Saturday, May 27, 2023

Xenos Rampant Trek

A couple of weeks back, Bruce and I tested out how well Xenos Rampant works as a skirmish game, using a ship Bruce built and some old 25mm ST:TOS figures that I had. It took us two tries to tweak things, but the result was a surprisingly good sci-fi pulp game.

The basic scenario was Nurse Chapel's and Dr. McCoy's shuttle had been captured by the Romulans. Kirk and Spock had to lead an away team to rescue them from the Roman ship and escape using one of two shuttles. There were five beam-in points for the Federation and five units per side. The Feds secretly selected where each unit would arrive and the Romulans set up, attaching Chapel and McCoy to the unit(s) of their choice. Romulans could not set up in the beam-in points.

Above you can see Spock duking it out with some Romulan security forces, which are using Klingon Targs to patrol the corridors. One of the conventions we adopted (reflecting that the play space was small), was that all movement was cut in half (simple and effective, mimicking the peaking around corners dynamic of a boarding action).

Above you  can see Nurse Chapel being guarded by some Romulans in engineering. The other mechanic we played with was how doors worked. In the end, we decided that doors opened and closed automatically as you move through them and would stay open if a figure ended a move action touching the door. This meant that, to charge into combat from room to room, you first needed to have the door opened by a different unit so the charging unit had LOS.

After the game, we chatted about locking doors open. One option is to allow a figure to lock a door open at the cost of half their move. The door can be returned to normal operation by another unit doing the same thing.

For the hero (like Kirk and Spock above), we used the hero stats from Dragon Rampant as the base. Using charge as their automatic action saw them behave very much like they would in the show (heroically punching it out). Generally, heroes would whomp a regular unit, but over time, they started to pick up damage, which degraded their performance. 

Other units (e.g., red shirts) had shoot as their automatic action and they seemed to behave pretty much like they did on the show. They were okay at holding objectives and distracting, but not really the unit you want to rely on to win with!

The activation mechanic gave us some interesting narrative events. Kirk rescues Chapel (above) in the crew quarters but then fails several activations in a row to move her towards the shuttles. What lust... errr... must he have been doing during this time?

The ship's layout allowed for some outflanking (surprise, Spock!), which was good.

In the end, it came down to Kirk and Spock duking it out with the Romulan captain and her last security team, which was pretty spot on for the effect we wanted. At 25 points, the game played pretty fast--like 30 minutes maybe? I was surprised how a rule systems not meant for skirmish worked well enough to give dramatic games with tough decisions.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Speeder bikes

A few weeks back, I bought some old micromachine speeder bikes to supplement my Rebel forces. There are just slightly smaller than 25mm but look fine on the table. I gave them a quick touch up to the cloaks (camo pattern) and drybrush and wash to pop the details.

I glued each to a piece of florist wire and then glued the wire to a base. In play, you can't see the wire because you are looking from the top down and the wire isn't been light up by photobooth lights!

The wires let you reposition the bikes as you like. I rebased some micromachine Imperial scout troopers I had to the same standard. I see I need to clean up the paint on the side of the bases.

The photo below illustrates how these micromachines are a bit smaller than the 25mm West End Games metals. They are pretty close. 

The WEG figures need a sturdier base (roofing nails, as it happens). Overall, this was an easy way to give myself some additional Rebel options for Xenos Rampant.

Up next: Some buildings and some Crimean foot.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

25mm Rebel reinforcements

One of the challenges of gaming Star Wars in 25mm scale is that, compared to 28mm, there aren't many figure options, especially for the Rebels. I was trolling fleabay and ran across a set of proxies which included mortars and shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles and was intrigued. 

These turned out to be old 20-25mm Star Guard figures, most recently produced by (although I can't tell if they are still in business). The batch made two units of support infantry for Xenos Rampant, which was perfect.

The figures were painted nicely enough so I just adjusted some of the clothing colours to fit in and based them. The figures are slimmer than the West End Games figures (more like the 20mm or 1/72 norms from the 1970s) and the integral bases were also small, so they were a lot shorter than the WEG figures.

In the end, I just doubled the washers to give them a similar height. They look close enough on the table to work as proxies. I'd like to get some of the other figures in this range but, so far, haven't had any response from the manufacturer. 

Up next: Either more Crimean figures or more Star Wars.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

25mm Star Wars Heroes

In our playing around with Xenos Rampant, Bruce and I thought we might try to add in some hero units on the Rebel side (since characters feature so prominently in the Rebel storylines). At first we added in section commanders (basically generic NCOs that increased activation rolls) but that didn't really see all that interesting so Bruce went back to Dragons Rampant and pulled out some hero stats. I went back to my pile and found some suitable hero figures and painted them up.

First up in a generic Force user standing in front of a campfire that was likely from a LotR's box set a zillion years ago. The wash did a nice job of popping his robe folds into view.

I also took a Leia figure (Bespin, I think) and painted it in a forest camo. The camo cloak came out great but is obscured by the trees behind her (sigh).

For Han I pulled out a bunch of mechanical junk for him to take cover behind. This is mostly HO-scale railway siding debris from some boxed town I bought a decade or more back.

Finally, I hauled out a Luke figure and put him up on a bluff. The bluff is a piece of coal I picked up paddle on the river this summer.

You can hardly see them, but I was pretty chuffed at the buckles I painted on the side of his boots. Hs face looked less like Luke and more like the villain in the Karate Kid movies!

I'll report back on their use and stats when we get around to gaming them. I suppose I might also do a Vader (since I have a dozen figures of him).