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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.