Well, we Nomads gotta go get our pilots from the labs at Montalban. My usual weekday opponent is slammed by work, so I asked Frank (fwashburn) if he was up for a game. He's prepping for Beantown Brawl and asked if we could try Last Launch. He lives across the country from me, so that meant TTS:
Cassandra Kusanagi got to her feet, brushing the sand off her knees as she stared down at the shattered ALEPH DevaBot at her feet. The gentle chorus of "Sad Castles in the Sand" was barely audible from the one of the Montalban resorts over the nearest sand dune. She shook her head. PanOceanians continued to insist on taking their vacations in the middle of an active warzone. At least Kusanagi wasn't responsible for their safety.
The rest of her cobbled together NMF assault team kept a watchful eye on the waves, fully expecting the emergence of Kamau at any moment. The Gator's MULTI HMG whirred as Death Roll panned his optics across the horizon, looking for heat signatures.
Cassandra's geist spooled up a chat window with a highly secured channel to the Crypto Winter high in orbit above.
Rogue Interventor WiseKensai
Reverend Superior. We have another emergency tasking, and yours is the nearest unengaged unit.
We've managed to get a solid lead on the location of one of our pilots, thanks to some key intelligence extracted from CSU Larry and the rest of the team from the Hasslehoff:
Pilot First Class Bubbles is being held deep in a subterranean PanO facility near your location. You'll need to secure the elevator down to the labs in order to extract Bubbles. Word is that PanOceania is just throwing money at the problem and has hired one of the mercenary companies to do their dirty work, so watch out for hostiles. We don't have much more intel on who's there, but time is of the essence.
I got all of that, Rev. Jazz did too. We're with you.
I assume you copied Mary's message, Kensai. We'll go get Bubbles.
Rogue Interventor WiseKensai
I did. We've got incoming up here, gotta go! Good Hunting, ladies!
I'm playing the same list that I played last game, mostly because I was too tired/lazy to come up with another one.
KUSANAGI (Lieutenant) MULTI Rifle, E/M Grenade Launcher, Zapper / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (+1 | 39)
ARMAND (Multispectral Visor L1) MULTI Sniper Rifle, Nanopulser ( ) / Breaker Pistol(+1B), Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 39)
EVADER (Engineer) AP Spitfire, D-Charges ( | GizmoKit, TinBot: Firewall [-3]) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 34)
ZONDNAUT (Hacker, Hacking Device) Combi Rifle ( ) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 23)
ZONDMATE Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenade Launcher / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 5)
JAZZ Hacker & BILLIE undefined / undefined. (0.5 | 25)
JAZZ (Hacker) Submachine Gun, Pitcher, Cybermines / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 18)
BILLIE Flash Pulse, E/M Mines / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 7)
MARY PROBLEMS (Hacker) Submachine Gun, Zapper, Pitcher / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 28)
SAMSA Plasma Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 30)
GATOR MULTI Heavy Machine Gun, Chain Rifle(+1B), Mine Dispenser / E/M CC Weapon. (1.5 | 74)
GATOR PILOT Boarding Shotgun / Heavy Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 0)
LIBERTO (Minelayer) Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 8)
9 2 1 | 7 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Army
GROUP 1 6 3 2
ZÚYǑNG (Lieutenant, Regeneration) Heavy Machine Gun / CC Weapon, Breaker Pistol(+1B). (1 | 36)
DIGGER Chain Rifle(+1B), Grenades / Pistol, AP CC Weapon(+1B). (0 | 14)
VALERYA GROMOZ (Hacker) Combi Rifle, Zapper, Pitcher / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 21)
MAGHARIBA MULTI Heavy Machine Gun, Heavy Rocket Launcher, Grenade Launcher / Heavy Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (1.5 | 88)
MAGHARIBA PILOT (Paramedic) Light Shotgun, D-Charges / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 0)
RAFIQ REMOTE FTO Red Fury, Flash Pulse / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 20)
FIDDLER (Climbing Plus) Contender(+1B), Drop Bears, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 42)
2X JACKBOT Vulkan Shotgun / . (0 | 14)
NASMAT PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 3)
KUM Light Shotgun, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 7)
LIBERTO (Mimetism [-3], Minelayer]) Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 9)
GROUP 2 4 1 1
FANOUS REMOTE Flash Pulse / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 7)
FANOUS REMOTE Flash Pulse / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 7)
KAMEEL (Hacker, EVO Hacking Device) ( ) / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 15)
SHIHAB REMOTE Heavy Machine Gun / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (1 | 24)
KUM Light Shotgun, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 7)
6 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Army
As a result, I have a pretty good idea of how to deal with it. Essentially I need to do what I can to limit the movement of the Kum bikers and Libertos. A big priority target is the Zuyong HMG, and then after that it's just killing orders. The list has a lot of irregular orders and with the Tachimoto buff gone, not that many Tac Aware anymore. Maggie's scary but if the Zuyong is gone she's the primary killing tool and will probably get overextended.
Frank won the rolloff and decided to go first. I thought the "red" side of the map had slightly better places for the Gator to go, so I chose that one and made Frank deploy first. He decided he wanted to get Fiddler into the objective room immediately, so she was bunched up in the shadow of the room at the edge of his deployment zone, next to his Kameel (for similar reasons).
The Shihab went on the left to climb the building and plunge fire into the dead zone outside of his deployment zone, and then the two Fanous were left out and in elevated positions to ARO.
The Zuyong fireteam went on the right, and the Rafiq in the middle... right next to a conspicious, Maggie-sized hole in Frank's point total and deployment zone.
Armand Le Muet
All stations, hold position. I have eyes on... Dahshat company. They look a little light on firepower, I'm not seeing much in the way of heavy weapons between us and the elevator. I see some Kum Bikers, a Zuyong fireteam, and some remotes.
I'm into the facility's security system. There's a Maghariba Guard moving into position too.
I wanted to have a decent bit of hacking coverage, so I put Billie on the left, Mary in the middle on a roof, and Jazz on the right, also on a roof. Kusanagi was a likely candidate to go into the objective room, so she went in the middle, and I put the Zondnautica on the left mostly because it was a reasonable spot and I felt that I could use it to pressure Valerya's team. Ditto for the Evader, the right side felt a little open to me.
I put the Libertos and its mine in the middle to help protect my hackers and Kusanagi, as well as be able to advance into the objective room. The Gator watched a diagonal firelane to near the Libertos in case Maggie got that far, and then I decided to over-infiltrate the Samsa watching Fiddler and one of the Kum. Depending on where Maggie went, I was prepared to put the Samsa into suppression.
Frank put Maggie on the opposite side of where I expected, on his right, really putting a lot of firepower on that flank. I responded by covering the right side of the table with Le Muet. I could see Fiddler's approach, one of the Kum's approaches, and might get a shot on a Libertos too if it moved. I could also engage Maggie if I had to, but I wanted to make sure it would cost Frank a few orders to get there.
I have many targets in the open. Requesting permission to engage.
All stations. Weapons free.
I took two orders from Frank's first group to limit his options for the Zuyong and Maggie. If he activated them both, he'd be bleeding orders fast. This did open me to a Kum attack though from the second pool. We'll see how I do.
I knew I was going to straight up just lose the Samsa. It's a big chunk of points to throw away, but I figured with Fiddler and the Zuyong Haris all bunched up it was worth the risk. As it stood, the Samsa could see a Kum Biker (and the template would splash the Zuyong HMG), Fiddler (and the template would splash her bots), and Maggie (and the template would splash the Digger).
Frank's best option for dealing with the Samsa is probably the Rafiq as I'm not going to catch anything with a template if he engages with it. However, I can see Maggie and I might just splash a template onto her and the Digger for free, which he doesn't want to allow. He takes a big risk and moves the Kum next to the Zuyong with its impetuous order and throws smoke onto Maggie and the Digger. I have a free shot, but roll high and whiff entirely. Kusanagi is not pleased.
Frank then buffs the Rafiq with the Kameel and engages, with Maggie keeping one mechanized toe in the smoke. I crit and do three wounds, taking the Rafiq off the table. Frank makes a lot of disgruntled and unhappy Frank noises on Discord.
He's got a few options to remove the Samsa, either the Zuyong or Maggie. He chooses the Zuyong for the higher burst and because Maggie would be out of cover if she engages, and finally drops the Samsa.
This frees Maggie to move, so she engages Le Muet. I roll just above her and sneak an AP round through, doing a wound. Maggie's ARM 8, which is the crossover point for odds of doing a wound between DA and AP ammo from a MULTI sniper.
Now comes the Kum attack I was afraid of. Frank wisely sets up smoke on the corner of a building to lower Le Muet's target number to 10 from 16.
The Kum then manages to slug mode shotgun both Billie and the Zondnautica unconscious as the other two hackers Spotlight the Kum through Billie's repeater before she drops.
Frank advances the Zuyong team into loose cover on my left and passes turn. Not a great turn for me, but not a great turn for Frank either.
Make me a hole on our left flank!
You got it, Reverend Superior.
My objective for this turn is to take down Valerya and the Zuyong HMG, both of whom are vulnerable to an attack on the left. I'm going to be over-extending the TAG a bit, but I decide it's worth it with the Evader on that side. I take a "free" shot on the Libertos with Kusanagi's Lieutenant order but only end up granting a dodge.
I have to cross Maggie's line of fire on the way in and land a few shots but they plink off her armor.
I vault on top of the box to see the Zuyong out of cover and one of the Fanous and split burst between them, missing the Zuyong and the Fanous but tanking both the HMG hit and the Fanous's flash pulse. Lucky!
The next order has me delete the Zuyong, but the Fanous does flash pulse the Gator successfully. I use guts to get free movement and break contact.
I move my Libertos forward to cover the right side of the armory, and then spend a coordinated on Mary, the Gator, and Kusanagi to fix their positions and fire a pitcher just outside the armory.
Thankfully, Frank is in loss of lieutenant now, which is great for me. He spends his turn stabilizing, starting by wounding Le Muet with Maggie and forcing him prone.
I didn't have a great spot for the Gator, but in retrospect I probably should've kept it out of cover versus the Digger and not out of cover versus Maggie. In any case, Frank gets an angle on the Gator with both of us out of cover. This lets me dodge the Libertos closer, fire an explosive round at Maggie with the Gator, and Maggie's new position lets Mary get a Total Control hack off.
The Gator takes two wounds. I can't get the Libertos into base contact with Maggie, but it's closer, and Mary whiffs her hack thanks to Maggie's ECM Hacker -3. Frank then very cleverly uses the Kameel to stack up 35 extracted points by running it into the objective room and hitting the console. What clever list construction--that's a great thing to do with that pool once the Kum is gone, especially because EVOs don't need to grab an ID card or whatever.
Frank's Libertos tries to take mine out, but I spotlight it and dodge my Libaertos into base with Maggie.
Fortunately for Frank, the Kum passes ARM. After moving the Shihab into a position to prevent my Gator from pushing into his DZ, Frank passes turn.
I need to start making plays on objectives this turn, but Frank has done a good job of making that difficult for me. I start by taking out his Libertos with Kusanagi's lieutenant order. Frank reads the situation and just lays a mine.
I get the Evader onto the roof on the left where the console is and after a failed WIP roll manage to snag an ID while prone crawling to the console to avoid getting flash pulsed by the two Fanous.
I'm still worried about the Digger, especially with the Gator on one structure now, so I try to take it out, getting flash pulsed for my trouble. This is quite dangerous because the Digger rolled ADHL on Booty, but I do a wound and retreat thanks to the flash pulse. This time I stay hidden behind the building.
I spend my last two orders trying to stop on the Kum but Maggie fails to get it done--we actually roll the exact same number twice. Very irritating. Frank is pleased.
Maggie is Frank's new lieutenant, so we quickly check that he can use his last command token to get her back before checking for loss of lieuteant. He can, so he does that. The Kum then spends two orders to take out the Libertos. Fantastic!
Frank then detonates the Libertos's mine from deployment with Maggie while resetting against both Jazz and Mary's Total Control, tanking the mine in the process to clear the way for the Kum. This also lets him get the Shihab into a position to secure the right table side.
Thankfully, I see this coming and dodge Kusanagi away on the approach just far enough to prevent the Kum from getting a CC attack off. Her ODD is enough to keep her safe with a dodge against his slug mode shotgun.
All Frank has left is Maggie's tac aware order, so he tries to get her out of hacking range, resetting on the way. This time, Jazz lands the Total Control and I go into bottom of 3 with Maggie under my control.
My plan is to just hand off the ID card to the Gator and extract it, giving me the win. The Evader gets into position and hands it off.
I throw Le Muet under the bus to take out the Fanous, splitting burst. One of the Fanous goes down to Le Muet's shot but I whiff on the other. Le Muet gets taken out by the TR bot through. No matter.
Maggie drops both the TR bot and the Fanous in one order, which is amazing--Frank thought I was going to flamethrower, he really should've just shot with the TR bot.
I've got more points extracted, more specialists killed, and my Evader is securing Frank's HVT. Frank did extract his EVO though, making it a
7-2, 193-74 Nomads Victory!
I've secured the elevator. Let's go get Bubbles!
You heard him! Everyone to the elevator!
This was a really fun game. I think I need some more ARO options or mines--I had a lot of trouble dealing with the Kum. They almost cost me the game! Frank was saying that he could perhaps have held Fiddler in reserve so as to better deal with the Samsa instead of Maggie. Had he done that, I probably wouldn't have attempted the over-infiltration. I know how dangerous Fiddler is, and her being bunched up like that was way too of an opportunity for me to ignore, especially with the other template options.
I'm quite pleased with the performance of the Gator thus far--it's really getting me a lot of mileage. Also, Kusanagi is a pretty fun lieutenant option. +1 SWC is pretty helpful, and I feel comfortable using her order to attack various targets of opportunity because of Mimetism and two effective wounds. I'm still trying to figure out my approach with three hackers. I should probably swap Mary out for a Zero or Spektr, but I really want to explore her toolkit some more before i switch off of her to something more familiar.
Frank was also a little upset with himself for over-extending Maggie, but as I said in my list analysis, I don't think he had a choice, especially after I took out the Zuyong. I think the Zuyong Lt is too big of a risk, especially if it's one of your 2.5 (the Rafiq sort of counts) guns. He was also not happy with his choice of Maggie profile, but that wasn't really the issue in this game. Honestly I think I called it right by taking orders from his first group--he moved both Maggie and the Zuyong link, which let me exploit bad positioning for both of them on my first turn.
I'm really happy to be back playing vanilla Nomads. It's nice to be home.