21 October 2011

Gut Check Battle - Garn vs Astagar

Following my last post, I broke out SpaceJacker's Gut Check! ruleset and gave it a few playtests.  I had forgotten what a fun little rule system it is.  It only took a couple rounds to get the hang of the mechanics once again... I spent the rest of the time tweaking unit stats to come up with something that resembled a balanced scenario.  This was played using Khurasan Garn and Critical Mass Astagar Mercenary Fighters.

Scenario Background.  A Garn patrol ship entered orbit around Rishi 7.  Some ancient buildings were on that planet... something the Garn had always wanted to investigate.  When their scanners detected an Astagar landing ship near the ruins, they knew it was time to stake a permanent claim.  Garn Huntmaster Thauro recognized the landing ship - they were the type usually crewed by five Astagar mercenary fighters (probably seeking some sort of treasure in the ruins).  Thauro was a little disappointed at this finding.  He had been hoping for a proper fight today, and this would amount to little more than an early morning workout.  But it was better than nothing, and he certainly couldn't let the Astagar take anything of value from one of the planets in his patrol zone.  Thauro ordered Hunters Bazgla and Acholk to accompany him down to the surface.

The Astagar were already inside the buildings by the time the Garn arrived.  Astagar Captain Fyip had his henchmen Sizet and Ovidu searching the larger building, while Ixe and his heavy weapon trooper Livitt looked inside the smaller.  When they left their buildings, they were a bit surprised to find a Garn Hunting Party stalking toward them.

Playing The Game.  I didn't use any blips for this scenario - just a straight fight to "break in" these units.  The Astagar were positioned in front of both buildings, while the Garn simply entered from the center of the opposite edge of my board.  I played this on my 2' x 2' Red Planet table including my Critical Mass Kaamados buildings.  The Garn were activated and controlled by me, while the Astagar used SpaceJacker's awesome all-in-one enemy activation counters.

Turn One.  I learned during my earlier playtests that the Garn were pretty easily slaughtered if they split up.  So this time I would keep them together, and simply knock out the Astagar one mini at a time.  Huntmaster Thauro began the game by using an EVADE action to move into cover (rock formations along the right side of the table).  The first enemy activation counter was for Livitt - the Astagar armed with the heavy gun.  He used a FOCUS FIRE action to give Bazgla a Shock counter.  Using the reaction rules, Bazgla scored an Epic Pass on his Gut Check and returned fire.  He hit Livitt for two Shock counters - enough to take the heavy weapon Astagar out of action.  Both Garn hunters joined their Huntmaster in the EVADE action, while Ovidu failed to activate and Sizet took an EVADE to slither up the hill on the left side of the table.  Ixe fired at the Garn but his shots were absorbed by their shields.  The turn concluded with Captain Fyip using a RUSH action to get into battle with the wounded Bazgla. Each took a shock counter from that fight.

Turn Two.  The turn began with Ovidu, the Astagar with the power gauntlets, using a RUSH action to attack Garn Huntmaster Thauro.  He took down the Huntmaster with a Messy Kill - forcing Bazgla and Acholk to take Gut Checks.  They failed and retreated 2".  The Astagar Captain used a FOCUS FIRE to stop the fleeing Garn, but his his was absorbed by Bazgla's shield.  Bazgla passed a Gut Check for taking fire... I could either Ambush (charge the captain) or Fire.  He fired, and all three shots missed completely.  Acholk used a FOCUS FIRE action to take down the Astagar assault trooper.  He scored a MESSY KILL.  The Astagar captain was within 4" of the kill and was forced to take a Gut Check, but he passed and did not retreat.  The wounded Bazgla removed his Shock Counter at the end of this turn, but the Astagar Captain did not.

Turn Three.  Captain Fyip used a FOCUS FIRE against Bazgla, scoring another two Shock Counters.  Bazgla failed the ensuing Gut Check, so there was no retaliation.  Acholk used a RUSH action to assault Captain Fyip, forcing him to give ground.  Nobody else managed to activate during this turn... Captain Fyip removed his Shock counter, while Bazgla kept both of his.  Things were not looking well for the Garn!

Turn Four.  Garn Acholk used an ADVANCE action to get into cover. He fired on Captain Fyip, scoring a MESSY KILL.  The nearby Astagar fighter failed his Gut Check, and was Choked for the rest of the turn. Astagar Sizet, still in cover at the opposite hill, failed yet another activation.  Bazgla managed to activate even with two Shock Counters... he took a FOCUS FIRE action against the choked Astagar fighter Ixe.  The dice weren't kind to Ixe... he received four Shock counters, and was taken out of action.  In one turn, the fight had completely turned against the Astagar.

More dead snakes than Springfield Whacking Day...
Turn Five.  Across the table, Sizet finally passed an activation!  He RUSHed into assault with Acholk.  That assault ended with Sizet giving ground.  Acholk then used a FOCUS FIRE to give Sizet a Shock and a Choke counter.  Bazgla didn't pass his activation, but was able to remove both of his Shock counters at the end of that turn.  

Turn Six.  Sizet, the last surviving Astagar, fell to FOCUS FIRE from Bazgla.  The alien buildings were now clear of the invading Astagar treasure seekers, but the Garn had paid a terrible price with the loss of Huntmaster Thauro.

Analysis.  I had to tweak the Astagar stats for a few games, but I achieved a pretty good level of balance.  This game really felt like it was decided purely by the dice rolls - after turn three I thought it was going to be another overwhelming Astagar victory.  But the Garn refused to give up!  Now I want to play a variant of Scenario One from the Gut Check rules... I'll run the Garn hunting party again, next time against several small blips of humans or Crusties.  But this made for a very fun game, even with a total of eight minis on the table.



  1. Thanks, Chris, for the "blow-by-blow" action of the conflict.

  2. Great post! This has encouraged me to return to GC. I think retooling it into a 5 or less per side shootout game would be a nice direction to take it in. GC plus some kind of option based build system would be great. Thanks for keeping the rules alive :)

  3. You're welcome, Jay.

    @SpaceJacker: It's a great set of rules... a bit more unpredictable than ItEN, but it doesn't involve the constant table-rolling of Chain Reaction 3. I've made a few notes over the last couple of weeks on how I've modified the game... I'll PM you on TMP with the detals.

    Chris K.

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