Recently I introduced my brother and a friend of ours to Flying Lead. I acted as the umpire (and supplied terrain, models and rules).
Flying Lead Battle Report: The Scenario
Other than my WW2-themed test game, this Flying Lead game is set in the Warhammer 40k universe. The Forces involved are Sisters of Battle and Space Orks. For hours sat in front of the (very useful) Flying Lead points calculator tool, trying to work out stats and points values for Space Orks and SoB.
Here are the forces involved:
1 Boss (Quality: 3, Combat: 5, Leader, Strong, Poor Shot, Fearless; Large Calibre Pistol)
5 Shoota Boyz (Quality: 4, Combat: 3, Strong; Carbine)
1 Shoota Boy (Quality: 4, Combat 3, Strong; Carbine, Frag Grenades)
4 Slugga Boyz (Quality: 4, Combat: 4, Strong, Poor Shot; Large Calibre Pistol)
5 Sisters of Battle (Quality: 3, Combat: 3, Elite, Armoured; Assault Rifle)
1 Sister Retributa (Quality: 3, Combat: 3, Elite, Armoured; Light Machine Gun, Drum-fed with Select Fire)
SoB add up to 638 points, Orks add up to 637 points.
The mission is lifted directly from the Mutants And Death Ray Guns set of rules, which is a more out-there, Sci-Fi version of Flying Lead, just a adapted a little for my collection of terrain.
Flying Lead Battle Report: Artifact Hunt
Sisters of Battles and Ork patrols advancing though no-man’s land discover several supply stashes strewn across a small area. Obviously they must contain some much welcome supplies, artifacts or equipment. Unbeknowst to the beligerents TELEPORTING MUTANT WASPS had started nesting in some of the supply crates….
In rules terms: Whenever a model gets in base-to-base contact with any of the supply stashes and spends two actions on searching the crates the player rolls a d6. On a 6 the model finds a valuable artifact. If the player rolls a 1 a swarm of irritated mutant wasps teleport into the model’s body and gnaw at it from within. Each turn the model has to pass a quality check or die. The model’s Combat score is reduced by 1 until the end of the game, the model leaves the table voluntarily and return to camp for medical assistance or the model dies. Each stash can only be searched once The side which has the most artifacts in the end (= when we’d have to stop due to time) or who retreat with the most artifacts wins.
Here is the table and the models set up:
One of the boyz was set up right next to a stash and as fate would have it immediately found an artefact!
While the Orks had some trouble activating (despite their leader), the Sisters of Battle briskly advanced to a line of trees which would give them a pretty much clear field of fire at the Orks’ position and would give them some cover. Their accurate long-range fire killed one of the Slugga Boyz even before they were able to do anything. This was a wake-up call to the Orks though and they advanced.
The three remaining Slugga Boyz went for a more direct approach, but due to some abysmal dice rolls all but one were taken out (or at least were pinned and dealt with later on) by the combined efforts of one of the Sisters and the Retributa with the heavy bolter. This (or the fact that she’s hauling around this huge gun) earned her the name Heavy Duty Lucy.
In the mean time the one Shoota Boy with the artifact approached the pump control station, taking a few shots at the Sister who had set up on the platform already. The only effect he got out of it was his weapon jamming so he hid against the outside wall to unjam his gun. A second sister moved up to the platform to support her comrade in case the nasty Ork would make a return. In the lower left you can see the last of the Sisters of Battle searching the supply stash at their table edge…
Wasps! The battle sister died two turns later, leading to the first casualty on the sisters’ side. In the next picture you can see her in the top right, with the “death by teleporting mutant wasps” marker placed on her.
Meanwhile the Orks had taken another casualty (the Shoota Boy with the Frag Grenades of all), but they would not give up. Two of them had managed to advance to one of the central stashes, well hidden away from the sisters’ deadly Boltgun fire whilst the Shoota boy who had stayed back gave some largely ineffectual cover fire.
Heavy Duty Lucy and the two other sisters who were the base of fire had moved up behind the trees to cover the flank.
As soon as the Orks arrived at the crates they started digging for the goods. They were well safe from the sisters on the platform, and the flank guard couldn’t get a proper line of sight on them due to the dense vegetation. However, the searched proved to be fruitless. No artifacts, but at least no wasps. As the two sisters on the platform didn’t get a line of sight at the two Orks, they both went into Overwatch, so if the Orks would dare to peek out either to the left or the right of the crates they would be met with a hail of Boltgun shells.
(the markers indicate the Overwatch target points. Flying Lead puts an interesting spin on Overwatch, in that there isn’t the usual cone-shaped area which is covered but a spot is chosen and a certain area around t is covered by the Overwatch).
The two Shoota Boyz were effectively trapped while Heavy Duty Lucy and one of her friends started crawling through the undergrowth to engage the Orks behind the crates.
In the right you can see the Shoota Boy who prior covered the advance of his comrades, but his weapon had jammed and he just wasn’t able to unjam it. Not even running back to the Boss to ask for help was of any use. He spent the rest of the game trying to get his gun to work again. You can also see how the last remaining Slugga Boy, after having endured some bad punishment from the hands of the Sisters on the platform, had jumped up to his feet again and he took a mad dash across the board and to a patch of wood at the left flank of the sisters.
Shortly thereafter you can see how he had almost reached the safety of the trees, but it was too late. The Orks behind the crates were under fire and due to bad rolls were only able to lightly scrape one of the sisters. In return one of the Shootaz was killed, forcing the whole Ork patrol to roll morale checks. The first to retreat off the table immediately was the Boss who hadn’t moved an inch for the whole of the game, forcing the models to roll for another morale check. This sent some of the Orks running out into the open where they swiftly were dealt with by the Sisters on the platform.
The single Slugga therafter was pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place as the sisters again made use of their proven tactic of pinning the opponent down behind an obstacle with covering both sides with overwatch and the third sister to move in for the kill.
This Ork was a tough one though (as proven time and time again so far), so he managed to slip away and back behind the fence. Things looked as grim as ever though for the Orks at this point. The Boss and another boy had run off, most of them had been killed or gravely wounded. Only three of them were left and the Shoota Boy still hadn’t managed to get his gun to work again.
Seeing how things were looking very good for the Sisters, one on the platform started rummaging through the stash in the pump control tower and found an artifact. Immediately she ran towards another stash to look for more (probably with a greedy look on her face).
Flying Lead Battle Report: The Outcome
At this point the Orks, despite their indomitable fighting spirit thus far, realized that there was nothing to be gained from fighting on and retired off the table. The Sisters of Battle had won the day.
Flying Lead Battle Report: Debriefing
Overall I think that Flying Lead, after about a year since my first test game, proves to be a very solid set of rules with more depth to it than one would expect it to have at first glance. I especially like the way how pinning and the effect of fire in general are handled. The core rules themselves are easily learned (at least I think so) and players can concentrate on what is going on on the table.
It’s pretty impressive how much these rules achieve with so few variables (Quality, Combat and just three different range bands).
There could have been more terrain or at least I should have shortened the table length by a third or so so I could have concentrated the terrain a bit more. As much as any squad-level shooty skirmish game, Flying Lead requires a lot of terrain, and Line of Sight blocking at that.
The Orks’ deployment was a bit unlucky (as was their dice rolling), and it always is a little harder playing the not-elite-side of the game. This is why I like games in which the different sides aren’t too different in terms of rules and/or tech level/power level/combat ability and so on. Last but not least I think that the Orks were a bit harder to play with their leader playing a pivotal role in activation, them relying more on short-range fire and close combat, group orders and so on.
Not to diminish the Sisters of Battle’s victory. They did everything right pretty much. Establish a fire base (or a Position of Power(tm) if you will), keep the enemy at bay, react to any flanking maneuvers, take the pump control station, bring the superior fire power to bear and don’t get cocky.
The Orks’ fighting spirit has to be pointed out. Especially the advance of the Shoota Boyz and the last Slugga Boy who spent a lot of time on the ground, but just wouldn’t die or stop running around.
If anything it gave me a reason to get out my Sisters of Battle (painted in 2004) and of course my Space Orks (painted between 2006 and 2008). I wanted to have some different armies on the table, because I think that this is what the players like rather than very similar warriors on both sides.
I hope that you enjoyed this battle report and I hope that I helped illustrating once again that to play 40k you don’t have to use the 40k rules. What surprises me is how often I read of people complaining about not liking rule sets (this certainly isn’t exclusive to 40k), but they are not willing to either change the rules or use a different set of rules.
Experiment with games rules, look beyond of what comes with a certain brand name label on it. Take your miniatures out and have some fun. With Flying Lead, I can assure you, this can be achieved easily.