Gaming Thoughts – Summer Challenge 2015 aftermath

Gaming Thoughts...

Yesterday saw myself and Adam travel down to Exeter for another of Ian’s Challenge Series of Infinity events. This particular event was fairly standard fare, being a 300pt ITS event, this time with the hobby add-on – at least this time painting stuff up would actually contribute to my (admittedly less than stellar) ITS ranking. As I understand it, the hobby scores don’t count towards the final standings on the day, they just give a little more weight to the overall ranking after the event.

This event was an unusually quiet event, with only 8 players in attendance, although this was put down to it being Father’s Day, plus the UK scene down here in the South is looking pretty full at the moment, so I guess it’s likely diluting the attendance figures somewhat.

We were due to play the Cold Sleep, Nimbus Zone and Supremacy missions.

I’d picked lists that were fairly familiar to me, although I’d wanted to at least include one of the new Kaeltars in my list to see how they fared on the table.

The list I picked for Cold Sleep and Nimbus Zone, which have fairly similar objective layouts, was the following:

Image Tohaa – Cold Sleep/Nimbus Zone
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

Group 1 Image Image Image 10 Image0 Image3
Image KAMAEL Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (12)
Image KAMAEL Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (12)
Image GAO-RAEL Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 33)
Image MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Zero-V Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Viral CCW. (13)
Image HATAIL AELIS KEESAN K1 Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Flash Pulse, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 32)
Image GAO-RAEL Spitfire / Pistol, CCW. (1.5 | 36)
Image KUMOTAIL Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (22)
Image SAKIEL Spitfire / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 23)
Image MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Zero-V Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Viral CCW. (13)
Image KOTAIL (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (33)

Group 2 Image Image Image3 Image0 Image0
Image CLIPSOS (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (25)
Image CHAKSA AUXILIAR (Neurocinetics, 360º Visor) HMG / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 25)
Image KAELTAR (Chain of Command) Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse + 2 SymbioMates / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 21)

6 SWC | 300 Points

Open with Army 5

Five specialists, of which one is fast, two are linked and one is a TO Infiltrator. The fifth is a bit of a backup with Chain of Command and few orders as she’s in a second group, but it’s an insurance policy if anything.

I kept my usual defensive element of the Gao Rael/two Kamael and the Chaksa HMG. I’d managed to squeeze Spitfires into both of the other links, so I was relatively confident with the firepower they could put out if needed, while protecting their specialists.

The list for Supremacy was a slight change from what I’ve used previously:

Image Tohaa – Supremacy
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

Group 1 Image Image Image 10 Image0 Image4
Image KAMAEL Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (12)
Image KAMAEL Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (12)
Image GAO-RAEL Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 33)
Image MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Zero-V Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Viral CCW. (13)
Image SAKIEL Spitfire / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 23)
Image KUMOTAIL Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (22)
Image MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Zero-V Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Viral CCW. (13)
Image ECTROS HMG, Nanopulser / Pistol, CCW. (2 | 51)
Image SAKIEL Lieutenant Viral Combi Rifle, Swarm Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (26)
Image KOTAIL (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (33)

Group 2 Image Image Image3 Image0 Image0
Image CHAKSA AUXILIAR (Baggage, Sensor) Heavy Flamethrower / Pistol, CCW. (10)
Image CHAKSA AUXILIAR (Neurocinetics, 360º Visor) HMG / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 25)
Image CLIPSOS (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (25)

5.5 SWC | 298 Points

Open with Army 5

As usual the Chaksa HMG and Gao Rael Sniper link are present, as is the ever useful Clipsos FO. However, since this list for was for a land-grab mission, I went with a more aggressive setup for the other triads – an Ectros HMG for some resilient, mobile firepower rather than the Nikoul I used at the previous events. I also took a slighly more aggressive Lieutenant in the Sakiel with Viral Combi. With hindsight the Kaeltar with Chain of Command would’ve been more useful in this list than the other one, and I can’t for the life of me think why I didn’t find the points for her in this list over the other one! Ah well, hindsight and all that!

I must admit, I came close to not attending due to a terrible head cold which I’m still suffering from as I write this. As a result, yesterday was a bit of a blur and so my recollections of each game are hazier than normal due to being dosed up on cold and flu medicine! Apologies to any of my opponents if I recall anything incorrectly in the remainder of this post!

Game 1 – Cold Sleep vs Ian (Nomads)

Table 2 - click to enlarge
Table 2 – click to enlarge

The first round would be against the TO himself, Ian. I went into the round with a bit of trepidation, due to not having played the mission before, and because Ian is pretty highly ranked in the ITS, and really knows his stuff when it comes to the game, so I wasn’t expecting to do too well in this game.

I can’t quite recall who won the roll off or who chose initiative/deployment (like I said, I was dosed up on meds, so the memory is even patchier than usual!), but the roll for Ian’s superior Infiltration roll for Bran Do Castro coming up as a 20 pretty much set the tone for his dice for the whole game. If I wasn’t passing armour rolls or dodges, Ian was missing shots or failing WIP rolls, and in the end I was able to score 10 points for this mission by achieving all objectives, including my classified objective.

Despite the awful dice luck, Ian was a gracious opponent, and it was a nice compliment to hear from him that I did everything right in that game in terms of decisions taken (aside from an early blunder where I marched a triad right out into the open against a Mobile Brigada HMG which I’d forgotten had made an appearance from a doorway!)

Game 2 – Nimbus Zone vs Richard (Japanese Sectorial Army)

Table 3 - click to enlarge
Table 3 – click to enlarge

With the practice run at this mission against Adam earlier in the week still fresh in my mind, I was happy to go first (but again, due to the miasma of a head cold, I can’t remember who won the roll off!)

Like the previous game, Richard failed an infiltration roll and so I was greeted with an Oniwaban who had to deploy in his own table half rather than near my deployment zone! The rest of the force that I knew of consisted of two camo markers. My first couple of orders were spent on trying to move a link team forward, however the two camo markers turned out be Raiden Seibutai with Heavy Rocket Launchers, which promptly destroyed that link, although not before I made a suicidal dash towards the closest antenna to disconnect it. This left me with a fair few orders to shift the other link team forward to disconnect two more antennae, at least denying those points to Richard.

Richard’s first turn put paid to this specialist team, so I was left reeling going into my second turn. I decided to go for it with my Clipsos and grab the central console and place a mine down to make it difficult for Richard to come and take it back.

In the end, the number of Surprise Attacks from TO models put down much of my force, leaving me with just the Clipsos and two Kamael Light Infantry left alive, which meant I was in retreat at the start of my 3rd turn. I used a Command Token to ensure my Clipsos could do something, although mistakenly both Richard and I forgot the other changes to retreat, and so playing by old rules, I ran the two surviving Kamael off of the table – that actually ended up losing a few more Victory Points than it should have, but that’s what happens when you go by the old rules by mistake!

In the end, we finished the mission on a 4-4 draw.

Game 3 – Supremacy vs Chris (Yu Jing)

Table 3 - click to enlarge
Table 3 – click to enlarge

The final game of the day was against Chris – as he said to me just before we started, it was deja vu since we’d faced each other at the exact same mission back at the Totally Crit Open just over a month ago!

Chris had a different list to last time we played this mission, so instead of a camo-heavy list, it was a Kuang-Shi/Shaolin Monk horde.

I got off to an early lead, dominating three quadrants by pushing my hidden Clipsos into one of Chris’s home quadrants, although he was able to pull things back pretty quickly in the remaining two turns, eventually winning the mission 8-3.

I definitely felt better with this list for Supremacy, although the fog of illness led me to make a few sloppy mistakes with it which ultimately cost me the game. Still, just like the last time we played it was a great game, and Chris is a great opponent, so losing to him was a pleasure!

In the end, the final standings saw Chris in first place, with Richard in second and (surprisingly) myself in 3rd place! Richard and I had the same amount of objective points, but he had far more Victory Points than I had, so that placed him higher.

Apparently the painting scores for the two armies entered were only separated by one point, which I put down to my own fault – I figured I’d be gracious and vote the other guy’s army over my own (we had to put our first, second and third choices – obviously, with only two entries there wasn’t a third choice to put). To be fair, the prize, while a great one (Angel Giraldez’s book and limited edition Joan of Arc model) isn’t something I particularly want, since everyone else in my gaming group has it and I already have the model, so winning it wasn’t really a high priority for me.

So, it just leaves me to thank Ian once again for a great event, and to him and my other two opponents for giving me three great games! 3rd place is definitely a much higher place than I ever anticipated finishing, so now the pressure is on to try and maintain that kind of performance in future events!

Here’s a gallery of the other images I took on the day:

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