Playtest Report – #10 (ish)

Left to RIght, Me, “J”, and my wife, Kara

We had an amazing playtest last night. There have been a few since then, but this one was different since it was more than just my wife and me. A man and his son (who was probably 13ish? 14ish) played doubles with us. My wife and his son J were a team, and A and I were on a team.

Avengers (mercs whose mechs were painted to look like the marvel heroes):

Awesome (Iron Man), Thunderbolt (War Machine), Commando (Black Widow), and Wolverine.

Desert Roses (red and tan mercs)

Battlemaster, Locust, Shadow Hawk, and Archer.

Specific configurations:
AWS-8Q, TDR-5S, COM-1B, and WVR-6R

One map side had a double hill, with a narrow canyon running through it. The other side had a fairly large hill in the middle of it.

Tokens and Dice
We used new tokens and dice that I had made at The Game Crafter!

End Results:
Thunderbolt (War Machine) was destroyed. Awesome (Iron Man) and Commando (Black Widow) were severely damaged, but not enough to score points. Locust was destroyed, Battlemaster was pretty badly damaged. Archer and Shadow Hawk had minor scuffs on the armor, but nothing serious. The match seemed balanced, but some strategic blunders on the Avenger team were mostly responsible for its significant losses. At 230 points and a full lance on each side, this was by far the largest battle we’ve ever tried out. Consequently, the match progressed slower than in our previous games. Some of this is obviously due to the size of the battle, but also because the two other players were new and because whenever you play as a team, there is additional time taken to coordinate movement and discuss battle strategy. Overall, we played 5 rounds before Empire Games closed, and it took about two and a half hours. Three if you count set-up and tear-down. After the destruction of two units and the impending destruction of at least one more, (and the increased familiarity as we played) the game would probably take another hour and a half or so until we reached round 12 or destruction of a side.

Strategic Overview of turns:
Avengers made a tactical error early on by mistakenly putting their low-defense Awesome out in the open. It received fire from most of the Desert Roses because of this. The Avengers also decided to split their forces and send Wolvie and the Commando around the big hill while the Awesome and Thunderbolt held their ground. These two took a beating while their comrades, stuck on the other side of a mountain, provided no fire support. This was just a bad move. Meanwhile, the Desert Roses’ Archer just parked in a clump of woods and berated its opponents with missiles while the Battlemaster and Shadow Hawk moved to the big hill, essentially cutting off a flanking attempt by the Avengers’ two faster units, while still contributing to the firefight. The Locust made a single attempt to rush the Awesome, got most of its carcass melted by particle fire, and spent another few turns hiding in a canyon. It eventually came out to deal some damage to the Wolverine, but the Awesome shredded it to pieces as soon as it peeked out. Although the Locust didn’t do much, the Awesome, standing alone as it was, couldn’t leave its spot for fear of being flanked by the light mech. As a result, it worked like a chess piece checking the Assault mech, even while not doing much damage itself.

Improvements to be made:
Clarification needed: I need to specify that you cannot run into the same hex you started in.
Focus and Special Mech action: These actions were combined into a single action, but the rulebook needs to account for this. Essentially a “focus” action, gives you a token that you can spend on manipulating offensive dice, defensive dice, or to torso twist (or other post-move actions). The added flexibility makes it just about equally likely for a heavier unit to pick Focus over Target Lock, which is good.
I need to create a default “This is your first game” scenario that others can easily pick up and play. Probably with its own rulebook in order to help new players.
I need to make a video that clearly explains the basics of the rules. I know I prefer watching learn-to-play vids over a large rulebook.