Saturday, August 27, 2011


Having given up on trying to write a company-level sci-fi game, I've come to the conclusion that there's very little reason to write a game for that level of play. You may as well just add some extra detail to a micro-armor game, like Dirtside II (which apart from having boring infantry is perfect). With all that being said, I plan on having a go at writing a Chain Reaction-based micro-armor game that will not only be used with 6mm figures, but 10mm and 15mm figures as well.

We'll see where I'm at at the end of September...

Star Army Playtest 2 - Space Stunties on Patrol

For my second playtest I opted to use my new Scrunts list with my Shinmeiche and put the little guys on Patrol. While in my previous game I had an NCO as my Star, this time I opted to make Team B's SAW gunner my Star, Brag Ironballs (love the name). I rolled up a fairly decent squad with Rep 5 Leaders and Rep 4 squaddies and the terrain was mostly clear apart from a jungle and a field at the far end, and a cluster of buildings in my starting zone (which were unfortunately very hostile). The weather was good, but apparently Shinmeiche Air Recon isn't what it once was, and they didn't bother to send me any. Blue Squad walked in with Bad Intel and immediately the shit hit the fan: My First Contact result yielded Unexpected Resistance (Nice job intel wizards!) and an additional 3 PEFs appeared on the table.

Turn 1
The two PEFs in section 4 activate, and the active PEFs trigger an In-Sight test from Team A, which is immediately resolved. One was fake, the other proved to be an Orc squad in a defensive position, Rep 4. The Shinmeiche take their In Sight test: Pass 2d6, they opt to fire, though only half of the team is able. The orcs receive 3 hits, one of which is their NCO. One orc is OOF, whereas the NCO and other target got splatted. The orcs then proceed to take their reaction tests, passing 1d6. The orcs, bloodthirsty and uncaring creatures that they are, opt to return fire with their messy weaponry, resulting in 5 hits, including the NCO.
The NCO and infantryman behind him are taken out of the fight, forcing a reaction test from the Team A: pass 1d6 forcing a Cohesion test. All pass 2d6, and the remaining figures act on the results of their Received Fire test, Ducking Back.

Section 7 Rep 6 PEF doesn't move, Section 8 PEF moves into LoS and proves to be nothing. Section 9 PEF is resolved in the open; the enemy passes 1d6 but receives no reinforcements. Section 7 PEF moves out of the palm forest.

Turn 2
The Orc squad in the defensive position becomes active. The middle section of the squad was cut down, so the remaining groups act separately, passing 1d6 and 2d6 respectively. They are on a Defend Mission. The right orc group fires on Team B. Two hits are inflicted on Team B, resulting in two Knock-Downs, one of which is Brag Ironballs. The infantryman is stunned, but Brag bounces right back up, ready to return fire. The rest of the team decides to Duck back into cover, but Brag decides to put a few parting shots into the Orcs with his SAW. He misses with all shots; the orcs take their test, pass 1d6 with the Rifle Orc opting to keep his head down and the LMGunner to return fire, scoring a hit on Brag and the NCO and causing KD tests on both, they Carry On and take a Received Fire test. Two hits are scored on the LMGunner and one on the Rifle Orc. The LMGunner is dead, forcing the Rifle Orc to take a reaction test; as he is thoroughly outgunned he Halts.

The bar then activates and fires upon the Shinmeiche, inflicting 3 hits, OOFing my Rocket Trooper and killing one infantrymen outright. All Carry On.

Team B activates and attempts to suppress the bar. The bar passes 1d6 on Rep 4, but 13 dice vs. its 4 Dice have succeeded in suppressing it. Team A activates and occupies the bar, concluding Turn 1.

Turn 3
Some PEF movement in the palm forest... nothing interesting there. The remaining Rifle Orc from last time opens up on my NCO and Brag, failing to hit anything. They return fire and he gets splatted. The other Orc group fires upon the bar. The structure is not suppressed.

Team B fast moves towards the shacks. They attempt to suppress one of them and are successful.

Team A in the bar opt to fire on the orc defensive position; 4 hits are scored. The orcs are smacked down but get right back up. I'm not really sure if the Orcs are outgunned or not (since FV isn't actually a proper weapon) but one of the guys in the bar has a mini-gun, so I decide that the Orcs pass 1d6 means they're ducking back behind cover for now.

Turn 4
Team B rushes out and gets shot by the Orcs. Brag takes an OOF, but uses his Star Power to stay in the fight, but he's now down to Star Power 4. The NCO gets hit 3 times and gets splatted. The squaddie next to the NCO opts to Carry On. Brag opts to fire back with two hits, and the infantryman also returns fire. Two hits are scored, OOFing one, but the Orcs then return fire, OOFing the infantryman and knocking Brag over again, who just gets back up and fires again. One Orc is killed and the other gets scared off by Brag's SAW.

The guys in the bar shoot at the Orc in cover again, ultimately to no result. The Orc in cover fires at Brag, who after getting knocked over shoots him in the face.

The shacks fire, putting the remaining non-Star of Team B out of the fight.

Turn 4
Rep 6 PEF in the palm forest doesn't do anything interesting, but Rep 4 PEF moves into view of the bar. It turns out to be nothing. The shacks fire again;

One shack and the bar are suppressed. Team A moves out of the bar.

Turn 5
Random Event triggered: Sniper targeting my mini-gunner; he's dead.

Brag attempts to suppress the shack. and is successful.

There are now two Rep 6 PEFs in the palm forest.

The shacks fire. Brag is stunned and now at Star Power 3; nother squaddie dies.

Turn 6
There's a new Orc squad in a defensive position just outside of the Palm Forest. Brag holds his fire, for the moment. The other PEF turned out to be another Orc squad. Deciding that the necessary resources just aren't there, the Shinmeiche decide to bail.

  • I want to get platoon-sized forces on the table; the bad guys keep getting the reinforcements whereas my luck has meant that I was stuck with what I started with. Also, I want more toys. Time to buy some more figures.
  • I'm not sure I'm actually taking the right tests... am I supposed to be taking a Received Fire test after a Carry On result?
  • As a general rule, instead of allocating dice as I want, my figures with multiple Target dice walk their fire back and forth amongst targets, ensuring that most figures will not receive more than two dice from a single figure.
  • I *love* the new 5150, it's perfect for individually-based fire combat. I just want to do some larger games.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I just don't even...

So tonight my wife picked up a clicky-turner ring from my Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction starter and described it as my "magic ring of dorkness". I'm not really sure how to feel at this point...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Painted Sons of Thunder - Shinmeiche Bronzo Company's 1st Platoon

I've just finished painting up an entire pack of Rebel Miniatures' Sons of Thunder (sculpted by Adam Gayford), and overall I'm fairly pleased. I intend to use them with the 5150 Scrunt list, and as a result had to convert some missing weapon options, namely the mini-gun and SAW. Since the Scrunt list uses 12-man squads I was able to get two squads out of the pack, but that didn't leave me with enough figures to add platoon assets or the platoon command team. That being said, two more packs from Mike and some support weapons from GZG or someone else should allow me to field a full company with all the trimmings. From now on I will be referring to these guys as the Shinmeiche, the dwarf guys in the Aetherverse rulebook; it just flows much better than Sons of Thunder and is less weird then saying Space Dwarf, Spwarf, Scrunt (they're not Bob Olley sculpts, so that would be rude), or anything else. Featured here are the Shinmeiche of Blue Squad (Red squad is pretty much identical, so I won't bother posting pics).

The Scrunt list splits squads into two 6-man fireteams; Team A contains the NCO (denoted by a red helm and shoulders), a rocket trooper, and 4 SMG-armed Shinmeiche.

Team B contains the Jr. NCO (a gesturing fellow with identical livery to the other squaddies), a mini-gun trooper, a SAW-armed trooper, and 3 SMG-armed Shinmeiche.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some WiP on Sons of Thunder support weapons

I'm trying to build a force for a 5150 SA version of the Scrunts using my Sons of Thunder (a purpose for them at last), but I needed SAWs and Mini-guns to complete the squad. As is, one pack makes a whole Scrunt platoon minus the command/platoon assets.

Crude work with paperclips, Orca Assault Warrior Mini-Guns, and some weapon swaps. They don't look completely terrible.

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.