I had a very enjoyable weekend in Kansas City at Borderwars Convention. A small miniatures heavy event hosted by HMGS I ran Hive and the Flame for two sessions and had a total of about ten players
The first session was Friday evening and consisted of the initial air phase of the final assault on the Hive. In a couple of hours we played four turns with the action being between two flights of armed landers an a massive swarm of flying lancers. The armed landers were unable to keep away from the cloud of winged arthropods and although the humans were able to whittle the wasp like bugs’ numbers down significantly with automatic weapons fire could not prevent the chitenous invaders from boarding.
At that point the aliens began to take a toll on the assault craft. They destroyed most of a flight and damaged a number of others in the second flight.
Only one of the flights escaped the aerial melee unscathed. As that group entered the range of the Supra Major shooters its luck ran out and very quickly two of its six ships were hit and destroyed. With the surviving landers from this squadron about to touch down, supported by the fire from a pair of Shakespeare class rocket armed gunboats we broke for the night.
We picked the game up the next afternoon (as the morning was taken up by a large lovely 15mm Napoleonic game-in which most attendees played or watched).
While that as going on I ended up purchasing a number of deeply discounted Flames of War products including an armored locomotive and a pair of tank hunter railcars, some land mattress rocket launchers, a German anti tank aircraft (soon to be converted into a tilt rotor craft for HQC) and three sets of craters (the last of which were immediately put on the table!)
Once play started up again the human players wasted no time in trying to get their remaining landers on the ground and their troops in. They did lose one more lander to the last of the flying bugs, which were finally wiped out in turn. One of the Shakespeares came under heavy ground fire and down to its last damage point was forced to withdraw.
A flight of ornithopters came in to support the landing and attempted to suppress the bug shooters and was roughly handled, with four of its six machines being downed.
When the landers hit the top of the hive they were immediately met by swarms of warrior bugs which attempted to overrun the machines before they could disgorge their troops. The defensive fire from the landers was able to thin out the attackers and the close assault on the armored landers resulted in heavy bug casualties and no machines destroyed.
As the First Aerial Divisions troops began to debus the Hive’s Queen and King as well as numerous larva were forced to the surface. This gave the humans a clear and critical target, but the giant aliens tunneled up well away from the landing zone. A second flight of ornithopers attacked the royal personages but was unable to do much damage and were heavily engaged by bug shooters who downed two machines.
The troops which came roaring out of the landing craft were quickly engaged in melee by the surviving bug warriors near the landing zone and although they suffered heavy casualties were able to clear away the remaining units from the landing zone.
By this time the con was winding down and the game was called. It was too close to call and a draw was declared.
There were a lot of good learning and ideas thrown around, which will help with future games
Generally the new movement stands worked pretty darned well and did their job.
Put “plates” on the flying movements stands so that when bugs melee with a flyer they can be more easily placed there.
Make identification of flying bug swarms and individual flyers easier
Possibly use the new plates to put a small damage chart
Tactically if you are a human don’t let the bugs melee with you EVER
If you are a bug player melee with unarmed flyers not the ones with four 1 pdr pom poms
For the Shakespeares, once they get in good rocket range salvo the entire war load of 48 rockets. Divide them between as many Supra Major shooter units as practical. At medium range the rockets hit on a 1-8 on a D20 and each rocket draws 16 cards. That means 12 rockets are likely to destroy a unit of three surpa major shooters.
Bug shooters should concentrate their fire on single machines, it is better to kill a smaller number of machines than to damage several
Killing landers in the air kills the troops inside
We’ve played with a number of “fast convention” rules so this is what we will be using in the future
Machines are only damaged (depending upon the size of the machine) on “kill” results i.e. hearts or Jokers in ranged combat
Machines are damaged (depending upon the size of the machine) on “kill” results in Melee
Machines require several “forced back” results in melee (depending upon the size of the machine) to be forced back-this is new, up till now we’ve played that machines can be forced back on a single forced back result of are never forced back
There needs to be an easier way to track machines in combat
The game runs faster the more players there are (well within reason)