Memorial Day CAV Marathon

This weekend was pretty productive hobby wise. I finished up some painting that had been sitting around for a while (see previous post) then managed to play three games of CAV2 on top of that.

Saturday was a 3000 point game with the kids.  I was shamelessly using this as an opportunity to test out a couple of list for a game with Paul. I wanted to show that infantry in CAV are not like infantry in Battletech so using CAV Command Console I whipped up a force using one of my favorite tactic, the Rach all infantry force using the No Mercy faction doctrine. I like to call it my Rach Raiders list. In CAV2, using the 2008 errata, each model in base contact with an enemy model gets to attack with a +1 bonus for each supporting model in contact with the target. Each successful attack does one point of damage to the target. The Rach faction doctrine No Mercy gives Rach infantry the ability to do another point of damage on a successful hit. Then add on top of that Satchel Charges, purchased from the overall point total for the force, which when their use is declared before a close combat attack is resolved by infantry cause an additional point of damage on a successful CC attack. So for a successful attack, provided I have satchel charges left, a Rach infantry team can deal three points of damage. In CAV, infantry are the close combat kings. Light infantry get a +5 on a d10 roll vs the targets armor, and armored infantry get a +6. Couple this with the infantry swarming the target for support bonuses and you have a fairly good chance of taking down most CAVs. Most CAVs only get a +1 though some will have an ability that granted a higher bonus vs. infantry.

There's two problems with this though, the first is that infantry are horribly slow on their own. The second is that against models with a higher defensive value (DV) you still have to roll fairly high on an individual attack. The way I get around the first is by using fast transports (Krakens are excellent for this if you have them...I really need to assemble mine), the orbital insertion unit upgrade, and the jet pack training upgrade. With units on transports I recommend that you upgrade your infantry with the Shock Infantry and Jet Pack Training options. Shock makes mounting/dismounting a free action (though you can still only do one or the other each turn) and the jet pack training allows you to use the action you freed up by taking Shock Infantry to close any remaining distance the transport couldn't cover or just allow you to be lazy and not have to measure just close enough with the transport to allow the infantry to dismount into base to base contact. Orbital Insertion allows you to drop your infantry on the turn of your choosing Starship Troopers style onto the tabletop no closer than 12 inches from any opponent model. That 12 inch restriction means that you almost have to give them the jet pack upgrade as well, otherwise after their first turn on the table the battle will move away from them  and you just spent a lot of points on infantry that aren't doing you any good. The jet pack upgrade still leaves them fairly slow, but if you have another section that can fix the target the drop infantry can get back into the mix...eventually.

The second problem is dealt with by swarming the big nasty CAV (tip, don't assault tanks or recon units...it doesn't end well), upgrading one drop section with AT-23 missile launchers (think Javelin or TOW) and another with the FiST upgrade and a selection of strikes. For strikes I like the Orbital Pinpoint Strike and Orbital Strike because they don't drift. But for the big boys with DVs in the 13s and 14s you'll either cruise missiles or Artillery Bombardment. The pinpoint strike is great for taking out that pesky recon CAV that keeps the continual ECM bubble around the attack CAV huddle. The key with the strikes is to "crack the shell" as I like to call getting that important first hit on a model in CAV. Vehicle models in CAV can repair in game, but can never repair to an undamaged state. That first hit is usually accompanied by a drop in DV and sometimes other stats. So for the infantry assault to be more effective, you want to crack the shell a little bit. And if the strike is lucky enough to score a critical hit, even better.

To tie all this together, at 3000 points I put this together as three armored shock infantry with jet packs and satchel charges in three Badger transports. They aren't the fastest, but I don't have my Krakens assembled and painted yet (can we say Shiny Object Syndrome). A second section of drop infantry with FiST and a mix of orbital strikes and orbital pinpoint strikes. And finally a third section of drop infantry upgraded with jet packs and AT-23s. The general plan is on the first turn move the transports up, but don't commit to a target unless your card comes up later in the turn. On the second turn drop the FiSTers and unleash the strikes to get those precious first hits, then commit the transported infantry to an assault. In the third turn, place the drop heavy weapon section to pick off models that weren't engaged by the shock troops, preferably ones damaged by the strikes, rain down more fire from on high, and if the shock troops target is dead move them on to the next one using the transports if necessary. Try to focus on one or two models at a time, otherwise your firepower becomes diluted and you have a bunch of enemy models still on the table that will most likely spend one action repairing then dealing with your infantry. That and there's a certain morale effect on both sides when your infantry can score a quick kill or two on an opposing CAV, especially if it's a super-heavy attack CAV.

The other force I set up because I was somewhat expecting Paul to bring some Terrans and their love for air support. So I set up a patrol force consisting of two armor sections (Wight, Wraith, Ghost, Specter II for the first and two Hunter tanks and two Lance tanks for the other) and a specialist section with two Nomads and a few Artillery Bombardment strikes. In the game with the kids I found that this force is murder on soft targets, especially if the only soft targets are infantry. Here's the pics from the game with the kids:

Initial deployment, the Badgers are off screen to the left behind the power generator

End of turn two, the assault infantry have dealt some damage to the Wight, but weren't able to take it down outright. Notice the red infantry scattered around the table, those are the FiST teams which dealt a fair amount of damage around the Malvie force...except the tanks. The shock infantry withdrew to the woods because they knew the tanks were about to light them up. They had enough movement to re-engage the Wight next turn if need be. The white strips marks the area of effect for artillery delivered smoke for concealment.

Turn 3, enter the drop weapons teams across the other side of the table. They did a good job wiping out several CAVs.

Here's where things turned ugly, most of the CAVs were gone, but I couldn't score a hit against the tanks and they mauled the infantry with their two machine guns each.

CAVs are gone, but three of the tanks remain...

This is where I called it. I didn't have enough of the weapons teams to make a dent in the tank and its machine guns would have shredded my infantry.

So then on Monday Paul came over with tales of ReaperCon. We set up an urban-ish table and against what I had expected he pulled out a Templar force. He organized them as three armor sections using the Bonds of Knighthood doctrine:

Section 1

Section 2
2x Gladiator II

Section 3
2x Spartan

I tweaked my all infantry force and organized them as:

Mech Infantry
3x Badger
6x Rifle Team w/ shock, jet pack training, and six satchel charges

Drop Infantry FiST
3x Armored Rifle Team w/ orbital insertion, FiST, jet pack trainig, and three satchel charges

Drop Infantry Heavy Weapons
6x Rifle Team w/ oribital insertion, AT-23 for each, jet pack training

Here's the pics:


Turn 2 Saw the Knight and a Spartan go down and a fair amount of damage to the Centurion. I also lost a Badger before the troops could dismount.

The Warhawk started a dash to support the other side of the table, FiST team put a few points of damage round

Turn 3: Centurion buys it and I do a real mean thing and move my infantry into base contact with the Warlord so that if he tries to move the infantry in contact get a free attack.

Also turn 3: one of my Armored Drop FiSTer teams buy the farm, but not before it and the newly arrived weapons teams take out the other Spartan, a Gladiator II, and put a point of damage on the Lance. (The Lance is really what I was worried about, I remembered how bad they tore up my infantry in the game with the kids.)

Turn 4, Paul cedes the game, I had taken out the Lance and remaining Gladiator II leaving him without much to target infantry with and my troops were fairly well off damage wise.

Since that game went fairly quickly we played on the same table but with fielding the Malvie force for the Rach. It was much longer drawn out game that hung in the balance for quite some time, but in the end fairly consistent above average dice luck on my part and bad dice luck on his lead to another win for me. This game was a much closer affair and I think was better for it. I broke down to the armor units playing hide and seek amongst the buildings. Paul had some good repair rolls, but just couldn't land enough hits to take out my CAVs. We didn't take pictures of this game because we just wanted to focus on playing.

That's it for this past weekend's activity, didn't intend to do the Wall of Text at the beginning but hopefully some of the new players finding CAV for the first time will find it useful.