Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Solo Rules Progress

8 large sections assembled into a mini-game table.
After a lot of painting (Calthan Brown, homebrew future polish wash, 2 stage drybrush) I finished painting enough of my heroscape large board sections to build a small game board.

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. It's durable, easy to store, modular.. Very nice.
So with no more excuses, I decided to test play the 1.0 version of my solo rules, tentatively called "Gut Check!" The document is far from complete and is written for myself to understand at the moment.  The simplest description of the rules is "Chain Reaction meets FUBAR". Some CR concepts are used, there are some completely different ideas replacing the bits I found troublesome, and the FUBAR ideology of simple, clean procedures using a single d6 roll for most activities. Important to mention is that you only ever roll 1d6 with modifiers, where higher results are better. I think this is pretty important for a solo game, where I want to have as few things to remember as possible.

This was mostly a basic combat mechanics dry run.. The rules for driving the enemy models are much less developed, but I was hoping to get some insight from playing.

I pit 5 UNSC troopers against 5 Octopods.

UNSC Squad, including 1 model with Leader ability.
Guts 3+
Shoot 3+
Fight 4+
Armor 1
4xAssault rifle- Range 3/8 Fire Factor 3/2 Kill Factor +1
5xGrenades- Range 3 Fire Factor 2 Blast
1x SAW- Range 6/10 Fire Factor 4 Kill factor +2

Octopod Squad, including 1 model with Leader ability.
Guts 4+
Shoot 4+
Fight 3+
Armor 1
2x Carbine- Range 6, Fire Factor 2
2x SAW- Range 6/10 Fire Factor 4 Kill factor +2
1x Cleaver- Range Assault, Kill factor +1

I set up a bunch of terrain, placed the forces in opposite corners and started playing. It's amusing how quickly your assumptions are challenged once you begin using something for real. The very first thing I discovered was that having the average trooper activating on a 4+ made for some pretty awkward turns. I quickly added a +1 to activation for troops adjacent to a leader model and began again.

This worked a lot better. It instantly created some good player choices about which activations to attempt first and how bunched up the team should stay.

The relatively high activations (2+ for the UNSC) meant that in the first turn they all activated and moved much as in an IGO-UGO game, but once the lasers started flying the turn order became much more chaotic as Shock markers and troops away from the leader mixed it up.
The Octopod's two SAWs ended up making a big difference.. More so than the relative stats. I made a lot of changes to the way I was handling terrain as a result. I also came up with a suppressive fire rule that I will trial in the next session. On the other hand, rushing a position where there are two SAWs had a fairly realistic outcome.. The UNSC got shot to bits.

I'm happy with the way shooting and damage works. I had a system in mind for rolling dice to determine enemy actions, but I think the game already has pretty intensive dice rolling and I want to come up with a more elegant (ie: easier to remember) system. At the moment I'm thinking about a card deck with enemy behaviors that you draw from each turn.. Possibly with outcome determined by a either a single Gut Check roll by the enemy leader, or by totaling up the number of shock markers on the enemy force.

If you are interested, please download the current version of the rules in PDF form from the Gut Check! page on this blog.


  1. Ugh, you're going to make me ask for that Heroscape stuff I gave my ten year old nephew back aren't you?

    You do realize this will strain already strained relations with my crabby sister-in-law too right? The things I do for gaming...

    By the way, just downloaded the first draft of the rules too.

  2. Haha! Heroscape terrain is pretty easy to get hold of in the US for cheap AFAIK.
    You could always use old battletech boards, ASL or home made hex maps.. But I do love the Heroscape stuff.. So cool!

    Let me know what you think of the rules when you get a chance :)

  3. This inspires me to use the hex paper and styrofoam terrain tiles that I've been planning, much sooner than planned.

  4. ...what are the two numbers in the Range and Fire Factor? Example: R4/8 and FF2/1