We ran the old JTAS Amber Zone “Crystals from Dinom” at Ground Zero Games East Coast Convention XII, using 15mm StarGrunt II and a combination of GZG and RAFM miniatures (vehicles by DLD and Old Crow). Unfortunately, we were in a heavily-registered time slot (or else the ECC participants are getting tired of Traveller-themed games, or else it’s me) and our only pre-reg failed to show. Happily, it was myself and Megz, and we had a grand time playing together.
The scenario begins when a squad of SMS mercs (“SMS” for “Spinward Marches Solutions, LLC"), hired by Quadric Industries, has knocked-over an office full of rebellious miners in order to discover the location of an important consignment of jump crystals, which the miners have hidden. The office has been surrounded by the Dinom Workers Defense Committee (or some-such) and they are sniping at the mercs in alpha squad.
Meanwhile, two more squads of SMS mercs are aboard two APCs, trundling to extract alpha squad, while navigating the airlocks and narrow streets of Medianne, the domed mining centre on the planet Dinom.
Unlike the previous time we played (at Travellercon-USA), the mercs were run by a single player (Megz) and were really able to concentrate on the task at hand: extracting alpha squad.
Turn one: the two squads of miners in the loading zone shot up alpha squad, which returned fire. The relief APCs entered the west and south vehicle locks.
Turn two: the APCs roll into Medianne. The Dinom Workers “boss” calls for a tracked vehicle with mining laser to counter. More alpha squad go down.
Turn three: SMS squad beta deploys to a house overlooking the loading zone, where the Dinom Worker’s forces have been sniping on alpha. SMS squad gamma holds tight as their APC cuts round a corner and comes at the worker’s in the loading area from an opposite angle. The workers are bracketed.
As the laser mining vehicle rounds the corner of X and Y, an APC covering the intersection with its light plasma gun blasts it. The mining vehicle is disabled.
Turn Four: One surviving worker from the mining vehicle stumbles into the pub at the corner of X and Y and riles up the collection of drinkers to defend their dome. Five stumble-bums rush next door to brawl with what’s left of alpha squad. Alpha squad stands fast and repels the attack after two tense rounds of close combat. The rowdies leave their wounded and return to the pub.
Turn Five: Squad Gamma exits their APC and collects the survivors from Squad Alpha. The workers have brought in two police “technicals”: pickup trucks with .50 caliber machine guns attached. The APCs dispatch one while the other fires ineffectively at alpha and gamma squads.
Turn Six: APC #2, carrying what’s left of alpha squad (3 or so mercs with wounded) and a detachment of gamma squad heads for the vehicle lock at the north end of Avenue Y. The remaining technical pursues and avoids a plasma shot from APC#1, which is still covering the intersection of X and Y. The technical gunner fires, hoping to knock out the drives of APC #2, but the fire is ineffective. The APC exits on the next turn.
The mercenaries are successful. The jump crystals will flow, at least for now.
Post Game Observations:
StarGrunt II plays best at the level of three or four squads per side. I’ve seen (and run) games with each player moving a platoon, and it just seems much too slow as a result. For games larger than a few squads, another system, like Striker II, moves faster (and despite its problems, is better suited). Ω
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