After the success of the Urban War test games played between Forkbanger and me, we got together again along with Furycat to have another shot. Furycat surprised me greatly by rejecting Viridians after a game with them against Forkbanger, preferring instead the secret police stylings of VASA. I thought Colonial Marines would have been more his cup of tea, but whatever. I’ve settled on a preference for Syntha, since I enjoyed their hardiness in-game and the models are very nice too. Anyway, the games I took notes on were still using the basic rules (I’ve ordered the main rulebook but evidently it’s still in the post), and involved VASA, Syntha and Koralon (H. R. Giger‘s Alien, with a bit of the Thing thrown in for good measure).
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)
Koralon: Phazon (P), Larvan (L), two Calibre 1 Broods (BC1 and BC2) and two ‘normal’ Broods (B1 and B2)
Forkbanger continued his quest to use all the factions, taking Koralon this time. They have no ranged weapons, but the Phazon can create a pair of temporary portals through which other Koralon can move (including charge, which seems like it is worth avoiding against giant armoured aliens). Both portal ends must be near a friendly model though, so you can’t just create a portal in the middle of the other force’s deployment zone and then rush through and maul them all. A Brood moves up to the centre of the field and a portal is duly created, with another two Broods from the East moving though it. The Artemis uses both follow up actions to try and shoot one, but there’s no effect against these tough dudes.
The Pointman surprises me by not only hitting the nearest Brood, but killing it too. For good measure, the next one in line panics. Panicked models can’t charge, but this one shook off the panic in its normal turn and then used it’s follow up move to get stuck into the Artemis. Spectacular missing goes on in that combat. The Phazon fails to create another portal, and some good shooting from the Androsynths drops another Brood and the Larvan. The Artemis is taken out by the Brood in her own activation… curses.
Turn 3 begins with the Phazon creating another portal and charging through it into the Pointman. I find out the power of interrupt (i.e. overwatch) charging as both surviving Broods assault Androsynths. Despite all the close combat there are no fatalities, but the Koralon are surely happy to be safe from the shooting.
The Phazon finally cuts down the Pointman and is shot by an Androsynth while celebrating. Another Androsynth is killed by a Brood.
One of the Androsynths fails an attempted overwatch shot on the unengaged Brood, who gleefully jumps into combat. The other Brood kills its victim, but is stuck out in the open.
An Androsynth shows the aliens how close combat is meant to be done, first shrugging off the attack from the Brood then beating into submission. The last Brood fails its command check to make an interrupt charge into the successful robot and is shot down. Victory for the Syntha!
I stayed with Syntha and, on my recommendation, Furycat tried out VASA for this game. The Suppressor Sniper made our first ever turn 1 kill by taking out an Androsynth at long range, but otherwise the game begins as usual with everyone moving into position.
The Sergeant is obviously in good cover as it saves her from two good hits by the Androsynths, the return fire from the Gauss Rifle Suppressors is equally ineffective. The Artemis Biomech uses all her follow up moves to run forward, shoot the Sniper and chop down one of the Suppressors. The Sergeant charges into close combat in search of revenge, but no telling blow is struck on either side. The Pointman takes out a Baton-armed Suppressor, then the Archangel jumps over and shoots it (but it bounces off the armour) and uses her follow up move to assault the nearest Androsynth (also to no effect).
The Sergeant kills the Artemis, and another Androsynth is shot by the Suppressor. The Archangel and Androsynth remain locked in combat.
The Sergeant’s cover finally fails her as the Pointman hoses her position with its Chain Gun. The Archangel finally finishes beating the Androsynth in its activation, then uses her own to assault the Pointman. However, the big machine continues its excellent run of form by kicking her into the middle of next week.
The Baton-armed Suppressor finally steps into the open and is shot by an Androsynth, but otherwise the tiny amount of shooting across the board is wholly ineffective.
The Pointman moves forward to get the last Suppressor into short range, but misses all its shots and is gunned down. The last Androsynth, sick of having its shots ricochet off the Suppressor’s cover, moves for a clear shot and makes it stick. Victory for Syntha!
Again, I’m really enjoying the fast play of Urban War. Even including chit-chat, and teaching Furycat how to play, we got four games in about three and half hours. I was highly impressed by the close combat abilities of the Koralon – even after having half the team gunned down I very nearly lost once the survivors got in about the Syntha.
In terms of actual tactics, I’m finding that it is generally not a bad idea to keep the Androsynths together since they’re immune to panic, and that way they can support each other. We’re still getting used to the various options afforded by overwatch, but I think that there is probably a lot of value in knowing when to use it and when to just activate normally. We found a couple of times that overwatch (particularly interrupt charges) made a huge impact on the game, but other times we found that no-one made an action they could affect, so effectively wasted their turn. Of course, there is the risk that they fail the command check entirely, and stand around doing nothing useful at all, but that’s part of the mechanic.
In the interests of completeness, I might as well note that I played two final games with the basic rules. One was a game to teach Aramoro how to play (Syntha win against Viridians), the other was a match against Forkbanger’s Triads (also a Syntha win).