Greetings everyone! This past Sunday (Ambush Sunday at Unique Games and Gifts in Grayslake, Illinois) Jim Roots (Beast’s Wargaming Blog) ran a game of Ambush Alley Games “Tomorrow’s War” for us. He was itching to try out his new force of “Crusties” that he got on Ebay. Ground Zero Games “Crusties” bear a strange resemblance to the “Prawns” in the movie “District 9” without actually being copies of them. Of course, the way I paint at 15mm scale some of my Modern Policemen from Rebel Minis end up strangely resembling them too…
Anyway, the Crusties were staging an attack on a human settlement on this colony planet. If they were to be victorious they would end up turning the settlement into a cat-food riddled shantytown. Thus, the human forces had an incentive to drive them away.
The human settlement, the river and the forest
So in “Tomorrow’s War” terms, the Crusties are aliens and have some alien abilities. Also, they had a Tech Level advantage – they were Tech Level 2 compared to the Humans Tech Level 1. This gives them an extra die added to certain die rolls, usually when attacking or rolling for initiative.
The Crusties – TQ (Troop Quality): D8, Morale: D10 – They have natural armor equivalent to Heavy Body Armor, giving them an additional 2D8 to their defense rolls. Finally, the Crusties are tough; they shrug off wounds that would incapacitate a human. So they have the “Hard to Kill” rule applied to them. When one of them takes a hit they are laid down, but after the activity phase for the action that wounded them the Crustie player rolls a D6. On a 1-3 the Crustie hops back up, ready to fight. On a 4-6 the Crustie stays down until the normal casualty assessment phase, when they are assessed normally. The Crusties also included some heavy weapon squads, armed with (I think) 5D8 strength plasma guns. The heavy weapon squads could put out 8D8 of anti personal fire and 6D8 of Anti-tank fire (counting the Tech Level bonus).
The Crustie vehicles were walking APCs armed with a Plasma Gun turret. The gun had a 6D8 strength, plus a 1D8 for the Tech Level difference. Being an energy weapon it ignored 1D of the opponent’s armor. Very nasty indeed! Jim also gave them the ability to move through the forest like it was open terrain.
Some of the Crustie forces before being placed into combat
The humans were not just casual victims in this game. The Human forces were TQ D8, Morale D8. A little less motivated than the Crusties. They had standard body armor, giving them an additional 1D8 on defense rolls. They had upgunned APCs (Space Bradleys) with High Velocity autocannons good for 5D8. They also had a couple of lightly armed Scout Cars, 2D8, an unarmed cargo flatbed car and a “Care Bear”, a high tech first aid car that extended a first aid bonus 6 inches around it (12 inch circle). Also, the humans had several heavy weapons teams, I think 4D8 or 5D8. When dug into the city buildings the human forces got a 2D8 additional defense for being in hard cover. The Crusties were gonna have a hard time getting *that* “cat food” out of *those* cans.
The Human forces prior to being deployed.
The Human Forces dug in to defend the town.
The Crustie APCs approached through the heavy forests on the south side of the map. The general plan was to try to create an opportunity to quickly cross the open space between the forests and the buildings. However, to put it bluntly, the Crusties players (me included) sucked at executing that plan. We ended up spending some game turns hunkered down, waiting for a chance for us to get initiative and overwatch.
The Crustie's APCs enter the heavy woods on the south side of the map
The Crustie APCs move to just outside visual range in the heavy woods
The Crustie APCs cross the river
The Human forces did some shifting around but mainly waited in cover, hoping the Crusties would get off their exoskeletal duffs and *do* something. Crossing the river exposed the Crustie vehicles to some fire. The Crustie APC to the far left took the first hits from the heavy weapons team in the building on the far left.
- The Crustie APC to the far right brews up one of the Human APCs
The first blood went to the Crusties as the Crustie APC on the far right (far east) shot and brewed up the Human APC (smoking in picture).
The Crusties here dismount from their damaged APC
The Crustie APC on the far left took a mobility hit and deployed its troops in the cover of the power plant.
- The Crusties brew up another Human APC
After some exchanges of fire between Human troops and Crustie troops caused a couple of human casualties the middle Crustie APC got a shot at another Human APC and brewed it up. Things may seem a little lopsided against the humans but the Crusties were having a hard time advancing across the open area.
The Crustie forces try to stage a breakout from the woods
The Humans had a very commanding position in the buildings on the edge of the settlement. The Crustie forces were very leery of braving the firestorm that would come their way once exposed.
A CRAZY Human Scout Car loops in from the south and RAMS a Crustie heavy weapons squad!
The Human player had the idea of ramming, running over, whatever a squad of Crusties. Jim decided that sounded funny enough to allow, even though it was stretching the rules a little for the car to close assault the infantry. We played it through, giggling the whole time.
One Crustie soldier dies under the wheels of the Scout Car.
Return fire is a bit...well, you know what! The Scout Car gets catastrophically destroyed.
The Scout Car died gloriously for the Human cause during the Crusties next fire turn. Lightly armored vehicles fare poorly when shot by heavy plasma guns.
The remaining Human APC brews up one of the Crustie APCs
It is looking like the Humans have stalled the Crustie advance, or have they?
The Human forces repositioned their remaining APC and got a beautiful shot off that brewed up one of the Crustie APCs. With two of their big guns down it was looking grim for the Crusties. The Human commander, smelling blood (or should I say shrimp?) decided to charge the Crusties with his APC, hoping to get some good optimum-range shots (adding 1D8) off at the Crusties.
The remaining Crustie APC shoots and immobilizes the Human APC
The remaining Crustie APC shot and immobilized the Human APC. A shot from a Crusty Heavy Weapons Squad effectively stunned the crew, preventing them from firing for the rest of the turn. Sensing an opportunity, or maybe just smelling cat food, a Crustie fireteam charged the APC and performed a close-combat assault on the vehicle.
The Crustie fire team close assaults the Human APC - "CATTTT FOOOODDD!!!"
- The Crusties get the “cat food” out of the can…
The Crustie close assault having been successful, on their next turn the fireteam used the APC as cover while they shot at other exposed Human forces. Other human forces had experienced some success against an advancing Crustie squad, but at a cost. Now the Crusties were able to pour on enough fire to make a difference. Also, the Crusties were getting more confident in their “hard-to-kill” status. More than 50% of their casualties were getting right back up.
Using the APC as cover, the Crusties attack Human troops in buildings to the north
- The Human commander decided to call it here as the battle and the dice turned against him
The setbacks the Human forces recieved were both sudden and stunning. A “Fog-of-War” card was pulled after the Human commander rolled a “1” on initiative. This was one of about 10 that were pulled in this game – a new record for us. This one caused a complete mechanical breakdown of the human’s First-aid car, dropping the human’s survivability upon injury. Then the Crustie APC and troops had some good dice rolls and caused several casualties. Overall we all judged it was fairly certain that the Crusties would take the day, though not without cost. Marginal victory to the Crustie forces. We considered later that the Human forces could have used a devastating psychological weapon on the Crusties if they had only used mortars to bombard the Crusties with cans of cat food…:)
It was a fun game and pretty well balanced for the scenario having been created on the fly. I have a better feel now for both the “hard-to-kill” and the “infantry-close-assault-on-vehicle” rules. I am gonna have fun with those in a later game I am going to run! 😉
Thanks for reading, folks!