Sunday, 12 June 2016

Starport Scum beta testing

Being a huge fan of space opera as well as Nordic Weasel Games, I had to get the beta for one of Ivan's newest rulesets, Starport Scum.

The game is aimed at smaller scale adventures, as few as a handfull of models per side will be enough to get you started.

I also started out small, a squad of Unity guards led by a captain was on the trail of some Nomad space pirates that had showed up at the local spaceport with some contraband.

The port, seemingly deserted as the authorities had issued a varning to the civilian population.

The Unity guard, led by the captain.

The unsuspecting pirates, coming back from some bar or another off the port proper.

A unassuming piece of cargo containers, the illicit goods both sides seek.

Opening moves, both sides surge forward. In Starport Scum, each model rolls a number of d6 to determine how far they can move. The most basic of models, called goons, roll 2d6 and choose the highest while characters known as heroes roll 3d6 and choose the highest. Goons can also move as a squad, allowing them to roll 3d6 and choose the middle one, but they have to maintain cohesion.

At the start of the 2nd turn the first firefight breaks out. Both sides manage to pin one opponent, but no casualties so far. When shooting, the attacker rolls 2d6 (for goons) or 3d6+ any bonus (for aces and heroes) and check for any 5s or 6s.
If you roll 1 you pin an enemy, a pinned enemy cannot take any action next turn but will defend itself. If you roll 2 they go down or are wounded if they are heroes. If you manage 3 hits you scatter your opponent all over the place in a grusome way, or if the target is a hero, they go down instead. Certain situations, like cover or armour lets you roll a number of d6s to try to negate 1 or several hits.

 Not long after the first downed result is scored, as a pirate takes a bullet from one of the Unity troopers.

No space adventure would be complete without ways to swing photon swords and the like at eachother, and Starport Scum delivers! Just like in shooting, you roll a number of d6 based on your type, plus any applicable traits and equipment if you are a hero or an ace.

The forceful attack by the pirate bosun knocks the captain back, but he's no worse for wear!

Moving in to secure the shipment, the Unity guards take a shot at the pirates, pinning one of them.
Another all-out firefight breaks out, pinning one member of each side. The captain tries to get back at the bosun but the shot goes wide.

Unity guards have secured the area around the cargo, forcing the pirates to take a morale test at the beginning of every turn. To take a morale test, you roll a d6 and compare it to your fear score. The fear score tallies up casualties and grusome deaths while live leaders deducts from the score. If you roll equal to or below the score, your morale level drops one step. When you drop to the last level, bottled out, your force heads for the hills and the battle is effectivly over. Alien horrors and droids are unaffected by normal morale and have separate morale rules.
The guards loose one of their number as the bosun charges into close combat, braining the poor soldier.

Attempting to wrest control of the objective, the bosun again charges, attacking the captain once more. Knocked sprawling by the heavy blows, the captain is pinned. But as the melee rages, one lone guard manages to pin another pirate..

..Alas, it takes only a few moments before return fire finds it's mark, knocking the guard out!

Things looks grim for the Unity peacekeepers, as the melee continues in the pirates favor..

At last the sirens of the Unity guards backup can be heard. With more soldiers closing in and no way to get their prize out, the pirates decide to fall back. They may have lost the cargo for now, but they fully intend to return for it.

After 8 turns with little indication in favor of either side, I decided to call it a draw, since the Unity managed to keep the cargo out of pirate hands, but took greater losses.

Spaceport Scum has a really inspiring way to handle characters, using a number of descriptive tags that either gives a dice bonus to some roll, or allow you to do something like flying, walking through walls or anything you can imagine really. You can put different conditions and limiters on these tags to further define how they work. non-standard weapons and equipment can be created using a similar system as well.
I've shared a few ideas I had that could work well in this system with Ivan, but overall I'm quite happy with the feel of the game, though I might tweak the pinning in my future games to make it less restrictive.

I hope you've liked this AAR/semi-review. :)

Next up will most likely be more Horizon Wars, as we turn to the battles between the SADU and NTC.

Til next time! 


  1. Cracking little battle report!

    The 6mm stuff looks great for small skirmishes with limited space!

    1. Cheers! 6mm has really allowed me to play with the limited space I have, so Im happy it works out visually as well :)

  2. 6mm skirmish is the bee's knees :-)

    1. It really is :) I love how you can fit so much in such a small space!

    2. You'll find both suggested tweaks to be in the new beta version :)

  3. Cheers for report Alexander, sounds like fun, will be getting the Beta :-)