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Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Uranium Handoff - A Game of Two Parts


Two suitcases of enriched uranium have been stolen by an international criminal, Alexandria Lorne and are to be handed over to the buyer Joe "Boss" Cotton. Each suitcase contains 7Kg of enriched uranium, shielded by a steel pipe with a lead lining, dangerous stuff, but very profitable.

This is the industrial area downtown, there's not much happening on a Sunday morning at 6:00 am and that’s just how Alexandria and Boss Cotton want it.

Alex was the driving force behind an international gang of thieves, it was said that if you wanted it badly enough and had the money, she could ‘obtain’ it.
This wasn’t altogether true, she had turned down jobs in the past but not many, if the price was right she would steal it.

It was rumoured that a rich Russian Oligarch wanted Big Ben, not just the clock but the whole damn bell tower. She had been tempted although there were quite a few logistical problems that needed to be worked out. Unfortunately he came up short with the deposit, her fee was too high even for a Russian Billionaire, however depleted uranium, well that was no problem for the right price.

Joe Cotton was known far and wide as ‘Boss’ Cotton and he had the right money. He was a middleman with no morals and world wide contacts with some very insalubrious characters. If there was profit in it, little risk or hard work then he’s your man. He had a cash buyer paying 50% up front for the uranium, this was good business for him, what did he care how they would use it.

The Game then is simply a meet between these two gangs and an exchange of uranium for cash.

Unbeknown to the two principals there was an informer in one of the organisations and the security services have sent in a crack team of marines, led by Jethroe a freelance expert in these situations. I was taking the part of Jethroe with the object of stopping the handover, retaking the 2 suitcases of uranium carried by Alexandria's gang and arresting or stopping with appropriate force (shooting dead sounds about right) the criminals.

The rest of the characters were dice driven.

The Scenario Mechanics

The next section details the game encounter system, if you are in a hurry or not interested, skip to the next picture and the start of the game.

In this game I used encounter tokens spread randomly around the board, when one is ‘discovered’ I turn over a card from a standard deck of cards, this then relates to a specific Encounter, pretty standard stuff. In this game the encounter deck was 13 cards representing :-

Ace = Alexandria, if this is drawn before the Jennifer card, then all 5 gang members are together, if it is drawn after the Jennifer card then it is the remainder of the gang. There are 5 members of the gang including Alex and Jennifer.

2 = Jennifer Ryan – Alexandria’s 2nd in command she will have 1 or 2 henchmen with her if drawn before Alexandria, if the Ace has already been drawn this represents nothing.

3 = Joe ‘Boss’ Cotton and 2 henchmen.

4 = A stray dog, roll 1d6 and a result of 1,2,3 = dog ignores it's discoverer, 4,5 it barks and moves away, 6 it barks and stays with it's discoverer, continuing to bark.

5 = Jack Handsome an independent character.

6 = Chardonnet an independent good time girl on her way home after a night on the town.

7 = Charlene and 0,1,or 2 Gangsta’s looking to roll some passer by.

8 = A woman? In a Birka with a child.

9 = A TV Crew who will want to film any action.

10 = An aggressive dog roll 1d6 a result of 1,2,3 it barks and stays with it's discoverer, 4,5,6 attacks it's discoverer.

Jack, Queen and King = nothing.

The hand over is due to take place in the bar at the centre of the board, once the game starts all the encounter tokens will move randomly but not away from the table centre, the intention is that they will gravitate to the bar.

In addition there are 3 roving PEF’s, (Possible Enemy Forces)

There is an encounter rating for the area of 3, so when a PEF is revealed (sighted) I roll 1d6 and a roll of 3 or less means something is actually there, if roll is achieved then a 2nd roll 1d6, with the result as follows :-

1- 2 it is a group of Boss Cottons thugs between 2 to 4 of them.

3- 4 it is Tiny and Dan Barry, both part of the Marine squad, they had got separated from the main group.

5- 6 it is the Yakuza, between 1 and 6 of them who will try and take the Uranium from whoever has it at the time.

If shooting starts, the encounter rating is increased by 1 to 4 so a roll of 4 or less reveals a live PEF, each time a PEF is revealed not to be real, the encounter rating is increased by 1 so eventually one or more of them will be real.

The PEF’s move in a more coordinated manner towards the bar or the sound of gunfire.

Each turn, each group, encounter marker or PEF rolls for activation against a required score, and does not move without meeting it.

The Marine fire teams start to move on turn 1 and everything else starts to move on turn 4, so potentially I had 3 turns to get into position and out of sight before anyone else moves. To make it more interesting I decided they would actually start 1d6 from turn 1 and each team would roll separately.

When shooting starts Alexandria will contact Jennifer by phone and the thieves will leave the area with the rest of the gang. They still have the product and can rearrange to sell it, but take no unnecessary risks, be smart.

When the shooting starts the Boss will forget about buying the uranium if it appears to be getting away from him and take it however he can. Greedy and stupid.

When shooting starts the PEF’s will move towards it or the uranium if that is known.

When shooting starts the Marines will do as I decide (or not) or as the dice roll.


THE GAME


My plan was to split my force into 2 teams, entering from the north, the 1st team of 3 men coming down the NE side taking cover from the wall by the road and then taking up a covering position by the cross roads where they can see the front of the bar and anyone approaching up the road from the SE.
The 2nd team of 2 men were to come fast down the road from the N and enter the Building through the back door and move to the front to observe the bar and see anyone approaching up the road from the SW. I thought both approaches would get my men into position fast with the maximum amount of cover. They would then have good angles of observation on the door to the bar, there was only the 1 door, no back entrance.

Here are a couple of shots to get the feel for the board.



Ok on with the game. Text relating to the pictures is below the pic, I know that is probably obvious to you but I get confused reading other peoples reports and keep scrolling back and forth before I get it. Probably old age and too much wine! Is it possible to have too much wine?

Turn 1 I rolled to see when my teams would arrive, Jethroes team got a 2 and Bryces team arrived on turn 4, bummer, same time as everyone else starts to activate, I'm not expecting to surprise anyone now.

Turn 2 Jethroes team moved along the hedge.

Turn 3 Ditto and took up firing position by the cross road.

Turn 4 Hopefully you can see Jethroes team on the top right of the picture by the cross road. At this point everyone else starts and I placed all the encounter counters, they are the green dots, and the very indistinct white rectangles are the PEF’s.

Note the encounter markers on the yellow van and in the building that the 2nd fire team are to occupy, looks like trouble straight away, hope it’s nothing too serious.

Jethroe could see 1 encounter marker and a Queen was the 1st card drawn – false alarm, nothing there.

Turn 4 the 2nd fire team have made their move down the road and are just about to enter the building. I resolved the encounter in the van, an Ace, that was Alexander and all her team. Bryce and Danielle the Marines both failed to see the guys in the van, some crack Marines they are.

This is how they were sat in the van, They all passed their Insight tests and would either fire or snapfire depending on the roll, I decided the 3 guys on the left could all fire and 1 from the right. With much shattering of glass they opened up on the Marines, Bryce was hit twice and Danielle once but all hits were fatal.

Two dead Marines.

Hells teeth, the jobs blown shouts Alex to her crew - lets get out of here.

Hells teeth the jobs blown shouts Jethroe (Me) - lets see what is happening.

Hells teeth the jobs blown shouts Joe Cotton – where is my uranium.

Turn 5
No Picture – Alex starts van. Jethroe takes stock of the situation, thinks what the gun shots might mean and twiddles his thumbs – he failed to activate.

Turn 6
Alex sets the van in motion, driving carefully, so as not to attract too much attention. The missing glass on one side of the van and lots of gunfire might have been a bit of a giveaway but hey ho.

Driving down the road south out of town she sees 1 PEF which turns out to be Boss Cottons thugs, 4 of them, also a number of encounter markers – Chardonett, with the long blonde hair, a lady in a birka with a child and across the road Charlene and Rufus the gangstas ( you can see Rufus and also Charlene's base) A nice tight shot by the cameraman, many more like this and he gets replaced.

Everyone takes an insight test as soon as they see each other, deciding what to do. Everyone except the thugs decided in view of the shooting that it would be better to be out of the way and so duck back off the road into the best cover they could find.

The thugs decided to stand their ground. At this point I thought that the thugs might recognise Alex and so rolled against their Intelligence factor, they needed low to pass and threw double 6, obviously this must mean they are going to do something stupid, draw their guns and open fire seemed stupid enough.

Alex also took the test and got carry on, so seeing them start to draw guns she accelerated straight at them, hummm good I thought I can test the ‘run them over’ rules.

This started a general firefight as the van came fast down the road.

Shots were fired, guns jammed, gangstas jumped out of the way of the speeding van, the windscreen shattered, Alex kept herself and the van under control and nobody got hurt in the filming of this movie. Well apart from the forces of good - and I don't think they count.

A couple of other encounter markers were revealed as Alex sped past. An angry dog, he tried to bite the tyres but was too slow, and Joe Cotton himself emerged from the hut, top left in the picture. He was apoplectic, first at his men for shooting at the uranium and I suppose Alex, and then at Alex because she didn't stop, just kept on driving.

Still on turn 6, another PEF was revealed to be a gang of Yakuzas, they saw Jethroe (the one without a beret), still behind the wall and opened fire first, Jethroes team duck down out of sight. Real tough cookies these Marines are turning out to be.

Turn 7
No picture but Alex and the van drove off the board headed south, followed quickly by ‘Boss’ Cotton and his men. The Yakuza realizing the prize was gone also pulled out, and eventually the marines popped their heads up and there was nobody there.

It all went wrong from the beginning, I got soundly whooped by a set of pre determined random encounters but at least the uranium didn't get passed over so there may be another chance for Jethroe to redeem the situation, I hope the informant stays safe.


Most of my games are run solo, I never have any disagreements with my opponent over rule interpretation, the objectives, how long we game for and if  I’ve had a good time so has my opponent. I use 2 Hour Wargames – Chain Reaction Free Rules, I have modified them to suit me and I think they give a brilliant solo game. The reaction test system they use means that the unexpected happens a lot, if you come under fire your little lead men will often hide, may run away or could surprise you and return fire.

Characters have a Reputation score and most tests involve rolling d6 under this score to achieve a positive result. I have extended this to include other character aspects, the obvious being shooting, fighting, intelligence, bravery, strength, constitution etc the only characteristic that I use that I think is unusual is Affinity.
This basically is a score of 1 – 6 and so if the character wants to do a bad deed they have to roll over this score and if they wish to do a good deed they have to roll under it. I started an All Things Zombie campaign recently and my hero (Captain H - Me) had a knife. On meeting his 1st Zombie, I rolled on his affinity to see if he would draw a knife on someone who might just be a drunk, his affinity score was 5 a good guy and I threw a 4 and so of course he did not draw the knife, the Zombie promptly killed and ate him on turn 3 of my campaign, an example of the unexpected and in this case very disappointing things that can happen.

If there's anybody out there please let me know and if you are still here - Thanks for reading.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this up! Looks like a fun game, and of course the miniatures and buildings and set dressing really add to it. Solo gaming of this sort is an exciting venue that I hope to branch out into... after all it is easy to find an opponent!

    One thing though... surely you mean "enriched" uranium? That is the kind that (could) go bang, DU is mostly very heavy, and is less radioactive than natural Uranium.

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    1. I think you are right, the source I took the info from referred to depleted uranium being smuggled into the US but enriched uranium would be more deadly.
      Cheers

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    2. Don’t they use DU in armour piercing tank rounds? It still would have value I’m guessing

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    3. Yes I believe they do use DU in ammo, but my research was a but faulty, see above but I wanted something valuable so I've changed it to Enriched Uranium, DU would be beneath Alex's skill and income levels for her to be involved with. ;-)

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  2. Very nicely presented, Vagabond. Cracking looking table and the game mechanics are really interesting - and thanks for writing up the solo info. This is another good blog post you've posted.

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    1. Thanks Roy, I like it when there are ideas to borrow in a game report, the concept for this came from a guy in Ireland although I can't remember exactly how his game went but the idea for trying to stop an illicit transfer of something he had taken from a book, and I made it mine.
      Solo stuff is useful to us all, even if it's not very good it will spark something elsewhere I think.

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  3. Very interesting John & as you most likely forgot to take pictures at certain points it means you were engrossed in the game which means the game is worth playing :) but the camera man needs a talking to :)

    Coming up with cool back stories & interesting characters is (for me at least) a big part of the hobby & if the story doesn't run the way you might have liked then so be it, as all that means is you get to work a bit more on it :)

    I'm really enjoying what your doing & it great to see someone else who's interest is similar to my own, would you have a link to the rules your using please, as I wouldn't mind having a look at them.

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    1. Frank, this wouldn't be the 1st camera man that's been sacked.

      The reason that the game title is "In Two Parts" is because it was such a fiasco for the forces of law and order I replayed it. A game I shall post later.

      I think this should get you the rules, http://www.twohourwargames.com/free.html
      If it doesn't I could send you my rewritten set, they go into characterisation more, I've added bits to combat, zombies etc and I'm in the process of adapting them for Gothic/Eldrich horror and dinosaurs.
      The key concept for me at least is the reaction system, it means I am a guiding hand to my side but they can easily go there own way.

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    2. Hi John, I think that's the key to solo play as if you control everything then nothing should go wrong & that's not much fun :)

      I try'd the link & everything work apart from me getting the rules, but its me with a computer so who knows, the reaction system is what has my interest & could work well for my Heart Stone of Africa as I see most of the character in it as your every day man in the street not pulp heroes, so when faced with some of the horrors that lay in front of them it would be good to see how they handle things.

      I'll wait & see if the rules turn up later & if not I'll get back to you.

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    3. Frank - have a look at Roy's comment a bit lower down. That may have been the problem, the green button.
      The Reaction and Turn sequence takes a bit of getting your head around but once you do it's good. You could do worse than read some of Bryan's early game reports. He went into a lot of detail as to how the rules worked, one of my favourites was about some St Trinian's school girls. Also his card buildings from World Works Games are second to none, but don't tell him I said so, they don't do the same range anymore, mores the pity.

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  4. Fantastic post all round John :-)
    Great write up of an interesting encounter, played out on a really good looking table with some terrific mini's! Of course, I'll be "borrowing" your card & counters idea ta :-)
    Typical matelots, they probably spotted the women in the van and strolled by trying to look all macho!
    You NEVER have disagreements with your opponent?? Hmm, maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and stop having rows with mine...... usually after the game,... when we're running the post mortem,.. and just about everything that went wrong was HIS fault! ;-)

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    1. You sound like Zaphod Beeblebrox from the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, two heads are better than one, but at least you're the coolest dude in the universe ;-)
      If the card and counters were my idea I'd be a lot smarter than I am. Borrow away, that's what it's all about.
      Take care out there.

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  5. Hi, John. What a terrific batrep! The THW systems are ideal for solo play and as a solo player myself, I have found them a godsend - especially ATZ. As so often happens the roll of the dice or the drawing of a card can scupper the best laid plans. But that is all part of the fun of the game - you just never know what is going to happen.

    As I was reading your report, I kept thinking that this would make a great scenario for 7TV2e. It has that kind of cinematic feel to it, which I mean as a compliment. Bravo, sir!

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    1. Bryan - this Blogging business makes you think a bit more about what you are doing and why.
      If this had been a competitive game then the Jethroe player would have gone home pissed off, 40 % of his men got killed and 60% of them hid for the crucial part of the game. The Boss Cotton player would have gone home pissed off because he didn't appear until the last minute. The Alexandria player would have gone home pissed off because she ran away and didn't even try to achieve her objective. I stayed at home thinking bloody hell that was a good game, I enjoyed it.
      I bought 7TV shortly before they brought out version 2 and I paid £10 not £25 I read through it and put it on the shelf because basically it had a combat system in it and then some imaginative stuff, but it hurt my brain just reading it. I like to think we can all do the imaginative stuff, doing it solo is probably easier because you don't have to convince another person your way is the right way. I'm enjoying the stories that the game system and my imagination throws up. So when you say cinematic feel, that's exactly what I want from a game. I know it's not what everyone else wants but that's fine.

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  6. If its of help to anyone I've just downloaded a copy of the free Chain Reaction rules from the THW website - though I'll admit that doing so was confusing.

    If you add the rules into your basket. Then click "Checkout". Then click "Guest Checkout". I then created a fake postal address/telephone and clicked "Continue". I gave them my email address (though the one I use for blogging, not the important one which all the bills come through on), told them in the 'comments' that I'd used a fake address since it was a free pdf and should I buy something from them in the future I'd set up an account, then clicked "continue". Now here is the bit I nearly missed - this is where you download the free rules. At the right of the checkout information, under the bit stating "Your Order" a green button appears allowing you to download the free rules. Click it and the .pdf will download automatically. With no need to "Send Order" or press the PayPal button.

    I must admit I very nearly missed the download button, as its not the easiest method to get a free set of rules I've used. Hope this helps anyone reading this blog post, now or in the future.

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    1. Thanks for putting this up Roy, a few people have asked after the rules I use and have been put off because it is difficult to get them now. I had no trouble 6 or so years ago or I may have never re-started wargaming. I did buy ATZ and Nuts to support Ed but I still use my version in preference, but I guess you get comfortable with something and it needs a bit of a kick to move on.

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    2. No problem John. I did actually, also, receive an email from THW addressing this issue - should it have been needed - containing a .pdf giving written and image instructions as to how to download the free rules. I've included the link to this .pdf, below.

      http://site.twohourwargames.com/misc-files/wheres-ma-PDF.pdf

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  7. I love Ed’s rules and use his from ATZFFO, the best bit is that Ed wants you to adapt them for your own use, encourages you even - as he says it’s your game, play it however you want!

    Great AAR John, even though the marines were sh**e the encounter was full of unexpected moments

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    1. Hi dGG The rules are there to serve us not the other way round and I agree we should all change the bits we don't like in any set of rules. Easier solo.
      I felt this game result was a complete failure in so much that no one came close to winning, so I played the same scenario again and got a completely different result but at the end of the day neither game was better than the other.

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  8. Great game and you're so coreect about how other players may have reflected on the various 'player' roles.
    Though THW have a lot going for them, I dislike quite a few features of them especially in their later inarnations. I've made wholsesale changes to large chunks of the rules to make them more of a roleplay game.

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  9. I'm curious what changes you have made to make them more of a role play game, have you a post that I could read, I've not come across one?

    For me the initiative sequence and reaction test results are what make them a great solo set of rules. I'm pretty sure mine are modified but the basics are still there.

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    1. My Inital comments on THW's rules appear here:
      http://zabadakszombieworld.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/thw-rules-ok.html
      and you can see the Changes I made to the original single characteristic (later chnaged to 3 iirc[but who uses "savvy"?]) here:http://zabadakszombieworld.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/eescape-to-country-1.html

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    2. Joe thanks for taking the time to dig this out. I remember reading the game report but not this opening post, although I think I must have. Memory a fickle and fragile thing these days.
      I've also gone down the rpg route and use a number of attributes/characteristics so that faced with a decision I have something to pin it on. Eg in a difficult situation roll against brains (intelligence but it's snappier and fits in the box on my character cards;-)) pass the dice and do something sensible, fail and do something daft.
      It's a shame you have no game opponent and don't like solo play, I enjoyed your game reports.

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  10. I don't comment on these kind of blogs, so I've posted something in your last thread on LAF ("The Bikers Break Out")... :O)

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    1. Hi Eduardo, thanks for making the trip into the strange world of the Blogger

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