After months of painting and gaming various fantasy games, Josh and I cleansed our palates last week with a nice game of In the Emperor's Name, the small-scale sci-fi ruleset designed for (but not limited to) skirmish gaming in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
As we have been gaming lately in our own homebrew sci-fi universe, we decided to set the game on Talumbach's World, a mostly unexplored forested planet. Here's the capsule Josh came up with for the scenario:
Long ago, Talumbach's World was colonized by Talumbach
Enterprises as a mining resource. The corporation allowed the Terran
Federation to house a small military base in return for tax credits.
One year later, both colony and military base were deserted. Records were
sealed, and the planet was declared dangerous, uninhabitable, and
off-limits by the Terran frontier government. Years passed, and the forest took
back the land.
More recently, a trade ship crash-landed on the planet's surface carrying valuable data cores about the disposition and movement of Subathi Empire forces in the system. Moving quickly, the Subathi dispatched an extraction team to infiltrate the planet and secure the data cores.
Here's the battlefield at the beginning of the game, with the crashed spaceship located near the abandoned military base.
Josh's Subathi troopers (actually Tau) were joined by some Kroot warriors for this expedition. Here they are at their jumping-off point.
I know you're all wondering what army I put on the table to threaten Josh's advance. Maybe you guessed it from the scenario or the teaser photo up top. The truth is, Talumbach's World, at least this abandoned firebase, is infested with xenomorphs! Here's what's lurking in the ruins, waiting to feast on Subathi flesh...
The big guy in the center is from Kryomek, and the smaller xenos are from Reviresco.
The weird bug critter is from Grenadier, alongside a Reviresco "homphage" figure.
Oh boy! Aliens everywhere!
We came up with some fun movement rules for the xenomorphs. Small groups could forfeit their activation for one turn in order to re-appear the next turn inside any terrain piece on the battlefield. Leaders were required to use this terrain-to-terrain movement, and this special rule really heightened the tension on the battlefield and kept Josh on his toes.
Here's his cautious advance.
I maneuvered my xenos so they were sort of encircling the crash site, ready to pounce as soon as the Subathi troops got close. They were custom-built from the ITEN rulebook to be close combat monsters.
Finally, Josh's guys were close enough that I sprang the trap, sending my xenos rushing in from all sides to slaughter his forces.
Close combat in ITEN is fairly simple: roll to hit, then the target rolls his/her Grit stat to avoid dying. My guys had no problem whatsoever scoring hits (they are close combat monsters, after all) but Josh's Grit rolls were frustratingly successful. I was planning to kill two or three of his guys for every one of mine, but the dice were in his favor, and my guys bore the brunt of the assault.
At this point in the game, we got a bit loopy. Josh had a wad of Silly Putty
at the table (he uses it to mask off areas for airbrushing), so on a whim we decided to put together some gruesome battlefield effects for the dying xenos. Anyone who's ever seen Aliens knows that these guys spray giblets everywhere when they die. Here are the best shots of the carnage on Talumbach's World.
Yep, guts everywhere. I killed some of his guys, but not enough. The orange Silly Putty puddles soon outnumbered the remaining xeno warriors. Ultimately Josh was able to secure the data cores and fight his way back to the evac site. In retrospect we agreed that perhaps I should have had more xenomorphs to really make his life miserable out there. But then again, we might have run out of orange Silly Putty!
What a mess!
Next week we'll play the first session of our summer fantasy campaign, so stay tuned for more CSW game reports!
-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member