Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mission test: Recon+

For Critical Engagement 2015 we are running the following 3 missions:

  • Recon+ 
  • Ground Control+
  • Secure the Flanks

The tournament (I hope) will have a more casual feel to it. Lots of friendly people playing friendly games. We are changing up the scoring system and the missions (a bit). Ground Control+ is exactly as GC but units can contest quarters too. It should make the mission more interesting. The big change is Recon.......

A little bit of background information first. The idea is not ours, it was first thought of by one of the guys over at DzC Sweden (Jens i think). It has been tweeked slightly and for any Halo fans out there, it is like a crazy king of the hill!

Recon+ is exactly as Recon from the 1.1 Core Rulebook with the following change.

Intel: When rolling for Intel a roll of a 1 is still sabotage, and 2-5 is still locating a piece of intel, but on a roll of a 6, you gain a piece of intel (so receive 1 VP) and the intel is removed, it is replaced with a Focal Point. 
There can only be 3 Focal Points on the board at any one time. If a 4th Focal Point is found then the first one located is removed from the game.

There is no point including a mission in the tournament if we haven't even played it, so ZombieState and I gave it a thorough test at our last club night.

I won't give a detailed battle report, mainly just the key points.

It started so well for me, both Archangels came out of reserve on turn 1 - yes, I rolled double six. Zombie had sad panda face, but took it well. What we didn't know, was that I had peaked already. 
Getting the Archangels so early meant that I had Dan worried, he disembarked everything on turn 1, and didn't enter a 10 point building until about turn 3 or 4 due to my ability to focus my long rang fire. He was also a little afraid of the Phoenix missiles, their ability to do 8 damage to a building in 1 shot is not to be sniffed at. 

My Archangels did nothing for 3 turns! 1st turn 1 turned up, failed to destroy the Destroyers Intruder, got taken out by Harbingers reaction fire. Turn 2 and 3 the remaining one failed to destroy anything. My Phoenix failed to hit with his big missile shot, booo.
My Katanas were also pretty useless for 3 turns (3 building damage turn 1, 4 turn 2, 4 again turn 3) 
After turn 1 I was in 4 buildings and Zombie was in 3 (2 units in 1 building to be safe)

What did work quite nicely, was putting the card Black Project on the Starsprite drones. It can be devastating! My Drones survived 3 Reapers and 4 minders reaction firing and took out 2 of the Reapers, they followed up by removing the Destroyers dropship. 

Using my Wolverines as a strike unit meant I could jump in front of the other Destroyer Intruder and down it, turn 2 and no more Destroyer movement........or so I thought.

Zombies Reavers wiped 2 squads of infantry in 2 turns by destroying 2 10 point buildings. 4 Reavers are rude as fuck! In response 3 Rapiers over 2 turns (5 firing in total) wiped them out. 
My Phoenix finally hit with his missiles, but rolled a 1 to damage. That was both the missiles failing epicly!
After turn 2 I had 3 pieces of intel (my Praetorians found a bomb!!) and found 1 focal point. Zombie also had 3 intel, but he had found 2 Focal Points. I was in another 2 buildings to search, Zombie was in another 1.

4 Reavers is a little bit naughty
The Praetorians were killed by falling masonry (and the sabotaged piece of intel), only 9 damage points had been done to the building!!! Obviously they weren't trained for dealing with masonry. They didn't even get their 2nd search. 
2 squads of my infantry also didn't get a second search roll! 
My last squad hightailed it to a safe-ish building on Zombies side, they were joined by Destroyers (who used secret entrance) and Warriors. Zombie had already searched this building.  

Zombies other warriors went from a 10 pointer (finding intel) into another 10 pointer, but I couldn't do enough damage to either, I really needed activation, as I left it with 2 damage left!
After turn 3 I had 3 intel, plus a Focal Point, Zombie had 5 intel and 2 Focal Points

Zombie won activation, rolled for his Warriors and found another Focal point, this meant that the first one found (with his stranded destroyers) was removed and a new one placed. He flew the Warriors into the CQB - which was a big mistake.
I activated my last troops, they were duly wiped out by Warriors and Destroyers but in a last ditch effort to collect intel, they rolled a 6 and found a focal point. This meant that the other Focal point Zombie had found earlier disappeared. 
Now, because I had activated my infantry early, knowing they would die - it meant I could take out the building with 3 units in it - I did. This also removed a Focal Point.  

Dan took out the Focal Point in the building on his side, as it only had 2 dp left (worried about my Phoenix bum-rushing it to hold it).
After turn 4 I had 4 intel and a Focal Point, Zombie had 6 intel

Turn 5, I needed to win activation and take out the Oppressor. As the final focal Point was deep in my half I knew I could stop the Scourge from contesting, I just had to stop the building from being shot down. 
Unfortunately Zombie won activation and took out the last Focal Point. I did take out the Oppressor that turn, but we called it as we wouldn't change the score of the game at all. 

In the end 6-4 to Dan, and none of the 5 Focal Points discovered during the game left at the end. 
The upside down hawk building was my last bastion of hope

My biggest mistake was not entering my 10 point buildings on turn 1. I entered larger buildings to keep safe, but Scourge cannot play the long range demo game until at least turn 2 or 3. Had I entered the 10 point buildings on turn 1, I would have had at least 2 more search rolls. I'm not saying I would have won, but you never know.
Dice failed me too, but it all evens out eventually. Phoenix, Falcons, Katana and Archangels all failed miserably in the first 3 turns when it really mattered, they started doing better in turn 4 and 5, but the game was almost up by then.

Conclusions on the actual mission, rather than the game:
Recon+ offers something different to Recon. It keeps the battle contained, there is no extracting objectives, therefore losing squads to reserve. It is very quick paced, as can see from the report, a lot happened. I think that slower armies still have a good chance of winning this mission. 
Also when an opponent rolls a 6 for intel you aren't immediately depressed as it finds a Focal Point, you need to think about holding that Focal Point or destroying it. It is very interesting. 


  1. Hm, that scenario looks really interesting!

    I need to give it a whirl with my PHR. :)

  2. Definitely try it, I think it is quite a good on for PHR as it keeps everything on the table

  3. Madness! Madness I say! :D Need to try that when I play next time!

  4. I'm sold! I'll play it my next game, which may or may not be tonight. :-S. But if Recon+ works as well as Push the Line, I will us it in our next tournament on May 9th...

    If you haven't tried it yet, I strongly recommend Push the Line from GothCon 2015. The key to that mission is even if you plan on becoming the " defender" after Turn 3 and falling back, you must control at least one Focal Point on Turn 3, or it's almost impossible to win (but not quite impossible, just almost)...

  5. Thanks for the Beta test BR.

  6. It isn't any risk that one person get a focal point in the last turn? I'm thinking that if the opinion regarding Recon is that one player could get a 1 and the other player an objective the same result should be very possible here as well? One player in the last turn (most likely activating the infantry last) rolls a 6, get a point and there is no chance for the opponent to get near the focal point so a roll of a 6 could mean three points. One way to modify the mission could be that no new focal points could come up in turn 6 and that you start with three focal points on table that will be removed as the players roll a six.

    BTW I like that it wasn't a battle report but a "main pointer" which was much more extensive than the small "battle reports" usually on the blogs around the world. In a good way of course but do have put a lot of pressure on your next "battle report" :-) /Egge

    1. If you are a canny player, you will realise that your opponent has a search left, you can move squads in, just in case he finds a focal point.

      What started as a quick write up slowly deteriorated into a proper battle report, I kept remembering crucial things that happened.

    2. Deteriorated is absolutely the wrong word. "Improved" and "became more interesting" are more correct, Sir. /Egge

  7. Sounds like a great mission. I'll definitely try it.

  8. Just an idea, but a '6' could = roll an other die 6; 1-3 = FP, 4-6 = objective.
    Also what happens (mabe I missed it) if play "A" gets a FP, player "B" moves in to search and also finds a FP?


    1. The idea is to keep the randomness down, so I'm not sure if that would work unfortunately.

      If a 6 is rolled just like the original Recon no more intel can be rolled for in that building.

  9. First, I need to try this. I think players are ok w/ lucky 6 on last turn for the win, it's the turn 1 lucky 6 that puts one player way ahead that leaves that unsavory taste.

    Second, random thought came to mind while reading comments. I wonder if a balanced mission could be made where particular buildings were marked as intel hubs. Each turn they give up a max 1 intel VP, 1 or 6 the hub is removed. So buildings that continually give up VP throughout the game. Still suffers from the unlucky 1's, but getting a 6 early wouldn't necessarily be good. Maybe a way to re-establish a new intel hub once one is removed, or mix in FP in the mission.


  10. Played Recon+ Tuesday evening. It is AMAZING! Much better than normal Recon. I won't go into details here, but it is really, really good, makes for a tense game where you need to keep stuff alive and mobile. We played PHR vs PHR, and I lost 11 VPs to 12 VPs, but at the end of Turn 4 it didn't look like it would be that close. Then on Turn 5 my opponent found a FP (2nd of the game, the first was found Turn 2), and then on Turn 6 my surviving Sirens found a FP! If he hadn't Drive Hacked my Nemesis, I probably would've won, or at least tied, and I had him on KPs. Great variation, I highly recommend it, and I will be running it in our next tournament, May 9th!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it JD, I played it again on Tuesday too - I won 14-9 but it was only the last couple of turns that swung it. My opponents Sirens found a FP on turn 2 plus 3 other pieces of intel!! I just could not stop them.

    2. I played it again this past Thursday, this time vs a UCM air superiority list that included Longbows (different opponent than the first time I played Recon+). I won by 2 VPs, and we found 2 Focal Points. Again, very close game, out of 4 squads of infantry (2 of Immortals & 2 of Sirens) I only had one squad left at the end of the game. Lost 4 Phobos, but took out 3 Falcons. Men of the Match were my drive on Helios, which Countermeasures Hacked a squad of 2 Falcons at the start of turn 2 and blew them away. He used a Phoenix, too, which is a beast with those chainguns. And he took a squad of 3 Fireblades, which wrecked my infantry and really kept me from going into buildings I wanted to search for intel. People need to start taking Flame units; they're scary as hell to every infantry squad!

      Anyway, I really like Recon+, can't recommend it enough!