Wednesday, August 13, 2008

AT-43 Dispatch #3:featuring Incoming!!!, the Battle Report, and Reviewing the Troops

Hey everyone and welcome to issue #3 of the AT-43 Dispatch!

In this issue, there is a small Incoming!!! update, we will take a look at the first scenario in the new league as seen in our first of two Battle Reports, and we will take a closer look at the Karman Yetis in Review the Troops, a new segment that looks at both the miniature and how the unit plays in the game. So without further ado, let's head right for the front lines!

Incoming!!!: A Quick Update on the New Releases for August

While I was an the Shop this weekend, John told me that he expects to receive the new releases this Wednesday, as in today! Operation: Frostbite, the Baal, the K-shooters, all of it! So if you haven't ordered your copy yet, click on the link for the Little Shop of Magic located to the right, place your order now, and don't forget to tell him that the Snowman sent you!

Battle Report 11082007: League Play featuring the Therians vs. the Karmans

Sunday was a special day for gaming here in Sin City. Not only was I able to get out and play the first scenario in the new AT-43 League, I was able to play it twice! This week we'll be looking at the first of these two battles with the second one coming out in the next issue of the Dispatch.

For those of you who might have missed it, the first scenario in the intro league is called "Break On Through" and takes place on a board remarkably similar to this...

The background for the scenario is the attacker has managed to secure a vital piece of information and needs to escape off the far side of the board, while the defender is simply trying to stop this from happening. This sounds all well and good but there are a few things that don't really fit with this scenario.

For some reason, all of the defender's troops start the game on the board while the attacker is forced to keep a quarter of his force as reinforcements. This seems especially odd since when those reinforcements are deployed it is right behind line of low walls in the center of the board. Still, this was the mission and no one ever said that every mission had to make sense so John and I rolled off to decide who would be the attacker and the defender. Winning this roll, I decided to try being the defender (the idea of running past a bunker full of troops plus everything else to try to escape the board didn't really appeal to me...).

On my side of the board, I was fielding Babylon Zero, a second Incubus, a unit of Assault golems with a flamer (who were located inside the bunker), a unit of Bane Goliaths and a unit of Assault Goliaths. On John's side there was a King Buggy (proxied in this game for Jindo Un since he forgot to grab his King...), a unit of three Easy Trikes, a full unit of Wendigos with grenade launchers, and a unit of Anakongas that were kept as reinforcements. We deployed our troops on the board and got ready for turn one.

Since I was once again facing Nova (you kind of expect it when you field the Therians...) I was able to decide who would activate first and naturally choose myself. My first order of business was to get those Assault Golems out of that bunker!

There were other units with much better range that I wanted to be in that little stronghold.

John activated his Wendigos next, moving them forward and having them take cover and go onto overwatch as they started the mad dash across the table.

My Banes went next, moving forward into the now empty bunker so that I could get some serious firepower in there!

Unfortunately only one of them was able to make it all the way in but I still put the unit onto overwatch just in case.

The Easy Trikes went next, moving forward to fire on Babylon Zero.

My lone Bane managed to get off his overwatch shot and inflict a point of damage to the frame of one of the Trikes before they returned fire, inflicting one point on Babylon's frame and damaging a cannon in the process.

Babylon Zero went next as I moved her up behind the walls next to the bunker to get some cover. A logical thought until you realize that those walls are a quarter of her size and won't do anything to protect her. D'oh! I tried to repair but John quickly and thankfully canceled the routine. Why thankfully? When my Banes had gone onto overwatch, we had played the famous "Nova LP Game", draining off a few of my points before I was able to activate my combat drill. This had also tapped a chunk of John's LPs and once he cancelled my repair I was able to run Creation unopposed. I love making Hekats...

After doing this, I opened fire on the center Trike (which was the unit leader)and managed to do two points to the frame along with destroying one of the jammers and damaging the engines as well Definitely not a bad round of firing!

The King Buggy went next, moving up behind the Trikes and opening fire on Babylon Zero.

The shots ripped into the Golgoth and blew in apart, leaving Nina suddenly out in the open.

My Incubus activated next, moving behind the other troops before opening fire on the Trikes.

Spreading the shots across the unit, I was able to take out the engines of the undamaged Trike on the left, while the leader lost his other jammer in the barrage leaving him weaponless!

With the Karmans done I activated my last two units, moving the Assault Goliaths forward to try to get into a better position to shot while the Assault Golems just moved out of the way. This brought the first turn to a close with neither side scoring any victory points.

Opting to go first again, I had Nina Zero take command of the Banes and moved the whole unit into the safety of the bunker.

From this position, they opened fire on the Easy Trikes, destroying the leader and seriously damaging the frame of both of the remaining Trikes.

John activated his Trikes next, abandoning the immobile one while the other sped behind a container to get into cover.

I attempted to dash my Hekat forward but with the routine canceled I could only run forward instead.

This left it right out in the middle of the fire corridor but there wasn't really any other option for it as I wanted to engage those Wendigos soon.

Activating the King Buggy next, John moved it forward so that he could hit the Hekat with the flamers and the Incubus with the ZZ-cannons.

The Hekat survived the attack unscathed and the Incubus only took one point of damage to the frame. I was lucky this time but I had to get that Buggy before it could do some serious damage.

I activated the Incubus next, moving forward to open fire on the Buggy at point blank and managed to destroy the engines and damage the frame.

To finish out his round, John activated his Wendigos and moved the forward to try to get into cover behind one of the containers as they continued their run for the opposite edge.

My Assault Goliaths went next, moving forward to the wall before opening fire on the King Buggy.

The sonic guns were totally ineffective but the nucleus guns actually managed to do two more points to the frame! One more and it would be out of commission.

My Assault Golems activated last, moving up behind the bunker in case I needed them. With turn two coming to a close, neither of us had managed to score any VPs.

For turn three, I decided to let John go first to see what he would do. I had been hoping that he would move the last Easy Trike forward so that I could be a shot on it but instead he moved the Wendigos deeper into cover behind the container.

The Banes went next, opening fire and destroying the King Buggy in a massive salvo.

The Buggy had been next in the sequence and John decided to miss the activation so my Hekat went next.

Running forward it charged into the Wendigos, failing to trample any of them but then killing two of them in close combat.

The Easy Trike went next and fired on the Hekat before moving on toward the far edge. As the jammers blasted the Hekat, they managed to destroy one of the grim scythes and damage the frame but even damaged it was still very much a threat.

My Incubus was next and moved forward to open fire on the Wendigos.

I managed to kill two of them and somehow actually failed to damage the Hekat.

With the Karmans done activating, I moved my remaining troops closer to the action and the third turn came to a close with the Therians up 2 VPs to 0 VPs.

For the fourth and final turn, my Incubus moved forward and destroyed the Easy Trike. With only the three Wendigos left, we decided to call it a game at this point, giving the Therians the win at 5 VPs to 0 VPs.

Talking about the game afterward, we all came to the conclusion that this scenario really favors the defender. Not only does it give them a strong position on the board, they also start with their full force right from the start while the attacker is forced to wait until at least turn 3 before bringing on his reinforcements and this is assuming that the reinforcements are cheap! Even so, it was an interesting game but we are all curious to see what else FFG and Rackham are going to be throwing out there for the rest of the league.

So what about the other battle? Sorry, you'll just have to come back to find out what happened in that one but I will give you something to think about.

Just what could this mean? Find out next week...

Reviewing the Troops: Taking A Closer Look at... the Yeti

The Yeti miniature is one that inspires a love/hate relationship. Some people love the retro styling of it but others wonder why the monkey is wearing a fish bowl on its head. Indeed, I can see how it would be easy to discount a miniature in the game just based on its appearance. In my own case, I one time swore that I would never ever buy a Hekat because it looks like... well, lets just say something rather unflattering and leave it at that. Then I heard people singing their praises on the forum and decided to bite the bullet and get one, and since then I have never looked back. I still wonder at just why it looks that particular way but considering how effective it is I am more than willing to see beyond the ugly duckling facade. Could the Yeti be the same way? Let's take a closer look and find out...

At first glance, they seem like a slightly weaker Wendigo with a jetpack. Their range and penetration are both one less than the Wendigos but their cost is high even for an already pricey Karman unit. One of the key differences is the re-roll on the Jungle rifles. This means that for a full unit they will be rolling twenty four dice with a re-roll, would should more than make up for the lower accuracy and penetration.

Beyond this there are several other factors that you have to consider as well. Unlike the Wendigos, the Yeti actually does have a close combat weapon and a pretty powerful one at that especially when you combine it with their jetpacks. Their special weapons are not something that should be overlooked either. The flamers give them the ability drop a couple of templates within 25cm and the rocket launchers pack a very nasty punch as they each roll three dice per shot with a respectable penetration and a whopping two points of damage. This means that against an armor 14 strider they could be rolling 5+ to damage on six dice so with a little bit of luck you might even be able to destroy it in one salvo! The downside to this is that you need to get close to be able to make use of them but with the jetpacks it is that much easier to do.

So what is the best way to make use of them in the game? Take advantage of the mobility of the jetpacks to set yourself up in a good position, hit your opponent with the massed fire from the jungle rifles, then jump into close combat to finish off any survivors with those nasty power grips. I know that I make it sound easy but with a little practice I think that the Yetis can more than make up for the odd little fish bowl on their head.

Well, that's all for this week, but be sure to come back next week for the second Battle Report and perhaps we will even start taking a closer look at some of the new goodness that Operation: Frostbite contains. So until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

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