Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Orcs vs. Dragoons - Star Army Playtest

Well, I thought I had taken more photos (like the one of my initial table set-up), but apparently these few iffy photos are it. Anyways, here's the results of my first play through the 5150 Star Army rules using custom Orc and Dragoon lists.

I chose to do a standard Patrol mission for my first playtest, with a single squad of Orcs (6 Orcs with BA Assault Rifles, 1 w/LMG, and their NCO, Commander Nosh; all Rep 5) attempting to recon the far side of the board. The Orcs were contesting this area with an Investment Level of 3 (not that it did them much good), there was no Inclement Weather or Aerial Recon. Intel Level was 4, but it turned out that it was Bad Intel, not that that made a difference.

I generated three PEFs (Rep 3, two Rep 2) in table sections 1, 4, and 6. The Orcs won the first activation with a 6, but were unable to act apart from walking onto the table. The Rep 3 PEF was able to act and opted to move towards a Rep 2 PEF in section 4. After that there's some meandering around by the various PEFs until turn 3.

The prior turn the Rep 3 PEF decided to move into the woods in Section 9. I opted to resolve the PEF and sent one of my rifle Orcs in to poke at it. The Orcs begin to move into section 9 to see what the enemy PEF looks like. I pass 2d6 on the First Contact table, and thus the PEF is resolved normally. Enemy investment level is 3. I pass 1d6 for the PEF resolution, resulting in an Enemy Defensive Position. It calls for 2 squads and an asset in a Defensive position. Dragoons do not have assets as such (I'll make up my own assets at some point), and the Dragoons are fairly nasty, so I'm just allocating a full Dragoon squad with attached Medic/NCO.

The Dragoons (all Rep 4) take an In Sight test. They pass 2d6 and fire on the poor Orc. The Rapid-Fire Laser gunner scores an OOF result against the Orc, resolving that investigation.

The Orcs then take a Received Fire test and pass 2d6, opting to charge into Melee. The Orcs head into melee while the Dragoons fire upon their chargers. The orcs have two go OOF due to shooting, but continue on anyways, taking one Dragoon OOF; the Dragoons opt to go prone in place instead of running away.

Turn 4
The Orcs win the activation with a 5, and all remaining PEFs/NP units (having rolled a 1) will be able to activate this turn.

The Orcs opt to continue the melee, but first dispatch the OOF Dragoon in front of them, provoking a Man Down test from the other

Dragoons. The Dragoons opt to Carry On. The Dragoons win the melee by four and succeed in injuring Commander Nosh, but the innate toughness of the Orcs (Grath Recover from Knockdown) keeps them in the fight. A Man Down test is taken, but the Orcs opt to Carry On.

The Dragoon squad in the woods breaks off of the melee, provoking an In-Sight Test. The Orcs pass 2d6 and fire upon the Dragoons.

Nosh's BA SMG fails to hit anything. One Dragoon takes an AR round and goes down, but ultimately the Dragoons are successful in moving away, dragging the wounded man with them. They then proceed to open fire on the Orcs in cover. The Orcs are outgunned by the Dragoon Plasma guns, and after one Orc's tragic disintegration they proceed to Duck Back further into the trees.

The remaining PEFs move through cover.

Turn 5

I roll doubles for activation, and as a result Nosh's squad becomes the victim of Mortar Fire. The resulting barrage OOF'd and Killed the remainder of the Orc squad with Commander Nosh having to use his Cheat Death rule to survive 'til the next game (though as this was a playtest more than a campaign game, I wasn't too worried).

An interesting side-effect of the barrage was that half of the Dragoons were Stunned, and the remaining half were splatted everywhere. Here's a vote for reducing Blast circles while using 15mm figures; the 10" blast circle was absolutely disgusting.

Conclusion: I love the way Star Army flows, and all the extra stuff (Inclement Weather, Reinforcements, Insertions, etc...) really make the game shine. Melee is a bit of a crapshoot, but I'm mostly ok with how it turned out (+2d6 for using rifles as 2-handers is gonna be a no-go in my games though... I actually have figures with dedicated close-combat weapons, and an extra 2d6 just for using a rifle doesn't sit well with me). I look forward to trying Star Army out with multi-based figures.

Thoughts for the future:

*Be careful to execute tests in order and allocate fire before rolling. I find myself wanting to do unit vs. unit firing and its working against the individualized targeting.

*Orcs are pretty nasty (Carry On on a successful Recover from Knockdown test), but the Dragoons are absolute beasts with their Plasma Guns and HB armor. I need to make a note of what Assets Orcs and Dragoons can take. I think I'll make Brathairn a platoon asset and make another one an extra P-gunner or something along those lines.

*I failed to use the Non-Player tables. I was instead making tactical decisions for the Dragoons without realizing it.

*I will also probably reduce movement ranges; I'm happy with the actual weapon ranges on the 15mm tabletop.


  1. Great AAR! I look forward playing 5150:SA. I agree with you about the 2d6 bonus for using rifles.
    I made a 15mm measuring device and some counters on my blog :

  2. Just to be sure yo know. If the figure has a ranged weapon and a melee weapon he must spend one active turn switching weapons. He cannot fire at a charger then count as having a melee weapon. Nice Bat Rep