Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sci-Fi Small Scale Skirmish Rules Tests Continued

I've been playing games again with the various rule sets i'm considering for very small sci-fi skirmish. The new scenario is rather poorly designed but was intended to simply see how a given rule set scales up and when technologically different cultures clash, with those with better tech outnumbered by those without.

The Setup:

The plucky band of rebels had salvaged an old, pre-cataclysm, ambulance and were out to make a pick up from a supply dump when the old engine gave out.

"Base this is Arturo Fuente, we need a lighter"

*crackle* "Roger that Arturo Fuente, fueling one up and it'll be on its way. ETA 3 hours"

Well, it was no automobile club (not that they had any idea what an automobile club was), so nothing to do but sit and wait. Which would have been fine except for all the bugs...

The Forces:

3 low-tech/mid-tech human resistance fighters

8 no-tech mantis men: regardless of rules, all mantis men would have the same stats (be it HP, Elan, REP etc. ) for ease of tracking.

The Game (This isn't a play-by-play):

The van and resistance fighters were placed in the center of the board and the mantis men encircled them - each placed on the far side of cover so they'd have to come out of the woods to attack.

Here's the table after the first turn of the first test (using USR):

"Guys! We need giant can of bug spray!?"

The first problem that's apparent is that record keeping is complicated by the fact that there are 4 poses of mantis men, 2 of each. It is virtually impossible to distinguish them from one another - so I had to use their clock positions to identify them - this mattered most in USR which has hit points and almost not at all in CR3:FV.

Regardless of rules, this setup is a problem - it's not possible to activate the mantis men as a group making their activation tedious.

However, with two of the sets I've used (USR and USEME) this didn't matter as the humans were quickly overrun by the bugs:

Totally. Hopeless.

Where are these glass blobs coming from????

The primary difference is that in USR, the mantis men had 12 HP and my attacks did little damage - I think I killed 1.

In USEME my humans fared little better.

In both cases, TPK.

CR3:FV gave quite an unexpected twist:

Circle of Dead Bugs

The mantis never got close enough for melee!

"Nice shooting team!"

Now not all of them are dead - technically some are just Out of the Fight:

Gratuitous Pic of My CR3:FV  Clutter Reducing Reaction/Status Tracker

Closing Thoughts:

I didn't bother testing my home mashup rules with this scenario - they use card draw for randomized activation and hit points for damage and so wouldn't tell me anything new.

USR took the longest by far, as each side chipped away at HP and resulted in the fewest mantis men dropped. CR3:FV took the least time and had the most mantis men dropped. USEME, with it's 3 statuses was somewhere in the middle.

I don't think the results were entirely rules dependent, however. The fact that the mantis men were overpowering in the USR game (A: 10, W:8 E:6, HP 12, armor) and were slaughtered in the CR3:FV game due to the failed rolls resulting from being Rep 4 - had as much to do with it as anything. Had I made the USR mantis men less powerful and the CR3:FV more so, the results may have been flip-flopped. For USEME, varying the Elan of the bugs would have most certainly have changed the game. There's no "right" values for the stats though - I'd rather stick to my guns about what I think is an accurate portrayal of my concept of the characters within the given rule set than worry about whether one side is too strong or not.

So, for this type of game, one side outnumbered by the other (although no more than 10 figures on the larger side), regardless of technological advantage, I think any of the rules I'm considering would work fine. It largely depends on how much record keeping I feel like doing and how much time I have.

Finally, the rules test could have been a lot more interesting if the mantis men bases were marked so I could easily identify individuals - this would have allowed variable stats for EACH bug man, rather than just universally assigning HPs, Reps and Elans. And if I was playing this as part of a campaign or cared about the outcome, I'd most definitely have added a turn limit for the "lighter" to arrive - which would have greatly aided the humans in two of the three games.

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