Played a game of scifi last night using my rules, nominally called 'Force Agenda'. The game was played with two gaming friends (Darran and Stew) who had not played the game before. I decided to focus upon the combat portion of the game and therefore left out the strategic 'blip' phase. This would allow Daz and Stew to get to grips with the core mechanics, and in particular, the dice system. I decided to use the terrain I had just completed (see earlier posting) as the focal point of the scenario.
The Crustie forces (played by Daz) had been inserted behind enemy lines to knock out three artillery bunkers. The CDF (played by Stew) were charged with fending off this surgical strike. The Crusties needed to spend five impetus (generated from their dice) to destroy each of the bunkers.
The Crustie force would be lean and light, with it's striking arm 2 jump sections (more on these later). The Crusties would have a slight advantage in initiative cards and a shooting sweet spot of 2 squares away
The CDF forces were broad but not as effective, with a mixture of troop types, with nothing generally more effective than a white dice. However their larger numbers might compensate. Whilst the addition of several attachments improved firepower, their additional cost in activation points was somewhat limiting.
The game proved quite difficult for the Crusties. It was challenge to amass enough troops to storm the building at the side of the small emplacements. Several times the Crusties made it into the building, and was then repulsed by counter attacking CDF sections.
The CDF managed to keep the Crustie foot troops at bay on their right flank, with combined rifle, HMG and rocket fire. That was until the Crusties co-ordinated their jump troops.
Daz started to use the jump troops to leap over the first line of defense, right into the heart of the CDF troops. Whilst the Crustie troops didn't have time to eliminate the bunkers, they certainly started to eliminate the CDF troopers, using their red dice at a range of two squares. As Daz said, "I've had a lot of fun killing those x!@?'m.:/ humans!!!"
At the game end the bunkers remained intact, but many defenders had fallen to achieve it. both Daz and Stew enjoyed the flow of the game, with very little stoppage time to explain the rules. Certainly the dice mechanics made most of the thinking around the tactics - should I lose a trooper to hang onto the emplacement, or instead take a retreat and counterattack in my phase?
This was definitely reflected in the fight for the building, with Daz gaining a foothold several times, but taking retreats rather than casualties, as he had less troops to spare than the humans. The game definitely needed the blip phase of the turn sequence, as it allows the rapid deployment of troops manouvirng secretly across the board. In this situation, the Crusties may well have made it to the building before the CDF re-inforced it in strength. Well that's for the next game...
A few extra ideas came to mind, particularly around multiplayer games, where an overall commander could allocate action points to sub commanders with individual cards, and then all of the players action points being placed on a multi-track where the player with the most points activates a unit. This might prove quite slow as some players could be waiting a while before their troops have an opportunity to move. Alternatively, the spectacle and narrative of the action may well maintain engagement, as actions are quick to complete. I did think about over watch fire, but still feel this would over complicate the action...the best troops with the most impetus would dictate the flow of action anyway.