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WE ARE LIVE! CAV:SO KICKSTARTER II
By Savage Coyote
My 2018 CAVCon After Action report is finally here. After a couple days to decompress and process everything, I thought I’d jot down a few notes, share a few photos, and do a few battle reports as best I can.
So I was able to attend Thursday evening, Friday evening, and all day Saturday. I live over an hour away, so it’s close enough to drive, but with two small kids and being butted up to Labor Day weekend, I wasn’t able to really attend all day on the two weekdays or Sunday. Had it been a non-holiday weekend, I would have taken off at least Friday, but as a teacher, four day weekends are frowned upon and might have someone checking in on me.
So ReaperCon/CAVCon was held at the Denton Convention Center which is also attached to the Embassy Suits. While I didn’t stay there, it would be cool to have a room, be able to shamble down to the Con areas, then shamble back up. The facilities were really nice and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. There was a lot of staff cleaning up, serving food and drinks, and security, so it seemed to run pretty well. I do feel bad for the wedding reception party that came in on Saturday and was passing our tables at the CAVCon tournament. They were a bit weirded out and didn’t realize there was going to be a big event going on at the same time! Opps!
CAVBoss was a bit short-handed on Thursday and wasn’t able to get the demo terrain or tournament table terrain set up, so MiniAdict, his son, and myself all sat around and painted. CAVBoss came over after the retail hall shut down and talked with us for awhile and then I had to call it day. I came back the next evening, and the tables were set up. When I got there, MiniAdict and his son had a game just set up so I hopped in and took over one of his son’s sections, a fire support section. The lists looked like this:
3x Spector B’s
For this game, there wasn’t a ton to really report on. My first strike point drifted onto a Duelist so I took off three damage tracks, next turn, I drifted one inch, so stayed on the Crusader and messed it up really good. MiniAdicts son lost almost all of his Chieftains in one turn as two of the Duelists and Centurion made short work of them. If you want to run Templars, Duelists can take care of your low armor vehicles and CAVs lickity split with it’s SIX light MAC’s! While this looked to be a nail in our coffin, the Poltergeist finished off the Crusader after another round of indirect rocket loving from myself and the Naginatas put a hurt on the third Duelist who was, well, dueling them. I hurt one of the Claymores pretty bad and the remaining chieftain killed the other one. Our Archer helped tip the balance back with it’s Active Phased Array 2 and insured some good solid hits. One of the Naginatas and the Poltergeist (this guy is scary too!) softened up the Centurion and my fire support section finished it off. In the end game, we lost the Archer, but he only had a damaged Duelist and Spartan left, so I feel fairly confident my fire support section and the Poltergeist could have finished the game. We had six or seven people wander over and start asking us questions, so we had an impromptu discussion about the game and did our best to sell!
I arrived bright and early to register for the CAVCon 2018 tournament after stopping by and friends donut shop I don’t get to stop by too often. We got our forces set up, printed out, and verified and got down to business. Due to real life issues, we only had three of the six participants from last year, so the tournament got me two games with a break in between. I went first against MiniAdict’s son and his mercenary force:
3x Starhawks VI
My force, drawn from the 5th Marienburg Brigade of the Ritterlich Republic, was ready to do battle!
3x Rhino’s (one of which was the CO)
4x Lion II’s
Catamount (proxied by a Jaguar)
We started deploying and I waited to deploy my big Rhino section till the end. I wanted to see were his stuff ended up, mainly the Poltergeists. I didn’t want them really engaging my little stuff or Lion IIs until I absolutely had to (aka, as close as possible!). This also allowed me to deploy my Rhino’s on the far right side and on turn one, my card came up first and I launched six medium guided missiles at his Revenant and took off a few tracks with some GREAT rolls (maybe two?). Other than that, we shuffled around and moved forward. I got another set of snipes on the Revenant to push it to four damage while also lighting up a Starhawk VI for a few. My Lion II’s moved up behind the central mountain while the recon squad spread out providing ECM coverage all over my half of the board. He got some pot shots on a Puma with the Poltergeists but didn’t kill him. The Revenant slunk away out of LOS of the Rhino’s while the Starhawks moved in, taking a beating along the way. They’d wage their own personal war on that side of the board for the rest of the game with the Rhino’s coming out on top and only suffering two damage. The Chieftains jumped the mountain top to kill a Puma, but in turn, my Lion II’s and one of my Rhino’s killed all four Chieftains, and pop up shots on the Poltergeists kill both of them. The Revenant topped the left side of the mountain and took the fire of four Lion II’s and a couple of Rhino’s before it expired, while one of the rushing Nomads was cut down. He had a Nomad race off the board for a Breakthrough point, while I claimed the Head Hunter point for killing his CO.
All in all, the Rhino’s heavier armor, range, the Catamount’s Active Phased Array, and three rotating ECM fields blocking target locks on my forces helped to squish the Starhawk VI’s on my right side. The Revenant concerned me because he healed up a few tracks from early attention, but eventually couldn’t stand up to heavy PBG fire and attention from my three Rhinos. The Lion II’s were great midfielders hiding in the mountains. Their high armor helped the one that ended up getting shot at by one of the Poltergeists (only suffered a single damage) while their insane damage output coupled with an Advanced Targeting Computer 2 and APA 2 sliced through the opposition.
So MiniAdict and his son then set about to play their game. While I had been finishing up against his son, a father/son were watching and asking questions. I offered to play a demo game using starter forces and so we played for a while. I wish I could say I “let him win” but my dice decided to land a strike point on both the Terran Talon off a drift, and dead on the Starhawk VI twice. From my Tiamet. The Talon disappeared in the drift and the Starhawk survived due to my horrible rolls, at least the first time, then I mauled him the second. They had to get to their painting class, but I had a fresh Rhino against a half-tracked Thunderbird, fresh Raptor, and track eight Starhawk. Sorry!!!
The dropship was also rolled out to the awe and amusement of everyone while the terrain and prototype miniatures were out the whole con. I saw, then it was time to rumble.
My second game was against MiniAdict’s Templars. Force looked like this:
It’s a little wonky because he was trying to get the fully painted bonus points and changed his list a couple times before deciding on this one. I was still worried about the Centurions. If they get close enough, they have four medium PBG’s that have been Pierced so they hit at 7’s instead of 6’s in the pristine track along with an ATC2 and Wizzo. That can really ruin any unit that gets their attention. As with before, I waited on my Rhino’s, but had to place them before he placed his main force. One of the Spartans was hanging out at 62 inches or so. Two of the Rhinos had line of sight and sent some missiles his way, taking him down some while the third ran out twelve inches. Next turn that Rhino went before the spartan section and snipped the Spartan dead, removing one of the ECM counters. Honestly the rest of the game just came down to dice, and MiniAdict could never turn off my APA2 as the dice just didn’t work for him. Ever. Every turn was "and now my Spartan will try to shut down the APA" and we'd roll and, yeah, wouldn't happen. The Lion II’s were again brutal and did a good job punching massive holes in anything that tried to move around the mountain (while being able to pop up and shoot stuff that was a little farther out. The Rhinos did their thing, sending long range fire down range and severely maiming anything unfortunate enough to come into line of sight.
All in all my dice rolling went well and I was able to stack several bonuses at a time to help push through a lot of damage. Talking after the event, we both agreed it wasn’t his best list and that hurt him in the end.
We all kind of vegged after that sitting around and near the demo area and explaining the game to anyone that came by with questions. I talked to several locals I know from here in the DFW area and we finally set in for the awards show. I received a bronze (I guess I got worse from last years silver?) for my Ritter section of a Cheetah, two Silverbacks, and a Panther. I have plans for next year. Whether I get to them or not I don’t know! I managed to win Best Painted CAV group (and a 100 gift certificate) as well as a 50.00 gift certificate for winning the Tournament! I’ll have some more CAV’s and paints in my near future!
At the end of the day I’m hoping that next year we’ll have more people turn out for CAVCon and really get things moving. I think this year was a great point as there was a lot of talk and activity about CAV (and a lot of people buying large amounts of miniatures) so hopefully we’ll see this next year!
By Savage Coyote
A few nights ago I managed to get a game of CAV in with MiniAddict and is son at Texas Toy Solider in Carrollton, TX. Because of the three player nature we were faced with, his son and I were a team with each of us taking 3k points and MiniAddict taking 6.2k or so points! We set up long ways on the table and the only modification due to the terrain type we had was to play "true line of sight." Our terrain wasn't leveled well as it was more 40k/Fantasy terrain so this seemed to work. Forces were all "mercenary forces" by the rules due to composition/unit types"
4x Lion II's
Catamount (Jaguar model)
3x Puma's (blue Cougar models)
We also decided to use individual model activation with the cards as opposed to section activation.
So Turn one was pretty much everyone rushing forward and/or moving forward and activating ECM to discourage target lock pot shots. The Templar force was a little more cautious in it's approach than our side I think.
Turn 2 was really more of the same, though we had our first suppression with my Catamount suppressing the Spartan that had used it's ECM. One of the Javelins Run 'n' Gun'd and dropped four damage on my Cougar while the heavy tanks dropped a Javelin on the far left side.
For all intents and purposes, the game ended on turn three. We were positioned to be able to do a lot of damage and lucked out in the card deck draws. We had five or six cards turn in row. I took charge, activated the Catamount, and fired off his Active Phased Array 2, which netted all of the forward Templar elements. Next, two Chieftains raced up to the center Spartan (he's behind the rock in the center of the board) and killed him with medium PBG's. Next, my Thug moved over to put six damage on the far right Shootist. The Shootist attempted defensive fire and did maybe one damage. Everything else that shot at the Thug missed (honestly I thought I was trading the Thug to severely hurt the Duelist!). My Lion II's move up and gain line of sight to the second Duelist and kill it with one burn out (marked with a yellow 1.). Three chieftains peel left and kill the second Spartan while the other two Chieftains race over the left side Duelist and inflict some damage. Our heavy tanks move forward and kill the brave Javelin, while wiffing on the other. In MiniAddict's defense, his dice were about as cold as you could get. All night. It was painful for him and honestly for us because, in situations he should have inflicted damage or killed something (my Thug should have been dead) he'd only hit once or not at all. The only glimmer of light was one of his Centurions putting six damage tracks on one of my Lion II's. So there was that. My Puma's all used their ECM 2 and we moved on to Turn 4.
Turn Four was mainly advancing and cleaning up for our side. My Catamount activated APA2 again while my Thug brought down the Duelist (though he burned out and I retreated back around the corner before his Centurion could engage again. My Lion II's advanced forward and brought the center Centurion down to six damage tracks while follow up Chieftain hits brought it to 12 damage tracks. On the other side, the heavy tanks damaged the lone Javelin and the Chieftains played tag with the left side Duelist slowly wearing it down, though the Duelist did manage to kill one of them and severely damage the other. I lost a Lion II to a Centurion but my other three soldiered on.
We called it after turn five, as the Lion II's and three Chieftains finished off both Centurions, the Duelist fell to the LBG of the Puma, and the Javelin was smoked by a Poltergeist or Wolf. All in all MiniAddicts cold dice made this a lopsided game! There were a lot of lessons and questions for this game and we look forward to playing again!
I'm working on some background articles and thought I would put up my first draft here to hopefully answer a few questions and get some feedback if something needs a better description or other questions you may have!
Using APA and ECM
A common question I receive from players is how APA and ECM work in an actual game setting. So, I thought I take a moment to write up a more in-depth description of the process behind both SAs.
Active Phase Array
APA is a 3D radar system designed to track multiple targets at short range using a series of non-moving sensor arrays mounted in various locations across the equipped model, each emitting a “beam” at multiple “angles” and frequencies. The on-board targeting systems of other friendly models, through the BattleNet, can use this information to help cut through enemy electronic counter-measures, increasing the chances of a successful “hit.”
How is this different from advanced targeting computers?
Every combat model in CAV: Strike Ops is built with a rudimentary targeting computer, loaded with a basic software package that helps a pilot or gunner to analyze the surrounding environment and the desired target (weak points or existing damage for example), as well as helping to manage any on-board weapon systems and the actual firing of them.
Advance Targeting Computers take this process one step further with the addition of a Class One AI. The other major difference it the addition of a successful target-lock. While the data flow from an APA is available to any model set to receive the encoded stream, an ATC requires a specific target to analyze.
Understanding Artificial Intelligence in CAV: Strike Ops
By the 23rd century the use of AI by the various races of the known galaxy have been defined by one of four classes. As is typical, these concepts are provided from a Terran perspective to allow for a common framework for our readers to understand the principals involved.
Class One AI: Reactive
A Class One AI is the most basic of these types of systems and is designed to “react” to the current situation without any regards to stored “memories,” processing the data from the “moment” and providing an optimal mode of attack, in this example, from a multitude of possibilities. The more data it receives and processes (the rating level of an ATC is relative to this processing ability), helps to increase the chance of a successful outcome.
Class Two AI: Limited Memory
A Class Two AI allows it to “observe” the surrounding environment, storing the data to help improve any pre-programmed responses to deal with a specific situation. The drawback to this class of AI is it can’t “learn” or use a previous experience to help it when it is presented with a similar event later one.
These types of AI are often found on spaceships, self-driving vehicles and autonomous farm machinery.
Class Three AI: Empathy
Class Three AIs can understand and form reactions based on how it perceives the thoughts and emotions of creatures and people or how an object can affect the environment around it. This allows the AI to modify its own programming to behave in such a way to meet the needs or expectations of a given situation.
Class Four AI: Self-Aware
This type of AI takes the previous representations to the next step, allowing it to form its own thoughts and self-empathy based on what it perceives and any needs it may have. It is aware of “self” and make predictions on how it thinks others will react to their own feelings or inferences.
How does an APA work in game terms?
While typically built “into” a given design (CAVs, vehicles or aircraft only), an APA is currently available on two configurations: Active Phase Array 1 and 2. Both systems perform the same function but differ in power and range. Examples include the Ritter’s Cheetah Nd Series IIa and the Adonese Dragonfly TB-3 Interdict APA systems.
An external APA pod is available as an add-on to an existing model but is severely limited in its overall power and use as detailed below.
A model with an APA system will require the use of a Special Action when using either of the following options. Only ONE option may be used during the current activation:
OPTION ONE - Enhanced Targeting Acquisition: Its base function, the APA will generate additional targeting data for any friendly model that is targeting an enemy model located in the area of effect (APA Pod: 18”, APA 1: 24”, or APA 2: 36”) measured from the center of the model that is actively using the APA, moving with the model as it moves (if any).
The use of this targeting data will add a (+1) or (+2) based on the APA’s rating level to an attacking model’s final combat roll. The maximum bonus for an APA Pod is (+1).
If an enemy model should move out of the current AoE of the activated APA, the bonus provided is no longer available for an attacking model. Subsequently, an enemy model that moves into this AoE will allow for the addition of the bonus should it be subject to a later attack.
The targeting bonus will remain in effect from it’s current activation until the beginning of that model’s next activation in the following turn.
The model using this function of the APA can also benefit from the combat roll bonus should it also choose to attack an eligible enemy model.
The use of multiple friendly APAs do NOT “stack” to the combat roll bonus, using the highest available rating level for the attack only.
OPTION TWO – Jamming: A model with an APA system, during its current activation, may choose to try and “block” or jam the use of an enemy APA or ECM system by overwhelming their sensors with highly concentrated bursts of energy, creating electronic “noise” to disrupt their data streams. APA Pods cannot use this option and will automatically be “jammed” by an enemy attempt against it (no opposed roll needed).
Example: A model (A) with APA 1 is activated and declares, as part of their activation, an attempt to jam an enemy model (B), also with APA 1. A jamming attempt uses an opposed roll to determine success, so both players will roll 2d6 and add the rating level of APA system to their respective roll. If model B wins the opposed roll, the attempt fails, and the action is lost. Should model A win the roll, model B will be unable to activate its own APA until after the end of its next activation.
Is the enemy model required to be in the AoE of the activating model’s APA system? What if it has both a APA and ECM system?
No, jamming does not require targeting data so it less dependent on range and an enemy model equipped with a APA and ECM system will have BOTH systems jammed.
Are there any other modifiers applicable to the opposed roll?
Yes, Ace and Veteran pilots/crews and a WSO will add their bonus to the final roll.
What if the enemy model has already activated this turn? And what happens if the enemy model is currently using their APA or ECM system?
If the enemy model has already activated this turn, it will be unable to use either system until after the end of their next activation in the following turn. If either system is currently active, any effect it is currently generating is removed and cannot not be reactivated until after the end of its next activation.
So, an enemy model is jamming one of my models, what happens if I have another one of my models jam it?
The jamming effect is cancelled, and your model may use either system during its next activation.
I had already activated my model this turn and had been using option one with my APA system before I was jammed. If the jamming is removed does the use of option one return automatically?
No, you will have to initiate it with a new special action on your next activation.
BONUS – HARM GMs: A model with an APA system may use upgrade points to equip HARM guided missiles. When used as part of a direct-fire combat action against an enemy model with an ACTIVE APA or ECM system (either option) during the current turn, HARM missiles do not require the use of an additional target-lock action to be used in the attack and adds the rating of the APA system to the combat roll as a (+) modifier.
Does using HARM GMs require a special action?
No, it is considered part of the combat action.
Does the automatic target-lock apply to other direct-fire weapon systems? Does a normal target-lock also add to the combat roll to the HARM attack? Does the automatic target-lock also add any ATC bonuses to the HARM attack?
Does Ace/Veteran Pilot/Crew and WSO modifiers apply to the HARM combat roll?
ECM (Electronic Counter-Measures) is a specialized jamming array designed to radiate concentrated energy signals at an enemy’s radar and other targeting/detection systems across a wide range of frequencies. This type of jamming requires a lot of power, limiting the overall range of an ECM system.
How is this different from the normal jamming used in option two of APA and ECM systems?
A dedicated ECM system works across a wide spectrum of frequencies and is typically referred to as barrage jamming, providing interference that degrades the ability of the enemy to specifically target. Option two, also known as base jamming, goes directly after the source of an emission, attempting to block any data from being used.
How does an ECM work in game terms?
While typically built “into” a given design (CAVs, vehicles or aircraft only), an ECM is currently available on two configurations: ECM 1 and 2. Both systems perform the same function but differ in power and range. Examples include the Terran’s Talon Cloak System 26 and the Rach’s Kahn R-Series 21c ECM systems.
An external ECM pod is available as an add-on to an existing model but is severely limited in its overall power and use as detailed below.
A model with an ECM system will require the use of a Special Action when using either of the following options. Only ONE option may be used during the current activation:
OPTION ONE - ECM: Its base function, the ECM will prevent the use of the target-lock action (or loss of an existing target-lock) of an enemy model located in the area of effect (ECM Pod: 18”, APA 1: 24”, or APA 2: 36”) measured from the center of the model that is actively using the ECM, moving with the model as it moves (if any). The rating level of an ECM system affects its overall range and its effectiveness when be used for option two. The ECM Pod does not have a rating level and cannot be used for option two or the use of HARM GMs.
If an enemy model should move out of the current AoE of the activated ECM it will no longer be affected by the target-lock block. Subsequently, an enemy model that moves into this AoE will no longer be able target-lock an enemy model and will lose any current target-locks it may already have.
The use of option one by a model will remain in effect from its current activation until the beginning of that model’s next activation in the following turn.
Does an ECM system block EST?
No, but it does prevent the enemy model from acquiring or maintaining a target-lock, effectively removing EST from play.
OPTION TWO – Jamming: See above.
BONUS – HARM GMs: See above.
By Savage Coyote
So I've completed my CAV:SO Christmas Exchange piece and thought I'd post it here. I'm using my "speed painting" technique thats cut down my paint time for desert jobs at the moment. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and pleased with my new photo set up.
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