Stargrunt AAR – Operation Icepick

Yesterday, Chris and I played an epic game of Stargrunt at Endgame on one of their big minis tables. Our set-up got some attention from the 40K players surrounding us, who all seemed somewhat amused with all the non-GW minis on display. They did think it was cool though! Only one or two of the grognards there had even heard of Stargrunt of course.

The scenario was a follow-on from one we played a little over a year ago, in which the Kryton Corporation heiress Liselle Theron had been kidnapped during a raid. The Altairians have been holding her secretly on a remote moonbase in orbit around a gas giant. But certain political maneuverings have the UDSS council making a secret agreement with the Kryton Corporation allowing them to mount a rescue attempt, and hanging the Altairians out to dry. Now a special team of the elite Ramstar Strikers is about to mount a surprise raid on the moonbase to attempt to rescue the heiress.

The overall concept for this game was two elite forces fighting on an airless moon. We had some interesting rules in place for this. First, outside the sealed moonbase it was vacuum of course, so wounding hits were counted as kills. Second, the low gravity meant combat moves were x3 (rather than x2) but troops that used this risked falling on grounding. In a nod to Joe Haldeman’s classic The Forever War, troops that fell risked killing themselves as their heat exchangers contacted the frozen methane ice surface and exploded (I lost three troopers to this effect!). Also, any weapons with an Impact die of d10 or higher could cause a breach inside the moonbase.

The Altairians (played by me) had to prevent the Ramstar Strikers (played by Chris) from rescuing Liselle and getting away, by calling in orbital interdiction (which essentially set a time limit on the game). Ramstar simply had to get Liselle to the landing pad alive and call for dustoff. If the hostage were killed it would be considered a loss for both sides.

The minis used were an eclectic mix that turned out looking really good on the table.

Altairian Nightshade Commandos – These are obviously Starship Troopers minis. The troopers are Elite quality, armed with Advanced Assault Rifles and wearing full light armor. The big Marauder I classed as a size 3 walker, armed with two HELs. The Heavy Armor Suits (Mongoose Grizzly) were classed as size 2 walkers and armed with GMS (guided missile system), RFACs (rapid-fire autocannon) and a HKP (hyper-kinetic penetrator). All the walkers were treated as individual vehicles of either Veteran or Regular quality.

Ramstar Strikers – These are the old Spacelords Cybertech Bunkerbreakers, originally done in the 80’s by Metal Magic and currently available from EM4. As Elite quality assault troops they wear Combat Power Suits. The two entry teams are armed with SMG’s (close range only), and the perimeter security team carries gauss rifles. The Gun Walkers (AT-43 Fire Toads) are size 2 walkers – one with twin DFFGs (direct fire fusion guns) and two with twin RFACs. Not in the photo is a Warthog gun jeep model from the HALO toy series.

The Sterope Moonbase – For the terrain we used Endgame’s GW ice terrain boards. Yes, those room tiles for the interior of the moonbase are from my original Space Hulk set! The antenna on the hill at the bottom of the picture is the moonbase comms relay, Ramstar’s secondary objective.

Landing Pad – This is the terrain feature I slapped together the day before yesterday. If the Ramstar Strikers could manage to find and rescue Liselle, they would have to get her back here to the landing pad. The dropship on the pad is one of the excellent paper models available free from Toposolitario.

Ready – This is a shot of the board with all the terrain and obstacles placed. Went into the AT-43 stuff for the containers and barricades. You can see the layout of the moonbase more clearly here too.

Strikers Deploy – The Strikers set their entry squads one move away from one of the three base airlocks. The gun walkers and the security team set up in the landing pad area. I had already set up my troops – one squad within the base (hidden, guarding the hostage) and the rest would arrive as reinforcements from off-board.

At the north airlock


At the south airlock


Landing field perimeter

Execute! One the first turn, the Ramstar entry teams went through the airlocks. At the south airlock, a hidden Altairian commando opened fire point blank on the entry team, killing two Strikers and wounding another! But as this played out over the next turn, the Strikers returned fire, suppressing the Altarian. The Strikers used their plasma gun and the close range fire caused a hull breach! The section now in vacuum, the wounded Striker was killed. The survivors charged the Altairian and took him down in bloody hand-to-hand combat.

At the north airlock, much the same happened, only the Altairian commando watching the door was not as lucky, failing to neither suppress or kill or wound any of the attackers, who quickly mobbed him and took him out.

With the entry areas cleared, the Strikers move into the base and start searching the rooms for the hostage. The surprised and separated Altairians try to stay hidden. Meanwhile a call is made for reinforcements to return to the base from their perimeter patrols. Help is on the way!

Monitoring the radio traffic, the Striker commander hears the call for reinforcements go out. He knows the Altairians will be calling for orbital interdiction next to prevent their escape. A Gun Walker is ordered to blow up the comms relay. It moves into position and takes a shot with its DFFGs. After another volley to get the range, the comms tower is blasted to junk. Unfortunately for the pilot of Gun Walker 01, the big Altairian Marauder that was out on the perimeter reaches the base and cores GW01 with its powerful lasers, destroying it.

Seeing GW01 blown to bits, the pilot of GW02 moves to engage the Marauder. They blaze away at each other over the slagged down remains of GW01 until a solid volley of 30mm RFAC rounds disables the Marauder and it’s out of the game.

More Altairan reinforcements arrive as the first of the Heavy Armor Suit squad shows up on the north side of the base. But its volley of missiles goes wide of its target, Gun Walker 03.

The first Heavy Armor Suit is followed by two more jumping in. The Ramstar gun jeeps scurries for cover, but gets flayed into junk by a Heavy Suit’s twin RFACs. The Strikers rushed to move GW02 and GW03 to address the new threat from the rear. GW03 causes a systems failure in the missile-armed HAS with a burst of fire, but the third HAS destroys GW03 with a shot from its hyper-kinetic penetrator railgun and moves up.

While all that was happening outside, inside the base, the Altairian commander managed to get a call through to the ships on high guard. But they were pretty far away (the game would now end in D6+4 turns – I rolled a 5, so 9 turns! Gah!) As he finished the call, Ramstar Strikers charged into the room. Seeing these huge armored figures coming for him, and trying to hang onto their hostage, the two Nightshade commandos retreated to the mess hall. Hot on their heels, the Strikers kept charging forward. Again, the Nightshade commandos retreated (I blew my morale check again, and the squad broke), abandoning Liselle and retreating to the entry hall!. The Strikers had secured the hostage, but now they had to get out of there alive! With the Altairian Heavy Suits moving in, things were getting sticky!

Whoosh! Thunk! Grrrr! DAK DAK DAK! The Heavy Suit got it’s systems restarted then I tried a combat move with one of my Heavy Suits (since it would be x3) but I rolled a 12! The maximum! I had to use it all, and I’d planned on trying to get closer to the Gun Walker on the north side of the base, but I got too close! The HAS fired its jump jets, skimming over the landing field and landing just short of GW02! On his next activation, Chris swung the Gun Walker around and blasted the HAS pointblank, taking it out!

Upon seeing his buddy get blasted, one of the other HAS leapt forward into the landing field landing right behind the Striker security team dug in behind a barricade and spun up its RFAC to mow down the Strikers. GW02 quickly moved to engage – if the Altairian Heavy Suits could take out the last Gun Walker, the Striker teams in the base would never make it to the landing pad with Liselle! A volley of fire from GW02 drives the Heavy Suit pilot to jump back behind the dropship for cover.

By now, some of the Altairian foot patrols are reaching the fight. One squad comes in way out of position and gets fired up by the Striker security squad. As this is happening, the HAS that dropped back destroys GW02 – the Strikers now have no more Gun Walker heavy weapon platforms! I was cackling with glee but the fight was far from over.

Inside the base, the Strikers kept the pressure on the retreating Altairian commando HQ, finally routing them and chasing them out of the base. Not expecting the Altairians to come out first, the HAS watching the airlock was distracted seeing the HQ team hightailing it for cover, followed by the Striker HQ team. The plasma gunner snapped off a quick shot and took out the HAS! My worst armor roll of the game (I got a 6 or something crappy like that, he got an 18!)

With Liselle firmly in tow, the Strikers get her into a pressure suit and get ready to clear the base.

On the northeast side of the base, another squad of Altairian troopers rushes to the fight. I tried a combat move (which only got them 6″) and one of them slipped and fell on the dangerous methane ice, skidding into a container where his heat exchanger made contact with the ice and blew him to bits. Crap!

The Altairian commando HQ made it to cover and desperately tried to rally, but the Strikers kept the pressure on, blowing them all away with a volley of fire from their submachineguns! Oh, the horror!

The remaining Altarians approaching from the northeast reach the landing pad, taking cover behind it and the wreckage of the last Altairian Heavy Suit, which has been disabled by a shot from the Striker security teams Anti-vehicle rocket! These guys are all that’s left between the Strikers and the dropship.

The landing field is littered with the wrecks of Ramstar Gun Walkers and Altairian Heavy Armor Suits!

With the threat of the HASs gone, the Strikers consolidate their forces. A few exchanges of fire suppresses or drops more of the remaining Altairian troops.

With the last Altairian trooper down, the Strikers clear the landing pad and call for dustoff!

Mission complete! Liselle boards the dropship and it blasts away! A clear victory for Ramstar!

Whew! Although I lost, this game was easily the most fun I have had playing Stargrunt! The combination of unit types, the mission and the game itself were all a lot of fun! For me, the battle between the Gun Walkers and the Heavy Armor Suits was the deciding factor. The swirling melee at the landing field was intense as they took each other out. Once I’d taken out Chris’ last Gun Walker I thought there was no way he was getting out of there, since all I had to do was gun down his troopers. But bad timing and good dice saw my two Heavy Suits taken out and my remaining infantry was too spread out and out of position to have any effect.

Congrats and thanks to Chris for a well-played and fun game!

So the campaign continues! With its bargaining chip lost, and political support gone, Altair is left to fend for itself against the oncoming might of the Interstellar Corporate Authority! Can the Altairians maintain their freedom or will they fall under the oppressive boot of the Kryton Corporation?

And somewhere on the frontier of human space, a research team exploring alien ruins makes a terrifying discovery…

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4 Responses to “Stargrunt AAR – Operation Icepick”

  1. John Ferryman Says:

    Hi Don,
    That is a very well done AAR. Excellent narrative, good pics, nice models and terrain. I really enjoyed it.

    Regards,
    John

    P.S. Dammit. If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s another set of armies to collect… ;oP“`

  2. […] the most recent game, Operation Icepick, which was the follow-on to the first hostage rescue scenario above. Ramstar Strikers (Special […]

  3. steve street Says:

    great article.

    I’m new to SG and want to get into it. I’ve d/led the rulebook, but can’t work out how walkers work. did you make up the rules for them or are they published somewhere?

    • stingersix Says:

      Handling walkers in SG is a little weird. Are they vehicles? Are they powered armor? I built them like vehicles with the “walker” mobility type (of course), but treat them like powered armor for purposes of close assault. Unfortunately the SG rules are not very well organized so you have to flip around between the sections.

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