Monday, 5 October 2015

Reconstructing Star Force 300

Star Force 300 is a set of rules for SF micro-tank games. It was originally published by Tabletop Games in 1980. It was written by Bob Connor and intended for use with QT Models Star Force 300 1/300th scale SF models.

Recently I acquired a few SF300 models to add to my collection. I contacted Dave Hoyles who sculpted the original models and now runs Museum Miniatures. We discussed producing a new range of SF miniatures in 1/200th scale, along with a set of rules to use them with. Dave gets to sculpt and produce the figure, I get to work on the rules. 

For a start, I don't believe that the original rules are upto current game standards. They do have some good features that I want to retain but the mechanisms seem confusing or often contradictory. Also whilst they were play tested, that understanding of how the game worked does not come across well in the writing. There seem to be quite a few necessary assumptions missing from the rules. For example, there is remarkably little information about the Ramorians. QT Models models show them as crocodilian, but there is no mention of their physique, appearance or culture in the rules. The game goes into considerable detail on the armour and equipment for the two main forces but gives no information on setting up or starting a game.  

Some background. This is the introduction to the original rules.

ARMOURED COMBAT In the 21st Century *

The Ramorian Empire was conquered by the Earth Federation in the year 2099. The war was short but one of the bloodiest on record, mainly due to the inability of the Ramorians to combat the Federation's armoured units. After only three months campaigning the Ramorian forces were totally defeated and driven from all of their planets except for the most outer asteroids and the planet Compran.
For the next sixty years, and with the aid of the Cossack like people of Compran, the remains of the Ramorian army have been actively engaged in guerrilla warfare while their leaders have been rebuilding the shattered army. This time, however, the lessons of armoured warfare have been learnt and each Ramorian Legion is built around its two heavy tank companies each being equipped with the new and powerful Solar Lance weapon system, a military development of the thermal lance used in their own mines.
Most of the Ramorian Empire comprises dry arid planets but planets that are amongst the most mineral rich in the Universe. The deposits lie far below the surface of the planets and the mines are only obvious by their terminal and ore shipment Building. The mines have been fully automated by the Federation, and the Ramorian plan is to destroy them all in the belief that without the ore the federation would leave them alone. The destruction is to be achieved by reprogramming the mines nuclear power plant computers such that they will cause the plant to detonate and thus render the mines and their vast underground areas of tunnels and processing plants unusable for the next two hundred years.
All is now ready; the ore ships have been fully converted to assault transports and escorted by the Scarab space fighters of the Narcom mercenaries, the first legions are setting out on their mission of reconquest and vengeance.

These rules are designed to give a large scale surface battle, of Brigade size, on the various planets. The forces of both sides are similar in composition being built around armoured formations which in turn are supported by infantry and other weapon systems. As the Ramorian commander (Legion Superior) your orders are to destroy the mines allocated to your Legion and also to inflict the maximum damage on the Federation forces. As the Federation commander (Brigade Captain) your orders are to destroy the Ramorian forces and protect the mines. This will invariably mean an encounter battle once the target mines have been identified.

<pedantry> * Whilst the game's subtitle describes it as Armoured Warfare in the 21st Century, the intro sets the main game 60 years into the 22nd century.</pedantry>  

There is plenty of room here for scenarios beyond the Ramorian Counterstrike. You have the first contact, invasion and conquest and then sixty years of Human colonial settlement and Ramorian resistance. Even in 1/300th scale creating two brigade sized opposing forces is going to take time and money. Playing with smaller forces gives you chance to learn the game and have some fun whilst you build up your armies.

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