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Monday, 31 July 2017

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...".

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Escape from Libuscha Prime (Rogue Planet Battle Report and Scenario)

Alex (who's aged 7) and I played a quick Rogue Planet game just prior to dinner on Saturday night.  He helped set the board up whilst I threw together some bits-and-pieces to make for the setting.

The resulting game was both entertaining and high on the 'Got you Dad!' stakes, which is always good in our book 😉.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Rogue Planet - Tactics 1

Subsequent to my recent Rogue Planet Battle Report I've had a number of requests for more Rogue Planet insight*. Well, the game provides PLENTY of opportunities for the development of a dramatic narrative; however, it may surprise some people that a game with (1) virtually no measuring, (2) limited unit stats and (3) non-existent record keeping also can provide players with considerable tactical depth.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Libuscha Prime's Defense (Rogue Planet Battle Report)

I've been chatting to a few people about my Rogue Planet experiments/trials, but have found describing the game (given it being so different) isn't easy.  So, in an effort to illustrate how various mechanisms work, I've recreated a scene from our recent games and applied a dash of artistic license.  Who knows, you might be enticed to give the game a try - I hope you do and I think you'll find something very different indeed.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Some wargame musings...

This year has been a lot of fun.  After nearly a 20 year leave of absence to finally pick up a hobby again is great - already I've met some new people, played some games that are new and exciting and introduced my kids to something that (potentially) we can all share in some shape or form.

As for the war games I've been playing, it has been primarily 28mm skirmish stuff.  This is a little interesting:*

Initially we were playing Terminator Genisys.  Then, in an effort to inject a little more character into our games, I found I was introducing an increasing number of house rules.  Then I tried a few other systems including Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and more recently Rogue Planet.  I've consciously avoided some of the traditional/big game house titles because... I'm not sure... a perception that the mechanics are stale and stale mechanics contribute to a stale game?  Something like that.

The mechanics in Terminator Genisys are pretty different to what I had encounter back in the dark ages, and the things that stand out the most are (1) alternating, variable length turns and (2) using different die rather than +/- modifiers to die rolls to determine successes failures etc - somethings referred to as "Step Die".  So clever and so different - a winning combination in my book.

Rogue Planet does a whole lot of 'more different' but one element that I kind of miss from Terminator Genisys is the different die.  Brent Spivey, the author has made something special.  Any way, looking for more materials that I can leverage for further Rogue Planet games, I stumbled upon one review of Rogue Planet that talked about "Powered by the Apocalypse" games.  Mmmm... a few seconds later, thanks to Doctor Google, I learnt a bit more.  To cut a long story short, Brent also has another title (published before Rogue Planet) called Mayhem that uses step-die as a core mechanic... maybe that's my next gaming investigation 😀

That's a big difference from the war game scene of yesteryear - this week I could access 10 very different, likely cheap sets of rules thanks to the interweb, whereas once upon a time I had to wait for the ice flows to melt and sift through the scree to piece together some meager pickings.

*By the way, if you're looking for reviews of the above systems, well this page isn't going to fill that void... but you might like to look at some of the battle reports I've posted etc which would give you some impression of how the games play.