Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rampant Stars- Battle Report- Battle at the Farm

Welcome to my first Battle Report for Rampant Stars.  If you have seen my review of Lion Rampant, Dragon Rampant, Dux Bellorum, or The Men Who Would Be Kings; you will be familiar with the design work of Daniel Mersey.  He has designed a number of fun games for the Osprey Wargaming Series.  Rampant Stars is an intentional homage to his rules systems but set in a Sci-fi setting.  It is intended to be model neutral system.  You will see many similarities between this system and Dan’s works.  This was my first testing of the rules after feverishly writing them down over the New Year’s holiday.  

The leaders of the Spaz Marines believe they are the only true inheritors of the galaxy and are constantly trying to kill, maim, and burn any other sentient species they come across.  Therefore, the Spaz Marines were not too happy to find alien Tripods on one of “their” agri-worlds causing problems. 

The tripods were simply trying to herd the grazing animals off their property.  They have wandered too close to the entrance to one of their underground burrows.  The Spaz Marines intend on smashing their way into the burrow entrance and killing everything not on two-legs.  The Tripods intend to stop them.     

Pink Spaz Marines
·         Command- Elite Mounted- 10 Points
o   Commander
o   Jump Gear
o   Combat Gear
·         Tac-Squad Alpha- Elite Infantry- 8 Points
o   Armored
o   Rapid Fire
·         Tac-Squad Beta- 6 Points
o   Armored
24 Points Total

Martian Tripods
·         Command- Regular Mounted- 8 points
o   Commander
o   Rapid Movement
o   Long Range
·         Regular Mounted- 6 points
o   Rapid Movement
·         Regular Mounted- 6 Points
o   Rapid Movement
·         Drones- Regular Infantry- 4 points
o   Cerebral Synapse Link
24 Points total

Missions are generated by rolling 3d6 three times and consulting a mission, complication, and Location chart.  In this case we rolled 8 for mission, 11 for complication, and 11 for location.  Of course, you don’t have to roll any at all, but for a test game we might as well go for it!  

Forced Entry
The defender sets-up the board per the terrain guidelines.  The attacker than chooses a board edge and places a 6 by 6 inch box along the edge.   The attacker deploys on the opposite board edge up to 6 inches in.  The defender deploys anywhere on the board up to 12 inches away from the attackers.  The attacker has 8 turns or 1 hour to get one non-Shaken unit to complete a Hold order in the box on the defender’s board edge.  If they complete this objective they win, if not the defender wins. 

Tut tut feels like rain! Sheets of monsoon like rain fall across the battlefield reducing visibility to short range. 

Outdoor, Farmland
The battle is taking place outdoors near a farm. Terrain is orchards, fields, barns, and herd animals.  There should be 1d6 large/herds of farm Animals on the board.  They block Line-of-sight and are treated as a Mounted Untrained Mob .  They always move away from the closest unit and are moved after all other units have been activated.  The Attacker moves a herd first, and then the defender and keep trading off until all herds have been moved.    

We rolled 1 herd… phew.

Well then…. This should be something. 

This board is 6x4 in size.  The Tripods are the Defenders and are on the South side of the board.  The burrow entrance is marked off per the Forced Entry rules by a crater.   The largest Tripod is on the western wood, looking at the pond and herd of frogs.  The drones are in the burrow entrances, with the two smaller tripods moving up behind the pond.
The Pink Spaz Marines have their two tac-squads entering near the fields and the mounted unit on the east side.  They will be approaching the pond/barn side of the board.

Due to the monsoon like rains, all ranges are reduced to short.

Turn 1
Due to the monsoon rains, all units choose to move forward.  They all activate successfully on their orders.  The herd moves away from a scout Tripod and towards Tac-squad Beta.

Turn 2
The Pink Spaz Marines all advance double time through the fields, while the assault unit jumps behind the barn for cover.  No shooting occurs through the rains.

The Command tripod skirts the woods with a move/shoot order and fires upon Tac-squad Beta.  Thanks to being Long-range they manage to burn down three Spaz Marines.  Scout Tripod B attempts to move and shoot at the Assault units, but is too far away due to the rain! 

Tripod A tries to move forward, but a failure of command causes it to be shaken instead!  The drones Hold. 

The Frogs flee the advancing Spaz Marine tac-squads.

Turn 3
The Pink Spaz Marines don’t even try to fire back.  Instead, they all double time towards the objective.  The Assault unit tries to Bypass Scout Tripod A, and Tac-Squad Alpha breaks cover from the fields.  However, Tac-Squad Beta is shaken from a failed command check. 

The tripods discipline begins to breakdown.  The command Tripod breaks cover and fires at Tac-squad Alpha and kills 3 Spaz Marines.  The Drones also swarm out of the burrow entrance towards the approaching Tac-squad.  Scout B fails to rally and stands there shaken, while Scout A is shaken by a failed command check too. 

The frogs hop away from the drones and towards Tac-Squad Beta. 

Turn 4
Tac-squad Beta is shaken yet again and stays hunkered down in the fields.  Meanwhile, Tac-squad Alpha barrels towards the drones, determined to get to the burrow entrance despite the losses.  The assault unit does the same.  If they are not stopped, they will make it to the objective! 

The Command Tripod blasts Tac-Squad Alpha at takes it down 2 Effectiveness Rating.  It then fails a Morale Check and falls back 6 inches.  The Drones turn on the Assault unit and reduce it 3 Effectiveness rating, which bring sit below half and shakes the unit!  They will need to rally next turn.
Scout Tripod A rallies on the edge, but Scout Tripod B at the pond is still shaken!  The frogs flee from the command tripod and close to Tac-Squad Beta.    

Turn 5
The Pink Spaz Marines are all forced to rally. 

The Tripods are able to capitalize on the Spaz Marines rallies.  The Command Tripod blasts down two more in Tac-Squad Alpha, and causes them to be shaken, but they pass morale checks.  The Drones cut down the last of the assault unit.  Meanwhile, Scout Tripod A double times it around the pond.  Scout B is still shaken and unsure what to do!

Turn 6
Tac=Squad Alpha is forced to Rally.  Tac-Squad Beta moves up and opens fire on the Command Tripod with a Move and Shoot order.  They manage to damage for 2 Effectiveness. 

The Command Tripod kills one more from Tac-Squad Alpha, leaving them with 2 Effectives left.  However, instead of finishing the job, the Drones become shaken and confused as they try to switch targets.  Both Scout Tripods face the same fate! 

The herd moves away from Tac-squad beta

Turn 7
Tac-squad Alpha rapid-fires on the drones, and reduces them 3 Effectiveness.  Tac-squad Beta pings another point of Effectiveness off the Command tripod. 

In return, the Command tripod finishes off Tac-squad Alpha once and for all.  The Drones and Scout Tripod B also rally. 

The frog herd moves towards the pond.
The Grandmaster of the Pink Spaz Marines took the report with chagrin.  His troops had a certain reputation for fearlessness, ruthlessness, and efficiency.  From what he could hear, they hadn’t lived up to it.  I mean, they were defeated by a bunch of Tripods.  I mean who fights with a tripod anyway?  That has got to be one of the most inefficient ways of moving imaginable! 

For the tripods perspective, they were more than happy to take the chance to clear their land of amphibian food stock.  Without the silly Spaz Marines it took no time at all to herd them away.  It was back to peace and quiet.   

Final Thoughts
There was no way the Pink Spaz Marines could win.  They only had 1 squad left that was out of position and could not reach the burrow in the turn.  Per the rules, we could end the game there.  Win for the Tripods! 

Looking back at the game, we forgot that Move and Shoot meant that you got Half Effectiveness for shooting, and we also did Double Time wrong.  We moved them twice as far instead of the d3/d6 respective of unit type.  Whoops!  Even with a bare bones system you can do things wrong on the first play through.

This game was super, duper quick and easy to play.  It was also pretty exciting as things went fast.  The I-Go-U-Go nature of the game did not bog it down at all since there were so few units that could essentially only do one order a turn play flowed between players rapidly with barely enough time to contemplate your counter move before it was your turn again. 

The Mission/Complication/Location generator will also keep this from getting stale.  Different sci-fi traits will play a different importance for different conditions and missions.  Sometimes they will be a steal and other times they will be a waste.  It is easy to go overboard on unit costs and end up being out-numbered and outgunned.    

The Regular and Elites seemed to match up okay, but I am unsure how well irregulars and Militia will do.  This game had a lot of shaken units from failed command checks with low command scores.

Overall, I was happy with how the game played but want to do some more testing.  However, don't take my word for it.   Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.           

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