Monday, June 13, 2016

Blast Pistol

It seems shaking my habit of buying rule sets is harder than I thought, as I have added a few to my collection, including Blast Pistol. This is the new game from Nordic Weasel, and intended for quick pick-up games in sci-fi settings.

One interesting thing about Blast Pistol is that it is published as a "living rules system", meaning it will be updated as time goes. Right now the rule book is very bare-bones, and I would normally be wary of this proposition (having purchased rules that were later abandoned in a bad state by other authors). However, considering how Five Core has evolved in a relatively short time, I think it will work well.

Right now, Blast Pistol is a very simple rules system, with an alternate activation turn sequence in which players select and activate a number of units at a time. Miniatures are single based and grouped into squads or act as individuals. There are some unit templates for squads, heroes and vehicles. The writing is clear but since the document is very concise, it requires attention. For instance, in my first read I was hunting for the definition of damage in vehicles, which is presented in a bullet point on the section about big models.

As a pick-up game, battles are played as meeting engagements, fighting four turns and counting how many points in units each player has destroyed after that. Here is one simple example with balanced forces: on one side, three colonial militia squads, a gunsliger and a hero (302 points) against 3 precursor squads (300 points).
Board setup: a virtual 4'x4' table with some obstacles. Precursors at the bottom of the image, colonial forces at the top. The grey patches are rock formations that are impassable and block line of sight.
Turn 1: the colonial forces go first but don't kill anything. The precursors cause damage to one of the colonial militia squads.
Turn 2: colonial forces keep advancing and the hero and gunslinger move. In the exchange of fire, both sides lose some units.
Turn 3: the colonial forces move to a position where they can fire more effectively, but miss most shots. The precursors are then able to shoot back and cause lots of damage. Two colonial squads flee the battlefield.
Turn 4: the precursors defeat the gunslinger and hero. The last colonial squad only hits one enemy. The game ends with a clear victory for the precursors.
After this battle, I played again two more times (that is the beauty of a virtual tabletop: you can set up a scenario, save it and then quickly replay it several times.) On the second, the precursors won by 146 vs. 120 points (point costs of defeated enemies.) The third was also won by the precursors, 210 vs. 120 points. I guess the terrain favored the longer range of the precursor weapons, although I also had some terrible rolls for the colonial forces.

These are only my first impressions, as I have not tried battles using vehicles or other big models. I also want to try other board sizes and setups. So far, it seems to work well for quick games. Based on the rules for activation and morale, I think smaller squads (of 4-5 troops) are better than larger ones.

There are no solo rules, and I do not think this game is aimed at solo play. That said, I think it would be simple to adapt the solo rules from Five Core or No End in Sight if one wanted to.


Ivan Sorensen said...

Poor colonials! It's a hard time facing the totally-not-space-elves :)

I may adjust the Precursor points value slightly.

And yeah, solo wasn't really a thought here, but as you say, bolting something else on shouldn't be a challenge.

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Hi Ivan, thanks for the comment. That's the problem with my lack of experience with certain settings and games by a certain company. I had not noticed the analogies between the unit list and not-space-elves and such :)