Thursday, July 6, 2017

Solo Skirmish AAR: Escape from the Raiders

Solo Skirmish AAR - Escape

This is a little game I played a few nights ago as the first part of a solo campaign I am starting up. The game is played with a very heavily modified version of Craig Cartmell's FUBAR game system, optimized for solo play. In gme terms, the Captain, the player's character, has to escape from the board though a heavily defended checkpoint within 20 turns.

In the scenario, Captain Kiran, a Commonweath peacekeeper checking out a distress call near an old, abandoned military outpost comes under fire. His scout ship crashes, and alone he makes his way to a local village in hopes of getting assistance and learning about potential hostile forces in the area.

He arrives (on board) in a copse of trees near both the village and the outpost. After prolonged obesrvation, Capt. Kiran spots several armed units patrolling near the village. In short order he IDs them as Hellion Raiders, a group of pirates active in nearby star systems.

There is no clear explanation why the Raiders are patrolling the wilderness near the OP, but it seems as if they are searching for something. He spots one Raider fire team, but he knows more must be nearby (In fact, there were six in the vicinity, but their locations at this point are unknown). The Captain decides to make a dash for the village.

Close call! The Captain is almost "made" by a patrol that popped up halfway through his dash to the village.

 But while the pirates are seasoned, their skill is not quite up to spotting the running captain. He makes it to the village.

Once in the relative safety of the village, the Captain makes contact with some locals. He learns that the Raiders have been active in the region for several days. They have treated the locals roughly, and have searched the village repeatedly, looking intently for a scientific research team that apparently was working out of the outpost. The locals have no idea where the team is, but it looks like they are in hot water!

Hiding from a passing Raider patrol (you can see off in the distance), the Captain learns from the locals that while the colonists in the village do have some weapons, they do not have any effective leadership and have been afraid to move against the Raiders. He hatches a plan...

After making a series of successful activation rolls over three turns, the Captain manages to recruit 11 colonials into an ad hoc militia with the intent of driving the pirates from the surrounding area and opening up the road to the north. Once the road is open, he can hike into the nearby mountains, where he hopes to contact Commonwealth Command and request reinforcements.

The Captain breaks his militia into 3 fire teams and intends to ambush several Raider patrols simultaneously once they are in position outside the village.

But plans rarely survive contact with the enemy. Before the militia fire teams can fully deploy, a Raider patrol bumbles into village, spotting the activity!

In short order, Raider fire teams descend on the village from three directions. They are surrounded!

The raiders put two militia troopers out of action quickly, forcing the remaining two team members to fall back in disarray. This is hardly what the Captian had in mind!

Firefights break out around the village, with both sides taking casualties.The Captain and his remaining milita troopers seem trapped in the village, while valuable game turns are passing.

But then several factors began to shift the course of the battle. First, the Captain is able to bring his leadership to bear, rallying his troops and helping them recover from the shock of combat. Simultaneously, the attacking Raiders begin failing activations as their casualties mount, their commander too far away to lend them support.

The next event that helped turn the tide was the unexpected arrival of a fresh militia fire team on the board. They showed up outside the village, spoiling for a fight!

The tables now seem to be turning, and once again the Captain and his ragtag milita seem to have a chance.

The militia fire teams begin moving out of the village, taking the fight to the Raiders who are still in reserve.

Meanwhile, Captain Kiran's fire team - fighting from cover on the north end of the village - inflict heavy casualties on Raider reinforcements moving toward the village.

The fresh militia fire team moves up on the flank of the Raider's command unit without being noticed.

In short order, they inflict heavy casualties. The Raider's commander falls back, leaving only one fire team blocking the road north.

The militia fire team takes on the last remaining Raiders near the exit, with both sides taking
heavy casualties.

It is too much for the Raiders. In short order, the Raider officer flees from the field, and the remaining Raiders cannot rally. In short order, they route off the Turn 19! 

The battle is a clear victory for the Captain and colonists in the village. Of the 15 militia troopers,  7 were wounded  but 3 of those made recoveries in post-game casualty recovery. In contrast, the more heavily armed Raiders sustained heavy casualties, with 13 of 18 Raiders fielded becoming casualties and only a handful of those recovering.

This was a really fun game, with the game rules and solo mechanics giving a good, challenging game with lots of twists and nail-biting moments. While I had some basic narrative in place at the beginning, all the events described came out of the game itself, with hidden movement for the enemy and random events keeping me on my toes.

In the next installment, the Captain will attempt to locate the science team and discover the secret of what the Raiders are trying so desperately to find. To be continued...

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