Monthly Archives: August 2011

Combined Army vs Ariadna (200 points): Infinity After-Action Report; 31Aug11

Continuing our recent trend of trying out new skirmish-sized games, especially ones with free-to-download rulesets, Furycat and I have been trying to learn Infinity.  Furycat took Ariadna since a combined force of Scots, Russians and French, with a twist of Werewolves, was right up his street.  For my part, I liked the varied look of the alien Combined Army.  Since neither of us really know anything about the game it probably isn’t too important who has which force, or it may even be that there is no difference between the factions anyway.  Last week we played a couple of games with forces based loosely on the starter boxes (swapping the Charontid out of the Combined Army box for another Morat to keep the points close) so that we could learn the rules, and today we dived right in with proper army lists and everything.  Well, I write ‘everything’, but we still bodged a few rules and deliberately didn’t take some of the more complex units, such as hackers and airborne deployment options.

After some consideration, I realised that I couldn’t think of a good way to battle report this in my usual detailed style.  So this is more of an ‘after-action report’, in which I’ll highlight interesting (to me) events or things I suspect we got mixed up with the rules.

I’ve linked the unit names in the army lists to the pictures on the Infinity website, but beware before you click on them, lest you find yourself irresistably drawn to buy these beautiful miniatures.  The painters who worked on these display models have amazing skills.

Combined Army (200 points, 4 swc)

Skiávoro Lieutenant, plasma rifle and nanopulser

Vector Operator, heavy machine gun (HMG from now on)

Yaogat, multi sniper rifle

Morat, HMG

Three Shasvastii Seed-Soldiers, combi-rifle and light shotgun

So to ‘translate’, that’s a big killy alien leader bug who can transfer his consciousness to other miniatures if he dies, a flying bug with a big gun, an armoured space ape with a sniper rifle, an unarmoured space ape with a big gun and 3 bugs who start the game as seeds, then spring forth fully formed (and, apparently, fully armed) at the start of turn two.

Ariadna (202 points, 2 swc):

Kazak Veteran Lieutenant, AP rifle and light flamethrower

Two Highlander Grey Rifles, T2 rifle and lots of other kit

Kazak Dóktor, rifle

Line Kazak, AP HMG

Line Kazak, rifle and light grenade launcher

Three Line Kazaks, rifles

That works out as one man with a lot of armour and a lot of skills to help him kill stuff, two homicidal kilt-wearers with kill-you-straight-away guns, a medic, two grunts with big guns and three with normal guns.

We placed some terrain, looked at the rules for shooting a bit, then placed a lot more terrain.  The game rules allow reactions (including shots) to any action carried out in view of a miniature.  So if everyone can see everyone right from the start, there’s going to be a brief exchange of bullets followed quickly by us re-starting the game.  The mission was simply to kill all the other side, although the rules force you to begin retreating once you lose 60% (in points value) of your force.  To start off the theme of the game, in which everything has hundreds of special rules, my Combined Army have to lose 75% of the team before retreating.

Events of interest:

  • A Line Kazak realising that she had deployed wrong when the Yaogat sniper took her down as she tried to make the very first move of the game.
  • The HMG wielding Line Kazak spending a couple of turns putting suppressive fire down a long alley in the middle of the field, keeping the Yaogat pinned in cover.
  • The Vector Operator gunning down a few Line Kazaks, then getting a bit too clever and jumping over a wall to try to take out the Veteran Kazak and another grunt from behind (i.e. where there would be no return fire).  It was all going well until we found that among the Veteran’s many special rules was one allowing him to freely turn to face before reacting if the attacker was close enough.  The Vector heroically survived a reaction shot from the nearby HMG-wielding Line Kazak (notably this caused the end of the suppressive fire he was putting toward the Yaogat), killed the Line Kazak using his HMG and was felled by a pistol shot (of all things) from the Veteran.
  • The Yaogat noticed that the suppressive fire from the HMG had stopped, so put a shot between his eyes.  The Kazak Dóktor came over to try and resuscitate him (mainly so that we could see the game mechanics for medics), but he was as dead as a doornail.
  • The Veteran Kazak then went on a rampage, killing a couple of the Seed-Soldiers (one of whom I had left in the open since I’d run out of orders before moving to cover, so fair enough on that one) before the Skiávoro tried to take him out.  Despite being a terrifying alien with a host of fabulous weapons, I couldn’t lay a shot on the mighty human even after burning 3 orders of shooting.  And to make matters worse, the Veteran Kazak then charged into close combat and cut the beastie down straight away.  It evidently wasn’t the Skiávoro’s day – he’d previously hit a Highlander and the Kazak with HMG with a direct plasma blast only to have them both survive unscathed.  Luckily, thanks to the Ghost: Mnemonica skill, the Lieutenant status transferred safely to the last Seed-Soldier.
  • The Veteran Kazak was finally laid low by a critical hit from the Yaogat sniper.  Moral: don’t get into a long-range duel with a sniper.  Even then, he survived an unreasonable number of shots considering the weapon.
  • A Line Kazak spent about 6 orders speculatively hurling grenades at the Morat, initially managing an impressive scatter of about 28″.  He finally got his range and dropped 3 direct blasts on the alien, only to find that the Morat had stolen the dice the Veteran Kazak had been using for his armour rolls and the hits were all shrugged off.

After all was done, the Ariadna forces were below their 60% threshold and began pulling back.  We could have carried on (the game rules allow you some action if this happens, so that you can complete objectives), but there wasn’t much point in this case.  This day had clearly gone to the Combined Army.

I think we were generally doing OK with the rules.  I need to recheck the mechanics for burst template weapons, i.e. the Skiávoro’s plasma rifle.  I also used the Strategos skill from the Skiávoro after I’d transferred into the Seed-Soldier using Mnemonica, which I now believe was wrong (I assumed that it would go with the Lieutenant status, but it seems you don’t get to take special skills, even if they are ‘knowledge’ in the fluff).  Oh well, we’ll know for another time.

Overall, I’m rather impressed with the Infinity rules.  They take quite a lot of rulebook-flipping since every miniature has lots of special rules and several bits of equipment, but with less than a dozen models on the table this doesn’t seem likely to be a problem if we continue to play and get used to it.  For these early games we’ve deliberately shied away from the more complex stuff like hidden deployment, mines and impersonation.  My gut feeling is that we really need to play to some sort of objective or mission, since just lining up and shooting each other goes against the otherwise ‘realistic’ feel of the game.

Categories: Battle reports, Infinity | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Three Urban War Battle Reports; 11Aug11

In a change from our regular scheduled programming, I decided to post a non-Warhammer article today.  Only time will tell if this is a one-off or a normal part of the blog.  I’ve been interested in a skirmish wargame called Urban War lately, and I finally took the plunge to play a few games since there are free quick-start rules available.  It’s a bit of a long story how I got there, so I’ll recap quickly in case anyone cares.

Step 1:  I stumbled upon their excellent miniatures when looking for something else at Wayland Games‘ website.
Step 2:  When visiting Claymore 2011 at the weekend with Furycat and Justinmatters, I saw a demo game set up, but despite wandering past the stand periodically for a couple of hours, I never got to see anyone there to actually demonstrate it.  Still, I was even more impressed with the miniatures having seen them in person.
Step 3:  A quick check on the internet shows that the basic rules are available for free, and that a new edition has just been released.

So after printing the rules and having a quick game with Justinmatters last night (I lost, for the record) to learn the rules, I arranged some geek time with Forkbanger today.  I’d initially only printed out the rules for VASA (based on Cold War-era Soviet secret police) and the Syntha (robots and cyborgs) since they’re the ones I most liked the miniatures, so we just played a game using either side.  After that, Forkbanger printed out the rules for the Junkers (Roman legions… in space) for a third go.  For all three games, we kept the same set up, which I’m pleased to say looked somewhat more gritty and futuristic on the tabletop than I’ve managed on Battle Chronicler.  The basic rules specify the teams to be used:

VASA: Suppressor Sergeant (SS), Suppressor Sniper (S), Archangel (AA), two Suppressors with Gauss Rifles (GS1 and GS2) and two Suppressors with Force Batons (BS1 and BS2)

Syntha: Artemis Biomech (AB), Pointman (P) and four Androsynths (A1 to A4)

Junkers: Decurion (D), Exosuit (E), four Legionaries (L1 to L4) and two Auxilia (A1 and A2)

Game 1:

For this game, I took the Syntha and Forkbanger used VASA.  Deployment zones are only 6″ from the board edge, and no-one had any serious long-range weapons, so turn 1 was just everyone moving forward as quickly as possible.

The Sniper gets turn 2 off to a flying start by missing an Androsynth, and the Artemis makes him pay by using one of her Calibre points to follow-up (i.e. take two actions) into close combat and kill him.  There’s a whole load of ineffective shooting in midfield, so our elite fighters obviously need a little more practice.  The Suppressor Sergeant shows everyone how it’s done by shooting the Pointman before it activates, but the Archangel fails to do anything useful despite using her Calibre point to get a two shots on an Androsynth.

One of the Force Baton-armed Suppressors charges into combat with an Androsynth (who fails its command check to take an overwatch shot) and smashes it down.  Later in the turn, he’s shot in the back for his troubles.   In return for the ineffective overwatch, the Archangel also fails to interrupt an Androsynth taking a shot at her, but it misses anyway.  The Sergeant, tiring of the Archangel’s ineptitude, charges in and kills another Androsynth in close combat.  Finally, the Artemis charges a Suppressor, misses her attacks and is shot in the face.

After a couple of ineffective shots between the Androsynths and Suppressors, the Sergeant charges another victim.  Sadly, she misses her attack and is swatted aside by the construct, although one of the Force Baton Suppressors finishes the job.

This one probably didn’t merit a picture, but here it is anyway.  The last Androsynth misses a shot at the nearest Suppressor and is gunned down by the Archangel.  Victory for VASA!

Game 2:

For the second game, we simply swapped teams.  Following our usual highly tactical doctrine, the table edge was selected by being closest to it (we’re far too lazy to move round to the other side).  Again, turn 1 consisted of a lot of moving forward and not much shooting.

There is a completely ineffective exchange of gunfire between the Androsynths and the Suppressors over the middle ground, so just to break the deadlock I rush in with the Archangel.  She misses a shot at the nearest Androsynth then uses a follow-up move to get into close combat where she cuts it down.  The Artemis assaults one of the Suppressors but neither side can get a telling blow through.  The Sniper takes out the nearest construct and finally the Sergeant assaults an Androsynth but misses her attack and dies to the return swing.

Despite being at point-blank range and having three shots, the Pointman fails to down the Archangel.  Sadly, she can’t take advantage of it, first missing a shot at the nearest Androsynth and then being beaten senseless by it in close combat.  There is yet another ineffective round of fire between the Suppressors and the Androsynths.  Shooting is apparently not their strong suit.  The Artemis kills off the Suppressor in his activation, then uses her own move to assault another.  It goes less well, and she is duly shot with close-range Gauss fire.

The Pointman misses again with all three of its shots at the on-rushing Suppressor (the chaingun must have been loaded with blanks) and then the VASA team remember how their guns work, shooting an Androsynth and the Pointman and finishing the final Androsynth in melee.  Victory for VASA!

Game 3:

For our final game of the day, I kept VASA and Forkbanger (somewhat arbitrarily) selected Junkers.  Everyone begins the game moving forward, although in a rare first-turn event, the Exo-suit tries to shoot down the Archangel.  It misses.

VASA crucially win the initiative and the Archangel charges into a Legionary to avoid being turned into swiss cheese by the Exo-suit, although she fails to actually achieve anything.  Every other shot also misses (at least the Junkers have an excuse, since they’re supposed to be bad shots) and at the end of the turn, the Archangel is killed by the Legionary she hoped to be her victim.

Turn 3 begins with yet another round of useless shooting from the Suppressor and the Sniper (who even used a follow-up move to get a second shot), but the Legionaries clearly know how to do it right; both rifle-armed Suppressors are put down.  The Exo-suit lumbers toward the table centre and is set upon by the surviving Suppressors, but neither side can do anything.  The Suppressor Sergeant charges a Legionary but fails to kill him.  An Auxilia jumps in for good measure, but also can’t land a blow.  Sighing at his inept minions, the Decurion strolls over and cuts the Sergeant down himself.

The Legionary in the  East charges one of the remaining Suppressors and kills him before he can even react.  The Sniper fails to wound the Decurion, and then the Exo-suit shrugs off a hit from the last Suppressor on his heavy armour and mashes him with his Cestus.  We don’t even bother to finish the turn – the Sniper isn’t going to last long on his own, and I haven’t managed to kill even one of the Junkers in the entire game.  Victory for the Junkers!

My initial thoughts on the system: I like it.  We are still at the stage of checking the rulebook every couple of minutes (obviously, it doesn’t hurt that it’s only 12 pages long), but we still got through three games in about two and half hours, including coffee-making and other breaks.  I like the alternate activation mechanics as a change after playing mainly Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Blood Bowl lately, though I’m having trouble playing in a way that uses it well.

So if anyone out there has played Urban War, I’m happy to have your thoughts on how we played, and on whether we missed anything important in the rules.

Categories: Battle reports, Urban War | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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