Saturday, March 5, 2016

Black Ops: Data Theft

"Ok folks, all we need to do is to enter the building, copy those files and move out." Even when keeping her voice down, Kate could put energy in her words. The rest of the team nodded. Jamie had checked her machine gun twice. Bill and Eric had their automatic shotguns ready. For a stealth mission, this was a lot of noisy hardware, but that's how they played: if the plan went wrong, would you rather have a silenced pistol or a heavy machine gun at your side?

This was a stealth mission played using Black Ops. The special ops team (pictured left) are Kate (leader), Jamie (heavy), Bill and Eric (soldiers). The opposition is a mercenary commander and six soldiers. Each side is just below 50 points.
The opposing forces, roughly 50 points per side.
The operatives must enter the building closest to the center, then spend two activations inside to steal the data files. Then they must leave through the same edge they entered. There are two mercenaries on patrol, and the rest are in buildings.The ones in the buildings will only leave on a reaction roll of 7+. This is similar to the espionage scenario in a city board, from the game rules.
Starting board. The spec ops enter from the bottom edge; the mercenaries are spread around.

Kate and her team moved out of the alleyway, taking cover behind the nearby car and from there to the park. Meanwhile, the enemy sentries were oblivious to their approach. Jamie moved behind some crates to cover for Kate, who advanced to the white van. She saw an opportunity to dispatch a nearby distracted sentry... sneaked close for the kill... but he turned in the last moment. She hit his face with the stock of her submachine gun but not strongly enough to take him out. [In game terms, she did score a hit in close combat but the mercenary managed to save...]
I'm even more inclined to ignore armor of the target in stealth kill attempts...
The noise from the continuing fight attracted the other sentry, who saw Kate and started calling for help. Jamie thought it would be better to silence the sentry with her machine gun, but that attracted more attention. Eventually, the mercenary commander came out of his quarters, only to see Kate still engaged in combat. He raised the alarm and all the remaining guards came out of the nearby buildings. A bloody firefight ensued and in the end, Bill, Eric and three mercenaries were out of combat.
And this should have been a stealth mission.
With their losses and the alarm, which was certain to draw reinforcements, Kate and Jamie decided to cancel the operation and leave. Jamie took down one more mercenary on the way out but their mission was still a failure, as they could not obtain the data.
Live to fight another day, and all that...
Kate and Jamie left the metropolis without even contacting their employer; they needed a head start, as he would surely want them dead after this mission.

The stealth kill attempt was a gamble, and attacking with the machine gun was not really bright. I was confident that a few noise markers would not be enough to wake up the mercenary commander, but the dice proved me wrong.

This game worked well, on a 50cm x 50cm board using 15mm miniatures and halving the measurements. The limited field of view (90 degrees, compared to 180 degrees in some games) and observation mechanics made it work even though there were some long corridors. The limited weapon ranges also contribute to this.

Previously I commented on the problem with saves in close combat, even more in the case of stealth kill attempts. Currently, a civilian has 44% chance of surviving a stealthy close-combat attack from a professional soldier. If wearing body armor, that increases to 56% -- and most profiles include body armor. In future Black Ops games, I will house-rule that stealth kills ignore body armor. It is not a huge change but I think it fits the game style.

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