Saturday, February 15, 2020

Rangers in Action

With some free time this morning, I decided to play around with my sci-fi skirmish rules. It also gave me a chance to try out my 6mm miniatures. I mapped out a cavern complex and sent my heroes through - dungeon crawl style.

Here they run into 3 mechanoids. Ace (bottom blue figure) smashed one with his rifle butt while Spades blasted the other two.

Then they ran into a space monster. It knocked down Ace but Spades blasted it.

And that's where I stopped. For the life of me, I just could not get good photos. I'm thinking that 6mm may be too small for skirmish action.

So I pulled out some 15mm figures I have lying around ( a very early blog post covered my purchase of these minis). Once again, Ace (left) and Spades (right) take on a space monster.

Our heroes blasted it repeatedly as it closed, to no effect. The monster attacked Spades and knocked her down.

As it tried to finish her off, a surprising turn of events occurred. Spades dodged, jumped up, and blasted it at point blank range. One of the shots penetrated the monster's thick armor, killing it!

In game terms, the monster hit but Spades scored a critical success on the pluck / survival roll. In such as case, I've been giving the defender a free counter-attack. Spades then scored a critical success on her counter. This forces the target to make 2 survival rolls. The monster passed the first but then failed the second!

Anyway, you can see that the photos are much better quality. I think that 15mm is the way to go.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Rangers Run for It

Although I initially said I was going to do a 15mm sci-fi project, I ended up ordering some 6mm from Khurasan. I spent some time over the weekend painting them, but could not wait for them to dry. I decided to run a quick scenario using wooden figures. In particular, I wanted to experiment with a Pluck roll akin to In Her Majesty's Name, as discussed earlier.

Game Report
Our heroes are investigating a derelict ship when a detachment of Imperial troopers board. Ace and "Spades" need to make it back to their docking bay.

They run into some Imperials. Ace blasts one.

Then Spades takes down another. But Imperial reinforcements are on the way.

A blaze of fire. Ace is hit, but shrugs it off. (Ace failed his Pluck roll but used his hero point to ignore the wound)

Ace rushes a trooper and bludgeons him. Spades downs the other Imperial.

The way is open and they make it back to their ship.

Overall, the new rules worked out well. The proportion of hits to misses and of Pluck saves to fails seemed appropriate. The addition of a hero point for the main PCs seemed to resolve the issue of losing a hero too easily. Things look promising and will warrant more experimentation.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Escape from Antacca

In the land of Palmyra, Duke Rodrick has given orders to detain the Followers of the King. Instead of complying, the King's Men in the Ducal lands have resolved to escape from the Duke's grasp.

I recently kicked off a new Christian-themed LARP, and am using the LARP's setting for this wargame. I used my recent skirmish rules, treating each stand as a character.

As night falls, the Followers of Antacca gather together and make their way to the town gates.

First, the paladins had to cope with the greater cat beast, who decided to sit upon the gates. Fortunately, judicious use of treats resolved the situation.

The Followers form two columns (lower left and right), each with a unit of paladins (the group's warriors) in front. Following behind are the civilians.

The paladins approach the gates but the town guard will not let them pass. The paladins engage while the civilians fan out to the flanks. On the left, the guardsmen are driven back. But the Duke's horse approach.

The paladins scatter the guard on the left and thin out the ranks on the right. An angry mob of townsmen join the fray (left)

On the left, the civilians reach the gate while the paladins guard their backs. On the right, the paladins scatter the guard. More horse approach!

The civilians escape on the right. On both flanks, the paladins engage the Duke's horse.

The paladins are cut down on the left.

The remaining unit of paladins get attacked on both flanks. Suffering serious casualties, they still hold on.

And manage to hold off the horse long enough to escape through the gates.

The Followers bar both gates from the outside, allowing them to slip away into the night.


  • I generated the scenario on the fly, randomly drawing a cityscape with two gates. 
  • I decided to start all of the Followers' forces (4 units) on the board while the Duke's men would only start with the gate guards.
  • I randomly rolled a D3 to determine each unit's movement. I also rolled a spare die for the Duke's men; on a roll of 4-6 they would get a unit of reinforcements. The Duke's force was limited to 6 units
  • I also rolled randomly to determine what kind of unit would come - infantry, mob, or cavalry - and where it would start on the board.
  • As you can see, I was still using hit points (2 per unit).

Friday, January 24, 2020

Re-Discovering In Her Majesty's Name

Finding a bit of spare time yesterday, I decided to play a little game (battle report forthcoming). This time I returned to the fantasy setting I played around with in November (described here). However, I changed up the rules and adapted the sci-fi skirmish rules from earlier this month. My experiment got me thinking more about skirmish rules systems (don't worry, I'm getting to In Her Majesty's Name)

Lately I have been perusing various skirmish rules systems for ideas. I recently picked up Galactic Heroes and have gleaned some ideas from it. Interestingly, I originally shied away from it because it uses card activation (which I dislike). However, I now see that one could easily dispense with the cards and still play the combat system. I have also been reviewing old Osprey sets that I have picked up over the years. I really have an addiction to their rules - the price is right - even if I rarely end up playing the games.

Which brings me to In Her Majesty's Name (I told you I'd get there). This is one of those Osprey rules sets I have on my e-reader. I picked it up years ago because I have an interest in Victorian science fiction (which you can probably tell from my retrospective on Space 1889).

I never bothered to play it, for a variety of reasons. I didn't have any figures and was reluctant to start up a new project. Furthermore, the rules themselves use a D10 and I am firmly in the D6 camp. Thus, it ended up in my archive - until recently.

As I mentioned, I have been perusing various skirmish sets. I took another look at IHMN and was rather surprised by what I read. Despite using a D10, there were quite a few similarities between IHMN and the skirmish rules I have been developing. Both sets give each figure a Shoot (ranged combat) and Fight (melee) values, which get added to a die roll to hit. Any figure that gets hit must then roll to determine the impact - there is a possibility that the hit will do no damage.

One difference, though, is the damage resolution. In my rules, the damage roll results in 0-2 wounds, which get marked off the figure's hit points. Most grunts only have 1-2 hp, so tracking is not too onerous. Nevertheless, I still need to track.

In contrast, IHMN features a Pluck roll. If a figure is hit, it must roll greater than the pluck roll to shake off the hit; rolling under means that the figure is out of the action. At first, this concerned me as it seems that any figure, including a hero, only has 1 hit point. But I just noticed that the Pluck values vary; heroes will have a better Pluck, allowing them to shake off more hits.

Let me illustrate. A typical goon might have a Pluck of 6+, giving the goon a 50% chance of surviving a hit. On average, it will take about 2 hits to take down a goon. A hero with a Pluck of 2+ will require an average of about 10 hits before being out of action. I realized that this system essentially provides differing hit points without having to track wounds!

There is still the problem of a lucky hit offing a hero in one shot. I think this can be addressed by giving the player a pool of hero points that can offset a failed Pluck roll. In fact, I think I read that Thud & Blunder, a fantasy rules set by the authors of IHMN, uses a similar system.

Long story short, I am very intrigued by the possibilities of a Pluck role and am thinking of experimenting with it for my skirmish rules.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Star Rangers

As my skirmish rules progress, I jotted down some ideas for generating heroes and allowing them to advance in ability. I decided to try out the rules by creating 2 new characters.

The Adventures of Ace & Spades
Alan "Ace" Malone and Samantha "Spades" Mendoza are partners in the Star Rangers (a law enforcement / paramilitary organization of the Federation; the Rangers patrol the fringe worlds of the Federation).

Mission 1
Our heroes' first mission is to retrieve some stolen medicines from space pirates who have holed up on the jungle world of Thunia VII.

Ace (blue R) engages a pirate in melee; the pirate flees.
Note: I have introduced morale rules for NPCs. In this case, the pirate was wounded and then failed his morale.

Spades blasts another pirate.

And then Ace takes out a third. The last pirate flees.
He failed morale after seeing all his comrades fall.

Our heroes are victorious!

Ace and Spades return to base with the stolen medicines. They receive an Attaboy from their commander. In addition, they each earn 1 experience point. It takes a minimum of 2 points to improve a stat, so they bank their points for the time being.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Skirmish in Space

I've been toying around with some sci-fi skirmish rules. Speaking of toys, I picked up some wood playing pieces and painted them to represent sci-fi soldiers.

I am running experiments using my heroes from prior skirmishes, Kate and Kip.

Skirmish 1
Kip and Kate (blue figs, L to R) are exploring an unknown planet when they run into an Imperial patrol. Laser fire ensues.

Kip rushes forward to smash the enemy with his power fist. Kate is wounded and retreats.

Kip knocks out his adversary but is shot from a flanking Imp.

Heavily wounded, Kip and Kate retreat from the field.

The rules feature a 2d6 roll to attack. Hits require a further D6 roll to determine damage.
Overall, the rules seem OK. As with most 2D6 rules, hits were hard to make so there was a lot of ineffective shooting (Star Wars stormtrooper bad). I'll tweak the To Hit target number in future attempts.

As far as figures go, I placed an order for some of Khurasan's 6mm sci fi. I plan to base them individually.

Skirmish 2
Once again, Kate and Kip have been sent on a mission to an asteroid in the Zirconian system. They are tasked with destroying a communications array manned by 2 Dominion robots.

  • I randomly rolled the mission on this chart that I made up years ago. I rolled a 354 and then chose to fight robots because I had the figures.
  • The brown circle areas are craters that provide cover.

As they close on the array (top) a firefight breaks out. They damage one robot but Kate's rifle loses power.
Kate rolled a natural 2 on her shot. It not only missed but her rifle ran out of ammo. She had to spend a turn reloading.

Kip melees one of the robots. He is injured but knocks it out.

He then rushes the last robot, but Kate zaps it first.

Mission accomplished.

I reduced the base target number to hit (from 8 to 6) but modify it up it due to range, cover, and the target's Dodge skill. As a result, Kate and Kip scored hits more frequently, but their Dodge skills generally prevented them from being hit.

Once a hit occurs, I roll damage, which is modified down by armor. A modified roll of 0 or less does no damage. During this last experiment I had quite a few shots ricochet off the robot's medium armor (-2 mod).

Overall, the system worked well and I will continue to experiment with it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

What's in Store for 2020?

What does the year hold in store for my gaming? Let's peer into the crystal ball.

Skirmish / RPG Boxes
In 2019, I condensed my battle games into pencil boxes.
Boxes for land, air, sea, and alien world games
I would like to do the same for RPG / skirmish gaming. I'm planning to order more pencil boxes for my 10mm fantasy RPG kit (as seen here) and my upcoming 15mm sci fi skirmish/RPG kit.

Shortly after I began blogging, I decided to split my RPG reports to a separate blog, Tales of the Templars. I haven't posted much there lately. Also, I now want to keep everything on one blog. Therefore I will consolidate all my posts, wargames and RPGs, on this blog for future posts. I will keeps TotT around as an archive of past adventures.

Fewer Posts
Despite my new project and my consolidation effort, I expect that the trend from 2019 will continue and I will post even less on this blog. I still hope to maintain a once-a-week average but there is no guarantee of that.

I have a project kicking off, but don't expect it to last (my gaming fads never do). Throughout most of 2019 I really did not have any motivation to play any particular period. As a result, I just drifted aimlessly. I have a feeling that the same will happen in 2020.