TheGM: My five-battle solo campaign for control of the Thar Desert Basin, on the desert world of Morkai, has concluded. The mutants now control four of the five regions of the basin.
So, what does that mean for the planet’s fate? And what did I learn from playing the campaign?
What now for Morkai?
The fact that the mutants won four out of five battles should worry Imperial authorities in the capital city of Gogenna.
It was always suspected that there were a lot more mutants in the abandoned city of Ungolath than Imperial propaganda suggested. What took Imperial authorities by surprise was the military capacity of these mutants.
Not only did the mutant horde manage to hold its own against Imperial troops, but as the campaign continued, the mutant army grew in size and military effectiveness. By the Battle of the Bazaha Wadi (battle #5), it was clear that the army of Haruspex could match the manpower and armored might of a Skitarii Cohort and allied PDF regiment.
Now, thousands of mutants are hardly enough to conquer a planet—but we still don’t know how many more troops that Ungolath can muster on the field.
What’s more, Imperial authorities must worry about the loyalties of millions of mutants living in the underhive of each hive city—and in the wretched shanty towns that surround the base of each city and stretch out into the desert for kilometers.
The living conditions—and the political oppression—suffered by these mutants represent a rich breeding ground for insurrectionists and terrorists. Centuries ago, the hive city of Ungolath was one of the prides of Morkai—until a mutant rebellion utterly destroyed the city.
In this campaign, the Imperials did hold the Bazaha Wadi—and thus prevented the mutants from opening a path to the hive city of Charcharoth. Yet, that is cold comfort: the threat to Imperial rule must be considered far greater than before.
Lessons from the campaign
This was a great mini-campaign. I’d have preferred to battle The Gaffer, but I had a blast with each of my quarantined solo battles.
In addition to putting some of my new ramshackle and heavily converted mutant vehicles on the game table, I really enjoyed the Cult Ambush rules of the Genestealer Cult codex.
I’m not sure yet if my mutants are a Genestealer Cult, but I figure their ambush rules reflect the kind of hit-and-run tactics that a desert people (particularly one without the resources of the Imperials) would utilize against an enemy with greater firepower.
And it worked wonderfully. The Genestealer Cult codex gave my mutants a fantastic mobility, but limited their firepower. It was a combination that made for very competitive games with my Imperial Guard, but it also ensured that the two armies were forced to fight with entirely different tactics.
One thing I learned from this campaign, coming after an equally long (five battle) Tau-Imperial Guard campaign on Dar Sai, is that my mini campaigns are too long.
I’m going to switch to three-battle campaigns. One reason is I’d like to commit a bit less time and effort to any one campaign. Equally important, by going to three-battle campaigns, I can visit more war zones in the Corvus Cluster.
That’s important. I spent four months on the Dar Sai campaign, and three months fighting on Morkai. That means it’s been seven months with no significant news of what’s happening with the orks on Hegira, the Death Guard on Dozaria, the Tau on Al’gel II, or the Necrons on Tophet.
Now, I managed to mention some of these campaigns in passing over the months, just so they weren’t forgotten. But I’d really like to update each of the campaigns with a battle report or two.
So, I’m thinking now that I’ll alternate between several three-battle campaigns.
This rotation-style approach will move the narrative story in each war zone, but with shorter campaigns, I can still get some resolution. For example, perhaps I might fight Battle #1 of the next Tophet campaign, jump over to a battle on Hegira, then go back to Tophet and fight Battle #2, then jump over to Dozaria, then wrap up the Tophet campaign, etc.
I really believe solo mini-campaigns are the way to go during the pandemic. It keeps me playing, keeps me painting, and it hones my playing skills (for the inevitable if still-distant rematch with The Gaffer).
Shorter campaigns, alternating once in a while, will move the “story” forward in the Corvus Cluster, and it’ll ensure that no war zone gets overlooked for too long.
And I highly recommend the Genestealer Codex. Now, I still play 7th Edition, and the Cult Ambush and Return to the Shadows rules for a Genestealer Cult definitely create a fascinating tactical dilemma for both combatants (or double the fun for the solo gamer).
Anyway, the Thar Desert Basin campaign is over. Time to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.