Monday, February 24, 2020

Mean Streets Mission Testing

Sons of Thor in a photo NOT from the game - actually one Jenny staged for the rulebook when it is published
Lately, we have had the good fortune of having 7-8 players showing up for Sunday night gaming. I decided to take advantage of the numbers and try out an idea that I have for running my gang warfare game, Mean Streets, at conventions. Rather than have one board for six players, I thought about splitting the board into two roughly 3'x3' sections, divided by a bridge over a river, freeway, or something similar. I put out the call and lo and behold had 8 players -- not counting me!
We filled up an 8'x4' table with a giant playtest of my "Mean Streets" gang warfare rules on Sunday night
It took me all day Sunday to set up the scenario, assigning gangs and their respective missions to each of the boards. Each gang would have one Primary Mission and two Secondary Missions to amass victory points. I set up the missions so that the gangs end up bumping into each other to guarantee some fighting. Although I learned long ago that gamers have minds of their own and will do everything possible to ignore the way you're herding them. That proved to be the case on one of the two boards, but certainly not on the other, which was a dustup from start to finish.
The Bexley Blockwatch on patrol - one member taking the opportunity to "tag" a vehicle in the parking lot
With eight players gathered around the table, and getting questions from the players, I didn't get much chance to take pictures. I did get a chance to playtest out some of the newer missions that I'd written. Only one of them will require some tweaking, I think. The others worked out fairly good, although more than one player had his mission abruptly eclipsed when their members were jumped by another gang. In particular, the Grandview Gurkhas (Brian) had the mission to "Show the Colors." This meant sauntering down the main street slowly looking for a fight and showing off their "badassness," as Brian put it. However, they were cornered by the Hilltop Highlanders (Mike W) and engaged in a brutal knockdown, drag-them-out fight that lasted the whole game.
The Hilltop Highlanders emerge from an alley onto the main street - players place their dice indicating actions they rolled next to the figure
This actually meant that the Highlanders, who were supposed to protect Wallace's Brewpub, ended up being too busy fighting to prevent either the Berwick Wangs (Bruce) or the Sons of Thor (Joel) from fulfilling their secondary mission of "Beer Run!" In fact, the Wangs had the mission of essentially getting off the board on the opposite corner from where they entered in, "We Gotta Get Outta Here!" Meanwhile, they were supposed to tag everything in sight with their gang logo and look to leave a few bruises on rival gangs. Bruce ignored the last part of the mission, and his gang members never threw a punch (though they probably ran out of spray paint with as much tagging as they did!). The Sons of Thor were the mystery to me, as they were essentially supposed to roam the table looking for a fight -- they would receive double points for knocking out rival gang members. Joel loves to be contrary (like many a gamer!) and threw all of one punch all night long!

The Linden Daos cruise through the street market, looking for a fight
On the other half of the table, Mike S and his "O-Ren-Ishi School for Girls" jumped Tom's Eastmoor Kings from behind, knocking out their leader in a savage flurry of blades and blows. Tom's boys bolted for the other side of the board and were able to put some distance between themselves and the vicious Japanese schoolgirls! Keith's Linden Daos renewed their bad blood with Allen's Bexley Blockwatch, ignoring their primary mission to knock out all but the Blockwatch's Leader over the course of the game. Keith's leader broke new records for the number of wound markers on him, racking up nine or so, at one point. He was eventually knocked out when the Kings decided to wade into the fray, as well.

Another staged photo Jenny took for the rulebook: The Linden Daos - martial artists that pack a heavy punch!
All in all, it was a good playtest of my newest missions I'd written for the rules. It also allowed me to hone the point costs of various skills that gang members can purchase. I went with smaller forces, too, to test what is a minimum point size for a gang. The rules played fast, as I hoped, with the one game being over within 2 hours, the other following within another half hour. I am thinking that my two games at Cincycon will be the final walk-through of the rules, and that I will begin laying them out for publishing after that weekend.  Stay tuned for more gang warfare on Columbus "Mean Streets!"