AI Scenario: Trench Run [M37 Scallop Stars Campaign]


This is an Aeronotica Imperialis Scenario inspired by a famous Sci Fi Movie and set in the M37 Scallop Star Purges.

Trench Run


The infamous Warlord Gorkanozian and his pet Big Mek 'Admirral' Tarkork of da Stormtroopas tribe are known throughout the Antona sector for their command of the terrifying Space Hulk Cell of Revulsion – known to the orks as Da Deff Star.  Believed destroyed some centuries before during the Infancy Crusade, it became increasingly clear that Tarkork had been steadily rebuilding and reinforcing the craft – now the size of a small moon – from the salvage of large-scale fleet battles that occurred deeper within orkspace space in the years before the Fourth Great Cull.  

The world of Urartu brought the full terror of the situation home to Lord Commander Ultima Abattol and Admiral Kars. Expecting a lightning victory over the few ork inhabitants of the minor system owing to the overwhelming numbers of the veteran Guard regiments from Bothan they had deployed, they and the rest of Imperial Command were horrified when a lone shuttle bearing fewer than a hundred tattered survivors of the regiments limped back to the fleet.

Reporting that a moon-sized craft had lumbered into orbit and systematically scoured the planet of life – both ork and human – the Bothans stated that the craft had continued moving out-system towards Tonnabruggias. It became clear that Tarkork was intent on using the Space Hulk as a weapon of fear to extort ‘protekshun money’ from a number of defiant Imperial words at the edge of the Scallop Stars. 

As far as the Imperium was concerned the Cell of Revulsion was precociously well armed and shielded and capable of massive planetary bombardment. By the third year of the war, the lumbering giant had further demonstrated its puissance and threat to the Imperial advance by destroying a number of battleships from the Grovsenor Purge Fleet, which had interdicted the craft in the open void and attempted a frontal assault, with disastrous results.

The craft had come to construe one of the most serious threats to the Cull as a whole, and could not be allowed to survive. What little comfort the Imperium could take from this was intelligence: its major drawbacks were its inability to move quickly, as well as its inability to effectively target anything smaller than a capital ship.

Warboss Gorkanozian had a large ego, even for an ork, and he never considered a small one-man fighter to be any threat to his Deff Star. Imperial analysis of the Cell of Revulsion, drawn from their experiences against the hulk during the Infancy Crusade and confirmed during the abortive void conflict, had revealed a weakness in the battle station that allowed the Imperial forces of the time to reduce the craft to a drifting, powerless hulk.  Even with this information in hand, the approach would not be easy, and the idea of attacking a world-sized craft with fighter wings was terrifying.

Should the weakness remain, a pilot would be required to manoeuvre his fighter straight down a large trench on the surface of the space hulk just underneath the main power field generators and skim the surface to a point. The target area was a mere two meters wide: a small thermal exhaust port, designed to vent the heat generated by powering the space hulk. The shaft led directly to the reactor system. A precise hit would start a chain reaction which should disable the station. Only a precise hit would set off a chain reaction. The shaft is shielded, so ground attack weapons (eg torpedoes and missiles) would have to be used. 


The Attacker wins if he can ‘bullseye’ or cause a successful hit on the thermal exhaust port (see below) which is at the end of the trench or if all Defending aircraft are destroyed.  The Defender wins if he destroys all Attacker aircraft with the capability of ground attack or missiles or if the thermal exhaust port appears and is not successfully attacked before it disappears.



Attacker and Defender should each take 125 points of aircraft.  No ground units may be taken by the attacker.  The attacker must have at least one aircraft with ground attack or missile capabilities.  The Defender may take a single ground unit if they wish out of their allocation which must be placed inside the trench during deployment and will be treated as scenery with regards to the scenario instructions.  Traditionally this scenario would have Imperial Attackers and Ork Defenders


Setup: Scenery (Da Trench)

A 6’ by 4’ table should be used, preferably grey or city fight colours. Three trench markers should also be used (with a fourth required as a spare).  Three 6’ coloured pieces of string could be used for example.  Initially one piece should divide the table in half along the long edge and the other two pieces should be 1’ away from the centre line (black lines are trenches):







The ground outside of the trench is level 3.  The ground inside the trench is level 0


Scenery should be deployed by the defender or a neutral third party and should be deployed relatively evenly across the board with equal amounts of it in and out of trench.


Setup: Anti-Aircraft Emplacements (Da Turbo Lazer Battreez)

The Defender should place 50 points of ground based anti aircraft units entirely outside of the trench.  These can be bought as fixed or mobile but they will not be able to move during the game except under the instructions of the scenario.  If the Defender is not Imperial then they may use their points allocation to purchase Hydras as an alternative to their race specific units.



Deployment is along the short board edges.  The attacker should deploy all his craft within 4 inches of the board edge.  The Defender then places all of his units within 4 inches of his board edge and optionally deploys any ground unit within the trench.  Ground units cannot fire in the first turn of the game.



Special Rules

Trench Run: At the end of every turn, all aircraft and scenery should be moved towards the Attackers table edge by exactly 2’.  All aircraft which would move off the table edge in this way are removed from the game as casualties (they are out of the fight).  All scenery removed in this way is redeployed by the Defender by the amount of inches that it would have ‘fallen off’ from the Attackers board edge.  For example if a gun emplacement is 19 inches from the attacker’s board edge then it must be placed 5 inches in from the Defenders boards edge. Scenery placed in this way cannot be placed in such a way as to cause a collision with an Attackers aircraft or force the unit to exit the board.


Advanced Rules for Trench Run: Additionally during this phase the Defender may modify the part of the trench that is within 2’ of his table edge by adjusting the point at which the Trench markers touch his board edge.  He may use the fourth trench marker to split the trench or he may shift the trench left or right.  The only restriction is that the trench must always be either 2’ wide or two sections of 1’ and direction changes should always be straight lines (no curves).  Use of this rule should be agreed with the Attacker before use as it adds significant complication in moving the scenery back as the trench lines must also be moved exactly.  It is possible with this rule to create altitude 3 ‘islands’ which move every turn.  If using this system it may be wise to use 2' pieces of string to mark the trench (instead of 1 6' piece)


Victory Conditions – The Thermal Exhaust Port (Dat stooped hot thingy)

At the start of turn 5 the Defender must place a Thermal Exhaust Port within 2 inches of his deployment zone, inside the trench.  If the trench is split then the attacker can choose which trench it is placed in.  The Port is an altitude level 1 structure with 1 HP.  It is a small target and is at -1 to hit.  The port can only be destroyed using missiles or a ground attack weapon.  If attacked with missiles, a +2 to hit bonus is granted for any missile attacks at altitude 1 but otherwise it is treated as an aircraft with no save, including all range modifiers, (for missiles) or a building with no save (for ground attack)


At the start of turn 5, do not recreate the trench within 2’ of the Defenders deployment zone – the trench has ended.  A trench marker should be laid perpendicular to the trench.  The line indicates that the trench has ended in an altitude 3 wall, similar to the walls of the trench.  Any aircraft that moves into the side or end wall at altitude 2 or lower is destroyed.


The Attacker has until the port is moved off of his board edge to attack and destroy the port or the Defender will win automatically.