One of my favourite Westerns (indeed, one of my favourite movies) is "High Noon
". In this, Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his portrayal of an about-to-retire marshal who is forced to confront a gang of 4 gunmen on his own, the leader of whom has sworn to kill him.
So, can I create a scenario for The Rules with No Name
which captures some of the tension and leads to an epic finale? Let's see...
So, the numbers on each side are easy enough: 1 marshal against 4 gunslingers. However, it's going to be tricky to balance this. Also note that I've had to alter the appearance and names of the characters, if only to fit the models I have in my collection:
- Marshal: This is straightforward. He's a legend and an upright citizen, so I'll use my Sheriff Roberts model. Indeed, the skills he has are just fine, too: Tough should make him harder to hurt and True Grit will stop him from running away. The only real difference is that I'll take away his shotgun. Just one pistol should be enough, right?
- Miller's Gang: Hmm, I don't really have the right models for this, I think. How about I use my other generic baddies (Banditos) instead? The leader is then Tuco, though he's possibly a bit too tough. Maybe he should be a Shootist instead of a Legend (i.e. level-3 rather than level-4)? I'll leave him as is for now.
The gang is simpler: it consists of 3 Gunmen (level-2). To keep them from being boringly identical, there's a rifleman, a bland pistol guy and a drunk. It's not quite the same as the movie, but the drunk might help to even the odds a little by handicapping his own side - you never know!
- Setup: The battle takes place in a town. The gang sets up on one edge of the table, then the marshal places his figure anywhere desired, as long as it isn't in line of sight of any of the other figures.
- Victory: When all the figures on one side are dead then the other side wins. Simple!
- Desperation: The marshal is heavily outnumbered and desperate. He may take a free action at any point in the game, just as if he had been dealt an Action Card for the turn. This free action may interrupt any other action; it will even trump the Legend Action Card. However, the marshal may only take this free action once in the entire game.
- Familiarity: The marshal knows the town very well but the gang are relative strangers to it. If the marshal is completely out of sight of all gang members then he may use a Move action to move to anywhere else on the board, so long as he doesn't come into sight of any opposing figure at any point during this extended move.
- Bystanders: If you wish to play with Bystanders then the Get Back Inside and Old Friend cards would be quite appropriate, I think.
We ran the game a couple of times to see how this scenario would work. Here's what happened:
|Tuco's gang approach the town - but where is their enemy?|
|The villain and his 3 henchmen|
Straight away, Rico
(the drunk) activated. He failed his "drunk dice" and passed out before anyone else had even moved. For most of the rest of the game, Rico
lay unconscious in the dust. 1 down, 3 to go!
The remaining bandits spread out as they ran up the road. A passing loafer wandered out of the saloon and staggered drunkenly across the road, but this didn't inconvenience the gang at all. Then, the marshal appeared across the street...
...and shot Tuco, who was in the lead. The villain took a serious chest wound; he spent quite a while getting back to his feet while his 2 associates scattered and the marshal ran for cover.
As the bandits advanced, the marshal retreated, afraid of being outflanked. He kept moving in order to disrupt the aim of the rifleman, Cesar
, though this restricted the useful actions that he could take himself.
kept the marshal's head down (mostly), Santiago
ran along the road to the cabin. He didn't manage this unscathed, though: the marshal managed to inflict a minor wound on him as the bandit ran past. Meanwhile, Tuco
crept round the back of the Trading Post.
Despite his wound, Tuco
managed to take an aimed shot at the marshal. He rolled 5 dice for this and due to his Deadeye
ability he would only need a 5 or 6 on any one of them to hit his target. Of course, he missed...
The near miss rattled the marshal, however. When Santiago
began aiming at him from the other side, he decided to use his once-per-game free action. Rather than remain in what was now a somewhat exposed position, he chose to charge Santiago
, intending to beat him up in hand-to-hand combat and relying on his superior class and Santiago
's wound to give him the edge.
The marshal was about 8" away from the bandit, so he rolled 3d6 for his charge move - and came up with 6". Oops! Santiago
then took his shot at close range and killed the marshal with a single bullet. Game over!
Once again, Rico
(the drunk) activated first. However, he immediately sobered up and therefore could act as normal for the rest of the game. Since I was playing the marshal, this was bad news!
The minions ran up the street looking for the marshal, while Tuco
was a bit slower.
reached the junction, the marshal stepped round the corner of the Dry Goods store, aimed and fired. Santiago
took a serious wound and fell to the ground.
ran up to his injured comrade, but the marshal then aimed at him and shot him dead. So far, so good.
The injured Santiago
pulled himself up and staggered round the side of the Bank, while Tuco
attempted to flank the marshal. Meanwhile, Cesar
traded shots with the lawman from behind the limited cover of a hitching rail. This eventually resulted in minor injuries or grazes to both of them.
seized his chance when he was dealt 3 action cards in a single turn. He leaped out into the street (1st action) and aimed at the marshal (2nd action). Before he could use the 3rd one to shoot, the marshal used his once-per-game Desperate
action to interrupt. Quickly raising his revolver, the marshal fired once and shot the villain dead! [note: we realised later that the marshal was
Ducked Back at the time and therefore should have needed to spend an action recovering from this before being able to shoot. That would have changed things somewhat! Oops.
With his boss dead, Cesar
decided to move off the street and seek more cover. However, he hadn't gone very far when the marshal drew a full hand of 5 action cards (i.e. his own character card and all 4 of the Legend
cards). Looks like Cesar
is in trouble!
The marshal aimed and fired, aimed and fired, then fired again. He expected to kill Cesar
straight away and then to use the remaining actions to deal with the pesky Santiago
(who was creeping up behind him). However, an angel must have been watching over Cesar
that day: although he took one serious wound, the rest of the shots were just grazes that didn't really inconvenience him.
The injured Santiago
then managed to catch the marshal from behind. The bandit's lucky shot hit the lawman's gun arm, thus rendering him unable to use his weapon.
Seeing this, Cesar
dragged himself round the corner and shot the marshal again. Although he didn't kill him outright, he did hit him in the legs. Since the marshal could neither shoot nor move any more, we called the game at this point; the 2 injured villains could have finished him off without difficulty (and playing it out would be more reminiscent of an 1980's 18-rated torture movie than of a classic Western...)
In hindsight, the marshal didn't really stand much of a chance in either game, I think.
special rule was fairly useless as there were too many lines of sight in my town. Even if the marshal had gone out of sight round a corner, the best he might have achieved with this rule would be to move 2 sides around a building. I was hoping that he'd be able to disengage completely and pop up somewhere else unexpected (thus forcing the killers to separate to search for him!).
rule worked nicely, but didn't give the marshal enough of an edge on its own.
Perhaps the most obvious rebalancing change would be to alter the victory conditions, so that the marshal wins if Tuco
is killed (rather than Tuco
and all his gang). This would make the bandits exercise some caution with their most powerful character and might allow the marshal to even the odds a bit before the final confrontation. I think I'd also downgrade Tuco
to shootist after all - and probably replace his Deadeye
skill with something less combat-oriented.
Interesting game. I love "we realised later that the..." , been there a few times myself.ReplyDelete
I have used two cards for the "hero" sometimes when heavily outnumbered i found that worked will.
That would certainly make him more powerful! Hmm, maybe add in an extra card for *each* faction, to be used for any character they choose? Or for the one furthest from the action? Or for the last character on that side to be activated? Plenty to think about here.Delete
I have tried several western gunfight rules but not these ones so it is interesting to see how they work a little. The fact that you have used them in preference to any other set makes me think they are probably worth a look. Good setup buildings figures etc. And despite my name this is a wargames setting I really enjoy. (I say "Despite" because you can imagine the micky taking I have had throughout my life!)ReplyDelete
Also High Noon. CLASSIC.
From observation of the internet, I don't think there's a single set of Old West rules that dominates, but rather 3 or 4 popular sets all have their adherents. TRWNN is certainly one of these; it has retained its popularity for quite some time (also, the basic version is free!)Delete
Lovely AAR. Interesting how a fire water can take down a whooping 25% of your force at the start of the game (sounds much more thrilling than saying "1 guy" :PReplyDelete
Yes, but in the 2nd game he sobered up instead and immediately became fully effective (instead of somewhat random). It works both ways!Delete
Brilliant stuff! I think DaveD's suggestion is spot on! An extra card for the Marshall would really help out. I think I'll try this at some point!ReplyDelete
Thanks. I do wonder if the marshal can be given a fighting chance without becoming superhuman, though. Giving him 2 personal cards would need some justification. Hmm, perhaps he really is running high on adrenaline and is therefore unnaturally sharp today?Delete
Nevers tried western games, but I love the setting and the board. Maybe you could try to authorised the Marshall to ignore one shot before it is resolved (before the dice is roll)ReplyDelete
TRWNN does have a skill called "Hard as Nails"; this allows the character to ignore much of the effect of the first wound taken.Delete
I could have given the marshal this skill, but I was really trying to introduce a bit of uncertainty as to his location. In the movie, it's not so much that Kane is bulletproof, but rather that the bad guys don't really know where he is, at least some of the time.
What a cracking game. I really must resist dam you!ReplyDelete
Ah, well now. I'm only doing to you what your blog does to me, Simon :-) !Delete
TRWNN is my favorite set of Wild West rules. Good stuff. The odds are awfully high, maybe try it with one less outlaw?ReplyDelete
The odds certainly are high, just like in the movie. I really wanted to make the marshal capable of surprising the outlaws, or forcing them to split up and be taken on one at a time. I didn't really manage this, I think.Delete
Great AAR report, with a lot fo food for thought to try and balance the game, but I think you're almost there in that respect, especially if the Marshalls win condition is just to take out the bandit leader.ReplyDelete
TRWNN do seem to provide an exciting unpredictable game.
I agree; I think downgrading the bandit leader a bit and lowering the marshal's victory condition would go a long way towards making the game more even.Delete
Great batrep, love the miniatures and the terrain.ReplyDelete
Thanks. Actually, having just bought a copy of the Knucleduster "Cowtown Creator", I think I could improve my setup hugely, with a bit of work.Delete
I still think it's a good scenario. With the changes you suggested I think it will work better. I also fixed the fact that you didn't have me as a follower, which is weird, because I've been following you for a long time.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sean - I think the scenario has a lot of potential but does indeed need some adjustments.Delete
As for the other, I've never been sure what is the difference between following a blog, having it in your blog list and so on. As long as you're seeing the updates you want then that's good!
A very entertaining read. A good batrep and game. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Irqan. The scenario certainly seems to have sparked some discussion!Delete