I’m snowed in, enduring cabin fever, time to dust off off another old project that will (at last) see the light of day. This is a game I’ve always referred to as “SKY SMASHERS!” because it has a pulpy sound to it, even though it was always meant to be semi-VSF in origin. The concept behind this game was driven by what was then a surfeit of individual flying figures back when VSF* miniature games were newer. Back in that day Eureka Miniatures was driving the train, but there were plenty of other companies making figures I could adapt for individual flight. The big problem was that so few of them were sculpted in actual flight mode. I would have worked around that problem eventually, and even had some ideas that I had put down on paper about how to handle the flight stand problem. If you click here, you’ll see my homemade approach to the adjustable flight stand idea, dating back to 2004 (at least) and probably as old as 2000 or the late 90s. So, yeah, that’s a thing. This game has been kicking around my head for a long time. The miniatures have changed over the years, VSF kind of came and went and came back again, but the design concepts were always the same for this game. Each figure is a single man, flying in three dimensional face and interacting with other in flight single figures who are trying to kill him, plus possible ground units engaging from the ground, shooting up.
- Combat takes place in a three dimensional space; that means fire combat occurs with targets above, below, right or left, behind and in front.
- Time scale is attenuated; by this I mean the game will model a lot of small actions in a small time space– ten second turns are the standard. FAST characters will have the option of more things to do in a turn.
- There are different flight modes– swooping and gliding versus rocketing. Riding some form of small powered one man vehicle along the lines of a rocket cycle is a possibility.
- Melee and Fire Combat are possible.
- Players should be able to physically change altitude once per turn.
- Fire combat angles are determined by strings– from the firing unit to the target. Odd angles (below, above, behind) will have severe penalties. Excessive speed differences cause severe penalties.
- Buckets o’ dice for resolution– people are comfortable with that.
So time has gone by and it’s 2015 now. Just by happenstance I noticed that MINIATURE MARKET was holding a big sale, and one of the ranges for sale was DYSTOPIAN LEGIONS by Spartan Games. Furthermore, they actually have “in flight” sculpted figures. Nominally they are 32mm scale toe to head, which matches no other VSF range whatsoever. So likely figures for the game would have to come entirely from this line.
Here’s what’s done so far.
The Pseudo-Americans, armed with pistols
The Pseudo Britons, armed with pistols and automated SMGs.
The Pseudo Choimans, armed with some kind of electrified lance
The Pseudo Japanese (includes two flying steambikes), armed with Melee Weapons (katana swords)
I’m not much interested in the Dystopian Legions rules.. it’s a little too much for what I want to do, though maybe I’ll lift some of the tokens to track wounds or something.
The flight stands aren’t nearly as problematic as they were when I first envisioned this game back in 2000/1999 That’s because Corsec Engineering didn’t exist back then. I really like their Omni Stand Technology. I’m not sure how I’ll approach connecting the figure to the stand. I’d like to have an adjustable one that can change the aspect of the flyer or vehicle easily. That speaks to a tilting kind of stand (see the website). I don’t want to add a bigger hole in the figure since they are already painted. Maybe something with rare earth magnets.
The rules are going to be simple and universal. I realize this might be a unique game for a lot of reasons– the buy in is kind of high unless you’re getting a sale on the figures. The subject matter is popular enough. so I think I’ll get some players.
Ground Game: I also have a few units that could be fighting on the ground and shooting up at the sky, like steam walkers and an AA gun. I will add this to the rules as a random factor.
*Parenthetical point: I use “Victorian Science Fiction” or “VSF” instead of the more schlock made-up term of “Steampunk”, by preference. It has more Victorian Gravitas.