I’m so ready to be done army hopping! This is the last of the pre-Late Night Wargames games that Adam and I had scheduled. This time, I’m playing Tohaa and Adam is playing Combined Army. It’s cold enough in Adam’s garage these days that we elected to just play a game on the Novvy Bangkok table again to save time.
- Mission: Countermeasures
- Forces: Tohaa versus Combined Army
- Deploy First: Combined Army
- First Turn: Combined Army
I didn’t really have a solid plan for Tohaa, as I’ve probably got the fewest games of any faction in with them. I knew I wanted to try some of the all time greats though, and I wanted to try the new Pheroware stuff, colloquially referred to as “Tohaa farts.” I tried to distribute my threat between three Triads, and included Jaan Staar to be able to easily snag anything that I might need on the other side of the table.
With the Taqeul, Kriigel, and Diplomat, I had access to the full Neapolitan ice cream of Tohaa farts: Endgame, Eraser, and Mirrorball:
Mirroball might be the most vanilla, but it’s quite useful. More on that later. Adam really wanted to try the Spotlight + Guided trick, which resulted in the following list. Bit and Kiss to throw out pitchers, T-Drone, and Nox are the package, and there there’s just a bunch of good stuff CA all anchored around the Charontid Lieutenant.
The list itself is quite flexible–that Suryat with Tac Aware does a lot of work, as does the Caliban.
Adam won the rolloff and decided to go first, so I decided to stay on the side I was already standing on–the deployment zones seemed reasonably similar. He put the Combined Army Starter Pack (Ikadron + Imetron) on both sides of the board to protect his flanks against Tohaa airborne troops. The midfield was his Seed Soldier Paramedic and Caliban Engineer. The rest of his stuff was just tucked into relative safety, with the exception of Bit and Kiss who were hanging out in the middle with the Suryat ready to throw pitchers everywhere. To add threat, he stuck a Preta on my left.
Adam spent a command token to hold the Charontid and the T-Drone in reserve, then passed deployment over to me. I have to honor a Rasyat these days, so I set up to do that with a Sakiel, Keesan, and the Kaeltar all watching the back table edge. I also wanted to keep Keesan as far away from pitchers as possible, so that was a natural spot for her.
I left the Ectros, the Sukeul, and the Taagma out to ARO, with the Taagma covering the Preta’s advance disguised as a Gao-Rael Sniper. The Ectros and Sukuel got the SymbioMates, which I hoped was enough of a bluff to hide the Taagma.
Top of 1 – Combined Army
- Experimental Drug
- HVT: Identity Check
- HVT: Inoculation
Adam decided he didn’t want HVT: Kidnapping and instead we got Experimental Drug. I elect to not dock him orders because I want all 4 command tokens for later–I feel like Tohaa really needs that. He started things off by only using one short skill worth of Preta movement to avoid exposing it to the Gao-Rael. Then he set up White Noise with the Charontid for later.
Bit and Kiss tried to land a few repeaters to protect Adam’s HVTs, but whiffed all but one. So far, so good. Lots of orders into things I don’t particularly care about.
Adam then pushes the Charontid forward, in hopes of taking out my Gao-Rael. I reveal the Taagma and shoot back with a Breaker Combi. Due to range and cover we’re actually on reasonably comparable odds, but it only takes one plasma shot to kill just about anything, so that’s what happens.
Adam reloads Bit and Kiss with pitchers from a nearby Ikadron, pushing the baggage bot closer first, then fires pitchers again, this time landing all of them.
The Charontid keeps going and tries to take out my Ectros but a critical dodge gets me into safety with my ‘Mate still up.
Adam retreats the Charontid, cybermasks it, gets the Preta into a position covering the approach to it, and then puts the Suryat into suppression.
Bottom of 1 – Tohaa
- HVT: Identity Check
- HVT: Inoculation
- In Extremis Recovery
I’m feeling pretty good about this–I think I can snag Identity Check using Keesan, sensor the Caliban out of camo, and kill it with something to get In Extremis Recovery. All I have to do is kill the repeater in the way first, and it’s smooth sailing. I’ve got a linked Spitfire, what could go wrong? Well, on the way over there to kill the repeater, I discover that the Suryat in suppression can see this, so I take a shot from outside 24″ to force Adam to drop suppression. I whiff on 4 dice thanks to the Saturation Zone and take a wound on the Taquel. I try again, getting the Sukeul into position to try her hand at things, and take another hit from the Suryat, this time passing ARM.
The Sukeul tries next, whiffs all her shots and takes a wound through the ‘Mate.
I can’t keep trying this so I back off, taking more shots at the Suryat with the Taquel in good range and cover now, and again whiff all my shots. Thankfully cover saves my bacon, and I manage to scoot back without entering line of fire and set up a crummy little defense.
At this point I think I’ve thrown something like 15 dice at this Suryat, all of which are misses, and the Suryat just keeps hitting. Thankfully I’m rolling high this whole time so my ARM saves are at least okay. What a mess of a turn. I’ve had a decidedly awful turn, but I console myself by recognizing that Adam didn’t get anything done objectives-wise on the first turn either.
What really upsets me about this whole exchange is that I forgot about Mirrorball. Remember earlier when I said Mirrorball is the vanilla in the Neapolitan ice cream and it’s easy to forget it? Well, I could’ve spent all that time shooting at the Suryat throwing up Mirrorball, gotten the repeater with some pie slicing trickery, sensored both the HVT and the Caliban, and farted the Caliban to death with Endgame, perhaps even snagging In Extremis Recovery while doing so. How irritating. I wouldn’t have had the orders to retreat them, but I’d at least force Adam to try and force his way through 5 wounds of Tohaa without a Caliban while the Taqeul relentlessly farted on whatever came to dig them out.
This one simple mistake is basically the point at which I lost the game. It also is an excellent reminder of the dangers of relentless army hopping–you don’t get repeated practice with an army or even a list so you tend to forget things. There are some benefits, of course. I’ve played every army now and pretty much every sectorial. If I haven’t piloted a sectorial, I’ve at least fought it a few times, so I’ve got pretty wide coverage of potential rules interactions and overall strategies for each faction. I also have a reasonable feel for what makes each army tick and therefore I know how to take it apart, but I definitely lose out on depth, as I did here. First world problems.
Top of 2 – Combined Army
HVT: Identity Check
- HVT: Inoculation
- In Extremis Recovery
Adam decides to punish my mistake by sending in the Caliban. It plants a D-Charge for Sabotage and gets hit with Endgame from the Taquel.
I think Adam was prepared to write off the Caliban, but then he thought more carefully about it and picked it back up with one of Dr. Worm’s slave drones.
The Caliban D-Charges my Sukuel and gains 2 wounds, shrugging off the second endgame. After SMGing my Taquel, it goes after Keesan.
I shoot him in the face with a viral round and die to a Pulzar, and the Kosuil whiffs with his K1 combi. At least the Caliban is down to one wound again instead of 3.
With that, it’s back to me.
Bottom of 2 – Tohaa
- Follow Up
- HVT: Inoculation
I don’t have anything with structure on the table so I throw away Test Run and get Follow Up. I move the Ectros towards the Sakiel and Kosuil. Adam reveals a Noctifier and strips the ‘Mate, then I dodge the missile successfully on the second move.
I’m really low on orders and I don’t have time to be messing around, so I just push the Triad forward, letting a Preta dodge into view to chain rifle them all. I blast it into paste with the Ectros, but the Sakiel and the Kosuil lose symbiont.
They do their job though, grabbing Follow Up and HVT: Inoculation. Adam spotlights them through the repeater net he set up with Bit and Kiss, but that’s fine.
I retreat them to out of repeater range and attempt (and fail) to reset out of Targeted before passing turn.
Top of 3 – Combined Army
- HVT: Retroengineering
Of course, Adam draws HVT: Retroengineering, which is the worst because he’s got a Slave Drone right to my HVT. My Diplomat tries to flash pulse it but only succeeds after it gets the classified.
Adam recamos the Caliban and starts an attack run. I wait for it to get closer before attempting a discover to avoid the extra -3 for Discover range. Instead, I declare whatever the ARO it is that lets other models change their facing and manage to turn the Ectros and Kosuil around so it’s not a free Predator for the Caliban. Of course then I fail my discover roll with the Delegate.
Adam kills the Sakiel with his Charontid next. I briefly debated throwing E/M grenades on 6’s but ended up missing either way.
The Caliban comes around the corner, and I take my free discover with the Kosuil. I think should’ve dodged to make Adam spend more movement.
In any case, as the Caliban comes in, I drop an AP mine and dodge the Ectros away.
The Caliban gets Erasered by the Delegate, who dodged back into range from her earlier flash-pulse/discover position. As far as I know, you end out of engaged state if your target goes null, so Adam can’t claim Capture with the isolated Caliban. This forces him to run the Suryat all the way over, get hit by the mine, and prone crawl into position to avoid getting shot by the Ectros.
Bottom of 3 – Tohaa
- Net Undermine
Adam’s got 4 classifieds to my two. I snag a quick Net Undermine with Jaan Staar.
I think I could’ve attempted Rescue on the HVT near Jaan Staar, but I don’t think I could’ve done it safely with the Noctifier there. So, I attempted to go for Predator instead. I figured with one move I’d be out of LoF of the Noctifier, and then I could jump off the roof, be in base to base with both the Imetron and the Ikadron, and then split burst with my +1 burst Viral Pistol to try to get Predator in close combat. It’s weird how +1 burst on pistols now works in CC. Anyway, I shotgun down the Ikadron easily, setting me up for Predator. All I need is for the Noctifier to miss, and it doesn’t.
So, with that, Adam’s got 4 classifieds to my 3, making it a
8-3 Combined Army Victory!
Post Game Analysis
Well, I don’t think I’ll forget about Mirrorball again. I do like how resilient the list was. Sakiel are truly bonkers for their cost! I think I had some minor misplays aside from the Mirrorball stuff, but I’m liking the toolkit options that Tohaa presents. I don’t think I made any HUGE play mistakes on Turns 2 or 3, but Turn 1 was a disaster that I just didn’t recover from. I think I need to think a lot more carefully about Triad composition and weapon selection. Lots of things to think about, but not all that compelling of a game. I need a rematch to really sink my teeth in, I think.
One thing that we discovered is that basically every victory in Countermeasures is a major victory. You’re going to get +4 points for scoring more classifieds and then you have +1 classified point over your opponent by default at that point, so it’s a margin of victory of 5 or more. I suppose you could score 7 classifieds to your opponent’s 6 and thereby not get a major, but honestly that’ll be a pretty darn rare occurance. I’m not sure I like that scoring. It’s pretty brutal that what would’ve been a tie can turn into a major loss on one failed WIP roll at the bottom of 3. Ah well. You play the hand you’re dealt. Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!