A busy weekend, Society meeting 24th February and Cavalier 25th February

Andy rounds up a busy weekend for the Society. Photos by Andy unless stated otherwise, header photo by Stephen.

Last weekend saw both a Society meeting and our annual trip to the Cavalier Wargames show run by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society.

Only three games at the meeting on Saturday, perhaps due to some members only being able to get out on one of the days.

First up, David ran a Napoleonic Corps game using General d’Armee rules and figures from his collection. This was a popular game with half a dozen members partaking.

Eric ran a Judge Dredd RPG, only a couple of photos of this one I’m afraid.

Judge Dredd RPG
Judge Dredd Bar room Brawl

Finally on Saturday Andy and Stephen finished off their Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign, joined this time by Treasurer Mark and new member Charlotte.

Game one.

This was a Convoy mission, the Christians had to escort three “baggage” markers diagonally across the table, a cart, some monks and some civilians. The Muslim forces had to stop them.

Much reduced cavalry face off (Charlotte)
Andy’s convoy and escorts (Charlotte)
Egyptian Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Game 2. This was to be our “Big Battle”, with two commands on each side. Here the objective was simply to defeat the opposition.

Andy’s warband
Andy’s Warband (Charlotte)
Charlotte’s and Stephen’s warbands
Stephen’s view point (Stephen)

We will post a write up of the final games in the campaign in the near future.


On Sunday half a dozen or so members travelled to Tonbridge for Cavalier.

The Society’s game for this year was masterminded and built by Phil, and was a 3D representation of a map game published in the 1977 Warlord Comic Summer Special portraying a Luftwaffe raid on Southern England during the Battle of Britain.

Phil’s board, 560 individually marked squares!
Airfields and ammunition dumps are three of the targets for the Luftwaffe
A close up of the town
A copy of the original game can just be seen at the bottom of the photo

Society meeting 27th January

Andy presents a short round up of the games at the second meeting of the year.

Stephen and I started our Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign. We had planned to play two games today, but actually got through three games.

First Battle: Stephen’s Ayyubid Egyptians spread out
First Battle: Nearing the end
Second Battle: Andy’s Pullani brace themselves for the attack.
Third Battle: Andy’s Pullani defend the shrine

A full report on these battles will be posted soon.

Eric ran a Darkheim – En Garde! fantasy skirmish game pitting four factions against each other in a free for all.

Barbarians and Beastmen
Cultists approach the village
Fighting around the ruined chapel
The village

Paul put on a 3mm Eastern front game set in late 1943

Aerial view of the battlefield
Soviets bypass the town


German ambush from the woods
Aerial view of the town

Finally, David, Alan and Chris played a Star Wars Armada game.

Imperial Star Destroyers
Rebels press the attack
“They’re behind you!”

That’s all for this week.

The diary for this year’s meetings can be found here.

First Society meeting of the year

Andy rounds up the first meeting of the year.

A good turn out for the Society’s first meeting of 2024, which included the Annual General Meeting, as well as half a dozen games.

The games staged were representative of the many periods and genes covered at the Society, consisting of historical, fictional, fantasy and sci-fi games.

Tony and Phil made a start with their “Quest of the Ringbearer” Middle-Earth campaign, playing out 4 scenarios of the journey from the Shire to Mount Doom.

Scenario 1 Farmer Maggot’s Crop

Farmer Maggot’s cottage
Starting positions for scenario 1. The hobbits by their stash (giant tomato), Grip, Fang and Wolf by the kennel and Farmer Maggot asleep in his cottage.
One of the Hobbits fends off Fang while the others gather cabbages

Scenario 2 – Short cuts make long delays

Pippin gets left behind as Frodo and Sam head for Gildor Inglorion. The Nazgul blunder their way through the woods
Sam has three Nazgul to face, Pippin has fallen and Frodo is nowhere to be seen.

Scenario 3 – Buckleberry Ferry

Starting positions for Scenario three, Three Nazgul spread out near the ferry, the Hobbits are in the trees near the top of the picture.
Stalemate, the sole surviving Nazgul (with 5 points of Will left) has crossed the Brandywine tying the ferry on the far side of the river. The four Hobbits have taken some damage and can’t face swimming the river with a Nazgul waiting for them.

A more detailed report on these scenarios will appear in due course.

Stephen staged a 15mm American Civil War game using Brigade Fire & Fury, ‘The Battle of Mansfield April 1864’

Union defenders on the hill
Union fall back as the Confederates take the hill
Last ditch Union defence
Confederates turn the flank

Alan put on a Pulp Alley game “The Castle of Terror”, teams from the Intelligence Agencies of various countries have been dispatched to investigate secret German activity at Schloß Weidergänger.

The teams approach the castle through the woods
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend
Russians investigate one of the huts
Sentries patrol, “Hast du etwas gehört, Fritz?”

Jeremey and Eric tried out –“Grimdark Future” from One Hour Wargames using their Space Marines and Robot collections.

Space Marines attack!
Part of the robot horde
Space Marines with air support
Space Marines take a beating

John staged a FoG Renaissance 15mm ECW game pitching Royalists vs Covenanters

Scots Covenanters defend the hill
Push of Pike
Cavalry clash on the wings
Kings’s Lifeguard of Foot supported by cavalry attack the Covenanters

And finally, David put on a 28mm Napoleonic Corps game, Russians vs Prussians using General d’Armee rules

Battle lines are formed
Cavalry clash while infantry hide in the woods.
Russian foot attack the Prussians in the woods
Attack on the Cross Roads

Well, that’s it for the round up of our first meeting.

The Society meets on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of the month at Linton Village Hall. You can find our diary of games here.

For new members/visitors, we will always endeavour to find you a spot in a game if we can.

5 Parsecs – The Crash Site

Club member Marcus reports on another solo game of 5 Parsecs from Home.

The crew of the “Pi” have had some scares so far but come out about as far ahead as an independent crew of scoundrels starting out in a big universe can expect so far. Turn 3  starts with payment of upkeep and debt on the ship. San and Nira trade for some contraband. There is a risk that they could acquire a rival as a result (law enforcement perhaps or a rival gang?)  but they get away with it and gain 3 CR. Kel and Wellington explore and pick up a shotgun. Always handy! More importantly they gain a rumour “Meet someone interesting…” In a darkened corner of a relic emporium a wizened alien gives them a strange token following a curious discussion over purchasing some old charts. It’s handed over with the words “Perhaps you can make use of this too…key to the temple, or so they say…” Wellington looks at the ancient looking etched cube in his hand with a curious look. “I have seen something like this before, but I can’t remember where…” perhaps it is just what it looks like, a curious old piece of junk. Perhaps not.

Meanwhile Pascal does some schmoozing and finds a new patron with an offer of a job which must be completed this turn or the next. Your patron has been double crossed in a shady information bartering transaction. The perpetrator has however crashed on a shuttle in the southern forests. Eliminate him and the knowledge he carries. It has the benefit of giving access to the company stores for supply purposes. Ultimately this produces a roll which generates 1 CR of scrap! “I told you that was a load of rubbish Pascal!” Very disappointing. This job also a significant hazard. The crew will face veteran opposition at -1 to panic.

They don’t yet know it but they will face the threat of the “Converted” infiltrators. Their opponents appear normal (as normal as anyone looks in this galaxy of diverse lifeforms!) but are part of the cyborg hive mind advance party…there’s a threat of invasion and galactic war!

You can see the Converted moving in from the north-west quite apparently quite close to the wrecked stealth shuttle. The crew can be seen at the south centre. The yellow counter is a randomly generated “curious item”, worth 1 CR if picked up)

The first couple of turns are spent moving in on the location of the crash. Despite the initial proximity of the converted to the site both crews converge at the location almost simultaneously with San and Kel spotting their opponents.

Rolling a 12355, Kel and Nira act. Kell moves and shoots against an opponent in the open rolling a 6! However, a damage roll of 2 leaves the opponent stunned (yellow counter). Nira moves and shoots the leader in the open with a 5. A damage roll of 4 equals the leader’s toughness for a kill (red token)! The enemy return fire, mainly at Nira, but fortunately they all miss. Just. San now opens up with his plasma rifle and hits. His plasma rifle does +1 damage and the resulting 6 kills another converted.  Veyon and Wellington search the shuttle but don’t locate the target, who has taken cover near a bulbous headed insanity plant.

In turn 4 a bad roll means that the crew all move after the converted, who don’t panic because they are (veteran) cold, calculating cyborgs. However, a volley of fire yields no results for the converted as they target San and Nira. Veyon in stealth gear (-1 to enemy shooting) moves into position. She also uses a sonic emitter which impacts enemy rolls with 5” by -1. Veyon shoots with no damage but gets two stuns on her target. Neither San nor Kel can get a hit. Nira rashly charges into close combat trusting in her lethal boarding sabre. Amid the melee of flailing sharp blades perhaps it is the cybernetics that give her opponent the edge, but Nira goes down. She survives the toxic effects of the planet but is a casualty and out of the action.

Turn 5 and having seen Nira go down an angry Kell blasts away at the remaining enemy but misses. They respond by firing at Veyon. She seems certain to be killed but somehow dives to safety (a luck point used, otherwise she would have been toast!) Wellington meanwhile has tracked the target who has moved some way from the shuttle. He shoots but misses. Veyon now return fire at the last of the e. A 5 hit and 5 damage see the last of them go down.

Wellington ultimately brawls with the target and brings the filthy traitor down too.

Far from an easy mission, both Nira and Kel nearly “bought it” (I used a story point to save Nira from a gruesome death). The crew pick up an extra 2 CR danger pay and 8 CR for completing the job. With the infiltrator converted wiped out, there is no evidence of the crew’s involvement and the Converted do not become rivals as a result. The crew also picked up something on the battlefield, a “personal item”. Perhaps representing a time before one of the enemy was converted. There is a chance this can be returned to a relative on visiting a future world, which would be worth a roll on the loot table.  In addition the crew gather some loot – Damaged weapons: a ripper sword and 3 frak grenades.

Experience; Everyone gains +3 except Nira who gets +5. Level-up: Nira, Kell and Veyon get +1 combat and Wellington +1 tough. They purchase a military rifle for 3 CR. Finally there is another chance meeting in a bar…(where else?). Could be an addition to the crew perhaps?

A year’s worth of gaming (Part 2)

Club member Stephen reviews the games he has played at Maidstone Wargames Society this year. This is part 2 of the article covering July to December. If you missed part 1 it can be found here.

The first meeting after the Open Day can be an important one because it would be the first ‘true’ impression of a club day for anyone returning after the Open Day. We do try to have a few games going and it’s important that games are open to any new member to help them feel included and part of the club. I had a game of Dragon Rampant with Andy.

July – Dragon Rampant

We got in two games. Andy was using his goblins, and I used two new armies – elves in the first game and dwarves in the second. And Andy won both games. Not just won, but won quite convincingly. That’s the thing with new armies – it takes time. You have to get to know each other, trust each other, respect each other. Just like any relationship.

At the end of July came more sci-fi. Another game of Stargrave – Jurassic Moon! I’m sure you can work out the inspiration for that one. Films, TV, and books all provide an endless resource for Stargrave games. Yet again, another sci fi game in my decision to do more sci fi during the year.

In this game Tony’s captain would get killed by a pack of velociraptors, meaning Tony lost his crew and will have to start all over again. Meanwhile, Eric kept throwing grenades at everything. We also used the Side Hustle cards, which provided a great new element to the game.

July – Stargrave – Jurassic Moon

We are now two-thirds of the way through this gaming year, and another sci fi game for me – Battlestar Galactica by Ares Games. This uses the same game engine as other games such as X-Wing. The game was run by Alan, so fulfilled two briefs for the year’s gaming – play more sci fi, and play more games run by other people. Best of all, though, was the chance to game with club members I seldom game with. Alan umpired with Dave and myself taking the Cylons and Pete S and Chris taking the humans. I don’t wish to gloat, but suffice to say that Dave and myself had a very rewarding day!

August – Battle Star Galactica

And then on to a bit of fantasy – Elf King Red. This is a free download set of rules by Rick Priestly. In brief, the game is based around an elf civil war, with each player taking control of a different ‘Circle’ of elves. It’s one of those games with just a few miniatures per player – a leader (or Thane in the rules) accompanied by six companions. Just seven figures per side!

We had a four player game – Andy, Tony F, Phil, and myself. We played two different scenarios (we agreed that each player must devise a scenario, but obviously never played them all). Andy’s scenario involved hunting down a rampant werewolf whilst mine was all about taking control of a temple in the wilderness.

August – Elf King Red

It proved to be a nice fun game. These sort of things always work best with some kind of scenario driven game. There’s a few holes in the rules, which is OK (they’re free, after all), especially if you’re a group of friends and playing the game in the spirit of fun. We certainly coped with any hiccups and any uncertainties were easily resolved. EKR will make a great one-day session of linked scenarios.

It had been a little while, but the first meeting in September was back to our Wars of the Roses campaign – Battle of Hedgeley Moor. This was an encounter I was unfamiliar with, with newly crowned King Edward sending an embassy to the Scots only to be ambushed by the Lancastrians.

September – Sword and Spear – Battle of Hedgeley Moor

You know what, it’s just not fair! I really thought I was going to win this one, it was looking good at one point. But did I? No. You can read the full report here: Wars of the Roses – Battle of Hedgeley Moor – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk)

A closer game this time, so I suppose some things are improving.

The second meeting in September was supposed to be Rebels & Patriots but Andy had to pull out at the last minute, so I grabbed some spaceships and we had a game of Starmada instead. Like Full Thrust this is a space fleet game, but it’s quicker and dirtier than Full Thrust and can handle large fleet battles better. We played three games. The first was a simple meeting encounter so we could all remind ourselves of the rules. The grey fleet won this so we decided the next battle would be an attempt to take control of a mining facility. The green fleet repelled them this time and so we moved on to the last game – a chance for the greens to consolidate their position. But the greys won again. We decided this represented a minor victory for the greys. They hadn’t managed to take control of the mining facilities but had done enough to press the greens for trading benefits.

September – Starmada

The first meeting in October was on the 14th, which meant only one thing: HASTINGS! A few years ago we’d re-fought the battle so what we did was have a special Saga day based on the Norman Invasion. Norman and Anglo-Dane armies only.

October – SAGA – Battle of Hastings

The four of us decided to play multi-player games. Each player would keep track of victory points throughout the day and the player with the highest total would be declared winner. The day went to Tim with his Anglo-Danes with Jeremey, also using Anglo-Danes, in a very close second. It seems English resistance to the Normans is alive and well.

Since we meet in such a large hall I often wonder why we don’t do more one-on-one games. There’s enough room. So at the second meeting in October Tony G and myself had a few games of Barons War. This was Tony’s first time, so we kept it small. As such, we got in three games. Barons War provides a really good section on scenarios, which always benefits skirmish games. I won the first, then Tony won the second, which left a third deciding game. It went to Tony! The more I play Barons War the more I enjoy it. Like many rules it’s not always as clear as it could be – though not as bad as some rules out there. But as you play it the more sense it makes. A very enjoyable session.

October – Baron’s War

Right then. So, November. And another ding-dong in our Wars of the Rose campaign.

This was the Battle of Hexham and marked a turning point in the war. Not only was it a turning point in the actual war but it was also a turning point (hopefully) in our campaign. Rather than give details here you can instead read about the remarkable events here.

November – Sword and Spear – Battle of Hexham

The penultimate game of the year was a bit of a 90s throwback – Battletech! This game ticked two boxes for my year’s gaming: more sci fi AND play other’s games as well. Back in the day I used to play a lot of Battletech (and Silent Death). This was Eric’s game and we played a version of Battletech called Alpha Strike which, to be honest with you, bears no resemblance to the original game at all. Which is not a bad thing. Battletech was a very 90s set of rules and I’m not sure I have the stomach for it any more. But Eric had done the right thing by introducing us to Alpha Strike because it is a much more streamlined, playable, and therefore enjoyable game. Splendid fun. And check out Eric’s fantastically painted mechs. When I used to play I would go for lurid colours (I remember doing one in purple and yellow). I much prefer Eric’s muted colours.

November – Battletech Alpha Strike

And so on to my final game of the year. And yet more sci fi. Another game of Stargrave, but this time with a festive feel – I called the game ‘There Ain’t No Sanity Clause’ (full credit goes to The Damned for that). Santa Claus has been kidnapped by hordes of psycho-penguins and the players must spread festive goodwill to release him.

December – Stargrave – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause

Five players took part. They had two goals – as well as collecting loot tokens they also had to collect clues that tell them what they have to do to release Santa. The culmination of the game was a group rendition of We Wish You A Happy Christmas. In addition, if the players give back captured loot tokens to Santa (the loot were presents for all the good boys and girls) then they would receive double experience for those tokens.

A suitably festive ending to the year!

So those were the games I played at the club during 2023. I did well on my pledge to play more sci fi, but not so well when it came to playing other’s games (though I did do that more than usual – so not too bad). You know what, I don’t think I played a duff game all year. I thoroughly enjoyed every game. This is the advantage with being a club member – the variety of games and the quality. I’m going to continue with my determination to join in other games during 2024.


A year’s worth of gaming (Part 1)

Club member Stephen reviews the games he has played at Maidstone Wargames Society this year. This is part 1 of the article covering January to June.

This article is a review of all the different games I’ve played over 2023 just to see, and remind myself, of the variety of games I’ve done. At the beginning of the year I made two decisions – play more sci fi, and play more games that other people put on (my general attitude is ‘I paid for these models and took the time to paint them so I want to use them!’ which means I generally put on a game at most meetings). So this year I wanted to mix things up.

The first game of the year was at the club meeting on January 28th. This was a game of Sword & Spear and part of a campaign (which started in 2022) to re-fight the Wars of the Roses with Jeremey.

January – Sword and Spear – Mortimer’s Cross

I love playing Sword & Spear. I do. But I don’t seem to be any good at it. In all the games I’ve ever played of S&S I think I’ve only ever won twice. Surely it can’t be my superior tactics, that seems to be beyond reproach, right? This game was a re-fight of Mortimer’s Cross (you can find the full, and gloating, write-up here: Wars of the Roses – Battle of Mortimers Cross – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk)). As is traditional with S&S, I lost. But you know what, I couldn’t care less because the games are always a lot of fun with plenty of pre-game trash talk and goading, and each game has a story. Playing in good company always helps as well. I’d willingly keep on losing so long as I keep on enjoying it.

February brought another couple of games at the club.

First up was a new game to me – Charlie Don’t Surf by Two Fat Lardies. I find TFL games a bit marmite. I’ve played Chain of Command – loved it. I’ve played What A Tanker – didn’t like it. And this was the first time for CDS. And I loved that as well. The game and models are all Pete S’s, and he’s done a blinding job on them. They are 10mm Pendraken models (I think) and it has just the right look for Vietnam.

February – Charlie Don’t Surf

We’re used to seeing 20mm and 28mm Vietnam games which focus on platoon actions. But Vietnam was bigger than that – often brigade sized actions with the company as the manoeuvre unit. And 10mm captures that perfectly. I had command of the armoured platoon. We put Mark J (newly appointed club chairman) to prove his mettle in command so he took company HQ. The game was a victory for the US side!

The second game in February was planned to be a Barons’ War game with Andy. But in the week leading up I suggested to Andy we could do a ‘compare and contrast’ and have a game of both Lion Rampant and Barons’ War to see how the two handle the same period. You can read a summary of our findings here (Lion Rampant and Baron’s War – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk)).

February – Baron’s War and Lion Rampant

First club meeting in March was a Stargrave game. I said I wanted to play more sci fi in 2023 and this was the first sci fi of the year. I found the original scenario online and tweaked it to be what I wanted it to be. Stargrave is a great toolbox of a game – you can make it what you want it to be. This game had both an overland and underground part, which was new for us.

March – Stargrave – The Warp Sextant

I prefer running Stargrave as an umpire, like a RPG. You get a different kind of pleasure as umpire because it’s about providing challenges and running the NPCs/monsters and hopefully providing an enjoyable scenario. Well, for me anyway. In this game Eric’s crew had fought hard to get to the bunker where the Warp Sextant was hidden. But coming out he found Tony F’s crew waiting outside, guns pointed at the entrance. A brief exchange of fire and it was Tony who made off with the treasure. Poor Eric.

End of March it was another chance to lose at Sword & Spear – Second Battle of St Albans. In this campaign I have the Lancastrians which means the onus is on me to win in battles where the Lancastrians came out on top. Such as Second St Albans.

March – Sword and Spear – Second Battle of St Albans

Again, rather than go into details here, anyone wanting to know more about this game can read the battle report (Wars of the Roses – 2nd Battle of St Albans – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk)). Suffice to say, it was business as usual! Tony joined me again on the Lancastrian side. I was feeling good about this one, felt I was due a win. And the early part of the game was looking good – the local militia archers engaged the Yorkist artillery and eliminated them for no loss! Yup, first blood to Lancaster. And then it steadily went downhill. Never mind.

More sci fi in April! This time it was Pete M’s Space 1889 game. A different kind of sci fi – Victorian rather than futuristic. The stand out thing were Pete’s scratchbuilt aeronefs, and we spent a bit of time playing ‘guess what bits have been used for the models’. Truly outstanding.

We played two games. I was on the human side for both games, and both games were very close. And Jeremey got a leathering in both games with his colleagues leaving him to do all the work. Excellent game.

April – Space:1889 – Mars

The end of April was Salute and this coincided with a club meeting day. Naturally, it was going to be a quiet meeting with a fair few members at Salute. I ran an American Civil War game (battle of Cedar Mountain) using brigade Fire & Fury.

April – Fire & Fury – The Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Union army is in a difficult position for this battle – making an attack against a much larger Confederate army. John R took control of the Union troops and did a good job – but his artillery ran out of ammo early in the game and he never had the time or opportunity to replenish them. This left him conducting a fighting retreat, and he made a good job of it, slowing down the Confederates.

First game in May was another in our Wars of the Roses campaign – the battle of Towton. Like all the others…I lost. Now, I’m not just saying this, but the dice rolling on our side was pretty poor, compared to the other side rolling really well. No, no! Stop that! It’s true on this occasion. To read more about this game you can check out the blog post (Wars of the Roses – Battle of Towton – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk))

May – Sword & Spear – Towton

Next was another sci fi game – Full Thrust. Jeremey and Tony were running the game which meant only one thing: vector movement. My fluffy little head struggles with that and prefers the cinematic movement option.

May – Full Thrust

A mixed bag of results. The first game was two opposed fleets with an asteroid field cutting the table in two – Tony F and myself using some of Brigade’s German ships, and Jeremey and Tony G using some of Jeremey’s scratch built (out of false nails) ships. Tony and myself came out on top in that one. We then played a couple of one ship per player games (first was cruisers, second was destroyers) and the alien nail ships won those games.

Along came flaming June and I decided not to attend Broadside since I was trying to restrict spending and if you go to a show you have to buy something, eh? John Lambert and myself had a game of Crossfire. We played this quite a bit a few years ago but then it fell by the wayside. The models for this game were from my collection – WW2 eastern front.

June – Crossfire – WW2 Eastern Front

The scenario was a late war one – Russian advance through Poland with the Germans on the retreat. Naturally, we were re-learning the rules, but it steadily came back to us. MUST ensure we play more of this one.

June 24th was the club Open Day. My game was a Saga: Crusades games. We played two scenarios, I had Saracens and Andy had Milites Christi. Saracens carried the day and won both games. I love Saga. It’s just the right game for me.

June – SAGA Crusades – The Road to Damascus

You can read more about the Open Day here: Review of 2023 Open Day – Maidstone Wargames Society (brigademodels.co.uk)

That concludes part 1 of the review of 2023, part 2 will be published in a couple of weeks.

Stargrave: The Next Generation

Tony F recounts a tale of woe but also tells us of new beginnings…

Kal Gaden’s week had been… interesting. Ten days ago he was near rock bottom, down to his last credit and had sunk so low that he was even contemplating the unthinkable – selling his armour for food. Then a chance encounter with Jenin Hosvarn, captain of the freebooter vessel the Empyrean Drifter, threw him a lifeline. He signed up on the spot as a general service deckhand/dogsbody for what could only be described as a ‘variable’ salary – but at least he was going to be fed.

Four days later the ship left port for his first assignment, on a distant moon many parsecs into the next sector of space, with everyone in good spirits. The regular crew consisted of the captain, his reptilian first mate Budfodo and the other two deckhands, Whibirt and Scogill. The former was also the ship’s medic, and his colleague was supposedly tech-savvy, a bit of a hacker. Kal assumed that he spent most of his time keeping B6C5, the ship’s ancient robo-pilot, and the captain’s aging cyber-dog Lucifer in working order. They also had a five-man guard detachment onboard from the local security agency – big burly goons clad in bright orange plasteel armour and toting carbines. Allegedly Budfodo was a bit of a dab-hand with his huge repeating plasma cannon (in a quiet moment, Whibirt told him that the giant alien had shot nine men on their last mission), while Pervol, the taciturn minigun-wielding guard, had single-handedly taken down a tentacled sea beast on a waterworld six months back. So no-one was worried about their safety.

And then they landed – and Kal had never seen such a fiasco. They disembarked into a dense jungle, where you could barely see the guy five paces in front of you. All around he could hear the cries and screeches of the local fauna, along with the heavy footsteps of something that was obviously really BIG. Then they suddenly came across the Big Thing – a genetically engineered monstrosity bred from the DNA of a long extinct giant reptile. No one seemed to know how to deal with it, so instead everyone just froze. After what seemed an eternity they skirted round it, and it wandered off back into the dense undergrowth in search of something a bit more lively.

Then they stumbled upon an old bunker covered in vines and creepers, decrepit but still sealed. Step forward Scogill, the tech “expert”, who made such a bantha’s ear of cracking the lock that in the end Kal just did it for him! Without a word of thanks (probably too embarrassed), Scogill stepped past him and straightaway tripped some ancient motion detector, setting off a self-destruct alarm. Fortunately the detonator circuits had long since expired and this one turned out to be a dud, but not before everyone had bolted in a rather unedifying spectacle.

Then came the one thing they did get right. Captain Hosvarn had struck a deal with the elders of a local village to get rid of a tentacled beast that had made its home in their water supply. The security detail this time managed to do their thing and get a grenade into the well. And as a bonus, at the same time they upset several other crews who’d been squabbling over the loot around the area (Hosvarn’s crew should have been there too, but they’d spent their time running from giant herbivores and antiquated alarm systems and missed out on any bounty).

So job done, after a fashion – time to return to the Drifter. Except that on the way back they stumbled upon a trio of vicious saurian critters, no bigger than dogs, but with very sharp teeth. The security detail utterly failed to do what they were hired for, the Captain tried to fend them off with an alien plasma pistol he’d found – but that misfired, and in the end it was Kal’s pistols and Budfodo’s cannon that did for the creatures. But Hosvarn had been badly hurt, and expired on the return flight despite the ministrations of the medic.

Thus ended Kal Gaden’s brief tenure aboard the Empyrian Drifter – with Captain Hosvarn gone, the crew dispersed to the four corners of the galaxy and he was once again out on his ear…

So that was the tale of woe for my Stargrave crew’s final mission. It really was the first mission for my new crew member Kal Gaden, and he really was witness to an utter disaster. Although I learnt some valuable lessons (don’t put your captain at the front, even if he does have a fancy plasma pistol) it was not my finest hour, and I’ve had to start again with a new crew since my first mate hadn’t reached a high enough level to take over. I decided to start from scratch with new figures since just recycling and renaming the old ones didn’t feel enough of a fresh start. Kal is a Diehard Miniatures figure who bears a passing resemblance to characters from a certain sci-fi franchise – and I decided to build the team around him. I took the plunge and bought Diehard’s two Elite Bounty Hunter packs, which are very good deals compared to buying the figures individually, plus “Nub Nub, Dark Apprentice“, also definitely not derived from the same franchise. This gave me enough for a 10-figure crew plus a couple of spares.

Gebro, the Mystic first mate

Let’s not beat around the bush – they’re Mandalorians in everything but name. In the series they come in all sorts of colours, so I had fun painting them in a variety of schemes. I found a Mandalorian name generator online which was very helpful in giving them all unique monikers and the crew began to come together.

In Stargrave terms, my captain (Garo Braven) is a Veteran – it seemed the closest fit. I made Nub-Nub (tentatively named Gebro) my first mate and a Mystic, complete with suitable powers to try and reproduce his fledgling Force abilities (including Void Blade for his lightsabre).

The make-up of the rest of the crew was dictated by how many credits you get to create a new outfit – not enough to set all of them up as I would really like, so some will have to be upgraded as and when I can earn some cash! I tried to at least pick soldier types that had the correct weapons, so apart from three specialists (a Gunfighter, Gunner and Sniper) the others are either Troopers if they have a rifle, or Runners or Recruits if it’s a pistol.

Following the release of the latest supplement, Bold Endeavour, which brought each crew’s ship more into the game, they also need a ride. Obviously this had to be some version of the Razorcrest, and after some searching I came up with two options – the Star Wars Micro Galaxy one, a smaller, fairly detailed and pretty accurate model, or the Hasbro Mission Fleet version, a more toy-like option that wasn’t so exact but was just about the right size for 32mm figures given the Razorcrest’s stated length of 80′. In the end I went for the former, as the more in-scale toy version was possibly a bit too big for the average gaming table at ~18″ long. The smaller model looks better and is still big enough to be a slightly cramped 10-person shuttle craft.

So that’s the new crew of the newly-named Cepheid Variable – their first mission will commence just after this post is published, so wish them luck!

5 Parsecs – The Package

Club member Marcus reports on a solo game (with the editor’s apologies to Marcus  for the delay in getting this onto the blog).

As Pi in the Sky has blasted off from Palacco, we entered a new campaign turn. Firstly, space travel. I rolled a “It’s not supposed to make that sound…”.   Fortunately, Veyan rolled a success “but I know exactly what it is…just realign the phase couplers.” That could have been unfortunate, but instead the Pi arrived on Enout, a wild frontier world classed as dangerous.  Upkeep paid and ship debt increased to 22 Cr.

While Veyan and Pascal failed to attract any new patrons, Kell came up with a useful contact +1. Wellington traded for some basic supplies (-1 upkeep in turn 3). San (with a roll on the loot table) traded for…something interesting. A further roll identified this to be a military ship part; a 3Cr discount on the next ship component bought.  The crew already had a Patron mission lined up. This would be in a toxic environment (+1D6 roll + savvy when stunned or the character becomes a casualty). The mission: to deliver a package to the centre of the table, an abandoned facility. Unknown criminal elements have an interest.

I didn’t fancy setting up the opponents at one edge and posed some questions to players online. There are alternative deployment options in an expansion, but I opted to set up my own. I created my own random table and rolled for set up. The criminals in deployed in 3 groups utilizing a clock face method around the centre at roughly one, three, five, seven, nine and eleven o’clock. One group was also delayed in deploying.

The crew (pictured above) entered from the south – east corner. As luck would have it, the opposition deployed a group of two very close to them, with three on the diametrically opposite side of the board.

The table

The crew gain the initiative and Veyon, Pascal move into positions in the first phase.  Kel preps for snap fire, but no target manifests as no opposition appears immediately. The rest of the crew also move forward. In turn two both Pascal on the right and Nira and Wellington on the left seek to outflank an emerging threat amid the heavy jungle. Kel gets a close shot at Mant (a Rebel miniatures ant man) but misses, as does Veyon. Mant’s pal Worake (half worm, half snake) works its way forward.

Mant & Worake
Kell snipes at Mant & Worake

The third criminal group were now due to deploy. By chance they also deployed in close proximity to the crew in the south-east.

More antagonists deploy

In turn three Kell snipes unsuccessfully at Worake who shoots back at Kell, but he has the benefit of camo gear and blends into the jungle. Pascal spots the new intruders but in an exchange of fire goes down wounded.

Pascal is hit!

In turn 4, seemingly stung by the wound sustained by Pascal, the crew get their act together. Veyon targets Worake, hitting with a 5 and a damage roll of 6+1 puts Worake down. San similarly spots the newly arrived female gunslinger (Toogun) and despatches her and while her accomplice, Lazard (the lizard man) man responds, he misses. Veyon also gets a second shot and puts down Mant.

Kell gets a close-up shot using his blast pistol but misses even at close range. Wellington and Nira moved further up on the left concealing themselves in a grove of plants.

Nira & Wellington move up on the left

In turn 5 the crew got a good roll allowing Kel to aim and take a shot at Lazard. The opponents who deployed in the south-east are all put out of action. Meanwhile Nira and Wellington are hidden in the path of the remaining criminals and spring an ambush.


Nira scores a 6 to floor Hawk-man. One of the two remaining opponents, after squeezing off a couple of wild shots in the general direction of Nira, has already seen enough and decides to bug out on a morale roll. With only one opponent still in the game, Nira gains the benefit of a first-round action and with a well-aimed shot brings down the last of the opposition.


While the crew successfully meet their contacts and deliver the package, what of Pascal?

Post Battle:

Despite the outcome of this battle this criminal enterprise clearly does not relish taking on the crew again as they don’t want to become rivals. The crew get paid 9 Cr. The crew also find a curious data stick which will provide them with a quest rumour. They also pick up another blast rifle.

Pascal’s injury initially proved to be nothing to serious, just a turn in sick-bay. However, I forgot about the toxic environment. Subsequently I remembered to roll this. Pascal failed forcing me to use a story point to keep him in the game. Pascal is after all an interesting character. I was reluctant to lose him. “That infection you picked up in the jungle gave us a scare Pascal.  We thought we had lost you…”

Naturally, everyone picked up experience points. We didn’t try any training or find any purchases worth making except…

Finally, campaign events: An alien merchant offers a strange artifact. How can we resist for 4 Cr? A quick roll on the loot table leads us to the rewards table and ship parts; roll for value: 1 Cr! Easy come easy go…





Battle of the Bougainville Asteroid Field

Marcus turns assassin as he tried to eliminate a Japanese Admiral.

I needed to dig out a space mat in connection with another project this week and as a result just fancied a game of Full Thrust. I’d sketched out some ship diagrams previously and done a couple of other designs. The scenario I threw together was loosely inspired by Operation Vengeance, the plan to kill Admiral Yamamoto which took place on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific. Yamamoto, the commander of the IJN Combined Fleet was deliberately targeted by USAF aircraft following US Navy codebreakers identifying his flight-plan in the area of Bougainville Island.

In this scenario, Admiral Maya of the IJN is present aboard the Heavy Cruiser Chokai escorted by the Light Cruiser Mogami and a frigate, the Fubuki, having visited an installation in the Bougainville asteroid belt. Royal Navy forces, having been made aware of his presence in the area have penetrated deep into IJN space using light forces with the intent of springing an ambush using the belt as cover. The Chokai needed to exit the far end of the table for a win.

The British forces are composed of the (very) light carrier Pandai (with just one fighter group), two destroyers, the Triton and Ganymede, and four pulse torpedo armed corvettes: Leda, Ersa, Elara and Dia. I set up the game initially and played a couple of turns but then match abandoned for dinner! More of that anon (the abandoned game, not dinner!) I set up again the next day for take two.

Turn 1
The IJN ships entered from the short navigating carefully at speed 3 but accelerate to 4 on detecting trouble. Both the Mogami and Fubuki detect the Leda and gain a hit each on the approaching corvette. The Callisto responds from beyond Leda to gain a hit on the Mogami.

Turn 2

The IJN fleet accelerate to 6 with Fubuki forced to make a slight turn to port to avoid an asteroid. The Ganymede to the port of the IJN fleet became exposed from behind an asteroid and suffered combined fire from the Japanese. Chokai put four hits on the Ganymede to her port from the A and 3 B turrets. Mogami gets an unlikely three hits from her 3 B’s to turn Ganymede into a flaming wreck. However, before she succumbs Ganymede fires on Chokai, but the one shot on target is deflected by Chokai’s shield. To starboard the Fubuki opens up on the leading RN corvette, the Leda, again achieving two hits. However, both Leda and Ersa reply. Leda gets just one hit with her pulse torpedo, but this produces a damage roll of 5. Boom! Both sides have lost one ship

Turn 3

Accelerating now to a velocity of eight, the remaining Japanese ships also make a one point turn to Starboard to manoeuvre through the asteroid field and escape. Chokai open s up with her A battery at close range on the Dia but all 3 dice miss! By contrast the 2 B turrets fired at Ersa produce 6645! 4 hits from four dice! Ersa nevertheless manages to put a pulse torpedo into Mogami at close range on a 4 and rolls 4 damage before succumbing to the fatal damage from Chokai. Leda does exactly the same; a roll of 4 and a damage roll of 4 also against the Chokai. Dia misses her shot while finally Elara rolls a 5 for a hit. Elara rolls a damage of 6! The heavy cruiser now only has two damage boxes left, but the critical damage “threshold” checks result in the A turret being placed out of action. Most unfortunately though the FTL drive has been put out of action. Callisto tries to finish off Chokai at close range but her 2 B’s and a C turret get two hits of 4, but are blocked by the Chokai’s shields.

The RN Pandia, which has been lurking out of sight behind an asteroid launches her fighter group.

Turn 4

Despite the heavy damage taken by Chokai, her systems are largely intact. However she needs to get the FTL up and running if she is to escape. The damage control party attempt this but needing a 6, only roll a 5. She nevertheless pours on further acceleration in a bid to escape the onslaught, moving to velocity 10. Mogami has to slow slightly (-1 velocity to 7) to manoeuvre.
While Pandia’s fighter close in on a Chokia which is now opening up the range from Callisto, Chokia brings Pandia under fire with her 3 remaining B turrets at short range. An unlikely 66555 results in 7 hits! With just two damage boxes remaining Pandia also loses a point defence system. Mogami finished her off with a 6 and 4 from her 3 B’s resulting in 3 damage. However, while the fighters closed in on Chokai, Callisto again fired with her 2 B’s and C (5 dice) to get to 6’s and 4 damage. Chokai is eviscerated and the Admiral lost.

Despite the conclusion of the scenario objective, I played on the next couple of turns to see if the Mogami could at least make an improbable escape.

Turn 5

The Mogami runs, accelerating by +3 to a velocity of 10, chased by Pandia’s orphaned fighters. Mogami uses her area anti fighter weapon to shoot at the fighters and bring two down on a 6, but not before they launch their weapons; 125566 results in 6 hits including a point defence system and a firecon. In Mogami’s rear arc, Callisto continues to blast away with 5 dice and does a further two damage.

Turn 6

So close to the edge of the asteroid field now, Mogami accelerates to 13. Although the fighters trail they are still in range. However, although the range has opened to the extent that it reduces Callisto’s firepower to just 2 dice, a roll of 5 and 6 did three damage, finishing off the gallant Mogami. In fact although the pictures show that Mogami was pursued by the fighters I subsequently realised that they are armed with single shot weapons. But for quite a lucky roll from the Callisto, Mogami might have escaped to at least advise the IJN High Command of the disaster.

That was not the least of my mistakes! Evaluating the game I noticed something about the corvettes and crunched the numbers on the design again. I don’t think I had ever finished the calculations on this whenever I had first made them, because I had them costed out at 42 points. I now made them 76! This meant that the RN which I had earlier calculated as being down c. 30 points was actually up around 100! I also noticed page 31 of the FT rules (ship design) which noted that fighter groups should only be carried by carriers and dreadnoughts. I hadn’t really considered what this meant before, but I wondered subsequently if that outlawed “jeep” carriers like the Pandia. I am not convinced though. Even if that was the intention, such small carriers existed in World War Two and continued with carriers such as the Invincible class in the RN and a number of others armed with V/STOLs. Balancing a scenario on points is not critical, especially in such a solo, narrative game. I tried to play a “fair” game, but it is clear in retrospect that the asteroid field gave a substantial advantage to the RN flotilla.

I mentioned the earlier, abandoned game. I only played at most three turns and perhaps the third wasn’t completed either, I can’t quite recall. What was interesting is that the corvettes acquitted themselves terribly in that game, while the fighters made very early work of the Chokai. I think that this points out the power of fighters in this scenario where there was no fighter cover for the IJN. That could be balanced out in the scenario by an escort squadron from Bougainville. In any event, I would like to give the scenario another try with a better balance just out of interest.

In discussion afterwards with members of the club, they asked how I ran the ”opposition”. As I described above I played it as a more narrative game, but this did make me think about describing a couple of options for manoeuvres (almost “matrix game” like) to myself and then rolling to select which applied. The firing/target selection is less of an issue I think.

Society Meeting 13th May 2023

A short round up of games played at our last meeting.

The usual FOG suspects staged a 6mm game, Mid Republican Roman vs Later Selucid.

Mark ran a 28mm Judge Dredd game, with virulent scenery, you may need your sunglasses.

Close up of the tower block

Jeremey and Stephen continued their refight of the War of the Roses, this time recreating Towton.

Each were “assisted” by two sub commanders this time, on the Lancastrian side with Stephen were Andy and Tony G, with Tony F and Peter joining the Yorkist commander, Jeremey.

Andy & Tony F both switched sides since the last campaign game (not unusual in the War of the Roses). There will be a full report on this game written up by the victorious commander.

Armies deployed, Yorkist on the left, Lancastrian on the right
Yorkist Centre
More Yorkists
Stephen’s victorious Border Horse.
A truly dismal roll by the Lancastrian’s French crossbowmen, three 1s
Lancastrian centre, what’s left of it.
The Lancastrian dead. Units with red dice were Andy’s, blue dice were Tony G’s and black dice were Stephen’s