FF2.0 is one of those games that I have always wanted to play but like many wargames (and even some of the larger box board games) I find the rule book a bit unwieldy. I'd really like it if it were available in a 'big box' edition like Space Crusade or the soon to be released Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster (which I am very excited about, so much so I forked up £100+ during it's Kick Starter campaign). Imagine if you could crack open the box, match the miniatures up with their stat cards and get playing an introductory mission within ten minutes. Well that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to go through the motions as if FF2.0 came complete in a box, imaginatively called Firefight 2.1. Obviously things will take a little longer as all I have at the moment is a collection of disparate elements and no 'fast play' cards or mechanics and it is actually my first time playing a full game. Luckily I've been tinkering with the rules booklet for ages...
I started, as I so often do these days with printed rulebooks, by cutting the spine off my original with a craft knife and scanning it all in, giving me a document I could chop and change to suit my needs (and also take everywhere with me on my trusty Transformer Prime).
Whilst I was sorting through the rules, making my own QRS of sorts I got to thinking about Action Cards. After a bit of re-reading and tweaking I realised FF2.0 would really benefit from these. Each turn, when it comes to move your figures you sort through a small pile of Action Cards, each with a different available option on it along with a summary of the rules and perhaps a page reference or two to the full rules in the book. FF2.0's Tactical Options and Defensive Responses lend themselves really really well to this idea. I'm not going to get tied up in making pretty cards in GIMP straight off, I'll do that if the idea works. For the mo, I've jotted down the Tactical Options and Responses onto torn up bits of paper.
I also had another thought, imagine, if you will, an initial mission with a bit of background fluff that works in such a way that it only introduces one card at a time, split into paragraphs like a 'Fighting Fantasy' story keeping surprises in store. So, that's what I'm going to do. I don't want to spend to much time on plot and I do want to introduce some civilians characters for my planned campaign later on so I'm going to write it as I go. I'm also going to play the game out using the Battleground VTT software (http://battlegroundsgames.com/) as that way I've not got any setup time or anything to worry about, and once again I can take the game with me.
Right then, first up lets pick a suitable map from my digital terrain directory... I want something sci-fi themed with interiors, so I can use automated turrets and the insides of buildings to introduce some of the cards... I think a Heroclix map as they're nicely detailed for games that use squares for movement... Found one! Smuggler Base by Josh Derksen (just do a Google search and you'll find it too). It's got some overprinted blurb on it but I can ignore or keep that as whim takes me. So then a sprinkling of fluff...
FF2.1 - Episode 1 - "Rust"
A Prydian Muster Fire-Team, consisting of four newly qualified Privates and their Emeritas intercept a distress signal coming from a nearby moon. They land their ship and the Muster are ordered to check out the source of the signal whilst the Emeritas stays on the ship.
Job done. The map already has a space craft on it, so I've just deployed my four mustermen armed with Moth VI's right by it. I've jotted all the important details for each marine down onto little bits of paper (Muster Infantry Private - Move 4 - Ranged 1 to 8 = 3 - Ranged 9+ = 2 - Melee 2 - Armour 2 - Moth VI - ST 1 - P) so I now have character cards !
Technically it's turn one, but we don't need to bog down the new player (me) with that. There's also no initiative at the mo as there are no enemies present. Now I need the first entry in my mini- gamebook to 'teach' people the first Tactical Option. How's about something like this:
Entry 001 - Tactical Option: Move
As you step off the shuttle your earpieces crackles to life. You realise it's Emeritas Kane back in the cockpit.
"Listen up grunts. The signal's coming from one of those buildings to the east of this complex. Get your green backsides over there and let me know what you find."
- Take the Tactical Option: Move card.
- Work though it for each of your marines moving them through the central corridor to the East.
- Place TURN DONE tokens as specified. You remove them from your marines at the start of each turn.
- Play through three turns, then turn to Entry 002.
- Note that surrounded highlighted in green count as Low Obstacles (see the bottom of the Tactical Option: Move card for details).
First Move Over
Entry 002 - Tactical Option: Move & Fire
"Hold it right there men. I'm picking up some old issue air mines in the field up ahead, hell, they're practically ancient. I've hacked them so they can't move, but they can explode. You're going to have to shoot them from a distance. Be careful, they are live. Also this'll let anything within five clicks know we're here so keep it tight people.!
- Drop the eight mine markers from a height of 15cm onto the map (could have starred locations on the map perhaps, or even include a mini map in the entry with where to place mines)
- Take the Tactical Option: Move & Fire card
- Working through each of your Muster in turn, select one of the two available option cards. Note that to go within one square of a mine would mean certain death. Even green Muster ain't that stupid.
- Each mine has ONE hit. As soon as a hit is scored remove the mine.
- Note: pay attention to the burst fire breakdown on the bottom of the card to understand how to target the same mine twice with the same action.
- Once all the mines have been removed, go to Entry 003.
Entry 003 - Tactical Option: Aimed Fire
"Crap! Everybody freeze, don't move an inch! We've got a problem rookies. I'm picking up a new air mine rising up from the grass, it's a bit more advanced and even though I've hacked it I can't stop it fully. If any of you move, you're dead. You're going to have to take it out using aimed fire."
- Place an air mine marker in sight of at least two of your Muster but ideally three or four.
- Take the Tactical Option: Aimed Fire card.
- Play through some turns, using only the new Tactical Option until the mine is destroyed, it has ten hits.
- Then turn to Entry 004.
- Note: The burst fire penalty does not affect aimed fire as shown on the bottom of the card, in fact all dice must be assigned to the same target.
(Wow! I hit the mine for six hits in one turn! Huzzah! I felt this needed a picture)
Entry 004 - Actions: Operating Equipment
"Well done rookies. You might actually have listened to some of what I taught yah. Who'd have thought it eh. Right then. Check out those two outbuildings."
- Use any of your Tactical Otions to move and investigate the two outbuildings.
- Take the Action: Operating Equipment card. Note that this is not a Tactical Option. To operate equipment you make a Tactical Option as normal and if you are next to the equipment (in this case, the door) you discard one General dice to operate the equipment.
- When you open the door to the Barracks (Southern outbuilding) immediately turn to Entry 005.
- When you open the door to the Armoury (Northern outbuilding) immediately turn to Entry 009.
Entry 005 - Tactical Option: Assault Fire
"Careful men. Now you've cracked the door open I'm picking up a reading from inside that building. Some kind of damned intereference means I can't get a bead on it. It could be a hostile. you're going to have to go in firing on this one."
- Place a token between the two beds, this is your target.
- Take the Tactical Option: Assualt Fire card.
- Read through it a few times. This card allows you to target something you do not have line of sight to when your character activates.
- Reset all your charactesr (remove tokens) and play through the Tactical Option: Assault Fire card with the Muster who opened the door.
- If your first Muster does not manage to get into line of sight then select Tactical Options for your squad from your four cards but note that you MUST follow the sarge's orders and use an Assault Fire option to enter the building.
- After you have line of sight to the target, and possibly fired. Record how many hits you scored and turn to Entry 006.
About to enter, route marked out. Token for potential hostile placed.
You burst round the corner, finger tensed on the trigger, as adrenaline floods your system you see the potential hostile. It's just a droid, about a foot high, designed like a cat but with bigger ears. Despite it's mechanical nature it somehow looks scared as hell huddled up against the far wall.
- If you scored at least two TARGETS (6's) as per the Assault Fire card, turn to Entry 007.
- If you choose not to shoot, or if you did not score the required two TARGETS (6's), turn to Entry 010.
You unleash the full might of your military spec Moth VI rifle on the defenceless automaton against the far wall. Amazingly the creature seems to sense your intent and milliseconds before the rounds should take it apart it darts off under the bed, disappearing into the sub-structure, your bullets slamming into the far wall.
You hear Emeritas Kane laughing through your earpiece. "Nice one rookie. Valuable ammo spent on scaring off a kids toy. That might not make it onto your record but it sure as hell will be making the rounds in the mess when we get back!"
- Note down the code letter ( V ). It may be referenced later on.
- Turn to Entry 008
"Come on people, hustle! We ain't on holiday and have to get back to HQ!"
- If you have explored both outbuildings turn to Entry [Not Yet Written].
- If not, use any Tactical Otions to move and investigate the remaining outbuilding.
- If you have not yet explored the Northern outbuilding, turn to Entry 009 immediately when you open it's door.
- If you have not yet opened the door to the Southern outbuilding, make your way there and immediately turn to Entry 005 when you open it's door.
Entry 009 - Tactical Option: Move & Melee
As the door slides open you hear a mechanical whirring and flash of rusted metal flies past your eyes as you back up. Before you stands a robot, it's design is familiar but it looks so old. It's wide metal chassis is bolted to the floor
"Gods! We've got a hostile. My panel says it's just a servo-droid but the readings are well off. It's gone crazy. I've disabled it for now, but you've go to take it down quick. Firing ain't an option either, the rooms too small and full of munitions. Rebound could kill yah straight off or even ignite the ammo. You're going to do this the old fashioned way."
- Place a token against the far wall of the armoury to represent the servo-droid.
- Take the Tactical Option: Move & Melee card and read through it, Melee is a bit different to Ranged combat.
- You must first pass a Readyness Roll, as detailed on the card.
- If you pass then move on to the Melee Combat section in the lower half of the card.
- The servo-droid has four hits and no armour.
The small robot looks at you, and for a second you think you actually see understanding in it's eyes. A noise from one of your squad mates startles it and it darts off under the bed, disappearing down through gaps in the foundations of the building.
"Good call private. No point wasting ammo on kids toys."
- Turn to Entry 008
And that's all I have for now.
I wanted to get it online to see what people thought. I'll be carrying on the game tomorrow. I really liked the "Choose Your Own" idea, not mine originally, Oliver Johnson and Dave Morris used proper miniatures combat in their brilliant Blood Sword gamebooks set in the same world as their Dragon Warriors RPG. I think it lends itself really well to a square based movement miniatures game. You could have set events happening on set tiles and all sorts. Definetly something I'm going to expand on in the future.
I also really liked the Tactical Option cards. Gaemplay was fast and the rule book was barley referenced as I wanted. I'm going to do all the Actions as well as the Tactical Response cards for my 'boxed' version of FF2.1
So, tell me what you think :)
Keep The Flag Flying !