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Starship Troopers at the Con

From: Los <los@c...>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 13:15:24 -0800
Subject: Starship Troopers at the Con

 Well in a fit of wanting to try something different, Kr'rt and I set up
and ran a Starship Troopers mini game Saturday night. A few months ago I
had taken a number of Epic 40k Space Marines and painted them up as
SSTs, with color coded stripes on the shoulders denoting squad and small
numbers on the bases denoting ID. There were 26 MI in the platoon we
used. The SSTs were mounted one to a base (1/2" washer I think)  Also,
if you recall a few months ago I bought a ton of ants and other bugs. I
pulled out one gross of dirtside sized ants, counted out 100 and poked
holes in the bottom of half with a swiss army knife to denote workers.
So to recap the organization: 

MI: One platoon with 4 squads of 6 + a PSG and a PLT ldr. 

Arachnids: one hive complex with a queen, six brains. Each brain
controlled 10 warriors, 10 workers, one engineer unit and two weapons
platforms/tanker bugs. 

RULES: There was only one rule: "Everyone fights, No one quits!" (Just


The Map: 

One newly acquired geohex mat: There were still folds in it which made
the plotting of the hive complex VERY convenient. SO it was broken into
4x6 section each 12". The northeast corner had a small research station
and the rest of the map was broken up with rocky hills. 

Preparations: We were inventing all this on the fly with the intent
being to meld the old boxed SST game with Stargrunt. Note Kr'rt had
Neither played either but is always willing to stick his neck out so
that was enough by me. The intent was to get a fast moving game going
that concentrated on running the squads and guys without the minutae of
firing weapon x and guy Y blah blah and ten million different dice. This
is because I wanted one player to be able to run a platoon (controlling
individuals) and fight out a game in only a few hours. SO we basically
took activation from SG and melded it with combat resolution from SST. 

The Mission: This operation was at the very beginning of the arachnid
war. A station on a  colony planet had failed to respond to comms
though it's automated defense grid was still operation. What was up? 
Rather than risk a friendly fire incident a single MI platoon was
dropped well outside of town to investigate. 

Kurt used the platoon roster sheets from SST to set up his force. along
with 26 troopers, each squad had two HE launchers, 1 Nuclear rocket, and
2 DAR/DAP (Delayed action proximity/remote) charges to divvy up. 

On a separate sheet I made a map of the area with grid lines and mapped
out my underground bug complex. Each brain had one 10" main tunnel, one
5" secondary and 2 3" tertiary tunnels (note the brain could choose to
string them together), plus 25 demo charges and 10 NUC charges. 

Units specs: 

We used the specs on the counters from SST but MI could execute ranged
fire out to 3". HE and NUC rocket fire out to 6 or 9" (Can't remember
now). Movement was 6" for marauders, 10" for scout/command suits.
Warrior bugs had unlimited movement per turn while in tunnel. On surface
it was 2" only. Tanker bugs at 3" Tankers also had ranged fire out to
6". Warriors had 1" ranged fire. 

OK the game begins: 

The DROP. We looked at the drop rule since the game and said, hey we
have a better Idea! Kurt rolls 2D6. That's how many inches above the
table he can drop a fistful (Squad) of troopers figures. Where they land
is where they land. (Hey they're cheapo epic figures.) If your squeamish
about doing this with mini can used the counters for the troops. They
lost one guy on the drop when he rolled off the edge and Kurt stepped on
him snapping the guy off at the legs. Oh well, he's dead. <grin> 

The game turns went like this: 1. Initiative Die roll. 

2. Activation phase. (Squad by squad) (BTW squads gave to remain within
a 12" radius of the SL) Also each squads troops moved and fired as
individuals. A. Special action phase (demo placement or blowing) BUgs
could tunnel and additional 3" per turn, place a new demo charge or make
a breach 

B. Squad either shoots and moves or moves and shoots) 

C. Close combat 

D. Extended jump phase (half of normal movement) NA for bugs.  

So off move the troopers towards the base. Watching their movement and
my hive plot carefully I was fortunate on turn two when the number of
them moved across a NUC charge. KR had lent us some nice craters which
were about 2" in diameter. That is centered on NUC site. Anything under
or touching it is dead (Same for MI Nuc Rockets) Anything within 1" of
crater model is attacked with 2d6 FP resolved on the boxed CRT. 

HE charges and launchers plus DAR/DAP attack everything at a one inch
radius. ALl fire is directed not at individual models but at a spot
within a one inch radius, which helped out the MI guy when dealing with
swarms. Warrior ranged fire was to the individual MI model, while tanker
bug fire was to within one inch radius. 

Per the boxed game results against bugs are either miss, stun (flip it
over can't move or fire) or killed. Terrain effects: (2 of  the same
moves up to next one) 1. Light armor damage: (roll for special equipment
loss), no extended jump, stunned for one turn. 

2. Hvy armor damage: (roll for special equipment loss). no extended
jump, no CC, stunned for one turn. 

3. WIA. No move or combat for duration of game. 

4. KIA: dead. Note that MI left on the bard at end of game count three
times as high for a bug player than just KIA guys so the MI player has
to haul his casualties with him. 

We used the counters form the box to id these states. Also stunned units
could be recovered by spending the next activation phase recovering. 

The flow of the game. I won't get too much into the particulars of the
game becasue I'll write it up as a story with pics later but the general
ebb and flow went like this. 

The MI player drops and moves to OBJ. As he's moving unfortunate MI who
are over NUC or HE charges get blown up. Then breaches appear and swarms
of warriors and workers emerge, (the tactic is how many to put out each
turn.) Unlucky cap troopers within 2" of the breach find themsleves in
life or death combat with 5 to 1 or higher odds. The tanker bugs come
out and also lash out with heavy attacks. 

If there ware no friendlies in the area, some MI with an HE or NUC
launcher usually vaporizes the bugs and  seals the breach. Above ground
Bug maneuverability visa vis the cap troopers is limited so for the
arachnid player the strategy is in tunnel lengthening, and deciding when
to spring a breach or whether to coordinate to Brain's breaches. 

From the MI player, sending guys out past mutual support distance
usually means they are in grave distance. Though MI firepower can
usually deal with any given attack fairly easily. 

Ayway casualties begin to mount, Hvy damage, WIAs etc. A lot for guys
have to be carried along. The bug breaches continue every turn. Both
sides got smarter as the game progresses, the MI spreading his troops
out so only one guy can get smacked by a NUC of demo charge in any given
turn and also making sure the squads can over watch and support each
other. The Bugs by withholding breaches until they can must mutually
support each other and by using the workers to soak up attacks. (Note:
the only way the terrain can tell warriors from workers is whether or
not they're attacking him or just coming up to him. Once flipped over in
stunned condition you can see the worker markings though.) 

The game was suppose to last 12 turns but by around turn 7 the MI player
had come to two conclusions: 1. Casualties were mounting every turn and
soon it would be unable to protect the platoon while hauling casualties. 

2. The human base must be dead since there was no way anything short of
an MI battalion could have survived this many bugs within close
proximity of the base. So with that in mind he decides to call for
retrieval. The PSG gets to a flat plateau big enough to bring in the
ship and plants a beacon. 2nd section gets up there and sets up
security, 1st section father out in front, is dealing with two bug
swarms and is in BIG trouble. There are several heroic moments where
individual troops hop into CC swarms to rescue downed brothers. Most of
these attempts are dramatic, but unsuccessful. 

Meanwhile the arachnid player has been extendeding two fresh tunnels to
the plateau. On the turn that the retrieval boat comes in, one breach
pops up and nails a few MI . The bug player withholds the tanker bugs
because he knows the fire power of the MI will kill all within the

The retrieval boat is stuck waiting an extra turn to get a last few of
the outlyers carrying casualties. A second breach pops up and up comes
another 20 bugs and 2 tankers, together with 2 tankers from the first
breach. Ths situation is now most serious. they kill or wound any MI
they see. The next turn the tankers will attack the retrieval boat, most
likely killing it. 

Final turn. now more than ever the initiative DR is of vital importance.
Kurt had lost virtually every one of these rolls for the whole game. Now
when he really needs it he comes through and activates first.! One
finally trooper, who's been hauling ass to make the boat, hops up onto
the plateau and guess what? he as a NUC. With the bug swarm bearing down
a well placed shot vaporizes the remaining bus. The lone trooper uses
his extended burn to make the ramp. The last stragglers get in and the
retrieval boat lifts off bringing with it evidence of a new deadly alien
race and the loss of the research base. Behind they left bugs swarming
over the remains of several dead MI (maybe even a live one or two, and
about ten nuclear craters. 


Anyway the whole thing from set up to finish was probably about 3.5 -3.5
hours. In that time we played 8 turns which isn't bad considering we
were making up and changing rules all along. We had a lot of fun with
this and will playlets some more, trying adding a nd subtracting from
the rules. Things to add include terran engineers, combat vehicles and
special talents. Also Arachnid flyers. We also need to add effects for
leader loss and what not, plus more detail to ranged fire versus CC fire
and combat detail. Then we put it up on a web site for you guys to try
out. We took a bunch of pictures.  Anyway, it was a blast. 


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