Sunday, 31 March 2013

Gunstorm Battle Report and rules progress

Last night after dinner, I was going to boot up the PS3 and start playing Dishonoured. But at the last second I changed my mind in honor of tabletop day, and got stuck into a game of Gunstorm on my new wastelands board.

The board is 4 cork tiles (fast becoming my ubiquitous terrain material) painted with textured paint and finished with scumbled-on colors, a black wash and several drybrushes. I finished it over the course of the day while painting the Rugular Show crew. It gave me achance to dig out my shanty town terrain, and has enthused me to build some more!

So, on to the game: 
First I statted up the forces. Mordecai and Rigby were Legend quality, Muscleman was a veteran. I used my new "blank" style data cards. This photo is from later in the game when Rigby had 1 stunt tapped and the other burned, hence the blue and red counters.
Notes: Not enough room to write on!

I statted up 150 pt forces.
Regular Guys vs Vornids!
Next I set (made up) the scenario. There were 4 objectives, represented by my transparent green skull markers. A figure had to spend an entire phase in contact to "search" them. The key objective would be found on a 4+, with +1 for each already searched marker. The winner would be the figure that got the objective off the board via their entry point.
Notes: Need better Scenarios!

Muscleman, Rigby and Mordecai
approach the town
 The phase system worked well. There are 6 phase counters in the cup:

Friendly side moves (Close combat is at the end of any move phase)
Friendly side Shoots
Enemy Side Moves
Enemy Side Shoots
Both sides shoot simultaneously
Fortune phase. Dice off - casualties to choose the phase and un-tap 1 stunt. Turn over, return all chips to cup.

A turn is played by drawing a chip, completing the phase, drawing another and so on, until you draw the Fortune chip and the turn ends.

Vornids move out and contact an objective
marker. Turned out to be nothing.

The enemy movement rules worked well, if a little dull. This is a d6 chart with +1 if there are no targets in sight. The chart gets progressively more aggressive in result.

I liked how you determine each enemy figure's behaviour with a single roll, but the directions were too wishy-washy. I need to make distinctions regarding whether an objective in contact or an enemy in close combat counts as the "nearest enemy/objective". It's more fun if they are not the same.
Notes: Put more detail in the enemy movement chart!

Muscleman is crippled by
the Vornid Captain

Combat worked pretty well. I had deliberately statted the Vornids to be quite weak, with only +1 shooting and rifles (a further +1 with 24" range) This meant that to hit the Regular guy's armor of 7, they needed 5's in the open and 6's in light cover. They would have to combine fire to have a chance of hitting a Regular guy in hard cover.
Thus, the vornid troops' shooting was ineffective, but the Captain managed to roll a 6 with his Autoblaster, causing 1 Overkill to boot. Muscleman failed his Fate save (with the -1 Overkill modifier) and drew a crippled counter, meaning he would be unable to move for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile (not pictured) Mordecai's sprint value of +2 meant he moved 6" per move phase and he managed to reach an objective and find the Key Objective while remaining out of sight of the sluggish Vornids.

Rigby prevails in a massive close combat

On the left, the vornids all rolled very high and rushed Rigby. This was possibly a bit stupid of them as he was statted with +3 Fight and equipped with a Heavy pistol (+2, useable in close combat) and burned his "Shred" stunt, allowing him to add a further +2 and split his attack! 
The Vornids, having no close combat weapons and a +0 Fight skill, had to "pile on" and combine their attack, to no avail. Rigby dealt out two wounds, but the lucky Vornids drew "crippled" counters, meaning they could not move, but had no other effect on close combat.

Mordecai meanwhile (again, un-pictured) ran off with the objective and ended the game.
Notes: Wounds need to be more interesting!


I'm still happy with the basic mechanics and how the game plays out. This is a very good thing! However I feel like the solo aspect could use more fun. It still feels a bit too much like playing a 2p game on your own. The Stunts selection is a bit ropey too and needs a serious edit.

I think the first way to fix this is to introduce character templates. The player should be abe to pick his team in a faster, less math-y way. Something I love about Pulp Alley.

So, in a radical departure from the pick-from-a-list method of force building, I'm going to try this:
Choose team members based on class. (Tactical, Assault, specialist, Heavy) which will give you a loadout.
Then choose 2 "items" each. Instead of having different costs as the rules stand now, all of these items simply take up one item "slot" on a character. They will all have a Tap and a Burn ability.
This means you can make a character by choosing a Class (including rank) card and two item cards. No book keeping, or writing stuff down. 

The mecnahics are largely the same, but just hidden behind some streamlining and components. It will be a bit of work making the cards, so I will hold off and use post-its or something until I'm sure it works.

As for scenarios, I think the most successful ways of creating suspense are games where you don't directly control the enemy setup. THW games do this with PEFs and Platoon Forward does this with Blinds, which are similar but different.

I'm working on a system of representing uncertain disposition of enemy models that hopefully has the same suspense, but is tailored more toward man to man (5-10 models a side) scaled shootouts.
I'm not sure how it will shake out, but the idea is that you can only track targets in your line of sight, and they can duck back out of it and effectively vanish into the enemy pool. I have some simple ideas, but they will take some working out.

So the rules are basically OK, with the exceptions that the enemy move chart needs improving and the crew builder is still really only in Alpha condition. 

I'm off for a think now, but at least I haven't freaked out and declared the rules broken and dead, like I did the last couple times... It's all part fo the hobby though and I see it as time well spent!

My apologies to those that have followed my abortive efforts in the past only to have them end in nothing, all I can say is, at least they were free! ;)


  1. No call for apologies, Spacejacker. Speaking for myself, I'm happy to see the development, and I find these interim posts quite interesting as you tweak and fine-tune. I'm sure it will make the finished article worth the wait. By the way, gorgeous minis and terrain.

    1. Thank you Gunrunner, I feel I am learning a lot.

  2. Very interesting. Ia m always seeking for solo rules. Waiting for the release!

    1. Thanks Rafa! Current estimates: combat rules 90% finished. Crew builder rules 50% finished. Scenario system... Uh... 10% finished?

  3. I really like where this is going! The random phase system reminds me of Sacre Bleu but with a much lower chance of rolling the same phase repeatedly.

    1. Well Ricardo, that's exactly what the rule is :) I tried rolling and it was too stop-start for me. The fortune phase is also a really nice way to have a turn end but also remove some certainty.

  4. I'll bet your loyal readers would be quite willing to playtest the rules when they get to the Beta stage. Um, maybe "eager" would be closer to the truth....

    Best regards,


    1. Thanks Chris! It will be a few more days I think, but beta version very close now!

  5. Ah, playtest solo style. Rules designing are a laborious task, but a necessary ingredient for our battles to materialize and to function in a satisfying manner in our make-believe-worlds. Good job persevering and tweaking the game's directions and goals, Jacker. May many gamer walk away from engaging in a fun game of Gunstorm with a desire to return to the scene of battle and to "try" it again! Keep on keeping on!

    1. Thanks Jay, it's sure not easy and that's a fact! I'm playing again tonight after I get this new data card system worked out... The good news is I'm playing games regardless of the outcome :)

  6. Loving it, I just picked up some cool pre-paints I'm going to use in my alpha-testing of Gunstorm. Later in this week!

    1. Sweet! I spent entirely too long last night working on new template and stunt cards. If it works out, you should be able to make characters without writing or math. (!)

  7. What a great looking layout for wargaming.The figures look fantastic down there.
    Good game and even better eye candy.

    1. Thanks Dave, a nice looking table is half the point for me!

  8. Spacejacker-did you release your rules yet? If so how do I get my hands on them. I am looking forward to trying a Trek style game with them.

    1. Not yet, after the weekend burst of activity I have been away from the hobby room. I have been working on incorporating the changes I want to make after the last playtest in my mind though, so either by or on the upcoming weekend I think. I will make a page here with links to google docs.

  9. Reposted the GunStorm links on the Hot-LZ forums

    1. Thanks Angus, much appreciated!
      Coming next is an extensive example of play, new crew building system.

  10. big fan of solo miniature games here, will be following the development of this

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