Wily Coyote

Adam’s been doing a lot of talking about Black Talons lately, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to face them across the table when I arrived for a game. We’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of this table. I really need to put together the terrain I have for Heavy Gear though, it’s time for a change of pace!

Overview

I decided to take NuCoal for a spin, as I’ve finally put together some of my NuCoal models. Since I love CEF and their tanks and GRELs, I decided to play PAK. The Hoverbikes are a must, as are the LHT-67’s. ABMs are so good! I decided to increase the tank factor by throwing in the Fusiliers. Adam has a penchant for making Hacking attacks against my tanks so I protected both sets of tanks with an HC-3A and a Jerboa Flash.

Model TV A Weapons Traits
CG1
SK
Fusilier Javelin (CGL) 18 2 HAC (T), LATM (T), LLC (FT, AA), LAPGL Agile, Airdrop, Jump Jets:3 (Aux)
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
Fusilier Javelin 18 2 HAC (T), LATM (T), LLC (FT, AA), LAPGL Agile, Airdrop, Jump Jets:3 (Aux)
Jerboa Flash 9 1 MFC (Arm), RP (DM:6), LAPGL, LVB (Arm) Arms, Brawler:-1, Comms, ECM+, ECCM, Jetpack:6, Sensors:36, TD
CG2
RC
Command HC-3 (CGL) 14 2 LLC, LRP Agile, Airdrop, Comms, ECM+, Sensors:36 (Aux), TD, Jump Jets:2 (Aux), ECCM, SatUp (Aux), Vuln: H
LHT-67 15 2 MPA (T), LABM (T) Agile, Airdrop, Jump Jets:3 (Aux), Sensors:24, TD
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
LHT-67 15 2 MPA (T), LABM (T) Agile, Airdrop, Jump Jets:3 (Aux), Sensors:24, TD
CG3
GP
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad (CGL) 6 1 HIW, MIGL Agile, Jump Jets:2, SatUp
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL Agile, Jump Jets:2, SatUp
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL Agile, Jump Jets:2, SatUp
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL Agile, Jump Jets:2, SatUp
CG4
SF
Espion Firestorm CV (CGL) 14 1 MRL (Arm), LRP, LVB (Arm) Arms, Agile, ECCM, Stealth (Aux), Vet, SatUp
Espion 12 1 MRF (Arms, Silent), LRP, LVB (Arm) Arms, Agile, ECCM, Stealth (Aux), Vet
En Koreshi 8 2 HIS (AI, Precise, Corrosion), VB (Arm, DM:6, AP:1), LIW Agile, Brawler:1, Stealth, Vet
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
Total 150 19

I threw in an Espion and En Koreshi team as the “spice” of the list. Eh? EHHH? Adam took some Black Talons. It’s all Greek to me!

Model TV A Weapons Traits
CG1
SK
Omega Vulture Theta (CGL) 25 2 LRG (Arm, Precise), MFC, MVB (Arm, Reach:1), MATM Arms, Airdrop, Jetpack:4, Stealth, Vet
Dark Warrior Gamma 8 1 LAC (Arm), LFC (Arm), LRP, LAPGL, LVB (Arm) Arms, ECM, Airdrop, Stealth (Aux), Vet
Dark Warrior Gamma 8 1 LAC (Arm), LFC (Arm), LRP, LAPGL, LVB (Arm) Arms, ECM, Airdrop, Stealth (Aux), Vet
CG2
RC
Alpha Owl (CGL) 17 2 MRF (Arm), MRP, MVB (Arm, Reach:1) Arms, Airdrop, ECM, ECCM, SatUp, Jetpack:6, Stealth, Vet, SP:1
+ Commanding Officer 3 Init Skill:4+, CPs:1, CO, Rank:4
Alpha Raven 15 2 MRF (Arm), LRP, LVB (Arm) Arms, Agile, Airdrop, Comms, TD, ECM+, ECCM, Sensors:24 (Aux), Jetpack:6, Stealth, Vet
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
CG3
GP
Dark Coyote Omega Psi (CGL) 35 3 MRG (T, Precise), MRC (FT, AA), MAPGL, LCW Airdrop, Stable, Stealth (Aux), Vet, SP:1, Comms, ECM+, ECCM
Beta Squad 5 1 MIW (Silent), LIS (AI), LIGL Agile, Airdrop, Jetpack:4, Stealth, Vet
Beta Squad 5 1 MIW (Silent), LIS (AI), LIGL Agile, Airdrop, Jetpack:4, Stealth, Vet
Theta Squad 6 1 LIW (Silent), MAVM Agile, Airdrop, Jetpack:4, Stealth, Vet
Theta Squad 6 1 LIW (Silent), MAVM Agile, Airdrop, Jetpack:4, Stealth, Vet
Dark Mastiff Alpha 7 1 LRF (FT) APC:1, Airdrop, Stealth (Aux), Vet
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
Dark Mastiff Alpha 7 1 LRF (FT) APC:1, Airdrop, Stealth (Aux), Vet
+ Smoke 1 Smoke
Total 150 17

The big thing here (literally) is the Coyote, which helmed Adam’s GP group.

Deployment

I won the rolloff and had Adam deploy first, figuring with four CG’s to his three, I’d be able to keep my SF group as safe as possible and in range to strike at something. Adam started by putting down his RC squad, hiding his Owl and Raven behind some large bits of terrain. I responded by spreading Hoverbikes across my deployment zone, giving away absolutely nothing of my plans.

Adam’s next group was his SK squad, threatening railgun shots from his Vulture on a large chunk of the table. I decided I wanted to not hide the LHT-67’s and the HC-3A behind the big rock, mainly because they would’ve been too bunched up with the Hoverbikes that were already there and because I wanted to try something different from all the last games. Adam’s last CG ended up with plunking his Coyote across the table from my LHT’s along with a pair of Mastiffs, with the Theta squads inside. The two Betas went in the back to protect his commanders.

I put down my Fusiliers on my left, far away from the big scary things, but still in range to throw some ATMs their way if necessary, and then put my Espions and En Koreshi down near them to screen them. My midfield was very sparse, sadly.

Objectives

I chose Break the Line, figuring I can get some Hoverbikes or the En Koreshi across the table. Detailed Scan is a bit of a tougher choice. I don’t think about it too much, and decide to scan the Vulture and the Coyote, figuring the things with big guns are bad at electronic warfare. Hold is another odd choice… I intend to play a pretty non-interactive game so I chose that instead of Assassinate. Just get in, Scan and Break the Line, and use my combat group activation superiority to dive onto the Hold objectives on the last activation.

  • PAK Objectives
    • Break the Line (SK)
    • Detailed Scan (RC)
    • Hold (GP)

Adam, on the other hand, takes Assassinate from his Sublist, Break the Line, and Detailed Scan. He chooses my Fusilier (CGL) and my Espion Firestorm (CGL) as his targets for both Assassinate and Detailed Scan.

  • Black Talon Objectives
    • Assassinate (Sublist)
    • Break the Line (SK)
    • Detailed Scan (RC)

Adam and I have been talking a lot about choosing CGLs. They need to be resilient against both Detailed Scan and Assassinate, which limits the available choices for them. You can help with Detailed Scan by having something with ECCM or ECM nearby to offer +1d6 or to Jam whatever is scanning, but you really do want something that can take hit and keep going. It’s also important that you have the ability to issue orders or at least contribute to the fight in some effective way… anyway. We haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but it’s clear that definitely a good deal of thought needs to be put into selecting CGLs at list construction time.

Round 1

I win initiative and decide to try and deal with the Coyote and the Mastiffs. The tanks open up and fire their MPAs at the Coyote, haywiring but not damaging it, and drop ABMs on the two Mastiffs, lasing one with the HC-3A for good measure. The Mastiffs take a whopping ZERO damage. Ugh. What a terrible first activation.

Adam activates his GP squad and races the Mastiffs forward. I don’t have anything to react to that so they park right next to my tanks and the Coyote starts shooting at the HC-3A. Thankfully, I had one remaining action to evade and prevent a catastrophe where I lose the HC-3A. I activate the SF group next and try to put some hurt on Adam’s Raven, which pops smoke to augment its ECM, preventing any damage. I throw some firepower at Adam’s Beta squad too but nothing sticks.

Adam activates his Vulture-led SK squad and cripples my Hovercar with the Vulture’s railgun, throws up ECM on both Warriors, and retreats the Vulture… right into range of my Fusiliers to get a shot on it. I throw a pair of anti-tank missiles at the Vulture, scooting the tanks forward, but I haven’t been able to get any damage done, and the trend continues! I had thrown an action into one of the tanks to Focus the shot, to no avail, and I pop smoke on the remaining tank.

Adam activates his Recon squad next and starts haywiring my tanks. I ECCM Defense with the Jerboa which saves the tank from the Raven’s Haywire, but not the other from the Owl.

I activate the GP group and put some damage on one Mastiff with their MIGL, but fail to do anything to the Theta squad nearby. The Coyote blaps the bikes with railgun shot and plinks two damage onto them.

Round 2

Adam wins the initiative roll and elects to go after my tanks with his GP squad. I pop smoke on one of my tanks, but the Mastiffs take out my HC-3A and one of the Theta squads cripples one of my LHT’s with a back arc shot. The other narrowly avoids being crippled but isn’t doing so hot. Not a great start to the turn.

The tanks aren’t doing so hot, so I pull them away and blast one of the Mastiffs down to structure remaining and try to wound one of the Theta squads with an airburst missile, to no avail.

Adam shifts the Vulture and Warriors, and I foolishly react with a LLC on one of the Fusiliers, wasting an action against the top speed, ECM, and cover.

I finish off the damaged Mastiff with my Hoverbikes, but they take some fire and are crippled.

Another one of the Hoverbikes attempts Detailed Scan on the Coyote, and I’m surprised to find out that it’s good at things other than shooting and get Jammed! Thankfully, my other two bikes manage to scan the Vulture, which gives me one point.

Adam throws some more hacking attacks at my tanks, but I defend with my Jerboa. The Raven pushes into my deployment zone to try and make an attempt on Detailed Scan later and secure Break the Line now.

I move the En Koreshi as close as I can to Adam’s Owl, taking some top speed shots at the Beta Squad, which ignores my fire.

The Espion takes a potshot with its rifle, and the Espion Firestorm retreats back into my deployment zone to keep it away from Adam.

Adam activates his SK squad, re-ups his ECM on the warriors, and repositions the Vulture. I activate my Hoverbikes and lose the CGL squad to some return fire from the Theta squad. How disappointing!

I sneak a Hoverbike squad behind the Vulture, Forward Observe it, and nail it with a LATM from one of the Fusiliers, overkilling it. Well! That’s where all my dice luck went, I guess!

The Coyote fends off another pair of Detailed Scan attempts. Very frustrating.

The GP squad activates, and the Mastiffs get behind my tanks, one of them disgorging infantry. The Coyote dives between the two Hoverbike infantry squads and unloads with its MAPGLs, all but killing them both. Speaking of Infantry, I declare Charge on my En Koreshi and stab the Owl in the butt. Twice. It does like 2 damage. Ugh.

The Espions fare a little better, all but killing the Raven.

I lose one of my other Hoverbike squads to frag cannon fire from one of the Warriors…

and I respond by polishing off the Raven with a mix of MPA and LABM fire from my LHT’s

Round 3

I lose one LHT to some fire from the Theta squads, who manuever to get behind it.

I take a shot at one of the Warriors with an Espion, forcing Adam to burn a command point from his Owl to bring up ECM. It’s no good, as the Rifle puts three points of damage on the Warrior. Now that the Warrior is out of reactions, I finish off the Owl with the En Koreshi–finally rolling well in close combat–and put two more points of damage on the Warrior.

Adam activates the Warriors next, repositioning the crippled one and removing another set of bikes. Thankfully, last turn they had already gotten me a point for Break the Line.

I made another attempt to Data Scan the Coyote, but it doesn’t work. The Coyote tries to snipe one the Fusilier CGL to get Assassinate but whiffs.

My remaining LHT runs far away and drops an airburst missile on Adam’s remaining Mastiff, taking it out.

I position a Fusilier to make a run on my right-side Hold objective.

Round 4

Adam tries to take out my Fusilier CGL with his crippled Warrior and fails, but moves into view of my En Koreshi, who is only too happy to finish it off.

I dive my LHT-67 onto my right hold objective, only to be shot off of it by Adams’ Coyote and Theta Squads. No matter, the Fusilier I had moved to the right last round secures the Hold Objective along with my Jerboa securing my left Hold Objective.

Adam has 2 Break the Line points and a Detailed Scan (I think he scanned the Tank at some point). I’ve got 2 Break the Line points, both Hold, and one of my Scans, making it a

5-3 PAK Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Well, first off, I like PAK. It’s got most of the things that I like about CEF plus new toys, and that’s always exciting! The En Koreshi are terrifying, and really help you get to a point where you have activation economy dominance. I was talking with some long time HGB veterans and they were suggesting that I add Field Armor to the En Koreshi, meaning that they only take 1 damage instead of the 2 for taking a hit with a non-AI weapon. Being able to tank 4 railgun shots before dying, margin of success be damned, is pretty brutal. Also, being able to fill out an entire combat group for < 20 points is also amazing. Could easily take two En Koreshi and a CEF tank in the secondary role for the combat group, for example. Really interesting. I’m excited to develop these ideas further. I’ve seen the updated En Koreshi profiles, and they’ve gotten a few changes that switch up a few things but they’re still very very strong.

Fusiliers are a different beast than the LHT’s–they’re just more well rounded and slightly tougher. I’m still musing about how best to mix and match the tanks in my PAK and retain the flexibility in combat group primary roles that I’d like. I’ve been thinking about taking Chevalier CV’s as CGLs, and apparently now CGLs can be in the secondary role of a combat group, so that’s opened up a lot of different ideas for list construction. Just as a point of comparison, I think you have to spend about twice as long in the army builder for Heavy Gear than you do in Infinity. Part of that is familiarity and polish on the app, of course, but I really think most of it is the increased complexity and the multi-objective optimization problem you’re trying to solve.

At the moment, I’m really thinking that variety and flexibility is important. It’s not just rangebands, it’s tool kit. You really want to think carefully about the details. For example, Jerboas will likely have access to frag cannons to replace their rifles, and I took the MFC profile specifically to give me an option to deal with something up close. At range, I’m much more interested in Jamming, Hacking, or ECCM Defense actions, so the rifle is less appealing. It’s nice to have an arm mounted shotgun to fend off pesky infantry though.

This was also the first game where I used the LABMs on the LHT’s to attack in direct mode. Focus and Let Them Have It brings you to 4d6 against your primary and 3d6 against your secondary targets, ignoring partial cover, which is very very good, and being able to do it without any FO support is even better. In fact, it’s actually better. You’re still on 4d6 on a primary target with FO+TD and Let Them Have It, and on 1d6 on secondary targets. So Direct attack with Focus + Stable is far better on two-action models to clear out blobs of infantry. Good to remember.

Edit: It was pointed out to me by Kayuna that Blast only works in indirect mode, so there’s definitely a balancing mechanic here. Either I get one die on secondary targets and they don’t get cover, or I get 3 dice and they do get cover. So really I just want to catch things out of cover and hit them.

I’m quite irritated with my decision to leave the LHT/HC combat group out in partial cover. I don’t think I gained anything by that, especially because they don’t have any reaction-capable weapons and the Hovercar has a big bulleye painted on it (and Adam hates them with a passion, which doesn’t help). My biggest mistake though, was definitely choosing the Coyote over the Owl as my Designated Scan target. I suppose I was pretty confident in my ability to scan the Vulture, but not my ability to kill it, so I didn’t choose Assassinate. Given that I killed both the Owl and the Vulture, I should’ve picked Assassinate. I think between the Espions, the bikes, and the En Koreshi I could probably have gotten an Assassinate done.

Interacting with the Coyote at all was a huge mistake. I had planned to play the deployment game and just deny targets, which is mostly what I did. I suppose one could say I baited the Coyote to that side of the table with my LHT/HC… but that feel pretty unsatisfying to me. In any case, I think I could’ve gotten to 6 objective points had I gone after the Owl instead of the Coyote. Adam had more stuff to deal with my infantry this game, which sucked for me but is probably good for our friendship! Adam did a great job of destroying my LHT/HC group, but I didn’t lose anything else this game.

I was very impressed with the flexibility of the En Koreshi and Espions. I’ll have to think more about how best to use them in the future. There are some minor tweaks I would do to my list for a next game, but I think I’m going to try Caprice instead, just to switch things up. Thanks for reading!

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity and Heavy Gear nowadays, but I dabble in plenty of other game systems.

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