Tuesday, June 6, 2023

98. Space Station Zero

Having seen a play-through on the Lead Adventure Forum about this new game called Space Station Zero, I had to check it out.  It's blend of horror, sci-fi and campaign play really caught my fancy so I purchased it in print.  The original post of the write-up also had pictures of their BattleSystems cardboard terrain, and that seemed to fit the bill just right.  That got purchased eventually, too.

I didn't really have dedicated miniatures that I wanted to use for it, and I really wanted to play it in 28mm scale, so my son used some old Star Wars pre-paints, and I dug out my Necromunda Escher gang, while I ordered and then painted some Stargrave miniatures.  You can see those closer to the bottom of this post.

One of the things about the game that I found difficult was being able to tell which miniature represented which character, since for me the miniatures were obviously not originally those characters, so I took a photo to help remind me.  In the game, different characters have different skills, so it's important to be able to know who is who.  My son, who has a much younger brain, had no problem with this.

Be warned, there are LOTS of SPOILERS below.  Stop now if you don't want the game Challenges spoiled.

I chose to run an Exploration crew of 5, with a Commander, Medical Officer, Soldier, Chief Engineer and an Ace Pilot.  (See the photo above for who is who.)

My son ran a Pirate crew of 5, with a Commander, Soldier, Engineer, Ace Pilot and Medical Officer.  (I think, L to R:  Commander, Engineer, Pilot, Medic, Soldier.)

Our first game began with Challenge 1, "Docking Bay Access Port," with Poison Gas and Ancient Sentries.  It's a good introduction scenario for learning the rules.

I used Space Marines to represent the Ancient Sentries.

I took these photos very quickly with my phone, so they are what they are.

We survived Challenge 1, and a random roll led us to Challenge 5, "The Medical Bay," where we had to overcome Medical Drones and Control Pods.

I ended up mixing Nightmares from Legions of Steel and Imperial Probe Droids to be the Medical Drones.  I only had 3 Probe Droids, so I had to use the Nightmares to supplement.

We were once again successful in surviving the Challenge, which then led us to Challenge 2, "The Darkened Hall."  There were Laser Traps and more Drone Sentries.

That Challenge ended up being fairly easy, so we moved on to Challenge 6, "Pod 6."  This Challenge had a Virus Bomb, Deranged Mutants and Gun Turrets.

I got to use some zombie figures for the Deranged Mutants.

We only just managed to survive that one, and moved on to Challenge 7, "Science Lab."  This had Experimental Mutants and a Black Hole.  By this time, I had finally finished painting the Stargrave miniatures for myself and my son.  Here they are:

Meet my Commander, Medical Officer, Ace Pilot, Soldier and Chief Engineer.  Going along with my not being able to tell who was who, I tried to differentiate these, by painting my Medic with a red helmet/white cross, the Pilot has cool sunshades 'cause pilots are cool, the Engineer has a wrench to fix things, etc.

These are (L to R) my son's Commander, Medical Officer, Ace Pilot, Soldier and Engineer.  I tried to paint them so it would be easy to tell who was who, but went mostly by what he told me he wanted them to look like.  I did talk him into letting me paint them with green jackets, in order to make them easier to distinguish from my blue jacketed figures when on the table. 

One thing he wanted was a "shoulder patch," identifying them as belonging to the same organization.  He gave me a basic design and that he wanted it an "aqua" color, and so I did the best I could.

These were recently shown in my previous blog entry about Blasters & Bulkheads, but here they are in greater detail.

I used some old Hormagaunts as the Experimental Mutants in Challenge 7, and a black hole as the Black Hole.

We continued to enjoy our good luck, and moved on to Challenge 9, "Chemical Lab."  This had Freezing Protocols, Anti-Fire Protocols, and a Chemical Reaction that, if not stopped, would kill all crew members in play!

We managed to strategize this one before starting, and gamed it pretty easily.  It helped that there were no monsters to deal with, more just a time-limit aspect.

Next we moved on to Challenge 11, which is where we left off.  Other interesting games have reared their beautiful/ugly heads, diverting my limited time and attention away from SSZ (or is it SS0?).  We'll get back to it eventually.

Never fear, the Stargrave miniatures have gotten a lot of use in those other games.  I really like the figures, and the box has 10 more waiting to be put together.  We never named our characters, partly out of laziness, but also because we were both afraid of the dying in the depths of Space Station Zero.  Maybe it's time to give the names.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

97. Blasters & Bulkheads, non-Jedi edition

I've been playing around with Battlesystems' cardstock terrain recently, originally to play Space Station Zero.  In fact, I should probably make a blog post about SSZ before this one, but too late now.  In order to play SSZ, my son and I had been using any old figures I had (some Star Wars pre-paints, some Necromunda), but I wanted something specific so I bought some Stargrave miniatures and painted them up for us to play with.  Which we did for a while, using Battlesystems' terrain.  (Come to think of it, I don't think I've shown the Stargrave miniatures I painted up.  They're pretty cool, I'll have to post them soon.)

Then I came home from work one day to find my son had set up the arrangement below, to play out one of his "stories."

I asked him about it and he told me what was happening.  I thought it sounded pretty cool, so I set it up again on the full table and tried playing it solo with a few different rules sets before finally deciding that Blasters & Bulkheads best captured the feel and pacing I was looking for.  (I also wanted to make sure it was a playable scenario before playing it with my son so as not to waste our time or get him frustrated.)

Here's how it went down:  (if you click on the pictures, they will magically enlarge.)

Here's the layout:  two 5-man squads (identical to each other because I'm lazy) enter the table at the bottom of the frame.  Their goal:  reach the inside of the building to activate the base defense weaponry that will eradicate the alien infestation.  The Aliens are coming from the craters, which must be wormlike holes leading underground somewhere.

At the end of the first turn, a few Aliens have been wounded by long-range shooting.

Dramatic Close-up #1.

Dramatic Close-up #2.

The state of battle at the end of Turn 2.  The little red bead markers are simply to identify which model has already activated.  With so many on the table, and sometimes hours between turns, it's easy to forget who went and who didn't!

Dramatic Close-up #3.  The "Out of the Fight" marker is actually a K.O. marker.  Crucially, the Aliens have made it into close combat, where they excel, especially the four-armed monsters.

Dramatic Close-up #4.

Turn 3 ends.  One more soldier is K.O.ed, with more tied up in melee.  Several Aliens have been dispatched!  Little by little, the firepower is winning out.

Dramatic Close-up #5.

Dramatic Close-up #6.

End of Turn 4.  Another soldier goes K.O., but one is making his way to the building, finally (upper right in the image).

Dramatic close-up #7!  The two new Aliens have ranged weapons.  Uh oh!

End of Turn 5.  Another man is down, but one is back up after a successful medi-kit usage (might not be exactly per the rules, but it felt right).

Dramatic close-up #8.

The soldier desperately activated the door to rush inside.

End of Turn 6.  Another man is back up, thanks to the last medi-kit, and a second is K.O.ed but he passes his K.O. check and therefore remained standing (wobbly, no doubt) [he's the one at the bottom of the image] and only one Alien remains...

...who is promptly "taken care of" when the lone soldier punches the defense weaponry button.  Yay!  "A day late and a dollar short," but better late than never.

The final tally:  2 K.O.ed, 3 more K.O.ed but either healed or passed their K.O. check.  5 of 10 potentially dead.  I'd say that was about the right balance.

If anyone is interested, I can post the stats of the soldiers and the Aliens that I used from Blasters & Bulkheads.  I sort of winged it, though, and they all could probably use some tweaking.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

96. A Variety Pack of 15mm

I recently painted up some 15mm figures, from Alternative Armies.  A long time ago I received a sample pack of sci-fi and fantasy figures.  I finally decided to paint them up.  Here they are.  Descriptions are from their website.  First up, Laserburn 15mm Sci-fi Sampler:

From L to R:  119 Law Officer (standing); 114 Adventurer (Laser Rifle); 206 Spacesuit (Rifle); 322 Guard (Power Armor); 300 Imperial Trooper (Bolt Gun).

From L to R:  501 Mercenary (Assault Rifle); 108 Thug (Knife); 602 Law Module Mk III; 111 Female Civilian; 118 Guard Dog.

Next we have the Alternative Armies 15mm Tabletop Fantasy Sampler:

From L to R:  549 Giant Slug; 552 Ape; 550 Manticore Young; 553 Centaur (Spears); 506F Human Assassin.

A closer look at the Slug, Manticore and Centaur.

From L to R:  510F Female Magic User; 513 Female Fighter (Chainmail); 507F Human Bard; 511F Female Cleric; 509F Human Fighter in Plate.

I then ordered their Octopods for my 15mm battles.  Here they are:

Infantry:  three poses of humanoid infantry with rifles.  Advancing rifle level, standing, loading.

Command figures:  Octopod Officer with Rifle, pointing.  Octopod Psyker with energy orb.  Octopod Medic with apron and cleaver.  Octopod Communications with radio and gear.

Support Weapons with Energy Bazooka, Octopod with Heavy Laser Rifle, Octopod with Gauss Rifle.

Seer Guard advancing, standard and duelling; all with energy poles.

Assault Troops armed with pistols, swords, knives and a chainsaw.

Racers.  The Racer is a step up from their jetbike featuring a pilot's pod as well as a single exhaust engine which propels the racer at massive velocity.  Fuel tanks and storage are under the hull and two lasers are forward fixed mounted.

Jetbike.  Little more than a saddle attached to rockets, tremendous speed and little control.

These last photos are of a metal obelisk that came in a box of stuff, I think, from The Mysterious Package Company.  Not really 15mm per se, but useable with any size miniatures.  Sorry, I just realized I should have included a miniature in the picture for scale.

Thanks for looking!