Monday, March 21, 2016

Fires of Eden - Dropzone Campaign

by Novus

I attended the first round of the Endgame of Oakland 2016 Dropzone Campaign on March, 5th and had a blast! The campaign uses the Wargame Developments Matrix system to generate things like match-ups and overall storyline. Mike (the GM), Stephen (Co-GM), Chris, and Kyle also added things like Commander leveling (Kyle), weather mapping (which we didn't use this time), and the overall map of the region on Eden (Chris).

The super-broad strokes of how this Matrix system works is, you write down what you want to achieve as if you've already achieved it, i.e. the Argumenet. For example...

"Result: The PHR take the city of Oakland from the Scourge garrisoned there."
Then you support that Result with your Actions and Reasons...

"Action: The PHR were able to take Oakland because the Scourge defenses were weakened from a recent UCM incursion."

"Reason: The PHR had spies embedded with the UCM for months. These spies reported the UCM success immediately."

Based on a Matrix of key words (none of which I used above) the Game Master decides on your chances for success, a number between 1 and 6. He rolls a d6 and successful arguments/players fight each other in a mission based on their arguments.

As each faction wins/loses the GM decides what areas of the map are controlled by who and what that actually means in campaign terms. It's very interesting because most of the heavy lifting (story) is created by the players and the GM merely interprets the results for us.

Here's my complete first day argument....

The Will of the Sphere
Operation Mince Meat

Result: The UCM are tricked in to attacking a superior Scourge force garrisoned at Atlantia.

Action: The Will of the Sphere plants false data that indicates a UCM TACTICAL ADVANTAGE in attacking Atlantia.

Result: The UCM, believing the ruse, attack Atlantia at a severe TACTICAL DISADVANTAGE, are AMBUSHED, and crushed.

Action: The PHR planted the corpse of a UCM officer with fake Shaltari data in a place where the Allied Resistance/UCM will find it.

Reason: The PHR force, The Will of the Sphere, moved North into Beckinshire Moors in search of one of only 3 escape pods jettisoned from the UCM David Simon during an orbital battle with a Scourge task force. The UCM David Simon was lost with nearly all hands after a secret meeting with the Shaltari Dark Scrub Tribal Command. The PHR were able to stealth in during UCM recovery operations and capture critical Shaltari tactical data as well as the body of one high-level UCM officer. This deceased officer will be given faked Shaltari tactical data and left near one of the escape pod sites. Once placed, local Allied Resistance forces will be tipped to the location of the officer and his cargo in hopes the data will ultimately reach UCM High Command.

Reason: PHR can do this because they have been monitoring the UCM/Shaltari interactions and have been PREPARING for this operation for months.

My argument was given a 5+ for success and failed. As did Ian's, my opponent. Mike rolled horribly for all the arguments. Only two players received successful results so they played each other and the rest of us were paired up randomly.

Mike The GM suggested via email that Ian and I should play a Gauntlet type mission where my PHR must attempt to break through the Scourge lines. Buuuuuut, I misread that and brought a defender list (and only those models) so Ian and I swapped roles; I defended and he attacked "because the Scourge are mounting a probe-in-force into the small town of Yerk, in the South of Brekinshire Moors."

Had we known how hard a Gauntlet mission can be for an attacker, we would have likely chosen another mission. As neither of us had played Gauntlet before, we dove in!

I won initiative and made Ian go first. From the start Ian had a tough time. Turn one I destroyed his Screamer/Raider pair with a pair of Phobos. Turn two I downed most all of his troops and their transports with a pair of Helios and a Phobos. The rest of the game was him trying to squeeze past a brick of 3 Odins and a Zeus only to be hit head-on by two Medusa that swarmed then captured his commander. I also had two Athenas that came in on turn two and just kept the pressure on. I got something like 1100 kill points and he got like 400 points of material off the table.

That's a very tough mission.

From what I could see during our game everyone had an interesting mission based on their arguments and some of us had time to play a couple of games. As far as I know, we've all turned in our After Action Reports and Mike and Chris are busy adjusting territories on the map for day 2, in May.

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