Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sedition Wars Outbreak Scenario 8: Critical Mass

My friend Bill and I got together to play Sedition Wars again.  Although a new version of the rules and cards came out recently, I am trying to finish off the main Outbreak campaign using the original 1.0 rules, as clarified by the original FAQ.  Bill has been my opponent through the last 4 scenarios and knows most of the quirks of the game.  Also, we played that Overload could not be used in reflex mode. Bill and I set up the board and selected forces before deploying.

Vanguard (Bill): 5 Samaritans, Reaver, Grenadier, Morgan Vade.
Strain (Brian): Brimstone, 3 Quasimodos, 6 Revenants

Once we set up the Board we rolled for deployment, and I won and set up first.  As soon as we had deployed, however, a slew of questions occurred to us.  The Vanguard objective was to bring 4 civilians to the train tile.  The Strain needed to infect 6 civilians and bring them all "within 2 squares of one another." Without clarification it would not be possible to play the game.  I will list our questions and the solutions we came up with.

  1. How are civilian counters infected?  The rules state any attack automatically hits and kills them.  So if that's the case the only way the Strain can infect them is with nano counters, it would seem.  Solution: We played that Strain could infect civvies with CC attacks that cause infection.
  2. How exactly must the Strain arrange the civilians in order to win?  "Within two squares of one another" is rather vague.  Solution: We played that as long as a chain of civvies exited where each one was within 2 squares of another, this would qualify.  Otherwise they would have to occupy a discrete 3 x 2 square area.  
  3. Can the Vanguard just kill 4 of the 9 civvies to create a situation where the Strain can only hope for a tie?  That is, if they kill 5 the Strain cannot infect 6, but the Vanguard could still theoretically ave 4. Solution:  We played that civvies could not be attacked other than to infect them as above to prevent this kind of game-y result.  
It was frustrating to see another scenario that was not clear enough as written to play off the shelf, but we figured out some quick patches which seemed to make the game work for us.  

On turn one the Strain advance rapidly to tile 2, and infect 1 civvie on Tile 1.  

The Vanguard advance on turn one full speed to get to tile 2, reasoning that the game will be decided by the 4 civvies there.

On turn 2, the Strain infect 5 more civvie models, for a total of 6 infected civvies.  They set up a fiorward defense of tile 2 with the three Quasimodos and the Brimstone ready to react.   

Here's tile 2 before the Vanguard assault

On Turn 2 the Vanguard storm the breach.  An overload shot takes down a Quasimodo and a Singularity Grenade hits the second Quasi.

 On turn 3 the Strain move 4 civvies toward a game-winning formation.  The two front Samaritans take a Vitirifier blast to the face.  Then the Brimstone steps over and unleashes a Braced beamflare, damaging and corroding three more.  

On turn 3, the Vanguard lose 3 more Samaritans as reflex Vitrifier and Beamflare attacks hit home with great die rolls.  The Vanguard player, however, pulls a chance at victory from the jaws of defeat by bringing up Vade to heal the forward Samaritan, and then maneuvering him to activate a civilian and move it back toward the Vanguard tile!  This prevents a Strain victory on the next turn.  The Reaver fails to impress by firing only two shots with Rock n' Roll and only hitting a Quasimodo once.  A Samaritan finishes off the wounded Quasimodo and kills the far right Samaritan with an incendio grenade.

I apologize as in the excitement of the last few turns I forgot to take more pictures.  On turn 4, the Strain activate 4 civilians and move them into formation.  A Revenant finishes off the corroded Samaritan who tried to save the civvie.  A braced and beamflare-d shot from the Brimstone hits Vade, who saves himself with his displacement field, still getting corroded.  Another Samaritan is caught in the blast and corroded.  Five of the six necessary infected civvies are in formation and waiting for their last friend to join them.  

On Vanguard turn 4 the Reaver focuses and fires 6 Rock n' Roll shots, liquidating the Brimstone on the fourth shot.  A Samaritan ganks another Revenant, and the Grenadier wounds the Revenant closest to the disputed civvie but fails to kill it.

On turn 5 the Strain move a Revenant to draw the sole reflex shot the Vanguard have.  The other Revenant who is on fire but not dead moves adjacent to and activates the civvie to send it toward the rest of the group.  Another civvie is activated by the last Revenant and now all the 6 infected civvies are within 2 spaces of each other as we defined it in the beginning.  This fulfills the condition for Strain victory.

Vanguard losses:  4 Samaritans
Strain losses: 3 Quasimodos, 1 Brimstone, 2 Revenants

Thoughts:  This was an interesting scenario but felt less flexible than Scenario 7.  It is less subtle than it might seem, however as there is going to be a scrum in the middle if the Strain aren't going to win a blowout.  The center tile is where all the action is at.  The Strain can get in a position to have 6 models infected by the end of Turn 2.  So the Vanguard have to get in there and take at least one civvie away from them ASAP.  I think if the Vanguard can get to Tile 1 then they must have already killed most or all of the Strain.  There is really no need for them to spend activations moving the civvies on tile 1 until they have beaten the Strain in combat.  

One more to go and we will have finally finished the Outbreak campaign!  

Dust Tactics: Operation Hades Mission 3: Assault on Communist Party Headquarters

Although I have played many games of Dust Tactics I have never made a battle report of a game.  Peter and i got together to play the second of a two-part mission.  In the first mission, we fought in the sewers for control of the exits into the square in front of the Zverograd CP headquarters.  In tight tunnel fighting, Peter pulled out the win taking control of one exit while preventing me from taking control of any.  In this game we played 300 points.  I took 5 units of Soviet infantry: 2 Ohotniki rifles, Chinese volunteers, Fakyeli combat engineers and Red Gurds Engineers as well as a unit of snipers backed by Yakov the Legendary Tactician, the IS-48 tank Beria, and a KV-3 Babushka walker.  Peter took the up-armored Wotan, a Heinrich, a Ludwig, Lara and the Heavy Recon Grenadiers, Stefan with Sturmpioniere, and Recon Grenadiers with Manfred, as well as a Kommandotrupp.

The mission objectives were for the Germans to have a single unit in the HQ at the end of turn 8.  The Soviets had to prevent that.  As the point were equal it seemed a very tough goal for the Germans.

Here is the initial setup after all units were deployed onto the board.  

For the first few turns, the two sides played chicken, with the Soviets mostly hiding in the building due to  alack of missile weapons, and the Germans afraid to advance while the tank and walker were able to threaten their infantry exiting the metro.  The Snipers caused a casualty or two but eventually drew too much fire and were eliminated.

 The Soviets advanced the tank and walker up the right flank.  The Germans first first with the Ludwig engaging the IS-48 from range and doing some damage.  Eventually the IS-48 destroyed the Ludwig.  
 The Sturmpioniere with Stefan assault the IS-48.  Due to some awful dice rolling they fail to damage it at all!  They are subsequently mowed down by the Babuska and IS-48.
 The Wotan AR finally gets a bead on the IS-48 and his dice are hot!  The big tank goes up in flames, having at least earned back its points.  

 Meanwhile the recon Grenadiers have maneuver to the other flank.  The Soviets avoid the windows as the Heinrich punishes them with quad 20mm fire when they do and they lack any effective long-ranged weapons.

 The Babushka and Wotan play hide and seek as Lara and her Heavy Recon Grenadiers punish the Soviet infantry units which had tried to damage them.  The Fakyeli launched an assault on the Wotan but only scored 3 points of damage before being destroyed by Lara and crew.

 The Babushka finally gets a bead on Heinrich and destroys him, but the Wotan comes back and finishes off the heavy Soviet walker.  Yakov consistently gave me initiative each turn with his Legendary Tactician ability, but it wasn't enough to outfox Peter!  
On the last turn the Recon Grenadiers ran into the building and teh Soviets did not have enough left to stop them.  Yakov and the Red Guards Assault team look on impotently as they fail Mother Russia!  

In all the Soviets everything but a unit of riflemen, the Red Guards, and a single Chinese volunteer.  The Germans lost Ludwig and Heinrich as well as the Sturmpionieren und Stefan.  Although it seemed an impossible task at first, smart play and excellent unit choice brought victory to the Germans.

Every time I play Dust Tactics, I am struck by how solid a game it is.  There are a huge variety of units, a load of scenarios in the different expansions, and some great figures.  It plays very fast but is very satisfying.  More people should play this one.  I highly recommend it.  Maybe someday I will actually paint these guys.