Star Wars Miniatures Battles Game 1

Star Wars Miniatures Battles Game 1

With my newly painted stormtroopers ready for action it was time to dust off the Star Wars Miniatures Battles rules. The last time these had seen action was in the mid nineties so a revision of the rules was in order. After skimming through both the rule book and companion volume I decided to set up a small skirmish with enough elements to touch on most of the game’s scope: squads, vehicles and heroes (although without Force abilities for now).

Orders of Battle: Rebel Forces (957 SGP)
1x Squad of Alderan Navy Marines (10x Veteran inc Grenade Launcher specialist).
1x Armoured Recon Vehicle with 2 crew (Driver & Gunner)
1x Brash Pilot (Hero, wounded)

Mission Objective
An alliance spy craft has come down over imperial held territory. Although wounded in the crash the pilot, Lt. Taylor has managed to get some distance from the impact site and awaits rescue. A ground based recon vehicle and a squad of 10 marines has been dispatched to find and recover the pilot. 

Rebel Victory Conditions
Recover pilot alive & suffer fewer casualties than the imperials = major victory
Recover pilot alive but suffer more casualties = minor victory
Recover the pilots body = draw

Orders of Battle: Imperial Forces. (961SGP)
2x Squad Stormtroopers (8x Average inc Repeating Blaster specialist)
1x Squad Stormtroopers (8x  Average)

Mission Objective
A rebel spy ship was shot down over a remote region. Probe droids at the crash site confirm that the pilot has escaped on foot. As he could not have gone too far stormtroopers have been dispatched in a radial search pattern, focusing on areas of known rebel activity. Capture, alive if possible, the pilot and eliminate any who try to intervene.

Imperial Victory Conditions
Capture pilot alive = major victory
Capture pilots body = minor victory

 

Action Report
Lt. Taylor awaits rescue in an abandoned shelter and has radioed his position to the approaching ARV. Seeing a imperial squad approaching the shelter he decides to withdraw rather than try his luck with his hunting blaster, eight to one odds even in a defendable position is not good. Unfortunately he blows his sneak roll (rolls a 1) while the advancing patrol leader has a roll-over success (for a total of 24!). The race is on! Fortunately the ARV rounds the ridge-line to the north and speeds for the pick-up. (In SWMB vehicles move rate is carried over form round to round, each craft has an acceleration and deceleration value which is how much you can alter the speed at the beginning of the turn. Get this wrong and your craft won’t end up where you need it to be!)

Very quickly three squads of stormtroopers vector in on Lt. Taylor’s position, as he’s wounded he is limited to a walk move of 6”, the ‘troopers run rate is 12” but lose the option to fire when running. Limping along a low wall the Lt. snaps off a few ineffectual shots at the imperials. The ARV screeches to a halt on the opposite bank and starts laying down a suppressive fire with it’s turret mounted Mk 2e/W laser cannon. (Weapon ranges in SWMB are very long, the ARV’s primary weapon has a max range of 100” and a standard rifle is 150”, although effective ranges are less, 25” & 15” respectively, this makes cover and position crucial factors in playing the game).

It will take 2-3 turns for the wounded Lt. to cross the river to the ARV. With so many stormtroopers closing in the area is becoming too hot, he has no choice but to run (or walk as fast as he can). By now the marines have taken up a covering position on the ridge with excellent command of the compound.

ARV & Marines in covering positions Marines cover the enclosure

The ARV’s turret maintains a heavy surpassing fire on one of the approaching squads forcing then to fall back (mounted weapons have following fire, each hit allows a subsequent roll at +2 cumulative difficulty, as you keep hitting you keep rolling). A second squad of troopers attempted to rush the open ground but fell to vicious enfilading fire from the ridge (another nice rule is Opportunity Fire, squads can sacrifice their move option to fire in the movement phase, it requires a command check but good troops in a strong defensive position are likely to pass. This is also useful as casualties to Opp Fire do not fire in the Fire Phase were all fire is simultaneous).

Stormtroopers rush the centre... And caught badly by enfilading fire

With the stormtroopers caught in the open receiving rpg’s form the marines on the ridge, and their left flank pinned by heavy weapons fire it is down to just one squad to make for the victory. Advancing between the shelter and tree cover they attempt to counter some of the incoming fire form the ridge, a very lucky shot takes out the rpg giving some solace to the withered centre. 

Almost there Target acquired and away!

The stormtroopers managed a few snap shots at Lt. Taylor as he waded across the river, but none succeeded in stopping his escape (all heroes have a dice pool of 2-8 extra dice they add to various skill tests, making them very tough, in this game Taylor spent 3 out of 5 avoiding damage from hosts sustained).

As the stormtroopers get to the river bank the ARV’s side door slams closed. Wheels spinning in the dirt it screeched away pulling a hard turn behind a cover of trees, it’s turret spitting laser blasts among the defeated stormtroopers.

 

Debriefing
Major Victory for the rebels who suffered only one fatality, while the imperials lost seven, one squad in particular which was caught in the open suffered 50% casualties.

Great game. I forgot how much I enjoyed playing this back when it first came out and I’m delighted that it holds up 25 years later. I’ve always like the long weapon ranges which make getting vantage points actually useful. Too many games are let down by poor movement to weapon range ratio. In this game the alliance marines were in position by turn 2, and for the rest of the game dominated the centre, their carbines with 12/30/125” range bands easily kept the imperials at bay.

Opportunity fire works really well, better with better quality troops. This makes clearing out well defended areas costly and focus the player to think tactically. Vehicles work really well too, they bring a different element to game but not too different. One main difference is there speed, the ARV has a max speed of 90” and a cruise speed of 27” (although any manoeuvres in speeds in excess of 9” require a skill test) which means that you can very quickly bring pressure to anywhere on the table.

Even though there was a fair bit of page flipping and rue checking as you’d expect from first game, it had a great narrative. It felt like the opening sequence to a Star Wars movie where we meet the hero ‘in media res’ . Looking forward to my next Star Wars encounter.

Beyond the Seven Seas

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