Battle Report – The Long & Winding Road (Does it 8th?)

With the country in lockdown due to Covid-19, my regular (if you can call it that) wargaming has had to stop.

What therefore is a Wargamer to do?

The answer, is solo play. And what better mission for solo play than the second solo mission from Dark Vengeance? Once again this is a mission from 6th/7th edition so how would it play with 8th edition rules. Would it be completely one sided or completely broken?

There’s only one way to find out – FIGHT!

In The Long & Winding Road mission, a squad of three Ravenwing bikers are out on patrol when they are ambused. They have to survive three waves of Chaos Cultists. Each time, the Ravenwing have to make it off of the board edge opposite to where they started the engagement. Any losses suffered by the Ravenwing carry over to the next engagement. If any Ravenwing biker manages to make it off the board in the third engagement, The Ravenwing have completed their patrol and have won.

In 6th and 7th editions, Ravenwing bikers only had one wound, in 8th they have two. This will make the Ravenwing more survivable, but I shall carry any wounds lost over to the the next engagements.

In each of the engagements, the Chaos Cultists act in a certain way.

The close combat cultists will always move 6 inches towards the Ravenwing, they will then fire their autopistols if able to do so. They will then charge the Ravenwing and fight in close combat. The autogun cultists will move 6 inches towards the Ravenwing and will then fire their guns if the Ravenwing are in range. They will never charge but will fight in close combat if engaged.

From these set rules, there is obviously no mention of falling back out of combat (wasn’t the same thing back in 6th and 7th), I will play it as the cultists will not fall back as they are too crazed and want to destroy the Ravenwing. The Ravenwing, however will still be able to fall back out of combat, they’ve got to make it across the board to make their report afterall.

It’s worth pointing out that for this mission I am using two of the Index books (Imperium 1 and Chaos) so there will be no fancy Stratagems, Chapter traits or Bolter Discipline.

Army Lists for the Engagements

For all of the engagements the Ravenwing consists of Squadron Arion.

Ravenwing Squadron: Arion

They are a squad of three Ravenwing bikers consisting of a Sergeant with a chainsword, a biker with a bolt pistol and a biker with a plasma gun.

For engagements 1 & 2, the Chaos Cultists consists of two squads. One squad contains five cultists with autopistols and brutal assault weapons. One squad contains five cultists with autoguns.

In engagement 3 there are four squads of Chaos Cultists.

  • Cultist Squad 1 contains four cultists with autoguns and a champion (Tetchvar) who has a shotgun (his sword is ignored).
  • Cultist Squad 2 contains four cultists with autoguns and one with a heavy stubber.
  • Cultist Squad 3 contains four cultists with autopistols and brutal assault weapons and a champion (Anarkus) who has a autopistol and brutal assault weapon.
  • Cultist Squad 4 contains four cultists with autopistols and brutal assault weapons and one cultists with a flamer.
Chaos Cultists: Sect Tetchvar
Chaos Cultists: Sect Anarkus

The Battlefield

The engagements are played on a board that is 48 inches long and 24 inches wide.

Deployment

The Ravenwing are set up first, up to 12 inches on from the short table edge on one side and not within 6 inches of the long edge. The cultists are then deployed one squad at a time, anywhere that is more than 12 inches from any Ravenwing models and more than 9 inches away from any other cultist squads.

The Cultists will always have the first turn.

Engagement One

Engagement One: Deployment

The Ravenwing are deployed on the road as far forward as they are allowed. The Cultists are deployed following their deployment rules, ready to spring their ambush on the unsuspecting Dark Angels.

“Brother Sergeant, the road is clear, but the auspex shows movement ahead…”

The cultists begin their attack, moving out onto the road to take up firing positions.

“Kill the unbelievers!”

Shots ring out towards the Ravenwing and manage to cause one wound.

The cultists then attempted to charge the Space Marines, rolling 9 for the charge distance…

But they are almost entirely wiped out due to overwatch fire. One cultist survives and with the blessings of The Dark Gods, manages to inflict another wound onto the bikers, bringing down one of their number.

Sergeant Arion swiftly brings The Emperor’s justice to the heretic, leaving the Ravenwing free to attack the remaining cultists in their turn.

The Ravenwing accelerate past the second squad of cultists, swinging their bikes around as they do and unleashed a hail of mass reactor bolt rounds at the poorly armoured warriors…

The sight of two of their number exploding into tiny pieces makes the remaining cultists rethink their decision…

“Let’s get out of here!”

…As they roll a 6 for morale and flee the battle.

Engagement One ends as there is no one left to stop the Space Marines.

Engagement Two

Engagement Two: Deployment

It’s a similar deployment this time, but now only two Ravenwing bikes remain. Will it be enough?

Once again the cultists move towards the Ravenwing and throw everything they have at them…

And once again cause a wound!

Smelling blood, the cultists charge

This time the Ravenwing’s overwatch is completely ineffective.

With hate and fury, the cultists rain blows upon the Ravenwing… and wound them 4 times!

The damage is too much for their ancient armour to bear…

A bloodied Sergeant Arion fights for his survival and the success of his mission…

He manages to slay one of the cultists before another one loses his nerve, but it is not enough. The remaining three cultists bring down the sergeant.

The Chaos Cultists win!

Conclusion

That was a fun little game although I’m disappointed I didn’t make it to the third engagement. It shows that sometimes it doesn’t matter what your plan is, if the dice are against you, you can’t win!

The game got me moving models and rolling dice again and I thoroughly enjoyed it, which is what it’s all about.

I think the mission still works in 8th edition and with the change on rules and unit datasheets, still remains balanced.

I will probably give this mission another try and see if I can make it to the third engagement.

I hope you enjoyed this battle report. Let me know if you’ve taken any older scenarios from previous editions and played them with the new datasheets and rules.

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