Space Station Zero Challenge 14

Battle Report 6

wargame report

Another challenge, another totally unreasonable target number. I'm playing Space Station Zero wargame with an aim to get through the entire station, and I've decided to post battle reports about each Challenge along the way. These battle report contain minor spoilers, although there are a lot of branches in the campaign so what happens in my campaign is unlikely to also happen exactly the same in your campaign. This is the sixth battle report, covering Challenge 14.

Crew member profile

Before getting into the action, here's this episode's featured crew member. Meet the team engineer.

Thom Lucan was a mechanic from early on. He was conscripted into the armed forces as soon as he was of age, and that's been his job ever since. He's got a wife and kid back home, and by now is assuming he'll never see them again. That's not the hard part about being separated from them by an unknown number of light years. The hard part is admitting to himself that he never expected to see them again from the moment he got assigned to a shipboard duties. Naval officers of war-torn Cranon never come back, and Thom Lucan never truly expected to be an exception, despite the optimism he showed his wife and child before leaving.

Like the crew's pilot, Thom Lucan is a member of the Coyotes, a sub-faction within the Cranon military that's dedicated to infrastructure and operational systems. In the field, they both wear armour bearing their faction colours and mascot.



  • Life 4
  • Move 4
  • Combat 2
  • Reaction 4
  • Intelligence 2
  • Armour 4


Last session, I resigned myself to the fact that the Space Station Zero solo campaign is a trap. I don't mean the in-world space station, I mean the game itself. It's a much harder game than it lets on, and it's mostly because of the target numbers. I think a greater variety in challenges would have been a useful feature, but probably the authors know, this being a tabletop game, that you can just adjust the challenge as you see fit.

That's what I've had to do to get through Challenge 14.

Round 1 (false start and premature end)

In this room, there's another gas leak, and this one converts player soldiers into enemies. Resisting the effects of the gas requires a Life Save 3 upon activation. Well, as of the previous challenge, my crew only has 4 Life, so the probability of anyone getting 3 successes is pretty low.

As I expected, the Veteran got 2 successes, and everyone else got 1. In other words, my entire crew was converted into raving maniacs on round 1, and presumably kill each other.

Game over!


I like the idea of a crew member going temporarily insane. In a wargame, it makes sense that the expression of that insanity would be oriented around combat.

I don't like the idea that you can lose the game based on failed rolls that are basically impossible to get once, much less multiple times in a row.

The rules of this challenge are to roll against gas or be converted to an enemy. Here's my variation on Challenge 14.

Upon activation, roll a Life Save 3. Upon failure, spawn 1 [phantom] enemy within melee range of the soldier, who attacks the soldier immediately using the soldier's Combat+1. The enemy moves with that soldier, and can only be seen by that soldier. The enemy cannot be killed because it does not exist.

Roll Reaction 3 to spot the source of the gas leak, and Reaction 6 to disable. Repair the gas leak to cause all enemies to vanish as each soldier regains sanity, or make it out of the room using the door on the opposite end of the battlefield.

Round 1

During deployment, I place the Pilot and Engineer nearest where I know the gas leak to be, because obviously I want them to be able to reach it quickly once they spot it. At the far end of the battlefield, I placed a building (because I needed a door). At the top of the building, for narrative purposes, I placed a second vent system. When a crew member fails a Reaction test to spot the actual gas leak, I imagine they spot the one opposite the deployment zone.

The Engineer has Reaction 4, so I activate him first. He fails his Life Save 3, so an enemy appears next to him and immediately attacks. Surprisingly, the enemy lands no hits. The Engineer succeeds on his Reaction test to spot the gas leak, though, and moves toward it with his imaginary enemy in toe.

Next, the Pilot activates and also imagines an enemy next to her, who attacks her immediately and deals 1 wound. The Pilot fails her Reaction test to locate the gas leak, which I take to mean that she spots the door and the decoy vent across the battlefield. She moves toward it, along with the Veteran and Soldier, both of who succeed on their Life tests and have no enemies...yet...and also can't understand why the Pilot and Engineer are both flailing about and shouting about their surprise attackers.

Round 2

I've ruled that the enemies can't be killed, but I think a Life Save every activation makes sense, and upon success you have no imaginary enemy for that turn. Well, that benefits nobody this round.

The Engineer takes 1 wound from his imaginary enemy, and moves toward the gas leak. The Pilot takes no damage, and continues to move to the sealed door across the barracks. The Veteran succeeds on his Life Save so still has no enemy, but the soldier fails and now has an imaginary enemy who rolls 4 Combat dice and deals 3 wounds!

Round 3

The Engineer is nearly at the gas leak now! The Engineer continues to fail his Life Save, but takes no further damage.

The Pilot also fails her Life Save, but manages to roll a critical success against damage, taking 0 from the 3 hits just dealt to her.

The Veteran finally fails a Life Save, but takes no damage from his unseen enemy. The Soldier succeeds his Life Save, so his imaginary enemy has seemingly disappeared. He suspects his enemy is hiding behnd the pile of footlockers not far away, but doesn't slow down to investigate.

Round 4

The Engineer reaches the gas leak and scores 4 of the 6 required on his Reaction test! Amazingly, he takes no damage from his imaginary enemy, so is doing pretty well with just 1 wound. (It's moments like these where you start to think you've made a scenario too easy.)

The Pilot, Veteran, and Soldier all continue toward the exit, but now all of them have imaginary enemies again. The Veteran takes 1 wound. They're two-thirds across the battlefield now.

Round 5

The Engineer gets 3 more successes on his Reaction roll to disable the gas leak. The gas is expunged from the room, and all of those imaginary enemies fade away.

Was it too easy? I guess maybe I could have made a rule that you couldn't move when you fail a Life Save, because you're too distracted at believing you're fighting for your life against an imaginary enemy. I actually had intended to make it so that the enemy gained an attack for each failed Life Save, but I forgot to implement that.

Post game

There's a broken down Guard Drone in the pile of lockers, but it takes an Intelligence 4 (6+) (single roll) to repair it. This is the sixth challenge, and all crew members in my 8-person crew started with In 2. Your first level up is at 5 Experience Points, and all it allows you to do is raise Life or Move by 1. I think there may have been some chance to increase a stat here and there throughout the game so far, but nothing guaranteed. I don't understand what the authors were thinking, here. It's impossible to get 4 successes from In 2 or even In 3, and there's only a slim chance of getting 6+ successes with In 4 or even In 5. Why bother having the Guard Drone in this room at all? It's obvious, unless I'm missing something, that basically no player will be able to acquire it. And that's a shame, because I could really use some reinforcements to my crew, having lost 3 members so far.

Everybody gains an Experience Point, and the door leads to Challenge 16.

Photo by Seth Kenlon, Creative Commons cc0.

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