Doesn’t look much like a bug to me Sarge

All right Cadets, today we are going to start to familiarise you with some of the threats you are going to face out there in the cold voids of space and over the teeming jungles and baking deserts of countless hostile worlds.

Every schoolboy knows what the Saucermen ships look and act like, so we’ll get to unlearning all that claptrap you picked up over the years and replace the empty space it leaves between your ears with solid fact later on. Today we start with the Imperium of “His Tyrannical Majesty” Emperor Marduk.

What’s that your writing Cadet Happy? No son the honorific isn’t important and won’t be on the test, it’ll probably be different by the time you fledglings have got out there anyway, heck it’ll probably be different and another 6 syllables longer by this time Tuesday! But that’s not important and another Instructor will give you the details on their politics or what counts as such in another class, surviving in hostile territory with Instructor Deering… and that’s enough wolf-whistling about Instructor Deering up the back there! The next one to make that kind of a remark gets KP duty for a month and that’s if you are lucky enough that she doesn’t hear about it and decides to use you for target practice. Now buckle down boys and girls.. yes and robots, as we take a look today at the Class 1 Imperial Rocket The Scorpion.

Whats that Cadet Corbet? Oh? Doesn’t look much like a bug to me Sarge? Doesn’t look much like a bug to me Sarge? Why how familiar with bugs on imperial worlds are you cadet Corbet? I thought so, about as familiar as you are with ones on Earth it seems as an earth scorpion is an arachnid not a bug to start with! Quiet down now, quiet down. Actually fun aside it’s an important observation. Sure to us it looks more birdlike but that’s because the creatures the Imperials call a scorpion have wings of a sort that are somewhere between those of a bird and a bat and a fish fin and the sting doesn’t come from the tail either. Now you can ask the linguists whether the translation of their word to our word scorpion is accurate or not, that i don’t know. But i do know that everywhere the imperium conquers they release a bunch of their apex predators and other beasties they ‘admire’ into the wild to feel a bit more like home. Luckily this doesn’t usually lead to ecological collapse as these creatures tend to settle into sustainable populations and just wipe out the local predators and thin the local population a little. If a local predator is particularly deadly though it’ll soon turn up on other imperial planets. It’s not unknown for a more eccentric or high-ranking officer to be accompanied by a fanatically loyal deadly carnivore and you want to be prepared for that in boarding actions and ground combat! The hawk-like Scorpions sitting on their shoulder like an antique pirates parrot, weird coloured horned tigers, venomous flesh-eating gliding squirrels and even officers riding around on big blue bipedal dino-ostriches… there’s all manner of vicious beasties you might just have to contend with. Princess Taegan who is rumoured to be Marduk’s daughter via a captured high-ranking Valkeeri and certainly looks the part is sometimes seen with some kind of long-tailed Bat with a very nasty bite. If you buy him a drink Ace might show you the scar… though whether it was from the bat or the Princess that bit him is a matter some dispute! heheheh.

But that won’t be much of a problem with a Class 1 as boarding one is hardly going to be a regular occurence. Like ours these are usually one man or one woman per craft, unlike the Valkeeri which ussually has two or three crew per class 1. Quiet Cadet Rogers that is no laughing matter! The valkeeri might seem like the answer to your youthful dreams but they are deadly. Now there are exceptions, most scorpions have a space behind the pilots chair that’s used for small cargoes, survival gear an array of personal weaponry etc but they also have a small folding seat back there so they can sacrifice some gear in order to carry a second person. Pay attention Rocky your dreams of princess-rescuing might depend on knowing about the second seat! It’s not as well cushioned for comfort during more fancy manoeuvering so the seat is usually used by instructors during training, by officials doing an evaluation.. where failure is death so keep that in mind if you are ever forced to don their uniform in disguise, by specially trained observers for long-range reconnaissance or for transporting important people at high speed. Note the concealed attachment points and the power outlet in this slide here. That’s in case the important person they are transporting isn’t there willingly, restraints can be easily connected to the chair and an electric restraint or other such device like a paralyser-ray can be powered from the engines. Yes Cadet Vena that is actual gold plating in the colour picture of the folding chair. The real deal. Every Imperial craft is ornamented like that. Every lever every cog every panel is sending a message of how great they think they are.  That’s what the imperium is like, pretty and efficient so long as you don’t care about freedom and cruelty.

They aren’t manufactured on one big assembly line either! Each is handmade by artisans captured from across the galaxy and put to work. Each differs a little from the next and many can be a bit quirky to handle. You’ll notice most imperial rockets have dedicated pilots and the pilot rarely changes on a rocket unless he or she is killed. This makes their aces a bit easier to spot but don’t get too comfortable, they may have weird notions of honour they like to brag about but they can still be wily and deceptive foes. That and a higher rank might order a lower to let them use their rocket. Many of the fleet commanders especially the noble-blood ones might be found in one of the class 1s rather than the big class 4 flagship if they feel the enemy has slighted them or they want to be in at the kill or just if they are feeling a tad extra bloodthirsty that day after getting out of the bed on the wrong side that morning.

Marduk likes his rockets tough, so they have a lot more armour than any sane engineer would put on a rocket of that class making them far less manoeuvrable. These little things can take about the same kind of punishment as our Supernova’s but they have a much wider turning circle so if you pay attention the Comets can outmaneuver them. There’s no room for complacency though, they know the weaknesses and strengths of their rockets. Watch out for manoeuvres which allow one scorpion to protect another’s tail or flank, watch for maneuvers with overlapping or complimentary fields of fire. That’s why individual show-offs get themselves killed so often taking on the Imps, they worry so much about getting on the enemies 6 that they don’t realise they are lead into a trap till it’s too late. Watch your mates out there and check your flanks. If a shot looks too good to be true a glance to 3 and 9 might save your sorry hide.

It’s also worth remembering that these can be more of an immediate threat than the class 2 Raptors. Raptors are a bit more varied than most rockets, while two-gun-firing Raptors are common the standard Raptor has a technical problem with its engine output to it’s ray-emitters so they alternate between the left and right barrels. When you see one watch for the distinctive sight of alternating barrel fire or both guns firing at the same time. If it’s one of the fancy ones able to fire both guns then yes it’s a bigger threat than the scorpions but if its a standard its firepower output is actually the same as a single scorpion, just a whole lot tougher. So sometimes it’s better to focus on bringing down the more agile scorpions first before pouring on enough beam with your wingmates to bring the raptor down. I’ve seen a raptor taking all the flak from pilots while the scorpions move into position and with combined fire rip our rockets to shreds.. i don’t want that to happen to you. So remember cadets, don’t underestimate the Scorpions.

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First Skirmish Report

To begin with, apologies for the lack of photos, we were so caught up in the game we forgot all about taking any.

So last night we had our first ever war rocket game. Humanities Defenders the Galacteers vs the minions of the Tyrannical Imperium of Emperor Marduk.

The forces were 3 class 1 rockets and one class 2 each.
Terrain was a single planet and it’s moon in the rough centre of the table. We wanted things nice and simple because we were each learning how our rockets manoeuvred in practice and how the others did too. The scenario? A straight-forward shootout.

As for the players, well I’ve been playing miniatures based games for 24 years! And my opponent, my partner is a novice with but a couple of games of Warhammer; Monsterpocalypse and Space Hulk under their belt.

Talk about an easy game to pick up! Once the specifics of each fleets movement system were understood from a couple turns approaching each other across the table it was on! Fast swift and exciting! The attack/damage system was a breeze with the simple table and the single roll depending on number of hits taken (there is no roll to hit, vastly speeding things up!) is elegant and effective cutting out lots of superfluous handfuls of dice and masses of special rules that bog many other games down and allowing us to focus on strategy. Though luck is always a factor and my imperial rockets suffered an appalling three 1’s in a row on a 10-sided dice… followed by a two! Surviving pilots and gunnery crew of the battle and the officer who trained them at the imperial academy will be publicly executed following the predetermined trial tonight, remember, viewing of public executions is mandatory, Hail Marduk!

The trickiest problem we faced was with movement, using a double-sided plastic school ruler which was the only thing we had on hand with inches on it was a bit awkward, especially when rockets get clustered together and there’s a temptation with hex bases to put the ruler to a side of the base and so move the miniature at an angle rather than forward. But that’s easy to deal with and a thin tape measure or measuring stick will handle it.

The Class 1 Comet rockets of the Galacteers are well deserved of their reputation, with speed determining movement order these zippy machines always have the jump on everyone else and this was clear when in one turn all three moved out of my Class 1 Scorpions firing arcs leaving them with only the class 2 to shoot at while all my rockets were hammered from behind! This will take some tactical thinking to deal with, i’m pondering notions of squadron manoeuvres to broaden the effective fire arcs of several rockets and to cover blind spots so even with such darting movement at least some of my class 1s will still get to blast away.

I’m not looking forward to trying to face the Galacteers with the Valkeeri who’s class 1s guns don’t have the normal narrow forward firing arc but can only fire dead-ahead! I’m thinking they will need at least 1 class 3 or 4 with their larger fire arcs to take on the Galacteers effectively or to make very careful use of the Delayed Action phase. I’d definitely recommend people building a Valkeeri fleet to be sure to get some of the larger rockets to use in conjunction with the little ones.

While the Imperial class 2 is tough its weaponry is the same as the class 1s leaving it far less potent in shooting than the Galacteers class 2. And while tougher i was lucky it lasted as long as it did with the amount of flack it was taking and my run of poor rolls meant the galacteers more fragile craft stayed intact more than average rolls would have resulted in. The Imperial class 2 Raptor is as tough as many fleets class 3s but it doesn’t take a huge lot of hits to bring the damage roll down to something pretty likely. The captains of big ships shouldn’t underestimate the damage of single-pilot craft in even small numbers! In hindsight i should definitely have focussed less on taking down the Class 2 Supernova and instead taken out more of those nimble Comets first! When we are ready to start using the advanced rules i’m thinking some of my beautiful imperial class 2s will get customised with some additional firepower.

So what was the end result? A trouncing! While the Imperial rockets took down one of the comets early on that’s all they managed, the Galacteers lost just one vessel while all 4 Imperial craft were taken out of action! It was all a ton of fun. The simple elegant rules allow for real strategic depth making the game more about movement and positioning and predicting the enemies actions rather than handfuls of tiny dice scattering across the table and scouring long army lists for hyper efficiencies and synergies of special rules. In other words it’s about playing the game on the table rather than designing the perfect army list with a calculator beforehand.

definitely a good game for introducing people to wargaming with as well as for seasoned gamers. And even on a plain black table cloth with unpainted rockets and unpainted planets it looks so darn cool!

Hmm now who will be the leader of my Imperial fleet? I’m thinking a beautiful wicked Princess….

Checking the Ships Inventory

Another parcel arrived at my partners place today so here is what we’ve got to start off with:

From Hydra we have of course the war rocket rulebook,
3 class 1s of each faction
1 class 2 of each faction (though i have a 2nd imperial class 2 it’s one of the few of the little ones with any assembly needed and i only glued one together so far)
Each of them very well-made and a delight 🙂

For dice i just grabbed a handful of d10s from my dice box, after all each player will only need one dice. Yep, thats all!

For counters, which make up what little record keeping the magnificently simple game uses I went with some Litko stuff that Milsims had in stock

For the hit counters for the delightfully elegant damage system i grabbed these
For the Stun counters we’re using these
And i also grabbed these too from mayday games and i think at least four of them i’ll be making into earrings 🙂 (one pair in yellow and another painted pink) eventually in big games it can be handy to have a different counter for stuns received from delayed actions (those stuns last longer)
Finally for delayed actions we went with these

The game is actually so simple i mainly bought the counters just cause it’ll look cool. There’s far less need for them than games i often play without counters anyway like warhammer 40,000, though i have been adding home-made counters to match my 40,000 tyranid army just for coolnesses sake and the counters will make war rocket easier for the non-wargamers i’ll be introducing to it over the next few weeks. After they arrived in the mail i must say i adore the litko counters especially the standing mini blasts and i might get some more for specific scenarios.

Unboxed just today is some planets from Corsec  to make some planets and a moon for terrain. They look quite nifty and now i must decide whether to just paint them or try and make some planetary texture first. I’m thinking some garden rocks might do for asteroids for now.

Lastly is the playing field. Well with the budget running dry i couldn’t spring for one of the awesome corsec starmats (at least for now) so a plastic black tablecloth will do.

Hopefully tonight we’ll have our first game. My partner has taken quite a liking to the noble Galacteers, humanities best and brightest, and i while loving every single design in the range thus far do have my favourites in the Imperial rockets, a somewhat-mesopotamian empire with a definate art deco aspect to their rockets! I’m sure that i’ll have plenty of opportunities for megalomaniacal evil laughter!

New Altitude Record Set for Customer Service!

Well fellow Rocketeers, i’ve seen a lot of good and bad customer service from miniature companies over the years. I used to have a site quite a few years ago before Geocities went to the Digital Davey Jones’s Locker where i did reviews of miniatures i had bought amongst other things (Supreme Martian Overlord’s Doom Filled Page of DOOM it was called) and back then I had everything from unsolicited review samples and people bending over backwards to ensure i was happy on the one hand to things never ever showing up in the post presumably never sent and nothing ever done about it on the other.

Well a few days ago my order to Hydra Miniatures arrived. And i must say they really take the cake. Hydra isn’t one of the big corporations in the miniature field so i was prepared for the kind of ordinary difficulties small companies can have. So when i heard a few items were out of stock and it might take a week before things got posted it was no worry at all, i have worse delays from ebay purcheses all the time. But the folks at Hydra are something else.

They let me know they have a local Australian affiliate Phoenix Forge in case i’d rather order from them rather than wait a wekk but i’d already made the order to Hydra so felt loyalty to that transaction besides i wanted a small number of the class 1 rockets and 1 class 2 from all 5 current factions while Phoenix Forge only have the class 1’s and 2’s in sets which would be great for building just one fleet but i wanted some of each faction so that i can have a try of each factions styles and so i can have up to 5 players giving the game a try at once. Besides, there isn’t a single War Rocket faction or design i don’t love so i’m wanting some of each anyway. I am also hoping my local game store Sleeping Dragon might start getting war rocket in too, i always try and support my local game store, but this purchase is timed for while i’m on holidays visiting my partner and my partners family and friends.

Then they went and threw in a few extra miniatures because of the delay! An extra Imperial Class 2 rocket, aka a Raptor which i’d mentioned to them is my favourite design as well as a couple of miniatures from their Retro Raygun and Primal Dawn lines! Then to top it all off they threw in some sweets in the package! Yep, lollies! Free miniatures and some lollies all because of a week-long delay in postage which i’d expect from most smnall companies anyway? And thats with me as an ordinary customer unlike back in the days when i had a review site? Hydra Miniatures, you just went right to the very top of my good list!

Launch All Rockets!

Welcome to My War Rocket Blog.

After deciding i just HAD to try the miniatures game War Rocket from Hydra Miniatures i trawled the net for as much as i could find on it, and there wasn’t anywhere near enough as the cool line of miniatures deserved so i thought i’d add a smidge more!

So as i and some of my friends give war rocket a try, play some games and paint some rockets and have some fun i’ll throw some posts up here haphazardly to share it and hopefully encourage others to give it a whirl.