And it's wielding the blaster launcher!
Honestly! It's not gas, it's the blaster launcher!
Ahem. Let me get me back together.
Wednesday saw the dawn of Deadzone campaign.
It'd mostly be normal campaign as presented in Deadzone rulebook, except with a few tweaks. Campaign lasts 10 battles and Contagion zombies are used in missions 3 and 8, and last game is 100 point game.
Dying models would always receive one die and point cost from gaining ranks was modified also.
Strike Force building was opened up a little with four initial clearances plus two extra clearances for items.
My initial roster was:
2x ethereals (stage 3a leader)
5x mutons with plasma rifles (stage 3a)
3x plague hounds
3x muton with heavy plasma (stage 3a HMG)
2x celatids (plague swarm)
1x sectopod (plague strider)
3x extra ammo
2x frag grenade
First mission for X-Com aliens was Quietly does it. At first I thought it would be quite interesting - a mission for Plague that doesn't have any objective for killing enemy models. But that was at first sight...
Anyway, though I really wanted to take the strider in for a spin I didn't think it would be a wise choice in such a mission. I'd have 28 points tied to only one model, so if I'd lose it my survive objective would become threatened right away. And since it's 28 points and one model, I wouldn't have many models to infiltrate anything.
So alien Strike Team was:
4x mutons with plasma rifle
1x muton with heavy plasma & extra ammo
2x plague hounds
Enforcer with missile launcher
Enforcers started game and deployment zones were corners. Ugh. Infiltration would be a pain. Well, at least my side had a nice building I could hide in.
First picture is from the end of full game round 1.
Apparently it's been too long from last Deadzone game, because I was kind of caught by surprise in how easily you can draw LoS in this game, after all. First turns most devastating effect was some Enforcer using Blaze Away on the cube I had plague swarm and a troop muton. Both went straight down to suppressed.
Having suddenly lost to enemy needing mostly to dominate the location markers earlier, I thought it might be a good idea to contest the upmost objective somehow. I send agile ethereal leader there with plague hound who had big, nasty, pointy teeth (AP 2).
Heavy plasma muton tries to Blaze Away at the missile launcher, but even with extra ammo nothing happens. Well. To the enforcers, at least. Missile launcher shoots the suppressed muton very dead.
Turn 2, and Enforcers have the initiative.
I somehow completely miss that Enforcer with missile launcher goes on Overwatch. Another regular Enforcer advances mid-field and blazes away at cube containing the agile ethereal and plague hound. Both fall to the ground, though I don't remember how badly they fell. Plague hound, I think, was just pinned.
Well, in the second picture you can't really see it, but enforcer sniper walks somewhere behind the blue building and shoots my precious ethereal dead. With a pistol. This is not first time when pistols are the main damage dealers...
Anyway, the overwatching enforcer had a crazy amount of Time Units in reserve, when it attacked with overwatch three (3) times in a single turn. First I noticed the overwatch by jumping down from the green building with celatid. I don't remember if it did anything, but three successes on overwatch roll gave the enforcer another attack when celatid sprinted to regular enforcer. The two missiles scored one wound on celatid. And the melee itself... well. Despite hitting on 3+ and having some AP in the acid bite, nothing happens. Not even a single wound. Just... nothing.
But then I needed to deal with the missile launcher, so muton with heavy plasma climbed up a building. And bang. Yet another missile, which thankfully didn't do anything. And the worst of all was that the enforcer still didn't lose overwatch! But then blaze away suppressed the enforcer with that horrible repeating-machine-rocket-launcher, or whatever he was wielding. No more overwatch. Ditto.
Enraged regular muton tried to finish what celatid even couldn't start, but failed just as miserably. This time there was potential damage at least, which were stopped by armor value.
My pride of the whole team, plague hound with AP 2, latched on to sniper's leg and wouldn't cause any damage, but wouldn't let the hold go off either.
Two mutons move + sprinted inside the metallic building - just being out of reach from the assault enforcer.
And next turn the assault enforcer uses jump pack and goes up to the second floor. How annoying.
Celatid and muton against enforcer in the middle fail to do any damage again. And one muton gets to the missile launcher, but zero damage.
Another muton attempted to blaze away at assault enforcer, but damage to aggression level.
Some enforcer tries to relieve sniper from melee with the plague hound, and throws in a grenade. Yeah. Well, the explosion wasn't that great and both combatants were just pinned and thrown to one of the neighboring cubes. But even during a frag grenade explosion the plague hound wouldn't let go of sniper's leg, and they both fly to the same cube. And that was their story, both doomed to spend an eternity lying down next to each other.
Well. What can I say. I still did have over 50% of points remaining though, so perhaps I'd manage to survive just a little more and then break off from the melee in middle and sprint away.
Nope. Next shot by enforcer trooper, who had personally thrown the grenade over sniper and hound, downed my other leader, which scored assassination victory for the Enforcers. Phew. Finally the torment had ended. Aliens... you really don't live up to your name as unforgiving and merciless killers you were back in '94... there was not a single casualty with Enforcers. Heck... I don't think there even was a single wound on any of them.
None of the models that had been disabled during play died completely. One ethereal suffered -1 Fight, and one of the hounds rolled the very same result. Celatid had to miss next game because of the wound it had at the end of game.
Ahh, a second game. Perhaps I'd get to field the awe inspiring sectopod now! I draw a mission card and... well. My mission is "swarm"... which had no other goals than infiltration.
And yet again Enforcers started game and deployment was in corners. It's a shame the other Celatid plague swarm had injured during last game and missed this game, since with 13 point models I'd score 3 victory points. And swarms are fast.
Then I had to forget my dream of fielding sectopod yet again. Though 28 points would be three victory points if it succesfully infiltrated the enemy deployment zone, if I did lose it to Enforcers' AP 8 weapons (no exaggeration here) would I even have enough points in game for a victory? Well, who knows, since my Strike Team was:
Ethereal with -1 fight
3x mutons with plasma rifle, one with frag grenade
Muton with heavy plasma & extra ammo
2x plague hound
Silacoid... I don't know how or when or even why, the hound with -1 Fight had been turned into a silacoid in-between the games.
Enforcer sergeant had gained an ability in last game, so it had to miss a game practicing new moves. And looks like there was only one sergeant in the whole Strike Force, since Enforcers had:
2x Enforcer troopers
Enforcer engineer with two sentry guns
During their first batch of activations, Enforcers set up one of the sentry guns, which are on overwatch. I nearly wet myself when I saw a model in overwatch, such a terrible experience the crazy enforcer with missile launcher had been.
But it turned out that not every overwatch is a horrifying slaughter. Frag grenade wielding muton survived the first shot, and then the gun went silent for the rest of the turn. Since there were quite a few Enforcers in adjacent cubes, the muton lobbed frag grenade at engineer. Engineer was thrown to same space with assault enforcer, and both were pinned.
Ethereal uses command action and moves celatid, and then celatid uses move card, a sprint from Agile, and normal move. This way it managed to enter the space with engineer and assault enforcer. It tried to chew assault enforcer first, and you can almost guess what happened. Well, it did inflict one wound on the assault enforcer, so perhaps not all was in vain?
The rest of aliens mostly just ran to hug the doge. One of the mutons (one with AP1 claws, even) got shot by a sniper through a small hole in the wall.
Second turn started quite promisingly, when celatid scored its first kill (and my first kill in whole campaign! And... And... my only kill, too. Sob.) as assault enforcer attempted to break off after engineer had fled the scene. Though now the celatid was just sitting there in middle of enforcers.
Also, a regular muton found intel (+1 victory point), though this may have happened a turn earlier.
But that was the extent of my luck that turn. Heavy plasma muton entered a cube with an item, which was booby trapped. The resulting explosion packed a plague hound and the heavy plasma to the same square, and afterwards a Blaze Away by an enforcer killed them both.
Celatid had suffered an injury somewhere, possibly from the sniper. Because of that I was scared of activating it in front of overwatching sentry gun. As a hindsight I should have risked it. Getting shot by a sentry gun should be more unlikely than being shot to pieces by every other enforcer next turn. But the killing spree with missile launcher was too fresh in my memory. And as a result celatid was shot to pieces.
Doing some quick maths there I no longer had enough models standing that I'd win even if I somehow managed to infiltrate the all with no casualties. I conceded the battle, and that gives no victory points at all. Well, I wasn't aware of aborting a mission and just killing enforcers was an option, too. Though considering how well my melee specializing faction had killed enemies in melee lately, I'm not sure if the end result would have been different.
So now was time for injuries. Yay, my favorite and very familiar part! This time I had five casualties, but at least I got lucky here. Only real injury was blurred vision (-1 to shooting skill) for celatid... who has no shooting skill at all.
Now I got a ton of ranks, however.
Both ethereals got veteran dice. I guess that comes handy in command actions. Two mutons with plasma rifle got +1 to their shooting skill. I guess that's not too bad, perhaps their Blaze Away starts to do at least something. A third muton with plasma rifle got a veteran die.
Heavy plasma muton got an ability and chose Spotter. Celatid also got an ability, and I guess it's not a big surprise that it chose Brawler. Also, one of my doges got a skill, and it took AP 1 in melee.
Silacoid hound gained +1 to survival stat.
Well, next game we will be using zombies from contagion. We also chose to draw missions for next game, and I picked up... oh, no. I'm not telling which one I picked up.
Oh, and this time there is the other side of the story available with more narrative to it. Here is the Enforcer side of things.