Wednesday 15 July 2009

Master Chef Plays By The Rules

5150, We Can Be Heroes II

& Mutants and Death Ray Guns -

A Rules Comparison

Master Chef here; Take a knee and listen up.....

Over the last few weeks, inspired by finishing West Wing, I have been thinking of rules to use for small skirmish games (the WW influence was in terms of FBI or Secret Service details taking on bad guys in Vince Flynn style action) - this of course mutated into a force march through the above rules. Here are my highly subjective thoughts:


Ed Texiera has created a system with its own internal logic and Universe - not a mean feat. This means I'll be tempted to plunder the Star Army etc for ideas for my own squads; I love the brutal simplicity of the shooting system and the squad creation. I'm not sold on the term "star" for the main figure (then again, I toyed with the terms Tier 1, 2 & 3 so who am I to judge?) but thats minor; the reaction system is comprehensive - and there is the problem. Frederick The Great said - if you defend eveywhere you defend nowhere; by covering all the bases in a series of tables, I found 5150 lost flow and became a matter of moving from one test to another.


Well Gordon Roach has created the most accesible rules I have ever seen - as someone who recoils in disorder at rules overkill, I loved the layout - its not often you get to drool at great paintjobs, smile at humour and learn rules at the same time. The game itself is slick and runs well - the generic nature means its adaptable to all and sundry. I just personally don't get on well with card driven rules - I have a nagging fear of bad shuffling and card counting - a subconcious tendency to "know" that the hero has all his activations left......


Andrea Sfiligoi at Ganesha has adapted the Song of.... system for post apocalypse mayhem, as well as pretty much anything else. This is not Star Wars - more Triffids meets Mad Max. But with rules for power armour, lasers etc it can be used for sci fi oh so easily. My first game saw Vargr Scouts (ie canine mutants) play Locust Horde (errr mutants) after about 5 minutes of pen chewing. There's a nice little campaign system which can probably be adapted for a SF background. No cards, just dice roll to activate - which can back fire. Oh yes it can.

So, what's the verdict? Frankly, they are all gorram good, very good and we are lucky to have three fine sets just begging to be bought as PDFs. I will be using MDRG because it doesn't have cards, has a vicious activation system and well, I just like it. If someone said "Master Chef, we're playing 5150" I'd pull up a chair and jump right in - the same with WCBH2.

So, all I need is to get my Foundry Figs and Agent Casper's DC TaskForce will be swooping onto those armed crazies of all persuasions. No, I'll be refighting Gears of War in 15mm. No, its going to be smugglers in the 'Verse taking on the Federation.....But hang on! The sub-ether is alive with chatter about Popular Front activity on Tooting Broadway Orbital Station ....."Saddle up! Let's dust-off this dirtball. We
gonna conquer, and we gonna kick some!"

Master Chef

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