Alright so here's one of my most legendary stories in Darkwind. None of this is made up, except for the parts that sound particularly exciting (just kidding, everything happened as told and absolutely nothing's made up)
Just a quick run through of Darkwind, it is an online turn based wargame where you recruit gang members at your whim, and you can purchase cars then do stuff. Trade, piracy, hunting pirates, race, it's all possible.
Right, that being said, this one time I took a bunch of newbies out to hunt pirates. I'm normally not big on doing that since there's a good chance I may lose a few cars, and in the worst case scenario, a few gang members. Dying is permanent - once you lose a good gang member, you have to suck it up, regardless of how many years it took you to train him.
So we ran into some AI (NPC) pirates on a desert map that has rather shitty spawn points. At the start of a match, players can arrange their cars within the boundaries of a circle of about 30m. So we all set up our cars, unsure of whether the pirates would spawn ahead of or behind us.
Well, the pirates spawned behind us, but they were close! And they were bloody vicious too - there were 5 of us, and there were 7 pirate cars, of which 3 were rocket cars. This didn't bode well. Out of the 5 human cars, only I had cars that could soak up damage; the rest of the players brought sedans and muscle cars.
Bloody sonofagun, not only were we outgunned, but 2 players were inexperienced. I knew I had to take charge, but what a risk it was. Let's see some of the tactics that ran through my head at that time:
"How far should we run to gain some headway on the pirates? After all, there is the risk that the pirates will catch up too!" This was the question I kept asking myself. We couldn't turn and fight - doing so would only get us caught in a deathtrap. All of us had spawned on a hill. Two rockets to any of our cars would knock us off the ground, and there was the really high risk of being incapacitated in the middle of a fight.
The only option was to run forwards, so I looked ahead. Hmm there's a bit of a hill ahead of us. It offers some good protection from confrontations, because it was a sudden slope upwards that would make it difficult for cars below to hit our bumpers.
So I gave the orders. Nobody hesitated, although there were a few suspicions that the slope would not offer the expected cover. Nevertheless, we all ran like our lives depended on it. The smaller cars made it first. My cars made it last, but we were all safe there. I guesstimated we had 8 to 10 turns to set up our cars, and informed the rest of the team. We all felt a wave of relief. The enemy was a considerable distance behind us, and the enemy cars were crowding each other out, pushing one another out of the way, so we had a good advantage. Immediately I started getting some hope.
Most of us got set up within 5 turns, but some dude decided to park his car further from the initially planned spot, in spite of forewarning from me. There were two problems with that: firstly, he would require at least 9 turns to park his car there, while the enemy would be able to fire a shot at us within 4 turns; secondly, that was a horrible spot for shooting, as he was more liable to hit the sand than the enemy.
Despite that, I wasn't worried. I had 2 tanks armed with car cannons and HMGs, and my gang members were Sniper trained. Besides, the enemy cars were coming in a line. We could easily shoot them up one by one as they came into our line-of-sight.
So, I started barking orders. One guy with a Windsor II sedan would focus on a weaker enemy car; another had a pickup armed with one heavy machine gun and one rocket launcher, so I told him to train his sights on an incoming enemy rocket-sedan. As for that guy still trying to park his car on that far end, I told him to shoot whoever he felt like shooting. It didn't matter who he chose, since the action will be over in a matter of turns. That's how fast Darkwind is. You either get the first shot on the enemy and double your chances of winning, or the enemy lands the first one on you and then you'd better start praying.
Shit always happens
Unfortunately, things in Darkwind rarely go as planned. We got the jump on the first few enemy cars that came through, that much did happen. The twist came when that guy who was trying to park his car didn't manage to do it in time before TWO enemy cars headed his way. That was a problem for all of us. The enemy decided to force us into surrender and demoralization (yes the AI is really smart) by going for that lone car that was struggling to park itself.
We knew it was trouble. The first rocket hit him, and that threw him off balance; another rocket was fired, followed by a machine gun, but these missed him. Then the next turn, two rockets hit him. I had to act now. It wouldn't take more than 3 turns to breach his right side, and even if he doesn't get breached, he was liable to expose his car's underside to the enemy, and that was even worse news since the underside could be easily breached in 1 turn.
It was now or never. I barked to another team mate nearest to that dude to run over to help him. In the meantime, it was 2 of my big cars and another player's sedan facing off against 5 enemy vehicles flying over the hills like feral wolves in our direction. This was bad. I could keep the enemy at bay for a few turns, but my weapons would have to be split amongst the enemy cars. Instead of being able to fire 2 weapons at each enemy car, now I would have to fire 1. Added to that, the car cannons run out of ammo really fast. I started getting real nervous.
Whether we got through that by sheer luck or skill, I don't know. It happened so fast and furiously. I believe part of it was definitely attributed to luck though. For one, the enemy cars did not come racing over the hills into our line-of-sight simultaneously. For all their speed and rapidity, each car lagged behind the other by at least 1 turn. My partner and I first turned our attention to the enemy rocket sedan. Within one turn, we blew it up.
The next turn, I ordered him to target an enemy sedan armed with a car rifle and a heavy machine gun heading our direction. This he did so, and while contending with this guy, I readied my cars' aim at 2 more cars heading up the slope that would be within my line-of-sight next turn.
Now it was a battle that was a spectacle to behold. The guy next to me managed to knock his target off the hill, which blocked the path of the other two enemy cars heading towards us. Easy pickings - as soon as they realized they were going to hit their team mate, they swerved. The next few turns got me quickly whittling away their flank armour.
Now there was one more enemy car heading our way. I was gratified that I survived that previous onslaught, but I had to look after my team mates too - specifically the one who parked at the wrong place, and the guy sent to help him. The one who mis-parked had tumbled off the hill, and now he was struggling to get his car back up on its wheels; the other was desperately dodging rockets and machine gun bullets.
Just one more turn...one more turn and I could get my guns trained on the enemy and then open fire...
That was spectacular. The enemy car was busy swerving, and as it did so, my last car cannon shell hit it right on the flank, causing it to crash into the other enemy car. I had to reload, but now it was easy. The enemy cars were now disoriented, and my machine guns could easily finish the job.
We were done, and we all survived!!! All of us got the loot cars. It was a truly eventful scout, nearing the point of tragedy, but we all made it out alive! Not one newbie got his car permadamaged. And the adrenaline rush...most of us were sweating beads of cold sweat, even after the event had ended. It was a really good run, and one where I could recount where my leadership skills really pulled us through.