A few weeks ago, we played a game of 7TV at the Helensburgh games club which pitted Mystery Inc (i.e. Scooby Doo and pals) against some aquatic monsters led by an extraterrestrial megalomaniac (see here: The Mystery of Frenchman's Cove).
This game was quite fun and seems to have been well received by readers of my blog, but I couldn't help feeling that we had missed some opportunities. In particular, our grasp of the rules - and especially the abilities of the two casts - wasn't strong enough to make a really good game. So we played it again at home, just to see...
Much as before, we set up a table that used my new lighthouse model. Mystery Inc and Sheriff Stone advanced from one side (I was playing them myself), whilst my friend Steve took the Master, the lighthouse keeper and their undersea allies on the other side.
Sheriff Stone and his men saw some strange-looking people advancing up the beach, carrying what looked like car headlight. "Hippies, I expect" muttered one of the cops. "We'd better go and see what they want".
Without warning, the creatures raised their devices and opened fire [literally - they were using heat rays!]. One officer went down, whilst the rest scattered for cover and shot back. This merry little firefight continued for a while with only a few casualties...
In the meantime, Velma drove the Mystery Machine past the lighthouse - and past the bemused lighthouse keeper, who consoled himself by taking potshots at Fred with his revolver.
Velma wasn't driving into danger recklessly - there was a plan: Shaggy and Scooby, using an Unlikely Disguise, would dismount and retrieve the objective right in front of them. The disguise should prevent them from being shot down immediately..
Velma ran for a more distant objective, but Shaggy and Scooby found their way blocked by a scary-looking pair of Sea Devils. Hmm - a conundrum...
Ah, but these aliens were unreliable allies. That means the opposition can spend plot points to command them, within limits. "Look over there! Behind you!" screamed Shaggy at the tall figure in black armour. Burbling to itself in its own, undersea language, the reptilian creature turned around and strode off to see what might be found in the middle of the creek.
"I don't think that was the brightest fish in the fishtank, Scooby!" exclaimed Shaggy as he watched the monster depart. "And look, here's Tia!" he added as he solved the objective [what, again? In our last game the very first objective also turned out to be the missing friend].
Meanwhile, near the door to the lighthouse cottage, Fred was charged by a huge, four-legged, slimy monster! He quickly took a Scooby Snack [err, shouldn't that have been reserved for Shaggy & Scooby? Well, never mind - the effect of the generic 7TV Adrenaline Boost gadget is pretty much how I imagine a Scooby Snack would work] and waited for its attack.
The Myrka didn't mess around trying to hit Fred, but instead picked him up bodily and threw him about 10 yards.
Daphne used the cover of the commotion to slip into the lighthouse and climb to the top of the tower. There was an objective on the balcony; she was the only one who had a chance of reaching it. However, events overtook her and the game ended before she could find the clue.
Tia drove the Mystery Machine away, across the field, to escape the renewed attentions of the Sea Devils. They did manage to hit the van once, but this wasn't enough to slow it down.
Seeing their transport vanish, Scooby and Shaggy ran after it, shouting "Stop! Wait for us!". Of course, the Master then couldn't resist pursuing them [no, he really couldn't resist. They have a special Star Power which can force an enemy to chase them - great for drawing someone out of position!].
Not fazed at all by being hurled about, Fred ran back into contact with the Myrka and stunned it with a Sleep Spray gadget. He then proceeded to thump the creature and weakened it as well [actually, Fred's adrenaline boost, plus the status(s) on the monster, plus the fact that it was knocked down gave him extremely good odds of hitting it].
But here's the thing: the Myrka has 4 health points and Fred hadn't even managed to injure it yet. If he did nothing else then it would almost certainly just get up, shake itself down and be good as new on its the next turn.
I have a cunning plan: Mystery Inc would Steal the Scene and take two turns in a row. Each side can opt to do this once per game; the moment seemed appropriate because Fred could hit the monster again. Because it was already weakened - and because 7TV doesn't allow multiple statuses of the same type - he would then inflict an injury on it instead. It's not much, but it might be the best we can do.
So, Mystery Inc stole the scene. In the most fortuitous moment possible, the Countdown Card for the new turn was After the Watershed - which allows a free attack with one model. Immediately, Fred took this and inflicted one wound on the Myrka. He was then activated as normal for the turn and hit it again: 2 wounds!
OK, this is good - what else can we do? Fred grabbed his pen [another gadget] and dug it deep into the creature's skin: 3 wounds!
And still the monster wasn't able to respond: it was stunned, weakened, prone and [importantly!] wasn't able to have a turn for itself.
You know what: there's a cop just on the other side of the lighthouse. He could charge in and have an attack as well. Result: 4 wounds - the creature is unmasked and the two people inside the rubber suit are arrested! "It's Mr Gruber, from the delicatessen!"
The game wasn't over yet, of course, as the evil side still had many other models. One of the effects on the Large Monster profile is Rubber Suit. This has the following effect: when the monster is knocked out, 1d6 other models from the same cast are removed from the table.
With an air or resignation, the monster player rolled the die and came up with an inevitable '6'. By the time he was finished, all the Sea Devils had retreated into the ocean and the lighthouse keeper had slunk off, hoping that no-one recognised his part in the fracas.
Only the Master was left on the Monster cast, but he wasn't about to give up and come quietly. He advanced a little way and threw down some noxious bomb which left Fred, Shaggy, Scooby and the cop choking and coughing.
The Master followed this up by charging Shaggy and knocking him out; Shaggy didn't do himself any favours with his histrionic over-reactions!
The madman kept going; it became obvious that he was trying to recapture Tia, or maybe to steal the van and make his escape, or both.
The Master didn't make it, though. In the very last turn of the game [thanks to a Cliffhanger countdown card], Fred activated one of his traps. The heroic side used all their available plot points [8 of them!] to power up the Capture Bubble gadget. Although The Master attempted to resist, he just couldn't win against this.
Result: the Master was flung far over the lighthouse and into the sea. No doubt he'd be fished out by a police boat, or arrested when he returned, bedraggled, to shore. Either way, this was a massive victory for Mystery Inc!
We did add up victory points for this game, but I can't remember the exact amounts. Even allowing for knocking out Shaggy, the monster side were soundly beaten.
There were some very lucky moments for Mystery Inc, it has to be said. Fred's rampage and the final unmasking of the Myrka were only really made possible by the After the Watershed countdown card; without this the monster would probably have survived, shaken off its statuses and started to do some damage. Of course, losing another 6 models when the Myrka fell was catastrophic for the monster cast and there was not really any way they could recover from this. Catapulting the Master into the sea was just icing on the cake. Sorry, Steve...
This game felt much more like a Scooby Doo episode to me. Not all the star qualities/special effects of each cast were used, but a number were. More importantly, we were aware of all of them [i.e. we hadn't forgotten any - I think] and therefore could plan in advance how to trick or trap our opponents. It's not just about shooting!