Monthly Archives: November 2016

He’s a jerk…but he’s OUR jerk! A Super Mission Force AAR

You gotta love Northstar. The stereotypical snooty Canadian-French skier, Jean-Paul Baubier epitomized superhero douchiness long before he became the poster boy for gay marriage in comics. A while back I repainted Alpha Flight for use in Supersystem 3. I never got around to using them until now, and it’s for my second Super Mission Force AAR! To battle!

Good day, eh?

Alpha Flight!

 

Watch oot! Sentinels, eh?

Watch oot! Sentinels, eh?

 

Dang robots! Get off m'lawn!!

Dang robots! Get off m’lawn!! (Just ignore him. He has no part in the battle.)

The scenario is a simple one. Alpha Flight has been called to a remote area of Canadian wilderness, intent on investigating a distress call coming from an ice-fishing shack. It’s all a ruse to capture Canada’s mutant superhero, Northstar! (Aurora is a mutant, too…but no one seems to know that.) Sentinels appear on the horizon, and battle is joined! The Sentinels must capture Northstar and flee the board. Alpha Flight needs to stop that from happening.

Turn 1

The Sentinels make use of their Metamorph Ability at the start of the first turn. Until further notice, they will have the following profile: Enhanced Senses, Flight, and Entangle in addition to their other base powers (see below).

Alpha Flight gains initiative for the first turn. Puck moves first, cartwheeling towards the center of the board.

Sentinel #1 flies 20″ into the middle of the board. Sasquatch trades his move for a Leap and leaps into combat with Sentinel #1. He manages to inflict 2 damage to the robot on the charge!

The squad of Sentinel Troopers moves, flying 20″ to the middle of the table. (This is a 10-man Henchman squad, but I only have 6 models. So we’ll just have to imagine the other four. Any damage inflicted on the squad will come off the imaginary models first.)

Guardian flies close by the Trooper squad, blasting them for 2 damage! (The squad now has 8 members, but since I only have 6 models I didn’t remove any). Sentinel #2 activates and flies into the fray. He uses Entangle on Guardian and succeeds in trapping him in serpentine sinews of strength-sapping steel! (I’m here all week, folks.)

Shaman reaches into his medicine bag and teleports 10″ closer to Sentinel #1. He then blasts it for 2 more damage.

Sentinel #3 flies to the center of the board.

Laissez mon frere seul!!

Laissez mon frere seul!!

Aurora moves closer and blasts Sentinel #1 for 5 damage, destroying it! (It failed its KO check). Teamwork in action!

Cochons! Rencontrez mes poings!!!

Cochons! Rencontrez mes poings!!!

Finally, Northstar moves, flying directly at the group of Sentinel Troopers. He uses Hurricane Charge, which allows him to re-roll 2 dice on his attack. He scores 5 net goals, removing five models! That’s one pissed-off Canadian! Unfortunately, he is now stuck in melee combat with the Henchmen group. (Northstar tends not to think things through.)

Not a bad first turn for the heroes!

Turn 2

Sentinel #3 changes its Metamorph profile. It now has: Melee Weapon, 6″ extra move, Super Agility.

Graaaaaah!

Graaaaaah!

Alpha Flight retains initiative. Sasquatch wastes no time and charges Sentinel #3, causing 2 damage.

The Sentinel Troopers pile in on Northstar. They can’t use their blasters, so they have to go old-school and try to punch him out. They manage to collectively inflict 1 damage on the haughty mutant. Northstar attacks back in a fit of pique and indignation, but does no damage. Merde!

Sentinel #2 quietly sneaks up (!) and uses Entangle on Northstar. He succeeds, and Northstar is rooted to the spot! Guardian uses the opportunity to free himself from his own entanglement and fires away at Sentinel #2, infilicting 3 damage!

This is not how Sasquatch thought it would go...

This is not how Sasquatch thought it would go…

Meanwhile, Sentinel #3 attacks Sasquatch with its newly-formed melee weapon (let’s call it a drill. I like big robots with drills). It scores 7 goals, while Sasquatch scores none. Sasquatch is downed and fails his KO check, so he ain’t getting back up!

Sisterly devotion.

Sisterly devotion.

Puck continues to cartwheel along. Aurora, seeing her brother helpless and at the mercy of Sentinel Troopers and Sentinel #2, charges forward and takes out the rest of the Trooper squad! Shaman teleports again, closer to Sentinel #3. He blasts the Sentinel that just dropped his buddy Sasquatch, but does no damage.

Turn 3

At the start of the turn, Sentinel 3’s system diagnostics assess and repair 1 box of damage. Both remaining Sentinels alter their Metamorph powers to: Melee Weapon, 10″ range, +6″ Movement.

The Sentinels gain initiative. Sentinel #3 attacks Shaman from 6″ away, but misses. Northstar escapes his entanglement and flares like his namesake, attempting to stun Sentinel #2. Sentinel #2 is unimpressed (and not stunned).

Sentinel #2 attempts to grapple Northstar from 10″ away, but fails to grab the slippery skier. Guardian takes the opportunity to blast Sentinel #2 for 3 damage.

Here I come, eh?

Here I come, eh?

From across the battlefield, Puck puts on a Speed Burst and charges Sentinel #2 from 20″ away! (I’m sorry, but the image of a cartwheeling, back-flipping Puck charging halfway across the battlefield made me laugh aloud.) Unfortunately, although he manages to get into combat, our diminutive friend does no damage to the Sentinel.

Aurora blasts Sentinel #2 for 1 damage, barely missing her teammate, Puck!

Turn 4

The Sentinels keep their Metamorph configuration. Neither of them are able to regenerate any damage.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if Puck took down a Sentinel? Well, that didn’t happen, but he managed to inflict 1 more damage on Sentinel #2.

Unhand me!

Unhand me!

Sentinel #3 successfully grapples Northstar and turns towards the table edge. Next turn, he’s gonna morph over to Flight and fly away with his prize unless someone stops him! Aurora frantically power-blasts Sentinel #3, but does no damage!

Shaman summons the Spirit of...whatever!

Shaman summons the Spirit of…whatever!

Sentinel #2 attacks Puck, but the little guy cartwheels away unscathed. Meanwhile, Shaman teleports closer to Sentinel #3 and summons…a monster! (Monster by Rattrap designs.)

Say hello to my little friend!

Say hello to my little friend!

The summoned monster charges Sentinel #3 and inflicts 1 damage!

You would think a thank you was in order, but...

You would think a thank you was in order, but…

Guardian rushes to Northstar’s aid, powerblasting Sentinel #3. He scores a ton of goals, resulting in a net 6 damage! Sentinel #3 is destroyed! (After failing its KO check.)

Victory!

Victoire!

Northstar is released as a result, and in a fit of rage, charges the last remaining Sentinel, #2. He does 2 damage, enough to put down the Sentinel for good.  Game over!

AFTERWORD

This game took me less than 30 minutes to play, not including the time it took to build the characters, take the pics and log the action.

Here are my builds. Again, I don’t follow the Super Mission Force rules regarding power allotments or team restrictions, because I’m adapting established super-teams to the game. Of course, you can play however you like.

Here are my builds:

ALPHA FLIGHT

Guardian (Blaster): Major: Power Blasts; Minor: Force Field, Teleport, Flight

Puck (Brawler): Major: Scrapper; Minor: Super-Agility, Resistance

Sasquatch (Brick): Major: Super-Strength; Minor: Leaping, Rage, Resistance

Shaman (Sorcerer): Major: Sorcery (Power Blasts, Summoning, Force Field, Density Decrease, Healing); Minor: Flight, Iron Will

Aurora (Speedster): Major: Speed; Minor: Power Blasts, Flight, Stun

Northstar (Speedster): Major: Speed; Minor: Flight, Stun, Rapport (Aurora)

SENTINELS

Sentinel Mk II (Metamorph): Major: Metamorph; Minor: Construct, Massive, Super Strength, Regeneration

10 Sentinel Troopers (Ranged Henchmen Group) Minor: Power Blasts, Flight

 

 

Wrecker needs Twinkies: A Super Mission Force AAR

This may as well be called the Marvel Team-Up or Marvel Two-in-One you never read. That’s because…well, you’ll see.

I like to have a scenario in mind when I post an After Action Report so that it reads as more than just a random slugfest. For this one, I was inspired by all those Hostess ads in the old Marvel comics of the early 80’s…ones where a Marvel hero had to thwart a jokey villain in his attempts to steal a shipment of fruit pies or cupcakes. So I figured he Wrecker has a hankering for some Twinkies and doesn’t want to buy a box when he can just steal a shipping crate full of them. He enlists the aid of the rest of the Wrecking Crew and grudgingly promises to share his Twinkies with them. Standing opposed to this nefarious crime are none other than the Amazing Spider-Man and the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! (I could write comics.)

A fine day in Manhattan...

A fine day in Manhattan…

 

Hey! That's the Wrecking Crew

Hey! That’s the Wrecking Crew in the shipping yard!

 

Aw, crap. And I was having a good day.

Aw, crap. And I was having a good day.

 

Turn 1

Ouch.

Ouch.

The Wrecking Crew gains initiative, thanks in part to Thunderball’s Clever Boost, which gives them one extra die towards initiative. Piledriver wastes no time in grabbing a nearby lamppost and tossing it at the Thing. The resulting hit does 3 Body damage and knocks Thing back into the wall, knocking him down.

Ouch.

Ouch.

Thing gets up and grabs a nearby mailbox and beans Piledriver with it, returning the favor. the hit only caused one damage, but knocked Piledriver back 5″ into a nearby Mini. Meanwhile, Bulldozer moves towards Thing to keep him away from the shipping yard.

"Out of web fluid!"

“Out of web fluid!”

Spider-Man trades his move for a Leap, leaping 32″ down onto the corner of the shipping crate. He tries to web up the Wrecker, but fails to get even a single goal. That old Parker luck strikes again!

"Let me help you down from there..."

“Let me help you down from there…”

Spider-Man is too high up for Thunderball to attack him unless he throws something, but Thunderball tries something different…he attacks the shipping crates! His gamble pays off as he scores a whopping 10 goals, enough to destroy the crates!

Wrecker screams at Thunderball, “There better not have been any Twinkies in there or they’re coming out of your cut!”

Oboy.

Oboy.

Spider-Man takes no damage from the fall (it’s less than 2″), but he is knocked down in front of a huge guy with a wrecking ball. Not really where you wanna be.

Finally, Wrecker attacks the shipping crate in front of him in search of Twinkies. No luck…this crate contains only pink Sno-balls. Yuck!

Turn 2

Charge!

Charge!

The Wrecking Crew hold onto initiative. Bulldozer does what he does best and charges the Thing, but ol’ Rockface just squares up and meets him head-on. They exchange punches, but neither one lands anything damaging.

Thunderball takes his shot at Spider-Man, but Spidey manages to wiggle out of the way of the wrecking ball…for now. He follows up with a roundhouse to Thunderball’s chin that cracks him for 3 damage! (For some reason I forgot to apply knockback. Not that it made a difference overall, but still noteworthy.)

Piledriver moves towards Thing, but doesn’t reach him.

 

I need some space...

I need some space…yikes!

Finally, Wrecker gets annoyed and charges Spider-Man. After all the dice are rolled, Wrecker hits Spidey for a whopping 7 damage! Spider-Man fails his KO check and is…well, KO’ed!

Best not to think about what happens next...

Best not to think about what happens next…

 

Turn 3

The Wrecking Crew keeps initiative. Piledriver charges Thing, but Thing sees him coming and shrugs it off.

It's Clobberin' Time!

KA-POW!

“It’s Clobberin’ Time!”  Thing hauls off and decks Piledriver with a Haymaker punch, knocking him back 25″!!! Piledriver fails his KO check and is out!

Bulldozer once again attacks Thing, but does no damage.

Off-camera, Thunderball takes an action to “ace” Spider-Man. This means exactly what you think it means.

Wrecker moves to another crate and rips it open. Lemon cupcakes! Arrrgh!

Turn 4

Thing finally gains initiative! He makes a quick recharge roll for Haymaker and succeeds, allowing him to use it again this turn. He tries it, but fails to damage Bulldozer.

Bulldozer hits Thing for 1 damage, knocking him back 5″ and knocking him down.

Done with that...

Thunderball moves towards Thing. Wrecker moves upstairs towards a new crate. There has to be a crate of Twinkies somewhere!

Turn 5

The villains gain initiative. Bulldozer, now 5″ away from Thing, charges him! Thing takes 3 damage and needs to pass a KO check. He succeeds!

His best Sunday punch!

His best Sunday punch!

Thing stands up and recharges his Haymaker successfully. He hauls off and creams Bulldozer with this roll.

Can you find the Bulldozer in this picture?

Can you find the Bulldozer in this picture?

Bulldozer fails to resist even one and goes flying 45″! He fails his KO check and is out!

Thunderball continues getting closer. Wrecker finds only apple-filling Fruit Pies in his crate.  “Curse you, Fruit Pie the Magician!”

Turn 6

Have a camper!

Have a camper!

Thing can barely keep standing, so he figures it might be wise to keep some distance between him and Thunderball. He picks up a nearby camper and throws it at the villain, hitting him and inflicting 3 damage!

Thunderball pushes the camper off himself and stands up, moving towards the Thing with obvious ill intent.

Wrecker rips open another container…Funny Bones???!!! How did these get here? Hostess doesn’t even make these!!!

Turn 7

Crap.

Crap.

Thunderball charges Thing and hits him for 1 damage. As he loses consciousness, Thing wonders if he might have been better off just letting the Wrecking Crew have the damn Twinkies.

AFTERWORD

First off, this was a blast. It took me around 45 minutes to play this, and that was with me looking up rules, taking photos and logging the action for this AAR. Once I learn the rules completely, I would imagine this game would have taken me 20 minutes or so.

That’s awesome. This system is so easy and quick that I imagine it would be quite simple to get an entire set of linked scenarios done in a couple of hours. An entire campaign in one afternoon? Sounds good for folks like me that can’t seem to get his friends all together more than twice a year.

Also, in case anyone’s interested, here are my builds for these heroes and villains.

The Wrecking Crew

All Bricks, so all have Super Strength as their Major power. (Yes I know technically you’re not supposed to have more than one of the same archetype (except Wild Cards) on the same team, but I defy anyone to tell me that any member of the Wrecking Crew is anything BUT  a Brick.

Wrecker:  Minor: Melee Weapon, Resistance

Thunderball: Minor: Melee Weapon, Clever (Boost)

Bulldozer + Piledriver: Minor: Resistance, Tough (Boost)

The Heroes

Thing (Brick): Major: Super-Strength; Minor: Armor, Resistance, Tough (Boost)

Spider-Man (Brawler): Major: Scrapper; Minor: Leaping, Entangle, Enhanced Senses, Super-Agility

Again, I know I broke the rules here by giving them more powers than allowed, but as as I said before, it’s tough to picture these heroes (especially Spidey) without all of these powers. Having more powers clearly didn’t help them in the above battle. It’s not a matter of game balance for me…it’s about having fun!

 

Playtesting Super Mission Force

Those who read this blog know that I am a big fan of Scott Pyle’s Supersystem 3 for playing superhero battles on the tabletop. Well, Scott dropped a bombshell on The Miniatures Page to all us fans last week with the announcement of Super Mission Force, which is a new project of his. Originally billed as “Supersystem Lite”, Scott made sure to stress that that is no longer the case. The game has evolved beyond that.

So naturally, as a huge fanboy of SS3, I asked : why should I want this? Not trying to be a prick, just wondering what would appeal to me as a SS3 player. Here’s what Scott replied: The game plays a lot faster than any version of Supersystem, and there’s no number crunching in the build system. None. Zero. So it’s a different sort of game. you’ll use archetypes and menu selections to build characters, and once you know how powers work and what to expect, you’ll be able to build a character in a couple of minutes.

He is so right.

Scott was kind enough to provide TMP members with a version of the rules thus far, and I’ve done some solo gaming.  (Check out my first two After Action Reports, here and here. )

Here is my review (spoiler: it’s a glowing one).

REVIEW

Let’s start with character generation. It’s blindingly fast. You can build a team of heroes from scratch in about 15 minutes, whether you like creating your own, or whether (like me), you enjoy adapting classic comic book heroes and villains for your games. If you’re doing that, I found some of the power selections and limitations didn’t fit “classic” heroes very well, but of course, you’re free to change whatever you want. Most archetypes are built around one major power and two minor powers. I imagine this is done for overall game balance when creating your own heroes, and that’s fine. But if you want to adapt an established hero you may find this too limiting.

Example: here is my build for Spider-Man:  Brawler: (Major) Scrapper, (Minor) Leaping, Entangle, Super Agility, Enhanced Senses. It’s kind of tough to see Spider-Man without any of those minor powers, so following the limit of 2 wouldn’t make much sense in his case. As far as “game balance” goes, I don’t really care, considering I don’t play competitively. Also, let’s all admit that some heroes are just better than others. Some are more powerful, more experienced, and just better at what they do. Who are you putting your money on? Wolverine or Starfox? (If you asked “Who’s Starfox?” then you’ve more than proven my point.)

Moving onto powers, SMF differs from SS3 in a lot of ways, most for the better. Powers are much simpler and there are no more dice control pools, which worked well but take a bit of bookkeeping (and a familiarity with a power’s cost and abilities) to manage from round to round. Some powers require a recharge roll before they can be used again; most don’t. Either way, you are often rolling fewer dice than in SS3, which is a good thing if you like quick resolution.

Combat is smooth and quick, and most of all easy as pie. Every model performs a combination of actions on their turn; such as moving, attacking, or interacting with an object. There is no point cost to keep track of. Attacks and damage are grouped together, so any “unsaved” attacks translate into damage without calculating a separate damage roll. I didn’t realize just how much this speeds up combat resolution until I played a couple of games, but it’s a huge time saver. Every archetype has access to unique abilities they can use in combat (Bricks can throw Haymaker punches; Speedsters can Hurricane Charge, etc.), and these really add a lot of fun to battles!

I confess that aside from the Henchmen rules, I didn’t really look too deeply into the rest of the rules so far. The Henchmen rules will also be familiar to any SS3 players, although they’re also easier. Henchmen exist to be smacked around by the numbers, and SMF makes it easy to make groups of henchmen in about 2 seconds that fill this role nicely. Whether you want gun-toting goons or brawling thugs, it’s quick and easy to do.

Every character has the option for one or more background choices which may give bonuses to certain activities “off the battlefield”, such as following up on clues, solving scientific puzzles, etc. If you like a bit of roleplaying in your miniatures campaigns, these help. Also, there are rules for carrying injuries from story to story and for developing heroes throughout adventures.

But if you’re like me, you’re looking for quick and easy gaming action that’s faithful to the superhero genre. Super Mission Force has that to spare.

Another thing I love about this game is the learning curve. It takes almost no time to learn these rules, as everything is based off of a 4 dice pool, plus or minus a couple of dice depending on your powers or desired combat actions. This makes this game very easy to teach to newcomers, which is very important if, like me, you want to get right into the action with people who aren’t necessarily wargaming geeks, but who love superheroes.

But enough about that, you want to see how it plays? Again, you can check out my first two games, here and here!

If there’s anything negative to say about the game, it’s that it’s still in the playtest stage. I had a couple of clarification questions, but nothing game-breaking. Also, people who want more detail may want to look elsewhere. Scott also said ” All [the quicker, simpler mechanics] comes at a cost of some detail, which longtime Supersystem fans may not like. All I can say is download the play-test doc and give it a look.

At this time, you can download  the play-test doc here.

As a longtime Supersystem fan, all I can say is I think I may finally bid a very fond farewell to SS3 ( I will always love Supersystem 3), at least for the foreseeable future. I love and champion Supersystem, but Super Mission Force is exactly what I’m looking for to quickly adapt existing comic heroes to the tabletop, and to get in some quick, easy and fun games with my friends.

I can’t recommend this game highly enough, and I will certainly buy the finished product!