Saturday, November 26, 2011

Solo Games Appreciation Month Report

A couple of things strike me about this month.  First, it was Solo Tabletop Gaming Month. Oops. Second, I have been too busy to get much solo gaming activity of any kind done this month.  That was also another surprise.

Tonight brought me a few hours of free time.  So I thought I'd get in some solo tabletop gaming in before the month closed.  Letting a month dedicated to solo gaming go by without an update would be a shame for a blog named "Solosaurus!"  To that end, I broke out 5150:Star Army and gave it a whirl.

Though I got 15mm figures for this game, I still have no terrain in that scale.  So I looked to the next best thing which were my 28mm 40K figures.  Rather than use the 5150:SA rules straight up, I went with the excellent and well done 4D Kay conversion for 5150.  This allowed me to  use 5150:SA rules with 40K armies, complete with their stats and special abilities.  It's not a straight up 40K game, but I was surprised at how well it adapted to 5150.  I had to do some tweaking of the 4D Kay project, simply because it was based on old 5150 rules and old 40K stats.  It took all of 30 minutes to do that. Then I was on my way.

I pitted my Tau against my teeny-tiny collection of Sisters of Battle (SoB).  The SoB stat lines were easy to convert.  Even their Faith powers converted pretty well with the  5150 system.  The 4D Kay project doesn't have anything for SoB.  But I gave them Exo armor, used the Space Marine bolter stats, and they were ready.  The SoB acted like Star Army troopers.  The Tau were basically all done and I just printed off their stats.  I treated them like Hishen for reaction purposes.

You'll notice that there are no pictures of the battle.  For whatever reason, the few pictures I took didn't come out.  The camera setting dial was on something other than what I usually use.  Therefore, the pictures came so washed out as to be unusable.  I didn't check them as I went.  So now you'll have to put up with words only!

This was my first game in a campaign.  So Patrol was the first mission.  My Sisters walk onto the board.  The enemy ends up being in an open field, 11 fire warriors with a single gun drone.  I quickly realized that the 4D Kay project really overstated the pulse rifle's power.  At 36" range and three shots and punishing AP power, my SoB started to evaporate as soon as they came into the Tau's sights.

I pulled my Tau codex and looked at the original stats.  I fixed the pulse rifle to be more in line with the 40K stats and things became more even handed.  The Sisters Acts of Faith really helped.  I got to re-roll any miss results of 1 when shooting.  It helped even up things.  Basically, the SoB had to close the range gap the Tau enjoyed.  They did this by forcing the Tau to go prone (which prevents them from firing back).  When this happened the incredible Exo armor move of 16" got the Sisters right into rapid fire range.  (I treated SoB like Star Army Troopers.  So they enjoyed some benefits that a SoB army in 40K would not have, like this enormous move distance.)

I lost two Sisters on the way in, one Obviously Dead and one Out of the Fight.  But I mopped up the Tau squad and cleared out the other Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs) without further event.  I figured I should call it right there. But I read the mission objectives again.  Patrol missions require you to spend one turn in each of the three enemy table sections, and then exit the table from your own board edge.  That changes things a bit.

Random events started to plague me.  A Tau sniper appeared, took his shot, and disappeared.  Thankfully he missed.  Another sniper repeated the process (or was it the same one?).  Then my leader stepped on an anti-personnel mine.  Only her Exo armor prevented her and the nearby Sisters from being blown to bits.  Then as the Sisters were trekking back to their table edge, I rolled up random reinforcement result for the Tau.  More random placement put them behind a hill at the center of the table.  Another full squad of Tau Fire Warriors with two gun drones blocked my path.

In-sight tests from the Tau saw them shoot down one SoB with an OOF result.  Another Sister was merely stunned, but that silenced her bolter for a round.  The Sisters passed their reaction tests and fired back, killing a few and causing the Tau to duck back.  But now the Sisters swooped into rapid fire range.  The remaining Tau squad went down in a hail of bolter fire.  The Sisters were close to their table edge now.  Once half the squad was off the table, I rolled another reinforcement result!  But it was in favor of the Sisters.  The SoB leader declined the help at this late stage, and the rest of the SoB filed off the board with their intelligence gathering mission a success.

So it was an exciting game.  I really enjoy the complete surprise of revealing PEFs or the random arrival of of the enemy.  This is something that just can't be had in a conventional game.  I really only played with the 4D Kay conversion since I had the figures for it and was curious as to how it worked.  But it went so well and a narrative developed so smoothly from the rules, I think I'll continue in this vein.  I have more Sisters of Battle on the way, and a lot more figures that can be used for 5150:SA.  I'll definitely be continuing and coming up with a little story behind this conflict!


  1. Neat!
    --I had intended on solo-gaming, too. I suppose I have a day or two left.

    Thanks, also, for turning me on to the 5150 line. :)

  2. Another solo gamer here. I have also not got in much gaming this month. I did manage a couple of games, but not as many as I had hoped. Still a couple of days or so left, so maybe one more game?
    Anyway, an excellent report! Sounds like it was a lot of fun and just the thing for solo gaming, with plenty of surprises and a cool story arising out of it.

  3. @Timeshadows: I really like 5150:SA and Two Hour Wargames in general. The rulebook organization is terrible. But the games are very solo friendly, and in fact made for solo play specifically. Try them out. They grow on you after a while.

    @Fitz-Badger: There are still four days left! I might try to get another game in, with pictures this time.

  4. I've been thinking of '5150' a while now, more specifically '5150: New Beginnings', which seems to be a newer version.

    As a frequent solitaire player myself, '5150' seems to be a good solitaire system, although I get a little worried about the bad rulebook that you are mentioning.

    Anyway, thanks for the battle report!

  5. @Mats, The rule book is not bad, but disorganized. I'm constantly flipping all over the place with it. But as with all THW games, once you get the gist of it you don't have to refer to the rulebook all that often. Don't let it stop you from trying the game. Just realize that in my opinion, you'll be digging around the book a lot in the beginning.

  6. I really want to like the THW rules, but so far I've not been able to get my head wrapped around them. I think the structure of the books is one of the things that makes them difficult to pick up.
    I keep coming across good comments on them and fun reports like yours, and talk about how good they are for solo play. I have a couple of the rulessets (Don't have them handy, but one is Colonial Adventures and the other is a related set). Maybe I just need to make a concerted effort one of these days.

  7. @Fitz-Badger: I've never seen the Colonial Adventures rules. I'm not sure about those, other than I can guarantee the books are not organized!

    I was able to grasp Nuts!, which basically works for all their military style games. Then I went off an bought Rally Round the King and Warrior Heroes. Geez, I really don't get those at all.

    I guess it just takes a lot of desire on the player's part to make sense of the rules. I'm not 100% sure I play them correctly all the time. But my opponent generally doesn't mind!

    If you try Colonial Adventures, let me know. I really don't hear much about those rules. I'm curious as to what they are about.

  8. Sounds like a fun game. I really need to give the THW games another try.

  9. Colonial Adventures is about Colonial era battles between mostly European armies vs. various types of natives. There are rules for doing a sort of campaign. It looks like a promising alternative to rules like The Sword and The Flame, especially for solo gamers, just hard to get into, at least for me. I've been gaming for a few decades now and played quite a few different rules, so I'm not new to learning different sets of rules.
    I was on the THW Yahoo group for quite a while, but this set of rules seems to get very little notice, much less love. Far from their most popular sets.