In the latest tale of the “move that never ends,” I flew back to Colorado to get the last bits of house out of storage and drive it almost a thousand miles to Texas. Not one to waste a trip to Colorado, I hooked up with Reese, Colton, and Sean to hit some favorites.
It started with earnest on Thursday where Sean and I hit a game of Infinity. We decided to stretch our wings and do Panic Room. This mission uses an objective room (a first for us) and biotechvore. The objective room is the source of the majority of points where you need to control it round after round and the biotechvore slowly kills things as it encroaches further in the map towards the objective room. You also get a lot of points at the end for killing more than your opponent.
I took another single group army with ten troopers. I felt like I had a good plan with some big beat sticks like the Zuyong HMG, Mowang Red Fury, and Hulang for close combat fun. Both would be in fireteams: the Zuyong in a Haris with the other Zuyong and the Missile Bot, while the Hulang and Mowang duo and hopefully own the objective room through brute strength and meanness. I was also trying a subtle hacking game with both my hackers in camo and the Lu Duan remote able to run around and throw repeaters around the objective room to stall out Sean’s heavy infantry.
Sean’s PanO won the WIP roll and chose deployment. I chose to take the second turn to hopefully get the last activation advantage when scoring objective points. Setting up first and going second meant I’d basically cede PanO the board and try to just conserve losses by hiding (celled ‘null deployment’ in Infinity circles).
PanO also brought a single group list of ten profiles but most likely because the Jotum TAG was in the list, taking up almost one-third of the list’s points. A Knight of Justice, Joan of Arc, Nisses Sniper and some camo tokens rounded out the rest of the list.
PanO does a lot of positioning and throws Joan straight into the panic room. The Jotum and Knight of Justice flank just outside and the rest of the team moves in to avoid the first encroachment of the Biotechvore plague.
With Joan as such a tasty target, I decide to put my hacking game into play. I run the Lu Duan remote in, dodging sniper fire with my holoechoes baiting reaction shots. While just outside the room, I throw down one of my repeaters and have my Lieutenant hacker reveal to immobilize Joan (I first tried to Isolate her but after she failed the roll, we realized the latest ITS gives Veteran to all characters and she’d be immune. We rerolled for the carbonite attack and she failed that anyway).
With Joan locked down, I snuck the Lu Duan into the room and started flaming Joan. PanO missed some ARO opportunities (likely very distracted at the fact that Joan was in serious trouble) and I just started lighting her up. True to history, she does not like fire and melted after a few rounds of fire. This was huge (or so we thought). This took out PanO’s main figure to score the “essential trooper” victory points in the room (he can still nominate another lieutenant and score that way), puts him in loss of lieutenant limiting any order stacking, and loses control of the room.
I misjudged a lot of things in this next move and it forced some very costly mistakes. I wanted to keep the hacking game going and thought I was out of range for another repeater. So I moved up and back to push a repeater farther into the room. Unburdened from worrying about Joan any more, PanO saw a few reaction shots that could target my remote. I was committed to getting that repeater down so I tried to tank the shots but the remote easily fell.
I got what I wanted though and the repeater was in place. I tried hacking the Jotum (mainly to take control of it) but after one failed attempt, I moved on. I really don’t know why except I think I was getting low on orders and felt like I could use the repeaters in my reactive turn to mess up PanO. I had a lot of things to do still to set up a defense network to claim the room and get points this turn and get my other troops out of the incoming plague.
I brought my Mowang and Hulang duo up and across the map to get into the objective room. Due to some terrible die rolls for me and nice shots from PanO, I lost the Hulang to the same cheap Helot that nuked my Lu Duan remote. That guy was on fire, shooting fire (with his rocket launcher), and was quickly becoming the hero the PanO people needed. The Mowang was able to get into place, giving me control of the room and the “essential trooper” bonus. While I lost some things I’d rather have kept up, my first turn was still pretty successful.
I only had two tac aware orders left with my Zuyong Haris and wanted to get my missile bot out of the plague zone. My HMG Zuyong goes first and gets the bot down the ramp but still in the plague zone. In the process, I’m in line of sight of that dastardly Helot. He opens up and I throw five dice of hot HMG action his way. Even with the +3 bonus from range, I bust every shot while the helot, looking for something weak like 5s gets a hit in. The blast radius splashes both Zuyong and the HMG easily tanks the explosion but the Combi Zuyong lights on fire and doesn’t put out until she drops unconscious. HELOT BRINGS RUIN TO ALL! FEAR HIS WRATH! Combi Zuyong was holding the other tac aware order to get the missile bot down and out of the plague zone. I plague up and the missile bot gets infected and goes offline. Curses! It’s not all dark clouds as I have my engineer that can rez him back up, achieving my secret objective card. 2 VP goes to me at the end of the round for controlling the panic room.
At least I thought there were silver linings. PanO is in loss of lieutenant and banks all his remaining command tokens to convert some orders back to regular. My mistakes from round 1 start to compound as I left all my repeaters out in the open, easily shot down from multiple figures (that have nothing better to do since they are all stuck activating with irregular orders). Those repeaters are critical as PanO doesn’t have anyway to get the heavies he needs into the Panic Room as long as those are up. Had I left Lu Duan where he was and put a repeater out, it would have been hidden from view (actually both repeaters) and still affected the room. Or if I really was sacrificing the Lu Duan, I should have pushed to the upper corner and put the repeater there and it would have been extremely difficult to dig that out.
I did neither and the otherwise useless irregular orders became clutch for PanO as he easily one-shot the repeaters off the board. I had hoped the Mowang would hold the room but Knight of Justice and the Jotum were too much and he went down.
The Zulu Cobra came in on the side and downed my engineer (so much for hoping to repair my bot and get another VP).
Echo Bravo then jumped into the board as one of the tools used to take down a repeater. Then tried killing my lieutenant which luckily failed. Biotechvore didn’t kill anything that PanO left in the plague and he ended his activation.
That turn 2 was brutal and I was left with very little to threaten the panic room. My hackers were likely the best option but the game quickly withered as my hackers couldn’t get across the long fire lanes and my Zuyong HMG still couldn’t hit anything. With only three troopers left at the end of my turn, I conceded the game.
Pan Oceania WINS! 6 VP to 2 VP
Brutal game as my mistakes lined up perfectly for Sean to take advantage of, allowing even the big disadvantages I placed on him to be mitigated. Dice didn’t help but weren’t the full story. That Helot though… grrr!
Next, I hit some WarCry with Colton.
We threw down a quick game with our standard teams: Splintered Fang vs Untamed Beasts. It was a similar game to some previous ones where we need to eliminate the “Shield” group of figures. Colton through several of his Hammer figures at me to chew up while trying to bank the strongest one for later. I had mine run away but we still ended up down half our Hammer group midway through the game.
My beast kitty went on a tear and ended up MVP as it took down several figures and was able to run down the last of his Hammer group to end the game. It was actually a close game as the fangs took down my leader leaving me with one Hammer group figure left, who promptly ran away. Had Fangs won initiative, they could have chased him down and maybe got in a lucky kill to end the game. As it was, I got initiative and was able to end it.
I hadn’t had a chance to really look at these annoying snakes but Colton did a fantastic job on these little guys. Wish they would have gotten off their crazy venom attack now.
We concluded the night with some board games and pizza. We hit the new game (to us), Cubitos, which I won by happening upon the fastest strategy and running my little guy around the course. It is a mix of Quarriors and Steam Punk Rally. It was ok but I think Steam Punk Rally is a bit better in its evenness where everything pushes towards racing. Cubitos seems to lead people into traps trying to build some dice engine that ultimately doesn’t go anywhere.
If we were the types to play the game over and over, we’d likely not fall in those traps as often and the true joy of the game would reveal itself but since I may never see the game again, it isn’t that compelling.
We finished out the game with the classic Stone Age, Colton easily trouncing all of us to conclude a pretty epic game day. It was great to be back in Colorado (minus all the air quality issues) and I hope to be back again soon.