After having completed a 2.000 points Tyranid force, what could be more natural than fielding it against my nemesis: The Praetorian guard of Koltus V!? To my great luck, my long-time pal and gaming buddy, Steen, was up for it. Even if he actually is busy doing Adeptus Titanicus and Sisters of Battle these days.
We decided to play the mission “Tyranid Attack” and be inspired by Rourke’s Drift – the Zulu War battle. Like in the historical counterpart, the Pretorians would be huddled up in the remnants of a small Imperial hospital. The Tyranids, playing the part of the Zulu, would then come charging in wave after wave.
We decided that to simulate the world being overrun by bugs, the Tyranids would deploy on both short edges, with the hospital compound in the middle. We didn’t make rules for the hospital, but actually it would have been cool if the Imperials could heal their units or something along those lines while the hospital was operating. Food for the future.
I put 20 Hormagaunts, 1 Carnifex, 3 Warrios and 10 Termagants on one flank, and 1 Hive Tyrant, 2×10 Termagants, 10 Genestealers and 3 Warriors on the other.
The Imperial guard army was all deployed within the centre. Before the game started, we had to roll on the special “Tyranid” table. The Tyranids do not get Strategy Cards, but roll on a table instead. The results are many and varied, but in essence one IG squad got “fear the Tyranids”, another had an “Alien” planted in one trooper, and would have to roll each round, a last squad got ambushed en route and had to be placed in reserve. The Sentinel had a creature hiding in the motor, and would have to roll each time it moved.
With that sorted, we started the game. The Imperials got the first turn (Tyranids have a strategy rating of 1 – and hence have to deploy first, and get only +1 to start). The Imperial fire was devastating. A krak missile killed off the Carnifex, and the three Warriors granting synapse to the Hormagaunts and Termagants were also gunned down.
The Hormagaunts charged forward all the same and with 12″ + 6″ leap they very quickly came into firing range. The Imperial flamers and lasguns made short order of them…
Being outside synapse range, the Hormagaunts reverted to their animal instincs and ran away.
To my great satisfaction both the Warriors and the Carnifex soon came back. And with that, we were back at it.
The other side of the battlefield, the Genestealers quickly made it into combat. With WS 7 and 4 attacks, they were not going to be stopped by the Guardsmen anytime soon. In fact rolling for the fights seemed almost pointless…
At the other side of the battlefield my Termagants had successfully approached the Guardsmen lines. Using psychich hypnosis I tried to lure the guards into not defending… but alas – the stout Imperial troops were schooled too well. My Hive Tyrant managed to die and come back too.
Finally, the Tyranids managed to get into the compound. This was turn 4 or so. The Genestealers bore the brunt of the attack. They were now pouring through the windows and all the poors Guardsmen could do was attempt to die slowly… as opposed to fast – to let their comrades live a few seconds longer in approaching the sea of claws.
And especially brave individual, an Imperial Commisar, was accredited with killing at least 5 Hormagaunts in the armory before being overwhelmed. Had anyone lived, his memory would have turned into legend. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The Genestealers combated their way through house after house and eventually wound up fighting the Sentinel together with the Carnifex. The Carnifex had no patience for the Genestealers puny claws and decided to upend the Sentinel in one single dash with a gigantic claw. I am sure the terrified pilot was a welcome dessert for the beast. I swear I even heard it make a satisfying burp afterwards.
The end was nigh for the Imperials. The hordes of clone like killers were scuttling everywhere and literally crawling on the walls of the compound. Only the brave Imperial Commander remained. His ability to parry saw him through a number of Termagants before a Tyranid Warrior decided to swoop in and chop his head clean off with a bonesword. By Hive Mind design or by chance, who knows – but a Tyranid Warrior wearing a white Imperial cap could be seen on the ridge of Kolt’s Drift in the late hours of this bloody day. The battle was over.
It was a terrific battle. We both really enjoyed it, even if the brief is that the Imperial Guard won’t survive. It felt epic and cinematic all the way through. Especially the duels between swathes of critters and Imperial Characters were cool – that Parry rule saved them more than once!
It was refreshing playing Tyranids, as opposed to my regular Chaos. Also, I deliberately left out any biomorphs as I have read a lot of bad about those. Instead I opted for “just more critters”.
Thinking about it, if I had not had the “relentless assault” rules, allowing me to bring back models, I think I would have been decimated by turn 2. I lost a Carnifex, 6 warriors, and a Hive Tyrant in the opening turns – and then a lot of Termagants and Hormagaunts to boot. Would have been tough coming back from that one.
Now, as always, I have to imagine this game being part of something bigger, and I am going to let that simmer a while, until we have the next game. Guardsmen vs. Tyranids is a really good match up I think. I imagine that now, the Tyranids have gotten a foothold on Koltus V, and we shall see what they next desire.