25 August 2022
Rob Burman of Mantic Games offers this fun scenario
Despite their advanced appearance, the Veer-myn have struggled to evolve beyond some of their baser instincts. Although they may be armed with modified ray guns or digging great tunnels in bizarre machinery, they are ultimately pack animals waiting to be given commands by their leader. The rules that follow present you with a way to play Deadzone solo against the Veer-myn.
Rules that control forces in games are often called AI, short for Artificial Intelligence. Veer-myn, however, don’t always act on their own instinct, so these rules are called PM, for Pack Mentality. Veer-myn acting under PM rules use the same stats as Crawlers from the Deadzone: Third Edition rulebook.
Crawlers don’t take normal turns as a Strike Team does. Instead, they react to the actions of a Strike Team. In addition, at the end of each Round the Crawlers test to see if they react further (see Protect the Nest).
How does this work?
Never mark reacting Crawlers as activated. They may react as many times a Round as permitted by the following rules. Go through the following list in descending order, resolving the first one that applies.
If the active model used a Shoot or Assault action, all Crawlers within 4 cubes will move 1 cube towards where the action occurred. Add 1 dice to the Protect the Nest Test
If the active model entered a new cube by any means, all Crawlers that have LOS to the model and are within range will Shoot at the active model
If the active model took any other action, add 1 dice to the Protect the Nest test
If the active model is marked as activated, but no action was taken, no Crawlers are moved and no dice are added to the Protect the Nest test
Note: +1 model activation Command Dice interrupt Crawler reactions (cancelling them), so using this Command Dice at opportune moments can save lives.
Crawlers are not especially intelligent. If they are required to move, they will go by the shortest route. Whether this is around, over or through is immaterial to the Crawlers as they can go up and down levels just like other models using Advance actions. However, if two routes are equidistant then they will choose the clear one rather than the dead end. Even so, this still allows a watchful player to lead them into cul-de-sacs where they will begin bickering about whose fault it was they lost their target.
This also means that Crawlers will sometimes end up moving into a cube and fighting a model other than the active one, desperate to prove how tough they are to the Brood Mother. If a Crawler moves into the same cube as a Strike Team model, then it makes an immediate Assault action as normal. If there is more than one eligible model for the Crawler to attack, randomise their target.
A cube may contain up to four non-Strike Team Crawlers, in addition to its normal capacities. If a Crawler is already in a cube containing a Strike Team model then it will not disengage; it has already found its target! If the active model is killed at some point during their activation, or in the Crawlers’ subsequent reaction, then any Crawlers that have not yet reacted to that activation do nothing.
PROTECT THE NEST TEST
In addition to the immediate response of nearby Crawlers, the noise of the Strike Team may draw attention from other Crawlers.
At the end of each Round before VPs have been tallied, you must make a Noise Test. This is a 3 dice 4+ test. The number of dice is increased by a Strike Team’s actions during that Turn (see previous section). Count the total number of successes and compare this number to the number of Crawlers in play. Rolls of 8 explode as normal.
If the total number of successes made during the Noise Test is smaller than or equal to the total number of Crawlers on the mat, all Crawlers will activate, as explained below. If the total number of successes is greater than the number of Crawlers on the mat, activate all of the Crawlers as above, and in addition, spawn one new Crawler for each activation in excess of the number of Crawler currently in play.
You activate one Crawler at a time until all Crawlers have been activated. Each Crawler makes one action during its activation. Go through the following list in descending order, resolving the first one that applies:
If the Crawler is already in a cube with an opposing Strike Team model it will initiate an Assault action. If there is more than one opposing model in the cube, randomise the target by rolling a dice.
If the Crawler is within two cubes of an opposing model, it will move into the cube and initiate an Assault action. If more than one Strike Team member is equidistant, randomise the target by rolling a dice.
If the Crawler is between and three four cubes from the nearest opposing model, it will move towards the closest Strike Team member so that it has Line Of Sight and will make a Shoot Action. It does not matter if there are friendly Veer-myn models in the same cube. If more than one Strike Team member is equidistant, randomise the target by rolling a dice.
If the Crawler is more than four cubes from the nearest opposing model, it may only make an Advance action, moving one cube towards the closest Strike Team member. If more than one Strike Team member is equidistant, randomise the target by rolling a dice.
Crawlers spawn on the first level around the edges of the mat. In order to determine the mat edge on which they spawn, roll a d8 for each Crawler. On a 1-2 they spawn on the left-hand mat edge (in relation to the player who has Initiative), a 3-4 spawns them on the far mat edge, a 5-6 spawns them on the right-hand mat edge, and a 7-8 spawns them on the nearest mat edge. Roll another dice to determine which of the 8 cubes along that edge the Crawler spawns in. If a Crawler spawns in a location where they cannot participate in the battle, reroll their spawn point.
If a Crawler is placed in a cube with a Strike Team model in this way then the Crawler will make an immediate Fight action as normal. All Strike Teams consider Crawlers enemy models for the purposes of holding objectives. Killing non-Strike Team Crawlers never confers VP.
THEY’RE COMING FROM THE GROUND!
The scenario included here indicates how many Crawlers to use and where to deploy them. This is done by placing a single Crawler on the lowest accessible level in any cube marked with a ‘V’ on the map. If you are playing a normal game, however, and want to have the Crawlers as an added challenge for both sides, then use the following rules. After you have placed the items on the mat, each player should take four Crawler models. Starting with the player who placed the first item, players alternate placing Crawlers in any cubes they wish, though they may not be placed in either player’s deployment zones. Next, use dice to place eight more Crawlers, just as you would place items. Just like items, if a Crawler lands in a player’s deployment zone, discard it.
MISSION: ESCAPE THE NEST!
After receiving reports of a Veer-myn nest in Sector 6, your Strike Team was sent to investigate. Unfortunately communications were interrupted before you descended into the sewers beneath Magnetar City and now you’re trapped inside an abandoned mining facility the Veer-myn have been using as a hideout. Now you must escape and warn the rest of your squad about the potential Veer-myn infestation. Good luck soldier, you’re going to need it!
FORCE COMPOSITION & TERRAIN
The Strike Team is a reduced size observation group. You may spend up to 100 points on your Strike Team.
All Strike Team models start within the blue deployment zone.
Special Rule: Hold Position
Observation groups are expected to remain in position against minor threats, though they will fall back if overwhelmed. Members of the Strike Team may not leave the deployment zone until the team has destroyed at least four Veer-myn.
After they have destroyed at least four Veer-myn, the Strike Team may leave the mat by way of the yellow mat edge.
When there are no more Strike Team models left on the mat the game ends. If at least one Strike Team member escaped to raise the alarm, then the battle is a victory. Anything else results in a loss.
Members of the Strike Team may not leave the deployment zone until the team has destroyed at least eight Veer-myn.
Looking for more?
This scenario was one of many that appears in Miniature Wargames Magazine, our monthly publication for all kinds of wargames! You can check out our latest issue, or previous issues by clicking hereGet your magazine here
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