Bug Problems ... Where's the Raid?
The 2001 tournament was run along the lines of a role-playing
game. Each player took on the role of a trooper sent on a mission
to rescue survivors at Itzatrap Outpost on planet Yuldye (pronounced
"you'll die"). If the player's character was killed
by Arachnids during the mission, he was out of the game.
Twelve players volunteered for the mission, divided evenly
between two squads. Each squad pursued the same mission but on
separate boards. The six-man squad started in the valley of Roughneck
Quadrant and had to cross the high plateau to the south into
the next valley (Blackguard Quadrant) where Itzatrap Outpost
sat. As GM, I kept the Outpost, Bugs and Bug Holes hidden from
view until at least one of the squad members had a line of sight
to that object. Sad to say, of the twelve volunteers, only three
survived the mission, once more proving what Johnny Rico says
in the movie: "M.I. does the dying!"
Squad 1 demonstrated how to snafu the mission in four short
turns. Though any one of the six members could have carried a
radio (as either Carmen or Zander), which could have been used
to call in a tactical strike or to call for retrieval, they elected
to go instead as follows:
Rasczak: Tim Evinger
Johnny: Jason Levine (2000 winner)
Dizzy: Nick Evinger
Ace: Mike Lam
Sugar: Joseph Sposito
Nuke: Lance Fogel
The players were informed at the start of the mission that Itzatrap
Outpost was equipped with a T-50 chain gun, but that weapon might
or might not be serviceable. The outpost also contained a radio
link, so if a squad member could get to the center of the outpost,
he could call for retrieval.
On turn 2, most of Squad 1 had reached the top of the plateau
to discover a Tanker, Hopper and six Warriors waiting for them.
The Arachnid rush seemed to unnerve the squad because they couldn't
shoot straight. Rasczak did manage to take out two Bugs (one
in a last gasp effort). Nuke jammed his weapon, and though his
misfired round killed a Warrior, a Hopper impaled him from behind.
Dizzy's firing was, well, dizzy and missed. She died quickly
in the front line. Ace, Sugar and Johnny then tried to dash across
the plateau, but the Bugs stopped them short. Ace and Sugar fell
first. Johnny was the last trooper firing, but when attacked
from all sides he had only managed to kill a single Bug.
The Squad 1 players didn't get to play very long on account
of poor luck. This highlighted the flaw in the tournament format.
If STP uses this format again in 2002 (but with a different mission),
it will be changed so that any player who is killed early can
come back later in the scenario as a reinforcement brought down
on a retrieval boat or drop ship. This gives the player a second
Squad 2 consisted of the following personnel, in order of
Rasczak: Nick Kramer
Dizzy: Robert Eastman
Shujumi: Mike Sincavage
Sugar: Daniel Hoffman
Nuke: Jeff Ribeiro
Zander: Andy Lewis
The same formation of Bugs attacked them on Turn 2, but because
the squad had climbed the plateau a little further west than
Squad 1 had, fewer Bugs could reach them in the initial rush.
Unfortunately, Sugar fell in the attack, so the squad lost its
man with the scoped rifle. Nuke put a round into a Bug Hole,
closing it, and the squad was able to reach the south edge of
the plateau without further loss. Itzatrap Outpost lay before
them in the valley. Two Warriors were to the south of the outpost,
and there were also two craters in the valley floor (which the
squad members could not see into).
Members of the squad entered the outpost and discovered a
trail of human blood leading off to the south in the direction
of the two Warriors who were very slowly moving away from the
outpost. Dizzy climbed the chaingun tower and quickly fixed the
jammed weapon, while Rasczak and other members of the squad moved
south to investigate the nearest crater. Rasczak reached the
crater's edge to find it occupied by a Tanker and two Warriors.
At this same moment, a Hopper and two more Warriors popped out
of the other crater. Rasczak died in the rush. Nuke plugged the
hole in the nearest crater, while Dizzy chopped down some Warriors
with the chaingun. Nuke unwisely sent another round after the
two distant Warriors who were escaping to the southwest. He killed
one of them, but it happened to be dragging a wounded trooper
from Itzatrap Outpost, who was also killed in the blast.
Zander suspected there was another Bug Hole in the other crater,
so he called in a tactical strike, but it missed the Hole. Zander
and Shujumi then chased down the one fleeing Warrior. Shujumi
was able to kill it and rescue the wounded trooper it had been
carrying. Dizzy stood on watch at the chaingun while Nuke moved
up to the other crater and plugged the Hole. However, the last
few Bugs brought down Nuke, who was out of rounds and throwing
grenades, before Dizzy could finish them off. As the highest
ranking survivor, Dizzy ordered Zander to call a retrieval boat.
Dizzy (Robert Eastman), Shujumi (Mike Sincavage), Zander (Andy
Lewis) and the wounded trooper were thus rescued. Because they
had completed the mission and made it back alive, Eastman, Sincavage
and Lewis will each receive one free re-roll in the 2002 STP
tournament, to be used at their discretion.
Jeff Ribeiro as Nuke had scored the most points, even with
the penalty of killing a wounded trooper with one of his rounds
(in hindsight, I should have made the penalty greater), and even
though Nuke died in the mission. Robert Eastman (Dizzy) and Mike
Sincavage (Shujumi) each had the next highest score, but since
Dizzy had a higher rank than Shujumi, Robert nudged into second
place. Thanks to all for playing, and I hope we can do it again