A Short Shadow War AAR. Tau Vs Squats

Josh and I played Shadow War last week.We didn't take extensive notes, but here's a few pics and a brief overview. Josh provided the nice Necromunda'ish terrain below which is built of Mantic Battlezone pieces. In the background you can see Tim and Michael playing Shadow War also.

I'm on the right the foreground with my Squat (using IG rules) group and on the left side of the table is Josh's Tau warband.


It was a simple "Gang Fight" scenario and it quickly separated into two separate firefights on either flank.

Eventually Josh was able to use the large drone pictured above to flank my right (barely visible above) and cause enough casualties to force some bottle rolls of which I failed the third.


Interestingly, ammo rolls took their toll and we each ended up with one ineffective figure when their sole weapon was rendered inoperable. This has happened before and has me thinking about the benefits of giving backup weapons to figures with weapons that are prone to malfunction. Also, we completely forgot to use the rules for hiding which would have likely resulted in our forces getting even closer to each other.

I enjoyed the game. I have a strong affection for the classic Necromunda rules and that's almost exactly what Shadow War is, albeit with the addition of 40k factions. However, what I learned afterwards did make me a bit skeptical of the balance between the various factions. As we played, the Tau's relatively mediocre Ballistic Skill (chance to hit) seemed to balance out the power of their weapons which are quite potent. Their standard weapon is more powerful than a space marine's boltgun!  As we played it, the game seemed fairly balanced as we traded rounds of fire and hits.

However after the game we found that the "markerlight" upgrades that Josh had taken for his weapons (a sort of tracker) appears to hit automatically and then the target loses the advantage of cover from any Tau unit! We had played that the markerlight had to roll to hit like any other weapon which made it useful but not game changing. Without much armor in play (very little armor in the game itself) cover is the thing making most units somewhat survivable. If the Tau rules are as they appear, it seems difficult to see how most forces could compete with them as the negation of cover is a huge advantage. I'm not giving up on the game but I'll be interested to see what happens next time I encounter a Tau team. Perhaps use of the "Hiding" action will make things a bit more balanced?

Til next time!

-Karl Paulsen


5 responses to “A Short Shadow War AAR. Tau Vs Squats

  1. Yes, hiding is definitely crucial there. Markerlights seem pretty low cost as an upgrade (dang, compared to Harlequins, EVERYTHING seems low cost! :-/), but the unit using it also can’t shoot that turn since they’re occupied keeping the laser sight on the target. From forums I’ve read, it’s not permanent, so hopefully you didn’t play that way.
    In terms of balance, you can kind of look at it like: 1 unit fires at a better chance to hit; vs 2 units firing each at a lower chance to hit.

  2. I never actually hit with one. Rolling a 6 to hit is tough.

  3. Looks like I need to do some research and read the rules more carefully. We were playing that markerlights were permanent but we also were playing that they had to roll to hit. Since the targets were in cover and thus very hard to hit, the markerlights didn’t come into play much in our game

    Auto-hit, but limited to one turn does seem like it might be more balanced.

  4. They are limited to the next shot I believe.

  5. I would say that once a tau uses that markerlight on a target, it’s good for any other tau firing on that target only during that shooting phase. The user would have to do it again during the next shooting phase as a dedicated spotter to get the same benefit. It could be useful for concentrating squad fire on important targets, which is how I believe it was intended to be used. The actual written rules are a bit vague (errata?), but let’s face it, old Necromunda rules are showing their age, and weren’t likely intended for the advanced weapons and armor of full 40k units. :D

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