Day Two and Three at the Village and Mission of San Juan
I don’t think I realized how crazy it would be to run a game this big for this long (and I’ll be doing it again next weekend as well at Diecon!). It was sheer madness to try and pull this off and I know my energy began to flag by lunch on day three. Luckily the players kept at it. We ran until approximately 5:00 PM Saturday so for a total of 23 hours (minus some lunch breaks and such it was Hive and the Flame miniature madness at Origins!
Day two began with the humans making a fighting withdraw from the burning plantation along the southern edge of the battle area.
The Indian field workers made a series of surprisingly effective stands and attacks with bows and arrows and were able to significantly slow the invaders. The remains of the Colombian Army also proved effective as their Presidential Guard Cavalry, some remaining line infantry and a company of elite infantry supported by machine guns also took a toll on the Bugs.
Once flying units of the bugs began to appear things became much more complex for the defenders and even though they also got reinforcements in the form of both ornithopters and aerial gunboats they were unable to prevent the flying bugs from making a series of attacks against the refugee column on the road.
These same bedraggled survivors of the bug invasion posed serious constraints on road moving, offering a major obstacle to defender mobility. The Southern flank remained the main area of land action while to the North the aerial units from both sides fought a series of pitched battles. The Bug players were very successful at keeping the air units of the humans from taking any offensive action by taking and holding the initiative, repeatedly attacking the columns of refugees.
This resulted in heavy casualties, not only to the Ornithopters but also to the gunships as well. Approximately a third of the Flappers were destroyed. As the bigger ships attempted to defend the refugee streams they were often forced to fight off the savage creatures as they boarded the vessels. In one case the metal screens protecting the HMF Henry IV were ripped free and its Captain and bridge crew wiped out.
A bomber bug knocked out one of the few tanks on the Southern flank but a group of steam powered walkers were able to close the breach in the line.
However even with all the casualties the Human lines held and the aliens were only able to kill a small number of the refugees.
By the end of the third gaming session the human South flank was hanging on thin air but was hanging. The bugs had been unable to close. The Humans had been very effective at using their long range artillery throughout the entire session. The Supra Major units were difficult to damage but the humans were able to strip off their drones and leave them out of command. On several occasions the uncontrolled bug units rang amok and attacked their own units.
The huge playing surface and the long period of play (30 X 20 feet and a total of around 21 once breaks were held) allowed a lot of maneuver. Some parts of the battlefield so very intense combat for almost the entire time while other areas were almost the exclusive province of air to air and air to ground combat. One thing the Bug player had not realized was the by the middle of the third day the San Juan Mission was garrisoned almost exclusively by long range artillery crews and an attack by flying bugs might have been disastrous for the Human cause!
All this being said the larger scale of the game made for very different decisions by the players.
I will be putting this same game on again at DieCon this weekend!