To prevent financial bankruptcy and possible divorce, I have a self-imposed restriction to only two factions. Not that it really makes a difference to my Infinity habit, given all of the sectorals, but it makes me feel a little better about myself. Having gobbled up at least one of everything for my first love, Haqq, I settled on a Neoterra Capitaline Army for my side project. One reason really – Bolts. Their cute little horns and dynamic poses really appealed to me, and being able to throw mines at people is nothing to be sniffed at.
After long weekends spent assembling, this Saturday was their first outing in anger. Facing them would be my mate Tom’s USAriadna. I’ve got a pretty good record against Tom, largely due to him not knowing the rules, but he’s been getting in some games at a slow grow league. “I’ve learnt loads of new rules” was his last, ominous Facebook message. Venue would be the gaming garage, with added terrain after my big order from Zen finally arrived from Poland.
Tom asked to play ‘Seize the Antennas’ at 200 points, plus 7 XP Spec Ops, so that he could get some practice in before his next league game, which would be the same scenario. We also decided to upload the results to Operation Flamestrike for some added global campaign spice.
I won the WIP roll and opted to take first turn, with Tom deploying on the side with more buildings, and unsurprisingly making me deploy first. My cunning plan was to advance the Bolt link up the table, mauling the Grunt link in the process with the missile launcher, and establishing a defensive position to watch the middle antenna, while at the same time hopefully completing once of the classifieds by hacking Tom’s HVT [represented by GoGo Marlene, who Tom got of some bloke for a tenner, lucky bastard]. The Fusilier Hacker would then move up to claim the home antenna, and all home for tea and medals. In a fit of spite Tom spent a Command Token to reduce my order pool from 10 to 8 orders.
Turn 1 NCA
At the top of my ‘to-do’ list was the Grunt with heavy flamer that had annoyingly infiltrated on top of the roof by my Bolt link. In effect this meant I couldn’t do anything with my link until I had taken him out, locking down my missile launcher. The sniper on the building opposite was facing multiple AROs from the Grunt link if it fired on the little bugger, and the Remote was out of LoS. After much uhming and ahing I decided to shelve the problem and instead put Assisted Fire on my Remote in an attempt to whittle down Tom’s defensive Grunt link.
Needing 8s due to range [being 1 inch out of good range], my Remote opened up on Tom’s linked Grunt with sniper rifle, hoping that lots of dice would offset the fact that he was hitting me on 14s. Unfortunately, the Remote lost the F2F and went unconscious; not too much of a problem as the Engineer was at hand with his trusty spanner and it would allow me to complete one of my classifieds. I actually failed the WIP roll, slipping with the spanner and frying his little robot brain, which I realise now should have killed the Remote. However I thought this only took it to the second level of unconsciousness, so I spent another order and successfully brought him back up. My bad, rules error on my part, but as I forgot I could re-roll using a Command Token the overall result would have been the same, albeit with one less Command Token in my pocket.
NCA 1-0 ‘Muricans
The Remote opened up again, but the tinkering with his innards had clearly shaken something loose and he again lost the F2F, going back unconscious. Looking at my dwindling pile of orders I decided it was finally time to try and get rid of that pesky Grunt.
My hacker confidently moved around the edge of the building to bring the Grunt into his sights, but despite twice winning F2F rolls the Grunt passed his armour [ARM 3, WTF] and his guts checks. With that I was out of orders. Frustrating first turn overall, despite achieving a classified.
USAriadna Turn 1
Tom started by shuffling his link team around a little to get better firing lanes. The linked Grunt with HMG opened up on my Spec Ops sniper, who passed an armour save but had a panic attack and failed the guts check, going prone.
With the Spec Ops sniper cowering in fear and out of LoS, the infiltrating Grunt with heavy flamer let loose a torrent of flame on my Bolts. Fearing the worst, I declared Dodge with the two caught under the template. Both passed! I was still in this.
Shit then got real as Van Zant roped onto the board, turning up wherever he damn well chose, which happened to be behind my unconscious Remote. Van Zant began operations by cowardly opening up on the unsuspecting Fusilier Hacker while he had his back turned, taking him out of the fight, although the Machinist did mange to pass his Change Facing roll. With no-one able to draw LoS, Van Zant strolled up the ladder and onto the building, winning a F2F against the Machinist and giving him two barrels to the face from his heavy pistol. Roger then performed a ‘Coup de Grace’, to give Tom one of his classifieds.
NCA 1-1 ‘Muricans
With nothing left to do with the Grunt link, Tom burned the rest of his orders and handed over to me.
Turn 2 NCA
Despite losing the Remote, Machinist and Fusilier Hacker, I still had a 5 Bolt link, which included a Hacker, and, more importantly perhaps, a missile launcher. This sucker had proved deadly in my last few games [both in my favour and against] and I knew that it could really swing the momentum back my way. Appointing the missile launcher toting Bolt as the Link Team Leader, she peeked around the corner, ‘slicing the pie’ to bring the Grunt sniper into LoS, but avoiding the HMG. Feeling confident with the +6 bonus from range and the link leaving me needing 16s on two dice against the sniper’s 14s, I rolled the dice… and failed the F2F, then the armour save, despite having effectively 9 ARM from BTS and cover.
Taking a deep breath [a table flip isn’t an option when it’s your table] I edged out one of my combi-rifle Bolts to gain LoS on the Grunt with heavy flamer. He failed both his dodge and [finally!] armour roll, going unconscious. 11 points of Grunt had locked down 120 points of Bolts for a whole turn, so it was satisfying to see him go down, and I performed a mental teabag on his corpse. Reforming the link, I then turned my attentions on Van Zant. My Bolt couldn’t gain LoS and also get into cover without crossing in front of the Grunt link, so was forced to stand out in the open like a boss. Van Zant was fortunately facing the wrong way after stepping on my Machinist’s neck, and I had 4 dice. Hitting three times with my combi- rifle, Van Zant passed all of his saves. End of another frustrating turn.
Turn 2 USAriadna
Turn 2 started with Roger Van Zant running towards cover, hip-firing his rifle at my Bolt in the open as he went. Declaring Shoot as my ARO, the Bolt lost the F2F, dropping unconscious.
Tom then started to get ready to push buttons, moving up his camouflaged Foxtrot FOs and Spec Ops Machinist/Hacker. With all of his orders from the non-link team pool used up, again there wasn’t a lot for Tom to do and it was over to me. Could I pull off an unlikely victory in my final turn?
NCA turn 3
With only a small amount of orders and no antenna in my grasp, I threw caution to the wind and, spending a Command Token to reform the link, and the rest of my orders bar one, I moved my Bolts into the orange and white building and then onto the roof. Hoping to weather the storm of AROs and establish lanes of fire over the central antenna, the two combi-rifle Bolts moved towards cover, with the Bolt Hacker frantically tapping the keyboard while bullets whizzed around his head. The two combi-rifle Bolts went down, including my Lieutenant, while the Hacker miraculously survived due to some unlikely misses from the Grunts, successfully hacking the antenna.
NCA 4-1 ‘Muricans
With my last order the prone Spec Ops sniper stood up, having overcome her nerves, hoping to take out at least one of the link with a lucky crit. Facing numerous AROs I split fire into the HMG and the sniper. Needless to say, things didn’t go well for the sniper, not even managing to take out one of her targets, and she got shot to itty bitty pieces. Should have stayed down.
USAriadna Turn 3
All that remained was for Tom to mop things up. The Bolt Hacker went down to the Grunt link team, and my entire force was either dead or unconscious. The Foxtrots moved up and used a Coordinated Order to push all three buttons at the same time, failing two. I took grim satisfaction from the Foxtrot on the roof hilariously failing three times in a row. Tom moved another Foxtrot to ‘Secure HVT’ as he couldn’t complete one of his classifieds.
Final score NCA 4 – ‘Muricans 8
Brutal game. I definitely felt a little rusty, and it was obvious Tom had got some games under his belt as he used his defensive Grunt link, Van Zant and the infiltrating Grunt really well. However I can’t think of any big mistakes, other than perhaps leaving the Remote a little isolated [Edit – and not realising that the Remote had a 360 visor FFS]. I’m going to make excuses and blame the dice, as I think I only won one F2F the whole game, managing to take out the infiltrating Grunt. Pretty much every armour save was failed, other than the Bolt Hacker on the roof. I was rolling high when shooting and low when making armour saves the whole game, and only made one crit, which came in the second game. That’s what comes from using my green Haqq dice with my Pan O!
We replayed the scenario, swapping sides. However the bad dice continued and the result was even more one-sided, with my Bolt missile launcher taking a crit to the face first turn and Van Zant continuing his shenanigans by taking out my Machinist again. Tom also passed both of his Inferior Infiltration rolls which made it difficult to get out of my own deployment zone and forced me to put the Remote out on the flank again. I won’t do a full write-up of the second game as we had polished off the best part of 3 litres of Magic Rock Highwire IPA by that time, but it ended in a 10-0 victory to Tom. Despite the one-sidedness of the games, I felt we both had a much more firm grasp of the rules, shown by only having to stop to look up rules once, and, most importantly a lot of fun and beer was had by both sides.
I’ve uploaded both results to Operation Flamestrike. Sorry Pan O players! Link to Operation Flamestrike if you feel like voting 🙂