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Scavenge Skirmish Survive

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The following report and images are from BLAM - a UK meeting of the Lead Adventure Forum, held in November 2013, where we played two 'demo/test' games of Scavenge Skirmish Survive, using BETA 3.03 (note the beta!) of the rules.

We used the same board of 60cm by 150cm for both games, with terrain elements including a number of abandoned vehicles and a railway station whose platform crossed the width of the board with a ticket office and elevated footbridge. The north end of town included two single houses (one wrecked by a gas explosion), a garage block and a pair of shops. The south end comprised a pair of houses, a block of flats, a supermarket and a childrens' playground.

The first game had six players and the second had seven, with Dirk (NurgleHH) and Torbjorn (Dr.The Viking) participating in both games. These games used the survivor characters from the rules, with each player receiving a random distribution of four characters. Each player started with their gang of survivors on a road somewhere at the board edge.

All players were new to the game and therefore to the rules and so I took the role of GM, and in the first game I somewhat crashed and burned as I overlooked a couple of rules (in particular, the limitation on drawing Special Event cards to one per turn as I went Special Event crazy) and neglected to issue specific objectives.

At this point, it's worth emphasising that the Scavenge Skirmish Survive rules are used to direct a narrative, and so in some respects they differ from more conventional rules in that turns do not reflect equivalent periods of time but instead are developmental stages of the resulting story. It's also worth noting that this is the FIRST TIME that the game has been played by so many players at one time, without any of the players having previously played, and I was by now battling something of a sleep deficit......

In the first game, the issue of so many Special Event cards slowed the early turns quite considerably while the lack of primary objectives meant that players seemed more inclined to scavenge with hope and caution, the game becoming something of a treasure hunt as players avoided confrontation. However, there were some moments of aggression, the most notable being when Doug (Doug em4) unleashed both barrels of a shotgun into Torbjorn's (Dr.The Viking) spear-wielding survivor who had misguidedly presented himself in the doorway of the shop that Doug's gang were busy looting.

Paul (Matakishi) was the first player to withdraw from the table, as having collected a good haul of supplies I believe he felt the urge to protect his gang by removing them (and their stash) from further danger.

In the second game, as per the rules only up to one Special Event card was drawn per turn, which eliminated a whole lot of uneventful dice rolling. The players also had a personal objective, which was rolled-for from an objectives generator that I have been testing for version 3.04. These objectives usually indicated a direction of travel and something that needed to be obtained, both in addition to survival of the gang and the more general accumulation of supplies. Richard (Captain Blood) had perhaps the hardest task, as he was required to acquire a lady friend and the only one available was at the other end of the table but early in the game she was mercilessly shot down by Mark (Dr De'ath).

In this second game, the chance of finding something was also improved; with the required dice roll for a successful search of, e.g., a cupboard being changed from 5-10 to 3-10. The result was that the pot of available supplies was quickly exhausted, which probably freed the players from any lingering urge to treasure hunt and by now they were pursuing their objectives. It was noticeable that most players quickly formed alliances, with these alliances usually reflecting complementary objectives. Dave (Bullshott) and Steve (Elk101) joined forces as one particularly needed food and the other shelter and so between them they despatched a small pack of wild dogs, cleared the shops of supplies, and established a camp. Mark (Dr De'ath) and Rich (Chillwind) worked together in a similar way and were the first to bank their stash by leaving the table in accordance with their objectives, though as previously mentioned Mark had taken the opportunity to eliminate the female member of Steve's gang (and, interestingly, rather than retaliating Steve took the loss and focussed on his tasks).

On the other side of the railway line, Dirk (NurgleHH) and Torbjorn (Dr.The Viking) worked together to clear out the supermarket but soon ran into friction from Richard (Captain Blood), who lost two men in fire fights and another to a savage attack from Torbjorn's dog. Richard's remaining survivor withdrew into the apartment block and without any weapons of note or any supplies at all, lost the will to live and settled down to await the cold sleep.

Choosing a winner of the second game was a close call, but I gave it to Dave and Steve with Richard the clear loser.

These test games usefully exposed some holes in the rules (and in me as GM!) which I take on board and will hopefully resolve in the next release, which will also include specific gang objectives probably in the form of a randomly dealt card. My thanks to the players for their patience, for their participation, and for their feedback.

There are undoubtedly errors in and omissions from this report as at times the games were very busy, the nature of the rules being that many players can take their activations at the same time, thereby speeding the game along (which can catch out inattentive players) but requiring me to answer questions and clarify rules to several players at once, meaning that I didn't get to take notes or photos. Which brings me to photos: for kindly permiting the use of their images, which of course remain their copyright, my thanks go to The Shed Wars Blog (shedwars.blogspot.co.uk), The View From The Hill Blog (velodoug.wordpress.com/) and to Dr De'ath at the Lead Adventure Forum (www.lead-adventure.de).

© Shed Wars Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of Shed Wars Blog<

© Shed Wars Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of Shed Wars Blog

© Shed Wars Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of Shed Wars Blog

© Shed Wars Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of Shed Wars Blog

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© The View From The Hill Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of The View From The Hill Blog

© The View From The Hill Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of The View From The Hill Blog

© The View From The Hill Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of The View From The Hill Blog

© The View From The Hill Blog
Image courtesy and copyright of The View From The Hill Blog

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© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath

© Dr De'ath
Image courtesy and copyright of Dr De-ath


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