Sunday, April 16, 2017

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century space combat (Solitaire Play)

About a year ago or so, I ordered some Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Thunderfighters and Marauders from the 3D Printing Company Shapeways and painted them (as discussed here).

I didn't think 5 fighters for both sides was enough, so I ordered another 5 each, along with Hawkman's unique fighter and painted them up as well.

I now wanted to use these ships in combat, so I looked at Two Hour Wargames' (THW) solitaire fighter combat rules, 5150: Fighter Command with 5150 being THW's universe.

The game rules can be easily adapted to any space opera setting, and did I mention it was solitaire? Good stuff.

Almost all of THW's mechanics use a "reaction system" for both your side and the enemy automated side, so it's nifty. Just try out their groundbreaking All Things Zombie rules to see what I mean.

Another aspect that I like is you have to split up the battlefield into zones to put potential enemy fighters (an unknown quantity or even if nothing was there) called PEFs, which again lends itself to solitaire play. I could run into half the enemy starfleet, or nothing at all, a false alarm. Again, good stuff.

I decided to have Buck do a surveillance mission into an asteroid field. In my mind, I broke up the tabletop into 9 grids, and when the time came, would roll to determine where potentially, enemy fighters, the Draconians from the TV series, would show up. I also had to make my own reinforcement tables for both sides, to resolve enemy PEFs and reinforcements on both sides. Both PEFs and reinforcements (if any depending on a die roll), come on to the board differently.

At 20 inches, it is Sensor Range, where you can determine if something is there possibly, depending on a die roll. At 5 inches, you have Visual Range, and can spot them and indeed, trigger something called an In Sight Test in the rules.

I adapted some of the fighter stats to the Earth Defense Directorate's Thunderfighter, Draconian Marauders, Hawk's unique ship, and potentially as enemy reinforcements, a Pirate gun or assault boat. (see appendix below)

Hawkman's ship, if you recall from the TV show, had steel claws that can rip up fighters at point blank range.

There is no such equivalent in the 5150 universe so far, so I adapted the Fighter Command's missile rules when less than 1 inch away (stats in the appendix).

I had my reinforcements ready for both sides, and played a game in between this Easter weekend's festivities.

Scenario Objectives: Buck or Hawk must get within 5 inches (Visual Range) of a Belter's asteroid base and scan it (scenario rule: while doing this, can't take any other action). 


Buck and Hawk make the jump to the Argonian sector..

I was getting worried my star Buck Rogers was in over his head, with 4 against 1 while Hawk is far behind...

 I was very lucky I got thunderfighter reinforcements, and that came out at 8 o'clock.. just where Buck needed them.


I like 5150: Fighter Command. Interesting mechanics, and good tension. I never got to use Hawk's claws, but maybe next time.

A good introductory session. Thumbs Up!



  1. Very good post. Describes the action clearly, thanks!

  2. Now I wanna play some 5150 Fighter Command...Great AAR.
    Love the fighters - they're from StarCorp Shipyards on Shapeways aren't they?

    and Hawk's ship is from 3dModelWorx, correct?

    1. Blackstar, correct. From Shapeways (Starcorps shipyards and 3dModelworks).. ironically, the fighters are in this cheap nylon or plastic, while Hawk's ship is in this unnecessary frosted detail. It would have been better if it was in the reverse. Still, good enough.

  3. Yeah, the minis are just fine for gaming when they're printed in White Strong and Flexible, the Frosted Detail is just too expensive. I noticed that 3dModelWorx now prints the Hawk starfighter in WSF.

  4. Very nice AAR, possibly the best one you've ever done.