Sunday, March 25, 2012

CincyCon - Rearguard on Regina

Impie Marines hold against the Joe onslaught

3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-2113 Marines always got the raw end of the stick. Posted to what was supposed to be a cushy job guarding the sector capital, they were left holding the bag when a massive Zhodani invasion force dropped on Regina in the opening weeks of the Fifth Frontier War. The regiment was spread thin covering the approaches to the Fleet Marine landing field on the southern continent. The luckless jarheads of third platoon were smack in the path of the Zhodani spearhead that aimed to capture the field and cut the Marines off from escape.

The Zhodani offensive was massive, but its object was to secure the starport and capture the sector capital along with elements of the government and the so-called 'nobility'.

In a range of low hills, Third platoon spread out. One Marine squad on each flank with a heavy grav tank supporting both groups from the center.

Opposing them were the Zhodani - a mechanized lift infantry platoon on the left, a jump troop platoon on the right with three Z-80 grav tanks providing heavy fire support.

Turn 1
The Zhodani push forward, with all 60 dismounted personnel bounding ahead in their battledress. warbots provide a screen for the mech infantry, probing for the Imperial forces. Contact comes quickly as the Marine outpost on the left flank spots an advancing jump troop squad. Passing the spot off to the APC, the Marines open fire with their fusion Y gun and drop three of the advancing infantry. But a Zhodani tank on overwatch spots the brilliant beam of energy and shoots back at the APC. Circuits overload and sizzle and the APC shudders under the molten flame of the fusion gun. Systems failing the APC drops to the ground, becoming a very expensive bunker for the crew.

The Joe tank having revealing itself draws fire from the Imperial MBT.. The Z-80 'blowed up real good' and triggered morale checks for most of the Zhodani company. Fortunately, this is the last action of the turn and the pinned units quickly recover.

Turn 2
The engagement becomes more general. On the Imperial center and right, the advancing warbots detect most of the remaining infantry. In return, the surviving Marine APC lobs a tac missile at a warbot and smashes it. The Zhodani forces (operating with a functional grid) detect this shot and salvo most of their AT missiles in return. In a dazzling display of high-tech hardware the APC shrugs off the swarm of missiles through a combination of point defense and great armor.

Having spotting the mech platoon's APC's firing ATGM, the Marine platoon CO calls fire from the regimental meson battery. With a successful call fire result, much of the Zhodani mech platoon dies a horrible death (all three APC, one tank and two squads were caught in the blast zone of the meson gun.

Two can try and play this game! The Zhodani call fire from an orbiting destroyer...and fail! I mean really fail, the destroyer had to bug out and is no longer available to support the Zhodani advance. Things are looking up the Marines!

Turn 3
Electronic warfare raises its ugly head as the grid on both sides goes down. Fortunately, the surviving troops on both sides (Marine's and jump troops) and not too effected, but the mech troops slow down in the confusion.

The Marines and Zhodani infantry close up to spotting distance and begin to unload on each other with PGMP and FGMP. The Imperial reliance on the FGMP is telling as practically every hit is a KIA result. The plasma guns are not quite as deadly and while Marines are knocked down, the advanced trauma systems in their battledress helps them stand up turn after turn.

Turn 4
The grid comes up for the Imperials. While they run low on combat troops, their platoon leaders pull in all the fire support they can and another meson strike takes out the lead jump troop squad. A MRL barrage attempts to clear the remaining Zhodani infantry, but the point defense sleds come through and keep the infantry and command elements intact.The Zhodani are close to breaking through.

Turn 5
In a mad dash, one of the Zhodani point defense sleds exits the table. The remaining Zhodani tank and point defense gun are caught by the Intrepid and APC and knocked out (The Intrepid suffers a gun casualty reducing its firepower).

The Zhodani platoon headquarters sled and company command sled almost make it off the table, surviving a gaunlet of FGMP fire. In a desperation move, the Marines call for meson fire one last time and successfully fry the Zhodani APC...and just in time! The comm crackles to life to inform the surviving Marines that the transport is away and they can fall back. Victory to the Imperials!

Hot wash up
The Marines were lucky! The successful string of call fire missions allowed them to cut down the attacking Zhodani and make a win possible. In fairness, our players were total noobs both to Tomorrow's War and to the Traveller background. Given their level of skill with the game, they did well using terrain and the high-tech weapons to good effect.

Through no fault of their own, the Zhodani lost their destroyer fire support. A huge blow as this was the 'can-opener' that would allow the Zhodani to smash the armor and AFV's opposing them.

Again, FGMP are freakin' deadly! Having seen it a few times now, I get why the Imperium equips the Marines with the FGMP-14. When the Marines show up, the party is over! Even plasma guns were hard pressed to inflict casualties at the same rate. The value of energy weapons was clear as they negated some of the benefits of body armor and cover. If we had used gauss rifles this would have been a different game.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Seems that those 'sci-fi' point defense systems are popping up on today's battlefield.  No longer the stuff of Striker games, actual point defense systems are entering service to protect high value battlefield targets.

Both the Israeli Iron Dome system or the United States Centurion CIWS system are being used in combat today. If our games tell us anything, its that these first generation systems will pave the way for the evolution of artillery systems to multiple rocket launchers firing salvoes of rockets to saturate and overload these point defense systems.

Have you used point defense in your games? Was it a game changer?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sad news today, Greg Novak has passed away

For those of you that played a number of GDW games or were involved in historical miniatures, some bad news today. Greg Novak has passed away.

I had the privilege of working for Greg on the old Command Post Quarterly. He was always encouraging and always had advice on improving my work. In hindsight, he helped me hone the skills that allowed me to succeed in life.

I had several opportunities to game with Greg mostly at various HMGS conventions. Greg always had fun, educational games that taught you history and tactics. I remember his Corrigidor ’42 game at Historicon back in the 90′s as a fun, obscure battle.

Though many of us knew him as a gamer, Greg was a tireless educator and advocate for education working as a teacher, a union representative or most recently as a school board member. Greg lived up to the notion of “pay it forward”. His was a stellar example of how to live a rich and rewarding life..
Right now I have a stack of Greg’s work sitting on the desk next to me. Volley and Bayonet, CPQ and a Great Plains War scenario from an old Courier.

I’ll miss Greg as a friend and a writer. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

15mm loot from Cincycon

Scale Creep had a nice selection of Rebel Miniatures 15mm sci-fi at Cincycon. I added a Saber dropship, and EarthForce APC and a pack of Sahadeen support weapons to my collection.

In addition, I picked up some terrain bits from Armor Cast to use with my 25mm Force on Force gaming.

These may come in handy for the next games featuring mid-tech Colonial and PDF troops.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back from Cincycon, and my first opportunity to present a game of Tomorrow's War / The Stars Afire in a public setting!

We had four players take part in the "Rearguard on Regina" scenario. A Zhodani combat team of Jump troops, Mechanized Lift Infantry and grav tanks were tasked with intercepting an Imperial destroyer escort preparing to evacuate the planet. (Intel suggests a 'person of importance' was being evacuated and the Consular Navy wants to capture that person).

Standing between the Joes and the ship was a platoon of the 2113rd Imperial Marine Regiment - two squads of infantry and an Intrepid grav tank.

A fun-filled exciting game that was down to the last turn. Plasma and fusion guns inflicted heavy casualties and some superb die rolls by the Marine player rained down meson fire across the battlefield.

I'll get a more comprehensive after action report put together when I get the pictures edited.