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For the rest of the players, I'd like to do an 'after action report'. Not to point out 'you screwed up' moments, but instead to point out things that went right, went wrong, and why.
1) Initial Approach : The first original plan was, per the posts, for everyone to wait for an initial scout and then everyone else close in after that scout. (This is prior to any agreements or anything else).
This plan was not a bad plan, but there are several things that went wrong. Part of it was bad dice rolls (both bad ones on the PC side and good ones on the NPC side). There's nothing to do about that, so we'll skip past it.
At that point there were two options, (A) everyone rush in with Whip, or (B) what happened. Neither A nor B were wrong. Rushing in would have had the NPCs on the defensive, and there plans would have been easier to divine (as there would have been documents and drawings out, instead of being in boxes). The fight wouldn't have been that bad, if everyone had rushed in. EDIT : Note, the human gunmen wouldn't have been there either, as Skull was keeping things to a minimum while prepping.
2) Breaking the Agreement : Once the agreement was made, there were several options. (A) Observe from a distance. (B) Keep the Agreement (C) Attack anyway.
A) Wasn't done, but could have been. You had enough people to watch from a safe distance with zoom lenses or binoculars. It wasn't perfect, however, and they may have had a way out (which they did) that you couldn't see. All in all, this would have been the least optimum.
B) The group had no way of knowing they would keep their agreement for sure, although I did give the Mercenary character checks and she knew they were professional mercenaries, so at the very least, there was some information to base this on. This was the 'middle of the road' approach. It would have turned out well, as they would have kept the bargain, but it was iffier.
C) This was the safest route, and the original plan (as posted to the GM) was to basically swarm the place and attack. This was what tactics rolls were based off of (when I told the tactics person the plan was sound). The NPCs would have had a couple of actions to finish moving the last of their stuff out of the base. Waiting another day would have seen them all gone to a new hideout.
However, rather than 'swarm the place' the group played it extremely cautious. Not a surprise perhaps, but it means the GM was giving 'green light' on tactics rolls based on what was stated as the plan, and not what was actually done. This allowed Celerity to basically disrupt the PCs for an entire turn, giving Snowjob and the Wing Girl a whole turn and almost another turn to finish up inside.
There were many options for going in, and using the doors is rarely a good idea, especially when you have two characters who can go desolid, and 3 who can smash things pretty well (one way better than the other two). Between Celerity's ability to sense Rocket (Which was revealed to Whip during her talk with Skull, although she didn't notice it), and Vi's mind scan of the building (Which Skull, with Mental Defense, could sense), the team revealed themselves and gave the bad guys warning (so they had even more time). Knowing Celerity could sense Rocket without seeing him (I count at least one person seeing it in character as 'knowing'), Rocket should have waited 10 klicks away and ran in after Pulse sent a message, ensuring as much surprise as possible.
The defenses on the doors were put in place after the first visit, so if the group had attacked later that day, or on the original pass, the doors wouldn't have been boobytrapped. Giving the bad guys time to entrench, and then attacking, and doing so very hesitantly and splitting forces, was basically the worst possible thing to do.
If you'd kept your forces together and went in through the roof, or, charged in simultaneously (with the desolid people going through first to warn of issues), then that would have been the best strategy. By playing cautious, you let the NPCs dictate the fight, which is why it seemed so hard, they had all the time in the world to get in position, ready actions to attack, and get the incriminating evidence out of the place.
TO BE CONTINUED (Please ask questions, give feedback, etc).