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Monday, 31 July 2017

Rogue Zombies (Rogue Planet)

Now one thing my boys like is a good zombie - and a"good zombie" according to the Berman Boys means it's slow, groaning, shambling and of the brain eating variety.  While we were playing the Terminator Genisys Rules, we did incorporate Zombies rather successfully in our games but Rogue Planet holds a very different challenge: that being movement in Rogue Planet is effectively unlimited.  Yep, if a Unit has a clear path to its objective, then it can move directly to the objective - no measuring involved.

So that means zombifying a Unit by reducing the distance it can normally move ain't going to work in Rogue Planet.  What's that Paddy?  If you can't fight zombies, you won't play??  Talk about making things hard for your old man...

Well this is what we've come up with and so far it seems to be working out:

A Zombie Unit in Rogue Planet is subjected to the following penalties and restrictions:
Move and Intercept requires a Skill Check, resolved as per Charge Skill Check.
When countering Zombie Actions, non-zombies are provided with the following buff:
Dodge - a Unit can attempt to Dodge a Zombie Charge at zero Action Point Cost.  Furthermore, because an Action Point hasn't been expended, the non-zombie player may attempt a further Counter Action (at the standard Action Point cost) the Charge with either another Unit or even attempt a Double Dodge (using two, instead of one Rogue Die).
I considered removing the ability for Zombies to Dodge, but that just felt plain mean... maybe anything short of getting blasted in the noggin is considered a successful dodge amongst zombie-kind?

So what did that do to our games?  Well it certainly made it harder for the Zombies to connect with their targets in melee.

I used a small force of Zombies against Paddy's Humans - nothing too complicated, just a 'simple hold' out style game.  What I found was the usual 2 Action Point combination of (1) Move/Engage and (2) Melee was being frustrated by my @#%% zombies failing their Movements (wasting an Action Point) and then Paddy was also regularly* Dodging as he'd just as often invest his Action Points and attempt a Double Dodge.  So my game(s) adapted over time and I found myself increasingly moving my zombies like a horde: not worrying about initiating Melee overmuch, rather trying to box in Paddy's Units UNTIL I could afford a number of consecutive Move-to-Engages ... funnily enough it kind of fit the theme quite well.

What I don't know yet is how to factor the 'Slow' Trait into Unit Credit costings.  Well cost isn't the right term, it should actually provide a discount of sorts.  I'm presently thinking that a zombie trait could offset a 1 Point increase in both CQ and DEF. That way zombifying Units is easily done and all such Units become more melee-focused and damage resistant regardless of whether they are designated as individuals or a Group.  So some examples of that thinking applied:

  • Our standard Human Trooper's stat line would change from CQ2 RAT4 DEF4 to 3/4/5, equating to a 8 Credit offset for the Slow de-buff; and
  • A zombie Gilli's 4/5/5 would up to 5/5/6 equating to 11 Credits.
The other bit we might trial relates to zombies use of Failure and Partial Success free moves.  Presently only non-skill Checked Move Actions are awarded for a less than Total Success result.  With the above tweaks in mind,  I think we may allow allow that zombies can Move but will still be required to Skill Check, but with no advantages awarded should that particular Check fail.

*Paddy really should be playing craps in a casino and making us money rather than wasting his time learning how to wargame) and was more inclined to attempt to Disengage.  I wonder if Crown Casino does work experience for Primary School children?

PS shout out to an 2015 post from in his Fantalonia Blog which got me thinking after reading "...Since [in Rogue Planet] there is no way to model units with slower movement (I wanted "classic" slow zombies) they became infected mutants...".

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Escape from Libuscha Prime (Rogue Planet Battle Report and Scenario)

Alex (who's aged 7) and I played a quick Rogue Planet game just prior to dinner on Saturday night.  He helped set the board up whilst I threw together some bits-and-pieces to make for setting.

The resulting game was both entertaining and high on the 'Got you Dad!' stakes, which is always good in our book 😉.

I've concentrated on capturing battle's narrative rather than recording a detailed catalogue of Actions, Skill Checks, Counter Actions etc.  I have included some mention of various game elements, especially those that resulted in shaping the narrative - upon reflection it was often the free Move Actions that were awarded following a Skill Check's Partial Success or Failure result, which happens

The Background

Despite the heroic efforts of the Libuscha Prime garrison, the city was all but lost.  Even Captain Stonnet realised that the local forces were overwhelmed and a tactical retreat was the only sensible course of action.

Even now packs of Tani hunters are closing in on the last of the city's defenders, each hoping to secure the remaining humans for themselves.

An APC took Stonnet and a ragtag squad of trooper within a few hundred meters of a waiting cloaked Sparrow Hawk shuttle... but is it close enough?  Will Stonnet mange to escape Libuscha Prime or he be added to the Tani's already bloated organ banks?

The Battlefield and Deployment

The battlefield reflects a portion of Libuscha Prime's streets - a chaotic urban landscape seemlyíng the product of a deranged 7 year old's imagination.

You'll notice there are 7 Tani Contact Tokens scattered around the map - their use is detailed under special rules below.

The Objectives

  • The Humans have to battle their way to the Sparrow Hawk and make their escape.  If they can do so, they'd achieve Victory.
  • The Tani intend to destroy, or more precisely slaughter, the remaining garrison force.  With their body bags full, the Tani will be Victorious.
  • If the game lasts more than 8 Turns, neither Force is victorious.  The Sparrow Hawk would take-off, mow down any and all Tani it could before fleeing the city.  As for Captain Stonnet?  He'd have to turn his focus from escape to survival.  We'd call this outcome a Draw.

The Forces

The Human Garrison

The Humans have three Units: Captain Stonnet (Leader/Hero), a squad of Troopers (designated as a Group) and Buster (Power Suited Fire Support) and a 5 Point Energy Pool.
Captain Stonnet, Libuscha Prime's Hero
Captain Stonnet (Leader) CQ 3, RAT 5, DEF 5, ARM Light and equipped with a Power Sword and Melta Pistol (Blaster) (78 Credits)
Sanchy, Aler, Meson and Stewart, Troopers CQ 2, RAT 5, DEF 4, ARM Group and equipped with Fusion Carbines (51 Credits)
Billy "Buster" Jenker, Power Suited Fire Support CQ 2, RAT 5, DEF 4, ARM Medium and deployed in a Mantu Power Suit (Powered Armour and two Carbines with a Scope) (88 Credits)

The Tani Hunters

The Tani are operating as uncoordinated packs of hunters, mopping up the last of Libuscha Prime's humans.  As such, they have no Energy Pool available nor Leaders/Heroes.
Squads of Tani Gilli and/or Quarra CQ 4 RAT 5 DEF 5 ARM Group and equipped with Particle Accelerator Cannons tipped with an axe-head bayonets (70 Credits at full strength i.e. 4 models) 
When models are designed as a Unit in Rogue Planet, their normal Armour Rating (ARM) is changed to Group.  Does it make sense to 'group' heavily armoured Units?  Not really.  There's a bit of interplay between ARM and DEF which could be tweaked some... maybe it's something we'll trial in the future. 

Special Rules

Accessing the Sparrow Hawk

To board and then escape on the Sparrow Hawk takes 1 Action to open the hatch and 1 Move Action to enter the vehicle.  Opening the hatch requires a Total Success Skill Check.  Each Partial Success adds +1 to the following attempt and a Failure  result means that the Unit attempting to open the Sparrow Hawk is blocked from further attempts that Turn.  Once opened, all Units can enter the vehicle without requiring further Skill Checks.

Revealing and Revealed Tani

Upon a Human finishing a Move Action from which the Tani player can establish a LoS from a Contact Token, the Tani Player rolls a d4 to determine the number of Gilli and Quarra that are revealed as a Group at 100%-25% strength (roll d4 to determine the number of models deployed).

Once revealed, the Tani cannot be activated by the Tani Player until their Turn but if engaged in Melee, they are able to fight aggressively and defensively.  Upon Activation, the Tani are provided with one Action Point that may only be applied to Counter Actions e.g., if, upon discovery, they are shot at, they may attempt a single Dodge or Return Fire during the Turn.

Our Battle Report

Stonnet and his  men disembarking from their APC.
"Stonnet is that you? I can't believe you've made it this far!  Look, it's Peters here: we're nearby and haven't been spotted yet.  You've got maybe 500 meters to cover from your current position - 250 due West, then a switch-back and the same again Eastwards.  I'm patching though Tani contacts to your tactical display right now.  All the best Sir - we'll hold out as long as we can."

"You heard the man, we've made it through worse just getting here.  By numbers, out and off, double-time," commanded Captain Stonnet to his handful of remaining troopers.

The first of the Tani revealed by Buster -
thh Troopers quickly made their way forward
to complete a pincer attack.
Alex was keen to get into the action and spent two Action Points moving Buster up the stairs and along the ramp to establish Line of Sight (LoS) with the first Tani Contact Token - a roll of 3 resulted in a Group of 3 Tani being revealed.  With the first of the Tani revealed Alex then moved his Squad of 4 Troopers past the nearby cargo crate and into firing position.

Up here you Xenos!
The Squad's Fire Action on the Tani resulted in a Total Success, eliminating a single Gilli.  Then Alex ordered Buster to move onto the gangway and jump down on top of the remaining two Tani.  We decided to resolve the outcome as a Charge Action, upgrading Alex's Collison die from d4 to d6 to account for the drop.  Luck was with Alex and Buster inflicted 3 points of damage, crushing the Tani before they had a chance to react.

CRUNCH!! Buster touches down

Alex commenced his next Turn by moving Buster under the gangway and approaching the Coolant Tank to the West where he spotted another three lurking Tani.

Alex then moved up his Troopers in support of Buster and Captain Stonnet brought up the rear, ensuring that the first Tani were well and truly destroyed.

With his remaining Action Alex had Buster Charge the Tani - the Charge Skill Check resulted in a Failure and neither party was harmed.  Buster's movement did however reveal another two Tani who were at the street's Western end, in the confusion (using the two free Moves awarded for Buster's Skill Check Failure) they moved around the building's corner and then climbed the ramp to the East, leaving them with a clear line of sight of both the Squad of Troopers and Captain Stonnet as well!
Get the Human!

Commander Alex directs his troops
with his usual clinical precision.
The next Turn saw the Tani engage in a fierce melee with Buster near the Coolant Tank - Buster's absorbed a huge onslaught of blows (offsetting  damage using the Team's Energy Pool) and dispatched one of the Gilli in the process (the Tani's Melee Skill Check's Failure).

Leaving Buster to the Tani, Captain Stonnet hurried around the corner of the building (availing himself of the free Move awarded due to the Tani's Failed Melee Skill Check) and then, through the open Sector Gate's doorway, spotted yet another Gilli blocking their path.

The Tani weren't going to let the Human's escape that easily. First they opened fire from the gangway taking out Trooper Stewart and then moved West from the gangway, traversing above the street and straddled the Sector Gate, providing them with line of sight of all the Alex's Human forces.

Buster finally managed to dispatch the last of the Gilli and hurried North to support his comrade's struggle.

Captain Stonnet burst through the gateway, smashing the lone Gilli defender with a mighty blow using his trusty Power Sword.

Then, out of nowhere, Stonnet was brought down by Tani fire!
A Gilli sniper, positioned upon the Sector's Observation Post, managed a glancing shot that sent the brave Captain senseless (it was a Partially Successful Shoot Action however Alex was unable to offset the same as he had exhausted his Energy Pool).
From high above the Street a Tani Gilli Sniper took out Captain Stonnet.

Buster (using the free Move Action afford by the Gilli sniper's Partial Success Fire Skill Check) and the remaining Troopers rushed to their Captain's aid.  Quickly they stabilised Stonnet's wounds then dragged him double-time Eastwards towards the cloaked shuttle.

The battle channel opened: "Folks it's heating up - just been detected - you've got 30 seconds tops!" 

More Tani!!  Let's move it people!

Speed was now of the essence - with multiple contacts still evident, the Humans hurried on.  The Gilli sniper continued to pour fire upon and taken out by return fire (a successful Return Fire Counter-Action) from the Troopers - but not without the loss of Sanchy.  Then, as they sighted the Sparrow Hawk, yet another pack of  Tani were revealed and downed Meson, leaving Trooper Aler and Buster to drag Captain Stonnet's battered body to safety.

Buster's Power Armour soaked up an otherwise punishing amount of Tani fire (making saves with the Power Armour's Rogue Die and resulting in the Tani's otherwise successful Shoot Skill Checks being modified/downgrading to Failures) and he was able to plow a path directly to the shuttle.  The Tani investigating the Sparrow Hawk's signature were caught unawares - unable to react to Human's appearance and they could only watch as Buster reached the shuttle (2 Moves), opened the door (a very lucky Skill Check resulting in a Total Success first time!) and then managed to bustle inside whilst under fire (the Group of 4 Tani's final desperate Shoot Action on Buster Failed, providing the Humans with the two extra Move Actions they needed to alight the Sparrow Hawk before the next Turn commenced).

"Let's get out of here!" yelled Peters as the Sparrow Hawk's engines roared to life, incinerating the nearby Tani as they launched into the Libuscha Prime skyline and away to safety.

Post Game Ruminations

Alex and I really enjoyed this particular game.  The whole thing, from set-up to Alex's victory was done in around 45 minutes - talk about quick!  Alex is still getting used to the use of Counter-Actions but he's actually adapted to the absence of measured moves much more readily than me (mumble, mumble... old dogs, new tricks...).

One thing that was apparent to both of us was that the timing of his Energy Pool usage made a huge difference.  If Captain Hindsight was manning the Sparrow Hawk, he would have said Alex shouldn't have wasted Energy on his Trooper Group early on, rather saving it for Captain Stonnet's benefit mid-game.

The Tani, while rolling terribly, actually weren't a bad choice against that particular Human force.  During Melee, their Axes gave them a soft bonus against Buster's Medium Power Armour which made the difference between a Failure and Partial Success on a couple of rolls (burning through Alex's Energy Pool) and the Carbines had a similar buff verse both Stonnet and the Group of Troopers.  Now if the Tani had a decent Leader/Hero or access to an Energy Pool of their own, well Alex might have fallen short of his objective.

As for the 8 Turn Limit, well it happened to work well.  Things could have gone horrible for Alex if he had consistently rolled 1 Action Point, but he didn't and even went with the default 3 when he felt like he was getting overwhelmed on multiple fronts near the Sector Gate.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Rogue Planet - Tactics 1

Subsequent to my recent Rogue Planet Battle Report I've had a number of requests for more Rogue Planet insight*. Well the game provides PLENTY of opportunities for the development of a dramatic narrative; however it may surprise some people that a game with (1) virtually no measuring, (2) limited unit stats and (3) non-existent record keeping also can provide players with considerable tactical depth.

For the war gaming boffins out there, I like to think of tactics as the things I can do and decisions I can make during the course of playing the game that has a influence on the game's outcome e.g., do I move into cover or hold my ground and open fire? Strategies, on the other hand, are decisions I make prior to the game proper commencing e.g., whether I outfit my Troopers with close combat or ranged weapons.

So I thought I'd illustrate how some of the game's mechanisms lend themselves to both interesting and somewhat unusual (relative to other game systems) tactical play.  Enjoy!

*One Battle Report and I'm now an "Expert"?!? Well that's the internet for you!  Mind you it's great starting some correspondence with other people around the world - thanks!

Rogue Planet's Turns

In most games a "Turn" describes each player's opportunity to activate most/all their Force.  A Rogue Planet Turn is a little different and can have very little or lots of activations involved.  At one end of the scale, a Player's Turn might be limited to activating and Moving a single Unit (i.e. one model or a collection of model's designated as a "Group").  Alternately, at the other end of the scale, a Player's Turn could result in the activation of 6 different Units or a single Unit 6 times - yes, one Unit could be instructed to fire upon the enemy 6 consecutive times!  It quite different to most other games and takes some getting used to.

It's worth a quick summary of the various some of the key concepts/mechanics in a Rogue Planet Turn:
  1. Each Turn in Rogue Planet has a variable number of Actions performed.
  2. Each Force in a given Turn can elect to have 3 Action Points or go with lady luck and receive as many as 6 or as few as 1 Action Point i.e. a random 1-6 else a default/safe 3.
  3. The Player with the Turn's highest number of Action Points decides who has the Initiative i.e. who will commence the Turn and utilise some or all of their Action Points.
  4. Once the Player with the Initiative has exhausted their Action Points, play is handed over to their opponent.
  5. The opponent now exhausts their Action Points and the Turn is concluded.
Two Rogue Planet mechanics that add some additional flavour or twists to the above mix are Skill Checks and Counter-Actions.

When Skill Checks (for example, resolving a Charge Action) result in something less than Total Success, one's opponent is typically awarded an opportunity to perform one or two Move Actions, out of the standard Turn sequence and at no Action Point cost.

Counter-Actions describe an opponent's opportunity to react to the evolving situation. Whilst the Player with the Initiative can initiate Actions, most Actions trigger an opportunity for their opponent to attempt a Counter-Action. The manner in which Counter-Action's can shape a game's Turn provides for some really challenging tactical choices during play.  I'll illustrate the above with a couple of various on a set scenario and describe some of the tactical considerations/opportunities at hand.
Captain Stonnet fights again!

Scenario Setting

A single Human, Captain Stonnet (designated with the Blue "S" icon on the following diagrams), is engaging three Tani Quarra (designated via the Green Q1, Q2 and Q3).  The Human Player rolls 3 Actions and the Tani 2 Actions.  The Human elects to go first, so holds the Turn's Initiative.  Finally, I'll assume that both sides' Energy Pools have been exhausted i.e. neither Force has the means of offsetting any damage dealt to their Unit(s).

Variation One: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Stonnet has Line of Sight (LoS) on each Tani and elects to open fire - with 3 Action Points available, Stonnet can perform three Shoot Actions.  Stonnet performs each Shoot Action sequentially, with each Action resulting in a Total Success.  Without the means of offsetting the damage the Tani Quarra are destroyed, Humanity's saved and game night is over.

That's kind of typical of most games - a Player can activate a Unit and their opponent watches the dice roll, often to their frustration.  Yawn.  I wonder what's happening on Master Chef this week?

Variation Two: Humans Make Mistakes

Stonnet has LoS on each Tani and elects to open fire - with 3 Action Points available, Stonnet can perform three Shoot Actions.

Stonnet's first Shoot Action (costing 1 Action Point) generates a Total Success and Q1 is eliminated.  The second Shoot Action (costing a further 1 Action Point) results in a Partial Success eliminating Q2.  A Partial Success means Stonnet destroys Tani Q2; however the Tani are also awarded an optional, no-cost Move Action which need be executed prior to the resumption of Stonnet's Turn.

The Tani takes the opportunity to move Q3 to the South-West, out of Stonnet's LoS.

Now Stonnet is faced with some new decisions: with one final Action Point available before handing the Turn over to the Tani Player, Stonnet could reestablish LoS by (for example) moving due East; however that Move would leave no further Action Points to initiate the desired Shoot Action.

To complicate matters further, the Human player cannot 'save' the Action Point for use later during the Tani's portion of this Turn nor for future Turns AND the Tani player presently has 1 Action Point still available for their portion of the current Turn.  So what to do?  Mmm... let's look at another variation.

Variation Three: Dodging A Bullet

Stonnet has LoS on each Tani and with 3 Action Points available, declares a Shoot Action (costing 1 Action Point) on the nearest Tani Quarra (T1).

In response to Stonnet's Fire Action declaration, the Tani (target) declares a Dodge Counter-Action at the cost of 1 Action Point.  Importantly, while there's a variety of Counter-Actions available, selection is dependent upon the triggering Action (e.g., you can't Intercept a Shoot) and each Counter-Action costs 1 Action Point - so if you haven't any Action Points left, you can't counter.

Stonnet's initial Shoot Action (costing 1 Action Point) generates a Failure.  As a result, Q1 makes an FX roll and is able to perform a Standard FX ranged Movement, simulating the Quarra dodging Stonnet's hail of death.  Additional, in this particular instance, Stonnet's Failure also generates two free Move Actions for the Tani which, if utilised, need be executed prior to the resumption of Stonnet's Turn.

The Tani takes the opportunity to move Q2 and Q2 into Engage Stonnet directly.

Stonnet still has 2 Action Points available but not the freedom of movement that he'd had at the Turn's commencement.  Once Engaged (defined as being in base-to-base contact with an enemy) a Unit might declare various Actions such as Melee (i.e. close combat) or Shoot (but with a penalty); however to Move away from the enemy requires a Skill Check.  So if Stonnet determined that the current close combat odds weren't to his liking and wanted to disengage, he'd have to make a Skill Check.  If that Skill Check was successful, all's good.  A Partially Successful result would allow Stonnet to break contact but also provide the Tani with an additional Move.  A Failed Check would provide the Tani with two additional Moves, allowing Q1 to also engage Stonnet... suddenly those 2:1 odds were looking pretty good after all. 

'What If...'

Upon declaring a Shoot Action, one's opponent can declare a Return Fire Counter-Action at the cost of 1 Action Point.  Now, rather than resolving the Shoot Action as a standard Skill Check, the Tani's Return Fire Counter-Action introduces the possibility of damaging/destroying Stonnet and leaving the Tani unharmed.  The odds?  If you're worried about odds, then go look at Advanced Squad Leader or something... let's just say it's possible and plausible, if not likely.

If the die were to resolve in Stonnet's favour, not only would a Tani be eliminated but the Tani's Action Points would have been reduced from 2 to 1 Point , constraining what they might have otherwise initiated during the course of the Turn, whilst Stonnet would still have the opportunity to initiate 2 further Actions.  What are some of the options available to the Human Player now?

Firstly a second Shoot Action might also be successful and should the Tani also attempt a Return Fire Counter-Action, the Tani Player would have no further Action Points available to spend come the end of Stonnet's Turn.  What a bonus that would be!  That would mean a third Shoot Action couldn't be countered and a whole new Turn would commence at the conclusion of the Human Player's Shoot Action.  Who knows, the Human could end up with the Initiative again...

Alternately, subsequent to a Successful initial Shoot Action to which the Tani's Return Fire Counter-Action failed, Stonnet might Move (1 Action Point) to engage Q3 and then declare a Melee Action (1 Action Point).  At least once consideration here is that the Human's move into Melee would also provide the Tani Player with further Counter-Action options including Op Fire i.e.  at the cost of expending their last remaining Action Point, the Tani could open fire on Stonnet which might cause Stonnet's move to fall short or even damage/destroy Stonnet.


Executing Actions within Rogue Planet will often provide an opponent an opportunity to declare Counter-Action, provided they've got and are willing to expend the necessary Action Point.

For example, a Move might be Counter-Acted via a Op Fire, Shooting can be countered by Return Fire and Charges (attempts to smash into and send an opponent sprawling) can be Dodged and Intercepted.

The rules provide for a variety of Actions and Counter-Actions.  Some Actions can't be countered.  For example initiating close combat (a Melee Action) can't be countered (e.g., Dodged) and Leader's issuance of a Command cannot be specifically Countered, however the resulting moved Units might be.  I'm still trying to get my head around the effective use of Command Actions - and how to defend against a Command - maybe that might make for a future post?

The combination of a variable Turn length, Actions, Counter-Actions and free Actions/Moves resulting from less successful Skill Checks makes for an engrossing game.  I don't think you could successfully play Rogue Planet as a traditional IGTYG-type game - doing so would really limit the wealth of tactical play that's available and lose elements that make for some great in-game narratives.  It's different, even verging on hard to come to grips with (especially if you've come from another traditional system) but I think the effort of giving it a try is well worth the reward.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Libuscha Prime's Defense (Rogue Planet Battle Report)

I've been chatting to a few people about my Rogue Planet experiments/trials, but have found describing the game (given it being so different) isn't easy.  So, in an effort to illustrate how various mechanisms work, I've recreated a scene from our recent games and applied a dash of artistic license.  Who knows, you might be enticed to give the game a try - I hope you do and I think you'll find something very different indeed.

Quite deliberately I've not reflected all the game's detail in the following account. Why?  Well what you're seeing is the application Brent Spivey's intellectual property and if you'd like to experiment and play the game, do him (and ultimately us all) a favour and just purchase it - in the scheme of things, it's hardly a huge outlay; most of my workmates would spend more in a given day on coffee and lunch!  You get an ebook, various summary guides, house rules and more for one low price via Wargame Vault.  It's a great deal.

During this 'report' I'll enhance (?) the game play with narrative in red type.  Again, I won't fully detail all the game's mechanics, instead I'll provide some insight into how things work.  If during the Battle Report you find yourself wanting to know more, I really recommend you purchase Brent's game.

Finally I've reached out to Brent and asked him to help me understand the game better.  If he points out something out-of-kilter with his design, I'm sure he'll let me know and I'll try and update this page.

During the early evening, Libuscha Prime's garrison was alerted to an xeno incursion.  Captain Stonnet's response unit was deployed and fought a series of running battles with a group of Tani raiders, harvesting organic materials for their own nefarious reasons.  The ensuing battles that followed were brutal.  Despite Stonnet's local knowledge and strength of numbers, the resilience and tenacity of the Tani have made for a desperate situation.

We join Captain Stonnet, accompanied by Troopers Thardson, Grezal and Matte, a heavy weapon specialist, as they attempt to intercept three Tani Gilli led by a single Tani Quarra.

Stonnet's squad are entering the battlefield from the alley between the Sapporo Beer Factory and Block 378.  The Tani were travelling from the South-east when their scanners detected the approach of the Human defenders...

The Forces and Objectives

Rogue Planet provides a Credit (point) system to assist with unit and scenario design and balancing.   Unit design and costing is very straight-forward - it's basically a menu system e.g., to increase the melee skill of a unit from a rating of 5 to 6 is a simply a difference of 6 Credits.

The relative strength of the Forces in this battle is presently tipped in the favour of the Humans by about 30% (135:194 Credits by my reckoning).  Rather than playing the numbers, I've designed Forces that tie into the story-line and reflect my models e.g., the Tani have Axe, not Blade bayonets.
Humans: Captain Stonnet (left), Troopers Thardson and Grezal (right) and Specialist Matte (back)
Tani: Quarra (front) and 3 Gilli (back)

Additionally each Force is allocated an Energy Pool, which is dependent upon the Force's composition e.g., troops allocated Power Armour confer additional Energy relative to those troops with more mundane (and cheaper) armours.  The Energy Pool is a core game mechanic and you'll get some appreciation of it's application by reading the Battle Report proper.  In this Battle, Human's have an Energy Pool of 4 and the Tani's Pool is 3 - this wasn't their starting Pool's rather what's remaining when we join the action.  I've used the 🗲 icon to highlight Energy Pool-related commentary.

Four stats describe each Unit, being (close) Combat Quality (CQ), Ranged (weapon) Attack (RAT), Defence (DEF) and Armour (ARM) rating.  Each Unit is also equipped with various items of 'gear' being weapons, equipment etc - they game provides a liberal assortment of items that can be mixed and matched to generate a huge number of science fiction and fantasy inspired devices.  Here's the forces being employed in this battle report:
Captain Stonnet (Leader) CQ 3, RAT 5, DEF 5, ARM Light and equipped with a Power Sword and Melta Pistol (78 Credits)
Thardson and Grezal, Troopers CQ 2, RAT 5, DEF 4, ARM Light and equipped with Fusion Carbines (2 Units @ 38 Credits each i.e. 76 Credits in total)
Matte, Heavy Weapon Specialist CQ 2, RAT 5, DEF 4, ARM Light and equipped with a Plasma Splitter (40 Credits)
Tani Quarra (Leader/Hero) CQ 4, RAT 5, DEF 5, ARM Medium and equipped with a Particle Accelerator Cannon tipped with an axe-head bayonet (71 Credits)
A Squad of Tani Gilli CQ 4 RAT 5 DEF 5 ARM Group and equipped with Particle Accelerator Cannons tipped with an axe-head bayonets (70 Credits but at one-third strength i.e. reduced to three models, therefore effective Credits = 64)
        Two things worth pointing out related to ARM/armour ratings.   There are four 'levels' being Light, Medium, Heavy and Group.  As you'd imagine, a Medium-rated Unit (like the Tani Quarra) can take more punishment than a Light, and less than a Heavy-rated Unit.  "Group" is something altogether different - think of it like Hit Points and it can also be used designate a squad.  More about that later.

        The game requires the designation of a Leader in each Force.  Each Leader has access to additional heroic traits/skills, some of which are described in the following account.

        The game type being played is a (slightly modified) Patrol  which negates the Leaders usual Resilient trait and excludes them from using special Leader advantages or abilities called Pawns.   Rogue Planet also includes a clever scenario generation system - I'm looking forward to trialling the same in due course and, if there's interest, I'll write up a future Battle Report relaying our experiences in that regard as well.

          Terrain and Deployment

          This scenario was played on a tiny 30-by-60cm map - unheard of using 28mm models!
          Some notes about the terrain:
          • Block 378 can be entered and there's an elevator to the rooftop;
          • The Sapporo Beer Factory is in lock-down and cannot be accessed.
          • All the containers (the two yellow ones in the middle of the map and the while one on the roof of Block 378) are designated as Objects; and
          • None of the terrain is destructible.


          One thing you'll quickly appreciate is how Rogue Planet's turn structure is hugely different from many of the mainstream war games... the best way to appreciate the difference is to play the game, but failing that I hope I've provided a sense of how the game flows.

          (Notional) Turn One

          Each Turn starts with the generation of Action Points which dictate what can be performed, like moving and firing weapons.  During a usual game's opening Turn, neither party is normally able to choose 3 Action Points - both would roll instead.  As we're joining a game underway, each player has the option of rolling for between 1-6 or choosing 3 Action Points.

          🎲Both the Humans and Tani roll 2d6 (1d6 for the 'team' +1d6 on account of the hero still being in play) retaining their highest scores.  Both Forces score a 4, and because the Humans lost the initiative previousTurn, they are given the choice as to who will begin this Turn .  The Humans allocate that 'privilege' to the Tani.

          Captain Stonnet's local knowledge served him well: given the Tani's approach, he identified an ideal ambush point next to Block 378.  "Keep your wits about you men," whispered Stonnet to his Team, "and make these xeno scum pay for our blood."

          The Tani have 4 Action Points available to spend and commence by moving the Tani Quarra due North in an attempt to reach the high ground afforded by accessing Block 378's roof.  

          "Ahhh... so much life!" exhales the Tani Quarra stalking cautiously towards Block 378.  

          Movement in Rogue Planet is performed in straight-lines and isn't restricted by distance, only by terrain i.e. if you wanted to move from one end of the board to the other, and nothing blocked your path, you can.  Yep, you read right: movement isn't measured in Rogue Planet. 

          Spying Thardson from its new vantage point, the Tani Quarra opens fire with its Particle Accelerator Cannon.

          Opening fire costs the Tani their second Action Point, reducing their pool of 3 down to 2.  Unless especially equipped, Units are only able to target the closest enemy.

          Rogue Planet uses a Counter-Action mechanism which allows player's to interrupt (?) their opponents Turn and perform things like dodges, interceptions and return-fire.  To do so also requires/costs Áction Points.

          Fortunately Thardson heeded his Captain's advice and attempted to roll out of the way of the cannon's fire...

          Thardson declared a Dodge Counter-Action (the Humans now have 3 Action Points remaining).  This particular action introduces an additional Rogue Die to the Quarra's Skill Check roll.  The Quarra performs a Skill Check with 2d6 along with a Rogue Die (d6) which are used to determine (1) whether Thardson's dodge was successful, (2) the relative effectiveness of the attack and (3) the outcomes (unit disposition etc) either way.

          🎲The Tani rolls a 4, 3 (Skill Check) and 1 (Rogue).  If the Rogue Die had matched either of the Skill scores (e.g., the Tani had rolled a 3 on the Rogue Die) then the Ranged Attack would have been dodged and negated.  In this instance the Rogue Die didn't match, so the Ranged Attack is resolved as per usual.

          Determining the outcome of a Skill Check, like a Ranged Attack, involves summing 2d6, adding/subtracting modifiers and comparing the result to two (consistent) success targets.  I'll put a bit of detail into this first Skill Check and a little less in later Skill Checks.

          The Ranged Attacker's RAT is compared to the Defenders DEF: The Quarra's RAT = 5 and Thardson's DEF = 4, yield a +1 to the Quarra's Skill Check.  Additionally the Quarra's weapon provides an additional +1 modifier vs Light Armour.  That's a +2 modifier to the Quarra's roll.  The Tani's end Skill Roll was a (4 & 3 + 2) modified 9.

          The Tani's 9 result for a Skill Check equates to a Partial Success.  A Partial Success in this instance yields two results:

          Firstly a Partially Successful Ranged Attack against a Lightly armoured Unit causes damage equal to the absolute difference between the party's RAT and DEF ratings, in this instance 1 (with a floor of 1)...

          ...but to no avail!  Thardson hits the ground with a sickening thud...

          ...and all non-heroic Units are usually destroyed by a single point of damage.  However not all hope is lost for Thardson.  The Force's Energy Pool can be applied/spent to offset damage.

          🗲Presently the Human's have 4 Energy Points available.  To save Thardson will cost a single Energy Point, reducing the Human Energy Pool to 3.  The Human's do so...

          ...but that was all - Thardson combat pack was destroyed but he's still in the fight.

          Secondly, a Partially Successful Skill Check allows the Opponent to make a (free but somewhat limited) Move with a single model.

          Seizing the moment, Thardson collects himself and moves to the South, taking cover on the opposite side of the container from the Tani and staying out of sight from the remaining Tani force.

          The Gilli targeting Thardson
          The Tani now have 2 Action Points remaining and the Humans have 3.  Action Points can't be 'stored' so the Tani might as well use them!

          The Quarra had anticipated the Human's tactics and directed the Gilli to the due West to prevent the Human's flanking maneuver...

          Heroes have access to a special Command Action.  At a cost of 1 Action Point, they can direct multiple Units to perform a (basic) Move.  The Gilli are actually designated a Group, so the point is mute, but should they have been three individual Units, all three could have been moved at the cost of 1 Point - a very handy ability indeed!

          Thardson's position is such that he's now obscuring Line of Sight (LoS) between the Gilli and the rest of his Squad.  He has an opportunity to perform a Intercept or Op Fire Counter-Action (at a cost of 1 Action Point) but declines the opportunity to do so.

          Using the last of their Turn's Action Points, the Gilli perform a Ranged Attack on the nearest Human in range - unless a Unit is equipped with specific items/gear, which comes at an additional Point cost, Units are limited to attacking solely the nearest enemy.

          ... and open fire on Thardson with their combined Cannons!!!

          The Humans could have Thardson perform another Counter-Action, but that would reduce their turn's Action Points from 3 to 2 - which would severely limit their options later on.  Thardson old chump, may the fates be with you...

          As the 3 Gilli Tani are designated a "Group" the three models have to remain close to one another and act as if they've got 3 hit points - otherwise they're largely treated a typical unit with regards to Skill Checks i.e. the number of Gilli in the Group has no bearing on the number of die rolled during Skill Checks.

          🎲They perform a RAT vs DEF Skill Check targeting Thardson.  2d6 are rolled, yielding a 4 and 5 (=9).  The net difference between the Gilli's RAT and Thardson's DEF = +1, to which the soft Carbine vs Light Armour buff is added, yielding a result of 11. A 10+ equates to a Total Success.

          A Total Success by a ranged attack against a Lightly armoured target results in damage equal to the absolute difference between RAT and DEF i.e. 1 Point in this instance.

          🗲Again the Humans expend another Energy Point to keep Thardson alive.  The Human Energy Pool now stands at 2 Energy Points.

          Unbelievably Thardson stands his ground and shrugs off the barrage that would have downed any lesser man.

          With no more Action Points available to the Tani, the Humans are now able to expend any of their remaining Action Points should they wish to do so.  Indeed they do!  So with 3 Action Points available (if only they had four!), coupled with no threat of a Counter-Action, the Humans go on the offensive.

          An important feature of this juncture is that the Tani cannot declare Counter-Actions: firstly because they haven't got any Action Points left but also, as they were the initial activating force, they're prevented from doing so anyway.

          Matte, the Heavy Weapon Specialist, runs to the South supporting Thardson's heroics and to gain a bead on the group of Gilli to the far South.  Matte has a difficult choice: stay behind Thardson relative to the Gilli, thereby avoiding the Gilli's ranged fire (as they need to fire at their nearest enemy) but that makes the Quarra Tani his closest opponent, meaning he can't target the Gilli anyway!  But, but, but... that's what war's all about, making the least bad choices... 

          Given the situation, Mattes moves up closer to the Gilli at a cost of 1 Action Point - leaving 2 Action Points remaining.  

          "They are mine!" shouts Matte, running directly toward the advancing Gilli....

          Matte could now open fire on the Gilli right now (at the cost of an additional Action Point) but need not as the Gilli cannot perform any Counter-Actions this Turn.  Instead, over to Captain Stonnet.  At a cost of 1 Action Point, the Captain takes the opportunity to bowl directly into his alien adversary.

          ...while Captain Stonnet charges directly into the Tani Quarra...

          Charging in Rogue Planet isn't shorthand for initiating melee, rather it's as the name suggests: smashing into your target in an attempt to knock them senseless or worse!

          🎲A Charge's resolution commences with moving the Charger into base contact with their Target.  The Charger then makes a Skill Check.  2d6 are rolled yielding a 3 and 4 for an (unmodified) total of 7.  A 7 equates to a Partial Success and during a Charge, there's no distinction between a Partial and Total Success...

          ...slamming into with the fury of a Bull Grume Beast at the height of matting seasons i.e. a lot more fury than a Grume Beast would typically manage.

          Now not every charge ends up as planned.  It is quite possible that the Charger could be on the receiving end of a very big headache!  Rogue Planet includes rules for addressing physics and effects including Collisions.  Collision outcomes are determined firstly by a roll-off between the two parties,  giving an advantage to the initiator (who get's to roll twice and keep their best) and more heavily armoured party.

          🎲Stonnet rolls a 1 and 4 and the Tani a 2.  The absolute difference between the two results is 2 and Stonnet was the winner.  As a result, 2 points of damage are inflicted upon the Tani and subjected to a Stagger effect.

          🗲 Firstly 2 points of damage.  Heroes/Leaders are normally awarded the Resilient trait; however during a Patrol game that trait is negated.  Without thinking twice the Tani expends two points from their Energy Pool to keep the Tani Quarra in play.  That reduces the Tani's Energy Pool from 3 to 1 Point.

          🎲Secondly the Tani is Staggered.  To determine the Stagger's effect you roll 2d6 which then yields either a Standard, Impressive, Most Impressive or even Epic FX outcome.  In this instance the FX yielded a Standard outcome which isn't as underwhelming as you might think.
          Stonnet slams into the Quarra, knocking it...

          One of the few measurements made during the game is to apply FX outcomes.  A Standard Stagger results in the Charging player moving the Target back the width of 3 fingers away from their point of contact. 

          ...into a nearby reactor panel, causing a bellowing cloud of smoke to erupt. 

          I put that bit in for dramatics - under the standard rules, staggering into a wall doesn't result in collusion damage... but there's certainly scope for the same using the rules for throwing etc - yes, some Units can throw enemies around the battlefield.

          The Human's now have but one Action Point remaining for the Turn.  There's a few choices to be had, for example Trooper Grezal is yet to join the fray,  but given Matte's proximity to the Gilli, and given he's armed with a Plasma Splitter - basically it boils down to a case of use it or likely lose it.
          To the West, Matte simultaneously unloads the full clip of Plasma bolts into the Gilli...

          🎲🗲A RAT vs DEF Skill Check is made with a soft buff modifier, due the combined effects of Matte's assault weapon buffs and the cover afforded to the Gilli by the nearby Container. A modified Skill Roll yields a Partial Success, causing the Group a single point of damage.

          The Tani player decides to retain their remaining point of Energy - that Point might be required next round if things don't go their way.  As such one of the Gilli models is removed from play, reducing their combined strength by a third.  Damage to Groups in Rogue Planet is simply represented by removing the Group's models.

          Also, because Matte only managed a Partial Success, the Tani are also able to move any one Unit as
          they take advantage of the chaos of battle.

          ... melting one into a heap of slag whilst the remaining Gilli press home their advance, racing past Matte to engage Thardson directly.
          * Note: I think we made a mistake here: the Gilli weren't entitled to engage Thardson, rather they should have engaged Matte as he was the closest enemy within LoS.  Oopps!

          The Turn finished with the remaining two Gilli moving directly North into base-to-base contact with Thardson.

          End of Turn One Summary

          Wow, so much can happen within a single Turn of Rogue Planet   Here's a recap of the action:
          1. The Quarra heads North and opens fire on the Humans and the the Gilli head West.
          2. Thardson evades the Quarra's initial volley and heads South into cover due South, only to be then fired upon by the flanking Gilli.
          3. Specialist Matte moves into support of Thardson and fires upon the Gilli attempting intercept and engage Thardson.
          4. Meanwhile Captain Stonnet charges into the Quarra, knocking it backwards into a nearby wall.
          Unit-wise, the only casualties was a single Gilli thanks to Matte's fire and only Trooper Grezal is yet to be activated and remains standing at the Northern edge of the battle field, waiting for his opportunity to contribute to the battle.

          🗲The engagement has cost both Forces in Energy however: the Human's Energy Pool was depleted from 4 to 2 Energy Points whilst the Gilli expended 2 Energy leaving their Pool with just 1 Energy Point remaining.  

          How was all the above action achieved?  
          1. A single measurement was performed: moving the Quarra a distance of about 3 inches or 6 centimeters subsequent to Captain Stonnet's successful charge.  
          2. 🎲6 discrete, deliberate Unit movements were made: the Quarra moved once, the (group of) Gilli twice, and Thardson, Matte and Captain Stonnet all moved once apiece.
          3. When it comes to dice rolling, there were collectively about 8 rolls made.
          There were certainly opportunities for some alternative tactical plays:

          For example, early on Thardson waited for the Quarra to open fire then attempted a Dodge.  Alternately one of the Human's could have attempted an Intercept or Opportunity Fire Counter-Action.  Also, the fact that Thardson was hugging the Western side of the Container, thereby preventing the Quarra from establishing a line of sight also meant he inadvertently blocked his squad's line of sight to Gilli in the West.  That was telling: otherwise Matte might have saved an Action Point and instead fired twice into the Gilli.

          The Tani Quarra might have also played things differently.  Leaders can expend 3 consecutive Action Points, so the Quarra might have moved North, then North-West charging the Humans and followed up with a melee attack.

          Let's get on with it and see how things unfold...

          Turn Two

          🎲Each Turn begins with both Forces generating their Action Points.  Again both sides opt to roll, with the Humans scoring a 2 and 1 (Captain Hindsight says "Always elect the default 3 Action Points") and the Tani a whopping 6 and 3.  6 beats 2 so the Tani have the option of either beginning or forcing the Human's to start.  Brimming with confidence, the Tani take the initiative.

          As the smoke drifts South, the Quarra appears and fire upon Stonnet at point-blank...

          🎲At a cost of 1 Action Point, the Quarra resolves a Ranged Attack on the good Captain, which yields a modified 5 i.e. a Complete Failure.

          Complete Failures award a single move to the opponent and in the absence of a specific failure penalty, then provide for a second move.  Additionally, when a ranged attack fails against a hero, the hero's special Combat Stunts rule comes into effect.  Combat Stunts reflect the hero's ability to do totally heroic things like dodging bullets, flipping over enemies, bouncing off walls etc.

          🎲Captain Stonnet's Impressive Combat Stunt result roll allows him to move 2 FX measures and then both Grezal and Matte are also moved.

          ...however again Captain Stonnet, a veteran of a thousand battles, spins away, dashing into cover and eluding the Quarra. 
          Seizing upon the opportunity, Grezal moves South to the corner of Block 378 and Matte moves East, both lining up the Quarra in their sights.

          The Tani are now in a bind:  Whilst they still have 5 Activation Points available, should the Quarra activate, the Humans have the opportunity to Counter with Opportunity Fire or similar.  Rather than forcing that issue right now, the Tani player decides to work his Gilli and see how things play out.

          The Gilli group initiates a melee attack on Thardson.  Rogue Planet allows a defender (in a melee) to either 'normally' counter-attack else Fight Defensively.  As Thardson's CQ is less than his DEF, he's better at fighting defensively. Thardson decides to defend with the hope of buying some time for the Squad and maybe receiving some support in return.  By the way it's worth noting that there aren't any Counter-Actions that can be activated by the initiation of melee.

          🎲So a Melee Skill Check is resolved.  The Gilli roll a Total Success, resulting in a single point of Damage to Thardson...

          🗲So the Humans expend another Energy Point (now reduced to 1) to save Thardson again and...

          Spying Stonnet's dash around the corner, Thardson valiantly fends off the vicious Gilli's strikes, buying the Captain an opportunity to join the fray.  
          "Hold fast Trooper," booms Stonnet, "Hold Fast!"

          🎲The Gilli activate a second time (Activation Points from 5 to 4) and continue their attack; however Thardson is now benefited by Captain Stonnet's support, bolstering his defense.  Thardson defense is for nought however as the Gilli roll a double 6, resulting in another Total Success.  Rolling a double also is treated as a Critical Strike, which, in this particular instance, means that Energy cannot be used to negate the damage - Thardson finally succumbs to the onslaught!  Being a Total Success, the Human's aren't awarded a free reactive move either, which could be telling.

          "Aarrgghhh!" screams Thardson, crumpling to the ground as his blood pools around him.
          The Gilli, being non-Heroes/Leaders, can only be activated twice consecutively, so now the Tani player need make some important choices.  With 3 Activation Points remaining, in order to activate the Gilli again, the Quarra must be first re-activated, however that will almost certainly provide the Humans with an opportunity to perform a counter action.

          Going into overdrive, the Quarra runs through a deadly hail of fire and charges Grezal, bowling his lifeless corpse into the Sapporo Factory's alley. Then, without missing a beat, the Quarra swings to the South-west and joins the Gilli in their ensuring battle with Captain Stonnet.

          The above sounds pretty straight-forward but a fair amount of happened in the background and the sequence of events could have played out quite differently.

          The Quarra declares a Charge on Grezal (1 Action Point) to which Grezal declares an Op Fire Counter-Action (at a cost of 1 Human Action Point).

          🎲Grezal's counter fire ends up being ineffective and the Quarra's Charge results in a Partial Success.

          🎲Grezal and the Quarra's collision is resolved with 3 points of damage is dished out to Grazel and he's sent sprawling  into the alley from which he had just emerged - three points of damage is beyond the Human's available Energy Pool so it's goodbye Grezal.  All was not in vain however, as the Partial Success provides the Humans with an additional movement.

          Grezal dying gasps over the battle channel alert Matte to the situation - the Quarra hasn't been stopped.

          Instinct takes over and Matte joins in the melee with his Captain, in a desperate attempt to turn the Tani's tide of destruction.

          🎲The Tani then orders the Gilli to attack Matte (1 Action Point).  Matte opts for a defensive melee and the Gilli's Skill Check results in a Critical Partial Success.  Without the ability to use Energy to offset Critical damage, Matte is eliminated.  The Human's free Move is essentially wasted given that there's now no 'free' Humans i.e. they're all presently engaged in melee.

          But it is for nought as Matte is struck down by the rampaging Gilli warriors!

          Finally the Quarra closes in on Captain Stonnet (1 Action Point) and strikes at him with it's huge bayonet axe (1 Action Point).  The Human player foregoes a defensive stance and takes the xeno face-to-face.

          🎲The melee attack is resolved taking into account each parties relative CQ rating, their gear and  supporting Units (e.g., the Tani Gilli).  And the result: somehow Captain Sonnet turns the tables, inflicts a point of damage onto the Quarra and the Human's are awarded another free (but unfortunately wasted) move.
          The Quarra's huge blow is parried by Captain Stonnet, who fires his Melta Pistol back at the abomination.  Unbelievably the Quarra holds it's ground.
          🗲 By using the last of the Tani's Energy Pool, the damage to the Quarra is yet again nullified.

          With the Tani's Action Points all used, the Turn now switches to the Humans, who've been reduced to a single Unit with only a single Action Point remaining.  There's little to be gained (and a lot to be lost) by attempting to disengage from a melee, so Stonnet attacks the Quarra (1 Action Point), intending to end the fight once-and-for-all!

          A standard melee is resolved with the Quarra foregoing defensive combat.  The modifiers are slightly in Stonnet's favour: his Power Sword and Pistol are partially offset by the Tani Gilli supporting the Quarra.  Importantly the Power Sword also provides it's wielder a Rogue Die on the attack and it's treated as Armour Piercing, reducing the protection otherwise afforded by the Quarra's Medium Armour.

          🎲Captain Stonnet rolls a modified Partial Success.  A Partial Success would normally result in a single point of damage against the Quarra - and the Tani being without any Energy left, that would be that!  However there's more to this story: the Power Sword's Rogue Die.  The Rogue Die is rolled along with the Skill Check and should it match any of the natural die, the Rogue Die's result is added to the damage total.  Guess what?  Stonnet got a matching 3 on the Skill Check's Rogue Die - that's a massive amount of damage!  Talk about overkill!
          With a ground-shaking cry, Captain Stonnet slashes his Power Sword down, rending the Tani Quarra in two.  Seeing their leader slain, the remaining Gilli take heel and flee!

          Normally a Patrol game isn't ended by a Leader's death, but this felt like the right time to call it quits 😀
          "Command, Stonnet reporting: my squad fought valiantly and the Tani have been routed.  Send in the medi-vac and another team to the Southern Sector.  Stonnet out."

          Post Battle Reflections

          Wow, what a blast!  There are so many twists to Rogue Planet's rules that it's hard to know where to start.  Could the Tani have bested the Humans?  Most certainly - some slightly different tactics, a couple of different rolls and it was anyone's game.

          Whilst the above battle report only has two Turns described, games where there are more Turns become very tactically challenging.  Just making the choice between rolling a d6 or going with the default 3 Action Points can be very stressful, especially if the preceding Turns had you playing second fiddle to your opponent.  Then deciding if and when to try counter-actions and the management of your Energy Pool... argghhh! but in a good way.

          One thing that wasn't really apparent until we played the Rogue Planet was the impact of Skill Check Failures.  For example, failing to connect a close combat attack can result in the initiator being killed while a failed ranged attack could award your opponent with two free moves.  A couple of poor attacks in a row and you can quickly find yourself on the defensive.

          The universal Skill Check mechanism is very easy to get the hang of, and despite my aversion of modifiers, Brett's struck a balance that actually works for me.  We've quickly found ourselves assessing and applying the modifiers without drama - we weren't wasting time hunting tables etc in Rogue Planet which is always a plus in my book.

          Also a plus is the lack of markers and record keeping:  Given a Unit can effectively activate an unlimited number of times and damage is so cut-throat, there's a welcome absence of markers on the board.
          I think we've found a contender for the #1 set of rules in these parts.  The system's quickly understood, flexible and filled with opportunities for drama all while providing a satisfying tactical palette for those inclined in that way (read those of us over the age of 8!).   Already there's discussion as to what shape our next game will take - that's always a good measure of a game's worth in my book.

          Wargame Vault

          Friday, 7 July 2017

          Some wargame musings...

          This year has been a lot of fun.  After nearly a 20 year leave of absence to finally pick up a hobby again is great - already I've met some new people, played some games that are new and exciting and introduced my kids to something that (potentially) we can all share in some shape or form.

          As for the war games I've been playing, it has been primarily 28mm skirmish stuff.  This is a little interesting:*

          Initially we were playing Terminator Genisys.  Then, in an effort to inject a little more character into our games, I found I was introducing an increasing number of house rules.  Then I tried a few other systems including Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and more recently Rogue Planet.  I've consciously avoided some of the traditional/big game house titles because... I'm not sure... a perception that the mechanics are stale and stale mechanics contribute to a stale game?  Something like that.

          The mechanics in Terminator Genisys are pretty different to what I had encounter back in the dark ages, and the things that stand out the most are (1) alternating, variable length turns and (2) using different die rather than +/- modifiers to die rolls to determine successes failures etc - somethings referred to as "Step Die".  So clever and so different - a winning combination in my book.

          Rogue Planet does a whole lot of 'more different' but one element that I kind of miss from Terminator Genisys is the different die.  Brent Spivey, the author has made something special.  Any way, looking for more materials that I can leverage for further Rogue Planet games, I stumbled upon one review of Rogue Planet that talked about "Powered by the Apocalypse" games.  Mmmm... a few seconds later, thanks to Doctor Google, I learnt a bit more.  To cut a long story short, Brent also has another title (published before Rogue Planet) called Mayhem that uses step-die as a core mechanic... maybe that's my next gaming investigation 😀

          That's a big difference from the war game scene of yesteryear - this week I could access 10 very different, likely cheap sets of rules thanks to the interweb, whereas once upon a time I had to wait for the ice flows to melt and sift through the scree to piece together some meager pickings.

          *By the way, if you're looking for reviews of the above systems, well this page isn't going to fill that void... but you might like to look at some of the battle reports I've posted etc which would give you some impression of how the games play.