WALL OF TEXT WARNING
I am finally making some progress on the miniatures side of the Space Hulk to Aliens project, of which more will follow. Funnily enough, in one of those weird internet-ty ways it seems that lots of other people are dusting off their Colonial Marines, Aliens and Predators to tackle the same or very similar projects on both Lead Adventure Forum and Frothers. Mikko at Dawn of the Lead has been doing some very solid work too, elements of which I intend to rip off use to inspire me.
To go along with the miniatures I want to hammer out the basic rules conversions required. I mostly intend to game with these figures in Space Hulk (mostly), simply because it is such a tight and satisfying system. Ideas for many these rules have been going around in my head for years while others have been as a result of talking to similarly interested Aliens and Space Hulk nerds and and I want to write them down somewhere. That somewhere might as well be here.
The intention is to translate existing rules for various elements in Space Hulk into their Aliens equivalent and not to write new rules unless absolutely necessary. Eventually I plan to write up a simple Force List in the style of the Force List in Deathwing that allows players to pick a simple Colonial Marine force for playing any Space Hulk scenario.
Finally, while I like the idea of Predators I have never really enjoyed the movies that much. I really think that they are pretty shitty to be honest, even though even suggesting that to most of my colleagues tends to send them into a fit of nerd rage, complete with bad Schwarzenegger impersonations. So, while I have a pile of Predators waiting to be painted they are not a priority for me in terms of rules conversion. It will happen eventually but not for a while as I dont really care that much about them and they will be harder to legislate for anyway due to their stealth and all that.
So here goes. Everything is as in 3rd Ed rules unless otherwise specified:
M41A Pulse Rifle armed Colonial Marine = Storm Bolter Terminator Marine (ignore the Grenade Launcher part of the M41A. It is considered to be intrinsic to the weapons standard effect in the game. Consider it represented by the sustained fire bonus if that floats your boat).
M41A Pulse Rifle armed Sergeant= Power Sword and Storm Bolter armed Terminator Sergeant (+1 in assault is fine for a veteran NonCom. Parry from the sword can be seen as whatever you like, kung-fu grip, sixth sense, Riddick levels of badass-ness: whatever. Regardless, Sergeants have it. Just like they allow the CP redraw).
Shotgun armed Corporal (Hicks) = Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield Armed Terminator Sergeant (this one is a bit of a fudge. Assuming that the shotgun is only effective at point blank range is pushing it, but it does make the shotgun very deadly at that range, just like in video games. The Block given by the shield is explained away just like the Parry for the other Sarge. It also makes Apone and Hicks different, but similar which is cool. The utter absence of Hicks Pulse Rifle (Storm Bolter) is a bit counter intuiticve, but as it will then slot in cleanly to all of the 3rd Ed missions I think that that has to be way to do it. Finally, this ties in with one of the few extra rules that I intend to use, Acid Splash. If it works out then having the Shotgun guy run the risk of acid burn will feel just like the movie ).
M56 Smart Gun armed Colonial Marine = Assault Cannon Terminator
M240 Flamethrower armed Colonial Marine = Heavy Flamer Terminator
M41A Pulse Rifle armed Colonial Marine with Welder and Electrical Equipment (Hudson) = Storm Bolter and Chainfist Terminator (both troopers open doors/bulkheads that are otherwise difficult to open. Simple and accurate conversion).
Caterpillar P-5000 Powerloader = Lightning Claw armed Terminator (I was initially hesitant about this but the more that I thought about it the more that I liked it. The LC Terminator has no ranged capability and will shred most opposition, most of the time. It will also have a decent chance to best the dangerous Alien Queen (Patriarch/Broodlord) in hand to hand, which is reasonable. It is a neat solution I think).
Company Man Burke, Newt and Jones the cat= C.A.T., Relic or other scenario objectives (I might try to come up with rules for Burke at a later date but having to rescue his sorry ass seems just as appropriate I think).
Synthetic/Artificial Person = Terminator Librarian (I know, I know but bear with me for a second.
Having watched Alien 4 last weekend, the idea of a synthetic with potent, situation based powers like Prescience (some sort of CCTV based thing) and Force Barrier (overriding a blast door or similar) seems fine to me. Psychic Storm might be pushing it a bit but whatever: maybe Bishop/Cole/Ash has overridden the Liquid Nitrogen spraying thing or activated the sprinklers after causing a short or switching on sentry guns in that area or something else just as Deus Ex Machina.
The Librarians close combat prowess is a bit at odds with Bishops performance but not so much with that of Ash (super-strong, but not super-tough). Considering that Bishop is three laws compliant, the idea of the synthetic going to extraordinary lengths to beat up potentially harmful Xenomorphs is ok with me. Apparently the comics had combat synths that used to get stuck in quite regularly too, although the three laws tell me that Bishop would be compelled to help whether he was built for it or not.
Funnily enough the thing that doesnt sit well with me is that the Librarian has a Storm Bolter. It doesnt seem right that Bishop should have a rifle (and the figure that I have to represent the synthetic has a piece of technical equipment in place of a weapon too. Does Cole use a gun at any point in the 4th film? I dont think so.
Reluctant Badass Lieutenant Ellen Ripley = Space Hulk First Edition Captain (another fudge. The Captain in 1st Ed is very potent: he adds +2 to the CP total every turn, adds +2 to combat rolls and has a Power Sword, Grenade Launcher and Storm Bolter. I have found that the Captain is roughly equivalent to the 3rd Ed Librarian in potency and I have swapped the characters when playing 3rd Ed quite successfully.
I suppose that Ripley is shown to have leadership qualities in the movie so ok to the CP bonus. The Storm Bolter/Pulse Rifle is perfect and the Captains GL can simply be seen as an alternative way of using the Incinerator that Ripley carries. Thats OK with me. The +2 combat plus Parry is harder to explain away but in the interests of keeping the rules standard I think that I can live with it. I will justify it to myself as Fate or Hero points: the things that make the Hero, the Hero.
So, thats the Humans dealt with. Bugs now:
Xenomorph = Purestrain Genestealer
Alien Queen = Broodlord
Face-hugger or Chest-burster = First Edition Unarmed Hybrid (these guys will get wiped out by fire very easily. Once converted from Blip to model they move more slowly too. They will be a fun, straightforward way to add some variety to the Alien players forces without much additional complexity and the rules are already written. As I will use the 1st Ed blip sets, including the Hybrid blips it will be easy to throw in a few small aliens. I havent decided on a way to incorporate it into the standard 3rd Ed blips yet. It will probably be something similar to how the Patriarch can be brought into play, except that a “1″ Blip can be exchanged for 3 Face-huggers twice a game or something like that.)
Lastly, Acid Splash. Some players have added rules for this. In many ways I think that it is an unneccesary complication for little gain. Still, after mulling it over I had an idea: rather than roll to hit any/all adjacent models when an Alien dies (which would be tedious and could easily spoil the rapid flow of the game) I want to try out an idea based on the Scatter rule from Blood Bowl.
See Mikkos comments below.
Acid Splash: Acid Splash occurs when an Alien is hit from a shooting attack and that attack rolls at least two “1″‘s rolls at least two “6″‘s. If the target Alien is adjacent to one or more non-Alien figures then one of the non-Alien figures is chosen by the shooting player. The chosen figure is removed from play.
As noted below this gives only a 1/36 chance of damage and is incorporated into the existing rolls and game mechanics. It also makes point blank shooting a tiny bit risky which is both thematic and entertaining. It also means that a blast from an Assault Cannon/Smart Gun is more likely to cause Acid Splash while the Heavy Flamer cannot ever. Quite satisfyingly accurate to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the weapons as I see them. Nice one Mikko.
Phew, that was a long one. Congrats if you endured it this far. Comments and thoughts on that much are welcome.
EDIT 02/06/10: replaced Acid Splash idea with Mikkos version from comments below.
EDIT 02/06/10: replaced Acid Splash “1″ with “6″.
Filed under: Boardgame, Game Rules | Tagged: 2010, Aliens, Sci-fi, Space Hulk | 14 Comments »