Greetings everyone! After much bouncing around of real-life schedules my son Thomas and I finally got to play our “re-run” of our Tomorrow’s War scenario “Ork Alley”. With the adjustments we made to the forces the game was much more balanced and was a lot of fun to play.
The basic setup: A Tau recon drone malfunctioned and crashed in an area of the city that was infested with small groups of Orks and Gretchin (Grots). A Tau platoon consisting of 3 five-person squads was sent to recover the drone and take it out of the area. They had been inserted “behind the lines” so their way out was forward towards friendly lines. These are not considered to be “frontline” Tau troops and are not armed and structured as such. The Tau would have initiative for the game.
The Tau are excellent “shooty” forces and excel at ranged combat. Physically they are not well suited to close assault combat and so don’t do that with the same skill level as their shooting. The Orks are the polar opposites, being worse are ranged combat (known for shooting guns in the general direction of the enemy just to make the loud “BANG” noise) and being racially VERY good a physical combat. We set the stats on the forces based on these characteristics.
Confidence Level: Normal
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level: 2
Body Armor: TL2, Light (1D) – Squad
Body Armor Leader: TL2, Power Armor, Leader, (2D)
Troop Quality/Morale: (D10) – Shooting/(D10) – Morale Shooting (armed with Advanced Combat Rifles)
Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D8) – Attacking – (D10 defense -1D) /(D8 for Morale in Asssault)
Tau Hvy Weapon: (2D)
We added a little complexity to the forces to emphasize the Tau reliance/skill on shooting and their lesser ability with hand-to-hand combat. Each 5-man Tau squad had a squad leader wearing basic powered armor.
Confidence Level: Normal
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level: 1
Tough Hide (Body Armor Equivalent): (1D) – Squad
Tough Hide Leader(Body Armor Equivalent): (2D) – Nob
Troop Quality/Morale: (D8) Shooting (D10 defense)/(D8) – Morale Shooting (Armed with Sluggas)
Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D10)+(1D)+(1D per Nob)/(D10) – Morale Assault
Ork Hvy Weapon: (1D)
The Orks in the Warhammer 40K universe are big, touch and hard to kill. They are not so good at ranged combat but excel at and love close assault. We added a little complexity in giving them a different defense die, a D10 instead of D8, when shooting and being shot at. We gave them an extra attack die in Assault simply to reflect their racial preference to that kind of combat.
Confidence Level: Low
Supply Level: Low
Tech Level: 1
Troop Quality/Morale: (D8)/(D6)
Grots are small, weedy, clever and nasty. While seemingly comical they are still not to be taken lightly. They may have poor dice but they often come at you in bigger numbers than you expect.
Given the scale we set the standard “cautious” movement to 10 inches and the fast movement to 20 inches.
So, having set up our forces we put a “town” together and started a game.
The forces placed. Tau starting at corner of table at top of picture. Orks scattered around.
The Tau had to pick up the downed Drone in the middle of the map next to the two cargo containers. They then had to exit on the road between the two concrete walls in the lower right corner of the picture. The Ork squads were scattered through the town, with 5 hot spots set up for reinforcements for the Orks.
An Ork squad behind some buildings. View looks towards the Tau starting point.
A table’s eye view of one of the Ork squads in its starting point.
Another Ork squad in between some buildings.
Another table’s eye view of Orks.
Catzilla (aka: "Ditto") - the bane of gamers everywhere
One of our cats likes to take the role of “Catzilla” in our wargames. I’m sure many other gamers have similar problems. This particular incarnation of “Catzilla” is Ditto, my wife’s cat. He is amazingly talented at walking through a crowded gaming table without knocking over a single miniature.
Orks determine Line-Of-Sight in order to attempt an Interrupt on moving Tau
A squad of Orks saw a squad of the tau moving and tried to Interrupt them. Tried and failed. Sigh…
Exchange of fire with the Tau left the Ork squad pinned behind a building
The Ork squad that failed the Interrupt took 2 casualties and then failed their Morale roll. They moved behind a building and were pinned. Bad start to the game for the Orks.
The Grot squad in one of the taller buildings successfully Interrupted a squad of Tau
The squad of Grots in the taller building *did* successfully Interrupt a squad of Tau. They even caused some casualties. Yay Grots! However, payback is a mean b…well, you know what.
Incoming fire has Right-of-Way
The return fire from the Tau squad caused 2 casualties in the Grot squad. The Grots rolled amazingly well on their Morale roll and stayed active.
The fire from the Grots pinned the Tau squad
The Tau squad that received the casualties failed its morale roll and was pinned in the crater. Some more of that and the Ork’s victory will be assured!
Tau activations complete, the Ork squads advance
The Ork squads who had not performed any interrupts now get to make their moves. They advance in Move/Fire orders.
Arrgh! The Orks get a nasty "Fog of War" card
The Orks lost a test when they tried shooting at a Tau squad. A “1” was rolled on a die. A “Fog of War” card was drawn. Eeek! I lose 1D for every attack from now on. Icky!
Turn 2 - The Tau shoot at the poor Grots working on the Drone
Turn 2 started badly for the Orks. No reinforcements. Several casualties were KIA. And the Tau advanced and attacked the poor, downtrodden Grots who were trying to overcome the security protocols on the downed Tau Drone. An exchange of fire left the Grots with 2 casualties. Then it got worse…
Tau had line of sight on the Grots
The Tau had line of sight on the Grot position as they did a move and fire maneuver. The Grots *did* cause a Tau casualty in the ensuing exchange but…
"Grots down! Grots Down!"
The whole Grot squad became casualties. The Tau had a *really* good roll, no number less that 8…ouch.
The Orks try for a close assault
One Ork squad had gotten close enough to declare an Assault. They won the Troop Quality test for assault and…”WAAAAGH!” The Tau responded by running away and then being pinned. A full fast move away. Out of reach. Rats! This left our proud Ork squad perilously close to another Tau squad at the end of the turn. You know, when the Tau get to go first next turn? Uh-oh…
The close assault of the Orks ended non-spectacularly
The Orks in the trees are the ones who made the close assault. The Tau in the distance are the ones who ran away. The Tau in the crater close by are busy sighting in their Advanced Combat Rifles on the close Orks…
A good FOW card for the Orks...for a change
The beginning of the next turn had some immediate combat occurring. Of course the Orks failed their reinforcements roll. The Orks attempted to interrupt a Tau action and failed. Rolling a “1”. This time the Fog of War card was good. However, my random choice was not the unit I wished would have this card attached to it.
The beginning of Turn 3 was...unpleasant...for the Orks
The Tau pumped out a lot of firepower in a short time. Many Ork casualties ensued. The squad of Orks who had performed the assault ended up pinned in a crater with three casualties. The Orks in a building near the downed Drone took some casualties too. Apparently my defense rolls indicated I was taking cover by putting my hands over my eyes and shouting “Nah, nah! You can’t see me!”
The Tau did get to receive some casuaties too
The Tau advanced under fire and did receive a couple of more casualties, including one fatality. The Orks were paying a high price for it.
The only thing worse than incoming fire is incoming "friendly" fire...
Yup, another Ork troop quality test. Another roll of “1”. Another Fog of War card. This time some incoming friendly fire hits a squad of orks and causes another casualty. Morale test was passed, though.
It's about time the Tau got a little FoW lovin'
The Tau also rolled a “1” in a combat test. Their prize was a lovely mortar barrage, courtesy of who knows. Lousy frikken frakkin Tau and their really good armor. No casualties for them…
This is where the Ork player packed it in...
The Tau advance reached the downed drone. The orks were mostly dead. The Tau had some walking wounded. And I had to make dinner before we went to see “Tron: Legacy”. So the Orks conceded the game at this point. If the Orks had gotten some reinforcement squads it would have been a little different. The low ammo Fog of War card was a real killer.
Two Tau teams with some casualties make it to their goal
The two Tau squads who made it to the downed drone. They had one seriously wounded Fire Warrior and had lost one as well.
The battlefield at the end of the game
So the battlefield at the end of the game had some hurt Tau who were still combat effective and a scattering of Orks who weren’t.
It was a much more fun game than last time and my son enjoyed it a lot more when his troops weren’t casually turning Orks into clouds of red/green mist. One lesson I learned is that I need to pin enemy troops first before charging them. Otherwise they are liable to run away.
The balancing we did with the Orks and the Tau seemed to work pretty well. Our next battle will probably pit some Imperial Guard minis I have against Tom’s Tyranids in a game of “Aliens in the Reactor”. Tyranids make pretty good “Space Demons”.
Oh, and we really liked “Tron: Legacy”!