As always, the breakdowns and advice for this mission assume equivalent player skill and roughly even dice luck.
It’s all in the name for this mission. You have 2 jobs, Capture and Protect.
The special rules for this mission are a tough slog to read, but simple enough in play.
Beacons are similar to the boxes in Supplies (a much older mission that many players are likely to be more familiar with) they are different in one big way: it’s not necessary to place a beacon carrier into a null state in order to deny his control of a beacon. If more than 1 trooper is in base contact with a beacon, no one controls it. Remember this when a TAG or other tough trooper is carrying a beacon.
Strikezone: Wotan variant
Wotan adds the Inner Area rule.
- AI Beacons do not roll, but must be placed on a table edge outside both Deployment Zones.
- The Hack Transport Aircraft program has no effect in this mission.
- Shasvastii Cadmus should not be included in lists, as they cannot be legally deployed in missions using the Inner Area rule. (Most troopers with AD:3+ can downgrade to AD:2 or even deploy without using AD, but the Cadmus is excluded from this ability by his Seed Embryo rule)
THINGS FOR TOs TO WATCH OUT FOR
The 3rd bullet* of requirements rule is a bit confusing.
“>>To Connect the Energy Console, this must be disconnected”
The console is not vulnerable to any kind of hacking or damage, as there is no profile. The use of the word disconnected is not intended to indicate that the Console is in the Disconnected state. Rather, it serves to say that once a console is connected by one player, it cannot be connected by another player.
*this bullet doesn’t exist in the Strikezone: Wotan version of the mission. The 3rd bullet of Effects is sufficient and eliminates the confusion arising from the 3rd bullet of Requirements.
Despite the first bullet of the common rules of Beacons (troops with baggage are able to carry 2 beacons), it is not possible to pick up the ‘friendly’ beacon. The only thing you can do stop it moving is kill the carrier or prevent it from being picked up by the enemy.
In general it’s very easy to become confused by the usage of ‘enemy’ to describe the beacons. Just keep in mind that ‘I’ can never touch ‘your’ beacon, and vice versa.
GETTING A MAJOR VICTORY
You’re not protecting what you think you are
There are 3 stages to a Major Victory in this mission. The final stage is actually to protect the Enemy beacon once it’s captured.
Stage one- Connect an Energy Console
Stage two – Capture the Enemy Beacon
Stage three- Protect the both the Friendly and Enemy Beacons
Scoring is interesting in this mission. There are 2 totally unopposed points, 7 opposed points, and a single semi-unopposed ‘bonus’ point.
There are 4 unopposed points available for capturing the ‘enemy’ beacon. There are also 3 unopposed points for preventing capture of the ‘friendly’ beacon. Here’s the interesting point: At either end of the extremes, a tie exists. In between, each change produces a large swing in the score.
|Neither player has captured||A has captured||B has captured||Both players have captured|
|A’s Capture score||0||5||0||5|
|A’s Protect Score||3||3||0||0|
|B’s Capture Score||0||0||5||5|
|B’s Protect Score||3||0||3||0|
This means two things for your approach to this mission.
- Classified objectives and the ‘Bonus’ point for having the Enemy beacon in your Deployment Zone are irrelevant to a Major Victory. The only way to get a Major is to both Capture and Protect. (Classifieds can still break a tie on beacon points, as can the relative position of the Beacons)
- Efforts should be focused on retrieving the ‘Enemy’ beacon above all other things. Once captured, securing the beacon in your own deployment zone (where you are likely strongest) should be prioritized above protecting the ‘friendly’ beacon.
The reason for this is not the bonus point (Since capturing the enemy beacon is worth 8 points by itself, the point for having it in the DZ is strategically irrelevant) but rather that if both beacons are in your deployment zone, you are much more able to protect both than if they are opposite table sides.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
This mission has no exclusion zone, and a critical objective at the edge of the enemy deployment zone. Every care must be taken to prepare against pocket TO and AD. Deployed late in the game, troopers with either of these skills can make an unpredictable stab at the beacons.
The Hassassin Farzan of Haqqislam has a powerful combination of Chain of Command, High Wip, Camouflage and Infiltration. They will find connecting the consoles to be very easy.
HOW TO STOP A MAJOR VICTORY
There is a high potential for both players to spoil each other in this mission. Because the largest package of points is quasi opposed, the chances of a high-scoring tie are still significant. Too much attention placed on ARO snipers, an unusual streak of passed ARM saves, or both players having bad luck activating the console can result in a tie.
If you determine that you cannot both capture the enemy beacon and protect the friendly beacon, your best bet will be to fight for a tie and use your classified objective or the positions of the beacons to break the tie.
KEY LIST ELEMENTS
Reactive defenses that can cover the consoles and the friendly beacon will be key. All the usual suspects will be important, with some added benefit to short range defenders that are normally not good at covering objectives. Since the ‘Friendly’ beacon is so close to your DZ, even light flamethrowers and shotguns can be effective defenders.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WIN THE LT ROLL
As is so often the case in ITS, the strategic power in Capture and Protect lies with the player taking the second turn. If you win the LT roll, you should select to take the second turn, even if this means you have to deploy first. Deployment in this mission has a great deal more to do with the consoles and the beacons than it does with enemy troops, so the disadvantage of deploying first is somewhat mitigated. On top of that, if you deploy first, your minelayers and perimeter weapons have free reign.
If you end up with the first turn, you must focus on crippling your opponent’s specialist roster and reducing his order pool so severely that he can’t take advantage of his strategic advantage. Do not under any circumstances spend orders on completing a classified objective in the first turn (no matter how easy). All your resources must go towards the 8 points scored for Capture and Protect.
I like this mission. I especially like it as a final round mission. The large swing of OPs, together with this mission’s tendency to play out dramatically all the way to the end make it a fitting end to an tournament.