Saturday, June 3, 2023

Xenos Rampant Outerspace

Bruce and I were speculating about whether Xenos Rampant could be adapted to starship combat. We had a nasty bout of wildfire smoke 10 days ago (it was an 11+ on a scale of 1-10 and you could see about five blocks). Since I wasn't up to to roll 3d6 against my constitution, I decided to see if I could work out an adaptation.

I have been itching to use some tiny (1:10,000 scale) models from Shapeways. To give you a sense of how small, the d6 has 1cm sides. The Galactica is supposed to be 1.5ish km long and that makes almost three times also long as the Enterprise D.

Anyhow, I pulled out two 50-point fleets. The stats (which I'll post later when they are refined) were based on infantry units. the Galactica was an elite unit with a bunch of upgrades to make it worth 12 points plus the cost of the fights (5 squadrons at 2 points each). These are enormous ships and let me test out fighter rules as well as min-max ships.

Fleet 1 was the Galactica, a ragtag fugitive fleet, plus the (not-pictured) Pegasus as a separate command. I didn't bother with a spacemat since the dining room table was dark wood. So you'll have the pardon the grainy pictures (that pun was for Terry). 

They were pitted against the ST:DS9 era ships. Yes, I know this makes zero sense, but it let me point out a ST:DS9 fleet (I also have Klingon, Dominion and Cardassian fleets) and test a more traditional space navy with big and small ships.

The basic rules adaptations were pretty minimal. There are two classes of ships (capital and fighters).
  • Capital ships shoot in the front 180 degrees. Turning up to 90 degrees costs 2 inches of movement. Armour is -1 from the side or rear (if shot is from behind from base edge). The armour reduction encouraged maneuver. Most capital ships move automatically straight forward but have to dice to shoot or assault (the Battlestar's reversed this). Every unit has the firefight skill.
  • Fighter have no facing, can turn freely during a move and always turn to face an attacker. They can neither shoot nor be shot at (they are basically melee units). Their armour was 1 but they had extra strength points (basically they were rabble). 
  • If fighters fail a courage test (and they will), they fly back towards their carriers. Once they touch the carrier, they automatically rally and regain 1d6 strength points. Launching is just a part of their next move action. They can also voluntarily land and regain strength. This creates a sense of carrier operations without much bookkeeping.
Anyhow, I did two playtests. The first one was a romp for the Colonials, so I rejigged the fighter stats and also developed a better strategy for the Federation. Game 2 playd out like this. 

There were three Federation commands: a heavy group (1 BB and 2 CCs), a cruiser screen (4 CLs), and a flotilla of smaller, fast craft (2 DDs and 2 FGs). The two big units moved to take on the two Battlestars while the flotilla tried to draw off some vipers and then loop around to attack the transports. Below you can see the flotilla at the top streaking past the Galactica and its fighters.

Meanwhile, most of the vipers focusd on attriting the light cruiser screen while Pegasus and Galactica exchanged volleys at range with the larger Federation ships. Below, you can see a less than stellar effort by the Pegasus.

Eventually, the Galactica started to take some serious damaging (having had to turn to protect the fleet). But the continuous cycling of the vipers had run off most of the cruiser screen. 

The flotilla chased the fleet, but the fleet fought them off at short range. The Federation large ships easily brushed aside the viper attacks (although there were some failed courage tests) but the Feds were just no match for the two Battlestars firing.

In the end, a Colonial victory. Some better tactics by the Federation would have likely turned the battle. The Galactica was close to destruction and was a missed opportunity by the Federation. I hope to give this a playtest with Bruce soon. In the meantime, I'll give some thought about how to deal with super large ships and space stations (cube below is to scale).

I'm continually surprised how adaptable these rules are to different genres of sci-fi gaming. I wonder if they would work for superheroes?


Desert Scribe said...

Nice! I've thought about adopting these rules for 1:285 sci-fi tank combat as well.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

You mentioned those BSG units came from Shapeways - do you have links?

I ask because putting the units on hex stands would make them work wonderfully for the Classic Traveller Mayday game... and I just happen to be working on a BSG TOS/TRS mashup + CT77...

Bob said...

The fellows store is the National
cheese emporium and you want the toaster fleets.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Thanks for the pointers!

I might have to try fiddling around with my own prints - been doing a lot of 3d printing lately.

Thanks again!

Terry Silverthorn said...

Pun Approved