Friday, June 26, 2015

Chokepoint Scenario

Overview

I've been preparing for the Dunjon of Death genre for MEST, and so I've been trying out new ideas. I've created a scenario that allows me to play-test within a congested environment to see if the corridor terrain of a dungeon for a free-form game could work.  This is something different than Advanced Hero Quest or Descent with its tiles and regulated grid; the flow is different and the tools for game-play are different.

The Last Stand

The scenario I created is known as "The Last Stand" but I refer to it as the "Choke-point" scenario because that's what I'm really testing. It is an assymetric battle between two sides; the Heroes versus the Horde.  The Horde outnumbers the Heroes by 4-to-1.  I have it written up on my Google Drive and I continually adjust it after each play-test session.

You can see this as a living document here;

For those of you that can't see the living document - "living" because I'm always liable to tweak it - take a look at the PNG file here:

The "Choke-point" Scenario. Brutal. Very brutal. Basically it is 3, 4, or 5 Heroes as defenders protecting a central location against a Horde of 4 times their number. So a Small game is 3 versus 12.
Findings

When I can't directly game with Aggro, I'm sending copious notes and we exchange lots of ideas. Then we play-test solo.  Here's my solo notes to give you guys a sense of what the results have been thus far for the "Choke-point" scenario.  The goal of course is to have the scenario be balanced and challenging:

Intro
(To Aggro) This is the mission that I have been play-testing. I think it needs some tweaking, but it is pretty interesting with ... choke-points. I'll continue playing it to refine the scenario. I've been using non-Ranged characters but I'll try mixing it up.

Solo #1
(To Aggro) I finished a 500 BP play-test with 3 Heroes vs 10 Dogs + 2 Average.  Dogs really suck vs. Heroes because they have Bite which includes [Stub]; with the Heroes' Armor, Parry, and Shield that's +4 Modifier dice whenever a Hero is defending; more if using the new Defend option.  Since the corridors are very narrow, even with the Melee Range Tweak, the Dogs really don't get to Outnumber the Heroes that often.  

I've tweaked the mission to make the Heroes defensive position more accessible and to have more of the Horde initially deployed.  

The start of a Small game; 500 BP. 3 Heroes versus a Horde of 12 Dogs. Here I'm using some GW Choas Warhounds.

Solo #2
(To Aggro) I finished the Choke-point scenario play-test #2.  It was a lot closer.  

Started with 12 x Average + Saber vs. 3 x Heroes with Small Shield, Medium Armor, Greatsword.  Lasted until Turn 7 at which point the game ended with the Heroes winning by default. 1 Hero KO'd, 2 Heroes remaining with 1 Wound each.  8 Eliminated Horde. 2 KO'd. 2 left standing. Horde never made it atop the dais but did get past the choke-points a couple of times.

I altered the Choke-point scenario to allow four staircases to the dais.  Maybe this will make it tilt in favor of the Horde. 

I will try another play-test soon.

Solo #3
(To Aggro) I finished the Choke-point scenario play-test #3  It was close but no cigar.  Essentially the same as the last configuration.  At the end of Turn 4 a Horde model was on the dais but could not perform the requisite Fiddle action. The four staircases to the dais helped a lot to balance the game.  The heroes are quite tough.  I played using these new concepts:

Leadership tweak using Solution #2 + Variation. 
I like the Leadership tweak. Makes sense to choose the leader in this manner.  

The Guarded position tweak I need to try again.  I want to streamline it as well from the proposal.

I will play-test again but this time give the Horde some spears.


This is Turn 5 of my fourth play-test of the "Chokepoint" scenario.  The Horde is being smashed yet again.

Solo #4
(To Aggro) Turn 5. Choke-point play-test #4. Horde had one Unlock at the dais but most of them have been KO'd. Just 4 of them remaining, two of which are at the board edges.

Turn 6 had the Heroes get lucky on the dice causing two more KO'd. At that time I called the game in favor of the Heroes.

So the scenario is much more even. Having Spears for the Horde helps a lot.

Summary

I've probably got another two sessions at the 500 BP level and then I'll bump it up to 750 BP and bring in the ranged weapons.