Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Mini SciFi Campaign using One Hour Wargaming

With the grid-based house rules settled I will be over the next few weeks embarking on a W40K themed mini-campaign based upon the ideas by Old Trousers in his WW2 "Plan B" rules. I have started looking at the background to align to the ladder campaign approach described in his rules.

The campaign has four phases: Invasion, Counterattack, Consolidate and Overrun. The campaign progresses through these phases in sequence. The Tyranids trying to progress to the Overrun Phase while the Imperium (PDF and Space Marines) are trying to stop them at every turn.

Winning the Campaign

The Tyranid force can only lose 6 battles before its biomass is consumed and has lost the campaign. 
The Tyranid force loses if it cannot progress pass one of the phases (losing all 3 battles in the phase).
The Imperium loses if the Tyranids win a battle in the Overrun Phase.

Campaign Background

A small breakaway Tyranid sub-fleet from the Architeuthis Hive Fleet has landed on the planet Vyran. While the Vyran has its own Planetary Defence Force (PDF) an advance contingent of Space Marines were quickly sent to support the defence, while a larger force was mobilised to help with the eventual eradication of the Tyranids should the defenders survive. The Planetary Governor is poorly equiped to deal with the situation. He has already had the PDF Commander (his Nephew) executed for the slow mobilisation of the PDF, and has appointed Commissioner Vardeck in overall command of all Imperial forces.
Space Marine Commander Amreil (the command squad indicate the characters strength)

The Tyranids are a small sub-fleet and have a limited amount of biomass (supplies) to support their invasion. Vera being mainly an old mining colony with most of the planet's minerals having been mined out has little to supplement the biomass. If they do not get to the main mining colony quickly they will start to die off and be unable to replenish losses.
Chaplin Tolecius (and body guard to indicate a 5 point character)

Invasion Phase

The first phase of the campaign has the Tyranid invasion forces attacking the hastily assembled PDF  and advance guard of Space Marines under Commissioner Vardeck's command. There are three scenarios from One Hour Wargames (OHW) to randomly select:
  • Control of the river (scenario 3)
  • Bridgehead (scenario 5)
  • Fortified defence (scenario 15)
If the Tyranids win they move on to the next campaign phase. If they don't, then randomly select from the remaining two scenarios and so on. If the Tyranids suffer 3 losses in a phase the defenders have been successful and win the campaign.

There are some rules around the selection of forces later in the blog.

Counterattack Phase

Many military doctrines demand that following an enemy assault there should be a counterattack. So the second phase has the Imperial forces mounting a counterattack. As with the Invasion Phase, until the Tyranids win they cannot progress to the next phase. Suffering 3 losses again results in the Imperium winning the day.

The three scenarios to randomly select are:
  • Flank Attack (scenario 6)
  • Late Arrivals (scenario 10)
  • Counterattack (scenario 18)

Consolidate Phase

The Tyranids have overcome the counterattacks and are now trying to consolidate their presence on Vyran before moving to a final assault to overrun all the planet defences. The Tyranids must win one of these battle to progress.

The three scenarios to randomly select are:
  • Pitched Battle (scenario 2)
  • Escape (scenario 13)
  • Static Defence (scenario 14)

Overrun Phase

The Tyranid horde has pushed the Imperium forces back to their final defence lines. One more win and its all over and they conquer the planet.

The three scenarios to randomly select are:
  • Take the High Ground (scenario 4)
  • Triple Line (scenario 26)
  • Disordered Defence (scenario 27)

Campaign Rules

The campaign rules apply only to the selection of forces and not the game rules used on the table.
Librarian Cashrel (and body guard to indicate character points)
The Imperium forces are commanded by either the Commissioner or Space Marine Commander. The first battle command is with the PDF. Should the Imperium lose a battle, the Planetary Governor in his infinite wisdom will hand over command to the other allied force. So should the Imperium lose the first battle, the Space Marine Commander takes command of the next battle and remains in command until a battle is lost. Who ever has command influences the make up of the forces available.

Each force (Tyranid, Space Marine and Planetary Defence) has 13 units on it's listing. These are made up on characters, troop units and non-troop units as described in my house rules (see top right of page for a link to them). Each unit is assigned to a playing card to aid with force selection.

For the Imperium select 8 cards from the commanding force and the rest for the other secondary force. For example, if the PDF is in command the force is made up of 8 PDF units and 5 Space Marine units. The secondary force can contain no characters, only troop and non-troop units. The Tyranid selection already set and does not go through this process.

The number of units fielded is 5 plus the score of an average dice (2,3,3,4,4,5). So the minimum units fielded will be 7 and the maximum 10. From their 13 cards the commanders select 3 units, one of which must be their commander, and set those cards aside. Remember each unit is assigned a playing card and any cards not used are discarded. With their remaining cards shuffle and select one at a time the cards until the force size is met. Units with cards not selected are not used in the battle.

This selection process is used for all battles. Where there are special force rules with the OHW scenarios, I will be using percentages to adjust force arrivals and makeup.

Except in the Counterattack Phase the Tyranids will take the attacking position in all the scenarios.
Master Scout Sergeant (and team representing character 4 character points)
Character casualties - where a character is eliminated in a battle, they lose a character point for all future battles.

Battle reports will be posted as and when the battles are fought.

Phew - this must be the longest blog I've written.


  1. Very enjoyable read - looking forward to following the progress of this.

    1. Thanks Norm. I have played out one game which I have yet to write up.

  2. This sounds like it will be a fun campaign. I'm going to read through your sci-fi variant and give it a try on my table.

    Thanks for your work on this.

    1. Hi Sean,
      Good luck with your campaigning activities.
      Regards, Peter