Deep within the Smoke Jaguar occupation zone Luzerne stood out as a pivotal conflict as Operation BullDog began to build momentum. The Jaguars were cornered and fought against their attackers with animal ferocity.
Nicholas Marsala is a familiar writer back at the helm for this adventure within the Clan Invasion Era. With more than a few Turning Points PDFs under his belt will Nicholas be able to keep up his own momentum?
The opening fiction is a wild introduction with familiar themes of self sacrifice as a Jaguar Attack force attempts to break the Davion lines. The short story is fast paced and enjoyable. A fine introduction to begin this Clan Invasion story.
The picture of Luzerne is that of a sleepy world with a potentially uninteresting history save for a multi-year mining strike. This section provides a quick synopsis of these events and the relatively peaceful history of the planet as well as a glimpse at the major population centers.
Optional rules along with terrain and weather features are provided for the adventurous among us to spice up battle conditions. Clan Honor is mentioned here as well. I am excited to find out what other wrinkles Clan Honor will provide in the tracks.
The Battle of Luzerne
This section gives a birds eye view play-by-play of the battle from start to grisly finish. The Star League had their work cut out for them to say the least. The Jaguars fought tooth and nail to keep this planet and their air superiority almost made it possible. Still, it seems unlikely that the Star League would allow the planet to NOT be taken even if the first invasion failed.
The plot synopsis seems a bit short compared to earlier HTP products. The lower third of the document is dominated by a Star League logo which fills the page but leaves me wondering if there was more information they could have provided to flesh out the story. Or simply, there was not much else to say to describe the cutthroat but straightforward battle that defined Luzerne.
Random Assignment Tables
A one page RAT table gives ‘Mech options for the Com Guards, Smoke Jaguar, Federated Suns, and the Draconis Combine. The addition of OmniMechs provides even more variety. I’m slightly disappointed in the lack of combat vehicles though. The opening fiction alluded to armor platoons supporting the Star League mission. Sad to see that combined arms did not make the cut to get into the book.
Four commanders are briefed in this section, two from the Jaguars and two from the Star League coalition force. The special abilities section provide some A Time of War abilities except for the ComGuard commander. Nothing special to write home about as the special abilities are safe selections.
The combatants section contains a scant 7 unit profiles. This battle was a focused fight that hopefully trades quantity for quality. Each force lists the commanding officer, experience, RAT table, an optional unit ability, and some fluff notes.
The game abilities are a pleasant mix of one-off custom designed abilities and stock abilities from Tac Ops. Best ability goes to the Third Davion Guards who get a gunnery bonus when everyone in their command is making top speed.
The combatants section is very good though short (not the fault of writing, just a fact of the campaign) and throws together some good unique abilities which I prefer over reuse of existing Tac Ops rules. Not that Tac Ops rules are bad. There are a few in Luzerne. Moderation is key which Luzerne does well.
Ah my favorite part of the Turning Points series! Luzerne presents 8 tracks, on par with previous releases if a little low. Perhaps Mallory’s World has spoiled me. We can’t expect double digit track totals in every Turning Point PDF.
Luzerne starts off slow with a few tracks that are variations on the standard stand-up fight and breakthrough. The first track contains no special rules, the second has opposed objectives resulting in an all or nothing proposition for both players. The third is a stock stand-up fight with combat drops and uninteresting “kill the other guy” objectives.
Luckily things pick up steam with Cat and Mouse, a supply raid with a very well done Honor mechanic that keeps things interesting. Other tracks contain some notable special rules including command centers. Not all is well as the optional rules for Hammer and Anvil are very poor and provide little to the track.
In the end Luzerne is a mixed bag. There are some really great tracks in Luzerne but also some head scratchers.
Perhaps I’m being too hard. Even the best laid out campaigns are sure to have a few historical moments that can only be captured by a formulaic modification of a stand up fight. Still I felt Luzerne could have done more and missed opportunities to shake things up.
Only two record sheets are provided for players to spice up their tracks. The Jaguars get a Cauldron-Born with a clever combination of hole punchers and crit seekers. The spheroid force gets a Grasshopper loaded with Clan lasers. Both creations are skimpy on the heat sinks making them non-optimal but scary none the less.
The Final Word
Despite it’s short comings the Historical Turning Point series is well served by the Luzerne addition. For the low price of admission you are sure to find several hours of enjoyment. While not a barn burner of a PDF, Luzerne is a great PDF for a collector especially if you have a soft spot for the Clans. Luzerne adds to the ever growing range of back drops the Turning Points series has visited so be sure to take a look.Posted under Review