Sunday, 28 December 2014

Antares 2401: Squads of SpecOps

In out continuing skirmish scifi campaign, Antares 2401 (see labels for some other posts), one of the attractive features is that the squad of a player gains additional skills, much as a character in a roleplaying campaign.

The squads of the players consists of StarMarines, represented by old Games Workshop Mk6 Space Marines. Since these figures are not too detailed, we can easily repaint them between missions to indicate additional skills, medals, etc. This personalizes the figures, and gives them a distinctive and recognizable look on the battlefield. Of course, if a figure is killed during a game (and cannot be revived in MedBay), the figure's markings are completely removed, and the figure is usually drafted as a new recruit.

Beta Squad "The Shadows": Nichols; Lt. O'Brien; Cpl. McGraw; Cpl. Ramirez; Hickley
Beta squad has a shadow grey shoulder patch on the left. A white shoulder patch on the right indicates 5 successful combat missions. Coloured triangles on the left shoulder patch indicate skills: red for close combat specialist, white for a medic, yellow for a pilot, blue for a marskman.

Gamma Squad "Rattkopf's Jammers": Schmitt; Packard; Vasquez; Sgt Waldheim; Merkel.
StarMarine Vasquez is a Robodog specialist, allowing him to send a 4-legged drone forwards carrying 2 missiles on its back. Vasquez has a brown triangle indicating his skill.  Gamma squad have blue vertical lines on their leg armour and a bullet symbol on their left shoulder patches.

Delta Squad "The Reds": Lt. Moss; Illnitch; Vranitsky; Cohen; Le Clerc.
StarMarine Cohen is a Communications Specialist (pink markings). When his communication gear is deployed, he can call in orbital artillery strikes. StarMarine Le Clerc was the only survivor of Alfa squad after the fateful mission on Sardonis IV, and was transferred to Delta Squad. Delta Squad has red shoulder patches matching their nickname.

Epsilon Squad: Hayase; Kazima; Hokaido; Sgt Yoshida; Sakai.
Epsilon squad is equipped with special Titanium Armour Suits and short-range boltguns. StarMarine Hokaido has a special MicroMech suit equipped with heavy weaponry. Hayase has a white star on his right shoulder, indicating he is the proud recipient of a StarMedal for Exceptional Bravery.

Eta Squad: Sgt MacAuslan, Efrit; Cpl Dentz; Scevola; Oddjob, Vicensini.
Eta Squad is the newest squad in SpecOps. All StarMarines only have completed one mission so far.

The complete SpecOps organization also grows over time. After each mission, players can add suggestions to the continuing storyline. The GM assigns a %-chance, and if successful, that particular suggestions is added into the continuing campaign. Below you see the current org-chart of SpecOps.

Additional characters are also added as a result of these story suggestions. E.g. Lt O'Brien from Beta Squad is currently under military investigation for disobeying orders during the SpaceLiner Odessa mission. Omega Squad is a penal squad consisting of only prisoners of war.

Such a narrative campaign is great fun. Key is that all players can offer suggestions, but one player should act as GM and guard the overall consistency and play balance.

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