Thursday, December 29, 2011

Battle at Starport Omega (Blasters & Bulkheads)

Had a chance to try out the Blaster & Bulkhead rules yesterday, after getting some paper terrain (Micro Tactix's Starport Omega) made last week and statting up some Star Wars characters and henchmen after Christmas. Statting everyone up was rather straightforward, although I'll need to think if there's any real difference between say an Old Republic soldier and a Rebel trooper and a New Republic soldier (probably not). I still have more to do, but will be doing that in an Excel spreadsheet rather than by hand, albeit not a spreadsheet that calculates things automatically, just one that will be neater than my handwriting!

I played out Scenario One from the rulebook, a simple three turn stand up fight. I didn't use any Jedi or Sith, just to keep things simple while I learned the rules, and things like grenades, vehicles, and mounts are for another day.

I made one miscalculation during set-up, since I don't currently have space for my larger terrain mat, I used a 3'x3' mat instead of the 4'x4' recommended for larger figures (I'm using the collectible pre-paints). However, I didn't then reduce the point totals by 25% to account for the smaller space, and the table was pretty crowded. The battle ended up being a bit of a bloodbath, rather than seeing much maneuver or brilliant generalship.

I also made a couple of slips during gameplay, usually forgetting to give a side their Attack or Defense re-rolls, but I think it balanced out. There may have been other rules I didn't catch here or there, but it went pretty smoothly for a first game.

The scenario had a force of Rebels, led by Han Solo, Chewbacca, and two NCO's, square off against an Imperial detachment under an Imperial field office, stormtrooper officer, and stormtrooper NCO. The rebels had four squads of five henchmen, one with a heavy repeating blaster, the Imperials had three stormtrooper squads, two squads of naval troops, and a scout trooper squad (all of five). One Stormtrooper squad had a missile launcher.

Both sides were basically out to inflict as much damage as possible, although I had tasked Han and Chewie to get into the starport office and up to the balcony, to get a height advantage on the Imperials. One squad of naval troops was assigned to get into a hangar and surprise the rebels from in there. We'll see how those two tactics faired...

Anyway, here are some pics:

The table at game start. While most of the terrain is Micro Tactix, the crates are from Worldworks. The vegetation is Xmas trees converted for warmer weather, fake grass mats, and some homemade stuff using aquarium plants. I also had three civilians around the shuttle in the middle, and another two in the starport office (middle left building), and I'd control them randomly (basically, they'd either run away or drop prone, maybe to crawl away later).

The rebels are to the bottom, the Imperials at the top.

A close-up of our heroes as the game began. The squad with them was supposed to provide cover as they charged towards the offices, then get out of the way and let the HW squad own the firing lane. We'll see how that worked...

A close-up of the Imperials, the naval troops in a line across the back were assigned to get in through a back door in the hangar and come out the front, surprising the rebels. We'll see how that turned out...

The end of Turn 1. Han and Chewie, with their squad, are charging towards the office door. The Imperial HW squad was blown away, except for the guy with the missile. They'll pay for missing him... The rebel NCO on the right (behind the beacon, in a brown uni) also single-handedly took out a squad of stormtroopers, leaving the Imperial field officer all by his lonesome (in white jacket, to right of hangar). The other rebel NCO, hiding behind the crate by the shuttle, took some damage from the other naval trooper squad, however. He would get his revenge.

Meanwhile, behind the other hangar, a Mexican stand-off was developing.

Big hole here for the Imperials, with most of a squad gone, the office, NCO, and second squad are rushing up to fill the game. The second naval squad is also taking some hits.

End of Turn 2. We have a Wookie down! The lone HW team member still had the missile launcher, which he fired and managed to not do any damage to the rebel squad he was aiming at. However, both Han and Chewbacca were in the blast radius, and took the max. 2 hits. The other stormtroopers then pummelled them with blaster fire, not doing any more damage to Han, but KO'ing Chewie. For cinematic reasons of course he had to live, but he ain't going anywhere at the moment.

The rebel squad on the far right also took damage, losing three team members behind the hangar. With things in a bit of a mess, and their firing lane not clear, I decided to bring out the rebel's HW squad, coming up behind one of the NCO's to offer some support.

You can see more clearly here that the naval squad that ran through the hangar sprang their surprise...but without a real target. For simplicity's sake I removed the hangar once the Imps opened all the doors, exposing the interior.

By the way, the civilians lying down are just prone, not dead, although the one near the beacon (green shirt) has taken 5 hits for his troubles (being too close to the rebel NCO behind the crate). He crawled out of the way this turn.

The dead pool after Turn 2. Looking good for the rebels so far...

The table at the end of Turn 3. Not sure who won. The rebels had the squad in front of the office wiped out, a second squad is down to one man, and Chewbacca's on the tarmac for the surviving stormtroopers to pick up. On the other hand, the naval squad in the hangar is toast, and the last surviving stormtrooper squad has lost a couple of its members.

And Han has made it into the office, and is about to get into the elevator to take him up to the second floor, giving him a nice shooting perch. The two civilians here are hiding under their desks.

The final dead pool. Twenty dead Imps, 12 dead rebels, plus a downed Wookie. Probably a very minor rebel victory in terms of points.

All in all it was a fun game, and I look forward to getting into it more for Star Wars, and maybe some of my other sci-fi projects (15mm Traveller/Firefly/Starship Troopers, 25mm Star Trek). I'm working on the character sheet spreadsheet and a QRS, there's a lot of page flipping going on right now. I had only a few questions about the rules that I'm going to ask on the Goalsystem mailing list.

In particular it was nice that B&B is already weighted towards Star Wars, there wasn't any heavy thinking to stat anybody up based on the movies (the original ones!) and literature.

Even though I have a few rulesets I'm happy with for pulp, retro sci-fi, and Victoriana, I think I may pick up the other Goalsystem rules for those eras.

Next up is a foot-bound version of Scenario 3, a running gun fight through a forest (don't have a vehicle to do the proper scenario). I'll try out grenades during it, then next up is a fight aboard a spaceship using Fat Dragon's Starship Tiles. For that I'll bring Luke the Jedi Apprentice out and try Force (Essence in the B&B rules) powers.

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