This is a report on our first game of 7TV (2nd edition). I've had a copy of the 1st edition rules for a long time, but I never got around to playing a game. The new version was so enticing that I determined not to make the same mistake of just letting it gather dust on the bookshelf.
|The Doctor and allies are in blue; the Master's forces are in red|
Sometime in the future, or maybe in an alternate universe, Venus has been terraformed enough to permit human settlement. The growing mining and agricultural towns have encroached on ancient monuments left by some long forgotten race of aliens. Most people regard these pyramids as mere curiosities; dusty relics from a distant age, but maybe they're more than that?
The Doctor has determined that the structures are anything but harmless; they form part of a key which could be used to summon back their terrifying creators. He and his companions have decided to neutralise the threat by removing certain components. In this they are accompanied by some local corporate law enforcement officials who have been persuaded of the danger.
However, other eyes have spotted the possibilities of the ancient, alien monuments as well. The Master has tricked a squad of Sontaran soldiers into assisting him. He seems to delight in sowing chaos and trouble wherever he goes, but who knows what are his real goals? It's now a race to see which force can reach the Pyramids of Venus first!
For our first game of 7TV2, we decided to keep the sides quite small; we used 25 ratings each. Also, there would be no customisation of any profiles; we'd use the characters exactly as written on the cards. Fortunately there were enough suitable archetypes amongst the prebuilt 7TV characters to fill all our needs.
We decided that the heroic side should be heavy with stars and co-stars, backed up with a few local nonentities:
- (Star) Unearthly Traveller. The Doctor. Note that this model is one of my son J's rather than my own.
- (Co-star) Plucky Assistant. Sarah Jane Smith. Another of J's models.
- (Co-star) Strongarm. Dexter, a local ruffian from the nearest township, tolerated but loved by the forces of law and order.
- Security Guards. 3 corporate police types from the nearest mining/refinery complex. Let's call them Knuckles, Starbuck and Paddy.
- Doctor. Dr. Ness, a local MD with an interest in antiquities.
The heroic side ended up with 4 gadgets. I've just realised that this was a mistake; they should only have kept 2, chosen from 4. However, we only used 2 of the items during the game, so it's probably OK...
In contrast, the Master had a whole bunch of hired/tricked muscle with him, but wouldn't brook any competition from equals:
- Otherworldly Invader. The Master (in partial Timelord ceremonial robes).
- Alien War Leader. Sontaran commander (without helmet)
- Alien Heavy. Sontaran with disintegrator rifle (no helmet, big gun).
- Alien Warriors. 4 Sontaran soldiers (with helmet).
Since the Sontarans are all clones, there didn't seem much point in trying to give them names. They'll remain as faceless minions, then.
The Master's side had just 1 gadget.
Both sides set up in 2 separate groups, each very close to an objective marker. Indeed, the Master used his Spy ability to set up a bit further onto the table, right on top of one marker!
If we've understood the deployment rules correctly then it is entirely legal to begin within just a few inches of an objective. Consequently, 4 of the 5 such markers were claimed within the very first turn. I think I'll need to re-read this part of the rules quite carefully; it seems like a surprising result and I'm concerned that we may have misunderstood something.
The first hostile act occurred when Knuckles attempted to advance round the extreme right-hand pyramid. A squat alien with a very big gun stepped forward to get a better shot and then gunned down the human at long range. The disintegrator cannon didn't leave much of Knuckles, just hot ashes [What? The alien heavy has a strike value of +12! Most minion attacks are in the +6 to +8 range. That's an anti-tank weapon; poor Knuckles didn't have even a remote chance of surviving].
Although Knuckles distracted some of the alien soldiers, this was really just a sideshow. The main action took place in the centre of the table in the flat ground between the 3 pyramids.
Further Sontaran warriors, encouraged by the Master, claimed the 5th and final objective. The Doctor was busy studying the ancient writing on the ceremonial bowls on top of one of the monuments, so it was up to Sarah Jane and Dexter to try to thwart the evil side's nefarious plans.
As the aliens started to retreat with their prize, Dexter ran forwards. "You wanna fight? Ah'll gub you, see if ah doan't!" he shouted as he threw a tear-gas cannister towards the aliens. The bomb left both the Master and a Sontaran reeling.
Dexter flattened the Sontaran warrior with his jemmy, then rampaged onwards into a second alien. As he did this, Sarah Jane ran forward to help (though it's not obvious what assistance she might have offered). All the alien heads immediately swivelled in her direction and she was met by a torrent of fire [that's the Danger Magnet special effect; enemies within 6" may not attack anyone else when it's activated].
Somehow, Sarah Jane survived the fusillade; the alien pistols and rifles all missed. The soldier with the disintegrator cannon had also wandered in; this was a much more significant threat that would probably have left SJ as a cloud of rapidly expanding hot gas. However, the timely application of a First Aid Kit gadget cancelled the effects from that strike. As one of the good guys, this alien heavy was really worrying me!
OK, what can we do about the nasty Sontaran cannon, then? I don't fancy the Doctor's chances if he tries to talk the alien into disarming, nor Sarah Jane's chances in a brawl. Instead, the only guy we've got nearby who isn't occupied is Paddy, the corporate guard. He edged round the pyramid and pulled out his pistol. It wasn't much of a chance against the Sontaran's battle armour, but he fired anyway.
The evil side were so full of confidence (or lacking in experience of the rules?) that they didn't bother to spend any plot points to boost their defence roll. The good guys were running on empty and couldn't afford any plot points to improve their own chances. And what do you know - Paddy rolled high and plugged the bad guy!
The remaining 2 unengaged Sontarans now advanced from the woods to assist their embattled colleagues. Paddy had a pistol, which gets 2 shots per turn. He was the only thing between the alien warriors and his friends, so he fired. Once again, pistol versus battle armour isn't a good match, but he scored fatal hits with both shots. Jaws were dropping by this time, I can tell you!
Sarah Jane had been injured by the Sontaran leader during another round of "Danger Magnet" shooting, so she had retired a short way to be tended by Dr. Ness. She was soon bandaged and ready to go again.
Not to be outdone by a pseudo-policeman, Dexter crowbarred another Sontaran warrior into a motionless heap. Within 2 (?) turns of fighting, the evil cast had been thoroughly axed!
To add insult to injury (and for no well-explained reason), the Master suddenly exploded! He wasn't hurt by the fireball, but it might have rattled the players on the evil side...
The evil side were now down to just 2 figures. Dexter charged at the Master, shouting a traditional war cry: "Hey, you! Big man! You're going DOWN!"
Paddy took aim at the Sontaran commander. Once again, the odds were against him, but his bullet hit the bad guy. The evil side were quick to point out that this Sontaran had 2 health points, so Paddy fired again (pistols are allowed 2 shots, remember?). There was a stunned silence when his second shot hit the alien leader squarely between the eyes and felled him. That's 5 shots in a row against the odds, without a single miss...
Dexter gave the Master an almighty thump that staggered the Timelord. However, before he could capitalise on this advantage, the scheming villain pulled something from his sleeve and sprayed it in Dexter's face. The human fell to the ground, momentarily disoriented. When he recovered his wits a short time later, the Master was nowhere to be seen; he had fled!
This game started off a bit slowly. I think that we all felt a slight sense of let down when all the objectives were claimed within 2 or 3 turns. There was a distinct sense of "what happens next? What do we do now?" However, once Dexter and Sarah Jane attempted to drive off the aliens, things certainly hotted up. In the end the Master escaped, leaving his minions scattered and destroyed. This seems very appropriate!
I think we were probably playing on too big a table (4' x 4') for the small, 25 rating casts that we used. Coupled with this, we should also have used 5 cards in each countdown sequence rather than 6, so that the small game would have ended sooner. Still, for a first outing I'm quite pleased with the way this game went.
Biggest disappointment: the Doctor spent almost all of the game just staring at ancient stonework.
Biggest surprise: has to be Paddy! I mean, the man deserves a medal or something. Without him, the heroic side were almost certainly in big trouble.
And the final victory point score, for anyone who cares:
- Evil/The Master: +3 points for objectives
- Heroic/The Doctor: +2 points for objectives, +1 point for axing the opposing cast.
So it's a draw!
Great BatRep Hugh, with some lovely photos, scenery and painted minis. plus its Doctor Who, which you can never go wrong with imho. For me the highlight was reading how you found the rules played out, and your observations around board size and cast cost. I was also interested that you'd never played the first edition; something which I feels actually helps you with "7TV2" as you don't need to try and forget a load of out-of-date rules. Keep 'em coming :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks. While it's true that I had never player 1st edition 7TV, we have played 7th Voyage a few times and it's quite similar. Still, I don't think we had any issues with crossover rules (other than a mental blip where I wondered if a character was only permitted to shoot at the closest enemy - but that's in Pulp Alley and not the Crooked Dice rulesets)Delete
Great batrep and the pyramids looks awsome C6!ReplyDelete
Thanks, HW. I'm still not sure if the pyramids should have vegetation (jungle creepers &c) or snow & ice on them. It would make the models more interesting, but reduce their versatility.Delete
A very nice Bat rep. AND very nice t see the 7TV2 ("ED) being used.ReplyDelete
Dr Who is the ONLY male hero I can think of that uses his brain and not his muscle to win the episode. So It was gratifying that he did spend so long looking at the ancient carvings and not getting involved with the fighting. Of that I strongly approve.
On a personal note I do not want the good Dr to get involved with the fighting (or his fellow travellers) but I cannot and do not criticise those that do as I am very sure most (if not all of my club ) would.
Thanks, Clint. It's very hard to set up games where there is a path to victory other than fighting! I've tried this with Scooby Doo as well and so far I haven't been very successful :-( .Delete
Mind you, I think you're being a bit harsh on Sherlock Holmes with your first observation :-) .
Big thumbs up from me, Hugh. The board looked good but probably should have been smaller given the size of the forces. Still, it's easy to say that in hindsight. I hope to get in my first game of 7TV2e very soon.ReplyDelete
I was really racking my brains when trying to set up this table. Seems that most of my terrain is either generic hills and woods or is modern urban/suburban. Not much sci-fi there; that may have to change.Delete
Of course, the Doctor could just as easily visit an Old West cowtown. Hmm, there's a thought...
Great stuff! It's batreps like this that keep tempting me to upgrade from 1st Ed!ReplyDelete
I think that 2nd edition has a lot to recommend it, though the various sets of cards mean that you need to invest a certain amount of effort into it. I'm hoping to play a whole lot more games now that we've started!Delete
Sounds like after the initial stumble with objectives it was a fun game. Must admit I really enjoy the DWMG rules so haven't invested in 7TV. Just finished making an Osirian War Missile so there may be updates on the Mars front soon!ReplyDelete
As with any game, a re-read through the rules is in order now that we've played our first game. 7TV and DWMG aren't really that different, though I think that 7TV2 is definitely a cleaned up, streamlined version.Delete
Very nice Hugh, I like the game a lot, the countdown cards are very entertaining and can turn a game around really quickly.ReplyDelete
As with all battle reports, I didn't describe every single card and action; there were others which also provided mirth. i particularly liked the one that allowed the heroic side to move one opposing minion, thus breaking up the Sontaran leader's command group :-) .Delete
Nice report. I would think it was two big a table for the size of forces you had. Objectives can be gotten quite quickly but it really depends on who picks them up and whether you want to score the extra plot points to build up your pool for special attacks etc.ReplyDelete
I will have to check the Spy rules I didn't think you could deploy right on the counters but its been a while since I have played and might be confusing it with earlier versions that I helped test.
As I mentioned in a comment above, I'll re-read the rules carefully myself to see if we made any real boo-boos. Mind you, even if the Master hadn't been able to deploy right on top of an objective, he would still have claimed it in the first turn, I think.Delete
Sharp eyed readers will recognise the model pyramids from earlier posts - and what an impressive display they made.ReplyDelete
The Master was rather surprised to salvage a draw.
He will be paying a lot more attention to humble security guards in future.
Thanks for the game, Steve. I don't know what you and your son did to anger the dice gods, but it must have been quite something, given how many rolls went against the expected result!Delete
Cool BatRep C6!ReplyDelete
Your table looks excellent as always. It seems like a fun system and flexable enough to cover a vast array of genres.
Thanks, Bob. I've certainly got plans for further games of 7TV with a variety of genres.Delete
Great report, I really need to have a closer look at these rules myself.ReplyDelete
They're well worth a look, Michael. Even if you don't intend to play the game as written, the rulebook is full of inspirational snippets and ideas.Delete
Fantastic Battle report. Kudos!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Les. Glad you liked it :-) . I've already got plans for bigger and better battles in the future.Delete
Really nice touch putting those 'info cards' (not sure what to call them) next to the minis when taking the photo. ^_^ReplyDelete
Well, I can't take credit for the cards - they're straight out of the 7TV2 boxed set. But thanks anyway, I'm glad you liked it!Delete
Great batrep C6 (as always) and even with the initial slow start you seemed to have had it didn't seem to greatly affect the fun you obviously had playing the game through. The 7TV rules do seem chaotic at times but that's probably part of there attraction and what makes the encounters so enjoyable tor read about. The dcotr having little impact was, to me, hilarious.ReplyDelete
Good to see you managed to finish off the pyramids, which I'd leave as is, you can always drape a bit of lichen over them for a jungle adventure.
Thanks, Joe - glad you enjoyed it. Now that we've taken our first steps into 7TV2, I have all kinds of plans: bigger, better, more thrilling!Delete