Monday, June 23, 2014

Alien Fight Night: First Impressions

Since I am having so much fun with 5150 Urban Renewal, I decided to buy the two supplements available for it, New Hope City PI and Alien Fight Night. As I really liked Red Sun Black Moon, I decided to try Alien Fight Night first.

Alien Fight Night is a stand-alone supplement to play boxing matches between humans and even aliens. It can be used on its own, for one-off fights or championships, and it can be combined with Urban Renewal in some ways. You can convert your 5150 character into a fighter, or make a character who is a manager of various fighters. You can add a boxing match as part of an encounter, as illustrated in this action report on the Two Hour Wargames blog.

To try the game, I built the ring template and fighter tokens. Then I picked up two low-ranking pre-generated fighters, among the dozens given in the book. Here is how the fight went, in a very shady club in Little Hisha, New Hope City:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we begin tonight's show with a match between two rising stars!" Despite his best attempts, the hishen announcer's rasp voice didn't do much to draw the spectators' attention. "On my right side, here comes everyone's favorite, Neby!" Some spectators, most of them hishen, roared as Neby stood up and removed his robe. He was taller than the average hishen, and also carried more muscle and fat. On the streets, he was known as Neby, the Burly Hishen.

"And on my right, I present you with Ken 'Lightning' Folstom," shouted the announcer. The crowd was a mix of applause, cheers and laughter. After some failed attempts at high tech theft and other shady jobs, Ken had fallen on hard times. A "friend" convinced him to start fighting in these boxing matches, and he was still trying to build a reputation.

Ken and Neby walked to the center of the ring, touched gloves and the announcer-turned-referee stepped back. Staring into the hishen's eyes, he felt his heart pumping and his muscles tingling. And then the fight was on.

Round 1
The two fighters started circling each other, throwing jabs and feinting to try to "read" each other. It became clear to Ken that the hishen was slower than him, and soon he found an opening, landing a few punches and moving closer. Neby covered up, blocking the punches and eventually clinched him. The referee pulled them apart and resumed the fight. Ken tried again to gain the advantage, but the hishen dodged his punches and hit back, and hard. Ken stepped back, trying to block the alien's strong hits but soon he was with his back against the ropes, then trapped into a corner and finally lying on he ground, with a swollen eye after taking a straight on the face.
Round 2
Ken didn't have much time to recover, and the new round began. Sensing the advantage, Neby started the round with a sequence of punches, causing a cut over Ken's left eye as he was again pushed against the ropes. By this time, his reactions were slow and he couldn't block the following jabs and straights. Cornered once more, he was knocked down and the referee ended the fight with a TKO for Neby.

The crowd cheered and Neby stood at the center of the ring, while the club staff carried Ken to the locker room.

This was a fun game session, and even though I had just read the rules, it was not difficult to learn. Like in Red Sun Black Moon, the fight is driven by a set of tables depending on the tactical situation. However, each one has its own "flavor," be it boxing or gladiatorial combat, reflected on the rules and tables.

This match was played with two "grunt" fighters, that is, running all their actions based on the game mechanics. As discussed in the book, when playing with a Star fighter, the player has to make some tactical decisions, involving the use of star power dice and bonus dice. Regardless, I like how both games build a narrative of the fight, to which the player can add details according to their imagination. I might run a new small tournament-based campaign using these rules.

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