So, that happened.
If you check for yourself here, the pre-battle storyline for Big Game VI was finished the night before (at 10:57 PM to be precise), and I finished the Armourium Cherubs not long after that (11:21 PM). Then I tried to sleep but was awakened by warring cats.
After 6 hours of sleep, I took 400mg of caffeine and headed out for the MSU Union. Scott, Brian, and I arrived just before 8am, and Andy arrived with Joe and Miles, and we brought the boards up to the 3rd floor, Lake Huron Room.
After about an hour of board setup, everyone had arrived. Each Person brought 100 Power Level, except Matt T who brought 200. Here's a brief roster of the players:
- Order Players
- Eric, Defense Force, Commander - Azure Flames Space Marines (Salamanders)
- Joe, Defense Force - Angels Sacrosanct (Blood Angels)
- Scott, Defense Force - Cadian 401st.
- Alex, Relief Force - Eldar
- Jake, Relief Force - Eldar
- Miles, Combined Ynnari, Eldar, Harlequins, and Dark Eldar
- Additional Forces - Knight Titan
- Disorder Players
- Brian, Commander - Sicarii (Chaos Space Marines Black Legion rules, Word Bearers style)
- Matt B - Chaos Space Marines Iron Warriors
- Matt T - Chaos Space Marine Renegades (200 PL)
- John - Tyranids (Hive Fleet Jormugandr rules)
- Andy - Necrons (Sautekh Dynasty)
- Additional Forces - Baneblade
If you want to see the rules, check this convenient post.
Here's the board setup:
Scott's guard set up mostly on the west and north of the Citadel, occupying bunkers, while the Azure Flames secured the southwest corner, and the Angels Sacrosanct were to the east. The forces of disorder refused the entire western flank, with Sicarii and Iron Warriors to the south, and all other forces to the east. Andy's Necrons set up farther east as a speedbump. The three Eldar players split between the far east and northeast.
Turn 1 - Order
Despite a wealth of weaponry, the Order Alpha Strike is somewhat ineffective. One Iron Warriors Rhino was destroyed, as well as a few Renegade Rhinos. The western Guard and the Knight move to reposition themselves. The Eldar aircraft swoop in and smash a few things. Eldar and Ynnari clash with Necrons. Azure Flames Thunderfire Cannon uses a Tremor Shell against a wall of 30 Hormagaunts, halving their movement and trapping the forces behind them.
Turn 1 - Disorder
The Necrons strike back against the Ynnari, which proves frustrating as they get free actions when you kill their units! Renegade Demon Princes move up and slay a few infiltrators. Chaos to the south moves up.
Turn 2 - Order
Eldar deep strikers arrive. The Visarch arrives in a raider with some Harlequins. Warp Spiders erase some poxwalkers guarding the Sicarii Dark Apostle. Eldar and Ynnari to the east continue to fight the Necrons. Striking Scorpions and Swooping Hawks harass the Tyranids. Hormagaunts are Tremor Shelled again. Eldar aircraft cripples Gorath's Land Raider.
Turn 2 - Disorder
Sicarii Dark Apsotle charges the Warp Spiders. Fire kills the Ynnari Raider, allowing the Harlequins inside to charge! Massive fire from Tyranid Gaunts erase several Eldar units. The wall of Chaos and Nids in the east moves up. Mass Lascannons finish the Knight. Turn not pictured.
Turn 3 - Order
Warp Spiders jump away from the Dark Apostle, and the Azure Flames kill him, forcing him to drop his Virus Node! Blood Angel Librarian Dreadnought charges with Wings of Sangunius. Eldar continue to struggle with Necrons. Harlequins confound the Sicarii Dreadnought. The Eldar from the northeast pull up behind the Renegades, including the Avatar of Khaine! Azure Flames bikes charge Sicarii Plague Marines.
Turn 3 - Disorder
Gorath and some lascannons delete the Librarian Dreadnought. Tyranids arrive in the west, along with a few cultists. Nids charge some bunkers and the cultists charge a Blood Angels Dreadnought. Fighting continues as the Azure Flames bikes spill into the enemy deployment zone!
After turn 3, we had less than an hour to vacate the room, preventing another full game turn. Game ended in a draw.
The Chase mechanic worked quite well. Eldar forces were well suited to the task of pursuing the enemy. Setup gave a huge amount of options for both sides, forcing them to be tactical. The rules were very explicit on how the Order players should construct their lists. Order was also able to bubble wrap the Citadel effectively.
Disorder players seemed to have trouble breaking into the citadel. In playtests, the attackers would penetrate the Citadel from turn 3 onward. Logistically, the Disorder players would have arrived closer to turns 4 and 5. Disorder players were also discouraged from dedicating an entire player to being a speedbump, as Andy's Necrons did with aplomb. This hurt them, as there were 3 fewer Nodes to get to the Citadel. There was also a stark disparity in the presence of Aircraft; Order had 4x the number of units that use the Flyer slot. Order also did not even use 1/2 of their points alloted to defenses, as we had no models other than bunkers!
Changes I'd Make
Less points for Order for defenses. Disorder should have the same number of Virus Nodes, but the Disorder Commander should allot them after setup, perhaps with limits on how many units/player can have them (perhaps 6 max per player?). Relief deployment zones should also be rebalanced to make the east side of the board less appealing. Disorder should have had a strategem that favored deploying in the open (dug in to gain cover?) and one to allow more turn one charges (which were surprisingly absent for the most part).
One other change I'd make would be some pre-games the previous day at a Local Game Store. Of the 11 players, 6 had played less than ten games of 8th edition, and Big Game VI was the first game of 8th Ed for FOUR PLAYERS! Some warmup games the day before would have made us play faster and get to know army strengths and weaknesses a bit better.
Next: Epilogue Stories for Big Game VI and some painting!