April 24, 2013

Aliens vs Terminators

Last winter I bought most of the then-available rule sets available from Ganesha Games. Recently they released Swatters which is a set of squad based rules for soldiers vs. alien bug creatures. I haven't bought them yet, but they got me thinking about Mutants and Death Ray Guns.

I love sci-fi and horror movies so naturally I've tried adding figures in that vein to my miniatures collection. Swatters' release reminded me that I had a bunch of converted Aliens (from Horrorclix) sitting in a box in the closet. They had never been used in a game and thus were probably sad.

Using the war band creator from Ganesha's website I put together four ~200 point lists: Aliens, Predators, Terminators and Zombies (wretched). In preparation for trying out my lists I also finished up a piece of terrain that had been sitting on my shelf for months! A few other pieces of terrain and the figures got dropped on the table and I was ready to go.

The terminators were outnumbered by a little over two to one, with no leader model. The aliens had a leader, who used a group action at the beginning to send all of his bestial minions racing towards the enemy.

The terminators spread out and fired their death ray guns at the speedy creatures, but their advanced targeting systems weren't up to the task. The poor condition of their weapons proved a problem as one weapon stopped working completely and the other two had to be reloaded.

Two robots get locked into close combat, swarmed as it were. Outnumbered 5 to 2, they both were quickly shredded by claws and teeth.

Can an emotionless machine be surprised? After finally landing a killing shot the creature kept coming Does the terminator reload his weapon or fight hand to hand? A poor activation roll with only one success means close combat is imminent. The wounded alien actually rolled two sixes (wounds reduce quality by 1) and pounced!

The last endoskeleton standing doesn't remain standing for long. Four to one odds are simply too much to overcome. Beast triumphs over machine!

This is the first time I've actually played through the Mutants and Death Ray Guns rules. I'm planning to use these lists for a four-player game in a few weeks, so I thought I should test them out first. The basic rules work well and the special rules give plenty of flavour to the setting. I liked having a leader for the aliens, and the group activations make the swarm a big threat due to their long move. I'm still struggling with a plot hook that would bring all four of these factions together in conflict, but I'm sure I'll think of something before the game.

The special rules I chose for the aliens worked perfectly, even though the poison rule didn't come into effect against the terminators. I think I'll change the weapon the terminators are equipped with though. I had chosen the death ray gun because lethal to living beings. Being outnumbered and having to spend an action to reload is just too much of a handicap. A machine gun or something a little less deadly, but more reliable will probably serve better. Although now that I think about it, would a tough model die when hit with a death ray gun, or does the tough rule still mean it's only wounded?!

If you want a good set of rules for sci-fi / post apocalyptic gang fights I'd recommend Mutants and Death Ray Guns no problem. I'll be trying the other two lists out sometime in the next week and will post my thoughts when I can.


Eddie Kataishi said...

Mutants and Death Ray Guns eh? I'll give it a try.
Nice figs man... seems like only yesterday we were at Loft and you were telling me painting minis was too much of a pain in the ass for you to get into.

My PA rules of choice are Future Warriors: Kill Zone (old Grenadier - reprinted here: http://www.mts.net/~gisby/kizo/killzone.htm)

And Combat Zone - basically a second edition of Future Warriors: Kill Zone. (http://www.em4miniatures.com/acatalog/Combat_Zone_products.html)

I'll give M&DRG a look though.

Obsidian3D said...

I looked at Combat Zone a while back but never bought it. MDRG is cheap ($8 like all Ganesha PDFs) and is fun. For you though I think it might prove too simple, as I think you generally prefer more 'crunch' in your game system when it comes to weaponry and stats.

Eddie Kataishi said...

True. I played Cyperbunk 2020 for the first time in a while a few months back... got a huge kick at how detailed/graphic gun combat was. That said Savage Worlds has dominated my gaming for the past 8 years or so...

I'll give it a look... Outriders is my next purchase though... gotta find a print shop or buy a printer.