Something new on the tabletop…

Yep something new on the tabletop and I don’t mean the figures or the scenery, what’s new is the rules!

I was playing a first playtest of some new rules I have been working on, this time I am trying something different, not Spaceships, not Ironclads and not cars, this time I am doing a complete battle system for sci-fi miniatures.

This first playtest is using some of my 15mm sci-fi figures, but I am hoping to use some of my 28mm stuff as well, it will be great to get some of them onto the table as it has been ages since they have been used.

So first of all lets have a quick run-down of what the rules will cover, well in a nutshell, they will not be aimed at skirmish games, they will be aimed at the bigger battle.

I have probably got somewhere in the region of a dozen sci-fi skirmish games, what I don’t have is a game that covers fairly big battles, well not one that I actually like playing!

I have tried the mainstream rule sets and well they just don’t work for me, I love some of the figure ranges but that’s about it.

So I have finally decided that it was time to work on some sci-fin battle rules of my own

For this basic starter game I decided to just go with a small selection of figures which were –

Human force:

3x 5 man infantry units with squad support weapons

1x unit of 2 walkers

2x heavy support weapons

2x indirect heavy support weapons

2x heavy tanks

Alien force:

2x 5 alien infantry units

1x 5 alien armoured infantry unit

2x units of 2 walkers

2x heavy support weapons

1x tank

I am not sure if the sides were even or not, I just wanted to get some stuff on the table and roll some dice.

I will look at points values etc later as the playtesting continues.

I set up a quick table using my desert scenery giving plenty of cover, this should give a good playing area for the mixed troops on the table.

Turn one saw the human troops and tank move forward advancing towards the aliens in the village using the tanks as mobile cover, most of the alien shots bounced harmlessly off the heavy armour of the tanks.

One of the alien walkers took a couple of early hits and the alien tank also took a couple, the tanks are tough but tank against tank looks like it could be fairly even, this may change depending on the types of weapons the tanks carry.

Turn two and the two tanks in the middle continued to hit each other and both took some damage, the other human tank moved around one of the buildings and took out one of the alien walkers.

The human walker’s moved alongside the tank to give it support followed by a unit of infantry.

The human heavy support weapons couldn’t seem to find their targets and missed everything they fired at, it looks like I would probably have to move two of the direct fire guns closer to be any use in this battle.

The two indirect ones were doing better but they just couldn’t get through the alien tanks heavy armour.

Turn three and both tanks in the centre took some more damage, but neither were too worried yet, they continued to pound each other, the other human tank joined in the firefight putting another round through the side armour of the alien tank and then spraying the alien support weapon on the roof and killing its crew, but not before one of the human walker’s was taken out of the fight by that alien heavy weapon.

The lone alien walker moved closer to the human tank to add its guns to the fight against the human tank but it moved too close to a human infantry squad… scratch one alien walker!!

Turn four and the human tank decided that it would try and move away from the alien tank and moved around behind a large building followed closely by the other two alien walker’s, my heavy support weapons finally found their targets and took out one of the walkers as it chased the tank and damage the other walker.

The alien tank turned its turret weapon on the human tank behind it and put a couple of holes in the heavy armour!

Even with that bit of payback things were not looking great for the alien force, they had taken heavy causalities and the tank had almost no support.

The lone human walker and the human tank concentrated their fire at an alien infantry unit hiding behind one of the buildings low walls, when the smoke cleared there was no alien infantry there and not much of a wall…

Turn five and well the human tank and walker moved forward and the tanks big gun hit the alien tank again, it then turned its support weapon onto another alien infantry unit, this fire was joined by the guns of the lone human walker killing all the alien infantry taking cover behind the well.

I called it a human victory at this point there was nothing much the aliens could do with the troops they had left and with their tank almost out of the fight.

Well that really did go well ( not for the aliens!! ) for a first playtest, I didn’t really find much to adjust or change, the activation and movement worked well as did the shooting, there is still lots to do including adding more units / weapons / vehicles to the game and then looking at some close combat rules.

I know there is still lots to do but for a first playtest I am very pleased with how it played.

I will post up more playtest battle reports as I go forward with these rules, hopefully it will not take too long to have a complete draft set ready for proper playtesting.

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  1. Luc Burlage

    Interesting. May I offer some general comment ? In my (not so ;-)) humble opinion science-fiction wargames should diver from “normal”wargames. What I see on your tabel is a firefight between two teams of infantry and armour. Be assured that I mean this as a friendly comment ! Shouldn ‘t a contact between two different “groups” be made more different ? Of course there is the fact that one can always go “Star Wars” (Imperial vs Rebels – both humans), but personally I would love Venusian lizards armed with spears and sabres vs a smaller Human scouting group. Or Humans vs “themselves” (or indeed, a deceased spouse like in “Polaris”) or mentally steered like Garfield Reeves-Stevens’ “Nighteyes”. Or Martians like in “The War of the Worlds” (where you could use the original Victorian Britsh redcoats or more modern soldiers. The list is endless (;-)). But please keep up the good work !

    • Mac

      Hi Luc,
      Your comments are welcome and appreciated, I always welcome feedback ( good or bad ) it helps me with my rules writing.

      You are correct the two forces were basically human against an alien force of a similar technological level, this was my first playtest just to see if the basic rules would work ( and they did ) everything on the table had very basic weapons so it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been if I had used some exotic / sci-fi weapons.
      The next job for me will be to work out all the datacards for the units and start to add all the special weapons to the rules, this will hopefully start to make my games ( playtests ) a lot more interesting.
      I agree with you it would be really fun to see some high tech alien / humans being attacked by some primitive aliens with maybe spears or maybe just basic lasguns.

      I am hoping that the rules will allow games like that to be played and still allow for a fun and enjoyable game… fingers crossed.


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