Turn 5, Game 1: The Hand of Redemption versus The Mortlock Cartel and House Bloodaxe:
The Orlock and the Goliath both attacked my Workshop. No surprises there.
My plan was to put an end to their alliance this game. All I had to do was rout the Orlock and then either win or lose to the Goliath - either way, the Orlock would miss out on the territory. In fact - it would probably be better if the Goliath took the territory, because then the Orlock would be cut off from me and I could devote the next 3 turns to stripping Octavian of his territories unaided by the Orlock.
Even though we were playing on a different table than last time, my plan was basically the same - the only change being that I would deploy my vent teams either out of sight or slightly out of range of the Orlock Grenadiers.
Either they have been talking to Joffrey, or they have at least learned from his example. They both bought some Hired Guns. Octavian brought 2 Scummers and the Orlock player hired a Bounty Hunter and a Scummer.
Using Hired Guns is a tactic that can go either way. Early in a campaign, they are powerful, well equipped with decent (mainly shooting) skills. Bounty Hunters are of similar power to Gang Leaders, whereas Scum are of a similar level to decently advanced gangers. They can add a lot of punch for a one off game, but once you stop paying them, you lose them, and the money you spent on them is gone - so for them to be worth it, you really want to win a territory. Obviously Octavian and the Orlock player feel that if they pay some serious cash for a few turns, they will be able to snuff me out quickly and then turn their attention onto the rest of the map.
By the way - after the last game, both of their heavies rolled the Bulging Biceps skill (move and fire with a heavy weapon) for their heavies. Quite a coincidence. I think from now on, either the Delaque player or me will be present when they roll their advances.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm short on numbers. I only have 12 guys. The Orlock has 12 as well and the Goliath has 16 (4 damn Settlements). With their Hired guns that brings the numbers up to 12 versus 33. The advantage that I had earlier with having a much more skilled gang has diminished greatly as the three of us have continued to play each other, and everyone has gained bonuses for fighting against superior numbers of opposition gangs (they both get the bonus even though they fight together).
Anyway, the game:
The Orlock player got to select the scenario, and he picked Gang Fight.
My plan was to target the Orlock and rout them early with my superior close range firepower and melee skills. I would then turn and face the Goliaths, counter their initial charge with overwatch Heavy Stubber and flamer fire and then counter assault. I would still probably lose to the overwhelming Goliath numbers . . . but maybe not.
Provided Abraham could stay on his feet, his Iron Will might keep my guys in the fight long enough for the Goliath to fail a single Bottle roll. Keeping Abraham up would be easier said than done though, since my gang relies on Abraham being up front with the close combat guys to grant the benefit of his leadership bubble, and after the last game, the Goliath leader, Akilar Bloodaxe, developed a Bitter Enmity against Abraham which means that he is affected by the rules for Hatred as regards Abraham. So despite losing, Akilar actually got better after that last fight.
Anyway, the set up went well, and I succeeded in drawing the Goliath away from the Orlock by setting up Jacob, Ram and (ungh
) Amon, off to my right in a position which would allow them to redeploy towards the centre on the second turn. At the end of my first turn I set up my vent teams in a triangle around the Goliath to the front, front left and left (my view), leaving the right open for the Goliath. Issac, Boaz and Ephraim in the centre- middle of the table ready to turn both flamers and hand flamer on the Goliath advance once it arrived. Abraham, Abijah and Jemuel set up to their left to allow Abraham to extend his leadership bubble as far as possible. My fast moving CC specialists, Josiah and Asa set up with Zohar, ready to slam into the flank of the Orlock as soon as their overwatch fire was finished.
Every one of my vent teams was deployed either out of sight or in heavy cover to avoid the 3 Orlock grenade throwers, and each team had a lucky individual sitting there, ready to be the first out of cover, ready to take that grenade (Ephraim, Jemuel and Zohar were the lucky 3).
The Orlock shat themselves, but had no one to shoot at and went into overwatch.
The Goliath all sprinted towards the main fight. I knew I had 3 turns before the Goliath arrived, because the table we were playing on has a slight lip around its edge, and years ago, someone made markings every 4"along the inside of that lip. They've been painted over, but are still faintly visible. I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one who has noticed them. The closest Goliath model was 22" away from the closest Orlock model.
Ephraim, being the newest, most useless, and second least respected gang member after Amon, went first and got shot at twice. The first shot pinned him, the second took him down, but it also resulted in the Orlock losing their free ammo pass which they get from their workshop.
Jemuel went next, and the Orlock took up 3 shots taking him down. 3 lasguns fired for 2 misses and a take down. Zohar went third and he soaked up another 4 lasgun shots. A miss, a pin and 2 wounds . My 3 most junior gang members were down (but not out), the Orlocks had used up about half their firepower, the Goliath were a couple of turns away and I still had 9 guys yet to act in this turn. That is how you play Necromunda.
The Orlocks weren't out of ammo yet though - they still had a bounty hunter, a scummer (with a bolt pistol and plasma pistol), a heavy stubber, a meltagun (the leader - Mortlock) and 3 grenades. Abijah was the next cab off the rank, and he got a face full of bolt rounds and plasma from the Scummer (Cutty) which only pinned him (he has 2 wounds) and saw Cutty's bolt pistol jam.
I decided to take a risk at that point. Abraham went out next, and I stood him next to the prone form of Jemuel, hoping to draw out those grenades with a tempting 2 man target. The Orlock player had been waiting for Abraham though, and had his leader, Mortlock, fire his meltagun at him. This was a shrewd choice, since a meltagun is one of the few weapons which can put Abraham's lights out with a single shot (it does D6 wounds). Luckily it missed. Heh.
He then opened up with his heavy stubber, for 4 shots, 3 hits, 1 wound, and pinning him. He then threw two grenades, which took Jemuel out of action and did a second wound to Abraham. His third grenade blew up in the hand of its owner taking him out and pinning the Bounty Hunter, who was standing next to him. You want to kill Abraham? Well, you better have more than a meltagun, a heavy stubber and a couple of frag grenades, because that ain't enough.
That was it for the Orlock shooting, and I still had 2 hand to hand specialists, 2 flamers and a Heavy Stubber yet to act.
I charged Asa and Josiah into close combat with a single Orlock shooter, and moved Issac and Boaz into flamer range of 3 Orlocks. Jacob opened up with five shots from his heavy stubber, pinning an Orlock lasgunner and their Heavy, but getting no wounds. Isaac and Boaz both opened up with their flamers, pinning a lasgunner, downing a second and taking a third out of action. In the close combat phase, Asa and Josiah dealt with their single opponent and followed up into CC with an extra opponent each.
At the end of my second turn, I had lost 1 Juve, had another 2 guys down. The Orlock, by comparison, had lost 3 guys, had another one down and another 4 pinned (including the bounty hunter and heavy stubber), with another 2 locked in close combat with my close combat specialists. Only his leader, the Scummer and a couple of lasgunners were still on their feet and free to act in the next turn. And the Goliath were still more than a turn away. I was winning.
In the Orlock turn, two lasgunners and the Bounty Hunter got back to their feet, but the heavy stubber stayed pinned. Movement was a tricky choice for the Orlock player. Necromunda has a rule whereby a model can only target the closest model in its front 90 degree fire arc. As a result, when you surround an opponent, like I had (close combat guys to the left, Abraham and Abijah to the front and flamer guys to the right), there are some difficult decisions to make - you have to precommit to which direction you are going to shoot at during your movement phase.
This was a tough one for him. He had a melta gun, a grenade, a bolter, 3 lasguns and a plasma pistol which could shoot. 7 shots and 6 targets. He had no choice but to try to kill my flamer guys - they would destroy him if he didn't, but he also wanted to take out Abraham. Both wise tactical moves. Unfortunately, he also really, really wanted to be able to use that single remaining grenade to full effect, and the only targets I had which could be hit by a grenade at the same time were Asa and Josiah, who were locked in close combat.
Since there was no way that his guys were going to beat Asa and Josiah, he decided to try to break his guys from combat. He broke from Asa first, giving Asa a free hit, which he used to hit the guy and take him out of action. This caused the other one to flee from close combat with Josiah, who also hit him and took him down and out.
Realising how much deep amphetamine parrot he could be in if that grenade didn't land on target, he repositioned his Scummer to take a shot at Josiah. The Bounty Hunter and Mortlock lined up at Abijah and Abraham, and the three lasguns spread out and lined up Isaac and Boaz.
The grenade landed on target, but failed to wound, and only pinned Asa and Josiah. The scummer hit Josiah with his plasma pistol, but again, only taking one wound off him. The bounty hunter fired at Abraham (marksman skill) with his bolter but missed, and his leader shot Abijah with his meltagun, taking him out (rookie targeting priority error there). The three lasguns opened up on Issac and Boaz, taking only a single wound off Issac, and leaving Boaz unscathed.
The Goliath kept running to the left. They would arrive next turn.
In my turn, Isaac, Abijah, Asa and Abraham all got back up. Asa charged the scummer Boaz moved into position to flame down 3 Orlocks, and Abraham charged into the Bounty Hunter.
Jacob only got two shots off with his heavy stubber, but he made them count, taking down a lasgunner and taking the Orlock Heavy out of action. Unfortunately he also ran out of ammo. Ram went into overwatch in preparation for the oncoming Goliath, as did Amon who managed to somehow do so without beslubbering up and embarrassing himself.
Boaz and Issac managed to lay their flamer template down on 3 Orlocks, wounding them all, taking one out of action and wounding the others.
In the close combat phase, Asa dealt with Cutty extremely convincingly, getting 7 hits, which were more than enough to put him out of the fight. Scummers shoot well, but aren't usually too great in melee.
Abraham hit the Bounty Hunter like a ton of bricks, getting 4 hits with his chainsword and three wounds but two of them were flesh wounds ( a 1/36 chance), which allowed the Bounty Hunter to stay in the fight (albeit only at WS2 for next turn). Octavian laughed his ass off at that.
And that was what saved the Orlock. If Abraham had taken the bounty hunter down on that turn, then he would have been able to follow up into Mortlock, and that would have been an easy fight for him - Mortlock is impeded in melee combat by his meltagun, and only has WS3 as a result of a hand injury sustained against the Van Saar (the only measurable effect the Van Saar have had on the campaign so far). Without their leader, the Orlocs would have been reduced to rolling 7 or under on 2d6 to pass their bottle rolls, which probably would have seen them off after a turn or two. as it was, Mortlock survived another turn, which gave the Goliath time to arrive.
Zohar went out of action, and Josiah got back to his feet in my recovery phase. At the end of my turn, I had 3 guys out of action and the the Orlock had 10 down or out of action. The Orlock only had Mortlock, the Bounty Hunter and a lasgunner still in the fight, and the Bounty Hunter would almost certainly not see out the close combat phase of the next turn.
The Orlock got ready for the inevitable during their turn, moving the lasgunner as far out of CC and frange as was practicable. Mortlock stood still and went overwatch, waiting for the moment that Abraham dispatched the Bounty Hunter to unleash the fury of his meltagun on him.
That was against the urging of Octavian, of course who wanted him to drop a grenade on both Abraham and the Bounty Hunter at the same time to teach me the error of my ways, or failing that, let Abraham live so that Bloodaxe could have his way with him. The grenade definitely would have been the softest option.
In the Orlock shooting phase, Asa got pinned again by the lasgunner.
In the melee phase, Abraham chopped the Bounty Hunter into little pieces and was immediately shot by Mortlock from overwatch with his meltagun (the second time that has happened), for 5 wounds, which took him out of action.
In the Goliath turn, Ram at least managed to pin the first Goliath that went for the charge (a CC guy with sprint, who would have attacked Boaz), but the rest of the Goliath were still within shooting range of everyone except Jacob, Ram and Amon.
Most of Goliath stood back and shot, opening up with about a dozen shots, which were enough to take out Boaz, take down Issac, and pin Josiah and Asa.
I passed my Bottle roll and Asa recovered from being pinned, and I charged him into CC with the Lasgunner, who wasn't quite out of range of Asa's Sprint ability. None of my ranged guys (Jacob, Ram and Amon) had a shot on Mortlock, so they went into overwatch. Asa cut down the lasgunner with little trouble.
Only Mortlock was left on the table for the Orlock. And he ran. He sprinted as far away from Josiah and Asa as he could get without breaking cover to let my ranged squad have a chance to take him out.
The Goliath stuck to cover and elected to shoot again, rather than expose themselves to Jacob's heavy stubber. I still shot at them, but they were in heavy cover, and I only managed a single wound to one of the scummers. The Goliath shooting succeeded in taking Asa down and pinning Josiah. All of their long ranged weapons would be in range of my long ranged crew next turn.
I failed my bottle roll at the start of my turn and lost the game. I also lost the Workshop, which was picked up by the Orlock, reducing me back to my starting territories.Aftermath:
That was a frustrating outcome. I think I executed my plan pretty much perfectly against the Orlock. They were dead on their feet, and only just managed to squeak out without getting completely tabled, but they just kept passing their bottle rolls, and eventually I failed one.
In hindsight, the only thing I might have done differently would have been to be a little bit more conservative with Abraham. If he had still been up at the end, I probably wouldn't have failed that last bottle roll. But on the other hand, moving him out when I did, definitely drew a huge amount of firepower off the rest of my gang, and set things up for the next turn where I inflicted serious casualties which would normally have been enough to win the fight.
It was that fight against the Bounty Hunter which saved the Orlock. Much like Abraham's fight against Bloodaxe, despite dealing several wounds, Abraham didn't quite take him down. If he had, then Abraham would have been able to use his follow up move to take out Mortlock, and wouldn't have been taken out of action himself. If this, if that.
In any event, I doubt that would have been enough to save me. The Goliath were unscathed at that point. Combined together, and with their mercenaries, the Orlock and Goliath simply had too much of a numbers advantage. I don't think I could really have done any better in that game than I did. Together, the Orlock and Goliath have simply attained the strategic (in terms of territory and income) and tactical (in terms of numbers) ascendancy.
Here's the map: