Battlesuit, the original
I’ve always had a hankering to try to recreate a few of the great game experiences of my youth in miniatures. I mean, beyond something already purposely designed for that objective, like OGRE MINIATURES. To expound on that idea, I used to play a game called BATTLESUIT by Steve Jackson Games… Remember that one? It was an orphan in the Ogreverse, the man-to-man combat game of the sad-sack infantry guys who had to survive on the hell that was the OGRE battlefield. The game that came out in 1983 had a very distinctive set of mechanics that set it far apart from its larger scaled OGRE and GEV brothers. For one thing, the scale was man to man. For another, it featured activation and movement rules that were fundamentally different from the previous OGRE and GEV games. The turn sequence in Battlesuit is highly interactive, a player may move but also will have to deal with his opponent firing back with opportunity fire at any time during his movement phase. Battlesuit
had no hexes– instead it had a point to point movement map where the counters moved from dot to dot on a map that was topographic with a dot sequence (roughly equivalent to hexagons) overlaid on top of the map. The game also has a decidedly interesting three dimensional feel to it– topography plays into this game, as a result of the scale of the conflict, I think. Height is important. The soldiers can jump a distance in this universe, and they can be shot at in the air. Cover, concealment, line of sight– all much more important concepts in this game than in parent OGRE/GEV games, who come off as pretty conventional in comparison. The other element of interest
was the status of the soldier represented by the counter in this game. Battlesuits are complex things– they can get damaged. When a man in a battlesuit takes fire, he can panic very easily, and the results are interesting– BATTLESUIT soldiers can be shaken, can Panic or even go Berserk. All of this is simulated in the boardgame with counters. I like Denis Loubet’s funky early 80s retro artwork.
Now if you’ve been keeping up, you’re probably thinking about how much this game seems like a standard modern skirmish game, with the same concepts I’ve played in many a miniatures combat game– movement, cover, reaction, command, morale, fire and counterfire.. So why not bring it to a miniatures venue? I don’t want to create a giant big thing with 28mm, I’d rather have a game that could be easily contained on a small map and terrain set, probably one that recreates the original game map in some fashion. I already have a crosshatched small terrain map from
Sample counters, took me 5 minutes.
MKP that would be perfect for the point to point movement. Hills would be easy enough, and I would just paint the crosshatches on top of the flocking. The game counters are pretty easy to recreate in Open Office with FUTURE font, as you can see. So really the big decision will be what to use for the scale and the figures. 15mm seems right to me. Individually based figures, probably on hex bases just to help with facing. I could make an entire game happen on a 3 x 3 square, then. The figure selection is going to be important, though. I want something that will evoke Loubet’s goofy retro art to some extent. I also have several soldier types I needed to model– Assault Suits, Regular Suits, Ranger Suits and Command Suits. The original game had different counters for different damage levels but I think I can solve that with counters. I made my preliminary purchases online last night.
FOR REGULAR BATTLESUIT TROOPERS:
The Federal Army Riflemen set from Khurasan Miniatures.
Federal Riflemen, Khurasan Minis
I chose these because they weren’t overly bulky yet retained that all over military body armor look. They are painted somewhat realistically for their environment on the Khursan page, but I would probably stick with the predominant red and black theme set by Battlesuit’s counter-mix.
FOR ASSAULT TROOPERS:
Probably the same as above, painted uniquely to give them a look and feel.
Mad Robot Figures Jump Infantry Squad.
Mad Robot Jump Troopers
Yes, they are a different manufacturer but they seem to match the mid-tech armor of the Khurasan bunch nicely, so I’m going with it. I like the dynamism of these figures very much. Just wondering what I’ll do for flight stands.
Khurasan Miniatures, Heavy Weapons team
Khurasan Heavy Weapons set
These aren’t what I had in mind considering the counter mix indicates I’m looking for the SF equivalent of the Squaddie toting the M60 machine gun. Still, they convey the idea of heavy weapons nicely, and I’ll just have to constrict the OOB from the original a bit.
Again we go back to Khurasan miniatures:
Command Set. The dog is puzzling.
Most “command units” are a regular guy with his arm posted in a “Follow me” pose. I like that these command units actually look like they are on a future battlefield, commanding something.
The original BATTLESUIT game also has many drones in the counter-mix, which they describe as being Recon, Missile or Gun drones, and possessing the intelligence of a dog. I like this idea a lot and wanted to bring it into the game I was building. Fortunately, Khurasan has a great drone operator figure:
Drone Operator and Mortar Team
GZG miniatures also make many different autonomous killing machines, so I bought a mix of their Drones from their 15mm Star Grunt line:
Drones from GZG
More GZG Drones
Even MORE GZG Drones
I also picked up a few tracked and hover bots from GZG, with the idea that if this works and is fun, I can add killer robots in future games. Maybe do RIVETS on a larger scale…
So that’s where I am with the Battlesuit project. I think it will make a fun four person game, maybe. It will be easy to paint these up and the rules already exist, though they will have to be heavily modified. I won’t have the same luxury of a large counter mix, and I may have to make counter versions of some things that are missing from the base game. I do think I have captured most of the basic game to give this project a start.
Follow up: UPDATE POST