This is an 'Alien' army based on the Aliens films, using Kryomek figures from Scotia Grendel.
I've always wanted these figures ever since they were first released but, until now, I've never got round to buying any.
Here are the basic troops, 52 figures for £70.09 including postage. this will give me 16 bases of aliens and 4 leader figures. I plan to use a Games Workshop Tyranid Red Terror for the Queen which I've bought off eBay for under £10.00.
I found some alien eggs on eBay too, a company called Dark Art Miniatures makes them in resin for £5.00 a set.
The aliens are done and will be based this weekend.
I painted them black all over then dry brushed dark blue over them from the top and a dark green from the underneath.
The green doesn't show much because of the lighting and angle of the photo but you can get a general idea of what the horde will look like. Still waiting for the Queen so no pics of that yet.
I'm also re-basing my colonists/civilians/technicians on multiple bases.
Here's everyone, except the still-not-arrived queen, based and matt varnished. There's still a bit of work to do spotting and blacking all the tiny bits of silver that are showing through but that will take weeks to finish and I'll do it in stages. I'm undecided as to whether I should gloss the snouts to give the impression of slime. I'll probably do it to the queen and see what I think.
The green still doesn't show in the photos but it's there.
Here's the egg chamber and the Queen.
Basing and organisation
Figures should be based as for normal Crossfire with a stand of Xenomorphs representing a group of around six to eight. I have based mine in threes on 60mm round bases.
For every four stands of Xenomorphs there should be a leader figure equivalent to a PC that is used to co-ordinate group attacks. Xenomorph PCs can fight and represent a group of aliens so you can base them as you see fit. I have based mine singularly so they are easily recognisable as leaders but put them on 50mm bases, slightly smaller than the ‘troop’ bases rather than the usual 40mm command bases I use. This gives a ‘platoon’ of Xenomorphs consisting of four troop stands and a leader.
For every four Xenomorph platoons there should be a Queen and a Hive to act as an entry point for the Xenomorph reinforcements.
The human troops should be based as you would for modern battles. I base mine in fire groups of four figures on a 60mm circular base with two fire groups and a support weapon stand (50mm, two figures with SAW) making a ‘platoon’. Each stand of figures uses four shooting dice. A platoon can be further strengthened by the addition of a Humvee/APC for transport and more fire support. A standard force consists of two platoons and a HQ unit with a CC, a PC and another support weapon stand. The CC acts as a standard CC to call in off-board fire missions etc and the PC is used as a secondary spotter and a roving morale booster for all stands in the command.
If you want to use ‘Colonial Marines’ then a few robot gun stands wouldn’t be out of place.
Human civilians should be based in groups to represent a smallish crowd of ten to fifteen people. They do not fight and may only move according to the parameters of the scenario being played. Usually a stand will only move if it is accompanied by a stand of soldiers (troops or command, it doesn’t matter). If a stand of civilians without military escort is contacted by a Xenomorph it is killed immediately.
Trying to run a scenario similar to the Aliens film using Crossfire presents certain difficulties. The main problem is that the Aliens have no firepower and so cannot take the initiative away from the human player by using reaction fire which is the most common way of doing this.
Xenomorph reaction move
In order to counteract this the Aliens have a ‘reaction move’ instead of reaction fire. Reaction moves are conducted exactly as reaction fire would be except that the involved Xenomorphs attempt to close with the humans and enter close combat.
Reaction moves are conducted as a response to a human stand moving in line of sight of a Xenomorph stand (or stands). Xenomorphs may respond as a group by nominating a stand as the attack leader and allowing all stands within a base depth of it that are part of its ‘platoon’ to join in the attack so long as they can reach the moving human stand(s) in a single move. Alternatively, if a Xenomorph commander can see the moving humans, it can order all stands in its command to attack so long as those stands can see the humans and reach them in a single move.
As the Xenomorphs break cover and charge the human player may respond with a reaction fire of his own. This is conducted as any normal reaction fire.
If the Xenomorphs fail to reach the humans any ‘no fire’ markers just received are removed and the human player completes his move and continues with his activations as normal.
If the Xenomorphs reach the moving humans a close combat is conducted immediately. If the Xenomorphs lose this combat any ‘no fire’ markers just received are removed and the human player completes his move and continues with his activations as normal.
If the Xenomorphs win the combat they seize the initiative as normal but any ‘no-fire’ results still in force from the reaction move and the human response to it are removed immediately.
Xenomorph special abilities
Xenomorphs do not suffer pins. All pin results count as misses and receive a ‘no fire’ marker if they were part of a reaction fire.
At the beginning of a Xenomorph turn all existing suppression markers on Xenomorph stands are removed automatically.
If a Xenomorph stand is killed the splashing acid blood will suppress a single stand of humans (not a vehicle or its occupants) within a base depth if any are present (determine randomly). A human stand already suppressed that receives a second suppression is removed. Effects of this acid splatter do not cause the initiative to switch.
A human medic within a base depth of an acid splashed stand adds +2 to that stand's rally rolls in addition to any other bonuses from command stands.
Any human stands killed by the Xenomorphs are retained by the Xenomorph player until they are used to bring Xenomorph reinforcements on to the table (see later). Once used they are removed from play.
A Xenomorph stand in close combat with a human receives +4 to its roll.
Xenomorphs gain +2 for each outnumbering stand they have in a close combat.
Xenomorphs attacking armoured vehicles receive no modifiers other than the +2 for outnumbering stands. (They may still win against an armoured vehicle as their blood can cause breaches in the hull allowing them access to the crew). Vehicles are not suppressed by Xenomorph blood splashes.
Whilst the Xenomorph Queen is alive the Xenomorph player may bring reinforcements into play to replace losses.
If the Queen is in the Hive a single stand of Xenomorphs may be returned to play at the beginning of each Xenomorph turn. These come onto the table in base contact with any hive terrain feature. This placement may be subjected to reactive fire from the human player. If the Queen is away from the hive these reinforcements don’t arrive. Reinforcements from dead humans may be placed though, see below.
In addition, each human stand killed may be used to hatch more Xenomorphs allowing more stands to be returned to play.
A human command stand allows a single extra stand of Xenomorphs to be returned to play, a troop stand allows two extra and a stand of civilians allows three extra Xenomorph reinforcements.
The Xenomorph player may only use a single stand of humans each turn and, once a stand has been used, it is removed from play and can't be used again.
The Xenomorph Queen is a fearsome creature. Usually she is situated in the Xenomorph hive, safe from harm where she churns out Xenomorph troops.
Killing the Queen will secure a human victory no matter what the other scenario requirements may be.
The Queen is incredibly resilient and is immune to pins and suppressions, only outright kills will affect her and it takes three to actually destroy her.
In close combat the Queen starts with +6 (even against vehicles) and, if she is in the hive, rolls 2 dice. Outside the hive she only rolls one die as normal.
Beating the Queen in close combat counts as one of the three kills needed to finish her off. After losing the combat the Queen will splash blood and suppress a single stand (if any) as usual with Xenomorph ‘deaths’ but won’t actually die of course. Instead she will retreat until she is out of sight of any human stands, or retreat until she is in cover other than where the combat took place or, if neither option is available, stay put to fight again.
If the combat took place in the hive she will not retreat but will stay put to fight again.
This was the first in a series of games to check that the modifications to basic Crossfire I wrote to enable Xenomorphs to be involved actually worked.
The table was set out as you can see above with the Xenomorph hive in one corner (top left) and the human colony diagonally opposite it (mostly). The pyramid watcher plays no part, he just wanted to see the action.
There were no real victory conditions except the standard 'killing the Queen' human win, if the Xenomorphs killed all the humans then they'd win by default.
All four Xenomorph units were deployed, 16 stands of warriors and 4 command stands. The Queen was safely inside the hive but was placed on table in a corner to watch.
Because I wasn't sure how nasty it was going to be for the humans they deployed all their forces except the main battle tank. Two Ranger units, a single Delta Force unit and an HQ section; 10 troop stands, 3 vehicles and a couple of command stands. Medics were assigned to all units.
The 5 stands of colonists were placed one to a building and the troops were spread out to cover the landing pad, solar generator and satellite uplink on the right flank and the colony buildings and gas collecting tanks on the left.
Delta Force were kept in reserve in the centre.
The Xenomorphs began the game with the initiative and began to move forward en masse.
Once they were as far forward as they could be without being seen and fired upon they paused to consider their options.
The first group crested a hill on their left and scuttled into the long alien grass. The Rangers responded with some heavy fire that destroyed two stands and suppressed the others.
Having gained the initiative the humans took the opportunity to group the colonists in fewer buildings and redeploy their line a little. Once everything was set the humans began to lay down more fire on the visible aliens. Although this began well with another stand destroyed, misses eventually returned the initiative to the aliens.
The Xenomorphs probed forward on the other flank with the same results, losing two more stands to heavy fire from the Rangers deployed on the colony roofs.
But, once again, the humans tried to inflict more casualties in their go and gave up the initiative with poor shooting dice.
The Xenomorphs broke cover and skittered along the pipeline, eager to get to grips with their prey.
The humans responded with a whole squad crossfire, four lots of four shooting dice began to chew chunks out of the swarming aliens. Although the no-fire markers began to appear along the line as guns jammed or overheated there was never any real doubt as to the outcome.
Silence descended with not a single live Xenomorph to be seen.
The Rangers saddled up and roared out of their compound in the Humvees. They de-bussed on the hill that the Xenomorph attack had been launched from and began to fire into the massed ranks of bugs.
Delta Force took the centre ground and started inflicting their own particular brand of carnage on the hapless bugs.
Having learnt what concentrated fire could do at the colony perimeter the humans were careful to keep each other supported and moved forward steadily, clearing the ground ahead of them relentlessly.
After a relatively short time all the Xenomorphs had been destroyed and the humans stood poised to attack the hive and the Queen herself.
Well, that was easy. A walk-over victory for the humans, what could the alien player have done?
There are two differences here to a standard Crossfire encounter:
The humans have a major disadvantage in close combat and need to avoid this at all costs. This is at odds with a standard Crossfire game where the decisive move is usually hand-to-hand as this gets the results.
The Xenomorphs need to get to close combat as this is the only way to kill their enemy but cannot suppress their opponents with firepower beforehand so will always be charging into bullets unless they are very careful.
The tactic that gives the humans the best chance of a win is to keep their forces grouped, mutually supporting stands and being able to respond with maximum firepower to a threat keeps the aliens at a distance and them alive. Movement-blocking but not LOS-blocking terrain is their friend. Fences, pools and depressions stop Xenomorphs from reaction charging and allow the humans some freedom to manoeuvre. If the aliens can see you (across a sulphur pool) but can't reach you in a single move (they would have to stop at the pool because it's a terrain feature even though they can swim through it) then they cannot reaction charge and you can go about your business unmolested.
Xenomorphs need to be cunning. They need to make the humans spread their deployment by threatening to attack from multiple angles. Single probing stands can force a no-fire which leave the humans vulnerable to an assault. Moving humans are the most vulnerable and constant probing and pushing can 'encourage' them to move around. Colonists are a real hinderance to human troops, rather than going straight for the juicy civilians, use them as firing blockers to get into a better position. Divide and conquer, four human stands shooting at you and you die, three is touch-and-go for both sides, two and you're probably on to a winner. A single human stand is just lunch.
For a good balanced game where both sides have a chance and the outcome will be determined by skill, the aliens should outnumber the human combat stands by two to one.
Game two had the humans more outnumbered...
The table set up was the same as in game one. This time the colonists were out and about working and only a single squad of Rangers had been detailed to protect them; 2 fire teams, a stand of SAW, their Humvee, a medic and a spare Sgt to keep them on their toes.
One fire team covered the right flank on the landing pad and the rest of the squad took station in the complex of colony buildings.
As before, the Xenomorphs opened the proceedings by occupying the tall grass on the top of the hill to their left. The fire team responded but, without the extra firepower of a full squad, only managed to inflict some suppression results but no kills.
Having gained the initiative the human player began to move the colonists to the safety of the buildings. They couldn't move too far for fear of triggering an alien counter charge and, perhaps unwisely, the Rangers decided to try to finish off the exposed aliens on the hill.
With a grim foretaste of what was to come they failed to hit anything and the aliens gathered themselves for another push.
The Xenomorphs on the other side of the table sent a single stand forward to test the reactions of the defenders there. The Humvee responded with some truly awful shooting dice and immediately went 'no-fire'. As the panicking top cover tried to clear his weapon the aliens scrambled forward, enveloping the vehicle with their chitinous forms, and tore the crew to shreds.
The Xenomorphs continued forward and pounced on a group of colonists who had thought themselves safe. A watching fire team of Rangers had to look on in horror as the milling civilians prevented them getting clear shots at the aliens.
As a few bugs carried the still-living colonists back to the hive the Rangers were able to shoot at the remainder. Despite the aliens being in full view and in the open the humans only scored a single 'pin' result which the Xenomorphs ignorred.
As the Rangers went to 'no-fire' because of their miss on the alien stand in the compound they could no longer cover their part of the perimeter. The rest of the waiting Xenomorph unit surged forward to the fence...
Over it, and straight on to the helpless Rangers.
One base of Xenomorphs broke away, too tempted by the juicy civilians that stood helplessly nearby, to waste their time on killing the Rangers.
Unfortunately for them this brought them into sight of the Ranger machine gun crew who tore them apart with a well-aimed burst. The alien's acid blood splashed all over the colonists eliciting screams and howls but at least they wern't dead or being carried back to the hive for implantation by the Xenomorph Queen.
The machine gun crew, having gaind the initiative back, turned their attention to the Xenomorphs in the building that had killed their buddies and prepared to clear the compound.
Oops. A complete miss saw the initiative switch straight back to the aliens who surged forwards once again.
The machine gun responded with yet another complete miss and paid the price as the bugs reached them in overwhelming numbers.
With all the troops in the compound dead the Xenomorphs collected the remaining colonists and began to group for their assault on the final fire team...
Well, this shows what happens when the Xenomorphs get in amongst the humans. The combination of blocking terrain, wayward civilians and extremely poor dice rolling put paid to the Rangers in a very short time. A single fire team supporting the Humvee could have prevented the whole sorry business but the humans couldn't allow part of the perimeter to be in a blind spot and had to spread their forces thinly. A second squad of rangers would probably have given them enough to repel the first assault but, as dead Xenomorphs were recycled and the balance of numbers shifted, they'd have been hard pressed at the end.