I got my first game in with NCA. Sort of.
Sort of because what I actually did was deployment exercises with one of our USARF players. We rolled for initiative normally, deployed, played through the first round, then switched armies and repeated. I think looking at my list from both sides was a good exercise and I’d be interested in trying it again, but it also was a little awkward to try to act like there would be more rounds, and USARF had first turn both times. Next time we’ll trade first turn.
Having not played any mission to completion, I don’t feel like I have a complete feel for anything, but I have some impressions.
The first thought that came to me with the conclusion of the exercise, was that I was set up to lean heavily on three models – Swiss Guard Assault Hacker, Aquila Guard Multi Rifle Lieutenant, and Hexa Spitfire – but I didn’t provide enough orders to power them. All three were in my first combat group, which was 10 orders, and I had two orders in the second group. When I was running my own forces, in the face of fairly extreme odds, Van Zant put down the Aquila, and a Pathfinder before running out of orders while Dogged. An infiltrating flamethrower grunt knocked out both the Hexa Spitfire and the Fusilier Missile Launcher with one template. (This is going to be a later point as well.) A Combi Fusilier was targeted, and taken out by the Katyusha. Going in to my first turn with only four orders in the group, plus the still hidden Swiss Guard’s order, was very painful. I opted to convert three orders to regulars, and use the Paramedic’s irregular to try to medikit the Aquila up, and succeeded! But then he died again in his first exchange on the next order. I now didn’t have enough orders to do anything useful. I attempted to maneouvre the Swiss Guard to shoot a Foxtrot in the back, but fell short by an inch. My opponent’s first turn really pulled the rug out of under me, I never had a chance to build up any sort of momentum. It was a great opening on his part, but I think I could have weakened the blow on my part before I even got to the table if I had put more orders into the list.
Part of the reason I was so low on orders was that I wanted to include all the shiny new toys. The one I was really forcing in there is the Aquila, and that’s just because I like it a lot thematically. I find it a little hard to justify when I could be putting in the Deva Spitfire and still getting effective camo hunting at a lower cost, though. This is a new challenge for me, as the limited access to high-tech toys in Haqqislam means I haven’t generally needed to choose between them. I’ll need to learn how to decide when a particular piece of equipment is going to be valuable when I’m making my lists. I like the Aquila enough that I’ll still try to put it in there often, but I might leave the Swiss Guard out in that case.
The Aquila poses another challenge for me. If I’m running the MULTI Rifle I want to be able to use the Lieutenant Order on it, but without Chain of Command I’m inviting, if not guaranteeing, Loss of Lieutenant at some point. In Haqqislam, in addition to having Chain of Command unless it’s QK, I tend to think about a lot of my troops, with a high order count and a lot of redundancy, as fairly disposable. With the lower order count I was working with, and the heavy reliance on a few of my models, I needed to be a lot more careful and calculated than I’m used to being. This will be beneficial across all factions, I’m sure.
Related to being more careful, I should Dodge more. When, for example, being hit by a template I will frequently shoot anyway just because I’m willing to risk the Armor roll to remove my opponent’s model. With a need to preserve what I have, I think Dodging is something I should consider more, especially with TO Camo, since choosing not to Dodge is immediately writing that off. That’s not something I’ve had to deal with before since the drop from Camo to Mimetism isn’t quite as painful. Additionally, to support that, I should try to maintain Line of Fire overlooking my other troops. That is, of course, a good idea anyway, but it feels more important if I’m planning on Dodging more.
I’m now thinking about what I want to try next.
I might feel more comfortable if I can construct a list that feels more similar to something I’d use in Haqqislam and just incorporate a few of the new toys I’m excited about at a time. The Bolts toolbox might feel a bit like the Muyib toolbox. My next game I’ll try out a core of Bolts and see how I like them. It seems like people generally love them or hate them. I hope I’m in the former group, as I now have six.
The trouble with that is I’m still at a relatively low order count. This is partially just because I am trying to stick to mostly models I own and I only have one box of Dronbots at the moment. I’ll need to pick up another one and add in Fugazis. I have, however, ran plenty of 10-12 order Hassassin lists so I think it will still be a valid experiment.
An ORC Haris is also something I’m now looking at trying, as I like Haris teams in general, but that will wait for another time. The next thing in my assembly queue is some more Bolts to fill out that Core link. After that I may pick up the new repacked ORC blister to get the full Haris and give it a try. In Hassassins I really enjoy the Asawira Haris with two Muyibs. A full ORC Haris will be much more expensive, for a much worse Haris option (that Spitfire Haris Asawira is just solid gold. Having to take a Boarding Shotgun for pretty much all the other ones always hurts after being used to the Spitfire) but has many more wounds and could be a pretty effective way to deliver a specialist through heavy resistance. I certainly wouldn’t scoff at a burst 5 HMG at BS 14.