Sunday, August 25, 2013

My first game of Swatters

Today I came back to Ganesha Games' Swatters, finished building my simple paper miniatures and trays and played my first game, using the provided solo rules.

The miniatures are some aliens and sci-fi soldiers from Arion Games, which I am using to represent the Marine Trooper, Marine Elite, Grunt Bug and Assault Warrior profiles from the book.

I made up a simple scenario inspired by the Meeting Engagement and Retrieval Mission scenarios from the book. The marines must reach the cargo pod in the middle of the board and spend two actions in a single turn to retrieve some important cargo. Then they must exit the board through the edge they started at.

The rules are based on the "Song of Blades and Heroes" engine, with many changes. Figures are moved as units -- groups of 2-5 miniatures on circular trays (the game recommends using old CDs.) Damage in combat can kill and suppress figures of a unit. Here is a picture of the first engagement in the game. As the assault warriors came closer, the elite marines opened fire killing two aliens and suppressing another two.

Human troops are very deadly at a range, while the aliens are stronger at close combat. In this particular scenario, a combination of starting positions and lucky rolls caused the marines to destroy most alien forces before they could reach them. In the end they lost a single figure.


This playtest game lasted for around 35 minutes. Moving the unit trays instead of individual units keeps the action fast. The "Song of Blades and Heroes" system was well adapted to this larger scale. Since you can remove and lay down miniatures to mark casualties and suppression, the game requires no bookkeeping. The game also includes rules for larger aliens and vehicles, which I still have to try. 

I am also interested in playing humans vs. humans (i.e. ranged vs. ranged) to see how well the system handles that setup. It may turn into another interesting alternative for squad or platoon-level sci-fi battles.

As for solo play, the game recommends having "spawning points" around the board for the aliens to appear. I did not use them in this test game but I will do so in the future. Having all aliens start at a single board edge makes the game too easy for the humans. I might also reduce the amount of "bonus dice" for the humans when playing solo.


Vladdd309 said...

Nice pics.

I tried Swatters earlier this year. Great rules; the big bugs and blind spawning points really add to the experience though!

Sean said...

Looks like a good start, hope to see more.