Home Forums Sci Fi 6mm Sci-Fi Rainforest War – Phase 1: The Battle of Sotillo's Thumb

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    Mr. Average

    It’s often the most insignificant things that can cause the most problems.  Take the little sliver of land at the turn of the Rio Peñacoso, along the border of Sulaco and Costaguana, called “Sotillo’s Thumb.”  An ambiguity in the definition of the treaty between the two countries from their last war, before First Upheaval, left this bit of territory disputed.  The Costaguañeros, after the rise of the Montérists in a coup d’état, resolved to press their claim, as a matter of “national pride.”  Little did they suspect that in doing so, they’d be setting off a three-year war, when an encounter with the European mercenary group, the Earthlight Division, turned unexpectedly bloody.

    The Costaguañero hovers moved on the river along three axes – as they approached they realized they were being shadowed on the other side of the border by a small team of Earthlight vehicles and infantry.

    Requesting orders, a garbled transmission came back – and the ENC attack team escalated their action – opening fire, their rounds failed to make contact.  The Earthlight tank responded, and powered infantry dismounted from their APC and took up positions in a forest nearby.  With a heavy Kinetic Kill Cannon, the armored troopers scored a direct hit on the ENC tank group leader, blowing the tank’s plenum fan with a piercing hit – the group leader and his crew bailed out, and the ENC forces began to panic.

    As the Earthlight heavy tank took up a firing position on the escarpment, the ENC infantry dismounted their IFVs and rushed for the cover of forest along the riverbank, setting up their tripod laser and bringing up RPGs to counter-fire on the advancing enemy.  Their IFVs split off to try to shore up the line, while the tank platoon’s second-in-command threw his tank into reverse and ran for the border in a mad panic.  The third tank advanced to hold the flank, their confidence wavering.  A hot exchange of fire followed – missiles flew, followed by white-hot particle beams and more railgun fire from the armored infantry.  The third tank took heavy damage, but lumbered forward up the river.  Then, a major stroke: a guided missile from one of the IFV’s struck home, followed by a straight shot from the last remaining tank’s hyperkinetic cannon, and the Earthlight repulsortank burst against the dusk sky in a blaze of shattering metal and molten plastic.

    The Earthlight forces began to pull back – a second advance by an ENC IFV struck hope as the armored infantry ran for their carrier – even with their heavy armor, the autocannon on the IFV shredded them as they dove for cover.  Throwing on full speed, the Earthlight APC blasted across the flats and made for the safety of their firebase.

    It was a victory for Costaguana, but only barely – a tank lost, another barely functional, crews in a panic and infantry in disarray, firing wild.  And worst of all, they had started a war, not only with Sulaco, but with the Earthlight Division – a war that was soon to get radically out of hand.


    Good looking photos and easy to follow the action.

    Steve Johnson

    Great AAR that is easy to follow. Love the table as well, as normally hexes don’t float my boat.

    Norm S

    Love that table – nicely presented AAR. I am constantly surprised how much gaming can be got out of a relatively few hexes. Are they Kallistra river tiles or your own?

    Mr. Average

    Thanks, guys! The table is all Hexon-II. The rivers are made of single-hex units, which allow a curvier and more natural look than the big sections, though I have wider rivers on my expansion list. The rules, by the way, are my own mods to Dirtside II, and it being the first game I don’t really know if I could call it balanced or not yet. The morale is definitely the wildcard here – all sides rolled abysmally on their confidence tests and blew their morale, with a healthy hovertank running away before even reaching his phase line. That subcommander is in for a world of hurt when he gets back to Santo Porto.

    The mods I used, for those interested:

    • All scales were converted to metric at 1:1, compressing speed and range.
    • Light Guided Missiles have a four-round magazine, Heavy Guided Missiles have a two-round magazine.
    • Unit coherency only applies to Infantry.
    • Powered Armor can carry up to a size 2 weapon, infantry with a tripod can carry a size 1 weapon, but must set up first.
    • The Earthlight MBT carries a particle accelerator weapon of my own invention

    I definitely think more infantry is needed on the field. The game moved fast and was fun, but I’m not totally sure it’s what I’m looking for at this scale. Infantry was painfully slow at the telescoped scale, but I guess that’s to be expected, and having more of them on the field would make up for it somewhat, and amplify the importance of transport. Also, adding limited ammo and a lot of point defense to the AFVs really nerfed the power of guided missiles, which I preferred. I definitely want to use the DS2 rules at 3mm scale though, which I’m planning for as I make terrain (dual purpose game table setups!)

    Anyway, I did meet one goal: I got enough figures done that I actually played a game! It’d be interesting to try the same scenario with a more natively infantry-centric game like Striker or Gruntsie. Or maybe Future War Commander, although it’s really meant for larger combats. Or Stargrunt, even, although it’s less forgiving of AFV components and group basing. All for the love of the game I guess.

    Rules Junkie Jim

    Great AAR, and the terrain’s looking spot-on! I though the ENC forces would’ve had their backsides handed to them though!


    Very fancy-pants!


    Mr. Average

    I, likewise, expected a better result from the Earthlight Division, but they were heavily outnumbered.  The superior ECM and point defense protected them from a lot of damage, though, as did the hull-down position the tank took up on the escarpment.  But a lucky hit took their defense systems down, and then a close-range shot from an HKP tank gun basically wrapped it up as far as the Super Panzer was concerned.  Just goes to show you, nobody’s invulnerable.

    Right now, I’m mulling over a replay using the Striker ruleset from the Beforetime (read: Traveller, ca. 1981).  It tends to be a lot more pro-infantry, and with some tech levels established (Mitteleuropa is TL13, Costaguana is TL9) we’ll see what happens.

    And thank you, Editor – I’m glad you liked it.  If I took one thing away from the experience, it’s that I’m a huge fan of Hexon-II boards.  Total success, in my opinion.  More trees, though!  A mere hundred will hardly do.

    Lagartija Mike

    MrA, is this a homebrewed universe?


    Really nice looking game – the terrain and toys are just brilliant! I like hex terrain at this scale, it really fits somehow. 

    Mr. Average

    @Lagartija Mike: it’s largely my own, though Costaguana and Sulaco, the Montérists, and Colonel Sotillo, who the locale is named for, are all from Nostromo, by Joseph Conrad. The Earthlight Division, the ENC, La Palma Brigade, and so on, are all my own inventions.

    : what’s funny is that when I’m playing I don’t notice the hexes at all until I need them,  to lay artillery fire or set minefields or some such. Most of the time it’s just terrain. But it fits well and is easy to set up, and looks pretty good. Here’s to Hexon and Terrainmaker and so on!

    Lagartija Mike

    I picked up on the Conrad references, definitely gives the whole thing flavor. Most scifi universes, gaming or otherwise, leave me nodding. I’d like to do something inspired by M John Harrison’s LIGHT trilogy sometime, with it’s living ships, shadow operators and Prete Cour gene tailoring.


    Just beautiful! Love the figs, the layout, and the nice graphics job on the report!

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Mr. Average

    Thanks, TB! And to be honest, an interesting side effect of this project has been that it has also reawakened my 3mm interest, which might be a better match for the Dirtside II package if I shift the 6mm builds to a different system.  Even as we speak, I’m building some 3mm scale highway tiles for that very purpose, and I realized that I have a stockpile of some very appropriate 3mm figures that await painting, including some of the GZG grav tanks from the Germy line, and I’ve had my eye on a few of the themed task forces from javelin98. Team Falchion would fit the idiom very well as a ground force element from the Regimento Acero, and the grav tanks likewise would be a good fit for Advance Global Management. It’s a milieu with a lot of potential.


    Where did you score the 3mm highway tiles?

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Mr. Average

    Making them.  I’m artbashing the roads from some Worldworks tiles I bought a long time ago, then printing the roads onto adhesive labels, sticking them onto blanks and then dressing up the surrounding terrain.

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