The Polar Bears

The Polar Bears
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry

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.


  1. This was a great AAR, Scott - very informative & useful as I am on the verge of getting SA, with any impressions invaluable.
    The revised insight/reaction system looks like it is a slight departure from what has gone before, but for the best, I'm sure :)
    Looking forward to more reports...

  2. Hey Monty, Ed popped on TMP and pointed out that the attacking force in the Attack scenario generally comes onto the board whereas my troops started on the board. By coming onto the board my marines would have set off an insight test and would have possibly have changed the results of the scenario. I'm going to give that a go and see what happens.

  3. Ah, thank you for doing a 5150SA batrep. It's such a beautiful set of rules.
    I guess this result is a trap to make you develop a false sense of security...I am pretty sure the rebels will return.

    As someone married to a teacher I have to agree. The quarter before the summer holidays is evil...everywhere in this world.

    Whiteface / Oliver