More Alien Hunting

Over the last couple of weeks, including a pretty intense gaming weekend, our S.A.N.C.H.E.Z Alien game has seen a lot of action. A couple of new squads have set out on their (if they survive) 10-mission tours of duty, drawing tough assignments, kicking Alien ass, and receiving some much-needed enhancements.

There have been plenty of near-death experiences and nervy moments, and the games have provided a lot of fun. Some rules clarifications and simplifications have been applied and we’re pretty much there now with a finished game. The last addition was to include elevators, presenting a rather daunting challenge when you have to divide your squad to change floors in 2 groups!

All the playing bits and pieces are done too, although I do fancy painting up a couple more squads with different types of figures.

A bit of atmos:

 

Something nasty always seems to turn up just when you’re trying to activate a Tech point:

 

A smaller, early-tour, game underway:

 

What not to roll when you’re about to be mobbed (oh, and don’t stand in front of the flamethrower guy):

 

What definitely not to roll when you’re the rearguard and have a flamethrower:

 

Newly-added giant space radiators, courtesy of Jase:

 

This project has got me back to my 15mm Sci-fi generally, so I’ve been assembling some GZG vehicles for my next force for Sci-fi Rampant. Hopefully I can get something finished over the next few days/weeks.

 

 

 

Aliens-Style Game – 15mm Sci-fi

A few chats over a few beers with my mate Jase recently led to the idea for a new game. It’s a derivative of our dungeon crawl game, but this time in a near future/sci-fi setting, with Alien-esque baddies creeping up on our gallant little band.

It’s a much simpler game than the fantasy one, with fewer enemies, no complexities like magic, and less character progression. It’s more of a beer & pretzels game, focusing on a special forces squad undertaking perilous missions into overrun facilities. Get in, do some stuff, and get out again while taking as few casualties from the very sneaky, very vicious, aliens as possible. Like Space Hulk, but with smaller, cheaper components.

Naturally, apart from painting a handful of GZG and Pendraken figures, we scratchbuilt everything… Cork tiles, mdf doors and features,  equipment and other tokens, printed squad sheets, mission and layout cards, etc. It took about 4 weeks to get enough done to start playing, with each of us producing a share. Now we’re back-filling the missing bits so we each have a full set of everything.

We recently got together and played 5 games, all tense and challenging, but good fun too. Since then we’ve defined some more mission types and tweaked a couple of things based on what we learned from the initial games.

Like the dungeon game, its a 2.5D game in that it uses figures and some 3D scenic pieces, but there are no walls. The last thing I want from this type of game/project is fiddling around trying to reach and see the figures, let alone make dozens of feet of walls in all shapes and lengths.

Some more pics…

Escorting a xenologist through the complex so he can carry out a crucial bit of DNA collecting:

There are things to see and do…

A whole mission site set out – a fairly long way in, and then back out again.

A squad is made up of ‘characters’ and basic grunts. They get attributes, skills (characters only) and kit. Keeping track of ammo is important too of course.

Never be the rear gunner, even if you’ve got a flamethrower:

Covering all the angles:

A bit more to do to finish off my set, but it’s been a really enjoyable project and the game itself plays how we envisioned it.

 

 

 

Sci-fi Rampant – Sausages With Mustard Scenario

Last weekend Jase and I played one of the scenarios from Lion Rampant, using our 15mm sci-fi stuff. Jase brought his ‘dogmen’  force and I used my mercenaries, which included several new additions since the last game.

The mission is for one side (me, the defender) to protect a number of buildings/features in the centre of the table, while the enemy attempts to destroy them. We chose 36pt forces and played the game length-ways on a 4’x3′ table.

Noble mercenaries hurry towards the threatened facility:

The mortars are not technically necessary as on-table pieces, but are there to look good and represent the indirect fire capability of my advanced spotter team (a unit of Dragon Rampant ‘Scouts’ with a ‘Wizardling’ upgrade that gives them the ability to bring down a bombardment or smoke).

Soon-to-be-gnawed Scouts on the roof:

Mercenary HQ and combat teams:

Despicable dogmen (counting as Bellicose Foot with Armour upgrade) advance, with destruction on their minds:

They even brought some nasty mechs (counting as Elite Foot with ranged fire upgrade in this instance):

My little tank (counting as Heavy Riders with ‘Chariot’ and ‘Venomous’ upgrades) did sterling work taking the fight to the enemy, but was eventually overcome by fire and close assaults:

 

The game played out very well and it was touch and go at the end as to who would come out on top. Two buildings were already burning when I had a final chance to snatch victory by destroying one more unit of attackers, but I just couldn’t manage it. Jase kept his force together very well, and kept them focused on the mission. I managed to lure one or two units of impetuous dogmen away with my jetbikes (‘light riders’) but couldn’t do enough damage overall to force a retreat.

 

 

So, despite a desperate defence, the facility went up in smoke in the end. I’ll have to plan a revenge attack for the next game! Great fun, and we thought it looked good at this scale and size of game, and played very well.

 

 

Landing Pad

Having painted up the sci-fi buildings recently I decided something was still missing – a landing pad. There are one or two MDF models available but I thought I’d make my own instead.

So, a 6″ square piece of cork sheet, some card and a few stick-on bits and pieces, and voila…

It didn’t take very long to make, and will fit in well with my other scenery.

I can see some interesting scenarios being played out, with dramatic arrivals and escapes, and missions requiring the capture or destruction of the pad, etc.

Now I just need something to actually land on it. It’ll be back to the web for that one I think!

Some More Sci-fi Bits

Around the Christmas break (which was very pleasant, though short) I have managed to finish a few more bits towards my 15mm sci-fi project.

I was given a pair of 4Ground building kits for my birthday, and have managed to get them done within 2 months of receipt – which is good going in my book!

They’re very nice, and come with removable roofs. They were fairly fiddly for someone as impatient a model-maker as me, but nothing was permanently damaged in the assembly. I decided to tie them in a bit to my other sci-fi scenery by touching up the black edging with dark green.

A new scout squad (very old TTG Laserburn figs) is checking them out:

I have also done a few other pieces, including some containers and comms equipment. Here are a couple of recent vehicle additions. A Brigade Models jeep-type thing on the left, and a Ground Zero Games APC on the right.

I’ve painted some more figures too, but the basing isn’t done yet – so no pics.

 

Brigade Models Sci-fi Buildings

To help the Sci-fi Rampant project along I decided to add a few buildings to the scenery collection, as I suspected that just having the troops run about in the woods in the middle of nowhere could get a bit dull.

Brigade Models do some excellent sets, and their Research Base was exactly the sort of thing I was after. With their winter discount running at the moment, it was 15% off too, which was a bonus. I was determined to get cracking on it when it arrived, so that it didn’t just get moved quietly onto the to-do scenery pile in a few weeks when my interest wandered in other directions.

So, after a bit of a clean-up on the bottom of the pieces, and a black undercoat, I gave them a 3-tone dry brush from dark green up to light grey. They look a bit tie-died but work OK on both my green and winter terrain boards reasonably well.

There are some small containers to do, which are included in the set, but otherwise this lot are finished – within a week of ordering, which is pretty good going for me!

Some 15mm Sci-Fi Bits

I’m slowly coming back to this ‘period’, and am looking again at using the Dragon Rampant rules to provide a manageable, fun type of game.

While I’ve been pondering the rules, and avoiding painting any actual figures, I have managed to add a few bits of scenery that I was recently given by a generous soul. These will be general items to scatter around, or make part of the scenario as objectives or targets for destruction, etc.

These are MDF kits from Blotz. They’re easy to assemble and easier to paint. I tried to find a colour scheme that would go with both my terrain colours, and I think it’ll do.

 

Trying Dragon Rampant for Sci-Fi

I’ve been looking, on and off, for a set of platoon-level rules for 15mm Sci-fi gaming for some time. I’ve written a set or two of my own in that time, but never really hit the target for what I was after (or at least what I thought I was after). With Dragon Rampant and some terrain in front of me recently, it occurred to me to look at this as a possibility. I won’t be the first person to think of this, and there are probably already people out there doing excellent things converting this ruleset for Sci-fi!

I started off with an assumption that lots would need changing and only a few unit types and upgrades/special rules would be applicable. After thinking through this for a while I found that more and more could be retained without alteration, until I concluded that, for me at least, the rules could pretty much be used exactly as they are for Sci-fi. Even the spells available to Spellcasters – I reckon every one can be used as a command and control-type ability by a force commander. Other special rules can cover equipment, skill or high-tech upgrades for units and it’s then just a matter of fitting figures to troop types and coming up with a force. The rules for undead might not be that much use however.

HQ Squad (reduced figure ‘Light Foot’ unit including command vehicle):

Alternative HQ squad, with some Mech protection:

The key difference as I see it is that for my Sci-fi games most units would have a ranged fire capability, which would alter the feel (and possibly balance) of the standard game. Only having reasonably comparable human military forces in my collection, this is probably not too big a deal as any effects will even themselves out. I am toying with the idea of an increase to the the firing distances (and possibly movement too) that I’ve been using for Fantasy 15mm (where I’m simply halving all standard distances in the rules) to make shooting feel a bit more ‘realistic’ and long range.

Most units will be 6 man squads – reduced figure units in the rules, with 2 Strength Points each. This keeps the number of figures down and will help it look like more of a firefight skirmish than a clash of hand-to-hand mobs. Most will be Light or Heavy Missile troop types. Command squads will have the Spellcaster ability, or the lesser Wizardling ability for forces with lower capabilities/training, etc.

A ‘Light Riders’ unit, with 12 Strength Points:

From there it’s all very flexible. Mechs can be pretty much anything, from Greater Warbeasts to Elite Foot (optionally with the missile weapon upgrade), or Light Riders for scouting machines. There are chariot rules for vehicles, The ‘Wall of Spears’ rules for Light or Heavy Foot can represent personal force shields, and so on.

Armoured infantry (good old Laserburn Imperials), probably counting as ‘Light Missiles’ plus the effect of the Pavises rule from Lion Rampant to give them an armour upgrade:

A sneaky sniper in an elite squad – ‘Light Missiles’ with Sharpshooter upgrade:

Support squad as ‘Heavy Missiles’:

Game in progress:

I’m in the middle of this first game, just trying things out. Naturally it’s the same game as before, but just having the different type of figures in play makes it seem different. I’ll definitely want some raiding missions/scenarios and will probably try a few more playtests and report back.