Thursday, July 19, 2012

15mm Aliens vs. Predator vs.Colonial Marines

Aliens vs. Predator vs. Colonial Marines - it never gets old. It gets stretched, it get's painful, but never old.  I wanted to make my own Aliens game, so here's how I did it. 

The Minis
Khurasan Miniatures, one stop shop. They have a line of "Space Demons," which I knew about that have a conveniently H. R. Giger feel to them. Check them out:

Pics liberally stolen from Khurasan Miniature's Site.
I then found that they've also got Not Colonial Marines:

Not Nostromo Crew (with Not Ripley and her big '80s hair):

Not Ripley's Loader:

And civilians with Not Newt (complete with doll's head):

They also have Not Predators too (their "Huntarrs") which they currently appear to be redesigning (no pics available). 

That just left terrain and rules.

I got a few spaceship deckplans from Ki Ryn Studios from over at

Ki Ryn does the nicest spaceship deckplans I've seen, and have everything from ports to exploration vessels. They've also branched into fantasy plans, taverns and the like.

I used their Exeter package, deck plans for a tramp freighter (it has a very Firefly feel):


I got it printed out in matte, full color, on 4mm foamcore board. It came to two, huge, durable, water-proof sheets. You can see them here: 

It has four decks, which was plenty.

The Rules 
I'm a big fan of not reinventing the wheel, so I plundered a lot of the simpler rules from Space Hulk (gun jams, overwatch firing, unlimited bugs, token blips, etc...). Layered on that, were these basic rules:

Shoot  Melee Wounds Save Movement Running (no shooting)
Marine 3+ 6+ 1 5+ 4 6
Alien - 3+ 1 6+ 8 8
Alien Queen - 2+ 5 2+ 6 6
Loader - 3+ 3 3+ 3 3
Predator 2+ 2+ 3 2+ 4 6

So for example, marines would shoot on a 3+, but could hit in melee only on a 6. The predator however is a real beast: he hits, shoots, and saves on a 2+, and he has 3 wounds to be even more of an ass. 

The Colonial Marines also got the following weapons:

H&K VP70 Shoots 1 shot. Never jams.
M41A Pulse Rifle Shoots 3 shots. Jams on a 1.
M56 Smart Gun Shoots 9 shots. Jams on a 1, and can cause hull damage. 
M240 Flame Thrower Shoots 5 shots, then runs out. Does 1 wound damage (no saves) to all targets
6 inches in front of shooter. 
There was a lot of room for tactics and planning here. The smart guns and flame throwers were of course limited. The flame throwers were fantastic, but economy was an issue as they would eventually run out. 

The smart guns were a challenge because on 9 dice,  rolling a 1 was essentially a given. However, the marine player could choose to roll part of his 9 dice pool at a time, or all of it in one go. A jam would only stop the gun firing again that turn, but all the other shots in the pool, would go through. 

The Alien player had a very different set of concerns: they had to exhaust the marine's firepower and cause gun jams, and build up in enough mass that when they struck they would make it to the marines and cause some damage rather than just get shot to pieces.

The Alien player got to deploy at bulkhead points along the edges of the ship, and could put down a new token at the end of every turn.

Depending on what fire power the marines used, the Aliens player could field 1, 3, or up to 5 aliens per token:

Pistol Fire 1 per token
Rifle Fire 3 per token
Smart Gun/Flamer  5 per token

This worked out quite nicely. The Marine player would tend to use pistols as far as possible, and the alien player would have to conserve their bugs as best they could, and try and hit with enough numbers to force the marine player to use heavier weapons. 

Here are some blackberry shots of the game between my buddies Nic and Thilani (courtesy of Thilani):

The game played better than expected. It was very much a see-saw struggle the whole time between both players, and victory points were neck and neck the whole time. It was nail biting down to the finish, both times we played. 

We only had one predator, and the plan was to give them to the losing player after a certain number of turns to help equalize the balance. He wasn't necessary in the end, but we threw him in at the end of the first game anyway, for a laugh. Thilani, who was the predator player, did not find his performance up to expectations though, and she dubbed him "the special predator."

I killed it for a free victory point.