18 June 2021

Super Mission Force Game 2: Rooftop Rumble

So I've been putting off continuing my Super Mission Force (2nd Edition [SMF2]) campaign because of terrain. Actually because the real world is just too damn busy right now but terrain was my excuse.

At the end of my first SMF2 game, I rolled the next scenario and got "Rooftop Rumble". I like a nice-looking board and planned to make some convincing rooftops with water tanks, air-conditioning units and such. When life intruded and delayed my terrain-making, I stubbornly refused to play until I could get back to the rooftops.

After a particularly busy few weeks I realized, for my sanity, I needed some gaming. So I slapped down a couple of foam board sheets I sprayed with gray acrylic paint, cut one of them into two parts, and put all three resulting rooftops at slightly different vertical levels. I raided my bit box to grab a few nurnies and greebles to act as roof vents, antennas, and other scatter. I would rather have painted all the bits gray as well but hey, at least I now had a board.

And I'm glad I broke down and played on a "substandard" board. This game is so fun! The narrative that emerges through play is incredible.

The bad guys, The Phantom Satellites lost the first game when their secret Weapon was destroyed by the heroic team, The Cabinet. The MVP of that first game was most certainly Master Astra, the shuriken-wielding Street Level character whose rocket-powered nitro-stars did the bulk of the damage to the weapon including the coup-de-grace. My subplot rolls for the second game revealed an "Art" connection, which didn't make much sense. Since it was a "Rooftop Rumble" game, and Master Astra is definitely a Daredevil-like gritty urban character, I said that the evil mastermind known as The Phantom Sun had tracked down the source of Master Astra's shuriken arsenal. The villains then intended to abduct the hero's artist friend, secretly a brilliant inventor who crafts Master Astra's various hi tech throwing stars. For some weird reason, the intense battle during their first encounter also caused Master Astra and the mentalist frog-alien Ssluuzurom to develop a temporary psychic bond, making it difficult for them to attack each other in this game.

Heroes on the right
The game started with all characters randomly placed, except for the Free Radical Squad, who I decided could begin mounted on the armored hero Heavy Fist. I regret this now because it gave the heroes an advantage. I should have let the villains begin with the psychic frog-alien adjacent to his boss, The Phantom Sun, so that the cosmic mastermind could've carried him into battle.













Combatants rush forward!
Turn 1 began with everyone moving forward on the offensive, with Heavy Fist's leaping power carrying him and his shrunken infantrymen passengers to the rooftop blockhouse for cover. Since this was Rooftop Rumble and anyone leaving a building edge suffers falling damage (excepting flyers and a few others), I knew the villains' strategy was to use Ssluuzurom's Mind Control to force the heroes to "willingly" leap to their own dooms. The heroes felt the dreaded effects of the Mind Control last game and therefore targeted the alien mentalist immediately. The evil android known as The Upgrade used Power Blast with its awesome 30 inch range to hit Madame President, the good guy leader, with a massive 5 Body attack. First blood almost had the heroes down one figure!

The Phantom Sun activated his Flight power and rushed forward to intercept Heavy Fist, not quite reaching his prey. Master Astra then revealed their X-Factor chosen for this game: the rocket-powered grappling-line shuriken (adapted from the Archer Archetype's special maneuvers), which allowed the hero to effectively duplicate the Leaping power. Using the special throwing star, Master Astra swung across the rooftops, engaging a surprised Phantom Sun in aerial hand-to-hand combat. The mastermind proved a worthy opponent, shrugging off the attack.


11 hits; daaaang!
Turn 2 started with a bang and proved to be the most exciting turn, although as I write this I realize I violated the rules to the villains' detriment. The heroes won initiative and Heavy Fist activated, managing to recharge his jet pack (Leaping) and blast across the board, conducting a Death from Above attack against the feared amphibious alien. Action-packed as this was, I realize now that Heavy Fist began without line-of-sight to his target and therefore could not have made this attack. Dang. Well, the following is what happened, based on my illegal attack...

The armored hero smashed into the alien psychic rolling an incredible 11 point melee attack, which the unfortunate Ssluuzurom could only reduce to 9 damage. I was unsure of what to do with that much excess damage but the game's creator, Mr. Scott Pyle, graciously and quickly provided me with the official ruling (excess damage is lost). Remarkably, the alien villain made his KO roll, staying conscious while suffering an incredible 18 inches of knockback! I then rolled for his last ditch attempt to hang on and he made it, preventing himself from flying off the roof to the street below. Pulling himself slowly back onto the roof, the alien's eyes glowed as he activated his Mind Control, commanding Heavy Fist to leap off the building, with his tiny soldiers in tow. Perhaps our hero had built up a natural mental shield after being manipulated so often last game: he shrugged off the attack!

Multiple Arms power = distance melee!
The Free Radical Squad rushed forward and despite their short legs, could still pummel the alien with the Reach ability afforded by their Multiple Arms power. Another amazing roll saw the frogman face 6 potential points of damage, enough of which got through for the auto-KO. Combined with knockback, the blows sent the alien plummeting to the concrete below.

Master Astra attempted a similar maneuver against The Upgrade, swinging on a grappling line across two roofs to plant a foot in the android's face. Despite the telling blow, the android remained standing and nearly felled the shuriken-wielder with a devastating energy blast.

KA-RACKATHOOM!
Turn 3 saw the villains reduced to three but still pressing the attack with the Mindhound leaping into the Free Radical Squad's midst, causing terrible damage. Returning the favor to the villains, Heavy Fist activated his jump jets and sailed a giant power fist straight into The Phantom Sun's face, knocking the would-be world conquerer cold with one blow!

The Upgrade went down in a flurry of punches from Master Astra, after the helmeted mystery-hero blocked the android's energy blast with a brilliantly timed albedo-cloud star! (Note: that's flavor only, my interpretation of Master Astra winning the melee combat with the help of some Gadget rerolls. 







The final melee
The Mindhound was the only villain standing at the beginning of Turn 4. That didn't last long. The Free Radical Squad pounded the beast with dozens of tiny fists. Although still suffering a severe injury from the previous battle, the strange beast mounted a a vicious counter attack, knocking out the little trooper squad. Master Astra then eliminated the threat, swinging into the melee and onto the beast's back, knocking it unconscious.






So, at the end of turn 4 it was a decisive ass-kicking with every member of the Phantom Satellites unconscious and three of The Cabinet's four still standing. In hindsight the illegal attack Heavy Fist conducted against the psychic delivered the easy victory to the heroes. It shouldn't have been that close.

The post-game had the Cabinet earning two "bumps", one of which I gave to the Free Radical Squad, the other to Master Astra. The Squad earned a +2" Move increase, an incredibly useful bump as they suffer from the Slow hindrance normally, and had their already low movement temporarily lowered due to a severe injury suffered in this fight. Master Astra earned another +1D bonus die to Image-based Pre- and Post-game Sub-Plot rolls.

The villains managed to avoid capture or death but both the Mindhound and Ssluuzurom suffered severe injuries. The Upgrade woke up unscathed while, fittingly, The Phantom Sun woke up ready to "Settle the Score" (giving him a bonus to next game's attacks).

3 comments:

  1. Second game good stuff. Glad to made it to the second game, the narrative was great. Re: terrain; sometimes you just have to balance playing time and terrain building time. In my case playing time always wins :-)

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    1. Thanks Shaun!

      Yeah, this was heaps of fun to play. I rolled up "Rooftop Rumble" for the third scenario as well so I no longer had the terrain excuse. I played that game just a few days ago and it was even more exciting and close.

      One thing I meant to discuss in my post was the joy of extended solo play. Meaning: I set this second SMF2 game up and came back to it intermittently over a couple of days. What a difference that makes to a gamer's sanity, to be able to roll the dice for effect nearly every day of the week, despite busy work-from-home and remote school schedules.

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    2. I had not thought of playing a game over several days that way. I play a game over several days due to time constraints. But I am finding it harder to play a game this way and wanting to play all in one go (although I would like to, I still play over several sessions). But I like your viewpoint and using this thinking makes me feel better about me play over several days :-)

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