In both of my running Crusade campaigns, it’s been an uphill battle lately for the Eldar – and they certainly didn’t do themselves any favors on this one. We decided to play one of the 50 PL Crusade games from the 9th edition Core Book: Recon Patrol. This is a unique mission where players have deployment zones in corners, where half of their units are set up in reserve, and where in the first and second turns you can only deploy those reinforcements by passing a “Reserve” test on a D6. Based on the title of this post, you might already have a solid guess at where this is going.
We played at Noble Miniatures, one of our usual haunts for our Crusade games, and the tables and terrain were fantastic as they always are. On the war-torn Warp-tossed world of Castiel, the Deathwatch sought out an abandoned Comms station to try and signal reinforcements planetside, and naturally, the Eldar’s aim in our narrative was to hinder them from doing that. In reserves, I set up my Falcon, Howling Banshees, Jain Zar, and Wraithguard, and decided that if I was going to push back the Deathwatch and control the board I was going to have to take some high-risk-high-reward plays early in the game.
Naturally, this backfired, for two reasons: When I tried to push up against Cory’s army, he mowed down one squad of Howling Banshees, a Farseer, and a Spiritseer all in the first turn, and while the Dire Avengers and Storm Guardians held the line to the best of their abilities they were struggling. What they needed to make it through the game were their reinforcements. And…what we’re pretty sure happened at this point was that the Falcon housing all of my Banshees, and their Wraithguard friends, made a Starbuck’s run that went totally out of control. Trapped in the drive-thru, waiting on their mocha-lattes and cappuccinos and espressos and whatever the kids are drinking these days, they sat idle while the Deathwatch cut swaths through the Eldar on the planet.
The Wraithguard and Howling Banshees finally arrived, as did the Falcon with plenty of caffeine in the cupholders, but the damage was done. Almost half my army had been swept off of the table, and now that the Deathwatch’s reinforcements had also arrived I was effectively taking on the full force of Cory’s Deathwatch army with a half-strength group of Eldar. The Wraithguard tried desperately to protect an objective marker but were ultimately taken apart by Cory’s Redemptor Dreadnought, but the Howling Banshees managed to keep his troops tied up and assure their own survival by making a mess mid-field.
I can’t remember the exact score we finished this game off with, but it was overwhelmingly in Cory’s favor. We hardly ended up using the “Recon Sweep” action because the game ended up being largely decided through the combats on the ground, and by holding the objective markers themselves. This was definitely another game where I made some pretty major blunders early-on that ended up putting me so far behind it was impossible to catch up – I definitely need to keep working on deployment, which is still my weakest point as a player. Regardless, it was a great time with a lot of fantastic moments and I look forward to the next round in this campaign.