Saturday, 31 August 2013

Godzilla vs The Army - Again

I have played some more games of 'Giant Monster Rampage', pitting Godzilla against military swarms to see how they play out. I hadn't planned on taking much in the way of pictures, but once that camera's in my hand there's no stopping me ...

In the first game I ran Godzilla against three planes and a group of four tanks. Unlike previous games, these were beefed up with Ballistic Blast, rather than the weaker Archaic Blast they had before. They would be firing fewer shots, but each shot would be more effective. The planes were unchanged from previous games; I think I have their stats about right - fast, with deadly missiles and about as much damage resistance as a piece of paper.

In the second game I dropped the planes, and tried out an infantry swarm.

Here's some pictures from the first game.

Tanks advance on Godzilla, firing as they go.

Others work around the flank, under the cover of the buildings.

The planes swoop in for their first attack run.

And Godzilla is knocked down by a volley of missiles.

He gets up and attacks a building. I was using the Exploding Buildings optional rule, which means that a critical hit on a buildings produces flying debris which targets everything within a certain radius.

And Godzilla scored a critical - bad news for the tanks and planes in range, which were all destroyed.

A second plane found itself on the receiving end of some well-aimed rubble.

And a third fell to Godzilla's atomic breath.

Unfortunately swarms get reinforcements. Another plane entered the fray ...

... and took down Godzilla.

The planes did most of the damage in that game, although the tanks helped. They both rolled well for damage, especially the Mechanical Blasts of the aircraft. As could be seen, though, Godzilla could strike back.

In the second game I used the tanks again, along with a swarm of eight infantry bases. These are slow and weak, and had a variant of the Archaic Blast I wanted to try out.

The army cautiously approach Godzilla, who is working his way through a building.

A tail swipe throws some tanks into the side of a building. The building survives. The tanks don't.

Godzilla faces off the army.

Then attacks ...

In one round he destroys a base of tanks, and one of infantry. A lucky Toughness roll saves some other tanks from thrown rubble, and in the distance the lizard's atomic breath has demolished another building. This was a strategy derived from the last game - targeting buildings near human units on the hope of getting a critical, as the area effect damage of doing so is more effective than taking out the tanks and infantry individually.

With lots of attention focused on him, and damage staring to mount from the sheer weight of firepower being deployed, Godzilla moves off through the river. The army will have to take the long way around to catch him.

Some of them are already in position, though.

Godzilla attacks a building.

It falls ...

A tail swipe hurls some tanks into a squad of infantry, destroying both.

Godzilla then attacks the big shopping centre with both his atomic breath and thrown rubble, aiming for a critical - there are a considerable number of human units clumped around it. He doesn't get the critical, but does destroy the building.

The infantry pour volley after volley of fire into him.

And when the tanks join in, it's all over.

Once again the army triumphed. If they get good AP rolls they can lay down plenty of firepower, and slowly whittle down Godzilla faster than he can take them out. A monster with area effect attacks would probably make short work of them, as the exploding buildings rule showed.

Next: The army get an ally and the city fights for its very survival ...

Friday, 30 August 2013

BattleSworn - The Adventures Of The Fellowship

We played BattleSworn at the Gong Garage Gamers tonight. With two games under my belt I was the most experienced player, and adjudicated whilst John and Caesar played a couple of games.

John had brought along his Fellowship of the Ring figures, and it was the work of a few minutes to throw them together into a force:

Aragorn - Brute/Tank
Gandalf - Leader/Brute
Boromir - Fighter
Legolas - Sniper
Gimli - Brute/Tank
Frodo - Rogue
Sam - Fighter
Merry - Fighter
Pippin - Fighter

This was a combination John thought he could play and that we thought would be reasonably useful.

Caesar used my Politically Incorrect Pygmies ("Why are the politically incorrect?", asked Ralph. "Have you seen the figures?", we replied. "Oh. I see.", said Ralph, after he had as well.).

Chief - Brute
4 x Warriors - Fighters
Witchdoctor - Healer
Blowpipes - Rogue/Shooters
King Kong - Brute/Tank

We played a straight fight - ten moves (or maybe more, depending on a roll), and the side who inflicted the most casualties won.

I didn't take lots of picture - just some highlights.

Here we see Aragorn and  Frodo taking on the Pygmy Chief. They killed him.

Boromir got surrounded by Pygmies.

Aragorn and Frodo rushed to his aid.

But Kong was after Aragorn.

The Pygmy healer saved the day, bringing one of the warriors back from near-death.

Boromir died heroically. But look at all of those wound markers.

At the end of the game the Fellowship had killed four Pygmies (and got Kong down to Red - Frodo just failed to administer the coup de grace). They lost Boromir and Legolas.

In the second game the Fellowship fought some Uruk Hai. The game was dominated by two crossbowmen (Arquebusiers), and the fact that both sides had a Leader, who were often cancelling each other out.

In this picture Legolas is about to be chopped to pieces by a Uruk Hai Beserker (Brute).

The Fellowship spent most of the game hiding in a wood. With Legolas gone they had little to oppose the crossbows with, and Caesar put a lot of effort into keeping them reloaded.

The Fellowship tried to sneak around using the cover of some buildings. You can see the crossbowmen right at the top of the picture, hiding behind some pikemen.

The Uruk Hai force was:

Chief - Tank/Leader
3 x Warriors with Shield - Tanks
4 x Warriors with Pike - Fighters
Beserker - Brute
2 x Crossbowmen - Arquebusiers

The Arquebusiers proved very good, but I think our battlefield was too open, which favoured them. Boromir died again, shot down on his baseline.

As for the Fellowship, in an ideal game I'd run them like this:

Aragorn - Brute/Tank
Gandalf - Warmage/Leader
Boromir - Fighter
Legolas - Sniper
Gimli - Brute
Frodo - Rogue/Tank
Sam - Fighter
Merry - Fighter
Pippin - Fighter

Frodo's Tank rating reflects his mithril coat. If any Hobbit aside from Frodo gets killed, swap the figure for Boromir instead (the Hobbit taking his position on the field, and his wounds. This rule is purely aesthetic, and ensures that Boromir dies a lot.

Two great games. We're still not totally clear on how some of the rules work, but we enjoyed it. And there was a lot of discussion on using it for other periods as well. Next time we will have to try magic.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

More Giant Monster Nostalgia

More nostalgia from my original, mostly non-wargames, blog (now invisible to the public for reasons too involved to go into here). This is a report of my first ever giant monster game, from April 10th 2005.

I've mentioned before that we like Godzilla movies. Well, a couple of weeks ago I bought a set of wargames rules for recreating the battles you get in them: 'Monster Island' from Firefly Games. These rules allow you to design your own monsters (or represent ones from various films) and then pit them against each other in mortal combat. The expansion 'Escape From Monster Island' pits the monsters against human military forces and covers the ever popular stomping of Tokyo (or whatever city you fancy).

Today was the first chance we had to try the game out.

Although I have bought a set of figures of Godzilla and his foes from E-Bay they haven't arrived yet, so I raided Cei and Maya's toy-box to find some suitable stand-ins. Catherine, Cei, Maya and myself had a monster each - I had Godzilla (of course), Maya had the pterodactyl-like Rodan, Catherine had a giant snake (Serpente) and Cei had an electrically charged monster we called Volton. We set up a battlefield with plenty of boulders (for throwing), water (for swimming) and quicksand (for getting stuck in), and set to.

The game was great fun. The children picked it up pretty quickly and we all tried a range of different attacks against each other, Indeed our one short game managed to encompass most of the rules in the game as we lobbed rocks, and each other, about the field, clawed, bit and crushed or breathed fire and shot electricity at each other.

Rodan was the first to fall, grabbed by Godzilla and dumped in some quicksand. Before the big lizard could celebrate his victory, though, Serpente and Volton hit him together and knocked him out. Serpente then turned on Volton and, shrugging off the electrical attack, constricted him in his mighty coils. Victory to the big snake.

Giant monsters fight. In the centre Godzilla grabs Rodan in a mighty embrace, whilst Serpente slithers out of the water to the left and Volton creeps up behind Godzilla.

A fun game and highly recommended.

I also found some photos of another game we played a week or so later, but not a corresponding report. The plant monster, Metacrinus, and the red robot, Ronin-X, still feature in games. 

Nostalgia, eh?

(The girl in the background of the first two photos is my daughter, Maya. She was eight then. She's now heading towards seventeen. And as big a nerd as I am ... )

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Planes And Tanks - Revisited

A Faded Memory ...
I tried last night's GMR scenario again this evening with the same forces and a similar city. This time the result was very different, with Godzilla destroying all of the tanks and planes, as well as accounting for about twice as many building sections, and all in about the same game-length as before.

Playing a more tactical game, Godzilla made use of the cover offered by the buildings to avoid the fire from the tanks, whilst using the rubble from destroyed buildings as a weapon with which to bring down the aircraft. That said, the planes did inflict a number of hits on him - he was down to the last three of his ten wounds by the end of the game, so it was touch and go, but by the last turn or so the humans were fighting with just a couple of tanks, and the end was inevitable. The city defenders were unlucky with their reinforcement rolls as well; the return of a destroyed plane early in the game could have made a significant difference.

So maybe the balance wasn't as bad as I thought it was. I did try a change where a single activated attack couldn't score more than once critical hit, regardless of how many rolls to hit were made as part of it. In fact it didn't make a difference, but some of last night's defeat was due to the characteristics damage caused by criticals. Possibly they are still too deadly, although I admit that my monster designs tend to have relatively low characteristic values, which means they suffer more from criticals.

Monday, 26 August 2013

How Can Tanks And Planes Stop THAT?

I've often said that I feel the greatest weakness of Giant Monster Rampage was that it has a weak portrayal of on-table military forces. They've never felt right to me. True the game has a lovely abstract system for them, in games that feature just monsters - a Military Strike Phase allows damage to be inflicted on combatants randomly, making the army annoying but mostly ineffective. But I've never been sure about how the design rules allow you to create troops on table.

Last week I put together some designs for military units using the Swarm rules in the book. From the name you can tell that they rules are designed to allow you to create swarms of things; really they are designed for monsters that attack in huge numbers, with the 'creature' being broken up into a number of discrete bases. But the rules say they can be used for military units, and I decided to give them a try.

And here they are. The members of a swarm are identical, so if you want different types of troops you need to create different swarms. So rather than create a 200pt Military swarm (always a possibility) I went for two 100pt swarms.

Heavy Tank Company (Mechanical) - 100pts - 5 members
Distance 3 Dexterity 2 Toughness 4 Instinct 4
Archaic Blast, Blast Armour, Alternator
(Archaic Blast is a power in the Toy Battle System Digest. It's a weak attack which may not activate at all, but could allow a lot of individual shots if it does.)

The tanks are constructed from layers of card, and pieces of wire for the guns. They are mounted on 20mm bases.

Jet Planes (Mechanical) - 100pts - 3 members
Distance 5 Dexterity 3 Toughness 1 Instinct 3
Fly, Mechanical Blast, Aternator, -2 Wounds
(The '-2 Wounds' gave me bonus points to spend, at the cost of having fewer members in the swarm)

My planes are also constructed from card. I made these about eight or nine years ago.

With two swarms ready to go, I pitted against the only obvious foe - Godzilla. And once again he was attacking a city made of Lego, although I added an impressive arabic shopping centre as well, just because it happened to be around.

Godzilla (Animal) - 200pts
Distance 3 Dexterity 3 Toughness 5 Instinct 4
Bite (2"/2), Claw (2"/1), Tail (2"/1, Knockback 2")
Energy Blast, Regeneration, Swim, Tenacity

The destruction of the city began

The tanks advanced. They fired a few long-range shots to no effect.

Two planes swept off to one side ...

... whilst the other made an attack run, inflicting a hit on the big lizard.

Godzilla went for the shopping centre, and failed to make any impression on it at all. The tanks moved in, firing as they came.

With a good roll for Atomic Power al three planes swept into the attack. They all got to fire, and their volley of missiles inflicted a whopping five wounds on Godzilla, plus a couple of critical hits. This wasn't a good start for the monster at all.

Indeed the force of the explosions knocked him off his feet.

In a given phase you can only automatically activate as many swarm members as you have Atomic Power points; other members have to dice to act. Having used them all up in the attack, the planes tried to break off and move out of range of Godzilla's inevitable counter-attack. One didn't make it, and the lizard's atomic breath roasted it.

He then turned and stomped two of the tanks. Despite his wounds, he was inflicting some real casualties on the military.

But swarms can recover wounds (members) just like monsters, and reinforcements were on the way.

The planes made another attack run, inflicting another hit. This wasn't a good turn for Godzilla; he failed to get enough Ap to power his breath weapon, and lost the initiative to the planes and tanks who both rolled well for AP, giving them enormous firepower for the turn.

Whilst two of the tanks regrouped, another pair failed to move, and one was destroyed.

But Godzilla's atomic breath failed to take down one of the aircraft.

The planes came in for another run, and inflicted more damage, before a volley of fire from the tanks finished Godzilla off.

The casualties. One tank had been lost, and returned to the fray as well. So they had suffered quite badly and had Godzilla been luckier with some of his rolls things could have been very different.

The planes perform a victory flypast.

On the whole the swarm rules seemed to work well for military forces, something I didn't expect. The AP rolls worked well as a kind of PIP system (like in HOTT). I'd possibly rethink the use of Archaic Blast for the tanks as it gave them an awful lot of shots for very little AP outlay - it's a possible way of doing a swarm representing infantry forces though. Whilst they are relatively ineffective (the target gets to double their Toughness against them), the tanks rolled well for criticals, which not only cause potential wounds, but force the automatic loss of characteristics as well. By the end of the game Godzilla was down to a Distance, Dexterity and Instinct of 1, and  Toughness of 3; he could barely move fight or fend off attacks.

Both tanks and planes rolled well for AP when it counted, giving them plenty of shots, and also got the initiative on a couple of turns when Godzilla could have benefited from acting before they did. Swarms have the advantage, of sorts, that, given enough AP, they can make multiple use of attacks that a 'normal' monster can only use once per turn. This gives them  lot of fire power. In addition, whilst a normal monster has all of their wounds lumped into one point of the table, each 'wound' in a swam has to be individually targetted, so an attack which does more than one point of damage isn't very cost effective against them.

Godzilla may not have been the best monster to match against such forces; although he have a few close combat attacks, his breath weapon is very all-or-nothing; it's only good for destroying one target a turn (if it hits), and there's a 1 in 5 chance he won't get enough power to use it anyway. A spray weapon such as Flame Blast, or area effect attack such as Barrage Blast could make a real mess of a swarm, allowing multiple opportunities to inflict damage. Perhaps I will have to see how the military fare against some of my other monsters.

So, a short game, but a not uninteresting one. It's certainly given me a few things to think about.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...