Wow, the 14th instalment of Learning Curve is here already. It’s been fun so far and I hope you’re following along with my war games education. I’ve learnt quite a lot this week and had the pleasure of playing a genuinely fun, fast paced sci-fi battle game; Afterlife.
Those of you who have been paying attention will know that I’m a big fan of the figures and that I had previously decided to play as Mercenaries. I even made a little plan on what I wanted to buy to make up my force (here). Now that we’ve had a couple of small games I think I’m going to re-plan that a little. I’ll explain below.
So the first thing to say is that the game is great fun. It’s very scenario dependant and sometimes fire-fights don’t go your way but that adds to the charm I think. It’s not a competitive players game though so if that’s you then I wouldn’t bother. Since we are quite happy to play with scenarios and occasionally suffer the indignity of our ridiculously expensive elite unit getting wiped out of existence by some grunts that got the drop on them we’re fine with it and really enjoyed the games we played.
Set in a dystopian future where man-kind is on the brink of repeating the mistakes of the past once more players get the choice of two factions Unity Council or Republic. The Unity Council have the best Exo-Mech units available whilst the Republic have speed and hit and run tactics on their side. Of course you can mash them up and run both with a 10% tax and no force specific rules. I actually still think this is detrimental but the coolness of being able to get the figures you like best is undeniably why I have chosen the way of the mercenary.
In the game players take turns to activate units and almost always any shooting is met with return fire from their opponent. The key to this is to get the drop on your enemies by firing from hidden (which all units start the game as). Sometime these firefights go your way and other times not so. My super expensive Pulse Mechs (best looking dudes available IMO – the big fella in the middle below) opened fire from a hidden and concealed position at some hidden Republic Grenadiers. Expecting to fire first and make a bit of a mess of them I was very surprised when the Grenadiers reacted first and massacred a third of my army in one round of shooting on my turn…
We enjoyed the game so much that we’ve all gone away to buy more bits and I’ve had a rethink on my previous list (based on rule of cool still to a certain extent). My new list is as follows;
The Mirakuru Crew
Pulse Mechs- 245 points: fast, tough and capable of handing out ass-kickings to even the scariest of units but slightly fragile. (They look the boobs though).
Republic Commandos w/Smoke – 160 points: fast, sneaky and armed with surprisingly good little guns these are the sneak up and objective grab dudes.
Crane Heavy Infantry – 110 points: slower and more heavily armed and armoured these guys are objective holders.
Commando Assault unit w/shields & big guns -200points: assuming they get close enough these dudes can really mess up someone’s day.
Tracer Recon – 170 points: fast and decently armed these guys can take on most units if required and are sort of my ‘swiss army knife’ unit.
Spectres – 190 points: the sneakiest of the sneaky and armed with weapons that make people cry their job is to out-range and out hide the enemy and then shoot them dead. They’re pretty fragile though so I don’t want to leave them hanging. They have to remain hidden.
That’s 1075 points for a 1200 point game. I think we’d undersold the game at 1000 points since it restricts army lists a little much. This seems much more sensible with three core and three elite units allowing good versatility. I dropped the Marines for Tracer Recon and the Tractor is a heavy investment in points that frankly I’m not sure about. The Spectres give longer range punch and greater mobility. The force is pretty quick around the field and I think using that to my advantage and trying to essentially pop-up from hidden and shoot before melting away again fits nicely with the cowardly mercenary way I envisage for them!
Things that we learnt that have impacted my decision making on the list are a) the game is so quick that you need six units really to make it work effectively b) a decent reaction score is vitally important, without it your guys struggle to see anyone and often return fire too late c) you can’t rely on the stats of your guys, you actually do need to move into position and light up your enemies instead of shouting “have it ya bastards!” and leaping into the open all guns blazing and d) an interesting way to use a quicker unit with high evasion is as a spotter unit for your bigger hitters; they sneak up and target lock the enemy before your snipers or giant cannons open fire from outside their effective range! We have a short campaign planned for the end of September so I’ll update you on the progression of my list then.
One minor house rule that I’m considering is an option for an infantry unit to voluntarily become supressed to gain a +2 cover save instead of returning fire. This would give your guys a bit of survivability in the face of overwhelming fire power but might slow down the game a little? Not sure but worth a go. Speaking of which you should definitely have a look at the range of figures and download the free rulebook from Anvil Industry’s website because it’s all gorgeous and lovely and I think I might be in love…
All that remains is to say a big thank you once again for our lovely fabric playing surface from TinyWargames! Next week I’m going to be returning to Infinity to discuss my 300 point list and it’s pros and cons. Until then happy gaming! – Mark