|The Phantom Satellites guard the Weapon|
I set a goal back in January of focusing on getting one game to the table by Spring without getting distracted by other projects and despite the challenges of real, non-hobby life. I just barely made it, with only hours to spare but it was worth it. It's been ages since I've played a tabletop game and this one was a blast. I also now have more terrain applicable to all sorts of genres.
On to the game... I played the first bout in a planned campaign using Scott Pyle's Super Mission Force (2nd Edition). The game featured my super-hero group, the Cabinet, versus the villainous Phantom Satellites. The scenario was "The Weapon" from the SMF2 rulebook and the Cabinet just managed to pull off a win by destroying the weapon. It was a nail-biter though, with most of the good guys down to one Body or Psyche box and the bad guys generally unscathed before the heroes pulled it out.
I played the game solo and even though I have the new Athwart Time supplement which features solo rules, I didn't use them. I simply played each side aggressively against each other. Since the scenario had a specific goal, it was easy to set each side's strategy and then try as hard as I could to oppose it when I activated the respective enemy side.
Prior to rolling the scenario I rolled for Subplot, with Madame President on the heroic team and The Upgrade on the opposing side both choosing an Image Subplot. The villains rolled a mere one Bonus Die but the heroes received a whopping five rerolls! Since both teams earned bonus dice, the two characters had a bond making it harder for them to attack each other. Trying to tie this with the Weapon scenario, I imagined that Dr Regina Movella's highly suspect public behavior led her good friend Sara Washington, aka Madame President, to investigate and discover the doctor's murder and replacement by The Upgrade. A deeper investigation revealed the construction of a super-weapon on the Patagonian plains, and upon arriving Madame President attempted to appeal to The Upgrade, whom Washington hoped had some of Doctor Movella's humanity imprinted on her android brain.
|Heavy Fist and the Free Radical Squad ready to attack|
The heroes won initiative so they executed the plan to brief: whoosh, Heavy Fist's backpack jets fired carrying him and the shrunken GIs to the objective. Thunk! Despite rolling seven dice to attack the thing, Heavy Fist's blows bounced harmlessly off the weapon. I used two of the heroes' five subplot rerolls but still didn't do a single point of damage.
|Mind Control is powerful!|
I gave the Free Radical Squad the benefit of the doubt and presumed they got off of Heavy Fist on top of the weapon before he was forced to jump away. The Squad attacked the Phantom Sun using their Multiple Limbs power and incredibly scored two Body hits and knock-back.
"Destroy them" the would-be despot commanded The Upgrade, who then hit the Free Radicals with a massive Power Blast that scored seven successes. The little soldiers rolled only one success and took six Body damage and then failed their KO check. In hindsight I should've given the Free Radical Squad a +2D hard cover bonus but it certainly made the game more interesting having 1/4 of a team eliminated in the first half of the first turn.
Suddenly, a throwing star whizzed by the combatants, imbedding itself in the Weapon before exploding spectacularly, revealing bits of machinery beneath the artifact's armored exterior. "KACHUNK...KRACKATHOOM!" The street-level hero Master Astra used their X-Factor power to begin the game with the Archer archetype's "Rocket-Powered Nitro Arrow", or in this case a Nitro-Shuriken, gaining a 6D Power Blast. For the entire game I forgot to include the +1 reroll that a major-level Power Blast gets.
The Mindhound rushed forward to engage this new threat to the Weapon, carefully avoiding the tarpits.
|Not a single success for the Nitro-star|
The frog-like alien psychic couldn't recharge its Mind Control, so instead hit Heavy Fist with a devastating Mental Blast.
The Upgrade wheeled and blasted the trapped Heavy Fist but the awesome energies just washed over him without effect.
Perhaps the android's attack blasted away the muck and vines because Heavy Fist easily passed his escape check to break out of the tarpit, only to fail his Leaping power recharge check. Forced to walk out, he ended up facing the Phantom Sun, who then hit the armored hero with an ineffectual Power Blast.
Madame President made her way closer to the center of the fight, trying with little effect to use Enhance to grant her team bonus dice.
Madame President rushed in to help Master Astra against the Mindhound. It was only in a post-game review of the rules that I realized how good a tactic this could have been, as the master of throwing-stars could've left the melee without suffering a free attack. I didn't know that and was just trying to get the +1 team-up bonus.
The Upgrade's blasts again proved useless against Heavy Fist's battle suit.
|Take that Brain with Legs!|
|Seven successes without the forgotten Reroll!|
The post-game review of the KO'd characters revealed the Free Radical Squad were fine but now looking to Settle the Score against The Upgrade, earning them a +1 to attack the android in the next battle. The Mindhound didn't fare so well, suffering a Serious Injury with a -3 inch Move and -1 attack penalty in the next game.
What a fun game. Since there are so many powers I messed up a lot of rules. For example, I have three characters with Gadgets and I forgot to dice for their potential reroll bonuses until the third turn. Also each team has a Savant and I forgot to give either of them their respective Free Move at the game's start. None of this affected the enjoyment of the game however, which is fast and fun being simple but tactically deep with all of the interplay of powers and backgrounds.
I'm definitely already working on the next battle. I've rolled up the subplots and the next scenario will be Rooftop Rumble. I'd be playing again this weekend but unfortunately I don't have any rooftop terrain ready.