Returning from holiday in Canada after nearly ruining the wedding due to my drunken antics involving rutgot ‘Screech’ rum, bologna [Canadian for spam, essentially what’s left on a pig or chicken once they’ve taken off all the prime bits for dogfood] and an attempt to recreate the scene at the end of ‘Dirty Dancing’ with my buddy Joey [which, rather than being a touching scene and fitting finale to a perfect day, led to us falling into the DJ’s speakers], it was time to finish up mission 102 from Campaign Paradiso. First up was Tom, with his USAriadna, while I was experimenting with my new[ish] toys, Pan Oceania of the Neoterran persuasion.
A summary of the mission can be find here [again, not my work] and a complicated bugger it was too.
Tom’s deployment – ‘Muricans and stuff, hard to differentiate as they are all grey, like an army of pissed off freedom bringing John Majors.
Winning the WIP roll, Tom chose turn order, with me gleefully opting to take first turn.
Neoterran Turn 1
Breaking the link, the Fusilier Hacker uploaded ‘assisted fire’ to the Dronbot, before re-joining the link by expending a command token. With a “Beep-Boop”, the Dronbot cycled up its HMG, sighting on the two visible members of the Grunt link on top of the two story card building, toting HMGs and sniper rifles respectively. At -3 for cover, the Remote needed 8s. Splitting the burst, the first two shots went well wide, while the second two punched out two neat little holes where the sniper’s eyes used to be. Unfortunately for Tom, the sniper also happened to be the link team leader.
Despite being instructed over and over during the pre-mission briefing that his job was to stealthily hack Techno-devices, the bloodthirsty Swiss Guard revealed from camo to ‘surprise shot’ the Marauder through the trees, killing him outright before sending the Traktor Mul unconscious. With his desire to kill falling, the Swiss Guard moved to the centre console, successfully discovering the Activation Sequence.
Neoterra 1 – 0 USAriadna
Transmitting the Activation Sequence to the waiting Palbot, the little remote scampered up onto the roof of the building. With all potential enemies either dead or unconscious, the Palbot was able to take his time activating the Techno-device, successfully bringing it to life it on the first try. I realise now that this made me a terrible cheat as, according to the mission rules, it had to be the same hacker/engineer who activates all of the Techno-devices. However, neither of us realised at the time, and Tom probably won’t realise until he reads this. Sorry mate! Damn you Campaign Paradiso and your horribly complicated yet incredibly compelling scenarios!
Neoterra 2- 0 USAriadna
With the heavy infantryman Swiss Guard having consumed the lion’s share of the orders, it was over to Tom.
USAriadna Turn 1
The impetuous Devil Dog team bounded towards the defender of the Holy See of San Pietro, hungry for their next meal.
Successfully winning the F2F against the Swiss Guard to toss a smoke bomb, the two giant dogs bounded through the haze, the Devil Dog taking a wound from the Dronbot HMG on the way in while the nervous heavy infantryman successfully ‘dodged’ back.
Dangerously close by now, the Devil Dog unholstered his boarding shotgun, clutching it in his paws and stepping out of the smoke. The antipode-human hybrid sent two rounds into the Swiss, who returned fire, as did the Dronbot. As the smoke cleared, the Swiss Guard emerged unscathed, while the Devil Dog lay unconscious on the ground, the K-9 Antipode whimpering and licking his master’s face.
After sending the two Maverick bikers roaring up the table, the Grunt HMG, his link reformed, opened up on the Dronbot. This time the plucky little robot was left a smoking ruin, the Machinist clutching his now useless spanner.
The way now clear, the Spec-Ops, Agent Orange El Gingero, by now trained as a hacker, attempted to activate the Techno-device, discovering the Activation Sequence after a couple of failed attempts [edit – apparently more like six attempts according to Tom, how could I forget!].
Neoterra 2 – 1 USAriadna
Neoterra Turn 2
With the Grunt HMG receiving the present of unconsciousness from the Fusilier link team, the Mulebot scuttled imperiously up the table, all visible threats eliminated. Along the way he stopped to activate a Techno-device and take out a Maverick biker, before running out of orders and hunkering down on top of the titty bar. The Swiss Guard then advanced to the central console, activating the third Techno-device while nonchalantly killing the remaining Maverick.
Neoterra 4 – 1 USAriadna
USAriadna Turn 2
Not Van-Zant came parachuting in, the 6th Airborne Ranger stabbing the Machinist [being proxied by a Kamau] to death before opening up on the Auxilia and his friendly Auxbot. Succeeding only in sending an Auxbot unconscious, Tom turned to his Grunt link again.
Peering round the corner, a rifle toting Grunt opened up on the ‘total reaction’ Mulebot. Needing 11s, my dice were again smoking hot as I rolled two crits!
Neoterra Turn 3
With the last Techno-device within touching distance, the Mulebot advanced across the roof. Desperate, Agent Orange El Gingero stood up and opened fire, before being mercilessly gunned down by automated combi-rifle fire. Sadly, this was to be the end of Agent Orange El Gingero, who failed his MEDEVAC roll after the game, succumbing to the terrible ballistic trauma.
Neoterra 5 – 1 USAriadna
Successfully activating the final Techno-device, it remained only for the Fusilier Hacker in the backfield to perform the Triangulation, transmitting the location of the lost alien settlement to the command dropship.
Final score – Neoterra 4 – 1 USAriadna! For the Hyperpower!
Tom was diced, plain and simple. My dice were smoking hot all game, and his were terrible. I rolled double crits twice, and won nearly every F2F roll. Given that Tom had made an epic hour and forty-five minute bus ride to get there, I was feeling a little guilty by the end. In addition, I, albeit totally unwittingly, cheated. However, I don’t think it would have made much difference, as, instead of a Mulebot advancing up the table activating Techno-devices, it would have been a TO Swiss Guard, and I know which I would prefer to face! Given that we finished on turn 3 of 4, I had another turn’s worth of orders to play with, and Tom didn’t have much left to stop me by close of play. Finally, I replayed the scenario the following week with my Qapu Khalqi, and personally think the scenario worked better the way Tom and I played it, as activating five terminals in four turns is a tall order [although I would say that!]
The Swiss Guard deserves special mention for clearing the centre of the table and discovering the activation sequence; however, there is a surprise winner of the MVP this time around… the Mulebot! Activating two Techno-devices, then taking out a Spec-Ops and the best part of a link team with his combi-rifle, this humble remote did more than any other unit to secure the ‘W’ for Pan Oceania. Unfortunately, being a remote and unable to go prone, the Mulebot can’t take a bow. Bravo, though, you perfectly engineered little beauty.
Link to Operation Flamestrike here