Monday, July 11, 2011

In sewers, expect Rats

The theme this year has seemingly developed into one of skirmish games, not one I mind as space and money for gaming has never been at such a premium (well not since I moved to France for a while anyway!).  T'other week saw my first game of Freebooters Fate, against Jo's Goblins:

Now in the game, it would be fair to say that the Goblins are a metaphor for 17th and 18th century imperialist racism.  You know, it'd be in questionable taste, and not much fun to have a set of stereotypically black, or Chinese, or American Indian ex-slaves running around; well not at least if you are a German company and would consider our English political correctness markedly lax..

Anyway, I digress, the Goblins have thrown of the shackles of their masters and fight for their own cause.  Our game was to be set in the filth ridden sewers neath some pirate metropolis.

The rules, well simplicity themselves; players alternate activating characters, who can do two simple actions (for example move or fire) or one complex action (reload a musket, charge an enemy).  Of we both set, looking only for vengeance on our opposite numbers.

When combat reared its head, the method was by the selection of attack and defence cards.  There are six possible locations to attack: the head, torso, legs, left and right arms, and abdomen (more entertainingly called the Underlove region in the original German).  Typically an attacker selects two target areas, and the defender three.  If the defender does not select all the areas to defend that you attack, you score a hit.  Obviously this basic system favours the defender, but aiming or charging increase the attack value, whilst being caught from behind or whilst knocked to the ground reduces defence.

It's a fun system, though slower then lobbing dice, much more involved.

My Pirates were having the better of the Goblins who were pretty weak, if numerous; though both of us had bullet proof leaders who shrugged off damage.  Damage from successful hits is determined by the damage rating of the weapon, plus the value of a random card from 1-10; minus much the same for the opponent.  It appeared on the day, both our leaders had come in their Iron trousers.

However after 8 turns they were both dead, and I made a last dash for glory with a charge at one of his few remaining goblins.  The terrain rules here foiled me, with their simple logic.  To jump a gap your move must clear it entirely in a single movement (typically 10cm); the charge is double but must be in a straight line, turned out the straight line gap was 12cm, so splash!

In the water meant I was as good as a casualty, at least until I got out again.  And so The goblins won narrowly.  What have I said before about learning experience?

Simple rules, and indeed free of the sort of fancy rules for characters that lead to flawed, unbalanced army builds.  Ingenious (if, I'll say, not all that revolutionary) game mechanics, and the excuse to put on pirate accents and say 'Arrgh' a lot!  Yes, it's a great little game.

Now begins the quest to get a pirate ship...

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a really fun mechanic. Makes me even more interested in this game. Your sewer terrain boards are superb too!