Saturday, 26 March 2011

"These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For."

Since January 2010 I've been trying to purchase enough of the Star Wars (pre-painted) Miniatures by “Wizards of the Coast” to use for a game based upon the “War of the Ring” rulebook by Games Workshop. Unfortunately as I predominantly wanted to use the minis from the “Rebel Storm” initial release set the entire project has become somewhat cost prohibitive, and essentially 'sat on the shelf' for the last twelve months.

No longer. Having written a 'War Of The Force' homemade ruleset similar to that which I've previously 'showcased' as Unternehemen Seelowe, I've finally managed to get some games in, and thought you may like to 'see' the summary of one in action. Unlike the Weird War battle reports I've not tried to explain the rules along with the narrative, but can do in future if there's any interest in me doing so.

Currently I have only re-based a number of Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers, Imperial Navy Troopers, Rebel Troopers, Tauntaun Riders and a few character models. But I hope to expand upon this over the next month with some Scoundrels, Bounty Hunters, Jawas, Ewoks and (if I can get them cheap enough) some Dewbacks. Though as the models of those cold-blooded reptiles from Tatooine are at least twice that of the Tauntauns (and they cost me a pretty packet at Salute a couple of years ago) I doubt I'll have the numbers I'd like to have.

This first in a series of battle reports covering the Galactic Empire’s search of the galaxy for the missing schematics of the Death Star (after they were ‘lost’ following the pursuit of a Rebel Blockade Runner) sees an Imperial force, lead by Lord Vader, attempt to capture five droids located within an industrial complex on the planet Mustafar.

Once the table was laid out, using pre-painted scenery purchased from the Industrial Range of “Tablescape”, five droid models (objective markers) were placed (at least 10 inches from either deployment edge and from each other) for the forces to battle over. The clash would last for six turns. The Rebels, flanked by two units of Tauntaun Riders, held the southern floor of the factory; with General Kenobi leading three companies of Rebel Troopers beside some large piping in the South West, Princess Leia commanding some Troopers behind some crates in the centre, and Luke Skywalker marshalling a handful of Troopers in the South East.

Lord Vader’s Imperial Force was spread across the Northern length of the factory. The Dark Lord of the Sith, accompanied by a Platoon Leader and a Stormtrooper armed with a T-21 light repeating blaster, personally led a large number of Imperials located close to a pressurised reactor plant in the North East; whilst three squads of Imperial Stormtroopers formed up behind a large collection of radioactive barrels in the centre. A mixture of Imperial Navy troopers, Stormtroopers and Scout Troopers spread out amongst more radioactive barrels in the North West.

At a gesture from Darth Vader, the Stormtroopers and Scout Troopers positioned behind the radioactive barrels in the factory’s North West corner, pushed forward, hoping to find shelter behind a series of large pipes just in front of them. The Imperials were met with a volley of Rebel DH-17 pistol fire. A large number of the blaster bolts struck the Stormtroopers distinctive white plastoid body armour, but only three of the Galactic Empire’s elite soldiers fell. Meanwhile, General Kenobi ordered the Tauntaun riders to the West, to gallop north, straight towards the collection of radioactive barrels some of the Stormtroopers were positioned around. The patrol mounts loped forward, catching the attention of the nearby Scout Troopers who aimed their Holdout blaster pistols only to fire short of their targets.

A squad of Imperial Navy troopers moved up alongside the Scout Troopers, and fired at the riders with their (standard) BlasTech Industries E-11 blaster rifles. These weapons had a better range and badly wounded one of the reptomammals. Concerned that the edge of the Tauntaun’s charge may be blunted by Imperial firepower, Obi-Wan Kenobi directed the surrounding Rebel Troopers’ attention to the surviving Stormtroopers hiding behind a large pipe. Blaster bolts roared into the Imperial position, but were harmlessly absorbed by the Stormtroopers’ armour.

By now the Rebel Alliance’s mounts had galloped even closer to the Scout Troopers, giving the specially trained Imperials, another chance to prove their marksmenship. One of the beasts fell to the ground, despite its thick blubber taking the brunt of the Scout Troopers’ combined firepower. Another Tauntaun was killed by the Imperial Navy Troopers, and for a moment it looked as if the charge was going to fail.

Urged on by their veteran Clone Wars General, the Rebel Troopers desperately tried to pin the Imperials down, and give the remaining Tauntauns some covering fire. The last of the Stormtroopers finally fell before the withering hail of Rebel blaster bolts. However it was still not enough to stop the ‘crack-shot’ Scout Troopers from bringing another of the mounts crashing down. But then with a grunt, the sole-surviving ill-tempered beast was amongst the Imperials and its horns gorged one of the Scout Troopers to death. The victory was only short-lived though, as the rest of the Imperial marksmen dragged the Rebel rider off of his mount, and blasted him at point-blank range with their Holdout pistols.

Enraged by the death of their comrades, the Rebels opened fire upon the remaining Scout Troopers, who dived for cover amidst the pipes surrounding them. One was cut down by the DH-17 pistol fire; whilst another was thrown against one of the nearby metal constructs as a result of a Force Push by General Kenobi. The Scout Trooper’s lightweight armour was no match for the crushing impact.

Sensing his Force’s Western flank was losing ground; Lord Vader dispatched two squads of Stormtroopers (one carrying a T-21 light repeating blaster) towards the remaining Scout Trooper. Then, with a deep rasp, turned his attention to the East where a second patrol of Rebel Tauntaun Riders were fast approaching the Imperial positions. Feeling the eye of the Sith Lord upon them, a nearby squad of Stormtroopers fired a salvo of rifle bolts at the (exposed) beasts, and managed to bring one of the patrol mounts down. Realising that the Imperial soldiers already had their range, the Rebel Tauntaun Riders spurred their reptomammals onwards, losing another one of their number to a hail of E-11 blaster rifle bolts.

However, the gap between the charging Rebels and the Imperial Stormtroopers had closed fast, and with a cry from their riders, the Tauntauns had crashed into the elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire, trampling two into the factory floor.

Darth Vader sensed the fluctuations in the Force, and realised that the Hoth creatures must be held, if he was to capture the droids for his Master. With his lightsabre singing, Palpatine’s apprentice raced towards the Stormtroopers bravingly battling the Tauntauns; whilst at the same time ordering the rest of his Imperial Forces forwards in an attempt to encircle as many droids as posssible.

As he watched the Imperial Forces capture an RA-7 protocol droid that was dithering on a gantry bridge in the centre of the factory, General Kenobi realised his Rebels would never get their hands on more than the Artoo unit and GNK Power droid they’d already rescued this day. With a wave of his lightsabre, he ordered his Rebel Troopers (who were still using the factory’s pipes as cover) to fire a final salvo at the approaching Imperial forces. When that failed to do nothing more than bring down a solitary trooper of the Imperial Navy, it was clear that little else could be done this day to further the Rebel Alliance’s cause, so together with Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Master signalled the Rebels to retreat. Darth Vader had captured three droids and won the day.

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