Star Wars Rampant

One of the problems we’ve had with SciFi wargaming is my lack of suitable terrain. I have a lot of terrain for 28mm historical and fantasy, including some dark ages style buildings. But for SciFi, I’m lacking urban/futuristic urban scenery other than a few ruined buildings.

To do a proper urban environment, I’d need a lot of buildings, which takes up even more room in the house. So a while back I decided to just draw a map using something like Dungeondraft and print it out. Then I decided it would be easier to find an existing one and use that.

The full map

So enter Episodic Maps and her wonderful map in the style of Mos Eisley space port. This consists of 9 tiles, each 30×30 squares in size. This translates to about 75cm printed width, for a total of 2.25m x 2.25m of map. Unfortunately, getting a map this size printed turned out to be difficult. I wanted to use Deepcut Studios, since I have a number of their battle mats already, and they’re high quality. Except the largest they will print is about 180cm by 120cm.

So I could print each tile as its own map, giving me 9 maps I could then arrange as I wanted. Except printing a small map isn’t that much cheaper than printing a large one, so it’d work out at around €450 to do all of them, compared to about €85 for one large one.

In the end, I cropped the full map down to 180×120, which also has the advantage of fitting on the tables we use at Farnborough Wargames. The end result looks pretty good. It came out somewhat darker than I was expecting, but that’s okay. The map itself provides lots of narrow streets to have firefights along, as well as ways of getting up onto some of the roofs.

Now I had a map, we needed a game for it. Fortunately, I have a set of plastic Star Wars figures I picked up from Salute many years ago and have never used. Xenos Rampant seemed like a suitable rule set to use. Simple enough that we could concentrate on seeing how the map worked as a battle field rather than worrying about the rules.

I came up with a group of Imperial troops, led by Darth Vader (who turned out to be half the points) and supported by some Bounty Hunters, against some Rebel Scum along with a group of Smugglers and a Jedi. The aim was for the Jedi to get safely from one short edge of the table to the other, whilst Darth Vader wanted to hunt him down and kill him.

The Rebels had fewer higher cost units, the Imperials had more points overall. But given the Rebels only had to get one figure across the table, that seemed okay. It’s also a bigger table than Xenos Rampant normally uses (about twice the size), so having more troops on the board seemed reasonable.

The Imperial forces consisted of several units of Stormtroopers (heavy infantry), plus Bounty Hunters and Darth Vader as a single figure unit.

The Rebels had several units of Rebel Scum, a group of Smugglers (recon infantry) plus a single figure unit consisting of the Jedi.

I used some of the Xenos abilities for both Darth Vader and the Jedi, as well as giving them Close Quarters, which limited their shooting range to 12″. They didn’t have shooting weapons, but I figured they could use telekinetic Jedi powers at this range if they needed to. They also had Firefight, which allows a unit to shoot back when they’re being shot at. This would simulate the Jedi ability to parry blaster bolts and send them back from where they came from.

We diced to see who went first, and it was the Imperials turn. We stuck to the standard activation rules for Xenos Rampant – so if you fail to activate a unit, then your turn ends. Apart from one unit of Stormtroopers who seemed to be hiding from Darth Vader, most of our units seemed to succeed on their activations.

First turn was movement, with the Rebels helped by the fact that their movement activations are free (they don’t need to roll to see if they follow a movement order). Turn two was much the same, with both sides moving forward. The urban terrain meant there weren’t any clear lines of fire between the two sides. Boba Fett was leading the Bounty Hunters across the rooftops though, to try and get a line of fire from above (the blue marker was used to denote units on top of buildings).

Turn 4 is when shooting begins. They take some pot shots at the Bounty Hunters and at Vader, but get no kills. The rebels only had one unit that could skirmish, so all other units had to choose between moving or shooting in the turn. I hadn’t realised before how much this limits choices when there is a lot of terrain blocking line of sight. Games like Saga and Stargrunt allow multiple actions, so you can move out and perform a shooting action in the same turn.

This lead to my units becoming trapped, since I wanted to shoot with the ones at the front, but they were blocking units at the rear from moving up. I possibly should have been willing to give up a turn to allow more forces to come out.

By turn 5, we were in the midst of a shooting battle. The Bounty Hunters and smugglers were both up on the roof tops shooting at each other, whilst the rest of the rebels were trying to keep to a defensive position whilst the Stormtroopers moved up.

Vader was out in the front, taking a few hits but no damage. With an armour of 5 (so 5 hits needed for a ‘wound’) he wasn’t under a great deal of threat. The Rebels needed to roll 6’s to hit him (a typical unit rolls 10D6), but had heavy weapons so scored 2 hits on a 6. This would be good later, but not right now.

My plan at this point was to try and wait for the Imperial forces to move up the table, then rush my Jedi past them and to safety. The Jedi had a move of 12″ (the force is strong), so as long as there was a gap in the Imperial lines, it may be possible.

My smugglers were not doing well against the bounty hunters, mostly because the former had light armour. Indeed, this was the pain weakness of the rebels – they were light on armour so their units were quite fragile. This made the Stormtroopers, even though they were cheaper at 2 points, actually quite a bit tougher. More like they were on the Tantive IV, than on the Death Star.

On turn 6, with Darth Vader now up next to the Rebel lines, I started to move my Jedi out of cover and down the middle of the table. I needed to keep him close to the walls so that the Bounty Hunters on the roof couldn’t shoot him. I also needed to bring out more units to try and take down Vader.

Turn 7 was when we re-enacted the end scene from Rogue One. Vader charged one of the Rebel units. He wiped out the unit in one single attack, taking one ‘wound’ himself. As a single figure unit we were tracking wounds on him using tokens on his unit card.

A unit of Stormtroopers was moved down an alley to block my Jedi, but in the Rebel’s turn he charged them, killing 3 and driving them back. Unfortunately, he took 2 wounds himself.

Turn 8, and Vader continued to cut through the Rebel units, whilst the Bounty Hunters and Stormtroopers shot at my Jedi as he fled down side streets.

He managed to get out into the open, ready to run down the narrow side passage. If he got down there, he would probably be clear. However, the Stormtroopers weren’t as bad a shot as they were meant to be, and one hit was all that was needed to take him out.

Vader wasn’t pleased that he hadn’t been able to kill the Jedi personally, but it was a win for the Imperials.

It had been a reasonably close fight given the winning conditions, though from a unit loss perspective the Rebels had been totally outclassed. Maybe Stormtroopers should be light infantry rather than heavy infantry to make them more disposable.

The narrow streets afforded lots of cover and required decisions about whether to move or to shoot to an extent that we haven’t really had before.

An improvement would probably be if the map had internal rooms rather than showing a roof eye view. That would allow combat within buildings, rather than just around buildings. Episodic Maps has a number of building internals, I need to see if there are some large street areas I can stitch together, or I try and finish the one I’m working on in Dungeondraft.

I think the map is going to be a useful addition to my collection though. Not just for Star Wars, but it could be a suitable fit for and generic SciFi or even a Middle Eastern type of setting (1920s Pulp might work), just ignore the speeder bikes.

It was a good game though, and being Star Wars themed it was almost relevant given the date, being only a day early for May the Fourth.

Samuel Penn

1 Response

  1. Excellent report, Sam, and a good looking game. Thanks for letting me sit in trying to absorb a few rules by osmosis. 👍🏼

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