Time for another game with our home-brewed rules. This time, we used the full pre-game sequence, which meant we rolled up our forces as well as special events. Again, things didn’t start well for me as I rolled two 1s and got only one unit of AAR and three units of Quar, the weakest troops available to me. K. got only one of her weakest and a weapon team for support. Well, I comforted myself that at least we could test how balanced the game is.
We didn’t roll up the scenario but chose ‘The Extraction’: Continuing from our last adventure, we now know whom the vanished miner contacted last, namely Dr. Xyphon Kirschwasser, a renowned expert in exobiology. Both factions were intent on finding him and asking him a couple of questions, preferable in a quiet setting, which meant getting him off the table. The good doctor was either in his institute or at the local bar, no doubt having a pint to get the grey matter going.
As a special event, I rolled ‘In the grey of dawn’, which meant that shooting ranges were limited to 20cm for the first two turns. As K. had the advantage in long-range fire, this favoured me. So I charged forward with my Quar on both flanks while the AAR provided cover in the middle. I also hoped to put them into a position where they could stop K.’s forces escaping with the doctor if they should get him before me. K.’s Sharkmen were first at the institute and stormed through the doors, looking for their quarry but not finding him. That meant he was at the bar!
The Brunt bounced into the bar, shouting and searching for the doctor. When the Quar entered through the back door, a firefight erupted. However, the Brunt managed to locate and grab the doctor, who had locked himself into a storage cabinet.
At this moment, I saw myself losing again. I had stated in the scenario description that the only way to get at the doctor was to enter into close combat with the unit escorting him, and the last game had shown the fearsome close combat abilities of the Brunt. Nevertheless, my dauntless Quar charged – and won the melee! They broke the Brunt which had to retreat and were pinned. I knew that this was the only chance I would get and immediately led the doctor out by the back door while I prepared covering fire with my remaining Quar and the AAR. Fortunately, I had at least managed to take out K.’s weapons team during the fighting at the institute.
What followed were some of the tensest moments of any wargame we have played: K. rushing her troops into close combat with my escort team while I tried to stop her, using overwatch fire with the AAR and one lone Quar who was bunkered up at the bar.
In the end, I prevailed, managing to take out everything she threw at me. The Quar proved exceptionally resilient and heroic. Surely, a special decoration will be in for the lone Quar in the bar who didn’t stop to harass the enemy troops and held out till the end!
This was one of the most exciting games we have played for some time. The twist came as a surprise – I had already written off the game when the Brunt captured the objective. I was lucky in close combat but followed up with some solid tactics for a change, which enabled me to lead Dr. Kirschwasser away without K. getting at him.
The game was also a good opportunity to test the close combat rules as well as force balance some more. Again, everything worked fine, so I will prepare a pdf and put the rules up for download soon.