With Neighbours Like These... (Lite Battle Report)

We played a rather big, 3-player game today which took maybe two hours from setup to pack-down - a nice way to spend some time with the family.

Both Paddy and Alex used an Ork Tribe (Nob, MegaNob and three Bois) who were attempting to steal four green 'Ork Crystals' from the ruined edge of Libuscha Prime.  I was charged with repulsing the Orkish incursion using a force of (our newly minted) Nova Corp Marines (a Captain, Power Suited Fire Support and six Marines).  Victory conditions were pretty rubbery: working together the Orks would truly overwhelm me, but it wasn't in their interest to let the other Tribe win - yes, I was encourage Tribe-vs-Tribe, Brother-vs-Brother grudges!

We played the game using Rogue Planet rules, with a couple of modifications just to make things a little simpler - some of these rules evolved whilst we were playing.

Action Points: we always rolled for Action Points with the highest outcome being able to choose who commenced the Turn. Only 1d6 was used per side.

Crystals: could be picked-up by the Orks using a full Action or attempted with a Move Action but requiring a Skill Roll with a Failure resulting in a FX move of the Crystal in a random direction.  Should a Unit carrying a Crystal die or expend Energy avoiding damage, then a Skill Roll is made to see if the Crystal is fumbled.
Partial Successes and Failures: because there was three of us, each free Move resulting from Partial Successes and Failures were awarded to a roll-off between the other two opponents.

The boys put the map together themselves with only basic instructions from me.  I told them I wanted the Western third forest, the middle third ruins and the Easter third a City and that's where the crystals were to be located.  It was nice to see them discussing things between themselves, thinking about what would make sense and be fun rather than just trying to fill the table with terrain nor trying to make it too easy.  Nice going boys!

So what happened?  

Well Alex got the jump on Paddy and moved up a couple of his Boyz to the centre pretty quickly - my Fire Support Marine held them back but was eventually locked down in melee with a MegaNob.  That particular melee lasted almost the length of the game which was surprising.
Good thing this Human wore his Powered Armour - with all those Greenskins inbound, he's going to need it!
Whilst Alex and I were occupied, Paddy sped past with his MegaNob and Nob and managed to nick two crystals from under my nose!  I just couldn't roll enough Action Points to deal with them both!
Paddy's MegaNob sneaking the first Crystal for the day whilst
all hell breaks loose behind him to the West.
Alex, in true Orkish style, decided that he wasn't going to let Paddy win so turned his attention onto Paddy, locking him up in the gully to the South West.  That gave me an opportunity to rain fire down on the combined Orks which slowly but surely started yielding results - a couple of Critical Hits on a few of the Boyz made a big difference (Critical Hits on Light Armour cannot be offset by Energy).

Eventually Paddy did manage to get two Crystals back but his attempt to secure further Crystals were stopped by determined Nova Corp fire from the high ground - both the ruined building and the bunker, both to the West of the Crystals.
"Let's get out of here Boss!"
Soon after Alex's last Ork was taken down, both Paddy and I ran out of Energy, but the difference being I had 4 Units left to Paddy's 1.  Gaining a 6:1 Action Point advantage during the last Turn allowed me to pile my troops onto Paddy and using a press of numbers, I managed to knock him out.

Paddy declared the game a tie between me and him - he said if Alex had managed to get a Crystal I would have lost (losing 3 of the 4 Crystals), but since I only lost two, I didn't lose.  He was pleased with his effort and said next time he'll beat me - now he knows how.  Mmmm.... Megan was a bit surprised that Alex didn't come out on top this time, we've finally broken his lucky streak 👍
So brother, you beat me this time... I will have to rethink my strategy!

Hobby Time (Aug17)

We've been doing a bit of terrain making as of late which is a lot of fun.  The kids like smashing together a ruined building or two, getting to do some spray painting, gluing, etc - you can't really go wrong and it's a very quick process.
Nova Corp Marines patrol a Banksia grove whilst being observed by IMEF forces.
The weird looking things behind the Nova Corp Marines are our newly minted alien plants.  What are they?   An Australian native shrub called a Banksia.  There's quite a few varieties and once their flowers go to seed, they look a lot  like clams on a scaley lizard's/snake's body.  Creepy, but perfect for 28mm terrain.  With Charlie's assistance I sawed off the bottom of a flower spike (technically called an inflorescence) then screwed it onto a heavy card/pulp board base.  Jez, those flower  spikes are tough to cut!  After that it was simply a case of gluing down some pebbles and there you have it - some alien plants.

The above picture uses another Australian Native's foliage, it's the nut of a Gum Tree aka Gum Nuts.  I got these babies to my shed, hit them with a course file then glued them along with a few handfuls of gravel onto a bit of card.  Sprayed the whole lot with some spray-on adhesive (I didn't have any other glue handy) and finished it off with Paddy's application of slimy blue glitter paint oozing out and around the nuts.  I think it looks rather good!  I think we'll make some more at some point.

A band of Orks make their way through the ruins... but who's that observing them from the shadows???

Finally we bashed together five bits of ruins.  The ruins were constructed out of foamcore and cardboard off cuts, kitty litter, pebbles a little plastic ladder (that might have once been on one of Charlie's many firetrucks) all held together using PVA glue.  A basecoat of black spray paint was applied, then some primarily silver acrylic paint was dabbed on using a small sponge.  Finally I made some watery brown and red paint and poured, blobbed and flicked it over various elements.  So quick and it looks pretty cool... a nice counter-point to our existing, more pristine sci-fi terrain.

Rogue Zombies (Rogue Planet)

Now one thing my boys like is a good zombie - and a"good zombie" according to the Berman Boys means it's slow, groaning, shambling and of the brain eating variety.  While we were playing the Terminator Genisys Rules, we did incorporate Zombies rather successfully in our games but Rogue Planet holds a very different challenge: that being movement in Rogue Planet is effectively unlimited.  Yep, if a Unit has a clear path to its objective, then it can move directly to the objective - no measuring involved.

So that means zombifying a Unit by reducing the distance it can normally move ain't going to work in Rogue Planet.  What's that Paddy?  If you can't fight zombies, you won't play??  Talk about making things hard for your old man...

Well this is what we've come up with and so far it seems to be working out:

A Zombie Unit in Rogue Planet is subjected to the following penalties and restrictions:
Move and Intercept requires a Skill Check, resolved as per Charge Skill Check.
When countering Zombie Actions, non-zombies are provided with the following buff:
Dodge - a Unit can attempt to Dodge a Zombie Charge at zero Action Point Cost.  Furthermore, because an Action Point hasn't been expended, the non-zombie player may attempt a further Counter Action (at the standard Action Point cost) the Charge with either another Unit or even attempt a Double Dodge (using two, instead of one Rogue Die).
I considered removing the ability for Zombies to Dodge, but that just felt plain mean... maybe anything short of getting blasted in the noggin is considered a successful dodge amongst zombie-kind?

So what did that do to our games?  Well it certainly made it harder for the Zombies to connect with their targets in melee.

I used a small force of Zombies against Paddy's Humans - nothing too complicated, just a 'simple hold' out style game.  What I found was the usual 2 Action Point combination of (1) Move/Engage and (2) Melee was being frustrated by my @#%% zombies failing their Movements (wasting an Action Point) and then Paddy was also regularly* Dodging as he'd just as often invest his Action Points and attempt a Double Dodge.  So my game(s) adapted over time and I found myself increasingly moving my zombies like a horde: not worrying about initiating Melee overmuch, rather trying to box in Paddy's Units UNTIL I could afford a number of consecutive Move-to-Engages ... funnily enough it kind of fit the theme quite well.

What I don't know yet is how to factor the 'Slow' Trait into Unit Credit costings.  Well cost isn't the right term, it should actually provide a discount of sorts.  I'm presently thinking that a zombie trait could offset a 1 Point increase in both CQ and DEF. That way zombifying Units is easily done and all such Units become more melee-focused and damage resistant regardless of whether they are designated as individuals or a Group.  So some examples of that thinking applied:

  • Our standard Human Trooper's stat line would change from CQ2 RAT4 DEF4 to 3/4/5, equating to a 8 Credit offset for the Slow de-buff; and
  • A zombie Gilli's 4/5/5 would up to 5/5/6 equating to 11 Credits.
The other bit we might trial relates to zombies use of Failure and Partial Success free moves.  Presently only non-skill Checked Move Actions are awarded for a less than Total Success result.  With the above tweaks in mind,  I think we may allow allow that zombies can Move but will still be required to Skill Check, but with no advantages awarded should that particular Check fail.

*Paddy really should be playing craps in a casino and making us money rather than wasting his time learning how to wargame) and was more inclined to attempt to Disengage.  I wonder if Crown Casino does work experience for Primary School children?

PS shout out to an 2015 post from in his Fantalonia Blog which got me thinking after reading "...Since [in Rogue Planet] there is no way to model units with slower movement (I wanted "classic" slow zombies) they became infected mutants...".