Heyhey, it’s time for the second campaign game! This time we’re on the attack, with the full platoon.
What happened Last Time…
Let’s see what happened during the first game: Sgt.Goosio, 101st Planetary Defence Regiment, and his squad was out on patrol to see what these Orks were up to. Their tribe had crash-landed (or landed, hard to tell with Orks) a few months ago. Since then they’ve been sitting in the jungle, presumably hunting and worshipping their heathen gods or what ever Orks do. Apart from basic trades between human settlements and the Orks they mostly kept to themselves, taking care of nasty predators in the area, so everybody was okay with that.
Up to two weeks ago, when small groups of Orks were caught sabotaging important imperial infrastructure. They seemed more aggressive overall, reports of squabbles and even firefights between the human population and Orks came in. Turns out nobody really wondered what they were up to all the time.
It was time to find out more and protect imperial installations in the area. During one such patrol Sgt.Goosio’s squad ran into several groups of Ork saboteurs in full combat gear, way too close to one of the preciosium gas silos. In the following firefight the squad lost one man, but, despite being outnumbered, gathered significant intel on the enemy.
Several similar incidents happened across the border region between human settlements and the jungle. Prefecture government was forced to mobilize the woefully under-funded planetary defense force (PDF). Their mission is to ‘go in there and smoke’em out’. Just so the Orks know who’s boss around here.
In this mission the brave PDF will show up at platoon strength. Three squads of 6 men each (well, Sgt.Goosio’s 3rd squad is one man short from the previous mission), one platoon HQ squad of four (Lt.Linzou, a hard man and veteran of many beer festivals He’s accompanied by a flag bearer, a radio man and a Squat medic), and two support weapons. Those are “on the way and surely will arrive with the front lines soon”. Meaning, they are not with the platoon from the start of the mission, but may show up as reinforcements.
As you can see, the figures range from the original release of Catachans up to some bits from the Catachan HQ box, released in 2009-ish, with some ‘oddities’ mixed in. I (re)painted these figures mostly around 2008. Just had to add five more figures to finish the platoon.
In 5150 game terms I kept it very simple: They all count as PDF. Squad leaders, the platoon leader and the medic have REP 4 and wear Hard Body Armour, everybody else is REP 3 with Soft Body Armour. Each man in the squad is armed with as Lasgun (A-3), one man in each squad is armed with a heavier gun (A-4).
Sgt.Goosio is basically my player character and the hero of our story. Him and his squad have slightly different stats and some individual attributes:
The typical squad of Orks will also have six members, all armed with a mix of automatic weapons (counting as automatic rifles), their squad leaders have REP 4, all of them wear Soft Body Armour and have the Rage attribute.
How many exactly we’ll encounter on the next mission is, as always, unclear.
Based on the successful Patrol mission prior, our side goes on the Attack.
Someone fixed up an old Servo Skull to carry out aerial recon and came up with these pictures:
Seems like the Orks set up a small camp around some ancient ruins. And they’ve been hoarding wires, supplies, and other electronics. Where did they even get this stuff from?
What draws even more suspicion is the boxy contraption inside the ruins. Have they built something in there?
The order across the battalion is “attack Ork-held territory and drive them out”. On top of that Lt.Linzou’s platoon is to find out what that thing is and what these Ork saboteurs are using it for.
Here’s the table:
Just like last time I used the terrain generation rules from the rule book.
The PDF platoon deploys anywhere along the right table edge, once they did the PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces) are set up. The PDF’s objectives are: Kill as many of the enemy as possible, secure the contraption in the ancient temple ruins.
Nothing special in terms of terrain apart from the Devil Bamboo forests. Nobody sane of mind, even Orks, would want to get in contact with the bamboo. Devil Bamboo forests block Line of Sight as any other Forest, but also can’t be moved through under any circumstance.
For the first time our guys deploy for combat at platoon strength and therefore feel pretty magnificent.
Since there is no cover anywhere near their table edge they deploy for a big run across no man’s land and towards the hill in front of the ancient ruins.
Problem is that there’s a PEF right in the woods on top of that hill. Lt.Linzou knows though that this hill is pivotal to getting anywhere, so he drives his squads on. During all the yelling and pointing he “forgets” moving his own platoon HQ forward as well.
1st Squad sneaks up, ready to jump back into cover, but much to everybody’s relief the PEF on top of the hill turns out to be nothing at all. Against all logic this defensive position is unmanned.
Now that they took the hill the men get a first hand look at the contraption in the ruins.
The whole platoon take position in the woods and await further orders from the lieutenant. Here’s an overview of the first two turns of the game:
The remaining two PEFs stay in place, the whole platoon ran for the cover of the woods.
Lt.Linzou catches up to the platoon. Before they get too cozy in the cover of the forest, the lieutenant orders Sgt.Goosio’s squad to peek out the narrow end of the forest to check out that movement behind the Devil’s Bamboo forest to their right.
They sure identify the source of the rustling noises over there – it’s a full platoon of Orks, marching between the forests, possibly returning from a patrol!
The platoon structure seems to mirror the PDF’s: Three squads of 6 each, plus a smaller squad, possibly command.
Later research into identification plates will reveal that these are Orks of the Goff clan, probably in a military advisor role.
Goosio’s men catch the enemy platoon unaware and in march column. The first squad of Orks falls to our heroes’ fire.
The return fire from the Orks takes its toll on Goosio’s squad as well…
Lawrence is killed outright, Rivera gets wounded and goes down. Hankinson loses nerve, throws himself to the ground and refuses to move. It’s just Sgt.Goosio and Cpl.Van Dien still in fighting shape now.
During the ensuing exchange of fire the two manage to take out another five Orks. The sole survivor of that squad decides to flee the scene, despite the black-clad Orks in the back threatening with harsh disciplinary kickings.
Still, the numbers are overwhelming, so Goosio and Van Dien also duck back into the forest. Only by Extraordinary Efforts and the fact that he’s a Born Leader Goosio manages to keep his squad from just running away. Extraordinary Effort is a special rule for “stars” to get a bonus on a roll once per mission. It was a really close call. If my character fled the mission would be over for me, overall campaign morale may suffer, and my Sgt.Goosio may get a demotion. So – phew.
So they stick around, but they are seriously decimated. All three remaining squad members (Sgt.Goosio, Cpl.Van Dien and Pvt.Hankinson) are shaken and start crawling back to the rest of the platoon to report and take a breather.
Lt.Linzou sends the platoon’s 2nd squad over to Goosio’s position to be ready if the Orks try to exploit the moment for a counterattack.
Meanwhile 1st Squad proceeds down the hill and make it to the ancient ruins.
Here’s an overview of the Orks’ movement:
The third squad of Ork Kommandos go for the cover of the woodline, the Goff military advisors take the other route back around the Devil Bamboo to make their way through the forests. The last remaining PEF moves straight towards the ancient ruins, still in cover, so they aren’t resolved yet.
2nd squad take position at the wood line to cover the medic retrieving the wounded Rivera and give the rest of Goosio’s squad opportunity to crawl into safety.
Having a medic around is really handy.
As Sgt.Goosio’s squad crawl further into cover and recover from the shock, a slightly disheveled (REP reduced by 1 for the rest of the mission) Rivera comes hobbling over to them. Grinning from ear to ear, babbling about the wonders of Happycilin. The squad’s back up to four men.
At this point things don’t look too horrible for our platoon. The enemy lost two full squads while our platoon is just two men short and one wounded. There’s still one PEF to be resolved though.
In an unfortunate turn of events 2nd squad decide to take revenge for the death of their comrade Lawrence. They engage the Ork Kommandos at the wood line, but the Orks are prepared this time. Five men of 2nd squad go down.
The only one remaining on his feet is young Pvt.Bogo, the squad heavy weapon’s ammo carrier. He decides that this sucks and carries his wounded father, the squad’s gunner, off.
In game terms of course the squad, reduced to one guy and with the Sergeant taken out, fled off the table. They didn’t even get to fire back at the Orks.
Well, that sucks indeed. With my numerical advantage having melted significantly and the enemy dug in (with an unknown number of additional enemy troops lurking around as well) the only thing I can think of is at least destroying that long-range communicator.
1st Squad is still sitting right in front of it, so the sergeant has one of his men ready a grenade.
The grenade lands spot on, and the device goes up in flames.
A very satisfying sight. Who ever these guys were feeding info to with this, they won’t any time soon.
This fact seems to enrage whoever PEF#3 is. The air is filled with bone-chilling shouts and around the corner a squad of black-clad Orks, along with a huge support weapon come a-storming.
More Goffs. And they got a Death Skull Looter with a huge gun with them. Luckily, platoon HQ and the few man of 1st squad who have a line of sight at the Goffs roll really well in the ensuing firefight. The Death Skull Looter goes down quickly courtesy of the medic. He’s a Squat and thus is the only one in the field who has any experience fighting Orks proper.
After fierce point-blank battling the Orks are driven back. One thing is for sure – the black-clad Orks are way tougher than the ones in the ridiculous camouflage suits. As Lt.Linzou orders his radioman to instantly call in reinforcements he realizes that his comrade has been gunned down. the Orks retreat behind the green cargo container.
1st squad immediately move back up the hill to line up with platoon HQ and await another Ork attack.
The battlefield falls silent. Each side not quite sure what to do, hoping for unexpected reinforcements, divine intervention, or something else to happen.
Behind the hill. Goosio and the remainders of his squad also find an Excellent Position, and thus stay put, in case the Orks try to flank the hill.
The Goffs behind the cargo container are fully aware of this. Their leader and his command squad join them and they discuss further plans.
Over on the hill Lt.Linzou calls Sgt. Goosio and the others in to do the very same thing.
The situation is problematic. In terms of numbers, both sides are bascially equal, but these Goff Orks especially are tough nuts to crack. On top of that the platoon’s support weapons, promised to be ‘up there shortly’ still haven’t arrived. At this point they took out basically a platoon and destroyed the Orks’ long-range communication device. AND they ran into these really nasty Orks and gathered proper intel on them. Like how they’re really tough and scary, for instance. In the mind of most of the men in the platoon, this was good enough to call a tactical victory. There isn’t much to gain from pushing on. As if to support this well-made point, an inexplicable wailing sound (others later-on described it as rumbling and moaning) echos around the area.
That does it. ‘Fine work men, return to base. Goosio, your squad takes the lead.’, and our heroes swiftly leave the scene under the cover of the trees. Let the ancestor spirits or what ever that was take care of the bloody greenskins.
After this successful Attack mission I had some lucky dice. The PDF’s campaign morale increased by one (now 4), while the Orks campaign morale decreased to 3. Not just that, some of the wounded/fled soldiers returned, and the platoon got enough replacements to bring it back up to paper strength. This means two new guys for Goosio’s squad. We’ll meet them proper next time. Speaking of which – Sgt.Goosio gets promoted! To proper Sergeant. So far he just was a “dude in the interimistic rank of a sergeant”, but now that the guys have seen actual combat he’s been made a Sergeant proper. The main result being that Cpl.Van Dien (who always felt that he should lead the squad) finally accepts Goosio as his superior. At least for now.
Random Event Cards
The first game with a proper full platoon was interesting. I tried my event cards for the first time, basically just seeing what they would do. Some of them have a potentially big impact on the game, but none of these actually came up.
Apart from that, not that many random events came up. My made-up-on-the-spot rule was that an event card would be drawn each time both sides rolled the same result on their activation roll at the beginning of each turn. (I kept the Possible Reinforcements rule as is, but it didn’t come up)
Very early on my guys got a “Praise the Machine God!” random event, which would be kept and act as a “get out of jail” card for vehicular break-downs due to events. Much later in the game Goosio’s squad got the Excellent Position event, which would have them count as being in cover even if in the open as long as they didn’t move away. That was pretty handy for the expected Ork assault on the hill. At the very end I got the “Was that your Stomach?” event, which makes a unit either jittery or hyper-focused for the rest of the game.
I’m sure that these event cards aren’t balanced at all, but they add randomness. I realized that I came up with a LOT more negative events than positive ones. Some of them can be pretty situational too. I’ll write much more on these event cards at a later date.
Now as for the game on the whole: I may have to tweak the guns a little. Having each model carry an A-3 gun and soft body armour usually results in the side winning the reaction roll mowing the opposing side down. I’m okay with being shot at in the open being really bad, but even in cover these squads pour out potentially enough fire to wipe out enemy squads three times. Soft body armour makes basically every single hit an incapacitating one. Maybe I’ll try using A-1 guns instead of A-3 (ie just one shot per figure rather than three), A-3 for squad automatic weapons and have cover negate the malus for soft body armour. Something like that.
By the way, here’s how I statted Goff Orks:
Goff Ork Boy: Rep 3, HB, A-3, Resilient, Rage.
Goff Nob: Rep 4, HB A-3, Resilient, Rage.
All Goff Orks use the Will to Fight table Grath use.
This makes them a fair bit harder than the Kommandoz, who I basically used in a light infantry role for the Orks. That’s because they were isolated from the Waaagh and not used to the new enviroment yet when they crash-landed on the planet. This way I could use the same stats for everyone in the game and keep things simple until I get a better grip on the rules.
If anything, I learned once again that you gotta have a scenario with objectives. Killing as much of the opposition as possible doesn’t quite cut it. Which is one of the reasons why I added “capture or destroy the contraption” as an objective. From now on I’ll try to get some more objective driven scenarios on the table. Which of course adds to the workload, but oh well. So far I’m enjoying this little campaign, and the rules work really well for what I want out of such a game.
Hope you enjoyed this battle report! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more.