Game 3 – Victorian Science Fiction (Hordes of the Things)
This game was entitled War of the Worlds and was put on by the famous Bob Beattie. After having read so much of work and ideas online, I was finally able to meet the man, and it was a pleasure, as was his game.
The scenario was modelled after War of the Worlds – no, not the Orsen Wells radio drama, but the 1898 book by H. G. Wells. In Bob's version, however, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen call up various Victorian forces for good while the "Martian" invaders bring Earth's forces for evil under its control. Bob adapted a number of characters to troop types from Hordes of the Things (HOTT) and added a few scenario rules.
I showed up first so was given the choice of commands and I chose the Invaders as, well, the flying saucer and tripod war machines looked cool! I later found out that I had five elements that required a PIP roll of '6' to come on and a further ten elements (or so) that were Lurkers that could only enter in special terrain that slowly crept across the board and that no one wanted to enter!
|Pre-battle view of the entire board|
|Posed picture of the Aerial Forces of Evil|
One of the fiercest weapons the invaders had were the Black Smoke creatures (rated as Gods in HOTT) and the invaders had three of them. In addition it had two very large tripods which counted as Dragons. Each of these elements require a '6' on the PIP roll to bring on. Given that it would be very hard to bring these on using normal rules, Bob gave the Invader 2D6 to roll for PIPs, choosing the highest die. This also had the side effect of altering the odds that Gods went away. Normally, a God in HOTT is brought on when the player rolls a '6' and uses all of the PIPs to bring the God on. On any subsequent turn, however, if the player rolls a '1' for PIPs the God is removed. As I was rolling 2D6 and choosing the best, a God (or Dragon) could be called up if either die was a '6', but would only be removed if both dice rolled were '1'.
Needless to say, I never lost a God to a bad PIP roll, and I got all three Gods and two Dragons onto the board. I even ignored calling up the Black Smoke a couple of times that I rolled a '6' as I would rather have used the PIPs for movement.
|The Creeping Crud of the Invaders|
|Are those the aerial troops of Fu Manchu?|
|The Creeping Crud cannot be stopped!|
|The Invaders' Command|
|The god-like creatures of each side battle it out ...|
|... but the Forces of Evil prevail!|
|The Black Smoke creatures are relentless|
|The far right flank at the end of the battle|
|My forces at the end of the battle|
I really enjoyed the game as it was visually impressive and different from all my other games of HOTT, which were the typical Dwarves, Elves, Humans, and Goblins. Even though they were the same rules, they did not feel like a medieval fantasy game.
Bob later said that he should have removed the God if either die rolled a '1', rather than if both did. That would have certainly balanced out the sides, but I think I would have been reluctant to throw in any Black Smoke unless it had been absolutely necessary, given the odds. Bringing a God on would almost certainly have resulted in its loss, unless it came on at the end of the game.
The rules played well, even with some players never having played HOTT or DBA. Clearly some players were more involved than others, so some further balancing of forces is probably necessary, but I am sure Bob will work that out. As it was, for me, it was a fun four hours.
Next up is my DBA tournament using my wooden Early Armenian army.