Friday, 2 February 2018

The Invasion of Scipio - Epilogue - the Bug Hunt

Three months after the final battles of the invasion...
Much of the valley is ruined but the rebuilding process has begun as remediation teams and scientists move in to clear out the infested zones. Even though the invasion was repulsed there are still reports of bug siting and activity, particular in the city of Flavius where the final ground assault took place. Elements of the bug forces fled and hid underground after their armies were broken and destroyed.
The hero of the battle for the Eastern Valley, Leeroy, has been given the assignment of leading a special task force to hunt down and clear bugs from the industrial complexes remaining in tact in Flavius. There have been reports of a possible Alpha bug lurking in the ruins that has killed some field crews working in the area.
Leeroy's squad is tasked with clearing the area and reporting back, they will deploy in the blue area shown below. Central intel has pointed out possible spawn points where sitings have occurred, they are identified on the map in red.
Having learned from previous fights with the bugs; Leeroy's squad has been heavily armed with carapace armour, a meltagun, a plasma rifle, a heavy flamer and the omnipresent lasgun. Leeroys troops deploy behind cover expecting an attack from any angle.
Upon detecting the intruders, the hive mind springs into action and a bug warrior immediately engages the Imperial squad with its venom cannon.
The venom cannon downs the Meltagun trooper, James, with a serious injury, the plasma gunner, Tim, steps up and gives two wounds in response to the bug.
Meanwhile, the alpha bug and other xenos activate and move towards the intruders.
The Imperial troops on the far flank are staring down a ravener bug coming straight for them, luckily, Bob, is armed with a heavy flamethrower.
Another warrior steps up to fire upon the Imperial troops as it advances.
Both sides exchange inconclusive fire, the venom bug takes its third wound and becomes splatter.
The action gets hot and heavy as Leeroy uses his time-honoured tactic of throwing krak grenades at the bugs, his first throw misses but does enough to pin it. James is still down with his serious injuries and he can't be reached because he's out in the open.

The ravener peaks its head around the corner to chew on some Imperial trooper.
And takes a mouthful of flames instead from Bob's mobile BBQ maker.
Meanwhile Leeroy's loads up another krak grenade, taking advantage of the bug being temporarily stunned.

The bug eats the grenade, taking a serious injury in the process, unfortunately it wasn't fatal.
Meanwhile the heavy flamethrower is making some bug roast on the other side and Bob is helped by a veteran guardsman, Neal, who finishes off the downed bug with his combat blade. Neal takes the head as a trophy.

All of this distraction has given the Alpha bug enough time to sneak up and unload a barrage on the Leeroy's troopers. Concentrated return fire manages to stun it temporarily. Poor James had succumb to his wounds.

In the last turn of the game, the Alpha charged at Leeroy but not before he had a chance to throw his final Krak grenade at point blank range. The lucky grenade must've found a weak spot in the armour because it took down the big bug in one shot. The last remaining bug fled before the other troopers had a chance to respond.

The work to rebuild Flavius would continue but no one knows what kind of horrors are still hiding in the dark corners of the crowded industrial hive.

 Final Thoughts on the campaign:
- I really enjoyed running and playing this campaign. I've had various inspirations from popular sci-fi movies and shows but my primary motive was to add narrative and story to my tabletop gaming, breathing life into the battles.
- I am going to start another campaign later this year (as soon as the miniatures are painted). The next one will have more structure to it and will be fought over three maps rather than one.
- Thank you all for the likes and comments on various forums and Facebook.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 7 - Hive Ship Assault on Mago

The invasion of Scipio has been repelled:

The xeno fleet is in full retreat while the Imperials were taking stock and rebuilding their orbital defences to prevent another invasion taking them by surprise. 

Whie conducting mop up operations, Imperial scout ships have found unusual activity on the opposite side of Mago, the next closest planet to Scipio.
Upon closer inspection of the anomaly, Imperial scanners picked up the possible presence of a large xeno presence. It is thought that this is where they staged their invasion, using the uninhabitable planet Mago to shield their activity.
A large xeno space station, the mother ship, is thought to be the command and control centre of the entire hive fleet. If the Imperial forces can destroy it, it could mean the end of the hive, the negation of future threat and vengeance for the damage done to the Delta Valley.
Hive mother ship orbiting the far side of Mago
The Imperial fleet prepares itself to conduct the counterattack. They take what ships are remaining or serviceable and organise their fleet.

This scenario will be played with Dropfleet Commander, however, there will be no ground objectives, this will be a straight up spaceship fight. Rhe destruction of the space station, which counts as a critical location, being the main aim of the Imperial troops, winner will determined by kill points. I gave the Imperial troops a 100 point advantage but also gave the Xenos a large station with 16 hull.

Imperial troops deploy in a battle line, focusing their heavy ships on their right flank

The xenos, although reduced in number, send in everything they have to defend their most valuable asset, the hive mind aboard the station.

The opening salvos are fired on the right flank of the Imperial troops, the New Cairos use their burn through lasers to open up on the a pair of Strix xeno cruisers and cause serious damage, but also take a beating from the close action weapons in return. The xenos seeing that their left flank is outnumbered reinforce it with their main battlegroup.

Imperial troops launch bombers against the deadly cruisers, these are countered by the superior fighter launch assets that the xenos have.

In the next turn the Imperials take out the damaged Strix with a salvo, while the remaining cruiser makes an aggressive move towards the St Petersburg heavy cruisers and engages with more closed action weapons. The xeno battlecruiser, Basilisk, follows up behind and finishes off the New Cairos with support from the Djinn frigates moving up to support.

End of turn 2, the close action frigates and main battlegroup of the xenos move across the table to support while in the Imperials still have a battlegroup in reserve  on their left moving into the fray.

The Basilisk finds itself in a bad position and attracts the attention of the Atlantis taking heavy damage from multiple ships. Meanwhile the Strix does it's best to damage the Moscow before going down to combined fire from lasers and turrets.

The Djinns move up to close range and finish off the St Petersburg with their close action weapons. The Imperial right flank has seen both sides take heavy losses as the field opens up.

Meanwhile on the other side of the table the pair of Rio cruisers supported by Toulons move in on the flank of the Xenos.

At the end of Turn 3, the untouched Imperial battlegroup focuses fire on the Hydra and takes it out as the Xeno heavy cruiser, Shenlong moves in to finish the Atlantis, the Imperials flagship.
The Shenlong goes weapons free and takes out the Atlantis, the admiral of the Imperial Fleet, Clive Owen, goes down with his ship in a burning wreck.

Second to last turn and the xeno fleet defending the hive ship have been wittled down to the last remaining ship, the Imperials have also lose a significant number of heavy ships but are in better position to finish things off.
Instead of going for the mother ship as the mission dictated, the last intact Imperial battlegroup decided to exact revenge for the loss of their admiral and attack the remaining xeno ships.

The game ended in an effective draw, the Imperial side had one more victory point based on kill points, however they failed to destroy or damage the mother ship, a critical location. The invasion has been repulsed but the xeno hive mind was still in tact and able to escape the galaxy.

Some closing thoughts on the game and the campaign:
- This is the last official battle in the campaign, but don't worry there will be an epilogue and other campaigns I have brewing in my mind in the near future.
- As the xeno (Scourge) player I have struggled in these space battles with positioning myself correctly, I think the Imperial fleet (UCM) are much more forgiving in their play style but also less deadly.
- I wanted to try playing DCF without ground assets and in some ways I prefer it this way. Less mechanics to worry about, faster game that still retains the tactical feel of orbital layers, different weapons systems and signatures. I still like the option of having ground objectives, it adds variety to a genre of games that can get repetitive and stale, however I sometimes think the ground game can dominate the game too much whereas I prefer spaceships blowing each other up.
- Thanks to all those who viewed this page and liked the links on facebook.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 6 - The Battle of Flavius

The Delta valley was a ruin and most of the cities were wiped out by nuclear weapons deployed by both sides in an attempt to deny the other territory. You can read about the state of the invasion here:
The only two cities left in tact are Theseus and Flavius, both of them would have to be evacuated in the short term to avoid the effects of the nuclear fallout but could be saved and eventually rebuilt. Flavius was of particular importance for it's industrial and energy infrastructure. Xeno droptroops are assaulting the city while the Imperial defenders have dug in and are lined up to oppose them. 

The battle lines are drawn around Flavius with the Xenos having landed and consolidated their position in the north-west commercial sector and the Imperial defenders still holding onto the damaged industrial sectors in the south-east.
Map of the Flavius showing battle lines.
View of Flavius battlefield showing the deployment of the troops, damage caused by the orbital bombardment is evident in the industrial ruins in the top right of the photo.
This battle would be played out using Epic Armageddon, each side has three objectives on their half including the blitz, 1 point would be scored per objective held at the end of three turns. Lists used were the following:
The war drums of the Imperial machine are beating as the final battle in the campaign begins. Imperial troops ready their lasguns as the xeno horde positions itself for a final assault.

Xeno Dominatrix war engine taking position ready to assault the Imperial lines.

The Imperial armour lined up to oppose the attackers and counter-attack at the first opportunity.

 Xeno troops lined up using the cover of the buildings, ready to assault the Imperial defenders.

Imperial infantry company with heavy fire support have bunkered down in the middle of the table to provide a strong point for resistance.

Firing opens on the xeno right flank, the dominatrix and the shadow sword exchange shots from their large guns, each of them taking damage as a result but neither destroying the other.

On the opposite flank Imperial Chimeras and infantry attack a swarm of genestealers as they advance, they manage to surprise the xenos and force them to retreat out of the warehouse.

Both sides pour more troops into the middle of the field, Imperial tank regiment advances down the middle as Xenos spread out amongst the warehouse and silos.

On the other side of the battlefield, the xeno orbital bombardment fails to arrive at the designated time. The scouts of both sides skirmish off against one another, the genestealers charge the sentinels and wipe them out in one round of combat.

Imperial troops fire on the xenos and advance once again into the warehouses at close range, they overwhelming power causes losses on the bugs as they are forced to retreat.

Meanwhile the tank regiment and bombards fire upon the bio-titan and surrounding troops causing damage and shock.

The carnifex and hive tyrant finally make an assault on the tank regiment, however, they take fire from the infantry regiment bunkered up in the middle of the table. As a result their strength is reduced and their assault against the tanks flounders.

On the other flank, Once again the xeno orbital bombardment fails to land, robbing the xenos of their offensive power. The Shadowsword is forced to retreat due to fire from the Dominatrix, the xeno swarms advance through the power plant and onto the objective. The resulting assault ends in both sides taking heavy losses as one swarm is wiped out and the chimeras are broken the objective remains contested.

In the middle of the table the swarms have taken heavy losses from their failed assaults and from Imperial artillery. The Imperial armour advances taking the objectives on their opponent's board.
In the final move of the game, the Shadowsword lines up the bio-titan and finishes it off with it's macro-weapon, the resistance on this flank has collapsed.

The game ended on turn three, the xenos were contesting one objective in enemy territory but had lost the objectives on their own side of the table. The Imperial player was very clever with assaulting out of the Chimeras early to prevent the xenos getting their assaults off. Furthermore, the orbital bombardment failed to activate twice while the Imperial bombards were devastating in their effect.

Flavius was saved and the xeno threat has been wiped from the Delta Valley. The cost for the planet was high as three cities and untold millions have been wiped out completely but now the rebuilding process could begin. There was still work to do to hunt down the remnants of the invasion fleet and whatever bugs had managed to survive the nuclear fallout...........
The ruins of Flavius, now purged of xenos.