The first draft of my Steam Wars rules had a run out this week. The rules started out as a cut down version of my fantasy No Quarter rules and then proceeded to be simplified more and more to make a game that should play out quite quickly.
The first draft was a very light two pages, the first line reads “If it is not clear, make it up.”
The last year or so has been spent painting up loads of Bob Olley’s Prussian Scrunts, Andrew May’s British steampunk infantry and a variety of vehicles including Ramshackles Pugs and Ironclad Miniatures light tanks. This is what it was all leading to, Steam Wars.
Using a spreadsheet to work out points values and model profiles, I created a list for each force and enlisted the help of Mr Steinberg to help give it the first play test.
A standard unit size is five or six models, consisting of a unit leader, several riflemen and up to two specialists.
The model profiles can be modified to create heavier units such as these heavy infantry models from Clockwork Goblin and the Spartan Treadbikes.
The game uses alternate unit activation rather than I Go You Go. Each model has two actions which can be used to move, shoot or fight along with a few other basic actions. All weapons come from a standard list, although it is possible to create custom weapon profiles if required.
All ranged attacks hit on a 4+, all melee attacks hit on a 4+. These can be modified by certain circumstances. A unit that takes hits will get a pin counter which will reduce the number of actions it has available.
I have even created rules for jump pack equipped troops and painted some Rackham Tir-Na-Bor Dwarf Meteors to fill the role for the Scrunts.
Vehicles of any size can be used, although we did decide that the tanks in our test game were a bit too tough and needed their armour and wounds reducing.
Attacking vehicles from the rear is the best option as their armour is greatly reduced, there is nothing worse than having a tough unkillable tank on the table.
Tunneling models like this little beauty from Ironclad Miniatures allow units to pop up and attack the enemy anywhere. For tunneling model movement, the controlling player uses three counters, only one of which is the actual tunneling machine. Using two dummy counters means the opposing player is not sure where the thing will surface.
A command unit can be used that contains a leader to help with unpinning units, a medic to try to save wounded models, an engineer to repair vehicles and a battle standard that allows rerolls to unpin. Specialist models like medics can be added to basic units as well.
I could not resist adding in some old Ogryn models as I think most if not all were originally sculpted by Bob Olley back in the glory days of 40K.
The first results of the playtest were pretty good, it flowed well, seemed quite well balanced once we had allowed for the excessive armour of the vehicles. However, even attacking the toughest tank from the rear still took it out quite quickly. We also decided that a stationary vehicle is easier for an infantry unit to hit in melee.
I need some counters made to show the status of a unit such as if it is pinned or ready to fire.
The rules will be available for download soon if anyone else in interested in having a go, but a few more playtests are required first.