Monday, 31 October 2011

Gut Check 2.0 ?

What's going on here?
The photo is of some Heroscape dice repurposed into Blood Bowl style dice to use in a new combat resolution system. Exciting huh? Well, it is to me at least.

Inspired by Chris K of the Basement Gaming Bunker's  recent rediscovery of my Gut Check! rules, I have been thinking about how to progress them to V2.0 and also re-ignite my interest.
I think they were a fun set, but required a lot of additional work on my part and I ran out of steam. I'd like to take some of the ideas that worked well (the titular Gut check, a 1d6 system originally similar to THW rules, and the action choices) but replacing all the clunky bits... Especially the hexes, which put a lot of people off I imagine.

I am tentatively naming this new version "Throwdown" to keep me focussed on the new objective... That being you should be able to grab a bunch of minis you already have and throw them down on the board with as little prep as possible. I want to have enough gambling and tactical decisions to be fun, but an absolute minimum of bookkeeping, chart lookups and needless complexity. The game is more solo centric, based on the player taking a 5 man team. It is no longer a game trying to cover platoon sized actions. I made a harsh review of any rule that seemed "clever" but had limited real-world effect on the battle.

Here's what I've got worked out already:

  • Action point system. Heavily armored figures get less actions and and high survivability (1 action, 3 wounds, 3+ save) , Lightly armored figures get the opposite (3 actions, 1 wound, 5+ save) 
  • Models that fail activation go on guard.. A feature inspired by later editions of FUBAR.
  • New combat mechanic. Total up factors like shock counters, range, target speed, cover etc, then resolve an exchange of fire with a single Blood-bowl like roll. This models both parties firing at each other and the final result, rather than individual shots. It's a partial replacement for a more detailed reaction system.
  • A streamlined reaction system. Only models with "guard" actions get to react by passing a gut check.
  • Replaced hex movement and weapon ranges with SOBH styled " Short Medium and Long" distance measuring.
  • Removed the "Choked" condition. Shock markers model suppression as much as I want to without an extra condition that needed a counter on the table.
  • Stopped all figures reacting all the time. Too much headache, too much dice rolling.
  • Removed my (brilliant!) chit activation system. The concept was good, but there are much less complex ways to govern enemy actions. Having proper scenario goals for the AI makes a big difference here.

I have the new combat rules done in a bare-bones form, and team construction rules mostly done ( I will need help to fine tune here, I'm not great at math.) so apart from some playtesting, I have to get some scenarios done... Straight out "kill each other" battles have a tough time holding my interest these days.

PS- Special thanks to all the folks who wrote in with playtest observations, your notes really helped shape the newer version.


  1. Can't wait to hear more on this. I have been looking for a simple solo skirmish game system to have fun with. How about a rescue scenario or a deactivation of some alien device scenario.

  2. Keep going! I've been following your efforts with interest ;)

  3. Good to hear about this, but be advised that you do not really need the special dice for anything other than eye candy. Having a few pictures on the dice which correspond to descriptions in the rules is completely equivalent to having a d6 table with the same results, just a bit prettier to look at.

    As you might expect, more comments from me will follow when there are more rules. ;)

  4. Xerus- Yeah I have already dropped them in favor of all shooting dice just needing a 4+. (I just love blocking dice!)

  5. Hey, I inspired something! I like the "Throwdown" concept - in name and in approach. What about coming up with just a handful or so generic "templates" to use for the player forces?

    1) Fireteam of lightly armored grunts (starship troopers/Alien corporate marines style)
    2) Fireteam of elite lightly armored troops or mercs (could have jump packs to support the new Mad Robot infantry)
    3) Fireteam of heavily armored troops (HALO-style)
    4) Small team of power armored infantry

    There could be variants of those for some alien forces, or assault-oriented minis like Rebel Sahadeen War Maidens, etc. But building those stats into the basic game would really let players "throw down" almost anything in the 15mm catalog.

    Opposing forces (controlled by the game) could be chosen the same way. You could have generic templates for swarm aliens, robotic infantry, lightly armored intelligent aliens with guns (Crusties, Micropanzer aliens, Lhurgg), lightly armored humans, heavily armored humans...

    The end result is something like this... "I want to play a game of Throwdown using my Blue Moon Orions vs Rebel Minis." So you grab the player card/reference page/whatever for "Heavily Armored Human Infantry Team" and the opposing-force sheet/roster/cards/whatever for "Mechanical Infantry."

    Would something along those lines fit into the direction you're taking the rules? It would be a very self-contained system with a minimal of player preparation time.

    Chris K.

  6. As I'm now concentrating on the 5-figures a side idea, a force template would be great for enemy forces, especially if the game randomly generated the actual force from this template so you didn't know exactly what you would face!
    For the player team, I prefer customization, albeit in a very simple sense.
    Currently, for each figure you select:

    1) Guts 2-5 (Basic stat. Determines Activation, combat effectiveness, damage limit)
    2)Armor Light Medium or Heavy (this determines your action limit, armor save)
    Weapon/s with range band mods and save mod (WSYWG, from a broad list)

    To further personalize the player force, I'd like to add Stunts. One -off effect cards that you can buy before the game that allow things like jump pack attacks, personal force fields, kung fu attacks, etc. This way you could do Garn simply by choosing heavy armor and SMGs for all your guys, then buying the "Chomp" "Shrug it off" and "Forcefield" stunts. The nice thing about the stunt system is that you can use the activation rolls to fire off enemy stunts.

    I will send you the rules soon for consideration, I really like the template idea.

  7. I'm looking for some solo rules for when my son finally leaves home! (It may be a while!) I look forward with interest to new developments.

  8. I'm really looking forward to this rules set! Just downloaded Gut Check recently and like it.

  9. @Spacejacker, as I'm going to start solo-gaming and you want to playtest. I would like to volunteer for some playtesting!

    I can't guarentee you a regular count of games, but still better some more input than none ;)

  10. Hi,

    Thnak you to share this ruleset. I'm currently searching for solitaire rulesets, and yours seems very interesting. the cool thing is that I owned 3 heroscape master sets in the past (to play battletech) and now found a new use of them. I also appreciate the customized heroscape hexs, by the way. Please keep us informed about new Gut Check version ;)