Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Peoples of the Yan'drassi Collective

The Yan'drassi are an alien force created by Eli Arndt via Kickstarter and now available from Alternative Armies. 

What follows is a combination of background created by Eli and embellishments of my own. If you wish to use any of this please feel free...

...As Mankind spread out into the stars they quickly found out they were not the first, nor were they alone.  Man first marveled at impossibly ancient artifacts found on habitable planets.  Then they came across The Collective; The Collective were welcoming, they shared knowledge and resources, then the demand came: Mankind had to join The Collective.  It took the World Government two days to decide, No.  Relations with The Collective became tense, then frosty.  Mankind and The Collective slipped into a state of cold war, with each seemingly content to harass shipping and occasional isolated colonies.

Recent reports indicate there has been a significant theological shift within the Collective.  Intelligence indicates massive troop movements among the Yan'drassi. It seems clear that a significant escalation of military action at the hands of these imperialist aliens is imminent.

::UNSC Background Briefing: The Yan'drassi Collective::

The Yan'drassi Collective is an interstellar empire made up of dozens of species presided over by the Yan. The Collective appears to be organized in a hierarchical, quasi-religious, manner focused towards the 'greater good' of all species, as seen by the guiding hand of the Yan.

Most species of the Collective contribute through economic and scientific means, however, several species make their contribution primarily through military service.  This briefing will focus on the forces UNSC troops have so far encountered


Neeks are creatures with a very low intelligence. Due to their nearly endless numbers Neeks have become the bulk of the Yan'drassi armed forces. Lack of discipline, motivation and courage requires that they be led to perform even marginally well. Neek squads are led by low-ranked Tavshar leaders.


The brutish Horgosi are ill-tempered and savage but make highly effective assault troops made even more potent through the use of triggered injections of biochemicals that can send them into a frenzy.

Horgosi refuse to be overseen by Tavashar leaders, Hogosi squad either act independently or led by a Horgosi Prime. 

Especially violent and low intelligence Hogosi are formed into berserkers via biological manipulation and mechanical implants.


The Tavshar are the professional core of the Yan'drassi fighting body. Sleek and athletic, theirs is a culture of warrior prowess. Even outside of their service for the Yan, they are a proud, martial culture given to duels and the development and perfection of lethality. Squads of Tavshar form an elite backbone to the masses of Neeks and other species.

 Tavashar warriors who lose esteem are often demoted to lead Neek squads

Tavashar warriors who rise in esteem are promoted to become Tavashar Elites

Elites are often accompanied by especially adept warriors armed with weapons for close-in fighting

The Tavashar use technology not available to all Yan'drassi, the Gun Skimmer provides rapid-response patrol and fire support to the Yan'drassi on the battlefield. 

Kaamados Dominion

The Kaamados Dominion, is a minor bloc of reptilian races absorbed recently into The Collective, internecine struggles indicate this integration may not be going as smoothly as the Yan may prefer.


Naga society is divided into clans, the fractious nature of Naga society led to their downfall at the hands of The Collective. Within The Collective, Naga have little status and are subservient to all but the Neeks. In combat, Naga typically serve as snipers, defensive fighters, and scouts due to their excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing.

Draco Aganath

Draco Aganath have not been observed outside of their massive Maxima Battlesuits.  No live example has been captured, recovered suits reveal what is assumed to be a Draco Aganath entirely encased in the battlesuit's armoured thorax carapace.

A visual guide to forces of The Collective

Collective forces vary greatly in size and comparative anatomy

Non-Military units encountered: Nimuan Orator and Sh'm Controller

Nimuan Orator

Nimuans are an artificial race created an age ago by the Ancients. They wander the worlds of the Collective speaking and singing of the glories of the Collective.  Within the Collective they act as priesthood and inspirers of devotion.

Sh'm Controller

Sh'm Controllers are often seen with Nimuan Orators, their role is unknown.

A Nimuan Orator accompanied by a Sh'm Controller addressing a group of Neeks and their Tavashar leader

Why the Yan'drassi Collective? 

Two reasons:
1.  They are a great excuse to amalgamate all the small alien groups I have under one umbrella.  Over the years I've got lots of odds and ends of figs.  Using the Collective banner I now don't feel the need need to 'round out' forces, playing Ambush Alley-type skirmish games using a mishmash of troops is fun.
2. They appear to inspired by a certain video game, which, while I don't actually play the game* I really like to look and feel of it, so I've been slowly building a small skirmish force to play an 'inspired by' version of the game

*OK, so I have played the game, my friend Mark's lad used to play it, we tried too, we were terrible at it.  The last time I played the mission was a 'simple one', we had to kill off 30 aliens; it was a 'see who gets the most' type of game.  I was pumped after I killed my second alien, I went looking for the rest to find there were none left.  Score: Me = 2, Mark's Lad = 28.  I sucked so bad he never played with me again...   ...that's teens for you!

The Yan'drassi were created by Eli Arndt and are now available from Alternative Armies.  Other figs above came from Critical Mass Games (now Ral Partha Europe?) or (now back under Alternative Armies)

And Finally, Why no games?
Simple: My basement game space is FREEZING!  We have only a partially finished basement and this past couple of weeks have been brutally cold here in the NE, its been way too cold to play.  Hopefully we are heading back into the normal temp range soon so I can get some of these figs into action!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My other car's a Warthog

My 'inspired by a video game' set needed a gunjeep or three

I like the Old Crow pickup, but Khurasan's open jeep was closer to the look I was going for.  This is the first, with a modified roll-cage, new windscreen and alternative HMG

This is the second, with similar mods to the first.  Drivers and crew of both are from GZG.  As gunjeeps they are small, but work for me. 

Then I saw these, a version by HotWheels.  I saw them  while doing some Xmas shopping, mini-me minor ended up with one in his Xmas stocking.  Even though this is a HotWheels toy it appears (via the interwebs) that they scale pretty close to the in-game dimensions.  In-game it is an oversized vehicle

I crewed two, this time the Khurasan figs were a ideal fit.   Size comparisons are a GZG OUDF standing in for a UNSC (Reach) Marine and a Critical mass fig standing in for a Spartan

As toy are not expensive, I took the gun out of one (tempted to paint a driver up for this one too)

For a Hot-Wheels toy its pretty well painted and decaled

In comparison to the Khurasan jeep the HotWheels is huge!

The HotWheels version is ready to go(ish) from the box, as its pretty inexpensive I'm tempted to get a few more for wrecks, conversions, spares and more.

Vrooom!  Time to go play

Friday, December 22, 2017

MechAttack - But where are the Mechs?

Time for stompy-bot action!

The guncrabs

The stompy-bots

The area, an abandoned military base

The humies fled because the 'bots were coming

See the guncrabs swarm through the base gate (top edge is fencing)

Another shot, just because

The stompy-bots advance through the base



 Jump, Swooosh!  fire-and-forget GMS away

 Swoosh, another GMS out

Scuttle, jump, swoosh, the guncrab fires a GMS in return

BLAMMO!  a stompy-bot hits a guncrab scuttling along a roofline and KO's its main (only) weapon

The big guncrabs move up

Really up, on a roof, it unloads its plasma cannon on the huge stompy bot

And how!  The re-rolls kept on going, a massive number of hits renders the stompy-bot a smoldering pile.  (typical, freshly painted, 1st game and its KO'd in the 1st turn)

The other big-bot gets into the fray

Its main guns easily punch holes in the guncrab's armour, a total KO

Guncrabs fire GMS at the big-bot

But what the heck!  A lucky run of gunfire takes down the other large bot.  Its not looking good for the stompy-bots

A small-bot takes a hit

Pity its a system KO

Carnage everywhere, looks like an easy win for the guncrabs

But what's this, a third medium stompy-bot rushes in to the desperate defense

POW!  a minor hit on a guncrab, a system KO

Guncrabs return fire, a total KO on a small bot

The 'bots team-mate uses the wreckage for cover while launching a GMS

Boom!  Stompy-bots begin to take down the guncrab hoard

Uh oh, the bot with a KO loses its gun

Another guncrab down

In return the guncrabs finally take out the immobilized bot

Missiles out!

KABLEWIE! 'bots lose another

A large guncrab goes hunting

Predictably the small bot it picked on is a KO (just as well those GMS are fire and forget...)

The last big stompy-bot enters the action

It shoots

It misses...

well almost, its a main gun KO

The field by the end of the turn, much more evened up, maybe a slight edge for the guncrabs

Stompy-bots win initiative and the big-bot takes down a larger guncrab

Return fire goes badly, the 'bot loses a secondary weapon

A small gun crab approaches the bot and fires

OH NOES!  A system KO, this is going to suck

The guncrabs pour on fire, the 'bot is immobilised

Missiles out!

And thats about the end, the guncrabs can take their time whittling the big 'bot down

The guncrabs win, and now hold this base

The last stompy-bot, gunless and running away

The remaining guncrabs, with the easy loss of the first two large stompy-bots they really need the third as reinforcement.  With that done, the fight was much more even.  Even holding the base, the guncrabs are going to have to gain reinforcements before they can push deeper into stompy-bot territory

A quick work on terrain and in-contact starts.  Terrain is easy, this is the Spartan Games Planetfall terrain box, its card sides clipping into acetate to form these military buildings.  Even though its supposed to be for 10mm and its only card buildings I thought its not too bad, and it easily works for 15mm.  I really got it as it kind of has a UNSC (Halo) vibe to it as a rear base rather than a front line bunker-style base.  Got to have something for those REMFs to defend (don't look that one up at work, is a bit sweary). 

And in-contact starts, just like Ambush Alley, these are great for me as a solo-gamer.  There is no way I'm going to surprise myself with a flank-march, I'll leave those for games with other folks.

Mmmm, got a base set up and time of over Crimbo, wonder what I'll play next?