Longshore Lockdown: Campaign Update

Originally, I was planning to write out long-form battle reports for each and every game of Necromunda. I have been taking the photos in preparation for them, and even starting writing the second set. However, as you might have spotted, I just havent got around to actually sitting down to them. And, with us rapidly approaching another big weekend (where I’m off to Middlesbrough for some final battles against some new foes) I realised I should probably get down some details of how my campaign has actually gone so far!

Game 1 is available in full here – a caravan escort mission against my Sneaky Opponent and his Delaque. Not too much to add, aside from it being a great time. Definitely worth a read.

In the post game, I managed to do rather well, rolling high on the rarity and earning a shed load of credits. It took me a while to decide but eventually (mere moments before game 2) I settled on some heavy firepower. Originally, I had looked at the prospect of an Autocannon but alas, I had only rolled for a trip to regular trading post. So in that case, I just had to settle for a Heavy Bolter – bringing up some Rapid Fire shots that do 2 damage on every strength 5 hit will make me very unpopular. The downside? I didn’t have enough to purchase a new recruit to carry it. I guess it will need to wait (he says foreshadowing).

Game 2 was a Forgotten Riches battle that saw both team walk away with a pile of loot. I managed to just about squeeze a win (although my opponent snagged more of the event’s treasure caskets which sold for a pretty penny). The mission did turn into a little bit of a logistics exercise, with Enforcers carrying back objective markers before handing them off to some Hive Scum I hired due to the numbers. In terms of intrigues, we managed to have two traitorous Delaque looking to switch sides, although my Sneaky Regular Opponent took them both down before I could extract them safely.

Sadly, Trooper Bezlikiy died a memorable death to one of the Pit Fighters the Slave Guild brought along. I did also get a first taste of an enemy psyker. I’m sure nothing bad will come of this.

Trust the Delaque to bring a psyker to a Shootout. Deciding to play a quick game to wrap the evening up, I entered with my leader and one of my champions going up against a Delaque force of a Juve, a ganger and a Psyker. I thought it would be easy, as I passed cool check after cool check while the Delaque started to freak.

It was not easy. I managed to knock one out of action but being pinned from multiple angles (and the psyker dropping flame templates left, right and centre) meant I didn’t have enough actions to lock down opponents into a charge. Before it was over, my Champion got taken out with a spine injury and my leader ended up bottling. Luckily no one was captured.

Well, that was certainly a big blow to the gang. Between losing Bezlikiy and my champion taking a spinal injury, I was looking at some pretty major holes in my force that needed patching up.

First up – numbers. Numbers are king, and losing a trooper puts me at risk of being constantly outnumbered. Luckily, Enforcers get the “Fresh from the Academy” rule, meaning I was able to replace Bez with a new rookie, Hoyt. All I had to spend was enough creds for a boltgun and dum-dum rounds. My rolls at the trading post for this game 2 was not great so I decided to save it for after the next game.

And oh boy am I glad I did. Ser Hajlte, the unfortunate bastard who got his spine broken by the psyker, is one of my two champions. And, important to note, Enforcers only get two – there is a lot of money in him to lead the force and keep things going. With a -1 to his strength, his job as “supreme beating man” is definitely undermined. I’m definitely in the early Necromnda stage where, as a player, you burst into emergency rooms and shout “I’ll do anything to save him!”. But I think in this case, it made sense – my group would put up the creds to keep a team member alive. With the case I saved and a VERY high rarity roll, I was able to give Ser Hajite a robo-spine, removing the injury and getting him back in the fight.

At this stage, we came to the middle of the campaign, a rest season brought on early due to everyone grabbing territories like they were going out of style. Luckily for me, this meant 250 creds in my back pocket to be spent on recruiting new guys to the squad. Due to just how much people cost, 250 creds didn’t go as far as I thought it would go.

The main spend was adding a new replacement Subjugator by the name of Arctalan. I had originally intended to simply re-usue dearly departed Bez’s model but I soon realised that actually as cool as the stub pistol looked, it was probably cooler to bring a shock baton. This gives me a duo of stick beating people, ideal with the teamwork skill that Ser Hajlte has.

However, there was another addition to the stick beating squad. Looking at my coffers, and checking the rules, I decided that my previous injured Champion might be needing an animal companion. Originally, I had considered putting it on my actual gang leader but after checking on the rules, a lot of the effects of a Hardcase Cyber-Mastiff made more sense to accompany the shield carrying lunatic. It also played into the cool dramatic scene – the veteran returning from his time with the Doc (probably on a ship somewhere orbiting the station) with a new robo spine and a loyal friend following along beside him.

With the gaming group being split roughly into 1 main group (Middlesbrough) and two smaller ones (Leeds and Tyneside), one issue with being in the small is getting to play against other gangs can be tough. At this stage in the campaign I’d now played three games against the Delaque, and frankly the sneaky boys suck, with their literally pile of tricks and evil psykers.

Around this time, the campaign organiser (a former uni housemate) and his current housemate dropped me a message to look for a week where they could come down and stay over. Due to the speedy territory grabbing, they ended up coming during the rest week, meaning I got to pay three games for relatively low stakes. A perfect intro to the Zone Mortalis tiles!

In terms of gangs, I was up against two different chaos gangs and (perhaps my second biggest concern in the campaign after a Cawdor gang up north) the Campaign Organiser’s own set of Enforcers. Having been mostly dealing with slightly squishy enemies, coming up against armour was going to be a new experience.

First game of the weekend at 8pm on the Friday was a trip to the pub. We decided on a fun multiplayer brawl to amuse us all and oh boy was the bar brawl fun. Facing two chaos gangs and my rival Delaque, and with no guns or armour to even the odds, the sudden appearance of three separate psykers did set the tone. There was so much psychic fire being thrown around that I highly doubt the bar would have survived.

However, my boys and girls managed to drink themselves merry. I really like the rules tweaks this mode does (there is a dedicated drinking phase), and it was perfect as a special event to get us started off.. Some highlights was the brawl on the central dancefloor, a chaos ganger setting himself up as the bartender and managing to drink every turn of the game, and how often my Enforcers tried to get revenge on the Delaque but instead got knocked out.

Stupidly, I forgot to bring along my additional tactics cards (thanks Whisper Brokers). These could have been very useful, especially as one is literally “you have a stub pistol in your ankle holster”. Sure, it might have been cheating and whoever had it would probably have been taken out quickly but it’s a cool image to have.

Day 2 dawned at a reasonable time and after bacon sandwiches it was time to face my opposites, the dreaded Shimzu Enforcers. And for the first time, on the Underhive tiles, complete with all the hazards and extra rules they include.

I had, the worst game I think I’ve ever had of Necromunda. I played through it all, managing to get some damage on the other team but I really didn’t enjoy the experience. I think it was down entirely to being unfamiliar with the rules of the new location, especially when combined with the gear the Enforcers were using. I need to stress that this was nothing to do with my opponent (he’s a great player and we usually gel very well in previous games) and entirely to do with my own preparedness. It was also made worse by the injury and then death of my Grenadier Tikho which was really the cherry on the top of a bad time.

However, one thing about playing your own faction is you really do appreciate their strengths. The armour saves Enforcers get, the usefulness of all the gear that they can get their hands on. If I was to remake my gang, I’d probably add in a few more concussion weapons after being on the wrong end of them.

Finally, the last game of the weekend. I went up against the other Chaos gang, notable explicitly for having a Sump Beast that stomps around the table. We decided to go for the Blood Rites mission, one that seemed appropriate for both the gangs involved and meant I could play to my relative strengths – long range firepower. I was even able to get the board setup with some relatively long firing lines, letting me hit the bezerkers with a few rounds of shooting before they could get close.

And it worked for a while! I used my free bounty hunter Kimsesys to inflict some early blows on the enemy and work out their abilities (don’t worry – in fiction her repeated deaths are all handwaved by a combination of the mysterious suit she’s wearing and the endless packs of lho-sticks she keeps getting her hands on). From her sacrifice, I was able to determine that the Sumpbeast is an absolute fiend in combat and should be dealt with ASAP.

Luckily, I was able to trap it in a relatively thin space and hit it with lots and lots of gun fire. Plus, just as it was about to charge, I managed to drop a tactics card that made my gang Fearsome for the turn, blunting it’s attempts to get into combat.

At the same time, my upgrades to Ser Hjalte were paying for themselves. Fighting against the enemy gang’s leader and then a swarm of gangers, Hjalte and his dog were able to take down multiple fighters for only a flesh wound or two. Having the dog be able to counter-charge someone who attacks their master is definitely.

However, the game had another massive swing, mostly focused on the Sumpbeast managing to avoid being taken out and get back up. It injured Arctalan, humiliated Yalniz and just kept coming despite the rounds we were throwing at it. In the end, the Chaos gang eventually bottled out, leaving me with a captive…

That I immediately sold back to cultist for raw creds. What, I’m efficient.

So with that bloodbath of a weekend over, it was time to count the bodies and begin doing some prep. Even with the aid of a Rogue Doc, I sadly lost my favourite boy Tikho. 6XP down the drain and a heavily armed lunatic no longer available. There were also other injuries, with Yalniz being humiliated and Arctalan taking a hand injury (that -1 WS really hurts a CQB fighter).

First order of business – getting a support gun back on the field. Tikho was replaced by Grom, the heavy bolter taking over from the grenade launcher. I was tempted to arm him with both, but that seemed a touch overkill and I’d rather have that third hand free for a pistol at close quarters.

The academy also came a calling and decided to offer me up a fresh Rookie. Originally, i investigated giving them another full loadout but then it hit me – lets get some chaff. One of my enforcer models is actually doing their best wild west gunslinger impression – why not go all in? And so Cassidy arrived – Dum-Dum stub pistol in one hand, Manstopper Autopistol in the other. Do I think she’ll do well? Probably not. Will it be amusing? Oh yes.

I also took this opportunity to invest in the gangers and use up some XP. Ser Hjalte got a new skill “Helmawr’s Justice” so I get to potentially cause more damage from a coup de grace. My other Champion got a boost to his movement, which should hopefully let me setup some better plays with the concussion carbine. The Captain got a +1 to his BS skill, which combined with the bolt gun should make him handy for putting targets down across the field. Tohtori (the Sgt) and Tilki were also issues Photon Flash grenades, which should give me a touch of extra utility on the field.

This sets me up for going into this weekend. I have 0 creds but a pretty well equipped gang. Fingers crossed I manage to take a territory or two (with one I have a particular eye on due to it being linked to some I already hold) but worst case, this should be a fitting end to the campaign for me. And how fitting is that for my military group – time running out, one last roll of the dice to sweep in and claim as much glory as possible.

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