NOTE: ITS Season 8 Post
As always, the breakdowns and advice for this mission assume equivalent player skill and roughly even dice luck.
“My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night…”
If you could parse that sentence, then hacking your way through this mission will be easy!
Dominate, Shasvastii, and Baggage
These rules define how scoring is achieved in the mission. They are common to all missions with ‘ZO’s or Zones of Operations.
Transmission Antennas aka ‘Frenemy Repeaters’
Hacking through the Antennas is tough to visualize. The repeater rules can be challenging to absorb on their own, and this mission alters them dramatically, by creating a new type of repeater: the Transmission Antenna. Each numbered dot in the image below is a hacker.
Assuming there are no repeaters on the table other than the Transmission Antennas:
- Hacker 1’s hacking area includes hacker 3 by claiming Antenna B as an ‘enemy repeater within ZOC’.
- Hacker 1’s hacking area includes hacker 4 by claiming Antenna A as a friendly repeater.
- Hacker 2’s hacking area includes hacker 4 by claiming Antenna A as a friendly repeater.
- Hacker 3’s hacking area includes hacker 1 by claiming Antenna B as a friendly repeater.
- Hacker 4’s hacking area includes hacker 2 by claiming Antenna A as an ‘enemy repeater within ZOC’.
- Hacker 4’s hacking area includes hacker 1 by claiming Antenna B as a friendly repeater.
The Frenemy Zone
Hacker 4 and hacker 1 are doubly in each other’s hacking area, as all Transmission Antennas are simultaneously friendly AND enemy repeaters. Since no firewall MODs are applied, it doesn’t matter which antenna each one claims when targeting each other.
Hacker 3 is not safe from Hacker 1, no matter where he is on the table. So long as Hacker 1 is within 8” of a Transmission Antenna, every enemy hacker on the table is in his hacking area.
Hacker 2 and hacker 3 are not ‘safe’, but they are safe from each other… for now. That safety will last only so long as neither of them get within 8” of an Antenna. As soon as either one of them is within 8” of an Antenna, they are each in the other’s hacking area.
THINGS FOR TOs TO CONSIDER
Transmission Areas vs Transmission Antennas
Each Zone of Operations is a 4” radius around each Transmission Antenna. Each Antenna is a ‘Frenemy repeater’ with a radius of 8”. This is important to keep in mind when setting up tables, as you want the ‘Better’ deployment zone to also have better cover inside the ZOs.
Round to round scoring and Interrupted games
Currently, ITS leaves it up to the TO to decide how to score a game that ends with an incomplete score. There are a few scenarios a TO should be ready to rule on:
- A game ends in the top of a turn with a player in retreat!. Because there is no ‘bottom’ turn, there might be disagreement over whether the game round should be scored. The mission says ‘end of the round’. The TO will have to decide how to score this game. (My preference is to treat the final turn as the end of the round, even if it means ending the game after the ‘top’ of the game round)
- A game ends in a bottom turn after a player quits. After a quick break, most players can be convinced to return and finish their game. If not, the TO has to make a call on how to score the game. This is an ugly decision with no great answer, and explaining what a bind it puts you in might help convince the would-be quitter to finish the game.
GETTING A MAJOR VICTORY
There are only 5 scoring opportunities in this mission, though 2 of them are uncontested so you could say there are 7 all together.
- Bottom of turn 1
- Bottom of turn 2
- Bottom of turn 3
- Player A Classified 1
- Player A Classified 2
- Player B Classified 1
- Player B Classified 2
Each opportunity is worth at most 2 points, and once scored, none of the points in this mission can be taken away later in the game.
This cumulative round-by-round scoring makes Transmission Matrix a very intense game of king of the hill. You’ll need to tie or beat your opponent on classified objectives as well in order to achieve a Major. Even if you win all 3 domination scores, your Major is at risk if you complete no classified objectives.
If you tie even one round, your classifieds become even more important, because getting a Major then means you must complete one more classified than your opponent does, or a Major will not be possible. One tied round and an opponent who completes both classifieds means that your max score is 9 and a Major victory is impossible.
If you outright lose one round you can only score a Major if your opponent completes neither of his classifieds and you complete both of yours.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Army6 can be sorted by equipment and skills. Search through and get a feel for what kind of hackers your opponent can bring. Focus specifically on TO or AD hackers… the rest you can see coming.
Holoprojector will not hide that a trooper is hackable as soon as he’s in the hacking area of one of your hackers. WIth hacking area so thoroughly extending, knowing how this rule works will be key for dealing with Switch or Kanren.
HOW TO STOP A MAJOR VICTORY
If you complete both your classifieds, it will be nearly impossible to for your opponent to score a major victory.
KEY LIST ELEMENTS
To abuse real world hacker parlance, let’s talk about analog, black hats, and white hats.
An Analog list will be the solution that many players come up with to the problem of Transmission Antennas. After all, if you bring nothing hackable, you’re immune to repeaters. The tricky part is that classified objectives are really key for this mission, and a hacker can complete 4 of the 10 classifieds: Data Scan, Espionage, Telemetry, and Designation. Giving that up entirely means doubling down on the remaining specialist types or risking a bad card draw. You’re also giving up all the knowledge, protections and offense that hackers provide, meaning that a Black Hat list will pose a serious threat, particularly if you’re choosing Analog as an alternative to studying up on the hacking rules.
White Hat lists bring only one, perhaps 2, very tactical hackers. These hackers will have hidden or airborne deployment to give total control of their Antenna vulnerability. A white hat list will probably be otherwise unhackable aside from baggage bots.
The Black Hat is betting on overwhelming a White Hat list, or taking advantage of an Analog lists’ total lack of hacking. The biggest danger presented by a Black Hat list is being overwhelmed or confused by the amount of hacking potential on the table. A Black Hat list is essentially trying to create an environment where it is very easy for his enemy to make mistakes.
Most lists will end up somewhere in the middle of these extremes, of course. but do keep them in mind as you decide on your solution.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WIN THE LT ROLL
You’re going to want the second turn. There are 3 contested scoring opportunities, and by taking the second turn, you control them all. As if that weren’t enough, the first player will be forced into overcommitting to the antennas, to try to hold the second player off of them. This is likely to cut back on the orders he has available to complete his Classified Objectives.