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2022 2nd Quarter Gaming Update

Good grief, half of 2022 is gone! Where’s the time gone?! And how did everyone do in their gaming/hobbying?


For me, inveterate wargamewh*re that I am, I managed to play Core Space, Sedition Wars, Space Weirdos, Shoot People In Space, Pulp Alley, Brutality, Age of Fantasy Skirmish and Exploit Zero. 


Let me give a brief overview and summary of some of the new ones and some oldies but goodies. 


AGE OF FANTASY SKIRMISH

This has been hovering on the edge of my radar for some time now. Free rules … light mental overhead so you can focus on what’s happening on the table instead of tons of rules exceptions (Infinity I’m looking at you) and only 2 stats to worry about. The the game system from the fast rising One Page Rules. 

There’s sci-fi or fantasy rules, full blown tabletop mass battles or smaller man-to-man (or woman) skirmishes and in fact, anything in between! Think Mantic’s Deadzone, Firefight and Warpath, except OPR does it with just 2 pages of rules! I just happened to start with fantasy because I’m looking for a mid-size skirmish game that uses a couple of heroes, solos and some squads. 


There are so many factions for you to choose from and you can use the FREE army builder to build your warband/army and hit the table running, as well as free solo rules. 


So if you have tons of minis lying around gathering dust because your favourite faction got nerfed or your favourite game died or got wiped from existence … this is the game for you! 


The added bonus is a fairly robust set of rules and tools to customise a narrative campaign that allows you to level up your warband and customise the gameplay (although that does kinda violate the one page simplicity but the payoff is worth it and there isn’t much additional overhead to be honest.) 


BRUTALITY

This is a minis-agnostic rules set and the game is fast quick and brutal (ahem). Lots of ways to mangle and do nasty things to your opponent’s enemies, secure in the knowledge that if they “die” on the battlefield they will just wake up in their seaside villa the next day in one piece (more or less) courtesy of the bored goddess/deity that magicked them there. if anything, there are way too many combat bonuses that are not consistent … most of the time you’ll be wanting to roll high on a d10. Other times you’ll be wanting to roll low and you usually have to consult a table/chart when you do. 

The game is great if you want to mash up ALL your favourite minis. Want a warband consisting of Conan, a Space Marine, captain Jack Sparrow and a rad ghoul from Fallout? You can since the fluff goes that a bored goddess is plucking out heroes/villains from all over space and time to entertain her in endless battles and the reward is as explained above. No permadeath. 


I’m sure you can hack together a campaign system from other games so there’s some character levelling up and a story to follow since the game is short and fast enough to play a campaign over a weekend. Bonus: solo/co-op rules included!


CORE SPACE

I haven’t played this since 2019 due to the pandemic. It was nice to get original Core Space and the new First Born in the table again with the added bonus of fully painted minis for the former. 

The game is fun, the included terrain is immersive and there’s a story to follow to the end and levelling up for your crew. It’s solo-able if that’s what you’re looking for or PvP/co-op or anything in between. 


There’s lots of add-ons that allow you to customise your own campaign stories … or go all in on everything and the kind folks at Battle Systems will give you a campaign that uses every single expansion/add-on you’ve bought. Not many games can provide that, I tell you. So if you’re looking for a long, immersive story heavy campaign … look no further. 


(Warning : I’m not responsible to the beating your wallet will take if you do it, though.)


EXPLOIT ZERO

I’ve mentioned this before : I haven’t played this since 2019 so it’s nice to get this on the tabletop again. This time with improved minis and scenery etc. And a better understanding of the game rules, this is the cyberpunk skirmish game I’ve been looking for! I just couldn’t get into Reality’s Edge… too many rules. I’ve tried several times to play Chrome Hammer Ascension and ended up playing Chrome Hammer instead with the Chrome Hammer Ascension stats and squads. And that’s it really. 

Exploit Zero (formally known as Hardwired) provides you an excellent framework to run your own little semi-RPG-lite Shadowpunkish narrative game sessions with a nice storyline. 


Exploit Zero is intentionally a toolbox that allows you to do all this with a light rules set that focuses on game play and not overloading you with stats and equipment and gear. That’s nice for the first few games but then you’ll chafe at the limited choices available. 


Enter the Tsim Tsa Tsui expansion to give you more of what you loved about the core game with the aforementioned 5-game campaign as a bonus. You can use the one included in the Tsim Tsa Tsui expansion or cobble one together from the several scenarios included in the core book. 


Being minis agnostic and thanks to 3D printing you can now craft your favourite cyberpunk crew and world as your sandbox to let your imagination run free. 


The game is fast and you can typically wrap it up in an hour or so. Set things up ahead of time and you can probably get in 2-3 games in an evening. 


It’s primarily a solo game but there’s nothing stopping you from playing co-op. And if you’re itching for some PvP cyberpunk action, there’s the Hostile Takeover expansion to scratch that itch. 


Highly recommended if solo cyberpunk skirmish games are your thing. 


SEDITION WARS

This is a tabletop minis game cut down into a board game. Aside from the grid movement, almost everything a skirmish game has/needs is here. You can honestly use a normal tabletop map and terrain, convert movement to inches and play as a tabletop game. The only thing I’d add is a rule that if you disengage from melee combat the enemy gets a free swipe at you. 

You can still pick up a core set for next to nothing I believe, and after you’re done with the campaign the minis will do double duty as space zombies and monsters and human space mari- er… colonial space mari- … oh heck. Sci-fi soldiers that you can use in other minis agnostic rule sets like 5 Parsecs Bug Hunt. 


Just be sure to download the revamped rules set from The Esoteric Order of Gamers if you plan to do play this and all will be well. You’ll get a game like no other once you face the Strain. It’s a faction that can do all kinds of things you’ve only seen in movies and not the tabletop. 


Be aware it was designed as a PvP game but with clear cut victory conditions for both sides it’s not too difficult to play 2-handed solo. The rules are more on the crunchy side though. So a play aid is definitely needed and included in the download from the EoG. 


SHOOT PEOPLE IN SPACE

As you know I playtested this extensively back in May/June. It’s a game similar to OPR’s Grimdark Future Firefight in scope. A couple of heroes, some solos and a few squads. There’s even bikes thrown in for vehicles. Besides the usual build warbands to suit a given set of points and to be frank game play rules that are more or less conventional, the combat throws in an extra friction die that can turn things around on the attacker … or occasionally make things worse for the defender!

The game is set in the Unity universe of 5 Parsecs but you can use any setting you prefer as the game is open enough for you to retcon your own setting into it. Humans, aliens, space dwarves, space elves, space mutant zombies, Borg … it’s all there for you to play with. 


I can see how you can even use the game to occasionally turn your smaller conflicts in 5 Parsecs into a full blown firefight as many of the weapons behave the same … just adjust some stats and you’re good to go. 


To add further chaos into an already chaotic battle you can choose to include NPC warbands that will invade the tabletop and cause mayhem to both of the original sides… or even wandering monsters to spice things up even more!


There’s some solo rules included but TBH they are more like what you might call guidelines than actual rules. 


If you’re looking for some rules that harken back to old school gaming (whatever that may be) with a modern slant on the rules, SPEIS might be what you’re looking for. 


(Full disclosure : I received nothing from NWG for play testing the game … not even the full rules so any recommendations are all my own.)


SPACE WEIRDOS

I got this set of minis agnostic skirmish rules for next to nothing at a Wargames Vault sale and it’s certainly intriguing. It’s simpler and lighter than SPEIS and indeed the core combat mechanics bear some similarities in that combat might not go the way you expected with a clear cut shoot/hit/miss resolution. Instead you might end up with jammed weapons, ammo blowing up in your face or even the target shooting back at you!

Making up your warbands is pretty simple … but as always not easy if you have OCD or desire to craft that perfect warband within the given points limitations. 


Interestingly enough I might not use this rules set for its intended purpose as a light sci-fi skirmish game but more as a core rules set for the post-apocalyptic minis from a Patreon I’m backing called Imitation of Life. He’s fully invested in the post-apo setting and so far I’ve got a mutant faction (2 if I wish to go down that route); an all robot faction; a human wastelander/ganger faction; several really interesting and evocative NPCs and several different wandering monsters (rock monsters, giant ants, radzombies, flying mutant giant sharks) that I can hack the SPEIS rules to run in this game if I choose. 


So that’s my initial thoughts and impressions of the games I’ve played in the 2nd quarter of 2022. 


What have you guys been playing?


BONUS


Painted minis! These are what I’ve managed to paint so far these past 3 months (April-Jun). By my count I managed to get 93 minis painted, which works out to be a mini a day more or less. Which is VERY good (by my standards). 😂 







3D printed terrain...

And these are currently in the paint queue for the 3rd quarter starting July. 




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