Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Just the Hurt I'm Looking For

Some actual gaming played this weekend. Tim came up, and despite him pouring blood and sweat and probably booze into painting my Junkers and Gladiators for Urban War, all I wanted was some AT-43.

It helps that I now have 4 armies for AT-43 and three of them have not seen actual game play.

So I rolled up a mission (#2, Bridgehead) and we threw down. Bridgehead is odd for AT-43 missions in that it uses none of the containers and low walls - the sole piece of terrain for Bridgehead is a hill. I opted for a three-tiered hill that gave us some good cover and Line of Sight blockage.

I used my still-newish Cog box - the only Cog I owned as of yet - so my 2k points were pretty easy.

Tim played his UNA, and remarked quickly that he should have brought more Missile Launchers. The UNA Missile Launchers are the bane of many AFV's existence, and given that I brought a Type 3 AFV in the form of a Vandal, Tim was somewhat concerned.

In the end the Cog proved to be just about as scary as they could be. I lost one squad - the Sharpshooters, largely thanks to me not giving them TAKE COVER orders - but otherwise wiped out the UNA. I did take some damage on my Vandal and my Prowler (type 1 AFV) but as each has AutoRepair I believe they ended the game unscratched.

Tim was thilled about that.

After a fine Indian lunch, we opted for another round. This time I pulled out my Red Blok and rolled up another mission - Landing. We diced off and set me for the Attacker and Tim's UNA as the defenders.

And then I discovered what a bitch of a mission this is. The concept is pretty easy - there are three rows/areas of low walls that have to be seized. Capturing them lets you start raking in both Victory Points and Reinforcement Points. However the Defenders get to start in possession of the walls, basically hunkered down and defying you to take them. I learned a very painful lesson about the struggle of using Red Blok - who is generally a slow juggernaught, not fast and not very adept at long-range attacks - versus dug-in UNA troops who were all too happy to claim multiple objectives for their own Victory and Reinforcement Points. In the end I didn't really have any success - I made a half-hearted attack on the central line but was repulsed in detail. I didn't ever get enough Reinforcement Points to bring on some of my heaviest hitters (a trio of RPG Kollosus) onto the board. I mauled a couple of Tim's things, but not enough to brag about, certainly.

I have some ideas on how to do better the next time we roll up this mission, but I do think it's weighted a little too heavily for the Defender. They start with 25% less points on the board than the Attacker, but they really have good positions and are racking up Victory Points at a furious rate if they are smart. Lacking fast attack troops (something Red Blok is really lacking) you are forced to RUSH your AFVs and soldiers across the field, and then they can't shoot to force the defenders out. Just messy.

Ah well. It was still fun, and I look forward to more AT-43. The recent spate of rumors about the looming death of the game is worrisome but I'm not sure there's anything that can be done about it. Rackham has always been a strange company and if they do transform from a gaming/hobby company to a toy company, what can we really do about it? It's not like voting with our dollars even impacts things.

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