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The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Let's Talk: Warquake (Scenario 5) rss

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Rauli Kettunen
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So I've been eyeing this one, seeing as how it's likely going to be the next one I try, requiring only a depleted WB Tactical Squad instead of a second full one (like 4 and 6 do), with one Tactical Squad already fully ready.

I'm seeing a lot of things that excite me. First, you only get 1 tactical point on the first round and there's the potential of receiving only 1 TP on subsequent rounds too, making each point much more valuable, not to mention any bolter-derived Critical Effect so much more powerful. Then you have the Murderflares, rubble hexes can kill a figure start of each round, even adjacent you could suffer. But I think the last point is the biggest: setup.

Once both sides have split their forces into five units, UM player picks a unit, either his own or a Word Bearer unit (!) and places it anywhere on the map (couple of restrictions), then the WB player picks any remaining unit, places it on the map, alternating until all the units are placed; map that also uses all four boards. Only thing that comes to mind is dropping a unit to deny WBs immediate access to the Jammed Blast Door, but then, goal is to kill Kurtha Sedd, who starts all alone. Even with WBs having initiative for round 1, you could try and box him in instead. Or do you pick the strongest WB unit and dump it on board A1 in the bottom-corner, with limited tactical points, will it ever get into the combat? So many choices surprise !

Who's played this one already? What choices did you make regarding setup?
 
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Steve Nevak
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Played this one not long after the game came out. I really enjoyed it! Can't remember the specifics of how we deployed, but the alternating deployment method was really interesting, and we enjoyed it. It goes pretty quickly, with the reduced tactical points. I did not win.
 
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Jim Beam
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It has some nice ideas - that work well. If the UM player puts a good Word Bearer unit far away, he has to be sure that the WB player isn't going to stick their second best unit right outside the pipe room!

Tried this twice. Game 1 - UM put missile launcher with bolter marines covering the door, then tried to deploy WB units far away. The first turn had a high death toll as units more or less alternated in some areas. Kurtha had the chance to use the extra 6 defence dice card 3 times (on consecutive turns and using his wounded ability and a lucky draw)... but he didn't manage to get to the door. The 1 TP only came up once, but the bolters robbed Kurtha of it, leaving him a sitting duck that turn.

Game 2, UM hid a WB heavy bolter with bolter marines over the other side - meaning that my second WB heavy could sit outside the jammed door. UM did manage to put a heavy flamer terminator just behind Kurtha, but Kurtha managed to keep more than 3 spaces away long enough to get into the pipe room and win! The UM just couldn't get enough people close enough to overcome the advantage of being next to the door.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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That's been my line of thinking too, looking at the map, UMs probably need to drop a unit adjacent or one away from the Jammed Door, which prevents the WBs from having a unit able to open it the first round (barring some cardplay). Longer the door remains shut, the longer they have time for gunning down Kurtha.

Ah, so it was Kurtha's Wounded ability that allows the WBs to recover cards from their discard pile, I kept thinking, man, I know I've seen the effect somewhere, but couldn't find it on any of the cards. Since it a random card, you could hedge your bets and only use Unnatural Resilience to guarantee it's the only card available to draw, not sure that's for the best though.
 
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Jim Beam
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I relied on luck drawing Unnatural Resilience, but it still wasn't enough. It's a good point that you could guarantee the draw - but only if you hold onto all the other cards and get Kurtha wounded but not killed, so as you say that's probably not the best way to try to win!
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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What's your (since others seem to be rather silent) opening play regarding Kurtha as WBs? Run with him, then Consolidate with another WB unit to give him some meatshields? Ideally getting Guided by Portents at the start to Run him without expending a TP, then Consolidate Kurtha into a WB unit with his own TP, leaving the newly-joined unit with its TP to be used.

I'm hopeful I'll get my Plasmagun WB done by Tuesday, so looking at getting a go at this scenario then.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Well, first play of Warquake done, for me, even though I had hyped it up quite a bit, definitely lived up to the expectations. Ultramarines were wiped out to a man, but still won the scenario as Kurtha Sedd failed to roll a critical hit with five dice in the Pipeline Chamber. Granted, with Seismic Turmoil affecting the troops first four rounds, thus limiting everyone to a single Tactical Point, WBs only got that one shot of winning. But from a thematic POV, seems fitting, the defenders fight to the last man, delaying the enemy until their window of opportunity regarding their goal is over.

Did run into a bit of a snag regarding setup though. Rules say you can't put a unit within two hexes of another unit, so at least three hexes away, but don't see enough room on the map for the final WB unit the way the first nine units were placed:



Or am I missing some obvious, legal hex for the two man WB unit off the board in the image? Note that everything left of the UM Heavy Bolter unit on the far left is either within two hexes or out of limits (can't place in the Pipeline Chamber).
 
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Jim Beam
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I tried to get Kurtha to join up with more marines as quickly as possible (by card is good - and how I did it the first time). As you say, forming up quickly gives that meat shield plus it boosts his chance of annihilating the enemy in close combat (getting him the chance to advance that much more quickly, as happened in my second game). In my first game I didn't quite keep him out of the way of the heavy weapons fire - so I guess it's still a balance in making sure he's not going to get in the firing line without cause).

Once he's in the open, given the right roll even a small unit can rob him of a tactical point of course, so maybe I should have focussed on getting a pinning unit next to the heavy once I missed the space next to the door (via the starting placement with the UM Terminator in your pic, then running) as well before sending Kurtha forward.

For your placement question, I interpreted it as red hexes not being a link between hexes (aside from special cards this holds true for any practical purpose) and hence not counting as being a hex in between. So the bottom left, 1 row up from the bottom is 3 away from Kurtha and 3 away from the UM Terminator.

I tend to have very few units alive as UM (the WB cards seem to help more with keeping them alive!) - at the end of mission 3 I had one bolter guy in a corner, with no WB casualties - but just enough damage to The Bull to stop him getting out.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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JimBeam wrote:
For your placement question, I interpreted it as red hexes not being a link between hexes (aside from special cards this holds true for any practical purpose) and hence not counting as being a hex in between. So the bottom left, 1 row up from the bottom is 3 away from Kurtha and 3 away from the UM Terminator.


That's where the last unit ended up getting placed, it's technically only two away, but three movement away. Plus, if the UMs get Improvised Fire Solution, they could fire right through the blocked hex.

EDIT: Heh, looks like we subconsciously went with the approach already earlier, the WB Sergeant's unit right of Kurtha Sedd is only two away (through blocked hex) of the UM Flamer unit. Although that could be changed, moving the Flamer unit one hex upper left, WB Missile Launcher one right and the Lightning Claws Terminator one right.
 
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Jim Beam
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I checked and the rulebook does cover counting hexes on page 10, stating that you have to go round red hexes when counting, so it does clear this up. Improvised Fire Solution is a handy card for this kind of situation (but then the cards are meant to be useful!).
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Nicely spotted!

Did manage to make a legal setup for the second play of the scenario even without noticing that part, another WB defeat, their alpha strike attempt to take out the door defenders failed without a single casualty inflicted, UMs retaliated with a 17-dice Ranged Attack for 12-hits cry ! Frag Grenade (instead of boltgun, +6 dice), Plasma Pistol (+3), Flamer (+4), trigger Plasma Critical for +4 dice. Kurtha still had a hail mary shot at winning, but lost critical initiative, being the last one from his side to be on the board, this time Seismic Turmoil only affected one round (as opposed to all but one round in the first play).
 
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Jim Beam
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17 dice?! Brutal. It's at times like those you pray for some sort of way to stop them shooting at their brothers... but even then 1 plasma critical would have still made a hefty total!
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Ultras keep getting the great cards and early, or how does a starting round (2 during setup +1 in the Ready Phase) hand of Frag Grenade, Combat Discipline (+1 tactical point) and Solid Theoretical (50% chance of getting back a used card, up to three cards) sound? Third game, another full wipeout of Ultramarine forces, but Kurtha only reached the door, lacked movement to get into the Pipeline Chamber, Seismic Turmoil + Boltgun Critical Effect = really nasty. WBs didn't see either Diabolical Swiftness or Guided by Portents in that one soblue .

Of course, had the WBs won initiative for the final round, they would've been able to Assault the UM Sergeant, take ground and had just enough movement to reach the Chamber, instead, UMs won initiative, Sergeant did a suicide Assault (4-dice by himself, but no realistic chance to killing Sedd's unit) and even though he died, WBs were left one space short. Other way round and they get one 4-dice roll to try and win the game.
 
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