16 August 2015

The Yellow Rose of Messier 67

Last week we used Gruntz for the first time in ages. There were four of us playing an ambitious set of linked games with a central theme. The setting was our own background using our Messier 67 forces.

Each player fought in two games with the winner of each earning a token (marked either R, O, S or E for reasons that will become clear). What follows is not so much an AAR, since I was only properly following my own games, but will follow the linked scenarios and report how it played out.


The Yellow Rose of M67

The overarching plot is the quest for a rare plant. It was described in the notes of a famous deceased botanist who had visited the planet Hillier. It is thought that she planted the flower in an area of the planet (or its moon) with specific environmental conditions. Each location is the setting for a game but only one of the settings contained the real "Yellow Rose".

Motivations

Aslan (Dave): Although they have not been seen on the world since the arrival of the human ark ships, the Aslan claim it is theirs. The plant matches the description of a known specimen from their own history. If they can find the plant and validate it is the same, it will justify their claim.

Anarcho Communist Commonality (Me): Under its environmental protection laws, the rare plant must be retrieved, protected and cultivated.

New Commonwealth (Anthony): The flower looks stunning and will make a fortune!

2nd Confederacy (Ross): The botanist once visited a 2nd Confederacy fringe world whose population was primarily of Texan descent. As well as hinting at the plant having healing properties, she allegedly joked that it looks like a yellow rose.


Slot 1, Game 1 - Aslan v 2nd Confederacy
Jungle

A dense jungle has formed at ground zero of a terraforming pod. Indigenous locals have advised that they have seen a yellow plant along the banks of a river. Due to translation problems, the exact spot has not been described properly but three locations fit the description.

The tribe refused to act as guides in this area of the jungle. When asked why, the answer was difficult to understand. However, in needing to ask about the flower, the offworlders had learned the local words for different colours. The natives were scared of “something pink” in the trees.

Three markers are placed along the river which runs from corner to corner; one in the centre and the others 12” either side.

Forces start within 12” of the other corners and must examine the markers. An action is spent to check for the plant. Only one marker is actually the plant which must then be removed via one of the table edges adjacent to your starting corner.

When passing through area terrain, a skill check is needed to avoid disturbing a pack of Terrorformed. Activation is by card...draw a card for each unit on the table then assign each to any unit. Activate in descending order. When Terrorformed units are in play, they get a card too.

Both forces advance on the river


Dave's Aslan sent drones ahead to disturb the creatures near the 2nd Confederacy. This strategy pinned them down for most of the game. You can see the Aslan crossing the river to two of the possible locations (yellow flowers).



The Aslan found the flower (Token R) at the first location but that didn't stop them pretending they were still looking leaving Ross to stay on mission and leaving his Texans knee deep in pink horror.



Slot 1, Game 2 - Anarcho Communist Commonality v New Commonwealth
Dome

A small colony on the barren moon of Charlie fled when they heard about the Aslan fleet. At the centre of their colony is a biosphere. The plant might be located here.

Retrieve the plant from the dome and take it off your table edge. When infantry are hit and the damage check exactly equals their armour, they must take a skill check (12) as the toxic atmosphere tears at their body and they try to patch their suit.

The target flower was in the dome on the left.

Ant's Commonwealth sped up and started harassing my powered armour. To the left, my Boudicca APC is finding somewhere to drop two fireteams under the cover of the hab units.

That went badly wrong. After the first team deployed, a push move (move, move, shoot) saw one of Ant's units round the corner and kill my men with a well placed rocket! The second team disembarked and I returned the favour.

The APC had an exchange with a couple of Ant's vehicles amid the huts but was ultimately removed. At this point, we only had a few stragglers on each side. Our commanders, pictured here, had a rumble with Ant's leader heading off to the dome. Luckily, the remainder of my powered armour took him out.

The remainder of the commonwealth infantry used the other dome to get safely past my tank. They knew they had no hope of escape, though, so surrendered humiliatingly amongst the cabbages.

My last trooper entered the dome and collected the yellow flower (Token O).


Slot 2, Game 1 - New Commonwealth v Aslan
Farm

The botanist left some plant samples with an old farmer for safekeeping. The farmer has since died and the ownership of the holding has changed. The new owners know nothing of the agreement and likely ploughed the field where the plant was growing.

Some of his animals are behaving strangely...one in particular.

Both human forces must attempt to kill (or use a tranquilliser round) the cow and spend a turn at its body removing the contents of its stomachs. The sample must be removed from the table.

The cow starts near the centre of the table and moves 6” in a random direction each turn. Its herd of 5 other cows surround it (radius 3ish”) and will attack anyone that come within charge range.


Daisy and her bodyguard at the centre of the table.

The Aslan and New Commonwealth forces are both fast so there was a rush to the centre to fight over the cow. At this point, Daisy is still alive but some of her herd are dead.

Ant's forces include missile defence and devices that hinder targeters in close proximity which gave Dave some problems. Daisy's stomachs (Token S) changed hands a couple of times but, in the end, the New Commonwealth won. Not before one of the cows killed a grenadier, though!


Slot 2, Game 2 - Anarcho Communist Commonality v 2nd Confederacy
City

The botanist’s original lab was located somewhere in Dimmock City. The city was destroyed by a WMD and is now deserted. Although the rough area of the lab is known, its exact location is not. The plant is still in the remains of the lab.

At the end of six turns, the location of the lab is randomly determined as being in one of several buildings. Whoever has the nearest unit is the winner.

Deployment: Players assign a number to each unit and list which of the 16 imaginary grid squares each unit is in. Where a player is the sole occupant of a square, that square is locked and belongs to them. Where two players are in a square, they roll a d6 for each unit and keep the highest. The player with the highest dice locks and owns the square. The loser must retreat to one of the surrounding squares that is not yet locked.

Dimmock City ruins.

This Confederacy gunship buzzed round the table for most of the game. Luckily for me, Ross rolled poorly for it throughout and it did nothing! Unluckily for me, The "cube" building below it had two of my fireteams inside. They were caught in crossfire between Ross's men in the two adjacent buildings and a third, closer to the camera (out of shot).


My actions at this brick building were also a disaster. I should have stayed in there and held it but I got greedy and tried to string men out to the crashed dropship to control more ground. To the right was another building housing Ross's bots. I was hoping to spot them and rocket them from my tank. Yet another crossfire with the bots and a unit in the central building wiping the team out.

I had better luck with Commander. He fired in through the windows of a small building (just in front of the green truck), killed the unit inside and held his ground. Although Ross held 6 buildings against my 3 (effectively half the table was uncontested for him!), the lab turned out to be the building my commander was in (Token E).


Resolution

Aslan Dave: Token R
Anarcho Commie Me: Tokens O and E
British Ant: Token S

With that, we went out to the missus' flower bed were I'd sealed the identity of the real Yellow Rose in a box. But it was dark by then so, Ironically given the ACC environmental laws, I probably crushed a load of flowers!

And the winner was my Arnarcho Communists. The Rose was token O and had been in the Bio Dome on the rocky moon. Yay!


Summary

Loads more happened than I can remember or write (or you could stand to read). It was an ambitious day but we all agreed it worked well and was fun (or the others are just humouring me!). Four different types of game with a central theme. Gruntz allowed us to put some diverse forces of our own devising on the table.

The missus is back from France tomorrow. I think the garden is still alive thanks to another British summer.


Other pics as requested by MrHarold:

Reverse angle on the domes
Slightly wider shot of the city. Here you can see the building housing Ross's bots (bottom left) and all three buildings surrounding my units and pinning them in the "cube" building.
Better shots of the jungle terrain can be seen here where we played the original version of this scenario in January.

5 comments:

  1. Really great reports! The scenery and forces look very nice too... Especially like the hab domes, jungle and city. Any more pics of those?

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  2. Thanks Harold. I've added some pictures above but they aren't great. We try to build scale agnostic terrain where we can so you'll see the likes of the containers and generator things in all sorts of games.

    I was pleased with the hab domes. They came from a giant Lindt Lindor that the missus bought me. As soon as I opened it, it seemed more like "Two 15mm hab domes with free chocolates included".

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    1. I don't suppose you have a making of video or post for those lovely domes, have you?

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  3. Absolutely brilliant! This is the kind of game I want to play. Using the same theme throughout really ties the games together and the tables look beautiful. Love the hab-domes! Really well done!

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  4. Great set of battle reports! Just started learning Gruntz love the game!

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