Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Alien Organization

Alien organization is based on the type of UFO they are in. I'll tackle some kind of PEF resolution chart later.

Small Scout
1Soldier4Plasma Rifle
Medium Scout
3-5Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1-2Navigator13Plasma Pistol
Large Scout
2-7Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1-2Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1-2Engineer13Plasma Pistol
7-11Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
2Engineer13Plasma Pistol
1-2Leader35Heavy Plasma
4-8Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1-2Navigator13Plasma Pistol
3Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
2Engineer13Plasma Pistol
1Leader35Heavy Plasma
Supply Ship
6-12Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
1Engineer13Plasma Pistol
1Leader35Heavy Plasma
Terror Ship/Terror Site
5-6Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1-2Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
1Engineer13Plasma Pistol
1Leader35Heavy Plasma
Battleship/Base Defense
6-10Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
1Engineer13Plasma Pistol
2Leader35Heavy Plasma
1Commander36Blaster Launcher
Alien Base
6-10Soldier4Plasma Rifle
1Navigator13Plasma Pistol
1Medic1,23Stun Bomb Launcher
1Engineer13Plasma Pistol
3Leader35Heavy Plasma
1Commander36Blaster Launcher
Cydonia Surface
5Sectoid Soldier4Plasma Rifle
4Sectoid Leader5Heavy Plasma
4Sectoid Commander6Blaster Launcher
3Cyberdisc4(Vehicle Weapon - TBD)
Cydonia Base
3Ethereal Soldier4Plasma Rifle
2Ethereal Leader5Heavy Plasma
4Ethereal Commander6Blaster Launcher
3Sectopod4(Vehicle Weapon - TBD)

1Ethereals use Ethereal Leaders in place of Navigators, Medics, and Engineers.
2Snakemen use Snakeman Soldiers in place of Medics.
3Mutons use Muton Soldiers in place of Leaders and Commanders.
4Ethereals and Sectoids use Vehicles (Sectopods and Cyberdiscs respectively) instead of Terrorists. "Terrorists" consist of Reapers (with Floaters), Chryssalids (with Snakemen), Silacoids and Celatids (both with Mutons).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

X-Com Organization

X-Com has a wonky promotion/rank system. Here is my best attempt to shoehorn it into the 5150 terminology and rules:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Special Attributes

I altered some of the armor ratings for the aliens in my previous post. And here are the initial Special Attributes I have assigned to the various alien races (and X-Com soldiers). As always, these are subject to change:

X-Com: Subject to Fear
Sectoid: Slight, Terror (for Rep 5+ Sectoids only)
Floater: Flying (Move 12" regardless of terrain type - including over walls & buildings)
Reaper: Vicious, Hard as Nails, Nerves of Steel (Not subject to Duck Back)
Snakeman: Nerves of Steel, Slow
Chryssalid: Vicious, Fast, Terror, Nerves of Steel
Muton: Nerves of Steel, Hard as Nails
Celatid: Nerves of Steel, Vicious
Silacoid: Slow, Nerves of Steel, Hard as Nails, Vicious
Ethereal: Flying, Terror
Zombie: Nerves of Steel, Slow, Vicious

(For those not in the know, Zombies in X-Com are not your ATZ-type zombies. They are former humans who were unfortunate enough to have a run-in with a Chryssalid. When they are killed, they "give birth" to a new Chryssalid.)

All Aliens: Infrared Vision

Sectopods and Cyberdisc: I decided to run these two units as "Vehicles" along with the X-Com Heavy Weapon Platforms.

Psionics: At some point, I will likely incorporate some of the psionic rules from one of the old 5150 books (I don't remember off hand which one it was in). I figure giving the Ethereals (and Sectoid Leaders/Commanders) the terror ability will suffice for now. (Chryssalids get terror because...come on...they're chryssalids...shudder....)

Next up: Figuring out the QRS and "Lists" for each race. I plan on borrowing HEAVILY from the old 5150 books as well as from the new 5150: Star Army book.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lab Work

Going through the new 5150:Star Army rules, I can see why some changes were made...simplicity. Which is a good thing. I'm going to take the same line when it comes to X-Com:Frontlines. I'm not looking to recreate the exact computer experience, so simplicity is (generally) the goal. So, now for some tweaking:

Stars and Grunts: I really like the idea of only grunts. The possibility of having a complete wipeout of your team is very reminiscent of the computer game, especially on Superhuman level. So no Stars or the associated benefits (Star Power, Larger Than Life, Cheating Death, Free Will).

Reputation: As I mentioned before, I like the idea of splitting Rep into "Skill" and "Rank". I think that the associated problem can be overcome with requiring a minimum of one Sergeant (Rank 3) still would be a bit hairy, but it's suppose to be like that in the beginning.

Armor: Simple stuff here. Soldiers start with Soft Body, Personal Amor becomes Hard Body, Power Suits become Exo-Armor, and Flying Suits become Battle Tactical Armor (especially with their jump capability). I'm originally setting the alien's armor to (I'm open to changes though):

  • Soft Body: Sectoid, Celatid, Floater, Zombie
  • Hard Body: Snakemen, Ethereal, Muton, Reaper
  • Exo-Armor: Silacoid, Chryssalid, Sectopod, Cyberdisk

Weapons: Hard to make hard and fast rules until I get more experience. Until then, I'm going to go with:

  • Pistol - Range 12, Target 2, SB 1, HB 0, Exo & BTA NE
  • Rifle - Range 24, Target 3, SB 2, HB 1, Exo & BTA NE
  • Laser Pistol - Range 12, Target 2, SB 2, HB 1, Exo 0, BTA NE
  • Auto Cannon - Range 48, Target 3, SB 2, HB 1, Exo 0, BTA NE
  • Grenade - Range 6, Target 5" Circle, SB 2, HB 1, Exo 0, BTA NE
  • Plasma Pistol - Range 24, Target 3, SB 3, HB 2, Exo 1, BTA NE
  • Heavy Cannon - Range 48, Target 2, SB 3, HB 2, Exo 1, BTA NE
  • Laser Rifle - Range 24, Target 3, SB 3, HB 2, Exo 1, BTA 0
  • Heavy Laser - Range 48, Target 1, SB 4, HB 3, Exo 3, BTA 2
  • Plasma Rifle - Range 48, Target 3, SB 4, HB 3, Exo 2, BTA 1
  • Alien Grenade - Range 6, Target 5" Circle, SB 4, HB 3, Exo 2, BTA 1
  • Rocket Launcher - Range Unlimited, Target 5" Circle, SB 4, HB 3, Exo 2, BTA 1
  • High Explosive - Range 6, Target 5" Circle, SB 5, HB 4, Exo 2, BTA 0 (if placed instead of thrown, add 2 to Exo and BTA)
  • Heavy Plasma - Range 48, Target 3, SB 5, HB 4, Exo 2, BTA 1
  • Blaster Bomb - Range Unlimited, Target 5" Circle, SB 6, HB 6, Exo 5, BTA 4

Special Attributes: While I really like the idea of having individual attributes, I can see that it would be a bit much to track. So it would be a matter of having racial attributes. I haven't gone through all the races yet, so that will be another post. However, I'm sure I'll use different attributes for the X-Com soldiers than what is listed for the Star Army...just not sure what that will be yet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back in the Lab

"Okay Doc, what do you have for us?"

Nikolai Belov looked up from the work he was doing with red-rimmed eyes. It was apparent he hadn't had any sleep since the first successful mission had brought back a treasure trove of alien artifacts and biological specimens.

"Astra, these things are..." he waved his hand vaguely across the lab towards his fellow scientists working feverishly at their benches, "...a lot to take in. There are things that just don't make sense while others are vaguely similar to the Roswell Artifacts. It's going to take some time-"

"We don't have time, Doc," Astra Shadrin interrupted. "Our guys are dying out there. We need - I need something to give to my team. Without it, we're doomed. Humanity is doomed."

"I know," Nikolai sighed. "I know..."

* * * * * * *

I just received a copy of the new 5150 Star Army book. I had thought it was just another scenario book so I didn't look closely at it, but it is an update to the 3.0 rules! Now I don't have to try to mash two separate but similar rulesets together. However, that means it's going to take me a little time to digest all the stuff and see how I need to tweak the changes I already made.

Speaking of changes, one of the things that I was thinking of doing was splitting Rep into "Skill" and "Rank." Skill would be used like Rep and Rank would be used for Leader rolls. Rookie = 1, Squaddie = 2, Sergeant = 3, Captain = 4, Colonel = 5, Commander = 6. Promotion would be based on number of kills (Obvious Dead or Out of the Fight) like the computer game. There would be a greater penalty for a higher rank getting killed than for a lower rank. Hmm...I'll have to give it more thought as one of the side effects of that would be if a squad of nothing but Rookies was fielded (like in a first mission), X-Com would have to roll a "1" to activate...the aliens would likely slaughter them. On the other hand, I've had games like that...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Test Run


It is the year 1999. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have started appearing with disturbing regularity in the night skies. Reports of violent human abductions and horrific experimentation have struck terror into the hearts of millions. Mass public hysteria has only served to expose Earth’s impotence against a vastly superior technology.

Many countries have attempted to deal independently with the aliens. In August 1998, Japan established an anti-alien combat force; the Kiryu-Kai. Equipped with Japanese-made fighter aircraft, the Kiryu-Kai certainly looked like a powerful force. However, 5 months of expensive operations they had yet to intercept their first UFO. The lesson was clear: This was a worldwide problem that could not be dealt with by individual countries.

On December 11, 1998, representatives from the world’s most economically powerful countries gathered secretly in Geneva, Switzerland. After much debate, the decision was made to establish a covert independent body to combat, investigate, and defeat the alien threat. This organization would be equipped with the world’s finest pilots, soldiers, scientists, and engineers, working together as one multi-national force.

This organization was named the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit…X-Com.

January 1999

The team was assembled:

Evelyn Kemp
Armand Dujardin
Brett Evans
Gunter Faerber
David Jones,
Donald Johnson
Jungo Sato
and me, Astra Shadrin.

They told us we were the best. We came to find out later, that we were horribly unprepared for what we were about to face. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first week was mundane enough; getting to know each other, training together, bragging. You know, the typical military BS. We thought we had it pretty easy. The flyboys were up in their Interceptors chasing UFOs all over kingdom come and not having much luck. Finally, The Call came: A report of an intact UFO that had landed in a farm out in the middle of nowhere USA. We loaded up the Skyranger and headed out. When we landed, Don Johnson (yeah, we nicknamed him “Miami Vice”) took lead of Alpha Squad and I took lead of Bravo Squad. We approached the farm and all hell broke loose…

The Set-Up

(Note on the map: This was just a quickly made map with only one level and would be equivalent to a table top of 40” x 40”. Also the buildings don’t have any doors or windows. Since this is my first game, I didn’t want to over-complicate the terrain and just focus on learning to play. I’m going on the assumption that there is also a PEF in each building that my team can’t currently see in even though I didn’t put them on the map.)

The motion scanners picked out three possible enemy forces. Alpha Squad headed for the closest, but they couldn’t get a visual. The scanners are pretty new tech. Looks like there’s still a glitch in the system.

Round 1

I moved my squad to secure a nearby barn. Jungo spotted two humanoid creatures in the furthest wheat field from us. They were small and grey…just like you’d imagine a typical alien to look like. They were too far away to get a clean shot and they weren’t immediately hostile. (Hindsight: Jungo did have a Heavy Cannon, range 48, and could have taken a shot…oh well.) However, we did see them looking directly at us. No pointing, no talking, just looking. It was a little unsettling. Since we didn’t see the UFO, it meant that we knew it was located behind the main barn by the orchard.

Alpha Squad ran up towards the nearby stable complex, first securing a smaller barn.

The motion scanners picked up movement from the aliens in/near where we believed the UFO to be. Apparently the two in the field had let their buddies know about us, while they moved towards the cover of the nearby buildings.

Round 2

(Note: At this point, I decided not to worry about putting PEFs in the other buildings. I’ll worry about complicating things later.)

With the enemy in site, I commanded Bravo Squad to quickly move in and fire. The fast moving made many of our shots go wide, but I was able to tag it and knock it down. Sato hit it hard, taking it out of the fight while Brett followed up with another hit, obviously killing it.

Meanwhile, Alpha Squad moved up closer to the UFO.

We must have spooked the other alien as it moved further into cover. The motion scanner showed the other possible alien group moving up on Alpha Squad.

Round 3

The small alien circled around the small barn and lifted a pistol-like object and, with a flash of green, fired three bursts at Dave. Luckily, all of them missed. Dave, a bit shocked at the evaporating ground around him, dropped to the ground and got ready to return fire.

The unknown group continued to move towards Alpha Squad. When they came around the corner, a visual confirmed three more aliens, two of which were carrying the same pistol-like weapons while the third carried a larger rifle-like weapon. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but I think the shock of seeing the aliens for the first time at such a close range freaked the squad out a bit. They just stood there while the aliens open fired on them.

The two pistol-toting aliens fired on Evelyn. Luckily, only one of those green shots hit her, knocking her to the ground. The rifle alien didn’t hesitate to take aim at Armand, who was carrying our Auto-Cannon. Again, three of the blazing green shots knocked him down.

Evelyn, in terrible pain from being shot, started screaming. Armand wasn’t any better off – he was laying very, very still. Don and Gunter open fired on the alien with the rifle; it went down in a hail of bullets. Both looked to be out of the fight for now.

Bravo Squad moved across the field and took up positions behind the wooden fence next to the wheat field. Our little alien could be seen just inside the doorway to the small barn. Bullets riddled the face of the barn, I managed to get a good shot in, taking the alien out of the fight.

Round 4

(Note: The basic 5150 rules didn’t state that those within 4” also had to take the Received Fire, but it is in the Chain Reaction 3.0 rules. Things in round 3 probably would have turned out very differently otherwise. I’ll be adding that rule in next game.)

Having taken care of our alien “friend,” Bravo Squad hurried to help out Alpha Squad. Don and Gunter stood over the helpless bodies of our comrades and open fired on the remaining aliens. Don blasted the nearest alien to smithereens. Gunter peppered the stone wall the alien was behind, but failed to hit. However, it did have the effect of making the alien hunker down behind the wall.

As we slowly approached it, it had dropped its weapon and had become completely passive. Looks like we have a guest for the boys back in the lab…


Evelyn recovered quickly and was back in action, no worse for the wear. Armand, having taken three shots from the alien rifle, didn’t fare as well. He survived, but wasn’t ever the same. I’m not sure if they’ll let him back in the field again or not.

The two aliens we had wounded didn’t survive; we just didn’t have the technology or the facilities to keep them alive. Our captive didn’t last long either. The lab boys are working on building some kind of alien containment center that would help in keeping any future aliens around long enough to get some kind of information from them. In the meantime, they’ll have to be satisfied with autopsies and the collection of alien artifact we were able to recover.

Final Notes

Overall, I’m very happy with how the 5150 rules work for X-Com. I had used just the basic rules along with the Patrol scenario from the Chain Reaction 3.0 rules. I had changed a few of the PEF resolution tables as well as making different numbers for the X-Com and alien weapons. This game was short enough that I didn’t get a good feel on if the changes were good or not. Ah well, more games to come!

X-Com used the “Basics” QRS and the aliens (sectoids) used the “Hishen” QRS…not that it came into play much. Death and Out of Fight happened much more quickly than I expected. There really wasn’t any chance for some good back-and-forth reactions. Of course, I guess that is to be expected when nobody on either side has any kind of armor.

The map was made with Dundjinni and the game was run in Maptools for which I’m still working on getting all the macros set up (learning as I go) so I don’t have to refer to the tables all the time. The pictures of the minis are from Infinity the Game.