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"Laserstorm. Scifi 3/6/10mm rules for BIG battles" Topic

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Weasel16 Jul 2015 8:34 p.m. PST

Alright, I feel this is far enough along that I can talk about it confidently.

The next big NWG project is going to be for very small soldiers:
Scifi micro armour :-)

(As a bit of history, this game started as an idea for stand based gaming, changed to skirmish gaming, previewed in the last Battle Pack issue, then changed back to stand based.. so hey, I got it right in the end).

So what is Laserstorm going to be about?

The mantra of the game is to play pretty snap and more importantly, have absolutely zero book keeping, zero counters on the table and zero status effects to keep track of.

With no fiddly bits to track, it means we can put a lot of toys on the table and have big battles with a lot of tanks, infantry and giant robots.

The scale is the same as the old Epic/Space Marine rules (1 stand is 4-6 infantry or 1 vehicle) and the rules will accommodate super heavies and "behemoths" (titan sized stompy robots and mega-tanks).

What does the turn look like?
When you set up your army, you break it into three "battle groups" which become the core of the activation system.

You can split them roughly equally, to make combined arms groups, have all the infantry in one and the tanks in another, split them by companies or battalions or whatever you feel works for you.

The turn sequence is card driven. Each battle group has a card in the deck for a total of 6 cards (in a 2 player game).
Draw the card for a battle group and every unit in it can activate.

This is sort of a middle point between a "IGOUGO" system or a completely alternating system.
The benefit here is that when you activate several units at the same time, you can do some pretty cool combined arms stuff: Tanks providing covering fire while the infantry surge forward, flank moves and whatnot, but you're not sitting waiting for your opponent to move 100 tanks. (Unless you are playing some seriously mental battles :) )

Additionally (though optional), there'll be a few reaction cards in the deck. These are put to the side and when the next battle group comes up, the other player can play them to react to your actions, moving or firing out of sequence.
Nice and simple, no need to track who is on overwatch or fiddle with order counters.

How do we kill dudes?
Being aimed at big battles, the combat mechanics are pretty straight-forward: Roll to hit, take saving throws and die if you fail.
Some units may have extra saves but fundamentally all units follow this system.

There are absolutely no damage markers or similar.

What sets different unit classes apart is the dice they roll:
Infantry take their saving throws on 1D6, tanks take them on 2D6, super heavies on 3D6 and Behemoths on 4D6.
This allows all units to operate in hte same scale and lets us show things like infantry that are well armoured against small arms, without making them into walking tanks.

If I have an infantry squad with a 4+ save and they take a hit at a -2 penalty, they need to be pretty lucky to save, but the same weapon hitting a tank with the same save will probably bounce off the armour.

Close combat is an opposed roll, akin to the old Space Marine rules, with the loser being chased off and taking a hit.

Generally, troops will be somewhat more durable than in some micro armour games, particularly the old Epic.

That is made up for by…

Remember I said no markers?

How does morale work then?

It works in two ways, one small and one game-defining.

The small way is very simple. Roll a 1 when firing (on a D6) and the target is pushed back a few inches.

The big deal is when units lose stands and test morale.
If a unit fails a morale check, they are removed from the board and placed in reserve.

Wait? They're gone??

Yes. Rather than track units on the table that can't do anything anyways, because they are pinned down, cowering, dealing with casualties etc. we just remove them.


Whenever a battle group activates, every commander gets to roll to regroup units in reserve.
This brings them back to the table so they can be used as reinforcements.

This has a really cool effect on the game:
Remember when you read about a really hard fought battle and the attackers are thrown back, regroup and come back for another go?
That's really hard to do on a gaming table but here, it totally works.
As your assault troops vanish, your commanders can regroup them and send them back into the fray, around a flank or try with a new approach.

Of course, if you have to hold the ground, you can order the grunts to "Stand and Die".
Knock off an extra troop stand and roll again. Hope they didn't die in vain.

Alien hordes will have some cool tricks dealing with this as well.

What about all the crazy scifi bits?
Infiltration, teleport attacks, drop ships and all that will be handled, through the Asset system.

When setting up the scenario, each player gets a number of assets, which can be used on things like unusual deployment methods, off-board support and flanking moves.

There's going to be a campaign too, right?
There's always a campaign, when it's a Nordic Weasel game.

This time, rather than the vague, narrative approach, we're going hardcore with the campaign: Units moving around a map, campaign assets and BIG armies.

Since one game plays very quick, we can be a bit more ambitious with the campaign rules.
This will be the sort of thing where you send an entire regiment across a war torn city, set your own strategic objectives and do the war-thing, epic-style.

Whev! What's the catch?
There's always a catch right?

Here's the deal:
The game won't be very "tech" heavy. The aim is to get a lot of toys moving at a pretty big level.
So all the fancy gadgetry will be abstracted to an extent.

There WILL be a lot of units to pick from and you'll be able to build your own as well, so you won't need to worry about your army being boring but it's not going to really distinguish between whether the tank has a laser or a rail gun.

The troop profiles won't look too alien if you played Epic before.

* * * * *

Hope that caught your attention and got at least a few of you excited :-)

I'll have something resembling an example of play pretty sure.
If anyone wants, I can post up a blow by blow example of what combat between two units might look like.

cloudcaptain16 Jul 2015 11:09 p.m. PST

Cool! I'll take it :)

Bez Bezson17 Jul 2015 2:09 a.m. PST

That sounds like my kind of game.

Is there an ETA yet for when it'll be out?

Frostie17 Jul 2015 4:33 a.m. PST

Sounds goof

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2015 6:09 a.m. PST

I'm fine with abstraction, preferring Epic 40K to the other sets of rules. I'm interested.

Does removing the units that failed morale do something different than if they'd just been left with a marker? I know you're trying to have no markers, but is there a real difference in the game?


Pattus Magnus17 Jul 2015 7:14 a.m. PST

I'm in!

I'm a long-time fan of Dirtside II, and GEV before that, and this sounds like it will hit all my favourite buttons!

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2015 7:31 a.m. PST

Big stompy robots are behemoths?

I'm curious about the abstraction. I don't like too many details (loved that E40K's Ork battlewagons were grouped into one profile), but do long some trade-offs. I wouldn't want all tanks to be the same, all behemoths, etc.

Again, looking at E40K, I liked a weapon on a titan being various trade-offs between range and firepower, and some with extra punch vs firepower. Would we be able to tell a gargant from an eldar titan from a warlord? Or a warlord from a warhound? I like abstraction, but we all have different levels of acceptance for it. I forget the name of the sci-fi game based off the Warmaster command system, but having no way (that I heard of) to increase the strength of a gun than to give it more shots was just a bit too far for me.

Where that abstraction goes matters, too. I was on the playtest team for Epic Armageddon, and thought it gave too much detail where I didn't want it (distinguishing between variations on a vehicle) and not enough where I did (titans).


Weasel17 Jul 2015 9:17 a.m. PST

Andy – Removing the units means they can be regrouped somewhere else than where they were removed.

So my troops go in to take an objective, get sent off, I might want to have them regroup somewhere else,to act as back up for another unit (reinforce the success, soviet style).
Or use them to shore up a defence against your attack, etc.

* * * * *

On abstraction – Units will be distinct with their own profiles.
As I said, the profiles will be fairly similar to the Space Marine ones.
Units are rated for:
Movement speed, firing accuracy, assault ability, armour and morale.

Weapons are rated for:
Range, number of shots, target type (anti-infantry, anti-tank or general purpose) and penetration.

Both weapons and units can have traits to distinguish them (there'll be a small handful of these, to build unique or interesting guns and troops).

So you can set up units the way you want them to, but you won't get any "Lasers and fusions have different performance against different armour types" sort of mechanic, if that makes sense?

The plan is for the rules to include about 40 or so "ready to play" units along with all the tools to build your own.

* * * * *

ETA – Hopefully within a month or so.Sourcing some artwork is going to be the main challenge.

Tim White17 Jul 2015 9:50 a.m. PST

Sounds interesting.

One thing I've noticed with a lot of 6mm games is that they don't go into detail with close-combat abilities of infantry – which happens to be rather key if you want to convert stuff over from Space Marine/Epic A.


Weasel17 Jul 2015 11:35 a.m. PST

Yeah, I think usually it just becomes a factor of a "quality" rating.
This will have an explicit score for close combat, since it can be a factor of training and equipment (and giant alien claws), and you could have traits giving extra stuffs.

devilinthedetails18 Jul 2015 3:05 a.m. PST

Okay, colour me intrigued…

Weasel19 Jul 2015 12:40 p.m. PST

As an aside, tossing around ideas for a bit more structure in army building:

Now, you can do scenarios and you can put whatever is on your shelf, but for players who like a bit more of a big picture, here's how I /think/ it'll work (if I can get it to be cool).

You'll build your army from a number of task forces. Each of these will have some designation (infantry, armour, whatever) and can consist of a number of units.
So an infantry task force might have 1-5 infantry units, 0-1 vehicle units, etc.

You can attach extra units to the task force as "Support" units but they'll cost a bit extra.

Each task force can be given a commander who may add tactical assets like being allowed to infiltrate a unit forward during deployment, set up in trenches, flank march a unit, that sort of thing.

Provided it all works out well, it'd give your armies a little more structure, make them feel a bit more like actual armies and be an awesome way to have things like "Oh yeah, that's General Krieger's PanzerStompWaffen battalion. They've fought in the battles of DeadMenPiledHigh Orchards and BurningTank Hill".

Make it feel a bit more like you are playing with an actual army, you know?

Ethanjt2121 Jul 2015 9:43 p.m. PST

I am very intrigued. Keep us posted on the release date.

Gaz004521 Jul 2015 10:06 p.m. PST

I like the sound of 'task force' structure for army lists, I've never liked army points and find it an interest killer………
Presumably an armoured TF ( units 0-5) could be supported by more armour but at a much higher costing than the 'normal' attachments, infantry and artillery etc?

sean6833322 Jul 2015 9:15 a.m. PST

This sounds great! I'm very interested in seeing this.

If you need anyone to playtest, I've got a lot of Epic models painted, ready to hit the field and take these for a test spin.

sean6833322 Jul 2015 9:27 a.m. PST

One question, you talked about using additional d6 for saving throws as units get bigger/beefier/better armored.

Have you thought about just using larger dice: d10, d12, d20?

This would allow rolling multiple saves at once instead of having to make separate rolls. I don't know exactly how the mechanics work, so this may not be an issue, but if I make an attack on a super heavy tank with a unit of tank destroyers and score 4 hits, then I might have to roll a 3d6 save 4 times. Or I could roll a 4 d20's one for each save.

Just a thought to stream line the process (that I know nothing about). :)

Ethanjt2122 Jul 2015 9:08 p.m. PST

I like the additional D6 idea. It is a cheap and abstracted way to show differing armor values against the same weapon.

The chance of a tank saving against what killed the motorcycle is better represented by more chances for the tank. If you use a larger die you might actually lower the tanks chances.

I think it keeps the weapon effectiveness and armor rating pretty streamlined and no brainer. I like it.

My question:

If you were going to do a multiplayer game, lets say 3 players per side, would you give each army 3 individual cards or make all three players have a battlegroup that activates on the same card?

Sorry to pick your brain, 90% of the games I run are 4+ players, jw if you thought of that yet.

moonfleetminis24 Jul 2015 4:34 p.m. PST

Lots of models,big games, whats not to like :)

Weasel21 Aug 2015 10:37 a.m. PST

Work is slowly progressing by the way.

Just starting the campaign rules and ironing out the points system :)

Capt Flash23 Aug 2015 10:52 a.m. PST

Ivan, these look interesting. Looking forward to this, so please set aside everything else and just focus on these rules! You can eat/sleep/bathe after this is ready…

RetroBoom23 Aug 2015 7:32 p.m. PST


RTJEBADIA10 Sep 2015 3:23 p.m. PST

I've enjoyed all of your SF rules so far, and this seems to be a nice upgrade from Epic Armageddon!

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