Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tastes like Chicken? Harook in Star Army

This is a step by step AAR for 5150: Star Army the Platoon level Sci-Fi game from Two Hour Wargames. In the game players take the role of a Platoon Leader. Each Platoon is usually composed of 3 squads of 8 to 10 figures with the basic maneuver element being the squad. Figures are individually based and firing is conducted by the figure.
This is a Patrol Mission from the book. The objective is to scout the whole table, divided into nine sections, and exit the table from the direction they entered.
This game is being played solo against the game mechanics. I have chosen one squad of Harook, an avian race and their opponents are the Tachyon Mercenary Corps  who have been hired to defend the outpost.

All figures are 15mm and from Mad Robot Miniatures. Overall the figures are very nice. According to the website all figures average about 20mm in height. They are a bit taller than the average 15mm figure but fit quite nicely. The only time the difference is noticeable is when the figures are next to each other, like when they are in melee. But hey, this is a gunfight, it’s Sci-Fi and I’m a firm believer that not all figures need to be the same height or thickness. For me it’s a bit more realistic. Just take a look at the crowd at a convention and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m using the Free Companies list and Reaction Tables from 5150:SA as the TMC are mercenaries. I have made Reaction Tables, Attributes and other stats for the Harook and put it into a document called 5150: Alien Info – Harook. Although tailored for SA the stats are easily convertible to New Beginnings as well.
I decided on a 3x3 foot table and laid the terrain out as I wanted. The outpost was a non-military research facility with the TMC providing protection.

 Harook squad enters the table with the planet Al K- Hol in the background.

The Mission starts with three PEFs (Possible Enemy Force markers placed on the table at random. This put two PEFs in section 4 (left middle section of the table) and one in section 5 (the center of the table). There were two Rep 5 PEFs and one Rep 4. This meant that they would be aggressive and would move quite often. The upside was that the Enemy Activity Level (EAL was low – 2). This meant that when PEFs came into view they would be resolved but the odds are they could be “nothing but nerves”.
In Star Army players don’t know how many or what type of enemy they will be facing until they come into view.  This makes for pretty intense solo or same side play. All I know is that I would be facing TMC forces but that was it.
The Harook squad (ten figures) moved onto the table and took up position behind the first large building in section 8, the lower edge of the table. The Harook moved slowly to the edge of the building and as the first soldier moved out into sight, but still in cover, the center PEF was resolved.
Rolling 2d6 versus the EAL of 2 I scored a 2 and 1. This was quickly followed by a second die roll that resolved the PEF as a TCM squad in defensive positions. Not good right off the top.
I pushed out three total Harook, including the grenade launcher, with the idea of drawing fire with the front two soldiers and blooping a grenade on the enemy.
Luckily only four of the TCM could fire and they could only snap fire as well. Unfortunately they shot very well, one Harook soldier going Obviously Dead and the two others, including the grenadier, going Out of the Fight.
Taking a Man Down Test the Harook in sight of the casualties totally botched it forcing a Cohesion Test – another Reaction Test. This test is taken by the whole squad and thanks to the Leader scored a result of Carry As I still had movement left I split the remaining squaddies into two teams and send one team to the right and the other to the left. Still formed as one squad, when next active the plan would be to hit the TCM squad from two directions.
This could blow up in my face as there were still two PEFs yet to be resolved. But playing the odds I figured with a mow EAL that at least one of them, if not both would be nothing but nerves.


In Star Army PEFs and Non-Player Forces (NPF that are placed on the table if the PEF is found to be enemy) move based on their Mission and by rolling on PEF and NPF Tactical Movement Tables.
The TCM activated, still the first turn, and rolling on the NPF Table the TCM squad stayed in place.
Next a Rep 5 PEF moved into view but was resolved as a false alarm. The last PEF rolled and promptly split into two PEFs! The upside is the new PEF was a Rep 2.
The turn ended with the situation being about the same as the turn started. PEFs can be generated during the game. This encourages the player to confront them as soon as possible.
Next turn the TCM do not activate. The Harook NCO gives the order and the two teams fast move into sight at both ends of the building. The TCM open fire, this time normally, and on the far end two of the Harook go down. One had a grenade ready and it goes off as he goes down. Luckily the third Harook is out of range. On the near side four Harook come out and the other half of the TCM squad opens fire. Down go two of the Harook. All the Harook take Man Down Tests then Received Fire Test and continue the fight. The Harook NCO had readied a grenade and tosses it into the TCM defensive position. Boom! Three TCM are Obviously Dead, one Out of the Fight and the last Stunned. Reaction Tests are taken and with the exhorting of the Leader and the perceived security of cover they pass.
A brisk firefight ensues between the surving figures. The Harook on the far end goes down, Out of the Fight. On the near end one Harook goes down but he is grabbed by the NCO and the three remaining Harook fall back into cover behind the building.


 The Harook leader tosses a grenade.

The grenade was a real shot in the arm for the morale of the Harook squad but there are still two unresolved PEFs and they are active. Looks like time to fall back.
Both PEFs come into view forcing a resolution. Both are false alarms. The understrength TCM squad stays in place with the Stunned soldier recovering. It gets quiet on the battlefield.
With zero PEFs left maybe it’s time to reassess the situation. When Activation Dice are rolled a result of “7” means that reinforcements could arrive. I think I’ll dig in and wait and see.

 The TCM get recover their casualties.

Two turns go by with both sides activating but no reinforcements. On the first turn of activation the NPF Tact Movement Table has the TCM stay in place. The second has them move towards the enemy to shoot, staying in cover. The four TCM move out towards the building where they last saw the Harook. As they reach the corner it all goes to hell!

As one TCM readies a grenade the second pops his head around the corner. The Harook see him and get ready to fire but he pops his head back (groups that trigger an in Sight have 2” of movement left before the other side can react). As he ducks back the other TCM rolls the grenade, blindly around the corner towards the Harook. Boom!
Three Out of the Fight Harook, game over man.
Well that was a refresher course. I have used the same tactic on the enemy in prior games and forgot all about it until the TCM triggered the test. Note to self, play more SA to stay on point with it!
The combination of high PEF Rep and low EAL made for an interesting and intense game. It was still a close run even with my bad tactics.  In retrospect I should have split my squad in two and tried to flank the TCM but the high Rep PEFs gave me concern. Good game and looking forward to my next outing with the Harook. Even with pictures and stopping to write it took about 30 minutes.

Game over man!

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