After last week's reasonably successful fight against the Felids, the Aphids were back in action again: this time against the insect-like Hive.
The game would be an encounter battle: fought across a wide canal set at the bottom of steep embankments. On one side of the canal was a group of pretty substantial concrete buildings; on the other a small shanty-town.
Each side would enter from opposite ends of the table: the Hive from the end with the buildings, the Aphids from the end with the shanty-town. Each time a side's Blinds card appeared, they would be allowed to enter two of their platoons onto the table: the idea being that the battle started small and then gradually grew as more forces were sucked into the action.
Another interesting feature is that both sides would have plenty of air power: the Hive having three Dragonfly attack crafts, the Aphids having two Tadpole heavy fighters and three Lillypad light fighters. Other than that, each side had about three platoons of infantry and a handful of AFVs.
The victory conditions were simple: whichever side had units on the opposite side of the canal at he end of the game would win. If both had units on the opposite side of the canal, then it would be a draw. There'd be no opportunity for hanging back: aggressive play was the order of the day!
As you can see from the picture, above, both sides advanced their initial Blinds quickly on to the table. The Hive (red Stalin Blinds!) quickly reached the canal's edge on their right flank and, having been spotted, deployed a couple of infantry platoons, one of which was quickly pushed across the canal. Who knew bugs could swim?
Waiting for them on the other side was a squad of three Aphid Flycatcher tanks, one of which was quickly disabled by one of the Hive platoon's bazooka-like anti-tank weapon. The other two Flycatchers engaged and, for just about the whole of the rest of the game, this sector of the battlefield bogged down into a tank vs infantry battle.
The Flycatchers were in danger of being over-run as the difficult terrain had let the bugs get a mass of infantry up quite close, but the day was saved by the appearance of two Tadpole heavy fighters in ground attack mode. They flew over the top of the second bug platoon and began hitting them with everything they had. The bugs did have some hand-held anti-aircraft weapons, but no luck in using them...especially when the Flycatchers started concentrating their fire on their users!
Meanwhile, the Aphids had begun to push their other squad of Flycatchers across the canal in the centre of the battlefields: their hover capacity being ideal for crossing water. The Aphid Blind that had been first to cross the canal had, by now, pushed right the way forward to the road on the far side of the battlefield, and was about to be revealed as a platoon of elite recon scouts.
The Hive, on the other hand, had had some bug-tripods arrive as reinforcements, and had started to move them across the table to meet the Flycatchers and/or intercept the Aphid scouts.
Just as it all looked to be going swimmingly well for the Aphids, onto the table popped the Hive Dragonfly attack ships. They quickly manoeuvred into position behind the Flycatchers, and started knocking chunks out of their rear armour.
The Aphid scouts duly revealed themselves, with the Hive deploying a support unit of artillery and rapid-firing pulse weapons to protect that end of the base. The tripods were still making heir way across the battlefield, smoke starting to appear from the barrels of their heat weapons!
As they did that, however, the Aphid Lilypad fighters arrived. One squad of two swooped down and began trying to drive the Dragonflys hitting the Aphid tanks away, the other two squads engaged both the tripods and the Hive support weapons. As the game ended (we only had a couple of hours to play, hence the 'up and at 'em' scenario) the tripods had all been dealt with and the support weapons had begun taking heavy casualties, but not before they had caused the Aphid scouts to go to ground.
We called the game a draw in the end, as neither side had really achieved dominance. What was absolutely clear was that every Q13 force really needs either air power or anti-aircraft weapons or both, as air superiority, which both sides achieved in specific local locations for part of the game, was a very important factor.
Unfortunately, the Hive Skuttler tanks, with their in-built electronic warfare systems, never made an appearance: they would have made a big difference to the fortunes of the insectoids, who had a hard time stopping the frogs' Flycatchers.
A great game, with the real star being the sunken canal, whose steep embankments proved ideal for forcing each commander to push forward rather than hang back.
Hive Dragonflies and support weapons:
Blue Moon Manufacturing