Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Intermission Post...... More "out Of Scale" action....

"A long Walk on a Small Planet" or "In space, no one can hear you scream at the bloody dice...".

Just for a change, and a bit of a filler twixt 1/72 scale projects; something sci-fi I posted on the the FB Solo Group last year...

Basically this was an experiment in "dealing with unknown quantities, with a monkey on your back".

Backstory: 

Terra-forma Station "Trefusis-12", on the semi-terraformed planet Char-Li Karoli, went off-line a week ago. A maintenance team dispatched to deal has not reported in, so a section of Alliance troopers have been sent to investigate........

Who knows what they'll find....

The troopers are bound by Standing Orders and First Contact Protocols.  This means that a gung-ho "Shoot first and worry about an interstellar diplomatic disaster afterwards" exercise is NOT on the cards... In theory....




Interference from the (insert explanatory sci-fi mumbo-jumbo phenomena here) has prevented the section landing close to the station. However, a short cross-county yomp should be no problem.....
Two four-man teams and the command team debus....

Activation will initially be by drawing tokens for Team Leaders and Troopers.  However, there are other tokens in the mix. This token will bring "something/s" onto the field at p
re-set Deployment Points...

Rules are my "House Rules"... Basically think Sharp Practice meets Space Hulk....

At this small scale action I Activate individual troopers/team leaders with Activity Tokens (drawn randomly from a tin). However, amongst the activity tokens are several blanks, a "Tiffin" token (as per SP) to end the move and a couple of "Hostile Blip" tokens.

The hostile "blips" will appear at the board edges as per deployment points & move "Zombicide style" following noise/sightings. A scenario table will decide what those "blips" are once in "LoS" of my guys...

The weapons my guys have are bog-standard automatic projectile weapons, but Command team has a comms. guy (to call in support fire) and a target-seeking missile launcher... Nothing fancy re. the shooting rules, except a very high hit chance if firing aimed at target stationary & in the open.

Guys have three move or fire actions per activation. Can be put into "overwatch" etc. etc. . Pretty simple rules...


Things proceed without incident. By move three Beta (left flank) and Charlie Team (right flank) have moved forwards.  Of Alpha (command) team only one grunt gets an activation.

Suddenly a "blip token" turns. I throw a 12d for the table side, then another to find the deployment point for the blip location An Ave. die throw decides the number of "blinds" which appear per blip token (in this case 4 no. blinds). The Blinds can represent a false alarm, or up to 5 "somethings".

Beta team react to the blips on their head-up screens and take cover in some rocks, using Activation points to go into concealment, with two troopers also going into overwatch...




One of the problems with the Alliance Terra-forming Program is that near Earth-like planets, and worlds where life is already present, tend to be prioritised - and works actioned in a manner that might best be termed as (ahem) "somewhat rushed"; with pre-forming planetary surveys suffering as a result.... Sometimes there are life-forms in situ we didn't know about......
 T
hanks tokens... The blip "blinds" move and.. "WHAT THE SMEG...!!!??"


The survey teams sure fouled up THIS time.... We have NO idea what these things are - nor how sentient they might be - nor what their intentions are (nor where they bloody live/hide etc.)...

Assuming that something ugly, fast, 12ft high with foot-long talons and fangs is going to be hostile smacks of species-prejudice....

They have not seen the troopers (concealed) and are moving towards the Station... The chaps are on overwatch... To shoot, or not to shoot....?

Or radio to get confirmation of invoking "First Contact Protocols".... Hmmm.....



For the record: the table deciding what each batch of blip blinds will be is based on a 6d roll... Result of 1-2 = More of the Creatures.   3-5 = something else (don't want to spoil the surprise), 6 = Ditto.

Now we have a "decision" as to what might be here, for every subsequent "blind reveal throw" 1 will be taken from the dice score . If an unmodified "6" is thrown thereafter, then I throw again. A 5 or 6 thrown on this second dice means option 6 above "Something Else") is invoked on the blind....

Brave team leader orders his chaps to hold fire while he asks for direction from Section Command. Overwatch opportunity is lost....

Neither Charlie Team nor Alpha team can see the creatures. Section Command fails activation - so no decision is made. Three more - blips arrive alongside those already on table (very close, so will automatically match those on the field), then two more unidentified appear blips way away far right...

The next move is very short.... Charlie team moves forward. More blips arrive next to the ones already on the table.. Whatever they are there are lots of them... The ones in the open see Charlie Team and make a bee-line towards the nearest trooper (on overwatch).

The future of relations between "Unknown Species CK-1" and Humanity rests on the trigger finger of Trooper Huìqì 131313.... Oh, dear......






But Trooper 131313's training cuts in (morale test) he holds fire..

Next move: A Command point for the Alliance turns up. Alpha Team Leader makes a decision (dice) - "First Contact Protocol" to be followed pending orders from the Mother-ship. Another lucky Activation chit - Instructions passed to all teams by Alpha; Order passed "No team to fire without instructions/overt hostile action by unidentified species...".  An update with request for orders gets passed "upstairs" to the Mother-ship. 

Charlie Team gets an activation and the guys pull back.

Meanwhile the visible aliens likewise get activated again - and make a decision; will they run towards the "strange grey creatures", run towards the waterhole, run towards the Station... ?

Their throw decides that they will run to the waterhole.. Little darlings.. Maybe they're just gasping for a drinkie..... Tiffin - end of this move.....





Things rumble on... So long as the guys keep hidden, the "whatever they ares" don't go looking for them... Charlie Team swing round the swamp, soon to be followed by Alpha. The bunch of aliens mooch half-heartedly around the centre and the other blips seem to go into paralysis....





Alpha Team gets a response from Base (each move after an update/request to the Mother-ship I dice. on a throw of 6 a response is received): "Continue mission but Command confirms First Contact Protocol active pending BWV assessment of alien lifeforms. First Fire Situation prohibited at ALL costs. Repeat FFS prohibited. Report on assessment Trefusis-12 ASAP".

The group (herd?) of aliens wander back and forth in the centre, as if searching for something. Bravo Team finds their nerves stretched as the creatures come within yards of their positions - two team members only holding their fire because of their team leader using (handy) Control Points.

Alpha Team holds to support Bravo in case something goes wrong - the woods to Bravo's left is FULL of blips.....

Over the next few moves Charlie team moves up to the Terra-form Station, getting within yards without incident until.........




Suddenly two "blips" emerge from behind the Station, revealing two of the alien beings. The creatures race towards the Team with claws outstretched. The Team's fire discipline holds and not a shot is fired as the move ends with the strange entities only yards away............. 





The first token drawn happens to be C team... Team Leader passes a morale test, as does trooper 131313 (nearest the "things"). Trooper 131313 lays down his weapon... The two troopers furthest from the aliens go into overwatch, just in case.....

Next token drawn: THIS pair of aliens are activated... They test for attitude... Maybe bending down and putting something on the ground is thought to be a pre-courser to an attack in their culture..? Maybe they're just ravening beasts....? Or simply unpleasant bastards..?  Anyhoo, they charge and barge Trooper 131313, who is knocked to the ground...



The two team members on overwatch test for THEIR reaction - and fire...... The two aliens drop.....

Aliens 1 - Troopers 2.  First Contact Protocol - Ooops....!!!!


That moves ends.... The following move Charie Team gets an early chit and runs to get into the Terra-form Station, dragging 131313 with them......


But the alien group in the centre react - making a bee-line for the Station - and the noise...



Suddenly the tokens bring out the group of blips in the woods on Bravo Team's flank... Another 16 creatures (!!) - who (dice decision) also make for the station, drawn by the noise....?   B Team dice for reaction at seeing the Horde of The Things, but pass it, so do not open fire...




Though it is tempting.....

Each trooper has their own token in the pot. If drawn - and in a situation where they have a choice - the drawn trooper has to test to see if they shoot or carry out any other action..

In this case; B Team have heard shooting & radio traffic indicating an attack on C team. A large bunch of aliens have emerged heading towards C Team's location. B Team is on overwatch & concealed, so could shoot. Any trooper whose individual token comes up BEFORE the Team Leader token will be tempted to shoot (so has to pass a simple  "restraint" test)...

But First Contact Protocol is in force, they have orders to hold - and no local instructions from the Section Leader to support C. These are trained Alliance troopers - not Hollywood mavericks. The two troopers who have to make a check pass - and remain concealed...


Next move; Charlie & Bravo gets a chit drawn. Bravo holds. Charlie Team gives a sitrep and hunkers down in the Station..

There is also a Command chit drawn. If I wish this could be used to add to a moral'"do I shoot" check. However,; this isn't necessary, so I use it to radio in to HQ to update & seek instructions...

More tokens come out (lower image).... Trooper 3 takes a "do I fire" check. The other guys whose chits come up are not in firing position/range. The aliens make no further move.

The second Command chit is used by Alpha Team to verify instructions to all teams - "Hold. Await Instructions"...

The third Command chit is pulled just before End Turn.. This is used to check Trooper 131313: he is ok - walking wounded but alive...



Next move: Group 4 of the blips (not revealed yet) move - they dice & go towards the station.... All visible creatures are heading that way already..... Oh, dear....

The tokens continue; Troopers 2 &4 of Bravo Team test, but remain in control of themselves. Troopers 6 & 7 are not in LOS of any aliens and are with their Team Leader so need not test.

A Command Chit is drawn... Transmission from HQ (diced decision) to Team Alpha leader....

"Section is to withdraw from planetside pending further assessment. Return to shuttle immediate. Do NOT engage alien lifeforms except in immediate self defence. Repeat do NOT engage except in immediate self-defence".....

Next move: will my Alpha leader obey and pull A & B teams off-board...? In which case what will happen to Charlie Team....?

Charlie Team, in the Station, are probably wishing there were blinds on the windows.......


Endgame...

Next move more aliens move up to the Station, but nothing else...

The following move The bods of Bravo team ALL get individual tokens turning up - inc. the Bravo Team leader - but their training holds, and they stay under cover and do not fire...

Charlie team radios in (their command token got drawn). Charlie Leader acknowledges the "pull-back" order, but is surrounded and does not want to trigger an incident. 
The Station door has been barred from the inside. There are no firing loopholes, so Charlie Team cannot shoot UNLESS the aliens break in.  The Station seems secure and Trooper 131313 does not need  Medevac. - he is only slightly wounded. Charlie Leader will hold pending instructions.... (All decisions decided by dice).
Alpha Leader gets his token come up and decides (dice) - duty, orders and the strategic aim, or concern for Charlie Team...? Again, the Alliance training and discipline hold. He controls the desire of his men (and himself) to go get their mates, all guns blazing....

Bravo Team get their token and run to meet up with Alpha, as instructed..

One last move sees the members of Alpha and Bravo teams gather, and return to their shuttle...

Meanwhile, Charlie Team watch (and film & relay to HQ for assessment) the mass of alien creatures circling Trefusis 12 - while listening to their chittering....

And their talons scraping at the plexiglass.....


Rules;
A) For the Alliance - nine numbered tokens ( 1-9; one token for each trooper - they being themselves numbered) , three (home made) "leader tokens" (marked "A", "B" & "C"), three "command tokens" (for special actions). 
B) For the aliens/hostiles: Four "blue command" tokens; each time a blue command token was drawn this represented a number of "blips" (ave. dice decided the number of blips). These blips were then placed on the board as a "unit" out of LOS from my guys. I had allocated on the the board 12 "deployment points", so just diced for the placement of each "Unit". 
The drawn blue command taken and one blank were removed each time a blue command token was drawn/unit placed and a numbered token for that unit was placed in the Token Bag.

The "blips" I used were the old Space Hulk blips face down (I couldn't be bothered to make my own). These were drawn randomly from their tub. Each blip could represent from 1 to 5 "whatever they ares". The number - and type - would not be revealed until in sight of my guys... Sentient/RPG enemy enemy would have got a blue "command token" placed in the bag for each 4 figures up to 4 such tokens.) 



Movement/actions:

Once activated each Alliance figure/leader had three "actions" per move - occasionally added to by Command Tokens. . These could be used to move (one dice per action used), shoot, go into overwatch, give orders, communicate etc.

Random movement for the aliens in this scenario was based on a dice-based "movement spider, supplemented by IMP/visual sighting factors etc. The aliens moved in their groups/herds. If the aliens had gone truly hostile then "Zombicide" rules (go for those in sight 1st, then for the noisiest) would come into play.

Shooting was very simple (basically Space Hulk rules).

Things would have got more complicated if the "blips" had turned into other types of actual hostiles.

Well, that was fun. Simple rules, basic decision tables, lots to keep me guessing.... I had expected a "shoot 'em up", but it didn't gel that way...

The alien "things" (still undecided if they are sentient or "just" animals) were just one of the three possible options for encounter... Could have been MUCH more hostile (and tooled-up..).

Need to weight down my Genestealer bases though; obviously used to racing along corridors - a bit too light for a Teddy-Bear fur environment.


Next post should be news of a "back to 1/72" project.... As always comments & queries welcome..... 



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