Thursday, September 20, 2018

Super System 4th Edition: Battle Report- Smugglers Run!

I was very excited to continue using the Nano Metal toy superhero figures to keep building and playing games of Super System. Typically, all this metal models need is a few touch-ups for paint and a wash to be ready to play. They can be found easily at big box retailers and do the trick just fine for these types of games, allowing for fun games on a budget.

I divided my models into two teams. The Union of Semi-Professional Heroes A.K.A. The Union versus The Black Hearts. You can read all about the current line-up of The Union and the Black Hearts in a previous blog post. After the Black Hearts raided a museum and stole several artifacts of ancient and historical South-East Asia, they were confronted by the Union as they made their escape in the desert. Today's adventure is a continuation of the ongoing rivalry between the two factions.

The Nihilist flipped open the briefcase and turned for him to see. For a brief moment, the glitter and flash of uncut diamonds flashed in the dim light.

Look, it is worth your while to help us out. I have been told you are one of the best smugglers uncut diamonds can buy.”

The other man cast a long thin shadow. He craned his neck and it looked unnatural as he peaked into the container. A filthy blanket wrapped around him as his dark eyes glinted at the sight of the gems.

I can get you out of country unnoticed easily enough. However, you do realize where you go is a deadly jungle hell hole run by a murderous militia?” The man squawked.

The Nihilist and Metal Head exchanged the briefest glance. “We understand. That's why we are coming to you.”

The man shuffled forward awkwardly in a tattered blanket. His hand shot out and slammed the case closed. A metallic, claw like set of fingers closed on the handle. MetalHead stepped forward and planted his large hand on the case firmly and shook his head slowly.

Nihilist hissed through her mask, “Do we have a deal?”

The man's head twitched forward in what she assumed was a sign of consent. Then he slowly looked up above them. With a speed that surprised the two Black Hearts he stepped back and tore the blanket from his shoulders. As it drifted away, the man raised a red helmet to his head, and a huge pair of mechanical wings stretched outward from his body.

Company!” he squawked. The two villains turned quickly to see Mr. Amazing flying down from the darkening horizon. MetalHead eagerly crashed his fist into his palm, while Nihilist raised her delicate hood.

The caped hero hovered at the edge of the wooded clearing, “What do we have here? An unexpected catch?”

From the edge of the woods stepped the Riverine and his fellow Union pal, Safeguard. “We came to shut down Buzzard's smuggling ring, but it looks a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!”

Metalhead grinned at the newly arrived heroes, “Let's Rock.” he muttered. However, the Nihilist placed a restraining hand on his bicep.

Remember, our job was to secure the Buzzard's help. Not smash up The Union. We have the Buzzard, now we need to make our escape.”

With a quick grunt MetalHead nodded his reluctant agreement. The Nihilist turned quickly to their new fellow Black Heart he was now hovering, buoyed by the soft whooshing of micro-jet technology, “It looks like you are one of us now. Come on!” She started running towards their hidden burrowing machine.

Riverine rolled his eyes, “We can't let them get away..... again!” He sprang into action. His fellow Union hero, Safeguard close behind him.

I knew we should I have asked Red Streak to come,” muttered Safeguard.

We have two new cast members today! For The Union we have Safeguard. Safeguard was a scientist and inventor whose family was killed tragically as collateral damage during a super-villain throw down. He vowed to protect those who could not protect himself and spent years creating the Safeguard armor. It allows him to project protective force bubbles around himself and others to keep other from harm. His appearance to protect civilians at various super-powered slugfests soon brought him to the attention of The Union, and he was recruited by the Riverine.

For the Black Hearts, we have the infamous smuggler and mercenary the Buzzard. Buzzard was able to acquire a suit of specialized flying gear from a smuggling operation that went wrong on the edge of Tajikistan. The former owners of the suit may have been the Soviet Union, Chinese Military, Islamic rebels, or worse. He didn't know or care as he used it to escape capture by a United States military raid. The suit allows him to fly and since he has equipped it with various upgrades to help him stay ahead of his competition and pursuers.

The Forces

The Union (of Semi-Professional Heroes)
Mr. Amazing- Brick- Stupendous Man Archetype
The Riverine- Brawler-The Shield Slinger Archetype
Safeguard- Blaster- Guardian Archetype

The Black Hearts
Nihilist- Mentalist- The Empath Archetype
MetalHead- Brick- Immovable Object Archetype
Buzzard- Blaster- Death from Above Archetype

The Black Hearts are starting on any board edge up to 12 inches in. The Heroes can start at the closest board edge. The Black Hearts need to get Buzzard off the opposite board edge to win along with one other Black Heart to operate the machine. He can not be captured by The Union. The Union must capture Buzzard first, any other captures are a bonus.

The board is to be a wooded clearing. There are rocks and small copse of trees scattered about. It is assumed the edge of the board is surrounded by thick forest and impenetrable, except for where marked for the Buzzard to escape to the Black Hearts waiting machine.
The Black Hearts are in a small group, where they were conducting there business before being interrupted. The Union are along a board edge within 12 inches and directly opposite where the Black Hearts need to escape the board.

Turn 1:
The Nihilist wins the Initiative roll against the Riverine. The Buzzard takes off and fires a blast of firepower. He targets Mr. Aamzing as he is the only opponent who can fly, but the super hero simply shrugs off the blasts.

The Riverine knows how dangerous MetalHead can be when he changes into his metal form, so he dashes forward and tosses his trident. It grazes along the rockers arm, and draws blood as he stumbles back. MetalHead grabs his arm, looks at the blood on his hand, and snarls at the Riverine. He quickly changes into his metal form. He takes a step towards the Union leader

Nihilist thows up her hand, “Cover Buzzard!” Metalhead reluctantly agrees and falls back towards the winged smuggler.

Mr. Amazing takes-off and starts to head for the Buzzard. However, Nihilist mind flares him and clouds his mind. Safeguard steps up and fires force bolts at Nihilist, but she manages to avoid them.

Turn 2:
The Nihilist out leads the Riverine again. Buzzard walks his fire from Mr. Amazing towards Riverine, but he acrobatically dodges the shooting. Casings rain from the sky as Buzzard falls back to the escape route. Mr. Amazing grimaces through the confusing haze in his head and makes his way towards the top of the hill to try and cut off his escaping prey. The mind flare still dances and clouds his mind.

MetalHead keeps his metallic form and falls back, but he is much slower than the Buzzard. He tries to get between the Buzzard and Mr. Amazing.

The Riverine sees his chance as Nihilist is undefended and races forward, and scoops up his trident and leaping attacks the mentalist. His attack strikes home and pushes her back from the impact. Cursing, she mind flares the impudent Hero. The Riverine stumbles back from the mental attack and is stunned. Seeing The Riverine stumble, Safeguard moves up to protect him with a force dome if needed.

Turn 3:
The Nihilist wins advantage again. Seeing the Nihilist get hit, MetalHead switches targets to the disoriented Riverine and smashes him as hard as he can! However, even with a woozy-head, The Riverine is able to dodge the incoming attack.

Mr. Amazing keeps up the pursuit and gets to the top of the hill, his mind still reeling from the Flare. Nihilist runs for the escape route at full speed. The Riverine breaks under MetalHeads swinging fists and chases after the fleeing foes. Safeguard chases after The Riverine.

Hey, wait-up!” Safeguard skitters after The Riverine. MetalHead glaring at him.

Buzzard keeps falling back, and unloads a barrage of mini-missiles from his suit at The Riverine. The old soldiers twists and turns, but a nearby explosion hits him with streaking hot shrapnel.

The Rioverine looks pointedly back at Safeguard as a trickle of blood runs down his cheek from a minor scalp wound. The scientist shrugged sheepishly, “I had to run to keep up with you, sorry.”

Turn 4:
The Black Hearts can still go first. The Nihilist scampers away from The oncoming heroes. However, The Riverine keeps up the pursuit, and throws his Trident at her. However, the mind flare clouding The Riverine's mind allows her to easily dodge away from the oncoming weapon.

MetalHead chases down the straggling Doctor, and tries to grab him. However, the Doctor squirms away from the lunging big man. Safeguard squirms away and gives MetalHead a blast to the metal face, which causes the metal man to smile like a feral wold.

Better luck next time, Do,.” Metalhead quipped.

With his head ringing, Mr. Amazing rips a tree from the ground at the top of the hill with a grunt, and throws it at Buzzard. The Buzzard tries to dodge the tree, but it is too large, entangles him, and he falls to the ground with the tree around him.

Don't leave yet, you forgot your trunk!”Mr. Amazing shouted playfully.

With the roar of micro-jets the battered buzzard burst from the tree with his chain guns blazing at the Riverine, who managed to barely dodge the ricocheting bullets.

Turn 5:
The Nihilist is a great leader and out commands the Riverine. The Buzzard hovered back to the edge of the clearing and laid down cover fire, again whinging the Riverine in the fire fight. However, it wasn't enough to stop him as he attacked the Nihilist. However, she easily dodges the mind flared Hero who hasn't taken the time to clear his head yet. She manages to duck around the swings of The Riverine's trident and manages to fall back to the Burrower with Buzzard.

A high pitch whistle filled the clearing, and MetalHead looked up from the cowering Safeguard, “Maybe we can dance next time, Doc?” With that he dashed towards his fellow Black Hearts. Nihilist put her hands ot her head and focused an extra strength mind blast that forced Mr. Amazing and The Riverine to grip their heads, momentarily paralyzed. By the time the heroes shook it off, the Black Hearts were gone.

Mr. Amazing flew down to his fellow heroes, his hand on his temple, “What were those two doing here?”

I don't know, but I am sure it was no good,” The Riverine walked to the edge of the tunneler's path and looked into the ground.

Safeguard shrugged, “Sorry guys, I guess you should have brought Red Streak afterall. He could have caught those guys. I wasn't much good.”

Mr. Amazing clapped his fellow Union member on the shoulder, “Don't be so hard on yourself. We all learned from this encounter.”

Well said Mr. Amazing. We will be better prepared next time,” The Riverine walked back to his friends, “Come on, let's get back to the Union Hall and consult with the others. Maybe they have some idea of what the Black Hearts are up to?”

Another Super Systems game under my belt. We probably are still making tons of mistakes, but the game was still enjoyable. I have really enjoyed the light role-playing element that this game provides. We were cracking one-liners, taunting each other, and generally just having a hoot at the table. There are a lot of little rules to recall about how powers and special moves interact, but the rules are laid out pretty well to answer most basic questions as you go. It was awesome to have Mr. Amazing throw a tree at Buzzard! That almost took him out too.

This game won't be to everyone's taste as the damage output is not high, and many of the heroes can take a pretty good beating. However, both games have had a strong evasion element to the plot and story line we are developing, so fleeing has been a high priority for the Black Hearts instead of sticking around and pounding each other into super-dust. There is a strong element of trying to create mismatches between characters and powers whenever possible such as having Riverine take on Nihilist and MetalHead vs. Safeguard. However, you also need to know when to put a brick against a brick and so forth. By no means would I call this a tight tournament set of rules, but it is a great tool set for super heroics on the tabletop.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Blood Bowl: League Play Set-up

When I first picked up the new Blood Bowl I was unsure how much I was going to do with it.  I had a few teams from previous editions but I had never had all the templates or pitch.  I left that up to other people.  Now, with the new boxed set, I had everything I needed to play BUT I was not sure I wanted to spend the money on newer teams.  This changed a bit when a new FLGS came into my town, and they were selling Blood Bowl teams for a good price, and there was the promise of some more local players.  In addition, my family began to show a lot more interest in playing the game too. 

This led to a Blood Bowl renaissance in my house.  I had managed to play several games with my hobby buddies between the Living Rulebook days and the new boxset, but they were few and far between.  Now, I had players much closer to try games with.  Soon, I had 9 teams ready to play and the Deep North League- Southern Regional Conference was born.  Sure, they are not all painted and maybe will never be painted, sure the teams were mostly just the boxed sets, sure the teams were not all optimized with 16 players….. but we had 9 legal teams ready to hit the pitch.  

My family first had to get the hang of the basics of the game with a number of exhibition games….

With those out of the way, they felt ready to start some League play.  Our League consists of the following teams:

Nottingham Nobles- Human team
Skulsmash Reeverz- Ork Team
Cheeze-Ballerz- Skaven Team
Rock-N-Rollers- Dwarf Team
Goat Herderz- Chaos Team
The Black Guards- Dark Elf Team
Forever Jackals- Khemri Team (Old School- Painted)
Da’ Rat Packerz- Skaven Team (Old School- Painted)
Gridiron Gravediggers- Chaos Team (Old School- Painted)

I would not be surprised if a few more teams join the League eventually, but this is what we have to start the season off!  What better way to get started with the season than to have an Open Tournament?  The invite list would be all of the teams listed above, minus the Black Guards as they still need to be assembled.     

** * * * *

Lord Summervale: Post-NAF Blood Bowl fans from the Deep North are eagerly anticipating the start of the new Blood Bowl season.  The Southern Regional Conference will be kicking the Season off with an open tournament held in honor of Princess Owyanna.

Mad Johan: Local legend claims that the original princess was gravely ill.  In desperation, her father begged a local forest spirit to cure the illness impacting his daughter.  The spirit agreed and gave her a sip of healing waters from a hidden local spring.  In return, the spirit only asked for Princess Owyanna to host a Blood Bowl Tournament in honor of the spirit. 

Lord Summervale: Hence the “Princess Owayonna: Bottled Healing Spring Water Blood Bowl Open Tournament” was born!  Nothing goes down easier after a viciously played game of Blood Bowl than a bottle of Princess Owayonna’s bottled Healing Spring Water.  Their patented enchantment will whisk away all of your aches and pains with a splash of this delightful, refreshing beverage.   

Mad Johan: After the tournament, I bet each of these teams will be celebrating their wins and drowning their pain away with a bottle!

Lord Summervale: Indeed.  This year, the competition looks fierce.  Fortunately for this year’s organizers, the Dark Elf team; the Black Guards was delayed by some coastal raiding.  Therefore, the even number of teams will make organizing the brackets easy. 

This will be a single elimination tournament.  As teams advance through the bracket, we will eventually declare a champion.  The champion will walk away with the prestigious Princess Owayonna Healing Bottled Water Trophy and a season long supply of the Princesses’ finest. 

Mad Johan: Let’s take a look at the line-ups! 

Lord Summervale: We have all ready seen these teams clash in the pre-season with some big hits and some intense scoring drives.  You can bet there will be some impressive games of Blood Bowl ahead!

Here is the bracket:

1.       The opening match will be the Forever Jackals of Khemri vs. the Nottingham Nobles at Citadel Arena. 
2.       The second match is the Skulsmash Reeverz vs Da’ Rat Packers at Freeboota Field. 
3.       The Third match will be the Cheeze-Ballerz up against the Gridiron Gravediggers in the Northern Wastes.
4.       The final match of the qualifying bracket will be the Rock-N-Rollers facing the Goat Herderz at the fable pitch of Khaz-a-Kill’m. 

Mad Johan: Those games are promising some hard-hitting match-ups!

Lord Summervale: The winners in the qualifying round will move into the semi-finals bracket, and the winners there will move onto the Finals.  The team that comes out of the Finals on top will be the tournament champions and win the Princess Owayonna Healing Bottled Water Trophy. 

With the tournament set to start, the only thing left to ask is……

Mad Johan: ….. are you ready for some Blood Bowl!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Battle Report: Rampant Galaxies- Rescue Mission

The forces of the evil Galactic Empire have deployed their winter weather thunder troopers to the ice world of Thoth.  In a lightning strike they managed to take control of the enemies’ anti-aircraft unit and hold the troopers of the native forces as hostages.  However, the natives have mobilized to mount a rescue mission.     

This will be the first run through I have done with the Rampant Galaxies rules since writing them.  I made up some templates and armies and got ready to rumble. 


Thundertroopers of the Evil Galactic Empire

3 Terror Trooper Infantry- 18 points
Infantry- Counter-measures, armored, Elite

2 Big Walkers- 16 points
Vehicles- Pursue, Armored, Transport, Walkers

2 Chicken Walkers- 14 Points
Vehicles- Pursue, Walker, Armored

Points= 48

Armored Task Force

2 Infantry- 6 points

2 Tanks- 18 points
Vehicles- Pursue, Armored, Armor Piercing, Tracked

2 APC- 12 points
Vehicles- Pursue, Tracked, Transport

2 IFVs- 14 Points
Vehicles- Pursue, Tracked, Armored

Points= 50 Points

The attacker sets-up the terrain per the guidelines.  The defender places one unit in the approximate center of the board.  Place a single “NPC” model with the unit.  In this case it will be the anti-aircraft unit of the armored company.  The defender deploys the rest of their force on any one board edge of their choice with one model touching the edge.  The Attackers can deploy on any other board edge touching the edge as well.
The attackers must secure the NPC.  They can take the NPC by eliminating the Unit accompanying it with shooting or assault and then moving  the NPC into their Zone of Control.  The unit with the NPC may not leave the board and if they retreat/rout the NPC is left behind.  The NPC can be passed off between enemy units this way many times.  The attacker must then try to move the NPC off the board.  The game last 8 turns, one hour, or until one side is destroyed/routed.  If the attackers have moved the NPC off the board, they win. 

I am not using any complications this battle.    

Outdoor, Snow world
You are fighting outdoors on a snow world.  It is covered in snowdrifts, barren rocks, and frozen ponds.  The terrain could be sand, snow, or worse!  Moving up and over dunes /hills is considered difficult terrain.

The board had a ridge on one side and a river on the other.  The river flowed between two large hills.  All hills and the river are rough terrain.  In the center of the board is the captured AA unit being escorted by a squad of Thunder Trooper infantry. 

On one side comes the planetary defense forces.  On the left flank is two APCs with troopers escorted by a tank.  The IFVs are next and then another tank is the far flank.  The Thundertroopers are the two heavy walkers in the center with troops onboard, while the chicken walkers are on both flanks.  The Thunder Troopers are the defenders with the armored column being the attackers. 

Turn 1:
First, we allocated command points to the units.  The armored column are spreading one across all the vehicle units and 3 to one of the tanks.  The Imperial troops are taking two each, except the escort infantry only take 1. 

Both sides move forward, with many units using their Command Points for extra movement.  However, the Thunder Troopers on guard duty use their command point to use counter-measures as they are expecting to get lit up by the enemy vehicles.

Turn 2:
Now, we add command tokens again.  The Thunder Troopers took two on the infantry guard unit, two on the heavy walkers, and the chicken walker closest to the river took one.  The armored column had the left tank take 1, the IFVs take 2, and the final tank took 3. 

The armies move forward.  The Thunder Troopers deploy from there Heavy Walkers and prepare to engage the enemy. 

The enemy IFV does target infantry on guard duty at long range and behind soft cover, plus they have counter-measures engaged.  It would take 4 hits to eliminate the unit, however the IFV uses a Command Point to provide an extra firepower dice.  The roll is 5 hits, so the infantry unit loses 1 morale. 

The rest of the units exchange fire but fail to cause injury due to range, terrain, and armor.

The Infantry unit passes their morale test and stays in the fight.   

Turn 3:
We start the turn by distributing Command Points

The Thunder Troopers begin to withdraw the hostage unit and form a wall to protect the withdrawal.  The armored company has no choice but to follow them into the valley.  The APCs deploy their infantry in cover.  However, the flanking tank has gotten around the hill.  The Thunder Trooper infantry deploy Counter-measures. 

A sharp exchange of close range firepower leaves an IFV and a Heavy Walker smoking.  Both units are forced to retreat. 

Turn 4:
We start by distributing command points.  The retreating infantry unit takes as many a sthey can carry to hoof it out with their hostages.  On the other side, the armored vehicles get ready to try to force the gap the heavy walk has left open. 

An IFV shoots the gap and engages the fleeing Thunder Troopers in a fire fight.   The flank tank is held up in a close range firefight with a rallied heavy walker.  In addition, Thunder Trooper infantry bravely charge in against a battle tank and an APC to slow them up.  The chicken walker on the ridge comes down with flanking fire on the armored companies’ infantry.  Finally, the last Heavy Walker and Chicken walker turn to try and use combined fire on an oncoming APC. 

The APC and the Heavy Walker and Chicken Walker exchange fire.  The Chicken Walker is down 1, and the APC loses two.  The Chicken Walker comes down the ridge and opens fire on the infantry with enfilade fire.  One of the infantry units is destroyed in the attack. 

The IFV attack on the guarding infantry is successful and they are completely scattered and no-longer effective.  The IFV is now in control of the hostages.  Other firefights see another rThunder Trooper infantry unit get wiped out, and the third reduced to 2 Morale.  The rest of the armored forces also take limited damage. 

The Thunder Trooper Heavy Walker flees the firefight with the tank.  Meanwhile, the other armored tanks falls back from the Thunder Trooper infantry. 

Turn 5:
Both sides lost some units, so their command points will need to be reduced. 

The Armored Company IFV escorts the Anti-aircraft battery with them away from the firefight with an APC supporting, and the flanking tank providing cover fire.  The last APC and Infantry unit charge into the Thunder Trooper infantry. 

Shooting from a Chicken Walker scatters the IFV that was on the retreat.  However, the other tanks takes a barrage of fire from the Heavy Walker and the rampaging Chicken Walker and is unharmed.  The last Thunder Trooper infantry damages the APC and enemy infantry, but is scattered in the process. 

With that, the Thunder Troopers decided to call it a day.  They were not in a position to recover the hostage unit and they were no longer in a position to do so by the end of the turn 8.  As the sun set on the battlefield, they withdrew into the night as the Armored Forces recovered and turned around. 

Here was the big question that I wanted to answer today.  Does this feel different enough from Rampant Stars or Rampant Sun to be a stand alone game?  The answer is a resounding yes!  The command points really change the nature of the game from the other two systems and makes you have to think at a different, higher level. 

The unit interactions are completely different.  This is partly due to the turn sequence where firing comes before moving.  This actually took me a while to wrap my head around and I kept wanting to do it wrong.  Heck, I might have any way a few times.  Plus, the way certain units got to move before others forced you to think about the flow of the battle different than my other games, but closest to Rampant Hordes.

I recommend playing with off-table tracking and bases being removed as morale is reduced.  However, that is all cosmetic.  The core mechanics worked well.

Rampant Galaxies was supposed to be a Sci-fi army level game of units.  It was supposed to act as a melding of Dux Bellorum and Dragon Rampant into the sci-fi universe.  In that aspect, I feel successful and happy with the results.  I kept the core ideas in place and the game is fun and quick.                

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Wargame Design: Getting Started on Making Your Game

If you read the reading the sub-heading of the blog this is suppose to be a blog about playing and designing wargames. Lately, there has been a lot of content about playing wargames, but not a lot about designing them. Therefore, I figured it might be fun to walk-through the steps I take to design a new game. You can read along and hopefully glean some ideas and insight into the process.

The Concept
Many times, people will ask how a designer starts. They want to know if you start by writing background (fluff) or mechanics. Neither. For me, all my wargaming projects start with a very simple concept. Essentially, it is what I want the game to be about in a sentence or two. At this stage, they are only the briefest idea of what I want the game to represent.

Example concepts include:

  1. The Punic Wars
  2. Cowboys vs. Undead
  3. Samurai duels
  4. Dragons and their riders fighting in the sky
  5. Napoleonics with magic
  6. Gangsters battling for turf
  7. Land ironclad battles
  8. Sci-fi model vs model skirmish
  9. Dinosaurs fighting
As you can see, it is really quick and easy to come up with a concept. I have hundreds of them. The hard part is choosing which concept you are going to explore and which ones have to sit on the shelf.

Design Goals
Once you have a general idea of the concept, you need some time to think about what exactly you are going to try to do with the game. What are you trying to accomplish on the tabletop or with the playing experience. I always assume that there are tons of other games with the same concept as mine, so why why would someone be interested in my take on the same subject? What are the things I am going to design into the game to make it stand-out? Often times, it the game doesn't have enough to even keep me hooked at this stage the concept goes back on the shelf to be re-thought later.

When I think about a game about Dinosaurs fighting here are some of the design goals I would include:

  1. Interesting battles between Dinosaurs 1-on-1 or in very small groups.
  2. Gameplay that flows quickly and easily between players
  3. Lots of decision making for the player
  4. Clear differentiators between Dino types
  5. Scale and model agnostic
  6. Combat that flows freely, not locking you in
  7. Positioning is key

These goals would be different based on the game I am trying to design. For contrast, let's look at some potential design goals for a game about the Punic War between Rome and Carthage:

  1. Abstracted combat between units
  2. No model removal
  3. Units that compliment each other
  4. Unique commander traits
  5. For use with 6mm-28mm models
  6. Limited Actions based on General's Orders
  7. Quasi-historical outcomes
  8. Flanks and Ranks for tactical combat
  9. Campaign system

Just by reading the goals of these two games, you can immediately see how different they would be to play. It would be exceedingly difficult to try to use the same mechanics to accomplish the goals in these two systems.

When thinking of your design goals, it is important to think through your concept and what it is capable of sustaining. For example, if you think through our two concepts of Dinosaur fighting game and the Punic War; does it make sense for the Dinosaur fighting game to be a mass battles game? Does it make sense for a game of the Punic War to be model-vs-model game? Not really. The design goals are the guidelines and guard rails for your creativity and ideas to make sure your game will stick together.

Many people try to skip this section and go straight from concept and into mechanics. This leads to a disjointed rules set without a clear, tight focus on what it wants to accomplish. These games are not fun to play as they try to be all things to all people and invariable end up with IfThis/Then That rules.  However, now that I have the guard rails for my project, it allows me to move into the next stage of developing a concept into a game.

Once I know my concept, my guidelines, a rough idea of what I want to accomplish, and some idea about what will make my concept unique; I turn to my bookcase, library, and the internet. If your game is Historical; you must learn some of the basics of the period. You need to know what units did what and against who in the past. You need to understand how the units interacted, what they were good at, and what they were not good at. You need to understand how they were used in actually engagements.

Even non-historical works can benefit from some basic research on how similar combat worked in the past. For example, a Sci-fi setting with slow firing energy weapons could benefit from understanding how slow firing firearms were used by humans in our world.

In addition to historical research, the most important research is to turn to your tool box of games. Every designer should have a good knowledge of mechanics learned by reading, playing, and writing about games. Read to understand how other designers dealt with the goals and guidelines that you yourself are facing. Start a list of ideas you like to pull inspiration from it. Too many designers are too focused on being innovative. Innovation is over-rated!

Take your list of mechanics and go back and compare them to your historical notes and your design goals. Do any of them fit what you are trying to accomplish? Jot them down next to the goals or notes. You are starting to build a skeleton to fill in the 4Ms.

At this stage of the process, I also like to take a look at what is available for public domain artwork and images. I tend to put together a few slides of these images to create a gallery to plug and play once I start writing. I also find it motivating to create a cover and title at this stage. Normally, I would say this is too soon, but it works for me!

As this series of articles progresses, let's follow along while I try to design a game based around the concept of Dinosaur Fighting. For my research and inspiration I looked at the following games:

  • Arena Rex
  • Bushido
  • Song of Blades and Heroes
  • Blood Bowl
  • Frostgrave
  • Mercs
  • Pulp Alley
  • Batman: The Miniature Game
  • Necromunda/Mordheim
  • Various Osprey Wargame Series books
  • Various Warhammer Historical Games
  • Lord of the Rings
  • King of Tokyo/New York

I am sure there were other skirmish games I looked at too, Those are the ones that came to me top of mind. I jotted down some notes and ideas from each in a free flowing notebook of ideas. With that done, I am ready to move onto the next stage of finalizing the 4Ms.

Next time, I will continue to share the journey with this game and walk through the process.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Blood Bowl: Match Report- Khemri vs. Chaos- Exhibition Play

The Forever Jackals was a Khemri team I made-up from Warhammer Fantasy Battle Skeleton box set a few years back.  It uses extensive green stuff and a liberal use of bitz to get them ready for the astro-granite.  I even completely sculpted a model or two.  Blood Bowl purists will note that the team still uses the square bases of WHFB instead of being converted to round bases.  What can I say, I am cheap!  I bitz bashed a Skaven team in a similar manner as well. 

You can see the scale difference between the old teams.  The new ones are much bigger, and make even the tomb guardians seem tiny in comparison.  Oh well.  I am still going to use those old-scratch built teams!  This might even be the Khemri's second or third time on the pitch!
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Lord Summervale: We at Cabalvision IV are happy to bring you the latest updates from around the Blood Bowl circuit.  Welcome back as we take a closer look at pre-season play in the Deep North League- Southern Regional Conference. 

Our coverage will start with a hard-hitting contest between the Chaos Goat Herders vs. the Khemri Forever Jackals. 

Mad Johan: Hard-hitting is right Summervale.  At times both teams had 4 or more players in the dug-outs!

Lord Summervale: Khemri is led by their team captain the mummy Pharoah Far-Tu-Komen, and has an impressive frontline of two other mummies and two bltiz-ra!  However, someone has to carry the ball, so the thrower Anoobis rounds out their positionals. 

Meanwhile, the Chaos Goat Herders didn't even bother to give us their line-up.  They said something about "Blood for the Blood God" when our reporters tried to get the details.  According to one witness, our Cabalvision IV grot was lucky to get out of the locker room alive!

Mad Johan: Well, you can bet those crazies from the Chaos Wastes will be coming to smash some face.  Plus, I am sure their team will try too. 

Lord Summervale: You are quite the Blood Bowl mind Johan, as that is exactly what they did.  The initial kick-off went to the Chaos team, and one of their beastmen runners picked it up.

Mad Johan: The Goat Herders showed an amazing amount of discipline and made a cage pretty early.  They then methodically marched down the field smashing skeletons as they went. 

Lord Summervale: Well, Pharoah Far-Tu-Komen and his gang got their share of hits in too.  I am pretty sure those Chaos Warriors are not use to getting manhandled like that! 

Mad Johan: Yeah, there will be plenty of big hits on the highlight reels from this game! 

Lord Summervale: The Chaos Goat Herders managed to pound the ball down field for the score.  However, the cost to both teams had been pretty high. 

Mad Johan: In the closing moments of the first period, Anoobis the Khemri thrower embarrassed himself pretty good.  He couldn't even manage to pick-up the ball much less engineer a drive.  He would have been pretty red in the face.... but you know....

Lord Summervale: Indeed.  In the second half, the Forever Jackals received and Anoobis managed to pick-up the ball early. 

Mad Johan: This time, it was the Khemri's turn to bring the cage!

Lord Summervale: It worked pretty well, and they managed to get past mid-field when a sneaky beastman managed to slip behind and hammer old Anoobis. 

Mad Johan: Alas Anoobis, I knew him well!

Lord Summervale: There was a huge scrum for the ball.  I am surprised no one got ejected with the business that was going on in that pile-up! 

Mad Johan: It's pre-season for the refs too.  That or they were afraid of all those blood-crazed Chaos fans? 

Lord Summervale: Somehow, a beastman came out of the scrum with the ball. and made a beeline for his end zone. 

Mad Johan: I wonder how many demonic pacts it took for that to happen?

Lord Summervale: At the very end of the second half, the Chaos Goat Herderz managed to score a second time.  They went on to win 2-0 over the Khemri Forever Jackals. 

Mad Johan: More importantly, both teams had two players in the casualty box at the end of the game.  I thought that Skulsmash Reever vs Rock-N-Roller game was brutal.  It doesn't hold a candle to this one!     

Lord Summervale: It makes me look forward to the regular season!  The League champion might be the only team with enough players left to field a team! 

Tune in next time, as regular Season Coverage of the Deep North League kicks-off and as always remember to drink the blood of your enemies responsibly!  See you next time here at Cabalvision IV. 
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Now that my family and I have given just about all the teams a try once, I figure it is about time to get the family league going.  Good-bye Exhibition play and hello League play.  However, I wouldn't mind getting one more team, either Elven Union or Dark Elves before starting the league, so we will see what happens. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Games: Blood and Spectacle- The Games of Leptis Magna

After the conclusion of the Munera games in Subhartha, Metallus was pleased to be booked in Leptis Magna. The consul of the city had heard of the exploits of the men from the colony of Leptis Magna and was curious to see them in action. Metallus booked passage on a coastal galley and quickly made way from Subhartha to Leptis Magna in the province of Africa.

Once there, he was greeted warmly by the cities council and treated as a bit of a celebrity. This pleased Metallus greatly. However, his pleasure led to caution. The Consul wanted the men of Leptis Minoris for their ampitheatre. However, they were to test their metal against the Consul's own Gladiators from the Gladiator school the Consul had invested in..

This made Metallus' politic instincts twitch. His men needed to be skilled in the arena, but was it better to let the Consul's Gladiators win the day? How would the Consul react if his own Gladiator's lost? How would the crowd react to the show? Caution would need to be the order of the day.
House of Letpis Minoris

For this series of The Games, I thought it would be fun to have a different set of rivals than the usual Picked Men of Quintillius. As much as I love to see Juggartha tear up his opponents, the world was starting to feel too small with only two Gladiator troupes constantly squaring off. I have enough Gladiators painted now for more than one Troupe, so this seemed like a good time to try them out.

This School in Leptis Magna would be called the Ludus Massinissa after the pre-Roman ruler of the area. The Ludus would include only Barbarian warriors of the following types:

2 Heavy- Murmillo and Hoplomachus
2 Medium- Provacatur and Dimechaerus
2 Light- Both Retarius
- In addition, I would start them with the “Baths” Professional servants. This would allow the Ludus Massinissa to re-roll a gate dice.
Ludus Massinissa
That should give a good show. The Ludus Massinissa (642 Troupe Rating) would enter the arena as Underdogs to the Ludus of Leptis Minor (750 Troupe Rating).

The day of the games, the people of Leptis Magna eagerly bought tickets for the event between the cities' consul and these men of the colony. The Consul himself was to be the editor of the games in honor of the grand history of the town and their loyalty to Caesar in Rome. It was a day that would surely be spoken about before the upcoming elections.

Event 1: Tertiarri

The Consul and Editor gave a short speech about the importance of the city, and the brotherly love it had for its former colony in Roman Spain of Leptis Minor. Metallus paid little attention as he measured the mood of the crowd. He knew it was to be a Tertiarri up first, which was a grueling event. They seemed good natured and the weather seemed perfect for the event.

Metallus looked over his men and decided who to send out. He decided to send out Normallus his new Thraex and Alexander the Eldar. Normallus would be the Primus. He noticed that his opponets would be a Murmillo and a Retarius. Good match-ups that the crowd should enjoy.

House of Leptis Minoris
  • Normallus a slave thraex
  • Alexander the Elder a slave Laquierious
    Ludus Massinissa
  • Brutus a barbarian murmillo
  • Ahenobarbus a barbarian retarius

In a Tertiarri, both sides select a Primus to fight. If he defeats his foe, he must then face off and defeat the second gladiator as well. If he does so, his Ludus wins. If he fails, the other Ludus wins.

Turn 1:
Both gladiators simply jog forward, eager to fight.

Turn 2:
Brutus walks forward, and the eager Normallus charges straight in to fight. The Thraex puts 3 CP in and holds one back to defend. Brutus defends with 4 and holds 2. Brutus rolls terrible and uses his last two to parry. However, it is not enough and Normallus gets a hit through. However, the curved blade can not find a weak spot in the Murmillo's armor this time.

Turn 3:
Locked into combat, Normallus attacks again this time with 2 and holds 1 to defend. Brutus does 4 and 2 respectively as he gets the measure of his foe. Again, Normallus' curved blade sneaks in under the murmillo's guard and this time reduces him 1 pain. The crowd cheers the display of swordsmanship, especially as Normallus uses his small shield to push Brutus away.

The Thraex used a striking success to push back his foe.

Turn 4:
After the push back, Normallus charges back in with a leaping attack. He uses 3 and holds back 1. Despite being injured, Brutus stays with 4 and 2. This time, Brutus gets the advantage on the thraex and twists his large shield to try and knock the blade from his foes hand. The small curved blade goes flying and lands in the dirt.

Brutus follows up with some savage close quarter jabs. Normallus knocks one away, but is forced to rely on his manica to defend. One gets through and reduces him to 1 Pain.

Turn 5:
Brutus senses his advantage and takes over. He presses the attack. He uses 5 dice to attack and holds 1, Normallus defends with 2 and holds 1 to parry with his shield. The Thraex's parry does little, and the Gladius of Brutus begins to do its work. The Thraex is reduced to 0 Pain.

Normallus sees the danger he is in and tries to back away, but Brutus keeps him locked.

Turn 6:
Normallus tries to break away again, but fails. Instead, he tries to use his shield to bash his way out of close combat with 2 dice, while Brutus defends with 3. The Murmillo easily avoids the attack and counters with his own, but the Thraex manages to avoid the jab and slash combination.

Turn 7:
With an eye towards the Tertiarri in the corner, Brutus wants to finish Normallus. The Thraex again fails to break away and his awkward attacks are easily. Brutus manages to wrench Normallus' shield away and toss it aside. However, the Thraex ducks and weaves away from Brutus' attacks.

Turn 8:
Brutus puts 5 dice into his attacks and holds only 1 back. Normallus desperately defends with all 3 dice. The Thraex blocks or dodges away from a flurry of blows, but it isn't enough and he is taken out of the fight. The crowd is suitably amused by the Thraex, and allow him to live, however he may still have serious injuries.

Turn 9:
Alexander the Elder hefts his spear and jogs into the arena. Brutus simply waits.

Turn 10:
The older gladiator maneuvers to stay out of charge range of the Murmillo. Again, Brutus waits to avoid fatigue.

Turn 11:
Alexander swings his lasso around his head while the crowd chants. He tosses it towards Brutus. The Murmillo tries to swat it away, but misses the timing and is entangled! However, before the Laquerious can capitalize, the Murmillo manages to cut his way free.

Turn 12:
This time, Brutus turns towards Alexander and moves slowly towards him. Alexander tries to lasso his opponent again, but this time is unsuccessful.

Turn 13:
Brutus can feel the fatigue spreading through his body. Again, he swats away the lasso as it lashes out for him. However, he is now close enough and charges the older Gladiator. A darting sword reduces the old man 1 Pain.

Turn 14:
Brutus passes his fatigue test as he sense victory. He attacks with 4 and holds 1, while Alexander uses 2 and holds 2. The Murmillo is too much for the Laquerious and knocks him down, reduces him below Pain 0, and Dazes him. The old man raises his two fingers in the missio. The crowd grants him mercy as well, but he was not taken out of action.

With pride, the editor announces the Ludus Massinissa the winner of the first event!

Event 2: Pairs

The crowd roared their approval and lauded Brutus' victory against his two foes! The crowd had been entertained, but Metallus could see that their blood lust had been roused. They wanted more from this event. He would need to choose his fighters wisely.

House of Leptis Minor
  • Minoris the slave Murmillo
  • Janus the slave dimachaerus

Ludus Massinassa
  • Gallus the Barbarian Provactur
  • Petronius the barbarian Dimachaerus
Minoris is paired against Gallus, while Janus will face Petronius. It is considered bad form for a gladiator to interfere with a fight until the pairs each have a victor.

Turn 1:
Gallus rushes forward bellowing a challenge in his barbarian language. He beats his sword against his breastplate to arouse the crowd. Petronius dashes to the side and behind a pillar. Minoris saunters forwad and takes huge leap to show off his ability, to great cheers. Janus moves out behind him and much slower.

Turn 2:
Minoris misjudges the distance and his charged by the bellowing Provacatur. Gallus puts 5 into the attack and holds back 1, while Minoris puts 6 in defense since he all ready acted this turn.. Their blades ring off each other.

The other two stalk around the arena.

Turn 3:
Petronius charges in and attacks Janus. Petronius puts 4 and holds back 2. Janus uses all 3 to defend. The barbarians blade slips by and reduces Janus 1 Pain.

Minoris puts 5 into his attack, and holds back 1. Gallus uses 3 to defend and holds back 2 to counter-attack. 2 hits ring off the Provocatur's armor. Gallus returns the favor and attacks back, but no connections occur.

Turn 4:
Minoris again leads off with 5 dice and holds 1 to try and finish Gallus off quicker. He defends with 4 this time. Again, a sword blow rings off of Gallus' armor. Gallus counter-attacks, but Minoris dodges and begins to circle his prey.

Petronius puts 4 into attacking, while Janus defends with 2. Both hold back 1. There fight is inconclusive as no one finds an opening.

Turn 5:
Minoris keeps up his offensive, determined to strike flesh. Gallus defends with 4 again. The barbarian is wise to the Murmillo's circling technique and follows him with a striking success of his own.

Janus attacks with 2, while Petronius counters with 2 and holds 3 for his own attack. The barbarian outmaneuvers his foe and sends him off-balance and sprawling into the dirt. He quickly attacks. This reduces Janus to Pain 0.

Turn 6:
Petronius sense victory and puts all 5 dice into his attack. Janus tries to defend with all of his own. Janus manages to block the hit with his shoulder guard, and the crowd cheers in approval. He then manages to clamber to his feet.

Gallus attacks Minoris with 4 dice and holds 1, and this time Minoris defends with 4 and holds 2. Minoris uses 1 to parry. This keeps him from having to make a save. Then, he counters with his 1 vs. 1, with no impact.

Turn 7:
Gallus again gets the drop on Minoris and attacks with 4 and Minoris defends with 4. Gallus has a strong roll and uses a stiking success to Go Past His Guard. The Murmillo's armor blocks two, but a third gets by and reduces him to 1 Pain. However, his counter attack is solid, but bounces off the barbarian's armored chest plate.

Janus senses the bloodlust of the crowd and puts 3 dice into his attack. His only chance is to defeat his foe. No Missio will probably be given. Petronius defends with 3. With a ferocity, Janus reduces his foe to 0 Pain as well.

Turn 8:
Gallus senses victory and presses his attack on Minoris. However, he is over eager, and poor foot work allows Minoris to circle him outside of his combat arc. Gallus will not be able to parry or use striking successes, unless he breaks off and re-centers himself. Minoris then follows up with a fierce attack of his own that reduces Gallus to 0 Pain.

Petronius is now feeling the desperation of the crowd chanting for blood too. He attacks with 4 dice and holds only 1. Janus defends with 3. However, it doesn't look good as Petronius has 2 potential hits. Janus' armor fails and he is taken Out of Action.

The Mercy roll for Janus can not have any modifiers. He needs a 7+ to survive. Janus is killed in the arena by Petronius. The crowd roars in approval!

Turn 9:
Petronius turns to face his next potential opponent.

Gallus gets desperate and puts it all into an awkward attack on Minoris. He defends with 4 again. The attack reduces Minoris to 0 pain as a sword strike gets past him. The Murmillo responds with a savage blow to Gallus' helmet that knocks him flat and dazes him.

Turn 10:
Petronius gets ready to fight Minoris, and saves his strength from fatigue.

The dazed Gallus fails to get up, and tries to crawl away as fatigue saps his strength. Minoris also feels fatigue. Minoris moves in for the kill, but manages to put the Gladiator down but not OOA.

Turn 11:
Minoris passes his fatigue test while Petronius waits for him to finish off Gallus. Before the Provocatur can raise the two fingers, Minoris smashes him senseless with his shield. He turns to the crowd who chant for blood. Minoris kills Gallus in the arena.

Turn 12:
Minoris fails another fatigue test, reducing his CP 2.

Petronius has been patiently waiting, and charge the Murmillo. He attacks with 4 and holds 1 while Minoris defends with 3. Minoris uses his last CP to force a parry. However, the medium gladiator uses a striking success to go past the Murmillo's guard. However, it was not enough Minoris blocks the hit with the brim of his helmet. The Dimachaerus rushes past the Murmillo after completing the charge.

He is hoping that by the time the Murmillo can turn around, he will be exhausted.

Turn 13:
Both gladiators fail a fatigue test. Petronius moves away and begins to turn, while Minoris pivots in place.

Turn 14:
This time, they both pass their fatigue test.

Petronius stumbles in to attack with 3 dice and holds 1, while Minoris defends with 2 and holds 1. Minoris uses his last CP to parry, but the blade slides harmlessly across his manica.

Turn 15:
Both again pass their fatigue tests. This time Minoris successfully blocks Petronius attack and tries to knock him down, but the other gladiator stays upright. It serves as distraction enough as Minoris downs Petronius with a hit across the side of his helmet.

Turn 16:
Minoris fails his fatigue test and collapses to the floor of the arena next to the body of his foe.

The crowd rises to their feet in honor of the hard fought battle and the two Gladiators. Thunderous applause fill the amphitheatre. The editor looks on with a huge smile on his face. Such a contest is the stuff of legends and election victories!

Both Ludus are declared victorious!

Event 3: Single Combat

The editor rises to his feet to give a stir speech in honor of Minoris and Petronius and how they overcame their foes and fought to an honorable stalemate. The excitement of the crowd is halted as a heavy downpour stirs up suddenly and forces everyone to seek shelter, much to the Counsels chagrin. When the weather clears and the games can continue, the crowd is much smaller and the arena is filled with mud.

House of Leptis Minor
  • Ordinarri the slave secutor

Ludus Massinissa
  • Domitius the barbarian Hoplomachus

Turn 1-3:
Ordinarri slogged through the mud forward, while Domitius made his way behind a pillar.

Turn 4:
Ordinarri turned and moved towards Domitius. The secutor moved so close that the Hoplomachus decided to charge him instead of throwing his spear. He used 4 dice while Ordinarri used 3 to counter. Domitius used a single striking success to try and knock down the Secutor. With a sweep of his spear, he sent Ordinarri into the mud.

He manages to crawl away, before pulling himself upright.

Turn 5:
Ordinarri reacted quickly and charged back into fight. He put 5 into the attack, while this time Domitius used 3 to defend. He used his skilled swordsmanship to get 4 potential hits, but 3 just clanged off the Hoplomachus' heavy armor. However, he was reduced 1 Pain.

However, the return attacks from Domitius were just as fierce! He used a striking success to go past his guard, and a second one to try to knock him down again! The attacks did not get through to cause pain, but Ordinarri landed in the mud again! He was unable to get up in the recovery phase.

Turn 6:
Domitius went to work attacking the downed gladiator. He used 3 to attack, while Ordinarri used all 5 to defend. Again, Domitius goes past his guard but fails to find a weak spot.

Ordinarri again crawls away in the mud, but this time is too mired to rise.

Turn 7:
Ordinarri manages to hustle back to his feet, and again charge back into the fight. The fighting is inconclusive, but this time Ordinarri manages to knock the Hoplomachus into the mud. However, Domitius jumps back up to continue the fight.

Turn 8:
Ordinarri goes back into the attack with 4 dice. This time, the Hoplomacchus forces Ordinarri into poor footing with a striking success. He loses his last banked CP. However, Domitius can not capitalize on it.

Turn 9:
Ordinarri wades in again. A loud pair of clangs fill the arena as Domitius blocks the swings with his shoulder guard. Neither warrior seems to be getting the upper hand.

Turn 10:
With the encouragement of his servant, Ordinarri passes a fatigue test. Domitius does as well.

Domitius comes in with his spear whistling and going wide and then with a tight thrust. This time, it is Ordinarri's turn to deflect them with his armor. However, it is a feint as the haft of the spear ends up between Ordinarri's legs and he is toppled into the mud again!

Turn 11:
Ordinarri fails a fatigue test, but Domitius passes.

Ordinarri again scrambles back to his feet quickly, not allowing the other gladiator a chance to capitalize on downing him. This time, his sword work pays off as he manages to find a weak spot in Domitius's armor and wounds him, bringing him to pain 0.

Turn 12:
Ordinarri fails another fatigue test that Domitius passes.

The secutor sense his limbs weakening and judges the time is now to end this battle. He puts everything he has left into the attack. He manages to get past Domitius' guard and downs the Hoplomachus.

Domitius raises his two fingers in the missio. The crowd was amused by his ability to throw his opponent into the mud, and grants him mercy.

The Ludus of Leptis Minor is the winner of the event.

At the end of the games, the Editor grudgingly rose and awarded the laurel's of victory to Metallus and the gladiator's of Leptis Minor. He then transitioned into a speech about the grandeur of Leptis Magna being evident in its Spanish colonies valor in the arena.

Metallus tuned the rest out. He was more interested in counting the gate. After all, he had to replace Janus some how.

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Campaign Stuff

Janus from Leptis Minor
Gallus from Ludus Missanissa

Serious Injury:
Normallus from Leptis Minor- However, he has a full recovery.

Ludus Massinissa get +3 XP for underdogs

Brutus= +15- Earned a Chariot Skill- Emergency Stop
Ahernobarbus= +4
Petronius= +9- Earned a Chariot Skill- Stand Aside
Domitius= +4- Earned a Ferocity Skill- Throw Sand

Normallus= +1
Alexander the Eldar= +1
Minoris= +12- Earned +1 Combat Pool
Ordinnarri= +7

The House of Leptis Minoris earned 40 coin, while the Ludus Massinissa earned 30 coins.

Metallus purchased a new Dimachaerus gladiator to replace Janus.

The Reputation of Ludus Massinissa went up 1 despite their loss in the games. There performance even as underdogs spurred much pre-election talk, much to the consuls delight!

Troupe Rating
Both Troupes lost rating due to the death of Gladiators.
Ludus Massinissa is at 572 Rating
House of Leptis Minor is at 681 Rating
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Final Thoughts
Wow, a Tertiarri and Pairs in the same Games!  What a slug fest.  The Bloodthirsty crowd during the Pairs was especially dangerous.  Neither Lanista could gamble on asking for the Missio and had to fight on until they could not fight anymore, which is what ended up happening!  Due to the documenting, this may have been one of the longest Games we have played yet!  I think it took about 2 and a half hours, but without documenting and some rules review probably would have been closer to 2.  Still, a brutal match. 

You can check out these rules here: