Scorchio! With the weather report predicting blue skies and soaring temperatures, Tom and I decided to risk our delicate, paper-thin redhead skin by throwing down some Infinity alfresco style, followed by a belly busting barbecue. With dead animals of every variety [and some token lettuce] stuffed in the fridge, plus an icebucket full of IPA from Beer Shop St. Albans, we set up outside. Not all ideas are as good in reality as they are on paper, but once we had bluetacked down the cardboard crates to stop them being pushed across the board by the wind and taken down the washing lines that were garroting us each time we went inside, we were good to go.
Tom was running his USAriadna [because he’s too tight to buy any more models] and I opted for my [now fully painted!] Qaqpu Khalqi. The battleground would be Mount Skillion and the mission ‘Supremacy’ Skillion style, i.e. ‘No Retreat!’ and Mountainous Terrain [we opted for ‘Low’, so would be using the second movement value. This meant the Grunts would only be moving two inches – that’ll teach them to wear so much armour!] Winning the WIP roll I opted to go first.
Tom’s deployment. Of note are the 5-man Grunt link with sniper and HMG, and the Katyusha and Uragan Traktor Muls, plus camo tokens all over the bloody shop.
Qapu Klaqi turn 1
The two Yuan Yuans parachuted in, one heading over to throw smoke on the head of the Djanbazan, and the other throwing smoke on top of the closest console.
Using the remainder of the orders from the smaller pool [Tom had cancelled two of them with a Command Token] plus a Coordinated Order using an order from the main pool, the Alguaciles moved up, the Paramedic successfully hacking the console, safe within the smoke from enemy eyes.
Qapu Khalqi 1 – 0 USAriadna
With the rest of my orders I do… nothing. The Djanbazan opened up on the link team through the smoke, hitting the HMG and sniper a couple of times before they both opted to voluntarily fail their Guts checks and seek total cover. Turning to the Uragan Traktor Mul, again the sniper hit, with the Remote unable to shoot back after taking all MODS into account, but the primitive machine made its armour saves.
Frustrated, I switched to the link team, hoping forcing Tom to make three saves from explosive ammunition might finally lead to a failed roll. Standing up while the HMG went prone, the missile launcher Ghulam split the burst, missing with her shot on the sniper, passing an armour save from the return shot.Turning to the F2F with the Uragan, I confidently rolled the dice, certain that, needing 14s vs. 4s, I would easily win the contest. Crit! The Urugan shows a 4 on its dice, with my shot missing. As it was Shock, that was the missile launcher down for good. With a sigh and a facepalm, I reformed the link with a Command Token, then turned over to Tom. Each game seems to bring up a first for me, and this was the first time that I hadn’t managed to kill a single enemy model during my first time.
USAriadna turn 1
America! Fuck yeah! Tom opened proceedings by cheating, forgetting to use his Impetuous Order on the Maverick then dropping his 6th Airborne Ranger in my deployment zone. Who does this guy think he is, Van Zant? No matter, as Tom placed him in a bit of a dodgy position, and the parachutist went down to chainrifle fire from the Yuan Yuans, who made their armour saves.
Tom then zoomed the Maverick up the board, spewing smoke from front and rear as the smoke launcher blocked Scarface’s lines of fire, the ARO from the MK12s going way wide.
Tom finished up by attempting to barbecue my Kaplan Engineer, who Dodged to avoid the flames, while both FO Foxtrot Rangers successfully hacked their consoles, with the Spec-Ops in the Grunt link doing the same.
Looking at the table it was clear Tom was controlling more quadrants than me, for 2 more VPs.
Qapu Khalqi 1 – 5 USAriadna
Qapu Khalqi turn 2
Dulling the disappointment of a shocking turn 1 with a long pull of Kernel IPA and counting up my remaining orders, I was by no means out of this. Spending my last Command Token to pull the Alguacile Hacker into the main pool, the Yuan Yuans did what they do best, tossing smoke on top of my Djanbazan and in the direction of the FO Foxtrots, one of whom was still camouflaged. The impressively mustachioed Yuan Yuan, who had rolled +2 armour for his booty, moved into his own smoke, attempting an Intuitive Attack on the camo marker. Needing a 13, and with a 65% chance of success, I failed the first roll. No matter, I’ll try again! Fail. No matter, third time lucky! Fail. With the last order I moved the Alguacile Paramedic up to the building, setting up overlapping fields of fire should the Foxtrots get brave.
The Ghulam HMG in the reformed link stayed Prone to crawl out of the line of fire of the heavy flamethrower Grunt, before standing up and splitting his burst, sending 3 into the TR Urugan and 2 into the Foxtrot. Dropping the Foxtrot but missing the Remote with all of his shots, the Ghulam passed an armour save from return fire before failing his Guts test and dropping prone. Today, the Men of the Gate couldn’t hit a cow’s ass with a banjo.
Getting desperate to at least secure as many quadrants as Tom, the TAG sent a panzerfaust shot towards the Spec Ops between the buildings, the missile going wildly wide, before lumbering into the kill zone of the road. Trusting that the armour of the Ramhorn-327 could weather the storm of AROs, Scarface split his twin MK12 bursts into the Grunt behind the holo-ad, and the Foxtrot on top of the console on the other side of the board. Missing with all of his shots [something must have damaged his targeting relay] Joe Turner failed every save, taking four wounds to go straight to dead without passing go.
The HMG toting Ghulam decided to try his luck again, whispering a prayer to Allah before standing up and pouring fire into the flamethrower Grunt and the Urugan remote. Despite surviving a lucky hit from the Urugan’s missiles, the Ghulam’s armour proved insufficient to prevent being roasted by the Grunt.
In spite, the Kaplan Engineer peeked out at the Grunt who had miraculously survived point blank shots from twin oversized MK12s and an HMG, sending the infidel to Hell with his combi rifle, but being horribly burnt into unconsciousness for his efforts.
Running out of options, the Djanbazan attempted to take out the Urugan again, with the remote dodging on a Crit! Whispering apologies for his poor marksmanship to Allah, the sniper climbed down from his perch, moving into the cover of the hospital building to add his points to that quadrant. At this point I offered to call it, but Tom wanted to carry on, and I didn’t want to be a twat, so we carried on.
USAriadna turn 2
Learning from the mistakes made by his subordinate, Roger roped in, cowardly shooting a Yuan Yuan in the back.
The way now clear, the poor Alguacile Paramedic was forced into changing facing this way and that by the two Foxtrots, before one leaned out over the building and put a bullet through the top of the dizzy mercenary’s skull.
Gunning her engine, the Maverick squealed towards the Djanbazan sniper in the cover of the central hospital building, drawing her pistol. Undaunted, the Djanbazan also dropped his rifle in favour of the shorter ranged weapon. Rolling an 11, I confidently informed Tom he needed to Crit to beat that roll…
Tom advanced his FO Foxtrot, pausing on the way to ‘Coup-de-Grace’ the Yuan Yuan for a Classified before hacking the last console in favour of Ariadna. With only a few models left, it was clear that Tom had more quadrants again.
Qapu Khalqi 1 – 9 USAriadna
Qapu Khalqi turn 3
With the writing firmly on the wall, the Shihab Remote activated, gunning down one of the Foxtrots before, despite rolling four dice, being deactived by the remaining Foxtrot. Rather cinematically, at this point the models’s legs broke. With that we shook hands, a complete whitewash by the ‘Muricans, Tom rubbing salt into the wounds by outrolling the hack-off at the end to deny me even a consolation VP.
Qapu Khalqi 0 – 10 USAriadna
Despite the awesomeness of playing outside and my excellent opponent, this was easily the most frustrating game I’ve played to date. My plan, to smoke the Djanbazan with the Yuan Yuans each turn before sending them up the table to kill as much as possible while the Djan gave out free headshots, worked out brilliantly, except for the killing bit. I have never rolled so badly, failing to kill a single model during turn 1 and only four all game! On the other side of the table Tom’s dice were on fire, evidenced by the double Crit on the Djanbazan when only a Crit could beat my roll, along with a Crit on a 4 to take out the missile launcher and even a Crit dodge on the Urugan! He also passed a ridiculous amount of armour saves; bloody Grunt armour! Fair play to Tom though, he took a really good list for this mission, with the infiltrating Foxtrots almost on the consoles before the game had even started, and made the most of his good luck. He also deserved some good dice after the last game.
MVP this game is… no-one. They don’t deserve it. I hate all of them. At least the barbecue was good, although Tom ate most of it.
Link to Operation Flamestrike here [sorry Haqqislam players].