The Orcboy's Bogus Journey

 

31 August to 2 September, 2001


On the 30th of August, I headed out of New York City to enjoy a long Labor Day weekend. And where better to spend a long weekend than Greenville, South Carolina, home of Borderlands? It was the second annual "Fall From Grace" inter-state Warhammer 40K Get-together, featuring a full selection of those hard-core, wild-eyed gamers from the Millenium Gate Forum -- in short, your friendly neighborhood Orcboy was in good company!

Although my Rebel Grots have not seen a lick of paint for half a year (since my wild adventure in April), they were ready and willing to make the trip. To back them up, I threw in several squads-worth of my Ad Hoc Crusade, ready to go on a 'recruiting drive' of their own to add a few Chapters to their number. Mostly, however, it would be an opportunity for yours truly to get away from the stresses of his life in the Big City and get in some good, mindless violence...er, fun.

Rebel Grots vs. Space Wolves (1500 pts)


Left: Fenrir is initially happy with the choice of mission...
Right: ...but his Space Puppies aren't so thrilled about having lost their rides!

One restless night (thanks to a squalling, mewling cat) and wild ride through Virginia later, I arrived in Greenville. There I faced Thomas (a.k.a. Fenrir), my first opponent -- Wolf Lord supreme, and 'proud' resident of Jacksonville FL. He fielded a mechanized army, with squads in Rhinos backed by firepower from Dreadnoughts and a Predator...truly a fearsome combination for any opponent. Combined with the mission (Rescue!) and the table (Borderland's desert table) with lots of LOS-blocking rock formations and virtually no cover... Well, let's just say my Grots were not looking forward to the experience.

Making the best of a lousy situation, I set up my largest platoon, a Grot Mob of thirty-five (3 squads and a Command unit) as far as possible onto the table, and supported by my Sentinel they immediately set out to grab all three of the counters I had placed on "my" side of the table. Naturally enough, luck was not with me and it would be the counter closest to the Space Wolf board edge that was the mission objective...leaving me in the unenviable position of having to move toward an Assault Army!

In the end, what won the game for me was my Eversor Assassin. Although he took his sweet time showing up from reserve, by his arrival on the fourth turn I had crippled all three Space Wolf Rhinos and immobilized both of Thomas' two Dreadnoughts, preventing my opponent from quickly bringing the assault power on his left flank in to support the unit of Grey Hunters holding the objective near the middle of the table (only mere inches behind the Blood Claws that had assaulted three units of Grots just on *my* side of the table!). With his speed, the Eversor was in combat in the top of the fifth turn, wiping out the remaining Blood Claws; he then swept into the Grey Hunters holding the objective, supported by the remnants of my other squads...and after wiping them out in a single turn, followed up by assaulting the Wolf Lord and his late-arriving consort of Grey Hunters from the left flank! His close-combat success continued, and he drove away his opponents without having suffered a single wound...leaving him alone and vulnerable in the middle of the table, as the Space Wolves, two Dreadnoughts and a Predator leveled their weapons at him. Thomas's hopes for a tie game were crushed, however, as my Eversor dodged a lascannon blast and plasma pistol burst, watched a Multimelta miss him entirely, and took only a single wound from a full burst of Assault Cannon fire...ending the game standing defiantly on top of the objective!

Rebel Grots vs. Orks (1500 pts)

Pat (a.k.a. Sho-T) is notorious on the Gate for his ruthless Ork Warboss, and the brutal beatings that Warboss regularly inflicts on unsuspecting opponents. In fact, Warboss Sho-T was so infamous that in my army background I had set my Grot Rebellion in Sho-T's own warband (as well he knew)! This would be the very first meeting of the two armies -- and an opportunity for bragging rights. Either the Orks would kick those Grots 'back into their proper place', or the Grots would be able to demonstrate the inevitable overthrow of their oppressors by an outraged proletariet.

We took charge of the new Swamp table at Borderlands, a beautiful 4'x6' table with small bushes, low rocky outcrops, interlacing streams (all shiny and everything from their resin coats!) and small bogs...generously laced with small stands of trees and clumps of ruined buildings. It was the perfect place for the Grots to face those Orks...in fact, maybe a little too perfect. The Patrol mission we played quickly became very one-sided, with the Orks unable to weather all the difficult terrain tests on their transports, and then shot to shreds as they slogged slowly through the underbrush and water. By the fifth turn, having inflicted only a single Grot casualty, and having himself lost every single one of his vehicles and half his infantry (and still a long way from combat!), Pat ruefully conceded. True to form, the Grots had refused to 'fight fair'....


Sho-T (left) and Cambyses (right) both adopted the same facial expression 'round about the fourth turn of our respective games...

Rebel Grots vs. Dark Eldar (1500 pts)

The next morning, Mel (a.k.a. Cambyses) and I had scheduled a game, and willing to take on the Market Garden Campaign that our fellow gaming fanatic Paul had put together, we planned to play the very first scenario, a very interesting challenge for both of us. My Grots would be the attacker in a Blitz (a mission requiring a great deal more mobility than they usually have!), while Mel's Dark Eldar would be in the unusual position of playing Defender! Both of us well aware that our normal armies wouldn't suffice, we radically redesigned our forces -- Mel bringing many infantry squads with heavy weapons, and fast-moving units in Reserve, and my Grots getting hold of another few Chimeras and becoming a fully mechanized Steel Legion (at least for this one scenario)! In all, I managed to field five Chimeras, a Hellhound, a Griffon, a Sentinel, and two units of Rough Riders, with which I hoped to break through the Dark Eldar lines before losing too many vehicles to the dastardly accurate fire of the Dark Eldar defenders!

To my great surprise, my plan went off virtually without a hitch! Opting to attack at night, my Chimeras were on top of Mel's defenders by the third turn! Supported by the unexpectedly accurate ordnance fire of my Griffon and poor reserve rolls by the Dark Eldar, I took almost no shooting hits at all. Although I lost my Command HQ (they made poorly planned assault that resulted in their getting shot to shreds by reserving units...although their flamers and attacks accounted for nearly two squads of Dark Eldar), and unexpectedly immobilized my Griffon in my own deployment zone (giving Mel a bunch of free points) at the end of the game, in the end I had managed to get three Chimeras and their troops, as well as one of my two units of Rough Riders, into the "Second Line", leading to a massive 3395 to 978 point final score....a resounding victory for the Grots, and for the Imperial Guard forces in the Market Garden Campaign.

Rebel Grots vs. Ulthwe (1500 pts)


Greywinter checks his list again to make sure he really hasn't left anything in reserve (left) as my Grots drop yet another of his Wave Serpents (right).

Lee (a.k.a.Greywinter) not only has the distinction of being the Astropath and webmaster of the Millenium Gate, as well as a Greenville native and regular at Borderlands, but also an extremely skilled and shrewd player. In fact, his concerned friends had let it be known on the Gate that Lee would occasionally complain about how he was getting tired of being undefeated in thirty-some games with his Ulthwe army...exactly the sort of challenge no die-hard gamer could resist. Three of us had jumped at the bait, but it was yours truly that had the good fortune to get First Crack at Lee's Ulthwe, on a 4'x8' table featuring some nifty modular river terrain surrounded by copses of trees and some sturdy fortified buildings.

Looking at the Market Garden Campaign mission flow-chart, a success in a Blitz would result in the Guard playing defender in an Ambush. With a shrug, I determined to put my strategic theories to the test -- when playing an immobile army like the Guard in an Ambush, don't bother going for the "bonus" victory points. Instead, spend one turn re-arranging your units, sit tight in a good defensive position, and then simply blast away and rack up VPs! And my plan worked well. Although I lost some Rough Riders to a flanking unit of Striking Scorpions (their Wave Serpent snuck up on my troops behind the cover of trees), as a whole Grey's forces found themselves badly out of position, largely not anticipating my strategy and without enough speed or cover to reach my Guardsmen safely once I had knocked down every Eldar vehicle on the table. The casualty count may thus have been fairly modest (@ 800 to 400 points), but it was still a victory for the forces of the Grot Rebellion...and at long last the Ulthwe had tasted the bitter wine of defeat!

Ad Hoc Crusade vs. Vindicators Space Marines (1500 pts)


Left: Ryjak carefully sets up his units, determining optimal arcs of fire.
Right: Vindicators take cover behind their Razorback transports (photo from the Greyhammers Home Page)

Determined not to miss a chance to face the very stylish (and very shooty) Vindicators, I challenged Michael (a.k.a. Ryjak) to a showdown. And just to keep things even, I let my very shooty SIGAFH Rebel Grots take a breather, and pulled out my own marines, the Ad Hoc Crusade! Both Mike and I would be fielding two very shooty Marine armies, but our armies would be quite different; Mike supplements the firepower of his small squads with Razorback transports (six of them!) and his namesake Vindicator Seige Tanks (two!), whereas my Crusade army relies on Dreadnoughts and Devastator squads. Mike uses one of his Transports to carry his super-cracky Commander across the field, whereas my Crusade relies more on the jumppacks of its Assault squad and the chaplain that accompanies them.

The Patrol mission we played found our two forces facing each other across a ruined city gradually being reclaimed by the wilderness. Mike's units took to the cover of a low bog, whereas my units chose the high ground, setting up on a sloping hill in one corner, and grabbing the lower and upper floors of a ruined cathedral toward the center of my deployment zone. We then spent most of the game sniping at each other...but my sniping fire was much more effective against Mike's many light transports (Razorbacks) than his return fire against my squads of men. In all, however, we did the most damage to each other in close combat -- but my Assault squad, and the Chaplain, did far more damage in Mike's back lines than his Commander could in mine. The final score reflected this, @1100 vs 410 points.

Rebel Grots vs. Armored Company (2000 pts)


Left: Some of the vehicles that ecclektik didn't field.
Right: An explosive release of emotion after a long and hard-fought game.

A canny Guard commander (familiar with every flavor of Imperial Guardsmen, from Catachan to Guard to Armored Company), Rob (a.k.a. ecclektik) and I had had opportunities aplenty to discuss our favorite set of 40K armies on our drive down from New York. I was of the opinion that the Armored Company suffered from serious flaws, and this was the perfect opportunity for your favorite Big Apple loudmouth to put his money where his mouth is (so to speak).

Appropriating the Urban Ruins table (standing in the very middle of the gaming area at Borderlands), Rob and I played a Take and Hold, recreating the Seige of Stalingrad (and sticking to the WW2 theme for the afternoon, in line with the Market Garden Campaign). My Rebel Grots would (of course) be the courageous Communists defending the city, while Rob's Imperial forces would represent the blitzkrieging panzer forces of the Third Reich. And indeed, my first turn went off quite well...I fearlessly rushed half my defending Grots at the enemy tanks, immobilizing them with well-placed meltagun shots followed by a flurry of Lucky Glancing Hits in close combat. In fact, within three turns, virtually all of Rob's army was crippled, with nearly three-quarters of his tanks either immobilized or destroyed!

However, I made a series of poor tactical decisions that ultimately cost me the game. The first of these (just as one example of many) was attempting to Death or Glory a tank with nothing but lasguns (stupid, stupid!) -- but the biggest of these was undoubtedly allowing the bulk of my heavy weapons forces (coming onto the table from Reserve) to be distracted by the concentration of big tanks on Rob's left flank: a Demolisher, a Russ, a Chimera, and a Basilisk. Particularly when Rob's Commissar Tank was still alive... Had I concentrated on destroying the Commissar's tank, I would easily have won the game, capable of simply walking into the objective at my leisure while Rob was left with the remnants of his own infantry to try and stop me. Instead, my Rough Riders and Sentinel played a cat-and-mouse game around the objective (which they eventually lost due to some good shooting on Rob's part...plus his continued mobility), and I ended up having to rely on my Eversor to win the game for me. Admittedly, the odds of his blowing up an immobile tank (with Commissar inside) were pretty good, but I could have avoided all that by simply playing smarter earlier on.

As it was, the Eversor failed to kill his target tank, the Armored Company managed to kill the last of my Rough Riders in the objective, and I lost the game. My Red Gobbo would have to slink back to the Kommittee and hope that his stirring report of the horrific damage he inflicted on the Armored Company will keep his head on his shoulders....d'oh!


There's a whole lot happening on this table. Like the Rebel Grots...all day long...!

The last time I was at Borderlands, there had been one table that had caught my eye, but which I had never been able to catch a game on. That particular table featured a whole mess of different terrain; a river running down its length, beachfront property, low hills and clumps of jungle-esque shrubbery, even a set of Central-American style buildings and temples. As fate would have it, I would get my opportunity to play on that table at Fall From Grace -- and not just once or twice, but three times (and almost four!), in a single day, too.

Rebel Grots vs. Ulthwe (2000 pts)


That's a lot of open ground to cross (left). Nemesister (right) most definitely isn't thrilled about her chances.

Having just recently finishing eating crow at a nearby table, my Grots were ready to get back to the business of seriously thrashing their opponents. As it so happened, Jeanette (a.k.a. NemesisterNoir) and her Ulthwe were ready for a re-match. The last time they had run into my Rebel Grots, they had tried running straight into the teeth of all my guns. Now disabused of that particular tactic, Jeanette was certain she had the perfect solution -- more transports, more basic troops, and more terrain!

We ended up playing a standard Recon mission (the Market Garden Campaign by this day having been postponed due to coordination problems between different games). What with all the terrain in the middle of the board, my Grots decided to focus their efforts on the left flank, running most of the army up along the beach into the Eldar deployment zone while leaving a smaller "bait" force to keep the Eldar busy and hopefully maul them. The plan worked even better than I had hoped; when seeing the concentration of fire my Grots had on the left, Jeanette didn't even try to stop them...and meanwhile, my "bait" force was able to drop both of her Wave Serpents (with Banshees and Seer Council) in short order. Leaving the rest of her army to tromp across the board, I then jumped her wounded Wraithlord with my Eversor, and her Guardians in the back lines with my Rough Riders (after having thinned them out a little first with Mortar and Griffon fire). Although her Seer Council then tore a hole through my "bait", they had more than made up their points-value, and with the decent bonus I had picked up from my left flank (sadly, poor difficult terrain rolls gave me fewer than half the "bonus points" I had hoped for) the Rebel Grots came out of this battle on top, 1799 to 913 points.

Rebel Grots vs. Thousand Sons (1500 pts)

Mike (a.k.a. AngelofBlood) and his brother had accompanied Rob & I down from Maryland, and earlier that weekend Mike had been amazing the rest of us with the performance of his Sisters of Battle, perhaps better known as the "Neverending Faith Point Army", and his first love, the Blood Angels. For this battle he fielded his version of the Shooty Army, Thousand Sons (backed by some Havocs, some Terminators, a Sorceror, and a kick-ass Chaos Lord), challenging my Rebel Grots to a showdown, OK Corral-style. I, of course, was happy to oblige.

For this battle (it turned out to be a Recon), my Grots fielded a good number of heavy weaponry, including more Lascannons than I typically bring to a battlefield in 1500 points -- I would have used Missile Launchers instead, but was at least making an attempt at being WYSIWYG with my proxy force! At any rate, seeing absolutely no transports or Ordnance and almost no assault capability facing me across the field, I packed my Grots pretty tightly into a position with good LOS to my opponent, and then pulled back on the trigger. And held it down. Although my Hellhound and Rough Riders performed miserably trying to put a hurt on the Terminators, I did surprisingly well elsewhere, knocking out the Havocs in three turns while mercilessly pounding the Thousand Sons with long-ranged firepower turn after turn. Only half of Mike's three Thousand Sons squads made it into rapid-fire range with their bolters, and only the Terminator Lord reached my Guardsmen lines, ignominiously clubbed to death by a swarm of Grots in close combat. At the end of six turns it was a total rout, with Mike's wounded Chaos Sorceror the only survivor. Final Score: 1430 to 502 points.


Left: Belisarius expresses his joy with the Mission (nightfight).
Right: AngelofBlood explaining what he *should* have done. Field Blood Angels, of course!

Rebel Grots vs. Borderlands Marines (1500 pts)

Still at the "Aztec" jungle table, I was thrilled when Stan (a.k.a. Belisarius), all-around cool guy and owner of Borderlands, found some time for a game with his distinctive Borderlands chapter of space marines, a very shooty, infantry-heavy army. I looked forward to challenging the shootiness of his Marines with my shooty Grots, and when we generated a Nightfight on the random mission table, it looked to be even more interesting a game! Unfortunately, after smacking up my army with some well-placed Whirlwind shots to open the game, Stan was called back to work.... Next time, marine, next time. In the meantime, much thanks for having such a great venue for events like this!

Rebel Grots vs. Ulthwe (1000 pts)


Left: D3720 closely examines my dice with his X-ray vision.
Right: They may be pink, but they're not loaded, I promise!

Fall From Grace was winding down, and people were starting to think about dinner, but Dave (a.k.a. D3720) and I were just crazy enough to squeeze in another quick game. Cropping our forces down to a thousand points each, we began our game -- which for me was yet another Recon on the jungle table. Indeed, having faced a virtually identical army (though admittedly a bigger one) when playing Jeanette earlier, I decided to use the exact same strategy -- set up on the left with the bulk of my army, "bait" my opponent in the middle, and simply walk across the board for bonus points if he didn't try to stop me.

This game showed there was nothing wrong with my strategy; in fact, it showed that with some good rolls on my part, it could be a dominating one. As Jeanette had done, Dave placed the bulk of his forces facing down my "bait", and much better rolls for difficult terrain this game meant that a full six of my units were able to get into the "bonus point" area of the board! I also had some remarkable luck -- my Command HQ very sensibly fled when shot by both Scorpions and Seer Council, fell back seven inches away from both when they hit the edge of the board, rallied successfully, and then managed to turn around and subsequently wound a Wraithlord (enabling my Eversor to drop it in a single turn) and kill a Wave Serpent! My Hellhound outdid itself, wiping out both the Scorpions *and* the Seer Council, before getting blown to tiny little pieces. While I did almost no damage to the rest of Dave's army, I had cut out its heart. Even though he managed to get one unit of Guardians, and a damaged Wave Serpent, into my deployment zone for bonus points, the final score was a very lopsided 1865 to 700 points, particularly considering only each side had fielded only a thousand points. What can I say? Sometimes the dice just roll your way.

 


After a fabulous dinner (yes, you *can* get half-decent Mexican in South Carolina) with some great company, it was back on the road for a middle-of-the-night journey up the Appalachians homeward. Another great weekend south of the Mason-Dixon, and you better believe that your local 40K-addict Orcboy will be making many more such treks, and reporting on them after.

As for what's in the future? Well, the Rebel Grots have definitely seen enough experience, and play-time, at least at events like this. Spring of 2002 will probably find them at a Grand Tournament, and Orcboy will be bringing some other army (armies) to Borderlands. Maybe Harlequin as well as Grots? Maybe Harlequin instead of Grots? Maybe something else? Until next time, stay tuned...and be excellent to each other!


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Created by: ZiggyQubert. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 02:44:24 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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