[Epic] Scenarios from WD 172 (Breakout) LONG!

From: Tony Christney <acc_at_...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 01:44:04 -0800

Here is the last of five scenarios reprinted from WD172. I know I
promised these months ago, but let's just say my life is very
different than it was then. Again, comments in [] are mine, while those in
() are the author, Mark Watts'. Anyway, on with the rules...

Not all battles are fought between armies of equal strength [although
in Epic it seems to be either exactly even or 2-1 ;)] and more often
than not a commander can find himself outnumbered and cut off from other
friendly forces. When this situation arises it's sometimes better to cut
your losses and run in order to fight another day, than to struggle on
to the bitter end. If your army is surrounded, the best method of escape
is to gather all your forces in one place and break out through the
weakest point in the enemy lines.

There are no objective counters. Normal Space Marine rules apply for
terrain generation and placement. Once all the terrain has been set up,
both players roll a D6 with the highest score becoming the attacker or
Player A. The defender, Player B, can then choose which side of the
board he wants to deploy on. He then has the option of rearranging the
terrain on his half of the board, as long as he keeps each piece of
terrain in the section it was originally placed in.

Player B deploys first, ANYWHERE ON HIS HALF OF THE BOARD [this is in italics
in the original text]. This army is half the total points value of Player A's
force. If this takes the defending army down to 2000 points or less you should
consider reducing the size of the board to three-quarters or half its original
size. The first turn begins with Player A's army moving onto the board.

Victory Conditions
To win this scenario Player A must exit half his army off the defenders
baseline board edge by the end of turn 10. Broken detatchments do not count.
A unit is considered broken when it exceeds the break point value printed
on the back of its card. To determine when half the army has been lost,
broken company cards count against unbroken ones, broken support cards
count against unbroken support cards. Five broken support cards cancel out
one unbroken company card and vice versa.

Special Rules
Space Marines are probably the best attacking army with vast numbers of
troop carrying vehicles and fast moving Bikes and Land Speeders. As a
result, we've found that using too many Thunderhawk Gunships has a
tendency to unbalance this scenario. As this game is about having fun as
much as winning we found it was fairer to limit the number of Thunderhawk
Gunships used or ban them altogether. This rule doesn't apply when the Space
Marines are defending and is optional upon agreement of both players.

If anything, the role of the attacking player is perhaps the easier and so
the tactics are a little more straightforward. At first glance the solution
seems to be to spend all your points on fast units like Bikes and transport
vehicles for as many of your infantry as possible [like two or three Imperial
Hellbores ;)]. Then put everything on charge orders and drive hell for
leather across the board. For the Space Marines this is a possibility
although I'm sure that there won't be many players who have all the necessary
models to mechanise an entire 6000 point army [snicker]. An important thing
to bear in mind for all those commanders preparing to pack their infantry
into Rhinos, Battlewagons and Falcon Grav tanks is that with just one good
shot your opponent can destroy several stands plus the vehicle itself. A
better plan might be to disembark your infantry from their transport
vehicles after they've moved their full charge range in the first turn. Not
only will this reduce casualties from enemy fire, but your infantry will have
a better chance of surviving any close combat attacks made by rampaging
enemy units on the lookout for an easy kill.

Putting some of your better armed units (like Squat Thunderers) on first fire
or advance orders enables you to retaliate in the other-wise one sided fire
fights, and will therefore reduce casualties suffered by the rest of your
army. Remember that only half your army needs to escape, so don't worry too
much about leaving some units behind as a rearguard to provide covering fire
for the rest of your force. This is especially true of the Imperial Guard
who are numerous but terribly slow. An artillery company or Titan can
generate a lot of supporting fire with which to pound enemy positions. Another
thing to remember is when you make a break for the enemy board edge, do so in
strength. Attacking piecemeal over several turns enables your enemy to
concentrate his fire on the units most likely to escape each turn and thus
easily break up your assault.

Each army has a few special weapons that can be put to good use and so are
worth a mention. If used correctly, Space Marine Drop Pods can split an
enemy's fire at the crucial moment your ground forces make their final charge.
Emerging infantry and the support pods provide some useful firepower just
when it's needed the most. Deathwind pods are best dropped on enemy positions
containing a lot of infantry and well away from your own men. Be careful
where you drop the Assault and Support pods as any that land in impassable
terrain or off the board are destroyed.

Both the Squat and Imperial armies make use of tunneling vehicles such as the
Mole and Termite although the gigantic Hellbore is only found in the Imperial
Guard army. With tactics similar to the Drop Pods, the tunnelers should
surface inside the enemy lines just as an attack is going in. As the infantry
are unable to disembark the turn they break from the ground I prefer to bring
them to the surface within the protection of woods otherwise hidden from the
enemies line of sight. Another Imperial vehicle that functions well in this
type of scenario is the Gorgon Close Assault vehicle. Despite only moving at
the same speed as infantry this heavily armoured tank provides good protection
for the five stands it can carry. When deployed in large numbers, Gorgons
provide an effective spearhead for any attack [has anyone tried this?].

And now for a suitable plan for the defender or Player B. Unfortunately a lot
depends on the terrain and how its been placed on the board. Personally I
usually choose the side with the most terrain, enabling me to rearrange it as
I like, leaving my opponent to deploy where there's least cover. Try and resist
the tempation of pushing all the terrain to the edge of the board, and instead
use it to slow down or block your enemy's escape. Hills and buildings give
your troops a better field of fire and a great deal of thought should be put
into their repositioning.

When it comes down to deploying your army, don't put units far out on the
flanks. A clever opponent will strike at one end of your line, and troops
on your other flank might not be able to move back into firing range before
the game is over. Basically your army should be made up of long ranged
infantry and fast, high CAF close combat units. The infantry should be
deployed within 25cm of your baseline on first fire orders and target the
fastest moving enemy units first. Your close combat troops should be much
closer to the centre of the board, enabling them to charge vulnerable targets
like transport vehicles during the first turn. Remember the best form of
defence is attack. Whether your attacks are from close combat or ranged
weapons always concentrate on breaking a few units at a time before moving
on to fresh targets. Never waste your fire on broken units! Having played
this scenario a few times I've found that those armies who fare badly in the
attack, make the best defenders and vice versa.

Optional Rules
Use the rule for Assault as published in the Space Marine Battles book. There
are still no objective counters used and the normal victory conditions for
this scenario still apply.

This scenario was later featured in WD192 as a chaos (Adrian Wood) vs eldar
(Steve Anastasoff) battle in which the chaos forces won on turn five.
I think that the biggest mistake that Steve made was not taking any super
heavies in order to pin Greater Demons. Also some prism cannons or warp
hunters may have been better than the doomweavers. Even wave serpents would
have probably been more effective.

Adrian probably placed too much faith in his Greater Demons. If the eldar
had chosen more warp based or psychic weapons, I doubt things would have
gone so well for chaos. They would have been forced to advance through the
forests on the opposite flank. I also have a feeling that the firelord
could have been used better, at least to bomb the Warlock on the way out.

Tony Christney
Received on Wed Jan 22 1997 - 09:44:04 UTC

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