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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