Mission 1: Assassination
For the first game I chose the Assassination mission.
The smugglers' camp was set up in the middle of the 4ft x 4ft board and various rocks and trees were scattered around it to break up the lines of sight.
The smugglers were placed in the centre of the village, DeGreck was kept off board until he could be spawned in place of a smuggler reinforcement and various spiders, leets and bot hackers were placed outside the camp to act as early harassment mobs for the players.
I chose a Fixer and a Doctor and my team mate Giro went for an Enforcer and an Engineer. There don't seem to be any photos of my characters.
The opposing team was made up of Kevin's Doctor and Bureaucrat and Mark's Soldier and Fixer.
Mark and Kevin won the initiative roll thanks to their Bureaucrat's initiative bonus and started to hunt down the trash mobs in order to clear the board for the main event and secure some equipment rewards from the loot deck.
The Bureaucrat charmed a spider and used it to kill another.
Before setting it on some leets.
At the other end of the table the Enforcer went toe-to-toe with a pair of spiders and some bot hackers and killed them all in quick succession.
Mark's character sheets at the end of the first round showing his equipped item rewards.
Killing the extra mobs took the first round. As round two commenced we all regrouped in preparation for the main assault.
Once again Mark and Kevin started with the initiative and took up positions to tackle the smugglers.
My team moved in from the other side. The Enforcer positioned himself in open view trusting to the Doctor to keep him alive as he pummelled some smugglers and my Fixer moved swiftly around the camp perimeter.
The Bureaucrat attacked first for the other team.
But, once she'd reduced her action tokens dispatching smugglers, the Enforcer lunged in and killed her with a spectacular beat down.
My Fixer took this opportunity to position himself inside the settlement walls with a clear line of fire to the central space.
His shooting was abysmal however and the initiative passed back to the other team.Turn three saw DeGreck appear right next to my Fixer who couldn't shoot him until we had wrested the initiative from our opponents. The onus was on them to attack.
The Soldier went first with back up from their Doctor and Fixer.
The compound filled with lead and lasers as the firefight began.
Once again the Enforcer did what Enforcers do best and engaged the Soldier in hand-to-hand combat. It was a one way contest even with the Doctor healing furiously.The Soldier went to Reclaim and we took the initiative.
My Fixer unloaded all his shots into DeGreck, killing him to achieve the mission objective.
What I learned.
The Soldier was a little underpowered so his starting nanos have been tweaked. This was the only rules change I made.
What we learned.
Keeping a token or two back for emergencies is pointless. Decide on a simple course of action and commit all your resources to it is the way to succeed.
BLAM 2014: Hijack
I thought Hijack would be a challenge but, with their eyes firmly on the goal, both teams quickly formed plans for a quick result.Here's the set up.
The Omni team elected to arrive via Whompah and the Clanners came overland and appeared on a table edge by a Bronto Burgers stall.
The Omnis found themselves confronting several guards but their Bureaucrat charmed the officer and then the team mowed down the rest.
Both teams cleared the areas around their entry points so they could work on their plans uninterrupted. The Clan team lost its Bureaucrat to an attack from some local citizens but undeterred they pressed on.
Both teams used their Fixers to hack into and steal cars. The Clan car got airborne first and flew through withering fire from the Omni team to reach the Notum shuttle. Good doctoring saw their Fixer arrive safely but with out the actions necessary to hack and repair the shuttle.
Seconds later the Omni Yalmaha took to the skies and, again with good doctoring, survived the Clan's not-quite-so-withering shooting. Their Fixer also reached the shuttle and, using the last of her actions, succeeded in repairing it and escaping. The exhausted Clan Fixer could only look on, impotent and exhausted.
What I learned:
The game needs a bit more streamlining to allow complete newcomers to access it quickly. However this mustn't just dumb it down.
I've redesigned the play sheets to be smaller, I'm going to try to source some 3D ones which will help control the counters.
I've removed the blue Nano points completely.
I've added a mechanic for Enforcers to take aggro from team members (and keep it) and removed NCU which wasn't trackable anyway, players can have as many buffs running as they want now.
To counter this downsizing I've added in implants which are a major part of Anarchy Online and needed to be represented.
I've reinstated a process to introduce new nano programs during play.
It's like a patch update :)
Mission 2: Data Retrieval
Our second game was the Data Retrieval mission which I plan to use as my introductory mission at BLAM this year.
Each of the five sections of the crashed ship had something worth retrieving in them so the team that managed to exit the board with three or more items would win the mission.
As the characters arrived they saw the wreck was being inspected by a group of Desert Nomads with a pair of sand worms and some infectors hovering around the edges.
We picked the same characters as before, my team, comprising Giro and me, had a Fixer, a Doctor, an Enforcer and an Engineer and our opponents, Mark and Kevin, took a Soldier, a Fixer, a Doctor and a Bureaucrat.
The Bureaucrat gave them a +1 to the initiative roll but they still lost and so my team went first. Because we had a Fixer we took the option to arrive by the Fixer Grid. The arrival point is shown by a randomly placed blue counter. The grid exit put us right near the ship but also next to a sand worm and some other gribblies.
The sand worm attacked as we appeared.
Undeterred we set to work. My Doctor was immediately attacked by two sets of desert Nomads and some infectors. They rolled some high damage but her countering healing nano wiped it without a trace. Foolishly I thought this exceptional roll was a sign of things to come. It wasn't.
The Engineer successfully searched one piece of wreckage and the Fixer found more data in a second piece. With our action points running out the Enforcer and Fixer attempted to kill the nearest sand worm.
We failed miserably and lost the initiative.
Kevin and Mark had some ground to make up, we were well ahead in the data retrieval race. They decided not to use the Fixer Grid themselves as it would drop them right into the melee and reduce their movement options and instead entered from a table edge behind some rocks.
The Soldier wiped some nearby infectors allowing the Bureaucrat to move and charm the second sand worm. The worm launched itself into the centre of the board, chomping on infectors and desert Nomads as it went, clearing a path to the remaining pieces of wreckage.
The worm was followed by the Soldier, Fixer and Doctor.
We had to watch as their Doctor grabbed some data from one section of the wreck and their Fixer found another.
Taking advantage of an unprotected exit the Doctor scampered off the table.
Our turn started with the Enforcer moving away from the rest of the team to try and draw some of the mobs with him. Sure enough they all piled on, including the now un-charmed worm.
The Enforcer shrugged off all the attacks and retaliated by killing the worm.
Meanwhile the Engineer erected an energy shield between him and the other sand worm so he could move to the last unexplored piece of wreckage.
He was tracked by nearby infectors and had to resist their attacks as he searched.
Once again the Enforcer came to the rescue, drawing the mobs away with his taunts.
As the Engineer found our third piece of data we started to think about how to get it all off the board to complete the mission.
The main thing blocking our line of retreat was the remaining sand worm so my Fixer decided to finish it off. Unloading a full clip from his newly looted assault cannon he...missed. Completely. Bullets went everywhere except into the worm.
That was our go over at quite a tense moment.
The obvious target for the other team was our Engineer who was now in possession of two data packets.
The Bureaucrat began by attacking with her new pets, some infectors, and her robot assistant. She added her own firepower into the mix as well.
The attack failed with the help of my Doctor and, once again, we were in the driving seat.
The Enforcer again drew off the surrounding enemies.
And the Engineer put up another shield to stop further direct attacks from the Bureaucrat.
That just left the Soldier with an opportunity to kill the Engineer but my Doctor was on hand to counter him.
The final turn started with the Soldier opening up on the Engineer with thirty attack dice. THIRTY!!!!
As the damage mounted I looked at the much smaller number of dice my Doctor had to heal with. It was a massacre in the end and the Engineer died bravely under the irresistible hail of lead.
With all our options exhausted my team could only look on as the Soldier collected the two data packets and exited for the win.
What I learned.
The change to the Soldier's starting nano programs makes him the formidable fighter he's meant to be.
What we learned.
Decide on a simple course of action and commit all your resources to it is still the way to succeed. My Doctor lost us the game because I hadn't put everything into my healing nano pool.
This is a good introductory scenario. There is a lot of manoeuvring and teamwork needed to succeed on the relatively open playing area and the team that works best together comes out on top.
Here's a gallery of images from BLAM 2014