Home Forums Sci Fi 15mm Sci-Fi How Would You Game A Wrecked Zoo Specimen Spaceship?

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    Cacique Caribe

    I bought these awesome CP Models spaceport aliens a few weeks ago:

    SF1529 Spaceport Scum

    Then I started reading Ship Wrecked by Mark Wayne McGinnis and it suddenly got me wondering and thinking how I’ve never heard of anyone gaming the recapture of alien escapees from a wrecked spaceship.

    Has anyone ever done so? If so, how did the game rate on your fun-o-meter scale?

    How does one go about gaming such a scenario? Was it like a campaign game, with each capture being a separate game of its own? What rules, figures and terrain did you use?  Did earthlings harmed by the alien escapees count as points against you?  Inquiring minds wanna know! 🙂




    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376


    For me those figures look more like sentient intelligent full on races rather than zoo specimens.
    I have done neither but would certainly approach a game of capturing fugitives differently to wild animals.
    Assuming adequately equipped people have been sent after animals I would not game it, fly over them, hit them with tranqs, job done.

    For people, that would be more complex.
    First the world, already inhabited, if so the fugitives would head for population centres for supplies and to hide and blend in if possible.
    If not, it depends on the individuals and if they have any wilderness survival skills.

    I suspect for that pack I would create a background around their race, then what they did as jobs and then use that as a basis for how they attempt to survive.
    An alien that was a hunter before becoming jailed I would have to try to survive in the wild until it was no longer cost effective to have authorities chasing them, or until the bounty hunters give up.
    For a mechanic, maybe they would try and get a vehicle and flee to the far side of the planet on the vehicle they stole and keep going.
    Is there a spaceport on the world, if so someone would try to sneak a way off.

    I think I would generate the escapees background first.
    Then the world, then see where they crash and see what makes sense for the aliens, they may even stay as a group…


    I’ve never gamed something like that. I can imagine it being quite fun but I am kind fo weird.

    For rules I think anything that is campaign friendly would be good. I say campaign because I don’t think you’ll catch every creature all at once.

    UNLESS, you play a one off scenario where the creatures all start at the crashsite and move outwards. You and other players will try to catch as many as possible before they run off table, the winner would be the person who caught the most. Also could assign value/price so bigger or faster creatures gives mroe victory points. The one off scenario should work with any rules, and you can assume all combat uses non-lethal weapons.

    Back to the campaign idea, this would be what I prefer. Spend games tracking down the creatures, inclusding asking locals for rumors, very RPGesk.
    5 Leagues from the Borderland – the campaign system could be addapted to represent number of creatures in each region.
    The Department – the investigation side would work for tracking.
    Burning Sand – You could create cards for each creature and randomly draw one or two for each game to see which one was being tracked down (hint, maybe a scenario for Erlan?)

    Tired is enough.


    I like where this is going.

    First off, you are going to need a crashed spaceship model and debris scatter terrain.

    Are the escapees animalistic or sentient I.e prisoners. If they are animalistic, then like you say, it would very well as a race to recapture as many escapees as possible and the winner is the player who captures the most the quickest. But, are these animals/dinosaurs large or giant creatures? If so, you are going to need big, strong electrified cages. You can’t just put them back on the wrecked spaceship. So how would you recapture them and move them?

    If they are prisoners, this would be easier to game. Who are the escorts? Are they run of the mill prison guards/thugs not known for their intelligence or initiative. Are they a special forces unit transporting HVT’s. Or are they mercenaries/bounty hunters who want to collect?

    Next up, is the transport an atmospheric transport only, transporting from one location on a planet to another? Or, is it an an interspace transport, going from planet to a penal colony/base/planet facility? If it’s an inter-space mission, is the ship capable of atmospheric entry and exit? Or, has the mothership remained in orbit and a search and rescue transport craft been despatched to the crash site to try and recover the assets?

    Next up, you need to decide what type of planet you are gaming on? Is it an ice planet, desert/mars like planet, a crystal planet, or an earth like planet? Is there an atmosphere capable of supporting life without the need for hostile environment suits? If so, are there sentient settlements, and are they sparse farmsteads, or corporate mining centres? Are there any star ports nearby? Towns? Villages? Are the nearby settlements hostile, as in pirate settlements that may have seen the crash and are at this moment advancing quickly to the crash site to loot it? Or have the friendly locals sent help? Is there a local militia or military garrison that are coming to investigate the crash site?

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!


    The first post is displaying funny, and I can’t read most of it, as the book photo is set over top of most of the text, so I apologize if this isn’t quite responsive to what is being asked, but the title immediately spawned an idea, so I figure that I’ll throw it out here:

    The game that I see centers around a space going cargo ship hauling a specialize purpose made module.  The ship suffers damage, maybe struck by something or an internal explosion involving storage tanks/fuel/etc.  The ship has to set down in a heap of hury on the nearest planet, and semi-crashed among rock or jungle, where the ship takes some more damage.

    The crew is relatively intact, but the transport module is damaged, losses power, and the stasis cells are shut down and hatches released.  Slowly the critters recover and some work their way out of the ship.  Some take a lot longer to do this, and others don’t leave at all.  Some critters are big, others very small, some are predators, others are relatively friendly, cuddly even, but are specialized hunters of other big/mean/dangerous/or threatening things, and might work for or with the crew.

    The ships power is down, no comms, so they need to get to an old relay station X-miles away, and send off a message that they survived and need help.  They have very limited lethal weapons,  but have some  equipment to capture and restrain critters.  Maybe something short ranged that neutralized brain or nerve activity of a critter.  A short ranged shooty “weapon” that is very inaccurate and puts the shooter in harms way.

    The game is the players collecting their equipment at the crash site, and deciding whether to split up or have all go to the relay station, and get there fighting terrain, alien weather, alien flora and fauna, and the zoo critters now roaming about the planet.

    There could be a lot of details about the critters that come into play, poisonous bites or touch, psychic, chemical emissions, there could be subplots with crew, like one or more could be involved in a heist of the critters (maybe that is what caused the explosion), or just smuggling something on the ship or inside one of the critters, etc.  I imagine maybe up to 20 crew include ship crew and various zoologist and handlers, with each player running 3-5 figs, depending on the sub-plots.

    This could be done in miniature such that at the start, only a small terrain piece is with the crashed ship is on the table, and terrain is assembled in chunks (as far as they could see) as the party goes off towards the relay station.  This way, the players don’t really know what is coming in advance, no birds-eye view.  though maybe a couple tall landmarks get placed at the start as well, and then connected as more lower terrain is added. Just a thought.


    On a different computer now, I can see that I missed the point of the first post.  Sorry.

    I think that you could set the re-capture up as a series of separate scenarios or even a campaign, but you could spice it up having the group hunt down a prey type animal, while its natural predator was hunting it and then them after recapturing the prey-critter.  You could also have wild critters on the planet interfering too.  And possibly poachers locals getting involved.  Maybe an escaped predator could be trying to eat the locals, or the locals are trying to kill it, before it eats them, and the crew needs to try to find it before the locals. There could be locals working both with and against the crew.

    A side element could be securing parts/fuel/supplies whatever for repairing the ship and being able to care for the critters that are captive, while others are still being re-captured.  Oh, and then their could be the locals trying to steal parts from the ship or supplies and tools from the crew hunting party.  Lots of directions you could go with this.

    This could make a great convention game, run as a serious of events at a multi-day convention, if we ever get to do that again.

    Cacique Caribe

    Wow!  I never expected such a positive response to the idea.  Fantastic suggestions too!  I might need to turn the premise into a game after all.

    Keep them coming.


    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    Mike Headden

    Pre-Covid I ran occasional tabletop sci-fi RPG sessions in 20mm for a group of friends. I steal shamelessly from Firefly, Babylon 5 and Star Wars and a host of other sources.

    Couple of years ago I ran a scenario something like the ones being described.

    The group were supercargo on a ship with a hold full of cryopods transporting settlers to a newly terraformed planet.

    They were not allowed on the bridge, nor in the hold, nor in the engine room so the characters were a little bored. The crew were all armed, muscular young men and when they said,”Stay put!” the group were not inclined to argue.

    The ship was jumped by a P’rang (my sci-fi version of fantasy goblins) fighter which expected it to be unarmed. It wasn’t. The P’rang fighter was debris within moments but not before it had pumped a torpedo into the bridge killing the crew and destroying the command deck.

    With it’s bridge destroyed, crew dead and structural integrity compromised the autopilot headed for the nearest planet, which was a mix of badlands and desert and all but uninhabited.

    After an “Oh god! Oh god! We’re all going to die!” landing the group went to see if there were any surviving colonists. What they found were large numbers of failed cryo-pods with corpses inside, several empty pods and information that the “settlers” were high-security prisoners being transported in secret to an ultra-high security prison facility.

    The prisoners had raided the armoury and the store rooms and were heading for the exits. The Imperial Inquisition were on their way, believing the group to have been instrumental in the escape. Various criminal and terrorist factions were en route to rescue their comrades, some of whom were already dead presumed to be at the hands of the group.

    A P’rang scoutship had just warped in-system looking for the missing fighter, which clearly the group had destroyed.

    An Imperial Navy Corvette tracking the P’rang scoutship dropped a squad of power-armoured Khanid assault troops (4 Hasslefree Smudgster figures with pulse rifles and one with a heavy weapon) to take all and any suspects into custody.

    For several gaming sessions much mayhem ensued and much fun was had. Roleplaying the gunplay, negotiations and brief “my enemies enemy is my friend type alliances was a hoot. “Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” 🙂

    I encourage you to try a scenario of your own!

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    Cacique Caribe


    so what happened next?  Did the Prang attack the party on the ground?


    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    Mike Headden

    The P’rang scoutship dropped a party of raiders on-planet shortly before the Imperials blew the scoutship to fragments.

    Over the course of a dozen or so sessions, the group fought, bought, did deals with or double-crossed the various terrorist and criminal groups. Several sessions were just us role-playing “let’s you and him fight” negotiations with various groups.

    The finale was the player group hacking a Starcom interstellar signal array in an effort to attract help but being attacked by two dozen P’rang while they were doing it. Fortunately the P’rang aren’t great shots but even so the group was being whittled down. With four of them down, but still alive, the Khanid assault squad turned up.

    Five elite soldiers in power armour, with energy weapons, auto-targeters and stim-packs versus 16 or 18 tired, hungry, militia types in flak jackets and helmets  armed with home-made assault rifles was a very brief engagement but long enough for a fifth member of the group to be seriously injured.

    The sole remaining group member able to talk did a very creditable job of persuading the Khanids to hand them all over to the Inquisition rather than “putting the wounded out of their misery.”

    With access to high-tech medical facilities the Inquisitorial team soon had the group up and running, if a little frayed around the edges.

    Role-playing the group convincing the Grand Inquisitor that they were heroes not villains was a hoot. They spun a very creditable picture of their actions (some of which was actually true!)  and were eventually released.  All of the escapee’s were dead, the rescue groups were either dead or actively killing each other, two P’rang ships and their crews were destroyed, the Khanid sergeant gave a stirring account of the outnumbered group bravely battling the wicked P’rang (and his heroic rescue of said group). The Inquisition was satisfied with the outcome and the group left with “the thanks of a grateful Emperor,” better armour than they started out with, some provisions and an Inquisitorial “get out of jail free card.”

    Stuck on planet through lack of funds they wound up working as protection for an Imperial archaeology team. Scouting the area surrounding the dig the group found an old, abandoned spaceship. Using their new Imperial connections and flashing their Inquisitorial pass they managed to get title to the ship and after a certain amount of begging, borrowing and twoccing they took off in search of adventure … or a least a cargo … in the Freetrader “Destiny’s Child.”

    At which point Christmas, followed by various health and family problems for group members brought the campaign to a halt.

    Whether the crew of the Freetrader “Destiny’s Child” will ever reassemble seems increasingly unlikely 🙁

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    Cacique Caribe


    All you needed was a group of Prang coming down the planet to collect some human specimens for their zoo … or their freezer.  🙂

    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

    Cacique Caribe

    Check out this old story of an interstellar “collector”:

    Exhibit One

    Perhaps it can fuel a few proper (and more modern) SciFi gaming scenario ideas. 🙂

    PS. Or in your game the collector could be an Earth human crashed on an alien planet, looking to recapture escaped stock or perhaps in search of local ones.

    Loads of WIPs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/with/72157710630529376

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