Last year Dave G and myself began playing Kill Team (Combat Patrol) in 40K for a bit of a giggle. Then Kannan joined us, and before we knew it, we had eight like minded players having a mass brawl. And as we ran more games they grew in size and participants, which lead to our biggest game yet in January; a six by six table, 12 players and two organisers.
Why Space Hulk?
Playing on a standard six by four table with the odd building and wood made for a difficult game for a large number of players. Firstly, every player could interact with every other player, which made the game very, very long. Secondly, the table was just not big enough, even with armies limited to 300 points players they were starting the game only a foot or so between themselves. And thirdly, close combat armies suffered from being surrounded by lots of shooty enemies. The answer; confine the armies within a space hulk.
Before the game started I handed out a mission description with details on the special rules and scoring details. The rules were as follows (I have amended these a little so that they match what we eventually used in the game on the night):
Beginning Each Turn:
At the beginning of each turn, armies roll off to see which will go first. The armies will then activate in a clockwise direction for that turn.
Dave Gilbert will move Zombies as he sees fit at the end of each turn (the Zombie turn). The move/charge for them will be 2D6.
Zombies do not attack in close combat, but instead explode on contact with an enemy model and wound on a D6 roll of 5+. Saves are allowed.
Once five Zombies are collected, the army give the 'dead' zombies to Dave Gilbert to place back on the playing surface in the central room (until the first player models enter the room, and thereafter in the far table corners equally between each).
Statues are armour value six and have two wounds. Points are only scored when the final wound is removed. There must be a clear line of sight between the firer and the statue. Zombies block line of sight.
End of Each Turn:
Each side will report to all those taking part their accumulated points score thus far.
The Zombie Phase:
Before each turn the army rolls 2D6 (the Zombie roll). They can then take up to that number of Zombies (if available) from the central room only and place them anywhere on the playing surface.
1 point for every five zombies killed in that sides turn.
1 point for every enemy model killed.
5 points for every statue destroyed.
5 points for every enemy Warlord killed.
10 points for every friendly Warlord ending the game in the central room.
Special Room Rules:
Medical Centre - If a faction has a model in this room, the whole faction receives the 5+ Feel No Pain special rule.
Armoury - If a faction has a model in this room, the shooting weapons for that faction receives the twin-linked special rule
Communications Centre - if a faction has a model in this room, the faction can re-roll leadership Tests and Zombie roll.
Teleporter Room: Any model moving onto a teleporter pad in the teleporter room can disembark 3 inches onto any other teleporter pad on the table. If a model moved onto a single teleporter pad, not in the teleporter room, they could move onto the next teleporter pad nearest to the one which they had just embarked.
We limited players to 250 points and the special and heavy weapons they could take (1 per 5 figures). Vehicles and walkers could not be taken. Figures were allowed a maximum of two wounds. As usual the focus on the game was to have a laugh, not to power play.
I now know how the Adepticon organisers feel......well, sort of. Within 30 minutes of Dave posting details of the game on Facebook, we had twelve takers. The post eventually finished with 95 comments. (Thanks to Dave for fielding all the questions).
Much like the adage, 'no battle plan survives contact with the enemy', 'no plans for a mass participation game survives the first turn'. I had originally planned that the zombies would explode on contact with enemy, and could cause chain reaction explosions. The difficulty, as usual, was the need to keep the game moving. Dave, and I quickly dropped the explosion rule.
We also tried some rules relating to rupturing pipe work (you will see some cotton wool on the table which, on contact with any player model, would show themselves to be poisoned, requiring an armour save, or nothing of any consequence).
Looking at the armies players had bought we split them into four teams:
Team Taudar, Karl (Eldar), Neil (Eldar) and Calum (Tau).
Team Chaos, James (CSM), Dave R (Plague Marines), and Alex R (Crimson Slaughter).
Team Dark Angel, Kanan, Daniel and Richard, all playing Caliban's finest.
Team Orkron, David P (Necrons), Keiron (Orks), and Neil (Necrons).
We kept a turn by turn tally on how the teams were doing, and as you can see below, by the end there was only a small difference between the top two.
Zombie distribution became a problem for Dave as the game proceeded. We wanted the players to interact with the Zombies, and they all had ideas on moving them in the Zombie phase (do you position them to shoot and score points, or do you place them to inconvenience your opponents), but, if we continued to put them back in the central room it slowed the game down. So as the game proceeded dead Zombies were placed in the far corners of the playing surface, allowing players to focus on killing their opponent's models contesting the central room.
It would be a huge task to report on the events during the whole game (a brave sacrificial Grot entering a cloud to test its effects, An Eldar D-Weapon that kept rolling ones to wound (very, very funny), a Zombie killing a Dark Angel Warlord), so I will only show you the turn by turn scores.
Turn 1 - Chaos 1, Orkron 1, Taudar 1, Dangles 0
Turn 2 - Chaos 6, Orkron 8, Taudar 8, Dangles 0.4 (2 Zombies killed)
Turn 3 - Chaos 13, Orkron 14, Taudar 20, Dangles 1
Turn 4 - Chaos 36, Orkron 21, Taudar 35, Dangles 7
Turn 5 - Chaos 71, Orkron 43, Taudar 77, Dangles 9
Post Game Thoughts
As well as killing statues to score high points, it became clear that the potential for each team to score 30 points just for getting their Warlord in the central room at the end was critical to winning, which is how Chaos and Taudar scored so highly.
Congratulations to Team Taudar, and huge thanks to all who took part, especially my Zombie Wrangler, Dave G. I was really pleased that we got five turns completed and I doubt that the next Big Little Game will be long in coming.
Happy wargaming to you all.