Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Weird War Two - Grenades & Zombie Reserves

One of my New Year Resolutions was to actually play more games, as opposed to paint simply half a dozen models for numerous rule systems and then pack them away in a box never to see the light of day again. As a result I've managed to get in a series of simple "Savage Worlds" games over the past few days, using the "Weird War Two" setting where we've tried to get used to some of the more basic rule mechanics and tested which home rules we like to complement them.

These short scenarios have basically consisted of two British Army Wild Cards (Sergeant and Sniper) alongside an Infantry section, attempting to eliminate either a horror squad of zombies or a pre-1943 Wehrmacht German infantry squad.

Such skirmishes have certainly shown that there needs to be a lot more thought put into the placement of terrain with these rules than simply sticking a load of trenches and barbed wire randomly on the table; albeit the grenade throwing exploits between the two closest opposing earthworks has proved one of the highlights of the gaming sessions.

Grenades in "Weird War Two" certainly seem a little too powerful for my money with a medium range of 10 inches, 3d6 damage and medium burst template. Indeed this has lead to everyone's immediate reaction once an enemy approaches close enough for a volley of No. 23 Mark II grenades to be hurled, and then a similar number of Stielhandgranates to be thrown in response by the survivors. No-one shoots or moves (unless diving for cover) but just stand there exchanging grenades like monkeys pitching bananas at one another.

To offset this we've employed a couple of home rules, most notably any soldier caught in the blast of a medium (or further) thrown grenade has the opportunity to throw themselves out of the way (i.e. Agility test). This has lead to situations more realistic/satisfying where the occupants of a trench will be displaced out into the open by a grenade's explosion (if they're lucky) and then potentially gunned down by the attacking force (particularly if there's a British Bren Gun carrier about). The other home rule is the grenade explodes whilst in the soldier's hand if they roll a Critical failure (i.e. Both the Wild Card's Throwing die and Wild Die come up as a 1). Originally we played where 'snake eyes' simply meant the grenade was a dud, but having 'upped' the ante somewhat we've found we now think twice before hurling a pineapple, and there's a real sense of anticipation around the table when someone does.
In our final game we employed the reserves rule found within the "Flames of War" rulebook by "Battlefront Miniatures" to create a sense of impending dread and urgency upon the British side. Essentially at the start of each round we rolled to see whether a terrifyingly full squad of eleven German zombies (including one rigged to explode with dynamite) would appear from the woodland behind the British emplacement. This was an excellent way of trying to force the attackers to press forwards rather than simply sit tight within their trenches. As planned, once the Undead did stumble their way onto the battlefield on Turn Three they caused some serious disruption to the discipline of the British soldiers as a result of the Fear tests they generated.

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