Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi – Session Report (Intro)

Lurking away in one corner of the Hex and Counter wargame niche is a short series of sci-fi games called “Invaders from Dimension X”.

Published by Tiny Battle Publishing, this series flies in the face of the notion that Hex and Counter games must be a strict simulation of historical warfare.

Instead, we sign up with the “Old Reprobates” of the 124th Galactic Marine Raider Battalion and join them in their fight against alien parasites on Beyond III, the interdimensional Kay’otz and the sentient rocks of Graviton Prime.

With tongue firmly wedged in cheek the series delivers genuine Hex and Counter action in a highly playable, relatively simple, solo player specific format. They can be purchased in a physical poly-bag format or, for creative types and anyone living outside the USA, as a print and play download.

The first two games in the series, “Invaders from Dimension X” and “Space Vermin from Beyond” are still sitting in my online shopping basket until such time as I can restock my craft materials.  However, the most recent series entry, “Assault of the 50 Foot Colossi” has graced my coffee table in all its print and play glory numerous times.

Attack of the 50ft Colossi
My Print and Play copy of Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi

I’m still relatively new to Hex and Counter gaming. Although my experience is admittedly limited, so far, Attack of the 50ft Colossi has proved to be one of the best ‘where next after introductory’ games I have come across. The experience it provides is just…fun. There really is no other way to describe it.

The series does have a solid wargame pedigree. The lead designer is Hermann Luttmann, who has also designed At Any Cost, Dawn of the Zeds and Crowbar. Other series contributors are Fred Manzo and Colby Duerk.

So how does Attack of the 50ft Colossi play? You can skip past the italics if you are familiar with the game.

Overview

To fully do each element of Attack of the 50ft Colossi justice I would essentially need to regurgitate the rulebook. Rather than do that, I’ll instead attempt to describe the ‘flow’ of a typical turn as a means of highlighting some of the concepts.

The game is essentially space marines (the ‘Old Reprobates’ of the GMRB) vs space rocks (the Colossi Tribes).

Each side has a range of units that are activated and manoeuvred around the map with the aim of completing a scenario specific objective.

The player controls the Marines while Colossi actions are determined by following a predetermined sequence of steps.

Each turn broadly follows the order below.

  • Events –
    • These are drawn at random from a cup. The effects vary wildly but often follow ‘Sod’s law’ i.e. the worst thing at the worst time. For example
      • Terrible weather that can injure Marines, Civilians and Tribes
      • Eliminated Colossi tribes return more powerful than ever
      • The Colossi unleash special attacks out of sequence
      • The terrain can change underneath a unit’s feet
      • It’s not all bad though. Medical supplies are occasionally shipped in to help beleaguered Marines
  • Marines Phase
    • Following a set sequence Marines will attempt to heal injuries, receive reinforcements, and take actions.
    • Actions are move, shoot or move and shoot. Some units have special actions
    • Line of sight is generally friendly (they are shooting at giant moving rocks after all) and basic weapons have map-wide range
    • Some weapons have special rules, usually carried by special unit types.
    • Air Support can be used, as can Orbital Bombardment
    • Damage is taken by hits above a unit’s defence factor. However, Colossi only take damage with three or more hits above their defence factor.
    • Marine units are single chits, generally with a full-strength side and a disrupted side.
    • Marine units take three wounds before being eliminated. These are ‘stunned’, ‘paralysed’ and ‘disrupted’. Paralysed follows stunned, however, disrupted can be applied at any point. A paralysed and disrupted unit taking another hit is eliminated.
    • Colossi are ‘stacked’ i.e. a single colossus comprises several chits from that tribe. Each chit in a stack has two steps.
    • Certain weapon effects cause ‘Gravel’ to be chipped off from the stack. Gravel is a type of mini effect/terrain effect that is place face down and revealed later in the turn.
  • Aura of our Ancestors
    • Marks the transition from Marine (player) actions to Colossi (game system) actions
    • If the ‘Dust Storm’ event has been played previously in the game, the marker now moves to a new location
    • A face down Gravel marker is revealed, and its effects applied
50 Foot Colossi in action
The Colossi in action
  • Colossi Phase
    • Tribe activation is determined via a card drawn from the ‘Colossi Order of Action Deck’. This lists which colossi are active this turn and in what order they activate
    • The active colossus moves one space towards the nearest Marine unit
    • If starting or ending a move adjacent to a Marine unit, they perform a ‘Rolling Thunder’ attack
    • The Tribe then uses its ‘Special Attack’. These are powerful, usually ranged, Tribe specific attacks
    • The activated Colossi Tribe performs each action in sequence before the next Tribe is activated.
  • End phase
    • Round admin and tidy up
    • Game end check. This is scenario specific or at the end of the 12th turn.

Time for a Playthrough

Unsurprisingly there is more to Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi than that. However, not as much as you may think. While it is not a simple game per se – there are too many unit specific rules for it to qualify as entry level – anyone with some hobby board game experience will pick up the flow quickly.

It is streamlined, quick to play and provides a tough challenge. A perfect game for those occasions when time and space is limited.  There are two scenarios included and these can be linked to form a mini campaign. This series of session reports will cover Scenario 1.

Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi: Scenario 1 – Panic on Graviton Prime

This scenario sees our heroes of the 124th GMRB called away from some much-needed R&R to answer a distress call on Graviton Prime.

A mining crew are trapped and under threat from the locals. It turns out that an explosion injured some juvenile members of nearby tribes.

Unfortunately for the miners those tribes happen to be 50ft tall rock monsters that are most upset by this turn of events and are now descending upon the mining facility looking for revenge.

There are some special rules for this scenario. The Marine units arrive piecemeal and there are trapped miners that require freeing. One of the Miners is Major Colby, an ex-special forces soldier.

He is currently working as the Mine Boss; however, he has hidden a secret stash of weapons in the IMC Corporate Office.  Should he reach the stash he will join the GMRB in their fight.

There are also several scenario specific event chits to add to the draw cup.

The overall aim is to free the miners and hold off the Colossi long enough for the miners to escape.

The game ends at the conclusion of the 12th turn or is triggered when either all marines or all colossi have been eliminated.

Set up - Scenario 1 Graviton Prime
Scenario 1 set up

Recon (set up)

Key locations

  • Mine Entrance – this needs to be occupied by a special unit (HQ, Heavy Weapons or Spec Ops) for three complete turns to free the trapped Miners
  • The Miner Barracks and Storage Facility are both within one hex of the Mine entrance. Like other buildings, they generate additional victory points if a Marine occupies the hex at game end.
  • IMC Corporate Offices which house the controls for the Ore Carrier transportation system. The Mine Boss has a keen interest in reaching this facility
  • The Ore Carrier transport line which links the IMC Offices to the Mine and on to the Refinery in the far southwest
  • The Refinery. This is the last stop on the Ore Carrier network.
  • Exit hexes. Just a short walk from the Refinery these 7 hexes in the southwest corner of the map are where the miners will be rescued…if they can get there

Pre-mission reports show four Colossi Tribes.

  • Redstones near the Refinery in the south west,
  • Blackstones due south of the Miners Barracks
  • Whitestones in the far southeast.
  • To the North, the Yellowstones are alarming close to the IMC Corporate Offices and the Ore Carrier transportation controls.

Battle Plan

All good commanders have a plan. This is mine. Time will tell how good it is.

  • Phase 1: Keep the Colossi away from the Mine entrance and the civilians trapped there.
  • Phase 2a: Marine HQ to dedicate his time on Graviton Prime to freeing the Miners. A lengthy task that will take three Turns to complete.
  • Phase 2b: secure the Ore Carrier Transportation network to facilitate egress from the southern edge of the map.
  • Phase 3: Once the miners are safely out of danger eliminate all colossi or hold on until the rest of the battalion can arrive. Whichever comes first.

I think we are ready. So…let’s gear up and join the “Old Reprobates” as they prep for low orbit insertion in “Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi”.

Click here for a report on Turns 1-4 .

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