Sunday 28 July 2013

When Aliens Attack! (and Butterfly)

Watching the third series of Falling Skies on Fox the other night I began pondering on the gaming possibilities the series offered and then why, from a wargaming point of view, that SF is well and truly rooted in the future. Ok, SF films and literature is largely futuristic but that does not have to be the case and there are enough examples of SF set in the past or present that would indicate the potential for it...

Take Falling Skies for example with its basic alien invasion/occupation storyline, you have a standard insurgents versus technological superior asymmetrical warfare scenario, the twist being that the Americans are the technologically inferior insurgents! What struck me watching the programme is how easy it would be to re-use Modern troops and survivor miniatures from zombie games against SF models. With them you do not need to specifically re-create the aliens out of Falling Skies, I think any futuristic SF types could be used, especially anything with walkers, maybe even Eldar.

Alien invasion stories such as Independence Day or Turtledove's World War book series show that modern (or even WW2) regular forces can be used to fight alien invaders in pitched battle, and even if the human equipment is inferior, as Stalin said "quantity has a quality all of its own". Taking Turtledove's background, the Race were small four foot tall lizards so 15mm SF armour can be used against 20mm WW2 collections.

Of course, as Turtledove has done, there is no reason why alien invasions have to occur in this time. Turtledove used WW2, but the film Outlander pitched Vikings against a Predator like foe and of course there is the more recent Cowboys v Aliens. Really the only limit is your imagination and your miniatures collection, asymmetrical warfare does not just have to be the Taliban against NATO...

Gromit of the Day:



  1. The main advantage of setting Aliens in a modern setting is that all the locations and props already exist. From a wargaming point of view there is no reason al all not to look to other era, whatever you have the troops and terrain for.

    Another obvious source of inspiration is "Stargate" in that the aliens exist and made contact long ago. I would also suggest "Footfall" by Larry Niven as a good read. Again a contemporary setting but aliens with a herd mentality and based on of all things elephants. Seriously it's not as naff as it sounds., An absolute gripping read.

  2. I love the idea of mixing different genre minis for sci-fi in different time periods. I have a (very pulpy) alien warband for Empire of the Dead,and reviewed Outlander for gaming purposes- I loved that movie.

    Falling Skies would make for some good tabletop games- I'd love to have minis of their walkers.

    Not really an 'invasion' scenario, but a very good novel of aliens crashed & stranded on Earth in the Middle Ages: Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

    1. I really enjoyed your Starhip Wombat AARs. When are they coming back?

    2. Whenever the group cycles back around to Empire of the Dead or to something I think I can get away with using them in ;) The VSF Lunar Campaign is still going, but I had to bow out since I was out of the country for too long earlier this year.

  3. Someone (Andre Norton?) wrote a book about an alien landing in Norman England. Despite the technological asymmetry, the aliens are over-whelmed by brute force.

    The Norman lord then uses prisoners to teach his men as much technology as they need - firing a blaster and piloting a spaceship not being very taxing. They then go on a crusade among the stars (thus leaving one of those abandoned villages). Lots of gaming potential.