|Green Dragons take cover in the ruined city block, watching the approach of the Blood Brotherhood|
I had decided to do an urban scenario for my third game with my Sunday night gaming group. For the last several months, I've been furiously painting ruined buildings, street sections, and scatter terrain. After the latest batch, I crossed my fingers and set out a 5'x3' board using my "concrete" floor tiles and my cork road sections. I cluttered up the streets with my burnt out vehicles and vegetation scatter, and placed my ruined buildings atop the floor tiles that I use as sidewalks for my Mean Streets games. Tossing in my 28mm graveyard on one 12"x12" tile, my terrain filled up the table nicely!
| My Green Dragons begin to spread out, hunkering down behind walls and burnt out vehicles |
I was worried that I'd come up short and have to paint up more ruined buildings. Thankfully, that did not happen. Critiquing the setup, I think my mottled gray floor tiles are just too uniform looking. I will be brainstorming some way to make sections look more realistic with a mixture of asphalt, earth, and sparse grass. Originally, I was thinking of creating irregular shaped pieces of styrene flocked appropriately to place here and there. However, now I am thinking of simply making a 12"x12" piece to either lay over the tile or replace it. I do have some foot square cork sections left over from my streets. I could try it out with them and see what it looks like. Of course, that means storing more 12" square terrain tiles, though!
| The Bucknuts stalk stealthily through the rubble of blasted buildings -- too close to me for comfort!|
Anyway, stay tuned to see what I come up with. I had five players coming that night, so that meant my Green Dragon gang was tapped to make an even number. Four gangs would deploy within 6" of each corner, and the remaining two opposite each other at the midpoint of the long table. When my players arrived Sunday night, I had the starting locations set up with dice, tape measures, quick reference sheets for the Fistful of Lead Core Rules
we use, and markers to denote which figures have already acted that turn. I let the players pick out which four members of their gang they would use tonight and select their starting locations. I took the remaining spot on the board.
| To the Dragon's right, Keith's Nightstalkers arrive on table and immediately enter the graveyard|
The table was five feet wide with a 12" width street running across most of the center of the board. The final foot had a ruined church in the center, flanked by a graveyard on one side and dilapidated playground on the other. I used my new 6"x12" street sections to break up the four feet of city block, two sections per side. I did my best to evenly distribute cover so that no player had a disadvantage in their starting position. I also wanted to break up the sight lines of the streets and gaps between buildings as much as possible. Finally, across the center of the table, I evenly spaced out five pieces of urban scatter with a crate on it. The crate represents the chance to find some medical equipment or food. Even though the opposing players are "objectives" in themselves in my games, I also like to place physical things for them to scavenge for.
| The menacing, red-robed forms of the Blood Brotherhood are never a welcome sight across the table|
My Green Dragons "luckily" drew the center point of one board edge and deployed behind a burnt out vehicle and the shattered remains of a couple buildings. To our right, in the graveyard, were the Nightstalkers run by Keith. To the Green Dragons' left were the Bucknuts, run by Mike S. "Greeeaat,
" I thought! My two sniper friends are on either side of me! Chen was sent off to the left to grab some hard cover and keep an eye on the Bucknuts. Mike S is an aggressive player and enjoys attacking his rival players openly and forcefully. On my left it as no better. In Keith's previous game, he grabbed firing positions and blazed away happily all game long at enemy gangs. And across from me was the Blood Brotherhood -- Jenny's gang. They were the current leader in Renown Points after two scenarios. Jenny loves to mix it up on the tabletop, too! Yikes -- my Green Dragons were in for a hot night, it appeared.
| F Troop, our nemesis last scenario, was back -- but likely too far away for us to inflict some payback|
To the Brotherhood's left, and deployed in the dilapidated playground was Joel's F Troop gang. Joel tends to be a little less aggressive, but incidentally, his was also the gang who the Dragons wanted "payback" against. We would receive bonus points for knocking any of their gang members out of action (they took out one of ours in the last game, "I Smell a Rat!"
). As it was, we never got close enough to them to take any shots at F Troop. To the Brotherhood's right was Joel's brother Allen and his Followers of the Dark Prophet. That meant Jenny was tonight's designated "Sams-wich" -- something I have experienced more than once in the past. Allen's wife always admonishes the brothers not to kill each other every week, so being stuck between them can be a bad thing!
|Followers of the Dark Prophet move out into the streets, hoping to scavenge some food or equipment|
On our first turn, the Green Dragons four members moved out. Chen was sent to keep an eye on the Bucknuts. He took a position in heavy cover and watched as the other gang moved up stealthily. Quon and Ting darted forward and crouched behind a burnt out sports car, while Feng raced up to the window of a crumbling stone building overlooking the wide street. From all corners of the board, the rival gangs moved up. To our left, three of the Nightstalkers lined a wall overlooking the ruined church. Specialist Cypher raced to the corner of the wall and focused his optics on a crate semi-hidden amidst the ruins of the church. It looked promising, and on the next turn, he darted out towards it. He was able to recover some medical supplies stashed inside. Meanwhile, his teammates scanned the ruins beyond him, ready to pour in covering fire at the first sign of trouble.
| White investigating a crate, Jackie of the Bucknuts dispatches a feral dog that raced to attack her|
The Bucknuts sent Jackie racing forward to a investigate a crate next to an abandoned van. Before she could get a chance to check it out, furious barking made her freeze in her tracks. A feral dog had sprung from beneath a nearby burnt out pickup truck and was charging towards her. With remarkable coolness, she spun and fired a single shot into its skull. The huge dog slid into the crate and lay motionless. I created a new mechanic this time to encourage players to venture into the wide street area to investigate the crates. When a player first takes an action to solve the task of scavenging equipment in one of the crates, they are given control of a feral dog and an additional card to activate it. It is placed immediately anywhere on the board outside of 5" from a player character. The player can either use that card to activate the dog or any other in its hand. Allen's Followers of the Dark Prophet had beaten Mike S's Bucknuts to the roll, and investigated their own crate. Allen placed the dog in the burnt out pickup and used his next card to send it charging in to attack Jackie. Alas for Allen (and the dog), he rolled poorly for the pooch and it was quickly put out of action in melee.
| A bullet flies in from somewhere and Chen is struck. Was the shooter aiming at him or the dog?|
Shortly thereafter, Jenny's Blood Brotherhood also made a task roll on a crate (although failing). She placed a second feral dog in the exact same spot. Unfortunately, she chose to send it racing to attack my Chen, who thought he had done a good job of hiding. Chen jabbed the butt of his rifle into the feral dog's jaw, eliciting a yelp. The beast shook it off, though, and stayed in place, growling furiously. One of the Bucknuts saw the struggle taking place and fired a shot. Was he aiming for the feral dog or Chen? The shot struck Chen, who dropped to the pavement, bleeding and out of action. When firing into a melee, Fistful of Lead rules dictate a random roll to see who is targeted. My Green Dragons weren't actually having a lot of luck tonight, and Chen's misfortune was symptomatic of how things would go for my gang.
| While Jackie checks to make sure the dog is dead, Efron races up and snatches away the supplies! |
Meanwhile, Allen was being fairly bold with his advance. Two Followers of the Dark Prophet moved towards the van where Jackie had paused after downing the dog. One raced up and snatched up the crate, rolling successfully to loot some valuable equipment. He smiled at Jackie as he did so. This allowed Allen to place yet another feral dog. This one was in another pickup truck within striking distance of Mike's Bucknuts. Annoyed at losing the equipment, Coach Coop (the Bucknuts leader) sighted along his sniper scope and squeezed off a single shot. The bulldog fell to the asphalt with a whimper. If I thought my Green Dragons were having a tough night, the dogs were truly have a dog day afternoon. Every single shot fired at them took one out of action. What's more, despite being +1 in melee over the characters they engaged, they also lost every melee.
| When the machines send a Scout Bot to investigate the gunfire, the Bucknuts blast away, disabling it|
With three total casualties so far, that triggered the arrival of a Scout Bot at the end of turn 2. Since I'd lost Chen, I was given control of it. I placed it in the corner the Bucknuts had arrived ontable from, hoping to distract them and give them something to think about. I looked at my four cards (which dictate the order of activation), and sighed. Nothing above a five! Apparently, this Scout Bot rolled ontable through a pile of rubbish, clearly announcing its arrival. The Bucknuts turned at the noise, and one of them fired a burst from their automatic weapon. Sparks and chunks flew from the glass, plastic, and metal. The Scout Bot crashed into a pillar, its sole wheel spinning wildly. Mike was definitely making up for my poor rolling. In his four rolls to wound this game, he had rolled ALL 9's or 10's on a ten-sided die. Everything he shot seemed to go out of action -- don't mess with the Bucknuts!!
|Brave Quon spies a crate, aware that four Blood Brotherhood members are also advancing towards it|
In my sector, Quon had crept up to within a move of where two members of the Blood Brotherhood were poring over a crate in the center of the street. Shots rang out, and both of the hooded cult members fell to the ground writhing in pain. Quon judged his time was right and sprinted to the crate. He quickly figured out how to open it and snatched up the supplies that had been hidden inside. I had tried to do this as cleverly as possibly. I moved Quon up on my last activation card, and planned
to move him back on my first one on the next turn. Once again, my cards were terrible, though. My highest was a six! Jenny's cultists recovered and fired at Quon, hitting him and knocking him out of action. The Green Dragons were definitely having "dog luck!" Everyone who hit one of my figures rolled a 9-10 on 1d10, too, taking them out!
| The Nightstalkers man the graveyard wall, pouring covering fire into F Troop for Spec. Cypher|
Back on my right, F Troop had reached the playground wall and saw Specialist Cypher standing with the supplies in his hand. They poured fire into him, giving him several shock markers but no wounds. Luckily for Cypher, one of Keith's activation cards was a special one allowing the figure activated to clear all shock for free. Cypher sprinted away through the ruins and dove over the graveyard wall, not stopping until he plummeted into a grave that had been dug, but not filled. Cypher checked himself over, found he was unhurt, and rose to his knees waving the supplies at his fellow Nightstalkers. The soldiers let out a cheer for their brave specialist. Keith was having a "Bucknuts" kind of night, too. His return fire on F Troop also took out one of their soldiers.
| Drawn by the heavy gunfire, a military bot clanks forward to investigate, spotting the Nightstalkers|
Keith's luck was about to change, though (or was it?). I totaled up the figures that had been taken out, and the carnage tripped us up to the third level. This meant we skipped the Sentry Bot arrival stage and went straight to a Military Bot. Joel was given this card to control and he placed it in the street next to the graveyard. The Nightstalkers heard the ominous metal clanking at the giant, man-like robot strode purposefully towards the wall. Unlike me, Joel had pulled a King (or Ace), which allowed him to act first. Keith's troopers were helpfully bunched close together, which allowed Joel to target three of them with burst fire from its machine gun. His wound rolls were not nearly as deadly and resulted in a miss, shock, and a wound on the three Nightstalkers. On his turn, though, Keith was able to have three of his guys vault the wall and escape off-table. The fourth ducked behind the wall and prayed, but was also able to escape on the following turn.
| With both cultists down and bleeding, Ting creeps forward, eyes on the supplies won and lost|
Meanwhile, the Blood Brotherhood was feeling the ill effects of being out in the middle of the street. Both the Green Dragons and Followers of the Dark Prophet poured fire into their exposed position. One hooded cultist fell dead while another was wounded. This encouraged my leader Ting to try to regain the supplies that brave Quon had paid the ultimate price for scavenging. He raced to the cover of some scrub growing out of the split pavement. Unfortunately, the round ended and once again my cards were all low, meaning I would not activate until later in the turn. Another Military Bot stomped onto the table, though, and I was awarded control of it. I brought it in on the edge of the center street, hidden by a wall from the Bucknuts.
| Grand Master of the Blood Brotherhood finds a good firing position in the burnt out pickup truck|
Jenny's leader had taken cover in the bed of a burned out pickup. Grand Master blazed away at Ting, once again hitting and scoring a 9-10! Luckily (finally?), I had the foresight to give leaders in my campaign the "9 Lives" trait. This reduces the first "Out of Action" result on the figure to a wound. Another cultist fired at Ting and he received a second wound. My guys just could not win for losing, tonight!
| Jenny's cultists just won't stay down! Despite their wounds, they gun down Ting hiding in the bushes|
Meanwhile, with both F Troop and the Nightstalkers scattering for the board edge, the military bot began to march back towards the center of the table. The new bot rounded the corner and fired burst fire from his machine gun. Three of the four Bucknuts were inside the "blast radius." I rolled and, in true Hollywood fashion, the bad guy machine missed all of the heroes. Knowing enough was enough, Mike had all of his troopers sprint off table. He'd garnered enough points, he figured. In addition, Brutus and Jackie had removed portions of the Sentry Bot, taking valuable optics and ammunition with them off-table.
| Ting limps off-table, heavily wounded and rethinking the commands he'd given this day|
At this point, all six factions were heading for the table edges. Two military bots were roaming the table, blasting away on full auto at anything that moved. I was actually very happy with how my post-apocalyptic games were ending. As more and more bots arrive, the surviving gang members decide it is time to run and live to fight for another day. It gives a very cinematic and almost realistic feel. Four of the gangs had taken casualties in this scenario, though, with my Green Dragons taking two. Only the Bucknuts and Nightstalkers got off the table unscathed.
| Just before escaping off-table in a hail of bot machine gunfire, Jackie and Brutus pry off some parts from the Scout Bot they'd downed|
Despite my bad luck, it was a good time. I felt the game flowed well and terrain on the table looked nice. Now, it is time to figure out what Scenario 4 will be! Hopefully, with my school year ending soon, it won't take as long to get this one played. Stay tuned!