Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turn Five

Sergeant Wayne called to the rest of his squad “fire everything you’ve got and keep it busy”. Then he calmly spoke to the gunner “take your time and hit it where it hurts”. The squad fired their heavy laser rifles in short controlled bursts. Most of the shots ricocheted of the building, but they succeeded in distracting the monster long enough for the gunner to take careful aim. His shot found a gap in the wall and struck the creature cleanly on the back. However, despite leaving a smoking scar where the beam burned through the creatures armour, it seemed unaffected.

The critters on the left then finally built up the nerve to advance and occupy the ruins vacated by the slinkers in front of them. From the security of that position, they fired another volley of grubs at squad Autry. None of the humans were injured by the grubs, but once again, they had to stop shooting to make sure they scraped away any grubs that did land on them before they could burrow under their clothing.

But sergeant Autry quickly got his men back up and shooting and they let loose another volley on the slinkers to their front.

The nearby brain bug floated into the ruins behind the critters and nudged them to keep shooting. Squad Autry was subsequently hit by another large cloud of grubs launched by the alien weapons.

Corporal Cooper reached down and selected yet another AP round for his missile launcher and his gunner fired once more at the big bug. Again, the heavy round did nothing but stun the creature. It roared once more and turned its head as if trying to work out what kept hitting it.

Meanwhile, squad Bogart kept falling back until they were behind squad Douglas. The bug that had attacked them lifted its head and looked around searching for a new target. Corporal Stewart launched another AP round at it, but it impacted on one of the walls and merely caused the creature to take cover again.

The slinkers in front of Clarke began shuffling about, but he fired a long burst at them. One more of them blew apart in a spray of ichor and the rest dropped to the ground again to stay out of the fire zone.

If anyone had been looking closely, they may have seen a brief shimmer of energy surround the brain bug on the right. The beast in front of it momentarily shook itself and then recommenced it slow march towards the line of soldiers. While the critters that were now securely behind the ruined building in front of Cagney began firing volleys of borer beetles at him and his men.

Corporal Grant fired yet another AP missile at the advancing beast, but once again, the round impacted in front of the creature and merely stunned it. Grant cursed whoever it was that had made the batch of missiles he had been issued with. The creature shook itself once more, turned towards Grant and took a few paces.

Gable did not see the monster approach as he was busy lining up the slashers. His twin machine gun fired with a loud clatter. Five of the creatures were shredded, but the rest simply huddled lower to the ground and screamed in defiance.

The critters continued firing at Cagney. A veritable hailstorm of beetles came flying over the walls forcing the men to drop behind its protection. Even then, one of them was hit cleanly in the head, but the bug was crushed as it hit his helmet. Cagney tried to get his men to raise their weapons again, but the storm of beetles was to thick and they could not be persuaded.

The slinkers in the centre could be seen moving about behind the large mound of rubble in front of Wayne and Gable. Lieutenant Robinson surveyed the scene. He determined that the bug in the centre of his position was still the greatest threat and quickly relayed that thought to sergeant Wayne. Then he tried once more to get hold of sergeant Bogart and see if he could get his men back into shape.

Wayne’s fusion gunner knelt down and took a deep breath. He pulled the trigger releasing a sustained pulse of energy that struck the monster just behind its head. the creature roared briefly and then dropped to the ground, a smouldering gash almost severing its head. It tried to rise again, but seemed unable to support its weight and it collapsed, still breathing, but seemingly disabled.

Now that they were behind squad Douglas and comparatively safe, Bogart was able to gain control of his men and settle them down. He had them check their ammo and begin to straighten themselves out.

Squad Douglas cautiously advanced toward the position vacated by Bogart. While some of the broods of bugs began to shuffle and sniff the air in preparation for attacking.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Turn Four

Squad Bogart levelled their rifles and fired another volley at the slinkers threatening squad Autry. While the sustained fire was obviously causing the slinkers to keep their heads down, the rubble provided too much protection to actually hurt them.

On the other flank, the brain bug began to use its influence to improve the cooperation and coordination of the aliens. Unknown, to the humans, the brain sent a psychic message to the slashers in front of it to prepare to launch their attack. Simultaneously, it commanded the critters behind the slashers to charge forward and fire at the humans to provide the distraction necessary to give the slashers the chance to pounce.

[Rules: the brain used its 2 actions to communicate with the slashers and critters. The slashers then attempted to remove their one suppression marker, failing on their first attempt, but succeeding on the second. The critters used one action to advance (10 inches after subtracting 2 to cross the ruined wall) and then fired at squad Wayne in the open.]

The strange weapons carried by the aliens fired a swarm of beetles at squad Wayne, catching them by surprise. Fortunately, the extra armour worn by the rangers was proof against the strange ammunition.

However, squad Cagney did not flinch. They continued firing at the slashers they knew to be lurking mere metres away from them in the ruins. As near as they could tell, the fire from the laser rifles was not hitting the slashers, but it did succeed in keeping them pinned for a few more precious minutes.

[Rules: In a two player game, the obvious thing to do at this point was have Cagney fire at the slashers that were now completely unsuppressed and well within charge range. However, as I was playing solo, I decided that on a d6 roll of 5 or 6, I would leave the slashers and activate some other human squad. as it happened, I rolled a one and so Cagney got to shoot. Once again they only managed to score a suppression, but that was enough to keep the slashers from charging.]

Yet, even the sustained laser fire was not enough to overcome the instincts of the slashers, particularly after they had been egged on by the nearby brain bug. The swarm shrugged of the effects of the shooting and leapt over the fallen walls and rubble heading straight towards squad Cagney.

Meanwhile, sergeant Wayne rallied his men and they quickly climbed the sandbag wall and took up firing positions behind it once again.

The critters that had raced towards his squad, then seemed to have lost their nerve, as they moved further from the brain bug, and reverted to the skulking and lurking that is their normal nature. They rushed into the ruined building that the slashers had just left. Feeling more secure amongst the protection of the rubble, they fired a hasty salvo of beetles at squad Cagney above them. Most of the ravenous beetle simply collided with the walls, but enough of them made it through gaps and over the walls to cause the soldiers to check their fire.

Corporal Gable still had his guns facing both the slashers and the critters and he pulled the trigger to unleash another sustained burst at the slashers that were now in open ground. This time, four of the creatures were mown down and the remainder were briefly stunned.

However, despite the growing casualties amongst the smaller bugs, they were doing their primary job of keeping the human defenders busy. As the soldiers manning the defensive line concentrated their fire on the nearby bugs, the big bug that had been slowly advancing continued to do so. It relentlessly approached the humans and was preparing to charge.

Corporal Grant was watching the beast as it steadily made its way along the road. he loaded another armour penetrating round in his gunner’s missile launcher and, as he tapped the gunner’s head to signify the weapon was ready, he muttered a silent prayer for divine guidance. With the beast now so large in the gunner’s sight, it was difficult to miss. The missile streaked towards the target, but once again only struck a glancing blow that momentarily caused the creature to halt.

The aliens were now very close to the defenders position and maintaining pressure all along the line. The brain bug in the centre skimmed forward and took shelter behind some ruins amongst the slinkers there. As it approached, it issued a psychic command to the beast nearby to spur it forward. Jolted into action by the command from the brain, the beast that had been lurking amongst the ruins, sprang up and galloped toward squad Bogart who were busy shooting at the slinkers.

But this bug too was in the sights of one of the missile teams. As it broke cover, corporal Stewart’s gunner fired an AP round at it. The round went wide and the beast continued charging.

[Rules: Stewart’s team were just over 12” away making the range die a d6. He rolls a d8 for quality and a d10 for the firepower of the AP round. The d6 scored a 5, but the other dice were a 1 and a 3 respectively indicating a miss. Only one of the firing die needed to beat the range die to cause suppression and prevent the bug from charging. because the bug had been activated by a transfer action from the brain, it still had its own activation available. It moved 10” in the previous turn (after shaking off one suppression marker) and was now only 2” from squad Bogart. Oh dear]

With a roar, the beast tensed ready to leap over the wall protecting Bogart and his men. Bogart saw the monster charging and was already yelling at his men to run. But they were not quick enough. With the momentum its bulk provided, the creature leapt over the first wall reached the second in a single bound. It immediately sprang over that wall and crashed into Bogart’s men just as they themselves were scrambling over it.

[Rules: it might be worth explaining the close assault rules here. In order to initiate a close assault, the attacker must have 2 actions available. ie it can not be suppressed. The attacker declares they are charging and must pass a confidence test. In this case, the alien needed to beat a 1 on a d10. The defender then must also pass a confidence test (beat a 2 on a d8 in this case) or automatically withdraw one combat move (1d6x2”). The defenders passed, but elected to voluntarily withdraw anyway. They rolled a 4 allowing them to withdraw 8” and just exit the rear of the building. At this point, the attacker has 3 options: Abort the assault, automatically occupy the vacated position, or try to charge anyway. The alien elected option 3 and therefore got to spend its 2 actions moving. Because they had withdrawn, the defenders lost the option to stand and shoot. The beast rolled a 6 and a 1 for its movement giving it a total of 14”. Subtracting 4 for having to cross the two walls meant it still had just enough speed to contact the retreating humans. In close combat, the beast attacks with a d8 and a d10, while the humans defend with a d8. In response, the humans also attack with a d8 and a d10 while the beast defends with a d10. However, the humans are unlikely to have the strength to actually injure the beast if they hit it. At the end of each round of combat, both sides (usually) test confidence again and may run away. The winner is left to regroup on the position. Each time a unit withdraws, it drops a confidence level and it becomes harder to get them to fight again.]

The creature crashed into the men and slashed its long talons wildly. One trooper was impaled and flung away in a heap. The men raised their bayonets to try to fend of the hulk, but they were unable to coordinate themselves. Instead, they turned and ran again. The beast briefly looked around for something to strike, sniffed at the wounded soldier and then withdrew into the rubble while it looked for a new target.

Meanwhile, the third missile team, commanded by corporal Cooper, rapidly reloaded an AP round and fired once again at the big bug immediately in front of them. Again, the round glanced off the creature.

The brood of slinkers in front of Cooper began moving again as if they were ready to charge. Corporal Clarke tried to dissuade them off this and turned his heavy machine guns on them, but it did not seem to have much effect.

[Rules: I have to interject here as this may be crucial. The twin heavy machine gun rolls a d8 and 3d10 for firepower against a range die (shifted up for concealment) of a d6. The aliens rolled a 5 on their d6, while the shooting dice rolled 3 fours and a five – no effect. At this point, the slinkers are therefor no longer suppressed, having used their activation to recover, and a brain is potentially close enough to activate them again and send them forward.]

The third brain bug floated forward and its proximity was all the added incentive the slinkers needed to make their move. The jumped from their hiding places and raced straight towards squad Autry. However, the fire from Clarke’s FSV caused just enough hesitation for Autry to turn his men and loose a hasty volley at the slinkers as they rose up. Instead of running headlong straight towards Autry, the bugs crept slowly trying to stay low and out of the line of fire.

[That is, they rolled a 2 and a 1 for their movement]

That only gave Autry and his men the time they needed to steady themselves and improve their aim. They fired another volley and killed two of the slinkers, but did not force them back.

The critters behind the slinkers could be seen to shuffle around, but remarkably, they did not move forward to follow their kin.

Sergent Flynn watched as Bogart’s men ran from the beast to his right. But he could also see the position on his left was at risk too. He yelled at Autry’s men to keep the pressure on the slinkers and squash them with their rifle fire. Another controlled volley tore into the slinkers and another two of them fell dead, but still they held their ground.

The beast nearby roared again, but still appeared slightly dazed and did not move.

Lieutenant Robinson tried to contact sergeant Bogart and restore some degree of control. However, Bogart was having trouble getting his men to listen to him and they remained on the verge of panic. Instead, Robinson radioed sergeant Wayne to get him to deal with the beast in their midst. The veteran rangers, as cool as ever, reacted quickly and turned on the beast. The fusion gunner aimed his weapon, but the beam was deflected by the rubble hiding the creature.

Turn Three

The critters on the right skittered into the protection of the ruined building, presumably in order to creep towards squad Cagney and support the slashers already in the ruins.

Meanwhile, the fusion gunner in squad Wayne lined up his weapon and took a second shot at the rearing big bug in front of him. He timed his shot to perfection and hit the weaker underside of the beast with a concentrated beam that bored right through it. As it fell to the ground, sergeant Wayne shouted to the rest of the squad to withdraw back behind the defensive wall.

The big bug on the left, facing squad Autry, also reared up and seemed to shake itself as if preparing to charge again. But, as it did so, corporal Cooper fired another round at it. The missile exploded against the thick armour on the beast’s shoulder, tearing a large chunk of chitin from its body. But he was not as luck as the fusion gunner and the beast remained upright, seemingly unhurt.

The swarm of slinkers advancing up the centre raced forward into the ruins dircetly infront of squad Wayne. From his vantage point at the top of the shrine. Lieutenant Robinson saw the slinkers advance and radioed Wayne to warn him. Rather than simply turning to run, the ranger squad turned their guns on the emerging slinkers and fired a volley at them as they steadily stepped back towards the protection of the sandbag wall. The big bug to the rear of the slinkers also began moving forward and reached the cover of the ruins sheltering the slinkers.

Squad Autry continued to fire on the bug in front of them, but even the plasma rifle did little more than irritate the creature.

Behind the alien line, the brain bugs began to advance. First the brain on the left floated towards the critters that were creeping along the road. They seemed to jump as it approached them and leapt forward firing a hasty volley from their strange weapons as they did so. A stream of grub like things burst from their cone shaped guns and sprayed the walls around squad Autry. Fortunately, despite the enormous number of grubs that were launched, no one was injured, but the men did stop firing and began checking themselves to make sure there were no grubs attached to them.

Fortunately, corporal Clarke already had his heavy machine guns pointed in that direction and only had to make a slight adjustment to fire a long burst at the critters. Four of them were shredded by the heavy calibre rounds and the remainder fled to the safety of the nearby ruins.

The slinkers that were already hiding in those ruins shuffled about as the critters pushed through them, but remained close to the ground to avoid the attention of Clarke’s heavy guns.

Squad Bogart now turned from the bug to their left and began firing at the slinkers to their right to cover the withdrawal of squad Wayne.

Another brain bug drifted forward towards the big bug and slinkers hiding in the ruins in the centre of the battlefield.

Platoon sergeant Flynn noticed that squad Autry had stopped firing and could see them patting themselves looking for grubs. He shouted to sergeant Bogart to have his squad fire at the slinkers in front of Autry to make sure they did not use the lull to launch an attack. He then yelled at squad Autry, ordering them to ‘get back on the line’.

The remaining big bug, on the right, marched slowly down the road towards the imperial line, all but ignored by the imperial soldiers who were already engaging nearer targets.

Squad Cagney maintained their fire on the slashers to their immediate front, but their fire was having little effect. The slashers could be seen leaping and bouncing behind the rubble ready to spring at any moment.

Corporal Gable was working his guns across the line of aliens in front of him. He fired a long burst at the slashers and caught one as it emerged from the rubble, vaporising it.

The third brain bug reached the protection of the ruins behind the slashers and critter.

Corporal Grant fired his missile at the big bug that was slowly moving down the road toward him. Once again, the thick hide deflected the missile, causing nothing more than a flinch. Corporal Stewart’s gunner fired at the big bug in the centre, but this round also simply bounced off its hide.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Turn Two

Ignoring the weak fire from squad Cagney, the brood of slashers continued to leap over the ruins and approach the Imperial defenders. Cagney’s men kept firing, but the bugs were just too good at using the ruins as cover.

While the soldiers defending the line were distracted by the advancing hordes, a big bug began its charge straight down the road towards squad Autry while a second big bug advanced more cautiously towards the centre of the Imperial line. Just in time, Autry noticed the charging bug and had his men turn their firepower on it causing it to flinch and slow. Sergeant Flynn also caught sight of it and quickly shouted to corporal Cooper to stop withdrawing and set up his missile launcher again.

Cooper and his gunner raced back to the sand bag defences and set up their launcher. However, they were too hasty and their shot went wild.

Another big bug also then raced forward between the two broods of slinkers. Fortunately, squad Bogart immediately opened fire and corporal Stewart fired his missile at the beast, but the round landed short throwing up a cloud of debris. All this firepower was all sufficient to deter the beast from continuing.

A fourth big bug followed up, again more cautiously. Corporal Grant fired his missile at this beast, but the shot went very wide.

[Rules; Two of the big bugs rolled 11 for their movement (2 actions each 1d6) and so raced forward 22 inches. Almost to the Imperial line. The missile team closest to one of them (Coopers) was activated by sgt Flynn and turned back to the sand bags. Then using its own activation, it fired at only 8” using a d8 and d10 against a range die of d4. While the range die only resulted in a 3, the shooting dice both rolled a one and hence missed. The shooting at these two bugs was similarly appalling for the whole turn.]

With the Imperial soldiers busy reacting to the arrival of the four big bugs, the smaller critters and slinkers were able to shake off the effects from previous fire. One brood of critters moved from the far building to follow up the slashers.

Corporal Clark turned his heavy machine guns on the bug in front of him and let loose a long burst that seemed to have no effect. Corporal Gable responded in the same way and fired at the bug to the left of his tank.

Lieutenant Robinson watched in horror as the two bugs raced towards his men, but as the concentrated firepower slowed and then stopped them, he saw there was only a brief moment in which his men had to react to deal with the threat or the bugs would quickly recover and leap the remaining few metres and tear his men to pieces. He called sergeant Wayne and ordered him forward with his heavy weapon team to engage the nearest bug. He then ordered sergeant Autry to have his plasma gunner concentrate on the bug to their front and fire a sustained burst.

As he looked up at the battlefield again, Robinson saw Wayne and his men leap their sand bag wall and sprint towards the bug. The fusion gunner led the charge. They briefly halted at the corner of the ruins sheltering squad Bogart and then the fusion gunner stepped forward to virtually point blank range and fired. Unbelievably, the shot seemed to have no effect on the beast.

To make matters worse, three brain bugs slowly drifted from behind the protection of the distant ruins. Their influence was known spur on the smaller creatures and they could launch their own powerful psychic attacks.

The situation at the end of turn 2.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Turn One

The first alien force to advance was a brood of slashers that raced forward towards the ruins in front of squad Cagney. The soldiers of the Imperial Army commenced firing almost immediately, but had little effect at long range and the bugs successfully made it to the cover of the ruined building.

[Rules: the slashers are fast and so move 1d8x2” per action. In this case, they moved 20” using both actons and just made it to the edge of the ruins which provided concealment (a +ve range die shift). Cagney’s squad were firing at 25” or range band 4 for regular troops, which means the range die was a 10 shifted up to a 12 for concealment. Their firepower is 9 laser rifles at 1 rounded up to a d10, plus a plasma rifle at a d6. Both dice were shifted up due to the special ‘sustained fire’ rule which allows some weapons to be used over 2 actions to grant a +ve die shift. Their quality is regular: d8. The d12 roll was an unbeatable 11, so even though they rolled two 8s and a 4, the riflemen had no effect.]

On the imperial left flank, a brood of critters emerged from behind the distant buildings and darted forward seeking to similarly use the protection the ruins offered them. Squad Autry had used the few seconds warning they had to position themselves and so were able to fire a more controlled burst at the bugs downing two of them.

[Rules: the critters also spent 2 actions moving, but only at d6x2” per action. Yet they managed a very respectable 16”. The range was just on 24” so range band 3 shifted up once for a d10. The Imperials rolled a d12 and two d8s as above scoring 11, 8 and 5 while the aliens managed only a 4. This resulted in suppression and two possible hits. (if more than two shooting dice exceed the range dice then total ALL the shooting dice and divide that by the range die type: 24/ 10 = 2 hits with a 4/10 chance of a third.) The laser rifles have an impact value of d6 and the critters have an armour of d4 with a +2 shift for hard cover to d8. The rolls were 5 vs 2 and 5 vs 4 resulting in two kills. This forced a confidence test for suffering casualties, but the bugs passed, needing to beat a 3 on a d6.]

On the right flank another brood of critters slowly crept into the small ruined building at the far edge of the table, but remained hidden and so did not draw any fire.

Instead, in the centre, squad Bogart opened up on the critters on the far left, hitting them but they were too well protected by the cover to suffer any losses.

A brood of slinkers then raced forward almost reaching the ruins in the centre of the battlefield before corporal Clark turned the guns of his FSV on them. Two of the bugs were torn to pieces by the twin mounted heavy machine gun.

[Rules: slinkers are also ‘fast’ and therefore move d8x2” per action – in this case a total of 26”. The range was 19” or band 2 for a heavy weapon. The firepower of the twin HMG is 3d10 and the crew are the normal regular d8. So the FSV rolls 3d10 and a d8 against the range die of only a d6. This resulted in a total of 5 hits. With an impact of d8 against an armour of d6, the final result of only 2 actual kills was a poor result. The slinkers passed their confidence test for taking casualties and remained where they were.]

Another swarm of slinkers raced forward at almost the same time and using the first group to mask their initial movement, they almost reached squad Bogart. However, corporal Gable had just lined up his HMG on the initial swarm of slinkers and this second group appeared to him as nothing but the leading edge of that group as they emerged from behind them. His twin barrels roared to life and mowed down three of the slinkers.

[Rules: the slinkers managed to roll a double 8 for their movement and so raced 32” directly towards squad Bogart, stopping only about 4” short. The other FSV then fired as above, but managed 3 kills. Those slinkers also passed their initial confidence test]

Meanwhile, using the charging critters and smaller bugs as a distraction, four big bugs began their slow advance toward the Imperial lines.

Just as Gable’s burst of machine gun fire tore into the charging slinkers, corporal Cooper and his gunner fired a missile at almost point blank range, stunning but not wounding any of the bugs. Only a fraction of a second later, a second missile also hit them fired by corporal Grant. This was enough. As well as killing a fourth alien, the remainder recoiled from the onslaught and sought the safety of some nearby ruins.

[Rules: Missile launchers are heavy weapons. The first one was only about6” from the target who were in the open. Hence the range die was only a d4. The missile team have a quality of d8 and firepower of d12 when firing an AP round. However they only rolled a 12 and a 3 against the range die result of 4, thus only suppressing the target. The second missile, although at longer range, rolled even worse with only two 4s, but the range die only managed a 2 resulting in two hits. The impact of the AP round is d6 as is the armour of the slinkers. One roll managed to succeed and this was all that was necessary to force a confidence test. This time the d8 did not beat the necessary 3 and the slinkers fell back to the nearest cover with a total of 3 suppression markers.]

Squad Wayne turned their heavy laser rifles on the remaining mass of slinkers and poured a steady stream of fire into them causing them to balk and keep their heads down.

Meanwhile platoon sergeant Flynn assessed the situation and decided that although the initial attack seemed to have been blunted slightly, the nearby slinkers were still a huge threat. He tapped corporal Cooper on the shoulder and ordered him to withdraw further where he could fire at long range on the dug in slinkers without exposing himself to being overrun. He then turned and shouted to Bogart to concentrate his fire on the slinkers directly to his front.

[Rules: the platoon sergeant and platoon leader can use an action to attempt to (re-)activate a subordinate squad. This is the primary role of leaders in SG and represents the effect that their influence has on the performance of the squads. That is, it is not necessarily the case that the activated squad is doing more, just that they can be more effective if guided by their superior officers. In this case, the missile team was successfully reactivated, but squad Bogart was not.]

As corporal Cooper and his gunner grabbed their equipment and started moving back to another position, a missile streaked overhead and slammed into the area now occupied by the withdrawing slinkers.

From his position at the top of the shrine, lieutenant Robinson saw the initial rush of the alien hordes and the effect his men’s firepower was having on them. Only on his right flank was there a swarrn that seemed to be unaffected. He grabbed the radio and tried to call sergeant Cagney to make sure he was concentrating on the slashers to his front. The fire from Cagney’s squad seemed very poorly concentrated, but he got no reply. In frustration, he called sergeant Wayne to encourage him to hold his position and clear the slinkers away from their immediate front, while keeping an eye on the right in case the slashers made another rush. In this case, it was unnecessary. Squad Wayne were stoically and methodically firing at the slinkers and had them well and truly pinned.

[Rules: squad Cagney was not reactivated, but Squad Wayne was. The additional round of shooting that this enabled caused a third suppression marker to be placed on the nearest unit of slinkers, effectively pinning them for at least one turn.]

The scene at the end of turn one. Squad Cagney is out of shot to the right.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bugs - Intro

It has been weeks since the bugs arrived. All over the planet, infestations have taken hold. In some isolated places, these were rooted out, but the local defence forces are insufficient to completely eradicate the invaders. Now, known infestations are cordoned in an attempt to prevent them from spreading while the human inhabitants wait anxiously for help from the Empire.

However, time is on the bug’s side. Deep in their burrows, they breed or spawn or whatever they do to create more and more of the voracious creatures. If help does not arrive soon, the numbers will be overwhelming and humanity will lose another planet to the swarm.

In hundreds of locations, small forces of defenders surround known infestation sites and try to hold back the occasional foray. Whether these assaults are probing attacks looking for weaknesses in the defences or whether they are designed to wear down the spirit and patience of the defenders is anyone’s guess. The hive mind is inscrutable.

Lieutenant Robinson and his platoon occupy one such defensive position in what was the city of Camlan. Nothing much remains but the bombed out ruins of once glorious gothic style stone and marble buildings. The area immediately in front of their position has been cleared as best it can to provide lines of sight for the defenders.

“Here they come!” shouted one of the soldiers in the observation post. Lieutenant Robinson turned to see dark shapes in the distance moving as if tumbling over the ruins towards them.

“Signal stand to” he instructed his comms operator, but he knew it was unnecessary. The squad sergeants would already be rousing the men and getting them into position. He heard the engines of his two FSVs (fire support vehicles) start up. Their twin heavy machine guns were in fact the main defensive line, with the soldiers of his platoon there to prevent the tanks from being overrun. His other key weapon systems were the three missile teams. These were the only weapons he had that were capable of taking down the larger alien monsters, but they were slow to fire.

Lt Robinson established his command post in the ruined shrine building. As this was the tallest building in the area, this gave him an excellent overview of the battlefield.

On the left flank, sergeant Autry’s squad was deployed in a ruined medical facility that the soldiers had christened ‘the lab’. In the centre, sergeant Bogart’s squad was deployed in a ruined chapel and sergeant Cagney’s squad was deployed on the right in the old archive. The final rifle squad, led by sergeant Douglas, was deployed behind Bogart’s men in a prepared defensive position in the park in front of the shrine building.

Between Autry and Bogart, the first FSV, commanded by corporal Clarke, was parked behind a sand bag emplacement. The second FSV, commanded by corporal Gable, was in a similar position between Bogart and Cagney. Sergeant Wayne and his rangers were deployed with Gable’s FSV as a week point in the line were some ruins quite close to the centre position and the extra firepower of his squad’s heavy laser rifles would help to keep the bugs from occupying those ruins.

Two missile teams, led by corporals Cooper and Grant, were also deployed near the FSVs to use the same cleared fire lines. The third team, corporal Stewart’s, was held in depth with Douglas’s squad.

The platoon’s medic, a nurse named Betty who had joined them after the initial fighting, was also stationed with sergeant Douglas’s squad. Platoon sergeant Flynn was also in this central position from where he could intervene if necessary.

[Rule: both lieutenant Robinson and sergeant Flynn can exercise command and re-activate subordinate units. LT Robinson can activate any squad or tank (but not the missile teams) via radio, while SGT Flynn can activate squads within 6” (including the missile teams) or the tanks by using the intercom at the rear of the vehicle.]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Space Ships

Here are a few photos of some of my ships. I will try to add more over time and see if I can improve the lighting.

The Archeo-Tholian fleet.

The dreadnought.

The heavies.

A couple of Neo-Tholians.

The Tyranid hive ship.

Some medium Tyranids.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Star Trek Ships

I thought I would finally do some FT SSDs of the more typical Trek ships. First, a few words about the FT conversion.

I have a NSL fleet from GZG. I use this as my reference fleet for determining mass for ships from other ranges. Basically, I compare the size of the different models and pick a rough mass range.

For the Trek ships, I have used the models from ADB. I use the fleet scale ship diagrams to determine the weapon fit for the ships, adjusting size and arcs within the mass limit.

I use FT beams for Trek phasers and pulse torps for photon torps. Note, all my ships also have a couple of shuttles. These come free with the ship, like crew. They are not troop transports etc as described in he FT rules. They represent life pods, small interface craft, or a limited bording capability.

Here is the Federation Constitution Class Heavy Cruiser aka Enterprise.

The box with the "L" inside it represents the science lab facilities. Believe it or not, I do not have a painted, assembled cruiser.

I do, however, have a couple of related ships.

The "Strike Cruiser" is a minor variation made more for war than exploration.

The "new fast Cruiser" is another ship built for war. Specifically deep raiding.

Some smaller Federation ships.

For now, my enemy fleet only consists of Klingon F5 frigates.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seltorian Ships

Some more FT SSDs. This time for the arch-enemies of the Tholians: the Setorians. Note, as for many of the Trek ships, the class (FF, DN etc) is based on the Trek description, not the FT mass rating. I have opted to use the Kravak K-gun to represent the Seltorian particle cannon.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Revised Tholian Corvette

I have made a minor revision to the Tholian Corvette to keep its mass an even number in line with the current convention. Its total mass has dropped by one and I have removed one armour box.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tholian Ship Templates

These are some FT ship templates for the Archeo-Tholian ships from Star Trek. The 'D' weapons are disruptors. These follow the same rules for torpedoes except they do a fixed 2 points of damage per hit.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

First Battle of Nanath 2.1

Commodore Stilicho commanding Imperial Dreadnought Tethys.


On station with Hyperion orbitting Nanath 2.1.

Long range surveyors detect 3 unidentified vessels entering system Turning to investigate.

[17 minutes elapse]

Tethys to Fleet HQ.

Three Xenos strike craft line abreast on direct approach to Natath 2.1. Approaching intercept range in one minute. Will engage.

Designate targets one, two and three.

Tethys Actual to Hyperion. Hang back. We will engage and seek to disrup enemy formation.

Target xray three. Launch torpedoes as we close.

Torpedoes launched.

Hyperion has launched torpedoes.

Surveyors report plasma bolts launched from all three enemy vessels. Impact in three seconds.


Point defence systems did not engage.

Close range fire from all three xrays. Brace. Brace. Brace.

Sustained heavy damage on all decks.

One starboard lance battery is out.

Fire control systems are damaged. Minimal cogitator functions remain. We can only target one ship.

Warp drive is disabled.

Targeting surveyors report none of our torpedoes hit. Negative damage. Repeat negative damage.

Guns are scoring minor hits.

Xray one and two are slowing down. Xray three is maintaining course.

Signal Hyperion. Concentrate fire on xray three.

Helm, get us turned around. But stay clear of that close range fire.

Signal Hyperion. Maintain distance. We outgun them as long as we stay out of range of those close guns.

Fire another torpedo salvo before we are out of range.

Brace for Impact. Brace for impact. Plasma bolt inbound.

Plasma bolt succesfully intercepted.

Surveyors report significant damage to xray three. All torpedoes hit.

Xray three is venting ... something. It looks like it is severely damaged.

Hyperion is pursuing.

Xray one and two are turning towards Hyperion.

We are drifting too far away. Helm, get us back in this fight.

Xray three destroyed. Hyperion engaging xray two with long range lance fire.

Hyperion launching torpedoes.


Lance strike on target.

Xray two destroyed.

Xray one has launched another plasma bolt.

Hyperion reports minor damage to hull plating. Continuing on intercept course.

Three minutes until we are in range again.

Damage control reports we are venting atmosphere in multiple breaches. We have fires on many decks. Life support may be compromised.

We still have guns. We just need to get close enough to use them.

Hyperion continuing to engage xray one. Hyperion is taking hits on her hull. Damage minimal.

Another plasma bolt. Hyperion reports succesful intercetp. Minor damage.

Torpedo strike. Xray three badly damaged.

Hyperion reports all torpedoes expended. Maintaining distance and circling target.

Xray three is drifting. It looks like it has lost power.

We will be in range in 10 seconds.

Hyperion firing again. Major lance strike. Xray three is breaking up.

Firing now. Hit Hit Hit. Xray three is destroyed.

We are still loosing atmosphere.

Hyperion reports minimal structural damage. She is turning to assist.

Is the plot clear?

No targets remain. The plot is clear sir.

Signal abandon ship. All unecessary crew to escape in life pods. Signal Hyperion to collect survivors.

Volunteers will stay aboard to nurse us home.

Signal Fleet HQ, a tug would be appreciated.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Death Watch

We recently played a game to test the strengthened Space Marines against a horde of Tyranids. The aim was twofold: to test the marines and to give some of the mid-sized ‘nids a go.

The forces were:

A 5 man death watch team, comprising a Librarian, 2 marines with heavy bolters (suspensor variant) and 2 marines with boltguns and special ammunition. Each man was treated as a ‘squad’ for the purpose of activation and the Librarian acted as a leader and could transfer actions.

Facing them were 2 broods of genestealers, 4 tyrant guards and 6 lictors.

On the face of it, a very uneven battle.

The marines set up in a building in one corner of the table and the tyranids set up along the opposite long table edge.

I did not record the events in detail, but thought I would at least post a brief summary in case anyone is interested to see how it went.

I have made two versions of Space Marines in my conversion to SG. The first is simply human troops in power armour, just like normal power armoured troops in SG. The second takes into account some special rules associated with the marines and has rules for their genetic enhancements. This option is aimed at giving them capabilities similar to those found in the 40K novels. We used the latter option.

After the first turn, all of the tyranids had advanced, some to within assault range, but the nearby ones had all been suppressed by the fire from the marines. The game then consisted of attempts by the nids to assault whenever one of them was in a position to do so.

The marines consistently used their special rule ‘combat tactics’ to withdraw from the intended assault and thus continue to apply their firepower against the nids. A few of the tyranids did manage to close, but they were held off by the marine.

At the end of the game, the marine squad had dispatched all of the mid sized tyranids and was cleaning up the genestealers for the loss of only the Librarian in hand to hand combat with one of the lictors.

It should be noted that the tyranids had no ranged weapons with which to suppress the marines. This was an intentional decision to see if a small squad of marines could hold off a horde of bugs.

The Stats:

The boltguns were able to fire special ammunition. Each time they fired, the player could decide which was being used.

Dragon fire: FP d6, I d8, rapid fire, ignore cover and concealment

Kraken: FP d8, Id8, rapid fire

The heavy bolter had the following stats: FP 3d6 if moving or 3d8 if stationary, I d8.

The librarian also had the 'blood lance' psychic ability. This was treated like a ranged weapon, but with a variable range - 1d10 x 6". It fires along a single straight trajectory and any unit it hits is suppressed and takes a single impact d12 hit (against normal armour save) with no cover shift. Vehicles take a d12x2 hit against armour. Confidence tests are requied for casualties.

The rapid fire rule allows a squad that spends BOTH actions shooting a +1 die shift to their firepower.

The Marines also had the ‘combat tactics’ special rule. This allowed them to voluntarily withdraw from close combat without loss of confidence as long as they passed their initial test to stand. This allowed them to keep withdrawing from the tyranids and continue firing on them.

The marine genetic enhancements helped the marines to survive when they did get caught in hand to hand with the tyranids. As per the medical rules in SG, when a marine in power armour is wounded, a medical dice is rolled immediately to see the effect. 1 = dead, 2-4 = down and wounded. The Space marines roll a d10, instead of the normal d6 making them quite hard to kill.

The rules for the marines were based mainly on the standard stern guard rules and such a squad could be used for this scenario. The suspensor model heavy bolter is a variant published in white dwarf (and on GW's web page) specific to the deathwatch. It allows them to move and shoot. In SG terms, I allow standard heavy weapons to be fired by power armoured troops, but they must spend 2 actions to do so. The suspensor turns the heavy bolter from a heavy weapon to a support weapon and allows it to be fired using a single action, but with reduced firepower (3d6 instead of 3d8).


The Marines worked more or less as expected. However, I will tone down the combat tactics ability a little. In this game, we had the marines withdraw and their original position automatically occupied by the attacking bug. Instead, I will allow the bugs to roll their movement die and see if they can still contact the withdrawing marines. Additionally, the withdrawal will be treated as the activation of that marine (squad) so that they can not just keep evading indefinitely – numbers should count. And finally, they will not be allowed to withdraw in this manner if suppressed. In this game, the nids had no means to do this, but normally, an assault would be preceded by suppressive fire and that should count.