The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

Battle report: The final act?


Posted on Wednesday Feb 01, 2017 at 05:00PM in Gaming


Originally posted on DakkaDakka by Sgt. Oddball.

Fluff bits are in italics, game bits in plain text.

Introduction

Bacaro wasn’t quite sure if his last outing had been success or failure, really. Two things were now becoming clear to him though. First of all that this conflict would not be won or lost by military supremacy. The Karist Enclave, though they had struck a severe blow with their surprise offensive, were severely outnumbered by the Epirian forces on Asper and could not hope to hold out for all that long. This conflict would be decided by the people. The Karists clearly counted on both gaining enough support from the people themselves and also, perhaps more importantly, on the Broken causing major havoc. The Broken had already become more then an annoyance before the Karist assault, but they had taken this opportunity to increase their efforts to claim what they thought was theirs. The shock of the early Karist successes and the fear of being abandoned by the Foundation had already caused many to flock to the Broken cause. If order could not be restored quickly, Asper would be lost. Bacaro’s second epiphany concerned his own person. He’d always thought himself a Handler of status. The jobs he was assigned and the meagre forces supplied to him now showed that the head honchos did not in fact think of Bacaro very highly, or, indeed, at all. Take his current mission. He was to take and hold some backwater energy station that never did matter and never would, and he was to do it with a frankly depressing ‘ force’. “Well”, thought Bacaro, “this might be as good a time as any to start making my own plans” as he hopped out of his prowler.

Mission and objectives

I’m trying to develop a sort of ‘introductory mission’, using small forces and a smaller play area. This mission uses the Territories and Decimation objectives (and the faction objectives).

Terrain



Backwater energy station.

The board is 3’ by 5’. All terrain was assigned cover value 2. The woods are area terrain, the buildings, crates & barrels and the walls are obstacles. We didn’t use the actual building rules, so units couldn’t enter.

Kaddar Nova Myro strongly felt the absence of Elyssa, the Shadow Walker. She’d always made sure there were no surprises, no open ends. Now, Myro felt he was going in blind-folded. The Enclave needed more Cybel energy though, desperately so, there was no holding back.

Deployment

Pitched deployment was rolled for. The Karists bid 3STs to be attackers. Deployment is as shown.

Epirian Deployment left, Karists right. The Territories objectives are three energy terminal markers spread in a line across the board. All Karists are deployed on the move, all Epirians are deployed pinned.

Karist force (49 pts)

  • Kaddar Nova Myro;
  • 4 Troopers with a Ripper Grenade Launcher;
  • 2 Tempest Elites with Ravager Vulcan Pulse Cannons (with 3 deployment STs);
  • 4 Angel Minnows.

Epirian force (90 pts)

  • Journeyman Bot Handler Bacaro;
  • 4 Contractors with 1 grenade launcher;
  • 5 Firefly Drones;
  • 4 Spider Drones with Cutter light machine guns and an apprentice handler;
  • Scarecrow with Maglock Railrifle and Clingfire sprayer.

Turn 1

Note that I’ll be ignoring the Epirian Automated Uplink Relay activations: it contributed its victory point the first couple of turns and added some command points later on. Also, my flash trigger battery was empty so the pics are a bit sub par, and also I didn't take any notes so the report as a whole is a bit iffy.

Myro wasn’t going to waste any time. “Fly, my pretties” he thought as he watched his flock of Minnows descend upon the Epirian unbelievers.



1st activation: The Minnows charge into the lone Scarecrow. After defensive fire, CQ fighting and reactive CQ fighting, the Minnows are 1 down and have gained a pile of STs, whilst the Scarecrow has suffered an injury and has also taken some STs.

Always putting faith in his bots first, Bacaro had sent his Scarecrow ahead to oversee the field. Immediately he was flocked by aliens, but Bacaro linked his mind with the bot and doused them in clingfire.



2nd activation: The Scarecrow gets his bot protocols activated and moves away from the Minnows to get a clear shot with the clingfire sprayer. All but one Minnow go down.

Having taken care of this first threat, Bacaro immediately had his Contractors take up position in the woods. Previous experiences had taught him to put these guys where they felt most secure, or else they’d probably run off at the first whiff of pink smoke.



3rd activation: The Contractors take the objective near the woods and loose some shots at the Nova’s shielded unit.

Myro observed coolly how the robot’s flamethrower engulfed his Minnows. Without the need to order them, he saw his Elites advance and utterly destroy the machine with Vulcan Pulse fire.



4th activation: The Tempests advance and fire at the Scarecrow, destroying it.

A Scarecrow against a flock of aliens, that’s a fair exchange, thought Bacaro. Meanwhile, his ever eager subordinate Kasero had advanced his Spider Drones up the center and was laying down a veritable rain of fire on the enemy position. Good.



5th activation: The Spider Drones Advance & Fire at the Nova unit. The dice are on fire, generating a bunch of extra hits through the Cutter machine gun’s burst ability. A Trooper snuffs it and the unit gets a pile of STs.

Bacaro figured he could end this here and now and called in the one favour Epirian Command still granted him: an aerial drone strike. Moments later the hated foe was peppered from above.



6th activation: The Journeyman launches his air strike at the Nova’s unit, to some but not too great effect: the Nova takes an injury. Myro cringed at the stabbing pain in his shoulder. He was surprised at the intensity of fire coming his way. If only Elyssa were here, he’d surely have had a better idea of what to expect from the opposition. His reactor shield kept his brothers mostly safe though, only Mai-Lo seemed like she’d better return to base. The rest of his squad he led up to the central building housing the refinery controls. The Cybel must flow.



7th activation: The Nova has enough willpower not to be too impressed by the pile of STs on his unit. He advances to the secret cache objective, switches his reactor to gauntlet overload and returns fire at the Contractors, taking one down. He then shakes off some of his suppression, whilst overload suppress sprinkles STs on the nearby Epirian units.

Turn 1 ends with 2 points for the Epirians, claiming one objective and utilising the uplink relay, and zero for the Karists. Note that this is the first time we used the Territories objective and we forgot that you keep getting points even after you move away from an objective. Not sure if this impacted the game much, but we’ll need to get it right next time . The Karist player destroyed the depleted Minnow unit.

Turn 2

The Epirians get priority and generate 4 command points, whilst the Karists generate 3 CPs. Both bring back a unit: the Minnows and the Scarecrow.

Bacaro cursed the shimmering field protecting the enemy commander and ordered his men to keep pouring their fire into it. It wouldn’t hold forever.



1st activation: The depleted contractors lob a grenade shell at the Nova and fire their assault rifles, trying to render the unit ineffective through suppression.

The Tempest Elites, recognising the greatest threat, walked up to the corner of the central building and unleashed their Ravagers at the location of the Spider Drones and the Epirian commander, only to see them hide effectively behind the remains of a thick wall.





2nd activation: the Tempests advance and fire at the Journeyman, who is lucky to escape without a scratch.

Sensing an opportunity to swing the battle as his Tempests were keeping down the soulless drones, Myro directed another flock of Minnows at the enemy’s position in the forest, hoping to drive them away from the refinery controls.



3rd activation: the Minnows Dash back in to contest the objective.

Bacaro immediately recognised that the enemy murder machines on the left flank had to be subdued if he was to take the field. Another Scarecrow bot was sent up the left flank to target the foe’s heavy armour.



4th activation: The new Scarecrow came on the board and fired at the Tempests to very little effect. Which is as well, because we forgot the Scarecrow had to fire wild due to the Railrifle’s ‘heavy’ ability.

Again putting faith in his Drones over his people, Bacaro shouted to Kasero to advance into the woods and fix the alien situation before they scared off his Contractors.



5th activation: The Spider Drones take an order and dig in in the woods, shooting the Minnows as they go, piling on STs.

Bacaro then sought the security of the big wall. He was no coward, but there were limits to how much he was willing to risk for this dump.



6th activation: The Journeyman executes a tactical retreat to get into order range of the Scarecrow.

Somewhere in this turn the Nova unit probably shot some Epirians, I think the Drones?

At the end of turn 2 the Epirians take a point for their uplink relay and the Karists a point for their secret cache.

Turn 3

Epirians get priority.

Again acting to get rid of the Tempest threat, Bacaro linked his mind with the next Scarecrow bot and found a kink in the enemy armour with the powerful Railrifle. Good, but was it too little, too late?



1st activation: the Scarecrow gets an order and with hold and fire manages to put an injury on one of the Tempests.

As his Tempests were now having issues, it was time to roll the Epirian flank. Myro again directed his fire at the forest, targeting the little Drones.



2nd activation: The Nova unit spreads out a bit and attacks the drones, piling on the STs. One Drone turns into scrap.

With the Minnows ahead and the enemy commander firing at his flank, apprentice Kasero thought it wise to reconsider his next move.



3rd activation: With a bunch of STs and the Minnows near, the Spiders are forced to retreat to the board edge.

As Myro forced the Drones to retreat, the Minnows went with their instincts and charged the Contractors in their now very uncomfortable position in the woods. Sure enough, they perished.



4th activation: The Minnows fail their discipline check, but due to ‘bloodthirsty’ they get to charge the Contractors, who die.

The Tempests and Journeyman obviously did something as well this turn which I can’t quite recall, probably fire into the Drones or Contractors and Minnows respectively.

At the end of turn 3 the Epirians take a point for their uplink relay and the Karists a point for their secret cache (the Minnows cannot score objectives due to their ‘kill mission’).

Turn 4

The Epirians bring back the Contractor unit as a reinforcement.

Sensing victory, Kaddar Nova Myro orders his elites to advance and secure their flank, containing the last energy terminal in danger of being disabled by the Epirians.



1st activation: (this shot was taken later): Tempests dash to the objective and probably fired wild at the scarecrow. This was just as he expected, damn Contractors couldn’t even hold off a flock of angry baby angels and Kasero once again overstretched himself and then chickened out. No more of this, Bacaro thought. An angry shout to Kasero brought them back to the woods at least, pouring more fire into the stubborn Minnows.



2nd activation: The Spider Drones are given an order and their protocols are enabled, after which they dig in in the woods, firing wild at the minnows.

A second group of useless Contractors then finally arrived at the left flank, asking for orders. Resisting his urge to tell them to just take a hike, Bacaro ordered them to support his precious Scarecrow and keep the Tempests occupied.



3rd activation: Contractor reinforcements Dash ahead and put some STs on the Tempests.

Myro saw the bots return to the fray and wasted no time in jumping across the low wall, reaching the central terminal with a few strides. Lead from the front had always been his motto, that’s where you get the best view.



4th activation: The Kaddar Nova leaves his unit to claim an objective.

Once again linking with the Scarecrow, Bacaro put the heat on the Tempests at the terminal. With his Railrifle and the Contractors In support, he’d take this flank and then circle round. It was all or nothing now.



5th activation: The Scarecrow is ordered and puts more pressure on the Tempests.

A warning cry then pulled Bacaro’s attention away to the right. The Minnows were threatening Kasero. Bacaro loosed a few shots with his Dominator pistol, but the Minnows didn’t seem to care. He could then only watch…



6th activation: The Journeyman puts more STs on the minnows.

The Minnows’ rage ever increasing, they now descended on the little drones that had returned to the woods. They never had a chance.

7th activation: (same image) The Minnows get another charge in and destroy the remaining bots and Handler.

Myro became ever more confident. The more his little angels came under fire, the bigger a threat they became. He motioned to his unit to go and help out the Tempests on the other flank. The threat on this side was gone.



8th activation: The Troopers take position in order to fire at the Contractors. They are well dispersed and hidden beyond the crates, so the damage is limited.

At the end of turn 4 the Epirians score 0, whilst the Karists get three: two terminals and the secret cache.

Turn 5

The Epirians bid 6 command tokens to bring back the Spider Drones, but the Karists counter with 7. The Epirians are now really outnumbered.

Bacaro weighed his options as he loosed another shot at the Tempests with his Scarecrow. This campaign had brought nothing but misery, and why? It was all pointless…



1st activation: The Scarecrow keeps shooting the Tempests, who are now properly suppressed. With the constant sniper fire from the distant bot and a full squad of Contractors advancing on their position, the Tempest Tetrarch decided to retreat and form a new front with the Troopers coming up on their rear. They’d retake the objective together.



2nd activation: The amount of STs and proximity of the Contractors now forces the Tempests to retreat.

The minnows are unstoppable. Myro watches as they move on from the broken bots and fly behind the wall, where he knows the Epirian commander is located. This battle would end now.



3rd activation: The minnows keep taking advantage of their bloodthirsty ability to attack new targets. This time, the Journeyman falls to their Cybel maws.

Team Leader Fiennes got nothing but static on his earpiece. He’d advanced up to the terminal as ordered and was awaiting new orders, but he got no response from commander Bacaro and had no line of sight to his position. Was he dead? Gone? A glance over his shoulder told him the Scarecrow was still around. Bacaro never showed any love for his human troops, but his bots… was he just too taken by guiding the bots? The Scarecrow didn’t move…



4th activation: The Contractors take an objective.

Myro surveyed the field. He felt the Minnows had done their job, what remained of the Epirians would soon be gone. A few quick orders put the Tempests on defense whilst his Troopers could start to enter the refinery building and gather what energy there was left to get here.



5th activation: The Troopers move to claim the center objective.

Myro switched his reactor to boost mode and ran off towards the far terminal himself to coordinate with his Troopers. He half expected to come under fire still, but nothing happened. Another sweet victory for the cause.



6th activation: The Nova Dashes to the objective. Final image.

The Karists get more points for having over half the territories at the end of the game and for having taken out one third of the Epirian forces, making them the clear winner. “What happened to Bacaro?!” barked command over the holo-link. “I’m not sure sir, our uplink was right near his position when we… moved out, it must have imagery of what happened.” Without another word, the holo shut down, leaving Fiennes in confusion. At the other end sat a pensive Epirian commander. They had seen the data from the uplink, but the last of it was weirdly scrambled and the thing itself was nowhere to be found. Destroyed by the Karists no doubt, but what had happened to that data…? Was Bacaro dead?

With a few modifications to the points given out by the objectives and a little more terrain I think this will do nicely for an intro mission. The forces are only small, but with the reinforcements mechanic the players need never be out of stuff to work with, and the game should about fit on a normal sized table.

I recall when I first read the rules how I worried Maelstrom’s Edge would give a limited gaming experience, given the max of 5 turns and smaller forces. I could not have been more wrong. Every game you immediately get into the thick of it and every activation is interesting. 5 turns is plenty. A handful of models is plenty. Just make sure you have enough terrain on the table.

Having played a couple games now and seen a few more, the rules are starting to click nicely. The big thing with this type of game is always the special unit and weapon abilities. To get a good idea in your head of what units can do just reading the rules is never enough, you need to see them work to really get that feel. In this game the Minnows’ bloodthirsty ability was a bit of an eye-opener. I never thought of it as a big thing, but it means they are a threat even when utterly suppressed because they keep coming at you and have a big charge range. Cool stuff.

Find the Battle For Zycanthus starter set and the full range of Maelstrom's Edge models at www.maelstromsedge.com

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