Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rogue Stars AAR - The Great Escape

I got together with my friend Mike yesterday to finally try out Rogue Stars. For general information on how Rogue Stars works, check out my overview here. The game does not require a referee but our friend Scott was hanging out, too, and cooked up a fantastic scenario for us.

Uncharacteristically for a romantic like Mike, he elected to play - in his own words - a bunch of fascists: a squad of Star Cops mostly comprised of lean, mean crime fightin' machines courtesy of the Syntha from Urban War. I brought a squad of Merchants in way over their heads, also mostly from Urban War (13001: "Militia with Pistols") with a few Reaper models thrown in for more sci fi flavor. The gist was, a lightly armed and armored freighter crew against coldly efficient bully bots.

Scott's scenario revolved around Mike's police force trying to capture a corporate spy before she flees his jurisdiction and hightails it off-world. The spy probably went undercover as a member of my crew, dragging the poor smugglers into a fine mess. I could get 8XP by successfully escorting the spy to her shuttle. Mike could get 8XP for arresting her before she escaped his jurisdiction, or a lesser amount for arresting her beyond his jurisdiction. Putting opposing Characters OOA would yield the usual amount of XP.

Modern Art?

The Star Cops deployed at (1) and my Merchants at (2). In order to call in the shuttle, I needed to get somebody to the Control Station at (3) and make a successful Tech test. The shuttle would arrive d20 actions (not counting reactions) after the successful Tech test; only the referee knew how long it would take. Meanwhile, Mike would try to arrest the spy before she stepped onto (4), which was beyond his jurisdiction - he could pursue her into that territory but of course they wouldn't be able to hold her and it might cause a diplomatic incident!

Here's a picture of the board with (4) in the lower right:

terrain courtesy of our awesome buddy Doug

Note that the Control Station was not yet in place.

Mike started with initiative and led the charge with his MG-toting heavy bot. I seized the initiative pretty quickly and started moving my crew up to the barricades but it was slow going. Here's the extent of my progress after a few turn overs:

oh man look at those Merchants go

Out front, hiding behind that crate, is my ship's engineer. Just below her, standing at the end of the barricade, is the spy - a non-com model from AT-43. The fellow standing further down, with two stress markers on him, is Rogue (so-named in honor of the game and in recognition of his resemblance to a certain 2000AD character) who was laying down cover fire for his crewmates as the big bot loped toward the hapless merchants.


Rogue poured fire into the big bot with both pistols, resulting in the first significant event of our game: the arm with the built-in MG became permanently crippled. This more or less took the big bot out for the rest of the game. Whew! Rogue paid for it with his plasma pistol and therefore lost his ambidextrous edge. A more than fair trade in my estimation!

Mike started moving the rest of his squad toward the center of the board to interdict my path to the control station. The Merchants were making painfully slow progress at this point, frustrating the ship pilot and resident psychic prodigy Klaus. With four actions - critical success on one activation - Klaus teleported directly into the control booth ... and promptly realized he had no idea what he was doing! So much for calling in that shuttle ...

"this is a freakin' Blood Bowl trophy, not a control panel!"

Meanwhile, the engineer crept up with the spy. Obviously, she would have to call in that shuttle herself:

"if you want something done right ..."

Mike's force was now in place, commanding the center of the board, making movement really tough for me.

"sir, are you classified as human?"

With his remaining laser pistol, Rogue snapped off a shot around the corner - two pins, arm disabled, and laser rifle dropped (symbolized by D6)!

"negative, I am a meat popsicle"

The organic police lieutenant promptly chastised Rogue for his criminal proclivities, putting him OOA. The winged copbot shed its pins thanks to Mike's "Cool Under Fire" tactical discipline, picked up its rife, and got back on the beat. Rogue did manage to buy the engineer some time to make it over to the control booth, where she swatted Klaus out of the way and hacked into the comm systems, hailing the shuttle.

"the problem is, it's a Blood Bowl trophy"

Meanwhile, the Ship Captain headed over to carry Rogue out. She doesn't leave crew behind!

"feeling blue, Rogue?"

Rogue aside, things were going a little too smoothly for these plucky ne'er-do-wells. Mike's bots started firing in earnest, closing in on Klaus and the engineer in the control booth. The brave engineer darted out and put the police lieutenant OOA but paid for it immediately, also going OOA. Thankfully, the bots took losing their organic commander worse, allowing me to seize the initiative - but to little effect as Klaus could not manage a single shot at the bots standing ten feet away. Psykers are twitchy after all. Mike roared back, inflicting a wound and two pins on my erstwhile useless ship's doctor. This made it difficult for me to seize and then keep initiative for quite a while and things were looking desperate!

Fortunately, the shuttle finally arrived:

no time travel quips please

Mike was dominating initiative and things were looking especially grim for Klaus. Mike's copbots retrieved the cuffs off of their fallen commander and got into position to block the path to the shuttle. There was nothing left but to go for broke and get the spy moving. My luck changed and I rolled three successes, moving her past the copbots and just a step past their jurisdiction!

"that was a close one - hey why are you still firing at me??"

Mike was determined to make the arrest and snapped off some called shots at the spy's legs, only managing to graze her. I activated her again - I needed to get into contact with the shuttle with an action to spare to embark. There really was no other option. I didn't have the actions to make it in one activation so tried to get some cover. But Mike would not give up so easily, and ordered his copbot past the jurisdictional border. "Is a robot equipped to make that kind of decision?" Mike pondered as he prepared to roll a shot ...

++++ jurisdictional authority exceeded +++

... the result was a weapon malfunction! The jurisdictional conflict must have fuzzed the bot's programming, allowing the spy just enough actions to get into the shuttle and blast off!

We agreed to pick up our wounded and leave the scene peaceably, given there was egg on everybody's faces at that point. Well - except for the spy! She used my crew first as figurative cover and then, when the cops started shooting up the place, as literal cover. But the wily agent managed to get away. I guess we ought to bill her employers.

We really enjoyed the game and especially the story that unfolded as the game progressed. Mike felt the start was a little slow but given that I was basically playing a non-com crew of traders with light armor and armament, and that I needed to traverse a fairly large board, I was glad for the room to maneuver. I think it is really nice that you can play something besides commandos in Rogue Stars.

I don't think a review written after one game played is worth much but I am looking forward to playing Rogue Stars again, and hopefully soon!


  1. Great AAR, very interesting, and a really fun game! Perhaps your game table was a bit too big?

    1. Not too big for me, Juan - I was quite thankful for the room between me and the killer robots. Once they moved in, their superior wepaons and armor easily overmatched my ... er, pluck and charm?

  2. Very good history and the table is really beautiful ^^



  3. Nice work Manchu.

    I look forward to reading more, maybe with the Nova Corp. grunts?

    1. Thanks! Nova Corp goons will no doubt show up to bully some perfectly innocent spacefarers just trying to get to Alderaan ...

  4. This is exactly the kind of game I'm hoping to get out of the rules! Cheers for posting this.

    1. Be sure to post links to your batreps!