Game of “In the Emperor’s Name” featuring Tau in “The curious case of the Crazed Inquisitor”

July 31, 2011
Greetings all!  Time for a slightly different After Action Report.  My son and I have been looking into the rules for a skirmish-level game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  The game is called “In the Emperor’s Name” and it is created by the Forge of War Development Group, the folks who created FUBAR.  “ItEN” is a fun little set of rules that are still in a rapid development process.  I joined their Yahoo Groups site in order to download and try the rules.  They are free, fun and fast to play.  Not at all affiliated with Games Workshop – though it could spur the sales of more unusual minis…

The game uses 4 stats: Grit, which is your saving throw – Fighting Value, which is for Hand to Hand – Shooting Value, which is for, well, shooting – Speed, which increases reactions and movement.  The balance of character and cost of them is still in some development.  You create a retinue of 4 or more characters that you will take through the combat scenarios.  These can be one-offs or as campaigns (they have some rules for that).  My son Tom and I are going to run a campaign, where we take turns running our respective retinues while the other plays the opposing forces.  I created an Imperial Inquisitional retinue and Tom made a Tau Investigation Force retinue.

In order for us to have shared Tau and Imperial “good guys” I went ahead and invented a new area of 40K space called “The 20 Worlds Compact”.  It consists of 18 star systems on the border between the Imperium and the Tau Empire.  These star systems are jointly controlled by the Imperium and the Tau, based on a treaty set to last for 500 years.  They are 100 years into the treaty.  Under this treaty the two races can share the star systems and even worlds. Trade of raw materials, commodities and foodstuffs is allowed, just no trafficking of technology. there is continual tension between the two races, but they found that in this region it was better to work together than to fight, largely due to constant troubles with Orks, Tyranids, Eldar and Chaos forces in the region.  There seems to always be someone who wants to try to break the peace and bring the region back to war…

Using the random generator Tom got the campaign “The Curious Case of the Crazed Inquisitor”, where his Tau investigation team has to keep a radical Imperial Inquisitor from causing something terrible to happen.

The first scenario, also randomly generated, is an Investigative Mission known as “No Stone Unturned”.  The mission is to investigate 6 buildings in a cluster and search them for clues.  Each clue is worth Victory Points and allows you to accumulate reinforcement points to make your retinue stronger.

Buildings are investigated by having one member of the retinue stand by the door for one turn.  A die is rolled and on a 5 or 6 a clue is found.  On a 1, 2 or 3 then that many members of an opposing retinue appear in cover just out of sight of the investigators.  They attack the next turn.  The real kicker is that you only have 6 turns to do this.  Time pressure makes things interesting.

Table setup at start. The white discs mark the doors for the investigators.

The table layout is about 40 x 40 inches here.  It worked pretty well.

The Tau retinue enters the board on one corner.

I realized that the scenario needed a little tweaking, so I didn’t start the “six-turn-clock” until the Tau retinue actually started checking doors.

The Tau retinue splits to check the first two buildings.

Tom split his unit up in order to start by checking two buildings at a time.  The dice spirits decided that Tom was not only not going to find anything in the buildings, but that he would summon trouble…

A dark figure appears in the shadows on the left side of the building.

An armed thug appears around the corner of the other building.

Tom’s die rolls brought one enemy by each building.  I chose the two tougher individuals that were generated for this “opposing retinue” team – Interrogators belonging to the Radical Inquisitor’s retinue.  Both were armed with melee and ranged weaponry.  The minis are old Necromunda hive gangers.

The two enemy thugs engage the Tau - one with a lasrifle and one with a sword

The two thugs (Renegade Interrogators) leaped out (me having rolled well for initiative) and engaged the Tau.  The one on the left went immediately to melee combat, having moved into base contact with a Tau Fire Warrior.  The other thug ran out to get better aim at the blurry image of the Tau Stealth suit.  Even in the open the Tau Stealth suit gets a “cover save”.

One Radical Interrogator must have skipped some tactics training...

The Tau Stealth Suit and Gun Drones moved away from the building to get a clearer shot.  Hmmm, that is a total of SEVEN guns that are brought to bear on the Radical Interrogator.  Tactically a poor move on his part.

Yup. Bad move...

While one member of the Tau retinue was tied up in melee combat the others blew smoking holes through the Radical Interrogator.

Despite what they say, sometimes bringing a sword to a gunfight works

The other Radical Interrogator (thug) was dogpiled by three Fire Warriors in melee combat.  This was still a net positive for the thug, since melee is not a Fire Warrior’s strong suit.

One Fire Warrior is hit and fails his "Grit" roll, going down...

Taking them on hand-to-hand, well sword-to-gun butt, was a better tactical option.  However…

One sword, two gun butts. Do the math...

One sword and two gun butts equals another Radical Interrogator eating street.

Meanwhile, other buildings were being investigated and other bad guys were coming out of the woodwork.

Investigating the building to the lower left brings out 2 Renegade Stormtroopers, far lower left.

Two more members of the Radical Inquisitor’s gang – Renegade Stormtroopers – show up to give the Tau a taste of Hellguns.

Surprising the Tau, sort of...

Two Stormtroopers armed with Hellguns face off against the Tau leader and a Fire Warrior.  A fairly even fight.

However, some people don't do "Surprise" well...

One Stormtrooper goes down.  The other ends up heading for cover.

The Stealth Suit stirred up 3 Renegade Guardsmen

The Stealth Suit’s investigation of a building stirred up three Renegade Guardsmen.  They moved in for the attack.  They had the initiative and fired away with their lasguns.

A seemingly even exchange of fire.

The exchange of fire leaves on Renegade Guardsman and one Gun Drone down.

Meanwhile the other part of the Tau team finds the first clue while engaging in fire with the Renegade Stormtrooper.

The Tau on the upper left find a clue and succeed in "stunning" the Stormtrooper

One Tau find the first clue while the others successfully hit the Renegade Stormtrooper with a shot.  He rolls his “Grit” roll and exactly meets it, causing him to go down for the turn.  This also made him an easier target the next turn.

Turn 6 ends and the Renegade Guardsmen try and fail to flee

Turn 6 ended with the Renegade Stormtrooper getting finished off and the two remaining Renegade Guardsmen turning and fleeing.  I allowed Tom a “free shot” at them and both Renegade Guardsmen were downed.  I also gave Tom a free roll against the remaining building and he successfully discovered a clue there too.

End of game had Tom with 2 victory points and 10 reinforcement points.  He quickly traded in the 2 Victory Points for an additional 20 reinforcement points and added 2 Kroot warriors to his retinue in order to give himself some better melee combat ability.

We had fun, it only took about an hour to play and we definitely plan to keep playing.

A good link for this game is here:  http://thegamesshed.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/in-the-emperors-name/

Also, look for the forgeofwar Yahoo Group.  Good folks there and they love their games and their players.

Thanks and have a good day!

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Tomorrow’s War “Ork Alley” replay – better this time

December 19, 2010

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.

Tau:

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.

Orks:

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.

Gretchin (Grots):

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”!