Pizza and craft beer was used to bribe Tom to make the journey from North London to St. Albans in order to throw down his USAriadna against both my Neoterrans and Qapu Khalqi in what would be our first games against each other at 300 points. First priority was a quick pitstop at the excellent St. Alban’s Beer Shop to pick up 3 litres of Magic Rock Highwire IPA, before heading back to the gaming garage.
With Operation Flamestrike in full swing the obvious choice was to add our battles to the campaign. Zhurong Power Plant would be the first battleground, where we would fight to secure the ‘Engineering Deck’, and then on to Narooma Advanced Medical Complex for ‘Coffin Raiders’. These were chosen mostly due to laziness as we wouldn’t have to move scenery around between games, with them both making use of the objective room. First up was ‘Engineering Deck’, with my force made up of the finest soldiers the Human Sphere can offer, the Neoterran Capitalines.
My pre-match mind-games had obviously paid off, as Tom [wrongly] assumed I would be running my Jotum, following my threats to take a double-Jotum list on Facebook messenger. He therefore built his first list with TAGs in mind. Instead of the big boy, I took two mini TAGs, namely the Swiss Guard with missile launcher, and the awesome looking Aquila Guard with HMG.
Winning the WIP roll, I chose to make Tom go first as I felt I was probably more effective in the reactive turn. In return he made me set up first, and I made a great start by forgetting to deploy my Trauma Doc, although I did remember that Tom had Van Zant, deploying in a way that would make it difficult to walk on anywhere vital. I actually remembered the Trauma Doc on turn 2, so did a dispersion roll to see where it would deploy, and it came on just behind the large medical complex. Maybe I should have forfeited the model, but it was a friendly game, and I bought the beer. I then spent a Command Token to limit Tom to only using one Command Token in his first turn.
USAriadna Turn One
With a snarl and a bark, the Devil Dog and Antipode team spent the first half of their ‘Impetuous’ order bounding down off the building and loping towards the nearest unit, my Aquila Guard. The Antipode generated AROs from the Aquila Guard and Dronbot with HMG, so the Devil Dog threw smoke in front of his buddy with his second skill. We rolled this as a F2F, which I later found to be wrong, as the ‘Special Dodge – Smoke’ only protects the throwing model. Anyway, it didn’t matter as the weight of fire from both the Aquila Guard and Dronbot were more than enough to put the dog down.
Seeking payback for the dead puppy, the infiltrating Grunt with heavy flamer stood up, unleashing a torrent of flame at the Dronbot. Unfortunately for the Grunt, the Dronbot’s armour was impervious to the heat, with the Grunt getting minced by multiple HMG shots. I think Tom made a bit of an error going after the Dronbot rather than the Swiss Guard, even though he didn’t know it was a Swiss Guard yet, as the flamer would have killed the TO:Camo and the Grunt could have stayed prone. I’ll take it.
Matthew McConaughey then roped onto the board, putting down the covering Auxbot after a bad guesstimate about the size of the template left it taking three unopposed rifle shots.
Van Zant then headed up the stairs, shooting the Dronbot in the rear to put it two levels unconscious.
Getting cocky, Roger moved further up the stairs to draw a bead on the FO Auxilia and Aquila Guard. Time to reveal my Swiss Miss[ile]! Unsurprisingly the Swiss Guard outrolls Van Zant’s ‘Dodge’, putting him down.
Things don’t go entirely the way of the Hyperpower, as the Grunt HMG then opened up on the Aquila Guard, winning the F2F roll and hitting twice. The finest armour money can buy, plus cover, left me needing to beat 8s. Two 6s left me bemused and the Aquila Guard unconscious. Tom made another mistake here by not spending more orders to shoot the Aquila Guard while he was down, which would cost him later.
With the Swiss Guard revealed, he becomes the focus of the Ariadnan attack, with a Hardcase in hidden deployment revealing to shoot, favouring his light shotgun over his tactical bow. “So, I’m on minus 6 for TO:Camo, and minus 3 for cover, so I need 2s?” Awkward silence, as the Swiss Guard chalks up another kill.
The Devil Dog then came around the corner, but with him needing 19s to smoke, and me needing 18s to missile launcher, somehow both of us miss. End of USAriadna turn one.
Neoterran Turn One
First priority was to get the Aquila Guard back up, which would also earn me a classified. Standing in the way were two Grunts, one with an HMG and a Sniper, covering the Aguila Guard’s unconscious body. First order was spent by the Fusilier Hacker, who put ‘Assisted Fire’ on the Dronbot. Four dice is usually better than one, and the Dronbot put the Grunt HMG unconscious. Getting over-excited, I forget to take any photos of this, or of the [now deployed] Trauma Doc, who ignored the hail of bullets to run over to the Aqualia Guard, shrugging off an unopposed shot from the Sniper as she successfully passed her ‘Doctor’ roll.
NCA 1 – 0 USAriadna
Scuttling over, the Dronbot put the Sniper down, despite her burst bonus from the link team. Heaving himself up, the Aquila Guard decided it was payback time. First to go down were the two Foxtrots, who revealed to shoot, each receiving two bullets to put them unconscious.
After a pretty brutal first turn where the Aquila Guard and Swiss Guard showed why they are so bloody expensive, I hand back to Tom.
USAriadna Turn Two
“So, I’m in Loss of Lieutenant, so… yeah”. Turn two was a short one for Tom, as the HMG toting Grunt had been his Lieutenant. The Devil Dog spent his ‘Impetuous’ order trying to get to the Swiss Guard, but with a yelp was turned into dogmeat by a missile launcher, without the need to roll any of the other shooting attacks. The FO Auxilia ‘Dodged’ a little closer to the console.
Things went from bad to worse for Tom, as the remaining Grunt sniper got critted by an ARO from the Aqulia Guard. The rest of Tom’s turn was spent shuffling a little, with a Grunt FO moving towards the objective room.
NCA Turn Two
Most of turn two was spent using coordinated and link team orders to move the whole NCA force up, with the Auxilia FO opening the doors of the objective room, before unleashing the Aquila Guard inside to gun down the Grunt FO. Moving up behind, the Auxilia successfully hacked the central console.
The Fusilier link moved towards the console on top of the building, the Hacker surviving a ‘Surprise Shot’ from another Foxtrot before dropping prone, and crawling over to the console to take it for NCA.
USAriadna Turn Three
With very few models left and the writing on the wall, Tom just shuffles…
NCA Turn Three
Fusilier link moves up, before successfully hacking GoGo Marlene to achieve the second classified. With that we call it.
NCA 10 – 0 USAriadna
While I was really happy with my list, I wasn’t expecting to win by such a large margin. Tom had thrashed me during his last visit, and had been on a bit of a hot streak, getting a win in his slow grow league over Steel Phalanx, and also trouncing a Tohaa force in a Campaign Paradiso game. While he only has a small selection to choose from, he knows his army really well.
As well as being diced [I got about four crits this game to Tom’s zero] I think he made a couple of errors, the first being to focus on my Dronbot rather than my Swiss Guard, and the second in failing to kill off the Aquila Guard, who both then rather imperiously destroyed the rest of his army.
I think I dealt with Van Zant a lot better this time around, setting up with him in mind, which limited his impact to a downed Auxbot and Dronbot. And, probably more importantly, I rolled really, really well.
The Swiss Guard is in the hat for model of the game, taking out Van Zant, a Hardcase, a Devil Dog, and locking down an entire side of the board. The Dronbot also did really well, locking down the other side of the board. However, the Aquila Guard takes the accolade, coming back from unconscious to crit his way into the objective room and securing an overwhelming win for the Hyperpower.
Link to Operation Flamestrike here
Next up, Qapu Khalqi vs. USAriadna in Coffin Raiders!