Due to re-scheduling the multi-player grand final of the ITS league I’ve been playing in, I suggested to Steve at Enfield Gamers that we try out the 20×20 Infinity system, available via DataSphere. Steve, being the lovely chap he is, agreed straight away, using the opportunity to try out a hacker-heavy 300 point Tunguska list. “I feel naked without a link team” Steve admitted just before the start of the game. In response I brought a Hassassin Bahram list, wanting to actually get some use for the worryingly large amount of beautiful but unfamiliar models from the ‘other’ Haqqislam sectoral. No state of undress for me as I included a 5-man Ghulam link with my new favourite weapon, the missile launcher [Edit – my list was unintentionally illegal, as the AVA of Ghulams in HB is 4 – sorry Steve!] After watching with bemusement as it almost single-handedly blew my army to kingdom come in the last game, I had to get me one of those. “When you absolutely, positively, got to kill every mutha…. in the room, accept no substitutes” . Link to my list is here.
After agreeing to re-roll ‘Rivers of Blood’ [great scenario name, essentially the same as ‘Annihilation’, which we had played last time] we instead rolled ‘Escape with Dropship’ as primary, and ‘Zombiefication’ as secondary, both really fun looking missions.
For those not familiar with the 20×20 rules, ‘Escape with Dropship’ is pretty much as it sounds. A dropship in the middle needs to be repaired [0 mod to WIP for engineers, -6 for non-engineers], entry hatch opened [-3 WIP to non-engineers and non-hackers] and launched [-3 WIP to everyone] with a maximum of 4 models inside. What makes this a great scenario is that if the dropship is launched, every model with LoS gets an ARO, making for a potentially nail-biting ending [check out this game by ‘Gaming with the Cooler’ for an epic finish to the same scenario]. Talk about forging the narrative!
The secondary objective involved trying to stab an unconscious enemy model with an infected needle [1 model with medikit is nominated on each side] with an experimental drug that would turn them into a slavering zombie on a failed WIP-6 roll by the owner of the model. Hilariously, this then allows the player who infected the unfortunate zombie to now control it against its former master, albeit in a ‘Sepsitorized’ state.
After frantically searching for a dropship model, including scrounging what turned out, when placed, to be a ridiculously out of scale space ship from the Armada players, we settled on using one of Steve’s re-purposed Toys-R-Us APCs. My doctor carried the zombie juice, while Steve nominated one of his models to have a medikit.
We both passed the WIP roll, but I rolled higher, so chose deployment side, and to deploy second. My chosen side had a relatively high building with nice lanes of fire and sniper perches. Steve chose to go first. I probably would have opted to spend a command token to reduce his pool by 2 orders, but got over-excited after a couple of weeks without a game and forgot.
Turn 1 Nomads
Steve started by using two orders to put the ‘Assisted Fire’ hack on both of his TR HMG Remotes. “Two remotes! Filth!” I exclaimed.
“I wonder where I got that idea.” was Steve’s response. Touche [I usually take two in my QK list].
Steve declared ‘Idle’ on his first Remote, to which I responded with ‘Shoot’ from all 3 models who could declare AROs; missile launcher [ML] linked Ghulam, Lasiq with viral sniper rifle [VSR] and my own Remote with HMG. Steve split his burst, putting 3 into the ML and 1 into the Lasiq, leaving the Remote to shoot uncontested.
Despite hitting with all of his shots, I outrolled Steve with my ML Ghulam, needing 14s. The Remote failed all 3 saves, going straight to dead! Ironically, the Zondbot caught in the blast passed all 3 armour saves! Steve did manage to take down my Lasiq with the other shot, although I wasn’t too worried due to the prone Doctor Plus just behind.
Taking the early loss on the chin, Steve then put all of the burst from the second Remote into my ML Ghulam. This time I needed 17s as Steve was out of cover. I managed to outroll the one successful shot with a 16, with the Remote failing 2 of the 3 saves. Hilariously, the other Zondbot caught in the blast again passed all of the saving throws! Uncontested, my HMG managed to finish off the Remote, taking it to dead.
Unfortunately, Steve had placed his Gecko out in the open and in line of sight to my ML Ghulam. Knowing he was running out of options, Steve put the full burst from the Mk12 on the Gecko into my ML. In response, the ML critted on a 17 and scored another hit on 15, cancelling all of Steve’s rolls. With 1 STR already gone, Steve had to make 5 saves on his TAG, the Interventor [which happened to be his lieutenant] and the Transductor Remote, who were caught in the blast. Dead TAG, dead lieutenant, and dead Remote.
Heaving a sigh, Steve confessed that he was out of long-range firepower. Not yet giving up on the mission, the Clockmaker and Hacker moved towards the dropship/toy car. Fortunately for the Hacker, his silhouette was covered by the Clockmaker. Unfortunately for the Clockmaker, he had no-one to hide behind, and went unconscious trying to dodge against the TR HMG Remote.
Continuing Steve’s trend to save his best dice for the unimportant models, the Lunokhod successfully dodged. End of a incredibly tough turn for Steve’s Nomads.
Haqqislam Turn 1
Yelling “Allahu Akbar!” my Muttiwi’ah went Koala hugging, no doubt encouraged by the thought of spending all eternity with their pick of 72 virgins. Two Muttiwi’ahs got exploding hugs to the face, dying to shock ammunition. However, the 3rd Muttiwi’ah, his path now clear [albeit strewn with body parts] continued to advance towards the grey building. Rounding the corner he took out the cowering Alguaciles with a well placed chain rifle shot, passing his own armour save in return.
Declaring a coordinated move on my two impersonators, they ‘Long-Skill Climbed’ to the top of the building, fortunately out of LoS of the de-Koala’d Moran. Declaring ‘Surprise Attack’, I revealed my right-hand impersonator to be Al Djabel. Choosing to dodge, the Moran failed his roll, leaving me needing anything on two dice [I chose martial arts level 4 for +1 burst]. This left the Moran needing to pass 4 BTS saves, with BTS 0. Moran got Freddie Krugered to the chest.
By this time I was caught up in a thirst for blood, and decided to combat drop my spitfire Ragik in to kill the Zondbot. Successfully dropping in, the plucky little Zondbot survived a round of shooting before finally going to machine heaven.
With the red mist clearing I realised that there was actually a mission to win, so sheepishly moved up the Engineer with my last order and successfully doctored my Lasiq. End of Haqqislam turn 1.
Nomad Turn 2
Being in Loss of Lieutenant, Steve didn’t have much to do during his second turn, only just avoiding being in ‘Retreat!’ His Lunokhod climbed up the stairs behind my Ragik and opened up with a heavy flamer. Despite a failed dodge, my Ragik passed his armour save.
Haqqislam Turn 2
Finally focussing on the mission, my Engineer moved up to the front of the dropship/APC, ready to open up the bonnet and take a look. Rather than some rusty sparkplugs, he instead found a Spektr in hidden deployment. Despite making the first save vs. a pistol shot, the Engineer then failed the one thing I needed him to do, an uncontested WIP to repair the dropship, and went down to the second pistol shot. Turning around, the remaining Mittiwi’ah then chainrifled the Spektr, receiving a pistol shot in return and going ‘Dogged’. The Spektr passed the save, got chainrifled again, and passed again, taking out the Muttiawi’ah. FFS.
The second boarding shotgun Ragik then attempted to jump in right next to the ‘dropship’ but scattered off, landing 16 inches away from his intended target. Frustrated, I decide to take out the Lunokhod, but stupidly declare a blast, hitting my own Ragik and killing both it and the Lunokhod. The link team spend the last three orders to climb down off the building and advance towards the middle of the table, ready to fly away. End of a rather uninspiring Haqqislam turn 2.
Nomad turn 3
Steve was actually in ‘Retreat!’ at this point, but we just played on as normal because we couldn’t find whether that meant the game was over or not. Steve’s only remaining model, the Zero behind the foodbooth [who I had completely forgotten about] popped out and declared shoot against the boarding shotgun Ragik who had scattered in the previous turn. I won the F2F roll with the Ragik, who we realised had critted once we had subtracted the Camo, putting the Zero unconscious. We didn’t bother rolling the other AROs, and shook hands, accepting that I should fairly easily be able to complete all of the objectives in my turn. Victory to Haqqislam!
After the game we spoke about a few different things, the first being Steve’s choice to go first. With two TR HMG Remotes, Steve would actually be rolling more dice in ARO than in his active turn, and may well have been better served by putting me into bat first. However, that would mean he couldn’t have run his ‘Assisted Fire’ hack, so the Remotes would only be rolling on 11s. We had a brief discussion about whether more dice were better than positive mods, but couldn’t work out the maths, so moved on.
The second thing we discussed was missile launchers. Steve and I both agreed that they can be ridiculously powerful in a link team, as the ML will be rolling at +1 burst, and nearly always on a +6 mod due to range and the bonus from the link. Combined with the blast template, they are pretty scary, and had led to two very one-sided games. Admittedly I rolled really well against the Remotes in turn 1, and Steve rolled pretty badly for the saves [except for the Nasmats lol], but for me a missile launcher in a link is now an auto-include.
The final thing was how one-sided the last few games had been. It would be nice to have a nailbiter at some point soon! This game can be brutal…
Next up, a 6 way, 450 point multi-player for the title of supreme champion of the ITS league!