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Thursday 26 March 2020

USEME Battle Report by Vic Dobson sees Security Force Alpha vs Octopods

I was delighted to receive a massive email from my good friend Vic Dobson which detailed his two player game of USEME 15mm Science Fiction a few weeks ago.  He said I could present it to the world so..for the delighted of all 15mm science fiction it is on our blog.  Security Force Alpha faces off against the Octopods on a table filled with HOF and Bradley Miniatures figures and vehicles.  Vic is all about the game so he tends not to paint up his miniatures or his terrain; though this time he went all out in bareness.  This gives the pictures a rather different look in bare metal and resin.  

Comment or contact me if you wish to ask Vic anything or know more.  GBS.  
Here we his own words!

USEME Battle Report

My Sunday games was given over to USE ME and the long anticipated Security Force Alpha (SFA) versus the Octopods … and it went something like this …

The SFA force: GNAT Contender, 4 x Bearcat Battlesuit, 2 x Firecat Battlesuit, 1 x Meercat Battlesuit, 1 x SFA Command Squad, 4 x SFA Infantry Squad, 1 x SFA Sniper Team, 2 x Automata Squad, 2 x Patrol Droids = 1000 Points. Two new Special Rules are needed for the SFA force:

1). Mech Shield (for the Firecats) = +1 to armour from the front only, +10% points (none of the SFA mechs are armoured, so this really helped!)

2). Spotter (for the Meercat) = use 1 action to act as spotter for another friendly firer this turn, this allows that firer to measure range and trace LOS from the Meercat & not the firer; Only usable with vehicle Indirect Weapons, +10% points.

This is the Octopods: 3 x slow but well armed Heavy Bradley Tanks, 3 x fast but lighter armed Heavy Bradley Tanks, 2 x Octopod Rocket Pod, 4 x Octopod Rocket Cycle, 1 x Command Mob, 4 x Warrior Mobs, 3 x Seerguard Mobs, 1 x Mindbender Mob = 1010 points.

The battle area: 60 Inches x 48 Inches. With 2 hills, woods, thick hedges, dirt tracks, 8 buildings. The SFA will approach from the West (left), the Octopods East (right) ...

Having lost the roll, the SFA set-up first, but held back their Command squad and 2 Infantry squads in reserve …

The Octopod forces set-up. The Seerguard are set-up riding on the engine decks of the fast tanks (so any hits to the tanks will also hit hem, and vice versa) … Octopod Desant! The Command Mob and the fourth Warrior Mob are held back in reserve off table.

And so it begins … With all forces set up, the Octopds won the initiative and began to advance …

The fast tanks carrying the Seerguard roared off at speed heading around the bigger hill, hoping to reach the buildings before the SFA with their big mechs can interfere (or worse still, open fire … ). As the tanks grinds onwards the various Octopod Rocket craft shoot off at high speed heading to their destinies …

The SFA advance to meet the alien threat! The droid squads head along the dirt track for the buildings - they've been programmed to reach cover in the buildings then hold their positions. The Meercat dashes forwards, seeking a position to make use of its Spotter ability, whilst the Contender stomps forwards to take up position behind one of the buildings, from where it is to rain indirect death down on the invading alien scum … the smaller Bearcats and Firecats lumber towards the buildings with the intention of taking up A/T positions, the Bearcats dealing with the Octopod tanks whilst the Firecats are to hunt Pod the infantry …

The heavier armed but slow Octopod tanks steadily grind onwards as, behind them, the Octopod infantry take cover behind the tanks massive hulls. One of the tanks spots some SFA infantry in the far distance through a small gap between the trees and buildings & immediately directs a hail of fire from its 2 automatic weapons and 2 cannons …

Whilst most of the tanks firing would shame an Imperial Stormtrooper, the heavy cannon round lands smack in the middle of the squad and 2 SFA troopers bite the dust! Even as they do so the Octopods Rocket craft streak in to open fire on the SFA Bearcats and Firecats - their fire serves to knock down the mechs energy shields (the small purple dice mark intact shields). But the Octopods don't have it all their own way - the Meercat spots for the Contender and heavy missiles are soon on their way …

… missiles meet Rockets & detonate, and the Rockets, pilots and all, explode or burst into flames!

The fast Pod tanks carrying the Seergaurd reach the far side of the tall hill and begin to trade fire with the SFA mechs facing them … time for the Seerguard to jump down and do their thing! Meanwhile, the slow but steady march of the droids sees them reach the buildings and begin to fan out looking for good firing positions. Somehow the Octopods tanks seem to be slowing down the Octopods advance … must be all that stopping to fire they're doing!

And it only gets worse …

The Octopod forces are too slow! The Seerguard and their tanks are way ahead of the rest of the Octopod infantry & tanks, and despite their heavy armour they're not quite as well armed as the SFA mechs, especially the feared Contender. As their Rocket Pods & Cycles explode and crash, the Octopod Leader can be heard yelling at his 'Pods to hurry it up!

The last surviving Rocket Pods & Cycles lash the SFA mechs with fire - more energy shields collapse, and then a heavy cannon round from an advancing Octopod heavy tank decapitates a Bearcat with a single hit! The Bearcat, which had broken through a hedge & was busy directing a hail of fire at the approaching tank, staggers, stumbles and collapses. Hearing this, the SFA infantry squad in the open (who were originally planning to advance and support the mechs) stops and hunkers down. Up by the big hill, the Seergaurd, now dismounted, form up and begin to close with the buildings - the idea is to take and hold them, preventing the SFA infantry from flanking their tanks …

As the threat from the advancing Octopods grows, the Contender finally leaves it's firing position and directs a veritable hail of fire at the Octopods - and all the while the Meercat continues to provide its spotting support, allowing the Contender to lash out at the Octopods. The SFA droids identify the approaching Seerguard, line up, lock, load and open fire in unison, and the first Seerguard falls. But, even with the Contenders fire support, another Bearcat takes a massive hit from an Octopod tank cannon and falls to wrack and ruin … and a final, valedictive strafing run by the last Octopod Rocket Pod downs the Contenders energy shield … fearing an Octopod breakthrough, the SFA commander sends in 2 of his reserve squads … but not his own, mind … it does pay to be cautious! Especially when enemy bullets are involved … but our heroic Octopod leader isn't so squeamish and brings his command mob and his final warrior mob into the battle at a jog …

… and the Contender calmly swats the Rocket pod down, whilst directing a heal of gunnery into the furthest Octopod tank, breaching its armour with 1 hit and causing it to explode in flames (can you smell fried squid?). Their squishy hearts filled with rage, the Seerguard dash into melee with the droids … er, aren't we meant to be melee specialists? It does not go well … Now that the Contender has moved and the Octopods advance is obscured by cover the Meercat pilot runs forwards, seeking a better targeting position, and behind him the sniper team run forwards too …

As the SFA droids continue to mechanically batter the 'melee specialists' in melee combat the Octopod commander is asking himself if perhaps they're not on the right pills? Maybe he should execute their trainer? As the rest of the Seerguard are moving into position to try and tackle the SFA mechs one of the mechs brandishes its flamethrower & turns to face them. The slower Octopod tanks grind ever onwards, but one finds itself being distracted by the approach of the Meercat behind a hedge …

And now it gets hotter …

A lone missile from the Contender, fired indirect without spotter support lands on one of the advancing Octopod heavy tanks, scattering Octopod infantry like confetti and leaving a good sized dent in the tank to boot! The SFA droids continue to beat the 'melee specialist' into submission (and death) and the fresh SFA infantry run towards the buildings and hedges with the intention of taking up covered firing positions - let the 'Pods come! And they are ... very slowly! The Seerguard who are mech hunting soon realise the enormity of their mistake - the Firecat unleashes its flamerthrower and many 'Pods go up in smoke!

The second Firecat quickly backs up as 2 Octopod tanks loom large, followed by a mass of 'Pod infantry. The last surviving Patrol Droid is destroyed by the damaged Octopod tank with a single shot, but the Droids finish off their fight with the Seergaurd (whose trainer will no longer be in need of execution - he got bashed in the head by a droid too!) and turn to face into the flank of the approaching 'Pod infantry hosts … in the distance, behind the hedge and buildings, a loud explosion announces the destruction of another Octopod tank. The gutsy Seerguard who, despite the flames, close with and assault the Firecat manage to knock down its energy shield … and the Meercat, having advanced behind the Octopod, now begins to supply high value targeting data for the Contender …

It's no fun being an Octopod! This day, all 'Pods die ... or at least that's how it looks to our brave Octopod leader! A single missile from the Contender lands with a huge bang in the midst of 1 Octopod mob, blasting them in all directions (including into their afterlife!). The survivors run forwards, only to be met by the Firecat, who ignores the nearest Octopod tank and unleashes a gout of flames and automatic weapons fire into the Octopod infantry - more 'Pods are roasted and blasted. As the SFA infantry take up positions in the hedge they cheer the Firecat on! The other Firecat is less fortunate - having eliminated all but 3 of the 12 Seerguard that had stalked & then attacked it it finally fell to a Seerguard melee attack. The SFA surviving droids take cover in a building and start to hunt the Octopods Mindbender - one of the Psykers guards is killed, the other crippled, but the terrified Psyker escapes the building and runs towards another building where another mob of 'Pods are cowering & trying not to draw the attention of the nearby Firecat ... then disaster overtakes the SFA - the Contender is destroyed by a volley of fire from an Octopod tank and collapses into burning ruins ...

The last surviving SFA Mechs hurriedly turn to confront the 'Pod tanks, but their heavy armour defeats the mechs weapons ... but at least the last Octopod bodygurad is killed by the droids! That'll teach him ... with their best units now destroyed the SFA are in a serious bind - tackling the 'pod tanks will require using infantry melee attacks, meaning leaving cover and taking fire from the tanks and the 'pod infantry ... the Meercat, with the Contender downed, is now just a fast miving automatic weapon. Desoite this lack of heavier weapons the Meercats pilot stops to trade fire with the damaged 'Pod tank that has been creeping towards the centre of the action ...

The SFA give it their all! Using bundles of grenades they dash out and assault both the nearest 'Pod tanks ... they're unsuccessful this time around, but as their assault goes ahead the last of the faster 'Pod tanks succumbs to the combined fire of the last 2 Bearcats. The Firecat meanwhie, wastes fuel trying to burn out the Octopod command mob hiding in the building - so much for not drawing the mechs attention. At least the building offers protection from the flames!

And finally....

It only took me seven hours to get to this point … but I DID stop for num-nums! And coffee and a read and other activities ...

The Firecat continues to pin down the Octopod command mob in the building, but in doing so it ignores the Meercats need for support for too long - the Meercat finally falls to the heavier weapons of (and a lucky hit by the) crippled 'Pod tank … the SFA infantry continue their assaults upon the 'Pod tanks, one of whom is damaged in the process. This leads to the tanks abruptly lurching forwards to try and shake of their attackers, and a rather silly/funny chase ensues - infantry chasing tanks! But the SFA quickly come to realise that they will end up taking fire from the tanks AND the (badly depleted) 'Pod infantry …

… and as the 'Pod fire intensifies, the SFA commander (still safely off table - and now not likely to join in!) decides it's time to withdraw the last of his forces before they can be overwhelmed by the 'Pod tanks. When the SFA call it a day and leave, the 'Pods claim victory … perhaps …

Holy moley what a game to the end. Once I'd decided to withdraw the SFA (I needed to tidy up and do work things!) I added up the value of characters lost by both sides and found that, despite the fact it was the SFA who backed off first, it was the 'Pods who'd lost the most in PV, serving to balance their 'victory' - it was an utterly Pyrrhic one! In effect, a draw …

The game was immensely good fun, and my new special action rules worked as I'd hoped - the Firecats were fine until attacked from behind in melee, the Meercat proved very effective, and had the Contender lasted to take advantage of the Meercats spotter position behind the 'Pod advance, the SFA would probably have won.

Thanks for talking the time to read this rhubarb everyone. I've got a lot more pics but I wanted to keep this to a 'moderate' size and I could've gone into it a bit more but perhaps it's better I didn't!



  1. Ooops! I really gotta get round to painting my miniatures …

    1. No you don't sir. It looks lovely as it is. Thanks again.


  2. Great battle report, I like the simplistic battlefield and can't deny the unpainted models look good on it.
    But I'm a staunch believer that painted models perform better on the battlefield.

    1. Hi Wouter,
      Woah! I gotta remember things - I meant to reply 2 years back!
      My problem is storage space - normally I do paint all my toys, but just now I have a scarcity of storage space, and with the miniatures often end up jumbled into small storage trays that stack really well but are a bit cramped. Painted miniatures would soon be chipped & damaged stored like this, so until I sort the storage issue, I find myself having to go bare-lead.
      But I really want to get painting! Preferably BEFORE the lead mountain grows any further.

  3. Hello Woulter,

    It does work well in its 'look'. I think there is some truth to that...more gifts from the gods for full colour!


  4. Are they normal forces sizes ..does it go skirmish level? And 3ft or less

  5. Hi there,

    USE ME can go from less than 10 figures a side (about a 100 points per side) to over 1000+ points a side (like that SFA/Octopod game). In standard USE ME 15mm sci-fi games the forces are organised as individual characters that work well for skirmishing. In larger games (like the SFA vs Octopod) you can use the 'squad' rules to speed up play (it helps with movement and activation to use the squad rules in the bigger games), but it's not required - you could play it with individual characters.

    I can't recall the area I played on (I think it was 48" x 48") now, but I've played USE ME on table sizes ranging from 24" x 12" for small skirmishes with no more than a dozen characters, right up to 60" x 48" with large forces of infantry, tanks and artillery. Of course, which copy of USE ME you're using will determine playing area too - USE ME Starship Battles requires a larger area due to the longer weapons ranges on the larger ships.

    I hope this helps.


  6. Thanks Vic. Very good answer for Dice Tales.