Saturday, 24 January 2015

Proper Shootouts

As I hinted in the previous post, I decided that playing a battle against 28 Apaches was not what I wanted from my Wild West game, whatever the dice suggested. So it turned out that Mandingo was sick when that patrol set off to the isolated blockhouse in the Wyoming desert, and Spring 1876 instead found him in the tiny frontier town of Sick Dog's Paw.
The first encounter was a Gunfight type 1 (G-1) which means a one-on-one shootout in the classic High Noon fashion. Rolling my opponent and the location I found that Mandingo had been challenged by an Outlaw in the Saloon. The outlaw had taken more redeye bourbon than was good for him, I assume. Rolling on the NPC table I found that the outlaw had a rep of 4, one less than Mandingo.
The shootout starts with a Draw test - each side rolls a number of D6 equal to their Rep, trying to get 1,2,3 as successes. As a Gunfighter Mandingo gets an extra die, so he rolled 6, Jake (the outlaw) rolled 4. Jake rolled just one success, while Mandingo got 4 - so he had three more successes. This means that the victor has "Got the Drop", and normally that gives the slower party a roll to see if he surrenders, or tries to carry on with the draw at a disadvantage. However Gunfighters (and outlaws) are different - if they get the drop they don't mess around with anything as chivalrous as letting the other fellow surrender, they just shoot. Furthermore, if any of their dice have rolled 3, as was the case here, then the opponent is Obviously Dead (which means what it says). So Mandingo emptied his gun into the upstart (and now late) Jake, and returned to his drink.

Later, we had another gunfight, and again we rolled a G-1. This time it was outside in the street, and the opponent was another Gunfighter. Indeed this would be a tougher test - rolling for the NPC we found that Mandingo faced an opponent with the same Rep (5) and Toughness (4) and a higher Sand (5).
So both sides rolled six dice in the Draw Test (Rep of 5 plus one for being a Gunfighter), and both scored two successes. This meant that they had both drawn and fired with no effect, and the game now proceeds to "normal" turns. In addition anyone who rolled a 1 on any of their dice would have emptied their gun - and this applied to Mandingo.
In the first turn they rolled for initiative, and both scored 4. A tie means that neither side can fire or move, but they can reload. This of course was exactly what Mandingo needed, and he duly did so.
Now on even terms, they rolled again for initiative. Mandingo scored 6, his opponent (Clint) scored 2. So Mandingo had the initiative, but it was not as simple as that. The winner can only take actions with characters whose Rep is at least as high as the initiative roll. In this case, with a roll of 6 and Mandingo's Rep of 5, that meant he could not take action, and it passed to Clint.
Clint now fired, two shots with his pistol. Adding his Rep to a single D6 he needed to score at least 8 for a hit, but two 2's meant two misses. Mandingo now needed to take a "Been Shot At" test, and being a Star (i.e. a main character) he was allowed to choose his reaction - so he chose to fire back.
As before there were two shots, adding Mandingo's Rep of 5 to a single die roll - and in this case adding another one because Mandingo has the Crackshot ability. He rolled a 6, and the total of 11+ meant that he could choose the hit location. He picked the head, but Clint had a "Been Hit" test with two rolls against his Toughness and passed them both, so it was just a graze. Mandingo rolled again, and again scored 11+. This time he picked the gut as the hit location, and Clint only passed one of his two rolls. That meant that he was out of action, and Mandingo had won.
After the fight Mandingo rolled for possible stat advancement and by scoring a 6 hs added one to his Sand score (Sand is effectively Nerve, or Coolness - a combination of courage and quick decision making).
My verdict on these fights? - "now this is more like it". Both of these engagements felt as they should, as simulations of the somewhat cinematic scenarios. In the first a foolish outlaw challenged the gunslinger and it was all over in a second - one roll of the dice, literally. In the second fight it was closer, two evenly matched opponents exchanged rapid fire until someone found the killing shot. All quick and clean - this is the sweet spot for these rules.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Circle the wagons - both of them!

So finally I have painted up the Apache attackers, and bought and painted the two wagons I needed to play the holdup. I am using the Six Gun Sound (SGS) rules from Two Hour Wargames, though I have bolted on the In Sight reaction rules from the free Chain Reaction ruleset from the same company. That set is more recent than the SGS rules, and they say they plan to issue a new version of SGS soon. The Chain Reaction rules do seem to handle group encounters in a more understandable way.

Anyway my hero (or Star) is Mandingo, a Gunfighter character with stats of Rep 5, Toughness 3, Sand 4. In Spring of 1875 he is drifting in Wyoming, and has an encounter when a pair of wagons he is escorting is ambushed by Apaches. As well as Mandingo and two wagon drivers there are four Rangers in the escort, and the Apaches brought nine warriors with assorted weapons. All these things - type of encounter, size and number of each side and the detailed stats of each character, are rolled up on tables in the rules.

The Apaches were in three groups of three - in the picture one group is out of sight in the foreground. Mandingo was at the rear of the wagon train, with the rangers on either side. The Apaches moved forward under cover of the hills, until the group to the rear right of the wagons came over the crest and into Mandingo's sight.

One of the features of SGS is the exchanges of fire - two enemies don't just have a shot at each other - they blaze away and take reactions until one or the other has to stop - through being knocked down, forced to duck back or running out of ammo. This works well in small encounters, but can get confusing where substantial groups meet, as you have to follow one exchange down to a conclusion, and then go back "up" to run the next exchange. It gets particularly difficult when one man can fire at two or more opponents - this triggers "Been Shot At" reactions from each target. As I said I switched to the reaction tests for groups from Chain Reaction, which is a little simpler.

So, Mandingo fired at two of the attackers, and missed both. One ducked back behind the hill, but the other fired at Mandingo - and missed. Mandingo then fired back again and wounded him, knocking him out of the fight. Next the third Apache took his shot at Mandingo and again missed, and after another exchange the Apache was hit in the head and killed outright.

The second Apache group came over the rocky hill to the rear left of the wagons, and this time two of the rangers as well as Mandingo were involved. An Apache with a bow did some damage, killing one ranger and wounding Mandingo in the leg. In further exchanges the attackers were all killed, but not before Mandingo had been hit again, in the arm, and put out of the fight.

The fight went on without him as the third attacking group came over the hill, but despite losing one more ranger the defenders, including the two wagon drivers, comfortably finished off the rest of the Apaches.

The SGS rules include recovery from wounds, and it took until the following Spring, 1876, before both wounds were healed. Because he finished Out of the Fight Mandingo didn't gain any points towards a Rep increase. In the Spring phase Mandingo found work as a Ranger in Wyoming, and I have rolled an encounter with him and six companions attacked by 28 Apaches. I am minded to re-roll this - that is more like a small skirmish battle than a Wild West gunfight, and it's also not in the sweet spot for these rules, IMHO. (Plus, I only have eight Apache figures). So it may turn out that Mandingo wasn't in the Ranger platoon which fought the Apache after all, and we'll have a proper gunfight instead.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

More for the desert

Keeping the painting table warm, I have done a couple more packs of British desert tanks from GHQ - UK-30 which is the Crusader III with the 6pdr gun, and UK-39, the A-13 Cruiser tank with the smaller 2pdr. Both slightly earlier in the desert war, and as always with GHQ, very nice models which paint up well.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Wagons Roll

As I mentioned last time, the ambush which I rolled for my first encounter involves my hero guarding two wagons against Apache attack - the problem was that I didn't have the wagon models. So I ordered a couple, with some crew and mules, from Dixon's, and last week they arrived. I built and undercoated them on Friday, and in a marathon session on Saturday I pretty much painted them all - just a few bits to finish off and now they're ready. So the sixguns should be blazing very soon.