Narrative Scenario: Analysis-Paralysis

Analysis-Paralysis

An narrative scenario for equal forces from 750 to 1500 points.

A Ghar transport has broken up on re-entry into a newly discovered and unexplored planet. Unfortunately, the transport was known to have been infested with Virai. It is vital the civilised nations of Antares discover whether or not the Virai survived the re-entry: if they did, then the system needs to be interdicted and the planet ‘cleansed’ before they gain a foothold?

Normally, such scans would be performed from low orbit, but the planet has an atrocious, radioactive atmosphere that is interfering with long-range scans: as ever, ground troops have to take up the slack! Your forces have been dropped a short distance away from the crashed debris and have had to race to the site in order to examine the debris and analyse it to extract or record the datacores for analysis, to see where the Virai have been.* As is often the case, you cannot trust your opponent to deal fairly with you – they may well hide the fact that the Virai were previously in one of your own star systems!

*Of course, a Virai force will want whatever they can find in the datacores: First Instances are always hungry for more recorded experiences!

Running the Game

Three objective markers are needed for this game. The damaged Virai free with the Dronescourge supplement are ideal, but crashed or damaged cargo crates are just as good.

You will also need a way of recording the amount of data analysed at each crashed objective: analysis points are accumulated throughout the game. Pen and paper will do but we also use simple counters, given to a force when it gains an analysis point.

The Forces

Each army has an equal point force from 750 to 1500 points. Smaller games can be played but end up being heavily biased towards those forces with many small infantry squads.

Set Up

Set up terrain as described in the core rulebook (p.138+). Place three debris/cargo objectives as shown in the diagram below: one each 12″ in from the side table edges and 152 in advance of each long table edge, and a central objective on the centreline.  Having placed them, move the objectives D5″ in a random direction (roll a D10, half the result, and place the item in the direction indicated by the point on the dice).

Deployment

Each force is deployed within 5″ of their base, long table edge.

Analysis Paralysis Setup and Deployment
Analysis Paralysis Setup and Deployment

Objective

The objective is for either side to analyse as many of the objectives as they can in as much detail as they can, represented by gaining the most analysis points (see below).

Game Duration

The game is played until six turns have elapsed. Then roll randomly to see if another turn is to be played (Antares rulebook, p.141) to see if any other objectives can be analysed.

Break points are ignored for this game.

Victory

Compare each sides analysis points. If both are equal to or below 5, then that is their final Victory Point total. Otherwise, subtract the same amount from each side’s total to make both 5 or below (minimum 0) and record that as the VP total.

For example, if one side has 8 analysis points and the other only 2, subtract 3 from each total to reach 5 and -1. The actual VP result will be 5-0 as the minimum is zero.

Special Scenario Rules

Analysis points

Each turn an infantry or infantry command unit is in control (see below) of an objective it can analyse the contents by completing a Rally action. It is immediately issued with an analysis point.

Each objective can only grant a single analysis point per turn per army (it is possible for a Concord unit to Rally, gain an analysis point, be destroyed and then a Virai Constructor unit Run into the area and be overclocked into a Rally, but such a situation is unlikely for any other army). A unit can continue its analysis (in more depth) in subsequent turns by remaining in control of the objective, completing a Rally action and receiving another analysis point for the same objective.

Control

Controlling units are any infantry and infantry command units – both of which could include dismounted units. Control can be established by a unit having one or more of its models, or the body of its model, within 2” of an objective — and models inside vehicles are not on the table so do not count! Units that are Down are still counted as being able to establish control as a tactical decision to do so may well help their survivability, but at the cost of not gaining an analysis points! To claim control, no other, enemy controlling units must be able to claim control of the objective.

Designer’s Notes

The key to this game is to prevent your enemy analysing the objective nearest their own table edge. Unlike many other scenarios it deliberately does not have more VP for capturing an objective in your opponent’s table half. It is easy to establish quick control over the objective nearest your own edge, and the central objective is often fought over, but stopping your opponent successfully analysing their closest objective really limits their options – and VPs!

The units performing the analysis tend to be very vulnerable, effectively paralysed whilst they carry out the analysis.  This has given rise to the scenario title which also refers to a situation in computer systems analysis where too much analysis of a business process is performed, often giving rise to a feedback loop where nothing is actually achieved!