Monday, 28 April 2014

Using Star Army with other settings

(This is the second of two related posts about 5150: Star Army. The first being my general look at the game, which can be found here.)

If, like me, you want to use 5150: Star Army in other settings, such as Star Wars or Warhammer 40k, there isn't a great deal you have to think about changing. This post (perhaps of rather limited interest!) is to look at some of these points and maybe help those who are thinking about using these rules to fight battles with figures from specific ranges.

Weapons and Armour

This is pretty straight forward. Most armour can be closely fitted around one of the SA categories or, if not quite accurate, the abilities of SA categories can be added to or removed. Maybe BTA is a close fit for 40k Terminator armour, but you want to ignore the movement bonuses it gives.

Weapons are equally straight forward really. Most categories are covered, but given that they are all a combination of different ranges impact values and firing rates, it is easy to make something up. For my Star Wars project I use an online resource for the old RPG for weapon ranges and use the damage dice rating as the basis for the weapon's impact value. It should be easy to do similar with other rules. 

Army Organisation 

I try and stick fairly closely to the basic organisation as presented in the rules, but if you want an army that is wildly different then it should not be a problem. Just tweak what is already there.

My Imperial platoon: 3 squads with two repeating blaster assets. One command half-squad


Platoons and companies have different assets available depending on the investment level and the type of engagement. This is really a case of spending some time and seeing what is available in your collection and suits your force.

Imperial assets: Repeating Blaster, Blaster Cannon, Heavy Repeating Blaster and a Probe Droid.

Reinforcement tables

Depending in your setting and how 'colourful' your army options are, this might be a big or small task. Near future settings where your army would mostly consist of 'standard' squads with a couple of vehicles in support would be easiest. Settings with a big variety of troop types which don't operate under 'usual' military organisation (40k Orks maybe?!) might be a bit trickier. What I am doing is looking at the figures I have available and deciding what might be available to each side. So my campaign is based around a rebellion on an Imperial factory world. Rebel reinforcements include Rebel Troopers, corporate security and some battle droids and vehicles. In essence, figure out what you have and draw up a chart to roll on! My suggestion would be to start simple and develop it as you go.

Infantry Reinforcements chosen to reflect my campaign setting: Battle droids, corporate mercenaries, planetary security and Sith troopers.


Although the lists in the book describe a variety of vehicles, the rules themselves go through, step by step, the different things which need to be defined. So this is a case of start from the beginning and work through, deciding how to define the different aspects of your vehicles. You'll want to note the possible Rep of the crew for when you roll them up and also create a chart of available vehicles for reinforcement purposes. Worth noting is that the rules expect the 2nd and 3rd vehicles rolled as reinforcements to be the same as the first, the idea being they are part of the same platoon. Personally I don't bother with this as I don't have 3 of the same vehicle and don't think it is really required in Star Wars games. So a key point here is the rules are definitely your tool to use as you see fit.

Potential vehicle reinforcements: TIE Crawler, Viper war droid, AT-ST walker and speeder bike

Other stuff

There are rules for retrieving wounded and using the skills of medics, so these along with other bits and pieces will have to be decided upon as you go, or discarded if inappropriate to your setting. You may also want to tweak the random events so they are more specific. 

You will also need to decide which reaction tables you will use for your forces, which will determine the outcomes of them coming under fire, taking cohesion tests and so forth. For the time being I am using the Star Army reactions for professional, soldiers and another for less well trained chaps. It's also not too hard to look at the options and create your own. 

The main work that would be required is probably if you want hero types in your setting. Personally I think it should be kept as simple as possible. So Jedi can just be very high Rep characters with a large melee bonus. But there is definitely scope for deciding on the effects of various psychic abilities and such like if you want. 

The rules also don't use a points system, so this should be seen as an opportunity to jump on in and experiment! 

Final word

There are plenty of generic systems which can be used for gaming in your preferred sci-fi setting. But I find that 5150 Star Army brings together a lot of interesting elements which make it worth the (not too large) effort needed to play Star Wars games with it. In fairness I have probably gone to the extreme of what is required!

Hopefully this post has been of some interest or given you a few ideas to try out. Maybe it's even encouraged you to pull out an old collection and try using it with whatever your current favourite rules are. Comments are welcome as always and thanks for reading. 


  1. Thanks a lot for reviewing this system Chris, I really appreciate it :)

    With vehicle/droid rules, is there scope to invent complex vehicles i.e. walkers with different hard points or different forms of propulsion?

    Also, do you think that New Hope City would be a "better" skirmish game than Star Army? I know they are deigned for different sized forces, but does Star Army detract some complexity from its rules so that you can play larger games without the time factor increasing?

    Sorry for the late reply, I had been looking forward to reading it for ages......damn blogger!

    Cheers :)

    1. Hello! Pleased you enjoyed the post. Vehicles can be wheeled, hover, tracked or walkers. But I wouldn't say there is a massive difference between types. With weapons you basically look at the model and decide what the main gun is and if there are any secondary weapons. It's certainly not a complex design process. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, but for me it means I can take any vehicle I own and have it ready for a game in 15mins.

      The core rules are basically the same in all THW rules. New Hope City has more detail for character skills and the nitty-gritty of life trying to get by in a big city. But that isn't to say anything is taken away in Star Army. If you take a look at the free rules on the THW site you'd have good grasp of the core mechanics.

      I guess what I mean is that the rules are unique and quite simple, but each set adds in the extra stuff they need to suit what they are trying to achieve!