Saturday, 11 April 2015

Blast from the Past...Imperial Commander

My early darlings with Wargaming were WRG based,a brief period with 5th edition and then mainly with 6th (my Vikings were a force that absolutely no one feared and used to run away on a regular basis).   The first non WRG set of rules I played were Laserburn.

For those who haven't come across them, these were a sci-if skirmish set written by Bryan Ansell and were a precursor to WH40k but without Orks and Chaos.  The main opponents are Imperial armoured troops (that'll never catch on!) and slightly dodgy Red Redemptionist rebels as well as assorted aliens. Robots and space pirates types.  The rules have lots of scope for adding your own variations and the current supporting  figure range from includes some nice Judge - like figures for example.

My friend David and I played loads of games with a minimum of scenery and a handful of figures from the original range back in the early/mid 80s.  When I say a minimum of scenery I really mean it.  Most games were played on the kitchen table on top of a long roll of old plain wallpaper...we'd draw whatever featured we liked on it and tear it off when we'd had enough!

So last week Anthony and I played Imperial Commander, the larger force version of Laserburn .  I'd never played this but Anthony had just taken possession of 2 nicely painted forces from and was keen to try these out.  IC  has a lot of similarities  with Laserburn  but less individualised stats.  The scenario pitted my fanatical Redemptionist  forces attacking a fuel depot which the Imperial were trying to protect.

The fuel depot
My rebels benefited from fanatical  status which meant they could ignore morale but did mean they had to advance unless under fire.  I also had the advantage of 2 trike mounted rebels while Anthony 's troops benefited from  better armour and movement with the aid of jump packs.

The Plucky Red Redemptionist Rebels
...and their Trikes
I started rather unsubtly  by heading straight for the enemy and the fuel dump while sending the Trikes out wide to try and flank the enemy.  The trikes quickly drew the attention of one of the Imperial squads and came under fire, pinning one down.  The 2nd followed his fanatical tendencies and charged headlong into the squad and went down in a hail of Bolter Fire, but not before despatching a couple with his sword (yes...they have swords too!)

The main squads slugged it out in the centre.  My rebels laser rifles were proving remarkably effective but I then had a stroke of luck when a well placed shot from one of my missile launchers took out the entire Imperial command squad that were holed up in some ruins.  In revenge Anthony wiped out a rebel squad that charged headlong into a hail of bolts.

A 2nd success from the missile launchers devastated another Imperial squad and their morale was wavering (something I didn't have to worry about) but then 2 things turned the tide.... Anthony annoyingly decided not to fire on one of my squads which was holding the fuel depot which meant they had to leave the safety of their building and charge to certain death.  We also remembered the grenade launchers that the Imperials had been lugging around and which Anthony was able to use to devastating effect.  Despite this late success the game came down to a final morale check which the Imperials scraped through as the last of the rebels went down.

The rules are quite old fashioned and you can see the beginnings of the Warhammer 40k system and fluff in them but they're still very playable and we had a fun, closely fought game.  I now need to venture back in the loft and dig out Laserburn.  I'm sure my son has some old WH40k figures I could "borrow" but it has also got me thinking about tweaking it for Star Wars...I'm constantly on the search for a decent set of rules for SW and it might be worth adding these to the list of possibles.


  1. I recall owning a copy of laserburn but never played it, unfortunately.

    1. My memory is that it was fun but of course that was 30+ years ago so reality may be a little different!

    2. I used to play Imperial Commander a lot...great fun but probably a bit clunky now. The figures are still great too!

  2. Fantastic post that takes me back - just watch out for that Sun Gun - always a killer than goodness the range was short.