Saturday, 4 February 2012

Combat Cards: Solitaire scenario

Tonight I debut a small board I made out of my Star Station Zero art (scaled up to 25mm squares this time), for playing Forlorn: Hope.. But I haven't got all my xenos painted for that, so I decided to bash together a game of Combat Cards.

The board is perfect for quick games because it fits on my desk, so no need to move anything around setting up a bigger game. I'm so pleased with it I'm going to make another one just for Combat Cards games, that will be similarly gridded but designed to set up 3d terrain on.

(Excuse the photos, I'm playing late at night and my lighting isn't the best.)

Just add minis!

The official scenario calls for a square map, but I just used my FH board instead. A quick count showed that the board was 14 squares long, which meant distances would be:
VL= 14
L= 7
M= 4
I would allow 1 diagonal move per card activation per figure.

I grabbed my good 'ol Khurasan zombies and things from beyond for the attacking force:

12 zombies (Swarms)
5 horrors (Creatures)

And my freshly painted Artcrime Productions mercs for my troops. I chose:

1 Sarge (Command) 2pts
1 heavy weapon 3pts
2 infantry 4pts
1 fire support 4pts
1 Armored 4pts
=17 pts

I set up as per the scenario, with 1/3 of my force separated off at one end of the board. The zombies would enter the board via the entry points on the map. I drew my first hand of 6 cards and started to play!

Turn 1
I played RAPID MOVE on the Valkyrie, CAUTIOUS MOVE on the sarge and hung onto 2 op fires and a recover card.

Zombies move, the Valk uses op fires and eliminates 1, shakes the other. (The Heavy firepower of the suit granting it a +1 shift against the smushy zombies and rendering the horror's light protection useless).

Turn 2

Bad hand.. I discard the whole thing. I still get no immediately usable situations (you get to play any new situation cards after you finish playing or discarding), but I got 2 op fires.

Zombies move.. 1 contacts  a trooper who op fires with his shotgun, blasting it it back a space.

Turn 3
Tension mounts. The Valkyrie blasts apart another zombie, while the the shotgunner fires again into the staggering zombie, blowing off it's arm (Out Of Action)

Zombies move. The armless creature lurches to it's feet and stares blindly at it's tormentor. No further contacts, just a lot of groaning.

Turn 4
The AGL manages favorable drift and blows up 2 zombies, one is a mess and Out OfAction the other is blown off it's feet (shaken). Sarge's SMG patters off a creature's thick hide, forcing it to fall back.

The Zombies move closer, 2 make contact and fight a round of close combat.. the first takes down an infantryman (OOA), the heavy weapon wrestles with a Zombie, both are covered in blood and screaming (both shaken).

Turn 5
The Heavy gunner recovers, smashes loose  a rack of barrels and rolls behind them (Dig In card). The Valkyrie accelerates into a creature (Assault move) and smashes it in a stupor, but is also knocked back by the collision.

Zombies move. The Sarge op fires, badly injuring a tentacled creature bearing down on him (OOA).

Turn 6
My men panic (My cards suck) I discard, but gain no useful situations.

Zombies move. At the back of the board, the shotgunner knocks out the legs of one Zombie (shaken), wriggles free on his back (falls back), but is grabbed by a third and feels the tearing bite of the monster... He pulls a pin on his own grenade, taking the zombie out with him (both eliminated).

In the central chamber a terrible melee ensues, leaving one of the troopers unconcious (OOA)

Turn 7
Bravely, the trooper goes BACK IN ACTION and eliminates the staggering Zombie that downed him in a close assault then moves over to the Sarge... Sarge cautious moves back into the room, the Valkyrie rapid moves back to cover his rear.

Zombies move.  My AGL op-fires and shakes one of them, halting it in it's tracks but not harming it further, as the 40mm explosive fizzes harmlessly in it's ribcage.

Turn 8
The combo I have been waiting for is unleashed! My Heavy gunner recovers. The Valkyrie moves into room.. The Sarge uses ISSUE ORDERSand all units within 2 squares OPEN FIRE!

The Zombies are knocked back in a wave of pus and gunfire.. The deck is exhausted and I have hit my time limit.. Game over, I win!

At the end of the game, I only lost 1 Infantry unit, and eliminated 4 Zombies, 2 creatures. Did the layout help me? Yes, the zombies could not bring superior numbers to bear often, but equally, my fields of fire were very restricted.

I really enjoyed the game and am sold on the Combat Cards system. Once I was rolling, the game moved very fast and I managed to get through the whole game just looking at my cards and the QRS.

Zombies are not an especially tricky opponent, so I'm eager to try my own system of solo play against a shooting enemy. I'm going to try drawing 6 fresh cards for the enemy force each turn and using logic to play them out. During my turn, any time I move a figure in range of an enemy model, it will get a d6 roll of 6+ to play a "free" op-fire card, This is to simulate the uncertainty of how may op fire cards your opponent may have in his hand. This means the "AI" has a slight advantage over the player, but is more than compensated for by the lack of covering fire IMO.

Next report, we'll see how it goes!


  1. Looks like a fun game. Nice compact layout, and great minis.

    1. The size of the play area is a great feature. "very long" range is the length of the longest side then the other ranges are derived from this. Playing on a grid removes fiddly measuring and speeds up play too.

  2. In turn 8 one man recovers and the Valkyrie enters the room and then the command issues Group Open Fire. The one who recovers and the Valkyrie also fired? Wouldn't be two actions in the same turn (recover/move + fire)? Can that be done because the action goes directly on the command and not on the rest? I just don't know...
    Beautiful minis and layout BTW :)

    1. You're right, I got carried away. It can't be done as only multiple situations and not actions can be played on a unit per turn.

  3. Terrific report and what a gorgeous board!

    Construction secrets, please?

    1. Thanks!

      Board: Drew graphics in photoshop, mainly with vector shapes and effects > inkjet print onto matte photo paper at maximum quality setting > attatch with spray adhesive onto black foam core board > gaffer tape hinge on reverse side.

    2. The board is very beautiful, could you share it with us?

      Interesting Report

  4. Good report(and clarification from Blacksmith), thanks! In the process of pasting my cards onto cheap playing cards at the mo, but looking forward to a game eventually. i really like this kind of system.

    1. My pleasure! (I'm considering making my own card design and getting them printed into a proper deck online at art cow.)

    2. I'd be interested in your experience with that. Arent Art Cow a US company? Please let us know how it turns out.

    3. They are, but you doi it all online.
      I've done decks with them before. They are great quality and quite inexpensive.

  5. Ugh, friggin' Forlorn Hope...I forgot all about that backburner project. Sounds like the two however, Forlorn Hope and 15mm board Combat Cards would pretty much go hand in hand.

    Your station tiles and a set board like this really go well with Combat Cards, streamlining the gaming process even further making multiple linked game campaigns feasible in a single evening. I may try your suggestions to when I get around to a solo game.

    1. I Just built a 16x16 gridded board with 1" squares. It's a tiny bit bigger, but still fits neatly on my desk. I love how slick the gameplay is with this system. Plenty more to come!

  6. Great fun! IMO, just the right size gaming area. Hail, Solo-Warrior the SpaceJacker!

    1. Next game will use 3d terrain, your boards are an inspiration Jay!

  7. Great stuff all round - fantastic figures and game - brilliant!

    1. Thanks Monty, I like to show what can be done with a little bit of effort. I printed out that board 4 tomes before I was happy with it ;)

  8. Great report! I was looking for more information about Combat Cards and I hadn't seen your post from January.

    1. Hopefully I'll get it more correct next time :)

  9. I am about to enter into the world of 15mm sci-fi wargaming, and my friend Impcommander said it was a necessity to check out your blog, after reading a few of your articles and seeing the quality of your work I'm now following your blog. I've already ordered my first batch of 15mm minis but it will probably be a week before I get them, when I do though I intend to post tons of pictures on my own blog and I hope to paint mine to the standard that your excellent minis are painted. Here a link to my blog,
    There's no 15mm work there yet but I do hope to get some up very soon, keep up the great work.

    1. I'll keep an eye on it, thanks for the comment!

  10. Any thoughts about making an expansion for the deck plans?

    1. I've thought about "remixing" them into a more universal product. Step 1 is enlarging them to 25mm squares as it turns out 15mm figures look fine on them and then they would be of use to 28mm players as well.
      Step 2 would be making them into a set of board "halves" like the ones in this post, only with more variety obviously, and some just "open" for making your own layouts. The concept being you just print out a couple of pages instead of lots of little bits.

      It's not a big priority yet though, frankly it's a great deal of work and I'm not sure it's worth the meager return I get on it.

  11. well I just picked them up. I think I will make some moddded tiles in Photoshop like you have done here. I assume the resolution works ok scaled up to 25mm squares. They look great and would look good with some Khurusan spaceship furniture on them.

    1. OK I guess I wont with your copyright protection.

    2. shoot me an email (thespacejacker at gmail dotcom) and I'll send you a PSD

  12. Very nice layout. High quality work as always :)