I’ve always loved the story of the Anphelion Project. Essentially Jurassic Park in 40k, it tells the story of an Imperial outpost on Beta Anphelion IV who captures some live Tyranids for analysis in the hope of finding a weakness they can exploit, keeping them in large cages with electrified fences. In true Jurassic Park fashion this goes about as well as you’d expect, and when the base goes silent a task force of Red Scorpions, Cadians and Elysians led by Inquisitor Solomon Lok are sent in to investigate. And, as with any inquisition story there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes…
I’ve been up for playing through all the missions from the original Imperial Armour for a while, and luckily a friend of mine is both up for it and has a force of Red Scorpions! I edited the scenario a little to account for the new edition, and added in a couple of stratagems to go with it (you can see the complete scenario rules I wrote here). So, here’s how our first mission went…
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Engines screaming through the early morning silence, two matt-grey Thunderhawk gunships swept in low over the Anphelion base. Below them the area was silent, cargo haulers and transports left unattended.
Cutting the thrusters, the aircraft pulled in low over a clearing. Servos whined as the ramps opened, and the unmistakable shape of the emperor’s astartes deployed onto the mist shrouded ground. Resplendent in their bulky armour, two squads of Red Scorpions Terminators swung their weapons around, scanning the abandoned area.
“No movement in alpha quadrant” one cracked over the vox. “No contract in beta quadrant” confirmed another. Slowly, the Red Scorpions fanned out, moving towards the silent Anphelion base.
The first turn saw a lot of cautious positioning, as Tom’s Red Scorpions started to enter the nearest Anphelion base while keeping overlapping fields of fire. In response, I moved one of my larger Genestealer squads into the base, while the other two moved around the sides to flank the building.
‘Movement on the auspex, straight ahe-‘ The report from squad Raum was suddenly cut off, and the stacatto beat of gunfire filled the vox. ‘Contact, beta quadrant! Genestealers, at least twenty of them. We’re moving to engage’ – another burst of fire punctuated the comms – ‘Throne, watch your flanks, they’re coming out of the wall ducts!’
A moment later, a wave of chitin and claw swept down the corridor to Culln and Darak squad. The astartes opened fire immediately, their storm bolters filling the narrow corridor with a fusilade of letahl firepower. But the aliens were fast and agile, leaping and crawling along the walls and ceiling towards the Terminators. Drawing his power sword and thumbing the activation trigger, Culln stepped forward to engage the xenos.
All hell broke loose in turn 2 as the Genestealers swept down the corridors and into the terminators. Tom used the Overwatch strategem to thin their numbers, but the remaining ‘nids charged into both Terminator squads and Culln himself. Commander Culln was cut down in a flurry of rending claws, while the surviving Terminators fell back in Tom’s turn to continue firing into the Genestealers. The lights flickered and dimmed as I used the Lights Out strategem, but the Red Scorpions fire proved accurate and cut a toll through the surviving Genestealers. In my turn I threw the remaining Genestealers and Broodlord into the Terminators and Tactical Squad, managing to finally wipe out the remaining Terminators – albeit at a heavy cost in casualties.
‘Commander Culln is down, repeat the commander is down! Converge on the central junction, defensive stance and suppressive fire!’ ordered the Primaris Lieutenant. Boltguns chattering and accompanied by the sporadic roar of a Flamer, the surviving Primaris and Tactical Marines fell back in the Anphelion Base. The Tyranids were more cautios now, the corridors strewn with slain Genestealers and the hulking forms of two Broodlords. Auspex scans showed scant few of the xenos left, but the Red Scorpions were veterans and knew better than to underestimate the Tyranids.
As we reached the end of the game, both forces had been whittled down to a mere handful of models left. Both forces continued to trade blows until, at the end of turn 5, one lone Primaris sergeant remained against one lone Genestealer. The Tyranids were on Beta Anphelion IV, and as the Thunderhawks extracted the surviving Red Scorpions to report back to Inquisitor Lok, time was of the essence…
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A hard-fought and bloody game! I don’t think either of us were quite prepared for how much the confines of the Anphelion base and its cramped corridors would affect our fighting – making it hard for Tom’s astartes to move around, and hard for me to get many Genestealers into combat at once. Next up, the Imperial Guard seconded to Lok must try to restart the generators to bring the electic fences back online, ensuring that the Tyranids are contained while Inquisitor Lok tries to uncover what has happened on Beta Anphelion IV…