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As my recent painting has been almost wholly focused on clearing all the sci-fi dwarves from my lead mountain, I thought it was only right and proper to get them onto the table again for my next game of Quadrant 13. It would also be a good opportunity to give the Xar (six-legged “critters” from GZG) their first outing.

Unfortunately, my early, pre-game shots of the terrain-only table didn’t come out very well, but below is a shot of the whole table, mid-game. You can see that it’s a cratered landscape spotted with the odd volcano and quite a view clumps of alien vegetation. There’s a shanty-town at the far end and, although it’s quite difficult to see, there’s a significant ridge running from the purple “plant” bottom left to the big orange “plant” top left.

The game would be a simple smash-up: no objectives except to force the other side to retreat by reducing their Force Morale to zero.

The Dwarves

The Dwarves, played by John, consisted of troops from several different mines (okay, manufacturers!).

  • Company HQ

    • Big Man

    • Armadillo Electronic Warfare system

  • AFV Platoon

    • Big Man

    • 2 x Goanna MBT

    • 1 x Goanna MBT with shield generator instead of gun

  • Hearthguard Contingent

    • 3 x Big Man

    • 4 x Infantry Squad

    • 1 x Sniper

    • 2 x Medium Mortar

    • 2 x Shaker cannon

    • 3 x T-26 walker

  • Grudd Contingent

    • 2 x Big Men

    • 1 x Rocket Launcher

    • 4 x Infantry Squad (powered armour)

    • 1 x Iron Lord Squad (superheavy powered armour)

  • Air Assets

    • Stinger scout ship

This was a strong force full of elements that had caused me problems in the past: the Stinger, the shield generator, and the Armadillo. New problems looked like being the Iron Lords: their superheavy armour would make them nigh on indestructible!

The Xar

The Xar are a cracking range from GZG. As the range only has infantry, support weapons and one-man flying saucers, I’ve augmented their line up with vehicles from what was CMG’s Kamaados Dominion range, whose exaggerated profiles really fit in.

I would field the following:

  • Company HQ

    • 1 x Big Man

    • 2 x Electronic Warfare Specialist

  • 1st Platoon & 2nd Platoons, each

    • 1 x Big Man

    • 3 x Infantry Squad

  • 3rd Platoon

    • 1 x Big Man

    • 1 x Flying Saucer Squad (9 Xar on one-man flying saucers)

  • 2 x Support Platoons

    • 3 x AA Missile Launcher Teams

    • 3 x Heavy Beam Weapon Teams

  • Attack Drone Squad

    • 1 x Drone Operator Specialist

    • 2 x Attack Drone

  • 2 x AFV Platoons

    • 2 x Big Men

    • 3 x Gekotaa Armoured Car (one with scanner)

    • 3 x Dragamaa Main Battle Tank

A good, well-balanced force that had the potential to provide plenty of surprises for the stunties!

The Game

The game began with the dwarves marching onto the table almost unopposed: the Xar were slow to finish their breakfasts that morning!

On the dwarf left, their heavy tanks moved forward around the end of the ridge, with the Hearthguard just to their right up on the ridge itself.

Meanwhile, on the dwarf right, the Grudd contingent headed for and invested the shanty town.

My plan had been to swing my light troops around the left side of his line (the one farthest from the shantytown) but this rapid advance neatly negated my plans, as although I had my Xar infantry opposite the shantytown, all I had to oppose the advance of his AFVs were the armoured cars, attack drones (which I had in the “better against infantry” configuration) and flying saucer squad: nothing that was going to do more than chip the dwarf tanks’ paintwork as they rolled on through them!

Time for some rapid movement.

I sent the three armoured cars forward to delay the dwarf tanks, started moving my tanks across to meet their threat, got the flying saucers moving across the table away from the dwarf armour, and used the high speed of the attack drones to shoot past the advancing enemy tanks to get in behind the main dwarf line.

Things were very frantic for a few minutes!

As expected, the dwarf tanks made short work of the armoured cars, but even this quick distraction gave me a chance to get the attack drones into position.

It’s behind you!

Opening up from what was, for them, close range, the drones hammered two dwarf infantry squads up the backside with their auto weapons, rapidly reducing their effectiveness to nil. One drone was then lost to a shot from one of the dwarf tanks…but the tanks had had to withdraw backwards in order to combat the threat of the drones, giving me the opportunity to push forward my heavy tanks until they were cresting the ridge and effectively outflanking the main dwarven line.

I was pretty confident that my three tanks and one remaining drone could not only take the two dwarf tanks (despite their shield generator) but then start to roll up the enemy line. Worst case, two of my tanks could keep his occupied, whilst the other and drone ran riot into the flank and rear of his remaining Hearthguard.

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile, the battle for the shantytown had begun. Although the dwarves had an advantage, having got their first, by getting my men hunkered down outside the town, I could effectively get off a first shot at the dwarves as they moved forward into positions from where they could shoot me.

This threat caused the Grudd contingent of the dwarves to hesitate for a turn or two, leaving me more time to wrap up the rest of their force.

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John soon realised, however, that if he didn’t beat me here, the battle was definitely lost, and a he moved his Grudd forward leading to a huge firefight.

Although the dwarves had the advantage of cover (well, what cover the shantytown buildings offered!) and powered armour, my Critters had tough carapaces and the numbers: six squads and three heavy beam weapons versus five squads. The only fly in my ointment were the Iron Lords: as expected, their superheavy armour proved impervious to just about everything I threw at them!

The firefight was actually pretty even…until my flying saucer squad arrived.

These had whooshed across the table and formed a firing line on the shantytown flank: the two heavy autoweapons on each saucer doing horrendous damage to the dwarves.

But where, I hear you ask, were the dwarf support weapons and the flyer? Two guns, two mortars and the scout ship that had done so much damage last game?

Well one Shaker cannon had been hit and destroyed by one of my tanks early in the game. As for the others…well, every time John called in the air support, I used my superior electronic warfare capability to scramble the communication, as I also did whenever his CinC tried to use the mortars or remaining Shaker.

Endgame

At this point, the battle had to end for time reasons. Not that the game took long to play, we had just had only a short window of opportunity in which to play it.

Both sides had half the Force Morale they had started with i.e. the same number of points left. Although I’d been hammering him lately, I had lost the armoured cars and a drone early in the game.

We therefore called the game a draw, although John was generous enough to say that he thought that the day would probably been mine if we had continued. Me? I’m not so sure. John hadn’t really had the opportunity to use his Iron Lords yet and, to be honest, I reckon they would have chewed through my infantry in no time: being, as I said, just about indestructible. Maybe I would eventually have Shocked them off the table, but it would have been a pretty painful process to do so!

So, overall, a draw…which, of course, means a re-match!

Robert Avery

 
 
 
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Most of my recent painting has been sci-fi kit, so it was good to have a chance to get some figures onto the table and actually play a game. It would be the Hura from Clear Horizon Miniatures versus a force of Dwarves in Space built from a variety of different manufacturers.

The action would take place on a dusty red planet with normal gravity and a breathable atmosphere. Some kind of facility was positioned at one end of the table, surrounded by weird alien vegetation (courtesy of Pets R Us’ aquarium range) growing out of the rough ground. Looking at the picture above, the Dwarves would start from the far side of the table, the Hura from the near side.

The Dwarves (In Space)

The DiS force consisted on three platoons of infantry: one of Cactus Miniatures’ Gruntlings, one of Cactus Miniatures Gruntlings in Exo-Skeletons (powered armour), and one of Rebel Miniatures “Sons of Thunder”. These were supported by three HMG armed Spider Drones (GZG), three lighter laser cannon (cobbled together from the bits box with gunners from Cactus), three scout motortrikes from Cactus, and, last but not least, three Goanna tanks from Khurasan’s Thrainite range. The command element had an Electronic Warfare specialist attached (an Armadillo support unit from White Dragon), with air cover from a somewhat petite fighter-bomber (manufacturer forgotten).

Although a mixed bag manufacturers-wise, it was actually a pretty rounded force. The Dwarves’ key advantages were their air power, and the fact that one of their tanks mounted a shield generator in place on its main gun. Oh, and the fact that they were technologically superior to the Hura, so would always benefit by a factor of one on all dice rolls.

The Hura

As is so often the case, Clear Horizon’s Hura range comes with a nice set of infantry figures but nothing else. No vehicles, no heavy support weapons, no aircraft, no specialists: nothing except infantry. My Hura force of three infantry platoons (each of two squads of Hura and one squad of modified-Hura, MMG-type support weapons) was therefore augmented with six Xarledi grav tanks from Brigade Games’ Yanpolo range.

This gave me a distinct advantage in the vehicle department but no air power and, even more importantly, no anti-aircraft assets. This would prove one of the deciding factors in the game to come.

The Battle

Commanding the Hura, my plan was to hold the area opposite the facility with my infantry whilst my grav tanks used their far superior speed to shoot around my opponent’s right flank.

Blinds representing my grav tanks (with a few dummies) swing out to the left

Unfortunately, John had anticipated this move, and one of the Blinds facing my advance was spotted as his AFVs.

Tank on tank!

This led to an immediate exchange of fire between my platoon of four grav tanks and John’s platoon of two tanks and a shield generator tank. I got the drop on the Dwarves and shot first: sending twelve rounds rapid fire across the dusty landscape at a range of only about 100 yards.

Unfortunately, John’s shield generator was up and running, and working at maximum efficiency. Despite hitting with all twelve shots, all I managed to do was knock out tank one’s main gun: excellent in terms of reducing the Dwarves’ firepower, not so good when it came to reducing their overall force morale.

Dwarf tank one then retreated behind the nearby volcano, leaving tank two to blow one of my grav tanks out of the air. Not a bad exchange, I thought: one of two Dwarf tanks effectively crippled for the loss of one of six grav tanks. Bring it on! One more round like that, and I’d be free to ignore the shield generator and head round to the main facility as planned.

Unfortunately, the Dwarf CO then got the opportunity to call in his air support, which appeared promptly: dropping out of the sky just behind my garv tanks and immediately dispatching one with air-to-ground missiles up the exhaust pipe.

Death from Above!

At this point I realised how stuffed I was. With no significant air defence assets, that pooping flyer was going to chase my grav tanks around the board, knocking at least one out of action each turn!

End Game

The Dwarves, meanwhile, had managed to get a unit forward into the facility, with more following on behind.

Aware that I needed to do something on the right if I was ever going to rescue the battle, I rushed my infantry forward, but it was really too late to do any good.

Hura infantry rush forward

But the Dwarves have the position

With my last grav tank chased and then destroyed by that poxy flyer, I had no choice but to retreat.

Aftermath

Well that was a crushing defeat for the Hura…and just goes to show the importance, as I say to anyone who asks, of airpower on the sci-fi battlefield.

All credit to John, however: he successfully read my intentions and countered my plan, with the Dwarves losing only six men (and one tank gun!) all battle.

I’m now off to scour the Internet for AA assets for my Hura!

Robert Avery

 
 
 
 
 

Here's a battle report of a recent game of Quadrant 13, the company-sized rules for sci-fi games from the TooFatLardies. The scenario is a simple one: the Dwarves must capture a mining base from the Ikwen militia protecting it, with the Ikwen expecting reinforcements from their Chuhuac allies at any moment.

Dwarven Briefing

Many years ago, Dwarves began mining on Teruis VI, an unglamorous planet in a nondescript part of the quadrant. With the prime deposits emptied, the mining works were leased to the Ikwen on a 50 year lease. The usual terms and conditions applied.

New deposits of valuable minerals have just been discovered so, activating the appropriate clause in the lease contract, you gave the Ikwen notice to quit, with a three-month window for them to do so.

Demonstrating that no creature in the galaxy can be trusted (except other dwarves…and few of them, besides) the Ikwen have refused to leave, claiming that ancient rights based on “finders keepers” supersedes your contract. It would be laughable – your contract was drawn up by dwarven lawyers, for Gold’s sake – but the Ikwen are still there and still digging up your ore!

The lawyers have argued for long enough. Your mine has sent an expeditionary force to evict the Ikwen squatters. You know the Ikwen are a client race of the mercenary Chuhuac, so you can expect them to intervene, but even the funky chickens (as they are sometimes contemptuously called) will not be able to stand against good, dwarven technology.

The campaign is going well. Now you lead your mine’s household company against one particular Ikwen mining base. Your mission is simple: capture the base, disperse any opposition!

Your Troops

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level IV)
  • Sniper

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 2 (Level III)
  • 3 x Infantry Squads (8 men each in Powered Armour)

2nd Platoon

  • 3 x Infantry Squad (8 men each)
  • 3 x Cane Toad APC

Drone Platoon

  • 3 x HMG Drones

Tank Platoon

  • Big Man 3 (Level III)
  • 2 x Goanna Tank
  • 1 x Goanna Tank with Shield Generator

Emergency Reinforcements*

3rd Platoon

  • Big Man 4 (Level II)
  • 2 x Infantry Squad (6 men each in powered armour)
  • Raven VTOL

*Most senior Big Man uses whole turn to call in. Each time Blinds appears, roll D6: appear on a 5 or a 6. Battlefield inserted, then Raven can act as usual.

Ikwen/Chuhuac Briefing

The arrogance of these dwarves is unbelievable! The planet was leased from them, fair and square, with a good price paid...but now superior Ikwen engineering has uncovered new, richer deposits, the little men want it back immediately, with no talk of compensation or recompense.

You have been fighting their claim through every law court you can find, refusing to accept that their so-called 'contract' gives them the right to throw you off Teruis, or certainly not before you have had a chance to reap the rewards of your work.  Now, however, the greedy little ankle-biters have sent in troops to take the mines away from you by force.

Unfortunately, the campaign has very much been going in their favour so far: after all, all you have to oppose them is the militia that, really, is no more than a glorified police force...but you have called for help, and your Chuhuac allies have sent a lightly armed expeditionary force to back up your troops.

Their arrival coincides with a dwarven push to capture the mine in Amerge Sector. Time to singe a few Stunty beards!

Your Troops

On Table At Start

Ikwen Company HQ

  • 1 x Chuhuac Big Man (Level III)
  • 1 x Rotary Cannon Drone

Ikwen Militia Platoon

  • 2 x Ikwen Engineer Squad (12 Ikwen each)
 

On Third Appearance of the Blinds Card

Chuhuac Company HQ

  • 1 x Herdmaster (Big Man Level IV)
  • 1 x Recon Specialist
  • 1 x Sirrus APC
  • 1 x Vasseth Strike Tank

1st Platoon

  • 1 x Big Man (Level II)
  • 1 x Recon Specialist
  • 2 x Chuhuac Squad (12 men each)
  • 4 x Sirrus APC

Strike Tank Platoon

  • 1 x Big Man (Level III)
  • 3 x Vasseth Strike Tank

Battlesuit Platoon

  • 1 x Big Man (Level III)
  • 6 x Battlesuit

The Game

The battle began with the Blinds (nice moustache, shame about the lack of beard!) representing the Dwarven expeditionary force appearing on the road near where it curved around the volcano-like rocky outcrops. The Ikwen militia, clustered within the mining compound itself, kept their heads down, but managed to spot the lead couple of Blinds as one Dummy (a small party of scouts) and a platoon of Goanna heavy tanks. Two of the Goanna's were using the standard railgun as their main weapon, the other was fitted with a shield generator that gave a defensive value of ten in a 90 degree arc positioned 18" from the front of the vehicle.

As the Dwarven tanks grew closer to the compound, they spotted a tracked drone carrying a rotary cannon in the sandbagged emplacement where, presumably, the Ikwen usually kept their rovers. This was lurking there, waiting for something Dwarvish to approach the gate whereupon it would fire into their rear.

This needed to be dealt with, so Goanna 2 just drove straight up and over the side of the sandbagged emplacement, crushing the drone under its tracks. Unfortunately, the tank slipped a track when doing this, and was thus rendered immobile for the rest of the game. This turned out to be not a problem, as all it meant was that the Dwarves now had a sort of pillbox right outside the Ikwen's front door!

Meanwhile, the Chuhuac reinforcements had arrived at the other end of the table, with two of the Blinds being quickly revealed as concealing a platoon of Vasseth Strike Tanks, and a platoon of Battlesuits that had been rushed to the front so quickly they hadn't even managed to be re-painted in desert camouflage.

Two of the Vasseths immediately engaged Goanna 1, but none of their shots even managed to penetrate the shield put up by Goanna 3. In return, Goanna 1 turned its main gun onto one of the Vasseths and blew it to pieces with one shot. Ouch! The other Vasseth retreated into a more hull down position behind a small building.

Thinking that perhaps they could swamp the Goanna, the Chuhuacs sent their Battlesuits forward. This turned out to be a mistake, as Goanna 1 picked off two of them in quick succession. The others scattered, remembering that they were light troops and really shouldn't be trying to square up to a heavy tank head on.

Meanwhile, the last Vasseth has been threading its way carefully through the coral-like alien fauna, trying to get around the rear of Goanna 1 and into where the Cane Toad APCs were waiting on the road for the signal to go forward.

It took a couple of turns, but eventually it emerged from the undergrowth looking straight down the road at the APCs. Excellent, I thought, time to wreak a bit of havoc!

Unfortunately I had reckoned without the intervention of the Cane Toads themselves. Spotting the danger, the lead Cane Toad dropped off it's squad of infantry and then charged forward and rammed the Vasseth right in the snot locker! Both vehicles were written off in the crash, leaving the other two Cane Toads free to move forward safe from interference. A worthwhile exchange...if you're a Dwarf!

With Goanna 1 just about winning the battle on its own (it had now knocked out the main gun on the last Vasseth), the Dwarves moved their APCs up towards the compound and prepared for the final assault.

The Chuhuac, seeing this, moved their APCs carrying their single platoon, into the compound: although they couldn't match the Goannas out in the open, especially not when hidden behind the Goanna 3's shield, perhaps they would have more success in a more built up setting.

Whilst all this was going on, the final Chuhuac Blind, concealing the Company HQ, was working its way around the back of the mining compound, aiming to engage the Dwarf Blinds (presumably concealing their infantry) without having to go through Goanna 1 first.

The regular Dwarven infantry (i.e. the ones without power armour) de-bused, and started to infiltrate down one side of the compound: gas tanks on their left, barbed wire on their right.

To their right, the Dwarven infantry in powered armour moved towards the Chuhuac Blind concealing the Company HQ. The Dwarfs, confident in their powered armour, were somewhat surprised when the Blind de-cloaked, revealing a side-on Sirrus APC, machine guns bristling, and a final Vasseth Strike tank with a very large missile launcher as its secondary weapon.

Both fired at the Dwarves, blasting the three squads backwards but actually doing no damage: the powered armour doing its job. For the rest of the game, the two sides would exchange fire, neither seemingly able to deal a fatal blow to the other.

The Final Assault

Things rapidly became very confused indeed.

As Goanna 1, now determined to claim that it had won the battle on its own, drove up the ramp into the compound, it was swarmed by a squad of Chuhuac. Despite their best attempts, however, even attacking from the rear, they just couldn't get through the tank's armour. A Cane Toad APC, following on behind Goanna 1, then cut them down, effectively ending any resistance at the front gate.

A squad of Ikwen militia then close assaulted the lead Dwarf squad infiltrating up the side of the barbed wire. One Dwarven squad was reduced to half strength, but the Dwarves, aided by one of their Spider Drones, had cut the Ikwen down, the few survivors of the squad fleeing across the compound.

Meanwhile, back outside the compound, two Battlesuits had done what they were designed to do, and snuck through the 'forest' and attacked the Dwarfs in the rear: taking out the shield generator on Goanna 3 (but not the tank itself) and one Cane Toad...but one Battlesuit had paid the price, and the immobilised - but still deadly - Goanna 2 was looking to see off the other one too.

Goanna 1 then drove forward, and the remaining Ikwen and Chuhuac decided that perhaps the mine wasn't worth any more lives, and surrendered.

Aftermath

What a battle! The Ikwen/Chuhuac had lost three of seven infantry squads; their drone; two out of four tanks and all but one Battlesuit. All they had left was a few ineffectual infantry and APCs and a single Vasseth.

The Dwarves had won, but it had been fairly painful. One APC was destroyed, with another crippled. One Goanna was crippled, another had its shield generator blown up. And there were seven dead Dwarves as well.

A great game where the sheer might of the Dwarves crushed the Chuhuac, who had made the mistake of trying to take them straight on. The Dwarven shield generator was really effective, as was their infantry's powered armour but, in the end, it was Goanna 1 that won the day for them!

Robert Avery

Figures

The Dwarves that John played came from Khurasan, apart from the Spider drones which are from GZG.

The Ikwen and Chuhuac that I played are from Loud Ninja Games (available through Alternative Armies), with their rotary cannon drone again coming from GZG.

The 'vegetation' is all aquarium ornaments bought from Pets At Home. The buildings are nearly all Critical Mass. The roads and two of the gas tanks are from Battlefront.