Tomorrow’s War AAR – 28mm – “Aliens in the Reactor”

May 3, 2011

Greetings all!  It has been a bit of a dry spell, gaming-wise, due to the concept of “real life”.  This included good things like vacations and not-so-good things like getting nasty colds after vacations.  Plus having a really busy life in general.

However, I’m back with another “Tomorrow’s War” After Action Report.  This time we took the scenario in the “Tomorrow’s War” rules called “Aliens in the Reactor”.  If played in 15mm scale it is perfect for using Khurasan Miniatures “Space Demons” minis – nasty clawed and fanged creatures who are deadly at close combat.  Sadly I don’t (yet) have any of those minis, so instead some 28mm minis “guest-starred” in the role of Khurasan Space Demons.  See if you can guess who made the minis?  😉

I refereed the game that was between my son Tom and his friend Zac.

Amusingly, we played the game this last Saturday evening.  Saturday, April 30, 2011 – exactly 304 years to the day before the scenario is set.  And it was random that I chose this scenario…

Aliens in the Reactor After Action Report

Colony: Novelle Angouleme

Date: 30 April 2315

A series of hurried communications were sent from the operators monitoring the new fusion power plant that provided electricity (to spare) for the Novelle Angouleme colony.  The reactor was suddenly experiencing power drops and the service personnel who went in to check on things failed to report back.  Local colony security forces were contacted and the rough-looking but dependable patrolmen of Group Alpha Securitie showed up to investigate.  Three patrols came to the local farming community that grew up outside of the power plant and one of the patrols – Patrol Charlie – went into the power plant building to investigate.  Patrols Alpha and Bravo heard shots and horrified screams over their radios.  The last words of the leader of Charlie patrol were: “Get the people out! It’s DEMONS! And they’re eating ME ALIVE…” then a single gunshot and the only sounds over the radio were strange squeals and crunching.

“Demons” was a whispered term that had real as opposed to religious connotations.  People scoffed at the existence of giant, clawed, carnivorous aliens who infested cargo shipments between the stars and bred like crazy on planets and big space stations.  Everybody “knew” they couldn’t exist…

Group Alpha Securitie personnel started gathering up the colonists to evacuate them from the area and immediately called for help.  Units of the Legion Entrangere, regular force soldiers who were doing on-planet training in the area, quickly responded.  But was it quickly enough?  Horrible figures with fangs and claws started pouring out of entrances to the powerplant, some of them still chewing on the remains of Charlie Patrol.  And they looked at the defenseless colonists with empty, pitiless eyes…

The scenario for “Bugs in the Reactor” is more than just a head-on clash between forces.  The human side has the task of rescuing 30 defenseless colonists.  The space demon side is looking for NOMS.  As in “nom, nom, nom…that is one tasty human!”  The terrain varies considerably: the crowded colony building area at the southwest quadrant of the map;  the fusion powerplant taking up the northwest quadrant;  the woods in the southeast quadrant and the farm fields in the northeast quadrant.  I didn’t have anything good to represent farm fields (a vineyard, actually) so I just tossed in a few alien “hydrogen ball trees”.

The humans have two forces:

Group Alpha Securitie – basically local militia Troop Quality/Morale D6/D8 – soft body armor (1D) and basic slug thrower rifles.  They did have a “modified tractor” with a gauss light machine gun on it.  A 3D weapon mounted on what I provided as an open-topped truck with a crew of three.

There are two 4-man teams  – Patrol Alpha and Patrol Beta – all armed with just basic rifles.  They and the tractor all set up in the colony building area, which is where all the colonists are scattered about.

Legion Etrangere – Regular army soldiers Troop Quality/Morale D8/D10 – soft body armor and a mix of Advanced Combat Rifles, Advanced Squad Automatic Weapons and RPGs.  Three squads of two 4-man fire teams plus a leader for each squad.

The Space Demons had a large force of basic “space demons” plus the Space Demon “King” and “Queen”

The space demon regular force are armed with just tooth and claw, each able to perform 2 close-combat attacks a turn.  Their Troop Quality/Morale is D10/D12 (scary tough).  They have 1D armored hide and are intimidating to face – morale checks happen a lot when you face them.  The King and Queen are worse!

They have eight broods of 5 space demons, plus the King and the Queen.  That’s a lot of teeth and claws!

The game board was set up like below:

The colony area - North is the top of the picture

The colonist buildings were a tight-quarters area and hard to get around in.

Top view of the colony buildings in the Southwest quadrant

My son Tom had great pleasure setting up his “Space Demons” in the power plant.  Yup, those are Games Workshop Tyranid minis standing in for “Space Demons”.  I think they fit the bill well.

The power plant becomes slowly infested with "Space Demons"

The scenario called for the opposing players to take turns placing the colonists in the southwest quadrant with the buildings.  I don’t have 30 suitable minis for the colonists so I substituted wooden counters instead. Tom and Zac tried to be creative with where they placed them.

The colonists were scattered about the settlement.

Tom had the Tyran…uh,  Space Demons all placed.  some were visible and some…weren’t.

If you see some, there are more...

The game started at this point.  The scenario gave the initiative to the human forces for the full game, with the Space Demon forces having to react to the human moves.  The first Group Alpha patrol started by backing away from the aliens in front of the reactor.  In the process of doing this they abandoned the colonist hiding behind the tree next to them.  Note the guards right by the black truck.

Abandoning some colonists while saving others

The game mechanic used for the colonists was that if a human rescue group moved within 2 inches of them then they would attach themselves to that group.  If charged by Space Demons the human player would do a Troop Quality check.  If the colonist failed they stayed put and were eaten.  If they passed they could run away.

Tom started with the first in a series of bad dice rolls for making assault charges.  His troops, the Space Demons, had a D10 troop quality and had to make a Troop Quality (TQ) check in order to charge.  Tom rolled a “2” after having his first Space Demon (SD) squad successfully interrupt the fleeing guards.  The Space Demons just milled around while the guards ran…

The second Group Alpha patrol moved from one building to the next, picking up colonists while it moved.

Building to building dash

The “truck” backed up and used its Gauss Machine Gun against the milling brood of space demons.  Pock, pock, ping! The Brood was unharmed, their exoskeletons shedding the gauss projectiles.

It sucks to be in a street too narrow to manuver

A brood of Space Demons successfully charged the three colonists grouped between the two big sheds across the street from the power plant.


Suddenly gunfire started smacking into the Space Demons!  Down the road to the east units from Legion Etrangere showed up to assist the colonists.

Take that slimy Space Demon scum!

The troops advanced from the east using rapid movements to gain ground quickly.

"Viva la CHARGE!"

More Space Demons came boiling out the reactor.  They were focused on charging into the town – a tactical error, as it turned out.

Several Space Demon broods charge the humans

The first Group Alpha patrol Saw a brood of Space Demons about to charge and (after successfully making a troop quality check) chose to run like hell away from them.  They clambered over and around the truck. The crew of the truck decided to stay and put their trust in the gauss machine gun.

Not being there is often the best defense...

The space demons piled up around the truck while the fleeing Group Alpha patrol ran into a building.  The other Group Alpha unit was successfully herding an increasing group of colonists away from danger.

Backfield in motion...

The advancing Legion troops were able to gather other colonists around them.  This was proving decisive.  The human forces could move fast enough to stay ahead of the Space Demons since the Space Demons were trying to make it through the town area.

This is as far west as the Legion troops made it

Note that the colonists hiding in the dumpster were missed.  Remember: If you are hunted by carnivorous aliens do NOT hide in a dumpster if you expect to be rescued.

Some of the Legion troops finally set themselves up on Overwatch to react to Space Demon movements.  They had a commanding view down the road.

Taking long shots...

While moving the Space Demon forces, Tom ended up rolling the first “1” in a reaction roll.  This brought out a “Fog of War” card.  These cards could be bad, occasionally could be good or could screw everybody.  This one was good for Tom.  As he moved some Space Demons into a building he ended up with this one:

Always a good thing for your side...

One of Tom’s Space Demon broods, the one that first munched on some colonists between the sheds, had taken 4 out of 5 casualties.  The remaining Space Demon (finally) successfully charged the Group Alpha guard patrol that thought they had successfully run from the nasty aliens.

One against 4 should be good odds for the humans, right?

After a short and vicious close combat the results were in.  Winner by a “NOM!” was the Space Demon…


The Space Demon was, alas, not bulletproof.  Some Legion forces shot him…her…it(?) into small pieces.

Meanwhile, Legion troops and the surviving Group Alpha patrol and a bunch of colonists continued to move east.  More scareyness ensued by the power plant as two enormous shapes emerged from the power plant.  The Space Demon King and Queen emerged as a unit and charged the Legion soldiers.

The start of the next turn

Space demons charged through the settlement looking for humans to eat while the soldiers and guards worked to save as many colonists as they could.  Yet more Space Demons piled out of the power plant.

The desparate retreat of the colonists

The horrifying advance of the Space Demons

The Space Demon King and Queen charge at the head of their broods

The soldiers and guardsmen tried to maintain order while herding as many colonists along the southern route towards the east.  Safety lay not too far ahead.

Herding cats would be easier and less dangerous

One of the Legion fire teams to the north took the Space Demon King and Queen under fire.  They figured if they could kill them then the broods might become disheartened and disorganized.  The blistering cloud of destruction they sent towards the huge aliens was unsurvivable.  Or not…the two giant monsters emerged unscathed and charged the fire team.  After a horrifying flurry of teeth, claws and screaming the fire team was reduced to bloody chunks.

Death came with fangs and claws...

A Legion fireteam observes with horror the demise of their fellows


Meanwhile, to the west, the stalwart (and clearly suicidal) gun-truck crew kept shooting Space Demons and having no effect except to pi$$ them off even more.  A brood of Space Demons finally charged the open-topped vehicle and feasted on the tasty morsels within…

You have to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. Last turn was when you should have folded 'em.

Remember the warning I gave earlier about not hiding in a dumpster?  Here’s why:

The colonists hiding in the dumpster get nommed...

Back on the southeast side of the area, three Legion units and the Group Alpha guards successfully get many colonists to safety.

Only these folks survived...

The Space Demon King and Queen charged two more Legion fire teams, wiping each of them out.  One fire team put up a slightly better fight, but not enough, not enough..

The second Legion squad goes down

The squad leader was the last to fall...

Sadly, the Space Demons don't recognize valor, just protien...

The end came with two colonists who had managed to flee the dumpster hiding area.  They watched in terror as their friends were torn to pieces.

A horrible sight...

As the Space Demons turned and charged them the colonists pulled out their working knives and stabbed each other in the heart, so as not to suffer being eaten alive.  (The human player suggested that and rolled a troop quality roll for it – I allowed it).

The horrified colonists meet their doom

The game ended with Zac, who played the human’s side, scoring 82 points, while Tom, playing the Space Demons, scored 41 points.  We talked a bit and figured that if Tom had run his Space Demons straight east out of the power plant first and then moved south he could have cut off the retreat of the colonists.  He would have lost more broods but would probably have made the game much closer.

This is a FUN scenario to play.  It brings many elements of the Ambush Alley gaming system together in a highly “mission-oriented” game.  The classic sci-fi struggle to fight off primitive alien hordes plays out very well here.  We plan to run it again.

The Legion troop minis were Games Workshop Imperial Guard forces.  The Group Alpha Securitie forces were Necromunda minis, also by Games Workshop.  The Space Demons were Games Workshop Tyranid models that were painted by my son, Tom.

p.s. – for those folks outside of the United States who read this – the word “Nom” comes from slang that came out of the “LOLcats” website.  To “nom” is to “eat”, usually in a hungry, messy way.  Think of a kitten going after a can of tuna.

Thanks for reading!