Posted in FAQ, State of the Saucer, The Art of Kickstarting, Uncategorized

State of the Saucer #1

All you wanted to know about Saucer War One, and weren’t afraid to ask

Greetings once again, Miniaturists! It’s finally time for the first Saucer War One Q&A session. Based on questions I’ve been asked by people on forums, social media and in actual, non-digital reality, here’s a substantial selection of answers.

The State of the Saucer will be a semi-regular update about the development and production of Saucer War One as we countdown to launch, so keep your eyes peeled for future editions. Now, read on…

OK, just what is Saucer War One?

Saucer War One is a tabletop miniatures game of flying saucer combat, set in the 1950s. Against a background of B-grade Sci-Fi films, Cold War paranoia, Bebop Jazz and Rock n’ Roll, Saucer War One takes you to an alternate history in which alien civilisations challenged Humanity for dominance of the Earth.

Players field squadrons of beautifully detailed miniature saucers, maneuvering to bring machine-cannons, missiles, and exotic super-science weapons to bear. But victory is not decided by combat alone; Saucer War One is a fight for the hearts and minds of Earthlings. Can you gain the most believers for your cause, and ultimately triumph?

Is Saucer War One a miniatures game, a boardgame or what?

It’s both, in many ways; Although fundamentally a miniatures wargame, many elements of Saucer War One were inspired by board and card games. The way that Data, Weapon, Crew and Equipment Discs all interact resembles the ’tapped’ mechanic often seen in card games, for example.

Is this just X-Wing, but with UFOs?

A big difference from other ‘flight simulator’ wargames is that a game of Saucer War One is not just about shooting down saucers. Victory hinges on how many Believers you gain for your faction. Believers are ordinary folk who witness strange lights in the sky, meet people from other worlds, and take fuzzy photos of things that look like thrown hubcaps. But what do they believe is the truth behind these encounters? If enough people believe your version of events, you win the battle for the ’truth’ and the hearts and minds of the masses.

What scale are the miniatures?

The Saucers of Saucer War One are 1/200 scale, the same as a number of historical ranges of aircraft miniatures, such as Warlord Games’ Blood Red Skies.

Will the miniatures be metal, resin, or something else?

Players will be able to choose from either of two ways to add Saucer War One miniatures to their collection:
1. As .STL files for home 3D printing
2 . As resin miniatures available via mail order

There is the possibility of injection-moulded, HIPS plastic kits being released if Saucer War One is massively successful, but such kits take a lot of initial capital to get into production, so it is much too early for promises there. Still, no-one said we can’t dream!

Oh, and there will be waterslide decals, painting guides, and all that other miniature goodness.

How and when will Saucer War One be released? When can we get our hands on the rules?

Let’s answer these questions as a timeline:

July 2021:
Saucer War One will be freely available as a ‘print-n-play’ game via Drive Thru RPG and other sources. This will be the ‘Beta +’ version of the game, still in playtest mode, and without all the bells and whistles.

December 2021:
Final, free print-n-play version of Saucer War One will be released. This will be as polished a set of rules, discs, tokens etc. as possible, but will still not include all the goodies of the printed game. For that we have to wait until…

Mid-July 2022:
The Saucer War One Kickstarter launches! If successful, this complete boxed game will include 12 miniature Saucers, a comprehensive rulebook, background book, and all the full-colour tokens, discs and cards etc, required to play.

Will the full edition of Saucer War One only be offered through Kickstarter?

No. The objective is to raise enough funds via Kickstarter to justify continued production of the printed game for retail purchase. However, the Kickstarter edition will be include benefits for backers, to say ‘thank you!’ for their support in getting Saucer War One off the ground.

What will be the delivery date for the Kickstarter?

Unknown at this time. But, the intention is to have Saucer War One production-ready before the Kickstarter launches, and not keep backers waiting any longer than absolutely necessary.

How much will Saucer War One cost?

Again, unknown at this time. However, the target suggested retail price will be below US$99.00 (€83.00). All individual components from the boxed game will be available to buy separately.

Will there be saucers from classic sci-fi like Earth vs The Flying Saucers or The Invaders etc?

Unfortunately, no. The complexities and cost involved in purchasing multiple licences from a myriad of sci-fi properties would be prohibitive to say the least. All the saucers in Saucer War One are based on ‘real’ flying saucers; Either those claimed as encounters by real people in the past, or lenticular aircraft projects such as the Avro Aerocar.

Interestingly, there is more diversity and variety of saucers in the historical record than in all of science fiction! Trust me, there’s no danger of running out of inspiration for amazing, detailed miniature saucers. In fact, as I write this, there are already plans in place to release sixteen models for Saucer War One. And then we move on to Saucer War Two…

How many factions are there to play?

The two initial factions are the main antagonists that fought Saucer War One in the mid-50’s. They are:

The Noordicans are the last of a population of human slaves who once served the tyrannical Annunaki — an ancient race which dominated our galaxy thousands of years ago. After struggling to survive in exile on Venus since ancient times, desperation has driven the Noordicans to return to Earth in the Annunaki’s saucers. While their message seems peaceful, conquest of the Earth is the Noordicans’ true objective; Venus is dying, and the Noordicans’ must have a new home…

ANTIC is the ultra-secret, international organisation behind all the UFO conspiracies. Formed in 1952 as the world’s governments scrambled to stop the Noordican threat, ANTIC maintains squadrons of human-made saucers in hidden bases all over the world. Concealed beneath a cloak of misinformation and deception, ANTIC is not afraid to take extreme measures in the name of defeating the alien menace.

Are there more planned? Will there be Martians?

At the Kickstarter stage, a third faction will be offered:

Das Mondreich
After the destruction of their Antarctic stronghold of Neu Schwabenland in 1946, a handful of diehard Nazis fled to the moon in ships built using back-engineered technology from a Noordican saucer. In the short years since, Das Mondreich has become a micro-nation determined to make a new world empire, with Earth’s satellite as its capital. Rejecting the original Nazi doctrine in favour of their new philosophy of “Mondmenschen Perfektion”, the Haunebu saucers of das Mondreich regularly raid the Earth for resources, technology, and even people!

All factions will have their own unique Saucers, Crews, Weapons and Equipment. Each will play quite differently from the other, and each will have sub-factions released later for even more variety of play. And yes, one of these sub-factions will be Martians!

Additional major factions will be added as the Saucer War timeline advances into the 1960s and beyond. But, no details just yet. That’s for the future…

Is this going to be one of those games with never ending sourcebooks, codexes, etc that you have to buy to keep up with the meta?

No. Saucer War One will have a definite beginning and end. If you want to collect just Saucer War One models, there will be a finite amount of stuff on your painting table! If there is enough demand, however, further Saucer Wars will be released, but each will stand as a separate game. By way of analogy, a wargame set in World War One would not have miniatures or army lists that apply to a game about World War Two.

Then… to play after Saucer War One, I’ll have to buy all new stuff?

Again, no, there will be some crossover. For example, the Noordicans’ saucers are thousands of years old and far superior to most modern counterparts. They’re not going to abandon their noble sky chariots just because the primitive Earthlings might dare to improve their crude facsimiles!

Have you thought about putting all this fluff into novels, short stories, etc?

Yes. Nothing definite yet, but there is the possibility of a short story anthology, or even a novelisation. We’ll have to wait and see if that can become a thing.

Will there be T-Shirts?

Oh yes. 🙂

Phew, I feel like I’ve been interrogated by PRANK agents! But thank you to everyone who asked me questions up to now. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please ask in the comments or via forum, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’ll append it to this State of the Saucer for the benefit of all.

Until next time – Watch the skies!

Posted in Background Writing, Inspiration

Virginia Hall: Real-life Super-Spy, and ANTIC’s ‘GLAMOR’ girl

Or: The inspiration to make an incredible woman a pivotal character of Saucer War One

Greetings, everyone, and happy International Women’s Day! In honour of this celebration, I thought it would be a great idea to introduce you to one of the personalities of ANTIC, the defenders of Earth.

Virginia Hall is a name wargamers might not know as readily as Lord Dowding or his right-hand man Keith Park, but I hope that by the end of this article you will appreciate this amazing woman as much as I do. Read on, and enjoy the Girl’s Own adventure that was the real life of Virginia Hall, ‘the limping lady’.

Virginia Hall; Spy par excellence

Virginia was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1906, and schooled at the liberal, all-women Radcliffe and Barnard colleges before university and further studies in Europe. She had a ear for languages, a quality which would suit her well working as a clerk for the Consular Service, and later, for both the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in much more deadly roles.

A shooting accident while on assignment to the Consulate in Istanbul led to the amputation of Virginia’s left leg. Undaunted, she named its wooden replacement ‘Cuthbert’, and carried on her duties. Alas, her attempts to rise to the position of a diplomat were thwarted, discriminated against because of her disability, and probably also because of her sex.

When war erupted again in Europe, Virginia refused to sit on the sidelines. Infuriated by America’s reluctance to enter the fight, she headed for France, joined up, and drove an ambulance for the French Army until that nation fell to the Nazis in June, 1940. Still showing the same determination to fight, she escaped into Spain where fate intervened; Here, Virginia met George Bellows — an Intelligence Officer for the British Secret Service. Impressed by Virginia, Bellows brought her to the attention of Nicolas Bodington, an unsung hero of the war, and the man who set up the SOE. He was equally impressed, put Virginia through the SOE’s gruelling spy training programme – wooden leg not withstanding – and sent her to Vichy France, where she would spend the next 16 months causing the Gestapo to have a collective nervous break-down.

Virginia Hall built a network of informers – including a patriotic brothel madame whose girls passed on all that their German clients blabbed in bed – which kept the British up-to-date with what the Germans were doing in France. She slipped from the clutches of the Germans repeatedly, helped dozens of downed Allied airmen to escape capture, and, when she learned that the Vichy police had captured 12 agents, set in motion a plan that smuggled in all the tools the agents needed to escape (including a radio!) All succeeded in breaking out, and were smuggled to England, and safety.

A poignant self-portrait of Virginia Hall speaks of the loneliness of an agent

The Germans were understandably upset by this. The Gestapo redoubled its efforts to capture ‘the limping lady’, and came close by infiltrating a collaborator into Virginia’s circle of contacts. Warned just in time, Virginia fled for the Spanish border once again. This time, the only way across was to walk – on her wooden leg 50 miles across the Pyrenees mountains. So, she did.

When she returned to England, the SOE refused to send Virginia back to France. They feared she had been compromised, and the risk to her was too great. But by now the United States was in the war, so Virginia packed her cloak and dagger and went to work for the OSS instead.

In the lead-up to D-Day, (June 6, 1944), Virginia, convincingly disguised as an old milkmaid (she sold cheeses to German soldiers), returned to France, where she organised and armed cells of the French Resistance. She had to overcome the obstinate reluctance of many Frenchmen, who refused to take orders from a woman, even one with Virginia’s record of fighting the occupiers.

Eventually she won the French to her side, and with 1500 Resistance fighters, Virginia blew up German trains, bridges, fuel dumps, and anything else she didn’t like.

Locomotive wrecked by the Resistance in 1944

After the war, Virginia was rehired by the then-new CIA, working to undermine Russian influence in Europe. She married fellow OSS officer Paul Goillot; six inches shorter and eight years younger than his former boss, Virginia.

The CIA, however, was quickly forgetting its origins in the War, and the critical roles played by the OSS’s female operatives; It rapidly degraded into a ‘boy’s club’, and men who hadn’t served in the front lines resented Virginia’s enviable record, and her justly deserved recognition. (Virginia Hall received the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross, the British Member of the British Empire, and France’s Croix de Guerre.) Left ‘piloting a desk’ for the rest of her career, Virginia soon disappeared into obscurity.

Virginia Hall receives her DFC from General Donovan, OSS

Or at least, that’s the official story.

In the reality revealed in Saucer War One, we discover that the postwar world had even greater need for Virginia Hall. With the Earth threatened by a danger perhaps even greater than that of fascism, Virginia was put forward by Majestic 12 as a candidate for recruitment by ANTIC – the new, ultra-secret agency tasked with tackling the Venusian threat. Lord Dowding, the organisational genius who led the RAF to victory in the Battle of Britain, had been selected to command ANTIC, and he knew of Virginia’s exploits against the Nazis. To the surprise of most, he did not merely choose Virginia Hall to assist with ANTIC’s intelligence operations (PRANK), but to control them.

It was a brilliant decision. Dowding recognised that his Head of Intelligence (code-named GLAMOR), must be ruthless, cautious, insightful and unstoppable. He got just what he needed in Virginia Hall. Taking to the job with gusto, Virginia recognised the danger the Noordicans presented as easily as she had sensed when the Gestapo crept too close back in France. Using her CIA desk job as the perfect cover, Virginia recruited her PRANK agents from all walks of life, and all nationalities. Being charged with saving the world, she knew ANTIC needed eyes and ears everywhere. (Rumours persist that among her recruits were residents of the White House, Buckingham Palace, and even the Kremlin.)

When the Saucer War One timeline ‘kicks off’ in mid-1952, Virginia Hall is still racing to build her massive network of agents, informants, and contacts. To keep track of the volumes of data these people feed into PRANK, Virginia is ably assisted by the unique, self-aware Cryotronic Mega-Computer she named ‘Cuthbert’, after her faithful wooden leg. “Cuthbert’s” opinion regarding its name is a secret it keeps to itself!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about both the real and (maybe?) fictitious Virginia Hall. When I discovered her story, it fired my imagination, and the whole idea of GLAMOR and PRANK flowed from there. From small seeds, and all that.

Next time, I hope to finally show off the first 3D prints of miniature saucers, so stay tuned for that!

See you then, and — Watch the Skies!

Posted in Rules Design

Hostile Saucers : Weapon Disc Preview for Saucer War One

A look at Weapon Discs to make your Saucers fighty

Welcome back, everyone! It’s time for another glimpse into the game design work that’s going into Saucer War One. Today, we’re taking a quick look at Weapon Discs, which turn our friendly, neighbourhood flying saucers into the terrors of the sky. Let’s see what these discs do…

As before with earlier previews, we begin with an explanation of what all these symbols and numbers mean. It might look like there’s a lot here, but it’s all very simple when you break it down.

In the left side of each Disc shown above, you can see a column of readout numbers — CHK (Check), RNG (Range) and DAM (Damage).

Check is a modifier to the Saucer’s Crew Check test when it attacks with this weapon.

Range is the distance that the weapon can reach, in Range Discs. (A Range Disc is essentially the same as a Maneuver Disc, which we met in this article.)

Damage is a modifier to the amount of Damage the weapon inflicts on its Target. This is usually a fixed amount (0; +1, +2, etc.), but Energy Weapons (like the Gravgun here), can also be V (Variable) because a player can select the amount of additional Damage caused.

Along the bottom of the Connection Ring are three boxes. What are these for, then?

The box on the Left shows what Types of Saucer can be given this Weapon (Alpha, Beta or Gamma). In the case of the 30mm Cannons this shows both the Beta and Gamma letters, because either Type can be given this Weapon.

The middle box gives the Weapon’s Points Value.

The right-hand box tells us which Faction or Factions can use this Weapon. In Saucer War One, Gravguns are initially exclusive to Noordicans, but we can see that ANTIC and Das Mondreich both deploy 30mm Cannons.

With all that out of the way, let’s see a couple of Weapon Discs connected to their Saucer’s Data Disc:

Like the Crew Disc, a Weapon Disc’s current status is determined by its orientation relative to its Data Disc. The Connection Ring aligns with the Connector Point on the Data Disc, and it is rotated clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on what is happening in the game. This tracks the number of Attacks available with that Weapon as ammunition or power charge is expended. You have to watch your ammo with some weapons, because they chew through rounds, or have limited capacitors.

There is also an ! (Exclamation Mark) on the Connection Ring which marks a Weapon Jammed Critical Hit. Fortunately, this can be repaired by a skilful Crew. (“Hey, the Gravgun’s not charging! Send Furkon out onto the dome with jump cables, will you?”)

Lastly, let’s take a look at some of the Attack Arc and Weapon Attribute icons.

The Attack Arcs of a Saucer, you may remember from this earlier article. In brief, the three supporting Pegs that keep a model Saucer ‘flying’ also mark the edges of the Saucer’s 120° Arcs; Forward, Left and Right.

Weapon Attributes are a new concept, however. To add some flavour to the weapons available in Saucer War One, we use an Attribute to describe a quality or behaviour of a weapon that sets it apart. Rockets Explode, for example, while Gravguns are Gravitic, meaning a hit from one might crush the target’s Crew.

I’ve revealed only four Attributes for now, but more will be added as the game develops. Some will be obvious, but many will be rather fun, in a science-gone-mad kind of way…

And that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed this new peek into Saucer War One‘s development. More articles will follow soon, including more Data Discs, artwork, and there’s going to be pictures of actual, physical miniatures very soon!

Watch the Skies!

Posted in Background Writing

Saucer War One Faction Sketch #1: ANTIC

Defending the Earth from the Truth…?

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. Things have been a big disorganised here in the Miniature Martin bunker, which led to a delay in this week’s article. But, here it is now, and its the first in a look at the ‘factions’ vying for victory in the world of Saucer War One. Join me as we peek inside the locked filing cabinet containing the secrets of ANTIC!

The ANTIC logo is based on an African symbol of Anansi, a mythical spider notorious for deception

“Actually, Mr. President — You don’t ‘need to know.’ “

ANTIC is the ultra-secret, international organisation behind all the UFO conspiracies. Formed in 1952 as the world’s governments scrambled to stop the Noordican and Nazi threats from space, ANTIC maintains squadrons of human-made saucers in hidden bases all over the world. Concealed beneath a cloak of misinformation and deception, ANTIC is not afraid to take extreme measures in the name of defeating the alien menace. 

Forever caught in a delicate balancing act, ANTIC must take the fight to the skies but never reveal the reality of its covert war. Therefore, as this leaked Order of Battle reveals, ANTIC is split into three Commands: JAPE, CAPER and PRANK.

JAPE is the arm of ANTIC charged with forging the arms of war. All the saucers and super-technology essential for fighting the Noordicans comes from JAPE’s secret factories, buried beneath the Canadian Rockies or hidden in Siberian forests.

CAPER is the operational command of ANTIC. It controls the actual saucer squadrons and their bases, assigning personnel and machines to respond to any threat anywhere in the world.

PRANK is ANTIC’s espionage arm. Many of its operations read like the most outlandish spy novels, filled with the dark dealings of CLOWN agents out to steal the best R&D projects, or silence anyone who have seen too much. PRANK has fingers in many nations’ intelligence services and news agencies, and they use these connections to ‘control the narrative’ about flying saucers, ensuring the general public consider them the ravings of crackpots and hoaxers. Ridiculing and humiliating witnesses, destroying evidence, paying off scientists and politicians are all part of PRANK’s sinister but necessary duty.

It takes all kinds of people to fight a war that is as much about what we believe as it is about hammering Venusian saucers full of 30mm cannon rounds. Because of this, ANTIC have a recruitment policy of turning away no-one as long as they can contribute to the fight. (While keeping their mouths shut). Neither colour, creed, race nor sex are reasons to reject someone from the ranks of the most important force-at-arms in Human history.

ANTIC pilots are real cool cats.

ANTIC has several distinct saucers it can bring to the table, all inspired by real-world lenticular aircraft: We’ve already revealed the sleek NS-97 ‘Silvercat’, and it has several stablemates including the big, spearhead-shaped ‘Omega’, the two-crew ‘Silverhound’ and the Russian ‘Diska’: A brutal, buzz-saw ramming-saucer! 

(We’ll be seeing more of the other ANTIC saucers as work on Saucer War One progresses. Stay tuned…)

Why play as ANTIC?

ANTIC saucers are highly customisable compared to those of other factions.
Their experimental saucers and weapons permit strange and unpredictable combinations that ensure an ANTIC force always has a surprise up its sleeve. Also, playing an ANTIC force will appeal to fans of classic jet aircraft of the postwar era. All those silver discs people saw in the 50’s? Yep, that was ANTIC, lifting from hidden underground or underwater bases to tangle with the Noordican invaders.

For all their dubious morality, ANTIC can rightly claim to be the defenders of the Earth, and they look cool while defending it too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first glimpse into the factions of Saucer War One. You can probably guess from their Table of Organisation that there is a lot more yet to be revealed about ANTIC, and the people who keep us safe from alien invasion (and the truth…)

Next time we will explore the incredible, ancient history of the Noordicans, and what has forced them to come to Earth, thousands of years after being abandoned upon the hell-world of Venus. Until then, fellow Miniaturists:

Watch the Skies!

Posted in Artwork

Know Your Flying Saucers: The Silvercat!

ANTIC’S Answer to the Alien Threat Leaked!

Hello again, everyone! Today, I thought I’d share some new artwork from the Saucer War One Invasion ’52 sourcebook which will be released with the actual game when it becomes a physical reality. (Stay tuned to find out just when that should be.)
Let me reveal the blueprints of the NS-97 Silvercat!

Right-click to open a bigger image of the plans

This was ANTIC’s primary fighter in the opening days of Saucer War One. Rushed into service just in time to thwart the Noordican attempt to land on Washington DC in July, 1952, it was lightly armed and slow compared to the incredible machines thrown into the fray towards the war’s end. Nevertheless, the Silvercat was well liked by its pilots, and many of CAPER RED’s aces scored their first kills in this agile craft, defending the skies of North America.

When it becomes a 1/200 scale miniature, the Silvercat will be 53mm in diameter. It will have the option to carry an armament of either four 30mm cannons, or twenty air-to-air rockets.

Credit where Credit is Due

The Silvercat is very heavily based on a real lenticular aircraft design from 1950. Or more accurately, on a model of that design, which was a concept by this man – Nick Stasinos (in bowtie).

Stasinos was a graduate of a college programme run by Northrop Aviation — the people who built iconic American aircraft such as the P-61 Black Widow, the F-5 Freedom Fighter, and more recently, the suspiciously alien-looking B2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Clearly influenced by the sudden and dramatic rise in flying disc sightings since 1947, in 1950 Stasinos designed and built this neat study model of his NS-97 fighter. Sadly, it seems Jack Northrop wasn’t that impressed, because the NS-97 was never taken further than this. (Or was it…?)

Sadly, Nick Stasinos left behind a promising career in aeronautics for the life of an insurance salesman. Or maybe he actually went to work for JAPE — ANTIC’s R & D department — and the insurance gig was merely the cover he was given by the agents of PRANK to conceal his part in the war to protect the Earth?

You’ll have to wait for the Invasion ’52 sourcebook to discover the incredible truth of this and other secrets of the war we never knew!

See you next time, and remember: Watch the Skies!

Posted in Rules Design

All the Data Disc Data

Dialling-in Control of a Flying Saucer

Last time we previewed one of Saucer War One’s game mechanics, we looked at the Maneuver Disc and how it is used to move a Saucer miniature. For this week’s preview, we’ll eavesdrop on an ANTIC training lecture somewhere in the central Asian CAPER RED operations area, in 1955… 

Welcome back, eager. young saucer-cadets! For today’s lesson, I’d like to introduce you to the most fundamental instrument in the cockpit of any saucer: The Data Disc. This multi-purpose dial tells a pilot at a glance the essential information they need to keep in the air, and fight their foes. No matter what saucer you are flying, you will learn to rely on your Data Disc, so let’s take a good look at this vital component. 

Saucer War One Data Disc

Our example is a Data Disc for a Mondreich Haunebu II-C, which is essentially a simplified copy of the Noordican Biga. Are you listening at the back there? 

Pulse Track

We’ll begin with the most important read-out on the Data Disc. Pulses define how many Actions a Saucer can take during a game Turn. While a saucer’s Pulses are in the healthy, Optimum range (OPT), all is good. But, damage from enemy weapons, or risky maneuvers (like ramming somebody else’s saucer!) can force down the number of Pulses a saucer can generate. If Pulses drop to 0, (CUT) then a Saucer’s reactor, gravimetric drive, and physical structure are so compromised that it cannot stay airborne and will crash. (Probably onto a ranch in New Mexico…)

Should a pilot find themselves in dire need, it is possible to push a saucer’s reactor to its Emergency (EMRG) setting. This allows the saucer an extra Pulse or Pulses, but there is the danger of the extreme pressure shattering the reactor vessel, blowing the saucer to pieces! (Which then definitely crashes onto a ranch in New Mexico…)


Below the Pulse Track are these three numbers which tell us how the saucer can ‘spend’ its Pulses on Actions. Actions are use to do, well, anything really. Usually, one Action allows you to do one thing, such as place a single Maneuver Disc, or fire a single Weapon.
It always costs at least one Pulse to perform one Action. 

The Distributor numbers show the maximum Pulses that can be spent on a particular Action: Maneuver (MNV); Attack (ATK) and Special (SPC). Because this is only an introduction to the Data Disc, I won’t go into details about Actions just now. Let’s move onto some other parts… Miss Konstantinova, are you flirting with your fellow cadet?
I expect better from a Hero of the Soviet Union, you know! 


Each Saucer in the game has its own callsign, to make it easier to keep track of each one during the game. 

Points Cost

How much the ‘basic’ saucer costs when constructing a force of Saucers and Assets for a game. 

Connection Ring

This orange circle has a number of what we call Connector Points around its rim. The Connector Points are: Crew; Special; Hardpoint 1 and Hardpoint 2. At each of these Connectors are placed an associated, smaller Disc;

The Crew Disc aligns with the Crew Connector Point.

‘Special’ things like Equipment Discs, and the Discs of Assets being transported, connect to the Special Connector.

And finally, at each Hardpoint a Weapon Disc can be placed. 

Grav Shield

The Gravitic Drive was probably the Annunaki’s most important invention. It enables Saucers to zip around at thousands of miles per hour, making impossible break-neck turns without breaking necks. This seemingly impossible device generates intense gravitational fields. By focusing the fields at a point above you, it is possible to offset local gravity and up you fly, chasing the intense gravitational point you are generating. 

One of the benefits of a Gravitic Drive is that the field deflects projectiles and energy, acting like a force field. This gives a saucer a sort of armour that can save it from damaging cannon shells and explosions. In game terms, this provides a ‘saving throw’ against damage.

Max Crit

This is the number of Critical Damage results that a saucer can absorb before it falls apart. Generally speaking, the bigger the saucer, the more Criticals it can endure. However, some Critical Damage is serious enough to force a saucer’s crew to turn tail and run for home, before they become exhibits in the Area 51 museum! 

Saucer class and Type

The designation for this class of Saucer (Haunebu II-C), and its Type — either Alpha (the biggest of Saucers), Beta (middleweight all-rounders), or Gamma (small fighters and scout Saucers). 

And that’s all you need to know to read a Data Disc. Next time, we’ll see how the Crew and Weapon Discs interact with the Data Disc, but that’s all for this lesson, cadets. Dismissed! Break out the vodka and spin me some Charlie Parker sides, Cats!

Posted in Miniatures Design

Biga is Better

Noordican Flying Saucer Closer to Physical Reality!

Many of you will have noticed (and I hope, enjoyed), the preview art of the Noordican Biga class Saucer last week. Well, someone who certainly did enjoy it was talented 3D sculptor Chris Osapai — and look what he’s made!

Biga flying saucer 3D model 01

Yes folks, we have our first sighting of a Saucer War One miniature-in-the-making! Here’s a couple of renders of the Biga that Chris has digitally sculpted. Charioteers of Venus, rejoice! Chris says he blitzed out this beautiful sculpt in a mere six hours. Only six hours? I suspect alien mind control! 

Biga flying saucer 3D model 02

Chris has done a superb job of capturing the classic ‘Adamski saucer’ lines of the Biga, but with all the engraved detail that is such a hallmark of Annunaki technology. 


Chris is also the creative genius whose Protokraken business has a very cool Kickstarter project called Necrossia that just successfully funded. 

Necrossia is a set of 3D printing files of alien artefact scenery for 28mm wargaming.
I think a lot of the files are quite ‘scale agnostic’ and could be suitable for 15mm or even micro-scale wargames, too. 

Although the Necrossia Kickstarter has successfully concluded, you can still get aboard for late pledges. Grab a 3D printer, and you’ll soon be surrounded by ancient alien monoliths! 

Speaking of 3D printing, I suspect many of you will be excited to hear this:

Grow your own Flying Saucers from Vats of Chemicals

Biga flying saucer 3D model 03

Inspired by Chris’ excellent Biga sculpt, I’m bring forward an announcement. The free print n’ play playtest version of Saucer War One is scheduled to be available for download in June-July this year. When it launches, we will also launch a set of six .STL files of ANTIC and Noordican saucers for home printing! 

This will give budding UFO-jockeys a leg-up into getting their saucer fleets into action, well before physical miniatures are released. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more previews of Noordican Sky Chariots soon!

Posted in Artwork

Being a Flying Saucer Ace is Hip

A little character concept art to kick off the working week.

1955: ANTIC pilot Tabitha LaSalle steps from her Silverhound fighter-saucer after returning to Ilha de Trindade Base, hidden beneath the South Atlantic.

But what is ANTIC? Why do they have hidden bases? And are bowties and berets compulsory attire for fighting alien invasions? Some answers and more artwork coming soon!

Posted in Miniatures Design, Rules Design

How a (tiny) Flying Saucer Flies

Anti-gravity Acrylic Rods are the Real Secret Free-Energy Device!

You know what really gets up my wargaming nose? What really sticks in my miniature-building craw? Flightpegs!

Yes, I said flightpegs! Those little, skinny plastic sticks that are supposed to keep ‘flying’ models eternally suspended above the Earth, balanced over a circle or square of plastic on the bottom that keeps the model from tottering over on its monopole mounting.

But do they? Reliably and without fear of gravity’s destructive influence? Do they never topple over, casting beautiful miniatures to their destruction? Do they never break, usually somewhere near where they’re glued into the model, thereby inflicting hours of re-drilling and re-mounting upon the frustrated modeller? Like Hell!

Clearly, the flightpeg was to blame.

And that constantly frustrating aspect of ‘flying’ miniatures was what drove me to find an alternative solution. How to get the flying discs of Saucer War One in the air, keep them there, and on a mounting that didn’t rely on a single, skinny, breaking, balancing pole?

That was when I remembered the method used by a friend of mine many years ago to keep his 1/300 scale aircraft high above his earth table. (That’s a sand table, but with clean soil as the sculpting material, rather than sand. Makes for great, muddy battlefields.) With sculpted hills, valleys, and trenches, liberally sprinkled with tiny villages and forests, it was impossible for a conventionally-mounted miniature aircraft to stay upright as it prowled the skies, looking for tiny tanks to bomb.

The solution? My friend mounted his aircraft on a simple wire tripod. With three legs on the ground, it was virtually impossible for an aircraft to tip over, even while thundering down a thickly-wooded mountainside. And of course, because each of its three wires had a diminutive contact area on the table surface, it never damaged any miniature real estate.

So, this is how I envision the way the 1/200 scale miniatures of Saucer War One will achieve the magical, gravity-defying act of ‘flight’:

Each model rests on three identical, 2mm diameter pegs. Ideally, the pegs will be friction-tight so they can be removed for transport if desired.

I should probably point out a couple of things about the illustration above: Firstly, why the tiny trees, relative to the size of the saucer? That’s because I imagine the 3D scenery used in Saucer War One will be several scales smaller than the saucers. Perhaps 1/600 or 1/700 scale. This gives a forced-perspective sense of the saucers flying high above the ground, and allows multiple towns, villages, missile bases, etc, to be placed on the table without things getting too crowded.

Oh, and a note for boardgamers who are recoiling from their screens, horrified at the thought of all the crafty modelling and super-glued fingers this scenery stuff might involve: Saucer War One will include easy, flat, card Scenery Shapes that do the same job, requiring no trips to the Casualty department of your local hospital.

Pole to Pole

Monopole flightstands do have a real advantage in tabletop warfare; They provide a convenient, constant reference point to make accurate measurements from. That was something the tripod concept lacked… from where do you measure? I had to do some thinking for a while, but eventually I realised the tripod offered a new way to measure movement, weapon ranges, and move / fire arcs. Let me show you what I mean:

Here we see an ANTIC NS-99 ‘Silverhound’ Beta-type saucer viewed from above. (The ‘nose’ of the Silverhound is ‘up’ in this view.) The 3 Pegs are shown at the points that they touch the ground. See how they form a triangle? (Yes, I hear you cry “Obviously!” but stay with me, folks.) Each side of the triangle makes a movement / firing arc: Front; Left; Right.

It also provides a ‘blind spot’ called the Tailing Arc at the rear, which saucers don’t actually have, but is a disadvantage suffered by more conventional aircraft in Saucer War One. (I added it here just for the sake of being comprehensive.)

Why don’t saucers have this Tailing Arc? That will become clear in time, but essentially, because saucers can fly forwards, sideways and backwards equally well, they do not have the restrictions that winged fighters or bombers endure. They don’t really have a ‘tail’ as such.

The triangle formed between the Pegs is the saucer’s Safe Zone. So, what the heck is that? ‘That’ and all else will become clear (I hope), as we go through the steps in a Maneuver.

Let’s see the way we plot out a saucer’s movement using Maneuver Discs.

Maneuver Discs — The Keys to the Saucer

This is a Maneuver Disc. It is 89mm (3.5″) across, and by placing them edge-to-edge along the flightpath of a saucer we can plot its course during its game turn. Each consecutive Disc must be placed against the preceding Disc’s Exit Point. The Centreline is used with the Safe Zone to determine if a Maneuver is legal, or too dangerous. (You’ll see this in a moment.)

So, what’s with the Entry Arcs at the bottom? Each Saucer is one of three Types:
Alpha (the biggest, baddest saucers);
Beta (‘middleweight’ all-rounders), or
Gamma (spunky, little fighters).

Alphas are tough and pack a punch, but they lack maneuverability. They must use the narrow Alpha Entry Arc. Betas are a better blend of capability and maneuverability, and they use the mid-width Beta Entry Arc. Gammas are the hot-shot, crazy flyers of Saucer War One, and get to use the big Gamma Entry Arc when they perform a Maneuver.

(Each Type of saucer can also use the Entry Arcs of their less-maneuverable cousins, so a Beta saucer uses both the Beta and Alpha Entry Arcs, for example.)

Still with me? Okay, let’s see how the Maneuver Discs and Tripod Pegs work together to move a saucer.

Come Fly with Me

When a saucer or anything else in Saucer War One wants to do something, it must use a Pulse to get it done. A Pulse is a combined unit of ability, made up of its energy systems, aerodynamics, handling, etc. The more potent a saucer is, the more Pulses it has. I won’t discuss Pulses further in this post; all we need to know is that each Pulse that is ‘spent’ on performing a Maneuver entitles a Player to place one Maneuver Disc for their saucer.

The first Disc that is placed is called the Entry Maneuver Disc, and it is placed like this:

The edge of the Entry Maneuver Disc must touch at least 2 Pegs of the saucer, inside the Entry Arc that matches the saucer’s Type. As long as neither Peg is outside the Entry Arc, the Player can rotate the Maneuver Disc however they like. Now we can place more Discs!

Get the idea? As long as the Maneuver Discs can form an unbroken ‘chain’, edge-to-edge, the maneuver is legal, and the saucer can be moved to the end, completing the Maneuver. But what happens when it reaches the end?

This is where the interaction between the Maneuver Disc’s Centerline and the saucer’s Safe Zone comes in. The Saucer ends its Maneuver with its trailing Peg touching the edge of the Exit Maneuver Disc at its Exit Point. The Saucer can pivot on the trailing peg as its Player wishes, left or right, but, the pivot must leave the Centerline pointing inside the saucer’s Safe Zone.

This is because for all their uncanny maneuverability, even flying saucers have their limits before g-forces threaten to break them apart. ANTIC pilots are reminded of this with the saying: “Point it in the green, Dean!”

Of course, that’s the ‘in-game’ explanation for this restriction. In truth, this is to prevent any tripod-mounted unit in the game from performing bootlegger turns at the end of each maneuver, which would negate a major skill aspect of the game. There’s got to be a certain amount of judgement at play, both to help players remain engaged with what’s happening on the table, and to ensure occasional misjudgements with the missed firing opportunities, mid-air collisions, and other mirth they provoke!

Yes, you can veer drunkenly across the sky in your saucer! The real advantage a saucer has over any other unit in Saucer War One is its ability to place the Entry Maneuver Disc against any two Pegs. This gives them unrivalled maneuverability that will turn any jet fighter-jockey green with envy. Conventional aircraft must always place their Entry Maneuver Disc against the left and right Pegs (in the Front Arc), no matter what.

Well, that’s how my frustration with the minor real-world problem of flight pegs led me to the design solution of the tripod pegs, which in turn led me to the Maneuver Disc. Funny how inspiration sometimes comes from the necessity of change, born from things we really shouldn’t get so worked up over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my design process. If you have (or even if you have not!) please feel invited to comment, or even email me. I’m always happy to hear what others think of my mad solutions.

See you next time!

Posted in Background Writing

SW1: The Story So Far…

SW1: The Story So Far…

Millennia before Human civilisation began, an alien race came to Earth with a sinister purpose. They were the Annunaki; A species of giants with intellects to match their stature, but utterly lacking in empathy for the millions of Earthlings they enslaved to serve their galactic empire. For thousands of years, the Annunaki robbed the Earth of its treasures, despoiled its lands and fouled its seas. Maliciously, they twisted and warped the DNA of Humankind to suit their ends, then sent millions of altered slaves to work mines on Venus and Mars, never to see their native Earth again. They built a mighty floating continent for themselves, from which their demands for tribute grew ever louder, for the Annunaki ruled as gods, and laughed at the ignorant savages that grovelled in worship before them. 

Then, as suddenly as they arrived, the Annunaki vanished. In a day and a night, their floating continent sank beneath the waves, and the survivors fled for distant, dark corners of the galaxy. On Earth, the Annunaki became mere legend, entangled in the mythologies of the ancient world. Ignorant of its past, Humanity resumed its own course down the road of civilisation. 

In the middle of the 20th century, the forgotten past returned. The ancient sky-chariots of the Annunaki began to reappear all over the world. They were rarely welcomed; Dim race-memories of dreadful things stirred in the minds of those who saw them. But where had they come from?

It was the Noordicans — descendants of the slave-miners of Venus — who had learned to master the flying machines of the Annunaki, and they were returning to Earth. Desperate to escape their dying homeworld, they brought with them a message of peace and love, but it was ignored by those who lusted after the ancient, war-winning technologies the machines possessed. In Nazi Germany, the secrets of the sky-chariots were unlocked, and fleets of menacing, field-grey discs escaped into space while the Thousand Year Reich burned and died. 

The Noordicans retreated and tried again, but they returned to an Earth gripped by the first frost of the Cold War, where paranoia and suspicion ruled the day. Their sky-chariots were branded ‘foo fighters’, ‘flying saucers’ or ‘ufos’, and were greeted with fear and alarm wherever they went. 

Only a few souls, innocent or foolish, were willing to hear the Noordican’s pacifist teachings. Those naive disciples sought to prevent an atomic war that seemed increasingly inevitable, as East and West rattled their sabers. Through these ‘Contactees’, the Noordican’s disarming creed began to spread. 

While the Contactees preached the Noordican’s gospel of universal peace, other Earthlings suspected the Noordicans had ulterior motives. Why were these visitors from another world so adamant on nuclear disarmament? What was their true reason for abandoning their mysterious home of Venus? Why were the ships of these ‘pacifists’ armed with incredible weapons that could destroy anything sent up against them? In record time, a secret army — code-named ANTIC — was created to defend the Earth. With hidden bases spread all across the globe and equipped with the latest, most secret weapons Humanity could muster, ANTIC was prepared for the worst. 

In the early 1950’s, it became all too clear what the worst might be: The Noordicans were emboldened by the hordes of Contactees clamouring for their salvation from nuclear destruction. Pressure was building on the governments’ of Earth. The Noordican incursions became more and more brazen, their saucers challenging the world’s air forces for supremacy. Earth would soon be engulfed in a new war to decide its destiny: Would it remain under the mastery of Earthlings? Or the prodigal sons returned from Venus? 

It was the summer of 1952, and the invasion had begun.