Shot from the Rock

Time to play another game against Adam! This time I spiced up my Jan GREL Hoverbike spam with some Caprice! Adam’s put some more terrain on the terrain from his Infinity tables, to add some more things to break up long lines of fire.

Overview

I’ve been meaning to get back to Caprice for awhile now, so I gave it a shot. I took the Caprice Invasion Detachment, which allows Caprice units to ignore roles and for me to take CEF stuff in secondary roles. Orders are pretty important in this game, so I decided to try construct the groups such that they leverage the ability to stack orders.

The first group is an attempt to get as cheap a combat group as I can get so I can cram some Hoverbikes in the list. For only 24 points, I was able to take a Peregrine and two infantry squads. I figured the sniper squad might be able to shoot at some light gears or enemy infantry, and I would tuck the Recon squad in the back somewhere while the Peregrine and Hoverbikes do some work. The Recon squad does all the ordering, and just sort of sits around wasting actions. I should probably find a better CGL, but I figure the squad will be pretty hard to kill and somewhat annoying to go scan.

Model TV A Weapons (React) Weapons (Mounted) Traits
CG1
GP
Recon Squad 4 1 LIW, LICW TD, Comms
+ Combat Group Leader IS:5+, CPs:1, CGL, Rank:2
Sniper Squad 4 1 LIW, LICW MIR (Silent)
Peregrine Gunship 16 2 MRL (AA) MRP (Link) Agile, VTOL
GREL Hoverbike Squad Jan 7 1 HIW, MIGL, MICW Agile, Jump Jets:2, Comms, SatUp
GREL Hoverbike Squad Jan 7 1 HIW, MIGL, MICW Agile, Jump Jets:2, Comms, SatUp
CG2
RC
Jammer Bashan Command 16 1 MAC LSG React+, Brawl:1, Climber, ECM+, ECCM, Comms, SatUp, TD, Stable, SP:+1
+ Combat Group Leader IS:5+, CPs:1, CGL, Rank:2
Meggido Meteor 21 1 MLC, LATM, HMG MSG React+, Stable, Brawl:1, Climber, Jetpack:4
Sniper Acco 7 1 LRF, LRP, MMG LSG Agile, Climber, Stable
Sniper Acco 7 1 LRF, LRP, MMG LSG Agile, Climber, Stable
GREL Hoverbike Squad Jan 7 1 HIW, MIGL, MICW Agile, Jump Jets:2, Comms, SatUp
GREL Hoverbike Squad Jan 7 1 HIW, MIGL, MICW Agile, Jump Jets:2, Comms, SatUp
CG3
SK
Kadesh Neutron 17 1 MPA, MMG MSG React+, Stable, Brawl:1, ECM, Climber, Jetpack:4
Aphek Barrage 13 1 LRP (Link), HMG LSG React+, Stable, Brawl:1, Climber, ECM, TD
Aphek Rex 14 1 MRC, LATM, HMG LSG React+, Stable, Brawl:1, Climber, ECM, TD
+ Combat Group Leader IS:5+, CPs:1, CGL, Rank:2
Assault Squad Team 3 1 LIW, LICW HIS (Burst:1)
21 models 150 16

The second squad is for fun. It’s got a Meggido Meteor in there for laser action and to offer some ATM firepower. I had hoped to make the Command Jammer Bashan a CO to be able to use its two command points, but I ran out of points to make that happen. The Bashan is a good ECM+ platform and really just exists to defend against hacking attempts. It’s got a MAC but I’m not likely to be firing it at things if I can avoid it. To round out the group, I took two sniper Accos, which are quickly becoming my favorite Acco profile.

Accos aren’t very good at shooting things. Even with 3d6, on a 5+ gunnery, you’re basically just hoping to roll a 6 on one of the dice, so adding Precise is a big deal and really improves the likelihood of getting damage in. There is something to be said for using the climbing on the Accos to get the gunnery bonus which pushes the gunnery to 4, which helps. Throwing two more hoverbikes in this group just ’cause.

The last group is a Kadesh Neutron, just to see what’s up with that profile. Ditto for the Aphek Barrage. I know I like the Aphek Rex. The Assault squad is literally there to fill out the combat group and to secure a hold objective.

Adam took a Mammoth to provide some MMG coverage to his backfield and then padded out the group with Stingers, infantry, and a Spearhead Hunter to be a Commanding Officer for similar reasons to my Jammer Bashan.

Model TV A Weapons (React) Weapons (Mounted) Traits
CG1
GP
Mammoth Sledgehammer 29 2 MATM, HSC (Precise), MRC (Auto), 2xMMG (Auto) 2xMAR React+, Lumbering, TD
Stinger 4 1 LMG (T) MABM (T)
Stinger 4 1 LMG (T) MABM (T)
Stinger 4 1 LMG (T) MABM (T)
Infantry Squad 4 1 MIW, LIGL, LICW LIR
Infantry Squad 4 1 MIW, LIGL, LICW LIR
Spearhead Hunter 10 1 HAC, LVB LAPGL Hands, SP:+1, Comms, SatUp, ECCM, Vuln:H
+ Commanding Officer 3 IS:4+, CPs:1, CO, Rank:4
CG2
SK
Arrow Jaguar Thunder, Seccom 14 1 MAC, LVB LATM, LAPGL Hands, Agile, Airdrop, Comms, SatUp, ECCM
+ Combat Group Leader IS:5+, CPs:1, CGL, Rank:2
Crossbow Grizzly 13 1 HAC, LSMG, LVB MATM, HMG Hands, React+
Crossbow Grizzly 13 1 HAC, LSMG, LVB MATM, HMG Hands, React+
White Cat 11 1 LAC, LVB LRP Hands, Agile, ECM+, ECCM, TD (Aux), Comms, SatUp (Aux), Sensors:36 (Aux)
CG3
RC
Sniper Jaguar Thunder, Seccom 14 1 HRF, LVB LRP, LAPGL Hands, Agile, Airdrop, Comms, SatUp, ECCM
White Cat 11 1 LAC, LVB LRP Hands, Agile, ECM+, ECCM, TD (Aux), Comms, SatUp (Aux), Sensors:36 (Aux)
Wild Ferret 6 1 LSMG, LVB Hands, Brawl:-1, ECM, ECCM, Comms, Vuln:H, SatUp (Aux), Sensors:36 (Aux)
Wild Ferret 6 1 LSMG, LVB Hands, Brawl:-1, ECM, ECCM, Comms, Vuln:H, SatUp (Aux), Sensors:36 (Aux)
20 models 150 16

He’s got his favorite ATM doom squad which has two Crossbow Grizzlies and a White Cat to set things up. He added an Arrow Jaguar to be the leader for resilience and ECCM to prevent easy Designated Scans. The last group was his Recon group to TD stuff for all his horrible ATMs.

Deployment

I think Adam deployed first, spreading out his recon squad across his table side. I put down my GP squad next, with the Recon/Sniper Squad, the Peregrine, and the Jetbikes.

Adam deployed his SK group next, with all the ATMs, on my left so I put down my Kadesh/Aphek group, clustering them behind cover. I figured I’d be able to push them to the right a little, see if I could get any work out of them.

Finally, it was time for the big robits to hit the table. The Mammoth made its presence known in the middle of the table, backed up by Stingers and infantry squads. I put down my Meggido/Bashan/Acco blob on the left, screening my Hoverbikes.

Objectives

Adam and I chose the exact same objectives.

  • Caprice Objectives
    • Assassinate
    • Break the Line
    • Hold
  • North Objectives
    • Assassinate
    • Break the Line
    • Hold

He put the Hold objectives near his SK group and I split mine–one near the Recon squad on the right, one near the cheap assault team on the left. I figured that would be pretty easy to get. Break the Line was also easy, and then he chose to go after my Bashan and Aphek Rex for Assassinate. I chose the Hunter and the Jaguar sniper as my assassinate targets, because there were comparatively less things over there.

Fight!

Adam starts off by trying to ECM Hack my Meggido. I foolishly ECCM Firewall in response, which lets him disable ECM+ on my Bashan. This is bad for two reasons: 1) I lose ECM+ on my Meggido 2) his assasinate target, the Bashan, is now down TWO defense dice. I should’ve just let him go after the Meggido, keeping the Bashan on 4 dice and only dropping the Meggido to 3. It doesn’t go super poorly though, and my Acco cripples the Ferret with a well placed rifle round.

Another one of his Recon gears target designates my Kadesh. I raise ECM on the Kadesh with an order (which I’m now realizing we didn’t roll for because the Aphek doesn’t have comms), and then I eat three ATMs from the Jaguar Arrow and the two Crossbow Grizzlies. Thankfully, I only take 4 points of damage.

Adam’s Ferret way over on the right pushes up to the midline of the table and hides in cover. I throw up Let Them Have It (LTHI) on the Recon squad, then I activate my bikes on the right and use their 24″ move to get behind the Ferret. After lighting it up with the bikes’ HIW, I cripple the Ferret. That 24″ move is really, really good…

because it also lets me shift my other bikes to within 18″ of the Ferret. Even on 1 die, that’s enough to kill the Ferret.

I strafe the Peregrine to the right and open up on the Ferret on the left that tried to ECM my Meggido. Even with LTHI, the burst from the MRL, and the linked MRP, I don’t put any more damage on it, ending the Peregrine’s move out of LoS.

The SK group activates and drops a ATM on the Meggido from the Mammoth, but I roll well and nothing happens.

I try to take on the Crossbow Grizzly with my Apheks, but the Rex and Barrage barely scratch the paint and only put two points of damage on it. I’m really not liking the Barrage so far. It’s shorter range, doesn’t hit as hard as a LATM from a Rex, and it doesn’t really fit in this combat group. I think I’ll like it better against a spammy army like Utopia where I can bullrush them with Stable Caprice Mounts.

The Stinger on my far left tries to take on my Hoverbikes, but they’re pretty invincible in cover. Blast doesn’t ignore partial cover if you fire direct, which I still think is weird, but it’s a decent balancing mechanic. Firing direct is the only reliable way to get multiple dice on secondary targets, since the FO/TD bonus dice don’t apply to secondary targets. To make sure it’s not just insta-death, currently Blast doesn’t work in direct mode. Not intuitive, but there you have it. I activate the Meggido group and cripple the Stinger with a rifle shot from the Acco. Man, rifles are great!

I fire an ATM at a Grizzly from the Meggido and plink another point off, then shuffle the rest of my group around, pushing the bikes forward into positions to attack for the next turn. I push them forward enough to expose them to a concerted effort to kill them by the Grizzlies, but I’m gambling that Adam won’t want to expose the Grizzlies to return fire from my mounts.

I win initiative, and activate my squad with the Peregrine in it. I do some damage to the Jaguar sniper that Adam’s got out, but don’t cripple it.

My bikes do manage to get all the way into Adam’s deployment zone and try to kill the stinger, but don’t get anything done. I retreat them to just inside Adam’s deployment zone, basically immediately out of the left side of the below picture, behind the rock. Without the 24″ move, I would never have been able to make that move.

Adam keeps up the pressure on my Aphek/Kadesh group, nearly killing my Aphek Rex CGL by finding some angle I didn’t see for a TD and ATMs from his Grizzlies. I retreat my Aphek Rex into total cover, protected by the Kadesh’s ECM. After shifting my Aphek Barrage all the way to the right to back up the Peregrine, I successfully ECM Hack the Mammoth, limiting the damage it can do when it activates.

Adam shifts his Jaguar sniper away from my Jetbikes on his left (my right), but I punish this by shifting Accos forward and then get an elevated position on the Jaguar to get it out of cover. The rain of rockets and missiles from the Accos and the Meggido leave the Jaguar with one hit point. Something hits the bikes in Retaliation and shaves two hit points off (it was some sort of non-AI weapon, I forget what). The bikes were behind the little cardboard wall near the dropship, so there was plenty of movement to make this happen.

The Mammoth opens up with MMGs on my poor Hoverbikes, but I manage to roll well and keep them alive.

A new turn rolls around. The White Cat is a bit exposed so, I climb an Acco up and hit it with a rifle.

The second Acco takes out the White Cat from the rocks…

and I finish off the other Ferret with the Meggido’s laser. I finish off the Jaguar sniper with the bikes too. Unfortunately, I foolishly shift the Bashan away from the threatening Mammoth.

The real threat is the SK ATM group, and I lose the Bashan.

One of the Grizzlies takes out a base of Bikes with a quick burst of MG fire.

I re-ECM the Mammoth with the Aphek Barrage. My bikes have already gotten both Break the Line points, and it looks like Adam won’t be able to deny me Hold or Assassinate. I’ve already taken out the Jaguar, and he’s got the Bashan. I probably can get the Jaguar without much difficulty, and I might be able to deny Adam Hold if I can get my Bikes and Accos up there. There’s no way Adam’s getting Break the Line, so we decide to see if he can kill my Aphek Rex CGL with his Mammoth.

Adam unloads two MAR blasts on the Kadesh and Aphek, without incident. It’s now pretty late, and we’re tired, so we call it here. We both have Hold, I have Break the Line, and we have a half an Assassinate each, making it a:

5-3 Caprice Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Well, bikes continue to be amazing. They’re very difficult to play against, and it’s a pretty difficult puzzle to unpack, because it involves:

  1. Infantry Durability – It’s really hard to kill infantry, even with 4d6 HMG against 4d6 in cover, because with agile it’s a wash.
  2. Hoverbike Speed + JJ – Being able to ignore all terrain < 2″ and teleport 24″ away is really really strong, and lets them accomplish basically all the objectives and punish units that extend forward to deal with them.
  3. Hoverbike Loadout – EW 5+, SatUp, and MIGL make them good at killing anything with either FO + ATMs from somewhere on the table or just grenading things in the butt

In the games we’ve played, Adam generally has had no trouble finding shots on Hoverbikes, sometimes before they activate, on the first turn, but does no damage. By the time they arrive on his side of the table where he can stack activations of HMGs/other AI weapons (and he needs to do this) to kill them, they’ve already accomplished their objectives and now they’re harassing elements of his army and I consider them expendable.

It gets to be pretty unfun to play against, and I’ve had a pretty decent win streak going as a result of how awesome bikes are. As far as Caprice goes, I am unimpressed with the Aphek Barrage. I think I would’ve been better off taking another Rex. The Meggido did fine, but I’m wondering why I don’t take two Aphek Rexes for a little more. I do want some sort of action for the Jammer Bashan, perhaps giving them smoke would be appropriate. I’ll consider that for next time. The Kadesh was fine. I think it really wants to be aggressively moving up the board, but I have to compare it against the LHT which has a little more oomph to it. The ECM is nice though. Lots to think about.

I am very impressed with the Acco snipers. I don’t think the LAC, even with burst, is all that important, as with a GU of 5+ you’re really looking to just roll that 6. So I’d rather have the rangebands of the rifle and look to roll that 7, thanks to precise. I figure that’s enough to put the hurt on small things, and maybe even enough to damage an AR6 trooper gear.

Caprice is pretty fun, but they don’t really fit my playstyle right now. I suppose I just need to take them without a bunch of CEF backup and see how they feel. They’re not as fast as CEF but they do seem to be more consistent, and they seem to like to support one another. The cool toys are very expensive though, for not a huge amount of additional benefit. I think I need to figure out a good use for orders for them, as they don’t need LTHI. Definitely looking forward to trying out some more builds with them.

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

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

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