Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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...

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