Friday, December 23, 2011

New 5150:Star Army Battle Report

I had such fun in my last 5150:SA game that I wanted to try another game.  I still used the 4D-Kay conversions to imitate a game of Warhammer 40,000.  Basically, I did this just to preserve the "fluff" elements.  The conversion really doesn't play too much like 40K.  That's fine by me, since I have plenty of friends who play 40K.  I can get that fix anytime.

So before I do the battle report, here are a few things I changed for my game.
  • Rapid fire: Both Tau and Sisters of Battle have rapid fire weapons.  They can stand still and shoot once up to 24" or move and fire three times at 12" range ( I know that's more shots than 40K rapid fire).
  • Sisters wore Exo armor, but only had a 10" move rather than 16".  Overall I think move and shoot distances are too much in 5150.
  • Sisters have Acts of Faith.  The mechanic is the same as WH40K, but I used the activation die result as the Faith Points generation as well.
  • Any time activation dice total seven, reinforcements are possible.  (Not just if the higher result is below the investment level.)
  • Weapon stats changed to reflect 4D-Kay conversions.
  • Squad sizes reflect 40K standards
I'll tell you what I thought of some of the changes after the report.  For now let's get into it.  I took pictures this time, too!
This is a new campaign for the Sisters of Battle.  They have beaten back an incursion of Tau into an Imperial world.  New directives have the Sisters headed into Tau controlled land to take the fight to them.  Since this is the start of a new campaign, Sisters are on patrol.  The Tau investment level and mission are undetermined at this point.

Before I go further, let me say I used special "cheating dice."  I have a brick of dice that consistently roll ones and twos.  I gave them up for all my other games.  But you should know that 5150 relies on low dice rolls, like all THW games do.  This really changed the landscape for me, making it deadlier.  Before, I used average dice and I didn't get much happening.

Turn 1
Sisters come on the board.  There's just a squad of 12.  I break them into two teams.  Team one comes behind the huge Imperial church and don't see any of the PEFs.  However, team two comes out into the open and draws LOS to a PEF behind the ruins.  It turns out to be a full two squads of Fire Warriors with their Commander Battlesuit!  The Tau take in-sight tests and open fire.  The Sisters in the open are either taken out of the fight (OOF), killed, or knocked off their feet.  My Star, a Veteran Superior, is taken OOF and her star power does not save her!  (I rolled too high on five dice.)  The Sister's are halved in strength and their leader grievously wounded in the opening turn.

Turn Two

The Emperor sees the plight of his devoted Sisters of Battle.  I roll a lucky seven for activation, with the Sisters scoring higher.  I roll on the reinforcements chart (for Star Army) and I get 14 more Sisters of Battle.  The Tau fire off shots, taking one OOF and stunning another.  But now the Sisters of Battle are back in the fight!
These courageous Sisters sweep toward the Tau hidden behind the ruins.  Once within range, they lay waste to the massed Tau.  The Sister Superior of the new squad took out the Tau Commander Battlesuit with her plasma pistol.  This is where 5150 is hugely different from 40K.  There are no multi-wound models in 5150.  One shot and you're dead.  So the Commander (as well as other powerful figures like Tyranid Hive Tyrants or Demon Princes) doesn't have a lot of staying power.

The Sisters behind the Imperial Church are emboldened, and sweep out.  They get LOS to another PEF in the woods and a full squad of Kroot are revealed.  They open fire, and despite having weak guns they halt the Sister's advance by wounding one and stunning another as they file past the Kroot position.
Turns 3 & 4
The Tau mission ended up being a fighting withdrawal.  So they fall back with a rear guard protecting them.  More Sisters are taken OOF or stunned, and another Sister is killed outright.  The fighting if fierce, nothing like the steamroller action of previous games against Tau NPCs.  These guys are deadly accurate this time! The 14 reinforcements are whittled down, and the Tau make their exit from their board edge.  This Sister's patrol is not done yet, however.

Turns 5 & 6
The Sisters have OOF wounded strewn out behind them in the wake of their advance.  The Tau have mercifully pulled out.  It seems that now they only have to complete their recon of the Tau board edges and get back across the table.  Then a random event generates another PEF in the woods near the Sisters.
Thankfully the PEF is revealed as false alarm!  The Sisters get to the table edges and move through each sector to scout.

Turns 7 -12
The Sisters complete scouting of each the three sectors on the Tau board edge.  There were lots of close calls where it seemed the Tau would reappear.  But these turned out to be false alarms.  Despite not a lot of action during these turns, there was a cinematic feel to it.  As the Sisters came back towards their own board edge, they picked up their wounded.  They gathered these to a wounded way-station where they could be evacuated.  It was cool having the models "carry" their fallen comrades to safety, leaving them among other Sisters who guarded them.  All the while, a random event could've generated more enemy.
But no more enemy came, the the Sisters of Battle were victorious.  Though their victory came at a heavy cost; 2 Sisters killed, 7 Sisters wounded, and their Veteran Superior wounded.  After the battle, I rolled for recovery for the Veteran Superior.  She recovered from her injuries and will rejoin the squad.  A new Sister will join the squad to replace the dead.  The other OOF were from the reinforcement pool and don't count.

So that was the battle.  It took three hours to play out!  It was very exciting and I hardly felt the time going by.  I really like this game, and find it plays well and has a lot of action.  But you need dice that roll low for it to be a good game!

My thoughts on some of the adjustments I did:
  • Rapid fire is nice, but requires you to get close.  I think 5150 ranges are too much. I liked the shorter range and will keep it.  I just don't know how to tweak Outgunned.
  • I liked the reinforcements tweak. The way the rules are written, it's too hard to get them. This change makes it always possible.  The tables can generate a zero result, instead.
  • This is not 40K; don't try to make it that game.  That really came home with the Tau Commander.  He died like a regular grunt.  I could do multi wounds, but that's really changing the spirit of 5150.  This goes with my next point.
  • Squad size is important.  My adjustment to large squads made the game too different.  5150 should have at most 24 or so models a side.  But one max unit of Sisters of Battle could be 20 models.  I like smaller games and will now limit myself to the standard 8-12 per squad.  This won't sit well with a 40K game, but again this isn't 40K!
  • I liked all the other changes I made and will keep them.
So that's my report.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Go out and try 5150: Star Army.  It's a very solo friendly game!


  1. It was great reading this. Thanks so much. :D

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! This game is on the top of my "solo bookshelf" these days. It's very good.

  3. Ed posted on my site that instead of the reinforcement rule in the book, it should be:

    "Should be higher side on 7 has chance for reinforcements.
    Roll 2d6 versus Investment Level."

  4. Spacejacker: Thanks for that clarification. It just makes sense the way he wrote it for you. My only beef is that he should either issue an errata or update future documents with the rules fixed.

    I don't think that should be hard, given the book is PDF and the printed materials are probably POD.

    But, I guess I've learned to live with those things and just tweak games to fit my thoughts on how they should work. It's a solo game after all!

  5. Jerry, the game sounded very cinematic and a lot of fun. Glad you are enjoying the rules. It gives me a lot of hope for what I want to do with the game in the future.

  6. Jerry, it turns out that there are 2 pdf files on the yahoo group forum in the files section that correct some mistakes including the one mentioned by spacejacker. Unfortunately, instead of updating the PDF, he provides 2 files with a couple of pages each. Kind of a pain if you do not print your books unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat or Preview for the Mac. It's not really surprising when you consider what a mess the Two Hour Wargames the books are anyway.

  7. Thanks for the tip Mike. I'm going to download those right away and see what I've been messing up all this time!

  8. >Unfortunately, instead of updating the PDF, he provides 2 files with a couple of pages each. Kind of a pain if you do not print your books unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat or Preview for the Mac.

    Sorry, but you're wrong. The PDF and print copies were updated. If yours is not I'd be interested to know where you got it.

    >It's not really surprising when you consider what a mess the Two Hour Wargames the books are anyway.

    Really? Hmmm, Table of Contents, Index, QRSs, Step by step outline of how to play the game and the rules are presented to you in the order that you will use them.
    And if you have a hard time understanding them you can ask questions on the Yahoo Group. With over 5000 members I'm sure you can get the answers.