With the lock-down firmly in place, it was time to have a go at a Five Parsecs from Home/Full Metal Anorak/Bughun
t game. A fireteam of four was rapidly generated: Logan, Kupperberg, Farlander, and Correia. From various backgrounds: Prison Planet, Hi-Tech World, and Trade World - each location providing some small benefit for that particular trooper.
Quick word on mechanics: I use the 5PfH/BH
campaign shell to generate the troopers backgrounds, the scenario and objectives, and the campaign turn in between encounters. The actual scenario resolution is driven by Full Metal Anorak
. So there are twice as many rulebooks to search through than normal. But, hey! It's Lockdown!
For this scenario, I used part of my paper-terrain space station as the encounter board. Three green poker chips were placed as 'Objective' markers, each of these gets a 'Contact' marker (potential hostiles). Also, six 'Tactical' markers are placed, as evenly spaced as possible, about the board.
Rolling 1d6 for mission Priority, I had a 1, which was a relief, as this was essentially a training mission for me and my squaddies. Priority 1 also means 1 additional 'contact' marker is placed on each objective...you see where this is going? Had I rolled a 6, it would be six times the "fun".
Mission Priority also provides points where you can shop for support - in this scenario, I picked a tough-as-nails Gunnery Sgt., named Sigler, armed with a boarding cutlass and auto-shotgun.
Contact markers are randomly moved several d6 in various directions. Your squad enters a random board edge. And the Hunt begins.
Turn 1 and 2: The squad headed for the first objective, and immediately encountered the opposition: crazed robots. I decided to roll randomly, and that's what was selected.
"I thought it was supposed to be bugs..." said Logan.
"Maybe it's bugs in their programs!" joked Kuppenberg.
"Secure that pun!" growled the Gunny.
|D6 with the '2' will move in the Slow Phase|
Initiative in 5P is slightly different, since it's designed as a solo game. Adapted for FMA, each player figure has a Motivation Rating, from 1 - 3, 1 being best. To move in the first phase, AKA the 'Fast' Phase, a number of d6 are thrown, those that roll over their Motivation may now move, shoot and take special actions.
The aliens/bugs/robots move and take action in the second phase.
Finally, in the last or 'Slow' phase, any player models that haven't yet moved are free to do so.
It's a neat system, and it reminds me of Two Hour Wargames
|"I just Burked myself..."|
reaction system, but IMO it works more smoothly and is less cumbersome.
Turn 3 - 4: The robots at the first objective were quickly dispatched, due to some hot die rolls. The objective turned out to be the Evac point. Each objective is rolled for details, usually before actual play begins. One objective was lifted, and the other, in the Med Bay, had a 'hack' result, meaning someone was going to be using their Tech skillz.
|"You are BURKED, my lad!'|
While the main squad was clearing the first objective, Trooper Kuppenberg went off to investigate on his own. He found a Tactical marker, made his Tech roll, and was able to remove a Contact marker that was getting close to his fellow squaddies...and then he bumped into two more robots.
Kuppenburg ran for the exit, and decided to make a Tech roll (5-6 on a D6) to lock the door. Rolled a 4. "NOOOOOooooo!"
|"C'mon you Rednecks!"|
As Burke, I mean Kuppenberg, dodged mechanical claws, he dropped his ACR and pulled out his standard issue Heavy Service Pistol. Shots rang out and slugs ricocheted off the robotic steel plating.
The rest of the squad, hearing the shots, ran toward the sound of the gunfire.
|"And that's what we mean when we say |
'Fight Like Robot'"
Running in FMA/Stargrunt II, to me, has always seemed awkward, with many players conflicted on what works best. For my games, I've implemented "Run" as an additional action. First action, you get your regular move distance. With Run, you get to add your movement Die type. So, if your model has an 8" move, it gets that distance, then rolls a D8 when it Runs.
Results seem to be, you will occasionally fail to make the distance, but you won't be standing 2" from where you started 3 minutes ago.
|Pvt. Logan has stabilised Kuppenberg, |
and he's walking.
By turns 5 - 6, The rest of the squad had reached the room, from where they'd heard the shots. Kuppenberg lay crumpled on the floor, with an obviously chuffed robot standing over him.
Extending it's claws, the robot advance on the squad...
...however, walking into a three-way crossfire of aimed shots doesn't do anyone a bit of good...and the saucy 'bot was gunned down with dispatch
|Main Objective in Sight|
Turn 7 - 8: Pvt. Logan was able to stabilise Kuppenberg on the second attempt (luckily she didn't kill him on a '1') and since the damage taken wasn't heavy, he was able to walk and fight at a reduced level (he dropped a Quality die). I was glad I had traded some of Logan's pre-gen points for Medic-1. She is fast becoming my favourite model.
The rest of the squad headed for the Med Bay, where the objective was to hack the computer and bring the data back to HQ for analysis.
"Who's our tech?" asked Sgt. Sigler
"That'd be Kuppenberg, Sarge" replied Pvt. Correia.
"Well sheet!" swore the Sergeant, "I guess you're our new Tech, Correia!"
"I lay awake at night and think of you, Sergeant..." muttered Correia.
"What's that, Marine?" growled Sgt. Sigler.
"I said, 'Sergeant! Yes, Sergeant!'" Correia exclaimed.
"Damn straight, you did." said Sigler. "And now that we're all in agreement, let's get into Med Bay, grab the data, and GTF off this rattle-trap. On the DOUBLE!"
There was a single robot in Med Bay, but a Contact marker was slowly moving closer. The Sgt and Pvt Farlander charged the Bot, guns blazing, while Correia swung clear of the brawl and ran to the Med Computer.
"Jesús en una muleta!
" she cursed under her breath. ¿Dónde está el maldito fabricante de capuchino en esta puta?
Just behind Correia's back, Pvt. Farlander took a swipe from a claw and went down hard. Sgt. Sigler emptied his service pistol into the metal attacker and was pleasantly surprised when it began to gout smoke from it's seams and crashed over satisfactorily.
"No time for triage" Sigler said to himself, as he picked up Farlander and slung him over the shoulder.
Sigler yelled to Corriea, "Don't be gentle, Cariño!
Kick the drive loose if you have to!"
Correia drew back her armoured combat boot. Wham! she kicked. Wham! Wham! WHAM! The impacts kept time to shouts in Spanish:
"Abre! Abre! ABRE! TU PERRA!
There was a snapping sound, accompanied by the skittering of some plastic something across the floor. The drive, with a data crystal, slid open.
Correia picked up the crystal and grinned as she showed it to Sgt. Sigler. "Just like Prom Night, Gunny!"
"A natural Romantic..." said Sigler. "Marines, EXFILTRATION TIME!"
Outside the Med Bay, Logan and Kupperberg headed cautiously into the comms room. Logan held up Kupp's ACR, "Can you handle this?"
"Yeah" he said. "Just don't ask me to dance..."
Logan grinnned "I'm not asking you to dance. I'm asking you to fight..."
FMA allows for fighting while wounded, unlike SGII. For a light wound, the model has it's combat quality degrade by one level, so Kupperberg drops from a D8 Quality to a D6. He also cannot run.
The two marines made slowly for the EVAC point.
|"Dropship Kalgon; take us away!"|
Turn 9 - 10. Just behind Logan and Kupperberg, Sgt. Sigler crossed the main corridor. Several close contacts were being held off by a Tactical marker (more on these in the notes).
They entered Comms just as two more Robots moved in.
Putting the unconscious Farlander down, Sgt Sigler swore, "Jesús en una muleta!
" as he raised his shotgun. Correia raised an eyebrow.
The shotgun blast caught both bots, destroying the lead one. The other advanced on Corriea,metal claws grasping.
Actually, Gunny Sigler took the brunt of the melee, because he is one tough hombre (AC d12!) and I was playing the odds. Correia and Logan provided fire support, again, playing the odds that any stray shots wouldn't damage Sigler. The strategy worked, even had it failed, Sigler is not a regular member of the squad, and can be replaced by an exact copy - but I would have missed him.
By turn 11(pursued by yet again two more robots) the Squad had reached the EVAC objective - not sure how they were extracted, possibly a hole in the ceiling. There was one walking wounded, one incapacitated, and two objectives achieved. Mission: Success.
- these add a neat twist. When contacted, a successful Tech roll (5-6) creates a tactical effect - it can be removing a Contact marker or creating a Blocking Zone vs. Aliens. This latter was how the Sarge got across the main corridor whilst carrying the wounded Farlander.
This scenario was pretty hard, for a priority 1 game. I was getting close to despairing, until I realised I had short-changed the main squad a second Fire Team. That's an automatic back up, and then you can requisition heavier weapons, etc. by paying some Priotity points. Of course, the first Smart LMG the squad acquires goes to Pvt. Correia.
Creature Movement Does Eventually Get Boring
- rolling movement dice for a dozen Contact markers does get a little tiresome, especially on the far side of the board, where one just knows
they will never come into contact. I'm thinking about a hack.
On the other hand, there's always an off-chance that a new Contact marker will appear in your squad's way. This happened on the penultimate turn, where the EVAC point was attacked by a single robot. Logan and Kupperberg were able to bring it down with concentrated, aimed fire. Still, made for a tense turn.
: After the encounter, models use are assigned experience points, roll for reputation increase, apply for cross training, go on R&R, if up for some and recover in sick bay. In the case of Kuppenberg, since he had been stabilised with a light wound, he would require a turn in sickbay, so if the team goes out, it will be without him, and Farlander as well.
Farlander had been recovered while incapacitated, so he had to roll on the chart and take his chances - fortunately, he also came up "Lightly Wounded" so he'll have Kuppenberg to keep company.
Correria had enough experience points to buy a trait upgrade - she was a half-point down on her Move trait (3.5") so that was increased to 4". They're still slow, but at least they're all slow together.
Logan was able to improve her Motivation to a "2", meaning she will be taking a more active role in future encounters.
Sgt. Sigler went on to his next assignment, nannying another set of wet-arsed boots on a thankless job of keeping Mankind's Final Frontier safely expanding.