Wargame Playtest AAR – Foreign Stars

The Forces

A-Force:

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M1AX Isaac Main Battle Tank
– Medium Vehicle, Heavy Cannon, Machine Gun, Grenade Launcher

2x VIRTU Rifle Section (8 Troopers)
– Assault Rifles

2x AT2 Anti-Tank Team
– Medium Missile Launchers

B-Force:

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VIRTU A9 Frame
– Large Melee Weapon, Small Laser Cannon

VIRTU A7 Frame
– Large Melee Weapon, Heavy MMG

2x VIRTU Rifle Section (8 Troopers)
– Assault Rifles

2x AT2 Anti-Tank Team
– Medium Missile Launchers

2x MG92 Machine Gun Team
– MMGs


Turn 1

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Force A won the initiative and began by activating their tank, sending it forward and firing an AP shell at the A9 Frame. The shot hit, the target failed its cover roll and two wounds were inflicted. Thankfully, the Frame passed its morale check. For the next two command points, the two rifle sections Rushed towards the objectives in the centre of the table.

 

Force B activated the A9, advanced and returned fire at the tank, but missed. An attempt to reactivate the unit failed, and control passed back to Force A.

The tank fired again, hitting the A7 Frame, but the mech passed its Cover roll and shrugged the hit off. An attempt to activate the missile launcher team failed.

Force B successfully activated three units in a row; one rifle section rushed forward and the two missile teams fired at the tank, scoring one hit but inflicting no damage.

Force A rushed its own missile team up for its final action, and Force B used the remainder of its command points to move the Frames into better positions.

Turn 2

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Force B won initiative. The A9 fired at the tank, and although the Impact roll failed to inflict damage, it was shaken from the resulting Morale test. A second shot, and an attempt from the missile team, proved unable to capitalise on the advantage.

The tank, in turn, failed to regroup; Force A’s commander then moved up the second missile team, and subsequently fired at the A9 to no effect.

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One of Force B’s machine gun teams opened fire at some visible riflemen, inflicting two wounds and Breaking the unit. It pressed the advantage, firing again for three more kills – one from its shooting and two more from a failed morale check. Finally the A9 once again fired at the tank to no effect.

Force A used its remaining command points to have the broken riflemen regroup back to Shaken status, and fire an ineffectual missile at the A7. Force B’s final move was to move its other machine gun crew to a better position.

Turn 3

A lot happened in turn 3; the A7 inflicted a wound on the undamaged rifle unit, and then charged the tank dealing two wounds with its melee weapon and breaking its morale.

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However, this left it open to an incoming rocket in the rear arc; Force A’s missile team scored maximum damage and took the mech out in a single shot. In return, the A9 tried to finish the damaged tank off, but scored no damage. The tank and Frame continued to exchange shots, with the Frame eventually inflicting three further wounds – leaving the tank Broken and subsequently seeing it destroyed by a nearby missile team (one damage from the missile, and a further wound from a failed Morale check). However, the A9, surviving three turns on a single wound, finally succumbed to incoming fire from Force A’s missile units.

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Turn 4

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Force A’s broken rifle unit regrouped and moved towards the objective, opening fire with some snap shots at the advancing Force B infantry. The two units engaged in a fierce firefight, which left both shaken but inflicted few casualties. On the other flank, Force A’s rifles also regrouped and took the objective – if Force B did not clear them off, the battle would be over.

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The medium machine gun teams performed admirably at this; the damaged unit was annihilated by a single burst, while the newly-regrouped unit on the left flank took two casualties. It was enough to draw the battle out another turn.

Turn 5

Sustained fire from the machine guns and Force B’s rifle units destroyed Force A’s surviving riflemen; while they had two missile launcher teams still undamaged, the battle was all but over with Force B significantly out-activating them, and taking the objectives all but unchallenged.

Notes

Foreign Stars is a game currently in playtesting; it has a lot of promise as a wargame that fits, for me, the niche that old editions of Warhammer 40,000 filled. Games with perhaps 30-40 infantry a side plus diverse vehicles. The rules, once I had got my head around remembering the order of actions was roll to hit, then roll saves, then roll wounds, were intuitive and played quickly with the 600-point game taking about an hour.

The system of pushing one’s luck with activations reminded me of Epic 40,000, or a more refined version of Infinity’s order allocation; I feel it adds good tactical decisions on a turn-by-turn basis, and even when one side took three actions in a row it did not generally feel an overwhelming advantage (which would likely be even less the case in a larger game).

I made one assumption on the rules – a vehicle that had taken 25% of its wounds counted as having lost 25% strength for morale.

All told, I would like to see Foreign Stars expand; as it is there are certain gaps in the playtest army list: heavier walker units (as the current Battlesuit entry feels suitable for power armours or TAG-equivalents and not larger mecha like Dreadnoughts), and vehicles like jeeps or artillery vehicles. The framework is, I think, a solid one and 15mm scale feels a lot more appropriate for larger battles than 28mm. If I played a second playtest I would use weapon upgrades more liberally, especially to give my mechs more punch.

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