The Polar Bears

The Polar Bears
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Some more toys to play with from Khurasan

Hi all,

Khurasan made a very exciting, well, at least to me, announcement yesterday about a new set of figures that they are producing.  Check it out here:

The figures are pretty sexy and look spot on for Colonial Marines.  One even has a motion tracker:

The nine figures match-up quite nicely with a standard CM rifle section with 2 MGs, 1 Flamethrower, 1 NCO, and 5 riflemen.  A very nice mix of miniatures and they look well sculpted.  But that's no real surprise as this is Khurasan!  I plan to order at least 4 sets so that I can make a decent sized company of them.  

How do I plan to use them?  I'm wondering that right now.  If they are really great sculpts then I'll probably paint them up as USCMs (and try harder to get the "correct" USCM camo pattern) and use my current collection as US Army personnel.  A win-win scenario for me!

In addition, Khurasan announced that an APC was in the works for these miniatures and that he would consider releasing more miniatures for this "line" if sales were good.  Here's some conceptual art for the APC:

It's a pretty sweet ride!  It, to me, has the same vibe of the M577 APC but has a more realistic look to it.  It doesn't look like the vis-mod airplane tractor that the original was.  Don't get me wrong, it was a cool vehicle but after I heard about what it was I just couldn't drop the image!!

So here's your chance to grab that USCM collection that you've always wanted.  Go hit Khurasan and order a few squads:

I can't wait to see how they stack up with my other sci-fi troopers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Liberty, a world at war

Hi all,

Well, after several months of plugging away I'm mostly done with my marine company.  As it stands I have two marine rifle platoons with three supporting tanks completed and one final rifle platoon in the painting hopper.  I'll do that third platoon, but it will probably be the start of another company.  I also want to add more tanks to the collection and maybe some of Rebel Minis sci-fi humvees to give my troops more mobility out side of the M577s. 

And yes, before anyone asks, I'm going to reset my table and take pictures of what I have painted up in the very near future... probably this weekend at the earliest. 

That leads me to this post: what am I really going to do with this bunch?  They need to have a world to fight on with a set of foes to to meet on the battlefield.  So far, they have only been up against  bugs and "faceless" rebels!  Who are these rebels and why are they taking shots at my marines???  And what's the deal with the bugs anyway???  That's where my new background, planet Liberty, kicks in.

So what's Liberty?

It's the biggest break between me and the usual aliens/super hunter background that exists for the Aliens Colonial Marines.  For me, Liberty is a more toward a 'conventional' war gaming world . So here's the premise I have for my campaign world,  Liberty.

Liberty  was established by a joint American/French expedition.  The world itself is very Earth like and requires no terraforming for people to live on.  Conditions wise, Liberty is very much like the Earth during the Carboniferous period of perhistory.  This means that the world is rather warm and covered with shallow seas and vast jungles.  It has a much higher oxygen content that allows for larger species of bugs (see where I'm going here?).  This makes Liberty very interesting to biochemical companies who want to research the life on Liberty and find products for the markets back on Earth.  However the United Americas and the French Union got there first and placed Liberty under their colonial control.  

In time the UA and the FU established two major colonies under their flags.  Both interstellar nations established fairly large colonies under their own control and only allowed certain corporations to come to Liberty to conduct research.  This really ticked off several multinationals who wanted a piece of the action and lead to them supporting various colonial independence movements.   The French colony was the first to rebel and the rebels established the independent Republic of Liberty.  In the years that followed, the republic began to export (with off world support) its rebellion to the UA's Liberty Territory.

The rebellion in Liberty Territory started as strikes against the territorial government to protest unfair taxes and laws and calls for unification with the Republic of Liberty from extremists.  It became a full fledged rebellion after the independence plebiscite where  some 70% of the voting population chose to remain within the United Americas as an independent state rather than unification with the Republic of Liberty.   As the months past the rebellion began to grow and grow with the Republic of Liberty fanning the flames by providing the rebels with arms and training and even volunteers. 

In response, the United Americas have dispatched a USCM Marine Assault Unit to assist the Liberty National Guard, State Troopers, and State Defense Forces in putting down the rebellion and to restore order in the war-torn state.  The rebels of Liberty are an odd mix of French and American local/part-time irregulars, some full-time, "main force",  style guerrilla units, regular troops from the Republic of Liberty,  mercenary companies hired by off world corporations who seek to gain trading and biological research rights on Liberty, as the United Americas have refused them these rights, and later still, by regular troops from the French Union's Foreign Legion.. 

To stir the pot a little the French Union has decided that the United Americas were responsible for the Liberty Revolution and have, bizarrely (well, not really, the Republic of Liberty has signed a secret treaty that give the French Union trading and other rights to Liberty), sided with colonists in revolting against the United Americas.  The French Union has sent a battle squadron to protect Liberty airspace and even Foreign Legion advisors to support the rebel/Republic of Liberty ground troops.   

This gives me an interesting mix of troops to play with!  On the United Americas side I have the USCMC, Liberty State National Guard, and Liberty State Troopers and Defense Forces troops.  I might get around to have the US Army intervene later.  On the rebel side I'll have French Union troops (mainly Foreign Legion), corporate mercs, Liberty Republican Regulars, and Liberty Irregulars.

Figure wise I have a lot of these troops on hand.  Each of these factions will be a project in of of itself!  More troops and vehicles to collect and paint... lots to do... and games to play.

I'll fill you in as I gather the forces and complete them.

Semper Fi, Carry on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Third Battle Report: 5150 Star Army USCM vs. Insurgents

Hi all,

Long time, no post.  Anyone in education can tell you that 4th Quarter is the longest and hardest quarter of the school year and this year was no exception.  On top of final testing I had a pile of things, both school and personal, to take care of.  Which pretty much crushed my gaming time.  However, as my last post pointed out, I signed up to run a game at Historicon.  So I plugged away at the miniatures when I had time and that was pretty much my gaming time since April.

However things cooled off after school ended on the 20th of June.  After family vacation I barely had a week to get all my miniatures done.  And what a bunch they are too!  More on them later.

Anyway, the game I ran was a pretty small one since I only had two players.  I pitted two Colonial Marine sections (with APCs) against whatever Rebel forces 5150 Star Army could pit against them.  Not pretty...

Anyway, the stats were my USCMCs had good intel and both sides enjoyed an investment of 3. The battle was during the day and the weather was fine.  

Here's the board

Again, sorry for the blurry pic.  I'm still learning my wife's camera and it's a pretty tough skill to learn on your own.  Anyway, we decided to play the Attack scenario which meant that we had to clear the board of all enemy forces and PEFs.  Easier said than done.  Our forces deployed in the town of Centerville (just off the picture) which pretty much covered areas 7, 8, and 9.  The rolls for the enemy PEFs placed them in Areas 1, 2, and 6.  If you look at this picture and split it into six equal sections you should get the idea- area 1 being the first area on the left.

That deployment gave the first two PEFs plenty of cover, but it left the unit in the jungle/swamp area (6) exposed.  The Rebels would pay for that later.

This picture shows the town of Centerville and our deployment area:

We human players deployed our forces behind the hedges for cover.  The hedges provided cover for ground troops and were short enough for our APCs to see over.  That gave us LOS to the PEF in area 6 right off the bat.  Everything depended on the activation roll...

which went to the humans!  We resolved the PEF and it turned out to be a rifle squad (I went on ahead and assigned their two technicals as well) dug-in behind about 7" of trenches.  Here's the killer... as far as I could tell there was NO in-sight test!  Which resulted in a bloodbath for the rebels.  Our two sections immediately dumped a world of hurt on the enemy position.

Again, sorry for the blurry picture.  The cotton ball covered the first technical which was roasted by 1st Section's APC.  The other technical was too far away to take a Crisis text test.  The rebel infantry took their received fire test and only passed 1D, so they all ducked back.  Not a good idea and they would really pay for that in a bit. 

My apc joined in the fun and toasted the other technical.  It really wasn't pretty for the rebs.  

When it came to their side of turn one the PEF in area 1 moved 8" toward my force while the other PEF (behind the hill) stayed in place.  A quick tactics roll for the unit on the board resulted in the squad staying in cover and trying to fire back...  and that set off a pile of in sight tests.

Now that is where 5150 Star Army gets confusing.  We had no less than two complete sections of USCMCs with their associated M577s in tow.  That's a LOT of units folks and they made their insight tests, every one of them!  We finally hashed out things where we went in order by squad reputation.  Then we scratched our heads a bit about when we should do received fire tests.  A quick look at the Order of Fire Resolution on page 23 gave us a  crystal clear answer:  resolve ALL FIRE FROM ALL SHOOTERS BEFORE taking any reaction tests.  All I have to say is "OUCH!"

Buckets O'dice later and the rebel trench line was a smoldering ruin covered with fire, smoke, and body parts.  There were a handful of OOFs and a single duck back.  Everyone else was OD'd.  It was ugly, plain ugly.  

Ladies and gentlemen, a Colonial Marine platoon in 5150 packs a huge punch and to watch it all fall on a single squad of 8 men just is plain scary....

At that point we decided  to move out.  1st Section moved into the bunker line and mopped up while my section moved up to set of LOS so that I could engage the PEFs if they dared to show their faces.  The next couple of turns were just movement.  The PEF that started in Area 1 popped out into the open where my APC could see him, but it turned out to be a case of the nerves.  The other PEF just sat there and waited us out.  

My M577 taking up over watch to cover 1st Section.

1st Section moving along the jungle line to mop up.

All the while 1st Section's APC provides over watch.

 A turn or so later 1st Section's APC moves up to cover my section as it moves parallel to the main road.  We know that that other PEF is out there but the dern thing just sits there and waits us out.  It was getting pretty scary because we didn't want to to give the rebs their insight test.

And then it happened!  One bad PEF roll resulted in the hiding PEF being forced to move toward US!  We resolved the PEF and found yet another enemy rifle squad in defensive positions with technicals in  support (I decided to toss in the technicals to give the enemy a chance).  

Once again we got the in sight test and opened up!  Our M577s ripped the technicals to pieces and small arms fire stitched the enemy fighting position.  That forced an received fire test that was a jaw dropper!  They failed 2D!!!!!  Check it out:

The Rebel table says that failing 2D sends the rebs running off the battlefield.  We didn't even bother resolving the shooting because that was it.  There were no other enemy units on the battlefield and no PEFs either.  And that was it, game over man!

I have to say, that was the oddest THG game I've ever played.  In the 90 minutes we played the enemy never got to fire a SINGLE SHOT.  Good thing we played against 'system' I guess as that would have been totally frustrating for a player.  All the die rolls just went our way and the USCMC plowed over the rebels like a well oiled machine.  I have to say, the firepower my sections have in 5150 is just devastating.  I'm sure that it was more of a stroke of luck especially when you look at Javier's game:

Apparently he got the worst end of the PEF table and in sight/received fire rolls.  However Javier's force was just a single dismounted squad and it got totally overwhelmed.

5150 Star Army is a tough beast to master and you're never really sure what's out there until you resolve that first PEF.  I can easily see a scenario getting well out of hand just based off some unfortunate die rolls at the beginning of the game.  In this case they all went our way.

An odd, but very fun game never the less.

Semper fi,  carry on.