Great game of Q13 on Saturday night against long-time opponent Neil. We used a variation of the 'Down on the Farm' scenario from the Five Planets campaign pack: moving the action from the planet Three to Earth as part of a series of Invasion Earth games that we are fighting.

To give you the background to our campaign, late 1940's Earth has been invaded by the Vornid, Khurasan Miniatures' interplanetary pirates and slavers of the vegetable variety, supported by Ravenstar's Horrids, and encouraged into wrong-doing by Hydra's Slishians. Humanity, still reeling after World War 2, has combined forces to fight off the invasion, developing radical new technologies from the bits and pieces of alien hardware that have been salvaged after the various encounters so far...therefore giving me an excuse to field some of Clockwork Goblin's marvellous Weird World War 2 kit.

In tonight's game, an important, but unspecified, Vornid resource has been dropped from space and landed in farmland somewhere in Western Europe. Both sides have dispatched strong forces to secure the resource, and will fight an encounter battle in order to gain possession.

The objective is just out of camera-shot in the crops on the right

The objective is just out of camera-shot in the crops on the right

The terrain, being farmland, was fairly open, consisting of a t-shape of hedge-lined roads sitting in the middle of open fields. There was a large farm at the head of the T-junction, and a barn half-way up the downward leg of the T. The meteorite objective had crash landed in the middle of a patch of shoulder-high crops in the corner of the battlefield near where the left-hand arm of the T hit the table's edge. Two patches of alien vegetation have invested the area: a patch of purple plants forming a dense copse to the left of the barn, and a large area of red and white 'bushes' centred and crossing the road forming the right hand arm of the T. 

The Vornid/Horrid force would arrive on the road where the downward leg of the T hit the table's edge (near the barn), the US force would arrive where the right hand arm of the T hit the table's edge (the road closest to us in the photo, right). In addition, the US troops had used the Battlefield Insertion rules to land a couple of Mudskipper Medium Jump Walkers right on the objective: they would start the game there.

As for forces, they are listed below. Neil had decided to play the Americans, which put him at a severe disadvantage as the Mudskippers and Airborne Platoon were newly-painted and making their debut on the tabletop...and we all know what that means in terms of their reliability!

The Vornid/Horrid Alliance

  • Company HQ
    • Slishian Big Man
    • Scanner
  • Slishian Gun Squad
    • 3 x Slishian Gunners
  • 1st Vornid Platoon
    • Slishian Big Man
    • 3 x Vornid Infantry Squad
  • 2nd Vornid Platoon
    • Slishian Big Man
    • 3 x Vornid Infantry Squad
  • Fungoid Artillery Squad
    • 2 x "Borrowed" Artillery & Crew
  • Horrid Gasbag Squad
    • 3 x Gasbag
  • Horrid Bio-Tank Squad One
    • 2 x Carapace Bio-Tanks
  • Horrid Bio-Tank Squad Two
    • 2 x Chitin Bio-Tanks

 

US Airborne/Experimental Force

  • Company HQ
    • Big Man
    • 2 x Heavy Rifle Teams
    • 1 x Medic
    • 4  x Jeep
  • 1st (Airborne) Platoon
    • 3 x Airborne Squad
    • 3 x 2½ ton trucks
  • 2nd (Experimental) Platoon
    • 3 x Heavy Infantry Squad
    • 3 x ¾-ton trucks
  • 3rd (Experimental) Platoon
    • 3 x Heavy Infantry Squad
    • 3 x ¾-ton trucks
  • Light Walker Squad
    • 3 x Coyote Light Walker
  • Medium Walker Squad
    • 3 x Grizzly Medium Walkers
  • Heavy Walker Squad
    • 1 x Ursus Support Walker
    • 1 x Kodiak Support Walker
  • Medium Jump Walker Squad [already on table at objective]
    • Big Man
    • 2 x Mudskipper Medium Jump Walkers

The Game

The battle began with both sides advancing strongly onto the board. The Vornid had the advantage here, as their superior tech allowed them to concentrate their units more quickly than the Earthlings: they would introduce two Blinds onto the table each time their Blinds card appeared, the Earthlings only one. Two Vornid Blinds headed straight up the road towards the farmhouse, determined to occupy it as a buffer against enemy flank attacks.

Seeing this, the US Mudskippers left their positions near the objective and used their jump packs via a Bonus Move card to rush forward onto the road near the farm. So quick was their advance that the automatic spotting rules immediately uncovered both the Mudskippers and the two Vornid Blinds: revealed as a platoon of Vornid infantry followed by the squad of Horrid Gasbags.

Things looked bad for the plantmen, but help was at hand as the Vornid Blinds card appeared next, meaning that a squad of Chitin two-gun bio-tanks could enter the table, de-cloak, and fire onto one of the Mudskippers, which promptly went up in flames. The other, however, was in prime position on the road and fired its underarm missiles at one of the Gasbags, knocking it down and out, and its shoulder-mounted HMGs at the Vornid infantry, doing minor damage but definitely keeping them occupied.

The plant men, worried about what would happen when the Mudskipper concentrated their entire firepower on them, moved over the hedge into the left hand field but the cards were kind to the remaining Mudskipper: before the infantry could do anything, the remaining Mudskipper calmly leapt the hedge itself and let the plant men have it at point blank range with a lethal combination of two shoulder-mounted HMGs and two under-arm MMGs. It was carnage: one squad of infantry being immediately annihilated, another being badly damaged.

Unfortunately for the Mudskipper, although the delay caused by this action had given the US Airborne Platoon and Company HQ time to get to and occupy the farm, it had also given the Vornids time to get their borrowed artillery onto the edge of the patch of purple vegetation. Both guns opened fire, and the second Mudskipper also blew up.

a chitin tank heads past the smoking mudskippers

It was now becoming obvious that the main problem for the Americans was going to be getting enough of their force onto the table quickly enough to present a credible threat to the hordes of advancing Vornid/Horrids Blinds. The Earthlings had to make a choice: either they abandoned all attempts to get to the objective before their enemy, consolidating in a position towards their table edge then advancing to assault the objective; or they risked everything on getting to the objective first, hoping that their limited on-table force could hold out for long enough for everyone else to get there.

Well, Neil's an aggressive player, so he chose to risk all on an out and out rush to the objective and, on this occasion, badly paid the price for it!

As two squads of the Airborne Platoon plus one of the Company HQ heavy rifle teams prepared to keep the Chitins and Gasbags occupied, the American CinC loaded the remaining squad and heavy rifle team into their trucks and led them racing towards the objective. The Grizzly medium walkers were approaching fast and, if he could just hold out for a turn or two, his other infantry squads and light walkers were also on the way.

The aliens were, however, unphased.

The Gasbags moved towards the farm, and although one was downed by heavy rifle fire, the other led rip: spewing a stream of a napalm-like substance from its bloated body towards the hapless Paras. The heavy rifle team was immediately burnt to a crisp and, unfortunately, the farm also caught fire, forcing the other infantry to evacuate as soon as possible or be caught in the flames.

airborne troops flee the flaming farm

a close up

Meanwhile, the alien Blind closest to the objective revealed itself as the two Carapace single-gun bio-tanks. One broadside from them was enough to blow the trucks, and unfortunate Paras squad racing towards the crater, into pieces. The American inC was almost caught in the blast as well, but managed to skid his jeep to a stop before it was in turn engulfed in flame.

chitin tanks move in

airborne trucks on fire in the fields

And the Chitin bio-tanks were moving in on the Grizzly's flanks.

With the enemy about to occupy the objective with a couple of heavy bio-tank and an infantry platoon, his defensive position on fire, his medium walkers outflanked, and the rest of his men still strung out along the road approaching the battlefield, the American CinC decided that discretion was the better part of valour and ordered a retreat. The Vornid/Horrid Alliance had won victory, and could now safely claim whatever it was that lay smoking in the corner of the table!

a close up of the carapace tanks

chitin tanks and gasbags close on the farm

A great, if short, game, really decided by Neil's decision to go for broke rather than take the slower, safer path. That said, my dice rolling was, quite frankly, amazing, with 'double sixes' appearing with freakish frequency...and it was the Airborne and Mudskippers' debut as well!

Not to worry, though: the Earthlings will be back, weed-whackers at the ready!