Sunday, November 7, 2010

Battle report for Wastelands, the post-apocalyptic skirmish game

My regular wargaming group got together last week to try out Wastelands, a skirmish miniatures game set in a post-apocalyptic world. The rules are philosophically similar to Song of Blades & Heroes — meaning they're simple, customizable and packed with RPG-like flavor — so we knew this would be an easy game to pick up and play. Plus, the game is generic enough to support all manner of post-apocalyptic scenarios and factions: Road Warrior-style highway raiders, Terminator machines, 40k-style shock troopers and everything in between. Games generally include anywhere from 3 to 10 figures, plus maybe a vehicle or two.

Karl, one of the players in the group, had a fantastic desert board set up at his place, and we were able to get in two games, each lasting just over an hour or so. Each game was a three-way slugfest; we avoided crafting a specific scenario because we really just wanted to see how the game would play.

The games were a lot of fun, but the suggested point value for each team (300 points) offered some wildly disparate teams. For example, 300 points got 6 Mad Max-style gangers, or 3 tricked-out shock trooper commandos, or 3 nomadic survivors plus a rustbucket police cruiser.

The 3 armored shock troopers proved to be the most potent fighting force on the board that evening, owing mostly to their bitchin' body armor. They didn't have numerical superiority, but they were able to walk all over the nomadic survivors and the Terminator-style robot infantry, as seen in these photos.

We all agreed that, despite the prowess of the shock troopers, it's just not that much fun to have a team consisting of only 3 guys, so we are definitely going to raise the point cap a bit higher next time we play, maybe up to 500 points or so. I mean, the point of playing miniatures wargames is to get fun toys on the table, right?

Also, the lone vehicle didn't really perform as we hoped it would. I didn't buy a gun for it, so all it was able to do was lurch back and forth, attempting to ram various enemies. It looked cool on the table, but it ultimately killed no one and was itself destroyed piecemeal in both games. I think the game will play much better with several vehicles zipping around on the board, rather than one big moving target that everyone shoots at each turn.

Lastly, Wastelands had its share of inconsistencies and muddled rules. We ended up houseruling more than a few key things over the course of two games. This wasn't a big deal, and I understand that Wastelands is a DIY release that probably didn't benefit from an outside editor, but it's worth mentioning. I'm sure we'll codify our Wastelands notes in some sort of house rules addendum that we can all share.


Brian Wille said...

Great pictures as always! And fun, informative write-up/session report. Would be curious to know an example of something you had to house-rule.

Patrick W. Rollens said...

As an example, we couldn't find much about models falling over in the rules. (This is a side effect of a missed ram attempt by a vehicle...the target model falls over by default. We had models falling over every single turn.)

We couldn't find anything in the rules describing how models get back up after falling down, or anything about the presumed drawbacks to being facedown on the ground(easier to hit?). So we houseruled it.

Karl Paulsen said...

This was a great couple games. I got whooped twice, but it was good to finally get some use out of my table/terrain. Hightly recommend Wastelands to any wargamer who wants to think about rules as little as possible.