I was the defender so I got to set up the board as I wished. I quickly realised that the board I had made was perfect for Planetstrike games. The mine/vault looks a lot like a planetary fortress; and the trenches & razorwire fit very well with the theme as well. I decided therefore to use the whole 4' x 8' board, and I put an objective in each section so no part of the battlefield would be neglected. Anything in the fortress/mine gained a 3+ cover save due to the thick walls, and the watchtower functioned as an impromptu bastion. The door to the mine could be opened or closed by me at the beginning of the turn. To force the door open, Dokclaw had to score a penetrating hit on armour 14. Lastly, the sidewalks afforded a 4+ cover save; it is unsporting to shoot on a target out for a Sunday stroll, so this represents the gunman feeling bad and botching the shot.
I had a strategem called Turreted Stronghold: Battlecannon which gave me a big shooty gun, and another called Escape hatch that allowed me to make a surprise attack. Dokclaw took Dawn Assault that made the battlefield subject to the Dawn of War rules, and Ground Observer which allowed him to reroll his scatter die. We consistently forgot the DoW and I completely forgot about the escape hatch.
I put nothing on the table except a squad of plague marines, my Spawn, and Stinky; all three of which I placed in the mine.
The firestorm hit the bastion, stunning it, and my Spawn ate a wound. That was about it for deployment.
There was quite a bit of action around the mine's entranceway. A dreadnought came crashing down via droppod in front of the door and failed its melta shot. Then Stinky jumped out on my turn to engage it, but only got a stunned result.
Then a gaggle of termies kitted out with stormshields joined the fight in the next turn. They quickly killed Stinky, but not before he made the dread blow up in their faces.
Once that kerfuffle was settled, the termies started banging away on the door with their thunderhammers. I sent my flamer plague marines upstairs and managed to get three turns worth of barbecue action in on the termies before they finally bust the door. A librarian that had been with the termies since the beginning separated off so he could zap the PMs with random spells, but my cover saves held out. I didn't lose a single plague marine.
Even after they burst open the door, I blocked the entrance with the plague marines' rhino. They then wrecked it, blocking the entrance even longer. By turn 5, between bolterfire and flamers, I had whittled them down to 1 termie. The fortress objective remained mine.
Dokclaw dropped another dread out of the sky along with his forever annoying land speeders, and rolled out a tac squad from his table edge. The dread smashed the bastion in close assault.
The tac squad hopped out of their rhino in the hopes of hiding out in the safety of an armour 14 bunker.
I tried to drop Bielus and Penelope next to the tactical squad but they scattered. Bielus was still close enough to assault but he was on his own. He did an admirable job nonetheless, sacking 4 power armoured dudes and then sent the rest packing.
Penelope almost went off the table but stayed on by an inch or so. My plague marine melta squad in a dreadclaw fell out of the sky nearby, so I used them to cover her temporarily.
My Chosen arrived on the opposite table edge to my adversary's drop zone, so they were too far to engage the dread. I simply hung them back and fired two meltas at the droppod to make some room, a gambit that ultimately failed given my abysmal shooting die rolls. Their ride was immobilized from a melta shot from a rear facing land speeder, so they hopped out and incinerated the offending Fast Attack choice with three melta shots of their own.
My adversary dropped in two more termie squads, but lost one due to a deepstrike mishap. Another squad landed on the bastion objective, and quickly gained their points in kills. They shot down Bielus in cold blood, and shot up my Chosen squad before I was able to lay some hurt on them as well. It was the Chosen who did the most damage to them with saturation of shots from rapid fire bolters and meltas.
The tactical squad that Bielus had bruised up was a prime target for the Princess in the end game, but finally, given their extreme distance from the bastion objective, I let them go in favour of attacking the remaining terminator & 2nd tactical sqaud parked around the objective.
I left it to my Spawn to finish Bielus' work. It performed admirably as usual, doing nothing but dying from bolt pistol shots to the head.
Archibald and Reginald tried to do their part by whacking the dread with their battlecannons. They only succeeded in blowing off its arms.
Thus, despite all my efforts to the contrary, Dokclaw retained his grip on the center objective. I didn't really think I'd be so lucky as to wipe out all three of his units with what I had left, but I did have a faint hope that I could kill at least one. Sigh...
What tipped the game in my favour was the landing pad objective. The termies Dokclaw sent to secure it suffered from a mishap and were lost in the warp. Therefore, he only had a squad of tactical marines to claim it. My defilers came walking out together on his table edge and decided to tag-team rolling the tactical's rhino.
I enlisted the aid of my plague marines who were still cooling their heels in my second dreadclaw. My plan was to make it impossible to exit from the rhino by surrounding it on all sides. It almost worked. When the rhino popped, only half the squad was able to get out and so the rest of the marines were destroyed.
Bucky suffered a mishap as well and I rolled a 1 meaning he should have been destroyed as well. Fortunately however his dreadclaw transport can reroll mishap results. This time I rolled a four so Dokclaw placed my unit instead of me. He stuck Bucky at the far end of the table in difficult terrain in an attempt to immobilize his ride. I rolled a 2 though so it was fine.
Bucky was able to skim over to the landing pad on the next turn and since all units are scoring in Planetstrike, I now held a second objective which I would retain until the end of the game. Final score, 2-1 for the bad guys.
Planetstrike is pretty cool. Dokclaw and I have decided to make this a quasi regular thing as we bang out the rules and figure out the strategic limits of being either the attacker or the defender.
At first I thought the game totally favoured the attacker due to the firestorm but being able to setup the board as you wish is an equally great advantage.
Is this game in particular, my dreadclaws were an enormous boon. Dokclaw was so distracted by the other nasties on the board like my Daemon Princes (never thought I'd legally be able to field three outside of Apocalypse!), he wasn't able to dedicate resources to targeting these highly mobile transports. For the first time I was able to test out their skimming ability, and it helped me win the game. An obvious tactic I can see now is overwhelming my opponent with other targets before I drop in the dreadclaws. It would not always be easy but it would definitely be effective.
I am looking forward to more games with this 40k supplement, so much so I might actually start painting my mine terrain piece.
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