Warhammer 40K Open War Battle Report ... What about cover?

Warhammer 40,000 – Cover is one of the things that doesn't seem to really matter much in 8th edition. You're either in it or not and if you are you get +1 to you armor save. When you're blasted by something that's ap -4 it won't matter to most models. The advanced rules add a little bit to the terrain rules but the core is still really simple.

This week my group decided to try out the Open War mission cards. These look like a fun way to determine random missions and account for variances on Power Level between armies. In my group we build our lists to points and then use power level for mission rules etc. It seems to be a more balanced way of doing things and does more accurately reflect the power of each army.

So far we've played with mixed terrain, light terrain and in tunnels. This week I set the table up with a jungle. The mat is from Front Line Gaming and isn't quite the 4'x6' they advertise. (apparently the mats can vary up to an inch or more on either side, which isn't stated on their site and really bummed me out when it didn't completely cover my table like the previous Alpine F.A.T. mat I purchased from Tablewar did. Buyer beware these aren't the same as the mats from when the two companies worked together.) I combined my wasteland terrain with my swamp terrain to make a cool jungle table. In the center I put the bar I picked up from Burn In designs, this will block LOS which is very important in this edition.

For this game I'm running:
HQ – Liass Issodon
HQ – Chaplain
Elite – Chapter Ancient
Elite – Company Vets (5x combi-melta)
Elite – Company Vets (5x combi-melta)
Elite – Company Vets (4x melta-gun, 1x Combi-melta)
Elite – Relic Sicaran Battle Tank
Elite – Vindicare Assassin
Troop – Scouts with sniper rifles and heavy bolter
Troop – Scouts with sniper rifles and missile launcher
Troop – Scouts with shotguns, Sergeant with Power Fist
Dedicated Transport – Landspeeder Storm with Heavy Flamer
Flyer – Fire Raptor with Autocannons

For team games during the week we assign partners randomly so after a roll off I'm fighting alongside a Astra Militarum Brigade that will fill the majority of our deployment zone. Facing off against Deathwatch, an Imperial Knight and Tyranids. This week was supposed to be no Titanic models, but the Tyranid player only brought half his models so we rigged up something to quickly make up points with what I had on hand.

My group uses points for right now with matched play rules. We then use the Power Level to determine underdog etc. It seems to work out so far. At 2000 points my list came in at 107 Power Level which is pretty average, my partner was 114 Power Level at 2000 points. The Tyranids, Deathwatch and Knight were on the low end of Power Level.

This week we decided to try out the Open War Cards. This is a cool little deck Games Workshop put out that allows you to quickly create an interesting game. (I seem to remember some of these missions from old RTT packets or at least something similar) After determining teams and the power level for each (Note: we had 4,000 points per side but our Power Levels were very different), we drew a deployment, mission and twist card. Because our opponents had a lower power level than us they got a Ruse card. The Sudden Death cards most likely wont be used unless you play unbalanced forces.

For deployment we set up on the football field style map. With a brigade on my side we'd be going second unless we could seize the initiative. The mission for this game was the comet. At the beginning of Turn three you roll a dice to see where the space junk lands. (one of the quarters or in the center of the board). Whoever controls it at the end of turn five whens. The twist for this game was Grudge Match which meant no moral tests this game.

After all the units were deployed our opponents revealed their ruse card, Outflank which allowed them to put the Knight in reserve and bring it on within 9" of a board edge. Ouch! Grabbing my lucky dice we attempted to seize the initiative, and BOOM my purple Chessex came up with my chapter symbol, so we're going first.

After moving forward Liass, the Veterans and Vindicare popped up in the back lines behind the Tyranids. Focused fire removed the Swarmlord from the table before he could activate (this has happened to it every game it's been on the table so far, much to my friends chagrin). The Deathwatch also lostseveral models and their rhino to massed shooting.

The second half of the first turn was less productive for our opponents. Because of how spread out we were and the Raptors sneaking into the back lines they didn't have anywhere on the table that was more than 9" from us. Guardsmen started dying in droves and my vets were abbandoned in the backfield.

Turn two was less productive for us. While many more things died, we had to prepare for the unstoppable tide of genestealers that was set to crash into our lines. Having lost several units they were going to have room to bring in their reserves.

The second half saw the most ridiculous psychic phase I've ever seen. The Deathwatch librarian rolled boxcars to cast Might of Heroes, spent a command to re-roll one of the dice to roll another six, took two mortal wounds and then tried to cast smite only to do the same thing, have his head explode, and do three mortal wounds to his drop pod and the unit he was next to as well. The Venerable Dread missed the fun by an inch. (the fact that this was the first time John put the librarian on the board and had stayed up late painting him only compounded the hilarity of the situation).

As it was getting late we decided to call the game after the comet was rolled. Conviently it landed dead center of the board where my sniper scouts were perched. They caught it like a sweet pass to the endzone to claim the "win."

Lessons learned from this game:
• Team games should be 1000 points or less per player
• Open War is really fun
• Orders and assaults from "horde" armies take forever. (The guard tanks put out a ton of fire, genestealers put out a tone of attacks both take a fair bit of time to resolve.
• I really like my Raptors list, it does exactly what I want it to and feels very fluffy to me. Of course our "anti-forgeworld" guy was a bit surly but conceded that it was a solid list.

I need to head over to a local store to try this list out 1v1 since it doesn't really work at 1000 points. I'll still try and do something fun with Liass and anytime I have 400+ points to spend on a flyer I'll be bringing the Fire Raptor.