The Free Mutant Infantry: Armageddon Empires AAR

So, for no particular reason, I’ve decided to do an Armageddon Empires AAR.

I’ll be playing as the League of Free Mutants, with a custom deck focused on infantry. I want to play around with the new features in Tip of the Spear (the second free AE expansion), so I’m disallowing myself any dragons or giants–with the exception of a handful of artillery, this will be an infantry-only game.

Large map, three opponents, uncommon resources and specials, 225 max card points, 5 max tile points, random cult. My deck has only 143 points in it, so the computer will be playing at an advantage.

I’m located in a barren desert. The open terrain does not impede movement. This will make initial exploration easy, but it will also make it easier for enemy armies to reach me. Immediately to my south is a ruined city. This is good, since cities usually contain resources. Unfortunately, those resources are usually guarded, so it may be a while before I can claim them.

My initial hand of cards isn’t too bad. I don’t have any useful military units, but I do have a recce (or reconnaissance) unit–the Chameleons. Good recce is absolutely essential to survival in Armageddon Empires, and I want to get scout teams out as quickly as possible.

I don’t have enough resources to deploy them (or any other card) on this turn, however.

I do have seven action points to burn. Action points are Armageddon Empires’s answer to micromanagement–you get a certain number of AP every turn, and everything you do costs AP.

I spend three AP to draw a card (bringing me to the hand limit of 8). I get the Razors, a decent offensive unit. Three more AP go to create an army: The 1st Mutant Rangers. My Cameleons are going to join that army next turn. This leaves one AP, which isn’t enough to do anything,
so I end the turn.

I now have enough resources to deploy my Chameleons, so I do so. They immediately detect the presence of independent units in the city to my south. Chameleons have the “Recce S5 R1” attribute, which permits them to detect units in a one-hex radius. (This ability isn’t perfect–stealthed units, in particular, are easy to miss.)

The independents are raiders. The raiders are numerous, but weak; as soon as I get a military of any strength operating, I should be able to kill them and take control of whatever they are guarding.

I assign the Chameleons to the 1st Mutant Rangers, and send them out into the wasteland.

I dislike mutants. Mostly because I think dinosaurs are boring…

Other than that I’m looking forward to this. :)

Fortunately for you, the Free Mutant Infantry think dinosaurs are tasty, and ate them all before the game began. :> (The Dragonmasters objected. Dragonmasters are also tasty.)

Turn three: Scouts continue to explore the local area. No resources, so
I use my spare AP to commision a couple more armies.

Turn four: I now have enough resources to deploy another unit. I could bring out the Razors to get my military started, but what I really want is a hero.

There are four resources in Armageddon Empires: Humans, materials, energy, and technology. The starter decks give you a home hex that can supply one of each. For this game, I’ve elected to use a hex that can supply two humans, but no energy. My home base, however, can only collect one of each resource. That means that I’m getting only one human resource each turn, instead of the two that my home hex can provide. In order to collect the additional resources, I need a hero to build a collector.

I have two heroes in my hand at the moment: Mitoch and Haploid. I deploy Haploid. After doing so, I discover that I’ve made a bit of a strategic error: The Mutant Vats that collect human resources require energy to build–and I have no energy, and no immediate prospects of acquiring any. Unless my scouts stumble across a source out in the wasteland, I may be in serious trouble.

Haploid has a special ability that increases my maximum hand size by three so long as he is stationed at my HQ. I have 12 AP remaining after moving the scouts, so I draw four cards:

I deploy my Razors. I now have a choice to make: I could immediately move against the raiders to my south, or I could wait until I can support the Razors with additional units or a better commander. Caution advises for the latter course.

Caution is for puny humans, not the Free Mutants! The 1st Mutant Infantry, led by Haploid and containing a single company of Razors, launch an attack. They are outnumbered four to one against and are fighting in difficult terrain that boosts the enemy’s defenses.

My Razors have the “Assault” ability, which alows them to make an attack with a dramatically boosted attack strength at the cost of a defense penalty and missing the next round. I lead with an assault attack on the enemy dune raiders.

The dune raiders go down in a single hit.

The remaining three raiders now each make an attack on my weakened Razors. The Razors are out of commission on the next round (although their defense returns to normal), so the raiders then get to do it again.

Unfortunately for them, they only have an attack strength of 2. Even weakened, Razors have a defense of 3. That might not seem like much of a difference, but the way Armageddon Empires combat works, the raiders have a less than 20% chance of even hitting the Razors. The dune raiders had an effective attack of 4, thanks to their Flank Attack ability, but they’re dead.

The enemy doesn’t stand a chance. They never get a single hit in, while I take one of them out with an assault every other turn. The city is mine.

As my Razors lick the blood from their blades, I take stock of my prize. The city hex, as I suspected, can provide resources–including energy.

Neat. I’ve always been intrigued by this game but never quite enough to cough up $30 for it. But this is almost as good, and here I don’t have to learn the rules.

As soon as my essay is done, I’m definitely mailing BMT support to get another download of this.

I imagine that, by the end of this AAR, I will have purchased Armageddon Empires. Keep it up!

Same here. I ultimately purchased X-COM because of the AAR on Qt3, and so far this one is entertaining enough to do it again.

Dear Vic: now that was just creepy.

Haploid builds an energy collector. He then returns to base; while we still need a tech team in the city to collect science resources, it’s more important for us to get some mutant vats up and running.

More accurately, he tries to return to base. I’ve been dropping spare AP into creating empty armies for later use, and I apparently now have too many armies there. I hadn’t realized there was a limit on the number of armies in a hex; Haploid parks himself in the desert until next turn, and I disband an army to free up some space.

As the turn ends, I receive a disturbing report:

It appears that cultists are spreading plague throughout the wasteland. Fielding a laboratory and geneticist just became one of my top priorities; sick infantry aren’t going to win me any wars.

The Plague Mother Cult is one of five cults added to the game in the free Cults of the Wasteland expansion. Each of the cults throws a giant monkey wrench into your strategy in a unique and interesting way; you can’t afford to ignore them, and often they pose a much more significant threat than the opposing AI factions.

Figuring out how to deal with each cult is quite fun. (By “fun”, I mean, “nervewracking, especially when it takes you the entire friggin’ game before you figure out just how to avoid losing units to the damned Temple of Love.”) I’m necessarily going to be including spoilers on the Plague Mother cult as things progress; you have been warned.

Haploid spends the next few turns running hither and to, building resource collectors: Mutant vats at HQ, a tech team in the destroyed city, a scrap team to our northeast, a second tech team farther northeast.

A second team of Chameleons is deployed to form the 2nd Mutant Rangers. The recce teams encounter several resource windfalls: Two nomad caravans, and some ancient fuel storage tanks. The fuel is shipped home immediately. After capture and pacification, so are the humans.

Using my newfound wealth, I deploy Mitoch and a Mutant War Academy. Mitoch is a hero who gives a bonus to genetics and technology research, and (more importantly, for the moment) reduces the cost of drawing new cards. The War Adacemy will allow me to construct tactics and infantry upgrades.

I expect to encounter enemy forces at any moment now. It’s time to get serious about my army.

A recce team exploring a ghost town located just out of supply range to the northeast has discovered members of the Plague Mother cult. The town is almost absurdly resource-rich, but too far from HQ to defend. I choose to leave it to the cultists; perhaps they will deny the resources to any other enemies in the area.

HQ is currently undefended, since Haploid’s 1st Mutant Infantry has been occupied building resource collectors. A single enemy recce unit slipping past my patrols could capture HQ and defeat me. I deploy a company of Slaughterers to the garrison.

Tip of the Spear, Armageddon Empires’s second free expansion, adds a number of new features to boost the effectiveness of infantry. The most dramatic of these is advanced training: A hero general located at a base with an academy can create cards that can then be used to enhance infantry units in a variety of ways. Best of all, creating an advanced training card requires no resources aside from action points.

Since infantry is relatively weak, I’m counting on using enhancements like this to survive. All I need is a general: Haploid and Mitoch are administrators, and cannot create training cards. I also need a general to manage my growing army; the number of units a hero can effectively command is limited by his command rating, and administrators tend to be deficient in that department.

I deploy Coloboma, and appoint him headmaster of the new Elite Mutant Forces Summer Camp. He creates a Tactical Training card for my Slaughterers, giving them the Flank Attack ability.

Man, I just never had time to buy and play the full version of this game. Even though I snowed under with stuff to play after Christmas, I want to play this more. :/

I’m starting to accumulate resources faster than I can spend them. I need some more action points, so I can get more done in a turn.

The number of AP you get is determined by your initiative order: The sooner in the turn you move, the more AP you get. Your intiative order, in turn, is determined by a roll at the start of the turn–everyone rolls dice, and the higher your roll, the sooner you act. Normally, you roll three dice, but you can use resources to buy more dice.

I buy three extra dice. The Machine Empire buys four, but I beat them anyway and go first.

My first order of business is to reconfigure the 1st Mutant Infantry, which has returned to HQ after constructing collectors on all the nearby resources. Haploid has been commanding, but I’d rather have him sitting back at base where his special abilities can come into play. I move him back into the garrison, and replace him with Coloboma.

While adding a unit to an army is free, removing one costs AP. In addition, the army takes a penalty to its experience. In this case, the AP cost and lost experience are worth it–Haploid just isn’t cut out to be a military commander.

With Haploid back in place and adding three to my hand limit, I could use some more cards. I draw five:

That research lab is going to be handy, once I find a geneticist. For now, I deploy the Legionites and immediately upgrade them with a Tactical Training card.

Haploid has the Tactician ability, which allows him to create tactics cards when stationed at a base with an academy. Tactics cards are a way to fudge the results of conflict rolls–pretty much any time that you roll dice in combat, you can apply a tactics card to modify the results. Tactics cost AP both to develop and to use, but are otherwise free.

I have Haploid produce a “In Death Ground” tactic, which allows me to reroll two of my opponent’s success dice.

Excellent AAR. Makes me want to resume the one game of this I started but never finished. Damn, it must take a long time to take all the screenshots and do all the Photoshop and uploading work, though. Thanks for the effort!

I still really need to buy AE at some point, the problem is that $30 is just over my impulse buy line. Also I’m waiting for SI to come out. Once again another great AAR on Qt3.