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The Making of Skirmish in Asteroid

This was the featured article in the September 2015 issue.

Skirmish in Asteroid is my continuing efforts in creating and playing Snapshot scenarios with whatever resources were available to me at the time.

I have the GDW 120 series game of Asteroid and following my efforts in the making of Skirmish at Apple Tree Farm and the resulting PDF when I looked through my book shelf my eyes fell on the game.

I was intrigued to see if the counters that they used for Asteroid could be used in Snapshot and found out when I looked that they were in fact the same ones that were used in Azhanti High Lightning. The realisation that Asteroid was just a simpler game than Snapshot using ” squares for the gaming sheets just meant that I had some more deck plans to play Snapshot on.

The robot counters in Asteroid look similar to Zhodani Medium Warbots, so I instantly thought of a Zhodani listening base that needed to be stormed by the Third Imperium. I hadn’t done much in the way of gaming with the Zhodani so I picked up Alien Module 4: Zhodani and started to read.

Now, this is where my interest and enthusiasm started to pick up. If you have read my previous article I enjoy playing Traveller, learning new things, and problem solving, and this is what was presented to me again. While Zhodani character generation is not especially new to me, psionics is, and while I’m reading the rules, I’m thinking to myself that I can almost guarantee that they haven’t been applied in Snapshot. And also (not surprisingly) Robots weren’t covered either.

So, I started rolling up a few Zhodani characters for use in the game, thinking about what types of people would be in a secret listening base, and thought about applying psionics to Snapshot. It turns out that it’s relatively simple, and allocating 8 AP to a psionic action works quite well. Robots, on the other hand were a different matter.

I started a discussion on the Traveller Mailing List with my initial thoughts on the subject and had a discussion about the various attributes of Robots and how they might translate into action points. It turns out that my thoughts on APs for robots were the same as Douglas Berry’s and James Lindsay’s (the guys who wrote At Close Quarters), so I went with them, and I also liked Doug’s comments during the discussion about dumbots in combat so went with them as well.

So I have my psionic opponents ready and I have my Robots ready to fight. I just need somewhere to fight them. Taking the Asteroid playing sheets I arrange them into what looks quite like a base, number the rooms and scribble down some descriptions. I think about some victory conditions and then roll up the marines to fight them with.

It’s at this point that I remember that I have some Traveller counters that someone had posted to the web, and I go searching for them on my hard disk. They are pretty much what I was looking for, but they only have one Zhodani so I improvise a little. Adjusting them a little and printing them out I have my defenders and skirmishing commenced.

As I did before, I decided to write what I had done up and present it in a PDF for a couple of reasons. First was to ensure that the Traveller counters continue to be available to the community. It’s a shame Geocities was taken down, because a lot of useful content was lost, so putting them into Skirmish in Asteroid allows them to be available again. Second, I quite enjoy the process itself, and creating the PDF allows me to bring my notes together into a coherent document so I don’t have them on different bits of paper scattered around my office.

So here is Skirmish in Asteroid. If you can make use of it in any way, even if it’s just to use the Marines and Soldiers as pre-rolled NPCs in your own game, fantastic. If you can use the Traveller counters then even better (if you know who drew them then please let me know), and if you come up with your own scenarios for use with Skirmish in Asteroid then by all means please write them up and share them with the community!

Editor’s Notes

Download the Skirmish in Asteroid PDF.

Freelance Traveller will consider for publication Skirmish in Asteroid scenarios—or Traveller scenarios for any published miniatures or counter game rules—as Active Measures; contact the editor in the usual ways.