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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Terminator Genisys - Preston Patrol (Battle Report)

As a Dad of four kids, I'm continually looking for things that we can do together, beyond watching a movie or kicking a ball... it's seriously hard at times to find something that can interest a bloke in his 40's and his 8, 6 and 4 year old sons!  Many thousands of years ago, well before discovering the wiles of women and liquor, I loved Lego and war games - I still remember picking up a 2nd hand copy of France 1940 (published the year I was born) and being instantly memorised.  So with that in min, I recently ordered Terminator Genisys: the Miniatures Game from Warlord Games on a whim, and mentioned it to my boys that we'd have a new game to play "...once it arrives in the post."

Well with the last day of our summer holidays officially upon us, the boys and I could stand it no longer: we had to make hay whilst the sun shone and do the whole thing using Lego.  Importantly, this experience merely impressed upon them how much they wanted the ''real thing':' to paint the miniatures and build the scenery - excellent, my plan was coming together nicely.

First thing I did was set the scene by showing the older boys some Terminators vs Resistance video clips - Paddy summed up the collective view with a bellowing ''AWESOME!!!''.  With the necessary inspiration now provided, we proceeded to generate the requisite Lego-sourced scenery (destroyed buildings) and forces, all the while accompanied by soothing sound of boys impersonating mini-gun chatter for a couple of hours.  Lego to the rescue.

We played the Scenario 1 Firefight detailed in the Terminator Genisys the Miniatures Game basic rules booklet.  Whilst we had scenery and forces sorted, I couldn't find my old dice nor did I have the tailored tokens nor templates, so we improvised.  There are plenty of dice rolling apps available for smartphones - the first one we grabbed did the trick - and tokens were easily made out of Lego.   For the movement and combat templates, I cut up an old plastic folder into strips which was to prove serviceable.

So that's the back story to the session, now for a the Battle Report...

+++Preston Patrol. Dateline Jan2017+++

Captain Alex, accompanied by Privates Charlie and Jason were undertaking a routine sweep of post holocaust Preston (which some would claim, has done wonders for the neighbourhood) when Resistance Command advised of a bogey approaching from the North - nothing less than a PB-800 aka a fearsome Paddy-bot!!  Their mission: intercept and destroy the PB-800 or die trying.

Terrain/Set-up


  • Resistance Force: 3 x Resistance Soldiers (Alex, Charlie and Jason), all armed with Plasma Rifles - entering from the South-West, South and South-East.
  • Skynet Force: 1 x T800 (aka Paddy Berman 8yo or PB-800) armed with a Plasma Gun entering from the North.
  • Three Buildings: (1) Grey Medical Centre (2 stories) to the West, the White Post Office to the North East and (3) Whilte Aldi Supermarket to the South East.  
  • Additionally there was a crashed flyer to the Medical Centre's North and some incidental ruins scattered around the middle of the table.

Paddy (aged 8, left) and Alex (aged 6, right) commencing the encounter.  Charlie (aged 4) is off camera with Dad (me).

Turn One: Resistance won the Tactical Edge

Having won the Tactical Edge*, Alex was required to discover his side's Fate**.

*Each side has a 50/50 chance of winning the Tactical Edge i.e the opportunity to roll the Fate Dice first.  Each roll of the Fate dice is called an Impulse and once all Units have been Activated, the Turn is over.
**Each Fate roll/draw can yield either 1 or 2 (unit) Activations else a (Team/Side) Fate.  ''Activations'' indicate how many troops/units are put thrrough their paces (e.g., moved around the battlefield and shoot at the enemy) whilst a ''Fate'' result means your turn is skipped, unless you had fielded a Commander (which we hadn't).

Alex threw a 2 meaning he could Activate two Resistance Soldiers.  Private Jason moved North to the rear of the Aldi Supermarket, next to a closed door, completely sheltered from the PB-800's malicious gaze.  Then Captain Alex moved North to a barricade.  Unfortunately the PB-800 was outside of Alex's Plasma Rifle's range, so he just made himself as small as possible.

Activation then switched to Paddy, who walked and took a couple of shots at Private Alex due South of him (Plasma Guns fire twice at both Point Blank and Short Range, better than the Resistance's Plasma Rifles that only can manage a 2 shots at Point Blank and a single shot at Short Range).  Charlie's barricade absorbed the PB-800's plasma bolts which was lucky, because the odds aren't good should a Resistance Soldier be hit by a Plasma Gun.  More on that later.

On the Resistance's final activation, Charlie ran North-East seeking shelter in the Eastern ruins of the Medical Centre.  Having run, Charlie wasn't able to shoot at Paddy however the Resistance had the makings of a nice flanking manoeuvre... if only they could pull it off.
  
The PB-800 front and centre with Charlie to the West and Alex to the South-West.  Jason is behind the Aldi Supermarket to the East, out of Paddy's Line of Sight.
Private Charlie lurking in the ruins of the Preston Medical Centre.

Turn Two: Terminators won the Tactical Edge

Paddy drew a Fate - so was dismayed to learn that he had wait another Impulse before he could act - grrrt!

 <<Pause for a Skynet hissy-fit>>

The Resistance drew 1 Activation for the Resistance's Impulse, and after conferring with the Team, decided to move Jason through the door to Paddy's East and open fire on at Point Blank whilst retaining cover behind a crate.  Two shots with his Plasma Rifle but no hits! Oh dear, that wasn't meant to happen.
Jason hiding behind a crate in the ruins of the local Aldi Supermarket, noticing this week they had a special on truck tyres.  'Sweet deal!  'I might have to grab one of those after I've dealt with this $@%# Terminator'' he thinks to himself.
The Impulse reverted back to Paddy, who sensing blood, closed on Jason, around the side of the ruins, thereby avoiding the crate, and attacking with his terrible Claws!  1d8, needing a 3+ to hit... ouch - he connected with Jason.  The tension and excitement had the boys squealing  in anticipation...

Will Jason's armour stand up to Paddy's ferocious attack????  

Paddy rolled a further 1d10, needing 4+ to penetrate... and scored a 5!! So it's Goodbye Daddy!!
...and promptly reduces the Resistance Patrol by a third!
This left the Resistance both down one (old but wise) man and left facing a Terminator with the blood-lust of a 8-year old boy... hard times for the lads.  But much like Obi Wan Kenobi, being old and dead doesn't mean you can't offer a boy some advice (e.g., get your fingers out of your nose, don't be rude to your sister and your best chance to kill a Terminator is to send him Reeling...).

What was left of the Resistance at the end of  Turn Two, looking
for cover in the ruins of the Preston Medical Centre.
The Resistance soldiers, clearly upset at the loss of their old Dad, made their moves.  Charlie ran up the stairs of the Medical Centre and Alex ran up to the edge of the same building.  Unfortunately the PB-800 was beyond the range of their Plasma Rifles, so that was that.  Ohhh, the tension!

Turn Three: Resistance won the Tactical Edge

Alex rolled 1 Activation and decided to cross to the other side of the Medical Centre and take cover - Paddy was presently out of Range, but he wanted the opportunity to catch him the following round.

The Impulse then shifted to Paddy who marched the PB-800 with machine-like zeal (do machines have zeal?) towards the Medical Centre and shot at Charlie, trying to take him out before he had an opportunity to return fire.  Paddy rolled two hits complete with crazed, 8 year old cackling however Charlie Cover Saved both. The Medical Centre was looking a bit worse-for-wear, not that anyone would really notice pre- or post-holocaust.

Now it was Charlie's turn to react.  Listening to the sound tactical advice of his elder brother (2 year older) and deceased Father's ghost ("Take the shot Charlie, then hide like a meerkat"), Charlie hunkered down in a nook of the remains of the 2nd story's walls and returned fire.  He needed a 6 to hit... but could only manage a 2.  Next time brother, next time.

Turn Four: Terminators won the Tactical Edge

Paddy drew 2 Activation and decided to close-in on the remaining two Resistance fighters holed up in the remains of the Preston Medical Centre.  With Charlie hidden behind the remains of a second story wall, Paddy computed that Alex was the better target, especially given he could close to Point Blank range and catch Alex In The Open, negating his Cover Saves.

Paddy moved West then opened fire with his Plasma Gun, scoring a single hit.  The shot was absorbed by Alex's Armour but Paddy was confident that Alex would fail his Resolution Test (1d8 1-5 = bad news for Alex).  But behold, Alex rolled a 6, made his Resolution Test Alex, absorbing his older brother's punishment the PB-8000's firepower and was able to hold his ground!

The Impulse now shifted over to the Resistance.  What to do (they asked the ghost of their Dad)?  With two soldiers within Point Blank range of Paddy, and one of them needing to move to establish a line of sight, the options were many. Charge into close combat?  Retreat and regroup? Mmm.  Alex thought through the risks and opportunities involved, determined that things weren't going to get better so the only viable course of action was to kick his big brother's butt!  Go Resistance!!

Firstly, Charlie Activated on the second floor of the Medical Centre, moving slightly to the South to achieve Line of Sight and fired at Paddy: he rolled 2d6, needing 4+ each to hit and he scored a single hit.  Next was armour: rolling 1d8 and needing an 8 to shut Paddy up down - he got a 7, ohh so close!  Finally Paddy, having been hit, still needed to take his Resolution test: 1d20, wanting 6+... and he rolled at 5, sending Paddy Reeling* - the game's first.
Paddy measuring the Range from his Terminator to Charlie,
in the Medical Centre's second story.

*Reeling models are unable to Activate during their next Impulse, effectively they miss their next turn.  Also, whilst Reeling, the model's more vulnerable to attack - it is the Resistance's best chance to punch through a Terminator's armour.  

However it isn't without risk: to make the most of the situation you've got to close-in onto the Reeling model which means if you don't dispatch them, you might be mince meat once they recover!

<<Break for brotherly teasing and tantrums>>

Alex now took his chance:
Activating and rushing out of the ruins he attacked the Reeling PB-8000 at Close Combat range. Two Plasma Rife rounds were pumped into the PB-800 (2d6 needing 2+ to hit, he rolled 2 and 3), with both breaching Paddy's armour (2d20 needing 8+, he rolled 12 and 17). Success!! Hasta la Vista, Paddy B!

The scene of the PB-800's destruction by Alex, whilst Charlie, emerges from the ruins of the Preston Medical Centre.

Epilogue

The Resistance dragged their fallen comrade/old Dad's corpse back to base to grieve with the traditional cookies and dip in the swimming pool - it was a sad day, but they took heart in the fact that school was out for one more day which meant another opportunity to play again tomorrow.

Now the Resistance is impatiently awaiting the arrival of their Warlord Games delivery so they can scale up the conflict and use some 'real' miniatures - bring it on!

That being said, the whole game was done in maybe 40 minutes - less than 10 minutes per turn which was pretty good considering the rules had to be remembered and interpreted by an old bloke and then applied by 2 Primary Schoolers with some 'assistance' from a Pre-schooler.  There was a lot more tactical depth to be had than I had anticipated and the asymetric forces made for a interesting and tense battle.