May 23, 2012

Terran Taxation War - At a Glance

At the height of the 3rd Border War, the Imperial Armada had been spread out too thinly to effectively maintain peace across the Imperium. To prevent any upstart minor power from exploiting this perceived weakness within the Imperium, as well as to prevent any uprisings from within they had to form a new type of defensive force to patrol the borders and sectors across the Imperium. These were known as the Colonial Militias, and were to be tithed forces, armed with locally manufactured weapons and supplied within their local systems – but under direct Imperial control.

More often than not, the Colonial Militias were granted only second rate equipment and were ill-equipped to combat any of the threats that reared during the Border Wars. Pirates were disabling shipping lanes all across the western regions of the Imperium and the Militias had their hands full trying to maintain even a semblance of Imperial peace. As the 3rd Border War dragged on, many of these Colonial Militia regiments were also transferred, away from their local systems, in order to bolster defenses across the frontlines of the war and the tithing of such militias to bolster the war effort rose slowly but surely, along with a growing dissent within the affected regions.

While the Imperial Court was not blind to the problems rising within the western regions; their internal intrigues and power struggles prevented them from accurately assessing the problem. The western regions were, after all, the regions closest to the frontlines and it was perceived that it would be easier to tithe and ship militia units from these regions rather than from the more peaceful eastern provinces. To address this, however, the Imperial Court devised another internal security force; the Colonial Control Unit.

They were formed along the lines of the Militia forces, but tithed at a much lower rate and given better equipment and training than all other Militias. These units were then shipped to the western provinces to bolster their defenses, and to secure the peace and prosperity of Imperial rule. It was the hope of the Imperial court that not only would this prevent any further disruption of trade, but that the new provinces would absorb some of the culture and philosophies of the eastern regions – effectively uniting the Imperium together. Thus, the Colonial Control Units were also heavily indoctrinated in Imperial lore and were encouraged to share with their less developed brethren.

Imperial Expedition Force on the Move

Unfortunately, this only further enraged the member states of the western region. Not only were they hard pressed to supply Militia units for a pro-longed and distant war, they were barely keeping peace across the shipping lanes and now they had to supply a growing force of, what they perceived, as propaganda units – there to enforce Imperial rule, and keep the population in check. Dissent spread like wildfire, meaning that Colonial Control Units were now more occupied with just keeping the peace within the Imperial worlds and were ill-prepared to defend from any incursions.

Meanwhile the Saari Communion was becoming hard pressed to stave off the Imperial Armadas advance into their territories. Desperate, they found out about this growing dissent across the western regions and were forced to exploit it, in order to buy them some respite from the conflict. Their plan was simple in its execution; begin an organized series of piratical incursions and raids deep within the western regions, hoping to destabilize the Imperium from within. However, the Saari Communion had never targeted civilians before and while their plan would work, it would also bring about the Second Schism within the Communion – diversifying the otherwise united Communion further.

These raids were methodical, effective and lighting quick. Once the piratical bases of operations were set up across the western region, shipping was effectively stalled completely within the western region. The Colonial Control Units could not spare any men or ships to combat this growing threat and had to rely on the Imperial Court to come to their aid. The court decided, in what has since become known as the greatest mistake, that seeing as the Saari was now desperate enough to implement these measures would mean that the Imperial Armada was pressing home the invasion. The Colonial Militias were therefore to combat this threat, and tithing of these forces would increase tenfold to secure Imperial shipping across the western region; it was believed that the 3rd Border War would end within the year, provided that the Militias could uproot the pirates swiftly – thus the tithing was increased in order to quickly reinforce the western provinces.

Sol Militia preparing an Ambush

That was the final spark for the Sol system. For years they had been bled dry of material, men and what little they had gained in the form of protection from incursions had proven to be completely ineffective. So it was to be that in the year 414-5th, the Sol system overthrew the Colonial Control Units in one of the bloodiest coups in Imperial history; utilizing the recently raised Colonial Militia regiments that were bound for combating the Saari pirates’ superior numbers and local knowledge to fight off all Control Units within the Sol sector within a single week.

As the Imperial tithing fleet, Pax Mammonia, entered the Sol system, they were surprised to be met with a flotilla of warships and all of the escorting picket-ships were instantly destroyed or crippled as soon as they left the entry point. As luck would have it, for the rebellious Sol system, this tithing fleet had recently collected four Militia regiments from the nearby systems, who were quick to join the Sol system in their rebellion. It is important to note, however, that whilst the coup was bloody – the general principle of the rebellion was not to overthrow Imperial rule as such, but to regain some manner of localized control over their region.

The Imperial Court, however, was outraged. They cared little for the rebels motives; what they saw was treachery at its highest – not only had they overthrown the Control Units, but they had attacked and plundered an Imperial tithing fleet. Not only would this setback the end of the 3rd Border War by at least two years, but would also mean that other systems might begin to think of doing something similar. In all haste, it was decided that the Imperial Expeditionary Forces who were bound to return back for rearmament and rest, were to redeploy to the Sol system and quell this rebellion, swiftly and surely – to dissuade any other systems within the region to follow the example of the Sol system.

And in the year 414-5th the Terran Taxation War began with a surprise assault on Terra itself, spearheaded by the 417th Imperial Expedition Forces. The Imperial forces spared no-one at their landing sites; slaughtering civilians and militias alike – hoping that in so doing, the rebellion would become completely demoralized and collapse upon itself. Instead, it became the rallying cry for the rebellion, and the Terran Taxation War would soon spiral out of control.

May 17, 2012

Fireteam Andromeda - What is it all about?

As you may have guessed from the constant posts about it, here and other forums across the web, then I'm currently working on a (final) version of Fireteam Andromeda which is intended to be published at the end of this year.

Fireteam Andromeda is a dedicated set of rules for 15mm science fiction games, aimed at roughly a reinforced platoon per side, give or take. It has been designed as a quick game, light on the granularity, but heavy on the tactical side.

Colonial Forces on the move.

To promote this tactical gameplay, the game incorporates a very special Command & Control system. The system represents the overall motivation of the troops as well as the commanders overall ability to formulate tactical plans on the go. As troops are fired upon and take casualties, the commander will find that it becomes harder and harder to keep track of everything and needs to prioritize his actions.

Each turn, a player receives a number of Command Points equal to the number of deployed and confident units currently at his disposal. The player, taking the role of a platoon commander, then assigns a number of these points to his units in order to activate them. Each unit that receives such a point then becomes active.

However, players are limited to the number of units that they can activate during their Order phase depending on their Commanders Leadership. Typically, a force may activate two to three units per Order phase, after which it then becomes the opponents turn to activate their units. The players then alternate in Ordering and Activating their units until they run out of Command Points and the turn thus ends.

But that is not all! Command Points can also be used to boost the effectiveness of your units as well as perform various defensive maneuvers, greatly increasing your tactical options, and much more. But once you've run out, then you've run out - and a clever Commander will keep at least two Command Points in reserve; just in case.

Imperial Forces hunkering down.

Fireteam Andromeda was also designed as a very light wargame. From the ground up, it was designed around a couple of easy to remember core mechanics, which gives a quick and satisfying gameplay experience; almost no charts and very few modifiers to remember in the heat of battle.

All units share three characteristics; Skill, Experience and Armor. Skill is used to determine the units chance to hit, Experience determines the units motivation and training and Armor, well, represents their overall Armor rating. What makes each unit distinctive, however, is the ability to design your own troops!

Fireteam Andromeda is intended to be a generic science fiction game, which allows for players to design their own troops, using some very broadly defined unit entries (grunts are, after all is said and done, still grunts) that can be customized to represent almost any miniatures out there on the market today. Customizing your units is a breeze - and includes point values to allow for pick-up-and-play games.

"In the pipe, five-by-five"

However, although it is generic, the book itself will include a small introduction to the Terminus Nebula setting, as well as a more detailed overview of the Employment War within that setting; a war in a heavily balkanized area of space, known as the Terminus Nebula, were major powers of the universe, as well as would-be dictators, despots and freedom fighters, are fighting a bushwar - of which most armies consists entirely of Mercenary Units.

Fireteam Andromeda is intended to become a fully developed game that includes pre-made army lists, templates, explanation, setting material and basic scenarios for quick games. For now, the game is being playtested and corrected here and there - the core mechanics are finalized and all that really needs to be added are explanations, graphics and some adjustment of point values, weapon effects and other minor details.

To give Fireteam Andromeda a go, then simply go to the download page and download your own copy of the rules - everything you need to get started is included in the PDF. Cheers, and thanks for your time!

May 16, 2012

Paintjob - 'Landsknecht' Wardroid

Today I finished up painting, not only the entire Colonial Militia for the Sol system, but also a bit of odds and ends. As per a recent discussion over on The Miniatures Page Cdude93 asked about a droid for 28mm that I thought of putting to use in 15mm. So, I dug it out, gave it a quick and dirty paintjob and wrote up some stats for it for Fireteam Andromeda - And thus, I present to you; the 'Landsknecht'.

The model itself is a Hellcat Fury from Scotia Grendel and has a vague ED-209 look that I'm rather fond of. There are multiple versions of the Hellcat droid in the Nexus Force range from Scotia Grendel, and I'm probably going to pick up a few more as time goes by. For now, however, I'm happy with the quick and dirty paintjob for this beast - that and the veritable torrent of fire that it can dish out during a game!

Using Fireteam Andromeda to stat up this robot was a breeze! I chose the Battlesuit unit entry and added a Light Automatic Weapon to the suit (thus the unit can only consist of 1 - 2 Landsknechts, as this is the maximum number of battlesuits that can carry a Light weapon) which, obviously, is the quadruple chainguns. 

To represent the increased torrent of fire from four (!) chaingun barrels, I decided to give it the Rapid Fire (Ballistic) upgrade, increasing the Light Weapons Rate of Fire to 5, as well as the Linked Fire upgrade, allowing it to re-roll any failed to-hit rolls. The two guns, which I've decided are some sort of vey light auto-cannons, were designated as Versatile Support Weapons, choose Ballistic to maximize the effect of the Rapid Fire Upgrade. Finally, I chose the Artificial trait for the machine, suitable for any robotic flak-cannon. 

Photo to illustrate the size of the 'Landsknecht'; it could easily be used for a Walker vehicle!

And now, as a special reader service, I leave you with a couple of pictures of painted NAC Power Armor miniatures from Ground Zero Games. Reader Dan asked for a couple of snapshots of them and here they are - enjoy!

May 15, 2012

Rebasing Miniatures

Today I decided to finally get about rebasing all of my old 15mm miniatures; removing them from their former Flames of War style basing to the new, and much preferred, single-based unity. While i like the idea and the visiuals of multi-based 15mm figures (Conquest Galactica as well as earlier editions of Fireteam Andromeda were all about multi-based, company sized games, akin to Flames of War) I've since found that I prefer it for smaller scales, such as 6mm or the like. But I still had a lot of miniatures - painted miniatures at that - lying about.

The old basing style, which is now being scrapped

Thus, today I tooled up for the job; purchasing some rare-earth magnets (for a completely unrelated project, involving a Gunship from Old Crow) and two tubes of super-glue and finding all of my basing-coins I then set about snapping, breaking and tearing my way through a whole lot of bases - ending up with the following collection.

A whole lot of troops for Fireteam Andromeda

Not bad at all for a couple of hours work - and I even had some superglue left over in the first container! The total for today's rebasing leaves me with the following:
  • 12 x Light Power Armor for the Imperial Expeditionary Force
    (New Israeli Hardsuits, Ground Zero Games)
  • 10 x Medium Power Armor for the Sol System Colonial Force
    (NAC Power Armor, Ground Zero Games)
  • 14 x Scouts / Rangers for the Sol System Colonial Force
    (NAC Gurkhas in Bush Hats, Ground Zero Games)
  • 30 x Martian Homesteaders for either side
    (Mixed Armed Civilians, Ground Zero Games)
  • 2 x Engineers, 2 x Specialists (Psions?) and 2 x Heavy Weapon Groundmounts for the Sol System Colonial Force
  • 1 x Robotic Recon Walker for the Imperial Expeditionary Force
    (Yu-Jing Drone, Corvus Bellis from their Infinity line)
All in all, not bad for two hours or so of rebasing. Not only did my painted forces just quadruple in size, but I've still many more to go - roughly two or three squads at the very least, not counting those that were based for the Fireteam Andromeda - Reloaded edition. 

So, to end it all off - here's a quick workbench shot of the Light Power Armor attachment for the Expeditionary Force.

In other news, work has now begun on actually writing down the history and details concerning the Taxation War as well as figuring out how best to write any supplements, armylists and what not for the Fireteam Andromeda system - as well as a bit of tidying up of the rules. But that's for another time, in another post.

May 14, 2012

Terran Taxation War - Introduction

So, I finally got around to take a couple of pictures of my freshly painted squads for the two armies that I'm currently working on for Fireteam Andromeda.

Imperial Expedition Force, "Desert Hounds" Shock Troops (Protolene, Critical Mass Games)

Sol System Colonial Militia; 3rd Martian Regiment (Colonial Militia, Ground Zero Games)

I was musing about what sort of conflict I wanted to portray with Fireteam Andromeda, at the very least as a get go. The initial idea is that the game-setting is set during the Employment War in the Terminus Nebula; a drawn-out bushwar where various despots, dictators and self-proclaimed freedom fighters engage in an ongoing balkanized war for the absolute control of the Terminus Nebula. 

The gist of it, is that all sides employ many Mercenaries from across the known universe, which in turn has given the "war" its name. The Employment War is considered to be the final conflict following the last Galactic War which had all the major powers of the known universe - mostly the Republic and the Imperium - at each others throats after a series of failed diplomatic negotiations. 

The end of this great war has left the rest of the universe in a state of cold war, as the major powers are still consolidating their forces following the war; a war which has left many systems unprotected and isolated throughout the known universe; there are even some whispers of a Long Night about to draw across the Imperium and Republican spheres, as more and more systems are lost to the Employment War.

All in all - Fireteam Andromeda is aimed at small unit engagements across a vast area of the known universe, known as the Terminus Nebula, wherein Republican, Imperial and a whole host of Mercenary units continue to fight on, even though the universe, at large, is at "peace". 

However, I've also had plans for Mecha Doom, the 6mm science fiction game, wherein the game setting is focused on first the Civil War (wherein the Republic was created, as they broke off from the Imperium) and following on to the Galactic War (wherein the Republic and the Imperium got at each others throats over the absolute dominance of the known universe). 

This "historical context" has then become the focus for my initial 15mm forces as I wanted to recreate the Terra Taxation War, which was the starting point of what would become the Imperial Civil War. In this Taxation War, the Sol system have long suffered under the yoke of the Imperial Court; paying increasingly heavier taxes, without any increasing gain in either security nor representation.

As the Imperial Court was waging yet another border war against the Saari Dominion, the Sol systems declared its independence by shooting down the Taxation ship Pax Mammonia as it entered the system to gather resources and troops for the war.

Initially the Imperium could not spare any of its Mecha Cohorts to deal with the troublesome Solsystem, so the Taxation War started with a small Expeditionary Force; frontline soldiers of high quality, who were bound to rotate back for resupply and rest. It was a hardened, but battered, expeditionary force that were the first to engage the Terrans on their homesoil - a war that would escalate into cataclysimc proportions within a few years.

Thus - my initial forces will be the advance party for my Mecha Doom armies, set during the time of the Imperial Civil War. In an upcoming post, there will be more details on the two sides of the war, as well as premade armylists and a detailed overview of their ensignia and other tid-bits. 

May 13, 2012

Fireteam Andromeda - Quick Reference Sheet

Just a quick post to let people know that I've just uploaded a Quick Reference Sheet for Fireteam Andromeda.

It is by no means perfect, but it should contain the most needed rules for easy reference during gameplay. I tried to keep it at two pages, but I feel that maybe it should be expanded to four pages. That, or I should decrease on the amount of information on each page. Ah well, the joy of writing and layouts!

Brave New World

So, here's to starting off a dedicated blog for something I've been working on for a very long time; Terminus Nebula - my own little science-fiction setting which sets the tone for all of my science fiction gaming in the - pardon the pun - indefinate future.

I decided that this year would be the year where I finally got stuck in and actually started publishing, with all that such ventures entails, my various rulebooks, settings and what not to the general public rather than simply keep scattered notes on various harddrives.

Terminus Nebula - as a blog - will therefore detail my various forays into science fiction gaming, be it in 6mm, 15mm or 28mm scale or any place in between. I have, for quite some time, been working on various ruleprojects for each of the listed scales and this blog is going to be where I post various musings on the subject at hand - namley the setting, the games, the rules and anything else inbetween.

Too long have the projects been scattered across the internet - this is my attempt to consolidate all relevant information about the setting as well as the rules and miniatures that I use into a single place.

So, with that out of the way - welcome to the blog!

For now, it is mainly a holding page for Fireteam Andromeda, a reinforced platoon level 15mm set of rules, allowing for easy access to any who are interested in helping out playtesting the game or for those who are simply looking for a new set of rules for their science fiction games.

In the future, I'll upload both Mecha Doom and the Rosetta Stone systems, my 6mm and 28mm rulesystems so that those who are interested in either scale can peruse them as well.

While the focus, for now, is on getting my rulebooks out there, I am planning more on uploading battle-reports, various paintschemes, unit history, background information and so on for the setting. What the setting entails? Well, that's a post for another day.

Welcome aboard!