearing.

He wondered how many more soldiers would be showing up.

In my turn, I continue by displacing things a little. By now he HAS to get reinforcements in soon, so I reply by popping smoke on my chimera.

In shooting, I finally decide that the battlecannon isn't the answer and just bolter boat the scouts. They have good cover, though, and so only a couple die.

Meanwhile, everything shoots at the dreadnought again. This time, I score a glance and a penetration. They both roll a 1 for the result. Sigh...

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir walked across the clearing. He had just met with the first Foleran forces to touch boots down after his reinforcements had arrived.

The man who the magistrate marshal had designated as the Landing Master had told Melchoir that the drop zone had been cleared in preparation for what would wind up being a major landing. He didn't know any numbers, but there would be at least a couple of groups showing up.

Melchoir had asked, but the Landing Master didn't know any more details.

"Okay," Melchoir said to Sanario, and the rest of the command squad, "You guys can be done. I think that it looks just fine now. Plus, we've got to clear out, as there will be at least a group or two that will want to drop on our heads sometime soon."

There were no complaints from his command squad.

In his turn, the cavalry finally arrives.

The pod full of deepstrikers to the right plops out the ten man tac squad, while the commander scatters 7" in the exact wrong direction. The Folerans stood ready:

Given the big, shiney, smokey, behemoth right in their way, the tac squad decided to open up on my chimera which, despite taking only a couple of hits through the smoke, is destroyed.

With nothing else much in range, the command HQ decided to unload on my veterans. Poor buggers didn't stand a chance.

As well, he finally decided to throw his scout's heavy bolter at my sentinel, but does nothing (the picture below is wrong).

After this point, the field looked like this:


Melchoir had gotten the message back from HQ

"Stand by for further Foleran forces to deploy at cleared zone."

He was honestly a little bit surprised at the message. He didn't think that his mission was so important that upper levels of HQ were willing to risk a more major operation if Melchoir had failed. He supposed that that's why they had sent them in the first place.

A little self-confidence never hurt anyone.

The officer looked idly out of his shaded position at the men working without their armor, or even shirts on in the sunlight. He was surprised at how good Sanario looked, given his age. He supposed that for someone to usefully wield an eviscerator, it couldn't be 100% adrenaline.

His gaze shifted to his new junior officer, who was meeting all of the people in his command squad. He wondered how it would all work out.

Now it would finally be my turn to smack him. In movement, I move my basilisk up to get LOS on the drop pod, and bring my platoon up as far as a terrible set of difficult terrain rolls will let me.

Shooting begins with my basilisk making a shot that was half-on, half off of the drop pod. Unfortunately, it scattererd far away. Then, my battlecannon shoots at his juicy, juicy command squad. The shot scattered 3", however, and was only able to clip one of them, which it failed to hit.

Shooting continues with my officer's storm bolter killing one of the marines. The shot is stopped by the apothecary, however. Yay for having to use the ability on a worthless attack. The rest of my troops then shoot into his forces including a successful hit with a meltagun, as well as a marine taken down in a barrage of shrapnel from a frag missile. I even manage a kill with a lasgun. In the end, the result is far from the splatting I had hoped for. At least I had a plan B.

Meanwhile, my lascannon sentinel on the bottom, who only has LOS to the meltagunner in the tac squad misses. So does my sentinel shooting at the dreadnought.

I get a vague, uncomfortable feeling that I should have shot the heavy bolters on the leman russ, or the platoon command squad's meltaguns (assuming that I would have moved them differently) at the tac squad, as I would have been able to see only the plasma gun and the meltagunner, but I don't know.

In any case, to make up for this lack of shooting prowess, my dragoons manage to kill two marines with lasguns, and finish off a third with a heavy bolter shot :D

After this point, the field looked like this:

"... and don't worry, I'll always use a different callsign for the troops in the armored fist."

"You only have one infantry platoon?" the junior officer asked.

"Well, I do run a MOBILE infantry group here," Melchoir replied.


"Anyways," Melchoir continued, "I think that that's all that I need to tell you for now. Why don't you go and meet everyone. It's better if you first get a feel for what they do yourself, rather than just me telling you what they're supposed to do."

The officer saluted, and jogged away from Melchoir after he had saluted back.

In his turn, his assault marine commander, who had finally regained his senses, moved forwards, along with the dreadnought. His command squad in the middle moved up, and the tac squad moved to the more out-of-LOS side of the drop pod to finish off my dragoons.

In shooting, his assault cannon can just barely see my leman russ, but thankfully gets no rends with its hits. Meanwhile, forgetting that he has to charge the unit that he shot at, his command squad opens up on my sentinel, immobilizing it and knocking its lascannon off. Not that it would really matter given what I was about to do to him...

Meanwhile, his marines shoot at my dragoons and, 5 bolters, two plasma guns and a meltagun kill 5, despite the fact that they're not in cover. The sad part is that this is actually pretty close to what the expected outcome was. In a fit of dragoonery, the dragoons stay and fight.

My sentinel, on the other hand is aced with a plasma pistol. One shot, one hit, one glance, one kill. Why can't his dreadnought go down like that?

After this point, the field looked like this:


Line HQ had made good on their promise: reinforcements were arriving. It wound up that the HQ would be sending him forces to bring his count up to exactly where it was before. He'd get another squad, another sentinel, even a couple more Zonhaimers.

Some day, the higher ups would give him a bigger group, some day...

Melchoir walked up towards the Vaklyrie as a young man with a gorget hopped out. This was the man that would replace Stips, it seemed. At least he brought his own storm bolter.

"Are you Marshall Theleos?" The junior officer shouted above the noise of the valkyrie.

"Call me Melchoir!" the senior officer shouted back, returning the younger man's salute.

In my turn, I charge both of my command squads forwards.

In shooting, his sins of not getting into close combat are ameliorated by the fact that basically every gun I shot at his command squad missed. In the end, one died to a meltagun.

My basilisk, on the other hand, was a different story. I placed the shot so that the hole was just barely on the drop pod with the rest covering as much of his troops as I could. The shot hit!

The drop pod was easily mangled and the 1" explosion offed a marine. Then the earthshaker proceeded to get the one partial it had and instantly splatted the remainder of the marines. That's the first time in a really long time that my bassie has come through in the clinch.

Now bereft of targets, as they were being consumed in flame, the dragoons decided to target the assault marine with their heavy bolter, managing to kill it.

Then came the assault:

It began with his meltagunner, which managed to put a wound on Melchoir, while the dude with the power weapons on the other side of the force commander chopped one of my dudes down with his sword.

Then, my platoon HQ attacked with its 11 attacks, hitting with TWO of them (why, oh why don't they have a priest?!), doing absolutely nothing, while my 13 REROLLABLE attacks also fail to do absolutely anything. They must be tired from all their work earlier in the day.

At least Melchoir got his revenge, unloading 3 wounds to the meltagunner in front of him (alas, the other two guys remaining were IC's in close combat). My priest was also able to pull his weight with three hits which turned into 2 wounds that snuck through his iron halo, killing the force commander, who only managed to get a single fist kill back.

As the combat was drawn, it would continue into next turn.

After this point, the field looked like this:

"So, basically, the plan is this," Melchoir said, pointing to one of the piles of rubble, "We're going to build a fortification in the middle of the drop zone here so that we can defend it while our reinforcements arrive. Basically, we're going to move that rock pile over here, and then continue working to build up the area into a more proper fortification."

"What if we're attacked by deepstrikers?" on of his retinue asked as he started undoing the fasteners on his flack armor.

"Well, then what we're doing would be sort of a waste, I suppose, but I don't anticipate that happening," Melchoir replied, "Now, everyone grab a shovel and get to work."

"Where are you going?" Sanario had asked.

"I'm going to talk with HQ, let them know that this place is cleared, and that they can send in our reinforcements."

The officer could hear the priest start to offer a prayer of comfort as the team walked away with their shovels.

With basically one unit unengaged, he moves the dreadnought closer to my lines.

While the scout's heavy bolter didn't do anything (as it never really did this game), the dreadnought opened fire with its assault cannon, getting all 4 hits. Two of the hits rended. In the end, he rolled a 17 and an 18 for armor penetration (geez). The poor russ didn't stand a chance.

In close combat, his champion squckly swung his sword hacking into a guy or two before getting the snot beaten out of him (by the junior officer actually, I rolled him first just for the lulz).

Everyone consolidated towards the dreadnought.

After this point, the field looked like this:

After this point, we would go on to play two more full turns with the end result being the lone scout running away, the drop pod being easily offed, and, despite lasting for THREE rounds of combat against a weapon that automatically rends vehicles, the dreadnought FINALLY died to my command squad.


I'm not quite sure what they were at the end of round 6. He lost the drednought and a half a drop pod while bringing both of my command squads to less than half strength. Is what was left roughly 110 pts? Anyways, when we got to the very end, he had a half a scout squad left for 35 points. I had 510 points of surviving material on the board for a roughly +475 in my favor for another very solid victory.

- I don't know how many times I can say this. If you have two (or, in this case, just one) units that constitute half of your points, you've really got to stop doing that. I can understand if there is a constraint due to models (as in, you're just starting out), in which case, take this lesson to heart, so that you're not tempted to make the same mistake once the points go up. Space marines are not indestructable, especially not in the face of a lot of high strength weapons.

- As well, while the drop pods weren't 100% optimally placed, I think I'm starting to get a little bit of the hang of doing drop pod defense. My whole deployment zone wouldn't have been able to fit a drop pod back there (and if the sentinel had been destroyed, the intervening terrain might well have messed things up), which meant that stuff in front needed to be shot at before anything worth shooting at could get shot at.

MVP: Wow, two in a row - I'm going with the basilisk. It looks like karma is starting to come to it, resulting in a towards-normal amount of damage (three hits, yes, but two of them had half of the hits fail to wound). I've definitely missed this thing the past several games.

Hero of the Game: This one goes to my dragoons, who valiantly stared down a 10-man drop pod tac squad and spit in their faces. At least, I think that that's what lasguns normally amount to...

Melchoir flipped the little switch on the crude radio emitter. Reinforcements would now have at least a vague guide to the area, and the open space should give any pilots the right idea after that.

"Allright, men," Melchoir said, addressing the nearby guardsmen "We're going to need to secure this perimeter and wait for reinforcements to arrive. I want a spread line. Scout and secure, you know the drill."

"What are we going to do?" Sanario asked, gesturing towards the rest of the command squad.

"We, my good friend, are going to play in the dirt."

Sanario didn't quite get it, but he could tell by the officer's menacing smile that whatever it was was going to involve a shovel, and the priest would have to be the one using it. The priest tried frantically to remember the liturgy of "We are Refined by our Hard Labors in His Eyes". He was about to need it.