It is 2822 AD.
On Urth-II, the Commonwealth of Free Planets, led by Grand Hetman Zelazny IX, is in a life-or-death struggle for the city of Kislev. Assembling a scratch force from veterans of the Solar Wars, Zelazny faces his Old Enemy: Khan Nee Tup of The League of Imperial Oligarchs, who has despatched a Grand Army to crush all resistance. Can the doughty Kislevites stand firm under Zelazny’s inspirational direction, or will the numberless Leaguer legions crush them like grapes to the greater glory of the all-seeing Khan?
Last night’s club game saw a whimsical trial of the ‘Very Simple Sci-Fi’ rules which I adopted from a 2002 Miniature Wargames article by Malcolm Stewart. Theo, Mal and Patrick, with fewer troops, were defending Kislev from the oncoming Leaguer forces of Rob and Doug, in what was also the first run out for my 10mm sci-fi figures. Commanding armies including a wide range of units (infantry, bikes, roughriders, tanks, artillery, robots, mechs, titans, etc.) the object of the game was to control three of the five built up areas in Kislev by the end of the game.
Theo and Mal lost a lot of units early on after an aggressive deployment. They did however seize a Leaguer urban area early in the game using dropships to transport infantry in a deft manoeuvre, giving them the advantage. Unphased, Rob and Doug managed to retake this district, and late on in the game launched their own successful air-assault on one of the Commonwealth’s strongholds.
The game was a quick affair, despite a flow of reinforcements, with Rob and Doug taking all five built up areas in the city by 10pm, allowing for some thirsty wargamers to repair to the local pub. The Commonwealth’s forces suffered a decisive defeat, but the merciless Khan earmarked both his victorious commanders for another vanguard role in the next battle, while the disconsolate Zelaznyites were merely threatened with public ignominy.
Designed by their original author for children but apparently fun for adults too – the rules were simple and easy to grasp. Each unit (base) had three factors (move, fire, armour), between 1 and 6 in rating, all reduced by one factor every time it took a hit. Exploiting cover and coordinating different unit types was the key to victory. While winning the initiative is key (possibly too central to how the game plays) and some clarification may be needed about line of sight and a few other issues, these rules do allow for a bloody and decisive clash on a club night.
I had fun painting up the armies. I sourced 10mm sci-fi figures mostly from Warrior Miniatures and Pendraken, plus odds and ends at home including 10mm Samurai, Crusades figures, converted WWII tanks, as well as mechs and titans (the latter bought from Trevor and repainted). The overall effect was very much ‘Epic 40K’, particularly given the ex-Epic buildings bought cheaply on EBay.
With the sky being the limit for sci-fi rules and scenarios (enabling creative narratives and endless historical mash-ups) I’ll enjoy thinking of more for the future, while probably tweaking the rules, and maybe tabling a War Room big-game… which might be over by lunchtime!