Conscript Byron was sick a couple of weeks ago so couldn't come out to the Terminal Station game I ran. Accordingly, he dropped by Wednesday night to re-fight the game. This time it was just the two of us, head to head, with Byron running the Vanguard, and myself running the Strain.
The scenario objectives were the same as we previously played - basically it was a race to the train. However, both sides played a little differently, both acting more aggressively.
Byron set up his 7 Vanguard (6 armed with laser carbines, one elite armed with a grenade launcher) as far forward as he could, in two groups on either side of the sushi restaurant. The grenadier was given two tactics markers, to allow her to fire indirectly.
The Strain (16 Revenants, 2 Quasimodos, and 2 Stalkers) were again limited to setting up adjacent to 4 strategic points. (Remember, we have doubled the gun ranges to S=8/M=16/L=24 inches, so the point cost of the Revenants has basically been halved).
Byron opened the engagement with the launching of his only grav grenade, causing some damage, but, more importantly, pinning several Strain in place for a turn (the Singularity effect reduced their movement to "1").
The Vanguard advanced north towards the rail line, on both sides of the red-roofed sushi restaurant. Nine Revenants and a Stalker advanced south towards the Vanguard, some entering the strip mall buildings through the back doors. They drew a lot of fire, and most of them were killed, However, the nano-virus clouds left behind by dead Revenants moved on, infecting some of the Vanguard. The two Quasimodos moved to take up firing positions. The rest of the Strain moved away from the action, towards where the train would arrive.
A single Vanguard Samaritan got the attention of both a Quasimodo and a Stalker, but for a couple of turns none of them could manage to hit the other, even with the assistance of the Tac-net!
One of the Quasimodos achieved a strong position on top of the blockhouse, commanding the centre of the table. He killed a Samaritan with his acidic ranged weapon. An infected Samaritan drew his fire, and blew him away with a well-aimed laser shot. Then, as the infection overtook her...
...she withdrew towards the western table edge, trying to get as far away from her comrades as possible before the inevitable happened...
...and the nano-virus consumed her and turned her into another Quasimodo!
When the maglev train arrived, 7 or 8 various Strain were in position to board. A couple hiding behind a Tyrell Corporation shipping container were lit up by the grenadier (literally; she set them on fire). Akosha Nama, riding on top of a container on a flatbed car, finished off the flamed Stalker with a round from her sniper rifle.
Below, Byron contemplates his potential moves toward the train. A couple of Vanguard have already been hit by the remaining two Quasimodos, and are about to die agonizing deaths from their corrosive acid spray.
The single Vanguard Samaritan left behind by the Taco Bell finally helped kill the Stalker threatening her, then she moved away from the train, drawing fire from the recently-created Quasimodo. Though covered in acid, she managed to kill the creature (her former mess mate) with a single shot (she rolled three "6's" to hit).
The Grenadier and another Samaritan managed to join the sniper on the train. Meanwhile, six Strain also boarded the train. However, two Revenants died from Vanguard reflex fire and one was reduced to a single wound. The two Samaritans were infected by the resulting nano, but otherwise were unwounded.
Discussing the game afterward, in our minds we took it as a tie. Yes, the Strain got 1 more model on the train, but it had only 1 wound, and the Vanguard had a big, expensive character with a superior, longer-ranged weapon.
I like the alternating Active Mode and Reflex Mode that comprise each side's turns. You always have to pay attention, since, in Reflex Mode, your models may be able to respond to enemy actions.
Some of the nuances of the rules are interesting. You roll for corrosion resistance at the END of your own activation. So that one Samaritan mentioned above moved and drew the reflex shot from the Quasimodo, who didn't cause enough damage to kill her outright. She then fired, killing the Quasimodo, then she had to roll for corrosion resistance.
You only take extra damage from corrosion effects at the START of your activation. If one saves at the END of her previous activation, the corrosion ends, and you would not take any more damage from corrosion next turn. Thinking about it, this actually rewards bold action, risking drawing fire, rather than waiting for the Strain to shoot you during their own activation.
Trooper Vasquez managed to avoid the worst effects of the acid on her armour. As the train left Terminal Station, she ruefully turned away and contemplated her situation: Wounded. Infected with the Strain nano-virus. Alone in hostile territory.
"Time to soldier, soldier," she said to herself. "Let's see if that abandoned aid station has anything that can slow down this frakking infection."
Operator Akosha Nama called out to the Vanguard nearby, "Get back! There's a Corpsman at the other tender that can help you!"
Her optical camouflage activated. She started to disappear from their view, and looked straight at her enemy.
"I'm coming for you."