The Mysterious Artifact of the Draco System

Dr Zahn studied the strange alien machinery beneath the ancient tower rebuilt by the Zenithians, his brilliant mind running through calculations of obscure mathematics faster than any computer less than 9 stories tall. He had to work quickly, the parylyso-gas would only last for a short while and Imperial reinforcements were sure to arrive soon. While the energy flow indicators meant this must be but one of numerous such devices with some distant control centre this one had been focussed on by the Saucermen for a reason. There it was! His keen eyes spotted where the careful application of an interference substance had been applied to some of the stone in order to deactivate part of the originally intended circuitry within the lattice matrix of the stone. The Zenithians had in effect reprogrammed the device. Probably it was a device intended to create some special form of stable wormhole, possibly in order to increase the effective lifespan of the ancient star. The Zenithians had changed it to turn it into something altogether more dangerous, at best a Weapon of Cosmic Destruction and at worst something altogether less imaginable. Just switching the device off would be no good if the singularity was already forming, it might slow the growth of the black hole but it wouldn’t stop it. Instead he calculated the best option would be to allow the ancient devices self-regulating stone circuitry programming into effect. He carefully mixed the chemical ingredients to dissolve the interference and set the chemical grenade on a medium fuse, just long enough to drag the paralysed guards to safety….

Mere minutes after the grenade had gone off spraying the chemical that dissolved the Zenithian sabotage away a great massive structure emerged from underneath a gigantic sand filled crater on the neighbouring sunward planet Parva Draco, a huge stone structure that defied all the known laws of physics as it swiftly flew into space leaving a trail of falling sand in an arc that fell all the way back to the planet. The machinery of the Ancients was now activated!

On Monday Brylan, one of Taphyl’s brothers, was back in town after spending some time overseas so I joined the guys to hang out for the afternoon. There had been talk of playing some Warhammer 40,000 but Brylan asked if we could play War Rocket instead. Luckily Taphyl had asked me to bring my stuff in case of such a possibility. Brylan had played the Space Pirates before but this time decided to try the Galacteers. Taphyl decided to again play the Zenithians and of course I played the Empire. I’d not brought my camera though so one of theirs was used.

We set the battlefield up together. The ice rings of Dormientes Draco have grown thicker, and Taphyl provided the strange ancient artefact. The perfect objective for the game. The goal: The Imperial patrol, having just finished guarding the ship collecting the survivors of the last battle before intending to head to investigate the damage done to the Watch Station by the Space Pirates (see last battle report) have been alerted to the massive strange stone structure now in a stable orbit near the planet Parva Draco and have delayed the mission to the watch-station to give the stone construct a quick flyby when astro-radar detects two incoming fleets both of whom need to be kicked out of Imperial-claimed territory! Meanwhile alerted to the Zenithian cause of the looming galactic disaster the Galacteers are trying to stop a Zenithian task force intent on boarding and destroying the giant artefact!

This time it's me in the background having just deployed the Imperial ships

This time it’s me in the background having just deployed the Imperial ships

The Imperial patrol completes it's flyby of the strange giant stone device

The Imperial patrol completes it’s flyby of the strange giant stone device

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Satellites Spy on Sleeping Dragon!

Note: Keen eyed viewers may notice that the script for this chapter was clearly intended to be broadcast before the proceeding piece, but we retain it here in original broadcast order

Galacteers! We have deployed a series of spy satellites to monitor both enemy activity and strange radiations in the system of Dormientes Draco. Alas it seems the Imperial fleet there doesn’t like us looking at the mess that macguffinite engine thing they took off the Zenithians is cooking up and especially that it will give us solid warning of any more imperial activity in the region, now they are on an intercept course.  It’s your job to stop them. The data from these satellites is crucial. Protect Those Satellites!

Alas Saturday I didn’t end up playing War Rocket so Jason and in organised for a Tuesday game. So once again the wargame room of my local gamestore would be filled with the roar of atomic motors and the pew-pew of raygun beams.

I was especially excited to show off my solution for all the scratched paintwork my imperial rockets got from transport:

Dun-Dun-DAAAAH!

Imperial Agent's case carrying secret documents? No! Just my War Rocket fleet!

Imperial Agent’s case carrying secret documents? No! Just my War Rocket fleet!

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War Rocket Battle at Planet X

And this time we have photos!

Finally my Imperail dice (a gemini red and purple d10 with gold letters from Chessex dice) gets shown

Finally my Imperial dice (a gemini red and purple d10 with gold letters from Chessex dice) gets shown

So as it’s christmas time i’m spending the holiday period with family.
My brother Rohin is actually one of the reasons i play war rocket, as it was he who first pointed out Hydra Miniatures website and range to me. While he’s not much into the miniature hobby these days while he was he kept much more of an eye on the smaller miniature companies and ranges so has often been able to point me in the direction of ranges that fit my interests, so when i was talking about old scifi styles and discussing scifi serials and early tv shows he linked me to Hydra, and though it was over a year before i finally had the combination of money, focus, time and the mood for trying a new game (with monsterpocalypse drying up and my Tyranid army reaching a size that doesn’t need much more expanding except for new releases and wanting another fast and agile game without current 40ks huge unwieldy armies) that led to me diving headlong into the game we’d been talking about the superb miniatures for a long time.

So of course getting to spend some time with my brother in the offline world (though we are regularly online in the superhero MMO world of Champions Online) i just had to get him to give War Rocket a try! 🙂 The day was far too hot for wargaming in the kitchen so we had been in the loungeroom in front of the cooler playing videogames and well into the night we were preparing to watch a dvd when a storm blew up as it often does around here (last year there was a magnificent storm full of huge arcs and forks of bright pink lightning!) so we had to unplug the sensitive electrics, so despite the late hour to start we decided it was an ideal time for his first game of War Rocket!

He was tempted by both Zenithians and Space Pirates but decided to try the Zenithians. Because i currently only have 1 class 2 and 3 class 1 Zenithians we went with those and a matching Imperial force for me.

Remembering that he’d given me his old 3.1 megapixel digital camera and he had a nice shiny high-powered one we both grabbed a camera each and took some pics.

Oh my goodness! A pic on the blog taken with a decent camera!

The battlefield was to be quite nostalgic, being played on the dining room table, a big old cedar table that was originally Grandma’s under which i used to play when i was tiny and which was also the first table i wargamed upon in my early teens. So we shifted the tea set and other stuff off to one side and put one of my corsec planets on the table (i really need to figure out how to paint them soon) and he suggested using a tiny old brass incense burner as a space station orbiting the planet. Planet X he declared it was “because every planet is called Planet X!”

So laughing from the start i explained the movement system and other basic rules and we began. Against the Zenithians my Raptor, the slowest rocket on the table, would always be moving first and the zenithians class 2 moves along with the clas 1s. So i moved up my class 2 and then it was Rohin’s turn to move his whole force onto the table… with a delightful ‘earth vs the flying saucers’ mockery wobble and an excellent impersonation of a theremin his forces headed towards the planet! And i cracked up some more! So we started with our rockets in quite nice neat formation, then on to the next turn.

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Enemy sighted!

The Imperial Raptor in all it's glory (and a couple of paint scratches i need to fix up)

The Imperial Raptor in all it’s glory (and a couple of paint scratches i need to fix up)

After the Raptor started to head to the planets left I moved two of my class 1 Scorpions to support it and the third to the right (against the Zenithians i figured that i should try a notion i’d been pondering for a while of trying to have my scorpions moving in a kind of mirrored s-curve snaking attack pattern to try and have some rockets covering the tails of the others with the Raptor covering the flanks, an attack pattern i’m calling ‘the hydra’ appropriately enough… but of course  this neat idea somewhat fell apart as i reacted to the movement of the saucers in the next turn.

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Preparing to hit the enemy from both sides…

The opposing fleets make contact and…. the order phase dice-off leaves me at the saucers mercy hardly able to strike back! They focus on the Raptor with one strike on the Scorpion that was on it’s own The atomic rays project.. and the scorpion is stunned! It’s pilot desperately trying to seal a leak off of the oxygen or a dangerous overload in the reactor so the rocket is drifting unable to move or fight for a turn, vulnerable.

So much for Plan A!

So much for Plan A!
Also note the transparent green d10, my dedicated Zenithian d10

A nice dramatic shot of the action!

A nice dramatic shot of the action!

Again i had to try and cover where the saucers might go (and thus ensure they wouldn’t be there) and get myself into a good position for the next turn. I kept the Raptor stationary to take a delayed action turn if a target didn’t present itself and rather than pour fire into the stunned scorpion one class 1 Alpha-z shifted just a little out of my arcs to blast it again while the rest of the saucers stayed in behind the Raptor to try and overwhelm the toughest Imperial rocket.

The Saucers close in the Imperial Raptor!

The Saucers close in on the Imperial Raptor!

Both rockets survived! And the Imperial forces swept in to strike! The Raptor used the delayed action phase to leap in and blast one of the saucers, but the gunner must have been over-eager or the saucer pilot too good at dodging and the attack did nothing.

A great move.. but the dice did not approve.

A great move.. but the dice did not approve.

Everyone wheeled into attack positions and we ended up with a neat line-up, though the Raptor wasn’t able to get to the action. We divied up the blasts concentrating as best we could.. the Imperial weathered the atomic storm due to the thickness and extravagance of it’s heavy precious-metal armour, but the agile, fragile, zenithian craft was sundered!

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KA-BOOM!

KA-BOOM!

The clone-troops of the extra-dimensional invasion went in for revenge sweeping in behind one of the scorpions and covering it in an overload of their energy beams. The rocket wasn’t destroyed but it was stunned! Tumbling out of control!

They're on my tail! They're on my tail!

They’re on my tail! They’re on my tail!

Again i lost the order phase roll. While the scattered imperial rockets began to regroup and follow the ultra-agile saucers to the other side of Planet X they swept to the flank of the drifting Scorpion well out of range of the nearest active atom-projector and mercilessly and methodically with overwhelming atomic energy undid the craftsmanship of it’s construction!

Hold on, we're on our way! Hold on!... oh damn.

Hold on, we’re on our way! Hold on!… oh damn.

So the toll on each side was even now, and the very late hour was starting to take it’s toll as the yawning had begun. The Zenithians kept up the attack, with ‘woo-woo’ noises accompanying their movement they blasted into the flank of the Raptor.. but again it’s thick master-crafted armor shrugged off the barrage.

Again the Zenithians blast the Raptor point-blank with all they can and again the mighty rocket endures!

Again the Zenithians blast the Raptor point-blank with all they can and again the mighty rocket endures!

Being both sleepy we contemplated at what point to finish up, but we decided at least one more turn was needed, so we decided to go on.

The Raptor sat still, if it was going to get to strike it’d be with a delayed action phase if the game went another turn after this one. The Saucers went next and moved well behind the Raptor out of range and facing towards my approach! (a very good move on my brothers part, and i complimented him on it) The devious inhuman fiends!

My scorpions were willing to brave the incoming rays from the defensively positioned saucers. I swooshed them past the stationary Raptor and headlong into the guns of the saucermen, staying neatly out of the higher firepower of the class 2 Beta-z and the 4 class 1 rockets traded blows each concentrating on one of the enemy.

Trading final blows for the outcome of the battle...

Trading final blows for the outcome of the battle…

We decided the damage phase should determine the outcome of the game, in hindsight this had me in a good position with my higher armour and so better odds. Simultaneously our dice tumbled across the table….. Double Stun!

Traveler DC 140

A draw!

A most appropriate ending for a fun late-night game. Presumably some sort of dangerous cosmic conditions rendered the fight unable to be continued and each force towed their disabled rocket out of the system or abandoned it to cosmic forces to regroup, reinforce and fight again when conditions were favourable. Whats is this cosmic force, what secret is held by the mysterious Planet X… we’ll try and make one up for the next game 😀

A nice shot of the class 1 Zenithian Alpha-z. with a (scratched) white undercoat. I really need to paint these up!

A nice shot of the class 1 Zenithian Alpha-z. with a (scratched) white undercoat. I really need to paint these up!

And a great pic of my painted Imperial Class 1 Scorpions

And a great pic of my painted Imperial Class 1 Scorpions

Another great fun game even though we got too sleepy to run it to the last rocket soaring!

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.

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!
Muahahahaaaaaaaaaa!
(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”?

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!