Monday, June 18, 2018

Battle Report: Super Systems 4th Edition- Showdown in the Sands

The Black Hearts had completed the job easily.  The museum had a state of the art security system to protect the artifacts they had collected over the years.  However, those security precautions were no match for villains with the capabilities of the Black Hearts.  Guards, alarms, vaults…. All of it was for nothing when the Black Hearts came to collect.

What exactly they collected was unclear from the video The Union of Semi-Professional Heroes had been provided.  The Black Hearts had easily penetrated the security and made their way to the Hall of Ancient History and moved into the South-East Asia wing.  There they grabbed a variety of artifacts and made their way out. 

“What are these miscreants up to?” Mr. Amazing turned to the Riverine.  He knew that his companion had a long history with that region of the world, not all of it good. 

“I can’t be sure….but that was the region where I received my powers.  There might be a link,” Riverine responded. 

There was a quick blast of red light, and then Red Streak was there with Mr. Amazing and Riverine, “Those goons were spotted out in the desert by a park ranger.  He called it in, and the local police have asked for our help.” 

Mr. Amazing nodded, “Well Riverine, let’s go ask them what they are up to!”  With that, the three heroes rushed out of their lair to intercept the Black Hearts out in the desert. 


The Super System 4th Edition book has a few Archetypes to help you get some quick heroes together.  I used them to come up with my two sides.  The Black Hearts are the “villains” while The Union are the “heroes”. 

The Black Hearts
Metalhead- Brick- Immovable Object
Nihilist- Mentalist- The Empath
Troll- Blaster- Blaster- Fates Gunner

The Union (of Semi-Professional Heroes)
Mr. Amazing- Brick- Mr. Stupendous
Red Streak- Speedster- Speed Demon
Riverine- Brawler- The Shield Slinger

I took those archetypes and made a couple of character sheets with notes to refer to during playing.  You can find out more about these heroes and villains in a previous post.   

This game will be played on a 4x4 desert board.  I am using my classic wasteland table cover.  I then scattered some rocks around.  I also placed a dirt road across the center of the board.

The Black Hearts are placed within three inches of each other in the center of the board.  They are in a triangle within 3 inches of each other.  The Union can be placed on any table edge.  Mr. Amazing and the Riverine are blocking each table edge at the end of the road.  Red Streak is supporting the Riverine. 

One of the Black Hearts is carrying the “Loot”.  It is being carried by Troll.  The Black Hearts are trying to get the “loot” off the board.  The Union is trying to recapture the “loot”.  As a secondary objective, they will want to apprehend one of the Black Hearts for interrogation.    

At the edge of the board waits a Black Hearts burrowing machine.  If they can get there with the artifact, they can escape. 

Mr. Amazing slowly lowered himself to hover a few feet from the ground.  He smiled his pearly white teeth, “Going somewhere?”

Nihilist snarled behind her mask, “We need to get to the burrower, we can go around or through them.”

“Through!” Metal Head shouted and charged forward.

Turn 1:
The Black Hearts under Nihilist win the initiative easily.  They go first. 

Metalhead sees Mr. Amazing hovering and blocking their path and rushes forward his full AP the engage.  The Riverine runs up towards the fleeing villains to get in close enough to fight them. 

The Nihilist Mind Flares the Riverine, but he manages to resist its effects.  Then, she hastily follows Metalhead.  Meanwhile, Mr. Amazing moves closer to engage the fleeing Black Hearts next turn and get the angle on The Nihilist as she has the loot.

Troll turns and tosses a Flame bomb at the Riverine who fails to dodge.  He is hit for 4 Vitality loss!  The Riverine is knocked back 4 inches and flips back to his feet and shakes it off. 

Red Streak races ahead and catches up to the Black Hearts, but does not have enough AP left to engage them. 

Turn 2:
The Nihilist helps the Black hearts win Initiative again. 

She flares Red Streak, but he shakes off the mind attack.  Then moves away.  The Red Steak then  buzzes around Metalhead to get in close with the Nihilist and launch an attack.  However, Metal Head uses his Bodyguard ability to get in the way.  The Red Streak’s punch just makes Metalhead laugh.

Metalhead then triggers his Density Increase and haymakers Red Streak, which he barely manages to dodge with his speed.

The Riverine runs forward and gets behind cover as he approaches, wary of Troll’s flame bombs.

This time, Troll launches at Mr. Amazing who is hovering in the way.  He tags the flying man, and reduces him 6 Vitality with a blast to the face.  This knocks him tumbling back 6 inches.  Mr. Amazing steadies himself, but can only fly closer to the fight and can not engage this turn.

Turn 3:
This time The Riverine manages to outlead the Nihilist.   The Union will go first.   

Mr. Amazing charges at the Nihilist, but Metal Head is there with his Bodyguard ability to get in the way.  Mr. Amazing charges forward, but Metal Head snatches his from the air and holds him up and away from Nihilist.  He then grabs Mr. Amazing and holds on. 

The Riverine comes up behind Troll, and throws his Trident at him.  Fate intervenes and Troll manages to dodge out of the way of the attack. 

In return he runs past and tosses a Flame bomb into the melee of Metal Head, Nihilist, Red Streak, and Mr. Amazing looking to hit Red Streak.  The Red Streak easily avoids the blast, but the Nihilist is singed in the attack. 

“What are you doing idiot!” she yells.  In response, the Troll just shrugs, “It is what I do!” 

Despite the blast, she manages to Mind Flare The Red Streak.  This leaves him “Stunned”.  She is then able to move past and away from him towards safety.  The mind flare causes The Red Streak to stumble after Nihilist, but he can not catch up to her yet.   

Turn 4:
The Nihilist shouts at Troll, “Get The Red Streak now, while he is disoriented!” 

Troll smiles wickedly and tosses his bomb with great accuracy.  It easily hits the disoriented speedster and blasts him back 5 inches and leaves him with 1 Vitality left. 

The Riverine rushed up and grabbed his trident and launched an attack on Metal Head.  The Trident slammed across the back of the brick’s head, and the shock of contact bounced it from the Riverine’s hands.  Metal Head slowly cracked a smile. 

Metal Head squeezes Mr. Amazing, but fails to damage the hero.  However, he is also unable to free himself from the thugs grip. 

The Nihilist makes it to the burrowing machine at the end of the road and jumps in with the stolen artifacts from the museum. 

The Nihilist jumped into the open hatch of the waiting burrower.  She turned and the rest of her team got the hint, get in or get left behind.  Troll scampered after her with his shambling ape-like gait.  Meanwhile, Metal Head tossed Mr. Amazing aside and ran for it. 

Riverine dashed to his friends aid and crouched beside him to make sure he was okay.  AS he did so, the engine of the burrower rumbled to life, and the great machine tore into the ground with a rumbling screech.  The red Streak covered his ears as the machine descended into the ground.  
“Looks like they got away,” Mr. Amazing said.  He clutched the side of his head in pain. 

“This time,” the Riverine responded.    

Well, I am sure I messed up a lot of rules in my first play through in a long time.  Using the archetypes in the book was much easier than trying to design my own characters.  They came out pretty well balanced.  When I designed characters on my own before the results did not work as well as the arch-types. 

The villain of the match was definitely Troll.  He caused havoc with his Fortune powers.  He was tagging people left and right and easily did the most damage.  However, Metal Heads bodyguard ability combined with Density Increase was really helpful as well.  He was right there to keep anything from happening to his boss.  Nihilist’s mind flare worked when I needed it to and allowed her to escape at the end. 

The Heroes turned out to be underwhelming in this game.  Part of that was the fact that they were poorly matched up.  Red Streak ended up fighting Metal Head, a fight he could not win.  Mr. Amazing was a much better match for him, but by the time he got involved it was too late.  Riverine also ended up being too far away to be much help in this mission.  Oh well, I can see where the Heroes powers could be really tough to beat, but today the combos did not work.  Perhaps because of their needs for haste early it left them a bit unorganized when the fighting happened.

I really like the opposed GOAL roll system, even if sometimes it felt a bit dice heavy.  It is also pretty tough to take someone out of action leading to drawn out combats.  This fits with the ethos of Super Hero fighting, but would not work with all genres.  I also like the “tool box” nature of the rules as they give you plenty of things you can add and use as you progress in skill with the game such as special attacks, powers, vehicles, Henchmen, etc.  Anyway, you can read a full review of the rules here if you want.        

I look forward to playing more of this game and these characters.  I mean, who do the Black Hearts work for?  Why did they steal artificats from South-East Asia, where the Riverine found his Trident?  Who will The Union call in to help them track down the Blakc Hearts? I am excited to look over the Nano Metal guys I have left and start assigning them some powers and having them join the conflict.   

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