Thursday, June 9, 2016

(Sci-Fi) #1 Strange Signals Under Cover

It didn't really matter why the Blue Martian scouts were on the planet, they needed to get off this hunk of rock pronto!  With the robot soldiers fast on their heels, they needed to get to the radio uplink, contact their ship and dash to meet it by a long-abandoned launchpad.

"Frak!" screamed Gronk, leader of the Martians.  The quick thaw allowed a ton of water to seep into cracks on the case of the radio, ruining fuses, circuits, and whatnot.  He grabbed Sodder, the tech, by the shoulder, and told him "Just fix it!"    The blasts from the robots' lasers were making sizzling noises as they lit up the nearby fir trees....

Blue Martians
Objective:  Fix Radio before all figures are eliminated.  One Martian per turn may roll to fix the radio.  On a 4+ on d6, one of the four broken pieces of the radio has been repaired.  A Martain repairing the radio may not move or fire, but may engage in melee combat. 
Move:  4/8
Modifier: -2
Weapons:  WYSIWYG.  Autoguns/Auto Pistols and basic melee weapons.
Gronk has one point of leadership which he can give to any Martian within 360 degree Line of Sight.
Leadership may be used as a bonus +1 to the die roll, move 1" in any direction at any time, or add one to the next iniative roll if it's left on Gronk and not used.  It is replenished to Gronk at the beginning for the Blue Martians' activation.

The Martians defended the transmitter. 
Robot Overlords
Objective:  Eliminate all Blue Martians before the radio is fixed.
Move:  5 (no running allowed)
Modifier: -1
Weapons:  LasGuns
Robots are to initially move in as fast as possible and eliminate the easiest targets.  Use of cover may only be used if it corresponds with the end of the max move.

Most of the Martians huddled around the transmitter, protecting Sodder.  They had protection from the front and back, but soon the laser blasts were flying over head from the flanks.   The robot had surrounded them!

Gronk lay low in the needles of the fir trees, away from the transmitter.  As one robot neared, he lept out, cracking the machine's plastic casing with his sword, severing numerous wires.  It fell in a sparking heap.
 Back at the radio, the Martians couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, and soon two of them lay twitching on the mossy forest floor.  Sodder had completed the first repair!

This was turning into a last stand....
 Froyo, a simple security officer, dove away from the transmitter and to the safety of a giant rock.

My last stand will be here!  Custard was my mother's maiden name.
 After fixing the second damaged portion of the transmitter, Sodder was ruthlessly shot in the back by a robot, but he was quickly avenged by Froyo.
The robots only saw Froyo left, peaking over the rock, so with 3-on-1 odds, their tactics altered slightly.  They spread out, creating three different angles of fire to negate some of the cover.  However, Froyo proved resilient, taking out the first one, barely needing to dodge the next two shots (both 1s), and popping the head off of the second robot. 

Sensing danger, the last robot changed direction, planning to swing around a large fir and getting an unobstructed shot.

There was a large explosion from the robot's torso, and its parts collapsed to the ground. 

Gronk, the leader, had taken out a second robot, and had slinked over behind a rock, holding his fire if anything came nearby.  He needed a 6 to hit the robot as it emerged from around the tree. 

My daughter Maja rolled a 6.

She beat me again.
Gronk saves the day!
I've built up an ample collection of pulp and fantasy scenarios from various blogs and web sites.    So long as Maja wants to play more "Egypt" games, I'll assemble the appropriate cast of characters (although I need to construct more buildings).  There haven't been many great skirmish/role-playing level sci-fi AARs, so when I discovered Preacher By Day converting the Pulp Alley scenarios into a 40k setting, I had to jump at the chance.

Of course, most of my painted sci-fi stuff was sold over a decade ago and my rebuilt collection is still in blisters in a shoebox on a shelf.  The Gretchin (aka Martians) and some Star Wars Droid troopers would need to do for now.

System-wise I had pondered trying out Savage Showdown, heck if we had more time, I thought about making full Savage Worlds characters. 

I ended up falling back onto an old reliable two decades old:  Legions of Steel.  It's quick, there's a single roll for combat (live or die),  the math is pretty simple, and it allowed me to focus on two tactical concepts a seven year old rarely thinks about:  Cover and covering fire. 

When playing our Pulp game, Maja was good at either avoiding the problems or taking care of them immediately.  Basic tactics, like hiding around the corner of the building, are usually furthest from her thoughts. 

After her last stand around the radio fell apart, I gently asked her what would be a better option, as even the robot were getting light cover modifiers by being near the fir trees. She not only got Froyo to safety, but she began assigning Gronk's leadership to him, to allow him to pick off the advancing robots.

She was also greatly amused to discover she could "hold her action" to conduct covering fire.  Sure it was an extra -1 penalty, but that was negated if Gronk could stay stationary. 

All in all,  a general success for family gaming.  It took five more rolls for the Gronk/Froyo to fix the transmitter and contact the ship.  They're going to gather the rest of the Martians and head off towards the landing pad. 

Only problem:  There's one person between them and freedom.  Sometimes one man is all it takes. 

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