Laserblade Battle Report: Debate on Thordis

As planet Thordis rises to sector prominence thanks to its peerless mastery of gene splicing, two rival sects of the Gospel of the Helix clash over the relic of a saint.

With school out, I took advantage of the boredom to arrange a game of Laserblade with my kids. I showed them my whole sci-fi collection and had them each pick any ten models they wanted. They chose based on looks alone, so each team featured an eclectic mix.

This battle took place on a planet in Iara Omicron, a homebrew space sector generated at Sectors Without Number, based on the RPG rules Stars Without Number. Welcome to Thordis!

Dawn breaks on a reclamation zone on Thordis.

Thordis is one of two inhabited planets in the Teciboe star system. Based on its random attributes I decided this skirmish would represent a localized sectarian clash there. The crews would fight over the sole graven likeness of a holy figure common to both sects. Dr. Okoye pioneered the genetech so critical to both the faith and fortune of Thordis. His statue has been discovered in the reclamation zone, and both sects claim it as their own.

This ancient relic depicts holy Dr. Okoye conducting an experiment.

These factions disagree about the philosophical purpose of genetic manipulation. The Extendants believe genetech is for enhancing and developing our inherent humanity, while the Transcendants believe in shedding humanity in favor of what lies beyond.

The Extendant faction. Most names randomly generated, but two were chosen by my son. Can you spot which ones?
The Transcendant faction. Names chosen by my daughter. See footnote.

The team that picked up the statue and carried it off their own board edge would likely win, but this required starting their turn with a model touching it. Dr. Okoye’s statue stood in the open in the middle of the battlefield, so this fight became a meat grinder.

Turn after turn the faithful rushed forward and died, until finally Roki got its hands on the statue and lived for a moment. Tombari and Akitola rushed forward to address the situation.

A pivotal clash.

Seeing its comrade in peril, Yntymak rushed headlong and smashed into Akitola, spewing neurotoxin mist from its tear ducts. This was Yntymak’s own special formula, and even Akitola’s enhanced antibodies were no match. Akitola soon dissolved into a lumpy puddle.

Akitola’s first death throes.

After so much carnage, watching Akitola dissolve proved too much for Tombari and Suliat, who fled the battle but can never escape their shame.

Tombari and Suliat run away.

Tombari’s cowardice left Roki an opening to retrieve the statue and begin to retreat. It hunkered down behind rubble as Baatyr moved up to support.

Dr. Okoye moves at last.

Meanwhile, Adesegu sprang forward to repay Yntymak’s cruelty, as Chiwetei took aim through the ruins. His advanced optimization-treated neural network steadied his hand.

The Extendants rally.

Chiwetei’s hyperblaster discharge found its mark, abruptly ending Roki’s moment of triumph. Adesegu made short work of Yntymak nearby.

Roki falls.

To its team’s dismay, Baatyr decided to flee, joined by Storm. This set the stage for a final last ditch “debate” between Adesegu and Joomart.

Baatyr and Storm run away. Their enhanced reflexes make them very effective at scampering off.

Joomart won the initiative roll and moved up to the statue. If it could survive the coming attack from Adesegu, the Transcendants would win the day. The Extendants had just one die roll to change the outcome.

The rivals met at the base of the statue to decide whose faith would prove worthy of claiming the prize. Adesegu delivered his argument with a pair of horrific talons, while Joomart advanced its reasoning with a giant power-sledgehammer. Their discussion was brief.

We all held our breath as the final die was cast…

Adesegu delivers his points.

…and Joomart fell, and the surviving Extendants hauled off the statue to their holy temple to stand witness for all eternity to the rightness and certainty of their beliefs.

I had great fun hosting this battle between my kids, and hope I can talk them into doing it again. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my coming adventures in solo play, featuring Five Parsecs From Home.

Footnote: the daughter I mention is a foreign exchange student from the Kyrgyz Republic. She has a special love of board games and competition, so she enjoys a round of Laserblade. The names she gave her Transcendants each have a meaning in the Kyrgyz language, and they are:

  • Baatyr: hero
  • Arstan: strong like a lion
  • Joomart: smart
  • Almambet: a heroic historical figure of the Kyrgyz people
  • Azamat: good guy
  • Sabr: patient guy
  • Yntymak: nice guy
  • Kylych: sword
  • Roki: her dog’s name back home
  • Storm: her other dog’s name

FiveCore Battle Report: Safehouse Raid at Containment Zone QN7

Global Marshals intelligence has discovered an underground safehouse of the notorious Blossoms cartel. A Special Enforcement Team (SET) arrives to destroy the safehouse just as a cartel thug crew returns home from today’s robbery. Now the thugs scramble to preserve their hideout and destroy nearby evidence.

My friend Mark and I got in a game of FiveCore by Nordic Weasel Games. We rolled everything randomly including force composition and scenario.My son (age 9) set up the terrain and named our troopers.A lawless slum in Containment Zone QN7.Mark ended up with a squad of riflemen led by two leaders, accompanied by a light machine gun and a sniper.Mark’s team from left: Almight, Baku, Deo, Bob, Deku, and Jotoro.Due to some strange rolls I fielded a well-armed crew of just a single rifleman joined by two light machine guns, a sniper rifle, and two grenade launchers. My side also had the quality advantage, but lacked any leaders.My team from left: Reginald, Jeremy, Gus, Jeffrey, Gas McDoobie, and Bob.We decided Mark’s team would be a global marshals “justice” squad deployed against my team of successful lowlife hitmen thugs.Next we rolled for objectives. My team needed to move into base contact with objective markers 1 and 2, while Mark’s needed to destroy objective marker 6 with demolition charges.The view from my table edge. Objective marker 1 is the green one at top left. Marker 2 is the yellow one in the middle, and marker 6 is the one beyond it in the ruins.Instead of points values, FiveCore balances forces using a victory point handicap. Since my SET had three more heavy weapons than the cartel thugs plus the quality advantage, Mark started the game ahead by 6 victory points! I had my work cut out for me.So naturally I started the game with a blunder, moving Reginald the machine gunner into an exposed position.Oops.Sure enough, SET machine gunner Deku shot Reginald dead in the first turn.“Reginald! Whyyyyyyy?”Meanwhile thug grenadiers Gus and Gas pushed up along their left flank, taking care to avoid SET Bob’s sniper nest.Both teams traded fire for a few turns as each of us tried to move in on our objectives.FiveCore allows any of your models that didn’t shoot in your turn to perform reaction fire on your opponent’s turn. When firing, you roll a weapon-dependent mix of shock dice and kill dice, looking for 1s and 6s. Results range from the target flinching behind cover, to fleeing, to falling down, to outright dying.For a while both teams jockeyed for position and forced each other to duck back under covering fire.Then Thug Bob destroyed a data cube at objective marker 2.We like to keep our client records confidential.With just a stash of black market VR slash films left to destroy, the thugs got reckless and rushed the remaining objective marker.Fortune favors the bold?Meanwhile, SET rifleman Almight managed to slip in during a break in suppression fire and reach the demolition target!Detroit Smash!After a furious firefight, Jeremy the sniper forced Almight to panic and flee from his objective before he could arm the explosives, while the other SET rifles managed to kill Thug Bob dead.By a spectacular stroke of fortune, Gas McDoobie managed to survive SET Bob’s sniper fire long enough to torch the VR stash! He perished shortly thereafter.Nothing ventured, nothing gained.Nearby, Jeffrey the machine gunner avenged Reginald, plastering Deku’s viscera against the ruined wall.“Reggie owed me money, you monster!”The thugs had a shot at winning, as long as they could keep the SET from detonating their hideout!But then Almight managed to recover and arm the demo charge.Tick tock.We called it there. I couldn’t see a way to disarm the bomb in time. Jeffrey, Jeremy, and Gus promptly vanished into the endless hab stacks of QN7.Having both achieved our objectives, our outcome was down to body count, and Mark’s was higher. He won by so much he could have subtracted his handicap VP and still beaten me.We had a blast. FiveCore is light on mental arithmetic. With random generation of everything, a pick up game requires almost no effort beyond remembering the rules and making tactical decisions.Next time we will each custom build a team and one character without consulting each other, and let the VP handicap take care of balance. We also plan to try out the Man to Man alternative activation rules. Stay tuned.