The first playtest of our new game concept was a blast (at three separate incidents it literally was) and we learned a lot.
The game plays in an “I go, you go” format but you roll initiative rolls for every proposed miniature until all miniatures on the board have acted, if they can.
Once all miniatures have moved, it's the next turn, at which point cards are drawn. There are negative ones, like Jam Gun and Collapse Cover, and neutral ones, like changing weather and erratic civilians. Both these types must be played immediately.
After that, you can play your positive cards whenever you want, giving you effects like extra shots, actions, and heals.
The German sniper finds a good position on a hill.
Turn one was mostly moving, which helped us to understand that the game probably needs to take place on a smaller board than the 50"x80" one we were using. This is the beauty of early playtests: by playing we work out kinks in the game early one, rather than those kinks tripping us up down the road, and having such a domino effect. All future games will be swifter and easier now.
In turn one the Germans moved up the board and their sniper positioned himself with a good view across the battle on a hillside. Some of the Brits moved cautiously into the battlefield, with a few setting up cover behind a wall in the village. We also drew the neutral card “Weather”, which meant it started raining. We’re still working out many rules, like the effect of rain, but it was cinematic and useful!
The German's sniper laid down supressing fire on a distant British cover position. This was our first try of the supressing fire rules and they worked well straight off the bat. We tweaked them a little (range and damage to cover) but ultimately it was an exciting opening to the game.
We also drew two civilians cards, which means that civilians enter the battlefield and run across the board. We're still working out how they react to fire, and what exactly their effect is on soldiers, but it definitely added a tactical element; the Germans had to move into a better position to prepare fire because they were too close to the civilians.
Keep in mind we are not aiming for historical accuracy with this game, we're making it as a multi-genre/-period game. The Germans and Brits are just skins for the model types, not actual historical armies that we’re playing.
We also drew a few unseen explosives (mines), and the Germans lost a man to one but the Brits were luckier, only having the cover of one troop (a tree) collapsed in the explosion.
The Germans move aggressively, rushing down the road.
The Brits continued their cautious advance by edging into the battle and setting up defensive positions as they went. This tactic paid off in the end as they ended the game with all their models.
Three Germans in the field and the machine gun team on the left in the road end, trying to avoid proximity to approaching civilians.
A British rifleman shoots across the field at the commanding German officer.
Taking cover against the incoming attack as the Germans move aggressively.
Turn three is where the action really started coming in, but we had to call it at the turn end as had lots of notes for development and we were burning midnight oil by that point.
The civilians continued their obligatory move across the board, again coming within proximity of the German gunners. I drew two “Jammed” cards for the German side, so it made sense to jam their guns since they couldn't fire anyway.
This turned out to be a hasty decision, as they could have repositioned instead of unjamming their guns, but we live and learn.
Our sniper on the German team finally managed to pulverise the cover of the Brits behind the wall. This exposed them and prompted a snappy firefight between sides that was exciting to play, mainly because of the way the turn order works: as one model shot or moved another dove in to provide support or take his place. It was rapid and riveting.
The exposed position.
A gunner lays down supressing fire on a covering Brit, hiding behind the boxes.
The British sniper finds new cover, and returns fire against the German, suppressing him in return.
Private Atkins behind the boxes is now now longer suppressed, and joins in, blowing apart the wall that covered the German, who is now exposed.
A British light-machine-gunner dives into cover at the end of a run toward the front. The odds begin to stack against the German.
He lays down fire but fails to hit. (I.e. Charles rolls 1-3 on all his dice).
Finally the Germans get the initiative again and the German officer returns fire and supresses the British light-machine-gunner.
At the end of the turn, the Brits came in heavy weaponry and shot a missile launcher at the Germans, obliterating one but missing his allies nearby.
At this point we'd tested all the mechanics and had a lot notes and plenty of ideas to work with, and called it as a victory for the Brits.
It was a fun experience and exciting to be playtesting a new game.
END GAME POSITIONS:
Germans - Red
Brits - Green
In this blog you can find regular updates regarding the development and playing of Wicked Wargames systems.