In a Garden Far Far Away

Play testing my Close Little Star Wars / Close Little Space Wars blog post rules

Star date: 9.25.2016

Planet: Yarden / Location: in a galaxy far afar away (but strangely, just round the corner of my house)

Scenario: A captured red hat enemy staff officer  of the  Imperious Forces (usually the bad guys) has revealed the whereabouts of the secret Imperious Space Base on Planet  Yarden.

Rebellious General Yodel uses Mind Force to interrogate a captured Imperious Staff Officer, watched by an Astromech droid and Princess Layla.

He is interrogated with mind control by tiny General Yodel.

Rebellious or Revolutionary Commando Troops from many nations and planets led by the tiny General Yodel and feisty Princess Layla are heading there to destroy this base.


Its giant super laser cannon is capable of destroying entire planets / space ships / etc, yardeh yardeh yardeh …

Any similarity to the characters and plots of well known space films by George Lucas and Disney are entirely coincidental or in your own mind.

Meanwhile on Planet Yarden, the Rebellious or Revolutionary Troops head towards the Imperious base with their star crawler packed with Space TNT.


Rebellious Troops- Figures from the 1981 Airfix Space Warriors set and recent  Star Wars Command troops, past the tendrils of mysterious creeping plants. Discer laser grenadiers in the background.

The secret Imperious base is protected by watchtowers and a smaller guard base.

The smaller Imperious Guard base with khaki pound store Imperious troops and 1960s spacemen.

Luckily the Rebellious or Revolutionary troops have a secret weapon, a heavy space ballista mounted on a space ship.

Space Freighter Ship and Space Ballista with Rebellious Revolutionary Crew and Astromech droid pilot. Yodel, Layla and their captive can be seen in the hovel behind them.

In Turn 1, whilst most of the figures are out of weapons range, the Rebellious troops land a direct hit with a space rock on several of the (Cylonic looking)  Imperious Troops  behind rocky barricades, guarding the smaller space cannon.

Rebellious Captain Lush and his heavily armoured Laser sword wielding troops of The Rebellious or Revolutionary Forces (all Airfix Space Warriors).

In Turn 2, Captain Lush and several of his Rebellious laser sword warriors are killed in a melee with Imperious Troopers.

Direct hit on the Space Ballista and freighter, whilst Imperious troopers head towards Yodel and Layla’s position. 

Turn 3 – The giant space cannon of  Imperious Trooper Base lands a direct  hit on the Rebellious Space Freighter and destroys the space Ballista and its crew. A dice throw sorts out if it is repairable; it isn’t, cutting off the Rebellious chances on escape by ship.

Rebellious forces storm the laser cannon position and prepare to climb the ladder to enter the Imperious Base, drawbridge guarded by pound store imperious space troopers. The irony of Plastic rocks in the garden. Lovely 1920s spring cannon firing laser Q tips / cotton buds.
The smaller Imperious Guard base is blown up by the TNT  onboard  ‘fire ship’ of the Rebellious Half track Space Crawler.

Fortunately in Turn 3, the crew of the Rebellious Space Crawler packed with Space TNT roll the right d6 number: 4,5,6 to blow up on this move.  The smaller guard base is breached, killing several Imperious troopers. The Rebellious crew bale out  and head towards the larger base.

Turn 4 – A desperate fight takes place on the entrance ladders and drawbridge of the larger Imperious Space Base.

Turn 5 – Meanwhile some Imperial troopers threaten to capture General Yodel and Space Princess Layla and free the Imperious Staff Officer. However Layla grabs a space blaster rifle and Yodel uses his Mind Force (two d6 compared to 1d6 in the melee) to fight off the Imperious Troopers.

The Imperious Base in lockdown, drawbridge and telescopic space cannon withdrawn. The fallen Rebellious and Imperious Troopers lie scattered where they fought.

Turn 6 – A dice is thrown for when Rebellious troops might continue to attack and take over the base or withdraw into the forests.

Similarly the Imperious Base Commander dices to see when the base goes into lockdown.

The main Imperious base being in lockdown, its smaller base destroyed by the exploding Rebellious  half-truck , their own Rebellious space freighter ship irreparably damaged – it’s time for General Yodel and Layla to escape into the forests and undergrowth of Yarden. Time to fight another day …

Watching their backs!  Layla leads the surviving Rebellious Revolutionary Forces and Imperious prisoner into the planetary undergrowth.

Figures, Vehicles and Buildings

The 54mm / 1:32 scale figures were a real mix, cobbled quickly together for this game, so many are unpainted. If I had waited to paint figures and vehicles  or scratch build a space base etc, the weather may well have turned and I would not have got this solo outdoor game in.

Sterne the Imperious Base Commander and Staff Officer prisoner  are Lone Star Afrika Korps. Colourful 1960s spacemen man the smaller space cannon.

Pound store figures in khaki  form the bulk of the Imperious troops, commanded by Imperial Empire Star Wars officers.  Airfix 1981 Space Warriors and Star Wars Command figures (from Pound stores / Wilko) form the rest of the Rebellious troops, led by a zoo ranger as Princess Layla. Pound store police formed some dark blue space marines.

The space freighter ship is a lucky ‘handmade’ wooden ship find from the 1960s, topped by another junk shop find of a plastic ballista (Timpo?) This had to be strapped on to fire properly.

The smaller laser cannon is really a spring loaded metal cannon from the 1920s, it had a good range of about 2 feet of more firing cotton  buds / Q tips.

The buildings are an Airfix Strongpoint Bridge watchtower (off show in photos) and  a small roofless ‘pet house’ to hold the Imperious Staff Officer prisoner.

The main space and guard bases are the black plastic delivery bases of those PC / computer server boxes, obtained spare as packaging from a local workplace. The plastic space domes are seed incubator tops from the garden centre. The deadly large space gun is a £1 periscope.

Rules and Playtesting

The Close Little Star Wars version of Close Wars were scaled up for the Yarden / Garden and 54mm figures.

Buildings such as the bases seemed too impregnable, without firing the Q Tip weapons.

Any umpire type command decisions (playing solo) were solved by creating special d6 dice throws such as Is the freighter reparable? Will the Rebellious troops withdraw? Will the Imperious base and big gun withdraw into lockdown? When will the TNT in the half track blow up the Guard base?

Many of the troops only had close quarter weapons such as laser pistols or laser swords, meaning they could only be used up close or in melee phase.

The Airfix space Warriors with the disc / boomerang thing were used as Laser Space Grenadiers. Range of 12″, throw 4 to 6 to hit home. Throw d6 to see how many troops are hit.

Luckiest Shot? The Space Ballista worked well firing in trials at first chunky dice (too heavy) and second, pea gravel. This took out several of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ type Cylon figures from the Airfix Space Warriors set  who were safely behind barriers serving with the Imperious forces. Ironic to be using plastic figure pound store rocky outcrops outdoors in the Yarden.

I hope H.G. Wells would approve of this stellar mash-up …

Great fun, possibly the last garden game maybe of the year as it gets colder and wetter going into autumn.

Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.

9 thoughts on “In a Garden Far Far Away”

  1. I have been wanting to do a garden war-game for a long time. Unfortunately, I feel guilty if I was to do that as I would have to leave the dog inside; otherwise he would want to join the action! I have the same exact spring cannon. I believe it is the cannon I used for a “Little Wars” game I played a while back. I have a fairly good collection of spring cannons.


    1. Hello John, This type (a 1920s spring cannon) is an excellent one with a lively 2 to 3 foot cotton bud range or even more with matchsticks but has no ‘hold fire’ on it. Not bad for nearly a hundred years old!

      I think that is my last comfortable garden game of the season this year.

      Mark, ManofTIN blog


  2. Did you ever see the Aussie SF movie, ‘The Time Guardian’. It never made it to cinema and went straight to video. I bought it on DVD recently on a disc with various B grade movies but Time Guardian was quite good movie with some entertaining characters and good acting, especially from the 1980s era outback cops.

    Ahero from the future arrives in the outback to protect a city, also moving into the past, to escape some nasty, relentless but slow moving cyborgs. Why mention this? The Airfix, vaguely samurai looking robot thingy looks vaguely like these Airfix figures with the projections on the helmets.


    1. James
      Thanks for the film DVD tip, I will keep an eye out for it in the U.K. or failing that pack up clips on YouTube. Sounds pretty unusual.
      I was always a bit puzzled by the Airfix Samurai Robots and on my original childhood ones cut the helmet wings off. I have read somewhere some speculation that these space warriors were originally based on some possible Airfix Samurai figures !!!! but I don’t think this very likely. It was a good set, a fusion of Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars, but one that soon disappeared.
      These space figures are all on my painting list for next year, along with pound store Space Marines in this Airfix big size. I also have some Britain’s Starguards, sadly some of the weirder rubbery aliens and cyborgs are beginning to crumble. Another garden planet needs invading, no doubt inspired by the forthcoming new Star Wars movie.
      Mark, Man of TIN


    2. Thanks James I tracked down trailers for The Time Guardian and I can see the Samurai cyborg from the Airfix set you mentioned – and what is Carrie Fisher?!!!!? doing in this B movie!!!.???? There seems to be a Samurai Star Wars alt universe around – see Neil Shucks blogposts on Test of Honour rebel and imperial bands. It must be the lightsabers and Vader hat although I always thought George Lucas said Star Wars was more based on WW2 movies / fascist design
      I shall add Time Guardian to Flash Gordon 1930s 1980 and Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and others as my Close Little Star Wars inspiration for next year’s 1:32 Yarden games. All good fun.


      1. I have the film in a cheap DVD collection disc with some bloody awful rip off B grade movies. But this movies stands out from the others on the disc. This movie had some mainstream Aussie actors in it and I thought the performance of the two comical cops and the heroine particularly good. The hero was a little wooden but then he was the usual strong, stoical, monosyllable lone hero.

        Currently I am fixated on a comic strip from the 60s and 70s children’s magazine; it is called the Trigan Empire and was in Look and Learn. I had a few of these mags as a boy but mostly Knowledge Magazine. The art work was sensational, with garish color and great shadows and highlights. The story is loosely based on the Roman Empire, quite a few contrasts in technology between societies and some large beasties. It’s funny how a lot of those old SF stories had people looking like ancient Greeks or Romans. Just get some Timpo Romans and give them ray guns! Other troops looked like modern infantry but in blues, greens and reds. I have a little trouble getting my head around that except for ceremonial guard and palace duties as why make oneself a better target?

        Plastic Warrior mag had an article, years ago, about SF wargaming and included reference to unusual weapons like suspended animation weapons or freeze rays. One idea was to have an alien space ship crashed somewhere, guarded by robots etc, and a target for various teams of soldiers, competing to retrieve an artifact.

        it was great to see your outdoor game although personally, I would keep the catapult for primitive tribes encountered by the more advanced species or race.

        Yet another rules option would be dangerous plants that can disable or eat the gallant space warriors. That way the sides have to battle the environment as well as each other.


  3. James
    Thanks for your scenario tips – carnivorous plants and competitive artefact retrieval and all. The plastic plant section of the garden centre aquatic shop should do well here for unconvincing alien planting. I shall look back on these tips when doing my Next Back Yarden Galaxy games.

    Reanimating dead lead recently, I still have not painted any more 54mm space figures since this 2016/7 game but have acquired a few more Airfix Space Warriors and Britain’s Star Guards etc. @ random.

    I know the Trigan Empire cartoons only from the few reprinted from The Bumper Book of Look and Learn, a lovely large A3 full cover Hardcover book produced in 2007 by Stephen Pickles. Well worth tracking down secondhand online. I shall look at it again if our bargain bookshop family copy has survived past “too big” book purges.

    The space ballista catapault was as absurd as all the other space weapons, just cynically adding the word ‘space’ in front to any weapon in my (upscaled to 54mm) Featherstone rules. In the same way,painting the figures, boats and buildings silver would have taken all the time I had for gaming that day. Here’s to a grungy mismatched multicoloured Space!

    I shall keep a look out for the Time Guardian film in full on DVD, having as mentioned seen the Trailers on YouTube online. I also want to watch Battlestar Galactica again and haven’t seen the recent remake. So many projects, so few rainy days and always on a day I want to game in the back garden galaxy!

    Many thanks, from Mark Man of TIN


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