Written by Paul Nippress
Wednesday, 29 November 2006

(or another view of Swindon Invades London)

A couple of the London lads came down to our Faction Wars event last October at the Swindon Siege. Out of that grew a return event organised by Rob (London Battlemaster) and Colin ( Swindon ). Rob decided to run Faction Wars again, basically 600 point armies from a single faction, chosen from a 1500 point total. Four rounds, where items destroyed in one battle do NOT reappear in later battles. Requires a little care to make sure you have an army left for round four!

I collect three factions, Swordsworn, ROTS and Bannson’s Raiders. Initially I expected to take Swordsworn but all the email “chat” in advance was against “artillery warrior” style armies and those are the ones Swordsworn do best. My ROTS collection does not yet give a lot of choice so I settled on a Bannson’s army modelled loosely on an ork-ish approach to battle – CHARGE….

Imagine my feelings then when after a delightful tour of the one-way streets of London near Olympia (how not to get where you want to be) and a short wait for Rob to arrive (has he realised the clock’s went forward or do we have an hour to wait?) I started off facing a Swordsworn army with plenty of artillery in it.

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My infiltrating ATVs swarmed across at his artillery and managed to base one of the four units while my two mechs (Cynthia Kelly – centurion and Joyna “Jab” Simms – mad cat II) raced across to take possession of the water just outside of his deployment zone. Doubtless this was meant for Lt. Diane Jameson, the swordsworn Ryoken II to submerge herself in but I got there first! A brief exchange of fire left me one ATV down and him one infantry stand down but mine cost one point more. I had however obtained a VC3 point and the way his army was anchored in his deployment zone that looked like being decisive for VC3.

There followed a tactical battle with me dodging artillery while taking pot shots at the Ryoken II, both sides doing damage but neither significant. Movement of the J37 Ordinance transport into base contact with the Ryoken reminded me he had repair with that vehicle so I based it with another ATV to stop the repair from happening. Unfortunately I also based the Ryoken II which promptly stomped on the ATV and killed it.

At this point I asked a pertinent question which was how much longer to go. This threw up a difference of approach in that Rob’s view was that we did not have the right to know! Nevertheless I took the hint that time was a ticking and I was loosing by 24 points to 11, enough to loose VC1 and 2. By now my mad cat had acquired alpha strike for 6 points of damage so I struck at a DI Towed artillery piece, worth 32 points (enough to win 3 VCs to 0) and needing 8 on three dice to hit – easy, unless you roll 6. So I was thinking how else to I get some points urgently when the timer went off and the game was over and I was left with the (small) consolation that I had lost (2-1) to one of my favourite factions.

Next up was a ROTS army, which had a bye in the first round. Again the opposition looked very familiar. I took my second army with Meghann Tenclay – Catapult, a Legionnaire (BR Lego) and a Raider Mk II, backed by a glory fire tank drop from Basil “the edge” Kozaka, a J37 ordnance transport, a repair vehicle, 2x ATV and a guila suit.

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Once again my infiltrating infantry stormed across the battlefield while Lego lurked mid pitch. My opponent went first and moved his locust into base to base with my one of my ATVs while moving up his big vehicle formation (DeBorah McDermott – mars assault tank and two Smileys – SM1 tank destroyers) to the edge of some hindering terrain.

He had overlooked the legendary charge range of the BR Lego (20”) so I struck at his locust doing 6 clicks of damage to the locust while taking two for myself (damage of 4 with +1 for charge and +1 for brawling).

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In response he moved his Blade up behind the Lego, not quite touching so I didn’t get a spin but ready to shoot me in the rear when his locust broke away. Unfortunately he had overlooked the less legendary, but still significant 19” charge range of the Raider Mk II, striking with the advantage of starting in his rear. Meanwhile Lego destroyed the locust so with that and damage done to his other Mech, I was off to a good start.

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His Blade turned to face the Raider and his infantry moved menacingly towards my two mechs. Time for a tactical withdrawal, I ran them both back to my side of the fence, the Lego promptly shutting down from too much heat. I then tried to get the catapult into firing position but only succeeded in getting it based by Fa Shih Battle Armour with grapple.

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I eventually disentangled the catapult after hitting the Fa Shih hard enough to loose grapple. Meanwhile I moved my ATVs into his deployment zone to gain VC3 and the Raider into the side of one of the Smiley’s.

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I toyed with moving one of the ATVs into the rear of DeBorah but couldn’t see the point. The point arrived immediately when my opponent broke away the hover smiley that the Raider was basing and shot the Mech with Deborah for 5 clicks of damage. Wiping out the Raider (114 points) left me in deficit for VC1, again with an unknown amount of time to go.

As my last desperate throw of the dice in this game, I “tank dropped” my Glory Fire Tank and took a pot at one of the Smiley’s, doing enough damage to salvage it. Although it tried to move back to its deployment zone, this time the timer saved me. I had lost VC1 but the salvaged vehicle turned VC2 over to me (after a recount) and those trusty (but dead) ATVs had won VC3 again giving me the 2-1 victory this time.

After two all too familiar foes (and tight games) I next faced the Stormhammers. Just about the only previous time I had faced a faction pure stormhammers was at our faction wars event when Phil brought them down, and here he was again. I reverted to army 1 as the loss of the Raider would have meant juggling army 2 around and I didn’t have the brainpower to spare. Facing me were 4 mining mechs (2 with ballistic attacks in their buckets and 2 carrying infantry), 2 cavalry VTOLs, loads of ATVs and probably some other stuff I have forgotten.

I took one look at the hoard facing me and decided to defend for a change. I held back my ATVs this time and watched Phil’s turning up just outside my deployment zone. I set up some hindering terrain near my deployment zone and moved both Mechs into it. The tactic worked well as we both soon discovered I had the range of all his forces. His VTOLs were disappointing (range of 6 only) so they bagged VC3 but played little other role in the game. My mechs shot and charged down his mining mechs one at a time while his infantry tried to get hold of them but failed. Even though Joyna failed a breakaway roll only needing a 2+, they couldn’t damage her. Cynthia took some damage but paid out in full when her turn came. An unmistakable 2-1 win to me this time as more of his forces ended up off the table than left on it at the end. I lost the ATVs again.

Last but not least I now faced up to a Liao force that had been dealing out some serious damage to my Swindon colleagues, although the Spirit Cats had forced a win against it. By now I had run out of ATVs but the Trike squads I substituted did much the same job, infiltrating 20” instead of the ATVs 28”, for the same 12 points each.

I figured the two Liao mechs I was facing (a targe and Jacyn Bell) were stronger than the two I was fielding and so chose to attack early rather than risk being worn down. The attack started well with a tank drop of the glory fire again doing 4 a/p damage to the targe. I charged in Cynthia successfully doing 5 more damage, but the targe was still there. For my third order, in went Joyna too – and that was when it all went wrong.

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Joyna’s charge failed, her heat dial and a roll of 2 caused an ammunition explosion for 4 points of damage to add to the 3 from the charge, and then she shut down.

Jacyn and everybody else of a Cappellan disposition suddenly found the vicinity of Joyna and Cynthia very attractive. Joyna went quickly after the gutting she had given herself, Cynthia followed more slowly, but inevitably now she was outnumbered.

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My Trikes were hunted down, although they did grab a single VC3 point. What then followed was a race for me to get my transport and recovery vehicle off the table before my opponent could get a VC3 point so I could keep the loss to 2-1 not 3-0. The recovery vehicle was caught and fried alive but the transport (with the glory fire inside) managed to get off the table through a series of lucky breakaway rolls and my opponents generosity.

So the day ended with me, won two lost two and Swindon won 8 lost 8. Only remains for me to say many thanks to our London hosts for an enjoyable days gaming, especially to Rob for organising it. Last but not least apologies to all for any and all inaccuracies in the accounts above, as you know history is written by the victors so I’m just surprised I didn’t win them all. Bring on the next rematch, this time on our home soil.