Chrome Hammer: Ascension At Last!


Those of you've who've been following my blog will know my travails with Chrome Hammer: Ascension. Nothing wrong with the game itself, but more with my brain having stopped working when I tried to play the game. I seriously do NOT know why I could not tell the difference between Chrome Hammer (which is a PvP game that happens to have solo rules) and Chrome Hammer: Ascension (which is a solo/coop game) that happen to share some common rules but are two very different beasts when it comes to playing the game and so I happily mixed and match the two... then wondered why I couldn't play the game properly.

Anyway I finally managed to sort it all out in my head and managed to get a game in, after being inspired by me completing painting my cyberpunk minis below:

From left to right: Aerin Flamehair (elf Shadow); Ivan Sorenson (dwarf hacker); Nastasiya 'Nasty' Holodriga (ork Runner); Lady 'M' (human Face) and Hannibal Okamoto (troll Mage). The meta-type (race), role as well as background (that I didn't include here) all provide upgrade paths to improve your crew of 'punks in a campaign.

My first mission was Sabotage and I rolled that I had to hack the objective terminal in a building.

I also rolled one of the worst glitches you could get in the game: a hard time limit of 20 ticks (roll 1d6 at the end of every turn and when you reach 20+ you run out of time and fail the mission).

Your crew of ‘punks normally starts in the centre of their table edge on a 3x3 table, and in this mission they start hidden with a stealth value of 6. Hidden means enemies can’t straight away shoot you when they have LOS but they need to scan you to discover you first. A successful scan means your ‘punk loses stealth points and when they reach zero Stealth, they are exposed. The Enemy (normally a dastardly mega corporation) receives Response Points for every Stealth point lost, and if the ‘punk is Exposed, they receive a further +1d6. Response Points are used to trigger reinforcements and protocols.

Turn 1 normally has the ‘punks all moving out towards their respective objectives.

I rolled 2d6H and get 5 as the highest roll so that means I get 5 activations. Each ‘punk receives 1 order, but it’s not as restrictive as it sounds because most orders have 2 components: a move and an action. Some have you moving your full movement value, others halve your movement. (Sadly I forgot to do this step after turn 1 and activated all my ‘punks each turn, a big no-no.)

4 guards spawn at the end of the ‘punk’s turn and 2 spawn near Aerin. Thankfully they fail to scan her and move away. The other guards don’t have LOS so move at double pace.

16 ticks left on the clock.

Ivan successfully hacks an open terminal for pay data. (Needed if playing a campaign to take the battle to the selected enemy mega corporation, in this case Fantastic Military Solutions.)

Aerin hot wires a loot crate and gets a rare item: an Elder Sign (?!)

I won't give a turn by turn blow but just highlight the notable events:

Hannibal is the first to reach the objective building where the objective terminal is. Sadly the guards decide to check out the building and they catch Hannibal red handed! 

Here’s where I made my first error: I should’ve tried to finish the mission by attempting to hack the terminal rather than dealing with the guards.

I one-shot a guard (I shouldn’t be able to do that but I misinterpreted the fireball rules). That also meant Hannibal was Exposed, giving all his remaining Stealth points to the Enemy as Response Points PLUS a further +1d6 for being Exposed. 

Nasty tried to hot wire a loot crate and suffered 4 damage in 2 attempts before she finally managed to successfully hot wire it to find a glider (?!). Sheesh. OK, keys/location to a glider if I'm trying to make sense of the gear available.

Ivan was too slow to get anywhere meaningful and all he managed to do was finish off the second guard that Hannibal attacked, giving more Response Points to the Enemy in the process.

The worst was me not knowing what to do with Lady 'M' as her Edge (skill in other games) wasn't applicable here and I didn't want her to attack enemy guards to give the Enemy some Response Points. She spent the game running fruitlessly hither and tither.

Hannibal was too preoccupied with the guard to hack the terminal and in the end I ran out of time and the terminal locked down, preventing me from completing my mission.

I called an end to my game then, even though most games need the ‘punks to exit the table to finish the game. If you’re playing a campaign, that’s important for downtime actions. Did your ‘punk manage to exit unfragged? Or did your ‘punk get fragged (out of action) during the mission? If unfragged, you gain Reputation (basically XP). If fragged you roll on a table to see if your ‘punk is OK or did bad things happen to your 'punk… including perma-death unless you managed to clone your ‘punk.

The game is simple but fun and the action economy is really tight, forcing you to make decisions at every activation. You can recover lost HPs and Stealth… but that’s at a cost of not doing anything else that turn. The pressure from the enemy also ramps up with every turn as you do actions that cause you to lose stealth with the risk of being exposed, or the enemy scans you giving them Response Points. 

When I called the game off, an ED-2099 mech had already spawned as enemy reinforcements! And that would’ve added to the pressure on my ‘punks.

The Shadowrun fantasy/cyberpunk theme practically oozes in this game. The races alone tell you that. But if fantasy cyberpunk isn’t your thing, rules are provided to re-skin the game into pure cyberpunk with magic = psionics and elves/trolls/orks = mutants or gene-engineered humans.

TL; DR: If you’re looking for a game with Stealth baked into the game play, and you like the cyberpunk/fantasy cyberpunk take a look at Chrome Hammer: Ascension (which is the solo version with fantasy elements thrown in). Or for a purer cyberpunk version, go for vanilla Chrome Hammer that’s PvP with solo rules thrown in. The game play sequence is also slightly different between CH: A and normal CH but not a big deal if you choose one game over the other.

As for me, I had so much fun (despite some rules errors) that I immediately re-set the table and played another game. That's not something I normally do.

BONUS: Down memory lane. 

I first posted this photo sometime in January 2022 when I was getting my crew together to play Chrome Hammer: Ascension. As you can see, I I swapped out the human mini for a more dynamic pose, and the 2nd ork is my backup 'punk... an ork Ronin (if I want more firepower in a mission). It's taken me about a year to actually get them painted 🤦🏻‍♂️


  1. Is that an AT-43 Red Block vehicle in the second pic from the bottom?

  2. Lovely minis! I'm glad you had a good time!


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