29 June 2015

StarDust: Ground AAR - Debut of the Robot Army!

Fellow gamer Mark came over on Sunday afternoon to check out SD:G. It's been a few months since I've played it and have been eager to give the robot army a play test so this would be a good opportunity to dust off the home-brew and throw dice.

I decorated the table and put two forces together. Mark would be using the well-tested Red Guard humans.

We split the table diagonally and we each had to deploy 12" back from the center line.

The forces after deployment. Most of my stuff was on the right, concealed behind the large hill. With unlimited range on most weapons, safe spots are hard to come by. Mark was deployed a bit more spread out and had a few infantry squads between the lake and small hill in the far left corner.

Right out of the gates, the Catapult rocket tanks smash a squad of SuperBots. Of all the rotten luck! I no longer have a left flank.

In an effort to redress the situation, my BigBots climb the hill and fire their railguns and the artillery tanks. One shot misses, the other merely rattles the crew. Oh come on!

The Red Guard's grav tanks scoot around the hill and fire their plasma guns at one of my BigBots. The shots are ineffective.

Much of my robotic horde ambles around the hill.

A rocket streaks toward one of the grav tanks but doesn't cause any real damage.

The grav tanks again try to find a flank on the giant metal beasts. Pin markers are starting to pile up on one of them!

The swift-moving HoverBots crest the hill and rake some meatbags with their rapid-fire weapons.

The return fire wipes out the HoverBots. God grief the biologicals are on fire today!

The BigBots continue to embarrass themselves and have to be constantly babysat by the RepairBot.

The HeavyHoverBots make it around the hill! Bwahahaha!

The Red Guard's Python smashes into one of the BigBots but fails to find a chink in its armor.

A broader view - my flanking maneuver is going well. My BigBots in the center (upper left of the pic) leave the Python and take up positions on the shore to fire at the grav tanks.

The RepairBot throws up a smoke screen in front of some WarBots on the hill.

The stupid Python just won't leave my big guys alone!

The humans have immobilized one of the HeavyHoverBots but the other three continue their reign of terror. The robotic infantry round the hill and prepare to eliminate the sniper and other humans below.

The Horseman grav tanks finally get their act together and destroy one of the BigBots. 

My second squad of SuperBots vaporize the sniper (who was tragically under-utilized).

The WarBots shoot up the last of the infantry stands that had turned the HeavyHover into a turret.

The 'Bots with the Heavy Blaster on the hill take out the God-forsaken turret. That turret had actually been giving me hell all game. I was quite happy to see it go away.

The HeavyHoverBots surround the rear-guard infantry and start blasting away.

My last BigBot embarrasses itself again, not harming a Horseman.

A rocket finally connects and immobilizes the Python! Miracle of miracles!

The HeavyHovers get around the flanks of the Catapults and immobilize one - USELESS! The infantry at the front of the hill completely rallied with the help of the platoon leader.

The RepairBot puts on its big-boy pants and engages a Horseman in close assault, but fails to damage the grav tank.

Meanwhile a HeavyHoverBot is taken down by assaulting Red Guard infantry!

The RepairBot, still feeling good about itself, smashes into the immobilized Python, but again has problems getting through the enemy's armor.

In the center of the battlefield, my last BigBot is taken down in close assault! Tragedy!

The battle was over. Very over. I had a RepairBot and one squad of WarBots remaining (blue circles) while the Red Guard still had a fully functional rocket tank, a grav tank and plenty of infantry.

That was a really fun game. I've got to say, I'm still thrilled with StarDust: Ground. I know I'm biased, but the game is solid and "just works." Mark was very positive too - he really seemed to like it as well. We both had absolutely MISERABLE rolls on the vehicle damage chart - only two "destroyed" results all game - the other vehicles that were destroyed were due to accrued pin markers, not explosions. I nearly choked on my gum when Mark wiped out my SuperBots right off the bat with the rocket barrage - Veteran infantry just does not die that quickly in SD:G!

The Robot army is awesome. It's got a much different feel to it compared to the other two armies that have been used primarily during playtesting - the Red Guard and the Dogs. The infantry is a slow-moving "zombie horde," but they've also got the very fast hover units that were a heck of a lot of fun to run up the flank and through the backfield. I'm very happy with their force composition and how they work.

I did find a couple of minor issues - the Repair bots need a rule edit and I'm going to make a minor change to vehicle Close Combat. I also need to make the HeavyHoverBots a bit weaker - they held up to a withering hail of fire. We weakened them on the fly, but I need to commit the changes to the rules. Beyond that, there were no real issues.

I'll have these rules "finished" one of these days and available for you to use - I just want to get in a few more playtests, especially with the Robots, before I put any sort of "complete" indicator on 'em.

27 June 2015

AAR - Firestorm Armada - Tarakians v Terrans

At last Ziggy and I got to put out Firestorm Armada ships on the table Saturday afternoon for our first game of FSA! I used my Tarakians (the only ships I have) and Ziggy used his Terrans. Technically they're allies, but the Terran governor in this sector was getting mouthy so we sent a patrol out to do the speaking for us.

Our fleets were 610 (me) and 620 (him) points. The only upgrade I took was extra SRS wings and 6 wings (2 Int and 4 Bmb), while Zig only took free Nuke upgrades where available. Since neither of us had played FSA this game was to be as much about us getting used to employing our ships properly as anything else.

Our battle zone. Lots of asteroids and two gas clouds. There is also a comet waiting to appear.

Zig wins initiative and moves his destroyers forward. They have no targets.

The Rulak cruisers slide forward and unleash the power of their gravitational weapons on one of the destroyers. It explodes in the blink of an eye. The Terran commander takes a deep breath.

Shortly, the Tarl-class frigates swing to their left and unleash a volley with their gravitational weapons at another destroyer, damaging it severely.

The Terran frigates get a bit of revenge and blow up a Tarl.

Turn 2 begins with a bang, as the Terran battleship hits another Tarl with its nuclear fore weapons, exploding it - the explosion destroys another and damages a third!

The remaining two Tarls muster a solid shot at the damaged destroyer, breaking it apart.

Their destruction is joined by the Rulaks which finish off the destroyer squadron!

On turn three, I pushed my Ganak forward to get some powerful gun and grav-weapon shots. I was out-of-arc with the grav gun but smashed two frigates and crippled two cruisers. A wing of bombers failed to make an impression on the Apollo.

The Rulaks turn their attention towards the wounded cruisers and again unleash another devastating volley with their grav weapons, destroying two of the Hemes-class ships! 

The last of the Hermes pulled around the asteroids for a shot at the Tarakian cruisers, but was then attacked by the last Tarl. The vengeful crew crippled the Terran cruiser with one mighty shot of its gravitational weapon!

The Terran frigates snipe my last frigate. Oh well, they performed admirably!

To start turn 4, the Apollo swang around and unleashed a hail of torpedoes and nuclear shells at my cruiser squadron. The two closest cruisers were damaged quite seriously and the rear ship was damaged a bit less.

The Rulak squadron closed and returned fire, causing a critical hit! Their torpedoes were ineffective.

Captain Zig consults the rules. You can see that the comet finally decided to arrive!

A miraculous long-range snipe by the frigates results in a destroyed cruiser! Crikees!

My Ganak gets into to prime shooting position and blasts the Apollo, taking it to half its original hull points.

We called the game there. The Tarakians were in the catbird seat and things were looking bad for the Terrans. I think the score was 7 to 1 in favor of the Tarakians.

Enjoyable! As similar as the game is to Dystopian Wars, it is different enough to be a solid change. The varying range bands and preferred ranges do make things a bit less predictable. Although we avoided the terrain, simply having a lot of terrain made maneuver important. Because torpedoes and grav weapons effectively ignore terrain, it wasn't a huge deal, but it will be in the future, I'm sure.

Grav Weapons are just nasty and Zig has something new to hate. His Nukes were pretty effective and I imagine I'll be seeing more of them too! On the whole, I was very happy with the way the Tarakians held up, although Ziggy has now seen the breadth and depth of their fleet. On the other hand, Terrans and their ilk have a lot of options and looks, so although Z has a lot of toys to figure out, I have a lot of toys to account for. I do have some reinforcements on the way as we build up our fleets.

Zig realized quickly his mistakes with the destroyers and frigates - their long-range sniping power was not fully realized this game and I'm sure he won't repeat that.

My dice, especially when rolling attacks with the grav weapons, were ridiculously good. Sixes and sixes and sixes - it was unbelievable. Combined with their ability to ignore shields, it made for a miserable afternoon for the Terran ships. Interestingly, when I'd follow-up with a torpedo attack, it was all ones and twos. My bombers made a beautiful attack run at the Apollo but hit on ONE out of TWELVE attack dice! Truly abysmal.

Looking forward to another game some time soon. Good Gaming!

24 June 2015

Recenlty Painted - More Micro Armor (Jobs Done!)

I finished up the last nine stands of infantry for my WW2 project yesterday. Now I need to find some time to play! I think Zig and I'll be trying out FSA Saturday, so these guys probably won't get blooded for a few weeks at least.

This lot finishes off the Canadian contingent. There's a mortar, HMG section, command stands, and an engineer in there.

Next up are some very old Games Workshop Space Marine (Epic) minis that I got from James a few weeks ago at Rapier. They'll be worked into three armies for StarDust: Ground. I have Space Marines, Space Orks and Squats. I always envisaged SDG as a multi-scale game and these guys give me the opportunity to test the system out for 6mm. Sure, I could have used my moderns or even the WW2 guys above, but where's the fun in that?