Boots on the Ground: Hot LZ

Although I talk a lot about Lock ‘n Load products on this blog, it’s nice to take some other games off the shelf once in a while just to see what other game companies are doing.  Lately, I’ve developed a bit of a man-crush on Worthington Games, which has consistently delivered an interesting variety of games covering lots of different topics.  Today’s report is of the scenario, “Hot LZ” from WG’s Boots on the Ground.

“Dammit!” Lt. Waterman muttered in exasperation as he watched helplessly.  His ride home, a big beautiful UH-60 Blackhawk, was turning around and heading back to base. Tracer fire fell short of the helicopter as it increased altitude and raced off.  With so many insurgents in the area, there was no other choice but to do this the hard way and get Team Alpha back to the Green Zone on foot.  That wasn’t especially good, especially as rounds from nearby windows were hitting the walls and pavement near him and his 6-man squad.
Waterman and the team set up right at the intersection of Surrounded Blvd and Oh No Avenue.

The only option was to keep moving.  Waterman turned to his demo man, Sato, and pointed north.  The team moved quickly, keeping in a loose column formation and providing overwatch as they bounded up the street.  As they passed near the windows of the nearest building, AK-47 rounds sprayed out at the team.  The scout, Mureault, turned and fired a tight burst, dropping the nearest insurgent.  Fire erupted from all around them from the other windows.  The team had little choice but to try and take cover near the dusty SUV parked on the side of the road.  Team Alpha fired short controlled bursts, covering the windows as they moved.

Waterman sprinted towards the SUV.  Suddenly, everything went bright white and his ears started to sing at the highest pitch he had ever heard.  As his vision returned, he saw his demo man, Sato, and his medic, Arran, lying on the ground nearby.  Waterman scrambled to his feet.  The SUV was a flaming wreck.  The rest of his team further back was crouched near a doorway.  A grenade landed near Sato but there was no time to help him.  Waterman curled up behind some of the SUV debris and the grenade went off, killing Sato.

The nearby SUV turns out to be rigged with explosives and a nearby grenade kills Team Alpha’s Demo.

It seemed things couldn’t get much worse at this point.  Waterman staggered to his feet and tasted the warm blood in his mouth.  The only thing to do was to keep moving.  Arras, the medic, stumbled to his feet and shook himself off.  Again, the team moved, rounding the corner as insurgents around them kept firing.  Team Alpha kept things tight, moving the more wounded members to the middle of their squad formation while those who were still fresh covered for them.  As soon as he noticed another vehicle ahead, Waterman screamed.  It exploded.

The team rounds the corner.  Surely the next SUV can’t be rigged with an IED too?  Uh, yep!  It can be.  Boom!
The second team member was now dead.  Mureault, the scout, lay in a heap near the wreckage, unmoving.  Arras checked him out quickly, turning to Waterman and shaking his head.  The team staggered on. Only two members of Alpha team were not wounded now.  Waterman knew he was hurt and didn’t know if he could hang on much longer.  An insurgent scrambled around the corner, running at them and firing from the hip.  Bullets sprayed everywhere.  Waterman fired three rounds at him, dropping him instantly. Just one more block to go but considering their losses, it might as well have been a thousand miles.  
For some reason, I kept pulling this card throughout the game.
Another insurgent, seemingly trying to outdo the previous one’s insane attack, rounded the nearest corner and started firing. As Waterman lifted his rifle to return fire everything went pitch black.
An insurgent rounds the corner and his lucky shot kills Lt. Waterman, the team leader.
After the team leader fell, Arras shot the crazy insurgent who stood out in the open, grinning like a maniac and shouting to the heavens for joy that he had killed a member of Team Alpha.  There were just three members of Alpha now but they were so close to the Green Zone.  Peters, on the M249 SAW, covered the rear.  As they filed down the street, he could hear Peters exchanging fire with enemies behind them.  Arras could feel exhaustion starting to take hold.
The Heavy Weapons Expert kills an insurgent in the window behind the team.
Just as they were about to enter the Green Zone, an insurgent popped out of the nearest doorway while another fired from the rooftop.  Peters turned around and blasted the nearest insurgent with the SAW.  The familiar buzz of a UAV circling above sent the insurgent on the roof scrambling down into the building for cover.  
Arras limped inside the Green Zone with the rest of his team and the heavy gate shut behind them.  With half their team KIA, there was little to be happy about.  
But for one more day, Arras thought, he had survived this place.
Game result:  With three members of Team Alpha still alive, we can declare this a victory but just barely.  I love this game!  It’s very well suited for solitaire play thanks to the card system.  There’s always a great deal of tension with every decision.  I decided early on in the game to keep the squad together no matter what and to just keep moving towards the goal.  I made some pretty dumb decisions by sending the squad over to vehicles TWICE to take some cover.  Both times, the vehicles exploded and that’s why we had a fifty per cent casualty rate.  I was pretty sure that I’d end up failing this mission, especially after losing three guys in the first three turns.  However, the cards worked in my favor after that and just keeping the squad moving seemed to work pretty well.  


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