Saturday, 21 May 2016

The anarcho-bomb - A Clobberin' Time battle report

Mr Anarchy skulked in the shadows of the old tower. Here, in the wilds of Wales two ley-lines converged. By his calculations, a warp bomb would be able to suck up the combined magical energy and unleash a chaos wave throughout the world. The warp bomb would take time to calibrate, and he was fairly certain that Delta Wave were aware of what was happening and on their way - one of his punks had turned out to be a traitor - she would have to be dealt with. Right now, the important thing was to get the bomb set. A signal was beaming through time and space. Soon some of his punks would be showing up and they should eb able to deal with the superheroes long enough for his plan to work...

Such was the scenario set-up for this first full run through of Kaptain Kobold's Clobberin' Time rules. I was playing them pretty much as they are with just a couple of modifications - the first was a couple of new powers for my Delta Wave characters, the second was that after receiving a hit a character would recoil and fall - 1" per hit for a normal attack and 3" per hit for a super attack. This was to appease my vision of super battles sending people flying through walls etc.

My stats were as follows:
Powers, abilities, weapons
Hero – 3d6
Resilient – all defence dice red.
Medium Range attack – 1 red attack die, 2 weak dice – 6”
Strength attack – 1 red attack die
Hero – 3d6
Super strength attack – 3 red attack dice
Block – 1 red defence die
Amphibious – performs an extra action when in contact with water
Hero – 3d6
Block – 1 red defence die
Hinder – Medium range – 6”
Extra Movement (rock slide) – 3”
Super leap (rock elevator)
Medium Range attack – 3 weak attack dice - 6”
Hero – 3d6
Long range power blast – 2 red attack dice, 1 normal die – 12”
Block (blinding flash) – 1 red defence die
Hero – 3d6
Speedster – extra move or extra action

Mr Anarchy
Villain – 3d6
Force Field – May reroll all defence dice
Outwit – pre-empt initiative sequence
Medium Range Power blast – 1 red attack die, 2 normal dice - 6”
Leader – can activate up to 6 Punks within 6”
Gadgets – pool of 3 extra dice to be added to attack/defence throughout  game
Henchmen – 1d6
Long range power blast – Pluggers: futuristic fire arms – 12”

Every turn 5 d6 were rolled. For every roll of 5 or 6 a punk would turn up within 1"of a terrain feature.

Apologies for the poor lighting in the pictures - I was playing in the lounge where it is warm and I can sit on a nice comfy couch. I think it is atmospheric...
Delta Wave enter the area. I rolled a d6 for random deployment
Mister Anarchy inside the keep calibrating the warp bomb. He needed 6 undisturbed turns to set it off.
Ore goes around the pond - Speed runs over it. His mission is to occupy Mr Anarchy until the rest of Delta Wave can arrive.
The first punk shows up and has a shot at Speed, but he is too fast and she misses.
In Turn 3 Mr Anarchy is distracted by the arrival of Speed, who is otherwise unable to penetrate Anarchy's force field.
A picture showing the activation mechanism. I'm going to invest in some mini-cards, like the ones you get in  Christmas crackers. because when you have a large number of figures in a small area it gets a bit crowded!
Spectra takes down a punk. She ended up on the receiving end of their attention for most of the game. 
Aphid takes down a punk in hand to hand.
Ore manages to hinder Anarchy with a rock-straightjacket so Speed can get in a double shot in the following turn.
Aphid takes down another punk.
As does Spectra.
I won't even dirty my knuckles this time!
Aquaria takes out a punk as she moves to attack Mr Anarchy from the rear.
Mr Anarchy's force field breaks the rocks apart and in the following turn Speed is belted with a power blast. He is knocked out of the fight for the rest of the game.
Aquaria arrives behind Mr Anarchy while he is still gloating over defeating Speed, and smashes him out of the keep and away from the bomb.
Aphid has to keep dealing with new punks that pop up.
Mr Anarchy is back up, but his power blast on Aquaria is completely ineffective, despite using a gadget.
Ore hinders Mr Anarchy again and Aquaria gets an early turn in the sequence.
POW! A roundhouse right and Mr Anarchy is out for the count. He automatically fades back through time-space to his own dimension, his punks doing the same. The warp bomb is destroyed and Delta Wave celebrate with nachos (except Speed who has to drink a milkshake instead).
Rules review:
I've tried to play Supersystem and Power Legion as miniature games, and I've struggled with both. I find them too slow for solo gaming, and too finicky in terms of the number of different rules I have to get my head around. I know that there are a lot of people who would disagree with my opinion, but there are probably quite a few out there that feel the same way as me.
Clobberin' Time is the first set of Superhero rules that I've played that have just enough detail to be interesting but are simple enough to give a good fast moving game. The key is the fact that the number of dice you roll for each character never changes, regardless of what power you are using. You always hit or block on a 4, unless your attack is weak (most ranged attacks) in which case it is a 5. If the power says you get red dice that means that any roll of a 6 is two hits/blocks. That is it - really simple. You don't have to worry about whether your power blast is a laser or heat ray, it is the effect that is important and the narrative can come afterwards. For instance, in this game Ore tried to cover Mr Anarchy in a rock straight-jacket about 6 times. It worked twice. Now those other times did he use a power blast to destroy the rock, or his force field, or did he dodge? The rules don't tell me which he did, I can make it up. Clobberin' Time gives me the ability to write the script while the game is played. I often feel that superhero rules bog down because the writers try to put the narrative into the rules, rather than letting the rules facilitate the narrative. Clobberin' Time does the latter.
If you haven't worked it out, I like these rules, and I'll be sticking with them.

Thoughts on this game:
The first thing was that the punks are level 1 and are pretty much useless. They provided distractions, but that was me playing to the game more than the rules. Even recycling them got pretty pointless. I have a choice of either making them level 2 characters, which would enhance their survivability as well as their lethality, or giving the pluggers a red die when firing. This would mean that lucky shots might have two chance s to get past the superhero defences. They'd still get bowled over as easy as ever.
The second thing is that Aquaria is very, very powerful. Potentially she can roll 6 hits, and although she didn't this game, 4 hits were rolled in the last punch against Mr Anarchy which was enough to KO him. I need another game to see whether the opposition, once aware of her, can weaken her before she gets into combat. Her defence isn't that great with only one of her dice being red, and it never really got tested in this game. She will be unstoppable in the water though - a potential 12 hits in combat? Just as well the Anarchy crew stayed away from the pond!
Speed. Maybe rather than his powers giving him a second round of attacks, he could roll 6 attacks in one go. This would make him much more formidable.

All in all, a pleasing and enjoyable hour's gaming. Lock them in as my Superhero rules of choice.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the report and the great write-up of the concept behind the rules. I can't take any credit for the stripped down mechanisms requiring your own narrative; that comes straight out of a superhero RPG called Supercrew, where all characters are, in fact, mechanically identical, and everything is about the narrative.

    I see you varied the level of the ranged attacks, which was interesting. I set all basic ranged attacks at Weak because otherwise characters were standing off and shooting far too much when they should have been getting up close and personal. However Power Blast makes all dice in the ranged attack normal (so they hit on a 4+). I hadn't really got as far as adding in Red Dice to the ranged combat mix. It's an interesting idea.

    I am still wondering what to do about minions. Level one characters can still be a nuisance if you make use of pinning, as they can delay more powerful characters. My issue, to be honest, is that if you have a lot of minions then you are dealing out a lot of cards each turn to that side. I'd be inclined towards having minions operate (or at least activate) in groups somehow, but I'm not sure where that leaves the Leader ability.

    For the record, when I play I don't put the cards on the table next to the figures. It's not hard to remember who has activated in a turn since the figure density is low.

    Once again, thank you for the game and the report.