Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Grand Illusion - Episode I

OK, I'm going to start a regular series of Articles today called "The Grand Illusion" - just to give people an idea of where I am going with the Rules.

Super-Hero Dinosaur Zombie Apocalypse ISN'T just another Skirmish Wargame, its a little more than that. 

Its a hybrid.

What do I mean - well we've had a trend recently for hybrid Boardgame/Wargame style rule-sets, I wanted something different - something that played reasonably fast, but had a little more flavour to it (as my play-testers will tell you).

S.D.Z.A. is a hybrid role-playing game/miniatures game (in fact in the full rules there will be a skill/experience system for you to play it as a full RPG - as well as a 'fast play' mass battle section).

Like any RPG/Wargame, the first port of call is Attributes or Statistics. I opted for Statistics (shortened to Stats)

The Stats (Statistics) of a Miniature determine its usefulness in games of S.D.Z.A, and represent a Miniatures general strengths and weaknesses. In addition to these Stats, each Miniature has Traits either specific to it or to its Species (for example Human, Zombie, Dinosaur, Dino-Mutant etc.) - and possibly additional traits purchased during profile creation or earned during campaign play.   

A Miniature's Stats generally range from 2-12 – your Average Regular Human will have Stats in the 3-4 range, a Tough Human 6 or even higher – your bigger Dinosaurs, such as Spinosaurus or Diplodocus will have Stats as high as 16. The higher the Stat, the more powerful/strong that particular Stat is with regards to that Miniature. 

There are four Stats Vigour (Vg), Physique (Pq), Alacrity (Ay), and Backbone (Bk) – these are broad categories that represent health, toughness, and the mental fortitude of a Miniature. 

Today I am focusing on Vg (Vigour) as it has the most impact on the game.

Vigour (Vg) 
Vigour not only determines what a Miniature can do during a turn, as it is also a Miniatures Action Points – these points are spent whenever a Miniature is Activated to perform Actions. They are also the number of points of damage a Miniature can take before dying - so as a Miniature becomes Injured it’s Vigour score goes down, so it also becomes less capable of performing Tasks during a game.

During one of the early Test games, one of the people 'experimented' on (a Games Workshop staff member) was utterly confused by the S.D.Z.A. Actions/Damage system because it was too simple, and yet it worked. Theres no need for a table of modifiers for injuries because it is built into the rules.

The only thing to remember is certain Models (Heroes - those with the 'Heroic' trait, thick-skinned larger Dinosaurs, and Inorganics - Robots and other Machines) are ALWAYS counted as having their Maximum Vigour at the start of their Activation, even if they had been injured.

To clarify, an example - 

Sgt Brummie has been bitten by a Velociraptor, and taken 3 points of Damage to his Vigour Stat (which has a starting value of 10) when he next activates, as he has taken 3 points of Damage – he only has 7 Vg Points to spend on Actions. 

If Sgt Brummie had the Heroic Trait, even though he had taken 3 points of Damage from a Dino-Bite – he would be able to use his Maximum of 10 Vg Points to spend on actions, only referring to his reduced Vigour Score for determining how much more damage he could take.

As I mentioned before, some people found this abstract damage system confusing - even though its straightforward during play. So I came up with an example injury chart - to put what being damaged means in games of S.D.Z.A. (there is naturally some confusion among gamers who are used to “bang your dead” rules systems or modifiers for being injured).

So here are some examples as to what the Vigour Points Injury System means in physical terms - 

Full (100%) Original Vigour Score = Uninjured and Ready to go. 

3/4 (75%) Original Vigour Score = "Tis’ But A Scratch” - Hurt in such a way that they are hampered in some way, but not so much as they are incapable of any action.

1/2 (50%) Original Vigour Score = “School of Hard Knocks” - Injured in such a way its making it hard to do multiple things in a turn. Generally they can move, or shoot, or fight – they don’t have enough Vigour Points left to do it all.

1/4 (25%) Original Vigour Score = “The End is Nigh” - The Model is seriously injured, they need medical attention to do anything more than just crawl or maybe fire a weapon in a last desperate attempt at survival.

Zero (0%) Original Vigour Score = “Knockin’ on Heavens Door” - The Model is out of the game. It is, for all intents and purposes ‘Dead’ and should be removed from play (and replaced with a Corpse Marker etc for dramatic effect if you so wish). Bigger models like Dinosaurs, Sentry’s, M.A.T.A.T.s, or Prometheans should either be lain down or have a Special Template placed to mark where they fell, as they count as Terrain Now for movement and shooting.

And don’t forget, certain Traits allow for a model to always be played as being at their Maximum Vigour Score – this doesn’t mean they aren’t hurt, it just means they are Tough (or Heroic) enough to ignore it.

Next Up on The Grand Illusion - Actions and Activation's.

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