Sunday, 31 January 2016

HOTT On The Ice And Sand

I played a couple of games of HOTT this afternoon, set in rather different environments. It's feels like it's been a while since I played straight 24AP HOTT, so I was quite looking forward to it. And I decided to try some of my more esoteric armies.

The first saw my Wildlings facing the Inland Dwellers of Etah, both armies from the land of ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. The Wildlings are, of course, derived from Game of Thrones, whereas the Inland Dwellers of Etah are a mixed force of various nasties from Inuit mythology.

The Inland Dwellers defended, and the Wildlings ended up attacking across ice floes and fissures.


The Wildlings.


The Inland Dwellers of Etah.


The Wildling's mounted general was supported by a mighty giant.


The Inland Dwellers are a mixed bag, led by a Magician.


The Inland Dwellers attacked first, sending various Beasts to attack the Wildling's left before it could extricate itself from the rough going.


The Wildlings attacked rapidly with their foot-soldiers on the other flank.


The opening stages of the battle.


The Wildlings swept towards the Inland Dweller's left.


They also advanced their mounted troops and the giant.


Battle was joined.


On both flanks.


The giant came under attack from the flank, but saw off his foes.


However the evil sorcerer that commanded the Inland Dwellers wove dark magic and caused the Wildling commander's horse to stumble on the ice, throwing him and killing him instantly.


This left the Wildlings without a leader, and with casualties about equal on both sides their army soon collapsed.

I moved somewhere warmer for my next game - the Australian Outback, pitting my Warriors of the Dreamtime against the Horrors of the Dreamtime. I've been meaning to play this matchup for a while, as I think the armies are unbalanced and that the Horrors need a revamp.

Here are the Horrors of the Dreamtime, defending.


The Warriors, a small force, were attacking.


The armies closed. The Horrors are made up of an eclectic mix of troop types, difficult to run as an organised whole, but they have troops which are dangerous to those of the Warriors.


However the appearance of the Great Spirit early on saw the Warriors ready to take the fight to their foes.


In a risky attack, the God took on the Horrors' Magician, the evil Goose Women, whilst whirlwind spirits kept the other monsters at bay.


With the Goose Women destroyed, the Great Spirit turned on the mighty Wulgaru, destroying that as well.



His work done, help left the Warriors to win the battle for themselves, which they did with a fierce attack ...


... which drove all before them.


With his minions in disarray, the evil Spirit Marmoo fled, ready to fight another day.


  Both games were quite short, the one being won by a lucky magical attack and the other by the early appearance of a God. That's HOTT for you.


Friday, 29 January 2016

Giant Monster Rampage - Ghidorah vs Gambler Diamond

I had a go at Giant Monster Rampage with Caesar last night. We had hoped to fit in a couple of games, but I've had PC problems so wasn't as prepared as I'd hoped to be, and Caesar had to work late, so we didn't have as much time as we hoped - or the third player, in the form of his son.

We threw together a quick attacker/defender game. Caesar had never played before. I used the basic GMR, rather than the newer playtest version, because I hadn't had chance to really play around with suitable designs for monsters. I did, however, bolt a few ideas and concepts based on the new version onto the game.

This was the setup.


I took the mighty alien space-dragon, Ghidorah!


Caesar, being a bit of a fan of Pacific Rim, went for a Jaeger, called Gambler Diamond.


Gambler Diamond was powerful in close combat and defence but lacked any mobility abilities. Ghidorah was better in ranged combat, and could fly. The military would hinder both sides. I need to come up with a mechanism where the military doesn't hinder the defender quite so much, as with his lower mobility Gambler Diamond found his movement hampered by them far too much.


Ghidorah engaged in some initial building destruction, but intervention from the military made this harder to do, and he was eventually forced to move towards the advancing Jaeger.


Hovering above a skyscraper he unleashed energy blasts on the mech.


The monsters engaged in close combat. Ghidorah was knocked down, but quickly got up, grabbed Gambler Diamond ...


... and threw him into a building, nearly destroying it.


Ghidorah moves in for another attack.


After an exchange of blows Ghidorah fled to another part of the board, whilst Gambler Diamond slowly followed. It was obvious at this stage that Gambler Diamond's design needs greater speed,

Eventually he caught up with Ghidorah again, just in time to have rubble hurled at him.


The Jaeger leaped into close combat, but Ghidorah grabbed him again ...


... spun him around ...


... and threw him into another building.


With that we reached the turn limit for the game. Ghidorah was, in fact, down to his last three wounds (of ten), whilst Gambler Diamond was about half damaged, having had good recovery rolls whilst running around the board trying to catch up. But Ghidorah easily won on points having demolished several buildings. Gambler Diamond needed to take Ghidorah down fairly quickly for a win, and failed to do so.

I need to properly document the changes we played, and give some of them more gameplay, but I have some comments to take back to the author. The way military units work - as a form of mobile blocking terrain and series of combat modifiers - was excellent, but poor on-the-fly scenario design meant that Gambler Diamond was more inconvenienced by the military than his opponent.

Meanwhile in the posh meeting room, Ralph, Bryan and John gave Team Yankee an airing. We didn't see a lot of this, but a short visit towards the end of the game showed a number of 1985 vintage tanks aflame, so it obviously ran pretty much as you'd expect.



Sunday, 24 January 2016

King Kong vs Godzilla

I was recently contacted by Ken of Radioactive Press asking if I'd like to get involved in playtesting a new version of Giant Monster Rampage he's working on. Called Kaiju Rampage (at present), this is something of a reworking of the original game if not from the ground up, certainly from the knees upwards. Ken has chosen to drop a lot of standard, core rules, rewrite them and integrate what used to be optional rules into the main game. He hopes that the end result will be a more streamlined game, and certainly I think that's no bad thing. The current system works pretty well, but has lots of odd rules scattered around and some areas where things don't hang together too consistently. Sometimes the interaction between certain abilities isn't obvious, for example. Another aim of the game is to decrease randomness and make the game a little more tactical.

I have read the rules through, and decided to give them a spin this afternoon, pitting two 200pt monsters against each other. Because they were to hand I used Lego minifigs - firstly Kong.


And secondly Godzilla - quite obviously a man in a suit.


I returned to my Lego cityscape, because it better suited the figures in terms of look and scale.


Because of the diminutive size of the figures I used a 16" square board, and converted all distances from inches to centimetres. As you can see above, though, the on-table military units (about which later) were my usual card and hair-roller jobbies.


Godzilla started the ball rolling, using his atomic breath to partially destroy a skyscraper. I'd just set defeating an opposing monster as a victory condition, so building destruction was really just incidental. However I had destroying buildings generate rubble objects, which could be thrown, so added to the ranged attack possibilities.


Kong bounded through the city. He was faster and more agile than Godzilla, but equipped entirely for close combat. To be honest monsters like that have always done well in GMR.


Kong destroyed some buildings.

You can see that the miltary had been moving around as well. Each turn a player can move one of the units a certain distance. When engaging in combat a monster gets a positive modifier for each military unit within a certain distance of the target. There is a negative modifier for each one within a certain distance of you. This nicely reflects the distracting effect such units have, without over-complicating things, and allows for a certain amount of strategy in positioning them to hinder your opponent without hindering you.


Kong threw a chunk of building at Godzilla, and hit him squarely, knocking him back over a military unit, which was destroyed.


Godzilla retaliated with energy blasts, but kept missing.



With a couple of hits scored on the big lizard, Kong moved in with his fists and his demoralising roar.


Over the next couple of turns he kept pounding Godzilla, who was constantly stunned and unable to effectively retaliate.


It was soon all over, with Kong triumphant.


I know Ken is planning some changes to what he's set up already, so I'd be interested in seeing where they go, but on the basis of this one game I didn't feel that the rules had quite the same sparkle as the originals. I think that the aim of streamlining the combat abilities is a good one, and there are some good ideas to be had here, but I wasn't as happy with this version as I thought I'd be. True, I think that the balance of the monsters was off, but that's something I can test by perhaps trying the same setup but using the original rules (and suitable designs based on them). I shall report more as the project progresses, however.
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