Thursday, 25 July 2013

FWC - Capture the Brain Bug

Following on from the Starship Troopers: Whiskey Outpost scenario I thought I would see how Future War Commander would play out for the Invasion of Planet P and more specifically the hunt for the Brain Bug in the tunnels beneath Planet P.

The tunnels
In several towns in the UK a wonderful non-wargaming shop can be found called Wilkinson's. It sells several useful items for gamer, one of which is stone-effect floor tiles. I used these to make several tunnels and chambers by sticking them to greyboard for extra strength and then cutting them out with a sharp knife. They look passable. Given more time I would add walls and apply an ink wash. Alternatively get Shaun at Dreamholme to cast me some up in resin

There is a central main chamber, 4 smaller chambers and the entrances are at the end of the long tunnels.

The tunnels were cut to a standard width of 60mm because .....
I can fit 2 bug stands, 2p pieces, side by side in a 60mm tunnel. 2 bug bases can assault each enemy base therefore by implication the tunnel is only wide enough for one non-bug unit regardless of the bases size.

The Bugs
My bug army comprises several hundred plastic ants based on 2p pieces - roughly a 150 bases and about 3000 points

FWC Stats are
Troops Arm Move Attacks Assault Hits Save Notes
Warriors Infantry
30 F
Must assault in initiative phase
2 bases can assault each enemy base

The Brain Bug, as per the film, is total useless and unable to defend itself so it has no stats

For this scenario the Bugs did not have a commander which meant that they could only use initiative. This made the game quicker.

Bugs were randomly generated when new sections or chambers were revealed - 1D6 per tunnel section, 3D6 per small chamber and 5D6 for the main chamber. New sections etc are revealed when the current section has been declared bug-free

The Attackers
There are 4 tunnel entrances so this allows for 4 attackers but for this game we only had 3

They were told that they were on a Bug hunt and to bring 1250 point armies and that massive units, aircraft and off-board artillery were useless. They weren't told that they were going undergound.

Shaun brought the Khazari clan - biker and buggy types, Graham had French Euro-Feds and Alan P borrowed my Nartzi Hunter-Scavengers - a cross between Space Orks and Mad Max.

The Game
As this was the first try-out there was no turn limit on the game. Some common tactics soon developed

All 3 players used Recce units to scout ahead
The Nartzi found several bugs and brought up their heavy tank - good at shooting but bad at close assault
The Khazari plasma blasted any they found - the rule about plasma splash being very useful
The French took up defensive positions at every junction

The players were limited to 1 unit wide columns in tunnels but not in chambers. Therefore in order to bring as much fire power to bear each column was led by a low-profile unit ie infantry or bikes and followed by an average profile ie IFV or Tanks. In FWC this enables both units to fire.
The French column about to enter a chamber - infantry backed up by a hover IFV
Nartzi infantry hold off 4 bugs supported by a Death truck
Due to poor operational intelligence the Khazari did not use this tactic and suffered - 2 bike units, both low profile so only one can shoot, about to get swept away by a cave full of bugs.

Slowly the columns made headway through the maze of twisting and turning tunnels and chambers
Slowly but surely the location of the Brain Bug was becoming apparent
The Nartzi turn a chamber into a fortress in case the bugs decide to bug out
The Khazari column trundles down the tunnels towards the main chamber
But it's the French using their IFVs correctly, according to FWC anyway, that find what they are came for...
..The Brain Bug and it's horde of defenders
The French make short work of the bugs leaving the Brain Bug defenseless
And ready to be towed to the surface

Not bad as an initial try-out. Tunnel fighting, especially in one unit wide column, is always going to be a bit of a grind and I wouldn't play it every week. However I was pleased with  the way it went. Allowing the bugs to only use initiative worked well

At game end the players had developed successful tactics and were thinking of what other units and tactics could be employed.

For the next game I will halve the length of the long (30cm) tunnels, add more caves and dead-ends and possibly allow bugs to ambush

It might be worth trying it as a solo game

More photographs can be found here

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