Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Gut Check! playtest report

I've been working on refining the Gut Check! rules, and got them to a 1.2 state last night.

I overhauled the enemy tactics and behavior system, tidied up some things and began.

One thing I haven't mentioned in the rules yet is how to handle terrain exactly, particularly elevation. I counted each hex of elevation as +1 to the range when firing up, but not down in this game and it seemed to work well.

Weapons now have an absolute 'effective range' instead of more modifiers for extreme ranges.
I wrote a bare bones unknown enemy (blips) set of directions that worked pretty well too.

In this game, I pit a unit of Mercenaries against rules-controlled Lurhgg. To summarize, the Lurhgg moved faster and were superior in close combat, but had less guts and crummier guns.

I have ordered some counters from Litko to use with the game, but they have not arrived yet so I made do with some little red and white ones I got from em4.

The game went well. The Mercs did OK until they lost their leader to long range reaction fire. The Lurhgg behaved as intended, although the blip system threw up a huge number of them at the end of the game, at which point my lunch break was over and I decided to quit.

The system does what I wanted it to quite well. The problem is that it is geared toward evenly matched forces and I want there to be a degree of unpredictability as to what the player will face.

This same problem is what I had with Ganesha Games "Flying lead" when I tried it solo.. Too many fiddly states a model can be in. I don't mind the varying states, but playing solo it's hard to remember to do everything properly and the game has ended up with a lot of counters. This is largely an issue with any alternating activation game where all models get to act. I need to think more about this.

Another idea is a cleaner method of damage resolution, which could work as follows:

Remove “wounded” state entirely. Instead, have shock counters impose a -1 to rolls as the rule currently stands, and give models a shock threshold. When this threshold is reached, the model dies. "Mook" and "Hero" troops would be easier to model with this system and there would be less modifiers in the charts.
As shock counters roll to be removed in the end phase, this would be a bit like regenerating shields in Halo.
I'm going to give this a try next session.


After a few more games I have settled on the following rules:

  1. Enemy behavior is determined by a single Gut Check immediately after activation. Specialized enemies may have their own charts (eg: Xenos or dinosaurs)
  2. Damage rolls (modified by weapon vs armor) result in either  Duck (recoil) Choke (Freeze up for rest of turn) or Shock (-1 to all rolls per shock counter). Models now have a Grit rating, which is how many shock counters they can accrue before dying. Heroes and large creatures have 3 or more, ordinary troops have 2 and civillians/disposable mooks have 1. Shock counters can be removed in the recovery phase if  successful gut checks are made.
  3. In the absence of proper markers, I was lying models down to show the "Choked" condition, green markers to show Evading or falling back models,white counters to show that a model had stopped, and red markers for shock. It worked a lot better.


  1. It takes time...
    You will figure it all out.

  2. Sounds like really good additions. Even if I DID just print out the last version of the rules yesterday... :-)

  3. Yeah, It's finally coming together now. Sorry about that Dale.. I wouldn't bother printing them out for a couple of weeks while I refine them some more ;)
    The file up there now is more up to date, but I'm currently working on some scenarios which will be included soon. I also need to stop being lazy and write down all the hex moving and measuring rules currently in my head.
    I'm pretty settled on the rules mechanics themselves now, but they need a proper proofreading/editing pass and I need to write more examples of play that ought to help clear things up.
    Thanks for your interest though, bear with me and I hope you get some fun out of them!

  4. I noticed a lot of material in 1.0, like sample weapons, is not in th 1.2, so printing out both was actually not a problem.

    I was going to give the rules a go this weekend anyway, and see where the holes are. If I do find anything, maybe I'll drop an email your way.