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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Battle Report: The Valkeeri Skirmishes

Captain Shulme ran his fingers through his beard as he scanned the rocky landscape and the ruined ancient buildings of the world Iratus Est Draco below, looking for any sign of the missing Princess Taegan. Even if they find her there was evidence from the Valkeeri that there was a chance a pod-person clone had replaced the real Princess, but Emperor Marduk is all-seeing and a counterfeit would not fool the Princesses’ father. The orders were to scour every mile of the surface of the worlds in this system, find the Princess and take her to her father. The Valkeeri had struck the watchstation orbiting Iratus Est draco in force and so it wasn’t surprising when Kurush called from the radarscope of clear readings of Valkeeri rocket-pulses. They were headed towards one of the ruined cities, like all those in this system it was smashed with what seemed to be atomic warfare and abandoned so many millenia ago that not a trace of radioactivity remained, there must be something there of value.

“Hassimir, send a message to Fleet central: Have sighted Valkeeri task force. Destroying and Investigating.”  Standard Imperial policy, shoot first, ask questions of the survivors after.

What were the Alien women up to? And did it have anything to do with the Zenithian towers, the weakening sun or the missing Princess? He would wring the information from the survivors!

“All rockets: Intercept and attack!”

I got a call from Taphyl during the week asking if I was up for another game of War Rocket and for showing our friend Mirium how to play. So I quickly gathered my  things together, remembering my camera this time, and went round for an afternoon/evening of gaming socialising and a very nice dinner. Mirium had some job applications to do first so we started with a small game between Taphyl and I.

The two small fleets, perfect for a quick game

The two small fleets, perfect for a quick game, or two!

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Sleeping Dragon and the Battle for Science!

Captain Atrius fumed quietly as he sat in the command chair of the Class II Imperial Raptor Rocket The Shahin. It was difficult enough sitting in the position normally taken by the Princess instead of his usual position to her right. Especially as he couldn’t go anywhere without the Princesses pet Vyper-bat Atalleph left in his care coiled around his arm or hanging on his shoulder, though it did help him keep the Princess in mind. It was worse that helping the Magi, the scientists of the Empire, determine the secret central hub of the strange tower ruins the Zenithians had activated and their dangerous effects upon the star Draco meant that he and much of the Princesses’ fleet had been taken off the search for their missing leader. Worse yet was that the mastermind behind the Magi’s operations Magi Lord Dr Axon had implied that the search for the Princess should be abandoned altogether… but the most infuriating of all was that the very same Dr Axon had insisted on being on board the very same Rocket as Atrius!

Normally he got on well with battle-magi, those soldiers of the empire most entrusted with the powerful secrets of the Empires advanced science and engineering. That Dr Axon was more machine than man, after a grievous wounding in battle his vast swathe of knowledge resulted in him determined too valuable to the Empire to be allowed to die. His brain having been transferred into a translucent jar atop a life-sustaining mechanical apperatus, a humanoid body all too reminiscent of the Robot Legions for anyone’s comfort, was disturbing in itself, but it was the attitude that seemed so incompatible with the honourable noble demeanour of the warriors of the Emperors rocket fleet that was worst. This was the first citizen of the Empire Atrius felt he could not and should not trust. And right now he had hooked his mysterious devices to the rockets engines doing who knows what as they scanned, like the rest of the class 2 Imperial rockets on Dormientes Draco, along a grid search pattern measuring the strange energies at work. At least, thought the Captain, the Magi are staying in the engine access compartment…. and that’s when the saucers attacked!

Once again it’s time for another exciting battle report from a saturday morning game of War Rocket down at my local game store The Sleeping Dragon. Alas due to a late night Jason wasn’t able to join in (but hopefully will be in the next report) so Taphyl and I battled it out. This time Taphyl wanted to try the Zenithians rather than the Valkeeri so i let him try with my currently-small Zenithian force.

We started setting up the table with the familiar belt-of-orion placement of strange towers, then Taphyl placed some other ruined buildings from the ancient past of Dormientes Draco along with the floating Ice-teroids created by the towers drawing the indescribably rare mineral MacGuffinite in prodigious quantities from deep in the ground as Taphyl asked “What will the objective be?”

Alerted by 7th-dimensional sensors to the scanning taking place by Imperial rockets around the world of planet Dormientes Draco the Zenithians have been tasked with capturing some Imperial scientists to find out how much the Empire knows about what is happening and see if the Empire is a threat to the Saucer-men’s terrible plans for our 4 dimensions of the universe! While on the Raptor…

“All Hands, battle stations!” Called Captain Atrius as the Zenithians swarmed in to the attack.
“Which foe Captain?” demanded the authoritative mechanical voice of Magi Dr Axon, sounding much more acceptably Imperial for a moment.
“Zenithians closing fast, a class 2 and 3 class 1’s”
“Capture the Class 2 Beta-Z saucer at all costs captain, interrogating their crew could give us the vital information we seek, help us save the galaxy and get you back to searching for your Princess!”
“Raptor to all Scorpions, Raptor to all Scorpions, class 2 saucer to be boarded, repeat: class 2 saucer not to be destroyed!”

Taphyl scrutinizes the Zenithian stats before we start (and misses something which we discover much later)

Taphyl scrutinizes the Zenithian stats before we start (and unfortunately misses something important which we discover much later)

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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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Battle Over Sleeping Dragon’s Ice-teroid MacGuffinite Mine!


At last the secret of the Zenithians near-indestructible towers was revealed. Not defense installations but instead some mixture of advanced interdimensional technologies and the lost sciences of the ancient mysterious ruins that plague Dormientes Draco, the forgotten greatness of its now primitive inhabitants scared into superstitious regression by the horrors of advanced super-science unleashed foolishly upon themselves many millennia past driving them underground into the worlds cavern-riddled interior. Now, the riches uncovered, the powers of the galaxy raced to secure the prodigious quantities of the powerful fuel ingredient MacGuffinite these towers had exposed… and the Imperium still sought sign of the mysterious fate of the corageous and beloved Imperial Princess Taegan…

Once again I return to the Sleeping Dragon on a Saturday morning for the fun and excitement of War Rocket!

Following on from the Lost Episode that was the last game (I’ve lost the cord for the old camera so that report will turn up eventually hopefully) I got a brand new camera (in a nice shiny Imperial Red) to take some pics of the game, had my nails painted a nice old gold to match the rest of my colour scheme and went into battle once more against Jason’s noble Galacteers.

Yep i even painted my fingernails in an Imperial Gold to match my Rocket Fleet!

Yep I even painted my fingernails in an Imperial Gold to match my Rocket Fleet!

We decided on another hex-mat game so again we are using the store’s lovely Hotz mat. We flipped through the rulebooks scenarios and decided on the mining conflict, with towers instead of asteroid mines.

Jason's Galacteers in all their fully painted glory

Jason’s Galacteers in all their fully painted glory. Note the lovely effect of subtle star dots he’s painted on the bases!

And yes, even with a new digital camera I can still only take blurry pics.. ah well 🙂
We also added some excellent asteroid fields to the table that Jason had brought along.

We also added some excellent asteroid fields to the table that Jason had brought along.

The strange towers drew the MacGuffinte ore up from the earth causing great floating ice-toroids to form about them in the desert sky!

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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!

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!