Star Grunt II is a squad-scale science fiction infantry skirmish miniatures game produced by Ground Zero Games in the UK. Like its fellow GZG products Full Thrust and Dirtside II, it is designed to be generic enough to handle whatever minatures and settings the players happen to prefer, and the ruleset has been used for games ranging from World War II to the War on Terror and all points in between, along with a wide variety of science fiction universes. Also like other GZG titles, Star Grunt features fairly straightforward rules, is designed for quick game play, and tends to be unforgiving of tactical blunders.
One thing that sets Star Grunt apart from many other similar games is the emphasis placed on real-world constraints as morale, cover, suppressive fire, and mission importance; overall, it is often better to have well-led, highly motivated, but less experienced troops with inferior weapons than poorly led, unomtivated, heavily armed elites.
The rules are available as a free .pdf from Ground Zero Games' website
Provides Examples Of:
- Armor Is Useless: Averted; good body armor can keep your troops alive.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: APCs and infantry fighting vehicles are probably more common than actual tanks on the table.
- BFG: Crew-served and vehicle mounted weapons. In the former case, the weapon itself can be damaged or destroyed if the team carrying it takes fire.
- Big Damn Gunship: On-table air support generally takes the form of VTOL gunships that serve the same role as attack helicopters.
- Cold Sniper: One or two snipers on the table can tip the battle.
- Combat Medic
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Close assaults by power-armor squads against ordinary troops tend to be this.
- Gatling Good: Related to More Dakka, some squad and platoon support weapons are tribarrels or full on Gatling weapons.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Mostly taking the form of sniper rifles, or crew-served support weapons.
- Hollywood Tactics: Averted. Trying to just march down the field in the open will get your men slaughtered, assuming their morale doesn't cause them to run before then. The game heavily favors fire-and-maneuver tactics like those of real world modern armies.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: In this case, 'better' meaning simpler and easier for the average soldier to take care of, as well as avoiding the problems of power source and waste heat inherent to energy weapons. The latter exist, but but are relegated to support roles like sniping and anti-armor work.
- More Dakka: Generally useful, but seldom enough to win the battle by itself.
- The Neidermeyer: The worst quality squad leaders are probably these.
- One-Hit Kill: Everything, even the mightiest tanks, are vulnerable to this under the right circumstances.
- Powered Armor: Played straight, ususally used by elite assault troops and such.
- Sergeant Rock: The best quality squad leaders are these.
- Shout-Out: Many in GZG's miniatures lines, like the 'Hover ACAV' miniature that strongly resembles the combat cars from Hammer's Slammers, or the free trader crew set that is a clear homage to Firefly. Also, the working title for the still-pending supplement containing rules for alien races is ''Bugs Don't Surf''.
- Standard Sci-Fi Army: Played straight; this game focuses on the infantry, especially the grunts.
- The Squad: The basic unit of game play. Each figure represents one man, but they move and fight as a unit.
Tuffleyverse, the setting shared by all three of Ground Zero Games' games, contains examples of:
- The Berserker: The Kra'Vak have something they call roh'kah, an aspect of their physiology that substitutes for a human's fight-or-flight response, and essentially forces them into escalating versions of this when under great stress, especially life-or-death situations. The worse the situtation gets, the madder they get; left unchecked, it can reach Leeroy Jenkins levels, as they become (temporarily) too enraged for rational thought. It's thought to have evolved as a survival trait against the native predators of their home planet.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Kra'Vak go through a life cycle in which they go from being asexual to male to female back to being asexual over the course of about 40-50 years (and they can live to be 150), in addition to the roh'kah mentioned above; the Phalons have three sexes, male, female, and neuter, a carapace shell, and a single eye with three seperate lenses; the Sa'Vasku are basically big hyperevolved jellyfish-looking things.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Especially in Human-Phalon relations.
- China Takes Over the World: Or a big swath of the Asian mainland, anyway, including most of Russia.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A major problem when dealing with the Phalons. Even for other Phalons.
- Divided States of America: A second American Civil War in the game's backstory briefly went nuclear, leading to Anglo-Canadian intervention and to the formation of the New Anglian Confederation, an amalgamation of the three countries under the British Crown.
- Middle Eastern Coalition: The Islamic Federation.
- Nicknaming the Enemy: "Kravs" or "Kraks" for the Kra'Vak, "Shellies" for the Phalons (because of both their outer shells and the vaguely snail-like designs of their starships), and "Spikeys" for the Sa'Vasku (again, for the shape of their ships). There's also at least one mention of Eurasian Solar Union forces referred to as the "Euries" by New Anglian infantry.
- Organic Technology: The Sa'Vasku don't so much build starships as breed them, while the Phalons use artificially created organic materials the same ways that humans use plastics and metals.
- Political Officer: The Eurasian Solar Union's military is said to have these. The Kra'Vak are an inversion: they have Sia'na, a small caste made up of those who from some quirk of their genes aren't affected by roh'kah, who act as moderators on Kra'Vak commanders and keep them from throwing away lives and equipment in futile attacks brought on by screaming blood rage.
- Reporting Names: For all the alien species' ships, and the names are even aliterative (K-for-Kra'Vak, P-for-Phalon, and S-for-Sa'Vasku), courtesy of the United Nations Defense Intelligence Agency.
- Starfish Aliens: The Sa'Vasku, almost literally. In 'verse, no human has ever seen an actual Sa'Vasku; the closest anyone's ever come is encountering one of the quasi-robotic bio-constructs they use to interact with the 'younger races.'
- United Europe: Averted; Europe is divided into the New Swabian League (Germany and most of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire), the Scandanavian Federation (which includes a reluctant Finland), the Romanov Hegemony (mainly Slavic Eastern Europe), and the Federal States of Europe (dominated by France, but including Spain, Italy, and most of the rest of the Continent).
- United Nations: The fifth major human power because somewhere along the way, they got their own military (the United Nations Space Command), which polices the Sol system and some of the other Core systems. They also coordinate and help lead the fight against the Kra'Vak invasion.