The CCAF informs us that Brighton is our next target. Our obvious goal is to liberate the planet, but we are just to assist the Capellan forces already dedicated to the invasion. Our first assignment is a bait and switch against an AFFS cavalry company.
The scenario was set up as follows, we were to pick whatever lance we wanted to use and only deploy half of our forces to start. The concept was that we were baiting the cavalry company to attack our static forces and have the other half of our forces come in from behind after a certain point in time. At the conclusion of every turn, each commander would roll a d6, and once we got our cumulative total to 9, or forces were reached the rear and could enter the map. Another thing of note, we had 2 of our players run the OpFor, since they are newer players and we didn’t want to overwhelm them with an entire company to manage. They ended up with 6 ‘Mechs each.
Rakashasa (TRO:3085 Refit), Adder (IS Refit), Thunderbolt 9NAIS, Argus 2D, Hermes II 6D, Hellspawn 7D, Lineholder LH8, Maelstrom 6K, Thanatos 4S, Trebuchet 7M, Victor 11D, Enforcer III 6M
Hexare Grenadiers Forces:
Piotrowski’s Predators – Hellspawn 7L, Sha Yu 2B, 2 Bandits, 2 Regulators Arrow IV, & 2 Fa Shih Platoons
Bethlan’s Irregulars – C3 Lance: Caesar 4R, Griffin 6S, Marauder 7D, and Cerberus V2 (missing an arm – failed repair roll), 2 Warriors
Shengli Armed Asset Protection – Lancelot (Custom – Binary Laser and Capacitor PPC), Charger 1A5, Ts’Tsang 9J, Stalker 7D, Badger and 1 Grenadier Platoon.
Warlock Fusiliers – 2 Demolishers (Dual Gauss), Falconer 8R, 2 Huron Warriors R4L, Lao Hu 3C
The scenario was to take place on a 4 map battlefield comprised of mostly open, partially forested terrain. We started the game with: Hellspawn, Sha Yu, 2 Fa Shih, Griffin, Marauder, Stalker, Charger, 2 Demolishers, Falconer, and 1 Huron Warrior.
The bulk of our forces clustered into a large patch of forest on the left side of the battlefield (2 Demolishers, Charger, Falconer, Stalker & Huron warrior). The Marauder and Hellspawn took up cover on a forested hill. The Sha Yu hung out on the right flank stealthed and the Fa Shih took up position in the center of the map. The OpFor set up similar to match us. They started 6 hexes from the back of the battlefield and deployed almost entirely on the left side. A couple of forested hexes blocked line of sight to some units going both ways.
We play open sheets, so we noticed all the AFFS pilots were veterans (3/4) while most of our units were green 5/6 or 5/5. I think only one unit had regular skilled pilots at 4/5. Additionally, most of the ‘Mech carried closer range weaponry, with just the Argus, Trebuchet, and Hellspawn sporting long fire focused weaponry.
The basic plan was to just hold our ground in the cover we had while deploying T-Aug (LRM Thunder Mines) to try and break up their forces so they would come piecemeal to our heavy/assault anchor. Additionally, my Regulators could fire Homing missiles while they were coming from off map. If we implemented our plan correctly, the flanking forces might not even be needed.
Turn 1 – Like most games, turn 1 was uneventful. We pretty much stood still, with only the Falconer moving to some new woods, my Fa Shih jumping forward and behind a hill, and my Sha Yu raced forward to the unprotected right flank. In the firing phase, the Stalker took 2 LRM 15 shots from the Argus. Otherwise, my Hellspawn and the Griffin began laying down T-Aug down the middle of the battlefield, which was where most of their ‘Mechs were headed. Oh yeah, I fired 2 Homing Arrow IV missiles, which would be arriving the next turn.
Turn 2 – The second turn saw the AFFC troops start getting spread out. The Maelstrom, Hermes, Lineholder, and Adder surge in close, with the remaining forces attempting to avoid the T-Aug minefields. Our Charger rushes forth to greet them with its AC 20. The Falconer continues to circle, as does the Shu Yu. The Fa Shih jump again and so does the Griffin. With 3 potential TAG rolls, I only land one…on the Treb which promptly receives 2 Arrow IV Missiles, one tears off the left arm and punches through the right torso. The Maelstrom takes 4 gauss rifles and a risky double tap on the AC 20 with precision ammo, which chews it up, but its still kicking. The Charger eats a majority of the AFFC fire, but doesn’t take that much damage, but decides to face-plant. We again place T-Aug in their midst to hamper their movement. So far, we’ve severely damaged 2 of their ‘Mechs at the cost of severe damage to one of ours.
Turn 3 – At the start of this turn, my reinforcements and the Warlock Fusilier troops arrive to the battlefield. This meant my evil Bandits were coming to wreck shop. This turn, the AFFC troops decided to risk the mine fields and ran through, suffer minimal damage. Again, we primarily plant, but my Bandits race forward 2 hexes behind the Rakashasa and 3 hexes behind the Hellspawn. The Charger tried to stand up…3 times, failing twice, pretty much guaranteeing it will get shot at again this turn. I land a TAGs on the rear of the Rakashasa, which takes two Arrow IV missiles in the rear, one of which was in the rear right torso, which knocks out the XL engine in that torso (which means it can’t fire this turn). Our forces wipe out the Maelstrom. My Bandits rear shot the Hellspawn, critting the un-CASE’ed LRM ammo in the left torso, erasing it from the battle. The AFFC forces split their fire between a Demolisher and the Charger, which falls again. So we’ve knocked out 3 of their ‘Mechs, and have suffered significant damage to the Demolisher, Charger, and a little on the Stalker.
Turn 4 – The AFFC forces continue to push forward, noticing that their only way out of this trap is basically out the left side of the battlefield, they continue to push forward. The Shengli forces arrive this turn as well. Most of the AFFC forces start running and jumping to make it as hard as possible to hit. I botch my all 5 of my TAG rolls, so no Arrow IV love. The Hermes II takes the brunt of our fire, eventually falling to the Stalker’s Streak SRM 4s. The Charger eats a lot more fire, and takes an ammo crit. It’s un-CASE’ed, so it gets evaporated. The remaining fire immobilizes the Demolisher and knocks down the Falconer.
Turn 5 – This turn, the OpFor continues moving down the middle and to the left, heading towards the board edge. Our flanking forces push forward at top speed hoping for a good shot. The AFFC run through the T-Aug, and the Adder nearly strips the armor off its leg. The Thanatos makes it off the board. Again I get the Bandits to the rear of a ‘Mech, this time the Argus, which takes two Arrow IV missiles. Unfortunately, it hits an arm and leg. My Sha Yu pokes at the Treb and lands a shot in the right torso, setting of the ammo stored there, taking out the XL engine. The Argus gets leg critted and the Adder gets leg critted and both fall down. My Hellspawn takes some damage from the Lineholder and the immobilized demolisher gets finished off. The Falconer takes some damage as well, and survives a potential crit on the Gauss Rifle arm.
Turn 6 – The Thunderbolt and Lineholder make it off the board to start this turn. The Argus gets up and tries to run, but it’s reduced movement keeps it in play. The Victor gets within 2 hexes of the edge. The Adder burns 4 MP to stand and fails to make it off the board since we’ve deployed T-Aug all in front of it. I get a TAG off on both the Argus and Victor. I send one missile at each, killing the Argus via XL in side torso and nearly strips of the armor on the leg of the Victor. The Marauder uses it’s TarComp to target the weakened leg on the Adder, destroying the leg and securing it as salvage. We pour our fire on the Victor, but fail to penetrate anywhere. The last shot on the Victor, an AC 2 from a Warrior hits it in the head. I’m sure you can imagine what happens next. The OpFor player rolls a 2, knocking the pilot out, sending the Victor to the ground. The Enforcer III who had been jumping around all game ends up being surrounded and fails a morale check and surrenders.
The total tally ends up with us knocking out 9 ‘Mechs, allowing only the Thunderbolt, Thanatos, and Lineholder to escape. The cost is a Demolisher, Charger, and heavy damage on the 2nd Demolisher, my Hellspawn, the Falconer and then some moderate damage to one of my Bandits, the Stalker, and a few other ‘Mechs. Overall it’s a resounding victory. As our contract stipulates, we split the salvage (I scored the Adder!)
From my prospective, I would have required all units used to be at least 4/6 minimum based on the concept of the bait and switch scenario. It should have required at least some mobility to pull the mission off. That would have precluded the dual Gauss Demolishers from the mission. They ended up not being that great, due to green crews, but they still did a fair amount of damage.
It was nice to have just 4 merc units vs the 2 OpFor players. The game played out much faster than our usual games. And it allowed it to be a bit more balanced as our average skill was 4/5 to their 3/4. We had the tonnage and armor, but diminished accuracy. It also made the number of units to be a little more balanced, but we had 26 units to their 12 units. It would have been nice to see them at least supported by some VTOLs or hovercraft combat vehicles to bring their unit count up a bit. I think this would have evened the fight out just a bit more.
I think one of the reason we won so convincingly was that we finally had a pre-deployment strategy meeting to discuss our generic plan. The strategic use of T-Aug to hamper the AFFC movement worked out really well. It messed them up for at least one turn, when they were scared to run through it. I often find that T-Aug or Thunders don’t actually do that much. Its an 8+ or 9+ to set the mines off, so less than 50% chance to set them off. So often, Thunders/T-Aug has a more physiological impact than an actual in game mechanical impact. I think we ended up inflicting about 30 total damage via the mines, but it only matter against the Adder, which eventually lost the leg that took all the mine damage. I really like using the hovers over mines, which only set the mines off on a 12+. So my Bandits were able to maneuver without care while the AFFC units were slowed.
Again, the Bandits + Arrow IV were devastating. The Arrow’s took out the Rakshasa and Argus straight up. It also softened the Trebuchet and damaged the Victor. Then Bandits were able to crit seek out the Hellspawn and Argus (leg crit). In the open terrain, this combo was just deadly, especially when I could deploy those Bandits from the rear.