Friday 19 October 2018

7TV: The Mystery of Frenchman's Cove


Recently at the Helensburgh games club, I had the urge to play 7TV again.  I wanted to use my new "haunted" lighthouse model; this seemed like an excellent opportunity to deploy a "Scooby Doo" cast!  Hmm, who could be their opponents, then?  Who...Doctor Who...monsters...why, Sea Devils, of course!  I downloaded the free "Scooby Doo" program guide from the Crooked Dice website and set up my game.


Mystery Inc

The program guide has just a single scenario and this uses a fixed cast for Mystery Inc:
  • Fred
  • Daphne
  • Velma
  • Shaggy
  • Scooby Doo
  • The Mystery Machine
  • A local sheriff and 3 deputies.
There's also a lost friend ("Tia") who is added to this cast when/if she is found.
Note that this cast is short on fighting skills, especially for ranged combat.  However, they do have a lot of gadgets, special effects and star qualities.


As opposition, I put together the following:
  • The Master (for the purposes of this game, he was playing the role of Sinister Mystic)
  • A large monster (the Myrka - the Sea Devils' bio-weapon.  It looks a little bit like a pantomime horse)
  • A spy (the crusty old lighthouse keeper)
  • 6 alien warriors (sea devils)
The monsters have quite a lot of firepower, but the alien warriors are unreliable allies.  Also note that the cast is dominated by extras and therefore won't generate as many plot points as it would like.

The Game

From the beginning, Mystery Inc advanced rapidly:

  • The sheriff and his deputies formed a firing line along the hedge in the north.  Note that one of the deputies tripped and fell over whilst crossing the rocky ground [courtesy of a Countdown card].
  • Fred and Daphne drove the Mystery Machine through the field and towards the lighthouse, uneventfully.
  • Velma ran forwards to investigate a clue, whilst Shaggy and Scooby hung back noticeably.  She took a long range shot from one of the alien warriors, but fortunately a First Aid Kit soon put her right again.
Worryingly, the Myrka was charging across the grass towards the good guys!

In a stroke of outrageous luck, the very first objective counter investigated by Mystery Inc turned out to be the lost friend, Tia.  This would give them significant victory points in the bag if they could just get her to run off the table the way they had come.  Easy!

Shaggy had an interesting ability: if he ran at full speed then he could cause an enemy to run towards him, also at full speed.  Normally I imagine that this would be used during a chase, but in this case Shaggy and Scooby ran towards the lighthouse, thus causing the Master to attempt to intercept them.  In doing so, the villain had to run straight across the gun line of local deputies!

It was a very cunning plan, only spoilt by the fact that the deputies couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.  The sinister mystic may have used a few plot points to mess with their minds as well; that probably didn't help!  Whatever the reason, the Master emerged from the fusilade unscathed.

In desperation, Fred activated several traps and gadgets.  His rocket cigarette bounced off the Myrka without injuring the beast and the Master evaded the capture bubble with ease.

The angry monster retaliated by zapping Velma and then charging Scooby Doo from behind.

Things started to go bad for Mystery Inc now.  Firstly, an alien warrior shot down one of the deputies; even though he was behind a hedge the heat beam passed through the cover as if it wasn't there.

Then Shaggy was subjected to a series of attacks from the Master's disorienting gaze and the alien weapons of a trio of Sea Devils.  The combination was too much for him and he disappeared [I reckon that Shaggy probably couldn't take the mystic's withering glare and crawled under the hedge to hide there for the rest of the game, rather than being killed by the aliens' ray guns.  The effect was the same either way: the model ceased being in play].

With yet another piece of bad luck, the remaining 3 cops were set on fire by a badly-judged piece of pyrotechnics[another countdown card!].  Perhaps the alien soldier's heat ray had set fire to the hedge, or the grassy embankment?

In a strange reversal of fortune, some of the alien warriors were then subjected to a gratuitous special effects sequence.  The series of explosions left one of them dead.

Having scared off Scooby Doo, the Myrka turned its attention to the stunned Velma.  She recovered enough (just!) to escape by means of a jetpack gadget.  At the same time, Fred and Daphne gave up any hope of recovering more objectives, turned the Mystery Machine around and fled...

In the last turn, while Mystery Inc fled the table, the good side drew a Big Break countdown card.  They only had 2 extras left, the sheriff and one of his deputies - both of whom were still on fire.

The opportunity was too good to waste, so the deputy drew a bead on one of the alien warriors who were advancing up the beach - and nailed the loathsome creature!


Even though Mystery Inc had fled, they did recover 1 objective - and it was the most important one as it turned out to be their missing friend, Tia.  When the victory points were added up, it turned out that this scored enough to counteract the loss of Shaggy and give the good side a victory by 1 point!

I feel that the monster side were somewhat cheated by this rather technical win.  After all, the good guys ran away without solving the riddle of Frenchman's Creek.  Indeed, the monster side never even got to use all their models; their spy wasn't activated at any point.  The lighthouse keeper just watched over the entire debacle from his tower, probably laughing softly to himself at how his plans were coming to fruition...

I feel it's worth making a few comments about the game play.  The Mystery Inc cast is a very unusual one which cannot do much to hurt its enemies.  Instead, it needs to use its abilities to score victory points in other ways; this probably requires some very imaginative planning.

It's difficult to keep track of all their special effects and star qualities; they have so many.  When you add in "disadvantage" effects which the monster cast may have, the range of possibilities becomes overwhelming!  How many of you remembered that the alien warriors were unreliable?  Mystery Inc could have spent plot points on them [up to a point] as well as their own models - but who can keep track of all of this?

Another comment: we used virtually the entire pool of gadget cards in this game [Mystery Inc get to choose from a huge number of cards].  If we play with these casts many more times then I suspect that the gadgets will become a bit predictable.  It would be nice to have a much bigger set of cards, just to keep things fresh and different.

In a similar vein, more [generic] countdown cards and more Mystery Inc-specific scenarios would be very nice to have!


  1. I suppose it is difficult to play Mystery Inc. in games where combat is so prevalent. Wonder how they'd do under Pulp Alley rules?

    1. I think that for anything as iconic as Scooby Doo (or Ghostbusters, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or anything else as well loved...) it is necessary to have some specific scenario and character rules that capture the flavour. It would certainly be possible to do this with Pulp Alley or any other set of skirmish rules, but would take some work.

  2. Your games are always a fun read!

    1. Thanks, David. Your support is much appreciated!

  3. I think in a lot of cases less is more, as if there are to many special abilities to be remember then in the excitement of a game they will be forgotten.

    The set up looks fab & was an ideal setting of both the light-house & Mystery Inc.

    1. Some of this apparent complexity is due to (lack of) familiarity, of course. Yesterday we played what was basically a retake of this game (report will come in due course) and it seemed much less daunting than the first one. That's not to say we didn't need to concentrate quite hard, though...

  4. Brilliant! I have all the figs to do this too so no idea why I didnt think of it! Table looks gorgeous too, excellent work!

    1. Thanks! If you play something like this yourself then I'd be most interested to see a report :-) .

  5. Great batrep! Very nice models and a top notch scenario. I own Zombie TV but never really gave it a try...

    1. We played this game with 7TV (2nd edition), using the free-to-download "Scooby Doo" program guide. I think the character cards on the latter are very well thought out, as is the single scenario. It would be nice to have more scenarios, of course...

  6. This is exactly what I needed on this Saturday morning! I am pondering getting 7TV2e tomorrow and this seems so well timed. I was even thinking of a lighthouse (that scuppers tat plan, in the nicest possible way)>

    This is very aptly timed. It is almost as if you are reading my mind! (Although I don't feel you up there under my tinfoil hat!)

    1. Well, I see no reason at all why you shouldn't acquire both 7TV2 and a lighthouse, if the mood takes you. Just because I used both together doesn't mean that no-one else can do something similar!

      Your tinfoil hat is indeed protecting your thoughts. However, you forgot about the truth serum in the water supply, didn't you :-) ?

  7. At times I was sondering whether this was a Pulp Alley game rthe rthan 7TV as it flowed very simiallrly to PA games I've read. Great action great scenery and a very (imho), dubious end result. If I'd been playin gthe monsters (the bad guys ?) I would have felt robbed!
    I do think that playing 7TV regularly will aid the memory side of things and adding the variety of gadget gradually would be better than having a whole lot more choice.
    I find it difficult just tracjing a single character who has added abilities to their 'normal' stats.

    1. Pulp Alley has some similarities with 7TV in that it produces some very cinematic, larger-than-life games. The mechanisms it uses are very different, of course.

      Yes, you're right than playing more often will help when it comes to keeping track of everything. We already found that to be working when we played this scenario again yesterday...

  8. Nice report Hugh. They can be very sneaky and slippery those Mystery Inc folk.

    1. Ah, but it was the Sinister Mystic who seemed untouchable and unperturbed in the middle of a veritable fusillade of bullets, traps and gadgets...

  9. Something about October that encourages people to play a bit of Scooby-Doo - this is the second batrep I've read over the last week featuring Mystery Inc. and it does make me want to get my version out and give them a mystery to investigate. Hmmm, could use that Cluedo board for an instant location...

    The best blog posts are those that encourage you to do something yourself, so well done on that, Hugh.

    1. Hmm, a Cluedo board might just work for such a game!

      I'm very pleased if I've inspired you :-) .

  10. Great report.
    The Sea devils did a lot better than when I led them.

    With hindsight from this report, Shaggy drawing the Master into the middle of the action seems to have backfired.
    Of course if the deputies had shot straight it could have been so different.

    1. ...or if any of Fred's gadgets or traps had worked on the Master (or the Myrka, for that matter) then the outcome might have been very different :-) .

      I don't think that the Sea Devils did particularly well in this game. Apart from shooting down (the somewhat disoriented) Shaggy, they exchanged shots with the deputies and there were casualties on both sides. Hardly a game changer...