Gaming Thoughts – Winter Challenge Aftermath

Well, Monday’s here which means it’s back to work and all the fun of the weekend is behind us. Also, we’re back from the Winter Challenge, held down in Exeter, and while we (“we” being myself, Adam and Darren) could only make it for one of the two days, we all had a great time.

Before I get into the meat of this post I’d like to extend our thanks to Ian, The Wargaming Trader, for his superb organisational skills for the day we were present. Also, thanks to Corvus Belli for not only giving us the game we all love, but also for providing a wonderful tournament system for events such as these, and the support they’ve shown by sending Ian various goodies for the prize pool. Finally, some thanks to Antenociti’s Workshop and Micro Art Studio for the prizes they supplied – plenty of Antenociti’s new line of sci-fi bases, plus Micro Arts wonderful Infinity tokens, plus a few other bits for the prize pool! In fact, the prize pool was so large, that every attendee got given a goody bag with contents relevant to their faction(s)!

The contents of my Winter Challenge goody bag - click to enlarge
The contents of my Winter Challenge goody bag – click to enlarge

With the formalities out of the way I’ll get on with the actual post now!

Before I go on, the missions we used were this Season’s ITS missions, which can be downloaded here. I figure it’s better to link to the file rather than pad my word count explaining each mission to you. If anyone does want an expanded discussion of the missions, let me know in the comments below. Please bear in mind that I’m writing these from memory, so apologies in advance to any of my opponents reading this if I get anything incorrect!

For reference, the list I took to the event was:

Combat Group 1
Auxilia with Auxbot (Forward Observer)
Auxilia with Auxbot (Forward Observer)
Deva with Devabot (Lieutenant)
Deva with Devabot
Hexa with Spitfire
Hexa with Multi Sniper Rifle
Aquila Guard with HMG
Indigo Spec Ops (Climbing Plus, +3 WIP, -3 BTS and Hacking Device)

Combat Group 2
Fusilier with HMG
Fusilier
Fusilier
Fusilier (Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater)
Fusilier(Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater)

(You can click any of the unit names to see what they look like on the Infinity website)

In most ITS events, you’re able to have two different lists (from the same faction) depending on your opponent/the mission, and so I had a second list with more orders in it – I simply dropped the Forward Observer skill from both of the Auxilia and one of the Fusiliers which gave me enough points to fit in a Trauma Doc and Palbot.

Game 1

My first game was vs Robin with his Combined Army. Our mission was Supply Run. I lost the Willpower roll-off at the start of the game, and Robin elected to go first, which left me to choose deployment zones and the order of deployment. I elected to choose a side which had some buildings with raised parapets, reasoning that since the objectives were quite exposed, I’d be able to set up to cover them and gun down anyone trying to go for them. You can see an image of the table below. I’ve highlighted my deployment zone in green, and Robin’s in red:

Game 1 Deployment Zones - click to enlarge
Game 1 Deployment Zones – click to enlarge

Unfortunately, a bit of a mistake on my part with my deployment meant that I’d left my entire right flank almost completely uncovered and so afforded a clear approach for Robin’s Anathematic, who promptly scuttled across, nestled into a nice little corner and proceeded to Sepsitorise my Aquila Guard. A single shot or a Discover attempt from a prone Hexa would have been all I’d had to oppose his movements, although I didn’t risk it as it would have revealed her (she was sat on a rooftop as a Prone TO Camo marker). Sepsitors are nasty as they allow the Combined Army player to capture and later control your figures. Robin then revealed a second figure, also carrying the dreaded Sepsitor, a Skiavoros, which bounded forward towards a central objective.

I made a break on my left-flank with an Auxilia and his Auxbot to go for the objective sat there, and was successful in grabbing a single crate and pulling back towards my deployment zone, however, as the game went on, Robin’s forces were able to gradually pick me apart and whittle me down with gunfire and Sepsitor attacks, meaning I went into retreat on Turn 3. I’d only managed a single kill – a Corax spec-ops. Robin also grabbed the central objective, putting him far ahead on Objective Points at the missions’ end, while a big fat zero was all I got at the end of that round!

Not the greatest start to a tournament, but learning from my mistake (of not covering every approach), I prepared myself for game 2.

Game 2

Game 2 was Frontline, vs Peter with his Steel Phalanx (the Aleph sectorial army). Like game 1, I lost the roll-off, and Peter elected to go first, giving me the choice of deployment zone. Given that much of my strength comes at range, I elected to take the side with the best vantage points in order to cover the approaches towards my scoring zones. As before, here’s a photo of our table with my deployment zone highlighted in green and Peter’s in red:

Game 2 Deployment Zones - click to enlarge
Game 2 Deployment Zones – click to enlarge

I also decided that my Hexa would start the game hidden, which meant I had to send Peter away while I photographed the position of my Hexa Sniper:

Hexa hidden deployment - click to enlarge
Hexa hidden deployment – click to enlarge

The beginning of the game went well for me – Peter spent what I felt was too great a number of orders trying to shift my Aquila Guard from his prone perch atop the highest tower with a Palbot sat next to him (to try and patch him up if he died). Unfortunately, the Aquila was laid low by the amount of shots coming his way, and both he and the bot died. I was lucky enough in that the central approach between the hill and central building was completely out of sight to Peter’s forces lurking in the ruins, and so I pushed forward to hopefully gain some ground. My Fusilier Link Team were anchoring my right flank, ready to oppose Peter’s Thorakitai link team led by Nesaie Alke.

Unfortunately, due to some duff dice during my turns, I was unable to damage any of the enemy models. A late-game appearance by Diomedes put paid to much of my Link Team on the right flank, and on turn 3, the Aleph led a heroic charge into no-mans land and claimed dominated each scoring zone of the battlefield. Another loss for me!

Game 3

The third game of the day used the Seize the Beacons mission. I was paired up against Stuart, who was using Nomads. This time, I won the roll off at the start of the game, and elected to choose deployment, as I figured, after a bit of checking across the board, that I would be better off with a commanding view of 2 out of 3 objectives. Stuart went first, I believe (I could be wrong here). Here’s a shot of our deployment zones:

Game 3 Deployment Zones - click to enlarge
Game 3 Deployment Zones – click to enlarge

This was far and away my favourite table of the day – a more urban setup, with a couple of long firelanes but also some nice hiding spots and the chance to advance unseen.

It looked like my luck had turned by this point, while Stuart suffered some real runs of bad luck with his dice (such as a pair of Markers both scattering back horribly into his own deployment zone – although that didn’t harm him, it certainly made my advance a lot easier as there was far less chance of my remotes being hacked on the way). On my first turn I spent a succession of orders on my Spec Op, who blitzed up the table, capturing two of the 3 Beacons as he did so – he then dropped prone behind the central one, ready to cover any Nomads attempting to come and re-capture it. It was like he was playing Call of Duty or something! Having a model with WIP15 is a god-send in PanOceania, where they usually have quite low Willpower in comparison with the other factions in the game. I was also able to get my Link Team into a commanding position watching the third objective, ready to try and stop Stuart from capturing it for his own gains.

Stuart’s run of bad luck continued into the following two turns, and I was able, bit by bit, to chip away at his forces, and even managed to score my Classified Objective, which up until this point in the day, I’d managed to forget about! (Mind you, with the way my first two games went, I had no chance of getting them even if I had remembered!). In this game, I’d managed to roll the Casualty Identification and Sabotage objectives, so I chose the Casualty ID one, as I lacked any models with D-Charges to carry out any sabotaging! At one point, Stuart sent a Prowler over towards my right flank, and I was able to pick him off with the Aquila Guard. The Prowler went down not too far from my Lieutenant, and so I spent a couple of orders running towards him to ‘stick the boot in’ and get my Classified Objective for this game.

In the end, we got to the end of turn 3 and Stuart was unable to capture the third beacon on his side of the table, although he had managed to whittle me down a little bit.

Finally, I was off the ground with 7 points!

Game 4

The final mission of the day was against Andrew with his Yu Jing. The mission was Annihilation, and we were informed that this was a fight to the death, and so the normal rules for Retreat would not be used – that suited me just fine!

In Annihilation, you get given two Classified Objectives, and this time I’d rolled Telemetry and Experimental Drug – basically I had to successfully hack an enemy, and also perform a successful Doctor roll on an ally. I was pretty confident I’d be able to carry at least one of these out in the game.

Game 2 Deployment Zones - click to enlarge
Game 4 Deployment Zones – click to enlarge

Andrew had won the roll for first turn, and had a fairly symmetrical setup, with a Remote on either flank (I would later find out that one of these was actually a Su Jian), each supported by a Shaolin monk. Andrew had placed a Keisotsu with Missile Launcher on top of one of the rock spires in his deployment zone, and a camo-marker on top of another on my right flank. He also had a third remote in the centre behind the dump-truck, and his Shang Ji on my left-flank.

I’d placed the majority of my forces out of sight behind walls and such, although the Hexa was placed in hidden deployment, prone atop the tallest building in my deployment zone, as seen here:

Hexa hidden deployment - click to enlarge
Hexa hidden deployment – click to enlarge

Things started fairly poorly for me, with turn 1 seeing a great deal of my Fusilier Link Team take fire from the Keisotsu and newly revealed Daofei. My turn 1 saw my Trauma Doc go and patch up one of the Link Team (getting me the Experimental Drug objective as well as saving an HMG in the process), although any attempts to shift the Daofei and Keisotsu were met with failure. On the left the other Shaolin gunned down one of my Auxilia and a Palbot. Things on this side of the table became very cautious, and I began to re-arrange my forces in preparation for Andrew’s second turn.

Turn 2 began and Andrew really put the pressure on, advancing on both flanks, although I’d been able to position myself well enough to shut down his push on my right, as I was able to use the Aquila Guard to see through his smoke grenades and kill both the Shaolin Monk and Su Jian with some lucky crits, plus a nicely hidden Devabot who flamed the Shaolin as he emerged from the smoke. During the fight, however, I lost the Hexa with Spitfire, who pushed his luck a bit trying to take on the heavily armed Su Jian before the Aquila could finish it off. I was able to shut down his remote which had gotten in close, along with his Shang Ji, and that’s when things got interesting. Our dice had been pretty decent throughout this turn, although Andrew was being very careful not to expose his troops to too much of the PanOceanian firepower at once. His Shang Ji decided to take a shot at one of my Devas (who, unknown to him was my Lieutenant), and succeeded in wounding her, however, I had noticed he’d gotten quite close, and I begun to formulate a risky strategy which I was sure would secure me the game.

My second turn began with a little re-arranging of forces, although my main goal was to try and pin the Shang Ji down long enough for my Indigo to get close enough and perform a Hacking roll against him, which would both shut his armour down and give me my second Classified Objective.

I sacrificed a Fusilier from the (now broken) Link Team to push forwards and fire at the Shang Ji – I succeeded and the Shang Ji ducked back behind cover, and that’s when I kicked my Spec Ops into gear – using his Climbing Plus ability he climbed down from his perch atop a building, and he got close enough to be able to carry out a hacking attack with my final order – Andrew decided to Hack Defensively with his own Hacker, and was successful, but I’d managed to roll a Critical success, destroying his Hacker’s hacking device and immobilising his Shang Ji in the process, not to mention completing my second Classified Objective.

With the time already running late, we decided to call the game there at the end of turn 2, and I’d managed to score 8 out of a possible 10 points for the mission!

All in all, it was a great day out, and the experience gained from each game has been invaluable. That said, I’m looking forward to a bit of a break from ITS missions, going back to more casual affairs such as YAMS, or even devising some scenarios of our own using scenes from action films as an inspiration.

Until next time!

7 thoughts on “Gaming Thoughts – Winter Challenge Aftermath

  1. fleshandmetal says:

    Reblogged this on Rise of Rlyeh and commented:
    Check out my mates review of the Infinity Winter Challenge tournament that I attended last weekend. I will try and write up my own review on how my Nomads faired soon!

  2. Gingerk1d says:

    For the Hyperpower! NeoTerra is something I’ve had a lot of experience with but I think you did a good job. Here are some quick bullet points:

    Pros:
    – Aquila is a great choice. Visors are a must-have for any ITS environment where smoke and camo can ruin your day.
    – A Deva as a Lt choice is AWESOME. 0SWC, a flamerbot, No-Wound Incap, amazing!
    – A Hacker spec-ops is a great way to save some SWC while getting a good high-WP model in there. Did you use the Shock Army Regular as a base? (-1ARM, +1WIP)

    Cons:
    – Everything starts in your deployment zone. Your only deterrent from an opponent taking control of the board is long range AROs (which can be risky). NeoTerra suffers with no basic Infiltrators, but you could use the peacemaker to ward off hackable opponents.
    – Two order pools is good, but you need something that can “reach out and touch” your opponent without needing to spend orders getting there. Have you considered a Garuda?

    Questions:
    – How much do you feel losing first turn cost you in games 1 and 2?
    – Do you feel the lack of a second list hurt you?

    Comments:
    – Great idea highlighting the deployment zones
    – Your final turn hacker sprint was awesome!

  3. Leeman says:

    Thanks for the comments!

    Regarding the Spec Ops, I went for a Fusilier base troop as I preferred the idea of a Fusilier (call it me being pedantic because it’s a Fusilier model rather than a Regular, plus Regulars don’t appear in the NeoTerra list) 🙂

    I don’t mind having everyone in the DZ at the start – it’s just a part of the NeoTerra playstyle, so I’ve learnt to overcome it! If I want infiltrators I’ll play vanilla 🙂

    I think that losing the first turn in the first two games wasn’t too big a deal, as I’d aimed to deploy where I wouldn’t take too many losses. I lost those games due to a few bad mistakes and duff dice when I needed them! (That and the two guys I played are very experienced players I later found out)

    I actually did have a second list (I mention it just after I detail my list in full) – the only difference was the Auxilia and a Fusilier losing Forward Observer, which gave me enough points to fit in a Trauma Doc and Palbot into the main combat group.

    The Spec Ops really became my MVP of the day after his performance in games 3 and 4!

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