Thursday, 18 November 2021

ACP164 Shipboard Action


Ahead of painting up my ACP164 Spacers and as part of some testing for a Star Patrol(ACP164)/Cepheus hybrid I've been playing some short sharp shipboard actions. A crew of 6 critters (2 typically staying on the bridge) trying to fight off a boarding action by 3 armoured droids.

As ever the ACP164 card mechanic gave a nice slick game and the morale draws through in some nice curve balls - although perhaps the droids should have been less susceptible.

One thing I did decide was that an SMG/Shotgun close range of only 3 squares just seemed too short in the context of confined spaces, but conversely the movement rates (often 7-9 squares) were too much so I doubled ranges and halved movement and the net result was a far better game I thought.

Out of the 3 games I played I think the critters won all three, for no loss on the first one, one casualty on the 2nd and 2 casualties on the third (with a third critter curled up sobbing in the corner). Since the critters were being played as "PCs" rather than NPCs I'd given them higher Resilience and pulled them out of the fight once they'd had 3 hits so none of them died (although the auto-doc might be busy).

All worked pretty well I thought, now just need to finish off the Star Patrol(ACP164)/Cepheus idea.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Salute 2021

 A good trip down to Salute, meeting up with Adrian and Nick. Guess it was about half the size of a "normal" Salute, most of the traders seem to be there but wargames themselves were pretty thin on the ground - a few nice tables which I've captured below. My purchases were mainly around scenery (esp 10mm) so nothing that really stands out.

Probably the best looking wargame there in my view

Reference shot of some flatpack MDF 28mm sci-fi crates I bought

Another nice table, cigar box mats and hexon roads!

A pretty stunning 3D Stalingrad - think it won best in show

Nice looking dungeon crawl

The SHADO Skydiver and S.I.D, nice models!

The rest of the UFO game with Interceptor, Aliens and Moon Shuttle

And just to prove that the wargamers may not have been the saddest people in Excel that day, a neighbouring hall (and most of the eateries and walkways) were full of Star Trek fans in full cosplay mode.

Roll on April 2022!

Waterloo 60 Article in Miniature Wargames #464


Miniature Wargames carried the whole of my 6 page article on our Waterloo60 game in the latest issue (464), with some lovely photo spreads and Dale's piece from Poland too! There was also a really nice intro from editor John Treadaway on what we did as well. 

Friday, 5 November 2021

Solomani/Terran Name Generator

Faced with possibly having to name the whole 480+ crew of the Deepnight Revelation (well maybe only some of them) I started looking for a better way to generate "ordinary" names since the standard (including my own) Traveller Word Generators are very hit and miss - particularly for languages you know! A quick hunt on the web found that had lists of the most common 1000 first and last names globally. Whilst the list is bound to have some biases it certainly seemed to be pretty representative, with strong showings from China/Africa/South America - far better than most "baby name" lists. So I screen-scraped the two lists and dropped them into a little Javascript app that just randomly matches a first name with a surname. The list didn't have any gender information, so you'll have to check that yourself if it's vital, but otherwise I think the app generates really usable names - and moves nicely away from the Anglo-Saxon centric naming that can dominate in some SF RPGs.

You can find the app here:

Next step will be to add it into my Traveller Word Generator so you can get Vilani/Galangic first/last names matched with Solomani last/first names!

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Star Patrol/ACP164 take on Five Parsecs encounter


I played out the same Five Parsecs encounter but using the ACP164 rules - with weapon tables from Star Patrol - the "generic" SF version of Buck Surdu's Combat Patrol rules (also the basis for ACP164), and which are available as a free download from Sally 4th (although you'll need to buy a set of cards).

Things got off to a reasonable start with Toki and Squirrel going left flanking again, and Toki getting into a good enfilade position as the warbots emerged form the trees. Paddy started getting damage on the warbots, but their +2 armour meant they were slow to kill. As the third bot emerged from the wood almost right beside Toki Squirrel raced over, got a double activation and emptied his shotgun into the bot - nice weapon at close range (3 shots at 3"). The combined fire of the crew took the other two bots out, but this time the Hakshan Investigator had got itself in a better position and after a brief exchange of fire delivered a knock out shot to Frenchie. Erma then leapt up onto the roof of a building to get a good shot while Bloody went right flanking. But as Squirrel moved along the wood edge to get behind the alien the Hakshan scored a headshot on Toki and she was down. Squirrel burst round the corner behind the Hakshan, let rip with his shotgun and the murderer was down.

So more bloody than the Five Parsecs version, but how much was down to rules and how much to a better position for the Hakshan it's hard to tell. All played nicely though and I think this is the way to go with Five Parsecs - particularly given that I barely need to think about the ACP rules nowadays.

The Hakshan is about to be surrounded

The typical ACP Endurance of 3 does make characters very vulnerable though, OK for NPCs/large skirmish games but less so for PCs in an RPG, so tempted to set them to 5 or many even 7. I note that the "personality" characters in the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol have these sorts of values, so the precedent in there - and its something I need to sort out for another ACP164 project I'm working on.

Friday, 29 October 2021



My copy of Free League Publishing's Twilight:2000 (4th Edition) just arrived. Awesome and beautiful looking product. Had a quick play with the Kickstarter playtest set and seems to have scope to be used for all sorts of things. Question is can I run Twilight:2000, FiveParsecs, personal Traveller and Deepnight Revelation campaigns all at the same time? Probably not :-(

Thursday, 28 October 2021

First Game of Five Parsecs From Home


Finally got Five Parsecs onto the table.

Set Up

Randomly generated encounter as my teams first mission as per the book. I'm keeping an on-line record of the campaign over on my wiki at

My team of 6 (using Albedo figures, will buy some more generic spaces at Salute) were up against the 3 Warbots and the Hakshan Investigator I bought and described at

All the team had to do was exit the far side, optionally picking up the loot box as they went.

Crew on the left, Warbots top right, Hakshan bottom right

How it Played

A good shot from Erma took the Shell Gun bot out as soon as it emerged from the wood. Toki got into a shooting match with the warbot leader and kept it stunned enough to eventually get close enough to kill it. Erma and Sciuris then took the 3rd Warbot out - some good 1s and 2s meaning that the Bots hardly got a shot in. 

First warbot down!

Frenchie picked up the loot box, a nice 5Cr. 

The Hakshan Investigator had been watching all this, but never really had a bead on anyone. She tried to pick the team off as they moved towards the wood but again the activation pattern meant there was never a clear shot. She moved round almost to the board edge and ultimately had to step out of cover to catch Erma just as she moved along the edge of the wood. Right on target and with a kill roll, but Erma's luck meant she just managed to dive for cover. The near-miss incensed the team and Paddy and Bloody just advanced forward letting loose with their shotguns, and the poor Hakshan had 5 stuns before they finally took her out. 

The Investigator takes a bead....

The crew manage to exit the far edge without further incident and the first battle is a nice success for no loss.

Rules Impressions

That all went pretty well. The combat rules are basic, D6  per shot with 3 DMs (range, cover, aim), so it moves along quickly. Results seemed more "realistic" than Stargrave (which has an opposed roll system which just doesn't seem/work right to me). The ability for some characters to activate before the enemy is a nice touch and some tactical thinking needed about dice assignment. The toughness stat and armour save seemed OK. Surprised that a stunned character could still fire with no penalty (except no aim), be tempted to house rule a -1 per stun. Having a +2 combat skill (like Erma) made a huge difference (3+ to hit not 5+).

An over-stunned Investigator as Paddy and Bloody take revenge

Broader Impressions

As a run-through all fine. It must be said that the campaign wrapper has a whole lot of dice rolling (about 15 for the post-battle!) and is calling out for an app! Combat-wise its deliberately light weight, which is fine, but I'll run the same scenario again with ACP164 to find out whether that actually takes much more time and whether it gives a better feel for the encounter.

Whilst I like the overall campaign idea of Five Parsecs I think that the fact that it is background-less, or at least the fact that I'm not invested in any background, does mean that the battles do just seem like they'll be a set of standalone encounters - even though the crew evolves between them.

I'm suspecting that the ideal system for me may be something like:

  • Traveller's Third Imperium/Spinward Marches for background
  • Five Parsecs for the campaign rules
  • ACP164 for the combat
Would probably be a good thing to set up on Roll20/Virtual Tabletop for when I'm away from home too.

Once I've done the ACP game I'll probably do the next step on the campaign in "pure" Five Parsecs and then if I'm still of the same mind try my hybrid model out.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Russian Napoleonic 20mm - Musketeers, Grenadiers and Dragoons


Finally got my latest batch of Newline 20mm Napoleonic Russians finish.

First up the Tauride Grenadier Regiment (Livonia Inspection) of the 3rd Grenadier Brigade, 1st Grenadier Division.

Then the Perm Musketeers of the Smolensk Inspection. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division.

Finally the Mog(h)ilev Musketeer Regiment from Lithuania. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division.

Those finish the 5th Division. Hope to have the 6th Division done next year, which with the other troops will give me the whole of 1st Corps.

On the cavalry front I've just done the Kazan Dragoons (with Raspberry facings)...

And the Siberian Dragoons (with suitably snowy white facings).

The next batch I hope to start before Christmas with 2nd Grenadier Bde (completing 1st Grenadier Div) and two Cuirassier Regiments.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Return to Pebble Park

Last year I played "Raid on Pebble Park" as part of the ACP164 Jika campaign being run by Mike Wilson. I'd hoped to revisit it having bought and painted some ILR Assault Troops to act as the QRF but scheduling meant it got played whilst the figures still sat in their bubble wrap :-(


6' x 4' table with a 1" hex cloth. The LARC/Dropship model is a card one from Ebbles Miniatures.

The ILR were the defenders again, with two 2-critter patrols out (random start positions), another 4 guards asleep in one of the buildings, and a 6-critter QRF all tooled up snoozing on their bunks. The EDF also had 14 critters, all with good natural night vision, formed into 3 teams: a five critter assault team, with 2 demolition experts, a four critter security team to stop anyone getting in their way, and the OC (Lt Joulet) with an LMG team and a PML (think Carl Gustav) team.

Whilst I liked the idea of the patrol/noise rules in Black Ops that I used last time it struck me they were all a bit complex and gave some odd results, so this time I cut my own simpler set to control guard movement and alerting. Once the alarm is raised the QRF reacts the next turn, and the rest of the guards the turn after that.

How It Played

Everything went well in the first turn as the EDF edges towards the boundary road. Unfortunately one of the ILR patrols was headed their way. The PML team drew incredibly high for their move across the road to the building on the far side so I decided they must have charged across, smashed down the door and run up the stairs. That was a lot of noise points, and certainly enough to draw the ILR patrol on.

They run like hell in the direction of the noise, rounding the corner and get caught in a less than withering hail of fire from the support team (the OC’s gun jamming). One ILR takes a light wound. The ILR need an activation to raise the alarm, but the EDF gun group swing round and fires a burst of LMG at short range – and misses! The team i/c swings into action, rushes past the gunner and rugby tackles the second rabbit. The rabbit takes damage and pulls away – struggling to find the radio on her like hell in the direction of the noise, rounding the corner and get caught in a less than withering hail of fire from the support team (the OC’s gun jamming). One ILR takes a light wound. The ILR need an activation to raise the alarm, but the EDF gun group swing round and fires a burst of LMG at short range – and misses! The team i/c swings into action, rushes past the gunner and rugby tackles the second rabbit. The rabbit takes damage and pulls away – struggling to find the radio on her chest.

The ILR patrol gets the very first activation – can they call for help? – but  they need to make the morale test first and fails! The rabbits are spooked and run off the board before calling in support. The other ILR team activates though and with a melee and shooting there’s a lot of noise around so they make the alarm threshold easily. They call for help and then get a second activation which puts them just round the corner and just in sight of the EDF LMG team, and its not the LMG or the PML shots that take them out, but good old rifle fire from the security team. 

Some good cards meant that the assault team moved rapidly to the gap in the wire fence. The QRF was waiting for cards. The EDF made it over the fence and looked to be making a home run when the QRF got 3 activations on the trot (normal - elite card - normal) which got them into the Park and ready for a shoot-out with the EDF.

Joulet sent the LMG team off to follow the assault team, but as they dropped to the ground over the fence the bullets started flying, the LMG gunner was an early casualty and her oppo thought better of it and jumped back over the fence! 

One rabbit swings wide to get a view down the far side of the pad, whilst another takes cover by the ramp. The EDF try and react but miss. The rabbit fires, wounds the assault team OC. The assault team get a go, but draw badly for morale, the tail-end Charlie deciding to leg it back over the wall. Seeing things going badly one of the demolition guys decides to rush the rabbit. The rabbit’s buddy misses his reaction shot and the stoat piles into the rabbit, inflicting a wound and pushing him back. A second activation and the stoat empties his 1-56 into the bunny at point-blank. That fights over but the stoat with the vital satchel is now in the open in full view of two rabbits. End of turn!

The QRF activates, but in morale the rabbit with the best shot decides to run back to cover! The QRF OC and his oppo both go to fire, clean shots… but guns jam! The 4th QRF critter moves up to better cover the fence and get a bead on the bleeding LMG critter. The rest of the guard finally turn out – but into a hail of fire. On their first activation the EDF security team shoots the first rabbit out the door, and on their second activation the first rabbit out the far door. 

The assault team activate first, and both demo critters leg it for the ramp. The QRF then activates (same number) but guns jam! The 3rd rabbit (who’d run back) runs forward and stuns the demo guy at the bottom of the ramp. The 4th QRF critter has a lucky escape as the assault rear-guard’s gun also jams. On her turn the rabbit  puts two wounds into the EDF. The remaining guard activates but is pinned, so more or less out of it. The security team charges down the street. Its 2’s again, the EDF has to take a big morale test, loses cohesion and the two wounded critters charge forward in desperation but the two demo guys are stunned. Then it’s the security team again who burst through the park gate and 3 of them let loose at the back of the 3 rabbits in front of them, but in the hasty shooting only get one wound due to the heavy body armour. End of turn.

QRF activates first on Turn 9 – all over for the EDF? No, morale check, the QRF becomes stunned as they realise they’re being shot at from their rear! Almost everyone in the park is now stunned! The ILR Guard miraculously activates on a black 6! The two rabbits charge out, straight into an OOA EDF, melee and the EDF's dead! The QRF activates but can only clear its stuns, same for the assault team.  Then the assault team gets to sprint up the ramp, the o/c giving covering fire which wings one QRF, but the o/c QRF wings the second demo critter, but the first has made it to the top! The Guard fails to hit the back of the security team, but the EDF PML is nicely lined up to take the rabbits out – but draws OOA on its first shot – out of action! The security team, unbothered by the rabbits behind them, empties another volley into the backs of the QRF, one goes down, both the others are wounded and stunned. It looks like the demo critter at the Dropship might be able to set the charges!

Turn 10. The guards in the alley wound EDF security team’s tail-end-charlie who runs to cover, and their team mates, sat at the gate with bullets flying everywhere are pinned! Lt Joulet and her oppo are still firing from behind the ILR inflict wounds but not enough to stop them. The lone EDF LMG loader makes it over the fence and opens fire on the rabbit to his front, but then gets killed when the rabbit returns fire. The rest of the QRF recovers from stun, but before they can bring down effective fire the wounded EDF manages to take one of their number out. This gives the demo expert the chance to set the charge, choosing a timer of 3 turns, and then slowly starts to run down the ramp with covering fire from their oppos. The other EDF critter at the fence scores some hits on the lone QRF rabbit, but the greaves save them. Almost everyone in the park but those two are now wounded, and there’s two turns til things go boom! It might all come down to the morale draws.

Turn 11. Lt Joulet and her buddy take another guard out. The QRF boss goes into a fanatical charge, killing the assault team Cpl in a single blow. The 2nd demo critter misses, then their gun jams but the rest of the security team, although pinned brings down enough fire to take the rabbit leader out. Just one rabbit left in the park, and one outside. Looks like the EDF might make it. The demo critter and the wounded EDF round the back start heading for the fence. Just one turn left!

Turn 12. Lt Joulet takes the last of the Guard force out. The security squad gets an activation and legs it across the street to safety. Four dud activation cards, then Boom! Well not quite, the satchel slips at the last moment, the bang is enough to still destroy the ship but the blast radius is reduced. The last rabbit standing is easily saved by her armour, the bomber escapes unscathed and their oppo is just stunned. The EDF got off lightly. A morale card is drawn for the last rabbit and she decides enough is enough and legs it. The field belongs to the EDF and the Dropship is gone.

The Reckoning

In terms of victory points:

ILR – all lost bar one rabbit (13/14)

EDF – 4 killed, 2 with 2 wounds, 1 with 1

EDF Points = 10+13-20-4 = -1

ILR Points = -10+8-15-16 = -33

EDF victory, but given their losses reduced to a Marginal Victory.


ACP164 played really well as always and gave a great narrative feel to the game. Out-of-ammo cards still a bit frequent for my liking, and a lot of point-blank shots missed. Might introduce a few house rules next time to fix those. My new guard and noise rules worked fine, but I'll do a few standalone tests of those to make sure. All-in-all a good game. Makes it one-all between EDF and ILR for this scenario.