A great game, great opponent, disappointing result.
The Military Order once again faced off against the Ariadna.
This time both sides brought their full forces, rather than the scouting team, to take control of the Sarges Orbital Tracking Station.
The battle began well with Military order taking the initiative and taking first order.
Military order initially took antenna one and move up to be able to seize the second central one.
An initial opening barrage between Ariadna forces and the Military Order Seraph TAG left two Ariadna units out of the fight. However a return strike from an Ariadna rocket launcher damaged the TAG and stripped one structure point from it.
An Ariadna camo troop had infiltrated close to the central objective and the Military Order Hospitaller knight took this opportunity to spot the camo troop and successfully detected the SAS solider.
Now detected a TO camo Order sergeant uncloaked to take a surprise shot against the SAS unit taking him out.
The second antenna clear a second TO camo Order Sergeant who had been hidden deployed close to the central objective uncloaked and moved into secure the second objective point for the Military order, and finally dropped a camo mine as an extra surprise for any Ariadna troop who wished to retake this objective.
Meanwhile the faithful Auxbot linked to the Seraph moved into an ambush position against the team of Wulvers who were dangerously close.
The Ariadna moved the team of linked volunteers, headed by Wallace, through the building to the side of the central objective.
Charging out Wallace broke the link with the volunteers and braved the ARO return fire to eliminate the Order sergeant.
Blocked from the camo mine by the sergeant while it lived Wallace now found himself face to face with an active mine.
Movement from the volunteer link was detected by the mine and the detonation hit Wallace and three of the volunteer group through the open door of the building in which they had taken cover.
The blast left Wallace un-hurt but the volunteers we not so luck and those struck were eliminated.
With the mine removed a volunteer paramedic moved into take control of the central objective while the doctor secured the objective in the Ariadna control zone.
Next the harris link of Wulvers exploded from cover and charged towards the waiting auxbot. The bot blasted all four of the wulvers with flame and though three were injured by the fire none were taken out. Inevitably the responding close combat attacks totally destroyed the Bot.
The Wulvers next drew their sights on the Seraph TAG. Charging in as a unit they braved the Spitfire ARO. One Wulver was eliminated as they attempted to close the distance to the TAG, but the remaining three reached melee range.
A mighty sword battle ensued between the giant TAG and the brave (or perhaps insane) Wulvers.
Throwing thoughts of defence to the wind the Wulvers let loose with their berserker rage accepting back the blows of the Seraph in an attempt to bring the mechanised monster to its knees. Blows rebounded from the hardened armour of the TAG to be responded to by explosive strikes from the giant sword in the TAGs hands.
As the wulvers began to fall to the devastating strength of the TAG more and more armour piercing strikes broke through the Seraphs defences. Finally, the one remaining Wulver with but a single wound remaining itself landed the final blow on the Mighty TAG and it fell to the ground. The cost was high in bodies but the Wulvers had succeeded in bringing down this most dangerous of foes.
Enraged at the defeat of the TAG the 5 man link team of Order Sergeants stepped from cover and drawing a line of sight on the victorious Wulver, still standing above the smoking remains of the Seraph, let rip with a barrage of Spitfire rounds and ended the life of the proud Wulver.
By the contested central objective, the Military order sergeant drew a line of sight to the Ariadna paramedic and opened fire, thus ending the life of the Ariadna specialist.
The way clear to the central objective the Hospitaler knight, Joan of Arc and the Order Sergeant specialist all moved in towards the antenna.
The Knight attempted to seize the antenna but found his hacking skills inadequate to the task.
In an effort to protect his flank Joan moved into the building which still sheltered one remaining Volunteer and opened up with her Nano Pulser, turning the poor Ariadna solider to grey goo.
The Military order could see victory ahead. The mission time frame a turn away, two specialist troops remaining, 8 men left to provide orders, 4 command tokens for coordinated orders and a lieutenant order in the hands of Joan for inspiring leadership use. The enemy with only one remaining specialist and few orders remaining. Victory seemed assured.
((This where the disappointment starts))
As the Ariadna second turn begins the Ariadna force is put into retreat. At the end of the Ariadna turn the game ends under the scenario retreat rules and the Ariadna have two of the three objectives and therefore secure the win.
Leaving the Military order forces standing around wondering why they have been recalled before the end of the mission window and with victory within their grasp.
((In my opinion this rule needs to be changed for future ITS games. I understand that the rule is a really good way to get players to submit Objective focused forces and make them go for the objectives not just the kill. However when a player can find themselves forcing their opponent into retreat though successful attack and ARO rolls in the first two turns, and then lose their whole final turn in which they could have secured the objectives is totally unfair in my mind. Much better is to allow the game to continue forl the agreed duration with any non-retreat state units able to act as usual. At the end of the game objective points are totalled up as usual. This gives the non retreating side their remaining orders to try and grab the last objectives in the time originally allowed. If they fail in that time it can still be a win for the retreating side.))
All in all a great game. Heroic and cinematic moments on both sides, great tactical moves by both sides and a great opponent who is a genuine joy to play against. But that last turn just left me feeling a little flat.