by Casey Shelangoski · Published · Updated
Today I’m going to talk about Aggressor:Recon, a new game from Critical Snail Studios. Aggressor is a 28mm sci-fi miniature wargame set in the 23rd century. The game details the struggles of humans from various factions such as mega corporations and colonists, and the variety of alien species that inhabit the galaxy. This game is from a small independent studio, so a little roughness around the edges is expected, but I think the game has enough bright spots to make it worth checking out.
$40 gets you the core book, available on Amazon or Critical Snail’s website. The book itself is softcover, printed in black and white, weighing in at 158 pages. Overall the book is high quality, the print is very clear, and the binding feels solid.
You may be asking yourself, what about the miniatures? Here is one of the more unique things about this game, there is no official miniature range. Borrowing the idea from historical wargames, you can use any minis that are appropriate for the setting and faction. This means you could play the game with little green army men if you wanted. This makes the game easy to get into for people on a budget, the cost of your army is basically what you’re willing to spend.
This game is a d10 based system. All of your rolls will be made with 1 or more d10s. Unit activation is on a 1 for 1 basis, meaning player 1 activates a unit, then player 2 activates and unit and so on. This is something I really like in games because armies can’t get destroyed before they even have a chance to act. Another thing I really like is that units have a set number of actions, and can do any combination of actions up to their limit on their activation. This means you can shoot and move, or move and shoot amongst other options, the order is up to you, no turn phases.
There are a number of available actions: move, shoot, assault, seek cover, etc. I really like how many options you are given, every unit has something useful it can do every turn. To resolve an attack you must add the firepower rating of all the weapons in the unit, then cross reference a table in the book, finding the column that corresponds with the units attack skill. This gives you the total number of dice you roll for the attack. Any die result above the targets defense stat is a wound. There are of course positive and negative modifiers to the chart depending on the circumstances of the attack. At first it feels a little cumbersome, but after a bit it gets to be pretty easy to use the table and modifiers and make your attack. Although it is initially cumbersome, it gives a pretty neat feel on the table. Since your shooting attacks are a sum of your skills and equipment, less powerful units with bigger guns can be just as deadly as a crack team of veterans.
By far my favorite part of the game however are the vehicle rules. Each vehicle has a sheet that records all of the details of the vehicle.This records what equipment and crew the vehicle has, as well as their location in the vehicle. Wounds taken by a vehicle have a chance to destroy gear or even kill the passengers and crew of the vehicle. Vehicles themselves have no actions, however each crew member retains their actions. Effectively, vehicles get a number of actions equal to the total actions of the crew which makes them feel quite powerful. However, this also means the deaths of crew members severely hampers them. For example if the gunner is killed, the driver must spend an action to crawl into the turret to fire the gun, so now the vehicle must choose between moving or shooting. Overall, it feels really fluffy. Although it’s a lot of book keeping I found the details to be really immersive, and I love the vehicle rules.
The book also contains 11 factions army lists, as well as a variety of scenarios to play. Although the art isn’t spectacular, there is a good amount littered throughout the book. Also scattered throughout are short stories and blurbs that fill out the universe and setting. There is already an expansion planned to fill out the game with more units and scenarios. Overall, I feel like Aggressor is a pretty solid first effort for a fledgling company, and considering the low cost of entry, definitely worth checking out for any sci-fi gaming enthusiast.
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