10/11/2020

Welcome to Calf Creek. A Five Leagues short campaign.

After so many sci-fi games I wanted something radically different, so I decided to try Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2nd Edition from Nordic Weasel Games. 

This rulebook lets you play dark Fantasy setting solo campaigns with a group of eight or so adventures, in a somehow similar style to what it was Mordheim.

The game has two main parts, the combat and the non-combat part, which is the creation of your warband and its progression through the campaign, helped by the many detailed charts so characteristic from Nordic Weasel games.

So our story starts when our group of adventurers found out as soon as they disembarked that there was a small village on the highest mountains in the centre of the island called having mysterious and terrible encounters.

Calf Creek is a village with independent and fierce men famous for the honey the collect from the wild bees in the mountains as well as for their beautiful almond tree copses. But they are also known by the coal they made by burning pine trees and then sell down in the coast. They also have a numerous and varied life-stock from where they get meat, milk, wool and leather.

After hearing about these people in trouble, the group decided to walk up to the village and offer their services. The group is all formed by proud warriors of the same tribe. Their leader is Tigor, (my Avatar) which means leading light. He is good at scouting and scrounging and carries a good sword plus a decent armor, shield and helmet. His second in command is skinny Bruco (the Retainer), a fast fighter armed with a fearsome two handed hammer (+1 vs armor & Tough). Then there were two powerful warriors, (Heroes) Orone the conqueror, an archer who had made a secret pact with some old gods nobody knew about except him (-1 to be hit by archery), and Ancor whose name means brave warrior and who's carrying a fence sword and dagger.

There were also two respected followers in group: Afur the thief, a gambler armed with a dagger and Arguin (calmed waters) with bow and dagger.

After two days of walking towards the top of the central mountains and right before they reached the village, they had an encounter with an errand and cursed knight (a personality) who had made a pact to keep his fallen followers to carry and protect all his treasures (Grave Walkers from the Dark Secrets).



Although the light was already dying Tigor could observe with greed the fine sword and armor the knight was carrying, so he took his best men, Bruco and Ancor to get him while the rest distracted his followers. But first they had to pass across them. Surprisingly, Arguin wounded one of them with an arrow.

Only after the first combat exchanges I realized how incredible tough the Walkers were and also that they couldn't be stunned. 
Seeing another Walker was closing from the ruined house (it was supposed to be a tower) I sent Afur to help them, leaving my two archers on their own.
During the melee Tigor could parry several strikes from his opponent but his shield resulted damaged after that and in the end he resulted wounded, but it was just a scratch (he used 1 point of Will to shake-off the wound).


In the second turn Afur spent all his arrows. And then in the third turn it happened the same to Orone, who hadn't even hit anybody yet. A 5+ with 1D6 is usually needed to hit somebody, but Orone even failed at close range! (3+ to hit).

After that, Ancor could eliminate one of the Walkers with one accurate thrust, but at the same time Bruco and Afur fell down wounded.

Sensing the enemy was too powerful to defeat them, our intrepid warriors wisely decided to run for the hills and live to fight another day.


Well, the game lasted around 15 minutes and it wasn't very tactical as Undead move in the last place, and don't take into account cover or morale considerations. Also, I lost miserably as this was my first game and the Grave Walkers were more, better and tougher fighters than my men. I couldn't even get close to the knight to kill and loot him.

Talking about loot, as I lost the encounter I couldn't do one of the most fun things in any game which is looting!
So yes, the encounter was a bit disappointing, but the creation of the warband as well as all the little details the game has about places, plots and characters, was so good that it has kept me totally involved about my group of troubled warriors.

Thus, after fleeing from the field of battle my warriors finally reached their destination, Calf Creek. There I decided to stay for two days as Bruco was seriously wounded and needed some medical attention. During that time Afur also fully recovered from his light wounds. Tigor had to pay 5 GC for the lodging those two nights, but he felt his men badly needed some time to gather themselves.

Tigor also tried to use some money to recruit a few followers but failed (Carouse). However, he met an old companion of adventures in the tavern (I spent 1 story point), a woman called Inopona, a scrappy survivor (I spent another story point to roll in the Unusual Backgrounds) who gladly joined Tigor's group.

That night in the tavern they decided they would go on adventure early in the morning. But that is another story ;-)

10/04/2020

A review of 5150 Gaea Prime - First Defense.

 It happened. Somebody tried the game and wrote a review. You can read it all here.


Let's face it, whenever I see a new sci-fi skirmish game, it seems like the first thing anybody asks is "Can it do X-COM?"  If for some reason you're not familiar with X-COM, it was an old computer game of tactical skirmish combat that explored fending off aliens infantry, raiding their crashed ships, and inevitably researching to reverse-engineer all of their cool tech to use against them.  Great game.

Gaea Prime: First Defense is basically that.  GP's first encounter with alien slavers raiding the Earth for resources, and the adventures of GP's armed forces as they kill the aliens and loot their bodies for research fodder.

Here's how my first game went.. Red Player One


9/13/2020

5150 Gaea Prime - First Defence. Final Showdown.

Well, I'm here in the final chapter of this campaign, assaulting the Hishen Command Ship. My objective is to take the bridge, as from there I will be able to kill the rest of the crew. Once it's done, this mission as well as the campaign are over.

The spaceship has six areas and the player must roll 1d6 to see in which one he breaks into the ship. I scored a 2, the crew area. I could have picked two squads and in that case I would have to roll twice, but I chose just one, the 1st squad with my Star leading it.

 

Turn 1. Gaea Prime 4 - Hishen 1.

I activated first. Go, go, go!

As soon as  my squad entered into the ship they met some crew.

The Hishen reacted first, killing the corporal Rep 5 and a grunt Rep 4 with their puny Parak pistols! My Star and two Rep 3 grunts were saved by their armor but ducked back, and only one soldier from the squad could return fire and put down one Hishen. 

And now it was Hishen activation, but fortunately they didn't pass the Will to Fight Test taken for having one casualty and surrendered to my shocked troops who barely held the place. That was close!

After clearing the area they found some Gaea Prime citizens that were being held as prisoners, so I had to dispatch one of my men to escort then to safety. Now I only had one section to clear the ship and I was lamenting not taking two squads for this mission.

 
Turn 2. GP 2 - Hishen 1.
Luckily, the specialist with the Plasma Gun had survived as he was essential to kill those tough Grath in the control room, so I deployed him in cover behind some barrels while Sergeant Blacksmith opened the door.


The Hishen were barricaded and waiting for me but I didn't give them time to react and opened fire first. The guy with the plasma killed one Grath and my Star the other one. Then the grunt Rep 3 fired at the Razor and missed so he charged the grunt who shot again and killed it before he made contact.

The remaining Hishen didn't chicken out and fired in their activation but missed their shots and they paid with their lives for that. It only survived one who quickly surrendered and that was all.


After the mission.

The ship had been taken, the mission accomplished and the campaign won and just in two turns. I was lucky as my squad could have started in the thrusters area at the back of the ship, and lost more men fighting Hishen and escorting enslaved citizens. Next time I'll take two squads.

So this is it. I finished the full campaign in twelve missions, right before the third wave of invading Hishen started, and that is fortunate as Hishen become tougher and tougher after each wave.

If you buy this ruleset I'll be very interested to know how many missions you needed to finish it. Technically, the campaign could be finished in 7-8 successful missions and research, but I doubt you can even finish it under 12 missions as I did because I cheated a little bit as I was testing all the missions, and also because those missions are now slightly tougher than before. So it would be fun to watch how many missions you will need to play to win the game.

I do hope you all like and enjoy this game that is released today. 

See you around :)

9/08/2020

5150 Gaea Prime - First Defence, crushing the Hishen

After winning the last mission the next one is attack once again. The newly researched and produced Battle Tactical Armors (BTA) have arrived to the base but only enough to equip one squad. As 1st squad was below numbers I chose 3rd squad with Sgt. Gorman Rep 6 (section 7) leading them as my Star wasn't going to be present (he's attached to 1st squad). All BTA are equipped with Grath Assault Rifle (GAR) and the specialist in the section leaded by the corporal (section 8) carries a Plasma Gun.

As usual I divided the table into nine sections and then rolled for generating terrain and deploying the three starting PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces). And finally started the game rolling for activation.

Turn 1. Gaea Prime 2 - Hishen 1.I

I moved both sections forward. Then the Hishen activated. One PEF didn't move, another was a false alarm, and the third one turned into a spaceship crew armed with Parak Pistols. Hishen won the Reaction Test and shot first, killing the specialist and forcing the corporal to take cover (Duck Back).

Turn 2. GP 2 - Hishen 2.

I scored doubles and then checked for Third Parties. A Kabasu appeared! No one was in sight so there weren't any reactions or shooting.

Turn 3. GP 2 - Hishen 6 - Kabasu 4.

The Hishen spaceship crew shot at the Kabasu and he first returned fire and killed one...

and then, after receiving more firing from the building, the Kabasu blinked and warped to a different place.

Now Star Army activated and the section leaded by Gorman advanced through the woods and opened fire on the Hishen in the building. The Hishen panicked and all Hunkered Down except one who left the battlefield.

One grunt from the sergeant section shot down the Kabasu!

On the hill on section 5 Corporal rallied a suppressed grunt from his section.

Turn 4. GP 3 - Hishen 6.

Gorman's section stormed the building thinking there would be some Hishen hiding there but it was just a case of nerves.

And the corporal and the rallied grunt assaulted the other building and captured the surviving Hishen.


 After the mission.

Well, the Hishen with their Morale Campaign 1 didn't have many opportunities to bring squads to the fight and only could have a puny spaceship crew. Besides, they scored high on activation and couldn't activate much. So it was a walk in park for the the Star Army in their new BTA.

As usual, I rolled for replacements and 1st squad was again up to paper strength. 3rd squad also received a replacement for the KIA. I forgot to roll for Rep advancements but I'll do it before the next mission.

Bringing a new alien specie to ASI (the Kabasu) granted me an extra die roll in the R&R table so I easily researched the field "Hishen Command Ship" that would allow me to board the Hishen command ship in space and thus successfully end the campaign!

See you soon.

8/30/2020

5150 Gaea Prime - First Defense: Enemy Within

Having the Hishen Morale Campaign dropped in the last mission I had the opportunity to locate and strike a hidden base on Gaea Prime. This is one of the Special Missions in Gaea Prime - First Defense, Enemy Within.

This time I deployed 1st and 3rd squads on both flanks as sector 7 in the middle did not have direct access to the Hishen Command Center. As the fight was going to be in closed spaces I chose not to equip the specialists with Inferno Grenade Launchers but with SAWs.

Turn 1. Gaea Prime 4 - Hishen 6.

Hishen didn't activate. I fast moved forward my squads on both flanks.

3rd squad on the left resolved first PEF which turned into nothing.

1st squad took positions on both doors. The left one leading to the Command Center and the top right one to a PEF.

Turn 2. GP 5 - Hishen 3.

I opened both doors from the Command Center. First the 3rd squad on the left flank. 3rd squad engaged half of the Hishen squad and in the firefight they killed one Grath and a couple of Hishen. The Razor Psy blasted one section and made it to duck back.

On the right flank the 1st squad had bad luck with Hishen scoring many sixes and later one PEF showing up. They exterminated the PEF who turned to be a crew, but the other half of the Hishen reinforced squad in the Command Center decimated them, only surviving Sgt. Blacksmith and one grunt who ducked back and after that left the battlefield. 1st squad disappeared and now 3rd squad was on its own.

Turn 3. GP 2 - Hishen 3.

Hishen moved first. The last PEF entered the room and turned into a full squad. Half of it fell down but only Sgt. Gorman and one grunt survived in the end. The corporal crouching behind some crates stood heroically against a crossfire from the Command Center and the last PEF and he even killed the charging Razor, but he didn't make it.

Hishen survivors from the Command Center surrendered to the last standing Star Army trooper.

Sgt. Gorman broke into the room and put down two Hishen. The last one fled the battlefield. Mission over.

After the mission.

Well, it was a bloody assault and I almost failed it. One wounded soldier from 1st squad didn't recover but the squad received two new grunts as replacements, one Rep 4 and one Rep 3. The squad was now at five members strength.

Three men from 3rd squad were KIA and one wounded and he never recovered. Fortunately the squad received replacements up to paper strength. 3 Rep 4 and 2 Rep 3. Sgt. Gorman raised his Rep to 6.

Hishen Campaign Morale dropped again and now is at level 1. One more drop and the campaign is over with the Hishen being kicked out of the planet.

I got two rolls on the Research and Resources Table for winning this Special Mission so I chose and successfully researched Plasma Gun and Battle Tactical Armor (BTA)!

Watch out Hishen scum!

8/16/2020

5150 Gaea Prime - First Defense. Presssing forward

The Hishen Morale Campaign have dropped to 3 and now I was on the counter offensive. This battle is a normal Attack Mission and battle number 9 since the start of the campaign, and I'm under the second stage of the Hishen invasion.

As usual the battlefield is divided into nine equal sections and terrain and PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces) are generated with dice rolls. For this mission I deployed 1st and 2nd squads.

Turn 1. Gaea Prime 4 - Hishen 5.

Hishen didn't activate and I fast moved forward my two squads.

Turn 2. GP 3 - Hishen 4.

Hishen received some reinforcements on sector 1 in the form of a spaceship crew. PEF on sector 6 fell back and the other two didn't move.

Then I moved the 1st squad who spotted and resolved two PEFs but both were a false alarm. That meant that the last PEF was going to be enemy troops for sure.

Without hesitation I advanced my 2nd squad and resolved the last PEF. It was a Hishen squad led by a Razor! My squad won the Reaction Test but failed some shots. The Razor "bullet moved", charged and killed one of my troopers in hand-to-hand combat; some Hishen saved their lives by duckig back on time.

The Hishen passed the Will to Fight Test thanks to their Razor leader but the Star Army didn't and most of them resulted suppressed and Hunkered Down.

 Turn 3. GP 2 - Hishen 4. 

Hishen activated first; bad news. The Razor mind controlled one Gaea Prime soldier who shot to his comrades and then was shot down by them when they returned fire. All surviving members of the squad except Cpl. Hill surrendered to the Aliens! Seeing that, Hill run for the hills (Fled the Battlefield).

 On Gaea Prime's activation the 1st squad took revenge by shooting down the Razor monster. The Hishen squad without their leader fled the battlefield and abandoned their prisoners.

Turn 4. GP 4 - Hishen 6.

One section of 1st squad went to rally 2nd squad on the left flank while Sgt. Blacksmith (my Star) with the other section rushed forward to assault the last Hishen.

They won the Reaction Test but Hishen crew valiantly returned fire putting one of my men to sleep and making another one to take cover. Then Sgt. Blacksmith threw an Inferno grenade. Game over.

 After the Mission.

Razors are nasty. Rookies say there is nothing worse than a full squad of Grath, but veterans know there is something worse, a Grath squad led by a Razor!

There weren't any replacements and Cpl. Hill was never to be seen again, but one of the troopers from 2nd squad could recover from his wounds and go back to fight.

ASI finished researching Star Navigation. Soon Gaea Prime will be able to build a star ship and kick out the Hishen from the system.

The Hishen Campaign Morale fell down again to two. Their end was near!

Until then.

8/06/2020

Phoenix Ark part two, conclusion.

The surviving troopers of the last mission finally reached the Hishen ship, a G'narr class. They have to take it intact so the guys from ASI can put their hands on the engines and energy system that allow warp navigation.

I normally play on a 4x3 feet table but this time I played on a 3x3, and folded the rest of the mat to give room to set the interior of the spaceship, so I could play both outside and inside the ship on the same table. I used my old Space Hulk tiles to represent the Hishen spaceship, but the rulebook will contain tiles of a specific spaceship to use for this mission.

As usual I rolled for terrain, deployed my troops and rolled for PEFs, one on sector 2 and two on sector 3.
Turn 1. Gaea Prime 1 - Hishen 2.
Hishen moved first and one PEF in sector 2 moved behind the spaceship and out of sight whereas another from sector 3 advanced and turned into a reinforced squadron.

In the firefight that followed two men from 1st squad hit the dirt and the Hishen suffered several casualties that made the rest put their heads down.

Turn 2. GP 2 - Hishen 4.
Ducked Back Hishen recovered and and popped out to fire but they were intercepted by 1st squad who fired first. I decided to fire with the Inferno grenade launcher first to kill them all quickly, but I failed miserably and then the specialist was shot down when the Hishen returned fire.
The last PEF advanced and it was a spaceship crew, but I couldn't fire at them as they crossed to the next forest and got out of sight before my troops could pull the trigger.

Now my boys activated. They suppressed the Hishen squad and run to the ship.
3rd squad run forward and took position on the ridge of the hill on the left to watch for enemies...

From there they could spot the PEF that was hiding behind the ship but it was a false alarm.

The last PEF crossing to the other forest near the spaceship.

Turn 3. GP 3 - Hishen 1.
1st squad accessed to the ship through the crew section and stumbled upon a Hishen reinforced squad. Star Army reacted first, killing one Grath and one Hishen, and putting the rest on the run.

The Hishen squad duck for the closest cover and split in two, with some fleeing to the bridge and some to the firing room.

I decided to send a section of the 3rd squad into the ship to back up 1st squad, and left Cpl. Rousie (Quick Reflexes and Rep 6) and the specialist with an IGL on the hill to watch their backs. Now there was combat in and out of the ship.

Turn 4. GP 5 - Hishen 1.
1st squad proceeded to the firing room and clean it from enemies.

Sgt. Corben and his section from 3rd squad got into the ship.
Outside the Hishen leader was rallying his troops in the wood while the spaceship crew waited for them in the other forest.

Turn 5. GP 4 - Hishen 5.
Hishen did not activate.
Corben's section assaulted the bridge and exterminated one full squad of Hishen plus the fugitives from the other one. One of Corben's men was hit but his armor (Exo!) resisted and he ducked back.

1st squad entered in one of the cargo sections of the ship and found more rats hidden there. This time Hishen shot first. Sgt. Blacksmith and one grunt could take cover behind some barrels and crates, but Cpl. Hill and another guy didn't make it.

Turn 6. GP 4 - Hishen 3.
A seven! I rolled hoping to receive some reinforcements after having two casualties but they didn't show up.
I regrouped the two sections from 1st and 3rd squad and assaulted the last section of the ship, the thrusters, I finished the last Hishen. The spaceship was mine!

Outside, the Hishen leader ended rallying all his grunts and as they had superiority in numbers, they switched to Attack and then advanced with both squads outside the woods.
Then Rousie and the specialist reacted and burned first one squad...

And then the other one.

After the mission:
Now that my troops are wearing Exo-armor there are no more Out of the Fight soldiers to recover but there were some KIA, so I rolled for Replacements and my two squads returned to paper strength, but all of them Rep 3 rookies!
After that I rolled for the Morale Campaign and I went up to 5 whereas Hishen went down to 3.
The research for laser weapons was finished and then I rolled twice on the R&R table for winning this mission, and successfully researched Starship building and now that I got a spaceship, Alien Energy Source as well.
Soon I will be able to fully build the first Gaea Prime spaceship, to board the Hishen command ship and cut the head of the snake and so win the campaign, but there are still some bitter fights ahead.
Until then.