Yesterday, my good friend Graham was kind enough to not only host me at his place for a day of gaming, but also willing to playtest the game I'll be running at 'Bring Out Your Lead' in a few weeks time at Wargames Foundry.
The game is designed to use the compact 1st edition Space Hulk rules mechanics, with a shift of setting to Necromunda. 4 'escort' players will attempt to safely usher a VIP to safety and up and out of the Underhive. In the meantime 1-2 players will control rampaging mobs of rioters, high on spook or other nefarious narcotics. Hopefully it's apparent enough that the 'escorts' will play as Space Marine terminator squads, while the 'rioters' will play as genestealers.
So, with my draft modified rules in hand, and the playing area set up, we set about giving the game a throrough run through.
|Graham deliberates on the best course of action in the first turn.|
It was almost immediately apparent that there were a number of flaws in the way the game was working. By spreading the action over a large area, rather than straight confined corridors, the movement of the escort teams was painfully slow. Whilst they were fending off the rioters as they drew near, after 45 minutes or so of play, they hadn't managed to escape their first 10x10 square board tile!
We ran the game a second time, increasing the Action Point (and therefore movement ability) of the escort teams, as well as doing away with the laborious APs for turning. This time they were too fast - in 3 turns they were closing in on the escape route, barely unscathed.
Iteration number three, and we've reined in the number of APs again, but re-introduced Command Points to our simplified Space Hulk ruleset. This is working nicely, but now we have a problem with the rioters - too few blips, but too many models with each blip, meaning it was famine or feast. A randomised table determining how many rioters each blip represented was removing any strategy for the rioter player. Rolling on the table was removing the cinematic 'reveal' of turning over the blips. So we reverted back to standard Space Hulk blips.
Our final run through worked nicely. It is a tough ask to reach the objective for the escort teams, but still possible. The rioter players can still 'play' the game, rather than simply being a random element.
Our final task was to de-clutter the playing area by thinking through what resources are needed on the table, and the format they take. We've pared it all back to the minimum, and worked out exactly what each player will need, meaning that there should be no unnecessary tape measures, pens or other mess getting in the way.
Hopefully the result is a fast-paced, simple game, that will be a lot of fun to play in...and with a multi-player game, that's got to be a result! Thanks very much to Graham for the input and patience to help with the all-important refinement process.
I'm very much looking forward to running the games at BOYL. Needless to say, for those of you who can't attend, I'll give a full lowdown after the event.