Campaign Turn 7
I went after Octavian to take my vents back.
Gannicus led a rescue mission to rescue flaming Moe.
Joffrey went after Gannicus's Friendly Doc.
Jonah went after the Orlock Settlement.
Octavian and the Orlock player attacked my Slag.GAme 1, Turn 7
I went first.
As you know, I have been talking about having a few extra tricks that I've been wanting to pull out of my sleeve for a few turns now, but I haven't really had the chance. Those tricks are the alternate scenarios. So far, Octavian and the Orlock player have only played the Gang Fight
scenario, which is basically a straight up fight with no special rules. So although they have their tactics pretty down pat for a straight up fight, they haven't had to deal with any of the other scenarios, like Scavengers
, where you have to capture and carry off objectives from the table, or Ambush
, with its special deployment rules etc.
I've been hoping to get to choose the scenario for a while now, so that I could take advantage of my their lack of experience with the special rules for the other scenarios, but it just hasn't panned out like that. This time we rolled, and Octavian got to pick the scenario. I assumed that he would go for a Gang Fight
, but he surprised me and went with Shoot Out
I hate the Shoot Out
scenario. It's just badly designed. It minimises the part that skill and tactics play, can grant large advantages randomly to one side or the other.
It works like this: D3 x 2 fighters from each gang turn up and walk slowly towards each other. Both players roll a dice each turn, the first side to total up to 15 loses their nerve and the shooting starts. All gangers react at the same time, and the actual order of shooting is determined on an individual model by model basis with a roll of Initiative + D6 determining the order. Pistols get a +1, Heavy weapons get a -1. Which gang members turn up is randomly determined.
Although the scenario has a really nice tense, cinematic feel to it, it just relies too much on dice rolls. What happens on the table is really out of the players hands, and in my opinion, that lessens the fun, since the tactical aspect of the game is what I like the most about the hobby. You can't even pick which of your fighters will turn up.
I could tell, that this wasn't the result of Octavian just randomly picking the scenario. He's not the type to do something on a whim, and the body language of Joffrey and the Orlock player suggested that it was something they had planned.
And it was a good plan. A very good plan.
For starters, on a one to one basis, it's still a pretty even fight between me and Octavian. With Abraham's Iron Will
, my gang is hard to beat, and not easy at all to deal a 3/1 casualty ratio which is necessary to take a territory - it's still totally realistic that I could take a territory off him. But that all changes with a Shoot Out
. For starters, Abraham probably won't turn up, so his Iron Will
is probably not going to be a factor. Secondly, and this is the big factor - Octavian has enough cash to hire Scum.
Hiring Scum means two things - firstly, it gives a much larger numbers advantage than usual. The average number of gangers who turn up to a Shootout from either side is 3. By hiring 2 Scum, Octavian can greatly swing the numbers in his advantage. Secondly, Scum are ideally suited to Shoot outs
. They are pistol shooting specialists, it's not uncommon for them to have Gunfighter
, which allows them to shoot twice, which is a big deal when numbers are short. Pistols are very accurate at short range too - autopistols, laspistols and boltpistols all hit on 2s at targets in the open at short range. It's also not uncommon for them to have the Quick Draw
skill.beslubbering Quick Draw
. The most useless skill in the game. Everyone prays that they never roll it when they take a shooting upgrade. It gives the user double Initiative, but is only useable in the first round of a Shoot Out
scenario. It is therefore absolutely useless in 95% of games. And in the Shoot Out
scenario, you randomly determine which fighters turn up, so you don't even get to pick which gang members turn up, so even if you roll a Shoot Out
, and you have a model with Quick Draw
, 75% of the time, he won't even turn up to be able to use it. Talk about bad play testing.
But in a Shoot Out
, the ganger with Quick Draw
is king. None of my guys have Quick Draw
, and none of Octavian's guys have Quick Draw
, but out of the 6 Scummers which have been used in this campaign, 3 of them have Quick Draw
, and 1 of them (Gallow) has Gunfighter
as well. Octavian hired two of them (Gallow & Magrav). Hiring those two would mean that Octavian would probably get three shots (which would probably be hitting on 2's) at my guys before I got a chance to shoot back. Given that I would only get to take 2-4 guys, those 3 shots represented an immense tactical advantage.
We rolled to see how many guys turned up, and we both got 3 each. My guys who turned up were Ram, Boaz and Ephraim. Not a bad selection. Ram has good initiative and balistic skill, Ephraim has BS3 and is armed with pistols and Boaz has a flamer. That gave me a reason to be optimistic.
Flamers can be murderous in a shootout. Although they give an initiative penalty for the quickdraw, they can usually take down about 2 enemies with their one hit, which is a lot of casualties in a shootout scenario. So if I rolled lucky with Boaz, then I might be in with a chance. Ephraim also had a hand flamer, so that could potentially come in handy.
Octavian rolled for his guys and ended up with Bloodaxe, a couple of Gangers called Rockfist and Thuggar armed with a lasgun and an autopistol & flail respectively. He also had Magrav with an autopistol and plasmapistol and Gallow with twin boltpistols.
Anyway, we set up across the table from each other, and our gangs inched towards each other. The nerve roll went as follows:
1st turn: Goliath: 3 Cawdor: 3
2nd turn: Goliath: 8 Cawdor: 4
3rd turn: Goliath: 12 Cawdor: 6
4th turn: Goliath: 13 Cawdor: 10
5th turn: Goliath: 13 Cawdor: 11
6th turn: Goliath: 14 Cawdor: 13
7th turn: Both teams lost their nerve and went for their guns.
The Quick Draw
roll went as follows:Magrav: 11Gallow: 10Ram: 9Bloodaxe: 9Thuggar: 7Ephraim: 7Rockfist: 6Boaz: 5
Magrav went first and gave Ram a face full of plasma, taking him down. Gallow had two shots and spread them between Ephraim and Boaz, taking down Ephraim and pinning Boaz. Octavian rolled all the rest of his shooting at Boaz in one go, just because he could. Rockfist and Thuggar both missed, but it didn't matter because Bloodaxe took him down with his boltpistol.
I didn't get to shoot because all of my guys were down. This is why I hate Shoot Outs
We then rolled to see who got the first turn. I was hoping it was me so that I could bottle out voluntarily. Unfortunately, Octavian won. I was sure there is a rule that if all of your gang is down, out of action or broken, then you automatically lose, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Anyway, that would have come in handy, because Octavian wouldn't accept my concession (which would have automatically ceded my Slag to him), instead insisting on playing through the next turn because it would allow him to move into base to base contact with my guys, to take them out of action and force them to all roll on the Serious Injury chart at the end of the game. And because he's a merciless little prick.
So, basically I lost without getting a shot off. Aftermath:
There was a possibility that we wouldn't be able to get in a second round of games this week due to the store scheduling a tournament on the weekend, so we rolled for advancements and injuries after each game. I rolled on the serious injury chart. Ram got away unscathed. Ram and Ephraim died. Luckily, I have two Medics in my gang and I get 2 injury rerolls per turn. Isaac managed to heal up Boaz without a scratch (thank god), but Jacob couldn't do anything for Ephraim, who stayed dead.Analysis:
There really wasn't anything I could have done to avoid losing this one. I was reduced to being a passive observer throughout the entire fight. I didn't get the chance to employ any tactics at all. Everything that happened was a result of dice rolling. The only tactical decisions which were made, were which scenario to play, and whether or not to hire Scum, both of which were out of my hands (since I can't afford hired guns at this stage).
The worrying thing is, that there really isn't much I can do to stop this from happening again. I simply don't have the income to hire extra muscle at the moment, so there is nothing to stop my neighbours from electing for a Shootout every time they get a chance, and then hiring scum to gain an advantage. In a normal campaign, that wouldn't matter much, since the standard rules don't allow territory to be lost following a Shootout. Obviously, the rules of this mapped campaign do.
Regardless, Octavian has found the template for beating me, and the Orlock player and Joffrey will follow his example. They can't pick a Shoot Out
every turn, but if they do get the choice of scenario, then they will pick a Shoot Out
, and they will hire Scummers with Quick Draw
, and every game will go like the this one.
I'm down to two territories, only 11 gang members, zero net income and my enemies are rampant.
The loss of that Workshop in Turn 5 was the tipping point. Losing that territory killed my income. I needed to hold that territory, or at least win it, or another high income territory back. But I didn't, and I've slid too far now. I've been pushed back so far, that the only territories that are adjacent to mine are low income territories. Even if I should win a territory back, any losses I suffer won't be replaced for several games.The Map:Cawdor: The Hand of Redemption
Delaque: Black Coats
Van Saar: The Second Stringers
Orlock: The Mortlock Cartel
Goliath: House Bloodaxe
My next game is against both the Orlock and Goliath together, again, and I'm another man down. The fat lady is singing.