Regular visitors will know that at this year’s Salute I purchased a bargain pack of mdf sci-fi terrain from TT Combat and have spent the last couple of months building it. It was now time to get some figures onto the table and actually use the damn thing!

The scenario was to be a simple attacker/defender game, with the Hauk (sci-fi birdmen from Khurasan) defending the industrial complex against an assault from the Felids (sci-fi lionmen, also from Khurasan). I would play the Hauk, friend Neal would play the Felids, and in order to make things interesting, there was a time limit for the Felids to take the complex.

The two sides were as follows:

The Hauk

  • Company HQ

    • Big Man (Level IV)

    • 2 x Sniper

  • Platoon One

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 3 x Hauk Drop Trooper squad (9 Hauk each)

  • Support Platoon

    • 6 x Laser Cannon Team (5 Hauk each)

  • Mortar Platoon

    • 4 x Medium Mortar Team (5 Hauk each)

The Hauk were small in number, but Veteran in quality. Their laser cannons would fire not as a platoon, but on an individual chip, but with the chips as unspecific: any one laser cannon that hadn’t already activated could be used when a laser cannon chip was pulled.

 

The Felids

  • Company HQ

    • Big Man (Level IV)

    • Drone Operator

    • 3 x Whiskers Scout Drones

  • 1st Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 3 x Rifle Platoon (each 10 Felid)

  • 2nd Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 3 x Rifle Platoon (each 10 Felid)

  • 3rd Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 3 x Rifle Platoon (each 10 Felid)

  • Support Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 1st Section

      • Drone Operator

      • 3 x Medium Mortars

    • 2nd Section

      • Drone Operator

      • 3 x Pounder Light Mortars

    • 3rd Section:

      • Drone Operator

      • 3 x Pounder Light Mortars

  • AutoCannon Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III) in Scout Car

    • 4 x AutoCannon Carrier

Prideguard

  • Prideguard Platoon

    • Big Man (Level III)

    • 3 x Prideguard Squad (each 10 Felids)

  • Scout Platoon

    • Big Man (Level II)

    • 2 x Prideguard Scout Squad (each 6 Felids on Grav Bikes)

As can be seen, the Felids outnumbered the Hauk by three platoons to one (four if you count the Prideguard, see below) and had plenty of mortars that could be used to soften up the opposition as well. All Felid troops were Standard.

The Prideguard were supposed to be reinforcements i.e. not used unless the situation was critical. Prideguard troopers are Veterans.

Special Rules

There were a few special rules used to cover the unique terrain. There were as follows:

  • Moving from one level to another could only be done by ladders or stairs, except for the Hauk, who could use their jump packs. Each level moved cost one dice of movement, with one level being about six inches i.e. the first platform on the big tower was two levels up.

  • It took one dice to climb from the planet’s surface onto the main platform.

  • If behind cover on a higher level, then you counted as a Poor Shot when targeted.

The Game

The game began with the Felids moving their Whiskers reconnaissance drones onto the end of the main platform, and then sending them out to see what they could see.

Almost immediately, they spotted the one forward, Hauk defensive position:

Now knowing that the Hauk were defending deep, the Felids could afford to bring on their mortars for a bit of softening up. As Hauk commander, I just didn’t have the men (birds?) to do anything about this at this stage: my defenses were in largely fixed positions: all I could do is watch the Felids deploy and hope they took their time about it!

DSCN0593.JPG

With that forward defensive position as the only real target, the Felid mortars soon zeroed in on both the laser cannon team and the squad supporting them, and shells began to rain down as if it were monsoon season.

We did have a bit of a wrangle about minimum ranges and the like (those mortars were just about shooting straight up and down!) but as Neal is not a regular Q13 player and I hadn’t reminded him about minimum ranges as he deployed, we agreed to let the matter go…and within a few turns the laser cannon and squad were KO’d.

This might seem like a bad thing, but it did soak up quite a bit of time, and the two units did do a bit of damage before they passed.

With my forward defensive post down, the Felids began edging forward.

By now, their Whiskers Drones had spotted most of my main defensive line along the back catwalk, so their advance was very cautious, mostly led by their four autocannon carriers carefully moving from cover to cover.

Now, however, it was my turn to rain down fire from above. The four Hauk mortars finally got a chance to act (it had obviously taken them some time to properly lock their mortars into place ) and launched a barrage at all that lovely Felid artillery sitting in neat rows at the other end of the table.

I actually had quite a good chance of severely reducing his tubes: rather than having crews, his mortars were actually drones, with each battery fired by a drone operator. Knock out the drone operator and the battery ceases to fire, which meant that in reality I only had three targets: the three Felids with the big antenna on top of their heads!

Unfortunately, my first shot missed by some way, only catching one mortar team in the blast radius and not KO-ing its operator, but it was good to see the other two scattering for cover and to know that I had at least slowed their rate of fire!

Also unfortunately, my mortar fire seemed to galvanize Neal into action: he suddenly woke up to the fact that time was ticking away and threw everything he had forward at once. His advance was not precipitous, however: one platoon advanced down my right flank, meaning that I had to keep assets there to block them, and the rest advanced not through the complex (slow) but down on the planet’s surface. His aim was to get past the arc of fire of my defensive line, and then get in on them before they had a chance to re-position.

This, of course, is what I had wanted: now surely my laser cannons could blast the kitty-kats off the table!

They were certainly an inviting target, but Neal had anticipated this: the Felid mortars changed load and now dropped smoke onto my main defensive positions. How very annoying!

I did manage to slow him down a bit, however. One of my laser cannon teams managed to swap positions and shoot up a couple of squads (including one from the Prideguard!), and a squad that I’d left to ambush the enemy as they went by emerged from cover and knocked out a couple of Felid squads before being obliterated itself.

Shooting as the cats go by

Remnants of the ambush squad

On top of that, my mortars had got the range on the mass of Felids moving up my left flank, and a couple of rounds of fire kept at least one platoon from keeping up with their colleagues.

But the writing was by now on the wall. Although my mortars were doing sterling work, their time on this earth was, I felt, limited:

But, as it happens, that was not where the real damage was done.

Neal managed to get a squad of Felids with a Big Man underneath the big platform that formed the left bastion of my position.

Predictably, the next chit out was “Felid Heroic Commander”, so up the ladder went the squad and, after a round of fierce melee combat, took out the two of my laser cannon teams on the first floor of the platform.

With my defensive line well and truly breached and my mortars about to be swamped by grav bikes, I surrendered. No need for more bloodshed!

Aftermath

A great game, with the new industrial terrain proving worth every penny and minute spent on it.

All kudos to Neal for his surgical dissection of my position, but even he agreed that I hadn’t had much luck earlier on in the game.

The plan is now for the Felids to defend the complex against the next wave of attackers. I haven’t decided who yet, but it will be nice to see the boot on the other foot!

Robert Avery

I shall return…so if the rest of you could just hold them off for a few minutes whilst I climb aboard!