Strange Bedfellows

Written by Demian Rose (dd-rose@students.uiuc.edu).

Lieutenant Roez surveyed the field. Rugged terrain. Patches of forest. Good. His stormtroopers liked a lot of nooks and crannies. In the open, his troops would be too vulnerable to enemy support weapon fire. The Fantasian force under Roez's command had certainly become a bit rag tag due to the constant skirmishing they'd seen since landing on Meecha, the Infranite moon at the edge of their common border with the empire of Azaraim (out of respect for the might its military, Roez had long ago stopped referring to Azaraim as the "Black Empire"). Two weeks on this newly terraformed planetoid and Roez's superiors still hadn't told him exactly what he and his men were doing there. Nervously, the officer looked to his right. There stood nearly a full platoon of United Nations of Earth powered infantry. His enemies for nearly 20 years...until now. His receiver shocked him to attention, as Sergeant Khubov barked out his unit's roll call: "All PI and stormtroopers accounted for, sir...those Infranites and Black Empire freaks better be ready for us!". The Infranites and Azaraim allies? Roez again looked over his shoulder at the UNE camp. Fantasia and the United Nations of Earth? Strange bedfellows indeed.

Forces

Fantasia

United Nations of Earth

Black Empire

Infranite

Set-up

Heavy terrain, with few lanes of fire. Fantasians set up to the left of the UNE, on the same side of table; Black Empire across from Fantasia, Infranite across from UNE. Due to the set-up, the game was primarily UNE vs. Infranite head-on and Fantasia vs. Infranite head-on, with only the odd (but in some cases effective) diagonal fire (heavy terrain prevented most long-range effects).

Note: since I was Fantasia, and my main opponent the BE, I remember less about the Infranite/UNE end of things.

Turn

(In PS, initiative flows from unit to unit, so no one "side" gets to go first, second, etc...instead, similar to WZ [but still a bit different], units of all 4 forces alternated movement and fire each turn).

The cards are kind to Fantasia, and the Angeleaters (so named because of their effectiveness against the heavily-armored Black Empire) are able to sprint up to the base of the hill separating them from the enemy. The K2-shaw fires off two gauss rockets (indirect fire) which manage to stun one of the hidden from view scouts across the field and daze another.

The unaffected scouts sprint for the center of the board wherein lies the most dense terrain. The BE makes a bold move, with the chariot speeding forward to drop its crew of 2 Tozai Drakkar (!!) off at the base of the hill, which they then crested to meet the State head-on. Fantsian cover fire was ineffective against them, but, with 2 Tozai facing down 3 Angeleaters, initiative would be crucial next turn.

The UNE and remaining Infranite forces both advanced cautiously forward, with few casualties resulting. The UNE center was bolstered by the presence of the stormtrooper squad and half the PI, the only Fantasians to directly move against the Infranites (of course, the K2-shaw would continue to rain gauss death upon the hapless rock-eaters all game).

The remaining BE troops, plodding along in their heavy armor, merely moved into better firing positions. Adrax Rocket Launcher fire was fairly effective, though, with a Fantsian RPK gunner in good firing position pinned and effectively made useless for the next turn (he wouldn't last long enough to fire at all, actually).

Turn 2

The UNE commandose continued their long slog up the right flank, protected in part by their forcewall grenades. Meanwhile, the Paache raiders moved to cover the area opposite the commandoes, with support from the Volcano BAP. The scouts in the center fared poorly, with one of their number taken out by gauss rocket fire, and yet another dazed. However, the ones who had sprinted ahead still held the center well. UNE support weapons (AutoRAM and Carl-G) were in poor position and had to move into better fire lanes.

The UNE/Fantasai number advantage allowed for some minor coordinaton of movement in the center, to challenge the scout position. BE indirect fire was again effective, with an RPK and RPG loader being lost to Adrax or Poison seed grenade explosions. The Fantsian sniper failed to kill anything, but did keep the advancing BE covering and annoyed, which is his job.

The Angeleaters win the Tozai face-off and proceed to kill one dead and inflict a kill on the other (he would have died if he hadn't rolled well on his "save your ass" leadership roll, too). Tozai return fire is largely ineffective, merely pinning one of the BTs.

Turn 3

The Angeleaters kill off the remaining sitting-duck Tozai, but the Chariot has now moved around the left flank and its twin-linked Heavy Lance and Tarnak GL fire does a job on the BT squad: corporal dead, one kill on another.

K2-Shaw fire is ineffectivbe this turn, as the scouts in the center of the board watch gauss rockets scatter round them. The Fantasia/UNE center becomes a bit weaker this turn, with BE tarnak fire and Infranite pot-shots killing 2 PI and a stormtrooper. The Infranite flank, however, is looking bad, as the outnumbering UNE are starting to move forward, with the commandos in the lead. The Volcano BAP picks off a commando or two, while fire-trading results are worse for the Rock-eaters this turn than for the Earth Dogs. The ASP calliopes get their first kill, but a shot from an Infranite Chain-gunner scores a kill on the ASP, leaving it a bit less willing to stick its nose too far out in the future.

Meanwhile, the BE lancers (takkar and massakar variety) march forward upon the Fantasian stationary position, losing a massakar to cover fire. However, the death of the sniper and remaining rifleman more than evens the odds here.

Turn 4

The UNE commandos suffer again on the flank, but their decoy was long enough to let the main mass of UNE PI now get into good firing positions. Again, the Infranites suffer worst from fire-trading (being outnumbered), but do manage to give almost as good as they get. Plus, the scouts in the center remain steadfast in their positions, despite an attack by a somewhat overzealous stormtrooper, who was cut down by cover fire on his way in.

The Chariot on the left, though weakened by Angeleater fire, still has enough left in it to kill another BT and inflict a kill on another before succumbing to a freak potshot from the until now hidden Lt. Roez (what a hero!). Even with the demise of the chariot and Tozais, the left flank is starting to look bad for the Fantsians: a 1/2 dead and pinned BT, a pinned K2-shaw with no more gauss rockets left (its last barrage having been again ineffective) and a PI sgt. facing down 2 takkar lancers and a massakar lancer...normally, about even odds if the Adrax weren't still ready to pour down 3-inch templates onto the poorly armored Fantasians for 6 more turns (gotta love that Adrax ammo of ten!)

Turn 5

Infranite and UNE casualties about even if I'm remembering, leaving the right side of the table with only a slight edge to the UNE. Conversely, the left side, with little effectual fire this turn, was left with a slight edge to the BE. Had the battle gone longer (the store closed), it would've been interesting: ...sadly, we may never know :-(

My (so-called) "Tactical" conclusions and unit evaluations:

Phew!...that's it from me...all in all, an evening well-spent!
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