Marcus takes us through a recent game of Galactic Heroes.
Fist-Full Of Lead: Galactic Heroes
The boys and I have played a few skirmish games of late, and Fist-Full of Lead (FFOL) is a great option for a quick set-up bit of fun. Galactic Heroes is a stand-alone product in the series for space opera style action. It is produced by Wiley Games in the US and available in the UK from Oshiro Models.
A week ago I threw together a scenario which my youngest, Sun Two, and I blundered through (because it wasn’t that well developed, as a spur of the moment thing), but I forgot to take any photos! This week I wrote up a more complete treatment and we decided to give it a go on Saturday.
With some obvious inspiration (hint for those who didn’t grow up with the obligatory Cold War fiction) I pulled out my home made skirmish board with a surface that works for anything from an arid planet to the ocean depths and broke out all the sci-fi scenery (cue aquarium plants and buildings (some home-made from coffee jar tops) and some geodesic shelters from the lovely range by Alternative Armies Ion Age).
FFOL games rely on a deck of playing cards for activation. A player can use their own ordinary deck or use the bespoke ones available. These not only have some appropriate art, but also include on the relevant prompts with benefits that accrue from activating on certain cards. (e.g. +1 to combat (Jacks), heal a wound (Queen of Hearts) or (Sixes) reload). A player is dealt cards for the number of models they control. Then one player calls out the cards in rank order. When that player calls “kings” a player with a king can activate one of their models. If two or more players have kings, activation is completed in suit order. Each activation gives two actions. The models mainly use 1d10 for shooting and close combat, but a wide choice of traits vary the characters. Crews all receive one common “crew” trait (e.g. advanced comms or camo), leaders get three traits plus leadership, a specialist two and a regular one. The traits provide a lot of character and variation to the crew.
Planetary Research Station Zulu
The war for control of Galactic Space is the coldest war of all. The mighty, technically advanced fleets of both the Rim-Ward Confederation and the Core Union conduct an unceasing ballet of probe and counter probe, patrol and surveillance in the effort to accrue the slightest advantage should the fragile peace fail. Unfortunately, this peace is threatened as a Union stealth probe has crash landed on moon Zulu. Before it crashed it transmitted critical information to a receiver on the planet. But the only occupants of this arid dustbowl are a group of scientists. Communication has been lost and a violent sandstorm rages.
Each side has inserted a team of specialists with instructions to bring back the critical information. Each side needs to contact the remaining civilians and roll successfully to gather information (tokens). After turn five each side has an opportunity once each turn to roll under the number of tokens gathered, which will provide enough evidence to recover the crucial data cache. The side which gets off the board first secures the vital data. However, where there are secrets there are spies! It is unclear how either side came to infiltrate agents into the expedition, but needless to say they did. No-one knows the identity of the spies. When questioning civilians, on a 9+ the subject is a proves to be a spy and attacks the team. The spy is then controlled by the other side, which is dealt an extra card next turn for the additional character. If an opponent’s spy is killed, deduct 2 from their intel total.
There were also some random events in the scenario, including weather changes (the game started with a lull in the storm), buildings blowing up and the dreaded sandsharks…
Finally, I controlled the Core (entering from the left in the layout picture). Sun Two the RimFed.
The game started with a brief lull in the storm. Both teams approached the research station from opposite sides, failing to make any contacts during this turn.
The first random event produced…nothing! No-one was wounded, so despite a sandshark roll, none appeared on the board. The Core Sniper having advanced toward a civilian was, ironically, picked off from a hill to the south east by a RimFed sniper. Out of action immediately! Snarot (a snake-parrot hybrid) struck back with a shot similarly wounding RimFeds Catman.
The weather closed back in with visibility cut to 12” and short range up to 6”. A RimFed trooper interrogated a mechanic (Picture 3), gaining 2 info. with a roll of 7.
The Core leader, Sharon (looks a little bit like an ‘80’s Sharon stone-every collection should have one!), approached a venerable orange robot to interrogate it, but on a roll of 9 it turns out to be a deadly spy, rolling an 8 to wound. Sharon however is “Lucky”, so forces a re-roll…9! Sharon is not so lucky after all and out of action for the game. Core forces have already lost two figures and have no information. RimFed’s Silva Slither (metallic sheathed worm) encounters another civilian and rolls for information, only to uncover another spy. The spy shoots but misses. By co-incidence both spies roll the trait “sixth sense” from my short “spy” list. They can re-roll one shot each turn (but the Core spy overlooked this at the time)
As the turn closed, Snarot tried to finish off the orange spy with a couple of shots, but missed. The Core’s own red worm (red and silver worms have a deep-seated enmity!), Slippery, again tries to shoot the orange robot, causing severe damage (a wound) and shock. For the Core, Spartan closed with Silva and engaged in close combat alongside the Core spy in support, wounding the metallic nematode.
Surely things would improve now for the Core? The random event indicated two information points in a random building. It turns out they are almost immediately adjacent to RimFed’s Antman. He not only collects these but encountering a civilian in the building, also gets another token from him! Slippery tries to finish off the robot, but fails. The RimFed uses a Queen of Spades to activate the robot, shaking the shock off but failing to return to action from the wound (You can attempt to recover; stand up and function after a wound. However, you need a medic to attempt to heal/get rid of it). Snarot again fails to finish it off.
Elsewhere, the Core spy shoots RimFeds Kanga, putting him out of action. RimFeds Hawk tries to get more information out of a yellow robot to no effect. Silva overcomes his wound, and while he remains injured, manages to stand. Antman, sensing the tide of the game is flowing substantially in favour of the RimFed, moves toward their edge of the board.
Visibility clears again. With a staggering 9 intel., the RimFed roll a 6, meaning that they have enough information to recover the secret data package. While slippery finishes off the orange robot spy costing the RimFed two intel., it is too little too late from the Core forces. As the RimFeds forces pull back they callously leave two of their team and their brokenspy behind. Snarot and Spartan try some long range sniping at the retreating forces to no effect. Hawk, Antman and an injured Silva (who makes a sliding equivalent of a limp) make it off the board for a substantial, if brutally efficient win, even while the Core spy puts Catman out of action.
A very bad result for the Core. No intel gathered and their leader out of action. The fact they knocked out the enemy spy and two combatants is cold comfort in this cold war. And no sandsharks. Again. Very disappointing.
FFOL provides a very quick, interesting, narrative game with very little effort. It took no more than 90 minutes, if that. I am thinking seriously about a future campaign in a post-apocalyptic setting using FFOL – Wasteland Warriors and a road race element. This would allow a series of micro-games in a campaign where a number could be played in a day at the club.