After having been cooped up with the kids all week while Mrs. Sandwyrm was out of town; I ran screaming from the house today and over to Games 2 Die 4 for some gaming/testing. There I ran into John. Who, now that Farmpunk has officially quit 40K, is our only regular Sisters of Battle player here locally. Since there were no 40K players at the store until 5:00 or so, he decided to try out a couple of games of M42 with me.
After going over the basics of the game (which I need to make a written-down script for), we set up and played an Exfiltration mission. John was the attacker, and I was the defender.
John played the mission really well, and we had a lot of fun. He even used his hand grenades. :)
Unlike most players, he deployed both his squads of LaansGuard, instead of putting them in reserve. He used one as a blocking force to hold his rear, while the other one ran interference for the Knights, his Commander, and the hostage.
We had a LOT of Close Combat in this game. Which pushed our play time up to 2.5 hours. Which is a lot longer than any other M42 test game has gone. For only 5 turns of play.
At one point we had 5 units in CC across half of the table. While it was fun, it was also getting a little tedious. So I'll be tweaking the Fall Back and Consolidation rules to get combats over quicker. We simply had too many cases where the Knights were chasing down Laansguard units with 3 Suppression Markers after they ran, and drawing combat out another 2-3 rounds.
Still, the combat WAS fun. So apart from the length of the fights, it works very well (thanks for the sequence Eriochome!). Models were dancing all over the place, and we had cases where my Knights were deliberately getting into combat to try and slingshot some extra movement. Yet it didn't break anything.
In the end, John crushed my last-ditch rush and took the objective.
He like the mechanics, apart from the oddness of having to roll low sometimes, and the ridiculous length of the Close Combats. But what he liked the most was the mission. Since "You have to actually do something, unlike in 40K."
My take was that the Exfiltration mission worked flawlessly. So I'm going to call it good for now, and concentrate on testing the other missions.
We had some time left, so we set up a Bridgehead mission and played it. John was the attacker again, and I failed to protect my planet from the portal-invading scum.
The balance was a lot better this time. With 1 unit + Commander deployed for the Attacker. John was a little baffled by the hill rules (the 'hill on a hill' part) that made my Autocannon un-targetable by his on the first turn. But he killed it well enough once I fired. :)
I'm thinking though, that the Attacker needs a bit more uncertainty in getting his troops through the portal. Especially as the game goes on. So I'm probably going to make him roll 1 Reserve die per unit behind the portal each turn, with a maximum of one unit coming on. That way he's almost guaranteed a unit every turn until he gets down to 2-3 reserve units. When his flow of reinforcements might sputter a bit. Making the late game a bit more interesting.
And again, John really liked how different the mission was compared to 40K.
Other Notes I Took:
- Autocannons need to be AP7 again. Maybe with a lower firepower. Maybe not. The Grenade Launcher and Plasma Pistol are already AP6.
- Do we need a way for a model to block an enemy model that's trying to run past it in Close Combat?
- "Standard CCW" on the unit cards should just be called "Punch" instead.
- We really need some model/unit facing rules. Especially in CC.
- Hand Grenades need to be double-AP for models under the hole too. Not just grenade launchers.