The Scenario: While the rest of the X-Men are downstairs training (see last time), Cyclops is moping around the grounds of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. What he’s brooding about we can only guess. Perhaps it’s that his girlfriend turned into an evil super-powerful cosmic entity and then died; or that he then fell in love with a clone of her that was really a demon queen; or that he has a really shitty relationship with his brother; or that his father would rather jaunt around the galaxy with a bunch of misfits rather than spend one minute with his kids; or that his own son from an alternate future timeline is a cyborg who is also a colossal douchebag; or maybe that it would be nice to take his friggin’ visor off every once in a while without blowing big holes in anything he looks at…you get the picture.
Suddenly, an attack! The Fixer and his partner Mentallo ambush the melancholy mutant!
Setup: Once again, I used a 2′ x 2′ surface, representing the landscaped garden of the X-Mansion. (The planters, for those who care, are from Jo Ann Fabrics “Bloom Room” collection. I got them super cheap on clearance.) I’ve arranged the planters and shrubs in a pleasing pattern around a central feature (like the Chinese lantern here). The villains deploy on one side of the board, while Cyclops deploys on the opposite side.
Special Rules: The odds are not in Cyclops’s favor (in fact, you could say the odds are 2-1 against him). In order to give him a chance to even things up a bit, I’ve decided that it’s a good bet the grounds of Xavier’s School have some built-in defenses, considering how often the place gets trashed by marauding Sentinels and the like. The Chinese lantern contains controls to activate two stun cannons in the garden. These stunners attack anything (other than Cyclops) in a 180° forward firing arc with the Stun power. Cyclops can activate the stunners by using a Special Action while in base contact with the lantern.
In order for Cyclops to survive this, he’s going to need to play it smart, and that means seeking cover and hiding so he doesn’t get shot to death by turn 3.
The villains gain initiative for the first round, and Fixer wastes no time. He flies 20″ directly across the board and throws a glue bomb at Cyclops, hoping to entangle him, but fails. Cyclops activates and blasts Fixer for 2 boxes of damage, then quickly takes cover and ends his movement by hiding. This will make him tougher to target next round. Mentallo moves, but is out of range for anything he could really do, so his turn ends.
Cyclops gains initiative. He darts from planter to planter and fires at Mentallo, who is standing out in the open. But Cyclops misses! He ends his turn in cover, however; so he elects to hide again. But Mentallo spots him anyway and blasts him with a wave of mental energy, doing 3 boxes of Psyche damage to Cyclops! Ouch! That’s half his health! Fixer tries to spot Cyclops, but fails (lucky for the X-Man).
Cyclops keeps initiative, and edges around the planter, keeping himself in cover. He uses Rapid Fire (one of the Blaster special abilities) and takes a shot at both Fixer and Mentallo. (Cyclops is looking to end this fight quickly. He can’t take another mind blast like that!) Mentallo is behind cover, so Cyclops fails to hit him; but Fixer is just floating around up there. Cyclops tags him for one box of damage, then hides.
Mentallo fails to spot Cyclops’s hiding place (one would think he would only have to follow the big red energy beam back to its source, but whatever), so for lack of anything else to do he meanders closer to the center. Fixer makes enough goals on his Perception check to spot Cyclops’s hiding place and fires a power blast his way. Unfortunately, he fails to score a single goal and misses the mutant!
The villains act first. Since Fixer spotted Cyclops hiding last turn, and Cyclops hasn’t had time to hide again, he starts the round knowing where Cyclops is already (no need to check Perception again). Fixer fires at Cyclops, but the planter blocks his blast. Cyclops makes his Recharge roll and is able to use his Rapid Fire again. He wastes little time and hits both his targets: Fixer for 1 box, and Mentallo for 3 boxes! Cyclops isn’t going down easy! He hides in cover again at the end of his turn, and Mentallo can’t spot him on the villain’s activation. Mentallo can do nothing else but wander around and hope to bump into Cyclops…
Cyclops activates first and makes a mad dash towards the center of the board. He forgoes taking a combat action, instead using a special action to deploy the stunner cannons. Since he’s not in cover, he can’t hide; but he does end his turn by dropping prone, making himself a smaller target. It works out for him…sort of. The Fixer activates next and shoots at Cyclops, but misses. Mentallo has better luck, and mind blasts Cyclops for 2 boxes of damage. Cyclops only has one box left, and the garden starts spinning…
Cyclops keeps initiative. He tries to recharge his Rapid Fire, but fails the roll. He fires at Mentallo, using the Blast Back special ability. He is successful, inflicting one box of damage to Mentallo. This knocks him back 2 inches, squarely in between those stunners! Cyclops moves quickly to cover and hides again. Fixer can’t spot Cyclops on his activation, so he quickly flies out of range of the stunners. The stunners activate, blasting Mentallo…but Mentallo shrugs off the effects easily! After also failing to spot Cyclops, he gets the hell out of the crossfire pretty quick. He hides on the other side of the same planter Cyclops is ducking behind.
At thjis point, everyone’s pretty beat up: Fixer and Mentallo each have 2 boxes of health left, while Cyclops is barely standing with 1 box left. The round is pretty uneventful with no hits scored on anyone. Both Mentallo and Cyclops end their turns hiding in cover.
The villains gain initiative. Mentallo tries to spot Cyclops, but can’t; so again he just keeps out of the view of those stunners and maintains cover. Cyclops tries to recharge Rapid Fire for the third time and fails once more, so he elects to fire at Fixer (since he doesn’t have to try and spot him first). He blasts Fixer for 3 boxes of damage, enough to drop him like a wet bag of dirt. Fixer fails his KO check and is out! This ends the round.
Cyclops gains initiative and spots Mentallo. Being a master tactician, Cyclops opts to charge into melee rather than fire at Mentallo. The reasons for this are twofold: first; if he fired, Mentallo would gain a bonus to defense because of the cover he’s behind. Second, Mentallo’s best ability, Mind Blast, can’t be used in close combat, so charging him effectively negates a pretty big advantage should Mentallo survive into next round. If Mentallo then tries to break out of combat to use it, Cyclops gets a free shot at him before he can.
The charge bonus pays off and he ends up inflicting a net 2 goals on Mentallo, who fails his KO check!
Victory to Cyclops!
Here are my builds for the villains:
Fixer (Blaster) Major: Archery, Minor: Flight, Armor. Quiver: Entangle, Melee Weapon, Stun
Mentallo (Mentalist) Major: Mentalism, Minor: Clever, Armor
This cat-and-mouse battle wasn’t as much fun to play as the Danger Room, but it was interesting to see how much hiding and taking cover can affect play tactically. If Cyclops had tried a straight up fight, he would have probably got creamed early on. Also, the small number of miniatures on the board meant the Rounds flew by; this game didn’t take much longer than 20 minutes to play.
I’m willing to bet on replay the villains would probably win more often than not. All it takes is one or two good shots and your Body boxes can start dropping fast. I think Cyclops got lucky.
After the battle, the X-Men interrogate the villains and discover that Magneto was hoping to take a few X-Men out of action before launching his evil plan to detonate…The Breeder Bombs! He almost succeeded in eliminating the team leader with this ambush!
The X-Men hop in the Blackbird SR-71. Destination: Alaska! The first bomb awaits!