Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Pagoda of Power

There's this pagoda, see, that has some kind of weird mystical thing going on. The evil Xiliens have mind-controlled Godzilla so that he can destroy the pagoda and release its power.

Only Gamera stands in Godzilla's path.

Gamera jetted into Godzilla's path and unleashed his flame-breath. Godzilla returned fire, but the turtles shell protected him.

Godzilla moved off towards the pagoda, but Gamera intercepted and closed into melee.

A tail sweep from Godzilla hurled Gamera into a forest. Gamera struggled to get back up again, whilst Godzilla closed on the pagoda.

It looked like it was all over, but Godzilla hesitated before the objective (in game terms he blew a complete set of movement activation rolls). This gave Gamera time to close, and the two monsters exchanged more attacks. Both were wounded now.

Godzilla broke free and closed with the pagoda, ready to attack it.

Gamera sidestepped and hurled himself bodily into the big lizard ...

... knocking into some rubble.

This time it was Godzilla who struggled to right himself, but he soon resumed his attack on the pagoda, slamming into Gamera and knocking the turtle flat.

Gamera had used his shell to protect himself, and this cost him some actions, but he made one last attempt to stop Godzilla.

But he was too weakened, and Godzilla evaded him again, and destroyed the pagoda.

Both monsters were gambling against wound dice by the end, but Godzilla was lucky enough not to suffer any serious effects  from failures, whereas Gamera suffered a critical knockdown as well as the loss of a couple of key attacks.

I tried a change to the Shell special ability for this game. In Thursday's game we found it to be quite powerful, so I ruled that each time it was used successfully, Gamera had to lose an action from future activations to 'recover' (similar to one of the mecha damage effects in Samurai Robots Battle Royale). Use it too much, and a whole turn could be lost recovering. It seemed to slow down the turtle just a little, and force a decision as to whether to use the ability a couple of times.

I might try this scenario again with a couple of attackers and defenders

Friday, 30 March 2018

Mayhem On Monster Island

'Pacific Rim: Uprising' opened last week and, of course, I rushed off to see it. You'll get no spoilers here, but suffice to say I loved it (as did the rest of my family). It's a little different in tone to the first film, but delivers exactly what you'd expect; monsters and jaegers beating each other up. That's all I ask for.

Anyway, it put me in the mood for some more giant monster gaming, so last night we got out Mighty Monsters at the Gong Garage Gamers. We went for a six-player free-for-all. The objective was an energy crystal in the centre of the table; at the end of each turn the closest monster to the crystal got a VP (all monsters if they were equidistant). Then the crystal teleported 1D6" in a random direction. This made the game a little more fluid than the normal pile-on in the centre of the table. If I ran it again I'd have the crystal move a little further in order to force more movement, but it worked for the purposes of last night's game.

After a quick rundown of the rules for the several players who'd not played before, we set to. Each player selected one monster or mech; I provided eighteen models, from Pacific Rim jaegers, to Godzilla friends and foes to home-brew designs. Three players chose jaegers; Kannika went for Crimson Typhoon, Geoff for Cherno Alpha and Kaleb for Gipsy Danger. The rest of us went for classic monsters; Caesar selected Godzilla, John tried Gamera and I went for Gigan.

Each player started in a corner or at the centre of an edge. Godzilla and Gamera were the first to approach each other, Godzilla scoring a hit with his radioactive-breath as they approached.

(You can just see the crystal bottom-left)

Gipsy Danger appeared, and attacked Gamera. There then commenced a series of the most pathetic combat exchanges you'll ever see in a game of Mighty Monsters, ans both player commenced rolling a whole series of ones and completely failing to do anything to each other. The whole embarrassing exchange ended with the jaeger attempting a kick and falling over.

Gipsy Danger got up, got hit and fell over again in a different place. Gamera jumped on the mech, but managed to mess that up as well.

Meanwhile Godzilla and Gamera fought each other. Gamera grappled the big lizard to bring his chest-mounted buzz-saw into play (seriously).

And here's a picture showing all of the participants in action. The brown counters are boulders, by the way; I managed to forget to bring my box of rocks I usually use for such things.

Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon exchanged some blows; the big Russian jaeger took a hit from the Chinese mech's plasma gun, but scored in close combat by being bigger, heavier and stronger. A slam smacked the red jaeger into the wrestling Godzilla and Gigan knocking them all down. This secured Cherno Alpha a turn closest to the crystal.

The crystal moved so that it was on top of an inaccessible rock. Unless you were Gigan, of course, who had the ability to teleport. And did (not shown).

The first casualty. By now most of us were taking plenty of hits, but Cherno Alpha was the first to fall, its power systems completely fried by a breath attack from Gamera.

Godzilla vs Gipsy Danger. Come on; you'd pay good money to see that film. I would.

The crystal returned to the centre of the table, and three of us managed to get in close enough to score points. But we were all on our last legs by this stage.

Godzilla was the next to fall. Attacked by Gamera he was whittled down by a series of bites, claw attacks and finally a powerful kick.

Gamera was out of the running in terms of points, and Gipsy Danger as well, by virtue of spending a lot of the game knocked over. This left Gigan and Crismson Typhoon facing off. Despite serious injuries Gigan drove the mech back by smashing a boulder into its sensors, teleported close to the crystal, and then used his head-laser to finish the jaeger off.

At that point we called the game because of time constraints. Gigan had very much won on points, although I think at some stages in the game we were having so much fun beating each other up that we forgot to record them, so who really knows who won?

In the cold light of day it's hard to remember all of the specific incidents of the game, but everyone seemed to have fun and all of the designs seemed to work OK. The various options in combat seemed to give people the feel of the various films we were familiar with, and that's important. The game reflects the genre nicely. We had a few reservations about the Shell ability that Gamera had, which seems to offer a very powerful defence for a reasonable cost and minimal 'risk'. But we have a possible idea for fixing that which I will try in another game.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Maurice Campaign 2 - This Time It's Personal

On Thursday we started another six-player Maurice campaign. Unfortunately Gary (Ottomans) couldn't make it, so we rigged the pairings for the first war so that Caesar (French) opposed him, with their game to be played at a later date, whilst the remaining four of us picked one or the other to support and paired off against each other.

So the first war consists of Gary (Ottomans), Peter (Austrians) and myself (Haapasaard-Skando) vs Caesar (French), Ralph (Prussians) and John (Irish).

The last two nations in each alliance might seem unfamiliar. The Electorate of Haapasaard-Skando is basically a Swedish-inspired army based around a fictional Baltic nation which grew out of the Swedish victory in the Great Northern War.  It gave me an excuse to use my Swedes, but padded out as required by Russian troops. The 'Irish' army is Cearbhall's Cataphracts which is, as best as I can tell, an army-sized gang of Irish mercenaries with an improbable backstory.

Anyway, as described above, at some point in the future the French will fight the Ottomans. On Thursday we saw the Austrians defending against a Prussian attack, whilst the Irish found themselves assaulting the army of Haapasaard-Skando.

I couldn't resist weighting my campaign army towards cavalry, something which will, no doubt, come back to bite me on the bum over the next few weeks. Haapasaard-Skando fields seven units of regular cavalry and three of irregular.

The infantry is very much the secondary force - six units.

Faced with a strong cavalry force on one flank, John decided to march his Irish against the other, hoping to overwhelm the defenders of the village of Bona-Polari.

I switched my cavalry to that flank as well, catching the Irish cavalry formed up just before his infantry could move up in support.

It was tight though.

The Irish cavalry fought like demons, and it has to be said that the Swedish horse were not at their best, despite their flank attack advantages and hard-charging Cavaliers special trait. The Irish cavalry did give ground, but not as fast as they should have done. This left the horse of Haapasaard-Skando very battered even after they finished off the majority of the Irish.

John pretty much abandoned his cavalry anyway, focusing his command on getting his infantry into position to face mine. Some of this involved polishing of the remains of my cavalry, though, leaving my morale in a very precarious position.

The Irish led with their elites, but Swedish musketry was better than their use of sabres and they halted the Irish attack, even counter-attacking to finish off a guard unit on the point of breaking.

The Irish made a bold attempt to assault the village with another guard unit, but were thrown back. The Swedes sacrificed a unit of irregular horse to finish off the attackers before they could rally (not pictured).

With his second line of infantry still disorganised, and very much in the wrong part of the battlefield, John decided to withdraw his army at that point, despite a heft morale advantage. My troops could afford to play for time, and nightfall was fast approaching. This gave Haapasaard-Skando a minor victory.

Meanwhile Ralph's Prussians assaulted Peter's Austrians. I don't have the details of this battle to hand, but I know that it started with some brisk fighting between opposing hussars in the woods near the Prussian baseline, followed by a Prussian attack on the Austrian infantry that nearly broke them, the deadly Prussian musketry tearing great holes in the white-coated ranks.

Peter snatched a victory but pulling his cavalry out of reserve and onto the flanks of the Prussian infantry, giving Ralph pause for thought and causing him to call off the attack and quit the field.

This gives two victories to the Ottoman/Austrian/Skando alliance. The war could end if the Ottomans win or don't lose heavily. I hope so, because in rolling for post-battle experience my troops didn't do so well, and after replacing losses a lot of my army is now conscripts in dire need of a period of peace for essential training.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sunday Dreamtime

I got out my Indigenous Australian matched HOTT armies this morning, since I have been promising myself for ages that I'd try a couple of games and see if the matchup really is as unbalanced as I think it is.

I'm happy with the Heroes of the Dreamtime (shown here). They're a nice mix of warband and flyers, with a single beast and hero in support, and a god and some lurkers waiting in the wings.

The Horrors of the Dreamtime are more of a problem, mostly because they have a single flyer general and no other aerials, making him rather vulnerable, since the opposing army has two flyers and (potentially) a god. Oh, and the hero. The two behemoths are quite dangerous to the opposing warband, it's true, and there's a magician to cause the enemy flyers a few hairy moments, but really it doesn't seem enough. The rest of the army is beasts, hordes and lurkers.

So in the first game the Horrors attacked the Heroes. The Heroes got themselves onto a hill, whilst the Horrors advanced.

The Heroes' god appeared, and immediately attacked the Horrors' general.

The Horrors continued their advance, but the god kept up his attack and killed their general. Game over.

The second game saw the Horrors defending. Both armies ended up fighting a very fragmented battle.

This was due, in part, to the Heroes opting to ignore a frontal assault on the enemy Behemoths (sensible) and send the warbands on a flank march through some woods. Rubbish PIPs meant that the Whowhie was able to move to intercept them.

The Winjarning Brothers, the heroes of the Heroes, rushed to the warriors' aid.

Meanwhile the mighty Wulgaru was having trouble with some domesticated dingoes.

He recoiled into the Goose Women (magician), destroying them.

It was all looking a bit of a mess for the Horrors.

The Horrors got a line together, but the Heroes attacked. The Whowie was driven back by the heroes and ...

... a lucky combat roll saw Marmoo The Evil One killed by some whirlwind-spirits, ending the battle with another defeat for the Horrors.

My conclusion? The Horrors need a rethink. I'm tempted to drop one of the beasts (since they are very similar in background) in favour of a second flyer, and even two of the hordes in favour of a third. This would give the Horrors a decent supported aerial force, albeit one hampered by the PIP costs of having a magician in the same army. I shall have a think about how I want to depict these new elements, and give them  a try. Sometime in the next ten years or so ...
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