War Rocket!

Since this project was announced by Hydra about two years ago, I’ve been excited about it.  I’m a huge fan of the old movie serials from the 40’s and 50’s, having quite a few of them on DVD.  While I was in Iraq, my wife ordered some of the ships for me for my birthday.  By the time I redeployed, Hydra had released a few more ships and the rules.  The rules and additional ships arrived while I was on vacation, but I was able to get them painted and ready for their first game for last Friday’s HAWKs night.

Zenithian Fleet
The Zenithian Fleet, which is the only one that has all four classes of ships available
Valkeeri Fleet
The Valkeeri Fleet. For some reasons no matter what I did the purple washed out on these photos. They're brighter in person.
The Galacteer Class III and three Class I ships. The Class III was the slowest ship on the table, but the Class I's were the fastest
Imperial Fleet
An Imperial Class II and several Class I ships. Don't these look like they are straight out of the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials?

These ships were very fun to paint.  There is enough detail to help with the brushing, but not so much detail that they get gunky when painting them.    I was able to paint all four fleets in a weekend.

So…  I signed up to run War Rocket at a HAWKs night before I had even primed the ships.  There’s nothing like a deadline to increase focus.  Having never played the game, I ran two iterations for the club.  As this was our first go at the rules, I paired up the four fleets into two alliances (Valkeeri and Galacteers vs. Imperials and Zenithians) and ran a “meeting engagement.”

Duncan Adams moving his Imperials
Duncan Adams moving his Imperials between the planet my 11-year old daughter made and an asteroid field

We didn’t play with the rule about delaying your actions until the next turn for this introductory game.  We found that all the fleets had nice plusses and minuses to them that made them interesting.  Our feeling though is that the forward only fire of the smaller Valkeeri ships put them at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the others.  I think my favorite fleet is the Zenithians.

Valkeeri ship "slingshotting" around planet
Valkeeri ship "slingshotting" around planet

I made this planet from a styrofoam ring and ball from the floral section of the craft store.  I like the effect.

Chris Palmer and my daughter Sam face off
Chris Palmer and my daughter, Sam, face off

Chris suggested that I put sparkly pipe cleaners sticking out the back of all the ships.  That might be a neat effect as well.

Fur ball near the end of the second game
"Fur Ball" near the end of the second game

I think we all had a good time with the rules.  They’re simple, fast, and bloody, but there is enough nuance and detail to make the games interesting.  It’s a step down in detail and complication from Firestorm Armada that the HAWKs started playing while I was deployed.  I like the feel of the game and the speed of play.  While we found a few typos in the quick reference sheet, we all picked up the rules quickly.  With four fleets of about 8 ships per fleet, we were able to complete two games in about three hours.

I eagerly await the release of the missing ships and the two new fleets.  A combination of Class III and IV ships are needed to complete the Imperial, Galacteer, and Valkeeri fleets.  I have six Class I ships per fleet, a Class II, and where available, a Class III and IV for each.  I think the right composition is six Class I, three Class II, two Class III, and one Class IV per fleet.  When the new ships are available, I’ll purchase enough additional ones to put this together for each fleet.

This game gets a thumbs up.  I recommend it.