Showing posts with label battlesworn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label battlesworn. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Gunfight at Experiment Ranch

One of the things I've fancied trying with Battlesworn is a western gunfight. It's one of the suggested options in the rules, and now I kind of understand how to play the game I thought I'd finally give it a whirl.

I do own a small western town, made up of paper buildings I inherited from another gamer many years ago (when I lived in the UK in fact). However for a first game I decided to go for a more 'conventional' setting, so just laid out a terrain with rocks, brush, fences and two small buildings from my Mexican collection.

I don't have any Wild West figures, but Junior General's paper-figure collection helped out there.

Here's the one gang. There's seven of them. They look fairly heroic.

This lot look more of a band of desperados.

Both groups were made up of 12 slots. They were:

Good Guys

4 x Shooters
1 x Sniper/Marksman
1 x Shooter/Bard
1 x Shooter/Tank


1 x Leader/Sniper
1 x Shooter/Dynamiter
4 x Shooters
4 x Shooter/Rabble

Whoah! Hold on there, pardner! There are a few bits in there that stick out more'n a rattlesnake in a sausage roll!

Well, yes. I fiddled with the rules a bit in this game. Firstly, I used Victor's idea for the core of a Shooter-based force in a Shooter-based game; instead of having Fighters, which really have no place in such a setting, I used Shooter/Rabble. You get four of them. They shoot like Shooters. They die like Rabble. However I added an option. For one slot you can upgrade two of them to ordinary Shooters. And for another slot you can upgrade the other two. That's why the Good Guys don't seem to have enough points; their four Shooter/Rabble have been upgraded to Shooters.

I ignored the limits on how many multi-class characters you could have. Just because.

Marksman? Well, yes. We have been discussing the idea of a Shooter-based Brute ability, where they hit on a 4+ rather than a 5+. This seemed to be a chance to try it out.

The Bard I rationalised as a fast-talking character, encouraging to his own side and infuriating to the opponents. Rather than charge upon being taunted, though, an opponent had to shoot at the Bard. I wasn't really sure how that would work out.

Finally, Dynamiter. Well, the game needs more classes, that's for sure. A lot of the existing classes don't sit that well in the Wild West setting. A Dynamiter is basically a Warmage who only gets the Fireball spell. However when they use it, it ignores all cover, and the Rogue's dodge ability. But it can only be used as an action, and it costs two activations.

On with the game. I played a straight, head-to-head solo game as per Knights and Knaves, just to try things out. I played the Good Guys (of course).

The Good Guys rushed to occupy the hill, with their Sniper/Marksman getting into a nice position behind a rock and with the Bard close by to encourage him. The Shooter/Tank moved to a forward position in order to draw fire.

The Desperados moved up to the fence-line, to get maximum cover.

The shooting started. The Desperado's leader was still on their start-line, out in the open. The Good Guy's Sniper had a line of fire ...

... and down he went, stone dead.

There was lots more shooting, and little more moving into position.

The Dynamiter fell, having not had any chance to show off his skills.

More shooting, turn after turn. Very little movement, turn after turn.

The Desperados were mostly stuck engaging the tough Shooter/Tank who was firmly ensconced behind a rock forward of the other Good Guys. Using some unopposed actions they charged him to engage him in fisticuffs.

It didn't end well.

On the last turn another Desperado was shot down by the Sniper on the hill.

And that was the end of the game. The desperados lost four figures (one a Shooter/Rabble, a Shooter, their Dynamiter and their Leader). The Good Guys escaped without even taking a scratch.

Neither side had moved much from their original positions.

And that last line summed it up. With most of the game based on shooting there was little incentive to move. Figures were either better off firing, or it was too dangerous to move around and draw fire. Maybe further play will show that there are tactics peculiar to forces like this. And maybe scenarios, where figures are obliged to move to objectives, would make for a less static game. As it was the game worked, but it lacked interest. With no figures on the table really geared for close combat, there was little point in setting up charges. The charge at the end was merely to try and pin an enemy character so another could be targeted, and maybe that's a strategy to consider in future games.

I think that if I wanted to pursue this idea much further I'd be looking at adding a few Wild West specific classes to the game. Having pretty well everyone as a Shooter needs something else to spice it up a little.

Oh, and it was fairly obvious that the Marksman ability is very powerful, especially combined with Sniper. I may have to look at an alternative way of doing it. One possibility is to allow the character to reroll up to two of their dice when shooting; that could be useful without being too deadly.

Still, it was an experiment I'm glad I tried, and I was more than happy with the look of the game.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Fu Manchu's Halls of Horror - The Scenario

In the comments on my Fu Manchu vs SAVE game I was asked if I could post the scenario so that others could have a go. So here it is.

Actually that's a lie. The scenario I played was the 'initial draft' and, to be honest, it was broken in a few places. Indeed I changed a few elements of it as I went along, to make a better game. That's a bonus of solo gaming; sometimes you can change the game without upsetting your opponent,

What I'm posting here is the scenario as it is now, after a couple more games and a few minor and not-so minor revisions.

So the scenario, in case you didn't get it from my writeup, is that Fu Manchu is in a big old country house and about to perform a mystic ritual that will do something unpleasant. Envoys from SAVE are rushing to stop him. They must fight their way through his minions and prevent the ritual from being completed.

Here are the forces I used:


The Baron - Brute/Chaos Warrior
Josephine Carfax - Sniper/Rogue
Reverend Philips - Witch-Hunter
Ranjit Singh - Arquebusier
Muscle x 4 - Fighters
Hired Guns x 2 - Shooters

Forces of Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu - Witch/Leader
His Daughter - Familiar (Rogue/Rabble)
Skeletons x 6 (see below, though) - Rabble
Lot 249 - Assassin/Tank
Jack The Ripper - Brute/Rogue
Hassan the Silent - Brute/Monk

As you can see, Fu Manchu's force isn't strictly legal according to the rules, but who cares?

The board is laid out as follows, using GW's Halls of Horror floorplans, or your own facsimile thereof:

The blue counters represent SAVE's three entry points (spawn points, for you kids brought up on video games).

The yellow markers represent the entry points for Fu Manchu's minions.

There are two short corridors linking the doors at the end of the landings to Fu Manchu's chamber of sorcery. the one on the left is short and straight. It is intentional that the one on the right has a turn on it, as it means that it takes an extra turn to traverse.

I put an Unearthly Horror in the pentagon in the centre of the pentagram. This is merely terrain, blocking both movement and line of sight through the pentagon. The altar blocks movement, but not line of sight. It counts as cover.

Stairs are obstacles. You stop when you reach them. On the next turn you can move up or down the flight of stairs, and continue beyond them; moving off a flight of stairs is not a terrain change.

I allowed figures on the floor of the hall to shoot at figures on the landing above them, and vice versa. The balustrades act as cover.

A figure must stop when they land on a door. They can then move off it into the area beyond on their next move. Basically a door exists in both 'areas it connects.

The scenario starts with three SAVE envoys positioned on their start points. Fu Manchu gets two skeletons. They are positioned randomly; there are twelve possible entry points so I'll leave it to you to work out how to do that. Only one figure may be on an entry point at a time; in order for it to be used for reinforcements the figure must be moved off it.

Fu Manchu and his Daughter deploy in the chamber, adjacent to the altar. Fu Manchu must remain adjacent to his altar until a SAVE envoy enters his chamber. He may cast spells or use his Leader ability normally, however. His daughter may move normally. Note that, as a Witch, Fu Manchu can trace line of sight from his daughter. I allow him to apply this to his Leader ability as well as spell-casting.

Both sides get reinforcements. These can be deployed on an entry point as an action or reaction by that figure. SAVE can only use the three blue points, and then only if they are clear. Fu Manchu's minions randomly determine their point of entry. If it's blocked, then roll again. You cannot block an opponent's entry points; shuffle figures around if necessary. However figures cannot enter straight into close combat.

Fu Manchu has unlimited skeletons, but can only have up to six in play at any given time. The mummy (Lot 249), Jack the Ripper and Hassan the Silent are lost for good if they are killed, so time their deployment wisely.

Once per game Fu Manchu may bring on a character on the red entry point (the side door into his chamber).

Fu Manchu may never have more than 6 Skeletons in play. However there are unlimited numbers of them available - any Skeletons destroyed are returned to the pile of potential reinforcements.

From turn 11 onwards Fu Manchu may begin performing the Ritual. The Ritual is a spell, with a bid minimum of 4. It can only be cast as an action (not a reaction), so Fu Manchu must have the initiative. Roll a D6 for each point bid. If any of them are a '6' then the Ritual has succeeded. If Fu Manchu casts the Ritual three times, then he wins.

Victory: Fu Manchu wins if he successfully performs the Ritual, or if SAVE have more dead figures than living. SAVE win by killing Fu Manchu.

I have played this through a few times, and SAVE have never won. However in all but one game they have fought through to the chamber and engaged Fu Manchu, coming close to killing him in a couple of times. So if the balance is out, it isn't out by much. It's a hard game to create balanced scenarios for, because it is very random in places. It tells a great story, though, however it pans out. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Fu Manchu's Halls of Horror

When playing Chill back in the 1980s, along with various figures from GW's Gothic Horror range I also bought their Halls of Horror floor-plans, which were a series of rooms depicting late 19th/early 20th century rooms in a big country house. As with the figures these have sat mostly idle for the past 30 years. However I wondered if they'd work as a restricted playing area for Battlesworn. After all, the game doesn't use measurement, so the size of the playing area is irrelevant, so long as the figures fit onto it in a sensible manner. The furniture would act to block movement, and stairs would be a change of terrain. Fighting in corridors or passages would create interesting restrictions. I decided to set up a game using some of the rooms, to see how they'd look and whether they would be practical.

I rummaged through the box, and came up with this setup - a grand hallway leading to an  upper chamber in which dark sorcery is obviously being enacted.

The perpetrator of this evil is, of course, Dr. Fu Manchu, who is using the captured Miss Faversham in an unspeakable ritual to summon some dark elder god. Or he is giving her a lesson in Australian botany.

Knowing SAVE would be on their way to attempt to thwart his plans, Fu Manchu has assembled a force of minions. They include six Skeletons (Rabble), the Mummy, Lot 249 (Assassin/Tank), his bodyguard Hassan The Silent (Monk/Brute) and Jack The Ripper (Brute/Rogue).

SAVE burst into the building.

A couple of skeletons are waiting for them. The fight is on!

I ran this as a solo game, although it's not designed as such. I will write the scenario up properly in another post if there's any interest, but the gist of it was that SAVE had to fight their way up the stairs, along the balconies on either side of the hall and into Fu Manchu's chamber of sorcery in order to prevent him completing his dark ritual. There was a time-limit on this. After ten turns Fu Manchu would be able to start casting the ritual, which was run as a spell. If he cast it successfully three times then it would be completed, and SAVE would lose. Obviously if they took enough casualties then they would also lose.

Both sides started with only some of their force in action. At the end of each turn, Fu Manchu could bring on either two skeletons, or one of the other characters, their position being randomly determined, but basically coming from the various doorways or archways around the board. Once per game he could bring on one character through the doorway into his chamber instead of rolling for its position. The skeletons could be recycled; destroyed models could be brought back on later turns, but there could never be more than six in lay at any given time. SAVE could bring up to three characters on each turn, although only three could fit in the archway, so characters previously brought on would have to move out of the way first.

SAVE rushed across the hallway. One Fighter was intercepted by a skeleton, but The Baron and another Fighter reached the foot of the stairs.

More skeletons appeared through the archways, as Josephine Carfax, Ranjit Singh and a hired gun entered the building.

The Baron and a Fighter raced up the stairs. A skeleton rushed to stop them but was calmly shot down by Miss Carfax. At the top of the stairs The Baron turned right; with a skeleton already covering the stairs on the other side left wasn't the best option. The Fighter moved to cover his rear.

Misfortune for SAVE; one of their Fighters was cut down.

Skeletons appeared to block the Baron's move. He also found himself cursed by Fu Manchu, who could cast spells at this stage (Curse doesn't need a line of sight).

Miss Carfax was attacked by a skeleton.

And Jack The Ripper appeared on the balcony.

At this stage SAVE were in trouble. The bidding had gone badly for them, with tied bids on two consecutive rounds going to Fu Manchu. Their advance had been halted, opponents were appearing everywhere to hinder them and the clock was ticking.

Fu Manchu's daughter appeared. As a familiar he could use her to trace a line of sight for casting his paralysis spell and (I decided, although it's not specifically stated) use his Leader ability.

Lot 249 lumbered out of a doorway. His Assassin ability represented a particularly nasty mummy's curse.

Miss Carfax fell to a skeleton's axe.

An overview a few turns in. The Baron and the Fighter (I must give the supporting muscle and guns some names) had a tough run ahead of them along either balcony now, with virtually all of Fu Manchu's minions in play. Ranjit Singh moved up in support. He's an Arquebusier, so would be good for one, possibly two, good shots during the game.

A skeleton attacked Ranjit Singh, but he smashed it to pieces with a single blow. A gunman felled another skeleton.

Battle was joined on the top landing!

Both skeletons were easily dispatched, but the Baron was wounded.

More skeletons appeared as Fu Manchu got a lucky reinforcements placement roll.

The Reverend Philips was beset by another of the endless supply of skeletons.

The Baron and the Fighter were now working their way along the balcony. Skeletons in the main hall below prevented the hired guns from providing fire support, however.

Jack the Ripper was downed!

Ranjit Singh reached the top landing.

Smashing his way through a final skeleton, the Fighter reached the passage to Fu Manchu's chamber! But time had caught up with SAVE; the ritual had begun.

A skeleton cut down the cursed and wounded Baron.

With the enemy at the gates, Fu Manchu called on his bodyguard, the formidable Hassan The Silent.

The monstrosity in the pentagram could not fight, but it blocked movement and line of sight. Could SAVE stop the ritual?

Ranjit Singh was attacked by a skeleton, whilst another prepared to charge.

Hassan the Silent attacked the brave SAVE Fighter, whilst Fu Manchu chanted, compleing the first part of the ritual.

Ranjit Singh defeated one skeleton, but another appeared further along the balcony. However SAVE won a tied initiative, allowing him to rush past them to the door before they could react.

Hassan the Silent easily dispatched his foe.

Fu Manchu completed the second part of the ritual. One more part would see his victory.

SAVE were up against it now. Ranjit Singh and the Reverend Philips were almost at the door of his chamber, but the other envoys were now blocked from reinforcing them by the mummy, Lot 249, waiting at the top of the first landing.

Ranjit Singh burst into Fu Manchu's chamber.

Fu Manchu attempted to complete the third part of the ritual, but failed! Casting the ritual required an action, so the game now became a tense on of trying to prevent Fu Manchu from getting the initiative he needed to make an attempt.

Again, a lucky initiative win saw Ranjit Singh dodge past Hassan the Silent, to reach Fu Manchu's altar.

The two characters faced each other.

A tied initiative bid!

Fu Manchu wins!

He cast the ritual, needing to score one 6 in a 6D6 roll. He failed - again!

Enter the Reverent Philips! As a Witch-Hunter he gets a bonus when fighting Fu Manchu.

Ranjit Singh fired his shotgun, but only clipped Fu Manchu's robe. Fu Manchu's returned paralysis spell failed to hit as well.

The Reverend Philips ducked out of sight of the bodyguard.

Ranjit Singh bravely engaged Hassan the Silent whilst the Reverend rushed towards Fu Manchu.

There was fighting! There were wounds!

Using his Monk ability, Hassan the Silent broke off from Ranjit Singh, ready to assist his master.

But the day was lost for SAVE elsewhere. Two of their gunment had fought and destroyed Lot 249 in an epic struggle at the top of the stairs. But both were now poisoned, and one wound from death ...

A gunman succumbed to the Curse of the Mummy, pushing SAVE over their casualty limit. Fu Manchu had won!

The positions at the end. I did run through the last combats in the chamber, but no-one inflicted any damage. SAVE had come very close to pulling of a last-minute victory, but the initiative had generally always been with Fu Manchu.

The scenario gave a tense and exciting game, although I'd need to play it through again before deciding if it is properly balanced. With so many random elements balance is always difficult to achieve anyway; two lost initiative bids early on cost SAVE a lot of time, for example. In addition it's possible that the endless supply of skeletons, whilst dramatic, might also make life too difficult for the envoys. Maybe just having a limited, but larger supply would work. Or maybe remove a skeleton from play permanently if it is hit by three or more wounds, giving SAVE an incentive to hit them hard early on.

Needless to say the floorplans looked great, despite the funky perspective, and gave a proper period feel to the action.
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