Wednesday 27 November 2013

Doctor Who and the Prehistoric Swamp!


Normally towards the end of the week I would post a battle report that describes the game I ran on Tuesday at the Helensburgh Games Club.  In honour of the recent 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, we would be playing the Doctor Who Miniatures Game (DWMG).  However, this week I did something I've never done before - I forgot to take a camera along with me to the club.  Consequently, I won't be able to bring you the usual description of the game (no!).  Instead, I can describe the scenario I created and give a brief synopsis of the way it played out (hurrah?).

The Scenario

Sea Devils, along with their pet myrka

The Doctor and his companions are in the Tardis, chasing a stolen spaceship piloted by the Master through time and space.  They've travelled some 65 million years into the past and are approaching a primitive Earth covered with swamps and jungles, when both craft are fired upon.  It appears that they have stumbled into the middle of an unsuspected high-tech war!

The Master's spacecraft crash-lands and breaks up into several large (but scattered) chunks.  The Tardis is also forced down nearby, damaged and in need of repair.  Squads from the 2 warring factions are nearby, shooting at anything which moves!

Can the Doctor repair the Tardis and escape?  Can the Master steal the Tardis and escape?  Is either set of warriors interested in the Doctor or the Master, or would they rather just attack their hated enemies?


The table should be liberally covered with a mixture of jungle and/or swamp, possibly with a river or two as well.  Somewhere between 6 and 8 pieces of crashed spaceship need to be added, preferably at least 1 move apart from each other.


  • The Doctor: Any generation of Doctor, plus 2 companions.  We used a screamer (Sarah Jane Smith) and K-9, the robot dog.  The Tardis and all other models on this side start at a random position on the table, but at least 12" away from either end.
  • The Master: as well as the Master, we gave this side a strong-arm companion.  Possibly he should have had 2 companions - a scientist would seem appropriate as an extra follower.  The Master's group starts at a random position on the table, but at least 12" away from either end and from the Tardis.
  • Sea Devils: the "defending" force on the planet comprised 2 Sea Devil leaders (in heavy armour), 7 Sea Devil warriors and 1 Myrka.  This force enters the table from one end.
  • Cybermen: the notional attackers had 2 cybermen lieutenants and 10 regular cybermen.  These used the "Welcome to Torchwood" stats, though in hindsight this was too powerful.  Either we should have used half the number of cybermen or a less potent model!  This force enters the table from the opposite end to the Sea Devils.

Victory Conditions

  • Either the Doctor or the Master can win by repairing the Tardis and flying away with it.  To fix the Tardis requires 2 new parts to be fashioned; each of these can be made from the fragments of the Master's spacecraft with a successful repair roll.  Note that each piece of wreckage can only be tested once, so if the roll is failed then that piece of wreckage is unusable junk!
    Note that anyone with the invent skill is free to use the wreckage as a source of inventions instead of repairs, if desired!
  • The Cybermen and the Sea Devils gain 1 victory point for each member of the enemy force who is killed (no matter who kills it!).  They don't score anything for killing the Doctor's or the Master's forces, but gain 1VP per member that is captured and taken off the table via their "home" edge.

Our Game

Initially, the Master attacked the Doctor and tried to persuade the Cybermen to do the same.  However, the metal men just stomped forward, capturing the Master's bodyguard (who was later shot whilst trying to escape) and wounding all the characters in the area.  The Sea Devils lined up in the open to try to return fire, but were cut down mercilessly without even scratching the polish of their attackers.
By the time the Sea Devils had been reduced to 3 models, K-9 and the Doctor had found the new parts they needed.  The Master persuaded Sarah Jane to let him enter the Tardis and he was sitting there drinking tea when the Doctor returned.  There were some discussions: the Master suggested that they attack the cybermen from inside the blue box, whereas the Doctor was planning how to save the last few Sea Devils.
Withering and deadly accurate cybermen fire killed off the last of the Sea Devils, at which point the Doctor activated the Tardis and flew away with the Master, leaving the field to the victorious cybermen.

Result: Cybermen complete victory (only a single model was stunned; apart from that they took no losses)!  Both the Doctor and the Master were wounded, as was Sarah Jane.  The Master's bodyguard was missing, presumed dead.  I'd give these guys a partial victory, as they did all escape.  The poor sea devils were exterminated completely and therefore have to be classed as a total loss!


  1. Were you using the crooked dice rules? I saw a game played with them last night at another club. I could be tempted! (yes I always am). Despite the lack of camera I did enjoy the write up and the scenario seems well thought out. I would like to see more of this sort of game. DR who Skirmish really does have it all.

    1. Yes, though technically they aren't a Crooked Dice product. Rather, DWMG is Graeme Dawson's precursor to the 7TV rules; they use pretty much the same underlying mechanisms.

      It is possible to put on large, multi-player games of DWMG, but I don't do this very often. I think that many skirmishes in the TV show are very limited affairs with maybe only 3 or 4 actors involved; these work better for short games with only 2 players.

    2. Spoke to Graeme and the rules are now on their way to me. He only has one copy left now.

    3. I'll look forward to seeing what you make of them.

      The DWMG core rules and all the supplements are still available as free downloadable PDFs, so there's no need for anyone to panic about the stock running out :-) .

  2. Slapped wrist for forgetting your camera, Hugh! Even so, it was still an enjoyable read. Balancing the forces is a tricky art and you can always be wise after the event but really I wouldn't worry too much about the Cybermen dominating the game. More often than not in any battle, the forces are not evenly matched.

    1. Yes, I'm annoyed at the slip-up. Amazingly, nobody else had a mobile phone or any other device capable of taking pictures either!

      It's true that mismatched forces are the norm in real life (after all, why would any commander wish to take on a fight where he/she had a bare 50% chance of success?). However, we then need mismatched victory conditions to keep the game interesting...

  3. You've just got to love the Cybermen.
    It sounded like a good scenario, but I feel robbed of my usual candy fare.

    1. Aw, I did put up a picture of my Sea Devils specially. Not enough, huh?

  4. Agree with VtG no photos (grrr) read like a great game. The Master and the Dr new companion. Alternative universe and all that. WOW, thanks mate loved the report.

    1. Yeah, sorry about the pictures. But I'm pleased that you liked it apart from that.