It’s taken a lot longer to get around to writing it up, but here is my recent experience of a game (3001 points) using the new army lists and new rules (so far as we know them). Given the time it’s taken to get this written the game details are a little hazy. Additionally, as I have added to this report it has gotten quite lengthy, so the later turns are fairly brief just to keep the length of the post down. If you want extra information about the game, just ask and if I can remember I’ll be happy to provide it.
My forces – Directorate
Core Helix (Command Helix)
Deadlock cadre (1 unit of 6)
Trojans (1 unit of 2)
Heavy Armour Helix
Castigtor + attached Stalker
Purgation Tanks (1 unit of 3)
Light Infantry (1 unit of 8 including an officer and 3 gun teams)
Command Points x27
My opponent’s forces - Relthoza
Namsic (1 unit of 6)
Heavy Armour Helix
Visith (1 unit of 2)
Command Points x23
We setup according to the current rules, although we put down the terrain we wanted/felt was right rather than using the guidelines in the rulebook. The play area was 4x6, although we really only ended up using a 4x4 space, despite one primary and one secondary objective being off to the left hand side of the board. In this photo one lot of primary and secondary objectives are visible – being the green flocked bunkers in the centre and centre top of the photo.
I won the initiative and immediately activated the Command Barge - three orbital strikes in one activation was too tempting to forgo. I moved forward and immediately proceeded to call in all three orbital strikes on top of the leviathan – all were reduced to a value of 2 using command points, with the respective designators finishing off the job each time to ensure all were completely zeroed in. Given the changes to defensive MARS and orbital strikes we played that the old -2 DR didn’t apply. At the end of the salvo the Leviathan had suffered one damage, the Namsics had been reduced to a unit of two and the Visith’s had suffered two damage and one disorder. After shooting from the Command Barge (with placed shots from its tertiary weapon) the Leviathan had suffered a corrosion marker as well as a cyber marker (the best I could do even with my boosted hack TAC order). After one activation it wasn’t looking too good for my opponent. Having said that, he had weathered the orbital strike spam quite well, but had I rolled one extra success in two of the attacks he would have lost a Visith completely and his Leviathan would be have had an additional damage marker.
My opponent retaliated by moving his left flank forward and firing on my Castigator and Stalker with his Talamis. Using placed shots, my Stalker was obliterated. I moved my Castigator up and returned fire (again with placed shots) onto his Talamis – one damage and a corrosion marker being all I was able to inflict. His Salamis then activated doing two damage to the Castigator (again using placed shots) - the change to the kinetic MAR being immediately apparent with my inability to roll an additional dice for the one six that I rolled in defence. My Trojans then moved flat out in an attempt to get some cover before his Visiths activated and destroyed my Castigator. My Purgation tanks then moved flat out too after which his Namsics headed towards his Tertiary objective. Moving my Wraith forward, I managed to inflict some more damage to his Leviathan (again using placed shots). The remainder of our forces activated and shot (I can’t remember the order unfortunately) but most, if not all, managed to get off placed shots. My Light Infantry were able to disembark from the Haunter and embark into the objective thanks to the new command point system. By the end of turn one many of the Relthozan forces were smoking, whilst my Light Infantry grand company wasn’t so grand anymore and my Command Barge had had its paint scratched.
At the end of turn 1 I was down to 10 command points, having spent 17 in the turn! My opponent was down to 15, having spent 8 (including the removal of two disorder markers at the end of the turn). My TV counter was down to 54 and my opponent’s was at 50.
The turn began with me playing Boosted Hack and my opponent playing Advanced Nano Repair and removing a damage marker from his Visiths. There was significant to and fro – I moved my Command Barge up but was unsuccessful in finishing off his Leviathan, although I did manage to do another point of damage – poor rolling again letting down my cyber attacks. By the end of the turn his Leviathan was destroyed, although both my Command Barge and Leviathan had suffered multiple wounds. Most shots again during the turn were placed shots (limited to the one weapon per unit constraint).
At the end of turn 2 I was down to 7 command points and my opponent was down to 8. My TV had dropped to 33 and my opponent’s was 48.
My opponent began the turn using Advanced Nano Repair again, this time removing the two remaining damage markers off his Visiths. The ability of this TAC cannot be overstated – to be able to remove multiple damage tokens each turn is a huge benefit, especially for the likes of three wound models like the Visiths. To be able to use it each and every turn for the same cost just seems too powerful, especially if the opposing player manoeuvres his unit effectively – moving the damaged tank to the rear and putting the undamaged tank in the line of fire. Anyway, my Command Barge moved forward and unleashed its payload of Heavy Infantry, who in turn paid a command point to occupy my Primary objective. I attacked his Visiths with most of my forces, inflicting two damage markers to one tank and one damage marker to another (due to the target priority rules). I also finished off the unit of Caramis. I lost my Leviathan, Command Barge and my Purgation tanks in the return fire.
At the end of the turn 3 we were both down to 3 command points. My TV counter was a 14 and my opponent’s was 23.
The beginning of the turn stated in much the same way for the Relthozan player – Advanced Nano-Repair with all three damage markers removed from the unit of Visiths. That was a whooping 21 successes wiped from the board (which against cloaked targets equates to well over 30 attack dice). With my infantry very limited in their range, almost all of the attacks were from the Relthozan player, costing me one Trojan and a couple of Heavy Infantry bases. I managed to do another damage to the Visiths, as well as add a couple of cyber markers, but other than that it was definitely the Relthozan player’s turn. I also moved the Punisher Drones to the other side of the table – well out of range of his remaining forces. Personally I think something has to be done to combat this though. Whilst we played that with the loss of the Command Barge a helix wide command test was necessary, to skip the drones to the other side of the board to deny TV just didn’t seem right.
At the end of turn 4 I had one command point left and my opponent had none. My TV counter was a 2 and my opponent’s was at 23.
This proved a huge turning point for my opponent. With almost nothing to offer resistance to him it was just a question of whether or not I would get some TV from the objectives my infantry were in. A couple of activations into the turn answered that question – no! The fire from his units decimated both my light and heavy infantry, leaving me to hope for the initiative the next turn so that my lone Trojan could cower behind the cover offered by one of the secondary objectives and utilise its new ‘Take and Hold’ MAR.
At the end of the turn my TV remained on 2 and my opponent’s was 7.
As luck would have it, I managed to win the initiative and scurried to the cover offered by the objective – safely out of sight of the approaching Relthozan forces. A victory snatched from the jaws of defeat and which would have gone the other way had my opponent won the initiative. I guess the end result points to how close the game as in the end, although with only one ‘Take and Hold’ unit, if my opponent had a slightly different army composition I think it might have been a very different result.
· The command point system is quite good, although there were some ridiculous situations as a result. The spamming of placed shots being perhaps the biggest of these situations. If almost every unit is performing a placed shot each turn it does tend to take something away from the ‘uniqueness’ of the ability. The other ridiculous situation was of course the zeroing in of Orbital Strikes. If I wanted to be ‘that guy’ I could’ve taken 3 Command Barges, with the potential of 9 zeroed in artillery strikes over three activations – not fun for me or my opponent. Having said that, the 12AD for every unit under the template seems to work well (assuming the -2DR is no longer in effect) – easily weathered by the bigger units whilst causing significant damage to the smaller ones.
· The number of range bands isn’t as bad as it first appears. Going into the game I thought the new range band system, especially with placed shots applying to different bands for different weapon types, would overly complicate the game. Having played it, however, this really isn’t the case. It was fairly easy and quick to work out the range bands and whether or not placed shots were available. Having said that, I fail to see what the extra range bands add to the game, aside from homogenising the rules system with FSA.
· There are many rules that need clarification – which will obviously occur once the new rules are released. For example, my opponent’s Leviathan satisfied the old ‘Forlorn Hope’ conditions, although with the ability to remove one disorder marker from a unit at the end of a turn we played that it hadn’t satisfied the ‘Forlorn Hope’ status, requiring an extra disorder above and beyond the usual to reach such status. The removal of ‘Flat Out’ markers also came up – now that they confer a defensive bonus, are they still removed at the start of the unit’s next activation, or are they removed at the end of the turn? There we plenty of these minor rules queries that we stumbled through – can’t wait for the full release of the rules to clarify many of them.
· The increase in TV does make for a longer game, although we both agreed that many games will end like this one – with one opponent almost completely obliterated from the table. Our game took just over three hours – a fairly good time considering the number of turns and the fact that it was our first game in almost a year.
· The Relthozans are back up on top again. Their high attack dice pools, coupled with their speed, the best defensive MAR in the game and perhaps the best offensive MAR, mean they are very powerful (perhaps a little too powerful? I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve played more games). My forces might have won, but a slightly different composition my opponent would have wiped the floor with me.
· The changes to the line of sight rules work really well. They make the use of cover a feasible tactic now, given that the 2mm corner of the base that hangs out from a building is no longer a valid target. It makes the game a little more strategic, which is nothing but a good thing.
Anyway, that’s it for now. We’ll hopefully play another game in the next week or two. When we do, I’ll be sure to write up another report.