Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Iron Snake without a Head: Part Three

Here is the table as we begin turn three...

At the beginning of turn three, the Trail Boss continued to gallop toward the railway station.  The Lawmen's Hired Gun hopped on a horse and gave chase, galloping like a mad man.

The Hired Gun gallops through the streets in hot pursuit (avoiding Main Street since there's a touch too many bullets flying there...)
The Outlaws surround The Eight.
Around The Eight the Town Person who'd joined up with the Outlaws fired into the saloon, missing the Prospector.  In his fury the Prospector walked up to the window and shot the Town Person in the gut, wounding him.  Near The Eight the Judge had given up on finding the Marshal and was moving in to help.  The Outlaws were now closing in on the railway station.
The Trail Boss arrived at the railway station, searching in his saddlebags for the stick of dynamite he'd brought with him.  He only had his hands off the reigns for a moment, but his trusted steed bucked and he was flung from the saddle.  As he recovered his breath he heard the galloping of a horse nearby...
Nearby there was a loud crump as another stick of dynamite cooked off next to the railway station.  This time it actually did a little bit of damage...(damage 1/4).
Despite being an expert horseman, the Trail Boss is thrown from his mount and shocked as the Hired Gun chases from behind.

 The Thief's dynamite actually damages the railway building...but only just.
Across the street from the ruckus at the railway station the angry bleeding Prospector clutched his stomach after fending off the Town Person nearby.  He heard the creak of the back door and before he could turn the Drifter shot him down with a muzzle loaded rifle.  He slumped to the ground, dead.
After a disappointing blast with the dynamite the Thief (now revealed) settled in behind a wagon, far from the danger.  He was a thief, not a gunslinger.

Back in the old DB Saloon, the Marshal stepped out onto the staircase, coming face to face with the Crazy.  He fired into the Crazy, wounding him...a moment later the Crazy fired back, striking the Marshal.  The Marshal activated next and put a final slug into the crazy, watching him slump down the stairs.

Both armed with heavy six guns, the Marshal and Crazy get into a gunfight on the staircase of the DB saloon.  The Marshal comes out victorious.
 Near the railway station the wounded Outlaw's Town Person grabbed a nearby horse and started to head over to help the Trail Boss, fearing the Hired Gun's fearsome reputation.  Nearby the wounded Drifter moved into cover, reloading.  He heard the Tycoon stumbling around inside the Undertaker's office.  As he peered through the glass, searching for him the Judge appeared, leveling his muzzle loaded pistol at the Drifter's head.  With a smack and a large puff of black powder the Drifter was thrown back, dead.

Just as the Judge was savoring his victory he heard a click behind him - the Bandit.  Luckily for the Judge I'd played the 'Jammed' card on the Bandit, forcing him to reload/fix his shotgun so he was unable to shoot down the Judge.
The Judge puts an end to the Drifter's shooting rampage.
Turn Four
Emboldened by the visage of the dead Drifter the wounded Business Tycoon snuck out the Undertaker to join the Judge who was hiding, reloading.  Just as he appeared the Bandit opened fire with his shotgun, just out of range.  A large chunk of Miss Lamb's Portrait studio scattered across the dirt.
I played the Horse Thief special card on the Bandit, adding a horse to him.  This would give me greater versatility since I had several characters with horses on the Outlaw side.  Just as he mounted the horse he'd stolen the Bandit was shot in the ass by the Judge.  He grabbed his butt, shouting numerous curses as he slipped into the saddle.
Across the way the Lawmen's Hired Gun fired wildly at the Trail Boss, hoping to kill him while he was Shocked.  He was unsuccessful.  The Trail Boss activated, removing his Shocked Status.  The nearby Town Person was galloping in, trying to save the Trail Boss, firing wildly at the Hired Gun...managing only to put a .32 caliber bullet into the flank of the horse.
 The Lawmen drew an Activate 2 card and the Hired Gun fired, wounding the Trail Boss, striking him in the back as he made to get back on his horse.  The Judge hid and reloaded, near the Bandit.  The Trail Boss spun around, emptying his Mare's Leg into the nearby Hired Gun...failing every single shot, not even striking the horse!  With a reload token, the Outlaws drew a Shootout card.  The only way to save the Trail Boss was to attempt to kill the Hired Gun in a Shootout.

Designer's Note: A Shootout allows all weapons to be re-loaded prior to beginning, however characters have to spend every other action reloading...this allowed the Trail Boss at least one turn of shooting before he'd be in was a gamble.
It ended poorly for the Trail Boss.  Despite firing three rounds for every round the Hired Gun fired...the turn reloading meant that the Hired Gun lucked out after four actions and put a slug into the wounded Trail Boss, killing him.
This was disastrous as it meant that I now had no more dynamite (other than hoping for a Sabotage card).  I'd have to recover the dynamite if I had the manpower to do it.

Nope.  Drawing a bonus activation the Hired Gun spins around and puts a slug into the Town Person approaching, killing him too!
Suddenly the game had changed.  The Lawmen's Hired Gun was going on a blood thirsty rampage, gunning down everything in sight.  The Outlaws had just lost the Drifter, the Trail Boss and a Town Person in rapid succession...
It only got worse from there.

Hoping for some vengeance the Bandit gallops into the Judge...and totally misses.
The dice gods had abandoned the Outlaws.  Out of dynamite and out of luck the tables had turned in an instant.  The scrappy band of wounded Lawmen were making a stand.
Turn Five
The Outlaws begin to flee...
As I decided to flee with my Outlaws I drew a revive card and I grabbed my Town Person and stood him back up.  He hopped on his horse, still wounded, and started galloping away.  Unimpressed with his group's performance the Bushwacker fired down off the roof of the railway station and killed the Hired Gun...finally.
The Bushwacker gives the Lawmen a parting gift, shooting the Hired Gun dead after watching his bravado.
Oddly, as the Outlaws fled the battered old Prospector crawled to his knees, grabbed a bottle of whiskey from The Eight and staggered back into the street, firing wildly into the air.  They'd done it...barely.  The railway station was still in one piece more or less.
End Result: Tie
Judge: Alive
Marshal: Wounded
Hired Gun: Dead
Business Tycoon: Wounded
Prospector: Wounded
Sidekick: Dead
Bodyguard: Dead
Bushwacker: Alive
Thief: Alive
Bandit: Wounded
Town Person:Wounded
Drifter: Dead
Trail Boss: Dead
Crazy: Dead

Overall, a tie.  While the Lawmen protected the railway station more than half of the Outlaws survived the encounter, fleeing the table.  It was a roller coaster of a game.  I thought for sure the Outlaws had it down, and then in an instant the Lawmen turned the tables.  A very good and fun game.  I think I'll re-play the scenario with my brother sometime soon.


An Iron Snake without a Head: Part Two

Continued from Part One...

With the table set-up and the gang and posse deployed it was time to start the game!  I will add that I do customarily put a horse or two at hitching posts on tables I set up.  This gives a little boost to characters who are able to reach them and use them.  I placed two horses on main street at different hitching posts.

Solo Note: Once a game is underway the random activation mechanic helps...when I draw a character's card I simply do whatever is in that character's best interest.  As with all solo games you lose the over-arching scheme and strategy you can try to pull on opposing players, but this is an almost necessary evil.

Turn One
The turn started with a bang.  Literally.  While the Drifter and Thief began running across the board the Bushwacker grinned, lit the fuse on his dynamite and tossed it at the door of the railway station - walking away, not bothering to look at the explosion (as all good movie stars don't!).  His hair and jacket flapped wildly as the dynamite went off.  He turned around heroically and...nothing.

The Bushwacker detonated his dynamite and does a bunch of nothing to the railway station.
The door was singed and some wood panels had fallen off, but it was hardly noticeable.
Across the board the Trailboss stuck his spurs in and galloped to the left, hoping to flank the town with his horse's speed.  The Outlaws drew a special card they were unable to use.  As the Outlaws were beginning to advance the Lawmen Bodyguard broke out a window in the saloon and fired at the Bandit, failing to strike him.  The trailboss was on the move again, now galloping away from any Lawmen.

The Marshal activated and decided to trade his activation for an additional special card - this allowed them to skip the next activation card drawn for the Outlaws (this was the Crazy).  In main street the Prospector hobbled out of the barber, foam shaking off his neck, heading across the street to grab his sidekick (the Sidekick only activates if his main character is within 10"!).  The nearby Lawman Hired Gun crept up to the doorway, weary of Outlaws outside.

The Bandit, dodging fire from the Bodyguard had run into the woods, keeping out of sight of the Saloon and its Lawmen.  Across main street the Judge was on the move, heading toward the Marshal.  The Outlaws drew another special card which was wasted on them!

Then the bloodshed began.

The Drifter casually walks up and blasts the Bodyguard in half with his shotgun.
The Drifter activated, and moved into range of the Bodyguard in the window of the saloon.  He struck him with all four dice from his shotgun, wounding on three - cutting the poor Bodyguard nearly in two.  The Drifter then activated again and walked into cover, calmly reloading his shotgun.
The Business Tycoon moved out of the bottom of the Saloon and headed to an alleyway which would put him on an intercept course with the Drifter.

The Business Tycoon puts on his big boy pants and goes looking for the Drifter...completely oblivious to the Thief running past him in the background!
The Lawmen drew two special cards they were unable to benefit from.  Despite his completely failure to damage the station, the Bushwacker entered the building.  Armed with a lever action repeater he would be able to provide covering fire for his comrades.
The Bushwacker, having failed to blow up anything in the train station creeps inside.
Turn 2
The Lawmen had taken a serious shilacking in the first turn.  Now with all of their activations available perhaps they could cut down some of the Outlaws.  The Judge was still running toward the Marshal.  The Tycoon, smelling the dirt and grit of the Drifter stepped back and leveled his carbine.  The Drifter calmly stepped out and fired his shotgun, striking the Business Tycoon, wounding him.  He stumbled back out of sight.
The Business Tycoon bites off more than he can chew!
Wounded, the Business Tycoon was unable to even hit the Drifter as he saddled up to the edge of the opposite building.  The Drifter, ignoring the bleeding Tycoon, walked on, again reloading his lethal shotgun.  With all of the shooting and explosions it's understandable that no one in town noticed the suspicious figure running full speed down mainstreet, a small bundle tucked under his arm (the Thief would activate twice this turn running a full 14"(!) both times due to lucky dice rolls).
In the railway station the Bushwacker leaned on the window sill and fired his level gun at the oblivious Prospector who was jogging across the street.

The Bushwacker takes careful aim and pops a shot into the arm of the Prospector, winging him.  In the street the Thief is hustling rapidly towards his target!
The Marshal, quickly realizing the fight was moving past him stepped to the door and fired a shot at the Crazy, out of range.  Across the street the Lawmen's Hired Gun was running after the Trail Boss, a futile effort.  The Trail Boss calmly galloped away from the fighting and around the edge of town.  The Outlaws drew "Liquid Courage" and I played it on the Crazy so there was even less chance of him failing to activate.

With no one to stop him, the Trail Boss calmly flanks around the far side of town, away from the din of battle.
Having failed completely with the Bushwacker's dynamite I was a bit concerned about the chances of actually blowing up the rail station.  I chose not to involve the Trail Boss in the hopes he could gallop all the way to the station and add his dynamite.  The Outlaws drew a special card; Accomplice.  They added a Town Person to their gang (armed with a short sixgun!)

An accomplice in town joins the Drifter and the Outlaws.

The Lawmen drew a special card, allowing me to activate two characters.  I chose the Prospector who moved into the cover and threw his dynamite into the street, letting his detonate harmlessly (I didn't want the Outlaws to kill him and take it!).  The Sidekick, full of courage, ran out of The Eight and fired his shotgun nearly point blank at the Drifter.

A brave attempt.  The Sidekick ran into the Drifter, blazing away with his shotgun.  He struck the Drifter, wounding him, but ate a face full of shotgun in retaliation.

Morose over the death of his sidekick the Prospector wandered in The Eight, hoping to get a respite from the shooting around him.  I played "Evicted" on The Eight which meant that no Outlaw could enter the building (sadly it's lined with windows!)

While the Lawmen were in complete chaos in the middle of main street (the Judge was running, the Tycoon was hiding, wounded, and the Hired Gun was trying to catch up to the action!) the Outlaws were making all speed.  They had characters flanking both sides and the Thief was inches from the railway station.

The Tycoon shelters near a building while the Judge looks for the Marshal and the Hired Gun finally reaches a horse!
The Bandit and the new Town Person were both flanking The Eight where the wounded Prospector was attempting to hide.

The Thief hauls butt and reaches the railway station. (Note: the silly dust markers are meant for tanks, but I decided to use them to mark "Moving Fast" character this game!)
More to come...things are looking bad for the Lawmen!

An Iron Snake without a Head: Part One

I've received a few questions about the solo-suitability for Shoot N' Skedaddle.  I've decided to run a single game on a new scenario and post a game report here.  I'll be addressing the solo aspects as I write up the report.  This will consist of 2-3 blog posts in rapid succession.  I'm breaking it up so I can keep details fresh in my head!

Scenario Six: An Iron Snake Without a Head

Six months ago construction began on a new train station building for Drake's Branch, New Mexico.  The P.D. Pacific railroad company was building the new station ahead of their expansion into the territory.  Work had gone well and the structure was nearing completion, a good two months before tracks would be finished to the town.  This was a prosperous undertaking as Drake's Branch citizens would no longer need to travel 20 miles by wagon from Hook's Creek station as they had been.

Unbeknownst to the fine folks of Drake's Branch, Western Rail was in dire straits and had begun scheming to undermine P.D. Pacific's expansion.  Western Rail had been successfully expanding into the Western territories themselves until Richard Dunham, the owner, perished in a saloon fire.  His son, nineteen year old Joshua Dunham, had run the company into the ground, more prone to fits and drinking than management.  After one such night of drinking the young Mr. Dunham had paid a band of thugs to sabotage the construction of the station at Drake's Branch.  Two days later Mr. Dunham had no recollection of the conversation but things had already been put in motion...

 Draw up a gang of six Outlaws, and a posse of six Lawmen.  The Outlaws receive two sticks of dynamite in addition to their drawn equipment.

Solo Note: To aid more in removing bias I frequently set up a table without any idea for a scenario or deployment zones.  I set up this table and then created the scenario after the fact.  I find this to be more enjoyable.

This game should be played on a table between 4'x4' and 6'x4'.  Place a railroad station (or similar structure) at one end of town, within 4-6" of the table edge.  This is the Outlaw's target building.  The Lawmen are deployed first, scattered randomly amongst buildings (I used eight dice to nominate eight buildings - rolling a D8 for each figure).  The Outlaws deploy on the opposite table edge (or corner) of the station up to 6" onto the board.  For this game the Lawmen will skip their first activations.  It is easiest to simply don't shuffle one activation card into the deck for each Lawman.

The table I'll be using for this game.
This scenario is relatively simple.  The goal of the Outlaws is to do the following: inflict four wounds on the railway station building using dynamite.  This also includes using their Sabotage special card (this is, in effect, dynamite).  While the Outlaws start with two sticks of dynamite this may not be enough.  Indeed with a poor card draw and failure of dice the Outlaws may completely fail!  If this is the case they have to flee off their deployment area in order to hope for a tie.  The Lawmen have a simple task: stop the Outlaws.
As with all scenarios in Shoot N' Skedaddle this is hugely impacted by the luck of the draw for both sides.
If the Outlaws successfully inflict four wounds on the rail station building they win, no qualms about it.  Even if they all get gunned down the attack is a success.  If the Lawmen prevent this they win.  If the Outlaws use all of their possible dynamite and don't blow up the rail station they may achieve a minor tie or draw by simply getting back off their deployment edge - this is up to the players decision.
 Playing the game...
I decided to run this scenario solo and present a full game report here.  This is to show off the solo suitability and to provide new players/potential customers with an idea of how Shoot N' Skedaddle works.
I shuffled up the decks for the characters and weapons (and the special decks).  I already had a couple of things in mind:
  • If the Outlaws drew the Bushwacker they would have a serious advantage (he can deploy anywhere out of sight and they could issue him dynamite)
  • If the Outlaws drew the Thief or Soiled Doves they'd also have an advantage...they could simply remain in disguise and I'd have to rely on drawing the "I know you..." card for the Lawmen.
  • If I drew the Prospector for the Outlaws that'd be a huge advantage (more dynamite and he's better using it!)
Solo Note: Drawing up gangs and posses is extremely easy since it's all down to chance.  This removes any hidden bias when choosing a force to game with.  Indeed you can run the same scenario several times with completely different results.
I drew the gang and posse...whoa boy.
Lawmen Posse
Judge w/ muzzle loading pistol.
Business Tycoon w/ carbine.
+Hired Gun w/ heavy sixgun (the Hired Gun is free since I drew the Business Tycoon)
Bodyguard w/ lever action rifle.
Marshal w/ heavy sixgun.
Prospector w/ dynamite and lever gun.
Sidekick w/ shotgun.
This a decent draw.  The Business Tycoon rewarded me with a free Hired Gun, so seven bodies instead of six, excellent.  I drew the Prospector.  This was good because it meant he wasn't an Outlaw.  I was afraid he'd be shot dead and they'd steal his dynamite though so I'd probably end up detonating it before that could happen.  I assigned the Sidekick to the Prospector.  I'd use the Judge to boost the Marshal and I'd try to draw bonus special cards with the Marshal each turn.

Outlaw Gang
Trailboss w/ dynamite, lasso, two derringers and a mare's leg (jeez!)
Thief w/ dynamite and a pair of heavy sixguns.
Crazy w/ a heavy sixgun.
Drifter w/ a shotgun and muzzle loading rifle.
Bushwacker w/ dynamite, knife, and lever action rifle.
Bandit w/ knife and lever action shotgun.
This was a fantastic draw.  Almost perfect.  I drew bonus dynamite, two of the most powerful characters in the game (Trail Boss and Drifter) and drew BOTH the Thief and Bushwacker.  This meant the game would be over real quick if they were lucky.  The Bushwacker could start at the train station and attack it immediately...the Thief would run up main street in disguise and attack it as well.  The Trail Boss had a horse and could haul buttocks toward the train station.

This was such a good draw I decided I would play the game out after the train station was blown up...see if the Lawmen could at least gun down most of the baddies as payment.  I fully expect the Outlaws to blow up the rail station...who knows, dice can be fickle.

I started with the first obvious deployment.
The Bushwacker appears behind the railway station...dynamite in hand!

I placed eight dice on various buildings in town and deployed all of the Lawmen.
Solo Note: It's easy to create simple deployment systems using dice etc. to take the decision out of your own hands.  Using something like this random building deployment I'm again attempting to remove an hidden bias during deployment etc.

The Lawmen end up in various buildings around town, three of them in the Saloon!
The deployment was pretty decent.  Three of the Lawmen ended up in the saloon nearest the Outlaw deployment area.  The Prospector was in the barber shop, but his sidekick was across the street in The Eight, getting drunk.  This meant he'd have to go and reunite with the Sidekick before he'd be able to partake.
The remaining Outlaws deployed in their small zone and prepared to advance.  Here the Drifter leads the Bandit.

More to come...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Shoot N' Skedaddle 2nd Edition: PDF Version Available

Alright, as promised, the PDF version of Shoot N' Skedaddle, 2nd Edition is now available!

PDF Version Disclaimer:
The PDF version of Shoot N' Skedaddle was developed primarily for international buyers, since shipping the $26 dollar deck of cards internationally can run nearly $24!  For this reason I decided to produce a PDF printable version of the card decks needed to play Shoot N' Skedaddle.

The PDF version of Shoot N' Skedaddle consists of 26 double-sided pages (or may be printed as 52 individual pages) divided into three files, one Character deck, one Weapon deck and one file containing both special decks.  Please note that depending on your printing services available it's possible that the printing the PDF version may cost as much or more than the printed cards available for order.

Sample printed pages - locally printed on 28-lb paper, double-sided, colour.
 Links have been added to the blog.  The PDF files are available from Wargames Vault and The Gamecrafter.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Updated rules available!

Alright everybody, the rules have been updated - all of the Gamecrafter pages have the free rules PDF available.

  • Revised some wording.
  • Removed some sections which were duplicate.
  • Corrected a few typos.
  • Swapped some photos.
  • Added in errata.
  • Added a few small rules like Sentry, etc.
  • Revised the scenarios.
  • Revised template rules to include Shock.
  • A few other small things. 

In other news, the PDF version of Shoot N' Skedaddle cards will be around in the next day or two, priced at $6.99.