Thursday 28 November 2013

Red Streets Blue Mats - 1st Match!

Red Streets Blue Mats is the title of the upcoming game of Mixed Martial Arts combat. RSBMats can be used for present day MMA matches, as a hand to hand combat system in other periods and genres from Pulps to Hong Kong cinema to even 5150 New Beginnings. You can even bring your existing THW characters into the octagon.

RSBMats game mechanics are based on the popular Red Sand Blue Sky gladiator game. But as combat in the octagon is much faster Tom Hise, the author, has altered the mechanics to reflect this. While in RSBS players follow the Maneuver-Attack sequence, in RSBM the sequence is extended with immediate resolution of some of the more exotic attacks. This match report will show you how the game plays. 

One thing I have learned is that you must be aware at all times as things can change for the worse in a hurry, as you will see. This may be a bit of a long report but I want to take it step by step to show how the mechanics work. The actual match took 15 minutes to play.

RSBMats covers 20 fighting styles from Aikido to Wrestling with each placed in  one of three Classes. The three Classes are Striker, Grappler, and Mixed ( a combination of classes). What makes RSBMats unique is that each Class has its own Non-Player Movement Table which allows the Non-Player Martial Artists to move and attack based on their Class. This takes solo and same side gaming to the next level. When fighting a Striker Class opponent it takes a different strategy than when fighting a Grappler as these opponents will use different tactics. Adds a lot of flavor to the game.

In our first match we have Andreas using the Pankration Fighting Style from the Mixed Class. His opponent is Chan, a Kung-Fu artist from the Striker Class. Now here's one of the best things about RSBMats, you don't need to know all about these real life fighting styles. All you need to know are the Signatures attached to each style and how they work in the game. This allows people like me, MMA spectators, to jump into the game and get fighting in no time with realistic results.

There are three Attributes (the same as used in RSBS and RSBMoon) Speed, Savvy and Strength and each have their place in the combat tables. Both of our fighters have a value of 4 for each of their Attributes. 
Here's our match at the start.

This octagon is included in RSBMats as are a dozen fighter counters that can be used instead of minis. Andreas is in blue on the left, Chan in purple on the right and the center figure is the referee. The referee is used to keep track of who is active during the match. This comes in handy as the action can bounce back from fighter to fighter during the game. In this bat rep we will concentrate on the action as it relates to the game mechanics. Tracking the rounds (each fighter can activate once per round) is important as matches are a limited number of rounds.

The match will consist of three, six turn, rounds. 

TURN ONE - The first action that takes place at the start of each turn is to see who will move (activate) first. Chan went first. As I was using Non Player Martial Artists, each fighter would roll on their appropriate Class NPMA Movement Table to determine what they would do. This is done versus the Savvy of the fighter. Chan's result was to stay in place.

Andreas went next and his result was to move towards his opponent. Here's a picture with the referee figure positioned to show that Andreas was active. Once a fighter enters the center of the octagon the match officially begins.

TURN TWO - The next turn Andreas goes first and rolling on the Striker Movement Table he enters into the zone occupied by Chan. Both roll on the Maneuver Table with Andres using 4 Bonus Dice and Chan 2. Bonus Dice are allocated at the start of the fight based on the Attributes Total of each fighter. Once used they are discarded. The Maneuver resulted in Andreas as the attacker. Moving to the Attack Table the results were inconclusive with Andreas's turn ending with  both fighters in the same zone.

TURN THREE - Movement was diced for again an this time Andreas went first. Already in the same zone his try for a Lock Up Attack failed. Chan went next and this took them to the Attack Table where Andreas scored damage to Chan's Chest sending him out of the zone. Two points were marked off in Chan's Chest area. In RSBMats the damage from blows has been condensed from the legs to the belly and no arm damage is tracked. This gives each fighter three areas of concern, Head (where damage is easier to deliver), Chest and Belly. With 2 of his 4 points of Strength taken from his Chest, Chan would have to be careful that another 2 point blow to the Chest wasn't landed. When you reduce the Strength in a body part o zero the match is over.

Note that Andreas scored damage when he wasn't active.

TURN FOUR - A new turn and Andreas goes first. Again based on the Non Player Movement Table his tactics are controlled by the game, perfect when playing solo as it keeps the suspense going. Note the referee behind Andreas signaling his activation. Andreas goes in for a Lock Up attack. Note that the Lock Up Attack bypasses the Maneuver Table. 
Both fighters roll for using Bonus Dice and Chan wins by 1d6. This results in the fighters going back to the Maneuver Table. From there the result is a standoff.

Chan now activates and goes to the Maneuver Table. Gaining the advantage the action moves to the Attack Table...
And Andreas scores another damaging blow on Chan, sending him backwards with 2 damage to the belly. Chan now has taken damage in two of the three tracked body parts.

TURN FIVE - Two turns left in the first round and both fighters are out of Bonus Dice. Now it's a war of attrition as the two fighters are pretty equal except that Chan has damage. As a player you don't want to find yourself in this situation  as your strategy is limited by the lack of Bonus Dice. Chan goes first and rolls on his Movement Table. He passes 1d6 and instead of attempting to regain a Bonus Die goes in for the attack. Rolling on the Maneuver Table Chan becomes the attacker. Then lightning strikes!

Chan scores four successes and Andreas none! Andreas is knocked backwards. Chan rolls on the Hit Location Table and scores a 3 with 2d6. Head! Rolling 1d6 for each point of Strength (still 4 as damage to the belly and chest does not affect overall Strength) Chan scores 3 successes, adds 1 for the previous Attack Table result for a total of 4. Andreas is knocked out! Chan is victorious and can move on.

OBSERVATIONS - Being reduced to zero Bonus Dice is dangerous. It's easy to try and save the dice but when the action continues from table to table without a break, as it does quite often, the temptation to burn any regained dice is too great. Do you save your dice? What if your opponent dumps a load of them at once? It's possible to win a fight from Maneuver to victory in one activation so that has to be taken into account. Sometimes using a Bonus Die is enough to stop the action so you can recover, sometimes it's not.

RSBMats has a light book keeping campaign system where you gain money and fame for each win. This can allow the winner to increase in abilities. Like RSBS your fighters can move from Locale to Locale, from the mean streets of Hong Kong to the PPV arenas of Vegas.
This would be a great convention Tournament game.

More to come.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Sad News Announcement

Many of you have come to know Carolee Gee throughout the years as the THW Girl. It is with deep sadness that I announce her passing on Saturday night after losing a battle with a difficult terminal illness. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.

More info

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Sudden Death in Overtime? - A New Beginnings AAR

"This is Ashlynn Cooper reporting from the Little Hisha district of the south side where police were called after a shooting was reported."

A police chopper circles the area.

"Another shooting in Little Hisha normally wouldn't command much attention but if reports are true this one has a story to tell."
Ashlynn Cooper.
"The victim is reported to be Syd Kattan, a resident of Little Hisha and a member of the NHC Rampage, a B Level CVL Team."

RIP Syd.
"Mr. Kattan was involved in tonight's game against the Red Raiders and there's speculation that the shooting may be related."
As the crowd begins to leave...
"Mr. Kattan was beaten on the game winning touchdown. The loss may cause the Rampage  to be dropped to the D League of the New Hope Competitive Violence League. As of yet no official information from the Rampage has been forthcoming."

... Ashlynn wraps up her story.
"This is Ashlynn Cooper reporting."

This story is the result of a CVL play test. The rules are working very well and the solo play rules are very good providing a competitive game. Details of game play will follow in other posts but as after a particularly close game where one team won in over time it came to me that the defensive player that was beaten would have to answer to those in charge. Working on the way the leagues are organized (better teams get better players, get more exposure, get their owners more wealth). The way the CVL is structured the two lowest teams at the end of the season drop to the lower leagues while the two top teams move up. Anyway, the game provided some fun and also potential New beginnings Encounters. My next NB Encounter, an Investigation into the death of Syd Kattan.

Thursday 14 November 2013

D'Erlon's Assault with Muskets and Shakos: Part Three: This is the End...


If you are just catching up here the links to 


To spare you the suspense... may be assured that the web of history remains intact despite my best efforts.

The end of the battle will be presented in photos below but first a word about the wherefore and such like.

As many have written, D'Erlon's deployment was too close to allow following battalions room to react the head of each brigade having been run down by cavalry. But that is not all there is to it and D'Erlon's deployment did what it was intended to. Bear with.

It was only the closeness of the deployment that let me take the ridge in the first place. As each lead battalion was worn down it was an easy matter to bring fresh troops to the front. This in turn made it impossible for the Allies to hold the hedge for French numbers in a very short span of time were just too great. 

No other deployment would have allowed reserves to have been brought up so quickly.

The charge of the heavies occurred exactly when it needed to in order to catch the heads of the French brigades at a great disadvantage. 

What steps might have been taken to minimize the damage? As some have suggested Donzelot and Marcognet may have held their 2nd Brigades back to form a back stop if you will. These battalions would have had time to form square and provide a nucleus around which the other troops could rally.

However this presupposes that D'Erlon knew that a single brigade from each division would have been able to reach the ridge line as Bourgeois had and then been able to hold until relieved by a second line.  IMO that would have been a bit of a gamble and the Count could easily have been pilloried after the fact for not having committed sufficient troops to the initial assault,

The one variable that I  introduced in this situation was of no avail to the French cause. Keeping the 1st and 4th cuirassiers fresh did not change the outcome at all. A proper general may well have been able to us them to better advantage of course. As it was the field was too crowded with troops, La Haye Sainte smack dab in the way, and the threat of two heavy cavalry regiments bearing down on them made the cuirassiers irrelevant to the fate of the infantry assault.

Well at least the game was fun to play. Fast paced and no head smack moments and nothing illogical reared its ugly head : )

Now I have to put all those figures away...

Overview of the field as the French near their high water mark,

The 62nd exchanges volleys while the 21st wavers.

Bourgeois and Donzelot about to break the Allied line.

Looming defeat from the Allied perspective.

The cavalry arrives just in the nick of time.

The Household Brigade
Who is that leading the Dragoon Guards?

The Blues!
Charge of the Royals.
Lead French battalion routs!
Slaying all the way...

Charge of the Greys
The onslaught is unstoppable

That's all for now.

Hope you enjoyed the show as they say.


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Distant Shores - Supplement for Warrior Heroes Legends

Much has been made about the fantasy world of Talomir used in THW. There's Warrior Heroes Armies and Adventures, Warrior Heroes Legends, Red Sand Black Moon as well as Rally Round the King. But all of these concnetrate on the northern half of Talomir. Well it's about time to fill in the gaps.

Distant Shores is the upcoming Talomir supplement that is centered in the southwest of Talomir. What WHL does for Altengard, the Capalan League, Mirholme and Tereken, Distant Shores will do for  Valkae, Sortium, Aeja, Zamba, Kurinthia, Barylistan, Demeskeen, Eskelin and Malohad.

Here's the area map.

Being a supplement means that the basic mechanics of how to play either Warrior Heroes book won't have to be repeated in Distant Shores. Instead there will be new monsters, new maps for the countries, new scenarios and army lists.

But one thing will be added as a game mechanic and it's purely optional. With the popularity of the Dueling mechanics in By Savvy and Steel, I'll be adding a variation for use with the Warrior Heroes  books. Just substitute it for melee when you have smaller fights. Most, if not all of the Attributes have been brought over into Distant Shores to work with the new optional melee system. Here's a step by step look at how it works.

Each character will have five Stats to use in melee. To convert them from the WH books is simple. The first of the five Stats is Stamina. This is the number of "wounds" the character can take before going out of the fight.
Stamina is equal to Rep.
The next Stat is one less than Rep, then two less, then three less and finally four less for the fifth Stat. However, this means some lower Rep characters may have one or more "0" Stats. Choose wisely!

Haldor has a Stamina of 5, Swordplay of 4, Aggression of 3, Power of 2 and Quickness of 1. Each Stat is used on one or more of the Melee Tables.

The game is played normally, using Activation, Reaction Rules: everything except when its' time to melee.

Activation is rolled and Haldor goes first. The Charge into Melee Test is taken and melee follows.  As there's only four fighting I choose to use the new mechanic. Haldor charges the closest enemy and they go to the Maneuver Table. Note that this is different than the Maneuver Table used in our fantasy gladiator game. Swordplay and Aggression are used on the Maneuver Table, dice are rolled, and Haldor gains a +1d6 advantage as the fight goes to the Attack Table.

The Sortium soldiers now activate and the two non-involved soldiers join the Attack. The winner of the previous table dictates what table is used next. As Haldor won on the Maneuver Table the fight is now on the Attack Table.

When multiple figures fight everyone rolls their d6 at the same time. The highest scoring of the multiple side is counted against the single figure. In this case Haldor wins again and the fight  moves to the Taking Control Table. The original figure attacked has lost 1 Swordplay d6.

As all figures are involved activation is not rolled and the melee continues until one or more figure leaves the melee. Haldor wins on the Taking Control Table and scores multiple wounds on his opponent, who fails his Wound Test and goes out of the fight. This causes a Man Down Test, remember that the WHL rules are still used.
 One soldier fails the test and runs away but the Rep 4 leader continues the fight. As a figure has left the melee Activation dice are rolled and Haldor goes first. He continues the melee and the two fighters go to the Maneuver Table.
This leads to the leader gaining the advantage as they go to the Attack Table. But once there Haldor takes control and a wound is scored on the leader.

The leader takes the Wound Test and runs away.

The optional melee rules are easy to follow as each table directs the action to the next. When they have been finalized I will publish them online so they can be downloaded for free.

D'Erlon's Assault with Muskets and Shakos: Part Two, the Crisis

Got in a few more turns today and things are shaping up nicely.

The French advance continued apace, driving back the  ever thinning Allied skirmish line.

All the while the French guns were slowly whittling down the Allied batteries on the ridge.

The French skirmishers soon reached the top the ridge and the Allied gunners withdrew.

The hedge and road were now held only by two under strength Dutch/Belgian battalions and a few companies of the Rifles.

When the first French battalion reached the hedge they were met with an effective volley from the Belgians. The commander of the battalion fell and the unit fell into disorder.

Still their return fire sent the Belgians running...

...right into the Scots who also took flight!

This most unexpected development  left a bit of a hole in the Allied line.

Things seemed to be going my way. With 12 battalions in various states of readiness bearing down on the two remaining British battalions holding the ridge line things really couldn't be going much better.

The British battalions extended right and left to lessen the gap left by the Scots.

My left hand brigade reached the hedge while the remaining skirmishers exchanged fire with the 21st on my right.

The commander of the 21st fell, and his battalion fell into disorder. Unfortunately I haven't any formed troops near enough to capitalize on the event.

The lead battalion of the right hand brigade is now crossing the hedge and exchanging fire with the 62nd foot.

So far things have pretty much followed the historical script. The details have varied but the overall theme has survived. The French are cresting the ridge and heavily out number the remaining Allied battalions  to their front.

Now the stage is set for the British cavalry charge. I finally decided to leave the Lueneberg battalion out of the struggle, so the main change from the historical battle is that the two French cuirassier regiments that will face the Household cavalry will be fresh.

Not sure if that will change anything. I am keen to find out though.

Hopefully more tomorrow.