Saturday 25 February 2023

This is Not a Test - A Long Kiss Goodbye

Sarge looked over the shanty town from his rooftop vantage point. After a gruelling campaign, his veteran squad had never been physically stronger. But mentally they were tired - worn down by the endless waves of mutants trying to break their thin blue line. Now they had the mutants on the back foot, but a beast is always most dangerous when cornered. One way or another, the ongoing grudge match would end today.

Four their tenth mission, and the last in the FMRC campaign, the stout stunted rangers from Flores Minor faced off against Andrew's Mutants for the final time with the cold vengeance scenario. The FMRC were buoyed from their previous victories and were able to field 10 rangers, a dog, a depend-o-bot, and their two remaining tame hill folk. There were less mutants, only 11 in total, but they had caught the FMRC flat footed. Demo III, Snake Eyes III, and Pup were away on a side mission and would arrive late to the skirmish. Andrew also took a whole lot of luck, and bum rush as additional balancing aids to even out the discrepancy in warband values.

Sarge, Doc, and the rookie officer, Bull's Eye, deployed on a rooftop along the FMRC base line, while Hotshot, Point II and the rookie outrider, Tracker, deployed on a rooftop forward and left of the main position. Buckshot, Heavy, Ogg, Frygga and BT29.2 took up a position on the ground where they could cover approaches to the left and right, depending on where the mutants advanced from.

In what should have been wholly predictable, the mutants first move was to rush the forward position manned by Hotshot, Point II and Tracker. Under sustained fire from Blue Man, Mr Horny, the acid -spitting dogbomination and RPG-toting Trench, the forward position lost Hotshot immediately, followed soon after by his companions. Clearly Sarge's previous traumas had clouded his judgement when deploying, because I'm sure that has happened every time rangers have been posted out front throughout the campaign.

Under covering fire from the rooftop above, Heavy and Doc went to hold the right approach against the mutants. The killing zone created by the alleyway would keep them both busy throughout the engagement. Behind them, Bull's Eye was killed under mutant mini-gun fire, but Heavy managed to gun down the psychic ex-slave girl leader, and Ogg would eventually take down Handy, one of the last remnants of the original mutant crew. 

At the left approach, Frygga, BT29.2 and Buckshot had advanced in a fool's errand to rescue the forward post. Instead they were confronted by Grom, the hammer-bearer. The three rangers were unable to take him down despite their collective efforts. 

While Grom held his own, Demo, Pup and Snake-Eyes arrived and ran forward to support their allies at the left approach. 

The spitting dogbomination killed Buckshot, and Mr Horny, the mutant with a blunderbuss took out Frygga and BT29. It was Pup, with his blitzer skill who was finally able to take down Grom. Across the shanty town, rangers and mutants were dropping like flies and morale rolls caused further characters to flee. I am legally obliged to say that for only the second time in ten scenarios, Doc's accidentally acquired medic skill came in handy when he revived Sarge and thus saved the FMRC from an additional morale check - well, for a turn at least. 

By turn eight, Demo III and Snake Eyes III were the only rangers left standing, and only two mutants were left as well. Counting the scenario victory points, the FMRC came out on top with 10 VPs to the mutant's 9. A victory - but only just. Rolling for wounds, only one mutant was truely dead while both Point II and the rookie, Bull's Eye, were sadly KIA. While the mutants will need to seek out some hole to lick their wounds in, the FMRC can happily retire to barracks for some well deserved R&R.

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