One of the things I like so much about Blasters and Bulkheads as a system is the ease with which it can be used for Star Wars wargaming. I've loved the Star Wars universe (as many of us have) since I was first exposed to it as a nipper. Unfortunately, while the D6 Star Wars role playing game was an absolute gem, D6 Star Wars Battles (the war games version) was a complete nightmare. True, it was compatible with the RPG, but just barely. How a professional team could turn such a simple and elegant set of mechanics such as the D6 system into the absolute garbled nightmare of Star Wars battles defies imagination.
Then we had the collectible miniatures game from WOTC. Yeah. The less said, the better.
Now we have Blasters and Bulkheads. Although NOT specifically designed for Star Wars gaming (though heavily influenced by the SW universe) this sci-fi space opera skirmish game has rules for Essence powers -which can be interpreted any way you like, whether used as rules for magic, bog-standard psionics, Mass Effect Biotics or even as rules for Star Wars' Force Powers. Better still, it uses a mechanic very similar to the old West End Games D6 system. All the more handy for Mecha Ace and I because Mecha is planning on running a D6 Star Wars campaign in the near-future.
Better still, we've managed to get quite a few of the regulars at our wargames club, Glasgow Gaming Group, thinking about making their own Blasters and Bulkheads forces. So far, we've had suggestions ranging from the obvious (Sith, Jedi, Imperials, Rebels, Clone Troopers, Serparatists, Droids, Smugglers, Gangsters and Bounty Hunters) to the less obvious (Mega-City One Judges, Jon Carter style Martians, Strontium Dogs, Mass Effect Spectre Teams, Asari Commandos and just about everything else you can think of).
Best of all, games only take about an hour and feature armies of at most 30 (and as few as 5) 15mm figures. So in a typical gaming night, multiple games are possible. Even if you play the same opponent three times in the one night, B&B forces are so damn cheap you could be playing with (and against) a different force in every game.
|15mm converted Sith for Blasters and Bulkheads.|
Take my Old Republic Sith force for example. As well as the three Sith Dark Essence users in the accompanying image, my Sith force contains three henchman squads of five Sith Troopers. Most B&B forces are built this way -a handful of character models and a few disposable henchmen squads. Total cost of my Sith force: less than a tenner.
Also pictured are two other B&B characters from my collection, an ageing human light-essence user and his young Padawan. The game is set up in such a way that I could easily add another three or four characters (perhaps a Starship Captain, his First Mate a Senator and some Droids) and then play through a number of scenarios, challenging a different Dark Essence User and some minions in each one before finally coming face to face with the main villain. In fact, the way the game is set out, with it's simple campaign rules and narrative suggestions, practically demands the creation of such mini-campaigns.
|15mm converted Jedi and Padawan|
The game rules even work well for solo gaming, with the exception that characters (good and bad) have a stock of Fate points they can use each turn to modify dice rolls and use Essence powers. In a solo campaign, the temptation might be to use these points in such a way as to favour one side over the other. It would be easy enough to counterbalance this situation however, with a simple house rule. Perhaps one that states that each turn a non-player character miniature will use half these points for attack and half for defence.
All in all, Blasters and Bulkheads is an excellent little system. Expect to see a few game reports and faction lists appearing on this blog in the very near future.