Had a day to meet up with the nephews and play some games between Christmas and New Year. So I thought I'd try out Five Parsecs from Home as a nice simple set of rules to introduce them to SF wargames. Although these are intended to be used for solo games, they seem to me to be a useful tool box for setting up small scenarios. In this case I was going to be acting as a GM and controlling the "bad guys" using the mechanics from the rules for how they should act. The Nephews (and Julie) would share the crew of the good ship Windy Miller between them.
I used the rules to randomly roll up a starting crew and equip them with gear and a smattering of background detail. I used versions of the nephews' names for two of the characters and put their photos on the crew sheet to assist with the immersion in the story element of the game. They're teenagers so they weren't impressed!
A mixture of scratch-built buildings, pre-printed card containers and odds and ends from the random scenery box made up the abandoned base.
I designed a simple scenario suitable that I hoped would combine a bit of a challenge with something more than just a stand up firefight. The idea was that the crew had been hired to go to an abandoned military base to retreive useful software from the surviving computers, that could be valuable on the black market. The spanner in the works for this plan would be the unanticipated arrival of a terifying raid by a Converted Acquisition squad!
These cyborg, hive-minded drones remind me of the Borg from Star Trek or Cybermen from Dr Who. So a pretty scary prospect! Neither of these references registered with the nephews (Epic fail by their parents - I'll be having a word!) So the terror factor was somewhat reduced...
The players took a bit of time to get their heads round the 2 phase movement system (but for some of them this was their first ever SF wargame.) Only two of the crew had increased Reactions score that allowed them more chances to move in the fast phase. They did get the idea that they could be a bit more daring with Max and Mr X but the other crewmembers needed to be keeping to cover. Particularly once the Converted arrived and started shooting.