Second Sci-Fi Playtest

We’ve now played a second game with the new rules. Incidentally, I decided to call them Wandering Star – this captures the whimsical and space-operatic feeling I want to achieve quite well, I think. So, paint your starship and join us on a new adventure!

As it was time to test the vehicle rules, each of us got a support vehicle. The Quar had a walker while the TCO fielded a converted dune buggy, both light crafts. However, both were armoured, which meant that they could only be damaged by Heavy Support Weapons – in this situation only by each other.

Continuing from our last adventure, the teams had to find out whom the vanished miner called last. They had to break into the comm station (primary objective), which, however, was only possible if they first either sabotaged the power lines or stole the key card from a habitation (both secondary objectives).

Who will break into the comm station?
Who will break into the comm station?

We also tested the pre-game phase and rolled for troop composition as well as for special events. I was a bit unlucky with both, having to take two of the weaker Quar units and only one of the more powerful AAA ones and additionally having one of those units arrive a turn later.

This seems to have thrown me off track, as I never really formulated a clear plan. I had the vague idea that I would go for the objective on my right flank, the power plant, and try to keep K. from breaking into the house at my left flank. K. was determined to have a go at both secondary objectives, even if one would be enough to be able to attempt the primary one, the comm station in the middle of the table.

The game started with everyone rushing forward and the vehicles taking a few pot shots at each other. Unfortunately, my walker got a critical hit and lost its propulsion, which meant it was unable to move.

Quar walker taking hits.
Quar walker taking hits.
AAA and Brunt eyeing each other cautiously.
AAA and Brunt eyeing each other cautiously.

My AAA fireteam managed to get to the power conduits before the Brunt but decided to set up a firing position instead of attempting the objective. As I feared, the Brunt charged into close combat next turn, and despite overwatch fire from my panicking Auxies the Brunt cut them to pieces – none of them was left standing after melee was over. Those Brunt are brutal in close combat!

Brunt in action.
Brunt in action.

In the meantime, my walker took another critical hit and lost its primary weapon. Things were looking bleak on the right flank.

High noon on the dusty road.
High noon on the dusty road.
The Quar decided to take a detour while the Sharkmen achieve the objective.
The Quar decided to take a detour while the Sharkmen achieve the objective.

Alas, things weren’t looking better on my left flank. The Sharkmen had entered the building and were looking for the key card while my Quar were sulking around, not able to decide whether to advance or retreat into cover. My stragglers had advanced in the middle and set up a firing position to cover the primary objective while K. moved her vehicle over and took them under fire.

Quar setting up a perimeter.
Quar setting up a perimeter.

For the moment, they were holding. However, I lost my left Quar fireteam when they got into a crossfire from Sharkmen and Pasiphaeans. At least my walker crew had managed to repair the engine and got their vehicle moving, also intending to intercept anyone who would head for the comm station. To no avail! Despite my overwatch fire, K. got her Pasiphaeans into the building. There was nothing left I could do, so, after only six turns, I surrendered.

Endgame.
Endgame.

Well, this was a clear defeat. Not content with taking out two of my units and badly damaging the walker, K. had even managed to achieve both secondary objectives, her Brunt passing their intelligence test against all odds and managing to sabotage the power line without electrocuting themselves!

Apart from the minor inconvenience of my defeat, I was again very happy with the rules. The vehicles worked fine, neither slowing down the game nor dominating the battlefield. As in the last game, we especially liked the objectives, which provided a real narrative. The game was more brutal than last time, me losing half of my units. However, most of this was down to bad tactics – as I’ve already said, I never made a real plan and was very undecided with the Quar on my left flank, milling about and getting shot at without achieving anything. In the end, my defensive tactics stood no chance against K., who had a clear and aggressive plan, which she saw through.

Next time, we’ll test another scenario and also continue testing the pre-game phase – there are some combinations of troops that could be problematic. Let’s see.

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