Monday, August 18, 2014

In Her Majesty's Name: Scramble for a Wreck

As a refresher before Guns of August, I put another solo scenario on the table. A Martian sky sailer has crashed at a village in the Khingan Mountains in northern China. Who knows what secrets it might hold? Goovernment forces are on their way to secure the site--but so is a force from the Black Dragon Tong!

The map is 22 x 36 with a dozen huts scattered around a central firepit, with conifers along the southern edge. Smaller firepits trail smoke, north-to-south; firing into smoke is -1, firing through smoke is -2. The wreck of the Martian vessel is in the northeast corner. There are five markers scattered among the huts, plus two more are on the Martian vessel, each covering a d6 with a random score; carrying off that marker earns that score. In addition, each enemy Leader is worth 5 VP, as is a captured Walker; other combatants are worth 1VP each.

The Black Dragon Tong (246 points):

  • Wu Jen (Clouding Men's Minds, Levitate, Venom)
  • Tong Lieutenant
  • 2 x Dragon Warrior
  • 3 x Tong Member
  • 6 x Boxer (3 muzzle loader, 3 club)
The Chinese Army (adapted from the USMC list) (248 points):
  • Captain (Leader +2, Tough, Duellist)
  • Sergeant
  • 6 x Soldier (Bayonet Drill)
  • Scout Walker (operator one of the 6 soldiers)
The Army enters from the eastern half of the south edge, the Tong from the northern half of the west edge.

On turn 1 the Tong warriors rush in--several of them have extra speed, and most of them don't have firearms so they have no reason not to Run. The soldiers, moving more sedately, march up the east side, except for Private Shen (who rushes for the southwestern hut) and Sergeant Wang (who yells "I'll cover you!" and settles in with his rifle). The soldiers fire a few shots, and miss; their adversaries, all having moved and only a few having firearms, don't bother to reply. The Tong make contact with two markers--both 3's.

Turn 2: Private Shen steps into the southwestern hut with three Boxers hot on his heals. Privates Chu and Lu go into two eastern huts, while the Captain and the Walker stay outside to defend them; Wu Jen charges Captain Lee, and a Dragon heads for the Sergeant. Two more soldiers run to the crashed Martian vessel.
Privates Lu and Chu appear to have been issued blanks instead of live ammo, and  Wu Jen dodges the Captain's revolver bullet. The Scout Walker fires on one of the Tong warriors, but the man is devoted to the Dragon Lady and the bullet merely causes him to stumble.
Two Boxers and Private Shen trade blows, to no effect. Captain Lee slashes Wu Jen, but the Black Dragon master ignores the wound. He leaps into a Thousand Crane Strike and smashes the Captain to the mud. Things are looking grim for the Army, although they do have possession--at the moment--of four VP tokens worth 14 VP.

Turn 3: Private Shen is still stuck in a hut, facing two Boxers. The other privates grab their loot and withdraw; the Walker and the Sergeant stay in place to cover them. Wu Jen intercepts one of he Army men; the Tong Leader and two of his henchmen attack the Walker, while one of the Dragon Warriors attacks the Sergeant. Two Boxers carry their loot off the table; the score now stands at Tong 11, Army 0.
No shooting, as everyone who has Line of Fire is already in melee. The Tong in contact with the Walker could shoot, but between its high armor and their "Moved" penalty, they couldn't hit.
As the Dragon Warrior runs up to him, the grizzled Sergeant takes two quick steps and lunges with the bayonet, skewering his target--but the power of the Dragon is stong in this one, and he staggers but does not fall. His counterstroke lays the Sergeant low. Private Shen puts down one of his assailants. Wu Jen, perhaps a little overconfident after his easy triumph over Captain Lee, swings at Private Quan but misses. The Walker and three Tong members trade blows to no effect.

Turn 4: The Army wins the initiative yet again. Two soldiers race to safety, and the Walker withdraws with Tong members trailing behind. One of them catches up to the fighting machine, and narrowly dodges its Steam Fist. Private Shen disposes of his remaining foe in the southwest hut. Just south of the Martian wreck, Wu Jen smiles evilly at Private Quan, gathering his chi...and then the ghost of Captain Lee possesses the soldier, and the Black Dragon Master suddenly finds himself on his knees, run through by the bayonet! He looks down in shocked disbelief, clutches the blade, climbs heavily to his feet...and then falls dead!

Turn 5:  Private Shen grabs his Martian artifact, races out of the hut and away to safety. Private Quan runs to the Walker, which is still at bay facing two Tong fighters. And the wily Sergeant rises to his feet again!
The Sergeant's "Rifle butt to the knee, barrel to the chin" puts down the wounded Dragon; however, the second Dragon brings his halbard down hard, and this time the Sergeant won't be getting up again. A few yards east, the Walker's steam fist smashes one of the Tong.

Turn 6: Private Quan leaves the field, leaving the Walker to face two Tong members and the remaining Dragon Warrior, while the Tong Lieutenant and two Boxers mill around on the west side. The Dragon Warrior takes a might swing at the iron man, and watches his halbard head snap in two. The Steam Fist punches back, but the Warriuor is still under the effects of opium and the blow does not phase him.

At this point the Army has all five Privates off the board, with 19 points of Martian loot; Wu Jen, a Dragon Warrior, a Tong Fighter, and two Boxers have fallen, for 9, bringing the Army total to 28. The Black Dragon Tong has 6 points of loot, plus the Captain and the Sergeant for another 6, bringing the total to 12. Even if they manage to down the Walker, that will only bring them to 17. A glorious victory for the Army!

For any of the Victory Point dice, if the score showing had been a 6, I'd have rolled another die: 1-3, nothing unusual; 4-5, it's Explosive; on a 6, it's a Thark survivor of the sky sailer...armed and irritable. But they were all 5 and below.

Lessons learned:
Melee ability is important. Martial artists are fast, and even if they don't make it into contact, a -3 for Running Target and another -2 or -3 for their Speed makes it hard to hit them in the Shooting phase.

Armored Walkers are tough.

And if the dice have it in for you, there's nothing you can do. Private Quan rolled an Attack roll 10, Wu Jen got a Pluck roll of 1, and then his Fanatic's reroll was also 1 Clearly Private Quan had supernatural aid....

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