Sunday, October 9, 2022

Stargrave: Battle for the overgrown factory

Recently I played a game of Stargrave, the sci-fi skirmishing game by Osprey Publishing. This time I played a proper crew vs. crew game in a scenario from the main rulebook called 'Overgrown Factory'. Two rival crews attempt to pillage an old overgrown factory in the midst of the jungle, risking both the local wildlife, still active and dangerous bits of machinery and a fully armed and operational warbot that'll enter the game shooting at some point. Sure sounds like a recipe for disaster fun. here's our game setup.

I've always dreamed of having a cool table to play miniatures games on. This one manages to fulfil that dream quite nicely. 

I brought a 2x2 battle mat for the occasion and threw in some random terrain from my own collection (including the dead titan of course). Now there's a wargaming table if you ask me. Sorry for the egotrip, but I think it looks awesome and a lot of happy hours modeling over the years come together on this table. 

The crane and tractors set by GW (Sector Mechanicus Galvanic Servohaulers is the official name) is one of the better sets of scatter terrain they've put out in recent years. I'm quite happy to have picked up a set as they really make any sci-fi themed table pop.

I created my crew around a biomorph captain, using one of Die Hard Miniatures' Twisted Sisters as the model. She is an escaped lab experiment with a toxic claw, the ability to form armor plates and (I suspect) a rather nasty temper. Her number two is a mystic with a Dark Energy bolt as his main power. I rounded the team out with a hacker, a safecracker and a few shooty people (the other Twisted Sister, a Dark Eldar Archon and a commissar with a flamer) and cannon fodder (runners represented by Mechanicum troops).

These generators are an MDF set by TTCombat they make for nice terrain at a good price. Another pair (not mine) featured in my recent Bolt Action battle report. I also highly recommend these if you're starting out on a sci-fi table. 

My opponent brought a freshly build Ash Waste Crew from the new GW Necromunda line. Those models are quite interesting. It's taking a lot of self-control not to buy myself one of those warbands in a box. I forgot to write down the details from the crew, but one of  the captain's main powers was a holographic wall that makes it impossible to draw a line of sight. We marked it on the battlefield using a 'wall' of green dice. Our objectives were big equipment crates (the blue and yellow cylinders you see on the table) and data terminals (represented by data terminals from the Necromunda game). After a first turn of manouvering our crews for advantage the warbot entered the scene. 

Its funny how a stack of dice can bring such a big grin to my face.

This turned out to be very fortuitous for me. My crew would've been fully in the line of (horrifying) fire if my opponent hadn't graciously blocked my line of sight with his holographic wall. In Stargrave you can't simply stop powers, you need to either dispel them or wait for them to end. With sight of my team blocked, the warbot massacred my opponents lighter troops, even as they made a valiant attempt to hack the terminal (by the Titan's middle toe). 

Seeing this chock-full 2x2 table makes me wonder how much fun it could be to play a full scale wargame in heavy terrain. I'll add that ambition to the bucket list :).

Meanwhile as my team took position on the top of the rickety walkway, my opponent's captain entered the height on his side walking towards the cargo there while stylishly igniting a light saber. At the bottom of the construction, the main part of my crew approached a centrally placed equipment crate. My captain suffered a hail of deadly gunfire, almost getting killed in the proces. Luckily her regeneration ability worked, slightly alleviating the damage. 

One of the fun things about Stargrave is that I get to pull out a lot of one-off miniatures from the display case and slap them on the table. 

My hacker got to the top terminal and (after a failed attempt) managed to get the data. Time for a hasty retreat. After a quick risk assessment he jumped down. That caused a lot of damage, but most likely less than getting shot at would've done. 

I suspect the miniature representing my bloody useless safecracker was the oldest model on the table, none other than Inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau. Come to think of it, perhaps he was only posing as a safecracker, best check our gunboat for bugs...

At the center of the table my team's safecracker failed to open the case three times in a row. The cheap and ostensibly useless runner next to him gave the lock a contemptuous look and snapped it open. Time to make a run for it there too. Unfortunately carrying physical loot around the battlefield in Stargrave really slows you down to a crawl. A hasty retreat is not on the table there.

The fallen data terminal of to the left signifies a hacker has succeeded in cracking it. The fact that it's still lying there signifies the warbot has reduced the hacker in question to little blobs of meat. 

As time progressed, the skirmish got a lot bloodier (more shots fired in anger from both sides as they were fleeing for a table edge). At that point we realized we read the rules wrong for the warbot. It turned out it could move a lot more then we thought. That was very bad news for my team as it moved into a more advantageous firing position (it started rounding the holographic wall).

You could argue the scale of the crates is a bit over the top, but if you knew how much speed you lose carrying one in game, you wouldn't.

With a killer robot coming our way, we left a few opportunities for loot behind, but the central equipment case was cracked so we couldn't leave that! That's against the pirate's code and all that. My flamer wielding trooper almost got killed by a roaming plague zombie. Luckily my mystic killed it with a Dark Energy bolt before it could strike and potentially infect my crew member. 

Make no mistake about the facing of the models, they are all fleeing towards the table edge before the holographic wall fails.

In the end I had more crew members jumping from the platform in their haste to reach the table's edge. Most of my people managed to get away, except for two runners that were gunned down by my opponent. He, in turn, lost almost half his crew, most of them due to withering fire by the warbot. 

I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more warbots!

I couldn't resist sending him this final picture from the display case with the words: 'Shall we field three warbots next time?" I'll spare you the reply, but there will most definitively be a next time. Stargrave is a very fun and easy to play skirmish game that gives plenty of excuses to get your old sci-fi scenery out  of storage and on the table. As a certain other sci-fi wargame (let's not name names) has dropped the ball for the past few years (edition after edition) when it comes to fun gameplay, it feels like breath of fresh air to have actual fun playin in a pew-pew setting. Now if only I had taken pictures during a recent  trial run of A Billion Suns I could've had all four of Osprey's main titles on the blog (Gaslands, Frostgrave, Stargrave and A Billion Suns). Don't worry I'll get to the starship battle game at a later date :).


  1. Beautiful set up and awesome looking game too!

  2. The table does indeed look brilliant. Clearly the titan is being put to good use! I like the ABC-style warbots as well. Sounds like an excellent game!

    1. By the way, where's the battle mat from?

    2. Thanks. I had a blast (pun intended). The mat is a 36x36"double sided one from from Playmats featuring a brownish ruined city-scape on one side and the green grass you see above on the other. I own the Two sided rubber mat version. It is nice, thick and doesn't crease. Here's a link to the product:

  3. Lovely table set-up and love the scenario. I haven't done Stargrave but I've used Wiley Games' Galactic Heroes to great effect for the same sort of thing. And the Diehard figures are wonderful, love using them myself. Great game!

    1. Cheers. Those rules look fascinating to dive into as well. There are so many great rulesets out there to mess around with, I need more hours in the (weekend) days.

  4. I think the Titan is clearly enjoying itself, star of the show when it comes to amazing terrain .. 40k is dead, long live the age of pew-pew! ABC Warriors styled warbots, nice.. time for a rematch with a whole gang of deranged mechaniods.

    1. Thaks :) I suspect the rematch will be a given. I hadn't considered the symbolism of featuring a destroyed titan on a table where fresh model companies' figures and rules where taking over GW's hold on the gaming market, but I like it :)

  5. Thanks for sharing! This is exactly what I'm looking forward to from Stargrave: great stories and a whole lot of fun. That table looks fantastic!!

  6. Thanks for the great read. I've resisted Stargrave so far, though I really like Frostgrave. I'll echo the comment about Fistful of Lead Galactic Heroes being great fun.

    1. Cheers, I see have to look into Fistful of Lead (I already have a pile of lead sitting around ;). Not that I'm here to tell anyone what to do, but you really should get into Stargrave :D It's a fun game, runs smoothly and offers a lot of laughs along the way.