Tomorrow’s War AAR – Crusties vs Humans – 15mm (also known as “Defend the Cat Food!”)

August 31, 2011

Greetings everyone!  This past Sunday (Ambush Sunday at Unique Games and Gifts in Grayslake, Illinois) Jim Roots (Beast’s Wargaming Blog)  ran a game of Ambush Alley Games “Tomorrow’s War” for us.  He was itching to try out his new force of “Crusties” that he got on Ebay.  Ground Zero Games “Crusties” bear a strange resemblance to the “Prawns” in the movie “District 9” without actually being copies of them.  Of course, the way I paint at 15mm scale some of my Modern Policemen from Rebel Minis end up strangely resembling them too…

Anyway, the Crusties were staging an attack on a human settlement on this colony planet.  If they were to be victorious they would end up turning the settlement into a cat-food riddled shantytown.  Thus, the human forces had an incentive to drive them away.

The human settlement, the river and the forest

So in “Tomorrow’s War” terms, the Crusties are aliens and have some alien abilities. Also, they had a Tech Level advantage – they were Tech Level 2 compared to the Humans Tech Level 1.  This gives them an extra die added to certain die rolls, usually when attacking or rolling for initiative.
The Crusties – TQ (Troop Quality): D8, Morale: D10 – They have natural armor equivalent to Heavy Body Armor, giving them an additional 2D8 to their defense rolls. Finally, the Crusties are tough; they shrug off wounds that would incapacitate a human.  So they have the “Hard to Kill” rule applied to them.  When one of them takes a hit they are laid down, but after the activity phase for the action that wounded them the Crustie player rolls a D6.  On a 1-3 the Crustie hops back up, ready to fight.  On a 4-6 the Crustie stays down until the normal casualty assessment phase, when they are assessed normally.  The Crusties also included some heavy weapon squads, armed with (I think) 5D8 strength plasma guns.  The heavy weapon squads could put out 8D8 of anti personal fire and 6D8 of Anti-tank fire (counting the Tech Level bonus).
The Crustie vehicles were walking APCs armed with a Plasma Gun turret.  The gun had a 6D8 strength, plus a 1D8 for the Tech Level difference.  Being an energy weapon it ignored 1D of the opponent’s armor.  Very nasty indeed! Jim also gave them the ability to move through the forest like it was open terrain.

Some of the Crustie forces before being placed into combat

The humans were not just casual victims in this game.  The Human forces were TQ D8, Morale D8.  A little less motivated than the Crusties.  They had standard body armor, giving them an additional 1D8 on defense rolls.  They had upgunned APCs (Space Bradleys) with High Velocity autocannons good for 5D8.  They also had a couple of lightly armed Scout Cars, 2D8, an unarmed cargo flatbed car and a “Care Bear”, a high tech first aid car that extended a first aid bonus 6 inches around it (12 inch circle).  Also, the humans had several heavy weapons teams, I think 4D8 or 5D8.  When dug into the city buildings the human forces got a 2D8 additional defense for being in hard cover.  The Crusties were gonna have a hard time getting *that* “cat food” out of *those* cans.

The Human forces prior to being deployed.

The Human Forces dug in to defend the town.

The Crustie APCs approached through the heavy forests on the south side of the map.  The general plan was to try to create an opportunity to quickly cross the open space between the forests and the buildings.  However, to put it bluntly, the Crusties players (me included)  sucked at executing that plan.  We ended up spending some game turns hunkered down, waiting for a chance for us to get initiative and overwatch.

The Crustie's APCs enter the heavy woods on the south side of the map

The Crustie APCs move to just outside visual range in the heavy woods

The Crustie APCs cross the river

The Human forces did some shifting around but mainly waited in cover, hoping the Crusties would get off their exoskeletal duffs and *do* something.  Crossing the river exposed the Crustie vehicles to some fire.  The Crustie APC to the far left took the first hits from the heavy weapons team in the building on the far left.
The Crustie APC to the far right brews up one of the Human APCs
The first blood went to the Crusties as the Crustie APC on the far right (far east)  shot and brewed up the Human APC (smoking in picture).

The Crusties here dismount from their damaged APC

The Crustie APC on the far left took a mobility hit and deployed its troops in the cover of the power plant.
The Crusties brew up another Human APC
After some exchanges of fire between Human troops and Crustie troops caused a couple of human casualties the middle Crustie APC got a shot at another Human APC and brewed it up.  Things may seem a little lopsided against the humans but the Crusties were having a hard time advancing across the open area.

The Crustie forces try to stage a breakout from the woods

The Humans had a very commanding position in the buildings on the edge of the settlement.  The Crustie forces were very leery of braving the firestorm that would come their way once exposed.

A CRAZY Human Scout Car loops in from the south and RAMS a Crustie heavy weapons squad!

The Human player had the idea of ramming, running over, whatever a squad of Crusties.  Jim decided that sounded funny enough to allow, even though it was stretching the rules a little for the car to close assault the infantry.  We played it through, giggling the whole time.

One Crustie soldier dies under the wheels of the Scout Car.

Return fire is a bit...well, you know what! The Scout Car gets catastrophically destroyed.

The Scout Car died gloriously for the Human cause during the Crusties next fire turn. Lightly armored vehicles fare poorly when shot by heavy plasma guns.

The remaining Human APC brews up one of the Crustie APCs

It is looking like the Humans have stalled the Crustie advance, or have they?

The Human forces repositioned their remaining APC and got a beautiful shot off that brewed up one of the Crustie APCs.  With two of their big guns down it was looking grim for the Crusties.  The Human commander, smelling blood (or should I say shrimp?) decided to charge the Crusties with his APC, hoping to get some good optimum-range shots (adding 1D8) off at the Crusties.

The remaining Crustie APC shoots and immobilizes the Human APC

The remaining Crustie APC shot and immobilized the Human APC.  A shot from a Crusty Heavy Weapons Squad effectively stunned the crew, preventing them from firing for the rest of the turn.  Sensing an opportunity, or maybe just smelling cat food, a Crustie fireteam charged the APC and performed a close-combat assault on the vehicle.

The Crustie fire team close assaults the Human APC - "CATTTT FOOOODDD!!!"

The Crusties get the “cat food” out of the can…
The Crustie close assault having been successful, on their next turn the fireteam used the APC as cover while they shot at other exposed Human forces.  Other human forces had experienced some success against an advancing Crustie squad, but at a cost.  Now the Crusties were able to pour on enough fire to make a difference.  Also, the Crusties were getting more confident in their “hard-to-kill” status.  More than 50% of their casualties were getting right back up.

Using the APC as cover, the Crusties attack Human troops in buildings to the north

The Human commander decided to call it here as the battle and the dice turned against him
The setbacks the Human forces recieved were both sudden and stunning.  A “Fog-of-War” card was pulled after the Human commander rolled a “1” on initiative.  This was one of about 10 that were pulled in this game – a new record for us.  This one caused a complete mechanical breakdown of the human’s First-aid car, dropping the human’s survivability upon injury.  Then the Crustie APC and troops had some good dice rolls and caused several casualties.  Overall we all judged it was fairly certain that the Crusties would take the day, though not without cost.  Marginal victory to the Crustie forces.  We considered later that the Human forces could have used a devastating psychological weapon on the Crusties if they had only used mortars to bombard the Crusties with cans of cat food…:)
It was a fun game and pretty well balanced for the scenario having been created on the fly.  I have a better feel now for both the “hard-to-kill” and the “infantry-close-assault-on-vehicle” rules.  I am gonna have fun with those in a later game I am going to run! 😉
Thanks for reading, folks!
Unique Games and Gifts –
Ground Zero Games –
Jim Roots Beast’s Wargaming Blog –

“In The Emperor’s Name” rules updated – go get ’em!

August 23, 2011

Okay, the guys at the Forge of War Development Group have really outdone themselves here:

They have updated, expanded and revamped their “unofficial” Warhammer 40K skirmish game “In The Emperor’s Name” to Version 2. This contains some great stuff, is split now into 3 parts: Core Rules, Retinues and the Campaign System. Total awesome sauce!

Even better, it is free – aside from the cost of your printer ink. 😉

I am gonna have some fun with this.

Mark G.

Very Brief Musing on 15mm Scale and Game Board Size

August 15, 2011

Hello all!

I was play-testing a “Tomorrow’s War” scenario on Sunday that I intend to run at the “Recruits” gaming convention.

The game was played at 15mm scale and I was explaining to a new player about the fact that in the Ambush Alley gaming system most weapons have “unlimited range” at least as far as the game board goes.  There are a few exceptions but those are mainly due to the amazing difficulty in hitting something at further ranges with, say, a pistol.  Anyway I explained that an M1 Abrams tank on the table would probably land a shot into the next block from the game store.  I decided to check my math today during lunch at work and it turns out I was over estimating a bit, but still…

For 15mm scale I worked out:

6 feet = 15mm (general assumption for scale)

5280 feet = 13,200mm = 13.2 meters = 43 feet 4 inches for 1 game mile.

Kill range for a M1 Abrams is = 8200 feet (more of less) = 1.55 miles = 20.5 meters = 67.25 feet

Yeah, less than a block – but it would have damaged the “Dollar General” store across the street.  However, it would be a humungous game board.  Longer than the store we were playing in and taking a bit more terrain than I could fit into my Prius.

By comparison, we were gaming on a 4 foot by 4 foot game board.  Let’s see here –

4 feet = 48 inches = 1219mm = 487 game feet = 162.5 game yards = about 1 1/2 average city blocks long.

We carried out a battle involving multiple armored vehicles at a (game) range of less than 2 football fields, basically the size of a small American neighborhood.  Deadly knife-fighting range for these powerful war machines.

Unrealistic engagement ranges?  Heh – go read  the book (not the game) “Ambush Alley” or the book “Heavy Metal: A Tank Company’s Battle to Baghdad” or many of David Drake’s “Hammer’s Slammers” novels.  Lots of short range engagements occurred during the drive to Baghdad.  The “Hammer’s Slammers” books are replete with them (as well as 10-mile long powergun shots and the occasional satellite being shot down).

The short-range fights tend to be brutal and quick in real life and in the novels.  They also tend to be that way in the games, too.  It makes for nightmarish reality but for very interesting gaming scenarios.  I’m just glad no stray firing from the tanks hit the front of the game store…

A little more “Work-in-Progress” that I wanted to share – 15mm stuff

August 6, 2011

Greetings all!

I am prepping things to run some games of “Tomorrows War” at the “Recruits” gaming convention in Lee’s Summit, Missouri on September 9-11.  It looks like a fun gaming con and it will be my first time there as well as my first time running games at a Con.

Six "Light Tanks" and Three "Tank Destroyers" by Proxie Models

These are the six “Trencher” tanks by Proxie Models    along with 3 “Stalker” Tank Destroyers, also by Proxie.  They will serve as the “local” forces in the scenario I am going to run.

Close up view of "Light Tank 45"

This is “Light Tank 45”.  These light tanks would be locally made by the colony that is rebelling.  They are made from tractor and mining equipment parts and mount medium-sized heavy guns along with secondary gauss machine guns.  The armor is decent but not what a heavy tank is amored with.

This is "Tank Destroyer A1

This is “Tank Destroyer A1”, also locally made.  It mounts a Heavy Gauss Cannon, slow firing, fixed mount.  Nasty to be hit by.  It doesn’t have the greatest armor, though, and should avoid close, front-line engagement with enemy heavies.  Hull-down “shoot-and-scoot” would be the best tactic.

Tank Destroyers A2 and A3

Tank Destroyers A2 and A3 are pictured here.  They mount short-barreled Heavy Gauss Cannons. They have one less die of firepower than the long barreled gun on A1, but are not “slow-firing”.  The compromise allows them to be used in tighter terrain light heavy forests, cities etc.

Tank Destroyer next to a 15mm Khurasan Corporate Marine, 15mm Scale

Light Tank next to a Khurasan Corporate Marine - 15mm scale

These size comparison pictures show the Tanks and Destroyers next to 15mm scale Khurasan Miniatures Corporate Marines.  They fit in pretty well.

Next I show another way I am repurposing “Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction” figs for 15mm wargaming.  The rules for “Tomorrow’s War” include the use of “combat drones” in concert with infantry.  Some miniature makers have some cool ones on the market but I had some ideas for what I could do with things I already had gathering dust in my basement.

MW:AoD Fenrir Battle Armor repurposed as 15mm scale combat drones

The 4-legged “Fenrir Battle Armor” from Mechwarrior looks like a very good 4-legged “walker” style of combat drone.  This version carries an infantry heavy weapon mount.  To me, it kind of looks like a stockier version of the robot “AMEE” from the movie “Red Planet”.  I will be doing a re-paint and putting proper basing materials on the washer.

MW:AoD Hoverbike Squad modified into a combat "hover drone"

I also decided that the MW:AoD “Hoverbike Squad” made a dandy “hover-drone” if you just clipped off the driver and cleaned up the cut.  I figure it mounts a Squad Automatic Weapon and a Grenade Launcher.  I have to decide where I will mount Rocket-Propelled Grenades on it.  It too will be getting a repaint job and proper base covering.

I have been able to repurpose several different Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction figs for 15mm gaming with Tomorrow’s War.  Here is a sample of what I have done so far.

Various Mechwarrior minis converted along with some 15mm figs for scale

This provides me with a variety of visually striking battlesuits to support my infantry.  Now I will have some drones to go along with them.  If you want to know why I find the quadruped drone so inspiring see the link here:

We are almost there already.  We just need a silent power source.

Have a good day everyone and I hope to see some of you at “Recruits”.