Outpost – Narrative Scenario 5
For this game, which also introduced a new player, points were approximately 1150-1450 a side. Lists were as follows, with squad sizes given in square brackets. The AI was not quite Force Selector legitimate as it could be argued it should have had an extra Tactical choice. However, the AI had one outpost that was in a bunker and particularly difficult to assault.
Command Crawler (263), Outcast Command Squad  (58), 2 * Battle Squads  (420), Bomber Squad  (297), Assault Squad  (375), Outcast Disruptor Cannon  (32), Flitter Shard  (30).
Every Ghar unit that could take one had Plasma Amplifiers and the Assault squad had Plasma Dumps.
Command  +Spotter, Medic (140), AI Squad  (165), Assault  (164), Infiltrator  +Camo, Spotter for Forward Obs (202), Support Team with Mag Cannon  +Spotter (68), 2*Support Team with X-Launcher  +Spotter (146), Liberator Skimmer X01-HiMag with Mag Cannon + Batter, Spotter, Self Repair (219), Targeter Probe Shard  (30).
AI units had Plasma Grenades if they could take them and Support units had Leaders. Slingnet & Overload ammo was chosen for Micro-X and X-Slings. A full array of special munitions was taken for the X-Launchers. In the end, though, only Net and Slingnet was used.
Terrain was varied, a ruined settlement to one side of the table and very rough and bare scrub covering the rest. Much terrain was light, rather than dense.
The AI deployed a mag cannon and its infiltrators (left, above), putting a minefield on their left flank so as to protect an easy path through to their baseline. The Ghar presented a very strong right flank and solid centre but put their assault troopers and Outcast disruptor cannon on their left (right, above).
Turn 1. Most Ghar advanced but a centre battle squad exchanged fire with the AIs central mag cannon. Infiltrators fired at the approaching Outcast disruptor cannon taking out the leader and a trooper: the Outcasts stood their ground despite not knowing quite what to do.
Turn 2. The Liberator came on the table and promptly attracted fire. Plasma-amplified Ghar crossed the table centre line. Before it was destroyed, the AI Mag Cannon gained a lucky hit on a Ghar trooper, exploding the plasma reactor and causing a chain reaction, taking out another trooper. The survivor (the leader) ran and was summarily Outcast for gross cowardice. The Infiltrators hunkered down in their bunker and exchanged fire with the rapidly closing Assault troopers to no real effect.
Turn 3. All the rest of the AI entered and the X-Launchers promptly laid down Net suppression onto the Assault troopers and bomber squad. The Assault troopers took a couple of hits from the tank, too, and were forced down through failed break tests. They were then pinned for the rest of the game but did not suffer any casualties (see lessons, below). The AI squad took shelter in some ruins whilst the command squad and X-Launchers hid in some scrub. Targeters screamed on and promptly made themselves useful, their Acc bonuses adding significantly to the AI attacks. The Infiltrators took out some flitters that were annoying them. The Liberator took more fire and managed a pin on the Assault troopers, helping to keep them down, but was otherwise largely ineffective.
Turn 4. The AI Assault troopers took on a unit of Ghar battle troopers in a vain attempt to slow them down but were steamrollered despite giving a good account of themselves. The Ghar Commander exchanged fire with the AI squad and was pinned, remaining in place for several moves. The Infiltrators ran from their hideout, scared of the Ghar Assault troopers. As it turned out, they had no need to take shelter in a crater as the Assault troopers had stopped for maintenance. The Liberator vs. Assault troopers/Bomber vs. Liberator firefight continued.
Turn 5. Exchanges of fire continued and the Ghar struggled with pins and order failures and otherwise chose to attack units rather than move forward. This could have been a pivotal turn but ended up in a stalemate – pins but no casualties all round (one unit was forgotten about as their dice wasn’t returned to the bag!). Failing Plasma Amps were now making an impact.
Turn 6. The Infiltrators scurried from their crater, hid behind the hill and bunker and took on the Outcast’s disruptor cannon. A quick exchange of fire and the lonely surviving Outcast scuttled away, the infiltrators losing a man in the process. The Ghar Assault squad was buried in Net suppression and pinned whilst the Ghar right flank decided to not run their Battle Squad and Command Crawler off the table edge but exchanged fire with the AI squad, the Command squad and an X-Launcher (unfortunately losing them the game). The Liberator attracted more strikes from a now-closing Bomber squad and, finally, a disruptor bomb very nearly wiped it out (6 pins, immobilised, no MOD dice).
Result: A victory for the AI that could easily have been a narrow victory for the Ghar if they had moved just two units off the table. All the remaining Ghar were in their opponents half and they had lost only two units, leaving four.
These are both tactical and easily-forgotten rules that affected the game too much.
Keep an eye on the objective. The Ghar could have achieved a partial victory if, as suggested numerous times, they managed to slip one unit off the table as all their surviving units were in the AI half of the table. They had the opportunity but turned it down.
Don’t just go for the tank! The mere presence of the Liberator – at most a light tank or armoured car – meant it attracted fire, way too much fire compared to its effect. It stayed behind cover and used its batter shield well, but was constantly shooting through light terrain. The Ghar C-in-C admitted at the end he should have used his Bomber squad on the X-Launchers, irrespective of cover.
Watch out for LoS. The AI claimed OH LoS a few times when they shouldn’t. This would have made a minor difference (hit on 1 for both but blind fire dud vs. OH miss) but as a playing ref I felt one player claimed it too many times. LoS was also claimed for individuals masked from the target by terrain or their own squad – which is probably a legacy of other rulesets. TBH, on Advances we tend to be a little loose anyway, assuming the whole squad can generally see unprotected targets, but hidden targets or Fire orders are a different matter.
Watch out for Net ammo. Whilst this is now well-known, it was lethally effective. Whilst an error was made (see next) Ghar really do need to sort out the X-Launchers above anything else.
Watch that Net twist! Net ammo is not rerolled if the target is down, but only inflicts half the number of pins. We forgot this and it would have had a big effect on the Assault troopers (one unit, but still). Slingnet also does not affect heavily armoured targets, something that the AI also forgot and which added to the Ghar being slowed down.
Watch the cannot-Assault-on-the-turn-they-enter rule. Nuff said, easily forgotten.
That Distort dice can be annoying. The AI did not receive the distort dice once. The Ghar forgot to hold back dice allocation a couple of times and had to apply the Distort dice to battle troopers or Assault troopers – not good.
Bigger Ghar armoured trooper units are effective. The 4- and 5- strong armoured units gained the brunt of pins and attacks but stood their ground till the end.
As ever, be prepared to suggest redeployment to beginners. Several times the beginner hid spotters behind/in cover so there was no LoS or positioned the Batter shield such that it was ineffective.
Infiltrator minefields are useful. Twice, now, the use of Infiltrators has managed to control access to the field by rerouting opponents. It is arguable the Ghar could have just accepted the mines, but they did not want to risk the damage.
For AI Targeters and Spotter drones are worth their weight in gold. Rerolls and that +1 Acc played a heavy part in the both sides results. Flitters also played a big part, despite their 50% chance of failing.
Overall, an interesting game… 🙂