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Friday, 14 August 2020

Ayah’s Chase

The title really should be Chasing Ayah, but I worried that I might get some weird hit’s with that title, so went with the less click baiting one. The story starts after the 6th picture so you can skip all the background rubbish and go straight there if you wish, I’ve even put a heading so you can find it easily :).

The Background

In my previous game, I tried out some stealth rules and was generally happy with the outcome and in this game I wanted to try out some chase rules. Essentially after pinching the meat offering that the Simians had left, Ayah has to try and escape across my brand spanking new, refurbished, old terrain tiles, going from the lower left corner to the upper right corner.

I had decided that the Simians would not wade through the small rivers but on the banks of the left hand river there were 2 dead trees that over hung the river and they could climb and swing across with no loss of speed. Ayah would move directly towards the far corner but if she was in close proximity to a Simian then she would move directly away from it.

That meant that she might cross the river on the right side and if so would be safe. I knew that but didn’t impart that information to her.

The rules I use have an activation system to determine if a figure or group of figures will move each turn and in what sequence. Being designed for solo play they also have a series of Reaction Tests to determine if the figure or group will do as you desire, the standard morale checks most rules have, but in addition there are tests specific to certain situations. One of these tests is to see how far a figure moves if it wants to make a fast move.

For a human my normal move is 6”, they can try and move faster and roll up to 2D6, passing 1 die means they can move 9” and passing 2 die they move 12” to pass a dice means to roll 1-3 pass, 4-6 fail. Obviously this can be very unpredictable at times and is what makes a solo game interesting, for me at least and means that a chase game can work well just using the normal rules.

I’ve been reading a bit about why humans are mainly hairless and the suggestion I like best is that it enables us to sweat easily and so dissipate heat faster. That means we don’t overheat in a long chase, hairy animals do overheat. Of course if it was such a competitive advantage the question is “why are we the only hairless land animal apart from large things like Elephants, Rhino’s etc”.

Other factors come into play, fast four legged running animals like cheetah’s can only breathe in when they are out stretched. When their back legs come forward, their stomach pushes against their lungs and they expel air. One breath = 1 stride, they go fast but not for very long because they can’t get enough oxygen. We on the other hand being upright creatures can breathe as many times per stride as necessary so can maintain our oxygen levels over a long period.

Age is not a big impediment to us, the qualifying time for the Boston marathon for men is, age 18 to 34 = 3h 0min, age 45 to 49 = 3h 20min so roughly 10% difference, women have a qualifying time 30min longer than a man but a very similar difference due to age. Basically we can run all our lives at a similar speed and therefore the theory of the Savannah hunter, chasing down its prey over quite a long distance appeals to me. I know that there are a lot of anomalies in the theory but that’s what I incorporated into my chase game.

Ayha can try for more fast moves than the Simians, once both are out of fast move options they will have to resort to normal moves until they can recover their breaths. I assumed simians were just a little slower for normal and fast moves but that they could make 2 extra fast moves in a burst of high speed energy, a gallop on all four limbs. I tested fast moves for each individual rather than the group in the anticipation that this would string them out a bit.

Ayah was a slightly better fighter than the Simians but not as strong so she was more likely to hit them but they were more resilient to the damage.

The table is more open than before and I decided that it would not impede movement intentionally, you know the sort of thing “moves in difficult terrain are at half speed”

Using the Reaction Test would give me the variable, allowing Ayah and the Simians to jump a fallen log or run through a thicket of denser brush, something that might slow one or other of them but give me something to incorporate into the story.

I’ve built a line of low cliffs across part of the board, when and if Ayah reaches them she will have to decide to go left or right, a straight dice roll, left is a dead end though.

This is the diagonal route she will be headed, unless events dictate otherwise. Finally I decided the Simians would be 1 to 3 moves behind her and threw a 1 so not a big start at all. Whoops, this could be quite a short game as there were 5 Simians in the chase group, 1D6 again and I rolled a 5.

The Story

Ayah knew she was being followed, she hadn’t seen or heard anything but her instincts told her that it was so. She crested a small rise in the land and looked back, seeing nothing but like every good hunter she knew you see nothing when you are on the skyline but a minute or two later she looked back and saw the Simians cresting the same skyline. They had emerged from the thick brush and were close behind her, she immediately broke into a run.

There were four of them, the old male leading the troop also broke into a run when he saw her but it was more of a lumbering jog and he and the three who were with him gained no ground.

Then she realized that there were 5 of them, one, a young male had dropped to all fours and was running like the wind, he sped ahead of the rest and was gaining fast, if he could keep up this pace he would catch her very quickly.

He continued to gain ground and Ayah was forced to turn and fight or be attacked from behind. The young Simian was fast, bold, daring and ultimately stupid, seeing his enemy stop and turn, he ran on, not realizing he wasn’t the only killer here. Raising his club he started to strike but this hairless ape was fast, too fast for him and he felt a stabbing pain in his side as she pushed the razor sharp flint knife deep into his body.

He fell to the ground as the old male watched from the hill, satisfaction growing within him as he saw his rival fall. With a huge roar he encouraged the rest of the troop to follow him after the lone hairless female ape. They would eat well today and his arrogant male rival would fall into line behind his pack leader, if he lived that is.

Ayah turns and jogs away after the fight with the male Simian, she sees the rest of the chasing troop are slow to follow and she needs to conserve her energy for the long chase ahead.

The ape men started to chase again as Ayah waded into the fast flowing river.

This is when I realized the activation system was going to give too big a variable in the chase scenario, the Simians had not moved last turn and so I continued the game just using the fast move test to differentiate speed and that worked fine.

She was half way across and it was slowing her down, she turned to see where the ape men were.

And saw that the river was not going to slow them down at all, as they ran full tilt straight up a tree that was overhanging the river. Their agility in climbing was of great benefit to them and they were now visibly gaining on her.

Whilst this had already been built into the scenario it effectively made up for their loss of a move and put the game back on the tracks.

Ayah has waded through the river and made it to the far back just as the Apes swing across. She is starting to tire but hopes that the Simians are feeling the pace at least as much as she is.

She is fairly sure that given enough time she can out distance the ape men but they are still gaining ground at the moment. Ahead she sees a line of low cliffs and as the Simians can climb faster that she can, her decision is either left or right and then run as fast as possible, a die roll determines it should be right.

Which if you read the background and remembered it, this is the right decision.

The apes continue to chase down their prey, the old male is in the lead. That’s mainly because the rest of the troop know that it doesn’t do to be swifter than him.

The chase continues but the old male is beginning to tire and Ayah’s lead increases.

At this point I was thinking great, she’s going to make it, the apes had a couple more turns when they could run at full speed but after that they were blown and Ayha would get away.

The apes had rested a little this move and knew the rule writer had only given them 6 run moves before they have to walk, also if Ayah makes it to the far river bank then they can’t follow because they don’t like water. (The rule writer again) Ayah doesn’t know this because the rule writer didn’t tell her and she is being directed away from the Simians and so is moving along the bank rather than crossing to safety.

Ayah is close to escape but she has her second bad roll of the dice and stumbles, she slows to a walk, the apes are gaining rapidly and are right behind her. Has the wily old male timed his race to perfection, he has one last remaining fast move in him and then it’s over. Ayah can still keep up this pace for a couple more moves and so she can still escape.

Turn 10 and she makes her 3rd bad roll and the apes activate first and catch up with her, she turns at bay, damming the rule writer for a fool.

Initially she faces 2 of the apes, the leader has a large wooden stick, or club as they came to be called, the other one has a huge bone. “I hope he found it”, she thinks, “I’m in trouble if he killed the beast that was using it before” The smaller apes roar and shriek as they attack, Ayah remains silent, she might be as dumb as a bean but she is a pretty useful fighter and puts her energy into holding them off. By a dint of good dice rolling she manages to succeed but causes no damage to her opponents.

This gives the other two the time to move around behind her and now she is facing 4 demented Simians, all screaming for her blood.

Plus the softer bits like her heart and liver but you probably don’t want to consider that outcome too closely.

The fight rages on, I am currently conducting fights against more than 1 opponent differently to the rules I use. They specify that Ayah who has 5 attacking dice split them against all opponents and each opponent counts their full number of attacking dice, in this case they each have 4 dice. So 5D6 v 16D6.

For my combats I tend to favour the martial arts movies where Bruce Lee is outnumbered 30 to 1 but his opponents attack 1 at a time, so he looks to be out numbered but actually fights 1 opponent, then the next. I think this is more sporting of them.

In my case the fight is between 2 opponents but the others support by adding half their attack dice to the main fighter. So in this case Ayah has 5 dice and the old male has his 4 plus 3 supporters at 2 each so 5 to 10.

Yep she’s monkey meat either way.

However sometimes things don’t go the way you expect and she stabs the old male and he is out of the fight. This wouldn’t have been the end of it except that the other 3 took a reaction test for losing their leader and rolled more rubbish dice and pulled back from the fight.

If you remember Ayah has to move away from the nearest Simian and so she wades into the river.

The disconcerted Simians howl in impotent rage as their food disappears beyond their reach and each one of them is thinking, do I feel lucky, can I become the leader of the pack? 

There’s an upside to every down side.

Ayah now on the far side on the river reflects on the dice gods and the fact that the rule writer gave her a bit more of a chance against the monkey men with his amendments, maybe he’s not such a fool after all. Who knows.

As the sun starts to set she waves a clenched fist at her defeated enemies before turning away to look for a safe place to sleep for the night. During the chase she dropped the remains of the carcase she had stolen from the Simians, it was going to be a long hungry night tonight, but tomorrow's another day.