Welcome back to our series of articles where we break down the contested locations and their accompanying missions for Phase 1 of the Shattergrounds Campaign. How has the campaign been going for you, is your faction winning in any of the contested locations? 

Let’s take a look at the next mission in  Location 5: Underwater Marine Research Facilities 

The Montalbán underwater marine research facilities provide scientists with a controlled environment in their laboratories, where they can conduct hazardous experiments and collect data pertaining to oceanography, marine biology, geological processes, climatology, environmental monitoring, and other scientific areas. These facilities are now even more relevant as they also offer the opportunity to study the effects of the Quantum Anomaly Zone in the depths of the ocean. Additionally these platforms are used to deploy sensors, different types of instruments, and robots that are helpful in collecting critical data about the marine environment, but which can also be used for military and intelligence purposes, for example, to monitor the activities of enemy forces

Faction Goals and Starting Influence

PanOceania are seeking to protect their wealthy tourist citizens who vacation in the city above while also protecting the Varuna funded labs below.

The Nomads are keen on courting some of these wealthy tourists themselves and have secret Praxis labs with bio modified Octopuses to guard below.

PanOceania start with the advantage in this area with Nomads 2nd and all other factions 3rd. 

Mission Overview 

The mission for this zone is Panic Room on Page 21 of the Phase 1 PDF. 

A very thematic mission for this location where perhaps an experiment has gone very wrong and the forces stationed within are trying to escape! This is a mission with a lot of moving parts so let’s break it down step by step.

This mission uses the Classified Deck but notably no HVT’s

There is No Retreat rule in this mission so expect the game to last for the full 3 Rounds. 

This mission also requires the use of the Objective Room terrain piece which is the Panic Room and is basically a 8 inch square room with 4 openings in the middle of each wall. You can use one of the many premade Objective Rooms available from different manufacturers or use your existing terrain pieces to mark it out. 

  • In game terms the Panic Room is considered to have walls of infinite height that completely block Line of Fire. 
  • It has four Gates, one in the middle of each wall that are open at the start of the game. These gates must be represented by Wide Gate Tokens or scenery pieces with the same size.

The player Deployment Zones in this mission are only 8 inches instead of the usual 12. 

Scoring for this mission is a mix of end of round and end of game as follows:

  • 1 Objective Point for Dominating the Panic Room at the end of each game round.
  • 1 Objective Point for having at least one Essential Personnel Trooper inside the Panic Room, in a non-Null State at the end of each round.
  • 3 Objective Points for having more Victory Points than your opponent at the end of the game. 
  • 1 Classified Objective worth 1 Objective Point. 

To Score maximum points in this mission you will need to:

  • Dominate the Panic Room for all three game rounds.
  • Have an Essential Personnel Trooper inside the Panic Room for all three game rounds.
  • Have more Victory Points at the end of the game.
  • Have got the Classified Objective. 

Dominating the Panic Room is crucial for getting the maximum number of Objective Points in this mission. 

  • To Dominate the Panic Room you must have more Victory Points than the opponent inside the area. 
  • Only Troopers represented by Models or Markers (Camouflaged, Shasvastii-Embryo, Seed-Embryo…) count, as well as Proxies and Peripheral Troops.
  • Troops in a Null State do not count.
  • Units with the Baggage Skill give an extra 20 points on top of their normal points cost when dominating the Panic Room.. 
  • Note that in contrast to other area scoring missions, troopers possessing the Shasvastii Special Skill that are inside the Panic Room DO NOT COUNT for their points while they are in the Shasvastii-Embryo State or any non-Null State

This mission features the Confused Deployment rule which means any unit deploying outside of their player’s Deployment Zone must make a PH Roll with a -3 Modifier.

  • This roll replaces any PH or WIP roll a unit would normally make and applies to skills like Infiltration, Forward Deployment, Combat Jump and Parachutist. 
  • This roll also stacks with any modifiers for deployment so a unit using infiltration to deploy in the opponent’s half of the table will have to pass a PH roll with a -6 MOD.
  • Failure of the roll forces that unit to deploy back in their Deployment Zone and they’ll lose any marker state they had and deployable equipment they deployed alongside.
  • Units can’t deploy inside the Panic Room at all. 

This mission uses the Essential Personnel rule where Lieutenants, and Troopers possessing the Number 2, NCO, or Chain of Command Special Skills are considered Essential Personnel. 

  • Troopers with a Trooper Classification of Headquarters Troopers or Characters also are considered Essential Personnel.
  • You’ll need to check the Army App under “Classification”  to find your Headquarters Troops as they are limited in number. 
  • Having more Essential Personnel troops in the Panic Room at the end of each round gets you an extra Objective Point so don’t overlook this. 

To complicate this mission further a deadly Biotechvore plague is creeping in from the edges of the table throughout the game.

  • The Biotechvore area spreads inward from the edges of the table starting at 4 inches for the first round, 8 inches for the second and 12 inches for the 3rd. 
  • At the end of a player’s turn any units in the Biotechvore area need to make a BTS save against a DAM14 hit or lose one point of Wounds or Structure. 
  • Any unit with Structure instead of wounds has to make two saves so watch your remotes and TAG’s 
  • At the end of the game any units still inside a Biotechvore area are killed automatically and since there are 3 Objective Points available for having more victory points at the end of the game you’ll want as many of your units out if there as possible. 

To keep your long range units alive there are 4 Biotechvore Antennas, 2 at the edge of each player’s Deployment Zone, that will keep units that are in base contact with these 40mm Structures alive. 

  • These antennas are a good way to keep your Snipers and other ranged units in their best ranges. However the antennas can be destroyed by any weapon, ranged weapons included, that have the Anti-material trait
  • What’s more these structures can’t be fixed by an Engineer at all so once they are gone that’s it.
  • Any weapon with access to Explosive, Double Action, T2 or the rare K1 ammo types will be Anti-Material as will the usual D-Charges if you plan on charging the antennas for some reason.
  • The antennas only have 2 Structure and ARM 3 so they are vulnerable to a single well placed Missile Launcher hit.
  • The saving grace here is that the Antennas have to be targeted directly and any Attack that also hits another unit will be canceled. So any unit in base contact has a chance to get away and out of the plague if it is destroyed.

There is one additional standard mission rule to consider.

  • Units with EVO Hacking devices not only have the Baggage rule for an extra 20 points of scoring but also provide the player with an extra Regular Order
  • There’s a maximum of one extra order per list but it’s still worth bringing an EVO Hacker unit.
This EVO Probot just looks so goddamn happy it’s adorable.

General Mission Tips

So yeah this mission has a lot of moving parts you’ll need to be aware of. What should be your priorities when playing the mission?

Getting as many units as possible out of the initial deployment zones in Round 1 should be a priority as this is when you will have the most orders available in your order pool. 

  • Make use of Impetuous Troops and their Impetuous Orders, its free movement and unless they’re going to get shot right away you should make the most of it.
  • Coordinated orders are very useful to move up to four individual units that are not in any form of Fireteam. It’s worth spending at least one Command Token to do this and for the same reason; 
    • If going second consider using the Strategic Use of Command Tokens option to prevent your opponent from spending more than one Command Token on their first turn. This has the potential to both slow down the advance of their units and will force them to spend more orders moving units than taking shots at yours. 
  • Having as many of your units in Fireteams as possible is an efficient way to maximize order usage so keep this in mind when list building for this mission.
    • Some armies such as Steel Phalanx and Tohaa excel at this but most of the sectorial armies can take at least a Core, Harris and unlimited Duo’s.
    • Even the base Faction army lists can take two Duo Fireteams so look up who is available in your faction. 

Going first of second in this mission will greatly impact the tactics used to score the maximum number of Objective Points and win.

  • Going second seems like the obvious choice since this is an area scoring mission and having the last turn is usually a way to ensure your can units and enter and control the Panic Room at the end of each round.
    • The goal when going second should be to slow down and eliminate as many of the opponents units as possible before they reach the Panic Room. So deploy with as many of your units as possible able to declare ARO’s on the opponents advancing units.    
  • However the first turn advantage of an initially empty Objective Room and access to the majority of your Order Pool can’t be understated. 
    • Getting units into the Panic Room and making it difficult for the opponent to dislodge them will eat up their order pool and means less orders to move units away from the ever expanding Biotechvore area.

Units that have Peripherals can be particularly useful in this mission both for order efficiency and dominating the Panic Room. 

  • Units with Peripheral (Synchronized) who have above average points costs and area clearing template weapons are ideal for taking control of the Panic Room and holding it against counter attacks. 
    • Examples include Rasail Boarding Teams, Arjuna Troops, Raptor Boarding Squads and the character Fiddler. 
  • Units with Peripheral (Control) in contrast provide cheap disposable units to clear out the Panic Room ahead of your more expensive units moving in to occupy it.
    • Examples include Antipode Assault Packs and the Puppetactica Company.
  • Finally units with Peripheral (Servent) make great disposable minesweepers for a well fortified Panic Room. 
    • It’s a harsh end for the little bots but occasionally you find that “Blinky the Magic Palbot” beats the odds and somehow survives all the template hits to fight another day.   

Infiltrating units, units with any form of Airborne Deployment or other units which usually start outside the deployment zones are less useful in this mission due to the risk of failing a roll because of the Confused Deployment rule. 

  • If you don’t mind the units losing any deployable equipment like mines or peripherals then it can be worth the risk of losing them to have units start close to the Panic Room.
  • Managing to get units deployed close to the Panic Room is highly advantageous since the first player to get units into the room gets to dictate the flow of the rest of the game.    

Placing a difficult to hit long range sniping piece next to either of the Biotechvore Antennas is a good tactic since they can cover a table flank and the side entrance of the Panic Rooms.   

  • Since the antennas can’t be the target of an attack that affects a trooper in contact with it, a little extra protection is afforded by proximity to the antenna. 
  • Units like Atlanta, Swiss Guard’s with Missile Launchers, Noctifiers with Missile Launchers or Tankhunters are ideal for this role as they can rely on their camouflage skills to make them difficult to hit and any unit that chooses to target the antenna will probably be taken out by a normal roll ARO.
  • The impact can be more psychological as an opponent may feel they have to eliminate the antennas in order to safely move up other units which strips down their all important order pool. 

Keeping your Essential Personnel units safe until you can use them to score Objective Points is ugh…essential. 

  • Essential Personnel units should ideally be the last units moved into the Panic Room by a player on their turn and only after any surprise threats to them have been flushed out with other more disposable units.  

Not all of your units have to get into the Panic Room at the end of the game to survive the Biotechvore plague and count as Victory Points towards the 3 Point Objective. 

  • If the Panic Room is too well fortified or just becomes a meat grinder then don’t bother trying to take it and just ensure you have more total victory points left alive at the end of the game than your opponent. 

Reinforcements can be hit or miss in this mission as by the time they arrive the advancing Biotechvore Plague area may constrain where they can effectively deploy and they can’t deploy inside the Panic Room. 

  • However, deploying up to 100 points of units, some of which can be Essential Personnel, right next to the Panic Room can potentially allow you to Dominate the Panic Room with just their order pool. 
  • Don’t forget the point above about not needing to be inside the room to score on surviving Victory Points at the end of the game either.    
A round of headshots for everyone!

Special Campaign Rules

The two Campaign Special Rules for this location are HAZMAT GEAR and FLOOD.

HAZMAT GEAR gives all units a +1 BTS which should provide a bit of extra protection against the Biotechvore Plague.

  • More importantly it will give units some additional protection against Hacking attacks, E/M Ammo and Viral Weapons.
  • Some units can get up to BTS 10 with this skill and if they can be targeted with the applicable Fairy Dust program can be BTS 13 which can make them nearly impervious to some hacking programs. 
  • Will also be a benefit to any units with the Bioimmunity special skill where the +1 BTS can be used as +1 ARM where applicable. 

FLOOD is the same rule as in Location 4, all Troopers possessing Terrain (Aquatic) or Terrain (Total) get a +1 inch Bonus to their first MOV value when using the Move Common Skill.

  • Slightly more impactful in this mission as getting units into the Panic Room early and holding it will go a long way towards scoring maximum Objective Points.
  •  It’s time for PanOceania  players to break out those Varuna troops again!
  • The bonus applies to ALL troops with those two terrain skills but only for regular moment skills and not for things like climbing plus or superjump which use the Movement skill.
  • Terrain (Total) shows up at least once in most factions however Terrain (Aquatic) is less common outside of a few Sectorials.
  • Most factions will get access to Beasthunters and the Triphammer TAG’s who are ideal for this mission.

Faction Focus

We’ll take a look at the PanOceania and Nomad Units who can be most effective in this mission.


For PanOceania any of the Varuna units with Terrain (Aquatic) will be useful, players will rightly be tempted to take the Cutter for this mission but don’t discount units like the Kamau and Helots who can make use of the extra inch of movement to get to the Panic Room faster.

Since this mission uses the same Flood Special Rule as in Location 4 see the previous article for PanOceania units who can benefit from this rule.  

The only Headquarters troops PanOceania have access to are Aquila Guard, Swiss Guard, Hexas and Knight Commanders if you’re playing Military Orders.

  • All are useful units with the Hexas in particular being a cheap Essential Personnel option with Mimetism -6 and who can start in Hidden Deployment and sneak into the Panic Room at the last minute to dominate it in your favor.
    • The Neoterra Sectorial can take 3 Hexas, 2 Swiss Guard’s and 3 Aquila Guard’s, that’s more than enough tough Headquarters troops to ensure at least one of them can get into the Panic Room each round.  

Squalos both Mk1 & 2 have pricey NCO options as does the Sepulture Knight but the latter does have the advantage of Holoechos which can be used to clear the panic room of any deployable weapons before rushing in 

  • Teutonic Knights can also bring a cheap NCO profile with a Spitfire who can be the head of an effective Haris team in Military Orders.

Chain Of Command options are limited to a Neoterra Bolts Option, another Holy Sepulchre Knight, and Kirpal Singh. 

  • The latter of which is a pricey Combat Jump unit who can get you out of nasty Loss Of Lieutenant situations but is less useful in this mission due to Confused Deployment.

Bagh-Mari and Stephen Rao are excellent units who all have the Number 2 skill and have Mimetism -3 and MSV 1, most of the Bagh-Mari units will bring shotguns to help hold a room as well. 

  • A Fireteam of these guys if playing the Acontecimento Sectorial is a must for this mission.

Even better are Karhu units who tick all the boxes for this mission, they all have NCO, Terrain (Total), 6-2 MOV getting boosted to 7-2  and most profiles have AP mines to help hold the Panic Room. 

  • A Haris of these guys could rush and hold the Panic room on Turn 1 and be a headache for your opponent for the rest of the game.
Karhu are Snow Joke…I’ll let myself out.


Nomads have few if any units with Terrain (Aquatic), they live on Spaceships after all…but they do have a lot of powerful units with Terrain (Total)

  • Bandits, Zeros, Spektrs, Prowlers & Moran Massi are all variations of the infiltrating camouflaged specialist who will unfortunately suffer from Confused Deployment making their infiltrations more risky. Still the extra MOV generally to 5-4 is worth considering especially since nothing is stopping them from getting into a marker state when they’re in the Panic Room…. 
  • Intruders, and Kriza Boracs are two hard hitting units that can make a push for the Panic Room and eliminate threats. The Kriza is also a Headquarters Troop so will count as Essential Personal. 

Consider using cheap warband units like Puppetactica Company, Uberfallkommando and Morlock Groups to rush the Panic Room and clear it for more expensive scoring units. 

  • They can also use their Impetuous orders to move out of the Panic Room and form a barrier against opponents units who will want to move up the table into it. 

Tunguska Inventors are absolute weapons in this mission with BTS 12 to start with and potentially BTS15 if any Firewalls are involved. 

  • They’ll dominate the hacking game in this mission as they can pretty much hack with impunity given that their biggest threat Trinity is only DAM 14.  

Wildcats are a power unit for this scenario as they have Terrain (Total), Number 2 and almost all their profiles have light flamethrowers. One or two can easily hold the Panic Room against all comers.

If playing Bakunin consider taking a Moiras Fireteam as they all have NCO & Number 2 and if you get them all into the Panic Room at the same time it’s a lot of Victory Points and Essential Personal.  

A Gator (NCO) is a tough nut to crack in this mission as its formidable defenses of Natural Born Warrior and ECM Hacker only get boosted by a bump from BTS 6 to BTS 7. That Chain Rifle +1 B will also clean out an occupied Panic Room very quickly only for the Gator to fill it with mines from its Mine Dispenser. The ideal TAG for this mission.

There’s very little the Gator can’t do.

That’s 5 mission briefings down and one to go for Phase 1, have these articles been useful to you in your Shattergrounds Campaign games and can you think of any tactics for this mission that I’ve not considered? If so feel free to share them in the comments below,. 

Check in soon for our last Shattergrounds Mission Briefing for Phase 1.