Saucers Attack the Sleeping Dragon!

So another saturday and despite being a  bit unwell the night before in i go to my local game store The Sleeping Dragon to play War Rocket!

I was very pleased to see that Will was there already waiting for me, Will was one of those who first showed interest on the Sleeping Dragon’s facebook page in War rocket because of it’s Atom-Punk style but he wasn’t able to make it in last week. After a very quick rundown on the factions he decided to try the Zenithians! So the first battle of the day will be between the invading Saucers from another dimension vs the art-deco magnificence of the empire of Marduk! So we set up at opposite corners of the low table with the comfy couch so he’d get a couple turns of movement before we’d get in range with again a corsec planet and moon in the middle.

If i thought i had trouble with the Space Pirates manoeuverability before it was nothing compared to the saucers! While they only change the facing and so fire-arc at the end of their movement they can move in any direction and change direction constantly. Will likened this to drifting in car racing. This meant that the only times i had those zippy saucers in my sights was when i was on top in the rolls of the order phase and even then when Will knew i’d get the final move he’d zip his saucers to places it was hard to get my wheeling movement to. Despite the greater fragility of the Zenithians whose even class 3 and 4 saucers never get tougher than the imperial class 1’s it wasn’t easy to bring them down. At one point they ended up clustered against the table edge facing in every direction so i’d have to angle myself carefully to stay on the board and couldn’t attack without facing return fire. Gradually after several rounds of luckless fire on both sides my forces fell one after another until finally in the last turn my final remaining scorpion took the Class 2 saucer with it as they both destroyed the other leaving the 3 class 1 saucers alone in control of the planet!

Next up was Stuart keen to have a rematch from last Saturdays game. This time he brought his own d10 which had apparently been rolling well for him already today. Well what dark alien gods the Zenithians worship smiled upon Stuart and, coupled with better manoeuvering for fire arcs and my own rolls giving me great turn order but several key misses when i needed them, the imperials were taken out in record time! And like last week i lost a scorpion to the first round of firing! Perhaps there is some sabotage going on? Time to call in the secret police and investigate i think. One thing i am going to have to keep in mind in future skirmishes and battles with the Zenithians is that their class 2’s are the same speed as their class 1’s so they all act at the same time! This means my class 2 Raptors will always act first making it hard to get their guns to bear. Being so tough i really should try and get them to take a round of fire every so often to get them onto the delayed action phase the next turn so i can get to those zippy saucers before they zip away out of reach!

Then the third player of the day was my old friend Tim who i’ve known for many years from the miniature painting community but who i hadn’t had a chance to play against before. He had just finished a game of Hordes against Shane and was keen to give War Rocket a try. Space Pirates were his choice to try and so once again the Imperial fleet of Princess Taegan daughter of Emperor Marduk was employed to try and scour the spacelanes of those star-stalking scoundrels the Space Pirates! Tim was swiftly struck by how the simple rules but tactical depth meant that rather than trying to win using lots of special rules combinations it all comes down to the choices you make in game. I stunned one of his Class 1 Daggers and my Imperial rockets fell upon it like hungry golden-feathered vultures, i wasn’t going to allow an unlucky roll letting this one get away so all my rockets concentrated their fire to ensure that i wouldn’t need to roll, what would be an automatic stun was on an already stunned rocket instant automatic destruction!

Shortly after it as rockets spun in both directions in tight orbits around the planet my Raptor was stunned but through some fluke the broadside rays the pirates barraged it with failed to send it to oblivion and with the crew getting it back under control it was back in the action.  However I lost a Scorpion and things where evened out. Several more turns of rockets darting back and forth in a splintered fashion where neither side could bring enough hits about to any one rocket to take any out and Shane gave us the 10 minute warning for closing. Tim was keen on one last quick turn so we hurried through movement, he managed to get more hits on me than i on him but the damage roll decided otherwise and my rockets came through unscathed while his Class 2 Stiletto was stunned. So we called it a marginal Imperial victory and shook hands, packed up everything and he gave me a lift home.

So another great day introducing local gamers to the fun of War Rocket. With any luck The Sleeping Dragon will get some stock in soon. I’m after an Imperial  class 4 and couple class 3s as well as lots more class 1s and 2s and i’m hoping others who have enjoyed the game will buy fleets of their own. It will be interesting to play some larger games. Jimmy is hoping we can get a 4 player game together next week which should prove to be a lot of fun.


Launch Rockets at the Sleeping Dragon!

Saturdays are the gaming day at my local game store The Sleeping Dragon.

So in i went with my rockets to see if i can drum up some interest locally in the game.

After a slow start in the store where i sat and chatted to Shane who runs the store on Saturdays, Conrad turned up and after a chat about various geekery he decided to give war rocket a try.

I took my Imperials once more so Conrad got to choose between the Valkeeri, The Zenithian saucers or the Space Pirates (The Galacteers being my partners so not for lending) and he opted for the Pirates before i finished listing the others. 🙂  This was my first battle against the pirates and i swiftly saw the danger of these star-stalking-scoundrels. Space Pirates use the same movement as Imperials but with a key difference of getting a free rotation and the option of starting a move with a double-rotation one free and one costing the usual 2 inches to make each 30 degree turn. This makes the pirates much more manoeuvrable than the Imperial rockets. The pirates class 1 and 2 rockets also have the best fire arc in their classes, a 180 degree arc! I’d be relying on my better defence to get me through.

With the same speeds between the factions this made every turns movement order roll-off a tense and crucial phase as we both jockeyed for position and to get out of the others fire arc while getting shots in ourselves.

The first turn within range and one of my scorpions became orbital scrap metal. Something that became a trend in the games that were to follow. After a tiny bit of teething, Conrad took to the movement system like a duck to water and with a lot of natural skill and a little luck there wasn’t an Imperial rocket in motion and the pirates were free to pillage the space lanes!

Jimmy turned up who i often played Monsterpocalypse with and he leapt on the chance to try the game once my game with Conrad and his game of Yugi-oh ended.

Just like Conrad he chose the Space Pirates to start with and just like everyone has he found the game easy to pick up. Once more the Imperial fleet tried to end the scourge of piracy in this sector of space. Again i lost a scorpion to the first round of fire despite the high toughness of all Imperial Rockets. Things turned out a little better for the Imperium this time and casualties rose on each side, at times with rockets destroying each other simultaneously.. but then i realised to my great dismay that a Class 2 Raptor is in real trouble when trying to draw a bead on a class 1 Dagger! Even with delayed actions the turning circle of the raptor wasn’t enough to shake the dagger off its tail. For several turns it was a stalemate between these two remaining rockets as i just couldn’t get a fix on the enemy while Jimmy failed time and time again the roll needed to stun or destroy the Raptor! Poor Jimmy was rolling the number just under the number he needed every turn! Realising that eventually one of the atom rays would wear down the Raptors armour the Imperial captain turned back towards Imperial space making a run for it but the Dagger stayed right behind blasting away and a mere two inches from safety and Jimmy finally rolled a 10 and destroyed the Imperial ship! The excitement was so high that when he rolled that 10 everyone in the room erupted in a cheer, myself included!

Jimmy’s friend Stuart had been watching the game excitedly so i asked if he and Jimmy would like to play a game against each other. Stuart chose the Zenithian saucers while Jimmy decided to try the Valkeeri.

This battle was a short and brutal affair as Jimmy proved to be quite good at handling the Valkeeri movement and their limited arcs of fire making good use of their range. That and the rolls of the pink and black swirly d10 (i like to theme my dice in games so the Imperials use my red and purple d10 with gold numbers, the space pirates a transparent grey d10 with white numbers, the Zenithians a transparent green d10 with white numbers and the Galacteers a blue opaque d10 with white numbers) were much more favourable.

Stuart then wanted to take on the Imperium with the Zenithians and again a scorpion was lost to the first round of fire! This was my first game against the Zenithians who are hyper-agile but very fragile, though this is a game where agility is much better balanced against toughness than most and an equal number of rockets fell on each side when alas it was 1 o’clock in the afternoon and the store was closing so we ended on a draw. 3 and a half games completed in less time than it takes some of my friends to work out their warhammer army list before a game even starts! I’m sure Stuart and I will get a rematch another saturday soon, he was already contemplating purchasing his own Zenithians.

But that wasn’t the end of the Imperiums battles that day… for my friend Brylan was up from Sydney and while i was visiting him at his families home he decided to try War Rocket too. Again it was the Space Pirates against the Empire, again 3 class 1s and 1 class 2 each. Brylan threw his rockets into the fray with gusto and a clinical ruthless precision often denying me shots by millimetres while orchestrating superb combined strikes. I didn’t lose a scorpion on the first round of fire this time but swiftly one was stunned then taken out. Fortune turned slowly against us both as Brylan’s magnificently well orchestrated shots and the desperate attacks i responded with failed to destroy the enemy and several rockets were stunned only to recover. Finally the initiative rolls started to favour my remaining scorpions and then i managed to pin down enough shots to start taking out some of the daggers, though at the cost of the scorpions too. The roles of hunter and hunted kept swapping back and forth in these tight wheelling dogfights as the changing trends of initiative had Brylan take more evasive measures. Then my Raptor took desperate action diving between the planet and it’s moon and swinging round to take out the last Dagger and the last round came down to the will of the dice as the Stilletto and Raptor Class 2’s exhanged atomic rays! In a tense and exciting roll-off the thick Imperial armour held true while the pirates hull gave way! And just in time to clear the table for the dinner Brylan’s dad cooked while we had been playing.

Draft scenario and customisation ideas (Or The Valley of the Terror-Dactyls!)

These are some ideas i had for some extra stuff for war rocket. They haven’t yet been tested for balance though.
The first comes from the scifi staple of the ‘weird alien pet’. From a heroic chimpanzee, a cute baby pink dragon to a horned porcine or a large finned serpent heroes and villains both often have a fiercely loyal pet.

Vicious Pet
Get them my pretty!

Your rocket captain has raised and trained or saved and befriended a vicious (whether cute or not) animal as a fiercely loyal protector. +20% when defending a boarding action +10% to boarding and to other special actions involving crew combat. +2 points per model

Imperial Princess Taegan says:
My fathers guards are fiercely loyal and well trained, but even more loyal and fierce is the viper-bat of the dark forests of the moon of Eth! And it’s venom is twice as deadly.. if the antidote isn’t adminstered in time.. and oh, i’m the only one with the antidote of course.

Galacteer Ace McGuire says: Yes yes he’s a chimpanzee. So what! That noble ape has pulled me through more scrapes than you can imagine and he’s more capable an engineer than half the greenshoes we are getting from the colony recruiters. Just don’t make a joke about a monkey with a monkey wrench or you’ll see the damage he can do! He’s strong enough to tear the arm right off a warbot and knock it’s head off with the sparking end when he gets angry. Besides, his name is Comet, the ride you pilot is called a Comet, think that’s a coincidence? Leave the chimp alone cadet, if you know what’s good for ya. Actually his full name is…. but hey.

The next idea is a rough attempt to make a good serial-style scenario

The Chase
The idea behind this scenario is to have a dynamic chase across the board through dangerous terrain.
Lets set the scene:

Last week our fearless hero and their gorgeous companion escaped from the Fortress of Despair after defeating the vicious Glarg-beast in the Labyrinth of Death and eluding the Fortress’s many wicked guards. But the Rockets of the enemy even now are in dogged pursuit and our noble hero takes desperate action, diving down recklessly low to try and elude the pursuers amongst the giant trees in the Jungle Valley of the Terror-Dactyls!

Terrain: lots! big jungle trees in large clusters that will need careful manoeuvering (and/or tall pines, rock spires, volcanos, weird ruins, masses of dense clouds or even asteroids will do) ideally with some tough cover and a lot of soft stuff.
Extra stuff: 4 counters to represent  pursuer reinforcement entry points. Several counters or better yet miniatures to represent the Terror-Dactyls (or Lava-men, Space-Bats, Electro-sky-jellyfish, Magno-mines or other cool threat that may be lurking in the terrain).

Setup: The two or more players take turns placing terrain till every square foot has at least something large in it. This could be done before deciding who will be the chased and who the chaser and you could flip a coin to see who gets to choose to be the hunter/hunted. The fleeing hero must travel from the corner of their choice to the opposite diagonal corner. After the fleeing character has chosen a starting corner the other player/s get to place up to 4 entry point counters for the pursuers entry points each must be at least 18 inches apart from each other and no closer than 18 inches to the fleeing rockets starting position either on a table edge or a terrain piece (where a parked rocket could be hidden or there could be a disguised entrance to an underground tunnel).

Small table dilemma: Got too small a table for this to work? Never fear! Just use this neat little trick: go small-end to small end rather than corner to corner and at the end of every turn move everything back 8 inches (or more/less if necessary) towards the back edge, everything including all the terrain. Those terrain pieces that leave the table get moved on up to 8 inches at the front edge (again each player alternates putting them on). Rockets that get dragged off the edge may return to the table in their phase from as close to the point they left at as possible.

Terrain rules: To represent the foolish desperate low-flying terrain-hugging and near-miss acrobatics the fleeing pilot is using to evade fire rather than the normal effects on shooting of terrain the following rules apply:
If a rocket is within 4 inches of a terrain piece of somewhat softness such as trees, clouds or small chunks of ice or small asteroids that is in the path of the shot at the rocket from the firer then take 1 hit counter off in the damage phase before making the damage roll. If the terrain piece is big thick and tough like weird ruins, mountains, volcanos, planetoids but smaller than the rocket targeted take 2 hits off but if the intervening object is larger than the target rocket then it blocks firing past it.

Players can choose to fly over (or under or even through) rather than around a terrain piece, but doing this upsets the Terror-Dactyls! Place a Terror-Dactyl counter on any rocket that moved over rather than around a terrain piece, this works just like an attack from Rocket Troopers from a class 2 rocket, with an important addition:

Cranky Terror-Dactyl’s Aren’t Fussy Eaters!
By Marduk, the fiends are on our hull too now!
If a rocket boards or rams or is rammed by or boarded by a rocket that is under attack from Terror-Dactyls it too will come under attack as they spread their attention and the noise draws more Terror-Dactyls to attack both rockets, treat this as a brand new rocket troops attack on the new rocket as the Terror-Dactyls that shift their attention to the new irritation get a new wind in their frenzy to bite and chew and claw their way into the rocket while the first Terror-Dactyl attack continues to run it’s course.

Entry counters: The pursuing player is calling in all nearby patrols to catch and stop the fleeing rocket. From the second turn onwards they can bring any of their rockets on from any entry point at any turn in the game, where they will move in the normal order for their speed. However only one rocket can use the same entry spot in each turn. You can bring in two rockets from two different points in the same turn, just not two from the same point in the same turn.

Imperial Commander says:
Coordinate your patrol ships to maximise their firepower but don’t put all your bets in a single attack or they might slip through your fingers and get away! Always try and cut off their escape route.

Forces: The fleeing player chooses one rocket of any type in their fleet Or their opponents! As some rockets have more manoeuverability or speed a cunning hero may choose to commandeer a rocket of the enemy rather than to take their own. The fleeing rocket may be custom (even if it belonged to the enemy fleet, after all why wouldn’t you take the enemies brand new custom if you got the chance!). The pursuer can choose up to 4 times the points of that rocket of any number of rockets but only one may be custom.

Victory Conditions: If the fleeing rocket escapes they win, if they don’t and the Pursuer has any rockets left then the pursuers capture the fugitives whether from a boarded rocket or the wreckage of a shot down one and the pursuers win, if the pursuers all got taken out too then it’s the Terror-Dactyls who win!

Painting the Fleets

So finally we got some time to start to put some colour onto our Galacteer and Imperial rockets.

My partner went with the Lightyear Brigade scheme and i went with a variation of the scheme from the rulebook cover.

And yep again the pics are just quick mobile phone camera shots my partner took but my old digital camera broke and i haven’t got a new one yet.

Each of the designs is distilled extract of awesome turned into a beam in a big black box of art and focused through a lens of pure style.

They say the Emperor Marduk demands all his fleets to be in some variation of red, gold and black while Imperial vassal ships have more varied colours. The Fleet of Princess Taegan is red and gold with blue glass, some say she is granted a leniency because she is Marduk’s favourite daughter while there is a saying, particularly among those who allege her mother was a Valkeeri, that says her heart is black enough to fulfil her whole fleets requirement for the colour! Though some rumours suggest this saying originated from someone close to Ace McGuire while in a fit of jealousy concerning the alleged flirtation that went on between Ace and Taegan during the time she had him briefly captured in the Verde Nebula before he and his companions made their escape that has since caught on amongst some of the other Galacteers who have faced her.

The War Rocket miniature range thus far is pretty unique in that i love every single piece they have released for it so far. There’s not one that i dislike at all. But of course i still have my favourites and that’s the Imperials, especially the Class 2 Raptor!

The Imperial Class 2 Raptor

The two days we got this much painting done on were quite hot making it difficult to get smooth coats. These were amongst the first miniatures painted by my partner who has only painted one of my tyranids before this. I’ve been painting for years but am waaay out of practice and was going more for gaming pieces rather than show work.

Still just a bit of citadel paint, a quick wash painted along panel lines and the depths of curves and a little bit of drybrushing to sharpen up the edges and make the highlights pop and already they are awesome.

The dreaded Galacteer Comet, Humanities greatest weapon feared across the galaxy. Their unmatched speed and tight manoeuverability should never be underestimated!

However it’s the Class 2 Supernova of the Lightyear Brigade that is my partners favourite, and i must admit it’s a very beautiful rocket. The Galacteer Rockets look as fast and agile as they play. Graceful, swift and deadly!

Gaming with these now they are painted will be a real treat! Now i just have to decide on the colour schemes i want the Valkeeri, Zenithians and the Space Pirates painted in and decide what kind of planets i want my Corsec planets to be painted as.

Que the dramatic theme music!

Skirmish 2, the Valkeeri Raiders!

And so we come to our second game. And we remembered to take some pictures!… halfway through the game.
This time we introduce a new player Tabitha, a friend of my partner with plenty of video gaming experience but only a single game of Monsterpocalypse in tabletop gaming.

We started off explaining the rules basics over a snack and got Tabitha used to the movement rules with a quick race of class 1s around a planet and back. Tabitha decided to use the Valkeeri, the man-enslaving space-amazons, based on liking their movement rules, i stuck with my Imperials and my partner again used the Galacteers. A handful of turns later and the Comets higher speed and smaller turning circle had it outpace and outmaneuver the Scorpion to blast accross the line first and the Valkeeri Siren came in last.

With movement now understood it was time for the atom-rays to start flying!
The race finished and when the Galacteers left to their regular patrols of the Imperial/Human border territories the Valkeeri rocket astro-phoned the raider fleet that the time was right to raid the planet, but they say the Eye of Marduk is all-seeing and the Fleet of Princess Taegan was sent on an intercept course!

The objective again was simple, to defeat all the enemy rockets while keeping at least one of your own intact.
The forces were 3 class 1s and a class 2 each.
The Imperium vs the Valkeeri.
Terrain was again a corsec planet and moon on a black plastic tablecloth but this time as we played at Tabitha’s rather than a dining table it was played on a pool table. To keep the cloth from slipping about my partner rather brilliantly tucked the cloth into the pockets of the pool table and used some of the balls to hold it in place!

Partway through the battle, that’s me on the left, note the careful tucking of the tablecloth to keep it flat on the pool table.. and the raygun just in case….

I was worried how the valkeeri would do with many of their weapons being straight-ahead fire rather than the forward arc most others have on their class 1s and 2s but in practice it wasn’t as big a problem as i was expecting. When it comes to Valkeeri vs Galacteers i think the Valkeeri will need to have some class 3s and 4s to deal with the class 1 Comets still as their speed, always moving after the Valkeeri Class 1 sirens and their tight turning will mean it will be difficult for Sirens to land hits on Comets but when it came to my Scorpions and the larger imperial turning circle (having to move 4 inches forward for every turn, twice that of Galacteers) the difficulty for me in turning around in a loop once they were close meant that getting out of their line of fire usually meant losing my own too.

Some concentrated Imperial fire took out one of the Valkeeri class 1 Siren, first blood to Princess Taegan’s fleet in Emperor Marduk’s name!

Again my Raptor took much of the fire, functioning as a hit-soak as it held together through blast after blast and surviving through being stunned while a second Siren met destruction. Alas when the Valkeeri Class 2 Fury  pulsed right overhead then spun round and blasted the Raptor right in the engines while surviving the blasts of my 3 class 1 Scorpions the Raptor’s armour of fine craftsmanship and rare exotic alloys finally failed and it was out of the fight. But unlike my last game with it’s nasty run of 1s and 2s on my d10 i had a much better run of luck. Tabitha missed a couple of good rolls falling just short of stuns or destroys and i got two 10s right when i most needed them. Clearly the public executions for incompetence following the trouncing the Galacteers handed out has vastly improved the performance of the imperial gunners.

This is shortly after my Raptor was taken out, it was right in front of where all the Scorpions are pointed and it’s partway through the next turn where the Fury has just moved over the top and spun about but it’s before my Scorpions get their movement.

Dramatic Recreation

This is actually a swift dramatic recreation of the destruction of the Raptor despite the Scorpions racing to defend it from the attack from behind, it was just after the Fury moved in the next turn that we remembered to start taking pics and i felt bad not having any of the raptor so i put it back where it had been and put the two hits on it the Fury did to it, but i didn’t repose The Fury due to still being in play

After the Valkeeri Fury took down the Imperial Raptor the Scorpions swung about to get their revenge! One scorpion, attempting to circle about had to spend a turn well away from the action while the other two close on the fury…

You can see how the wide-turning-circle of Imperial thruster-movement has left one Scorpion off quite a bit to the side this turn. We left the hit tokens in place after putting the stunned token results on for the photo.

Here’s the same moment from a less tactical and more cinematic angle. Even unpainted these miniatures really capture atmosphere brilliantly and I’m very happy with my choice to grab the Litko tokens.

The results of the round of fire is a stun apiece, the class 2 fury and one of the scorpions spending the next turn immobile and more vulnerable… The Scorpion weathered the next rounds blasting but the fury was taken out.

Any surviving Valkeeri women aboard the wrecked rocket will find themselves enslaved by the men (and women) of the imperium they had hoped to have as slaves!

At the last there was one remaining Valkeeri Siren and two Scorpions. The Valkeeri decided to blast away from the scorpions towards the planet hoping to pass between the planet and it’s moon so the larger turning circles of the imperial rockets might force them to fight one at a time giving the Valkeeri a fighting chance… but it was not to be, the deadly machines catching the Valkeeri rocket before it could get to the cover of the world below and unleashed their atomic fury on the emperors enemies.

The Valkeeri Siren’s mad dash to the planet for cover is cut short as the Scorpions descend on it in a flurry of atomic rays

And a few more shots just cause it looks so cool.

This one is giving me some nifty ideas for a future scenario….

Can’t you just hear the pew-pew sound effects?

Victory to the Empire!
Hail Marduk!
(actually it was a very friendly non-competitive fun game with handshakes all round at the end, but whats a tyrannical empire’s victory without some evil laughter and megalomania?)

Wait.. what’s that navigator? What do you mean “Captain Lightyear approaching”?