Friday, March 4, 2011

"Just another bug hunt?" Aliens: 40K style.

Last week MikeF and I ran a game at Dallas' set in the Aliens universe. Mike had substantially completed several "Marine" figures from Gripping Beast that stand in exceptionally well for the characters from the movie Aliens. I re-based them, washed them with Deneb Mud (I should buy that stuff in gallon jugs) and touched them up a tiny bit. Mike re-based a bunch of "click game" Aliens figures for proper tabletop gaming.

I had also finished that old pewter(!) APC from Leading Edge. It can be seen in the photo below, with Conscript Frederick in the background.


For the game, we decided to set the scenario on a new planet colonized under the auspices of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Scientists from the Bio-weapons Division have made a breakthrough on site, but have then sent out an urgent S.O.S. A section of Colonial Marines was dropped in response. That initial section was ambushed by unknown xenomorphs, so the platoon's second section and their APC have been brought in to save their comrades' bacon. Barricades in the streets (from when the colonists futilely tried to put up a fight) limited the movement of vehicles.

For rules, we used Warhammer 40K, 5th ed. with one significant change - the firing phases have been swapped. This allowed the bugs to advance into charge range, with the chance to be stopped if the Marine firepower held up. So, the order of play was:
  1. Bugs move
  2. Marines shoot or run
  3. Bugs assault
  4. Marines move
  5. Bugs run
  6. Marines assault
The rules for the various factions follow.

Colonial Marines

A rifle squad consists of four Colonial Marines led by a rank lance corporal or above. Each squad may divide into two-man fire teams: the rifle team and gun team. The rifle team consists of a pair of riflemen assigned together on the 'buddy' system, each equipped with a M41A Pulse Rifle or a M240 Flame Unit. The gun team is made up of a rifleman with an M41 Pulse Rifle and a machine gunner carrying the automatic M56 Smart Gun. The squad leader may also carry a shotgun. Each squad has a member issued with a motion tracker.

Two or three squads, led by a sergeant or lieutenant riding in a M577 armoured personnel carrier, make up a section. Two sections make up a platoon. (In a drop operation, a UD-4L dropship is attached to each section from the aerospace company team.)

Colonial Marine: WS 3, BS 4, S 3, T 3, W 1, I 3, A 1, Ld 7, Save 4+
Platoon Sergeant: WS 3, BS 4, S 3, T 3, W 1, I 3, A 2, Ld 8, Save 4+

- Pulse Rifle: Range 24”, S4, AP5, Assault 2 or
--Underslung Grenade Launcher: Range 12”, S6, AP4, Assault 1
- Flame Unit: Range Template, S4, AP5, Assault 1
- Smart Gun: Range 24”, S5, AP4, Assault 4, Rending
- Shotgun: Range 12”, S3, AP-, Assault 2

M577A3 Armoured Personnel Carrier: Tank; BS 4; F 11, S 11, R 10; Capacity 13
- Particle Beam Cannon (turret): Range 36”, S7, AP2, Heavy 1, Blast, Twin-linked
- Gatling Gun (front sponson): Range 36”, S5, AP4, Heavy 3, Twin-linked

Weyland-Yutani Corporation (ウェイランド湯谷)
This conglomerate is involved in all aspects of space colonization and research. Its employees demonstrate a great willingness to sacrifice human life in the pursuit of profit.

Tech: WS 3, BS 3, S 3, T 3, W 1, I 3, A 1, Ld 7, Save -

Alien Warrior: WS 6, BS 0, S 4, T 4, W 1, I 6, A 2, Ld 10, Save 5+
- Rending attacks
- If defeated in close combat by a Marine, Marines in base contact with the dead bug(s) take an automatic S3 hit (acid splash)

One squad of Colonial Marines started in the northeast corner of the board, escorting the Weland-Yutani squint.


Their disabled Leading Edge APC can be seen on the bottom of the picture below, as Frederick, Indo and Greg look on. Conscripts Frederick, Indo, Dallas and Perry played the various Marine units. Greg, MikeF, and MikeA played bugs. I ran the charts. The balance of the Marines would come in from the south table edge, including two full squads, a platoon sergeant, and their APC.

For the Marine reinforcements, Frederick contributed his 1996-era Galoob Action Fleet APC - a great "toy" that includes a full interior, a movable and stowable turret, and an opening hatch. (Good luck if you can find one now for less than $200).


Below, a squad moves cautiously, under the cover of the APC's armour.


Aliens came on as "blip" counters, simulating the movement detected by the Marines' sensors. Once in line of site, the blips were turned over, revealing a number between 0 and 5 - this was the number of actual bugs present. Killed bugs just went back into the general reinforcement pool; the Marines could never actually kill all the bugs.

Caption for the photo below: "Surprise!"


The tech made it most of the way south, but the Marines got bogged down fighting bugs.


Below is a shot from the final moments of the first game, as bugs swarm over the now-destroyed APC and the platoon sergeant vainly tries to come to the aid of the last of his Marines, a lone smart-gunner.


The game went pretty fast, so we played the scenario again. We re-arranged how the bugs appeared, choosing three fixed spawning points in the middle of the east, north and west table edges. I stepped in for a Marine player who had to leave. The initial squad broke up, using their flamer dude to escort the W-Y tech geek. The other three died bravely covering their retreat south.


Below: "Eat flaming death, xeno scum!"


Below, MikeA and Brian watch the retreat of the Marines.


That flamer guy was awesome, toasting maybe a dozen xenomorphs during the course of the game, before finally falling to a concerted alien rush.


The Marines split all their squads up, with the teams being able to cover each other with firepower, and allowing some of the squad to avoid being locked in close combat if the bugs got too close and were able to assault.

This time around, several Marines and the techie survived the fight and exited the south table edge with the APC, barely one move ahead of the closest bugs. Again, a very close game.

Below, in a staged and shopped propaganda photo after the fight was over, the tech can be seen entering a waiting APC.


Sadly, the tech's ultimate fate was probably on a dissection table in a secret Wayland-Yutani lab. They had to be able to smuggle biological contraband off world somehow...

The games were faced paced and a lot of fun. It had much more of a skirmish feel than the usual 40K game, due to the limited number of figures on the table.


Greg B said...

Thanks Dave - that was a lot of fun - I particularly enjoyed wrecking the APC...

Dallas said...

Outstanding report - thanks for staging the game for us!

MFraser said...

That game looked great. We'll have to do it again.

DaveV said...

I've got 7 more Aliens that need re-basing. More importantly, I just won another Galoob APC on eBay, for a good price.

We could do a scenario that adds some more civilian figures. It would complicate things for the Marines.

Ted Henkle said...

Great write up, terrain and figures! I use the same painted office trays you do to simulate futuristic buildings. In fact, I think I copied the idea from you guys!