We decided to play my 'Breakthrough' scenario as it was designed for the core box and as a type of intro game with a purpose. Steve had had a quick go through with the rules at the club but this was his first time solo.
I set it up with the Mcfarlane 'toy' stuff as the wall and door the UNSC had to get through while the rest was scatter and LOS blocking stuff from the core set and my terrain box. The idea is the Covenant are set up in three diagonal bands (you can download the scenario from the post before this one) and the UNSC can set in the band up to the front of the bunker. the UNSC score Victory Points by exiting to the EVAC point behind the gate - the Covenant get VP for destroying them on the way!
Taking the role of the Covenant I was thinking video game and had the Hunters covering the gate with the Ghosts in the 'middle level' and the Grunts spread across everywhere. Tactically I was hoping to slow Steve's forces down in the early game and make it real hard to get through the gate if they opened it due to the Hunters. A couple of Grunt units were set up within striking distance of the heretic troops, who let's face it have to be shown the light!
Steve was going all out psycho wannabe ODST with an HMG supported unit giving cover from the bunker, two units led by the Spartan (who seemed to be upset by my naming him Spartan 118 Master Chef) up the middle while the Hogs provided fire support from the left flank.
Opening with a sweep around with the hogs they made short work of the Grunt unit on the rock in the middle - only the overseer surviving the onslaught due to good work on the part of his Heroic Save. But I was not going to let any heretic squishy humans make their sacrifice to the cause unworthy and a round of fire from the Ghosts caused some more damage to the Hogs (my unit on the hill, seeing what was coming had made good use of some 'stay sharp' orders and managed to react to the Hogs, damaging one, Steve had then used good sense when moving to drop the damaged vehicle to the back. This kind of tactic is important as without it he would have been a Hog less after my Ghosts fire).
Steve advanced a unit of Marines up to finish the Grunts off. Obviously they were either planet militia or cadets from the training school as they failed to complete the task. Although, I admit, three successful heroic save rolls probably helped. Swooping in low the Phantom took a hit from the Spartan but still managed to drop off some Grunts to reinforce the centre. This was early in the game to use my one reinforcement air support mission but I needed to slow the UNSC down and inflict as many casualties as possible.
Thinking back on it this probably prompted Steve to throw caution to the wind and send in the Pelican. Unopposed due to a failed reaction test it flew in shot the Ghosts up something chronic, leaving two piles of twisted purple smoking detritus and also hammered up the reinforced unit again.
BUT, at least I was holding the advance of the disbelievers up!
The Grunt unit on my left made a dash to reinforce the right flank but was spotted by Spartan 118, who still smarting over being called Master Chef managed to shoot them up with a reaction... as above. As the UNSC pushed up I decided to smuggly spend a couple of VP and bring in the Phantom to blast the Pagan, Image worshipping squishy germs to bits...
Now at this point it may be prudent to warn readers that we were testing a rule that may give some dedicated AA fire the ability to make the air support see sense and 'Bug Out'. Lacking any real dedicated AA we gave this test loadout to the flyers. So if any damage is caused by an opposing flyer, the flyer (on the mission) rolls a Halo die per damage token and on a SKULL it 'Bugs Out' from the mission. Yep you guessed it my own rule screwed me up royally. Steve had cunningly put his Pelican on Combat Patrol and intercepted my attack, caused a damage token and YES I rolled a skull !
Thwarted maybe, however, I was still feeling pretty smug. We were coming up to the end of the game and while I hadn't destroyed a lot (due to a canny reinforcement mission on turn 5) Steve had little near enough to the gate, which still wasn't opened. His Hog rushed in and opened the Gate while the Spartan was dealing slowly with the Hunters (all I had left) as the marines tried running for it.
So turn 6 saw the Spartan and the Hogs rush through (and presumably up the ramp and into the ship as it was just taking off - I am seeing boosted jump over a broken bridge here for some reason) but leaving the foot sloggers just missing out.
Victory points were counted and while Steve only got the ones for the Spartan and Hog unit I had not been able to destroy enough, that damned 'Bug Out' on the air mission (me bitter - never!) cost me the game and it was a marginal victory for Steve and the UNSC heretics...
The real winner was however the rules and the game... Yeh corny but true. It ran smoothly, had lots of dramatic moments to laugh at, cry about, swear at or jubilate in (depending on your stance at the point).
Bring on bigger games!