StarDust Ground AAR - Recover the Data Crystals

 Wayne and I got together to a game of StarDust Ground Saturday afternoon. For those of you not in the know, SDG is my 15mm game designed for platoon / company sized engagements. This battle featured the Dawg Khanate battling the Robot horde. I used the Kings of War Vanguard "Recover the Plans" scenario as inspiration. 

We played on a 48x48 table and deployed in opposite corners. The initial objective location is in the center. Each of us only started with two infantry squads with a compliment of leaders and weapons teams. Reinforcements would arrive as the game progressed. Game length was set for 10 turns. 

My Warbots among the buildings in my deployment zone.

A couple turns in and we started trading shots. I managed to kill a stand of Dawgs right off the bat. I assumed Wayne's dogs would be on the objective quickly since his troops were moving quickly and robots don't run. 

Not my first choice of reinforcements, but fate is fickle... a couple stands of Superbots. 
Wayne's big squad closes in on the objective. 

Feh. His first reinforcement unit was a Predator Walker. It fires up the jump jets and drops into melee with my squad closest to the center. My 'bots held up well, thanks to their numbers. I still lost a stand in the process though.

But a lucky break in communications allows me to call in an artillery barrage! The big dog squad get hammered. No casualties but a tremendous amount of confusion is heaped on them, making them take pause.
As the firefight in the center continued, I received a few more reinforcements in the form of Hoverbots and a Repair Hoverbot. Handy! Hoverbots are stupid fast.
But Wayne's forces had received another new unit as well. In the upper left you can see that a Seer Attack VTOL has shown up. That thing is bad news and without any AAA resources, it's going to be a rough ride.
One of the more interesting features of this scenario is that once a side has claimed the central objective, it might just be directions to the real objective. That's exactly what happened when the big Dawg Squad moved up through the rubble. The actual data crystals were really located in the ruin to my left and I was fortunate to have some quick troops nearby to capitalize!
The Repair Hoverbot also can put out smoke screens making it useful for more than just keeping units in operation. Here it has masked the little Hoverbots which are making their way to the data crystals.
It's mine! Huzzah, although that VTOL has taken out one of the stands in that squad. NOT good.
My last reinforcement unit arrived, more quick units, in fact two Heavy Hoverbots! They'd be useful at anti-infantry duty as well as checking that godforsaken VTOL.
Back on the other side, my last Superbot stand which had been making its way around the central hill chasing one of the two Dawg squads that started on the table is beset by the Predator. The Superbots were brought into Shutdown state by the walker's firepower and were easy pickings for the monster's fists at that point. (Robots which are shut down by receiving twice as many pins as the number of bases in the unit cannot fight in close combat and are automatically destroyed)
Dawgs need a miracle, they get a miracle. Their third reinforcement arrives on turn 9. They arrive in the proper corner to utterly change the game! A squad of Battledogs appears and advances on my Hoverbots holding the crystals, destroying them! 
Adding insult to injury, the Seer knocks out one of my frisbees of death; the remaining Heavy Hoverbot, although it lands three solid hits on the infantry squad, manages only one kill. Turn 10 and the Dawgs have the crystal and I have nothing left in the tank. Khanate Win!

That was a mighty fine game and battle. It was a closely-fought affair with good drama and some heroics. Wayne's only played SDG once I think and this was his first time solo, so he got a good, deep look at the rules and gameplay. He was rather pleased with how the game plays.

The tweaks I've made to the 'Bots have helped them a lot. They're much more reliable from an activation and reliability standpoint. I've treated them like a shambling undead horde, with a relentless, unflagging advance. They don't run, they can't go prone. They just grind forward and shoot like the dickens. They're way more competitive compare to previous outings now. The Dawgs need no tweaks, they've been solid from day 1 as one of the "original two."

A fine afternoon of gaming. Next weekend I'm off to Southern Front for a weekend of dice and toy soldiers! Be well and good gaming.


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