So there I was, pulling out my old Space Hulk box set to (finally) paint up the miniatures, suitably inspired as I was by the release of the latest box set. I got thinking that Space Hulk was one of the best games of its type ever produced and that it was great that I had sufficiently organised myself (a big deal, I have so much on the go right now, I had to make a big list of what I was going to do and when) that I could get back to painting something like this rather than the next ‘must-have’ for whichever army I wanted to build up next.
Then I thought more…
If I have time to paint up Space Hulk miniatures, then why am I not doing the game I have really wanted to do for years now?
For a long, long time, I have wanted a 28mm Star Wars battle game, but none of the manufacturers who have had the licence have produced one. So, needs must – I would have to make one myself.
I had always intended to use the Battlefield Evolution rules (Starship Troopers to some of you) for this, but BF Evo is not currently in a state I am happy with on the ‘battle’ level (skirmish level, it is just fine, as evidenced by Judge Dredd and the forthcoming Warriors of Antiquity). I have a set of the rules covering battles in Stalingrad and another covering the Zulu Wars, but both of those are currently on the backburner and needing a lot of attention.
Then I thought, ‘hello, there is a set of sci-fi battle-level rules out there that everyone knows and should fit Star Wars very well – the structure is all there, it just needs a bit of work getting everything in.’
The game system is, of course, Warhammer 40,000.
So, the first thing I did was organise all my 28mm Star Wars miniatures.
This is the merest smattering of what I have (when WotC released their Star Wars range I went, umm, a bit mad…). Anyway, I pulled everything together, organised it into squads and had a look at how they might fit into the rules.
I then had a further thought. I own a publishing company. What a whiz-o-whiz idea it would be if we could produce actual, printed, hardback Codexes for Star Wars – basically, get them looking as though Games Workshop themselves had printed these books.
Now, there are all sorts of copyright issues here, obviously, but these books will never go on sale. We may print fewer than 10 of each. And no, you cannot have one. These are for me and my mates, so I can finally play the game I have always wanted to play.
The first thing I did was grab the latest few Codexes (Grey Knights and Orks), so I could replicate the format and wording of standard text – things like the Wargear lists, Warlord Traits table and Introduction, all the areas where the text does not change too much between books.
There is a lot of background text in your average Codex, particularly in the first few chapters, and I did not fancy writing that from scratch. That would be a major commitment, and it is not as if I don’t have enough books to write at the moment. Then a brain wave hit me – as this book is not being sold and is for my own personally use only, I can grab text from the Wookieepedia to fill in the background areas, and even things like unit and weapon descriptions. This frees me up to work on the actual rules and units in the game.
Last weekend, even though I spent time painting up that Ork Bommer, I managed to get about 70-odd pages done of Codex: Galactic Empire – I was somewhat fired up about this project and pulled some very long hours!
Codex: Galactic Empire
After drafting a few notes and setting up unit templates up in Word, I got cracking with Codex: Galactic Empire. It took about an hour to do the first unit, your basic Troops-choice Stormtrooper squad, as I wanted them more or less balanced with other Warhammer 40,000 armies (that might be a pipe dream, as Star Wars armies play very differently, but I am proceeding from that desire), and starting with the first unit required me to also detail weapons and equipment. The second and subsequent units (Elite Stormtroopers and Scout Troopers) were much quicker to run through, as a lot of the baseline work had already been done.
For the Stormtroopers, I ended up with this;
Troops slot, 40 points
Stormtroopers are the unwavering face of the Empire, seen keeping peace and order on thousands of worlds across the galaxy and serving as ever present reminders of the absolute power of Emperor Palpatine. They are an extension of the Emperor’s will, and thus often use efficient yet usually brutal tactics to keep star systems throughout the galaxy in line. The primary purpose of stormtroopers is to attack with speed, accuracy and overwhelming numbers whenever faced with insurrection against the Empire. Loyalty, obedience and the readiness to die for the Emperor are the traits indoctrinated into all stormtroopers.
|WS||BS||S||T||W||I||A||Ld||Sv||Unit Type||Unit Composition|
|Sergeant||3||3||3||3||1||3||1||8||4+||Infantry (Character)||1 Sergeant|
|Veteran Sergeant||3||4||3||3||1||3||1||9||4+||Infantry (Character)|
- Stormtrooper armour
- Blaster rifle
- Thermal detonator
- Concussion grenades
- May include up to three additional Stormtroopers 8 pts/model
- May upgrade the Sergeant to a Veteran Sergeant 10 pts
- One Stormtrooper may take an item from the Special Weapons list.
The Stubborn neatly underlines their fanaticism, but they are not complete zealots and can be driven back. I made them pretty normal humans (BS 3, as they are not noted for their accuracy!), and their armour I effectively classed as carapace. The Blaster Rifle, incidentally, is pretty much an AP 5 lasgun, Concussion Grenades are assault grenades, and the Thermal Detonator a meltabomb. In fact, I found as I worked through different units that a lot of existing 40k rules and units were easily re-purposed for Star Wars – I was fine with that, it made my life easier! For example, the Heavy laser Cannon on the AT-AT (yes, I have included one of those – it is a Lord of War) has the same stats as a lascannon.
Working diligently through this, I made my way through just about all the Imperial models in my collection – last night, I polished off the Dark Jedi who, again, fitted right in through the use of various universal special rules already present in 40k, and a new Force Powers (Dark Side) psychic discipline list. As it stands, aside from a mere handful of unit-specific mechanics, I have yet to find a need to create any new rules to fit Star Wars into 40k.
I am going to work on Codex: Rebel Alliance this coming weekend and maybe next week I can get some playtesting in…
At the moment, I am aiming to get just Codex: Galactic Empire and Codex: Rebel Alliance done (and, yes, printed for my library). However, I would be lying if I said I could not see all sorts of ways this project could expand. I already have enough miniatures for decent Droid and Republic Clone armies, so they are an obvious way to go.
It has also occurred to me that a Codex Supplement/eBook-only Codex would be a decent idea. Just think, you are using Codex: Galactic Empire, and you decide to use a detachment from Codex: Bounty Hunters… There is also scope for doing mini-Codexes on various aliens in the Rebel Alliance (I have enough models to do convincing detachments for Wookies, Ewoks and, yes, Gungans), various Sith-related forces, and then there are all the models I have for various factions in ‘the Fringe’.
I could do a whole campaign system. Or perhaps I could dust off those rules we did several years ago, converting A Call to Arms to Star Wars (I was always quite happy with those rules). Then perhaps I could track down some 6mm scale Star Wars models (or get them sculpted – why not? There has to be some reasonable benefit to owning a games company!), and do an ‘Epic’ conversion.
So, you get the idea – Star Wars is huge and there is a great deal of gaming potential in there (hmm, perhaps I could link a miniatures game into an RPG..?). However, for now, I am firmly fixed upon Codex: Galactic Empire and Codex: Rebel Alliance. I’ll see how I feel about the rest of the project when those two are done!
Oh, and once again, no, you cannot have any of these books when they get printed. But if you drop me a line at email@example.com, I would be more than happy to send you the current Word documents, in whatever state they are in. All I ask is that you actually try them out, push some models round the table, and let me know how you get on!