Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Solopalooza Night 1

Here I am at the Solopalooza pre-party. My girlfriend is off to the airport and I'm finishing up work for the evening.
Homebrewed game: Plastic Slam,  Pro wrestling action figure rules 

Kicking things off, some bodyslamming action featuring Minis acquired via the power of the blog barter. Thanks again Harry!

These rules have been through 3 distinct versions. The first one was Dice pool based, it was good, but quite complex. The second one was a custom card based system where you made up your own cards inspired by 1000 White Cards.. It wasn't great solo and required a lot of work to play. The final version of the rules which will be tearing it up here at Solopalooza tonight are based on ordinary blackjack.

The basic mechanics are based on the risk mechanics of blackjack. On your  wrestler's turn, you declare an action (selected from a chart) then draw a playing card. If the card beats your wrestler's stat in that area, it works. If it is too low, it does not. You may keep trying actions and drawing cards until you either rest (stay), allowing you to heal one step of damage, or Bust when your card total exceeds 21.

If you bust, you don't get to recover and it is immediately your opponent's turn.

Apart from a deck of cards, all you need is wrestling toys. The figure's arms pose is used in place of counters to indicate damage states and the movement requires no measuring.

I completed a game after a couple of false-starts and hastily re-written rules and am pretty pleased with it. You will be seeing a lot more of this as I refine it, but it's already fun!

Main stage: The Gears of War Board Game.
The Box
The big beast from Fantasy Flight Games finally saw action tonight. There's a lot in the box and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the figures. They would certainly look nicer painted, but for now I don't have the time.
The non-figure bits on my new game surface
I played on an office pin-board with some kind of neoprene-like surface that is completely non-stick... Good for keeping cards still, not as good for trying to pick them up. Still, it puts my mind at rest about damage to components and looks nice to play on. It even has a nice wooden frame.

I started playing much too late tonight.. About 10:30 pm. This meant I was a bit tired and found it more stressful than normal to learn a new rules system. The good news is that the game employs a great deal of regular miniature wargame concepts, like Line Of Sight... So I knew what to do very quickly.

Set up took a while mainly because I had to learn what all the components meant and there are a lot. I played "Emergence" the suggested introductory mission.

The gameplay is basically this: Draw up to 2 cards into your hand. Play 1 card and follow the directions on it or discard more cards for additional effects like saving a wounded buddy. The gimmick is that your hand is also your health, so the more you do the more dangerous it becomes. I like it.

Then the locust (alien enemy) side takes it's turn by flipping an AI card. This has simple instructions on it that can do anything from make all wretches on the board move toward you, to spawning Drones and more. I really like this system.

And that's the basic game. You roll dice to attack, with bonus dice for full or hard cover. Cover spaces are clearly marked on the board and movement is a breeze. The ruler you see is only for determining line of sight. Everything else is handles by counting "areas".

My game started well. I used the "Forced entry" card to leap into cover, dislodging the wretch hiding there, then blast him with my Lancer rifle. As the game proceeded, I advanced and blasted apart two Drones and another wretch.
All that stood between me and victory were two Drones...

The AI cards were not kind however. A Drone spawned right out of the emergence hole in front of me and his buddy ran in behind me, spraying with his blaster. He rolled 3 hits and I got Zip in defense. Leaving that cover may have been a big mistake, considering it turns out I could have thrown the grenade in from where I was... Oh well, live and learn.

..Just. The backshooting Drone took me to 0 cards in my hand.. Which I thought would end the game.. But no! A Cog is only bleeding out when he goes below zero cards.. I was still in by a hair!

I drew my two cards and managed to blast the emergence hole shut, kill the drone and empty my clip into the other Drone, killing it. I flipped the mission card as the emergence hole was sealed.

No way.
Unfortunately, this is the bit where the mission card tells me that a Boomer and a wretch spawn in the exit. The Boomer rolled his 4 attack dice..

Game Over
BOOM. I was bleeding out and with no other Cogs to revive me, that wrapped up the game.

That's it for opening night of Solopalooza, plenty more to come tomorrow night. What game will be on the main stage? You'll have to wait and see!


  1. Plastic Slam sounds awesome. I made up a fighting game, called d12 Death Blow, which is on my downloads page. Unlike your game though it's purely abstract. I wanted to use my game with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures but couldn't figure a way to use them as anything but window dressing. Looks like you've fully integrated the figures into the rules and I'd definitely like to check it out. (sorry about the deleted post, I thought the game was available on your downloads page).

  2. Positioning is important in Plastic Slam, so figures are essential. You can jump off of things and set your opponent up on a table or ladder (for example) which is pretty cool.

    M.U.S.C.L.E (Kinnukuman) figures would work fine , you would just need to track damage with counters or something.

    I will have the game available soon when I get it properly tested and formatted.

  3. Solopalooza...a fun slam and bamum game! Sounds and looks like you had a lot of fun Jacker. Keep the brain cells stirred up and the creativity flowing.

    Dr. Jay

  4. Thanks for the run through on Gears of War, sounds like a really good game.

    The dice look interesting. Any chance you could give a run-down of the symbols used on the faces (what and how many). Thanks.

  5. How were the solo play rules for GoW? Looking to pick this one up this week and just going over the last few ounces of reviews and recommendations. I research games now about as much as one would a car before buying it, I don't have the time or money for bad games. GoW looks like a tile-laying dungeon crawl in space, with guns, and a cool license. It's seemingly a no-brainer.