Saturday, January 23, 2010

Playtesting Galactic War

I took a few minutes out of my "oh-so" busy Dragon Age schedule to get in some 15mm sci-fi gaming! Andy and Chri3 came out last week and we finally got a game going. Last time we had two people back out at the last minute, this time though, we were good to go. Andy adjudicated the rules while Chri3 and I duked it out dirt side.

The world of Playtestia XII

Playing in 15mm means a 4x4 table gives you plenty of space to romp around in. With GWI, you'll be using a lot of troops, so that'll fill up fairly fast. The units are ideally based in "stands", much like Flames of War, so even if you have a ton of figs on your side of the table, keeping tack of them and moving them around isn't a chore.

For my army I used a bunch of my Star Grunt II army. It's mostly Islamic Fed troopers, with some NSL power armor, and New Israel troops acting as my overall command squad. It's sounds like a mixed-bag army, but they've all been painted using the same desert color scheme. Rounding out all the foot troops are six Mechwarrior flying vehicles (VTOLs) in two squads of three, and a couple of vintage Battletech mechs to use as walker. All in all, it may look like a lot, but it's small force, weighing in at just 500 points. I get the impression from the rules that a standard game is going to run around 1500 points or more.

Andy brought his 15mm stuff to the fray for Chri3 to use. A lot of it is old Citadel Traveler figs with a good amount of GZG stuff thrown in to boot. As you can see, he's got a good deal more vehicles than I to round out his force.

Not only do you determine planet type by rolling on a few tables, but you get into scenarios as well. We rolled a planet with gravity lighter than Earth, and an atmosphere which was the same. We got a "defend the object/take or smash the object" scenario in which I was the defender. You start with putting infantry around the objective, then duke it out from there. The stats on the scenario objective were pretty beefy, so instead of wiping it out, Chri3 was going to have to just outright steal it and get it off the board.

Hover tanks glide between the urban terran...

Brutal melee breaks out between infantry near the power conduit. I like a lot of the aspects used in the rules, first and foremost is that rolls are usually contested. To shoot, I roll my dice with modifiers and your dice roll with your own modifiers. Hand to hand combat works in the same way. This keeps players involved in the game "around the clock", and adds a neat little "tension" mechanic to rolling off head-to-head in combat. In the above pic, Chri3' troopers were charging in, but I passed a morale-type roll that let me get in a round of defensive fire first, effectively dropping them in their tracks before they closed.

SPANG! My airships take down an armored vehicle...

A flamer-armed soldier sealed the fate of my defenders

Instead of having mechs out there, Chri3' army had three "walkers" represented by large riding beasts. These are some fun figs, and are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Andy's excellent collection of 15mm sci-fi stuff.

I'm horrible when it comes to relating things mechanical. If you're at all familiar with my blog, you'll know it's usually the fluff that takes center stage. That's a tough place to be in though when you're doing a playtest of new rules; authors want to know how the rules stack up, not the fluff. I will say this, and you can ask the FoW group I game with, when it comes to "odd" tactics, and pulling off something on the table that is just plain goofy, I'll usually be the one to do it. In that respect, I'm a perfect playtester! Mind you, it's not like I'm a tactical "genius" or anything, in most cases it's that I'm a tactical moron, but every now and then some zany move on the tabletop works very well and leaves everyone else scratching their heads.

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