The Bwendi Bugle
27th March 2313 Standard Reckoning
Scout Camp TerrorA fun week away at Camp Crystal Lake turned to terror for young scouts this week. An Albion Defence Force special forces platoon descended on the camp, where young Bwendi were learning how to tie knots and earning their woodcraft badges. The ADF shot up the camp, killed two of the young scouts and kidnapped 14 others along with 3 the scout leaders. They left the rest of the scout leaders wounded on the ground at the camp together with several of the scouts. In response to this outrage, Colonel Throckmorton P. Gladiolus has ordered the Bwendi Army to block access across the land bridge to Beltene Starport to deny the Albion monsters any external support. The blockade will be removed when the Albion government returns the kidnapped youths and formally makes restitution to the families of the slain.
So, I decided to field a militia platoon (d6 quality, d10 morale) for a change. They had no armour but I made the fire teams larger (6 figures each) to compensate. This was clearly not enough. Steve fielded Albion regulars (d8/d10) and chose to group them as full squads instead of as fireteams, giving him massively more firepower at the expense of flexibility. We both got 7 points to spend on additional troops. I bought a sniper team and a regular Bwendi section (both d8/d10). Steve bought a special forces section (d10/d12).
We both rolled the same mission: Break Contact. This meant that we both started at the centre line of the table and had to get half of our forces off our own table edge. We both drew Fog of War cards at the start. I got one that affected Steve's off-board artillery (he had none). He got 'This won't play well on the holovids' and lost several victory points at the outset because of some perceived atrocity committed by his troops. That's why I chose to represent my force as peaceful scouts on a camp.
Tactically I made a huge mistake in engaging Steve's force. I won the initiative and my central militia section was able to retreat after shooting at some of Steve's troops but before they could shoot back. This put me in a great position for getting most of my troops off the table very quickly. All my troops that were in buildings or woods started hidden so he had to spot me before shooting at me. I should have taken advantage of that to get out of there and claim a draw. Instead I lost track of my main objective and shot at Steve with other units, thus causing him to shoot back. His dice were smoking hot and I lost two entire fire teams to two rounds of fire. More fool me for starting by shooting at him. My sniper proved his worth though. Using a laser rifle (suppressed weapon) he was able to pick off Steve's medic and a few other troops, which could have given me the win had I been sensible.
So, what have I learnt from this game?
- Well, I thought it would be fun to field militia. It was, but in a frustrating way, because they were too easy to take down. For militia to be useful, I really need to focus on the mission and just achieve my objective. I need to avoid contact with regular troops while using militia and accept that a draw is really a victory under those circumstances.
- Using the campaign rules, both sides should start from the same baseline quality and morale, unless we use the points system. I shall try costing up both sides to see what the points system suggests as a balanced start.
- The 'hidden' rules are not that difficult and added a new edge to the game, which was fun. Likewise, the sniper team was interesting to deploy. It lasted longer than I expected.
- I need to throw Steve's dice into the Humber! His dice-rolling was unfeasibly high last night. I mean regularly getting a 90% hit rate with a 50% or 60% chance of success and most of those hits being at the high end of the range too. I lost three fire teams in their entirety to his dice in single rounds of fire. Bah! Those die are going in the river next time Steve leaves them unattended!! ;-)