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Paradiso 203: Anatomy of a Pounding

Last night I got curbstomped in an Infinity game. This isn't a particularly common occurance for me so some post-game analysis was required...

This wasn't part of our club's Paradiso campaign as the next round of campaign matches are next week.

 

The Mission

Mission 203 from Campaign: Paradiso.

The defender (in this case me, rolled for randomly) is escorting a VIP, aiming to call down a Dropship into the opponent's side of the table (specialists-only), get the VIP safely into the Dropship and leave the table (4 points). There's a side-objective, you also get a point for blowing up a beacon in the middle of the table, only possible with D-Charges.

The attacker (Crinos) has to stop the beacon being destroyed (1 point), get hold of the VIP and keep control of it (2 points) and escort the VIP off one of the enemy table corners (2 points, random table corner).

 

The Lists

As this wasn't part of the club campaign i got out my Haqqislam Qapu Khalki models for a change, while Crinos used his Merovingian Ariadnans.

This is where things started going wrong already...

 Haqqislam - Qapu Khalqi | 13 models

________________________________________________________
Combat Group #1
 Azra'il Feuerbach (41|1.5)
 Hafza Observer (20|0)
 Hafza Observer (20|0)
 Hafza Observer (20|0)
 Hafza Lt+Spitf (23|1)
 Odalisque Spitfire (31|1)
 Kaplan ADHL (23|0)
 Hawwa' Observer (24|0)
 Hawwa' Observer (24|0)
 Ghulam Rocket (16|0.5)
Combat Group #2
 Djanbazan Sniper (33|1)
 Yuan Yuan AP CCW (11|0)
 Yuan Yuan AP CCW (11|0)
________________________________________________________
297/300 points | 5/6 swc

open with Aleph Toolbox  : http://goo.gl/HLg8W

 

The plan was to have the Azra'il and Hafzas in a Link Team, use the Al Hawwa' infiltrators to blow up the beacon and use the Odalisque to escort the VIP. The Kaplan was there as a backup D-Charge model with the Djanbazan Sniper and Ghulam Panzerfaust positioned for reaction shots and the two Yuan Yuan drop troops aiming to cause general havoc (their Booty rolls were a Panzerfaust and a flamethrower!). Between all the Forward Observer models, there were also plenty of Specialists to call in Dropships.

The first obvious problem (I'm blaming it on cumulative lack of sleep!) is that the Djanbazan Sniper has a single Order per turn due to the Irregular nature of the Yuan Yuans and not being able to use Orders from the main Combat Group - he can't reposition properly, he can't hunt down enemy models and even worse, once he's Unconscious at the start of a turn he has no Orders to try and regenerate with!

Swapping out the Ghulam with Panzerfaust and the Djanbazan would have made much more sense. Oops.

The next obvious problem is ranged offensive weaponry - although the Feuerbach is devastating if it hits, the range modfiers aren't much better than a Spitfire, leaving my main longe-range weapon being a basic Sniper Rifle. An HMG or similar in there would have made a substantial difference. That the Sniper Rifle was totally order-starved didn't exactly help...

 

Crinos' list was something like this:

  Ariadna - Merovingian Rapid Response Army | 14 models

________________________________________________________
Combat Group #1
 Briscard Lt (24|0)
 Briscard Param (28|0)
 Briscard HRL (34|1.5)
 Briscard MR (24|0)
 Briscard MR (24|0)
 Chasseur ADHL (19|0.5)
 Chasseur Rifle (19|0)
 Zouave Sniper (28|0.5)
 Zouave HMG (31|1.5)
 Valerya Gromoz  (26|0.5)
Combat Group #2
 Métro Camo DC (11|0)
 Métro Camo DEP (12|0.5)
 Métro Camo DC (11|0)
 Métro Camo DC (11|0)
________________________________________________________
302/300 points | 5/6 swc
Warnings: too many points spent (302/300)

open with Aleph Toolbox  : http://goo.gl/5mxbd

 

His aim being to cover as much of the table as possible with fire from the Linked Briscards and mechanised deployment Zoauves, then scatter the rest of the table with Chasseurs and infiltrating Metros.

 

Deployment

Crinos won the initiative/deployment roll-off and decided to take the deployment zone marked in red below so that his Briscards and Zoauves + a Chasseur could get commanding views of the central area, I had the green deployment zone with first setup and first turn. Covering the VIP I had the Odalisque and Kaplan on the ground plus the Ghulam PF and Djan Sniper up on the roof in cover behind an advertising hoarding. The Al Hawwa' FOs were placed next to the beacon and underneath the tall walkway.

Crinos' Metros scattered around the place on the raised platform in the foreground, while two others managed to successfully infiltrate right next to each of my camo markers!

 

 

Things That Went Wrong

My first major mistake in-game was placement of the Yuan Yuans, mainly due to not having a coherent plan and having forgotten all the lessons I've learned with my Nomads in campaign games!

Both Yuan Yuans attempted to land in Crinos' deployment zone via AD3, tucked in behind the building containing the Briscards. If this had been successful, Crinos would have had to reposition his Briscards or risk taking a bunch of automatic template hits in the next turn from the Yuan Yuans' Chain Rifles and flamethrower.

If being an important consideration. With a PH of 13, rolls of 19 and 20 were not going to cut it. The first Yuan Yuan landed in front of the Briscard Heavy Rocket Launcher, with the second one inside the circular template area. The result, as you might expect, was severely toasted pirates.

This was stupid for a whole raft of reasons:

  • Using AD2 to walk onto the board wouldn't have got them behind the Briscards but they couldn't have scattered into sight.
  • Keeping them off-board by burning their Irregular Orders would have made their presence even more obvious to Crinos, forcing him to second-guess where and when they might be arriving.
  • They were my only source of smoke and therefore the only reliable way of getting the VIP and bodyguard across enemy firelanes - especially important as the Briscards could see underneath the high walkway top-left, my main approach to a good Dropship landing point.

Next up, due to the relative lack of long range guns, to dislodge the Zoauves on the rooftop and hopefully free up my camo infiltrators I managed to get the Azra'il in a position where he could see only the HMG Zouave but thanks to 30" range he was on -3 to hit even with the full Link bonus, depending on three shots to beat the Zouave's one reaction shot on BS12. Azra'il isgetshit and even with armour and cover he takes a wound. Try the same thing knowing that in theory the odds are well in my favour. Same result, a second wound on the Azra'il taking him Unconscious, with no Doctor in my force.

I did eventually take down the HMG Zoauve by burning loads of orders on the Hafza with Spitfire (my Lieutenant, unknown to Crinos) with the help of the other Hafzas, followed by one of the FO Hafzas blinding the Sniper Zouave. The Spitfire Hafza then took out the Sniper and also the Metro in the middle by the beacon after he revealed himself in reaction.

However, the Odalisque with Spitfire would have been close enough to be in +3 range against the Zouaves but I was too fixated on her being the VIP bodyguard. Oops again.

 

In Crinos' turn the Chasseur on the roof behind the Zouaves took out the middle Al Hawwa, the Kaplan and the Djanbazan Sniper while the surviving nearby Metro took out my other Al Hawwa.

 

Another turn of assorted shooting on both sides saw my Odalisque having nearly got across the gap under the walkway to hide away from the Briscards, unfortunately she fell dead leaving the VIP in the open. The one good bit of luck was the Ghulam PF having line of fire to the Briscard Link when they were finally forced to move out of their buidling - she went down to the HRL but turned one of the other Briscards into a fine paste paté.

In my next turn I'd be in Retreat! status with all my models becoming Impetuous and therefore not able to resync with the VIP. As I had no models with D-Charges left Crinos automatically had an objective point for the beacon surviving and I couldn't get any objective points, so I conceded.

 

The New Plan

If I'd just thought more carefully about the Yuan Yuans things would have been very different. Ideally I would have kept them back a turn and then bought them in on my left flank to smoke the gap under the walkway, allowing the Odalisque and VIP to cross the gap. Even better, the Djanbazan (if he'd been in the right Combat Group!) would have been able to see clearly through the smoke cloud and been able to help shoot down the Chasseur and Zouaves.

There was enough space that the Dropship could have landed almost totally out of sight of the Briscards, letting the VIP stroll into his waiting Dropship and then leave the venue.

To go with this slightly more reasoned plan, a revised army list:

 

 Haqqislam - Qapu Khalqi | 15 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1

 Hawwa' Observer (24|0)
 Hafza Observer (20|0)
 Hafza Observer (20|0)
 Hafza Rifle (17|0)
 Hafza Lieutenant (17|0)
 Djanbazan Sniper (33|1)
 Djanbazan HMG (36|1.5)
 Odalisque Spitfire (31|1)
 Kaplan ADHL (23|0)
 Ghulam Rifle (13|0)
Combat Group #2
 Ghulam Rocket (16|0.5)
 Ghulam Rocket (16|0.5)
 Yuan Yuan AP CCW (11|0)
 Yuan Yuan AP CCW (11|0)
 Yuan Yuan Shock CCW (11|0)
________________________________________________________

299/300 points | 4.5/6 swc

open with Aleph Toolbox  : http://goo.gl/qBjmA

With only some minor changes this list allows a lot more flexibility on the table, being able to form a Link of two Djanbazans plus some Hafzas with a spare (probably the LT) hiding somewhere pretending to be another model, while the Odalisque again does bodyguard duty.

The second Combat Group now has extra smoke in the form of a third Yuan Yuan (potentially leaving a 'spare' to go on hunting duty) plus two Regular Orders from the Ghulams. Another small variation would be to put the basic Rifle Ghulam into the second Combat Group, which would give the option at the end of one of my turns to Link the three Ghulams, letting the Panzerfaust-carriers let off both barrels in reaction. Although that would take the main Combat Group down to 9+1 Orders.

 

Summary

The paradiso missions (like Infinity in general) can be quite unforgiving - for the best results you must go in with some form of plan, or at least a few possible approaches to the scenario problems. Likewise, you really need to tailor your force to those scenario objectives, you can't just take a general list and expect to get anywhere!

Ian