Since many people have been able to play out the quickstart, it is interesting to see how the new horde rules work (which was heavily emphasized in the adventure). The feedback on the forms has been positive. It seems to also capture the canon of space marines fighting hordes of enemies... and winning. So, after players had a taste of the horde rules, did some pattens form to beat them. Which are the most efficient ways to break hordes? I am wondering which tactics work best?
* Is it better to have everyone throw frag grenades during the first round and break the horde early?
* Should the heavy weapon marines use their weapons and leave the frag throwing to the tactical marine and the Apothecary (maybe even giving them all their grenades)
* How early do the hordes break, do they break early or does it take some heavy pounding? Do some hordes fight to the last man (or up to the 25% left mark).
* Is it better to fire many times? Aimed shots, or full or semi auto?
* Did the Marines prefer ranged fire or hand to hand?
* How dangerous was horde fire to Space Marines (unable to hit the broad side of a battleship, able to dodge? unable to penetrate armor). Where there some moments of "Oh S!it, another hit like that and I am GONE!"
* Does it help to have an apothecary heal wounded marines during a horde fight and keep them going? Was it a game changer?
* Did many parties feel compelled to take over the Armory so that they could replenish their ammo stores and frag grenades?
* How often did the marines need to use PDF army points to neutralize rebel hordes and take a break?
* Did any marine groups feel that they had a great rhythm going and could fight all the hordes in the city (they did not feel the need to rush to the end and could take their sweet time)?
Ultimately it depends on how people are working things through it.
In Final Sanction the Devastator and Tactical Marine(s) should full auto into a horde, as it is each HIT that reduces magnitude. Aimed Single shots and Melee are most efficient against Rebel Leaders and Rebel Generals; as well as the Genestealers to a lesser extent.
The Devastator generates double hits with his Heavy Bolter against a horde; presumably some of this represents panic and discord within the ranks. This means that, while unlikely, it is conceivable to reduce magnitude by as much as 20 in a round. As for modifiers, you are looking at +20 to hit for Full-Auto, +20 due to the hordes being considered Enormous (per the FAQ), and maybe +10 if you are firing from =/< 75 meters (short range for the Heavy Bolter). That gives Brother Shepheran an effective 98 BS, which means he can viably score 9 hits and reduce magnitude by 18 on a phenomenal roll. For a fate point he can even add a degree of success for a full 20 hit barrage of chowdering goodness.
The Tactical Marine(s) can reduce magnitude by 4 each round of full-auto fire. As they are using Kraken rounds they have the same effective range as the Heavy Bolter. So their modifiers would be +20 Auto-Fire, +20 for shooting an Enormous target, +10 for Bolter Mastery and +10 for Short Range; again =/< 75 meters. All this would give Brother Skold an effective 102 BS; making it very likely to get his 4 hits in each round. But remember, a maximum modifer of +/-60 applies once all factors are considered.
The Assault Marine and the Apothecary will likely want to fire Semi-Auto burst, though they'll likely be better off throwing frag grenades prior to closing ranks. Melee will not cost any grenades or Bolt Rounds, and both Marines can potentially score a decent number of hits each with their WS of 44 and 46 respectively. Charge into combat for the +10 bonus to hit. Once engaged in melee there is little reason to not execute All-Out attacks; gaining a +20 to hit, since you cannot dodge or parry attacks from a Horde. Remember that every 2 degrees of success in melee is an (extra?) hit, and the Power Fist generates one additional after all other considerations.
Something to consider when devising your tactics is that a Horde which has been engaged in Melee is still capable of making its ranged attacks; as the entire Horde is not in Melee.
Ranged Combat will generally net you a quickened rate of dispatch against any Horde you fight. Melee is a dangerously conservative route to take. The Imperial Stores is pretty much part and parcel of the secondary objective Help the PDF retake the city. Given that the team is stated to be short on munitions, it may become a slightly higher priority to rescuing the governor.
I've not yet run the mission myself, but I am greatly looking forward to it soon.