Battleshed Diaries

Sunday 1 November 2015

A cigar chomping, HMG toting, Aquila Guard

After a week or so away, gaming has happily resumed in the Battleshed with another visit to Infinity.

This time though, my Pan Oceania Fusiliers had recruited some muscle in the form of a heavily armoured, gun-toting, cigar chomping HMG Aquila Guard. He even sported a fancy Multispectral Visor and allegedly exuded genetically modified testosterone at whim.

With the squad points agreed at 150 (as I was still wimping out as a noob) it was off to the Infinity Army builder for me where I was looking to recruit one or two suitable specialists who would fit the roll as a 'tank'.

I'm sure my Reader knows the sort - dumb but resilient vanguardy-types that  hopefully soak up some hits allowing the Fusiliers to do their thing. And this is where I stumbled upon the Aquila Guard unit.

They were pricy point-wise, but they appeared to my rookie eyes to have a mightily impressive stat-line. Good right across the board, with high Ballistic (15) and Armour (4). And a Heavy Machine Gun specialist too. That'll do for me! I have thing for big guns.

However, I could only realistically field one - restricted by the cost (62 points) and the available Support Weapon Cost (SWC).This represents the weapons or Special Equipment not included in the basic or standard troop equipment. This works out at 1 SWC per every 50 points in the army list. Which meant I had 3 SWC available at 150 points and the HMG Aquila dude took up two of those!

With a bit of twiddling on the builder I soon had a 9-member squad - the Aquila Guardsman - let's call him Jayne (as I've been playing and watching far too much Firefly recently) - and the rest being from the Pan Oceania Fusiliers, led by a Lieutenant and including a Forward Observer and a trooper equipped with a light grenade launcher. You gotta' have a grenade launcher!

The miniatures I'm using for the Pan Oceania squad are a set of eight 28mm metal SF miniatures with a bit of a Storm-trooper chic going on. They've got gas masks and everything. The only problem is that I have no idea who produced these models! You see, I bought these a couple of years ago (probably at Carronade in Falkirk) but for what reason I cannot fathom. Might have been for Urban War. I have no idea of their provenance. 

If my Reader can identify these miniatures, I would be most grateful:

Do you recognise these miniatures? Ignore the bad paint job.

For the Aquila Guard miniatures, I do know where they came from. It says on the box. Ha! Albeit still non the wiser to why I bought them. They are from a set of 'Eisenkern Stormtroopers' from Dreamforce Games (now in handover to Warlord Games) that comes with 20 possible miniatures with various optional poses, head, armour and weapons. Nice kit and versatile.

My orphaned Fusiliers and a couple of Aquila Guards posing in the background
Back at the Battleshed. I met up with my opponent who has to be congratulated for braving the watchful gaze from all sixteen eyes belonging to the resident Battleshed spiders - Shelob and daughter of Shelob. My opponent is a self-declared arachnophobe, who apparently became one after watching the movie Arachnophobia multiple times. Yes, I was bemused too!

With my opponent assured that the spiders only came out to watch and had been fed - apparently they're gaming fans - the 4'x4' battlefield was set up with plenty of terrain and we were soon all deployed and allocating our Orders.  It was a straight meeting engagement, with no scenario selected. We played two games, from which we learnt one important lesson - Infinity is best played with a scenario.

I'd mentioned in my previous post that it's crucial to make a good deployment with Infinity - taking advantage of any cover or elevated terrain. With my Pan Oceania squad outnumbering my opponent's squad (9/5) I soon discovered I could afford to have some of my units sitting camped in elevated positions, ordered into Suppressive Fire mode and covering their advancing colleagues.

Yes, I did say camped. Any video gamer will know what I mean. A yes, I did. I am ashamed, now. But it just felt so right at the time!

The Aquila Guardsman was in his element. He spent much of the games sitting behind cover on top a building, resting his HMG on a wall whilst the nearby Forward Observer tagged targets for him. A successfully 'targeted' miniature suffers a +3 ballistic modifier for troops shooting at them. This almost forced my opponent into attacking what could be described a 'fixed positions' in other games. It was great for me, not so good for my opponent.

My opponent, in frustration, decided to send his close combat specialist on a rampage;  Wallace - a kilted warrior sporting an outrageously vicious looking blade (no stereotype of course), lobbing smoke grenades all over the place, hoping to go all Hollywood.

My Aquila Guardsman simply sat back, smugly watching proceeding through his Multispectral Visor whilst enjoying a fat cigar protruding from a special aperture in his combat mask, whilst listening to an ancient recording of Scooby Snacks from a band called the Fun Lovin' Criminals.
Carry On Camping: The Aquila dude (building, top corner) with the Pan Oceania Froward Observer (building, bottom, right)

It got messy, fast. Sorry Wallace. The Pan Oceania Forward Observer was also proving to be a nuisance, tagging enemies (with a successful WIP roll) raining down indirect or guided fire upon them even without a clear Line of Fire. Even the trooper with the grenade launcher chanced a few indirect shots. No doubt he'll be bollocking up a few stories in the pub afterwards.

The second game was a little closer, but with my Pan Oceania squad effectively sitting camped again, my opponent struggled to deal with them. I had the numbers and with most of the open spaces covered by Suppressive Fire there was not much his squad could do.

Although the Pan Oceania squad were victorious, it was a shallow victory as the game became too unbalanced. This is why a scenario objective is required, It would help reduce the insidious lure of camping.

For my next game I'm eager to set up my first 300 point squad, (apparently the regular game size), orientated towards a scenario. That's the sweet spot of points based rules - playing around with your list to fit a scenario. I'm not going to get into the whole point/non-point army debate here. I play both. And both have their merits.

Lots of games, some new, and modelling projects underway for me for the next few months, so expect a flurry of posts, especially as I've decided to create some SF scratch terrain after my IHMN project (more later).

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