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"Gaming "Fallen Skies" with Tomorrow's War?" Topic

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CATenWolde03 Jul 2012 8:37 a.m. PST


For those of you not familiar with the Steven Spielberg TV series (now in its second season), Fallen Skies is a post-apoc resistance story. Aliens have desolated the earth's population with conventional/laser/neutron weapons, leaving the remnants of humanity to wander the deserted wastelands in small groups, trying to survive and fight back. The aliens were thought to be the "Skitters" truly alien four-legged and four-armed arachnid type beasties, who swarm throughout the ruins in search of children to kidnap and bio-technically "harness" into slavery. Although the Skitters are reinforced by "Mechs" (two legged combat walkers) and "Skimmers" (laser-armed flying drones), they themselves are strangely both unclothed and unarmed, fighting with claw and fang. It later turns out that the Skitters (and the rest of the tech) are actually controlled by a seldom-seen race of tall "Greys" and that the Skitters are actually another slave-race now enslaving humanity in turn. Fallen Skies traces the story of a group of resistance fighters dubbed the Second Massachusetts, after the AWI regiment.

So, in gaming terms, we have:

1. Human resistance groups of various levels of experience and weaponry, ranging from nervous civilian defenders to hardened "Fighters" to ex-military, but with few heavy weapons.


2. Small groups of fast arachnid type aliens who fight hand to hand, and who by themselves have only rudimentary tactical skill.

3. Heavily armored mechs with powerful weaponry, apparently on independent programming for the most part (defend/escort/attack).

4. Flying drones similar to above.

5. Master race Greys who apparently never engage in combat, but who may be able to provide advanced tactics and mind-controlled "morale boosting".

Fighting Over:

6. Sometimes straightforward tech or positions, but often groups of scared civilians, and more often unpredictable groups of terrified children.

So … I just got my copy of Tomorrow's War for those of you more familiar with it, will it handle all of the above? Any handy hints on how to do it?

Any figure suggestions? 15mm would be great!



Ambush Alley Games03 Jul 2012 8:56 a.m. PST

I'm biased, but I think it's imminently playable using Tomorrow's War!

You can have a lot of fun with the human militia, because you've got latitude to interpret their capabilities – and the capabilities between units are liable to vary a lot.

From watching the show, I'd say that (in Tomorrow's War terminology), the civilian militia fighters fall into these categories:

1. Irregulars with low Troop Quality (D6, probably). These are the guys that you see patrolling the camp or clustered tightly around "officers" during road movements on the TV show.

2. Regulars with low Troop Quality (Again, probably D6). These are the backbone of the militia. They've had enough experience and training from the guys with military or police experience to actually work like a team, perform coordinated movement and fire, and use basic small unit tactics.

3. Regulars with Average Troop Quality (D8). These are the guys that always get sent on missions away from camp – the scavengers and guys going on special missions. They're either ex-military or they're civilians who've picked up the tactics as above and used them a lot more under the mentorship of guys with military/para-military experience. These are the guys the show is mostly about (in the combat scenes, at least).

4. Regulars with high TQ (D10). Some of the combatants seem to edge above D8, but I think these guys would be rare.

Remember that Irregular units can behave like Regular units if they have a Regular unit that they're subordinate to on the table.

That might look pretty grim for the humans – but so far the Aliens don't appear to be any great shakes, either. If they hadn't blasted military bases from space, I don't think they'd be having much success on the ground. I'd call them Regulars, but I wouldn't give them a Troop Quality any higher than D8 – they're not too bright and they don't show much in the way of coordinated movement of fire either within their units or in combination with other units.

I'd give humans Tech Level 1 guns before they discover how to make the Alien Piercing Bullets and TL 2 afterwards. I'd give the aliens Tech Level 3 gear.



SBminisguy03 Jul 2012 9:08 a.m. PST

I think you'll need to make a special "Don't go out there!" rule for the many times some lackwit RedShirt runs out into the open to get blasted by the aliens…

CATenWolde03 Jul 2012 9:11 a.m. PST

Thanks! Sounds like a good core, and I can keep all that in mind as I read through the rules. I was wondering how to handle the Alien Killer bullets, and that sounds very elegant.



Ghostrunner03 Jul 2012 9:14 a.m. PST

It remains to be seen (in the show) what the command/control relationship between the Skitters and the Mechs really involves.

I'd suggest that Mechs suffer a SEVERE penalty if there is not a Skitter within some command and control radius. The Skitter units can of course be hiding in cover as the Mechs blast everything in sight.

I would also give the militia access to Heavy Weapons, but with the following:
- Limits on qty. Either a pre-defined number of LAW/ATGM weapons, or an even more severe restriction than the die roll method from the rules.
- Every time the militia uses such a weapon, there is a chance the Skitters will vector in some air support or other kind of reinforcements. This reflects the implied Skitter attitude (at least in the first season) that most of the militia bands weren't much of a threat, unless they demonstrated otherwise.

Also, since taking down a Mech is a BIG DEAL, at least early on, I'd give the militia units a morale bonus (temporary) any time they can make one go boom.

CATenWolde03 Jul 2012 9:42 a.m. PST

All good points – thanks!

It will be interesting to see if we ever learn any more details about the communication between the various layers of alien society. Do the Skitters really control the mechs? They don't seem to control the Skimmers, do they? Or are they all on some version of auto-pilot slaved orders, unless the Greys intervene? The Greys can obviously intervene through the tech on the Mechs and Skimmers, but can they also intervene through the "Red Eye" Skitters?

In game terms, I'm wondering if there could be a sort of Encounter Escalation Scale that one could use, something like this:

1. Skitter Patrol (only Skitters).
2. Mech Patrol (controlled and/or reinforced by Skitters)
3. Skimmer Patrol/Support
4. Master Grey intervention (C&C upgrade?)

So, if a bunch of fighters do too well during a scenario, there could be a chance of (randomly) going up the scale and having the aliens receive reinforcements. This could be bad … or it could be a Wily Human Trap! ;)

M1Fanboy03 Jul 2012 9:55 a.m. PST

I gotta agree with Shawn, heck, some Skitter units, like the Mechs? D6s. They move like a bag of molasses and shoot worse than me without my glasses. So, yeah. Humanity will win because the aliens aren't that bright. They wanna negoitate after we bloodied their nose? Um…not a good time to negotiate.

As for other matters, I would allow the use of the harnessed kids, but treat em as dumbbots.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2012 2:42 p.m. PST

I like the premise of the show. However, I'm trying yo figure out why they haven't just beat the crap out of the 2nd Mass yet. I mean, that one-eyed Skitter keeps showing up and doing something to Ben, so they obviously are following them.

Is it the slave labor thing. Or something else?

Sorry if this is a hijack---do like the ideas so far on using TW for gaming it.


CATenWolde04 Jul 2012 3:21 a.m. PST

I know what you mean – I'm sure I'm not the only one getting an Admiral Ackbar "It's a trap!" feeling from the whole Charleston situation. Lure all the remnants of humanity into one "safe" haven and then … do whatever aliens do.

kreoseus205 Jul 2012 7:40 a.m. PST

"do whatever aliens do"

Alienate ?

Hayden Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

well for resistance Khurasan miniatures is IMHO right call




Cacique Caribe09 Jul 2012 4:30 p.m. PST

More ideas here:

TMP link
TMP link
TMP link

PS. By the way, it's "Falling Skies" not "Fallen Skies".

Jemima Fawr09 Jul 2012 5:56 p.m. PST

How would you model the Skitters' & Mechs' main attributes:

Lacking any form of modern sensor


Cacique Caribe09 Jul 2012 6:22 p.m. PST

How about the IXX from GZG?



PS. "Skittles, taste the rainbow!"

Das Sheep11 Jul 2012 2:30 p.m. PST

My thoughts:

The Skitters are a mixture of other races previously conqured, which are turned into skitters by the Harnesses. In the hospital the one that had Ben seemed to care for the humans it had under it.

They are under the control of the big gray fellows, but perhaps only when when the big grey fellows decide to directly control them. They do not have weapons because the big gray fellow do not fully trust the skitteres, as they are a conqured people.

The MECH's, which they mention being strange because they are bipedal, unlike the skitters, are sent WITH the skitters, perhaps as much to protect them as they are to watch them and control them as agents of the big grey guys.

The big gray guys are the ones conquring the world, but are few in number. A handful are with each large structure over the city, and they use the mechs and drones as their primary attack force, with skitters being used mostly as slave labor, scouts, and to direct and take care of newly harnessed humans.

I do not think the Skitters are the bad guys. They seem to care for the harnessed kids to an extent, are formerly harnessed themselves, and at least in some instances could have killed the humans, but did not.

I think the Skitters can not actively rebel because of the harnesses, but also do not entirely like the Grays, or perhaps dislike them a great deal.

Ghostrunner11 Jul 2012 3:50 p.m. PST

This week's episode (July 8th) may have revealed the true relationship between skitters/ the grey masters/ and humans.

That, or it's a complete mindscrew on someone's part.

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