Part 15: Mission 12: Reclamation (or "A rush of gold to the head")
Mission 12: Reclamation (or "A rush of gold to the head")
Yes, sir. They show every indication of attacking right away.
Hmmm. But why? There's nothing of importance there.
Maybe that's the reason.
What do you mean?
Well, there's nothing there, so maybe they figure the defenses are weak.
How should we respond? We could get there soon enough, but it may be a trap. We can't be careless.
That might be part of their plan, too. Ha ha, that's downright crafty.
We're not here to admire them! Someone has to go... Me or Grit...
You and Commander Grit should remain here, correct? Well, that leaves me!
Now there's a good idea. Let's send the youngster.
Grit, you lazy... The boy's as green as can be.
That may be true, but he's been fulfilling his CO duties without a hitch. I say it's high time we start treating him like a full-fledged CO.
Hmmm... I see what you're saying, but...
It's all settled then. Colin, head up north, and defeat the enemy!
Easy, son. Relax a bit, and do what you can.
Uh... and troop morale? If I'm not paying attention...
Don't mistake what I said now. Being relaxed and being careless aren't the same thing. The lives of your troops hang on the decisions you make out there. I know you're excited, and that's not bad. Just remember moderation. OK?
Sir! Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!
Well, it's about time. Who's in command?
It's... A young boy CO named Colin.
Huh? That kid? How boring is that? I wanted the bearded geezer, or at least the scarecrow.
What are your orders? Do you want the troops to attack?
It's not going to be any fun of neither of 'em shows up. Sound the retreat.
Oh, OK. Let's just attack and wipe 'em all out. Tee hee hee!
Right then, let's take a look at the situation. Both sides start with the same number of properties, but Lash gets a few pre-deployed units and an airport. Plenty of cities, bases and airports to capture, too. The rivers and mountains break up the map into a fairly chokepointy affair, but the long central road makes troop movement fairly simple. In Hard Campaign, this map also features a laser and several missile silos - inconveniently placed in the laser's destruction path.
Alright, the basic strategy. First part is to weather the initial storm of Lash's pre-deps, particularly her recon and tank which are the only units that actually decide to come and attack me. Meanwhile, I'll be sending some infantry south to capture the airport and those cities. Once Lash's starting force is repelled, it's a case of pushing on past the bridge and taking down the laser (then launching my missiles at Lash's main force). There are a couple of nice bases we can take, allowing us to push along the road while flanking Lash from above. And that's most of it. It's not a particularly notable mission, aside from one thing:
The CO we're using.
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Colin Theme
Colin's units cost 80% of the normal cost of units, but only have 90% firepower. However, the fact that it's not 80% for 80% or 90% or 90% alone should give you an idea that Colin works out as a better-than-average CO. He also, tellingly, still gets 100% defence. Put simply, he's pretty darn broken, and that's even before you get to his CO Power, Gold Rush: for just two stars, he gets his current funds multiplied by 1.5. His Super CO Power, Power of Money, gives his units an attack boost based on his current funds - but we won't be using that much, because Gold Rush is just so sillily broken.
Background/Personality: Blue Moon's little rich kid, Colin subsidises unit construction from his vast inherited fortune. Inexperience and nervousness mean that he doesn't get the most out of his troops, and he still remains very uptight despite repeated calls from Grit to relax a bit. Olaf and Grit are his heroes.
Okay, let's start as we usually do with some infantry. Colin's cheap units mean that we've saved 600G already - not much yet, but it'll add up.
Lash moves up her tank and recon, but her other units stay put. Good old evil-overlord "save my best units for later" logic there.
Some more infantry, and an APC. A special note on Colin's APC: it costs 1000G less than most people's APCs, but is no worse than theirs because, well, if you can't attack anyway then a 10% attack penalty isn't a weakness. Only Sami and Sensei (with their +1 move on transports) can claim a better APC than Colin.
Lash's tank and recon move closer.
Well, I guess I'll just try and keep out of harm's way when it comes to the laser for now.
Lash's recon rolls up and does some damage, but she's gone and left it in the path of the laser.
My recon moves round to soften it up.
And in the south I get on with capturing those cities. I missed a little bit of a trick here: I probably could have started on the airport this turn. Not a massive issue, though.
Building an artillery, and sticking my APC into the firing line to protect it. The APC's going to take damage from the laser, but seeing off Lash's initial assault is going to depend on that arty.
Lash's recon, lasered down to 2HP, went on a suicide charge against my northern infantry. Meanwhile her tank rolled up and destroyed my recon.
Although it fell right into my artillery-powered trap in the process.
Let's finish off capturing these cities
... and get well out of the way of that laser.
Lash's tank gets hit by the laser again, and promptly retreats.
Time to start grabbing this airport.
And these cities to the north. I think all that tank's concerned about right now is running away to get repairs, so this should be pretty safe (Even if it wasn't, it's still only a 1HP tank).
The APC's coming along for the ride, though, just in case that tank gets any clever ideas about blocking a capture. Although like a fool I forgot to put anyone in it.
Moving up the artillery as far as it can go without getting into the path of the laser.
Let's have a tank and a few more infantry. Infantry are always handy.
Yeah, that tank's just running away.
Not a massively exciting turn, just moving things up, keeping them out of the path of the laser, and building a second tank.
Although I do capture the southern airport. Note that poor infantry of Lash's, trying to capture that city only to be hit by her own laser.
Lash is keeping back for now.
That's fine by me, I'll just roll on up and grab this base.
Getting my artillery into place to take down the laser.
Colin's cheap prices apply across the board.
A B-Copter will give us some versatility when it comes to flanking Lash's forces.
Time to start fording that river.
Things still fairly quiet with Lash.
So let's begin taking on that laser cannon. Good old "artillery in the superweapon's blind spot", never fails.
My infantry swarm onto the other side of the river and get to capturing these properties. My B-Copter also moves up, hiding out in the mountains so that Lash's AA can't get at it.
Moving up some more stuff. Putting my tank here should provide some extra insurance against anything trying to disrupt my capturing.
And we'll have an AA, I think. Lash has some airports, so it's best to be prepared.
On cue, Lash builds a B-Copter from her northern airport. And it's already threatening my artillery.
Still, what can you do? That arty has a job to do.
Infantry getting into postion to launch those silos. Lash is building up quite a force down there now. I'm keeping my B-Copter hanging back, because there's an AA and a Missile launcher up ahead. Oh yeah, that reminds me...
Missiles (12000G) are the long range surface-to-air weapon - they have the same attack range as rockets, and a full health missile launcher can one-hit kill any air unit. So on paper, that sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, they have a lot of weaknesses: they're slow, and it's very easy for B-Copters and Bombers to just fly into their range shadow and take them out. They have their uses though, and we'll see one of them later this mission.
Moving up the stragglers.
200G short of Colin's Md. Tank price. Would you credit it. Oh well, let's save up.
Yep, my artillery took a hit.
Which means it now can't finish off that laser this turn.
Not that it matters too much, because I can finish off with a tank.
And now we have those missile silos, let's have some fun.
So, how's that army working out for you, Lash?
Okay, fun's over Mr. 1HP infantry, you can stop capturing that city now.
You too, Mr. 1HP Md. Tank.
The first of many Neotanks. Why didn't I build it at my new base? Because I'm an idiot who accidentally built an infantry there. Oh well.
More moving of infantry.
At least the Arty survived to see the destruction of the laser.
And, of course, it shall be avenged.
The wall of infantry advances over the mountains to grab that next base.
Doing some attacking in the south and oh hey, is that my CO Power?
Yes, yes it is.
Welcome to the one thing that makes Colin more broken than anything else about him: Gold Rush, which increases his current cash reserves by 50%. So our funds just went from 16200 to 24300.
And you know what this means...
Deja vu for Lash. Against Olaf she ended up buried by a wave of medium tanks. Against Colin it's going to be Neotanks.
Lash's tanks launch a counteroffensive, damaging some of my infantry.
"Pick on someone your own size!", I shout hypocritically.
First bit of action that Blue Moon's new Neotank division has seen this campaign.
We can just about afford another Neotank.
Well, why not.
After capturing that base, let's see if I can fly my B-Copter under the missile's attack range to finish it off.
Yes, yes I can.
Missiles are seriously the game's biggest white elephant.
My tanks do some cleanup work in the south, and let's see if I can succeed in securing this neutral city where Lash failed.
My infantry dent the T-Copter a bit.
Give it up Mr. Tank, you're surrounded.
Okay, you're a bit less surrounded now.
That's got to hurt.
Moving up the neotanks, retreating my damaged infantry.
Well, that's one part of the problem solved in the north.
And that's another part.
So, having just mercilessly slagged off missile launchers, I'm now going to buy one. Why, you ask?
There you go. Now anything produced from that northern airport is going down in a hail of missiles. This is one thing that missile launchers do really well: get one in range of an enemy airport and you've basically shut it down. The tricky part is getting them in range...
Taking out that APC, chipping more HP off the T-Copter, and covering up that southern base.
Doot doot doo.
Despite Lash's efforts, the southern city is mine.
Let's clear out this annoying tank to the north, and... oh hey, time for another Gold Rush.
Don't underestimate him because he's new.
That's enough neotanks for now. Let's have a change of pace.
Lash's lines have been breached.
But she does have a trick up her sleeve. A very, very painful trick.
Yeowch. Bloody Prime Tactics. That rocket just one-shotted one of my Neotanks.
Behold the power of the missile launcher. Or something.
When Prime Tactics happens, you take on the easy targets first. Like this infantry in the river. Good ol' zero-star-defence rivers.
And this damaged infantry on the city. Yay for terrain defence being tied to HP.
The rocket, of course, is pretty much impregnable.
On second thoughts, let's attack this APC.
Good ol' base-blocking, never fails. Conveniently in the range shadow of the rocket, too.
Another bomber should help winkle out that rocket.
This time Lash's uber-rockets take out an anti-air.
We've taken some hits in the last couple of days.
Time to start spamming infantry to help out that technique score.
It's a tight one. You can lose up to 20% of your total units built before you start taking technique penalties. So right now if we build two more units, we can lose one more. Or something.
Without Prime Tactics to protect it, the rocket finally falls.
That T-Copter is something of a futile gesture.
Closing in on victory.
Lash builds yet another T-Copter. Kinda makes sense to the AI, I guess, it's not like she can build anywhere else.
More tech-spamming of infantry.
Yeah, that should be fine, now.
Gradually damaging Lash's remaining infantry. Trouble is, up in the mountains Lash has got 140% attack and Colin's still only got 90%
Fortunately, bombers. Can't quite reach the infantry this turn, sadly, but it won't be long.
At Lash's base, I finally get rid of that trapped APC.
More careful base-blocking.
And now, for old time's sake...
... another rush of gold to the head.
Anyway, let's finish off proceedings.
It's all about the bomber bombs.
That's enough. I'm going home!
Mis... Mistress Lash? Wait for us!
No doubt about it. We've secured the enemy HQ, sir.
I accomplished my mission! Wow, is that a relief!
Your command was... Audacious, sir.
Thank you. I'm glad you think so. I've just got to keep this up and drive Black Hole out as soon as possible.
A fairly routine S-Rank. We lost a few units, but that's going to happen a bit with Colin, and his cheap units mean that it's still easy to tech-spam out of it.
And now, once more...
... we have to decide where we're going next. After Olaf's victory in Toy Box, we opened up three new missions. Let's add them to the pile:
Option 1: Nature Walk Grit vs. Lash. Fighting our way up past three Black Cannons with everyone's favourite gunslinger.
Option 2: Two-Week Test Colin vs. Lash. For once the clock (or should I say calendar?) is on our side, as Colin has to hold out for fourteen days against Lash's superior forces.
Option 3: T Minus 15 ... Santa? and Andy vs. Flak. Well, someone did say they wanted to see Olaf's colour edit. Olaf teams up with the hero of Liberation in order to stop a giant missile silo with murder on its mind.
Option 4: Sensei's Return. Sensei vs. Adder. History's greatest CO steps out of retirement to protect his country in its hour of need. Sensei's my favourite CO, so I'm looking forward to this one. Neotanks could be useful here, but this one will mostly be about Sensei's B-Copters.
Option 5: Silo Scramble. Kanbei vs. Flak. The emperor of Yellow Comet fights to keep control of his nation's missile defence system. Another reasonably straightforward mission. Neotanks could be useful here, but with Kanbei's high unit costs, their price tag would be very high.
Option 6: Show Stopper. Sonja vs. Adder. Determined not to be eternally wrapped in cotton wool by her father, Sonja takes on the enemy stronghold. A long, tricky mission that personally I'd rather do a bit later, but it is the "lab map" mission, and I do love the Yellow Comet lab mission.
So, where next? Do we continue with Blue Moon? Do we go on a hunt for the Yellow Comet lab? Or do we say "Screw it, SENSEI!"?