Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Entering the Wreck-Age

Model's eye view of a Wreck-Age demo table. 
Today I finally got around to playing a demo of Wreck-Age, a table top skirmish game being developed by friends who only live 4 blocks away from my apartment here in Chicago. I had wanted to try out the game back at Adepticon but I had scheduled myself tightly with events and seminars and never had the time to watch more than a turn of some other intrigued hobbyist giving it a go.

Being that I'm a friend of Matt's, and he lives so close he offered to have me come by and get a Demo to check it out first hand. Now mind you, the couple of turns I saw at Adepticon seemed like a lot of guys just rolling around on the ground, but this didn't feel that way at all. Everything that took place felt quick and decisive.

To give you a sense of the narrative, we're in the 26th century and we're on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth. The table depicted the edge of a Staker settlement with a fence line in the center and a few buildings beyond. Scattered about were some trees and a stream but they were non-essential to what was taking place. We jumped right into the scenario. The Hy Planes Drifters, a designation for splintered tribes of nomadic bandits, were trying to bust their way into a Staker compound. Stakers are settlers who are trying to return to a sense of the normalcy of their civilized past.

She may be cute, but she rolls with a murderous tribe based on violent escaped criminals who will gladly enslave you if they don't kill you. But I guess some people are into that. 
I played as the Drifters and had 2 thugs with various guns and detonators that would trigger explosives carried by their 3 mistreated beasts of horrific burden, boars nicknamed Bacon Bombs.

The vegan in me felt dirty using animals as homing missiles, but its just a game and it is the apocalypse after all. If I'm playing despicable savages I might as well go all out, right?
Matt, my demonstrator, would defend the settlement with a line of 3 Stakers holding positions along the fences, and a lookout with a rifle atop a building. He tried to hit me with a bunch of rules figuring I'd want the full explanation but I stopped him and said, "just present my options as they become available and I'll learn as I go." My head is full of rules from a half dozen GW games and with all of the editions I've played its all a big mess in my head. No need for subtle nuances, lets just roll some dice and explore the narrative.
Matt, just tell me what to do, not the mechanics of doing it. ;) Oh , and this is some cool concept art from the Wreck-Age page.

We rolled to see who went first and I discovered that the system was a "I move a model, then you move a model" system. This is a big change from what I'm used to with GW and it was neat to see in action because I was engaged in the game from beginning to end.

I charged a boar forward, and a Staker shot at it, wounding it and slowing it down. Injuries actually have suppressive effects. My next two boars advanced and we shot at in turn with no injuries sustained. I moved one of my gunmen forward to get a better position and he managed to avoid return fire. My boars were in position to potentially blow up and take down the fences and the defenders behind them but I pressed the detonator and the old tech must have malfunctioned because none of the boars exploded.

We rolled for initiative for the 2nd round of the turn and each of our figures got to take additional actions. One of my boars jumped the fence and gored the crap out of a Staker, another got shot dead in his tracks, and the one that was wounded before fell short of clearing the fence and took more fire. This time though, when I pressed the detonator, my first boar was a dud, but the one in the middle blew up in action flick style with a 7" ball of fire and shrapnel, devastating the fences, obliterating my other boars, and pulping his defending Stakers.

Now all my Drifters had to do was flee the board to obtain reinforcements. The lookout with the rifle shot one of my guys in the back but my only remaining guy escaped unharmed to signal his marauding brothers in self serving destruction.
Perched on the roof of an out building she shot one of my remaining Drifters in the back.

I can't comment on the rules too much. It was a D6 system that used increasing and decreasing amounts of dice depending on your stats. If you have 3 Power you roll 3 dice when you use that stat. Your opponent rolls a relative number of dice based upon the relevant stat to counter with and unlike RISK where you use the raw numbers rolled, you need 4+ on each die to succeed unless there is a modifier of some sort. So most interactions between models rely on you hopefully rolling more 4+ rolls than your opponent. The important thing for the demo was that it was simple and quick. I'm not a mathematician so I don't know how balanced things are or how much sense they make beyond the simple abstraction of events. The important thing was that I rolled dice and I had fun. It was an engaging environment, my head was in the game the whole time because everything happened so fast, and cool crap happened.

This actually has me pumped to try my hand at getting some models painted and getting a proper game in to see how it plays outside the demo environment with someone telling me what to roll and what I can do. I can already think of all sorts of cool scenarios and story lines too. The factions are all pretty interesting and who doesn't like that Mad Max sort of vibe? Though, without vehicles it made me think more of The Road maybe?

Regardless, it was a fun diversion from GW games and played very differently. The models are true scale too and much less heroic in stature. Very cool.

Anyway, they are doing a Kickstarter and it only has 3 days left. They met their initial goals but I spent a long time talking to Matt and know they have a lot of cool ideas they'd like to explore. I know a lot of start up companies are around now, competing for a finite fan base and additionally a bunch of established companies are Kickstarting their projects simply because they can, but if you've got the spare capital and you want to see more variety in the table-top market, give them some love.

Meanwhile I'm going to paint up some of the cool models I've picked up so far so I can get that first real game in. -Nick

Wreck-Age Kickstarter

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