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Starship Troopers

18/01/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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There's a new wargame coming out based on Heinlein's Starship Troopers novel (and the film of the same name). Do you want to know more?

Moongoose Publishing are in the midst of finalising the rules and armies of Starship Troopers, so now seems a good time to tell you a few things about the game and where it is headed.

Their initial box set will have full-blown army lists for both the Mobile Infantry and Arachnids. They will be updating both in 7-8 months after release of the main box set, as all the planned units will be out by then and they will have some more goodies on the horizon.

The main box set will also have vestigal rules for Skinnies, so you can try out a few units (the models will be available via mail order only) before the army's main release later in 2005.

As a very quick description of the game itself, you do indeed move all your units in your turn and then have your opponent move all of his. But they did not keep things that simple. Oh, no!

First off, every unit gets two actions in every turn. Available actions are Shoot, Charge, Move and Ready (the latter being used to set bombs, prepare equipment, load heavy weapons, etc). So, you could Move then Shoot, or Shoot twice, etc. . . This allows units to accomplish multiple tasks in a turn without seeming to take forever to do just one thing.

There are also some special actions that some units are capable of (MI Lieutenants, for example, can call down a Retrieval Point or make Field Promotions to replace lost NCOs).

In addition to this, we also have Alert Status. Ever played a game where you have a squad out on your far flank that just sits there watching as an enemy sweeps round some trees and enters close combat, before proceeding to slaughter your guys? They wanted to imbue units in ST with a little intelligence. If some guys get cut off from the rest of the army, they won't just hang around doing nothing - they are far better trained than that.

So, after a unit completes its two actions, it goes onto Alert Status. This basically allows it to react whenever an enemy comes too close. The MI may choose to blast away with their rifles or start to beat feet. Arachnids can choose to either screech for more help or launch headlong into a charge.

Sound easy? Think about this: As an MI officer, you will see the bugs charging towards your position. As they get nearer, you might begin thinking about using your jump packs to fall back out of the way. However, that very act may well trigger a reaction from the bugs, allowing them to get even closer and possibly make contact... This means that players often have to plan their moves ahead and take into account what the enemy is doing. On top of this, it also allows for players to try to divert the enemy away from key units though, as units are never forced to react, a lot will depend on the skills of both players.

Both armies will have plenty of units to choose from, and you won't have to wait more than six months for any of it. The Mobile Infantry will get their Powersuited troopers, as well as Marauder armoured suits, the CHAS robot, Reliant Gun Platforms, and as yet-unnamed bike, WASP troopers and plenty of 'specials' such as psychics, Intelligence officers, snipers and neo-dogs.

For their part, the Arachnids can look forward to Warriors, Hoppers, Firefries, Brains, Chariots, Burrowers, Tankers and Plasmas - all within the first 6 months.

Some thought is also going into 'light' MI, of the type seen in the film, to represent humanity at its most desperate, where there are simply not enough powersuits to go round. Will certainly make for some desperate games!

The main rules will include atomics, flying units (from TAC fighters and retrieval boats to Transport Bugs), emplacements, 'build your own' heroes with adaptable abilities, tunnelling, bug holes and an engagement/scenario system Andy Chambers came up with that will make you think 'Yes! That is how it should have been done all along!'

Check out http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ for more details.

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