Playtesing B&D: Bug Attack!

image

image

On Thursday, we did some playtesting of the bug attack scenario with a couple if the kids from the club. There were a few problems with the rules, but none that are unassailable. We will be discussing the following issues next Thursday to come up with solutions.

-The distance from the board edge to the fort wasn’t far, making the ranges of the weapons a little off.
-The way I came up with bringing bugs in wasn’t great.
-Bugs having to ‘attack’ the wall to climb it wasn’t very efficient.
-It was too easy for the marines to pick off the Big Bugs, collapsing the wave of bugs they were leading.
-We noticed the kids responded wierdly to the human force being just ‘marines’, so we will call them Space Marines from now on -that’s what they were anyway.

B&D: Bug Attack! -The Fort

image

The fort is a prefabricated structure setup by the Marines upon arrival on a planet. It becomes their base of operations. It has a walkway on the walls from which Marines can fire, and which counts as cover. The walls have a defence rating of 10, and the gateway has a defence rating of 8. The gate can be opened/closed in the Human’s movement phase (it is remote controlled, so nobody has to be near it), but it takes a full turn to do this (i.e. open it now, you will be able to walk through it in your next turn), you can move troops through it and close it in the same turn, but it will not act as a barrier until the beginning of your next turn.

Assaulting the Fort
A human on the walls of the fort is at a huge advantage over a bug at the base of the walls, but those bugs can jump! If a bug reaches the base of the wall, it must fight a combat to scale the wall, receiving no modifiers. If there is no human guarding this part of the wall, the wall ‘fights’ with a +1 modifier. If there is a human at the same point of the wall, he can make things difficult for the bug, so fights the other side of the combat, gaining a +2 modifier in addition to any he already has. A bug success in combat means the bug model is placed on the walkway of the wall. A Human success means he rolls on the bug’s damage table. Multiple humans can gang up on one bug trying to climb/jump, but multipile bugs cannot gang up on the wall (you can’t work together to distract a wall!)

B&D: Bug Attack! -Marines

So in the little break I allowed myself today, I jotted down some rules for the marines in the Bug Attack game. I’ve drawn mostly on Starship Troopers (both film and book) and The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, which I have just read this weekend. I’ve tried to avoid the GW idea of space marines as being superhuman and just treated them as normal guys but sometimes in big suits of armour.

With this in mind, they will use the same racial profile as the paras in ZW. There will be 2 seperate squads -10 trained men in flak armour and 5 elites in power armour. The flak armour boys will have laser rifles and the power armours ones will probably have an SMG or something that’s better close up. Someone might have a flamer or some other squad support weapon.

But Phil, I’d imagine you’re saying, you’ve never mentioned armour before. We’re pretty sure it’s going to work like this: if a soldier wearing armour suffers a ‘dead’ result on his damage table, a roll above a certain number (6 for flak, 5 or 4 for power) turns that result into a ‘knocked down’ result.

We didn’t want armour to be overly powerful, as a trooper can still be seriously affected by a KD result. I’m considering making power armour stop a soldier from running, to reflect the pracricalities of armour in Forever War, but that might be too serious a drawback. I might try it in playtesting.

B&D: Bug Attack! -Bugs

As I’ve mentioned before, the next step in developing B&D is a new set of rules for Space Marines vs Buglike aliens. We’re trying to involve the kids in this much more than before, now that we have the basic rules roughed out. One of the boys in particular has an extensive tyranid army that we’re going to use to save us having to buy a pile of new minis. I’m playtesting the first draft of the bug rules with some of the kids on Thursday. Here are the rules we’re going to try:

There are three types of bug: little, medium and big (we’ll think of cooler names). Mid bugs are the basic warriors which the player will have most of. They will be fast (8″ move, +d6 run) and good at combat (+2 mod, and gets to roll 2d6 and choose the highest roll -this represents the bug having loads if limbs and being off the hook crazy). They will need to be within 8″ of a big bug or count as ‘alone’ therefor needing to pass courage test to move towards the enemy, among other things.

Big bugs will represent the controlling type creatures. They will maybe be a bit slower than the mids, but just as good or better in combat. They won’t suffer any negative effects when they are alone, so they can be moved around to where they need to go on the battle field (maybe they should be able to move faster then?). If they don’t move in a turn, they can instead ‘launch’ a base of Little Bugs at a chosen target.

Little Bugs are really more of a weapon than a character in their own right. You choose an enemy model to target the base at. Every bug turn, the base moves 2d6 towards its target. It does this until it: makes contact with the target, is destroyed, its target is detroyed or fails a courage test. If a base of LBs loses its target for any reason (failing courage/target dying), it will move towards the nearest enemy model. If there are none visible, it sits tight until there is one. When the base is launched, it has a rating of 6, which will be the number of dice the base rolls in combat. If a base suffers a result of ‘dead’ on the damage table from shooting or combat, the player that caused the damage rolls an additional d6 to determine how much is knocked off the base’s combat rating.

I’ve also come up wih some rules for LB bases being used to destroy the walls of the fort. For this, the bugs that are targetted at the fort roll their combat dice on impact (in my head, they literally explode on the wall in a shower of acidic blood). Any successes count as ‘hits’ against the wall. The walls will each have a target number that, when met, means that secton of wall is destroyed. I think that the number of hits scored on the walls will be cumulative, meaning that successive attacks add up to destroy the wall. This might be the beginning of some vehicle rules, if they work out okay for buildings.

B&D Playtesting Day

I invited a couple of friends over to Yew Tree today to have a go at playing a full game of B&D.  The idea was to get some people other than ourselves to play the game and see if they could make it work/break it.  It was massively successful, with both players picking up the rules very quickly and not having to refer back to the fast play sheet very often.  Chris, the human player was really good and ended up winning by keeping his squad nice and bunched up and thinking through the best positions for the various different weapon types he had.  He managed to get right to the end of the mission before he even allowed a Zombie to get into close combat with him.  Unfortunately, this made the experience a little dull for Robbie, who was controlling the Zeds.  In fact, the experience made us realise that as the zombies have to follow set rules for movement, there really isn’t much of a game for the person who controls them.  They don’t get to make many decisions.  To rectify this, we’re going to introduce ‘Zombie Masters’ who have a bubble of influence within which the zombie player can control the zombies much more.  I’m already thinking of a few neat ideas to make this rule a possibility.  There’s also the idea of having some zombies be ‘rage’ style ones, who can run when within a certain range of a human target, meaning that it makes it harder for the human player to guarantee that they cannot be reached by any zeds.

Other than this, most of the rules worked how we intended them to and the game was pretty enjoyable.  I was definitely pleased with the dead zed tracker idea that I blogged about a few days ago; it kept the board topped up nicely with zombies, they just weren’t always where Robbie wanted them to be.  Other rules ideas we came up with:

  • Other zombies being drawn to one of their number who is ‘feeding’ on a dead human
  • Dead humans staying on the board as draws for feeding -needs some kind of marker
  • Grenades

BaD: Bugs, sir, millions of ’em!

Now that the rules for the zombie version of BaD are pretty much set, I’m starting to think about the next ‘setting’ that we planned to develop from the start: a Starship Troopers style Bugs vs Space Marines battle. These are only early ideas, but here is what I’m thinking about for the bugs (the marines will basically just be the same as humans from the zombie game).

Movement


I want the bugs to be quick, because they won’t have any ranged attacks, so the best tactic to use will be rush across the board at the marines. But they can’t be too quick, or it will be too hard a job for the marines to kill them.  I’m currently thinking that the same speed as marines will be best i.e. 6″, +D6″ for running, but I want there to be special rules for running.  I’m thinking that maybe they can only run when within 12″ of a human in their line of site, and then you have to pass a courage test to stop them from running.  Which brings me onto…

Courage

I think it’s important to reflect the fact that the bugs are ‘controlled’ by other entities (like the brain bugs in ST), and I figure the best way to do this is using the command distance and courage systems we already have in place.  I have a couple of ideas in mind for how this could work.  Firstly, I’d have some bug models be ‘brain bugs’, which don’t have any attacks but have good movement.  Then:

  • All bugs must stay within command distance of a Brain or they move randomly
  • OR Any bugs starting their turn not in CD of a Brain must pass a courage test or move randomly/not at all
  • OR All bugs begin the game ‘driven’ i.e. you can command them any way you want, but this ‘drive’ can be interrupted by things (being attacked etc.), at which point the model moves randomly until they are brought back under control by a Brain
  • OR All bugs must pass a courage test before they move every turn, with modifiers for how far away they are from a Brain
Combat
Once they make it across the table, the bugs should be pretty badass at combat, so I’m thinking of giving them a +2 or even +3 modifier for this. Either this, or I might give them multiple attacks, meaning it’ll be like fighting 2 opponents, which will quite nicely reflect what it would be like to try and fight a flailing giant insectoid creature.

These are some of the better ideas I’ve had, and are certainly the least complicated.  I basically want to create a bit more of a ‘game’ for the bug player than just running their models forward.  I’m also thinking of making deployment rules in the scenario that enable the bug player to switch which side of the board they are coming on from quite quickly, meaning the marine player (who will be defending the Sci Fi Fort I posted about) will have to think about how they spread their forces about.

As far as models are concerned, we’re going to be using a mixture of Games Workshop Warhammer 40k figures for this one -Space marines and Cadian Imperial Guard for the Humans, Tyranids for the bugs (I think Hormagaunts?).