Are These The Droids You’re Looking For?

Over the last 12 months or so Phil and I have been assembling a variety of figures and vehicles – mostly repurposed toys – aimed at playing Star Wars games in 15mm (many of them have turned up in WIP Wednesday posts).

The Christmas meeting seemed like the ideal time to give them their debut, so I put together a simple scenario. I’d been unsure about what rules to use – I had a copy of the classic West End Games Star Wars miniatures rules as one option and another idea was to modify Games Workshop’s Middle Earth rules since they deal with heroes very effectively (using the magic rules to represent The Force). But I had an idea when I lined up some figures during painting – all of the figures were in squads of ten, which happens to be the same size as a crew in Stargrave. We’ve played a number of games since those were released, including during lockdowns when the club was unable to meet, so everyone was familiar with them which made them the ideal choice.

Figures
All of the figures in this game were from Highlander Studios in the US. For the five players we had two squads of Rebel troopers, two of Imperial stormtroopers and one of Jawas. There were also a few figures from the hero packs, including the droids and a couple of smugglers. The Jawas’ Ronto beast was a Galoob action fleet toy.

Buildings and Scenery
All of the buildings were put together by Phil from the Brigade Models 15mm Desert and Advanced Buildings ranges. The various walls and clutter around the buildings were also by Brigade. Some of the scatter terrain came from Debris of War. The desert mat came from Tiny Wargames.

Vehicles
The vehicles are sourced from a variety of toys and model kits. The Imperial stormtroopers flew in on a Galoob shuttle while the Rebels used a Revell U-Wing. The droids’ escape pod was also from Galoob, along with the skiff. The Falcon was another toy, it’s actually the wrong version (it’s from Solo and has the square radar) but I wasn’t too fussed about that, after all it looks like what it’s supposed to be, besides being much cheaper than any alternative I could find ! Luke’s landspeeder was a diecast model sourced from eBay, unfortunately I can’t remember the brand name. All of them came pre-painted, so were just given a wash of thinned black-brown acrylic mixed with Johnson’s floor polish, followed by a coat of Army Painter spray varnish – it’s amazing how this simple technique turns a toy into a scale model.

Scenario

Click for a larger version

The game is set at the start of the original Star Wars:A New Hope movie. R2-D2 and C-3PO have been ejected in an escape pod over Tatooine to keep them out of Imperial clutches, but here the story changes slightly. The Tantive IV has somehow evaded capture and has now despatched a shuttle full of Rebel troopers in a desperate bid to recover them. The Imperial Star Destroyer also spotted the pod, and sent down their own landing party to investigate. Both craft came down a short distance apart on the outskirts of Mos Eisley.

The game was intended for five players – two Rebels, two Imperials and myself playing the Jawas while also acting as a vaguely impartial umpire.

The players needed to search the buildings to find the droids – but there were other things in the buildings besides Artoo and Threepio. Each building had a random set of inhabitants, including Rebel sympathisers, Imperial loyalists and a pair of smugglers – plus the droids of course. Although I randomly rolled each time one of the buildings was searched, things were ‘fixed’ so that the droids would be in the last building to be searched.

The Rebels came out of the traps much more quickly than the stormtroopers – their lightly armoured figures moved slightly faster – and began searching the first buildings straightaway. They uncovered a pair of Imperial loyalists in the first building but made short work of them. However, nearby firing upset the Ronto which stampeded, and one Rebel squad ended up in a firefight with some Jawas (which inevitably ended badly for the locals).

The Imperials slow-but-steady approach saw them unearthing some Rebel sympathisers, whose appearance was brief as they disappeared under a hail of fire. The two forces were by now engaging each other, and the slightly better armour and longer-ranged weapons of the Stormtroopers began to be significant. They unearthed a pair of Sabacc-playing smugglers – Han and Chewie made a dash for the Falcon (obviously wishing to avoid any ‘Imperial entanglements’) but Han was immediately gunned down as they tried to cross the square. Chewie’s bowcaster dealt out some measure of revenge, but eventually the Wookie went down too.

By now the Rebels were searching the last building, and found the two droids. All they had to do was return them to their U-Wing and get off planet. However, they had taken more losses than the Imperials in getting to this point and numbers began to tell. One by one the Rebels were picked off by the steadily advancing line of Stormtroopers, until there was one Rebel trooper left. He got the droids virtually to the U-Wing’s ramp but fell at the final hurdle, allowing the Empire to snatch victory at the last.

Society Meeting 11th December 2021

Andy rounds up the last meeting of the year.

Our last meeting of the year saw three “periods” in progress:

First up, our FOG contingent (John, Paul and Mark) ran a couple of games of Early Carthaginians vs Dominate Romans.

6mm Cavalry and Light Horse
The infantry get close
A bird’s eye view of the combat
Roman Legionaries
Africans and Romans standoff.
Carthaginian cavalry charge the Romans

Next up Alan ran a game of Fief, France 1429, a game of dynastic ambition. You can probably guess where and when it is set. Boardgames are not unknown at the Society, but they are not that commonly played either. Alan, Marcus, Dave, Chris, Peter and Mike were the contenders for the control of France.

Playing pieces
View from the North West
Player’s resource cards
Fief Playing pieces and cards

Alan and Peter formed an alliance and had a narrow lead at the end of the game, so they are claiming victory. Mike, Marcus, Dave & Chris wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assessment though

Finally, Tony & Phil combined their efforts to put on a 15mm Star Wars game, using slightly adapted Stargrave rules. Jeremey and Phil each took a squad of Stormtroopers, while Stephen and Andy had a squad of Rebels. Both sides were searching the village for a pair of droids who had concealed plans to a top secret Imperial Weapon System (the Death Star). Tony ran the unaligned Jawas and was in charge of resolving the players searches and random events.

The village, the lull before the storm
The Rebels disembark from their U-Wing assault ship
The Jawas minding their own business.
Jeremey’s Storm Trooper squad and their shuttle.
Andy’s Rebels find what cover they can
Rebels search a building
Stephen’s Rebels take up positions to fend off the Imperials
Phil’s Stormtroopers take cover behind a water extractor
Rebels have found the droids and try to get them back to the shuttle, The Jawas are not happy!
The droids and their surviving escort almost at the shuttle (and that’s as far as they got).
The remnants of Stephen’s squad form a last line of defence.
Jawas and Stormtroopers pursuing the Droids and Rebels
Andy’s Rebel squad (now deceased)

We will (hopefully) be back in the New Year.

Salute 2021 Trophy and Society Meeting 13th November 2021

The Society has been busy this weekend jut passed, a small contingent ventured to ExCeL for the delayed Salute 2020 (or 2021?) whilst others attended the normal society meeting. First up, Salute. Andy’s thoughts with pictures by John, Mark and Andy.

Five of the membership, John, Brian, Mark, Marcus and Andy, attended Salute putting on Marcus’ Pulp participation game “Biggles and the Island at the Top of the World“.

The theme for the show was the Battle of Britain. The 2020 show was intended to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the battle. Centrally displayed in the hall were a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, with some RAF reenactors making an appearance after the photo was taken.

They say ExCeL looks like a hanger…

I got the impression that Salute hired more of ExCeL than usual, to space us out more, although I also understand there were fewer games and traders scheduled to attend than in “normal” years; and there were a few “no shows” in both categories.

Salute General view. More spaced out than usual, and perhaps fewer attendees?

In Marcus’ game Biggles is searching a lost Artic island for a missing Professor and the strange artefacts he was studying.

Biggle’s party deplane from their Walrus

His party discover a secret labyrinth, with ever changing chambers and passages.

The labyrinth awaits the explorers

However he was not alone, a party of Nazis with unworldly weapons were also trying to recover the Professor.

The German’s advanced submarine

The Russians had also sent an NKVD team to prevent the Nazis securing their objective.

The Soviet NKVD disembark from their Aerosan

And finally, a lost tribe of Vikings were hellbent on preventing anyone from leaving the island with the Ragnarok Stones, the phenomena the Professor had been studying.

The Vikings patrol the labyrinth

We ran several games throughout the day, with up to four members of the public taking control of one of the four parties.

A selection of photos from the games:

Vikings find the secret chamber
Biggles faces down the NKVD
The Germans find themselves boxed in

We are pleased to announce that the game won the Jim Clarke Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy game at Salute.

The Jim Clark Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Game

Meanwhile, back at the regular Society meeting, other members were running a series of games. Photos courtesy of Mark J and Stephen.

First off Mark J and Pete ran a game of Fields of Glory, pitching Mark’s Hundred Years War English against Pete’s Hungarians.

FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians

The first battle was won by the English, the Hungarian Knights couldn’t cope with longbows and stakes. The Hungarians won the second battle by focusing on the men at arms and drawing the longbow fire away from the knights. So, honours even.

Alan ran a Star Wars X-Wing game.

Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing

And finally Stephen ran a Stargrave game – A Hive of Scum and Villainy:

‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure

Club Game Updates

Time to share a random selection of pictures from the last couple of club meetings – April 28th by Andy King, May 12th by Tony Francis and Stephen Tucker. Highlights include Pete’s ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Vietnam game, two naval games (Napoleonic and 50’s modern), Celtos Fantasy and a Star Wars fleet battle.

April 28th

May 12th

Eliminate the Emperor

A Star Wars X-Wing Scenario

The rescue team put down at the Rebel outpost for much needed repairs following the rescue of the Imperial defector, Danor Jax. Whilst their ships were being seen to they downloaded and decoded Danor’s data. He immediately pointed his rescuers to some critical and time sensitive information. It concerned a secret meeting later that day, being attended by the Emperor himself. The co-ordinates and time of the meeting were accompanied by the intended flight plan of the Emperor’s personal shuttle and details of his small escort.

With only a small window available Wedge Antilles gathered the team together to discuss an audacious plan – to intercept and destroy the Emperor’s shuttle. Cut off the head and the body dies. Unfortunately, Roark Garnet’s HWK-290 had been too badly damaged and could not be made serviceable in time but both Wedge and Biggs Darklighter’s X-Wings and the Y-Wing could. The team knew the risks, their ships would not be fully repaired and the Emperor would be guarded by two of this elite Royal Guard pilots flying upgraded TIE Interceptors but this was an opportunity too good to miss. Wedge sent out a last minute message and the three ships made the jump to light speed.

Arriving at the co-ordinates the Rebels spotted the shuttle and its escort flying past an asteroid field. Biggs peered at his sensors, the readings didn’t make sense, their was something else registering moving through the asteroids – but he couldn’t get a lock on it.

The TIE Phantom moved out from its position with its cloaking device in operation and sped towards the approaching rebel ships. The Rebels opened fire but without a sensor lock the TIE was just too hard to hit! The Phantom decloaked, fired and recloaked. Biggs’ shields evaporated and his X-Wing shuddered under the barrage. The TIE flew past, perfectly executed a Koiogran turn and moved onto Bigg’s tail. He couldn’t shake it. The TIE decloaked, fired and recloaked again. Biggs’ was hit bad, another barrage would finish him. He told his astromech to programme the nav computer and span up the hyperdrive.

Meanwhile the Royal Guard pilots had moved ahead of the Imperial shuttle to intercept the rebels. Wedge engaged the first but the earlier damage had made his ship sluggish and he caught a burst from the TIE Interceptor which took down his shields. The two craft began a series of tight manoeuvres but the TIE was simply more agile than the damaged X-Wing and unleashed another burst which forced Wedge to withdraw.

The Y-Wing had managed to slip past the second Royal Guard TIE and engaged the shuttle. But the TIE swung around and the Y-Wing too came under heavy fire.

But just then, another X-Wing dropped out of hyperspace. Luke Skywalker had received Wedge’s message and come to help his old friend. His arrival couldn’t have been better timed, with the two Royal Guard TIEs already engaged the shuttle was on its own. Luke swung into action fired burst after burst at the larger ship as they flew towards one another. He slipped past the shuttle and brought his X-Wing around to move onto its tail and just as the Royal Guard TIEs started to engage him, he fired again into the rear of the shuttle. The resulting explosion was enormous.

With a huge cheer the Rebel ships made the jump to light speed.

Back at the output the rebel pilots were celebrating when the devastating news came in. The Emperor was still alive – the shuttle had only been one of his decoys! “It was a set up”, said Wedge, “that would explain the TIE Phantom which was already hidden in the asteroid field”.

“At least were all here to tell the tale”, said Luke.

Rebel Rescue

A Star Wars X-Wing Scenario

Danor Jax had only ever wanted a quiet life. He had reluctantly joined the Imperial Information Office largely because it was steady work and they let him do what he loved, working with data streams. His had been a quiet life monitoring the equipment at the communications relay station and operating the cryptographic decoders when the need arose. That all ended when Darth Vader made a surprise visit to the station. Watching his senior officer being choked and then thrown into a bulkhead using the force should have made Danor cower out of fear. But that day something in Danor snapped, the Empire and all it stood for came into sharp focus and he knew he had to do something about it. As soon as the dark lord had departed Danor downloaded and decoded as much Imperial data from the streams as his AJ^6 headgear would accept and ran away to find the rebels.

The trip to Tatooine had been long and arduous but when Danor finally made contact with a Rebel agent he was elated. The agent had slipped away to arrange for Danor to be picked up and his data downloaded. Danor sat quietly in a cantina in Mos Eisley trying to avoid being noticed when a rough looking Rodian approached him. It turned out that his absence had been noted and with his access to sensitive data streams the Empire had started a manhunt. The Rodian promptly marched Danor at blaster point out of the cantina and along to his ship.

Having made contact, indicated the enormous value of Danor’s information and arranged for him to be collected, the Rebel agent was returning to the cantina and spotted the Rodian and Danor leaving. With too many Sandtroopers around to allow him to intervene, the agent contacted the approaching Rebel ships and told them the situation as the Rodian’s ship blasted off.

Wedge Antilles easily spotted the bounty hunter’s Firespray-31 on his X-Wing’s scopes but he also saw the orbiting Gozanti-class cruiser and its four TIE fighters. Forming up with his accompanying Y-Wing Wedge sent Biggs Darklighter and his X-Wing with Roark Garnet’s HWK-290 on a different course, avoiding the Gozanti but coming around to cut off the other routes of escape.

When Gozanti’s captain was informed of the appearance of the X-Wings he ordered it out of orbit on a course to intercept the bounty hunter and for the TIE pilots to scramble their ships.

Wedge and his wingman swung around to intercept the TIE fighters whilst Biggs and Roark moved to intercept the bounty hunter.

The Rodian spotted the HWK-290 and X-Wing approaching and veered to the right. Meanwhile two TIE fighters had detached from the cruiser and were speeding toward the rear of Biggs and Roark. Fortunately Roark had equipped the HWK-290 with an ion cannon turret which was a surprise to the pilot of one of the TIEs when all his systems shutdown and he began to drift.

The remaining two TIE fighters had also detached and made straight for Wedge and the Y-Wing with the laser turrets on the Gozanti also blasting away at them for good measure.

So two dogfights ensued with TIE fighters trying to outmanoeuvre the rebel craft. Unfortunately the less agile HWK-290 came under some heavy fire and with his shields down and having taken some heavy damage Roark had to withdraw. The loss of the ion cannon was a serious blow to the rebels but with a barrage of fire they dispatched two of the TIE fighters and gained the upper hand.

Unfortunately, the wily bounty hunter had slipped through both dogfights and with the rebel ships too busy to intervene, managed to dock with the Gozanti to transfer his rebel captive.

With this dire turn of events, there was only one option for the rebels, to attack the cruiser itself!

The three rebel ships made multiple runs as the cruiser and despite the heavy laser fire from its turrets managed to land several good hits.

With the prisoner transfer complete and sensing the increasing panic of the Imperials the bounty hunter cut his negotiations short, rushed back to his ship and released the docking clamps.

The remaining TIE fighters were desperately trying to protect their mothership but Biggs downed one of them and the other was damaged by Wedge. With Gozanti’s shields down, the Y-Wing making another run at the aft section with its proton torpedoes and did some serious damage.

Whilst the rebel ships focussed on the cruiser the Rodian made the jump to light speed and his next assignment.

His ship rapidly coming apart at the seams the cruiser’s Captain offered to trade his prisoner for safe passage and the rebels accepted.

Danor was saved and the battered X-Wings and Y-Wing jumped away to safety.

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