We played a great game of No Stars in Sight today, with human troops (of the United Nations of Earth and Mars Army) on a bug hunt. The humans have to eliminate several bug nests, while the bugs must defend these nests and try to destroy the human attackers. The game was ultimately a narrow human victory, with 2 of 3 bug nests knocked out. Human losses were 6 dead; bug losses were 40+.
The game began with two squads of Army troops moving into an area of alien jungle and rugged hills. One squad went up the flank; the other came up the center. The bugs attempted several spoiling attacks, which failed in the face of heavy Army fire.
|The board, approx 30"x48"|
|A stand of mirrorleaf trees, common in this region of the carbon hills|
|Squad moving forward|
|Bugs among the bulb trees|
|A group of bugs, driven back behind the ridge by human small arms fire|
|A fully-deployed Army squad, virtually impervious to frontal assault|
|Grenade barrage. The underslung grenade launchers on the Army rifles were effective at pushing the bugs back|
As the troops moved further into the difficult terrain, the bugs were able to attack flanks and isolated human troops. Several soldiers were killed, and a sizeable bug force started working around behind them. A ferocious battle began in the woods and along the ridge line next to one of the bug nests. The Army troops volley-fired grenades and advanced by section, their firepower mostly keeping them safe against bug attacks—though a few did get through.
|The humans approach a bulb forest, with bugs lurking among the stalks|
|Bug spoiling attack---the initial bug attacks in the game were mostly ineffective, as the humans had good fields of fire|
|Top down view. I really dig the crazy alien terrain Russ has built|
|Bugs massing on the flank---this attack was easily repulsed|
|UNEM troops barrage the bugs with grenades|
The flanking bug force attacked into the jungle multiple times—the humans were lucky to survive the assaults, throwing them back with defensive fire each time. The platoon leader then brought his squad to the tree line and opened up with a powerful blast of small-arms and grenade fire, which killed or hurled back the remaining bugs around the nest. A trooper dashed forward and dropped a satchel charge down the hole, taking it out. This also damaged alien command and control.
|Starts to get nasty---as the human advance was broken up by terrain and command confusion, the bugs were able to attack isolated infantry|
|The red skull indicates that a leader has become "exhausted" and is unable to activate any more this turn. It's also totally hardcore, being a skull.|
|The ragged squad reforms a firing line a drives the bugs back|
|These bugs managed to maneuver into the dead-ground behind the ridge; their assault a moment later killed the three nearby humans|
|Tail end charlie---he actually survived!|
|LT, behind you!|
|Encirclement: humans in the middle and bottom left|
|Fire in the hole!|
Flush with success, the lieutenant led his squad forward again to the next ridgeline. The bugs there were scattered with fire and the humans knocked out a second nest.
Now, there was a problem for both sides: the humans were out of grenades and their two units were separated by distance and rough terrain. The bugs had large numbers of troops, but were separated from their human opponents by wide open stretches of ground and had suffered cohesion damage from the destroyed nests, and had trouble controlling their forces. The battle stalemated and we called it a narrow human victory—casualties had been significant but two nests were destroyed. The humans would have to call in reinforcements to finish the job.
|Pinned in the open---without fire support, the bugs have great difficulty crossing long distances in the face of human fire|
|This little buggy took an express elevator to Buggy Valhalla|
|Stalemate--the final nest, to strong for the humans to attack, but too disorganized to go hunting for the humans|
The game played beautifully. The battle around the ridge and the jungle, next to the first bug nest, was lengthy, featured a lot of movement, and victory was uncertain for both sides. The bugs could win if they massed enough attackers, or hit isolated human units—but the humans were safe if they kept their troops together and could call on support.