Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi! from Tiny Battle Publishing is a solitaire hex and counter game with a cool Sci-Fi theme. Game #3 in the “Invaders from Dimension X” series, this game takes the player to the rocky mining planet of Graviton Prime where miners have been attacked by 50 Foot rock creatures known as Colossi and you, as the 124th Galactic Marine Raider Battalion with your Plasma Rifles with unlimited range, fancy jump packs and access to powerful Orbital Strikes, are their only hope. These Colossi are slow and lumbering but their attacks are deadly and can definitely make for a very bad day for someone. The game has a small footprint, containing 88 double sided counters, 16 Colossi Order of Actions cards, one double sided 11″x17″ map, and a fantastically laid out player aid card, along with a rules set that is easy to understand and generally well organized. This game is fun and I really enjoyed my first few plays as I struggled to whittle down these behemoths and save the miners!
In this series of Action Points, we will take a look at some of the various rules, including how to attack with the Marines, their Landing Procedure as they drop in from space, their array of weapons, including the Boring Bit and their mighty Orbital Strikes, and take a look at the AI used for the Colossi, as it is really quite good but easy to use.
In this first Action Point, we will examine the Marines of the 124th Galactic Marine Raider Battalion and their various actions, including some of their better attacks. First off, lets take a look at the Landing Zone Procedure for the Marine Scheduled Reinforcements.
Landing Zone Procedure
Each round of Scenario 1: Panic on Graviton Prime, the Marines will have scheduled reinforcements that will arrive and are assumed to come from their orbiting transport ship and land on the surface of Graviton Prime. This process is not as simple as just landing though, the Marines will have to sometimes battle hurricane force winds or Anti-Gravity waves, which will make these landings more problematic.
So how does this Landing Procedure work? Really quite simply, but it still requires a little bit of work. If you look at the board, you will notice that each hex is numbered from 111 to 666. There is a reason for this that we will explain shortly.
When the Marine Reinforcements come in, they must choose a landing spot on the map. This landing spot should be chosen to create the best fields of fire for the Marines as they have unlimited range on their Plasma Rifles. To be able to attack, these Marines must only be able to trace a Line of Sight to their target with no intervening blocking terrain, such as buildings or hills. So, here is where the particulars mess up the situation for the Landing Procedure. Each unit will land separately in its own chosen hex as there is no stacking allowed. The unit must choose a good hex to land in that increases the probability of a safe landing, thereby allowing them to hit the ground firing. A good hex is one that is defined by the last number of the hex itself. The Marines will get to roll the same number of dice as the last number printed in the three digit hex number. These dice will then be rolled and the best result chosen according to the Landing Procedure Table.
For example, in the picture above, if the enemy is located in hex 435 (to the upper right of the map picture), and I have 4 Marines landing this turn, I might choose hexes in the range of 264 to 416 in order to maximize my fields of fire, as there is no blocking terrain between these hexes and the target hex; the gravel pile in hex 343 is not blocking terrain, and also in order to stay as far away from the lumbering Colossi as possible, as when they get up close, they become very dangerous with their Rolling Thunder attacks.
So, my first unit will choose a hex in this range that is favorable and offers the most number of dice to increase my odds of rolling a 6, which is the only truly safe result on the Landing Zone Procedure Table pictured below.
My first unit chooses to attempt to land in hex 315. Remember, that I will roll the number of dice the same as the last digit printed in the target landing hex. In this case, I will get to roll 5 dice and roll a 1, 2, 4, 4, 6. I choose the best result, which is a 6, and consult the table to see that my unit has a “Safe Landing!” and I place the Marine in the target hex where it cannot move after landing, but can fire.
I then choose nearby hexes for my remaining three units that increase my odds of safe landings and choose hex 314, 316 and 336, allowing me to roll 4, 6 and 6 dice respectively! The results are a mixed bag though as the highest number from each roll is as follows 3, 5 and 6. As you already know, one unit lands safely with the 6 in hex 316, but the unit trying to land in hex 314 rolled only a 3 while the unit landing in 336 rolled a 5. So we have to consult the Landing Procedure Table to see what happens to each of these units.
The bad result first, the 3. This roll equates to a Malfunction and now requires that I roll three dice to determine a random hex. I roll the three dice in order obtaining a 3, 4 and 5, which equates to hex 345, which contains a building, Yikes! This means that I landed in a hex that contains a building (the IMC Corporate Offices) and I will then have to place my unit in the lowest adjacent hex (hex 346) and cause a disruption to the unit, which means it is flipped over as it is reduced. This is a botched landing and this unit not only is damaged, but cannot move or fire this turn.
The other unit that rolled a 5 was more fortunate and is only Scattered. This means that this unit will need to be placed in the lowest adjacent hex, which is 321 but doesn’t suffer a reduction. It cannot, however, move or attack this turn, which is also bad. This landing was not well executed and only 2 of my 4 Marine units will be able to bring fire against the Colossi in hex 435. Not a great start…but you will need to get used to this, as I found that this is tough going and you will not have it easy.
We didn’t even have negative effects on this landing attempt, as there were no Hurricane Winds, which would have enforced -2 dice for the roll, or Anti-Gravity Wave that would have reduced the dice rolled by -1. This business of being a Space Marine is not easy!
I know that you have been waiting so I will now share the best part about the game with you, the Marine Actions, which include attacks. The Marines have a wide variety of weapons and tactics available to them. They have their Plasma Rifles, that are accurate and dependable, the vaunted Boring Bit, which is hard to use effectively but when it hits is devastating to the Colossi, and the mighty Orbital Strike, which was my favorite attack to use.
First up, the Plasma Rifle attacks.
If you look at the Marine counters, you will notice only 3 numbers. The number in the bottom left is their Combat Factor (CF), the number in the bottom right is their Defense Number (DN) and the number in the upper right is their Movement Allowance. Range is not factored into this game as the Marine’s Plasma Rifles have unlimited range as long as the unit using the Rifle can trace a Line of Sight to their target. For this example, we will use the picture above.
During the Marine Actions phase, they can do either Full Move, Full Fire, Shoot and Scoot or a Special Action, which includes, actions that only special units can perform, such as Recon (Scout units) or Orbital Strikes (HQ units). Full Move is simple as they can move their full movement allowance in any direction. This movement is effected by terrain. So if the unit decides to move through the rubble piles shown in hex 522, it will cost 2 MP. Buildings and Railroad only costs 1 MP. Marines are unable to enter Hills terrain.
Full Fire is pretty simple. A Full Fire action allows the Marine unit to conduct Standard Marine Combat. Combat starts with the unit designating their target, which must be in view of the unit which means they must be able to draw a Line of Sight to the target with no blocking terrain in any intervening hexes. In the picture above, all Marine units have a Line of Sight to the Brownstone Colossi Tribe located in hex 435. The Marine unit gets to roll the number of dice as designated by their Combat Factor. In this case, 4 dice will be rolled. If the Marine is firing on the same turn as a Landing, they will reduce this number of dice by 1, or will only roll 3 dice. If the Marine attacks an adjacent target, they will add +1 dice to their roll. Not a good idea but it is a benefit! The Marine then rolls their dice, and any number that exceeds the Colossi Defense Number (DN) is considered a hit. For example, my Marine unit located in hex 426 gets to roll 4 dice with a Full Attack and needs to roll 4+ to score hits. In this example, they roll the following on the 4 dice: 1, 2, 4 and 5. This will be 2 hits, which is not enough to reduce the Colossi unit but will allow for the placement of the Chipped Marker, which will reduce the Colossi units DN by -1 for the immediate attacks that follow. This is like the Plasma has weakened the exterior of the Colossi’s rocky skin allowing for future immediate attacks to hit a little more effectively.
The next Marine unit located in hex 433 now fires rolling 4 dice and does very well, rolling a 1, 3, 6, 6, scoring 3 hits plus an additional hit due to 2 natural 6’s being rolled for a total of 4 hits! But, only three of the hits really count as the counter will be reduced by being flipped over. The Chipped Marker is now removed and doesn’t offer a benefit to the remaining 2 Marine units. But, with the reduced counter, the Brownstone Tribe is weakened as their Defense Number is now a 2, which means the Marines will score hits on roll of 3 or higher, possibly on a 2 or higher if the Chipped Marker is added by one of the units attacks. The important thing to remember from Marine attacks is that 2 hits in a single attack will add the Chipped Marker for the next immediate attack only on that unit, and 3 hits are required to reduce the Colossi. Any additional hits are not carried over and are wasted. These things are really tough to kill! We won’t take a look at an example of Shoot and Scoot but this is a tactic that is good to use to get away from advancing Colossi while also getting off a less effective attack. When Shoot and Scoot is used, the Marine can move half of their Movement Allowance, rounded down, and fire but with less effect as they will lose one die. They can move and fire or vice versa, so this can be an effective way to get away from powerful attacks of the Colossi as they advance but also do some damage.
Now, we will take a look at The Boring Bit and how it is used.
First off, The Boring Bit must be adjacent to a Colossi to attack as it has no range. The weapon is actually an improvised one where the Marines simply found a large drill in storage and mounted it on top of an armored vehicle and figured it would be effective against these stone creatures made up of living boulders. The advantage to The Boring Bit is that it has 3 Movement Allowance and incurs no penalties from moving and attacking. It can move its full MA with no penalties in order to get adjacent to a Colossi. It then simply rolls one die and consults The Boring Bit Combat Results Table for their effect.
The Boring Bit will miss and have no effect on the Colossi with a roll of 3 or less. On a roll of 4 or 5, the Colossi unit will be Rattled and will receive a Paralyzed marker that means it will be unable to move or attack this turn. On a roll of 6, the bottom boulder counter of the Colossi stack will be flipped and the Colossi will be paralyzed as well. This piece of equipment is very useful in keeping the Colossi occupied and also in reducing it counter by counter. The problem with the attack though is that is reduces the stack from the bottom. The real power is in the paralysis that it inflicts on any roll of 4+ as this will allow the surrounding Marine units to pepper it with multiple attacks that will do some damage.
Finally, lets take a look at the mighty Orbital Strike. This mighty attack can only be called in by an HQ unit that is not Stunned or Paralyzed and is only limited by Line of Sight. If the HQ unit doesn’t have Line of Sight to the target, it can then use a non-Parlyzed Marine unit that is within 4 hexes of the HQ unit and has LOS to the target. The procedure for this Orbital Strike is pretty simple. The target will be struck as with a Full Fire Standard Marine Combat that will use the last digit of the target hex as the CF for the attack.
In the below example, the HQ unit located in hex 563 has LOS to the Yellowstone Colossi Tribe unit located in hex 566 and as such will roll 6 dice as the CF for the attack. This Colossi unit has a Defense Number of only 3 so the Strike will hit on a roll of 4+. As you can see from the picture, this attack was very good as I rolled three 6’s (I don’t know what happened to the 6th dice in the picture), which are really good, as they will count for 2 hits. So, after doing some simple calculations, I ended with 6 total hits on the Colossi, which resulted in its top counter being destroyed and flipped over. Remember, three hits are enough to reduce the Colossi but any additional hits on a single attack are wasted so the extra 3 hits are not used. Still this was an amazing attack that damaged the Yellowstone Tribe Colossi that was barreling down on the trapped miners in the Mine Entrance.
I hope that you enjoyed this look at the inner workings of the Marine attacks in Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi! from Tiny Battle Publishing. In our next Action Point, we will take a look at the Colossi and how they move and attack, as well as a look at their varied Tribal Special Attacks.