Left to right: 1. Bridge; 2. Crew compartment; 3. Cargo Area; 4–5. Weapons; (L-R) 6) Engines

Let’s Play 5150: Star Marine: “Boarding Action” AAR

Test-Driving Two Hour Wargames’ new introductory game.

The Wayland-Yutani Colonial Marine squad is on a routine mission to capture the bridge of the Aristodemos, a rival corporation’s science vessel that illegally stole sensitive corporate data. The Marines are Marines as per the rules, but they wear hard body (HB) armor instead of exoskeletons in keeping with the aesthetic of “Aliens.” Space suits would slow them down, and they’re assaulting aboard a small craft — a breaching module.

The Aristodemos, a repurposed Cutter, has 6 Sections.

Left to right: 1. Bridge; 2. Crew compartment; 3. Cargo Area; 4–5. Weapons; (L-R) 6) Engines

(The tiles and doors are from Human Interface: Nakamura Tower. Note counter beside each door indicating locked (red) or unlocked (green).)

The Marines are assaulting with one squad. Their campaign morale is 5. The Star is Private Harlon Yee. Here is the squad:

Colonial Marines ready for insertion

Section 1:

Squad leader: Sgt. MacPharlain, Rep 5, Auto-5, Unlucky

PFC Andrijana, Rep 5, auto-2, Rage

Pvt. Kecskemeti, Rep 4, Auto-2, Charismatic

Section 2:

Cpl. Zangari, Rep 4, Auto-2, Hard As Nails

PFC Fionnan, Rep 4, Auto-2, Born Leader

Pvt. Harlan Yee, Rep 4, Auto-5, Rage, Crack Shot

The defenders are a Free Companies troops, with Reps from 3 to 5. They’re all packing Auto-3 rifles. Their campaign morale is 4.

The defenders

The squad rolls a 6, which means their breaching craft adheres to Aristodemos’ engine compartment Section. The squad enters the compartment. The ship’s security detachment deploys immediately, unlocking some of the doors going from the weapons areas to the engine Section. The door on the right is re-locked; It leads to the second weapons area which includes the arms locker!

Face-off in the engine compartment

Round One

The defenders roll and get combat advantage. They also win the initiative. Defenders are always in cover on the first turn. The Marines are not in cover. Their leader, on the far left, chooses not to fire. The other 5 decide to fire 3 shots each at 5 of the exposed Marines. [I did this wrong. An Auto-3 rifle lets you fire at UP TO three targets, not three shots at one.]

Defenders Fire

Defender PFC Angharad fires his assault rifle 3 times at Cpl Zangari, who looks like he’s Obviously Dead. But Zangari is Hard as Nails, and shrugs off the attack, simply Ducking Back. When Zangari Returns Fire, he puts Angharad Out of the Fight.

Defender Cpl Metchild fires 3 shots at Pvt. Kecksemeti, who ducks back and then returns fire. He almost puts Metchild Out of the Fight, but an Unlucky defender, Pvt. Redd, is standing nearby, and catches the ricochet — he’s the one Out of the Fight.

All other defenders fail to score hits and the Marines’ return fire misses them. Still, they end their first volley with two men down.

After their first volley, two defenders are Out of the Fight. Firing multiple shots at Rep 5 troops is dangerous!

Both sides check their will to fight, successfuly. All soldiers on all sides stay in the battle.

Marines Fire

Sgt. MacPhairlane fires one well placed shot at defending Pvt Libena, Rep 3. He’s Obviously Dead.

Yee and the rest of the Marines move forward under cover and fire single shots at the remaining 3 defenders.

Some defenders get a chance to return fire, but don’t score hits. When the dust clears, all of the defenders are Out of the Fight.

Will to Fight

Still, the Marines are shaken. They pass only one die on their Will to Fight roll. 2 will have to exit the battle! Three Marines have the lowest Rep, Rep 4. But Fionnan is a Born Leader and stays in. So despite their sharp shooting, Cpl. Zangari and Kecskemeti don’t want any more close calls! If they were deeper into the ship they’d fall back one Section. But because this is the Section they entered the ship in, they fall back — against MacPhairlain’s orders — to the breaching module to wait out the rest of the mission. When they return to the base they will face court-martial. Zangari may lose his corporal’s stripes. Both may be hanged.

PFC Fionnan takes command of Section 2, which is down to just Yee.

The Marines won the firefight, but are down to 4 men.

Entering the Weapons Section (Port)

MacPhairlan rallies Andrijiana and Section 2, and they head into the port side weapons Section (the starboard side weapons Section, which includes the weapons locker, is locked). This Section houses the ship’s port gun as well as ammunition storage and an engineer’s table.

Contact is possible here! The Marines roll on the contact table versus enemy morale of 4. One die passes. The contact is a 3, a 5-man enemy squad. But the ship’s last detachment must stay in the bridge according to the rules. So no contact.

Challenge — locked door

I decided the Marines must pass a challenge to enter the next section — the door is locked and they must hack through it. I decided if they fail the challenge it will trigger Anti-Boarding measures. I decide it’s difficult, which subtracts 1 from Rep. But the Marines have a hacking computer, which is a Tool, so Rep is 5. PFC Fionnan rolls a 2 and a 1, so both pass. They open the door.

Entering the Cargo Section

The Marines move forward to the cargo Section. They roll for Contact again, passing 2 dice. The contact is a 6-man enemy squad, but again, they’re in the bridge. (The Marines are lucky they haven’t rolled Anti-boarding measures!)

Again they face a locked door, this time to the Crew Compartment Section.

These pesky doors!

Fionnan whips out his hacking terminal and rolls versus Rep 5. Both dice pass — the door is open!

Entering the Crew Compartment Section

They advance to the crew compartment section. It is the last section before the bridge, and also contains an airlock.

This section contains an airlock.

The Marines roll for contact again. One die passes. They roll a 1 for the contact, which is 6-man enemy squad. So no contact once more. They’ve been pretty lucky!

They must open one more set of doors (containing another airlock) to get to the bridge and complete their mission.

The defending squad in the bridge, behind one last set of doors.

I house rule that this set of doors is extra secure, so Fionnan must pass Rep 4. He passes one die. The Marines can choose not to retry, but they’d fail their mission. This time though a pass of 1d6 will count as a failure!

Fionnan tries again against Rep 4. He passes one die — a failure! The bridge crew are alerted to the Marines’ presence in the Section next to the bridge, and deploy Anti-Boarding measures!

Anti-Boarding Measures

Marines must roll to see what the measures are. They add 1 to their roll because they are in the section adjacent the bridge. The roll is a 6+1: The crew depressurize the entire ship! Airlocks hiss open all over the vessel.

The Marines arrived by boarding module. They’re not wearing pressurized suits. They never thought it would come to this, this was just a science vessel!

Mission failed: Sucked into space!

All of them are sucked out into space, Obviously Dead. Harlon Yee’s career — and his life — are extinguished before he even has the time to wonder about the stolen data the crew of the Aristodemos is willing to protect so fiercely.

As for the cowards Zangari and Kecskemeti, if they can pilot their breaching vessel to a safe harbor, they may live through the day, and even escape the noose.