Sunday, 11 May 2014

It's Orbital Monorail Laser time!

This needs no explanation
A little earlier this week the much anticipated rules scenario rules for the Monorail and Orbital laser terrain packs were released, so I thought I would take a little time to go over them and give my thoughts! We were one of the lucky ones who were at Salute, and picked up a Monorail for the club. It is almost fully painted now (I've popped some pics below), and we have been chomping at the bit to use it!

Both of these packs were available for sale on pre-release at Salute, and Hawk came under a little scrutiny for this. People seemed aggrieved that they had these awesome bits of scenery, but had no rules with which to use them with. For any people of that mindset reading this article, I would like to direct you back to the words 'awesome bits of scenery'. I'm guessing the thoughts were 'why release these scenario packs with no rules?' but that wasn't the point of the pre-release. It was to give people the opportunity to grab them early, and (in all honesty) probably to promote the items for when they go on hard sale. The stupidity of the internet dumbfounds me sometimes. I just wanted to get that of my chest anyhow, so moving onto the missions...

Monorail Scenario 1: Moving Target

This is probably my favourite of the bunch. The concept is there is a monorail shipping an object of 'incredibly sensitive' material (an embarrassing love letter penned by a UCM general, or some kind of Scourge sex tape no doubt) and each army must get on-board the monorail, discover the item and escort it from the table. There are also 4 focal points on the board, just in case nobody finds the objective. The track stretches across the board, which has to be 6'x4' as a minimum, and the Monorail will move 12” across it a turn until it reaches the end. You can embark and alight (notice the train lingo) on the Monorail at two stations, in turns 3 and 6, or can jump in it via a flying APC which must land on the train. The train is treated as a small structure (so has more than enough space for garrisoned units) and can't be destroyed.

Right side of my carriage 
This is my fav mainly due to my imagination. The idea of a Raven or Intruder matching speed with the train,
and each soldier having to jump onto the roof (or in the case of Destroyers, though the roof) and clamber inside is just awesome. In addition to this the rules are pretty balanced. You need to roll to find the objective as normal, though only on a 4+ due to it being a small structure, which means your opponent will either need to destroy the transport carrying the troops, or get a unit in to stop them leaving the following turn. All in all it should make to be quite an aggressive match up. The PHR possibly have the raw end of it, due to the slow speed of their Tritons, but it shouldn't make too much of a problem in the grand scheme of things.

My one possible reservation of the scenario is the board size for anything less than 2000 points. We typically play 1500 points on a 4'x4', and this allows for units to be hidden from each other and for tactical plays to be made accordingly. On 6'x4' you are introducing an extra 2 foot, so another half the normal playing space, which could spread out units and cause the game to not be the slug fest it probably should be. I'm probably just over thinking things though.

On a side note, why don't the forces just send scouts to intercept the train before the head of the main force? Am I over thinking things again? Probably...

Monorail Scenario 2: Precious Metals

This time round the monorail is carrying some precious metals (Unobtainium? I would love to think the Scourge got their feelers in the Navi at some point) to an enemy/friendly stronghold, and your job is to stop it getting there / make sure it gets there!

A big difference from the last scenario is that this uses the attacker-defender rosters. The defenders job is to make sure the cargo gets to their board edge, whereas the attacker needs to destroy a stand to cause the monorail to crash (Batman Begins style), and become a focal point worth a whopping five points. There are four other focal points worth the normal three. The winner is whoever gets the most victory points, or the defender auto-wins if the train leaves the board.

All that Unobtainium, needlessly wasted!
I'm a little unsure of this mission, and think it favours the attackers heavily over the defenders. The stands are regarded as structures, with 5DP and A10. Now, let's assume that if you are going to be playing this mission you will know before making a list (as attacker-defender lists aren't really that standard). Let's now assume that you are playing PHR. Your 6 Enyo's will walk on back board in the first turn and destroy the second or
third strut, while eating cheesecake and laughing about how awesome it is to be two-thirds robot. Alternatively, your Ferrum shoots out it's Drones and they smash up the second or third strut, or your 6 Hunters destroy the third strut on turn 2 after getting out of their Marauders, or the 2-3 Coyotes walk on and show the Enyo's how it should be done. All the while the poor defenders force comes on piece meal, realistically from turn 3, to be gunned down as they enter the fray.

As with all things it is impossible to properly judge without having played the scenario, and maybe it will turn out to be more even than I think. In Hawk we trust after all!

Laser Scenario 1: Destroy/Defend the city

Think of a moon of Endor situation. You've been left all on your lonesome, bar a few buds, and before you get a chance to drink your third beer of the morning and eat the second piece of undercooked BBQ chicken, you are attacked by dwarf bears for control of your orbital laser! Well, unless the Scourge conquest has gone a little astray there probably won't be any furry bandits at your door, but you get the idea. A clerical error of colossal proportions has left a lightly armed garrison holding a massive laser, and you must either destroy the city with it or defend against the invaders!

Left side of my carriage
Another attackers-defenders mission here, but it looks pretty damn cool and better balanced. The attacker must get in the laser and destroy all of the buildings on the board, and quite simply the defender must stop them. If all the buildings are removed the attacked wins, if not the defender gets the prize. If you are the occupier of the laser you may fire it at all buildings within a 90 degree section of the board per turn on a 2+. If the laser is damaged (it's pretty robust, but not impossible to kill) this roll becomes harder. If you get the 2+ all of the buildings in that sector are removed... With guns like this, who needs PHR? Interestingly in this mission the attacker gets less points to spend than the defender, so by the time reserves start pouring on the attacker must have gotten in the laser and taken control of it. I see the attacker taking a lot of exotic troops in this game to secure and hold the laser (as flame weapons don't work inside it, and there is no falling masonry inside it. Probably some kind of blast door...), and the defender bringing all the demo they can to bring down the giant gun. This game also lasts for 8 turns, so get ready to remove miniatures and buildings by the bucket load!

Laser Scenario 2: Laser On Or Objective Off

I get the feeling that ideas for scenario names may have been the last thing on the agenda at Hawk HQ when writing these scenarios. You can do better than this Hawk, I mean really, The name doesn't even describe the scenario! This is my proposed name for this mission:

Laser Scenario 2: You Get To Play With A Colossal Bitching Laser Of Fun And Doom (Also There Are Objectives, And Possibly Bacon If You Bring It)

A little long maybe? But hits the nail on the head really. There are four objectives, two in each deployment zone, and the laser is a focal point. If you get in the laser and you're the occupier you get to shoot it. It hits all structures in a straight line automatically, and does (wait for it) a single E13 D15 hit to every building. Who even cares about the objectives? This game is all about getting in that laser and removing buildings as liberally as a Power Rangers episode. It's a standard set up, with equal points for both players, so apart from the laser it is pretty much a standard scenario. This and the Monorail Scenario 1 are the first missions to have both objectives and focal points however, so that's kind of interesting.

My final summary would be a big thumbs up to three, and a sideways Ceaser-esk thumb waggle to Monorail Scenario 2. But as said, we will have to play test before I turn my thumb to either the upright or downward positions!

As always, if you have played any yourself, or have thoughts on the scenarios pop a comment in below to discuss!


  1. That train is simply... awesome! It's convinced me to buy the monorail. I love that paint job, it is so cool.

  2. I really look forward testing the attacker/defender scenario and see if it destroys the city.

  3. BTW, how do you guys consider the rules for a 5 points Focal point? 5 Points if you are within 6" and +2 if you have the most VP within 6"?

    1. I would play it as a normal focal point, but change the winners amount from 3 to 5; contesting - 1VP, controlling - 5VP

      It's a big lump of points, but will encourage players to get down and dirty near it!