Steve and I have been knocking together some ideas on doing some Sci-Fi, proper stuff not that Warhammer 40K sci-fantasy nonsense which for some inexplicable reason seems the most popular of any wargame in our club.
I recently got inspired by following up some of the new blog links on a long-time favourite blog I follow 'Dropship Horizon', the bible for 15mm sci-fi gamers.
I found the FUBAR rules - nice to see a new set of rules that is:
1) Free, rather than £25-40 quid that seems the norm these days
2) Is an extremely concise one-page, rather than recent trend for 200 plus pages
This inspired me to read some more blogs with battle reports to get some more idea on how the game played. Clearly a pretty simple game, but frankly as I get older, I seem to yearn more for something quick and fun I can basically remember easily even after a couple of pints rather, than something that requires any brain excerse, which I'm rarely in the mood for on a Wednesday club night.
My first thought was to follow the other blogs and go the 15mm route, and add some figures I've had my eye on for ages to my 15mm collection. The problem is most of my 15mm collection is element not individually based, which is what is needed for FUBAR. Not insuperable but annoying.
I have a fair few 28mm Sci-Figs individually based, but I seem to lack inspiration for using these, possibly because although the figures are individually very nice, I really don't feel I have any forces which really go together as opponents.
Texting back and force, Steve checked out the FUBAR site, and threw out a suggestion: What about Star Wars? There's an add-on sheet for it and I've got 40 odd Star Wars figs...
...and I've got all those Star Wars Collectible Miniatures Game figures, I thought to myself, figures I from to time keep telling myself, "Don't forget you've got these!. They must be good for a game some time."
So I dived off into the attic and dug out the figures. I was unfortunately somewhat disappointed with what I found. I had it in my head I had a pretty full set, but it didn't seem to add up to much of a FUBAR force. I realised that the force was a pretty decent one for staging a CMG game or two, but this is much more of a man-to-man skirmish that FUBAR which is a small unit action.
In FUBAR you group your troops into small units of 4-8 figures, and you probably want to have 4-5 units. So FUBAR only needs 20-40 odd figures per side, but I didn't seem to have enough for this.
I had a count up, and found I had 77 figures. Enough in principle you would of thought but the biggest single force I had (Imperial Stormtroopers) was only 12 figures. This is itself pretty small, but this wasn't the worst of it.....just 8 Hoth troopers, only 7 Rebel Troopers....maybe a dozen 'Fringers' ie. random aliens. but a measly four Wookies, three Tuskan Raiders, three Jawa, three Bespin guards, a single Rebel Commando. Lots of figures but not really any to make make much in the way of 'units', much less even a small FUBAR skirmish force of four or five units.
For Steve's benefit this is the collection:
12 Storm Troopers (Various poses)
2 Imperial Scouts (without Jetbike)
1 Imperial Scout on Jetbike
2 Snow Troopers
1 Emperor's Guard
2 Probe Droids
2 Imperial Fleet Officers
Luke Skywalker (with Blaster)
Princess Leia (with Blaster)
7 Rebel Troopers (two poses)
7 Hoth Troopers
2 Rebel Commandos
2 Rebel Pilots
1 Rebel Commando
2 Scout Robots
Fringers - Smugglers, Bounty Hunters etc.
4 Mon Calamari Mercenaries
3 Gamorrean Guards
2 Bothan Spies
1 Ithorian Scout
1 Quarren Assassin
1 Duros Mercenary
1 Twi'lik Scoundrel
15 Figures in total
4 Wookies (including one Chewbacca with crossbow)
3 Tuskan Raiders
3 Bespin Guards
It is pretty clear even with Steve's 40 figures or so we are going to be pretty pushed to get two good forces together, so a few more purchases would be necessary. But deciding what to buy depends on deciding a scenario to work towards for our first and subsequent games.
To kick off the brainstorming to come up with some scenarios, I guess the best inspiration is to start with the films themselves:
1. Imperial Stormtroopers attack a Rebel Liner to capture Princess Leia, who attempts to escape with her droids.
If you wanted to 'game the film', the scenario could be Princess Leia needs to get to R2D2, encode her holographic message "...Obi Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope etc.", then she and the droids have to get to the escape pods. All the time the Rebel Alliance Troopers would be trying to keep the Stormtroopers from taking over the ship. Ship corridors would be set up to allow alternative routes to the escape pods, which the Stormtroopers would try to interdict/close down. Presumably, Stormtroopers re-inforcements could keep arriving throughout the game, which might 'save' on the figures we'd need as 'dead 'uns' could keep coming back. The FUBAR reaction rules would fit in well, as Princess Leia, the Droids would have to roll successful reaction rolls to move around, any hits on them would be taken as 'suppressions', hampering their ability to move, and giving the Imperial Stormtroopers a chance to capture them. C3PO would be well represented as a 'green' unit, who keeps dithering and so risks being left behind. Simple two player game. Game would end with Darth Vader coming on and being given a report!
Troops needed: I personally lack an R2D2 model. The are about 6 quid on eBay. Main problem is small size of current Rebel Alliance Trooper force (how long would 7 figures hold out?). Rebel Troopers sell for about £ 1 to £2 on eBay.
Scenery: Not too demanding. Could be as simple as some thick white/grey paper cut into corridors and rooms and placed on a black cloth to represent a ship deckplan. SW CMG comes with some floor tiles that could easily be photocopied and stuck on card or whatever.
Derviative scenarios based on this: Easy to think of lots, either based on the Imperial Stormtroopers vs Rebel Troopers or fight on a starship scenario. The Rebellion is/has been fought out on numerous planets in numerous settings across the galaxy. So we could swap the scenario to a 'City Assault' (city in pristine or late 1942 Stalingrad condition!), 'Attack on/Defending a Colony', ie. few buildings and surrounding area, or Desert Warfare, Mountain Warfare, Forest War, Jungle War or whatever. Similarly, in terms of fight on a starship, we could just reverse the scenario (Rebels assaulting an Imperial Ship), or swap around sides, Imperials/Rebels attacking Fringer/Smugglers/Pirates or whatever.
2. Jawas and Tuskan Raiders on Tatooine
There are no 'battles' as such on Tatooine in the first film, but with the Imperial Stormtroopers on the trail of the Droids, their capture by Jawa's, Luke running into Tuskan Raiders and then returning to find his moisture farm pillaged, a lot of 'action' is hinted at.
Derivative scenarios based on this: Tuskan Raiders obviously 'raid', presumably moisture farmers or ambush Jawa landcrawlers. They could attack Imperial Stormtroopers or Imperial Stormtroopers could attack their camp. Jawa's ambushed the droids, so could ambush some one else, or they might end up picking up some other valuable 'scrap' and find someone attacking them to recover it. Then there are Jaba the Hutt's motley gang in 'Return of the Jedi', and the Tuskan Raiders turn up again in 'Attack of the Clones'...
Troops: The main catch with all of these ideas for Tuskan Raiders is it is all based around just three figures in the SW ranges, of which I currently possess a grand total of THREE figures!!! The Tuskan Raiders are armed with a mace, so not exactly the sort of warfare we get with FUBAR. There was I think a mounted Tuskan Raider in one of the Universe sets, but found none on eBay and could command a fair price. Jawa Landcrawler probably not the most difficult modelling project, box on wheels, but ........Probably getting well ahead of ourselves here not most promising area to game....
Scenery: Fairly simple. Anything deserty would do. Preferably plenty of desert hills for steep sided canyon walls.
3. Escape from Mos Eisley
Luke, Obi Wan and the droids come to Mos Eisley find Han Solo and Chewbacca and hire them to get them off world. Stormtroopers catch them, fire-fight ensues, Millienium Falcon takes off, with Imperial Fighters in hot pursuit.....
All stirring stuff, but this is man-to-man skirmish action, not the stuff of FUBAR...
Derivative scenarios based on this: Despite there not being any big 'battles' here, the setting of Mos Eisley and the smugglers, bounty-hunters and 'all-the-scum-of-the-galaxy' (or Fringers as the CMG material calls them), is an important part of the Star Wars setting. Imperial Storm Trooper raids on Smuggler gangs, Bounty Hunters looking for a party to kill/capture for an Imperial Reward, Smugglers vs Smugglers, Bounty Hunters vs Bounty Hunters, all good stuff, and useful for three player or more games! 'Scum of the Galaxy' can of course turn up on any world (Jungle World, Rock World, whatever...). Moss Eisley type colony could be a good setting for other types of fight eg. Imperial vs Rebel. Whole scenario of rushing to get aboard a starship and take off can be reused in lots of settings, and with all sorts of opponents.
Troops: Lots of Fringers and someone to fight (which could include other Fringers)
Scenery: Mos Eisley (or any setting like it) is fairly easy to do. Flat mud-brick desert houses basically.
4. Rescue of Princess Leia
Plenty of Blasters firing off here, but again man-to-man skirmish (ie. Han, Luke, Leia and Obi Wan only on the Rebel side) not really FUBAR scale.
Derivative scenarios based on this: Pretty ease to up the scale of the action, to make this more of a commando style action on an Imperial Battlecrusier. Pretty similar to Scenario 1 above, but in reverse.
Scenery: As Scenario 1. Just this time an Imperial Cruiser.
5. Battle of Hoth
'The Empire Strikes Back' kicks off with the Battle of Hoth. Unlike a lot of what we have discussed this IS very much FUBAR scale action, not man-to-man skirmish.
Troops needed: Very FUBAR it is, but to 'game the film' a fair amount of kit required - AT-ATs, Snow speeders, a full force of Hoth troopers and of Stormtroopers, and if you want to do it true to the film, they sure be Snowtroopers. Sounds a bit expensive and ambitious for a first project.
Scenery: Have seen some guys using a white cloth and snow-covered mountains rocks for a WH 40K game at the club. Not sure if it is club terrain.
Derivative scenarios: The Hoth troopers are clearly the Rebel Alliance's troops with cold weather equipment so they can be reused in other colder conditions (Mountains, Forest etc.). Whole 'full scale assault on a base' very reusable in lots of other settings.
6. Cloud City on Bespin
Not really much of an action scene here - Han and the boys just surrendered, but they could have fought it out. Mainly included it as I have three Bespin Guards.
Troops required: Some Bespin guards (more than 3 certainly!), Landro figure.
Derivative scenarios based on this: Bespin could be a good setting. No going over the edge of the board/scenary here. It is a long way down!
7. Fight on Jabba the Hutt's Barge
Moving on to 'The Return of the Jedi', the 'action' part of the movie starts with the big fight between Luke and the gang on Jabba the Hutt's Barge. All good fun, but again man-to-man skirmish.
Derivative scenarios based on this: Could easily scale this up. Jabba's motley crew are a great twist on the Fringer theme.
Troops needed: Guess a Jabba model would help, but could just be his underlyings, ie. selection of suitable Fringers, especially Gamorean guards, Twi'leks, Bounty Hunters etc.
Scenery: Jabba's Barge would make a great modelling project...unfortunately not much of a modeller!
8. Battle of Endor
Like the Battle of Hoth, this is another 'biggie' in terms of the sort of battle you could game with FUBAR. There are two parts to the Battle which are:
-Ewoks - Yes, proving how a bunch of cute 'teddy bears' with stone age technology can take on the most technologically advanced force in the universe that has crushed rebel forces across the known galaxy...and win! Really believeable that one!
-Rebel Commandos- More conventional stuff. Typical 'FUBAR' sort of set up.
Troops needed: To game the film lots of Ewoks - I have a grand total of TWO, and Steve ONE (which he says he'll be converting to a casualty figure because he hates Ewoks!), Steve has a AT-ST (wow! Can't wait to play with that toy!). I have ONE Rebel Commando...or and two Imperial Scouts and a Speeder. Figure-wise might as well be starting from scratch. Given Steve's loathing of Ewoks can't see us doing this one!
Scenary: ...just pass those trees in the scenary box....
Derivative scenarios: I'm sure we could think of lots of things to do with Ewoks-but I'm sure Steve would rather we didn't. The Endor setting, forest moon and all that, very re-usable. Commandos and secret base, very transferable to all sorts of settings, and reversible (Imperials/Bounty Hunters penetrating Rebel base).
9. Duels on the Death Star
More man to man skirmish in the film, but there have Emperor Model and (solitary) Royal Guard. Could have some sort of assassination style scenario. More a scene for Jedi duelling than FUBAR small units blasting away at each other, but could be an excuse for another Imperial Stormtrooper vs. Rebel Commando action, with Imperial throne room as a setting.
10. Prequel Scenarios
Personally, I have never come away more disappointed from seeing a film in my life than watching the 'Phantom Menace'. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the 'magic' just isn't there for a film like this when you watch it for the first time after your 30th rather than 15th birthday, or maybe Lucas did a better job with more limited budget the first time, and played it too safe with a 'formulaic' plot, and got more enthusiastic acting for these 'ham' roles out of his original American cast, than the Brits he cast for the Jedi and very young actors for the main parts. I could bearly watch 'Attack of the Clones', in fact I'm not sure I've seen it all the way through, and struggled to stay the course with 'Revenge of the Sith'....while I'm not alone in my reaction....maybe I would have felt differently if I'd been 15 when I saw it. If I was I might be thinking about:
Jedi Knights vs Trade Federation Battle Droids
Naboo vs Trade Federation Battle Droids
Gungans vs Trade Federation Battle Droids
Clone Armies, Jedis, etc....
But I'm not and I don't have the figures. Trade Fed Battle Droids would make a cool army I guess, but lets move on ...
Well my conclusion from all of this, is probably the best option is to think around Scenario 1 or some derivative of it as a starting point, based on figs already in the collection, as easiest to stage and with most 're-usablity'. After that Scenario 3, ie. something to do with Fringers, comes in second.
Probably worth getting at least TWO forces together, even if FUBAR are not the rules we end up with, simply because this set could just languish in the back of the cupboard waiting for an opponent who wants to play the CMG who might never turn up. Prime candidates for some more purchases are the Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebel Troopers. After that maybe better to have a few 'units' to be added to one or other force for variety, rather than a whole new army. At least for now.
It is worth bearing in mind that with hundreds of figures in the CMG range, a lot are not actually 'troops', and it is 'troops' that you are going to need for a FUBAR, rather than CMG man-to-man skirmish game. Troops most suitable for a FUBAR-style game, which could be built up into a proper force are as follows:
Smugglers and Fringers
Trade Federation Battle Droids
Finally worth remembering there are quite a few figures in the SW CMG range, that are based on extra that are barely seen in the films (if so I missed them!), but would make good 'trooper' figures and could be the basis of a whole force. Because they are 'common' figures and not of very popular, they are cheap and easy to get hold, eg. of 20 for 20 quid or whatever. The danger in putting all the effort and expense into building up your force is you quickly become bored with Stormtroopers vs Rebel Troopers all the time. With two armies you can only have one combination, but with three you get three, with four armies there are six and so on, so twenty odd quid can prolong the interest quite a bit. Possible figures which are promising are:
Niemodian Trooper (two poses), Devaronian Soldiers or Chagrian Mercenaries
Well here endth the brain-storming. Need to get some feedback from Steve, and put think about ordering some more figures...