Sunday, March 9, 2008

AT-43 Unit Review: Therian Bane Goliaths

Last month some of you might remember that I did a quick write up on the Assault Goliaths. Not a bad unit, but they do seem to be a kind of a jack of all trades. Their mixed armament could be very useful against a balanced or even an infantry heavy force but against AFVs they were a little lacking in the punch department. Well, this month we have their brothers the Banes and if there is one thing that they are not lacking it is punch!

Earlier this month, I was able to get a rematch of the Red Blok game that I had played last month. The forces were different this time as we both had more minis to choose from but my latest addition was a unit of banes.

Now I must admit that I was not as excited about the banes as the assault goliaths, at least not as far as miniatures go. Don't get me wrong; they are not a bad mini, they just never really struck my fancy. They also have developed a reputation on the forum as being the unit with the drunk goliath as one of them always seems to be bent like he is about to fall over and my box was no different. Still, I had a plan that I wanted to try against the Blok and for the plan to succeed the banes were essential.

Right from the get go, the banes were hit with mortar fire which grounded them. Frustrating, but with their armor of 10 they were able to handily weather the storm. Then I was actually able to get their weapons to bear and then I quickly fell in love with these mechanical monstrosities. I had a clear shot at a unit of Kolossus RPGs on the other side of the table and in a single salvo that unit was gone. Period. And this was from the other side of the table!

Later in the same game, I was able to get a clear shot at a Sierp and I was able to quickly blast holes in him, taking him out of the game as well. Mind you, they did die after that but they had more than made up for their loss by taking out two powerful pieces of my opponents force.

So has my experience from this one game changed my opinion of this unit? You better believe it! In fact, I think that from now on I am going to be making sure that I have a unit of these in my list. At least until I try a Web Strider list. Then I'll field two units instead.

Monday, March 3, 2008

AT-43 Battle report 02032008: the Mighty Therians vs the Red Blok...again!

/send_hello.overseer.***
Hello, overseers! Welcome to the EMI grid!
/end_hello.overseer.***

/sending_report.02032008
/Force_composition.Therian
/Storm golem unit
/company leader: Dyssnowman.Omega
/Storm golem unit
/Bane goliath unit
/Incubus golgoth
/Wraith golgoth

/Force_composition.Red.Blok
/Hetman: Urod
/company leader: Odin 0-1 and Manon 0-2
/Dragonov Kommandos
/Sierp unit
/RPG.Kolossus unit
/Strielitz.Kolossus unit

/Objective_secure cargo container

/synopsis_report.02032008
/As with the previous conflict, both factions began by moving their units onto the field of battle. Though the conditions would have allowed some units to be held in reserve I concluded that the best course of action would be to take advantage of my superior numbers. Again in this battle cover was plentiful so most units were able to quickly move into defensive positions though it proved to be of limited value against the Red.Blok indirect fire.
/The battle proved to be long and difficult but ultimately we were able to hold the objective long enough to achieve victory. Several units proved to be vital in achieving this goal.

/Incubus golgoth
/The sniper ability of this unit proved to be quite deadly on several occasions as this overseer was able to quickly and effectively neutralize even enemy troops that had taken advantage of cover on the battlefield. The praise of the consensus and an increase in bandwidth is highly recommended for the efforts of this overseer.

/Bane goliaths
/Though they were destroyed before the end of the encounter, the bane.goliaths proved to be of immense value against the armored unit of the faction Red.Blok. Their exceptional range and armor piercing ability along with their own ability to withstand damage should not be overlooked by any overseer.

/Hekat golgoth
/At several times in the battle I created a Hekat golgoth. Though a couple of these were destroyed outright their sacrifice did provide a valuable distraction as my other forces advanced. Though I had originally been skeptical of how useful they would be at first, I am very pleased with their performance today and I shall endeavor to expand my resources to include more of them in the future.
/end_synopsis_report.17022008

/analysis_report.17022008…
/DONE

/send_goodbye
Have a nice day and thank you for your information!
/end_message

And this time I remembered to bring a camera! Not too many pictures though as I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the game most of the time but I did manage to get a few.

For this game, we played a variation on the "Bridgehead" scenario. We followed the basic scenario for the most part but we did use a container as the primary objective instead of a hill. We also add two neutral access zones to each side of the board so that we had the option of keeping some of our forces in reserve. Not that either of us did that (we both throw our entire armies into the fray right from the start) but it's the thought that counts, right?

This shot shows you the middle of turn one. Steven has just moved on his unit of Strielitz Kolossus and was checking to see if he had line of sight to my unit of Bane Goliaths located on the other side of the board. Though he shots went wide this turn, in the next turn he was able to hit them and ground the unit. He had not realized that their armor was a strong as it was so he was not able to do any damage but he did manage to slow them down for a turn and keep me from getting them into position.

This next shot is one of my most memorable from the game. My Hekat had dashed forward to engaged Urod, triggering a nearby unit of RPG Kolossus that were on overwatch. Their rockets managed to damage the Hekat, destroying one weapon and damaged the legs, but it was still intact! Unfortunately it also was about 3cm away from Urod, leaving me too far away to be able to attack it but well within the range of its weapons.

Needless to say the Hekat quickly disappeared as Urod blew it to pieces, giving Steven first blood for the game and my first casualty. Even though it was destroyed without being able to inflict a single point of damage, the Hekat had tied up Urod for a turn which is all that I was really hoping for.

Shortly after my Hekat turned into a pile of scrap, we caught sight of these two massive, multi-faceted objects. What could they be?!?!? Actually these were two giant d20's that we used to keep track of our victory points.

I know what you're thinking; what does this have to do with the game? Nothing, I just liked the picture. : )

These next two shots are from the middle of the game but they really capture the turning point of the game in my opinion. In the first shot you can see my forces on the table. My Incubus and my unit of Bane Goliaths are located just to the right of the cylinder in the center of the picture. Up to this point I had been keeping my Banes inside a nearby building, taking pot shots when I could. Right before this picture, Steven had moved his Sierps out from behind a building on his side of the table so I rushed my Banes out into the open to take advantage of this. Between them and the Incubus I was able to destroy one of the Sierps and damage the other one. This move ultimately cost me the unit of Banes as Urod opened fire on them, but the damage that I was able to inflict was worth it in my opinion.

After this turn, I dashed my Storm Golems forward giving me control of the container for a turn. From that point on, he fighting became much more intense as Steven and I started vying for control of the container. By the last turn, Steven only had Urod left on his side while I had my Wraith, a Hekat, and half a squad of Storm Golems. Since he was playing Frontline, he could control the container with just Urod while I needed to keep my Golems alive a little bit longer.

One salvo from Urod later and I only had the one Golem left, leaving us tied for control until I reconstructed another Golem. This was just enough to give me control and win the game, but just barely!

All and all, this game was a long one but it was an absolute blast! There was a lot of jockeying for position before we both scrambled for the container and then the real blood bath began, and I think that we both had a great time which is the most important thing. I also was able to learn from my previous mistakes, which is always a good thing too.

1) The routines are the key to victory. And this game just proves that point for me. Starting with turn one and going right up to the end of the game I was spending leadership points like gangbusters on my routines. Be it dashing my units forward, creating Hekats, or reconstructing my fallen troops, the routines really made the difference for me.

2) The faction is crucial. Yet another point from the last game that proved to be oh so true. This time I ran a Cypher army and man are they versatile! Choosing them cost me the ability to wager LPs for my authority check but considering that I was facing the twins I really wasn’t too worried about it. I would much rather have the ability to mix my routines over being able to wager for the authority check any day.

3) Striders, striders, striders! Do not ignore the striders! And this I did not do, not this time. I picked up a Hekat and a unit of Bane Goliaths and it makes a world of difference. The Banes can rip apart most things they shoot at (in fact I managed to take down the entire RPG Kolossus unit with one shot!) and their armor makes them pretty hard to kill as well. They did get banged around by the Sierps a couple of times but all that happened was they were knocked down. This slowed them down a couple of times but given a choice between slowed down and dead, I’ll take slowed down thank you very much.

Overall, I think that this was one of my most enjoyable games of AT-43 yet. The battle was hard fought and I just barely managed to squeak out the victory, but I had a blast the whole time and I am really looking forward to the next game day down at the Shop.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

AT-43 Terrain Project: A-Tis phone home! AKA completing the hyperlink antenna

In the last installment, I had most of the pieces laid out for the hyperlink antenna but I had not started to assemble them yet. Before gluing anything, I did a dry run of the parts to make sure that they went together well.

As you can see, I also included a Storm Golem and a Hekat to give a sense of scale. Anyone familiar with the Cry Havoc article will notice that my hyperlink antenna is definitely larger than the one included in the magazine (it is printed on a standard sized card just like the unit cards) but I am okay with that. This thing is supposed to be transmitting to a distant planet, of course it is going to be kind of big!

The next step was to place the light into the base. I had originally planned on attaching the base and then stopped and thought about it. What about when the batteries run out? I would have to break the thing apart to change them and that just would not work. Instead I cut a circle of foamcore small enough so that it fits inside of the base without being too tight. This means that not only can I change the batteries easily, I can also simply remove the top of the piece to turn the light on and off.

To better focus the light, I lined the base with aluminum foil, as you can see above. This really helped as before I did this the base actually glowed when I turned on the light. This reflects the light back and cuts down of the glow factor.

Once the piece was assembled, it was time to get it ready to paint. I had originally thought about painting the whole thing by hand but instead I decided to use masking tape to cover up the parts that I wanted to remain transparent, which I think was one of the most time consuming parts of the whole project. Even so it really was not that bad and it did make it much easier to paint, but more on that later.

I had originally planned on just painting it up at this point but instead I decided to add a few details to enhance the piece. I had some small rubber tubing which worked perfectly for creating some hoses and I used some green stuff to sculpt the connections for the hoses and to add a few glowing domes that you commonly see on some of the Therian pieces. It would have been easy enough to do the hoses with some guitar strings instead of the rubber tubing but since I don't have any I decided to use what I had on hand.

The next step was to prime it and then paint it, which my daughter was kind enough to help me with. She loves to paint! Once this was done I was really glad that I had taken the time to thrown the little detailing bit on it. Seeing it all in black let me really look at the overall structure more rather than seeing the pieces assembled and it definitely looked much better with these small finishing touches.

And finally, here is the finished piece. I added a little weathering to it so that it is not all shiny and new looking, plus I painted orange onto the small domes that I had added. Overall I am really happy with how it turned out, though if I were to do it again there are some things that I would do differently.

1) Paint the inside to! In my enthusiasm to complete the project, I overlooked the fact that I am dealing with a clear dome. That's right; I didn't paint the foamcore inside the clear dome black. D'oh! It is not that noticeable now that it is done, but if I were building this again it is something that I would make sure that I remember to do.

2) Is bigger better? I do like the fact that this is a sizeable terrain piece and I do think that it should be that way; how would a tiny antenna transmit to a distant planet? Still this does seem more fitting for an emplaced piece of equipment while adding it to your army list makes it seem like it should be a bit more mobile. I really am happy with how it turned out regardless, especially since this is my first attempt at building a lighted piece of terrain.

And that, my friends, is how you build a homemade Therian hyperlink antenna. Going out, buying Cry Havoc #14 and just using the card might be faster, but I think that having an model to represent it is much better.