Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Arloc Mechanica: Super40K Battle

The ruins of Arlos Mechanica

When was the last time you were playing 40k and your Orc Warboss was duking it out in a total slugfest with a Space Marine commander? Not too long ago? All right, but during the slugfest did your Orc pick up a piece of terrain, like a small car, and slam the commander with it, knocking him back half a foot on the tabletop crashing through debris on the way. Then the commander stands up, dusts himself off and plows back into the Orc, tackling him and crashing through a wrecked Rhino in the process.

This is what I've been wanting, highly cinematic, over-the-top action in the 40k setting. Is your Eldar Autarch about to launch into an important attack? Why not preface it with a long-winded soliloquy speaking of themselves in the third person first? This isn't the first time we sought alternate ways to play in what is a great universe, and fun minis. Well, we had the answer the whole time in the second edition rules of SuperSystem, the excellent superhero miniatures game.

Leading up to the battle I wrote the general setup here and came up with four separate groups to participate. These are basically superhero groups on paper, proxied with 40k models and forces. I gotta tell you, the port over from hero to sci-fi was incredibly easy. A Space Marine is basically a superhero anyway, so this was a no-brainer.

Each group consisted of three units; a character model (or two) and at least one 'henchmen' group. Henchmen groups are exactly as they sound. The one exception were the Dark Angels, which had two units (a character and a really powerful character), one of which couldn't come onto the table right away. The "good guy" forces are found here and the "bad guy" aliens are found here.

I setup the game with something similar to a con perspective. I wanted "allied" sides of two teams each, but I also wanted everyone to have their own, unique objectives that even their ally didn't know about. I slanted these mission briefs quite a bit so it might even come down to a four-way free-for-all battle. Obviously I borrowed heavily from our historic Vikings game last summer. On to the battle.

Orc boyz and a Deffkopta see a lone Dark Angel in the distance...

Tau Gun Drones surrounding an Imperial Guard team taking cover...

...and gun them all down to a man

A Vindicare Assassin waits to take the shot...

The Ethereal stalks the Imperial Priest while Tau Drones surround him

Orcs cautiously advance when a Dreadnought teleports in from orbit!

Carnage ensues!

Warboss Magstuf and the Deffkopta wade in on the massive Dreadnought

Magstuff and Tracto epically duke it out

Magstuff picks up an old escape pod and slams Tracto with it...

The Ethereal's blade skills are more than a match for the Imperial Priest

Parting shot; the Vindicare guns down the Ethereal in the distance

All in all we had a blast. The SuperSystem rules are now in third edition, and a lot of the hero building has been tweaked. The rules themselves are straight forward and easy to pick up on the fly, two of the guys (two of our Chris') playing in this battle had never used them before,and Andy and I were both rusty, our last super battle being three years ago.

This was the feel I had been shooting for too; a bold Imperial hero with a small band of soldiers and a sniper lurking somewhere on the battlefield. A single Dark Angel and a massive Dreadnought versus a dozen Orcs. The action was as over-the-top as we wanted, and gameplay went quickly. I need to slightly alter some of the mission briefings and better define individual objectives.

SuperSystem also allows for non-combat actions as well, so if you have someone who needs to crack the code on a security door, pull the hatch off of an escape pod, or make a science type roll on some new organism, it's all in there. This can lead to all sorts of cool scenarios. As far as this particular scenario went, we'll have to play it again now that we're more familiar with the rules and see how things pan out. Being comic book based, scenarios and back-story become more vital than ever and even a basic rooftop brawl can be entertaining.


  1. Love seeing Tracto in action! This definitely sounds like a lot of fun, how long do you think it took you to "supersystemize" your forces?

  2. Tracto was the star of the show!

    For this first trial game using SuperSystem all I did was proxy 40K models for superheroes that were already statted up and roughly represented the same powers I wanted the 40K figs to have. This was a very quick process.

    Like the Tau Gun Drone henchmen group were simply Guard Tac Drone henchmen group, the two were basically the same thing. The Dreadnought was a 170 point German Mecha. What I like about the 2nd edition rulebook is that it is loaded with pre-made heroes in the back of the book, just pick and choose. A superhero with lots of armor, combat reflexes, and a big gun is basically a Space Marine in the end.

  3. Using SuperSystem for this is simply brilliant Mik. You are exactly right that 40K is more Superhero than Sci-Fi and the character/henchmen relationship of supers is perfect for the 40K world where the grunts are support arms for the charcaters in many cases.

    Great looking game. It makes me smile to you taking inspiration from those Viking games for some quality scenario design. A little work like that turns a normal slugfest game into a memorable story in miniature.

  4. Thanks Brian! I learned a *lot* from all those scenarios you ran. Just a simple sheet of paper with a couple of objectives really changes the whole scope of the game.

    You'll be seeing more of the SuperSystem/40k hybrid to come.

  5. Where is possible to see the troops stats?

  6. Heya Slorm, thanks for popping in. I've got my hands full today, but what I will do is post their SuperSystem stats on each of their individual posts (the links are embedded in the text above). I guess give me a couple of days?

  7. OK, perfect, I am a SuperSystem newby, so I don't know how to work with it yet.
    I think that your examples will be a very good point to start.


  8. Hi Mik,
    ¿Did you upload the stats?

    I can't find them

  9. @Slorm: They should be there now. The formatting is no great shakes, but you'll be able to get the gist of it. Enjoy!

  10. OK, I have found them.
    They are very good, now, I can start to work in my own troops :)