Direct quote from pre-game conversation:
'Are we mad enough to play Extreme Highly classified?'
'Lol well yes'
How a short little comment can spark a game as nail biting as this ended up being.
Having played with the Red classifieds only once before (last week's game), I was a bit unsure how to approach list building. In the end, I went with Ramah, much for its access to double Monstruckers and the Nahab, in addition to our excellent stable of docs. I don't think I've ever built a list with this many specialists (2 Engineers, 2 Docs, 1 Assault hacker, 2 Killer hackers, 3 FOs). In hindsight, I might not have needed all of them but since you never know what classifieds come up, I went for backups of everything.
Drawing of classifieds:
We get the following classifieds: HVT Designation, HVT Espionage, Mapping, & Sabotage. I also get Net-Undermine as my secret one.
Thoughts at this time:
1. I can do all 5 objectives with my list.
2. No doctor or engineer objectives (apart from helping out with sabotage) means that I have to be careful with the few resources I have.
3. My opponents HVT is very well protected and I will probably not reach it with any FO. I will rely on my hacker to do the 2 HVT classifieds.
4. My Nahab is excellent at both Net-Undermine and Mapping, fulfilling the requirements for both and not having to run across the table to get there.
5. I got Fat Yuan-Yuan from the scenario. He has D-charges. That's half a sabotage (the Red version requires two buildings blown up)
I lose the initiative roll and am forced to set up first. I choose to be the first player.
Since the mission is all about the classifieds, I had a more detailed plan than I normally do (I tend to wing it quite a lot while I play).
Turn 1, I was going to move my Haris up the Board and aim to do Sabotage with Laila and Fat Yuan Yuan.
Turn 2, Reveal my assault hacker and try to do the classifieds for the HVT.
Turn 3, Walk on the Nahab just outside my opponent's deployment zone and do the last two classifieds.
I set up my Haris on the left flank to advance up to blow some scenery. Some flash pulsing defense goes up in the middle of the board and my Ghulam team is cowering in the back right. I hold my Tuareg back to see where his HVT will go.
My opponents army sadly contains both a HMG bot and a Hsien which I will have problems fighting against. My plan is to avoid them while doing the classifieds since I don't have a lot of long range fire power. I put my hacker on the roof of a house close to the enemy hvt. Sadly, my opponent unknowingly counter deploys this with his reserve who's a camo hacker, by placing him in the same house.
Turn 1 Haqq:
Fat Yuan Yuan lands, plants his D-Charge. All is well... well, for a few orders anyway.
Laila and Haris team is moving up. There is a camo token which I expect to be a mine. I'm just running past it with a Mukhtar but I have missed that the Hsien has LoF to me underneath a container. I dodge and survive, phew. I now have a few orders left of this order pool. My aim is to get Laila to the terrain but I have to get past the Hsien LoF to do so. I need to get her closer so that I can cautious move her without getting shot. Here is where I screw up. I decide to use that movement to poke my Muhktar around a corner and shoot wildly at stuff. I attack a lot of models, sadly don't kill the HMG (it saves the viral rifle hit it got) but the issue is that I gave an ARO to a Libertos behid the screen. He dodges around the corner and can now see Laila and my Muhktar doc. I flash pulse him from downfield but he answers that with a mine.I decide to take the crappy odds and activate, forcing the mine to go off. Sadly, Laila is hit and dies which means that I will not be able to do sabotage. I didn't play it very well so I can't really complain. My Ghulams go up into the house and just try to avoid doing much.
Turn 1 YJ:
Noteworthy actions in turn 1: My opponent's camo marker in the house turns out to be a Daofei hacker who goes toward my HVT and starts attempting to do classifieds. I curse that I can't really ARO with my hacker since it will then be seen by the HMG bot. I let him try and we're both flabbergasted as the HVT wins Ftf roll after FtF roll to avoid being Espionaged on. He also engages my flash pulse defense bots with his HMG which gets flash pulsed into oblivion.
Turn 2 Haqq:
My original plan was to do classifieds with my Hacker now but I can't since if I do, I will get hacked by the Daofei. I still reveal myself as a marker and go to a position where it's harder to shoot me and I can ARO the Daofei if he tries to do anything. My Ghulams who are a bit lost in their house shoots a few grenades which takes out several models (angus, an HMG infantryman). All in all, it wasn't a very good turn.
Turn 2 YJ:
Important things this turn is that my opponent runs an engineer across the board (since he's killed most of my models on my left side, I can't stop it). He completes sabotage and attempts his hidden objective which is HVT retroengineering. He attempts to do it through a servant bot but fails several rolls again.
Turn 3 Haqq:
I start the turn having failed to do any classifieds and most of my army is dead. Time to reveal the Nahab and get some points on the board. My Ghulams nicely enough manages to give him smoke cover where he walks onto the table (spec fire smoke behind a house). He takes a few actions and all of a sudden I have 3 points and 2 classifieds completed. Due to my opponent having most of his army left, I don't expect this to prevent my opponent from winning but if I can obstruct him a bit more, he could always fail a few more rolls. I decide to try to kill the engineer's helper bot (the engineer is about 3-4 orders away from the HVT). My sensor bot pokes his head around the corner and shoots it. It saves. We do it again... and again... and again. It refuses to die. I sacrifice my remaining Monstrucker (it has to walk into the TR HMG to be able to see the helper bot) but I finally manage to kill it. I have one order left and decide to go all out for it. I reveal my hacker and complete HVT: Espionage. As thanks for that, my opponent blackouts my hacking device. All in all, a pretty good turn and the pressure is now on my opponent to complete at least 2 classifieds to avoid losing.
YJ turn 3:
In my average infinity games, the second player's last turn is probably the quickest of the game. This was not the case this time. It's a friendly game so we openly discuss the options. My sensor robot which is still looking at my HVT prevents his engineer from running over easily. He has a Cube Jaeger in his second pool who runs over but fails to kill it. When that happens, he abandons the plan to do his no longer secret classified. His only option for winning is now to do 3 classifieds. Time for Daofei to step up. Due to my dysfunctional hacking device, he can now attempt his hacking classifieds again. This time he has no issues and does both classifieds without any trouble at all. Ah well, I can't really complain since he failed so many rolls earlier. Due to me having done my secret classified, I am still winning the game though. He needs to do one more. The only option left is mapping, which requires the Daofei to get to my deployment zone and roll a roll. Shouldn't be much of a problem but, he's on top of a house and doesn't have enough orders to climb down safely. He throws himself off the roof, taking both a shot in the back from the Tuareg and a Damage 20 hit from the ground. He's tough though and only takes one wound. On his way over to the deployment zone, he also kills the annoying sensor bot which stands between him and victory.
Words can not describe how tense the last turn was. This was one of my favorite games I've played despite how I really screwed it up on turn 1.
MVPs: Nahab for scoring points like a boss, Ghulam NCO for being the most annoying order monkey ever, Rafiq sensor robot which just wouldn't die and just kept on flashing the evil empire.