Part 28: Campaign Mission 12: Divide and Conquer!Mission 12: Divide and Conquer! (or "Trollface levels of smug")
Because we're damn good is why. (alternatively, "I WARNED YOU ABOUT ORANGE STAIRS BRO")
You never let me finish what I'm trying to tell you!
I will admit that your Imperial Forces don't generally lose, but... Let's just blame the enemy for being too strong this time.
This time, I'll take command.
Sonja! Kanbei will not allow his daughter to be placed in harm's way! Why, if the unthinkable were to happen...
Oh, don't worry. We can't even manage to hold on to enemy COs for five minutes, even when we capture their HQs.
Father, you hush! There's something I need to investigate. And, I need first-hand intel to formulate a strategy.
Ok, Father, take it easy. How's this? At the first sign of danger, I'll retreat. Ok?
Wait... at the first sign of danger? This is a war zone. Danger is kind of the first thing you see.
You must promise to avoid unnecessary risks. Understood?
Of course, Father. I'll be back.
Well, I'm here. Can't say the same for Andy or Sami, though.
Just thought I'd do an animation of this as a demonstration of how the mission title actually appears on screen (the little musical sting that accompanies it is number 04 on this list - couldn't find it on Youtube).
And here's the screen you get to see at the start of every day. Being honest, these are both by-products of the thing I actually wanted to animate, which is Max's text scrolling on to a new "page" without user input:
Hey, Paul! I can't find Andy or Sami! The two of them have disappeared!
Yeah, that's weird. It's not like them to just wander off. Well okay, it's not like Sami to just wander off.
Huh? What the...? I'm surrounded! Are those Yellow Comet troops? Man, I've been set up!
So yeah, welcome to the Sonja bonus missions. Beat Kanbei fast enough, and his daughter decides that you're worthy of closer evaluation. We do Max first, then Sami and finally Andy. All three missions take place in Fog of War. We've only got twelve troops to work with here - and two of those are indirects. It's going to be a rough ride.
As you've probably seem from our previous Fog of War missions, generally the easiest way to deal with them is to go for an HQ capture - it certainly beats hunting around for every last unit. Hmm... there are a lot of circles of mountains dotted around on this map, with woods inside them. It's a reasonable bet that there's some indirects hiding in those woods.
I mean, look at this, we've found one already. Although hmm... it doesn't want to tell us how many hit points it has. Well, that's all part of the package you get with our new opponent...
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Sonja Sonja's Theme
Sonja's main gimmick is that she can see further in Fog of War: she gets +1 vision range as stardard. Her CO Power, Enhanced Vision, does exactly what it says on the tin - an extra +1 vision range, and - crucially - the ability to see into forests and reefs even when not standing next to them. She also hides the HP counts of her units from her opponents, replacing them with a "?". Sonja's weakness is that she's unlucky. Whereas regular COs get 0 to +10 luck points on top of expected damage, and Nell gets 0 to +15, I think Sonja's range is -5 to +5 (it was in AW2, at least). All of this does make Sonja a rather situational CO, but put her in her element and she's a handful.
Background/Personality: Kanbei's daughter, but it's safe to say that she didn't get her brains from him. Probably the smartest character in the game, and a firm believer in the importance of good intel gathering, Sonja is key to working out why the hell we're all suddenly at war with each other and unravelling the mystery of "him". She's got some issues in other areas though: she can be pretty snooty, and I can't help but feel sorry for Kanbei a bit at times when she criticises him (granted it's usually deserved). Arguably her over-analytical nature is the cause of her bad luck, with an inability to go with the flow at times. She has something of a rivalry with Sami that'll be expanded on in the next couple of missions.
Of course, Max doesn't really care about how many hit points his opponent has, since quite often it's going to end up being 0 anyway.
Taking out that rocket launcher with one tank and moving the other into a forest north of it.
APC loads up with the other mech and heads to a forest, recon rolls north to see what it can see.
Well, we've got an infantry unit, at the very least. Wouldn't be surprised if it had some friends hiding in the woods, though. Anyway, may as well try to capture these cities.
Splitting the remainder of the forces up. No particular logic behind it: mostly I just sent the forces on the left to the left, and the forces on the right to the right.
I'm here to evaluate your combat prowess.
Geez, when I started out on this Advisor lark, no-one told me there were going to be spot checks.
Damn, Sonja looks smug when she's doing well.
Trollface levels of smug.
Let's see if we can do something about that. We know there's a rocket launcher up there somewhere - my guess would be the forest north-west of the northern YC city.
One of my tanks starts heading towards it, spotting one of Sonja's tanks in the process. Meanwhile my two infantry units retreat and join.
Not looking so smug now, eh Sonja? Good ol' Max medium tanks.
Max's light tanks can also pile on the hurt. His recon doesn't quite finish off this infantry unit though.
So here's our first real taste of why ? health can be a hassle. I mean, we know right now that that infantry unit only has 1HP. But it's easy to lose track of, especially in the fog. And imagine if that infantry unit was a medium tank, and you weren't sure if it was at 1HP or 10HP. Do you try sending in a mech to finish it off?
Random aside, this is an interesting difference between the AW1 and AW2 Sonja missions - not so much that Sonja changes between the games (she does a bit, she gets counterattack boosts added to her arsenal), but the difference between playing against her when she's an AI (in AW1) and playing as her against the AI (in AW2). In AW2's Campaign, you never get to see the whole "HP-hiding" mechanic in action - obviously she doesn't hide the HP from herself, and the AI you're fighting neither knows nor cares about such niceties. But the AI also doesn't care about Fog of War, either - so in AW1, AI Sonja's vision range doesn't really matter because the AI's vision range is infinite. Saying that, Enhanced Vision's still a serious issue when you fight against AI Sonja - now she can basically see the entire map (forests and reefs included) for a turn.
Anyway, enough of that. Let's move everyone else up. My indirects are pretty exposed, I'll admit - but the plan is to use them as a kind of -lite. After all, we're not going to get much use out of them as Max.
Owch. But I'd rather it was these guys than my tanks or recon.
No, I'm not making a crying rocket launcher gif as well .
Anyway, during Sonja's turn I heard some footsoldiers moving around in the darkness, so I'm sending a couple of spare units back to guard the HQ area. Nothing more embarrassing than the AI stealthily capturing your HQ.
We're going to leave those two tanks alone for now, and focus on destroying Sonja's rocket launcher here - after all, it presents a big threat to my column of units on the left. First of all I need to spot it...
... and then I can take it out.
Following that up with the definition of overkill, as my medium tank lines up a 150% shot on that 1HP infantry unit from last turn.
Even mountains weren't going to save that guy.
Everyone else moves up. I've temporarily unloaded my mech here, just in case something happens to my APC. I know the APC's in a forest, but...
... that isn't going to help us (wait, why the heck can we see Sonja's petticoat?)
And there we go, Sonja can see the APC - and fire on it without needing a "spotter". The other tank heads south and attacks that mech that I'd started moving back towards my HQ.
Hmm. At least the APC survived its ordeal. And we've got a CO Power of our own.
Well said, Max.
First let's load this APC up again and get it away from the action. It's our main victory ticket, after all.
Then we can head in and punish that naughty tank.
While that's going on, my other tanks starts checking the forests to the north. This one looks clear...
So does this one.
Arty and medium tank follow up.
Now then. In the south I'm wondering whether it's worth the risk of attacking that southern tank.
Well, you only live once.
Hmm... not ideal, that.
Especially not when Sonja gets to finish the job on her turn. But hey, I don't think that mech died in vain. It might just have given our HQ-defending infantry a better chance of surviving.
Meanwhile in the north, looks like Sonja's got some more rockets.
Hmm... I think there's only one forest in range of that tank that we haven't checked out yet...
Yep, there we go. And it looks like the rocket launcher brought a friend.
Is this a private party, or can anyone come?
Recon knocks rocket launcher down to 4HP, and turns out that the tank was one that I'd damaged earlier, so it went down like a chump.
Sonja still has more tanks up her sleeve, though...
Urgh. I think that's three units now? Goodness knows what this is doing to my technique score. Hopefully I won't lose any more, though.
Anyway, time for some cleanup. My recon finishes off the rocket launcher...
... and my remaining light tanks work together to destroy that new interloper.
Hopefully there won't be any more nasty surprises.
My other units start working their way along the road.
Back at HQ, it's fairly quiet. Wonder if anyone's going to show up soon?
Speak of the devil, it's the 5HP tank that just killed my mech. The extra attack I did on it seems to have worked - it can only deal 2HP of damage now...
... which of course, gets nicely healed up by the HQ.
Nothing much to report this turn: my forces just close in on Sonja's HQ without running into any enemies.
And at my own HQ, it's déjà vu all over again.
Pretty quiet over here. I wonder how much stuff Sonja has left? There's that tank by my HQ, and this one footsoldier I keep hearing running around the place. Anything else?
We'll have a look round in a second, but first let's get set up on the HQ.
Searching for units, my 9HP tank runs into an artillery.
The other units move up a bit.
Hmm, this time I managed to knock a hit point on the counterattack. I guess if this kept up forever, Sonja's tank would eventually die.
HQ capturing, and looks like that arty decided to try and retreat to a city for health.
Since I'm nearly done here, may as well see if I can chip another hit point off this tank.
Woo. Although I lost a hit point myself in the process.
Which allows Sonja to knock my infantry down to 7HP on her turn.
It's all a bit academic though.
Oh, hi. I don't suppose you could explain what the hell is going on here?
You compensate for this weakness with a predilection for direct combat. In areas where you can attack with multiple units, you're a titan.
So... tell us something we don't know.
In tight quarters, though, you tend to become a target for indirect fire. Try pulling your foe out into wider terrain: you'll like the results. Or is strategy your department, Paul?
Well, yeah, I suppose it is. Um. Thanks for the advice, I guess?
Who... Who are you?
It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Sonja. I'm a Yellow Comet CO. I've taken the liberty of separating you from your companions. So, now...
Hey! (yawn) What the...? So... sleepy... Zzz...
Max? Max, this really isn't the time to fall asleep.
Sweet dreams, Max.
Hang on, what? Ugh, it's bad enough that the enemy COs keep getting away after we capture their HQs. But it's really come to something when they manage to capture our COs and drug them into a stupor.
I guess I'm just glad Sonja didn't think to slip some sleeping pills into my tea.
Hmm indeed. I was half-expecting him to be saying "Zzz" here. Anyway, S-Rank again - we were a bit short of perfect on Technique, but nothing too severe. No rank-ups to report, sadly. Maybe next time. Speaking of which...
Don't make Sami angry.
You won't like her when she's angry.
She'll... capture all your properties or something, I dunno...