Immediately after the events of the following Tabletop Simulator battle report, I packed up my Foreign Company and drove over to Adam (TheDiceAbide)’s place for a masked up game of outside.
Adam had mostly finished laying out his Ariadna table when I arrived, so after we set up some scatter it was time to get the ball rolling.
We had decided to play Capture and Protect because it involves a very clear, simple objective, and lots of interesting opportunities for attack and defense. Adam’s added some interesting shipping container buildings to the table which does a lot to break up LOF.
- Mission: Capture and Protect
- Forces: Foreign Company versus Dahshat Company
- Deploy First: Dahshat
- First Turn: Dahshat
I really struggle with ForCo. I can’t seem to find a list that makes sense to me that has a good balance of attack, defense, and resiliency. I think the issue is that ForCo is really heavily optimized towards single role units, so you’re encouraged to voltron them together in a mega link to get an aggregate “all rounder” profile. I think that’s ultimately what gives me so much trouble–I don’t enjoy links, and ForCo almost demands you take links… worst of all it almost demands you take a defensive link! BLEGH. GROSS.
So, in the lead up to the weekend, I was really struggling with what list to take, and tried out many variations built around similar themes. I was convinced that Adam would take double Zuyong HMG 3-model links, so I was building to fight Zuyong links on both flanks of the table. Without the ability to put up a serious repeater network in the midfield, I was very worried. Furthermore, the reason that the Zuyong double link is so strong is not just the Tac Aware spam but also the presence of the Firewall -6 tinbots! Even if I had a big hacking presence there isn’t a guarantee that I’ll get through the firewall. Furthermore, the hacker that’s going to be in the link is going to be Valerya, so I have to worry about getting Isolated… so that sent me down the rabbit hole of Bolt hackers which are immune to that.. you get the idea.
I eventually decided to play the things that I really loved about ForCo when I played them back in N3. Furthermore, I decided to stop trying to over-correct towards hacking dominance since it would be fighting Adam strength on strength, in his active turn, and ended up with the following:
I took the Hannibal, Massacre, Bolt MSR haris that I love so much. Now that Bolts have Marksmanship, it’s basically a 5-man link for just 3 models! I then took a full-model core of two Securitate Feuerbach (to have a very dangerous ARO) and three CSUs to keep the cost down. I then took the Uberfall, mostly because I’m determined to figure them out. They’re not a very good match for my playstyle, but I want to keep forcing the issue so I learn. The rest of the list is pretty much just good stuff, like two Zeros, an Akali, and then a bit of a strange choice, the Croc-Man MSR. I had initially thought I’d want to throw it over the centerline, because the penalty for failing is that it would end up on my back table edge with Mimetism -6 and good range bands.
Adam decided to surprise me by taking only one Zuyong HMG haris, and instead took a “Megariba Guard,” as he put it. It has ALL THE GUNS. Some folks are definitely… vocally disappointed with the changes to the Maghariba guard in N4, but I’m certainly going to try it before I decide that it’s a pile of garbage relegated to “for fun” lists. It’s certainly not that expensive in comparison to the old profile, and boy oh boy do I want to abuse all the guns in vanilla Haqq or Ramah. I’ll definitely grant that it does look to be a pretty bloated profile on paper.
Adam’s got a pretty irritating list to deal with, so I knew I’d have to be careful with what I left out to ARO.
Adam castled up on the left side of his deployment zone, tucking his Haris behind a building there and nestled his doctors and engineers back there. The Dozer hung out near the Uragan, and Adam stuck a Traktor Mul deep on the right side of his deployment zone to let him declare Warning! against AD troops. His Libertos and Zencha gummed up the center of the field, guarding his objective, then he passed deployment over to me.
I put my Securitate Feuerbachs in some pillboxes watching some very specific regions of the table. I made sure that there weren’t any very long firelanes and that Adam would have to extend something into the midfield to deal with the, even in the center of the table. The back of my deployment zone was covered by the three CSU and their shotgun templates, and then I stuck the Bolt MSR haris watching a tiny sliver of the board basically just outside my deployment zone, directly parallel to the table edge. I didn’t want to get into a firefight with Maggie on my active turn.
I stuck the Fugazi and Warcor on the right side of the table, figuring that Adam would most likely put Maggie over there, since that’s where he had the most support structures. There’s a lot of verticality to this table, so I didn’t have amazing spots to put the Croc Man. I figured I’d be able to catch something out of cover if I pushed really far into Adam’s deployment zone with it, so I left it on the ground next to the Zero Hacker. I also figured Adam would do some BS on the landing pad, so I left the Zero DepRep there, with the added intention of diving it onto the Maggie and dropping an E/Mauler… err. E/M mine… old habits.
Anyway, Adam dropped Maggie on my right, as I guessed he might (although he was considering the other side). In response, I put the Uberfall on that side to prevent Maggie from just driving up uncontested on that side and killing Hannibal.
Top of 1 – Dahshat
The game starts as I expected it might, with Adam throwing the Zuyong HMG at my Feuerbach Securitate.
I manage to delay it a few orders…
But eventually I lose both Securitate to the advancing Zuyong–it just dices down one and crits the other off the table. I eventually flash pulse it with the Fugazi and stop the bleeding, so at least’s that’s good. I gotta say I’m really impressed with Adam’s floating crystal objective thing. Very very cool.
Of course, Adam’s got a whole order pool to power Maggie, so she starts stomping around. It takes a few orders but he eventually guns down the Fugazi and Warcor.
He ends the turn with Maggie in suppression as if daring me to attack her.
Bottom of 1 – ForCo
Maggie’s watching the Uberfall’s approach and is being screened by the Valerya and the other Zuyong, so I don’t bother advancing them. They’re occupying a fair amount of Adam’s headspace, so I guess that’s worth 20 points. I decide I want to start attacking Adam’s backline and land a Akali combi rifle successfully next to Adam’s Traktor Mul. I dump three burst into it and it survives. Irritating. I decide that I want to take care of Adam’s engineer, so I go for the snipe and succeed as the Traktor Mul dodges into base contact.
For some reason I had it in my head that Akali were CC > 20, so I was very disappointed to learn that they’re only CC 16 when I declared CC against Adam’s Traktor Mul. I lose the face to face and the Akali is tied up, but that’s okay–I just needed to get rid of the engineer and can probably unstick the Akali later if I really need to. Adam’s certainly not going to waste any more orders dealing with it, so I’m at least guaranteed an order.
I push the Croc Man all the way into Adam’s deployment zone and take a single attack on the Zuyong Tinbot from behind. Adam passes both ARM saves, and I’m out of orders for the Cron Man. Blast.
Maggie’s vulnerable though, so I send in the Bolt MSR, taking a Fanous out on the way.
I then dump the remainder of my orders firing AP ammo into Maggie until I drop her on my last order. PHEW!
Top of 2 – Dahshat
The Bolt and Croc Man are tying up Adam’s forces, so he sends in a Libertos to kill the Croc Man. The Bolt discovered the Libertos on the way in, so I just started dodging with the Croc Man.
In retrospect, I should’ve dropped a mine because that would also have covered the Uragan. Huge mistake! In any case, I manage to dodge for something like 3 orders, which is good but the mine would’ve been better. Sigh.
The Zuyong HMG goes after the Bolt next–I roll fantastically and land a 15, but Adam crits and blows the Bolt off the table. Sigh.
My CSU keeps up the luck though, and finally puts a stop to the Zuyong HMG with his humble rifle briefcase.
With Maggie down and the Zuyong down, Adam pulls the Zuyong Tinbot and Valerya back towards his deployment zone to keep them away from the Uberfall.
Bottom of 2 – ForCo
I decide to activate the Uberfall with their impetuous order, and then we note that I have to double back to get the Chimera out of her little deployment pocket. We decided that this was probably fine, Rules As Intended, and just moved on with things.
I do Adam’s last favorite thing and activate my Zero to drop an E/M Mine covering the Zuyong Tinbot, then I activate the CSU core and send them after the Zuyong. Two of them rolled 8-4 MOV (my absolute favorite), which allowed them to get into range very very quickly.
The Zuyong dodges the E/M Mine but takes a wound from the CSU’s rifle. I get the another CSU into range and shotgun the Zuyong down.
I then pull the Uberfall a little back, and set up to defend my objective with a repeater, and E/M mine, and the CSU core.
Top of 3 – Dahshat
Adam climbs his Zencha off the roof and tries to take out one of the CSU. She survives, but I reveal my Zero HD and Oblivion the Zencha. Adam thought I was bluffing a HD, and thought I only had a KHD. NOPE!
He then grabs his Extreme Prejudice classified off my Croc Man with his Libertos, and uses Valerya to take out the lead CSU with a crit.
Since he’s stalled out, Adam decides that he has to stop me and picks up the Zuyong Tinbot with his Doctor’s bot and moves his Doctor into a position covering the objective. To complete his defense, he stands up his Ghulam Lt.
Bottom of 3 – ForCo
I activate the Uberfall and get some pupniks killed with their impetuous order… but oh well. I then try to take the Zencha with my CSU, fail to kill it, and now have to contend with a mine from the Zencha.
I shoot the Zencha with Hannibal’s multi-marksman rifle and drop it (we forget about NWI and treated it like 2 wounds, no biggie), and then I clear the mine by throwing the CSU under the bus to hopefully also take out Adam’s Ghulam. The mine is gone, but nothing else happens.
I then start pushing Hannibal and Massacre up, forcing the Ghulam doctor back into cover and killing the Ghulam Lt.
I get smoke down on the box, and then stupidly decide to clear the mine with Hannibal and try to tie up the Uragan with Hannibal instead of just throwing smoke to cover the entire approach.
Hannibal dies horribly, and I manage to get the box but Massacre gets exploded by AROs on his way in.
The irritating thing is that we forgot to deploy HVTs, so I couldn’t Secure the HVT for a tie. Adam did offer to rectify that, but I don’t think it would’ve changed anything, especially since he would’ve deployed it protected by Valerya and the Zuyong. It turns into a
4-3 Dashat Company Victory!
Post Game Analysis
This was an incredibly frustrating end to a frustrating series of two games. Here’s the game I played the same day, but in the morning, if you want to read about that:
I didn’t completely think through some orders in both games. In this game, I definitely should have placed a mine when the Libertos was coming in. I’m going to lose it, I might as well have threatened the Uragan at the same time. Finally, I had the orders to smoke up the entire path to the objective and just have Hannibal tank the mine instead of clearing it. I was SO CLOSE to a major victory. SO CLOSE, but I had to mess it up with my boneheadedness.
This just goes to illustrate the fact that now that we’re in a new edition, everything is new(ish) to everyone. We all have to take a step back and carefully evaluate toolkits in context of not just a list but the situation on the table. After all know your enemy and know yourself and you will win 100 battles and all that. Aside from some mis-steps with the Croc Man and the disastrous final run with Hannibal and Massacre, I’m reasonably pleased with my performance this game.
I do want to take some time to discuss the Uberfall. The commonly accepted usage model of just blowing up an whole order pool speculatively tossing smoke up the field and deleting something is violently opposed to my preferred playstyle. I’m an aggressive player, but not to the point of intentionally throwing away not just a unit but a whole turn to delete something. One could argue that I did just that against Maggie with the Bolt, but I didn’t intend to lose the Bolt. In fact, I was hoping to tie up the rest of Adam’s forces with it and perhaps even kill the Zuyong–not impossible! Sadly, crits happen.
Nevertheless, the Uberfall have consistently been a bad impedance match for my playstyle. I’m unwilling to spend orders on them without a high likelihood of success and speculatively throwing smoke isn’t particularly attractive from an efficiency perspective. I think this game has had me come to terms with the fact that the Uberfall aren’t going to be used as a alpha-strike piece by me. I think they’re more of a Distraction Carnifex–if my opponent focuses energy containing them, my other forces can capitalize. If they don’t contain the Uberfall, they’re dead. So I think just existing as a threat is worth their 20 points now, and not having to cancel their order dramatically increases my likelihood of taking them even in Vanilla Nomads.
I would also like to add a comment on the pleasant surprise of the murder machine that is a linked 8-4 CSU. HOLY MOLEY. They got me there and delivered all the firepower I could want on target. Shoot me? Fine. Eat triple template. Dodge? Fine. Eat BS 15 shotgun. Try to hide? 8-4 or the potential for climbing plus. There’s definitely something there. I’ll be trying them out more when I eventually return to ForCo after the initial round trip through all the factions at the start of the edition.
Speaking of which, NCA is going to be TERRIFYING now with the changes to Bolts. I am very excited for that. Well, that’s it. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading.