Time for another must-see battle report, as MascisMan brings his freshly painted Haqqislam to tussle with the fury of my Japanese Sectorial Army in a 300pt showdown.
With the wrapper just off the new Infinity Tournament System 2014 missions, we decided to test one out. We randomly rolled between a few missions we liked the look of, so our lists were not totally tailored but we had a rough idea what to expect….
Editor’s Note: Click on the pics for the AWESOME supersized versions!
SEIZE THE ANTENNAE
Main Objectives: For each seized Antenna at the end of the scenario (3 points)
Classified Objectives: Each player has 1 secret classified objective (1 point)
JSA Secret Objective: Experimental Drug – Succeed at a Doctor or Medkit roll.
Haqqislam Secret Objective: Telemetry – Succeed at a Forward Observer roll.
NOTE! – We both opted to ignore the end game state of one player being in Retreat!, as we felt it would make for a more dramatic duel.
JSA TURN 1
With a screech of tires the twin impetuous Aragoto hackers burn out of cover and head for the antenna objectives. One reaches the center, while his partner skids next to one at the edge of the JSA deployment. With practiced ease, the rebellious hackers quickly lock down two of the three antennae, securing early objectives for the Japanese.
On the roof of the small building housing the Keisotsu link team, the HÙSÒNG reaction remote runs a routine scan of the suspicious individual deployed behind it. Failing its discover roll, the remote decides it still doesn’t trust the individual and drops a mine next to it. Holding his nerve the Fiday doesn’t flinch, until the remote drops a second mine and begins to climb off the buildings roof. Seizing his moment the Fiday responds and delivers a close range blast that critically damages the remote, leaving it a ruined wreck on the ground below. In the same instance the first mine responds to his foreign presence and explodes but his armor holds.
Yuriko and her Keisotsu link team in the building below flinch, as they hear the gunfire and explosions above them. Seeing the wrecked remote drop by the door she calmly moves to fix it and instructs her team to cover her. She curses under her breath, as the efforts to repair it are too late. Its lights go dim and the robot sparks and twitches one last time.
Yuriko and the link team move swiftly out of the building, with the missile launcher slinking up the nearby catwalk to get a line on the Fiday. The Forward Observer follows him up, while Yuriko, the Paramedic and the Lieutenant stay on the ground. The Fiday still reeling from the mine blast turns to see the missile launcher take aim, and snaps off a shot at the Forward Observer Keisotsu. But is still engulfed by the explosion as a salvo of missiles slam into his position, this time his armor does not hold and he falls.
HAQQISLAM TURN 1
In whispered tones, the Tuareg reports back to the rear echelon.
“We have trouble here. The Japanese must have received similar intel. They have come for the transmission antennae as well. Our undercover is KIA. My recommendation is to send the bot forward to scout.”
“Confirmed. Permission granted. Send in the remote. Out.”
Synchros meshing and gears whirring, the Shihab remote comes to life. With a full ammo box it descends in to the heart of the complex. Using cover and moving carefully, the robot spots a small group of Japanese defending a catwalk 100m away. The keen eyed Keisotsu at the top of the walkway spots the bot and fires two missiles at it! Reacting nearly simultaneously the Shihab opens up the attached machine gun and scores a hit on the JSA trooper, knocking him unconscious.
“We have positive identification of the Japanese team here for the consoles. Use the remote to pin down the area until support arrives.”
Using his control device with great precision, the Tuareg moves the Shihab in to several firing positions further knocking out three more Keisotsu, one brandishing an incredibly ornate katana. Four Keisotsu now lay squirming on the ground soaked in blood.
“Your assignment has changed. Demolition of the armory is now second priority. Your top priority is to flank the central antenna. You may face resistance. Be prepared to fight. Do not destroy the antenna!”
With new instruction, the Muyib leaves her hideout and moves around to get eyes on the console. As she ascends the stairs of the nearby storage building she spots the Nippon biker gathering information from a computer in the center of the complex. She uses the building as cover, and, with no shame, opens fire at the back of the enemy Hacker, knocking him off the bike and on to the ground. She then sits in wait, providing watch over the area.
Turning his attention elsewhere, Saladin proceeds with his plan…
“The immediate area is clear. Proceed to the nearby station and begin extraction.”
“Sir, I believe my skills could be better utilized on the other side of the turbines.”
“Jerry. You will do as I say, or you will not get paid….and you may accidentally miss the flight out….”
“Roger that, proceeding to Alpha one.”
The camouflaged figure calmly creeps out of his hiding spot and walks to the nearby device. With no problems the Hunzakut overrides the console and the antenna begins transmitting data to his allied Hacker. This is “old hat” for a grizzled scout like Jerry.
JSA TURN 2
The devastation by the Haqqislam remote had left the Japanese without their leader, as the Keisotsu lieutenant had been taken out in it’s deadly hail of HMG fire. So chain of command went to the young Kempetai, who calmly issued orders to what units she still had operable. The first was to hold the impetuous hacker Aragoto from riding straight into the path of the remote.
While in the large command building a legend stirred from a well-hidden position. Shinobu Kitsune acknowledged her orders and silently ghosted to the door of the building, her TO camouflage shimmering slightly as she took aim with her combi rifle. A short controlled burst at a critical point was enough to silence the Haqqislam reaction remote for good, her camouflage giving her the edge and denying a response.
Before the remote had crumpled to the ground, Kitsune had already turned and moved to the other door where she drew a line to the Muyib on the nearby walkway. Her rifle barked a few rounds once more, but the Muyibs armor deflected the shots. In a heart beat she hit the dirt and went prone, sensibly keeping her head down. Kitsune’s icy eyes showed no signs of expression as her camouflage enveloped her body and she slinked back into the shadows. She would wait patiently for the Muyib to raise her head.
In the bloody dismantling of the Keisotsu link team, the paramedic had somehow managed to stay alive. He quickly scanned his comrades for signs of life but saw mostly still bodies, until Yuriko groaned and painfully pulled herself up against a crate. The paramedic rushed over to her and hurriedly pulled out his medkit. He had seen worse and reassured Yuriko that he had done this many times in training, and that she would still retain her good looks. Yuriko scowled at him as a cocktail of drugs rushed through her system, and she gingerly got back to her feet. Checking her rifle she looked around, and then glanced at the sky. She swore she heard something, but then dismissed it as her head was still somewhat spinning.
The Keisotsu paramedic smiled to himself. He had no idea what the experimental drug was, and also had no intention of letting the esteemed Yuriko know that. But it had worked. Maybe it was his lucky day after all.
HAQQISLAM TURN 2
“Raven Two, come in…”
“Raven Two, here..”
“We need you behind the enemy line, approach with caution..”
“Roger, enemies spotted, landing in 3…..2……1….”
With a crash the Ragik landed right on target behind the host building. After creeping to the corner he opens fire with his machine gun spraying wildly in to both Keisotsu in front of him, knocking both to the ground. Unbeknownst to him, a Japanese biker lay in wait and quickly cracked off a shot in defense from another direction, skipping off of his shoulder pad.
“Gotta be more careful.”
Slowly moving around the corner of the building he had the biker in his sights now. After a volley of bullets erupted from his gun the Hacker still stood. Taking another chance and spraying the area once more, his shots finally rung true and the Aragoto went down.
“Rear area clear.”
“Remain in position to provide covering fire. Jerry, move to Alpha Two immediately!”
“Sir, you are not paying me enough. (Moving) Hey! I found the bot. Yeah, it’s scrap now. It’s awfully quiet out here. Where is the demolitions gal? I don’t like this at all. Ok I am at Alpha Two,…programming antenna…..and done!”
“Head to Alpha Three. When you are close drop one of your repeaters. Our Hacker will check the area…and keep this channel quiet! No more chit-chat!”
“Repeater is down. Hey it looks like something is moving over there in the bushes…”
JSA TURN 3
The Ragik’s surprise attack had finished off the Keisotsu link team, and the honorable Yuriko lay still. Losing the skilled Aragoto Hackers had also severely dented the army’s capacity to achieve the mission. Suffice to say it hadn’t gone well for the Japanese, and reluctantly the young Kempetai gave the order for a tactical withdrawal.
Shinobu Kitsune obeyed the order to fallback and sprinted out the command bunker into cover. Mid-stride she caught a glimpse of a Hunzakut, who seemed preoccupied chatting into his comms. Recognizing him as a valuable Haqqislam specialist, she lined up her sights and squeezed the trigger. The man spun awkwardly as the rounds hit him and he collapsed to the dirt with a gurgling cry. She noted he wasn’t quite dead, but she needed to focus instead on getting out of this fight gone bad.
The Karakuri had kept its finely crafted head down for most of the time, and understood the order to retreat. As it did so, warnings flashed up that its firewall was being attacked, and that a hacking threat was within range. But the Karakuri being state of the art Nipponese tech brushed off the cyber attack with ease, and moved out of range of the repeater.
Gracefully the lithe combat robot strode to the corner of a nearby building, and identified the Ragik as its primary threat. It tilted its head slightly for a moment, as if sizing up the target, and then opened fire with its combi rifle. The shots hit true, but the Haqqislam drop trooper had his armor to thank, and shrugged off the attack.
The young Kempetai began to think about what she would say to her superiors in the face of such a disastrous mission. It made her both angry and fearful, which in that moment overcame any sense of self-preservation. She was an honorable member of the Kempetai, with the knowledge and skills necessary to access the antenna…
Sprinting at full speed the Kempetai burst out of the building she had spent the entire confrontation in, and headed for the center antenna. She felt the first shot whizz past her head, but kept on running, as the console got closer. Another shot kicked up a dirt cloud and caused her to flinch, but she kept moving as fast as her legs would go. Wildly out of breath, she finally reached the antenna, and rapidly keyed in commands on the console. As she saw it acknowledge, she smiled, just before red-hot heat erupted between her shoulder blades and darkness filled her vision. At least the final image her cube recorded was an honorable one; maybe it would be enough for the Kempetai to grant her another body and chance. Maybe.
HAQQISLAM TURN 3
“Raven Two reporting. Alpha Two is clear. No sign of the ninja…”
“Now is the time Hacker. Move in to position and link the antenna.”
Her image shifting in a thousand different patterns, the Tuareg quietly stood up and begin moving slowly towards the objective, keeping her eyes open for the ninja.
“East flank, provide cover, we are taking the antenna now!”
With that instruction, the Muyib slowly raised, Spitfire on shoulder, knowing the slippery ninja was in her midst. As she peered over to the antenna something caught her eye…it was a shift in light and she immediately opened fire in the vicinity. The ninja now spooked, scrambled for cover, but the next round of bullets rang true and the lifeless body of a legend began to materialize.
“Now Alpha Two is clear…”
The Tuareg moved to the interface, defeated the encryption, and sent the antenna signal skyward completing the mission.
From afar, she heard the feint groaning of the mercenary Observer, but, she couldn’t be certain.
“I think the Scout is still alive Sir.”
Smiling wryly, Saladin replied, “Retire to the rear. Don’t worry about him, he has it all figured out.”
JSA:4 points(1 Antenna seized at end of game, and 1 classified objective achieved)
Haqqislam: 6 points (2 Antenna seized at end of game, and 0 classified objective achieved)
JSA Final Thoughts:
Well beaten by a good opponent, and no bad dice to blame. So yeah, lot of things I wish I had done differently in that game.
I’d like to say the Fiday and the Ragik were a surprise, but they weren’t which makes it worse that I didn’t handle either effectively. While the Fiday didn’t score a huge number of kills, I still burnt way too many orders trying to take him out, and leave my link team in a vulnerable position. Plus he took out my reaction remote early, which hurt, followed by a failed Yuriko repair on it for final insult to injury.
The mines and reaction remote where in the list to handle the Ragik, but that really didn’t work, so when he landed the inevitable rampage killed off any hope of winning the game. I knew he was there, but didn’t want to waste orders trying to hack him out the sky with average hackers and no EVO.
The Haqq reaction remote made short work of the link team and decimated my order pool and specialists. I thought the Missile Launcher covering the center of the table would at least make it think twice, but I massively underestimated it and my placement of the link team was incredibly poor anyway.
Further mistakes included leaving the Aragoto out in the open, after they had done their job. Then I didn’t use my toughest and most expensive specialist in the Karakuri, who just sat there in a bush most of the game!
I was playing a solid opponent who didn’t really put a foot wrong, and rightly made me pay with skill and guile. I’ve played JSA a lot, and I’m disappointed in myself for not making better decisions and putting up a stronger fight. The list is what it is, and used primarily because I had just painted up the Keisotsu team with Yuriko. Wish I had used the Karakuri link instead, or even some Haramaki. But it’s never the list right?!
Haqqislam Final Thoughts:
Yet another good game between Levitas and myself. It seems our games are either blowouts or very close. Just like before, this one came down to the bottom of the last turn.
During deployment I had a couple things to consider since I was going second.
First, the Fiday. I decided to hone in on a single unit that I thought would give me fits. His Husong Remote had a great line to the second objective so became the obvious choice. Another thought I had was to pressure his bikers, but, I knew with their impetuous moves they would be immediately out of sight before I would have had the opportunity to lay mines.
Second was the Tuareg Hacker. I knew his Hacker bikers would be going after the central antenna and so it was a natural fit to deploy her hidden near that console. I thought about revealing and trying to hack the Aragoto Hacker when he was sitting at the central console, but decided to keep the Tuareg surprise for late game objective taking. Had we been playing with the regular ITS retreat rules, I may have attempted to reveal sooner and melt the Aragoto’s brain.
Since the Hacker could somewhat defend the center against the bikes and Karakuri, my biggest fear was actually the Keisotsu link. He had Yuriko and a Missile Launcher with them. This is why I went hard after the link with my Shihab remote in the bottom of turn one. The link was spread out amongst two different levels so this was my prime opportunity to go after them. My goal was to isolate members as much as possible to reduce ARO shots coming back.
I am becoming a very big fan of the Hunzakut (Jerry). He brings so much to the table. Camo, Infiltrate, Forward Observer, Deployable Repeaters, LGL, etc. I don’t mind that he is irregular because it seems like I am spending at least one order on him every turn anyway. On his last order I thought about shooting the LGL at the Karakuri instead of deploying the repeater, but, even if I had hit it, it would have survived with one wound on it. So I thought my Hacker was the better play through the repeater since I knew it would be moving in the next turn. Turns out the Hacker failed so oh well. A little background on the Tuareg Hacker and the Lev’s Karakuri…I have tried to hack that thing four times now in subsequent games and failed every time. Sheesh.
One mistake I made was not taking advantage of the Al Hawwa’s Infiltrate ability to capture my secret objective (Telemetry). My thought was that the Aragoto were going to come in fast and hard and that I might want a specialist in the rear just in case. In hindsight, I should have deployed him more aggressively and at least combat camo observed something to get the point. Would have been nice in conjunction with the Hunzakut’s LGL as well. Oh well, always next game.