Isolated on Gothica - Turn 1

Isolated on Gothica – Turn 1

The following is a report of a solo battle I am playing of an evening while isolated. The rules are my variation on Stargrunt II: ‘Dustup’. They can be found here.

This initial scenario is a bit of a test of long range firing and heavy weapons. As it is being played solo, I am using some playing cards to randomly activate units. A red card means the humans can activate and a black one means the aliens can. On the first turn, the aliens get to activate first reflecting they start the skirmish. The report will have a few notes included [explaining the rules and other editorial comments].

The Formics are a race of intelligent insectoids that are known to comprise multiple castes each bred for specific roles. Once they infest a planet, there is almost no eradicating them and they consume anything and everything. A hive of Formics recently invaded the planet of Gothica. While the imperial Navy was able to destroy the bulk of the hive ships before they could disgorge their cargo of spores, sufficient spores and lava landed on the planet to create havoc.

Bugs on the horizon

The local planetary defence forces initially attempted to wipe out the infestations where they landed, but none of the troops sent into those areas returned. Instead, the infestations and surrounding areas were mercilessly bombed and cordons established.

Human defensive line

Lieutenant Robinson and his platoon of ‘Rough Necks’ are Manning part of such a cordon. The armoured vehicles usually accompanying the Rough Necks were withdrawn for refit and repairs, but a squad of heavy infantry and a squad of palace guards have been attached to Robbo’s platoon.

For now, the Formics are laying low and probing the line. The bulk of the Formic forces seem to be made up of the warrior caste. These are formidable opponents and, should they decide to attack en mass, will be hard for unsupported infantry to hold back.

LT Robinson posted his 4 rifle squads in the centre of his line with the heavy infantry on the right and the veteran guardsmen on the left. His reserve is his armoured support forces, which are on call.

Facing the humans are 4 small broods of warriors armed with maggot spitters and various claws and hand to hand weapons. They are supported by two gun beasts, colloquially referred to as ‘dragons’. A warrior ‘prince’, so called because they appear to be smaller versions of ‘kings’, has been spotted in the vicinity and is assumed to be coordinating them.

„There’s movement in bug city“, sergeant Bogart voxed Platoon Sergeant Elliott.

Sergeant Elliott sent a soldier to wake the LT. „I’m going down to the line“ he told the platoon vox operator. „Let the LT know“.

In the distance, the aliens were stirring. A medium sized dragon emerged from its hiding place and took a shot at the humans with its heavy barb spitter. Sergeant Douglas saw the gun point in their direction and yelled „incoming“ just in time. As the men ducked behind the comparative safety of their defence wall, a seed pod erupted just short of their position and a mass of thorns and tangle weeds erupted in front of them.

[The range is 36″, well within the 96″ effective range of a heavy barb spitter, so the defenders have a D8 target die. The defenders are semi-concealed (ie cover) and ‘propped’, so their die shifts up twice to a D12. The attacker is one of the dumber Formics, so only has a D6 quality die, but the heavy cannon has a D12 firepower. The bug rolls a 12 and a 3 against the defenders 8. As only one fire die beat the target die sergeant Douglas’s squad gets a suppression marker.]

[In actual fact, it was the warrior prince that was activated and it attempted to activate both dragons. Needing a 3+ on a D8, it rolled a 2 for the second action, and thus the humans on the left of their line were spared their own opening salvo.]

The veteran heavy infantry on the right end of the human line were the first to react. Sergeant Wayne urged his men to aim at the dragon that had just fired to their front. Using their heavy laser rifles and supported by the squad plasma rifle they fired twice at the beast as it momentarily paused to absorb the recoil from its weapon. The first volley kicked up dust and rock around the monster, stunning it briefly. The second volley, however, was even more accurate and multiple hits scored the tough hide of the creature.

[The heavy laser rifles and the plasma rifle are all sustained fire weapons, so they are able to use both actions to fire as long as they do so against the same target. The targe die is again a D12 (D8 shifted up twice) and the firers have a D10 quality die, a D10 firepower die (5xFp2 rifles) and a D6 support die for the plasma gun. The firs shot rolled 8,3,1 against a 7 causing a suppression and the second shot rolled an 8, 8 and 6 versus a 3. As two fire dice beat the target die, the target is suppressed and the fire die are totalled to determine hits. The total of 22 is divided by the target die type (12) resulting in 1 hit and a 10/12 chance of a second, which was successful, resulting in 2 hits. Unfortunately the heavy laser rifle’s D6 impact die was not enough to penetrate the D10 armour of the dragon.]

[A red card was drawn again]

Sergeant Douglas realised that the thorn pod had burst short of their position and was quick to get his men back in the line and returning fire. They managed a quick volley combining their laser rifles and the plasma rifle, targeting the group of Formic warriors emerging from their hiding place. However, the shot was too hasty and missed.

[To remove the suppression marker, the squad used an action and needed to roll 3+ on their D8 unit quality die. Their shot was a D8 quality die, a D10 firepower die and a D6 support die against the warrior’s D12 target die. The target rolled a 12 meaning all the fire dice (6,5,3) failed.]

The dragon on the human’s left flank, having failed to react to the orders of its prince, reared up and aimed its heavy venom spitter at the human squad to its front causing Sergeant Audrey’s squad to hesitate. This was followed by a volley from its twin maggot spitter secondary weapons that, fortunately for Audrey and his men, missed their target.

[The venom spitter rolled a 4 and 2 on its D8 and D10 against a 2 on the D12 target die. The maggot spitters rolled a 6 and 8 on their 2xD10s but the humans managed a 12 on their target die.]

Sergeant Cagney had his men line up and fire two controlled volleys at the warriors to their front. The first shot went wild, but the second managed 1 hit, but failed to wound any of the aliens.

Bogart’s squad also raised their weapons and fired. However, both volleys missed their intended target.

The brood of Formic warriors on the human left flank fired their maggot spitters at Douglas’s squad. However their shot also missed. [yet another 12 was rolled on the target die]

Sergeant Audrey attempted to get his squad back into a semblance of order, but he could not get his men to shake out. [He rolled a 2 and then a 1 on his two attempts to unsuppress – needing a 3+ on a D8]

The Palace Guards, on the extreme left, stood to as if on parade. They raised their rifles and the squad grenade launcher and fired a well controlled volley. As expected, they hit home, but once again the alien armour proved to tough for the laser rifles. While the grenade launcher reloaded, the rifles fired a second volley but the targeted warriors had dropped low enough to avoid being hit a second time.

Platoon Sergeant Elliott saw Audrey’s squad having trouble regaining their nerve after the earlier near miss. He shouted at them to get into the fight. After another brief pause, they did so and raised their rifles ready for action.

[The platoon sergeant is able to use actions to re-activate rifle squads. He needs to roll 3+ on his D8 quality die. He activated squads Audrey and Bogart in that manner. Audrey once again failed his first unsuppress attempt , but fortunately succeeded on his second attempt.]

Bogart’s men fired two well controlled volleys, both of which hit the warrior target. While the shots did cause the warriors to stumble, they did not appear to cause any wounds.

The neighbouring warrior unit, however, shook off their shock [recovered one suppression] and fired on Bogart’s men. They must have still been a little stunned and their shots went wild.

Nurse Betty, who was standing by ready to treat any wounded breathed a sigh of relief that so far noone had actually been hit. But, no sooner had that thought crossed her mind when the dragon on the right, that had begun the battle under direct influence of the hive mind and the warrior prince, reared up again clearly shaking of its momentary stunned status. [Removed both suppression markers].

Finally, the remaining unit of warriors also shook themselves up and managed a shot at the Palace Guards [causing one suppression].

The turn thus ended with all of the Formics having recovered their suppression and only the Palace Guards left with a single suppression marker. Long range fire appears to have the expected result of limited success but just enough to halt any attempts at forward movement. I intend to play one or two more turns using this configuration just to get a sense of how it works and then I will slowly add some heavy weapons to see if they can break the line anywhere.

Stay tuned…




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Autor: Todd / OzKriegspiel

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