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Invisible Enemy

This MGV battle took place on the surface of a Mars-based structure, with a Selangor attack group crossing a gap in the surface structure in order to engage a stronger group of Australian MGVs. The Selangor did extremely well and managed to force the Australian formation off the board.

Australian Forces and weapon selections (Total 197 points):
One Super Komodo heavy MGV (photon main)
One Komodo heavy MGV (photon main)
One Gila A1 weapon platform (repair platform)
One Tokay weapon platform (photon main)
Three Whiptail medium MGV (kinetic mains)

Selangor Forces (Total 163 points):
Two Hammerhead heavy MGV (thermal mains)
One Thresher heavy MGV (missile main)
Two Mako medium MGV (kinetic mains)
One Sharpnose light MGV (kinetic mains)
One Cat light scout MGV (beacons)


Above: Battlefield overhead view. The Selangor positions are along the top half of the photo, the Australian position is across the center. The Selangor have advanced across the gap (black strip at top) and their fastest units have already advanced as far as the left edge of the left-most tower.
The battle occurred on a flat, geometric surface punctuated by several access towers and numerous surface irregularities. The gaming mat we used was the Deep Studio's Underhive mat, a rusty reddish grid-like surface which we accentuated by using two mats; one as a base and the other which was cut into various forms and stacked on black foam spacers to give a more three dimensional look (varying heights equaling low obstacles and high obstacles). It's a great gaming mat for science fiction battles.

Australian forces started the game distributed across the center of the battlefield, with most units "hull down" next to other features (full camouflage). Selangor forces deployed crossing a small bridge of loose material that bridged a gap in the surface.

Turn 1 & 2
The Selangor moved forward, with the thermal equipped Hammerhead units taking up a position commanding the center lane of the battlefield. The light units (Mako and Sharpnose) moved to the Australian left flank. Their Cat recon unit quickly moved up the center of the Australian position and launched position marker beacons at several Australian MGVs. The Australians won the first fire option but missed their shots on the Hammerheads. They did conclude that even though the Cat was a seemingly harmless unit that would eventually run out of beacons, that it was better to avoid having their positions flagged so liberally from close range. So unlike many players before them, they put a fairly heavy fire onto the small Cat, causing much damage and knocking out half of its beacon firing capacity.

Selangor return fire was heavy; the two Hammerhead units correctly decided that the Tokay weapon platform could be dangerous and was unusually far forward. Their concentrated thermal fire put a total of seven Hx hits (destroyed hull section) on the Tokay in just two turns. This massive peeling open of the MGV's hull was followed by a textbook missile attack from the Thresher.

As both sides moved forward, return fire from the powerful Australian Komodos as well as the badly damaged Tokay (whose main armament had not been damaged yet) put numerous hits on both of the Selangor Hammerheads.

Turn 2 wrapped up with one Australian Whiptail down from a sudden death following a Thresher missile attack and the Selangor's Cat recon unit completely wrecked and stopped with its power systems spiraling out of control


Above: Turn 2, Australian Super-Komodo crossing "The Lane" across which both sides are firing. In the immediate background are three other Australian MGVs: The Gila (right), Tokay (left) and Whiptail (upper center). In the far background to the left is the Selangor Cat, and behind it an Australian Whiptail attacking a Selangor Hammerhead at point blank range. At the far left side of the photo can be seen the aft end of an Australian Komodo still in its start-of-game cover position.
Turn 3 & 4
Selangor fire continued pounding the now vulnerable Tokay and the Gila repair platform behind it. The Selangor were obviously trying to pry the most vulnerable units away from the two powerful Komodo MGVs that controlled the Australian center.

The Australians continued pounding the two Hammerheads in return, who held up but showed obvious signs of wear. The two remaining Australian Whiptails moved forward to engage Selangor units at point blank range, but their efforts were partially negated by a somewhat piecemeal commitment, which allowed the Selangor the opportunity to use their two Mako units first against one Whiptail (along with Sharpnose help) and then another. The Selangor put a high priority on knocking down the Whiptails before their close-in presence could cause too much damage.

By the end of Turn 4, the Australian Tokay and two Whiptails were knocked out (dead), with the Selangor Hammerheads both badly damaged, especially Hammerhead 1 which was furthest forward with numerous power system hits and an internal explosion. It was not knocked out, but its main weapon was jammed and the MGV was unlikely to do much more in the battle.


Above: The Australian Komodos (left-center) move forward to engage the attacking Selangor MGVs. At bottom, two Whiptails have attacked the Selangor Hammerhead, which is supported on its right by two Makos.
Turn 5 & 6
The Selangor heavy units did poorly on these turns, missing on most of their attempts to put damage on the two dangerous Komodo units. The Australians began to switch fire onto the lighter Selangor units due to an intervening rise which blocked much of both side's line of fire.

The Hammerhead 1 unit was finally knocked out due to protracted internal power system overloads. At this point in the battle (end of turn 6) the open lane that had featured at the start of the battle was now completely blocked by wrecked MGV units from both sides. Battle action switched to the Australian left flank as the Komodos moved to pursue the Selangor Thresher (missile unit) which was moving around their flank.


Above: Close-up of two Australian Whiptails engaging three Selangor MGVs at point-blank range.
Turn 7 & 8
Over on the Australian left flank, the probing Thresher MGV withdrew back toward Selangor lines, continuing a steady missile fire as it pulled back. The pair of almost miraculously unscathed Selangor Makos punched past the last (admittedly crippled) Whiptail and came in behind the damaged Gila repair unit that was tailing the Komodos for mutual safety.

The final turns of the game became a battle of Komodos versus the rest of the (mostly damaged) Selangor remnants. The Gila was hopelessly damaged, and while the Komodos continued to maintain a lethal front, the Australian player decided enough was enough and pulled them off the left side of the board before another several rounds of missile and thermal fire poured in on them. Game over, Selangor victory.


Above: Wider view of the photo shown above; Hammerhead #1 at left foreground has been beacon marked by the Whiptail setting next to it (the Whiptail has since been knocked out and the beacon is about to expire). Note the immobilized Cat recon unit in the distance and approaching Australian MGVs beyond.

Above: Selangor Thresher sheltering behind obstacles. This unit used cover and friendly unit spotting to put indirect missile fire onto the enemy MGVs visible in the background.
The Australian player made few mistakes, but those couple of errors combined with good weapon selection and fire management by the Selangor player made a long term difference in the game. Using the Gila as a giant repair unit - while tempting and somewhat experimental - probably did not pay off in the long run. There were only so many things it could repair and it couldn't be everywhere at once.

In return the Australians effectively lost a combat unit going into the game which as things turned out, would have made all the difference eight turns later. Moving the Tokay too far forward and letting too many individual MGVs fight on their own across a slightly scattered front made another difference. It was a great game, an attacking player with a thirty-point disadvantage in buy points managed to squeak out a victory, not an easy task.


Above: Close-up of Hammerhead #2 toward end of the game, as it closed on the Australian Komodo's final positions (off screen right). Behind it is the missile firing Thresher MGV. At this point in the game, both units were damaged, with the Hammerhead having recovered slightly from heavy damage suffered earlier in the game.

Above: The two Australian Komodos (one Komodo and one Super-Komodo) as they withdrew off the left side of the board. In the right background are two Selangor Makos and the just self-destructed Australian Gila, which had suffered too much damage and lost too much speed to be able to withdraw along with the Komodos.

End of game wrecker's yard: knocked-out MGVs in "The Lane."

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