Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crowdfunding rewards and other updates

About a week ago I got an update from the Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls kickstarter saying that some of the rewards like postcards, bookmarks and such had been mailed to the backers. "Oh, cool, in a month or so they should arrive," I thought. Surprisingly, I got them today, twelve days from the postage date!

In other news, Fields of War has released a FAQ for their Border War game, of which I wrote a short review/playtest. The FAQ is written like the letters section of a magazine, which makes it fun to read.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review: Raptorz

After the conversation in the comments for the previous post, I decided to finish the post about Raptorz that has been sitting in my drafts list for about one year.

Raptorz is a game by Rebel Minis in a partnership with Two Hour Wargames. It is meant to be played with the 15mm figures from that company, but for now I have been playing with MapTool, and also with the pieces from the free Patrol: Lost print and play boardgame. The PDF version (which I own) consists of a rulebook and a set of room and corridor tiles, created by PaperMakeIt.

The game uses some mechanics from other products from Two Hour Wargames. Therefore, people familiar with Rep, reaction tests etc. will be at home. One important difference is the usage of a more abstract movement system, where figures move from section to section rather than measuring inches. Sections can be rooms or corridors and some abstraction must be adopted about them, too, especially when fights happen on narrow corridors.

Here is a shot of a game playing with the Patrol: Lost pieces. Note that in Raptorz, you set up the whole board before play. In this picture, I was using a team of three soldiers: leader, marine with rifle and marine with squad automatic weapon. The dice mark the possible enemy forces (PEFs) and their Rep. I had to decide beforehand which tiles belonged to each of the sectors 1-6 referenced by the rules.

Another shot a few turns later. Up to this point I had met two PEFs but both resolved into nothing but nerves. Then I rolled doubles three times in a row, thus spawning three new PEFs. One of them appeared behind my marines, just as they approached a dead end... talk about ambushes!

At this point, I thought it would be better to start moving back to the entrance, even if I had not scouted the whole map. My soldiers fired at the PEF that had appeared behind them, and it was resolved as six raptorz!

Although my soldiers were able to defeat this group of enemies, they lost one marine in a later battle and eventually were overwhelmed when another PEF resolved as 10 raptorz. Still, a fun game that lasted around one hour.

The rules for Raptorz are only seven pages long, which means you can start playing in minutes. The downside is that the text is very, very concise, and requires some interpretation (which may vary according to the experience of the reader.) For instance, here are the conventions I've adopted:

1. The game states that PEFs are resolved only when they share a section with marines. However, some weapons may fire up to two sections away. Therefore, if a marine opens fire against a PEF, it is first resolved. However, a figure or group that fires when active does not move. Also, if the PEF resolves into raptorz, the whole group may move when next active -- there is no roll to check how many enter the room.

2. There is a recovery table that seems to allow a marine who went out of the fight to regain consciousness. However, it is not mentioned in the rules text. The way I play is, if a marine goes OOF but does not suffer other hits until his next activation, he gets to roll on the recovery table.

3. If a marine is in a Confrontation against multiple aliens, I resolve all of them before carrying out a Fall Back result. If any of the aliens reaches melee range, the marine cannot fall back.

4. If raptorz and marines remain at the same room when a turn ends, I run a new confrontation test when either group activates again. I use the confrontation test #1 if the marines activate or confrontation test #2 if the raptorz go first.


Raptorz is another alternative for a quick and simple solo or cooperative "dungeon hack" with a sci-fi theme. There is room for experimentation -- for instance, trying to add ranged enemies, traps and random events. The room-to-room movement keeps the game fast and allows playing with little regard to scale of miniatures.