Queen of Battle

So tonight was the night.  What night?  The night Eli and my new 5150: Star Army campaigns started… and sorta got killed, like in dead dead.  Ah, it’s a good thing we can fudge, but I digress…

Earlier this week, starting last weekend, Evil Eli and I started brewing up a campaign scenario to play over the next few months.  Eli is playing the planetary defenses of humanity saving the world from the evil advances of the Hishen Empire (that would be me).  The first missions for each of us was a simple one squad patrol.  Yeah, simple like a sledgehammer to the forehead…. oh, but I digress.  Here’s the battlefield to be used for each patrol scenario.The Battlefield

Some buildings, mostly standing upright (for now), some rocky outcroppings, a little marsh and mostly open, dry ground.

First up was Eli, patrolling the area in order to keep the world safe…A bad day to be a soldier

Now, what we are seeing here is that unlike our last game, this time we used Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs).  In fact, by the guidelines in the rulebook, we used three PEFs per game.  So the photo above actually shows Turn 2 of the game, when the Star Army patrol entered the area and immediately spotted the PEF in the western side of the table, which resolved to be a full squad of Hishen infantry, but I digress… back to Turn 1.

Turn 1 was sorta interesting.  We each rolled our activation die and Eli couldn’t activate.  This is a little problematic since the method by which he was to enter the battlefield was the time honored infantry tradition of walking.  Now, those 2 Martians in the bottom center of the photo?  The one on the left started in the swamp, but on turn 1 the rules said it “move 16 inches towards the nearest friendly, stopping 4 inches away”.  Fine, we’ll do that.  The other 2 PEFs were supposed to move 16 inches toward the nearest enemy, that wasn’t there.  So they just stood there, and we rolled for Turn 2.

Now, before Eli could get on the table, we rolled activation for Turn 2, and got doubles.  Doubles in 5150:SA triggers a random event.  Another roll between the two of us indicated that this event would be good for me and bad for Eli.  So, we rolled activation one more time and finally Eli’s patrol got onto the table, just in time for the random event.

Very, very unfortunately, the random event turned out to be an airstrike.  A “roll impact 4 against all figures in the target zone” airstrike.  In English, this meant that I rolled 1d6 for each one of Eli’s troops, and if I got a 4 or less, they got hurt.  If I rolled a 1, they got dead, as in dead dead.  Please see below.I rolled a lot of 1s

The result of the airstrike was 5 dead, 3 with debilitating wounds and 1 left standing.  So the next thing was to roll to see the reaction of the single survivor to having the living daylights blasted out of his unit.  He turned out to be sensible; he ran away.

We ruled that he would have been able to evacuate d6 wounded; I don’t remember how many made it back to safety.

So… now it’s my turn to try the same mission on the same battlefield, hopefully with better results.  First we rolled my insertion method, which turned out to be an armored personnel carrier.  Hmmm… things are looking up.  Then we placed the PEFs and this time, they ended up with 2 in Eli’s corner and one smack in the middle of the table.  So I loaded up in my APC and headed down the road for town.Are we there yet?

Two things.  First, we didn’t think we’d need an APC, so nobody brought one.  Second, Eli’s PEFs are hiding behind the buildings in the top right of the photo, and behind the big rock in the middle.  No problem.  Yeah, right.

Turn 1:  I activate first, and drive 24″ up the road, straight into indian country.  Before I even finish my move, Eli’s all excited because the center table PEF is in sight, and he just can’t wait to see what it turns out to be so I can die gruesomely.  Oh, he was pretty satisfied.

Eli’s PEF is revealed

So I spot the PEF and Eli rolls to see what it is, and it’s… an artillery barrage.  Ooh! goodie!I wish the barrage were that small

Yep, the barrage will hit the vehicle.  Eli started rolling dice and laughing maniacally.  The result?  “Vehicle destroyed, all crew killed”.  Immediately, I switched to “rules lawyer” mode.  “Is that the driver and gunner, or the squad also?”, I asked.  Eli replied that he didn’t know, so we rolled for the survival of the squad.Martians with a side of cheese

We somehow determined that four of the squad, including the squad leader, were wounded and out of the fight, the other four stunned and unable to act.  Eli, like a shark smelling blood immediately rolled for the next turn’s activation and moved the two remaining PEFs out from behind a building and into my line of sight.That’s a lot of guns, son

The first PEF resolved to be a building.  Yep, a building.  In 5150, to the best of our knowledge, buildings can be armed and armored assets to a force.  I dunno, it’s something we read on the discussion group.  The second PEF resolved to be a full Star Army squad setting up like a firing line.

The next roll for activation was either doubles or a 7 total, I don’t remember, but it brought me up an artillery strike of my own, so I called it on the armed building.  Boom, building destroyed.Welcome to Guatemala

At last, this was the end.  My remaining squad members were stunned into inaction, and Eli brought his squad in for the kill.  First he opened up with all his assault rifles… no effect.  Then he opened up with his automatic weapons… no effect.  Finally, he triumphantly announced he was activating his grenade launcher.Grenade go boom

The grenade turned out to be a direct hit, one of my stunned troopers switched to Obviously Dead, two more were Out of the Fight.  Like Eli’s survivor, mine somehow crawled away.

 

Total playing time for TWO games from Two Hour Wargames, 90 minutes.

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4 thoughts on “Queen of Battle

  1. On the first mission we rolled a 7 and it was in your favor and you got the Bombing Run.

    On the second mission we got a double in your favor and you got the Arty strike.

    I think we might want to re-think how we use PEF. Having a PEF be a building is just weird.

    Also I am starting to wonder if I am doing the Walk In thing wrong. Time to ask ED.

  2. It’s not that odd to have a building as a PEF.

    Think about it this way: your troops don’t have a perfect knowledge of the battlefield. They have some recon info, but it’s rarely 100% accurate and the building could have been camouflaged.

    The PEF was moving? Sure, the PEF doesn’t have to be actual enemy forces and their actual position. Rather more of something like suspected enemy activity.

    So the PEF was moving and it turned out to be a building? Why not. Maybe it was a scout/runner returning to his squad occupying the building. Or maybe you just misheard something and misjudged their position a bit?

    It all can make sense… unless you HAVE good knowledge of the battlefield (eg. defending your own territory).

    I enjoyed the batreps. Waiting for more 🙂

    cheers,
    mahon

  3. A PEF is a possible enemy force. So think of the building that suddenly appeared as a bunker or fox hole that your aerial recon missed (that’s why you are patrolling the area 😉 It adds an element of surprise to the game, you don’t actually have a bird’s eye view of the battle field, and running away (esp. in a campaign) becomes a strategic decision.

  4. Like we spoke about, Aerial Recon negates a building showing up from a resolved PEF, and instead, you get something like a squad in a defensive position, so it makes a little more sense. Moving into an area you know nothing about makes sense for a building to be found. Besides, it wasn’t difficult at all to take the building out with one artillery barrage. 🙂

    For those interested, BATREPs should be showing up approximately weekly for a while as we have just completed only mission 1 of the campaign.

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