04. Escaping the Ashallon's Rage Battle Report
This won't be a full turn by turn breakdown of the game- turns are many in Space Hulk, and they go fast.
On the port side of the ship, the first Stealer to deploy went to work on the bulkhead to clear a path for the broodmates who would certainly follow, but the plasteel held fast against rending talons. While the sensors of the ship were still too damaged to detect the exact nature of the threat, the autosenses of the terminator armour detected the sound and vibration of the purestrain's furious assault; Sergeant Argentus proceeded toward the disturbance, ordering a bolter Brother to cover him and another to secure the starboard corridor. A fourth bolter Brother arrived on the battle bridge in response to the call for reinforcements.
Three lurking genestealers emerged- one from each crawl space- the port bulkhead held strong against the first stealer, but suffered its first wound at the hands of the second; on the starboard side, the purestrain decided to take a more direct route, hearing the difficulty its broodmates were having with their bulkhead. The genestealer from the center went to reinforce his starboard broodmate as well. Three more genestealers began to lurk.
This is where the battle got hazy. I think that command points allowed the bolter brother on the starboard side to eliminate his first Xenoform in the second Marine turn. The port bulkhead collapsed in genstealer turn three, and two stealers pushed for the secure corridor to the aft Evacuation Pod; on the starboard side, an emerging stealer got lucky and tore through the bulkhead in one turn! Two more stealers died in the corridor. By this time, the marines had managed to secure both corridors and the connected rooms in the center, and it was quite a blood bath. A few times, Stealers were able to cause jams or create blindspots, but they never had enough movement left to close the distance and kill.
By the time all 4 aft pods had launched, there were only three purestrains left on board. One manged to take out a single terminator in one of the center rooms; he would be the only marine casualty of the battle as all the remaining purestrains were put down in the following marine turn.
Four stealers made it out alive. As noted in the previous post, I wanted to make it hard for fewer than four to get away, and also difficult for more than four. I will say that 20 stealers is not a lot when you think of how lethal Space Hulk can be. If I had it to do again, I would limit the marines to Argentus and four brothers with bolters. There's almost nothing marines can do to stop those first four from getting away... but they can really sit back and camp the last four pods, and all the remaining stealers just get chewed in the long fire corridors. I'd also let the Stealer player start with 1d3 Stealers in play rather than having them deploy in the first turn, and maybe make the bulkheads single wound targets.
This battle was a learning experience; it's the first time I've done a battle report, and my opponent was fairly new to the game. I could have put far more into this first battle, but it was meant to be a quick entry point into the campaign, and I feel like I drew it out too much, waiting for it to be perfect when really, it's a small piece of a much, much larger story. Ultimately, it did what it was supposed to do: it determined how many genestealer purestrains would make it to the surface of Orision's Wake, and which models would represent them from here on in.
The four escapees have earned their paint:
The one left was the first to escape and the one in the front was the second- both from the port side. The stealer in the back was the one who tore through the starboard bulkhead in one turn, and the third to escape. The final stealer to escape was the one on the right.
Though this was a Space Hulk game, it is the first game in what will become a Crusade, so I am giving the brood 1 XP. They are an undersized brood, and so not technically legal; this will become even more of a problem when one of them begins to evolve into a patriarch, leaving the first brood with only three models. It doesn't matter whether are legal or not though; I want to field them as is because that's what the story gave me.
All in all, it was a reasonably fun game, and a successful launch. I will paint the rest of the purestains and the Kill Team Rogue Trader scenery, and probably even the Blood Angels- and this battle may see itself fought again with the changes listed above, in a fully painted high production number. There will of course be other priorites.
Time to randomly determine one last thing: randomly determining which stealers head for which settlements- 1d8 for each stealer:
The first escapee rolled a 7: it flees to the ruins of Miro. It is known as the Old One.
The second escapee rolled 3: it flees to Talla. It is known as the Sycophant.
The third escapee rolled an 8: it flees to Nanx. It is known as the Strong One.
The final escape rolled a 5: it flees to Theryll. It is known as the Clever One.