Story Time with Uncle Ray - Episode 2: After the Von Stein Starter Set.
So, you decided to give Frank Von Stein and his team a try, and now it’s time to start building up your force. Have no fear; Uncle Ray has a plan for you!
Let’s have a look at the Platoon Advantage gained from the Starter.
Platoon Advantage: Inflict Terror
As long as Frank von Stein is in play, all Zombie units in or supporting Blutkreuz Kampfgruppe von Stein’s Platoon gain a heightened chance of suppressing the Units they Attack. Any Unit that is the Target of a close combat Attack by a Zombie Unit in or supporting Blutkreuz Kampfgruppe von Stein’s Platoon receives an Under Fire token, regardless of whether any Hits are generated or any Health was lost. If it already had an Under Fire token it replaces it with a Suppressed token instead. If the Unit already has a Suppression token, it does not receive another. Additionally, any enemy Units within Range 3 of the defending Unit and with Line of Sight to the Unit being Attacked will receive an Under Fire token or replace an existing Under Fire Token with a Suppression token.
An important note is that it says any Enemy Units, this means the advantage can effect, Infantry, Vehicles and Aircraft that are within Range 3 of any Close Combat you Target (Some things cannot be unseen)
With that in mind I suggest the following to expand your Kampfgruppe von Stein to the 50 point level.
Zombie Suicide Squad
With expanding points it is a very safe assumption that your opponent is going to look in to adding another vehicle to their forces. This Unit is designed with taking down your opponent’s vehicles and they have the tools to do it.
Every figure is armed with vehicle destroying weapons!
They have the improved Panzerfaust 100 and Mines.
The Panzerfaust 100 makes them capable of removing as many as five Vehicles Class 3 or lower in a single volley or even doing as much as 15 damage to class 7 vehicles. All at Range 3. The Mines can also create as much as 15 damage to Vehicles in a single turn Using Close Combat
Their Movement is again the standard Axis 2 Move / 4 March Move.
But to make this work in your favor they also have Charge, allowing them to March Move up to a Vehicle and then Close Combat it with their Mines.
And let us not forget they are a Zombie Unit, conferring the enhanced Infantry save and also keying in to the Platoon Advantage. Imagine the horror on the face of your opponent when this Squad runs up to a Vehicle in Close Combat, thus triggering the Inflict Terror Advantage on all units within Range 3 of that vehicle. The bigger it is, the further it spreads!
The drawback is that each of these weapons is a single use. However with our other choices this will be addressed.
So we have a good Squad to help with those pesky vehicles, it’s time to do something to help when they run out of expendable munitions.
And so I suggest adding Grenadier X (Blutkreuz Korps Failed Experiment) to the Squad!
His Move 3 March Move 4 means he can March Move with the Zombie Suicide Squad and match them perfectly. He also shares Charge with the squad which we can expect them to be doing almost every turn.
Where he really shines is his Circular Saw with Cutting. It allows Grenadier X to roll an additional Die for every Die that hits. The weapon is powerful against Infantry and Vehicles. And again because it is a Close Combat weapon held by a Zombie it triggers the Platoon Advantage.
His 3 Health allows for some damage soaking as he and the Suicide Squad move in to position early in the game and he is also Zombie which means he has a good chance to make saving rolls.
Keep in mind that the Zombie Suicide Squad will get 1 die per remaining Squad member, whether their target Is Infantry or Vehicle, in Close Combat, after they use up their Mines.
For the last addition to bring our force to 50 AP, I recommend the Laser Tank-Hunter Squad
Laser Tank Hunter Squad
13 AP puts it at more than the other units introduced combined but it can be a devastating addition, more than worth the points
Your primary weapon is your Laser Anti-Tank Gun. With the Laser Skill any die that hits means rolling another Die, potentially creating a massive amount of damage against any class of Infantry or Vehicle. (Consider that even against the heaviest Vehicles in the game you start with 2 dice)
A Range of 10 also means you should be able to match many vehicles and even outrange some of them.
Next are your Twin Machine Guns, the Unit has one. With a Range of 6 they are at the higher end of most Infantry weapons, making you very dangerous to Infantry and Aircraft alike; at 50 points it is possible that your opponent will try fielding one, especially SSU players.
Support Weapon reminds you that each Health on the Unit is 1 figure of the team, but since you only have two weapons, the first HP lost is kind of a freebie, except in melee where you lose one improvised melee weapon.
Defensively they are Infantry 3 which for many anti Infantry weapons is when the number of Dice your opponent may be rolling begins to decline. This is further augmented by Damage Resilient - The Axis did not spend years fighting the SSU without learning a few things - which allows you to roll a Die for every point of damage created against you in an effort to negate it. Always remember this applies to Close Combat Damage as well!
Speed is the only area this unit does not excel in. With Move 2 and March Move 3, it is slower than the rest of your force, however with its weapons ranges this will normally not be a disadvantage.
So now your Kampfgruppe von Stein could look like this
Frank von Stein
Laser Tank-Hunter Squad
Zombie Grenadier Squad
Zombie Suicide Squad
Heinrich Tropical (BK)
Four of the Six units in the Force make use of the Platoon Advantage, giving you a very good chance of reducing your opponents options during the game. You have excellent support and the ability to bring a lot of damage to your opponent no matter what kind of Units they might be choosing. You also have a very good chance of saving or negating damage to your Units.
Use the Tank-Hunters to do just that, remove the biggest threats.
Send the Zombie Suicide Squad to go after Heavy and Support Units that may be out of firing range or blocked by terrain. Then when their weapons are used up, do your Zombie things and terrorize your opponent!
The Zombie Grenadier Squad is the perfect choice for taking and securing key objectives, and making your opponent think carefully about how they might try to take them from you.
Again, Frank is the Wild card. Use your assessment of the Scenario and the opposing force to decide if he should join the Zombie Grenadier Squad or create terror on his own. Keep in mind that the Platoon ability works only while he is still on the table. Sometimes just the threat of him is more important than his actually getting in to close combat.
And again as always, use the Heinrich Walker to support and cover your Units taking objectives or to deny objectives to your opponent.
In our next installment we will look at shaking things up with a 75 AP force built with the Starter as the base.
And remember Commanders, the more you think outside the box, the more fun you will find in the grid!