Twisted Steampunk Miniatures Game

Like the compulsive Kickstarter addict I am, I backed this when it came out and received all my minis last year. Everything languished in a box till recently when I found someone to play with. I sold off my Servants and am trying to sell off my Dickensians. So my only factions will be Scions of the Sand and the Guild of Harmony.
I discovered some videos on YouTube (not the Battlehammer ones) and got a feel for the game. Read the rules, wrote up a rules summary. Assembled and primed some minis. 
So before my paintbrush even touched a minis, I tried the game out with a small homebrew scenario.

Tricia Harker (Guild of Harmony) vs Carter (Scions of the Sand). Each has 1 Guardian Hunter and 1 Guardian Dervish. 
Scenario: a clue to the whereabouts of an Engine Tendril has surfaced in the dank back alleys of London. 
Objective : claim the clue and bring it back to your own deployment zone. 
Game duration : 6 turns. 
Set up: 2 objectives 4” from the centre of the table. Mark each objective. One is the clue. The other is a fake (worthless) clue. 
Interact with the objective. Must beat Finesse Check vs Difficulty 15 to open the chest and get the clue (real or fake). 
(NOTE: for a quick, simple game, the table size I used was 2x2).


TURN 1
Guild has Favour. Scions have Priority. 
All run up to grab the objectives. Guild plays Engine’s Displeasure on Carter. 
Tricia casts Windwalker on Dervish (Guild).
Carter casts Elegant Movement on himself. 
Hunter (Guild) takes a long range shot at Dervish (Scions) but misses. 
Dervish (Guild) runs all the way up to the first treasure chest. 

TURN 2
An action-packed turn!
Dervish (S) moves into B2B with Dervish (G). Guild plays Mental Flood EOE card hoping to target the Dervish (S). 
The Scions Tempt Fate... and get Prescient Invocation. Not exactly useful. 
Mental Flood gets the Hunter (S) instead who moves straight forward 4”. 
Thus free, the Dervish (S) attacks the Dervish (G) scoring a critical and dealing 10 damage! Dervish (G) fails the Finesse Check and is stunned. 
Dervish (G) now activates and since she’s stunned can't do much except disengage (successfully) from Close Combat (CC) with Dervish (S) and moves behind some cover. 
Carter moves up and thanks to his Elegant Movement comes B2B with a treasure chest. He passes a Finesse Check vs Difficulty 15 and opens the chest. Voila! It’s the clue everyone is looking for!
Hunter (G) takes a pot shot at Carter and misses! Does it again and crits the shot!!! Deals 10 damage to Carter! 
Hunter (S) moves up to support Carter and fires at the Dervish (G). Totally misses!
Tricia now activates and uses 2 actions to focus her invocation: Fire Burst. It lands but only does 1 damage to Carter. Darn! The Hunter (S) is clipped by the blast. Tries to dodge and fails! Takes 1 damage. Gah! d10 + 4 damage is really not worth it unless you roll high, which Tricia didn't.

AAR: Scions now have upper hand. 

TURN 3
Priority: Scions. Favour: Guild.
Carter of course makes a full run towards the Scion’s deployment zone. Also behind a building so the Guild can’t target him. 
Hunter (G) shoots at Dervish (S) and hits both times. The second time is a crit, leaving the Dervish (S) with only 2 HP! Priority goes to the Guild!
Hunter (S) takes 2 shots at Hunter (G) and misses! Both times!


Tricia ... not knowing what to do moves into LOS and takes her frustrations out on the poor Dervish (S) with her gun. And crits! The Dervish (S) is out of the game! 
Dervish (G) still has Windwalker. Can she...? Yes she can! She has 18” movement and sprints to catch up with Carter! She’s behind him!!! 


AAR: An astonishing turn of events. The Scions looked like they had the game all wrapped up... then everything fell apart with the loss of the Dervish (S) and the Dervish (G) managing to reach Carter in one move. Plus the Guild now has priority as well as the Favour of the Engine!!! 

TURN 4
Priority: Guild. Favour: Guild.
Unbelievable! Dervish (G) charges into CC... behind Carter for a rear attack bonus! Scions played Engine Cursed on Dervish (G). Guild plays Might of the Engine on Dervish (G)! Carter Tempts Fate and gets away with it! Excellence +1 to all stats!
Combat rolls: Both roll 15's!!! With all the penalties and bonuses ... Carter comes out 20 vs 19!!!! Oh man!!!


Having no other choice, the Guild chooses to ask for the Engine’s Blessing. They re-roll the d20... and get a 14!!!! Argh!
Favour changes hands!!!
Carter successfully disengages and moves into the Scions' deployment zone. 


With that it’s Game Over as nothing the Guild can do will turn the tide. They could probably take out the Hunter (S) ... but what’s the point? (FAQ: disengage. If successful, is that full move away considered part of the original move action taken to disengage or is it a second action?)

AAR: what a game! Drama up until the end. It all hinged on one opposed die roll and lots of modifiers +/-!!! To have the Guild fail by 19-20 is too harsh. 18-20 on the re-roll. Losing the Engine’s Favour was just rubbing it in! Carter Tempting Fate turned the tide as without it, they would both be tied and the Guild Dervish would’ve won and done massive damage to Carter putting him out of action and all Tricia and the other Hunter needed to do was finish off the Scion’s Hunter. 
Alas it was not to be. 
Lots of fun and flavour although having both sides use the Guardians with the only difference being the 2 Alchemists was too samey. 
The Guild was probably too cautious, over relying on ranged attacks. But they had a shock with the critical attack on the Guardian Dervish taking her one HP away from being Wounded with all the attendant penalties. Although Tricia could probably have healed her. 
The Scions just went for the objective (something the Guild tried to do as well) and it paid off. 

Some thoughts on Twisted Steampunk, the game:

PROS
  • Great minis. Each one is so unique and individual and full of character. There isn't a duff one in the entire range (although for me Monkey comes close).
  • Fun fluff. Taking Dickensian-era lore and adding a twisted, dark side to it is simply superb. The setting is also open to lots of home brewed minis... I'm planning to re-purpose my minis from The World of SMOG : Rise of Moloch to the Unicorn Club. Another faction whose main interested is the defense of the realm. 
  • Immersive, narrative gameplay. The world is so open, and the Victorian setting is still pretty fresh and not yet overused so you can have adventures in Egyptian pyramids,  South American jungle temples, or anywhere where the British Empire stretches and you will have unique, evocative terrain and most importantly: lots of fun.

CONS
  • Some rules ambiguities for sure. All to do with the wording of the rules. The rules do say you need to equal or beat the score. But then some of the rules don’t tell you which you need to do... but the info is found in the gameplay example! (A typical mistake I’ve encountered in many first timer rules). Example is CC critical hit stun Check. Another is explosive damage Finesse checks. Again I assume it’s beat the score?
  • Would've liked some directions for adding home brewed models/factions to the game. Right now, there's 4 official Companies which should be more than enough to get started, but I'd rally like to re-purpose minis I already own as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS (after 2 games):

All in all a fun game. Minis are gorgeous. Need to get familiar with the nuances of the rules. The Engine really changes the fate and tide of the game!
If you want a game to be balanced and everyone has an even chance at winning ... this might not be for you. Twisted is certainly a game that favours narrative play and is not suitable at all for tournament play. Which is fine. You just need to know what you want. 
If narrative play is what you favour, Twisted has it in spades. 
Mechanics wise it doesn't do anything outstandingly different... but the Engine lurking in the background and just doing stuff certainly adds a great deal of fun and unpredictability to the game.

NOTE: I think I now prefer Twisted over In Her Majesty's Name. Both are good games. But Twisted just has that something extra that sets it apart from the other steampunk skirmish game. 

PS.: Dear Demented Games: I think the word you're looking for is "Discreet Bloodletting" and not "Discrete". ;-)


Comments