My second game of the year, and an opportunity to get my Chewks onto the table.

For those of you unfamiliar with Khurasan Miniatures' Chewks, they are best described as not-Jawas: waist-high, rat-lizard-like critters with chunky guns who live and operate out of huge drill-tanks that burrow underground before erupting onto the surface to carry out raids. You can see the whole range in the Chewk gallery on this site (either use the navbar, above, or clicking here will open the gallery in a new window) or go to the Khurasan website itself.


Their opponents would be my Ursids: two types of bear-like humanoids. The larger, or Greater Ursids, are again from Khurasan: huge, cigar-smoking, sunglasses-wearing, BFG-toting individuals. The smaller, or Lesser Ursids, are from Stan Johanson: only slightly larger than a standard human, and with an eclectic collection of weapons and equipment suitable for miners as opposed to more military types. Significantly, both types of Ursid are highly resistant to wounds, especially the Greater Ursids who would probably shrug off anything less than dismemberment!

The scenario would be a Chewk raid on an Ursid mining outpost. The raid's target was the large, square building right in the corner of the table (see photos, below), deemed to be full of valuable minerals. To carry out the raid, the Chewk had four drill tanks at their disposal:

  • Drilltank One:  containing the CinC and mounted a Chewkannon gun
  • Drilltank Two:  containing a full platoon of Chewk raiders (three 12-Chewk squads and a weapons squad)
  • Drilltank Three:  also containing a full platoon of Chewk raiders (three 12-Chewk squads and a weapons squad)
  • Drilltank Four:  containing a smaller platoon (of only two squads and a weapons squad) but also mounting a Chewkannon
  • Already surfaced:  two Chewkannon guns, each pulled by a Chewkamel

The Ursids, on the other hand, were aware of Chewk activity in the region, so were as prepared as they could be for a raid. Their main defense was a two-squad platoon of Greater Ursid guards. They were in position around the fuel tanks on the left of the mining base and in the crop-field next door. The miners themselves were represented by a three-squad militia platoon of Lesser Ursids who were under cover half way up the main road leading over the hill.

Equipment-wise, the miners had managed to mount three triple-barreled mining lasers onto grav-platforms, and had them concealed in the field on the other side of the t-junction; and had two decommissioned Lion-class APCs, usually used as transports, with their laser-cannon re-mounted. These were positioned on the road far-right of the outpost.

As can be seen in the photos, above, the table consisted of a desert-like terrain covered in crop-fields. The surface was so bad that wheeled vehicles could only really operate on the roads, and all troops in contact with the ground constantly ran the risk of bogging down rather than being able to move. The crops themselves would provide some cover from sight, but no real protection from fire. Although not too visible in the photo on the left, the photo on the right clearly shows the ridge over-looking the camp.

The raid began as the four Chewk drilltanks erupted out of the desert sands just as dawn was breaking. Using the battlefield insertion rules meant that Neil, my opponent, could broadly speaking choose where they appeared anywhere on the table (provided it was not within the base itself) with the photo below showing their actual entry points. You can also just about see the two additional Chewkannon, pulled by Chewkamels, appearing over the ridge in the background.

The astute amongst you will notice that one of the drilltanks (the far one) has come out of the ground half way up the road leading over the ridge, exactly underneath where the Lesser Ursid militia platoon was positioned, about to open fire on the approaching Chewkannon! 

This led to some heated discussion as to the consequences as, at first sight, the rulebook didn't appear to cater for exactly this situation. Neil was convinced that the Ursids would all be chewed up by the drilltank's arrival, I was equally adamant that as they were miners they would be used to things like this and merely step back from the 'earthquake' and be ready for whatever emerged from the ground.  In the end, however, we realised that this was really the equivalent of having a dropship drop onto an enemy position (just from below rather than above) and so declared that as the Chewk had, er, got the drop on the Ursid, the drilltank would arrive, the Ursid would scatter, the Chewk infantry would then pour out of the drilltank and an immediate close combat would occur.

Despite being twice as large as their opponents, the Ursid militia were unprepared for the assault...and the Chewk are nasty little buggers when things are going their way! Casualties amongst the miners were high, with the survivors routing back towards their camp. Although at one stage it looked as if I might be able to rally them, some good fire into their rear effectively meant the militia ceased to exist as a fighting force. Not a good start to the battle!

Another drilltank had emerged from the ground almost right on top of the mining camp: just the other side of the road, in fact. Again Chewk infantry poured out of the drilltank, but this time stopped dead as they realised that they had emerged right under the guns of the two de- (and then re-) conditioned Lion class attack transports.

The two lead squads of Chewks were immediately heavily lasered and, as you can see in the picture above, took fairly heavy casualties.

With the enemy infantry now pinned down, one of the transports switched its fire to the drilltank itself. This proved interesting, as the heavy armour that allowed it to survive burrowing beneath the ground also made it just about invulnerable to fire from anything less than serious anti-tank guns...and there seemed to be a severe shortage of them amongst the Ursid defenders!

The third drilltank (visible in the background of the picture above) contained only the Chewk CinC and a Chewkannon. This opened fire on one of the Lion transports and blew it to bits. Admittedly it had been quite a lucky shot, but this now crystalised the position very clearly: the Ursids had nothing that could take out the drilltanks, the drilltanks had guns that could take out the Ursids. Not good!

Meanwhile, the fourth drilltank had disgorged the smaller Chewk infantry platoon on the toher side of the road from the fuel tanks on the left side of the mining base. This proved to be a horrible mistake, as it was not only right in front of a squad of Greater Ursids and their BFGs (Big F-ing Guns!), but also flanked by the three grav platforms with mining lasers improvised on top.

Improvised support weapons

what they could see!

The smaller Chewk platoon disappeared in a hail of gunfire and a horrendous smell of cauterised flesh as the Greater Ursids opened fire and the triple-barrelled mining lasers mounted on the grav platforms swept backwards and forwards. When the smoke cleared there was literally nothing left of the infantry: just the drilltank, standing tall and alone!

All the above had happened almost immediately after the arrival of the drilltanks. Although resolving all the combats had taken about 45 minutes of real time, only about 30 seconds of game time had elapsed...and already half the Ursid infantry and a third of the Chewk infantry had been destroyed. Very nasty, and an ample demonstration of what happens when you face high tech weaponry at close range without armour or shields!

The next phase of the game began with the surviving Lion. It's crew, realising that they were effectively positioned out in the open facing two drilltank-mounted guns, sped along the road across the front of the mining camp. Neil was a bit puzzled as to what I was doing, but the Lion skidded to a halt on the road perfectly positioned to use the nearest drilltank as cover from the furthest drilltank. At least this way the Lion would only have to survive one drilltank's fire this turn!

As luck would have it, after the mining lasers had fired again (effectively) and the Chewk platoon on the hill had fired (ineffectively), the Commercial Break card appeared: neatly ending the turn before the Lion could take fire from either drilltank...but surely the writing was on the wall for the crew of that brave vehicle?

The surviving Lion rushing along the road

Apparently not.

Next turn, the Lion got to fire first, and with a well-aimed shot managed to somehow score two penetrations on the drilltank it was hiding behind. The dice was rolled for effect: Main Gun Destroyed. Lots of cheering within the Lion, as half the real danger was now gone. The cheers subsided, however, as the other drilltank began ponderously moving sideways into a position from which it could start shooting into the Lion's rear.

Meanwhile, the Chewk infantry on the hill and in the field near the far side of the base had realised that they were in danger of taking serious casualties in the firefight that had developed with the Greater Ursids and the mining lasers. They were raiders not fanatics: and taking concentrated fire from a prepared enemy was not in their handbook! They quickly retreated into their drilltanks and waited for the CinC's drilltank to take out the Lion. This freed up the mining lasers to finish off the crews of the still-arriving Chewkguns, and allowed the Greater Ursids (still undamaged) to retreat towards the target building in the corner of the base. If there was about to be a last stand, then that was going to be where it was!

As the CinC's drilltank moved forward, the Lion edged backwards, always trying to keep behind the other drilltank. This was a stalemate...but a stalemate broken when Neil decided to ram the Lion with the drilltank that had lost its gun i.e. the one the Lion was sheltering behind!

With a horrible crunch, the drill tank smashed into the Lion, throwing its own tracks, but breaking one of the Lion's axles and thus rendering both vehicles permanently immobilised. Surely now the Lion was finished?

Again, apparently not!

Although the Lion had been permanently immobilised, its crew refused to abandon ship. As the CinC's drilltank slowly came into view, they knew they had only one shot before it opened fire itself, almost certainly blowing them to Kingdom Come.

The Lion's gun fired. A hit! Now for the armour.

Unbelievably, the shot again penetrated the drilltank's armour and, equally unbelievably, again ignored all the results that would not have really mattered and got: Main Gun Destroyed!

That was it for the Chewk raiding party. Although they still had plenty of infantry left, they were facing sixteen angry, BFG-armed Greater Ursids in good defensive positions, supported by two triple-barreled mining lasers mounted on grav platforms (one had been KO'd by a Chewkannon). An assault might have succeeded, but afterwards there would have been too many empty seats in the drilltanks. With a roar of their mighty engines, the three remaining drilltanks slowly disappeared back underground.

It had been a game that went from o-60 in one second flat: non-stop action from the moment the first drilltank erupted into the Lesser Ursid Militia. The whole episode around the surviving Lion's battle with the two enemy drilltanks with guns was fantastic to play, and even Neil had to admit that the Lion's crew deserved not one but two pots of honey. Cracking stuff!

Robert Avery