Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch


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Post Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:19 am

Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

For this last episode I used StarGrunt II, long a favorite of mine. I played it solo and it is not to be confused with anything . . . fair.

Here's the scenario:

Inquisitor Guimar, an interloper from the Imperial Core, has single handedly invaded both the Kingdom of Colores and the Tartarus Rim. Wanting to bring him in hand without . . . too much damage . . . two Colores agents: Agent Sophie and Professor Applebeck cook up a plan with several Tartarus locals: Colorado Rex-Avis, Arthur Zanzibar Rex-Avis, and Sir Stanley Ursaline Drakemore. In essence, they will lure Guimar and his allies to a remote corner of Moab III with the promise of aid from a Marine brigade whose real loyalties are unknown to the Empire, surround them, and knock them out with some special knockout gas shells that also disable electronics. A little finesse is required, as the Inquisitor will, of course, be shooting live ammo. And he's carrying 'splodey stuff of unknown power. And he has hostages, of course.

He's expecting to arrive to a nice, polite rendezvous with some fellow Marines. This is what he finds instead:

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Here's an overview of the board:

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The Marines are there, of course, but so too are some space elves and some Colores forces. And they brought artillery.

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In fact, the situation is worse than he knows, since even the Marines are hostile.

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His supposed rendezvous is the yellow building. But nothing good will come to him there. The only thing he could really do is run back off the table the way he came and pray to the over-distant Emperor. Which is to say . . . he's cooked. This is why I decided to run this as a solo. There are a few outcomes, but none are good for him.

So on the first turn, I had the Crimson Fists (the 32 Marines) bring the two artillery pieces under fire. This, in fact, successfully suppressed the artillery for a turn.

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But of course the fighter gets off the ground.

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Oh dear. That's going to be a problem. But nothing to be done about it now.

The Eldar work to bring their cannon around under fire, while the squad at the bottom of the hill bring the Crimson Fist SAW under fire with their own Squad AutoLaser and small arms.

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Guimar, unmolested so far, moves out and attempts to run across a patch of open sand to the next broken down coral wall.

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But he rolls poorly on his charge and ends up stuck in the open. Never a good thing.

The Crimson Dragons make like they're shooting at the Colores forces but conveniently miss . . .

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On the next turn the Crimson Fists do their best to keep the artillery pinned down so that Guimar can reach cover.

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It's not so successful, but fortunately for Guimar (at least for now) they miss anyway.

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And of course Guimar's own forces are starting to get pinned down by the increasing small arms fire.

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And Guimar rolls even worse on his move. Must be the sand. He STILL can't make it behind cover. (Two turns of charging and he's moved less than he would have had he just . . . walked.)

This time the artillery is more effective. And of course the air strike arrives right on schedule at the very beginning of the third turn.

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So before the third turn is even half over the game is. Guimar and all his forces are down for the count, and it's up to the Allies to sort out the mess and load it on the first shuttle offworld.

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Quick game. Probably took twenty whole minutes of rolling dice and measuring. We won't talk about how long it took to move cotton balls and bits of blue foam and to prop space craft on hidden stands. But even with all the picture taking and prop moving it really only took an hour or so. Not counting initial setup and post action writeup. Quick and dirty. StarGrunt II is a heck of a system, if you want something that minimizes the heroics and feels like all those history books tell you combat really works. Most of the time it's much bloodier when units get pinned. In reality, it's entirely possible I'd have injured someone anyway. Rubber bullets and gas grenades can still kill you. The less-lethal is probably a better name than non-lethal. (And it does assume the opposing force is cooperating and not using countermeasures. Which, for the sake of the story, seemed convenient. Not that Guimar would have escaped anyway. It's just that the hostage might have been killed too.)

If you want this same story, but with a bit more prose attached I wrote it up on my blog in Project Iowa, Episode 9: Knockout Punch.
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Post Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:03 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Great immersion in those ground level over-the-shoulder shots. And that shuttle blastoff was epic! Best batrep photo I've seen in a long time :)
"We attack at dawn. The plan is victory." - unknown
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Post Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:24 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

I tend to think of this stuff as tiny theatre; complete with set pieces, lighting, and occasionally . . . special effects. And I like to photograph it accordingly. Most of the time when I write up a bat-rep I'll recreate the key moments just so that I can take pictures. This time, since it was just me, I could do it as I rolled my dice merrily along. (Nobody else had to wait for me.) Little point and shoot cameras are great for dropping right down into the thick of things. They surely have their advantages if you can get them to focus on the right stuff, that is. :">

Thank you! That liftoff shot was, as they say, the money shot. Wanted it to be cool. "Wait, what? There's a plane back there? Oh $#@%! Holy mother of God are we in trouble!"
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Post Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:10 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Haha, this was excellent! The narrative and the pics are quite atmospherical. Enjoyable read!
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Post Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:08 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Thank you Suber. I should do more of this gaming stuff with all my toys. It was fun. :)
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Post Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:26 pm

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

That is one immersive battle report, a very enjoyable read and the other guys are right, the photos are brilliant and convey the atmosphere of the piece fantastically.
http://wronghammer.blogspot.co.uk/ for all you can read underwhelming wargames related tomfoolery.
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Post Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:19 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Thanks! It was a fun battle to play, even if I did it as a solo since . . . well . . . there was really only one side anyway. ;-)

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Post Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:28 pm

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Great read. Love the pics of the spacecraft taking off!!
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Post Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:26 am

Re: Project Iowa Ep. 9: Knockout Punch

Thank you! :) The liftoff picture may be one of my bigger photographic successes. It was a fun little picture to stage. Very Hollywood, after a fashion. (Which is to say it looks great . . . from a certain point of view. But no others. Which is why I staged two completely different pictures to create the same moment, more or less.) ;-)

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