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AEWWII at Gen Con

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29 August 2008page first published

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Paul Glasser writes:

I almost didnít get a chance to play the game which ended up being one of my most enjoyable events at Gen Con 2008: AE World War II, a retro sci-fi miniatures game.

Most of my attention this year was devoted to a wide array of historical miniatures events, and it was only by chance that I noticed a game I'd never heard of while browsing the event catalogue Saturday night. AE World War II was listed under the non-historic miniatures category, and I had one last chance to give it a try on Sunday morning.

Although all the slots were full, the game designer and event host (Matt Hope) let me sit in. Eventually, I took over some of the Allied forces - and, as other players dropped out, I was the only Allied commander left! It was a very interesting scenario that included a cross-over appearance by superheroes and villains from the Pulp City miniatures game.

The game includes a few sci-fi elements, such as American robot-troopers and GIs equipped with jet-packs. The Germans incorporate magical and arcane abilities to enhance the strength of their troops and weapons. The Russians also field a variety of warriors with psi-abilities and psi-technology to engage the enemy.

Game designer Matt Hope, center, hosts an AE World War II/Pulp City cross-over event. The Allies (left) must defend a temple from the Germans (right)

In the cross-over game, the Axis and Allied forces received superhuman reinforcements in the form of heroes and villains from Pulp City. The Germans could field units like the Hellsmith, a fallen celestial armorer who once assisted Hephaestus. The Allies could call upon Ace of Wraiths, the vengeful spirit of a gunslinger forced to atone for his past sins.

The Allied commanders had to prevent the Germans from capturing an arcane temple. Their forces included two squads of paratroopers, two squads of robot-troopers, a druid, two snipers, a Buffalo mech unit, and several officers. The heroes would arrive one-by-one through several radio transmitters, which could be destroyed by the Germans.

The German force included several squads of low-quality conscripts, a panzerschrek team, an MG-42 team equipped with magically enchanted weapons, a sniper, and several officers. Players could also use special command abilities that would allow them to gain a temporary advantage, such as automatically winning initiative or forcing a unit with low morale to surrender.

The German commanders took a risky move on the first turn by loading up a truck with two squads of infantry and driving right into the temple compound. The driver took aim at the first squad of robot-troopers deployed along the north side of the temple and rammed one!

German conscripts bail out after ramming a truck into an American robot-trooper

However, the trooper did well on his save and escaped without taking any damage. The robot-troopers were to be the core of our defense: although poor shots, they were tough and could lay down suppressive fire with their Thompson SMGs.

The German conscripts found little cover near the truck, and quickly took several casualties. However, several botched grenade attacks by the American paratroopers quickly evened the odds - German soldiers threw back the bombs, killing several paratroopers.

The German super-villains flooded into the temple, and were able to isolate and destroy several heroes because they were only able to deploy one at a time.

Androida, a Pulp City hero, reinforces a platoon of robot-troopers

However, the OSI druid was able to summon a minion, which delivered crippling blows to the Shadow Assassin villain and a German sniper. However, casualties mounted on the right flank and soon, the survivors broke and ran!

However, my robot-troopers were holding off the attackers on the left flank. My Buffalo mech unit even got a chance to use its Tesla cannon and fried a super-villain. But the Buffalo was soon after hit by a panzerschrek rocket and disintegrated!

As casualties mounted on both sides, the Germans withdrew behind a stone wall on the perimeter, and my survivors took cover in the temple itself.

Neither side could claim complete victory in the end... although I succeeded in defending the temple!

Matt Hope said the crossover event - along with several other AE World War II games at Gen Con - was very successful. However, he said he might revise the rules for incorporating Pulp City characters to give the heroes and villains more hit points - they were frequently killed with one or two hits.

Hope also said several new releases for the game are planned, including several German heavy-weapons units, such as the Flammenwerfer 35 and Granatwerfer 36. A new ruleset is also set for release later this year.

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