Archive for the ‘Game reports’ Category

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Utopia #9 – Old friends

November 16, 2013

When we left off a whopping four months ago, the 16th were in the process of storming Conner Industries’ research center 13 on the asteroid DH-3. The operation was going swell right up until the moment the squad realised they’d walked right into a trap. The forces of the Outer colonies had decided to crush one of the vaunted UTOPIA squads in a display of force and cunning.

The 16th was unfazed, though, and did their best to set up defenses. A search of the station armory (with the help of some defected security guards) revealed three brand new, unused automated sentry guns, which were quickly placed at critical locations. In addition the troopers hauled a few small shipping containers into the corridors to provide cover, and prepared to receive the attackers.

The sixteenth prepares

The sixteenth prepares

First to enter the installation was Pvt. Johnson of the Outer colonies 3rd Heavy infantry. He barely had time to step into the first corridor, when the sentry turret opened up and quite literally tore him apart. The demoralising start stalled the assault completely as the Heavy infantry leader Sgt. Mancala ordered a more cautious approach.

The new approach proved more successful, aided by the sentry gun misfiring. Having sat in their crate for years, they simply hadn’t been field tested and the squad could only curse as the gunfire suddenly died down. The troopers pitched in with their own firepower, with Lt. Fender and Pvts. Lau and Abdul pouring pulse rifle fire and grenades down the corridor.

It was tough going for the attackers, with trooper after trooper falling. However, the Outer colonies had committed to the mission, and a steady stream of reserves kept pouring in. Metre by metre, the attackers were pushing forward and taking the corridors. The grenades fired by the defenders served the attackers as well, with drifting smoke obscuring the advancing Heavy infantry. When another of the sentry guns died to the sound of electric fizzing and popping, things were starting to look worse. The 16th had something to look forward to, though: a hail from their dropship, the Apache Owl let them know that help was on the way. Would it reach them in time?

Heavy infantry advancing behind smoke

Heavy infantry advancing behind smoke

Four security guards had joined the 16th after it became apparent that they were not about to be rescued. However, it was quickly becoming clear that they were ill-equipped for the situation. While they did their best to guard the corridors with their few semi-automatic rifles, they were completely failing to do damage to the attackers, much to the frustration of the sixteenth. The Heavy infantry was getting closer and closer and were already at a distance where they could lob grenades at the defenders.

Disaster struck the attackers just as they were about to break through the defenses. The last sentry gun had malfunctioned, and Sgt. Mancala pulled the pin from a grenade and turned to throw it at the defenders, when the gun suddenly came back to life thanks to Pvt. DiGlaeser’s technical aptitude. Mancala hurriedly pulled back but fumbled with the grenade which fell at his feet, blowing up the sergeant and knocking nearby trooper Kaneda down. On the brink of breaking the defenders, the attack collapsed and the attackers pulled back, leaderless. With the Union of Terra fleet approaching, the defenders were suddenly close to winning.

Sgt. Mancala's grenade fail clears the corridor

Sgt. Mancala’s grenade fail clears the corridor

A heavy clanking announced a new turn of events. To the shock of the UTOPIA troopers, Pvt. Jane, MIA after the cyborg attack on Ryukyu Epsilon, had been brought back as a monstrous hybrid of man and machine. Apparently the Cyberdyne-Sendai corporation had managed to salvage more from the disaster than they’d let the Union know. The cyborg marched in, smashing Heavy infantry aside and stepping into the corridor. Lt. Fender and Pvts. Lau, Abdul and Dastevan stared eyes wide as the monster activated the minigun mounted on its right arm. The howl of the barrels was followed by a storm of bullets that tore up the corridor. Lau was hit twice and fell to the floor, while the rest ducked behind corners to avoid the onslaught. Miraculously, “Dog” Lau was still alive and unharmed, although scared out of his wits by yet another close brush with death. The troopers returned fire, but their shots ricocheted harmlessly off Jane. Lt. Fender could immediately see where this was going. It was time to abandon their positions and fall back to wait for extraction. Abdul fired another grenade down the corridor to slow Jane down and to provide them with some smoke for cover.

Cyborg Jane makes his entrance

Cyborg Jane makes his entrance

There was one man who didn’t want to retreat without a fight. Pvt. Krayten Dastevan was itching for combat and stood his ground in a branching side corridor, looking to not only engage Jane, but to engage him/it in hand to hand combat! Lieutenant Fender would have none of this. “Quit messing around, Dastevan, and haul ass out of there on the double!” he ordered. Grudingly Dastevan obeyed, but he did it too late. As he sprinted down the corridor, Jane spotted him and turned the minigun on Dastevan. Halfway through his escape, Pvt. Dastevan was cut in half by the hail of shots, spraying a nearby security guard with blood. The bullets tore through the last of the sentry guns as well. Jane spotted some more guards at the end of the corridor and stomped off after them. This enabled several of the 16th to sneak off towards safety.

Jane prepares to fire on Dastevan

Jane prepares to fire on Dastevan

The security guards fled, leaving Jane with no visible targets. The cyborg lumbered on and came face to face with one of the Heavy infantry troopers, who had been more than happy to hang back and let Jane clear the corridors for them. The minigun barrels whirred up again, but luckily rudimentary recognition protocols had been installed and Heavy infantry Pvt. Julian only suffered a case of soiled underwear.

Most of the 16th were fairly safely tucked away in a remote part of the research centre. Most, apart from Pvt. Lau. Lau had been too scared to stand up, and was slowly crawling down the corridor, hidden from sight by the shipping crate the squad had dragged up. There were two Heavy infantry troopers walking down the corridor, however, and it would only be a moment before Lau was spotted. Determined not to leave any more men behind, Lt. Fender ordered covering fire, and whether it was because of Lau’s uncanny luck or the troopers’ skill, the Heavy infantry was gunned down before they noticed the scruffy trooper.

The 16th huddles together

The 16th huddles together…

...as Lau crawls towards safety

…as Lau crawls towards safety

Fear spurred the three remaining security guards on, and they fled from Jane as fast as they could, barricading themselves in a room to wait for retrieval. True enough, a moment later the Apache Owl landed on the roof of the installation with a pressurised dome and started cutting an escape hatch. The Outer colonies forces were retreating, and the day was won. Only one decision remained: “Wait for us!” cried the security guards. Jane’s minigun had just shredded the door to the room and death loomed. Eyes turned to Lt. Fender for the decision. To wait for the security guards would endanger the squad, but this was the call Fender made. The guards had helped out, and it would have been inhumane to leave them behind – besides, with Dastevan gone there was always room for new recruits. The guards escaped, but the delay meant Jane had one more chance to open up on the Apache Owl. Bullets punched through into the crew compartment, and one of the security guards lost his leg at the knee. The sixteenth had made it, but had suffered yet another casualty, bringing the tally up to 15.

Pvt. Dastevan - KIA

Pvt. Dastevan – KIA

Man oh man, am I happy. After four months of inactivity, I had my doubts about the survival of this campaign. A much shorter delay has killed games before, and Utopia is my beloved pet. I was super happy to see that my fears were for nothing, as we quickly got into the groove again despite one of my three players dropping out at the last minute due to illness. After the first few rounds the players again remembered their characters and their personalities, and we once again got to grips with the rules. The game was as cinematic as before, and after the game we heaped praise on Flying Lead by Ganesha Games. The simple mechanics allow for quick and easy modification, and we came up with a lot of special rules on the spot, such as grenade explosions clouding the corridors with smoke, sentry guns and their malfunctions and Jane’s programming glitches – there was a very real chance of Jane actually firing on the the hapless Heavy infantry trooper, and when he was swatting aside the Outer colonies troopers, sheer luck stopped them from being injured.

That’s pretty much exactly one year of Utopia behind us. The next scenario will once again be something completely different. This one was a great opportunity for me to field my lovely new Pig Iron Heavy infantry and my cyborg Jane conversion. Now, what should I paint next…

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Utopia #8 – Assault on research center 13

July 7, 2013

The war between the Union of Terra and the Outer colonies was steadily grinding on. For their prowess in combat, the sixteenth had been given some generous R&R, sergeant Fender had been promoted to lieutenant and corporal Franz-Haugen-Ankerson had been made the new sergeant. Swartz and Bruce were still in the sick bay from being peppered with machine gun bullets in the unit’s previous mission. As a sort of reward, the team was handed an easy mission: Conner Industries’ research center 13 on the asteroid DH-3 was housing newly developed military technology. What’s more, the normally heavily guarded installation was going through a guard rotation and was sporting only a minimal security crew. A quick smash and grab of both research data and scientists was in order. The unit was joined by two new troopers:

Pvt. Brian Boru, a slightly unhinged flamethrower-wielding trooper with a tendency for pyromania and a faint aroma of gasoline always hanging about him.

Pvt. “Hellion”, a young female punk rocker. No one has an idea of her real nime, as she prefers her stage name. While reluctantly a part of the military, she tends to be good at it. Hellion wields a smartgun.

The sixteenth blasted their way into the station. The motion scanners detected a guard right outside their planned entry door. Springing into action, they opened the door – much to the guard’s surprise. The security officer hardly had enough time to register that something was happening, when he was grabbed by pvt. Dastevan and given a faceful of rifle stock. The unconscious guard was pulled into the entry chamber, and the team spread out into the corridors of the research center.

A lone blip on the motion scanner reveals a guard

A lone blip on the motion scanner reveals a guard

Waiting to breach

Waiting to breach

The sixteenth fans out

The sixteenth fans out

The unit was steamrolling through the installation. Boru, Lau, Leroy and Franz-Haugen-Ankerson headed for the infirmary, while Hellion, Fender, DiGlaeser and Abdul took the main corridor towards the data core. Dastevan being Dastevan, he stormed off in order to take down another guard, who was warily approaching, clutching his pistol. The gun wasn’t much help though, as moments later Dastevan pounced on him and knocked him unconscious in one blow – right under the eyes of a quickly panicking scientist, who was the next one to go down after a brief struggle. Dastevan was on a roll and enjoying himself.

Sgt. Franz-Haugen-Ankerson’s crew entered the infirmary to find a surprised young doctor. The doctor voiced his disapproval but quickly fell quiet after observing the dynamic duo of Boru and Lau – the first cradling a flamethrower with a manic gleam in his eyes and the second twitching nervously, waving his gun around and looking the medicine cabinets over with the eye of a true connoisseur. The good doctor was bound with zip ties and private Leroy started escorting him out at gunpoint.

The medic and the doctor - there's a difference

The medic and the doctor – there’s a difference

Everything wasn’t going to plan, however. While most of the operation was rolling along as expected, lieutenant Fender’s group didn’t have it their way. Private Hellion rounded a corner to take down a female security guard, who promptly proceeded to pistol-whip the smartgunner. Hellion took a nasty fall, smacked her head into the wall and fell unconscious.

The security guard surprises Hellion

The security guard surprises Hellion

With Hellion down, the guard quickly retreated to a better position. The security force wouldn’t go down without a fight, but with pistols and a few carbines against the UTOPIA troopers’ pulse rifles, flamethrowers and sharp sticks, it wasn’t promising. True enough, a moment later the guard saw her bullet glance off DiGlaeser’s body armour and she was taken down by DiGlaeser and Dastevan. Another security guard turning up had a similar fate, despite her carrying one of the security team’s two carbines.

Attempting to turn the tide, the security chief Hutchinson joined the fight. A long period of inactivity in the guards’ duties proved to be his demise, as his gun clicked empty when he tried to return fire against the troopers. In response lieutenant Fender shot Hutchinson in the face, killing him instantly. This left only one security guard, Smith.

Smith was definitely not going down without a fight. He had a good position at the end of a long corridor. He’d peek out and squeeze off a few shots with his carbine and then take cover behind a corner. Lieutenant Fender and trooper Abdul poured fire down the corridor but were unable to dislodge the pesky guard…

Officer Smith holds his ground...

Officer Smith holds his ground

…who responded with some accurate fire of his own. Both Fender and Abdul were knocked to the floor and sheer luck saved their lives as Smith’s rounds whistled down the corridor.

Fender and Abdul run into trouble

Fender and Abdul run into trouble

It wasn’t until Dastevan managed to flank the guard that he finally put down his weapon and surrendered. It seemed the fight for research center 13 was well and truly over, when suddenly the Apache Owl – the unit’s dropship – hailed them: “Lieutenant Fender! Things are getting rough out here – the fleet is moving in and they’re transporting in new troops by the boatload!” Things started clicking into place: the convenient gap in the guard rotation, the skeleton crew, the scientists with their ID cards saying “assistant” or “intern”…A TRAP! The research center’s intercom soon let them know, that they had a minute to offer their surrender before facing annihilation. The sixteenth tried to bargain with the lives of the scientists and the security personnel, but to no awail.

Not willing to play ball, the sixteenth immediately started checking their surroundings. After interrogating the personnel, it quickly became clear that an easy escape was out of the question. After a bit of persuasion and discussion, the surviving members of the security team offered to join the troopers in exchange for their freedom. After all, it had just become apparent that their well-being wasn’t a top priority for their superiors. This proved to be a good deal, as one of the guards remembered a long unused cache of weapons in the armory. After opening the crate, the troopers found five automated sentry turrets, which were sure to become handy very soon.

As Lieutenant Fender started giving out orders for the defenders, the medic Shaq Leroy went to check on pvt. Hellion, who still hadn’t waken up. Leroy was in for a sad surprise, as Hellion’s head had hit the corner of a loose wall plate, and the young punk rocker was long gone. It seemed the sixteenth’s curse was still going strong – apart from Franz-Haugen-Ankerson and Evans who had been in the unit from day one, no female trooper had survived for more than a mission or two, and many had died on their first assignment.

Thus concluded the first game of Utopia’s “season 2”, and the first part of our first ever two-part mission for Utopia, the next part will follow when I get some new minis painted up for the attackers. The game was great fun, and yet another very cinematic session that attests to the versatility of the Flying Lead system. It was also a great chance to break out my Space Hulk tiles for a change. While ‘Hulk is a grid based game, the tiles worked perfectly well with Flying Lead’s measurement system. I also used plenty of resin scenery bits from Ainsty, although all too few of them have been painted yet. It was nice to have the recently painted security guards on the table too.

As always, I’m happy the campaign is still rolling on, even with long gaps between games! Feedback welcome, as always!

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Utopia #7 – The general’s speech

April 26, 2013

Political tension was mounting up between the Union of Terra’s core worlds and its Outer colonies. The Outer colonies were strengthening their mutual alliances and there was more talk about leaving the Union than usually. Plenty of the corporate-owned Outer colonies were seeing an increase in PMCs and corporate security forces. The Union military was on high alert.

Alarming news came through: several high ranking Union military officers had defected to the colonies, chief among them the celebrated war hero and people’s favourite, general Hyun. Hyun had been transported to the planet of Marankov Primus, escorted by a team of operatives from the Redmond Security company and a Weyland-Yutani combat synthetic. The intention was for Hyun to make a rousing call for secession from the Union, that would be broadcast throughout colony worlds. The situation on Marankov Primus was tense, with attacks mounted on Union military and supply targets. The Union military on the planet was still loyal, but Hyun’s speech could very well tip the situation in the rebels’ favour.

Hyun’s speech would have to be stopped. The Union intelligence had tracked the general to a decommisioned military outpost, Tango-1. It was time for UTOPIA squad 16 to do their thing and stop Hyun from broadcasting his message. There was precious little time to do it.

Touching down on Marankov Primus, the 16th made their way through the woods towards the outpost with its thick walls, while Dastevan and Abdul managed to stealth their way inside the compound from the rear. Three of Redmont Security’s guards were guarding the area, one at the perimeter wall, one patrolling the area and a third one up in the guard tower with a light machinegun. DiGlaeser used his radio expertise to jam the rebels’ transmission systems, buying more time for the squad to stop Hyun.

A view through the trees

A view through the trees

Sgt. Fender leads from the front

Sgt. Fender leads from the front

Redmond Security - keeping an eye on your compound

Redmond Security – keeping an eye on your compound

A guard scans the area with his LMG

A guard scans the area with his LMG

The troopers hadn’t been spotted yet. Dastevan and Abdul quietly snuck to the back of a large barracks, and peeked in to see a Redmond operative cleaning his weapon. Not wasting a moment, Dastevan ran in and stabbed the man with his bayonet, bringing him down. Abdul mercilessly stomped on his neck to make sure he wouldn’t alert the others.

Meanwhile, the other Redmond troopers obviously weren’t expecting an attack, as they were scanning the treeline, but failed to notice the squad making its way over open ground to the wall and climbing over it. With most of the squad over the wall, the sniper Cohl raised his rifle and put a bullet through the head of a guard standing at the main entrance, finally alerting the PMCs.

A guard burst out from one of the smaller buildings, only to be knocked down by another one of Cohl’s accurate rounds. The former olympic marksman was murderously effective, standing in the shadows of the trees and raining death into the compound. Emboldened by Cohl’s supporting fire, troopers Bruce and Swartz rushed forward, only to be met with a hail of machinegun fire from the guard tower, going down wounded. The two guards still standing were doing their best to protect the traitorous general.

The machinegun in the tower guns down Bruce and Swartz

The machinegun in the tower guns down Bruce and Swartz

Abdul ran to finish the guard Cohl had knocked down. He calmly raised the barrel to the man’s face and pulled the trigger, only to find out he had forgotten to load his rifle. The tiny click the empty weapon made was deafening. The grinning Redmond operative fired his own rifle at point blank range…or would’ve fired, if his earlier fall hadn’t jammed dirt into his rifle. The man’s arrogant smile faded, and moments later a hail of bullets cut him down.

Abdul prepares to finish off a fallen guard

Abdul prepares to finish off a fallen guard – drama ensues

The squad was making good progress, but time was running out. Cohl’s rifle roared again, and another guard went down. This finally caused the machinegun wielding guard in the tower to lose his nerve and make his way down. The sixteenth ran towards the building they knew the general was in. Dastevan bought a little more time by opening up on the satellite dish with his rifle. Doing so, he failed to notice the guard with the machinegun, who leveled his weapon, ready to add another member of the squad to his tally. The empty click of the machine gun was even louder than Abdul’s. Being a professional, the guard could see his game was up, so he threw the gun down, raised his hands, got on his knees and was restrained by Dastevan.

Abdul and Lau went to the door and called for the general to come out, to no apparent reaction. The door was locked, too. Dastevan figured the best way was to simply trust blind luck, and fired full auto through the building’s wall. Abdul took a more sensible route, and shot up the lock on the door. Seconds after he’d done it, the combat synthetic stormed out through the door and grabbed Abdul with inhuman strength. In a desperate hurry, Lau attacked the synth from behind, only to be shrugged off. It wasn’t until Sgt. Fender joined the fight that the troopers managed to pull the android to the ground and Abdul rushed into the room. The bodyguard had done his job, however. Time was up, and general Hyun had made his broadcast. The general offered his surrender – the damage had already been done.

Abdul and Lau prepare to breach the door

Abdul and Lau prepare to breach the door

Sgt. Fender observes the breaching action

Sgt. Fender observes the breaching action

Suddenly a wild synthetic appears!

Suddenly a wild synthetic appears!

A victorious general Hyun surrenders

A victorious general Hyun surrenders

As the noise dies down, a lone badger studies the field

As the noise dies down, a lone badger studies the field

A few days later the news broke. Maybe it was the speech, maybe it was one of the countless other incidents happening throughout the Union. Whatever the reason was, war had broken out between the Union and the Outer colonies.

This seventh game concludes the first “season” of Utopia. What this means is that the game’s narrative takes on a new theme – that of civil war. It’s not going to be all that, of course. To be honest, a large part of it is that it provides me with easier inspiration for future scenarios. Also, I think the campaign will benefit from having something akin to a main plot. While monster of the week style play is fun, I don’t think it can keep its appeal forever. I’ve also really wanted to do a bit of storytelling for a while now, and this’ll provide me with a good opportunity to do that. The players have said that they’re happy to stay with the campaign, and we’re busy trying to schedule the next game. It’ll probably happen somewhere around mid-May-ish.

As you may have noticed, I made a lot of cardstock terrain for this board. I’ve never been very good at it, but with all the changing scenarios it’s simply not feasible to try and crank out resin or plastic terrain. I’m slowly getting better at it, too, and destroying far less than I used to. The main components here are the Tango Prime perimeter set (which I named the compound after) by Finger and Toe models, which is an absolute steal at $0.50 and Folding Unit Structures by Genet Models, which weren’t too pricey either at $6.50.

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Utopia #6 – Something rotten on 311-Krugman

March 27, 2013

Utopia unit 16 was slowly recovering from their disastrous last mission. With Wu and Hämäläinen dead, Trill and McSorley left behind on Ryukyu Epsilon and Evans and Franz-Haugen-Ankerson hospitalized, it was time to bring in some fresh meat. With the losses suffered by the Utopia units, new troopers were transferring in from various sources. Joining the Sweet Sixteenth were

Pvt. Abdul, a polite and well-mannered devout Moslem transferring in from MESA – the Middle East Security Army. With no blemishes on his service record, Abdul’s semi-forced transfer is a bit of a mystery.

Pvt. Swartz, the unit’s new heavy weapons specialist. A jovial Neo-Bavarian with a liking for beer and sausages – lots of both. Schwarz is also from MESA, and he’s a voluntary transfer.

Pvt. “Shaq” Leroy, a medic from the New Orleans isles. Leroy’s not only a capable medic, but very canny in the kitchen as well – managing to turn even freeze-dried spam into a more than decent meal.

Pvt. Cohl, the new sniper. Cohl’s a calm, relaxed professional in his forties, with a history in Olympic shooting.

Pvt. Dastevan has a long background working for the private military company Greyocean. Dastevan’s a real killer with a leaning towards black supremacist ideas and a drive to bond with everyone he conceives to be a “brother”.

Pvt. Bruce who simply loves military service. Or rather, the chance to yell at people, keep a strict discipline and inflict physical harm. Bruce is in Utopia for the front line action and doing his best to impress Sgt. Fender.

The unit was enjoying their downtime with rest and recreation, or rather what downtime they had after Sgt. Fender’s merciless training sessions. They were regularly visiting Evans and Franz-Haugen-Ankerson in the sickbay and trying their best to form a team when they were given what sounded like a very lightweight mission: the small factory colony of Adderall Field on 311-Krugman had gone quiet, and the Sambreel corporation was fearing an uprising similar to the one on Kessler-11.

In fact, Sambreel had already contacted private military company Skyhawk to look into the matter. However, due to colonial legislation the mission was placed under the jurisdiction of the Union and that meant the 16th was going in with the Skyhawk PMCs. The mission was to go in and find out what had happened and bring back the factory manager’s computer with its relevant information and records if the colonists didn’t have an explanation. Civilian casualties were to be avoided at all cost. A simple job, yet Captain Jensen called to Fender before the mission and asked him to keep an eye on the PMCs and to make sure they didn’t take the computer. It was time for Operation Big Brother.

The troopers deployed on the edge of Adderall Field, and cautiously started moving in. Meanwhile, the Skyhawk team lead by lieutenant Dircks stormed forward towards the factory manager’s quarters, seemingly not bothering to look for civilians. The PMC sniper, Cpl. Thoreaux took the stairs to the top of one of the nearby storage silos, while Pvt. Cohl, the 16th’s sniper, did likewise. To make sure there wouldn’t be any nasty surprises from the Skyhawk crew, Pvt. DiGlaeser tried to tap into their private communication channel. While he couldn’t quite breach it, he was able to monitor the transmissions to the extent that allowed him to notice if voices were spiking and communication got hectic.

The Skyhawk PMCs deploy

The Skyhawk PMCs deploy

Lt. Dircks leads his men

Lt. Dircks leads his men

Pvt. Dastevan checked out the closest building, and found a civilian standing there, staring mute at the wall and not responding to the trooper’s communication attempts. Elsewhere the troopers and PMCs were spotting some more civilians, all of them in a similar, passive state. All of a sudden, shots started ringing out. At the orders of Sgt. Fender, Pvt. Abdul climbed to the roof of one of the buildings to better survey the situation. He was shocked by what he saw: the Skyhawk operators were indiscriminately gunning down unarmed civilians!

The troopers spread out and Abduls heads for the roof

The troopers spread out and Abduls heads for the roof

Fender tried to contact Lt. Dircks but to no avail, the PMCs were not responding to hails but continued firing. DiGlaeser noticed there was some heavy radio traffic going on. Dircks, flanked by two of his troopers, made it to the factory manager’s quarters to secure the computer. The sixteenth were encountering some more civilians. Pvt. Bruce got a little rough-handed on a female civilian, who completely surprised him by turning around and lunging for him, trying to claw and bite the trooper. There was general confusion, and Fender ordered the civilian restrained, which Bruce happily did with the butt of his rifle and some zip ties. Around the same time, the dog Baton had joined Dastevan who was still wondering what to do with the civilian he’d encountered. The dog’s hackles were up and he was barking furiously. Just to be sure, Dastevan pinned the civilian down and tied him up. The colonist was finally showing signs of life, struggling and snarling. It was obvious at this point that something was seriously wrong with the colonists. The medic Leroy suspected some kind of mass hysteria or possibly a strain of rabies or something similar, and advised everyone to be cautious when approaching the civilians.

Sgt. Kendrick observes the situation while Pvt. Adeyemi looks on

Sgt. Kendrick observes the situation while Pvt. Adeyemi looks on

Pvt. Mourtada, the Skyhawk heavy

Pvt. Mourtada, the Skyhawk heavy

The Skyhawk leader Lt. Dircks had recovered the computer and was making his way towards the landing zone. A civilian wandered closer, and Dircks shot him down with his heavy pistol. Gunfire was now ringing all around the small town as the PMCs let rip into the townsfolk who were, to the mercenaries’ horror, getting up even with grievous bullet wounds. The noise was also starting to draw in more and more of Adderall Field’s residents, who seemed to be getting more aggressive by the moment. Unlike the PMCs, the Utopia troops were utilizing non-lethal methods, bringing the civilians down and restraining them. Pvt. Leroy approached one civilian: “We’re here to help. Sir, just relax and stay still while I look at your injuries. Sir! Please hold still sir! Sir, stop I will be forced to restrain you!”

Pvt. Leroy approaches the civilians

Pvt. Leroy approaches the civilians

Sgt. Fender got on the intercom and tried to reach the Skyhawk operatives but to no avail. “Private DiGlaeser, let the dropship know that the Skyhawk bastards will not be leaving before they explain what the hell they’re doing!” DiGlaeser started relaying the message only to find out it wasn’t happening: “Sir, it seems the Skyhawk unit is jamming our transfer!” Frustrated, Fender hailed the medic: “Leroy, what’s up with the civilians?” “Sir, these people are far beyond our help…it seems they’re..well, dead.” With some relish Fender finally gave the order: “Squad sixteen, civilians are now considered hostile targets, fire at will!” The order was well timed, since a group of the undead civilians was converging on the medic Leroy and Pvt. Lau who had reluctantly come to Leroy’s aid. Pvt. Bruce joined in, as did Pvt. Swartz. With the sniper Cohl providing assistance from above, the troopers started clearing the situation.

While this was going on, things were getting personal for Sgt. Fender as a group of four civilians closed on his dog, Baton. “Hold on, boy!” Fender shouted, heading to aid the dog. Baton, being a genetically enhanced combat mastiff, wasn’t in too much trouble, pulling one assailant after another to the ground. With Dastevan stepping to the dog’s aid, the attackers were quickly eliminated. More were pouring in ceaselessly, so the 16th decided to pull back, even Abdul coming down from his safe roof.

The Skyhawk PMCs tried to do the same, but they had hung back a bit too long and with the civilians closing in en masse, the soldiers were running out of room to maneuver. Pvt. Privalov’s gun jammed, and as he was clearing it, a group of the undead swarmed him and bore him to the ground. Corporal Thoreaux, the PMC sniper could only watch through his scope as the attackers tore into Privalov’s flesh, obscuring him from a mercy shot.

Pvt. Privalov is swarmed by the undead

Pvt. Privalov is swarmed by the undead and Sgt. Kendrick can’t help him

Cpl. Thoreaux looks on as Privalov is eaten

Cpl. Thoreaux looks on as Privalov is eaten

Sergeant Kendrick, Lt. Dircks’ NCO gave the order to retreat right before getting attacked himself and suffering the same fate as Privalov scant moments before. Pvt. Adeyemi ran full tilt towards the troopers of the 16th, while Dircks and his heavy, Pvt. Mourtada, were attacked. Mourtada gave his assailant, a little boy of maybe 10 years, a heavy combat boot in the face and darted off after Adeyemi. “Come back here your rat bastard [expletive]s!” Lt. Dircks roared at his men, as two civilians attacked him from behind. After a brief struggle, Dircks managed to free himself from the attackers and ran after Adeyemi and Mourtada, carrying the computer and sullenly handing it over to a waiting Sgt. Fender. As the PMCs were hurriedly led to the landing zone disarmed and at gunpoint, the undead townsfolk were left moaning and snarling and fighting over the remains of Privalov and Kendrick. It was time to leave 311-Krugman behind.

The Skyhawk team collapses

The Skyhawk team collapses

As the factory manager’s files were decrypted and the PMCs questioned, it turned out that Adderall Field wasn’t quite the agricultural vehicle and tool manufactory it was supposed to be, but rather a site for some very suspect bio-weapons research. Sambreel had intended for the PMCs to retrieve their data and leave the 16th to hang – and met with a resounding failure. The already tense relationship between the Union and the corporations and security firms were not going to improve soon.

Hey, an actual victory for the 16th! For once, everything went swimmingly, and the squad performed like professionals. Additionally, this was one of the most cinematic games we’ve had, capturing the zombie movie vibe very nicely. The fall of the PMCs wasn’t consciously set up. Instead they just suffered a bout of some horrible dice rolling combined with some very unfortunate rolls for the zombies, and ended up essentially recreating the biker scene from Dawn of the Dead.

I loved the way my players handled this scenario, as their RPG experience really showed. While the players knew perfectly well they were dealing with zombies, their characters didn’t, and so they acted accordingly, trying to save civilian lives. This was a great example of the warpg-style gameplay that I’ve been advocating (see earlier posts here and here) – putting fun and a good story ahead of winning mechanically.

The scenario also allowed me to use my zombie miniatures for the first time in ages, which made me a happy panda!

 

 

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Utopia #5 – Disaster

February 21, 2013

After the devastating events of their previous mission, squad 16 was reeling. With their sergeant and heavy missing and their corporal KIA, morale was low and the atmosphere on UTP Tien Shan sombre. Pvt. Lau had started doing heavy drugs while the normally optimistic medic Evans was just shutting down. Dour Pvt. Hämäläinen’s daily verbal output had gone from four words to two. Pvt. Franz-Haugen-Ankerson had been promoted to corporal, a fact she was trying to get her head around.

The genocidal AI Hamachi had dealt the UTOPIA project its first real blow. While most squads had succeeded in their evacuation mission, the casualties were horrendous, on average around 35-40%. Squads 39 and 42 had been completely destroyed, and several of the 50 squads were at half strength.

Another squad that had suffered was the 21st. With only four survivors after the previous mission, the squad was merged into the 16th. This brought the following new faces to the table:

Sgt. Fender, a stern bastard of a career sergeant in his fifties. Fender operates on a no pain, no gain mentality. There are rumours of him once having killed one of his subordinates for poor performance. Fender is accompanied by his foul genhanced mastiff Baton.

Pvt. McSorley, a true jarhead and the squad’s new heavy weapons specialist. He enjoys his job and is more than happy to hose down enemies with his smartgun, Jane.

Pvt. Trill, a genuinely likable female tech specialist. Trill knows her way around technology, but isn’t the most socially active in the squad. She is the third tech to join the 16th, after the demise of her predecessors Bjornssen and Ghillian.

Pvt. DiGlaeser, the squads new communications specialist. While somewhat creepy, DiGlaeser is a downright wizard when it comes to communications. He has established superiority over Baton the dog by tazing him.

Sgt. Fender took over the squad very efficiently. He made a pretty distinct entrance, when the first thing his lovely little pet did was urinate on poor Pvt. Lau. Fender didn’t bother with small talk or pleasantries, instead putting the new combined squad through a couple of days of very strict training. This training was interrupted by Cpt. Jensen – it was time for a new mission.

It appeared that Hamachi was a bit more resourceful than expected, and had captured several troopers wounded in the previous mission. They were interrogated as well as used for experimentation, providing the AI with both information and a useful tool for eroding morale. The prisoners were held in POW camps around the planet Ryukyu Epsilon. Most interesting for the 16th was the fact that Sgt. Brauer was still alive! Implanted with a tracking chip like all soldiers with an undefined amount of service ahead of them, Brauer had been found to be in a camp in the ruins of the settlement of Fuji Reach. The mission was simple: get the sergeant and as many prisoners as possible out of the camp and show Hamachi what the UTOPIA squads were capable of. As a result of previous experience, the squad was supplied with two RPGs – carried by McSorley and Hämäläinen – to help deal with Hamachi’s killer cyborgs.

The sixteenth deploys. The dog insisted on being included in the photo

The sixteenth deploys. The dog insisted on being included in the photo

The 16th deployed carefully and observed the situation. The small POW camp was guarded by four cyborgs who were standing behind concrete barriers and keeping watch. The squad moved forward with caution, and prepared to open fire. Hämäläinen started towards the right and McSorley towards the left, in an attempt to get the RPGs into a flanking position. DiGlaeser activated his signal jamming device to make the squad more difficult to target.

McSorley and DiGlaeser

McSorley and DiGlaeser

Wu and Trill

Wu and Trill

The squad started firing at the cyborgs but without much effect. The long range and cover meant that most fire simply pattered off the thick concrete or glanced from the cyborgs’ chrome hide. The cyborgs on the other hand were much more effective. The first shot fired by one of the guards punched into Cpl. Franz-Haugen-Ankerson and dropped her to the ground, heavily wounded. Evans the medic sprang out of cover to go to the corporal’s assistance, and was promptly gunned down with the light machinegun carried by one of the cyborgs. This was turning out to be much harder than expected.

With determination the 16th went forward. However, their firing continued to be ineffective. With the exception of a single cyborg knocked down for a moment, the massed firepower wasn’t doing much. Even the lethal sniper Wu was having a hard time getting a shot off, and McSorley’s smartgun kept jamming. A third trooper went down as the cyborgs’ bullets found Pvt. DiGlaeser, but luckily he wasn’t badly hurt, just shaken. This left the entire left flank up to McSorley. The right flank with Hämäläinen, Trill and Lau pushed on, while Wu and Sgt. Fender held the center.

The medic Evans is down, with DiGlaeser and Franz-Haugen-Ankerson in the background

The medic Evans is down, with DiGlaeser and Franz-Haugen-Ankerson in the background

The right flank started having a hard time. Hämäläinen was preparing for a shot when a lethally accurate cyborg shot exploded his head, showering Trill and Lau with blood and brain matter. While Lau lost his nerve and turned to flee, Trill kept it together and picked up Hämäläinen’s RPG. Sgt. Fender, assessing the situation, saw that third of the squad was gone with no real progress made so far. He started calling for a retreat, but the squad insisted they keep on fighting to rescue Brauer and the other prisoners. A moment later Wu dropped one of the cyborgs with a well placed shot to the head. The squad capitalized on the fallen cyborg and their shooting managed to destroy it completely.

Trill moved up the right flank with the RPG. Things were looking up, as one of the four cyborgs was down and the squad was making progress. DiGlaeser had recovered and was covering Cpl. Franz-Haugen-Ankerson while trying to get her to safety.

Suddenly there was a crack of a shot heard, and in the following silence Wu the sniper, veteran of Velasco Creek and Triton-4, slumped to the ground, the back of his head missing and smoke drifting out from his bullet-shattered scope. This was the breaking point. “ABORT MISSION!” called Sgt. Fender, and the squad went into retreat. Unfortunately this left Pvt. Trill in a very difficult situation. She was far up the right flank and had been cut off by the cyborg machinegunner keeping watch over her path of retreat. To make matters worse for the whole squad, McSorley was hit and dropped down, shaken by the close call. The same happened to Fender, who nevertheless recovered very quickly.

The retreat was going well. Pvt. Lau was experienced in this sort of thing, and was making his way quickly away from the hot zone. DiGlaeser was doing his best, crawling along with Franz-Haugen-Ankerson in tow. Meanwhile, Trill’s situation was going from bad to worse, as one of the cyborgs finally left the safety of the barriers and went to investigate the wall ruin that Trill was hiding behind. Before Trill could escape, the cyborg stepped up to her, brought up its gun and pulled the trigger.

There was nothing but a click.

Pvt. Trill was quick to react, blasting the cyborg down at close range. This prompted the machinegun-wielding cyborg to move in to investigate the disappearance of its squad mate. The third cyborg had a weapon malfunction, and it discarded the ruined assault rifle and started walking towards McSorley, who still couldn’t get up and moving. Not so for Trill, who was running as fast as her legs could carry her to put as much distance as possible between her and the machinegun cyborg.

Lau made it off the battlefield, as did Fender who was dragging the unconscious Evans with him. As the unarmed cyborg advanced on McSorley, DiGlaeser stopped his retreat, pulled out his pistol and shot it in the neck, momentarily knocking it down and buying McSorley more time. Trill was almost out, too, and in cover. There was still a chance of most of the squad escaping. Then the machinegun carried by the cyborg roared, and down went Trill, heavily wounded.

Pretty much all was lost. DiGlaeser took one look at the two approaching cyborgs, got up and carried Franz-Haugen-Ankerson away with him. McSorley was still trying to get himself moving, when the unarmed cyborg loomed over him. As Trill slowly drifted into unconsciousness, she could hear the desperate sounds of McSorley’s short, doomed struggle against his metal opponent.

The mission had been a disaster throughout the field. Reluctantly, the UTOPIA troops were pulled away from Ryukyu Epsilon, and the Union Navy moved in with their orbital bombardment ordnance. The POWs would need to be left behind.

What a game.

There are moments when you just feel sorry for your players. This was one of those games. The combination of lousy dice rolling and a dangerous enemy led to the worst beating the players have had during the campaign, with two very good veteran troopers confirmed dead, two more left behind and two heavily wounded and in need of lots of down time. All in all the squad lost most of their specialists (sniper, heavy, tech) and their NCO and medic were hospitalized, and their beloved old sergeant was left behind. A disaster indeed.

We had a chat after the game and despite the heavy losses mood wasn’t bad. The campaign has managed to do one thing that I was hoping it would: it strikes a good balance between RPG and miniature game in the way that losing characters, especially important ones, hurts, but not as much as losing an actual RPG character. After the game, the players were already picking out new minis from my collection and making up new background stories for them. It really helps to have a group of experienced role-players when you’re running a game like this, thanks guys! The survival of old characters also helps with the continuity. While only three (Pvt. Evans, Pvt. Lau, Pvt. Franz-Haugen-Ankerson) of squad 16’s original nine members are alive, it’s definitely still the Sweet Sixteenth. By the time they’re gone, the new guys will have become regulars and so on.

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Utopia #4 – Blood and chrome

January 25, 2013

The Utopia campaign is still going strong, and we just played the fourth game last Tuesday. Having left the jungles of Triton-4 behind them, squad 16 travelled onwards. The mood on the UTP Tien-Shan was weird: Sgt. Anna McIntosh’s squad 20 had recently died while testing a prototype dropship, the Pelican. The 16th was coping, each in their own way. While Sgt. Brauer tried to keep the mood up by turning the tragedy into a Day of the Dead -style celebration, Pvt. Lau and Pvt. Evans were becoming very superstitious. Recently married Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson-Franz was shocked by the recent events, and the dour Pvt. Hämäläinen was keeping to himself.

The squad received news of a disturbing recent development on the planet Ryukyu Epsilon. Hamachi, the military AI developed by the Cyberdybe-Sendai corporation had become sentient, and like AIs tend to do, had launched an attack to wipe out the human inhabitants of the planet. In a week the casualty rate on Ryukyu Epsilon had soared to 90%, and in a bold and unprecedented move, all the 50 UTOPIA squads were activated in a massive operation to both attack Hamachi and it’s legions of cyborgs and to rescue the remaining civilians.

The sixteenth went in boldly – especially after liberating an RPG from Sgt. Hiroshi’s squad 12. Their mission was to retrieve a group of ten survivors. Five of the survivors were armed police officers while the rest were civilians.

Wu and Hämäläinen take up positions in the ruins

Wu and Hämäläinen take up positions in the ruins

Left to right: Evans, Brauer, Jane and Wu, with Kenny in the background

Left to right: Evans, Brauer, Jane and Wu, with Kenny in the background

Squad 16 made landfall outside the settlement of Tanaka Town and quickly established firing positions amidst the ruins. The squad came in from the south, while ten heavily armed cyborgs were entering the area from the north. The civilians were scattered on the eastern half of the battlefield in three groups.

As the civilians hunker down, two officers stand guard

As the civilians hunker down, two officers stand guard

Early on, the cyborgs were relentless. While the civilians were pretty much frozen to the spot, the machines steadily moved forward and made contact with the first survivor group. It was brutal. The cyborgs marched in, firing, and cut down the two fleeing civilians in short order. The two police officers failed to do anything as one of the cyborgs moved up and torched one of them with a flame thrower. This prompted the other officer to flee in panic.

Flames consume one of Ryukyu Epsilon's finest

Flames consume one of Ryukyu Epsilon’s finest

Meanwhile a few of the cyborgs were closing in on the troopers. They were greeted with a hail of fire, knocking a few of them down. The machines didn’t stay down for long, though, but got up and kept on coming. Pvt. Kenny had switched his flame thrower with a smartgun, and was happily hosing down the approaching machines with it.

The cyborgs didn’t have it easy. While half of them had turned their attention to the troopers, the sixteenth were being ruthlessly effective. Cyborg after cyborg went down, Pvt. Hämäläinen being especially deadly. The rest of the cyborgs weren’t doing much – although neither were the civilians. The sixteenth were winning the combat, but the civilians were still in danger. Cpl. Rodriguez and Pvt. Jane started moving towards the civilians as it started to become apparent that the survivors would not get moving on their own.

Rodriguez and Jane reached the survivors, who were finally beginning to activate. The mission was going heroically well, with half the cyborgs down, the rest standing around halfway across the field, the troopers in good positions and the civilians moving towards the evacuation zone. Then something happened.

It was as if the machines were waking up from a slumber (or probably a standby mode). All of a sudden they became a threat again. The one police who had survived the first attack was doused with flames from the flamethrower. The cyborgs that had been far away moments ago rapidly moved towards the troopers. A few that had been knocked down by gunfire got up and started firing. Pvt. Kenny, the heavy weapon specialist was hit with a spray of bullets and went down. Pvt. Wu, the trusty sniper was suddenly completely frozen and just didn’t seem to be able to get a shot off. Lead was flying all over the place, but at least the civilians were on their way towards the exit.

The officer looks on in fear...

The officer looks on in fear…

...as the cyborg with the flamer approaches

…as the cyborg with the flamer approaches

The cyborg attack was steadily getting more dangerous. Cpl. Rodriguez was hit and knocked down while escorting the civilians. Most of them had made their escape by now, so Sgt. Brauer gave the order for a rapid retreat from the field. Privates Lau, Haugen-Ankerson-Franz, Evans and Hämäläinen complied and left the field. However, this left it up to just Brauer, Wu and Jane to rescue the fallen Kenny and Rodriguez. On top of that, Jane was stuck pretty far away, having covered the fleeing civilians.

Things didn’t go well. Despite a valiant effort by the troopers, they were overcome by the machines. Wu managed to flee the field, while Brauer went down in a hail of shots. A cyborg raked the downed Rodriguez with a machine gun, making sure he’d never get up again. Pvt. Jane, the lone survivor put up a brave fight but was finally cornered by the three remaining cyborgs. Jane fought to the last, before being brought down in hand to hand combat. The mission was over, and most of the civilians had been saved, but at a terrible cost: Cpl. Rodriguez KIA, Sgt. Brauer, Pvt. Kenny and Pvt. Jane MIA. It was the worst beating the sixteenth had taken to date. Apparently when the captain briefing the squad had said “avoid a prolonged firefight with the cyborgs”,  he’d meant it.

As the battle ends, the machines have the field

As the battle ends, the machines have the field

It was yet another exciting game, and filled with lots and lots of drama. Early on the troopers really had their way. With the exception of the few first turns, turn after turn the cyborgs failed to activate and those that did were cut down by some very effective firing. Unfortunately for the troopers, the civilians weren’t activating either. As the report says, something just happened suddenly, and just as the game seemed to be in the bag, the machines came to life with some odds-defying rolls and tore into the player characters. Four casualties out of a squad of nine is a pretty gruesome toll, and I’m sad to see Sgt. Brauer and Pvt. Kenny go. Man, war is hell even in 28mm.

This scenario obviously drew a lot of influence from the Terminator franchise. It was a great chance to build and paint a lot of ruined scenery (which will feature in a dedicated post) as well as some killer robots (ditto). I was also happy to see my old em4 and Copplestone cops get an outing.

Comments welcome!

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Utopia #3 – The hunters hunted

December 29, 2012

We just finished the third game of Utopia a few hours ago. If you’ve been following the progress of the campaign, you’ll know the last game ended with Sergeant Salt Brauer promising his superiors they’d make amends for killing the Predator they encountered – by capturing a live one. The orders were simple: no firearms, bring the creature back alive.Off went Utopia squad 16 (“The Sweet Sixteen” as they were instantly named), armed with tasers, flashbangs and a tranquilizer rifle, to bring down a Predator in the jungles of Triton-4. The squad’s sniper Wu managed to use his contacts in the munitions department to set himself up with some heavy duty poison darts for the tranq rifle. Hey, if the Predator died, it would be the scientists’ fault for supplying the wrong kind of darts! Meanwhile, trooper “Dog” Lau stole a thermal camera to help the squad get a bead on their prey.

With Cpl. Rodriguez injured and Pvt. Iljutsh dead, two new troopers joined the squad:

Pvt. Hämäläinen – a dour, quiet Finn. Hämäläinen keeps to himself and tends to his gear meticulously. His sullen mood prompted the squad’s medic Evans to arrange for Hämäläinen to receive a call from his mother to help his wellbeing.

Pvt. Bedford – the Brit Bedford is a passionate feminist. Coming from a career in private security and joining the military due to “workplace disagreements”, Bedford is a tough woman who can hold her own.

The squad moves out

The squad moves out

The squad set down and spread out towards three possible target sightings (we were using three Predator models on the table, with only one being the actual creature), with the exception of Pvt. Lau, who just happened to wander off alone – right into the line of sight of all the potential attackers. A moment later there was a flash of plasma, and Lau went down screaming. Before he fell, he managed to catch a glimpse of the attacker, eliminating the other two possibilities.

While the tech Ghillian ran to check on Lau, the squad turned their attention towards their so-called prey. At this point it became painfully obvious, that their weapons had a dreadfully poor range, and they would need to close with the Predator to actually knock it out.

The Predator wasn’t going to stand around waiting. Instead it charged out and impaled Pvt. Bedford with its wristblades. As the cloaked creature raised the screaming, thrashing trooper into the air, a wave of panic rippled through the squad. Brevet Corporal Haugen-Ankerson fled into the jungle, while a few others retreated. The squad was in shock over Bedford’s fate, and they were unable to stop the now de-cloaked Predator from charging across the clearing at Pvt. Ghillian. Having just checked that Lau was ok, Ghillian barely had time to register that she was under attack before the Predator’s vicious blades slashed her apart. Covered in blood and panicking, Lau clambered away on his hands and knees.

The last moments of Pvt. Ghillian

The prone Lau witnesses the last moments of Pvt. Ghillian

The creature’s charge had brought it out in the open, and Wu wasted no time. The sniper selected one of his poison darts and sent it into the Predator – to apparently no effect. The alien strode towards Lau, who desperately fired his taser. Laughing, the Predator tore out the darts and wires and then promptly keeled over, Wu’s potent poison working its way through the alien’s system.

The Predator is down!

The Predator is down!

No time was wasted by the squad as they mobbed the Predator. Sgt. Brauer tased the creature once more for good measure, and they swiftly tied up its hands and feet. Meanwhile, Hämäläinen got on Ghillians radio and called the dropship in. It was now only a matter of waiting for pick-up.

Evans tends to the Predator as Jane and Brauer look on

Evans tends to the Predator as Jane and Brauer look on

Problems did appear, though. First of all, the Predator was dying, its breathing slowing down and foam coming out of its mouth. Secondly, as if the Predator wasn’t enough, it was becoming apparent what they had been hunting, as Xenomorphs were suddenly appearing and could be seen skulking in the jungle.

The medic Evans did what she could with the Predator. Whether it was due to her xenobiologist ex-boyfriend or just luck, she managed to actually stabilize the creature. Around her the rest of the squad were throwing flashbangs and frag grenades (that weren’t expressly forbidden in the mission briefing) to keep the Aliens at bay as they waited for the dropship to arrive. Amidst all the chaos, Hämäläinen managed to establish radio contact with Haugen-Ankerson, who was returning from her panicked flight. The only problem was that Haugen-Ankerson’s way back brought her very close to one of the approaching Aliens…

Finally the dropship roared in, guns blazing. Sgt. Brauer quickly gave the order to fall back, and the squad packed itself into the dropship. Brauer himself heroically stood in the doorway as his second in command Haugen-Ankerson sprinted through the jungle and dived in the ship with the Xenomorphs snapping at her heels. The dropship soared into the sky, and squad 16 finally left Triton-4 behind. While their two missions had both been successful, victory had come at a heavy price: two troopers were dead and one missing and presumed dead. It was now apparent why ghost stories were told about the planet.

The third game of Utopia was as fun as the previous two, and for the same reasons. It was filled with drama, excitement and cinematic moments. I was a bit worried that I might’ve made the Predator a bit too powerful as it slashed its way through two troopers in two consecutive turns, but luckily our heroes turned the tide and put the creature down. The small RPG session at the start of the game are an essential part of the game, and they really breathe life into the characters. Sgt. Brauer’s drinking problem has evolved to the point where he simply eats powdered beer without bothering with the water anymore, while Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson is busy writing her wedding invitations and the Sweet Sixteen fight with Sgt. Hiroshi’s 12th squad over bragging rights.

Yes, I think this game actually works.

 

 

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