Monday, June 15, 2015

StarGrunt II at NJ Con

As has been mentioned previously, NJ Con in Edison NJ is a great convention.  I ran two StarGrunt scenarios, both of which were designed for TravellerCon-USA.

Full write-ups of these can be found here and here - however, I'll post some recent pictures from NJ Con to keep current.

The SMS Mercs - Pinned atop the Dinom Corp HQ.
Crystals from Dinom - I had one player, John R, which is all the game needs if I take the opposing side. John did a fine job of getting the pinned-down mercs off the board.  I think it took him four turns, which is some kind of record.

John caught one of my squads in the middle of the street, shot them up with vehicle-mounted lasers, and proceeded to over run them.

Here comes the cavalry - 1300 HP worth
The miners brought out their mining vehicle (armed with a short range laser) and two prospecting "dune buggies" (armed with 50 caliber MGs) but were unable to make much of an impact on the Mercs APCs (I think we might have shot off one of the rear-vision mirrors)

And they're gone.

On Saturday, I was pleased to have John return for "Canned Vland". Once again, he had choice of sides whilst I would run opposite. He chose the Planetary Defense platoon and supporting ConFederation Marines.  I would run the Vilani.

Downtown Mikanek - Soosboro
Going by The Book, I sent my recon sleds forward, hoping to draw some anti-tank rocket fire, but John was not to be gulled, and as the recon went deeper, the armour had to follow.

Once at the barricades, the fire from the PDF intensified, pinning down the Imperial recon - John decided he could spare a few LAW rounds, and one hover scout went boom.  I think some of the crew got out, and you can see them sheltering in one of the nearby burning buildings.  Idiots.

As the plasma main guns of the tanks fired in support of the recon unit, building caught fire and the PDF SWAT team lost half it's numbers.

Finally, around turn 4, the first tank crossed the barrier, and the missiles began to fly in earnest. Fortunately (for my side - hurrah!) John had some pretty mediocre rolls, and couldn't score a major hit.  He logged enough minor hits to disable the lead tanks plenum chamber (or Bernoulli drive, or whatever) and the crew de-bussed in a panic and took shelter in a nearby burning building.  Idiots.

Buy the end of turn 5, it was obvious the Vilani would be unable to get their three remaining vehicles (2 tanks and a recon sled) off the enemy side in time (end of turn six).  The Terrans were declared the winners. Well done!

Post Convention Thoughts
Both games played well - a single player has a certain advantage vs a team, in that his moves are well coordinated. He loses something of a broader perspective, but in a skirmish game, focus is sometimes better.

In both games, we played to a clear result in just over two hours - a fast moving game is ALWAYS better.

By the way, if the reader noticed the barricades were different in this game, you win a cookie. I wasn't able to find the corner stock berms from previous games, so I used my Northwest Frontier sangars from my 25mm Colonial collection. These were made back in the late eighties using ornamental pebbles and craft glue, and they have served honourably ever since...Ω


commissarmoody said...

Great report, thanks for sharing.

J Rebori said...

It was my first time at NJCon. Even though it is only a half hour from home. I'll have to try to make it a regular trip. The venue has a couple of issues I would have liked to have had made clear before going, such as the lack of an eatery in or near the building. That is not a deal breaker, but I would have been better prepared the first day had I known. The attendees and staff were all friendly.

I hadn't played any form of Traveller in over 20 years. Keith was wonderfully patient bringing me back up to speed. My success in tailoring tactics to Stargrunt rules is entirely thanks to his advice and shared knowledge. I decided a fast strike with as little pause as possible was the best choice. I didn't at first want to split my forces between two entrances, but the need for speed overrode that. The luck of having one of Keith's squads miss it's running rolls and getting caught in the middle of the street was just a lucky break. Thinking about that last sentence, he may not be thinking it was so lucky. I don't know about past history of this scenario, but I saw no reason at any point to dismount the squads in the APCs. that would have led to a shooting match and distracted from my mission.

After such a fun game, replete with excitement and good companionship, I had to return for another game. I figured this time, taking the PDF, I'd be playing the flip side. Stopping the Vilani from rushing through my forces would be a different matter than rushing through the miners lines and grabbing the trapped mercs.

My first decision was three lines to oppose the Vilani. One forward of the barricades, one manning the barricades, and a third reserve line. After a little thought I decide the first line would be all dummy positions. Hopefully it would slow the armor advance. No tanker wants to find himself suddenly being swamped by close-in infantry. That job did it's job, slowing the advance. When Keith closed on the second line, I was lucky enough to get some good shots in, slowing him down and destroying one recon sled. When the armor reached the barricades, I was able to keep him tied up while my missiles lasted. Not destroying anything, but damaging some and forcing their heads down. After that, they were finally able to hop the barricades and start to drive for the table edge. Luckily he entered the kill zone between my supporting marines and I was finally able to destroy another recon sled. Though he had enough armor left, we agreed he could not get them off table in time.

A close call, I had serious losses in my PDF forces, and it was closer than it sounds. A very enjoyable game, all told. And spiced to perfection with good company across the table.

I do think an extensive urban renewal program is badly needed in the future following the end of hostilities, regardless of who ends up holding the field on this one.

Don M said...

Great reports from you both, always loved Stargrunt except the scale of battle
is a bit small for my tastes (so I've been using Stewart Murray's Company Mods).
Another system you may want to check out is Tomorrow's War. I think it has allot of Traveller feel to them.

kmfrye2001 said...

John - in past "Dinom" games, there has usually been at least one merc troop de-bussing, due to damage to an APC or excessive casualties to Bravo Squad (pinned in the DM Corp office) which often need to be carried out. Also, past games have seen the dunebuggies used to block the APC's exit points - I forgot that particular tactic (an APC may push past, using the dread Quality Roll).

Yes, rolling a 3" move on 2d6 is lucky. Bad lucky. ;P

In "Vland", I should have expected the defense in depth. The Friday Pals playtest group has two former military - USMC and Army. Both favour a forward defense which I've come to expect - should have known a Navy Vet would prefer a more layered approach.

Don M: I have Tomorrow's War, but have only skimmed it. What I've read, I like, and someday may run a larger-scaled Traveller action some day.

Thanks again, Gents, for commenting. KF

Don M said...

KF, being a retired army artilleryman I too prefer a layered approach it consists
of infantry and armor well forward, me in the back with a great fire plan....)

I look forward to what you come up with for Tomorrow's War, of course so I can liberally steal your ideas(hey it's the sincerest form flattery ;-)) I do recommend
if you haven't already, pick up the By Dagger Or Claw supplement. It has a great step by step system for creating aliens, I'm already doing the Varger.