Monday, July 22, 2013

Historicon 2013 AAR




This past weekend I attended Historicon in Fredericksburg, VA for the second year in a row.  The convention is located about an hour from my house so it's very convenient for me.  I only get to maybe one convention a year so I try to make it count ad attend all four days.  Here is my report and review of the convention.


Thursday, Day 1: I arrived at about 10 AM, registered with no delay, and proceeded to the dealer hall for some goodies.  It seemed to me that there was a bit less going on in the dealer hall this year, perhaps due to the absence of the Warstore and a few board game companies that were there last year.  I hit the Battlefront booth and picked up the new Flames of War early war book on Japan, Finland, and the Soviets, along with a Japanese infantry company, machine gun platoon, and anti-tank teams.  I also grabbed some rice paddies and huts for Vietnam and some M113 APCs in plastic.  In short, I bought ome stuff!  After lunch I checked out the afternoon flea market, which was small, but didn't see anything I needed. 



At 3pm my first game of the convention started.  It was a Force on Force game called "Red Dawn" and was a (highly) fictional scenario involving a Nicaraguan-Cuban attack on a not-so-sleepy New Mexico town.  I got to play the Nicaraguans, who started the game with two APCs and a technical.  We started off well, dispersing some police and civilians in the town center, when Rev. Jenkins and his young assistant hit a BTR with an old bazooka from the church steeple!  These American pig-dogs are really well armed!  My DshKA technical put paid to those two but more and more townsfolk wielding automatic weapons and the alarmingly common LAW started appearing in droves.  One of my heroic co-commanders tried to crash the cars in the center of town to advance on the objectives but immobilized his ride.  More police and townsfolk showed up in vehicles  including the local black-helicopter fearing crowd, who were of course well-versed in practicing their 2nd Amendment rights, much to our dismay.  Our objectives in the Guard armory, TV station and Gas station seemed very far away.  Luckily we got a few more reinforcements in the form of another APC and a light reconnaissance vehicle.  Sadly, the APC was whacked by ANOTHER bazooka-wielding patriot from the church tower and we had lost 3 out of 5 vehicles. 

Meanwhile, I am proud to say, my technical team were earning their MVP status for Red team by wasting Americans every time they opened fire.  In total they took out several cops, the Rev. Jenkins and his friend, a squad of bikers in a bar, a police cruiser and its' passengers, and inflicted casualties on and pinned a squad of National Guardsmen.  Even after their technical was hit by a LAW, all three crewman bailed out and continued to fiht using the wreck as cover.  These were clearly Cuban or Nicaraguan Spec Ops and deserved promotion to d10 troops.  Despite their heroics, however, a huge number of civvies, cops, militia a nd guardsmen held off our assault.  We managed to seize the gas station by waiting until the very last moment to reveal a squad of inflitrators out of a taco truck who managed to seize the station unhindered.  A heroic infantry squad also made it to the radio station.  But we ould not get near the NG Armory and we missed the fleeing Congressman who made it our of a gentlmen's club with his escort and retinue.  The ol' US of A won 18 points to 15, helped along greatly by their abundant AT assets nailing 4 out of 5 bad guy vehicles.  I thought it was a great game and kudos to John and Henry.  incidentally I had faced John and Henry in a Flames of War doubles tournament a few years back and it was a pleasure seeing them again. 
Red Dawn!

 Here come the Commies!
 Downtown in trouble!

 Police get hosed with the DshKa!

BTRs advance!

 And one gets popped!

Cuban SF technical strikes back!

Charge!


Ay caramaba!

Cuban SF technical nails a cop car.

 And some dudes in the building...
 And bail out and keep fighting!

 Oh, no more LAWs!

 Guardsmen and women report to the armory.
 This town will never be the same.


The Nicaraguan regulars liberate the radio station and some dudes hiding in the Taco van take the gas station.


The Americans win thanks to Wayne LaPierre.  

That evening I was signed up for another game but was pretty bushed and also greatly interested in seeing a movie.  I went to see Pacific Rim at a local movie theater that gave me flashbacks to the early eighties (in a good way) and I enjoyed the mindless but fun super robot vs. monsters action before retiring for the evening.

Friday, Day 2:  First up on Friday was the SAGA tournament.  I had played last year and took 2nd place after going 3-0 in regular rounds and then coming in 2nd in a 4-way free for all.  This year I brought my Irish war-band  which I had not played competitively, or much at all really.  What follows is an AAR of the tournament so if that's too long for you check out the pics and skip the accompanying wall of text.  Some events may not be exactly in sequence as I did not take notes, but the gist of the battles should be correct. 

My army was 6 points: 2 hearth-guard in 1 unit of 6 and 2 made in Irish Curaidh (heroes), 2 points of warriors fielded as 2 8-man units, and 2 points of levies fielded as 2 12-man units.  Irish are primarily a shooting army, with all units having either javelins or slings, and some tricks to use terrain and to equalize melees against factions that rely on using a lot of special abilities to maximize melee attacks.  They tend not to hold up too well in melee.  

Round 1:  I faced a Scots army fielded by a nice chap from South Carolina.  We played the "Clash of Warlords  scenario requiring a Warlord kill for a clean win, or VP in the alternative.  We both were getting the rust off so the play was probably not stellar, but after an initial exchange of some ranged fire he made a mistake and left his warlord alone on a hill with a depleted levy unit in front of him.  I used all my dice to hurl my hearth-guard unit through the levy and then into the Warlord, and used bonus dice from my attack pool to add to my roll.  Luckily for me he just managed to fail enough saves to die, as he had no warriors or hearth-guard near him to help out.  So i won round 1 with a Warlord kill.

Scots!  Let's not fight, cousins!

The armies face off.

 Hmm, they didn't listen to reason.

The hole in the middle used to have a Scots Warlord.

Round 2: I faced a brand-new player using the TO's Anglo-Danish army. Again, we played the "Clash of Warlords  scenario requiring a Warlord kill for a clean win, or VP in the alternative. He was very aggressive and decided to come after my levy with his warlord and some hearth-guard.  He succeeded in smashing the levy but they killed a hearth-guard or two in return, and his warlord was left horribly exposed.  Utilizing my Irish battle board's shooting abilities, I pelted the hearth-guard unit and then the Warlord into oblivion n a shower of sling-stones and javelins.   A second Warlord kill made me 2-0 on the day.

Now here's a fight we can get behind...killing Anglish!  Er, Danish.  Something.

He's headed right for us!  What a brave Dane, er Angle, uh..guy.  

 Did you see that?  The Javelins went clean through!

Round 3:  I played Skirmish, a scenario where the first person to lose 2 Saga dice lost the game, against the Skraelings.  I had seen them in action under the same commander last year, and frankly they are terrifying.  I realized that my only chance to win was to use my superior ranged attacks to wear him down, as his bottomless bag of tricks and huge numbers (he fielded 48 warriors in 4 units of 12) would no doubt be my undoing in close combat.  He also used his special ability to permanently disable my ability "Sons of Dana" which provides for a shooting attack against enemies within 4" of rough terrain.  (This is known affectionately by me as the ""Potatoes from the Woods" attack.) He then maneuvered almost his whole army into the woods on my right, where he was protected but also stymied in his movement. At the first opportunity, I proceeded to deny my right flank and put my levies forward to pelt whatever targets I could with stones.  This paid off when my levy took the high ground and killed 8 warriors who were exposed in the rear of his army.  He used another horrifying ability to bring a unit of warriors into play in the rear of my army, and they assaulted an killed a Curaidh (Irish hero) who heroically took two with him for good measure.  I was then able to finish off this small unit for one SAGA die, and then tried very hard to finish off his depleted Warrior unit in the rear with my levy on the hill.  They rolled an exceptional 8 hits using my battle board abilities but he made 6 saves, keeping his unit alive with 2 warriors left and preventing me from winning right then. He then concentrated his attacks from all his units onto my levies on the hill, which wiped out the unit but did not cost me a SAGA die (it takes 2 levy units to cost a Saga die for this scenario) so I continued.  In my turn I attacked with my other unit of levies, which had been weakened by his use of my ability "Sons of Dana" (yes the Skraelings can do that, too) causing one more warrior casualty.  At that point time was called.  Since neither of us had lost two SAGA dice, I had won with 9 victory points to his 7.  Close!

Oh, they're more naked than we are!  Poor lads. 


Erm, they look dead hard, though.  


Let's keep our distance.  Yeah, that's it. 


Rocks!  We got loads of them in Galway, boys.

 Oh, that's just cheating.  Pog mo Thoin!

The bards will right a tale of brave Dumnhall.  

We cleared up those cheeky flankers, lads.  More rocks on 'em!  


Round 4:  Having just made it through Round 3 undefeated, I was matched up with the last other undefeated player, who had 2 wins and a tie.  He was also playing Scots, but he had made a massive 12 man hearth-guard unit supported by another unit of hearth-guard and 2 units of 8 warriors.  The game started with me trying to load up a large shooting attack on the closest unit of warriors, only to see the Scottish defensive abilities stymie me.  In turn, he rolled his massive hearth-guard unit (with banner so they could rest more than once a turn) into my levies, smashing them in two rounds of combat.   In my turn I fired from the woods on his warriors to little avail, and pelted his hearth-guard with javelins killing about 4.  On his next turn he used the hearth-guard to kill my Curaidh and advanced the rest of his army.   He also advanced his warlord supported by a warrior unit in the center, leaving him a tempting target.  

On my next turn I made a major play mistake, loading up my board for a shot at his warlord.  I activated other units to thin the warriors accompanying the warlord but did little damage, then I launched the hearth-guard at him intending to use "The Old Ways" using a 6 die to get 12 dice to his 1.  There was a good chance this would kill the warlord or that a following activation could do so.  Except, I had forgotten that my hearth-guard were within 2" (very short) range of his hearth-guard, and thus I was forced to attack them!  Cursing my stupidity I took some solace in the fact that I killed all but one of them, losing 4 of my hearth-guard in the process.  I girded my loins for the kicking that awaited.  On his last turn, he loaded up his board for a go at my warlord.  His first move was to attack my warriors escorting the warlord.  He played a minuet of destruction on his board, converting defensive dice to attacks and adding more attacks until he had maxed out the 16 dice his 8-man warrior unit could roll.  My one defensive die lay on an ability that could not help me.  He then rolled his attacks, needing 4s or better to hit.  3 hits only!  What!!?  I joked that selling my son's soul to the devil had paid off.  To add insult to injury, my warriors his 5 times out of 8 attacks and he failed 3 saves to my 2, losing the combat.  With his dice board all but spent he passed.  At this point the TO told us it was time and said that since I had gone first I should not start my next turn.  Counting VPs, I had won 13-12!  What luck!  It had been good for me that I had inflicted so much hurt on the hearth-guard but the kicker was the points I got for killing his warriors and not getting wiped out in the last turn.  Sometimes you get the bear. 

More Scots?  Can't we all just get along.  We agree on not liking Angles, right?


Pretty.  They must be rich.


They appear impervious to rocks, alas.  Must be those metal shirts we have heard of.

 Alright boys, javelins away!  

A Celtic stand-off.  


Hearth-guards nearly wipe each other out in heroic Celtic style. But here comes the big ass-kicking we've expected all day.  

Oh, look at all those bad rolls!  It's the luck of the Irish for real this time, boys!


Having won all four rounds I took 1st Place and a gift certificate from Architects of War, which I used to get the latest SAGA book with folio.  Thanks to Eric Lauterbach and Architects for a great event, and thanks to my sporting opponents. 

After that exhausting day, I had a leisurely dinner and joined Dirty Jon of WWPD fame for a 5-player game of Battlestar Galactica the board-game.  This game features a killer traitor mechanic where one or more players could be a Cylon traitor trying to sabotage Galactica as the last humans try to reach earth.  This game ran long, about 4 hours but we did have to go over all the rules and take a few breaks, so I figure there was about 3 hours of actual playing time.  In sum, the humans had a cakewalk until we hit the halfway point of Kobol.  Shortly thereafter the first Cylon revealed himself, it was SonBae, also of WWPD fame.  He hit us with super crisis card that sent us reeling.  Suddenly the ship was swamped with Cylon attackers.  We were just about the jump away to in the game, however, when a stray Cylon Basestar shot hit our Faster Than Light (FTL) drive!  As we scrambled to a) fix it, b) fight off the Cylon ships and c) get the frak out of there, our second Cylon appeared.  As President, I had jailed him with probable cause (he was too quiet) but that didn't help us much.  He hit us with two super crisis cards in a row, one of which sent us back several steps on the FTL jump track!  As we desperately tried fending off the toasters, we lost most of our precious resources to Cylon ships shooting up our civilian fleet.  We were simultaneously being shot by Basestars and baorded by Centurions!  It was mayhem, and it couldn't last.  Finally, the Cylon raiders blasted two of our civilian ships, enough to lower our population to zero.  The frakkin' toasters had won!  It was  great game and many thanks to Dirty Jon for his hard work teaching it to us and helping the game along the whole way.  After that, it was time for bed!

I smell toaster.


Saturday, Day 3:  Saturday was Flea Market day!  Suffice it to say I sold a TON of stuff.  I got rid of 3 fully painted armies and a bunch of other stuff I was not using, and ended up being a hero with the wife, who called saying she needed to buy 4 new tires for the MAZDA 5.  Problem solved as I covered the cost!  Boy was she happy about my great hobby at that moment. Luckily, there was plenty left for me and I indulged in a long-time fantasy purchase:  the BF miniatures Polish Train!  I found this baby unopened for over 30% off retail in the flea market and I snatched it up.  I plan on painting it in Soviet colors for my Russians to deploy against Fritz.  In fact, this exact train was historically captured and used by the Soviets, so it's not a stretch to do at all.  Urrah!  

After my flea market session I had a game at 3 pm of Bolt Action, called Black Death at Leningrad.  I like the Bolt Action system but this scenario seemed a bit broken.  First, it really only utilized only about 1/3 of the table, the Germans didn't have a prayer.  The situation was that both sides needed to take 3 rooms of a factory complex.  The side that took the most in six turns would win.  Both sides got to deploy anywhere on their table edge but there was no reason not to deploy on the 1/3 of the table with the factory.  (Note-I greatly prefer convention games where the starting positions are predetermined-it saves time and ensures balance based on play-testing.)  So both sides rolled all their stuff into 1/3 of the table, with the rest of the table being mostly irrelevant to the game except for the odd pot-shot from two AT guns sited far from the action.  The Sovs had 3 crack squads of 9 Naval infantry, all of which rolled double dice in assault.  The Germans had two squads of slightly better quality but 1/2 the attack dice, and some support assets of dubious use, like a 20mm-armed armored scout car.  The Soviet deployment area was screened by the objective buildings, which were also about 6" closer to the Soviet deployment zone   So things developed pretty predictably with the Soviets running unscathed into the building, crushing the one squad of Germans in there, and daring the Germans with their one remaining squad to come in.  Did I mention that squad took 30% casualties from a 152mm arty strike?  Did I mention the Germans got only off-board smoke?  Did I mention the T-34?   The Germans engaged in some Keystone Kops routines out of desperation, such as driving the scout car into the building in desperation.  Myself and another Army veteran, playing the Germans, privately remarked that we would have withdrawn our forces after the loss of our first squad, as it was plainly hopeless after about turn 2.  And so 4 turns of agony (or FUN! for the Soviets) later, we lost.  On the bright side, they gave out some very nice prizes.  

It's so cold and unfair!  Why did we ever invade Russia?


What's so great about that factory, anyway?


After that I attended the WWPD final podcast.  Au revoir, Steve of WWPD. You will be missed.  I won a box of PSC Tigers in the drawing (actually traded some American stuff to KayJay for it) and then joined a Napoleonic game in progress.

I joined my pal the Consul, playing with his friends Will and Juan, as well as Captain K, his son.  Juan had painted an enormous number of remarkably beautiful Napoleonic 28mm figures and they were playing a game of GW's Waterloo. We had a great time rolling buckets of dice and pushing around Juan's masterpiece armies until the French heavy cavalry hit a seam and rolled up the Austrian flank for a win.  Good times!  Juan, you are the man! Those minis!  Wow. Then I went to bed, reading my newly-purchased copy of Battlegroup: Kursk as a bedtime story   That is an amazing book, if you haven't already checked it out.

Captain K takes a break from texting to consider the Austrian predicament.  

 French and Austrians advance to combat!  Vive L'Empereur!

Sunday, Day 4:  Sunday is the let down day.  But this time we went out with a bang.  After a little last minute shopping in which  I accidentally picked up a company's worth of 15mm BF Italian raiding trucks for a little Flames of War desert raiding action, the Consul and I set up Samurai Battles for a quick game before we ended our convention experience. We had a great back and forth battle as the Takeda flanked and assaulted the Uesugi camp.  However, the Uesugi got some great dice rolls and card combinations, including a crippling Traitor! event which gave me control of one of the Consul's best units, and the Uesugi changed history by winning this time.  Samurai Battles is one of Richard Borg's Commands and Colors series, which I really enjoy.  I had a chance to speak with Richard during this H-con as he ran demos of his Battle Cry! Civil War game.  He is a great guy and his games are really good.  Check them out.  


The Uesugi cavalry move to contain a Takeda flank attack.


The Consul looks happy, right before I play the Traitor card on him.  

And so another Historicon ended.  I had had a great time, played a lot of games, and bought a few small items home to help me through months until the next Historicon.  If you are a gamer and you haven 't gone yet, you should!



Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Infinity the Game, 28mm skirmish sci-fi


After playing Corvus Belli's Infinity for several months now, collecting and painting up two armies, playing in two tournaments and racking up more than 20 games of the system, I thought I would summarize my thoughts on the game.

Models: First, the models are overall fantastic.  The variety of figures and sculpts is fantastic and the quality is superb.  My only complaint is the number of pieces for the models is pretty high compared to, say historical, and often the small fins and antennae are too much.  They  are hard to attach and they break off very easily.  I have left a number of them off the models just to avoid the aggravation.  They paint up very nicely.  I recommend checking out the very attractive Infinity website for numerous examples of beautifully painted Infinity models. http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/en/
Bottom Line: Amazing, if finicky, models. 9/10


My first Yu Jing army



Rules: Infinity has fairly innovative rules.  I won't describe them in detail here as they are downloadable and free on the Infinity website (http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/en/downloads/) , but I will give a quick overview.  Both players have an Active and a Reactive phase each turn.  Unusually, each model contributes an order to the order pool (with some exceptions) and any model can use those orders during the Active phase.  This means you can give a single model all of your orders in your turn, if you wish.  Such a move is called "ramboing" and is risky but can be very successful. When the Active player runs out of orders, it is the other player's Active phase and they get to spend their orders.  The Automatic Reaction Order system allows the Reactive player's models to react to enemy fire or movement each and every time it happens, for free.  Attacks are resolved with face-to-face rolls, where the dice results of the models are compared and the winner inflicts damage.  There are a lot of special abilities which can be complex, but they are fairly standardized over the many armies so they can be learned fairly easily.  By the way, the artwork in all the books is stunning.  Bottom Line: Interesting and innovative rules, if also a bit finicky.  8/10


My Japanese Sectorials prepared for action


Game Play:  First, the game plays quickly.  Most scenarios have 3 or 4 turns and full games can take as little as an hour. This is not as short as it sounds because in each player's phase of each turn both sides can take actions thanks to the ARO mechanic.  The game is quite deadly with most models dying after taking one wound, which is significant when the typical "army" size is 10-14 models.  Armies tend to consist of line troops known as "cheerleaders", heavy or specialist troops, and robot-like combat suits called TAGs (Tactical Assault Gears). These last are remarkably balanced in terms of power and vulnerability.  The disparity in combat power between the Active abilities of most models and their reactive abilities means that a model acting in ARO is typically outmatched.  As an example, in a battle of two identical "cheerleaders", the Active one will get three dice with their Combi-rifle against the reactive one, rolling only one die.  

Usually a player will also maneuver their active model to an advantageous position to ensure a better chance to hit on each die, as well.  This means that whoever can take the most advantage of individual "mismatches" in the game will likely do well.  A typical maneuver would be to put a model with a HMG in a position to tackle several "cheerleaders" one at a time form an advantageous position.  Such a move could see the HMG model eliminate half the enemy army without much of a challenge.  As such, Infinity does feel like a game that is more about the "stars" of each list rather than the list as a whole.  An attempt to fix this issue was made by Corvus Belli when they introduced Link Teams, which make "cheerleaders" a more potent single unit, especially on defense.  Because of the Orders system and the power advantage of the Active models, games can quite often become blow-outs where one side turns a flank or gets just the right angle and mows down most of the opposition.  When this happens it is not particularly fun for either player.   Bottom Line: Very solid game play with a few noticeable quirks.  7/10


My two TAGS exchange a nod from across the table after wiping the board of all enemy models, in a not-uncommon Infinity blowout.


Scenarios:  Infinity did not have an official scenario system for some time.  Many players use Yet Another Mission System (YAMS) to play.  YAMS has players choosing a number of randomly-drawn cards for their missions (say 4 from a hand of 6) and scoring victory points based on those missions.  The upsides to YAMS are its re-playabiity, the secret objectives, and the variety of goals.  In addition, YAMS does a great job of allowing players to win based on objectives even if their army is almost wiped out in the process.  This is quite valuable, as wipe-outs are not uncommon.  The downside to YAMS is that the two sides don't feel like they are interacting because the missions have nothing to do with one another for the most part.  Also, one side's missions can feel disjointed and un-thematic as a result.  Official Infinity scenarios came out in the third book, Campaign Paradiso.  This book includes a number of scenarios of various types.  They tend to be a bit complicated, in my opinion, but are interesting.  Paradiso also includes campaign rules which provide your army and a single character model (known as a Spec Op) development paths from mission to mission.  Finally, Infinity now has Infinity Tournament System Season 4 scenarios, which feels a bit like a compromise between Paradiso-type missions and YAMS.  These are not bad, but some seem quite unbalanced which is terrible for tournament play scenarios.  In addition, there appears to be a powerful first-turn advantage in all systems, likely a result of the cheerleader/power piece dichotomy.  Bottom line: A good variety of scenarios available, but none really hit the spot, and some are truly flawed.  6/10

 


The Bottom, Bottom Line:  All told, I enjoy Infinity very much.  But I liken the game to a fine candy bar, say a UK-made Cadbury Whole Milk. It's very tasty, but the experience is over quickly and I never feel really satisfied like I've had a good meal.  I think that if the disparity in model power was narrowed somewhat then the "cheerleader" issue, the first turn advantage, and the blow-out potential would all likely be addressed.  But as that would require a complete overhaul of the game stats, I doubt such a change is forthcoming.  

So overall, I give Infinity an 8/10 rounding up my scores for its impressive style and innovation. It's not the perfect sci-fi skirmish game, but it is a damn good one.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Playing Sedition Wars" Lights Out!" Campaign Scenario 1-"Dark In There!" using Ver. 1.5 Rules

In my latest Sedition Wars excursion I decided to solo the first scenario in the Lights Out! Camapaign.  In this free downloadable campaign the Vanguard and Strain fight in the lower levels of Alabaster Station often in darkness or near darkness conditions.  Get your copy here!

The Vanguard have the option to use "Opticamo" mode, which makes them immune to reflexes when not adjacent and can give them cover bonuses, etc.  The Strain can benefit from "Nano-genesis" and become glow in the dark, giving them the ability to see and bee seen as normal in the dark, regenerate wounds, and create even more nano when killed.  

I was curious to see how these scenarios, which I had not had a chance to try with Version 1, would play under 1.5.  Let's see how it went. 

Vanguard and Strain forces set up.  For forces, I used the suggested "Loadouts" of the scenario.
  

On turn one the Vanguard got 7 tactics tokens, and spread them two to the Reaver and Lancer, and one to three of the 4 Samaritans.  They advanced down tile 1 intent on their mission: to secure control of the power fuse!  The Strain chose not to move in turn 1 as the Vanguard had to come to them.


On turn 2 the Vanguard put two Samaritans in Opticamo with their new tactics points, and the Opticamo troops breached the perimeter and killed a Revenant., opening a path for others to come in.  Wary of the blast radius that the Quasimodo's vitrifier gun has, the others did not advance.  


 The Strain retaliated by advancing into close combat, killing one of the Opticamo Vanguard and infecting the other.  Infected Vanguard cannot retain Opticamo or enter Opticamo mode, so the increased virulence of nano in V 1.5 really limits Opticamo usage.  I chose to infect as many models as possible during the Strain turns to prevent Opticamo use.  


 On Turn 3 the Vanguard tried to continue their advance.  Another Samaritan used Opticamo and the infected Samaritan moved, drawing fire as Opticamo camo was not longer effective.  (Note I had forgotten to change out the figure.)  Another Revenant took two Samaritan shots and turned into nano dust.  


 Again the Vanguard have not done enough that they felt ready to rush everyone in, so most of the team stay on Tile 1, hoping to use some reflex fire to thin the Strain ranks as they move.


 The Strain use nano to make another Revenant and infect another Samaritan.  One Samaritan gets hit with a tendril and is also infected.  The Samaritan on Rile 2 takes a Vitrifier shot to the back, liquefying instantly.  (Not really but game wise a Samaritan hit by the Vitrifier takes 3 damage and then dies at the beginning of its next its activation due to 3 more from corrosion, so yeah basically she was already dead.)  Things are looking grim for our heroes.  


 Deciding that they have waited long enough, the Reaver and the Lancer go full camo, enter Tile two, and light up two Revenants and the Quasimodo.  Only the Quasi survives, thanks to the Lancer's failure to roll any staging dice (6s).  


 The Strain realize that the Vanguard are clustered together, feeling secure in their Opticamo goodness.  Therefore, several of their models engage nanogenesis.  This means, among other things, that the Quasimodo will be able to fire at the Vanguard despite the darkness, the Prowler can heal, and if the Revenant dies it will create double nano. The Strain infect the Opticamo models for good measure.  (Oh and I tried to take a pic with the lights out and the Strain models glowing but it didn't work, sorry.)   


 And so the Quasi focuses his Vitrifier attack, offsetting the penalty of the Opticamo (plus one die to cancel minus one die) and rolls an exploding 6 to make the shot.  He therefore hits and corrodes both Vanguard specialists and for all practical purposes seals the game.  


 On the final Vanguard turn, the specialists melt to nothing, and the Prowler guts another Samaritan in reflex. Oh, the humanity!  The last Samaritan decides to die in a blaze of glory.  She charges into Tile 2, taking a Vitrifier shot to the face, then overloads on the glowing Strain Quasimodo, killing it in revenge for its 3-kill rampage.  Four kills, I suppose, if you count the suicide charger. 

"Banzaiii....eeouch!!!"

 "Die, you ugly bastard!  Pew Pew Pew!!!  YAAATAHH!!"

The moment of glory is short lived as on the final Strain turn, the Prowler, not patient enough to wait for the next Vanguard turn, walks up and guts our heroine like a fish.  All Vanguard models are now dead, and we must draw the curtain on this brutal scene of carnage. 

"Nomnom...send more Vanguard...nomnom." 


Conclusions:  Well, that was fun to mess around with, and I enjoyed putting my see-through and glow-in-the-dark toys on the table, but I don't think the scenario is competitive under the new rules.  Infection negates Opticamo, and infection is now automatic when nano moves onto a Vanguard model in the Strain force managment phase.  This makes it pretty easy to shut down Opticamao in the Lights Out Campaign.  And frankly, Opticamo is kind of the point.  Nanogenesis was somewhat superseded by the 1.5 rules, all all exo-forms can now heal with adjacent nano, not just ones using nanogensis.  In addition, the old Ver. 1.0 nemesis of the Vanguard, the Quasimodo, is even better than he was before.  Because Vanguard Samaritans now have a defense of 15, the Quasi hits on average, non focused rolls.  Each hit equals a dead vanguard and the rest in the blast will take 3 damage their first activation after being hit and have a 50% chance of dying the turn after than, if there is no healing around.  (Note I accidentally gave the Lancer in the blast 3 damage as well as the Reaver, who was the target.  That is wrong but I don't think it would have made a difference in the end!) 

This scenario also suffers from the "single doorway" problem SW scenarios are prone to.  I find a nice Quasimodo or two covering the sole doorway from cover to be quite a good way to stop a Vanguard advance cold.  Maybe the next scenario in the campaign  with more than two tiles, will be more interesting.  

So the real problem is still nano.  It's just too strong right now.  I think the other balance issues could be corrected with a few tweaks, but the 1.5 nano rules are going to wreck Lights Out! because Opticamo just fails before auto-infection.  

Proposed house rule fix for Lights Out:  Infected models can still use Opticamo.  Alternately, make nano infection only work on a 4+ roll during the Strain management phase. 

See you next time in the horrific reaches of deep space!