EarthSec troops guiding a group of archeologists to safety during a rebel attack.
A bit like my recent post on spaceship battle games and miniatures that interest me I thought something similar for 15mm sci-fi might be in order. I have a few different projects cooking that all tie together in the miniatures being used.
Mars is what got me started with 15mm in the first place. I have always been fascinated by the red planet and had just read Kim Stanley Robinsons Mars trilogy so it all fell together very naturally. What I've painted most of so far are the Earth Sectorial Army, or EarthSec, using mainly GZG's UNSC infantry combined with some power armour troopers from Blue Moon and Amakudari Seekers from Micro Panzer. I've been using hover vehicles from GZG as well, although I think I might get some Blowers from Old Crow as main battle tanks. The part of the Mars rebells will be played by the Sahadeen infantry from Rebel Minis with walker support from Khurasan and vehicles from Critical Mass.
Power armoured infantry assaulting, backed up by light infantry and their AFV.
To be able to combine models from all kinds of ranges and manufacturers like this is one of the great strengths of 15mm I think. I love the feeling you get when you have this idea in our head about how a force should look and perform and you don't have to compromise! More often than not what you have in mind is available somewhere at least. I've got stuff from seven different manufacturers just for the two forces above! This great ability to customise can be seen as a disadvantage as well though. I have a couple of friends who would be reluctant to start playing 15mm sci-fi simply because there are so few ready made armies, or codices to show you how your army should look. While I see that as a good thing I do remember back when I had similar feelings - in some way it didn't feel like a "real game" if it didn't come with a number of pre-determined armies. I guess I had GW to thank for that kind of square thinking. Anyway, back to my 15mm plans!
Sinister Corporation™ super heavy transport.
Then there's my Colonial Marine side project as well. Using Exterminators and Space Demons from Khurasan with a Konami Aliens APC. I'm not sure if I will do the red Mars basing for these guys or some interior basing instead for use in dark, infested corridors...
Of course, there are a lot of other miniatures I would like to get my hands on in the future. Reading Tomorrow's War made me want to put together some future Russians using Khurasan's Nova-Republik (or perhaps the recent releases from Armies Army!) with vehicles from Micro Panzer. I would love to paint myself a small force of Garn and recently I've been thinking about making a true hi-tech force with antigrav technology using vehicles from GZG (like this) and post human infantry from Blue moon. Rebel Minis' Titan Marines would also make excellent Kerberos Panzer Cops/Jin-Roh inspired soldiers. Ahh... so many ideas, so little time.
There are a lot of rule sets available for 15mm gaming; Stargrunt II, Gruntz!, FUBAR, 5150: Star Army, Tomorrow's War, Fast and Dirty and Future War Commander, just to name a few. Actually, there'a much more comprehensive look at the different rules available over at the Dropship Horizon. Highly recommended!The two rule sets I'm focusing on at the moment though, are Gruntz! and Tomorrow's War.
Gruntz! is written by Robin Fitton and is a great toolbox for creating pretty much whatever you want with a robust unit builder available. I've tried it a little bit and like what I've seen so far. It feels traditional in some ways while adding some more modern mechanics as well. As I imagine it Gruntz! is probably what I will use for slightly larger games involving quite a few troops and vehicles.
Tomorrow's War (that I'm currently reading) is a lot more detailed and is more "gritty" in a way. I think it has a higher introduction threshold than Gruntz! but does reward you for persevering. I will probably use it for smaller conflicts featuring mainly infantry. The system has a number of things in common with the venerable Stargrunt II although it also uses an action/reaction system similar to Infinity!
Of course I would like to try all the other systems as well, but there's a time and place for that later. At the moment I'm focusing on Tommorow's War as I'm learning the rules. For the first time my friend Anders has expressed a slight interest in actually trying it. I think it's the high production values that won him over (he's one of the guys I talked about above. Hehe!).
I have miniatures and some cool rules, but I don't actually have any proper 15mm terrain. I intend to remedy this during the spring. I bougth a 90x90cm Zuzzy mat last year together with some sulfur mounds that I will turn into the surface of Mars! Recently I bought a set of Colonial Settlements from GZG that will serve both as rebel homes as well as Crustie shanty town. I think this will prove enough of terrain to get started playing. I'm looking to add some rock outcroppings and some proper hills as well though. What a realistic Mars board will be missing is soft cover like woods or bushes. I've been considering making some anyway for use on a terraform-in-progress Mars as it adds a lot to the game. Most likely I will make some different alien plants as well for when we're not specifically playing in the Mars Rebellion campaign.
Archeologists about to explore Mars.
The more hi-tech sci-fi buildings from Blue Moon are definitely something I would like to add, although they are a bit pricey and I'm wary about the shipping cost. Then there are the new/upcoming buildings from Brigade Models as well that I really like. Oh, and lets not forget the System Infinity from Sarissa Precision that will supposedly be released in 15mm scale as well. Hmm...
So... what am I doing right now? Well, I'm "finishing" my current collection of EarthSec miniatures and then I will get cracking on the Crusties. Hopefully I will get started with the terrain as well simultaneously. A lot of it is probably destined for the Lead Painters League so don't expect to see anything until next month though.
The goal is to paint the forces needed for the first scenario in Tomorrow's War (Lost and Found) using the UNSC and Crusties. While the UNSC are almost done I haven't really started on the Crusties yet.
That's all for now! I hope I've inspired some of you in some way to maybe try out 15mm gaming yourselves! Also, I definitely need a better camera.