Saturday, November 17, 2012

For the Great Good - Tau first two battles

In a previous post I told you about my new second hand Tau army, today I will speak about their two first battles or glorious defeats :)
The first one saw only infantry involved as we are trying to get the rules step by step. My opponent got a starter set and was having the Space Marines ready for the game. There were two squads, a big one with several Space Marines, one of them armed with a nasty heavy weapon and blast effect, and a second one of 5 guys in Terminator armour (2+ saves).
For the Tau I was fielding two Fire teams (each with 12 soldiers) and a 12 members Kroot unit.
We did not check for the balance of points as our intention was to try the rules and see how the game mechanics worked, winning or losing or any army points consideration were left aside. Although we were pretty sure that the Tau were "under pointed".
Anyway, we set up a table on the long, so that the Tau were pretty far away from the Space Marines and were able to enjoy the 30" range of the Pulse rifles, however the one Space Marine with the heavy weapon with range 36" also got some Kroots dead.
The good thing was my initial great rolling as the Tau Fire Teams managed to kill 3 of the 5 guys in Terminator army in the two first rounds of the game.
The Game, by the way, was decided to be played on 4 rounds, with a central primary objective worth 3 points and as secondary objective were First Blood (1 point) and Line Breaker (1 point).
All the Tau were in the back basically all the game shooting from the distance and trying to stop the guys in Terminator armour who were advancing towards the central primary objective. The rest of the Space Marine forces started the game in a corner inside a ruined building, out of their weapons range (except for the mentioned 36" heavy one) and were "tasted" by the Tau pulse rifles, but later moved carefully outside of the ruins and under cover of a chemical reactor and some walls tried to move towards the primary objective. The Tau were waiting for them and the first one that showed his ugly face from behind the chemical reactor is still looking for the insides of his skull on the battlefield. The rest just hunker down behind the cover and let the guys in the Terminator armour control the central objective.
The Tau were not able to get clear fire lines to the two surviving Terminator armour guys and were trying to maneuver into a better firing position, that leaded to the dead of more Kroots who actually managed to fail a Morale test and Fall Back out of the board and giving the Space Marine player the First Blood secondary objective.
At the end of round four, the guys in Terminator armour were still there, controlling the primary objective and  not scared at all of the fire of the Pulse rifles.

The second battle was against an Ork army. This time we agreed on 500 points and at least a vehicle to try the rules further.
The Ork fielded a kind of open truck, a unit with three bikes, a heavy unit with three guys and a very impressive leader again in 2+ armour and a normal unit full of orks (a lot of them).
For the Tau I field a Hammerhead with the Rail Gun configuration, a five members stealth team, all of the with the Burst Cannon, a unit of 12 Kroots (they should have been 14 o 15 to be close to 500 points but I forgot to check the number of Kroot on my bag and I was short of points again...) and a team of 10 Fire warriors with Pulse rifles.
This time we used the long side of the table for deployment, so we were having only 4" to deploy and the central 24" as battle field.
Again I lost the roll to see who decided to start the game and I deployed first, which upon reading now again the rules should have made me the first one in activate my units but actually my opponent deployed after em and activate before me... Well, next time :)
Anyway, I deployed the Hammerhead in the left corner, behind a very low hill, the Fire team on the right corner, behind a slightly higher hill, the Kroot to the left of the Fire team, just behind a broken wall (forgot they were able to infiltrate...)
My opponent deployed the normal ork unit in front of the Fire team and the rest of his troops mainly on my left side, so in front of the Hammerhead.
I deployed the Stealth Team in the open, in front of a container, to the left of the Kroot and a bit deeper into the battlefield. I was counting on the 4+ save given by the stealth armour.
The battle field was having an impassable swamp in the centre of the table, some wall, a container of each deployment side (from the AT-43 game), a chemical reactor close to the hill on my right, the one with the Fire team and a ruined building also on that side, but on my opponent deployment zone.
Primary objective with 3 points was controlling the reactor, secondary objective again First Blood and Line Breaker.
This time we decided to have variable game length, so rolling on the 5th and 6th turns and ending on the 7th the latests.
The heavy orks started inside of the open truck which was also a transporter but it was not able to move more than 6" to be able to disembark the orks, so my opponent was a bit disappointed with that. Anyway the truck moved around the container on his deployment zone a disembark the heavy orks who moved closer to the central swamp. The bikers joined them there and the normal orks tried to approach the chemical reactor. As the frontal armour of the Hammerhead was impenetrable to their fire weapons nothing serious happen to it, however the stealth team in the open lost one member (bad roll in the save and good rolls in the attack)
The Fire team moved on top of the hill and fired upon the normal orks, the Kroots moved also to the left to have a good view of the same orks and fired also against them, together they kill enough to force a morale check, but they past it.
The stealth team jumped on top of the container and got one of the bikers but the hammerhead was not able to get any one of the heavy orks. As in the first game, those 2+ armours were a problem for the Tau.
In the next round, the ork bikers and the heavy orks killed two more stealth guys, the remaining Tau failed the morale test, and fall back and eventually left the field, again First Blood for my opponent,
The hammerhead was again not able to score any casualty to the enemy, but the Kroot and the Fire warrior finally decimated the ork unit, leaving only two guys to fall back. They managed, however in the next round to regroup with a double one (!!)
The biker managed to get close to the hammerhead and assault and destroy it with four penetrating hits.
After that I was ready to concede the game as no one of my troops was able to stop the heavy orks, but we play a turn more, wherein my Kroot moved to be able to fire a half range against the heavys but without any success.
The counter attack of the heavys killed enough Kroot to made them fall back and the bikers were able to approach the Fire team on the hill.
This time my opponent was convinced of the Tau defeat and we finish the game.

With only two games and a very imperfect knowledge of the rules I can not say a lot about the future performance of the Tau. I need to learn my army before I can talk or criticize it with any rigour, but one think is clear, I need to field people able to hit 2+ armour with a certain amount of dices To Hit. The Hammerhead has an Armour Piercing (AP) of 1 but it is "only" a Heavy 1 weapon, so basically you roll one dice against a unit of 4 heavys and will Hit one with a 3+ (Balistic Skill is 4 for the Hammerhead). This does not sound to me a too much, it is like flipping a coin. After that you need to Wound but the enemy can save (Cover, for example).
Reading the Tau codex I was thinking about the plasma rifle with AP 2, 24" range and rapid, which will roll two dice below 12", but for that I will need to field Crisis battlesuits.
Also the Stealth teams can field a Fusion Blaster, AP 1 and range 12".
Don't know yet, need to re-read the rules again and see what can be done.
Now, I see the Hammerhead as too short on To Hit dices but again, I still need to learn how my army works.
More soon....

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