Due to a last minute cancellation at London On Board (a board gaming night I semi regularly attend – a place I hope to write about soon) I ended up having an impromptu gaming night at mine this week.
Myself and my pal Rob played a couple of things, afforded the extra room of my dining room, we broke out AT-43 and rounded off with a couple of games of Quarriors with the new Rise of the Demons expansion.
No it’s not some Danish punk band, it’s a wargame published by the now sadly defunct Rackham Games. We played the starter set, the succinctly titled ‘AT-43: Operation Damocles Initiation Set’ which is packaged up in a nice big box (it’s sodding massive) with pre-painted miniatures, rule book, play mat, dice, tape measure, model terrain, etc. Pre painted minis you say? I bet those will be shite! Well no, they are surprisingly nice. Rackham was well know for the quality of their miniatures, and these are no exception – exquisitely designed, especially the alien borg-type dudes and really well painted. A million miles from WotC’s range of pretty shoddy pre painted stuff.
Essentially it is a skirmish game, and the base set gives you a small force of human infantry and the aforementioned robotic-borg-drone-thingies, and a robot mech for each side (which are great looking models)
So how does it play? Well it’s standard wargame stuff; take turns activating units, move units in centimetres, roll to hit, roll to damage. Within minutes of starting, we hit questions that weren’t addressed by the rules; do you have to move in straight lines? What blocks line of sight and what doesn’t? Can I fire, move and engage in close combat all in one turn? Masses of ambiguity with the very core basics, bread and butter stuff for any tabletop game are topics like line of sight, movement and firing. We ended up making up many house rules on the spot, based on mutual agreement and knowledge of similar games. I hope some of this is due to the very short rule book packaged with the game, it really is extremely cut down, I assume the “full” rule book goes into a lot more detail.
It was ok, didn’t wow me with it’s clever mechanics or tactical system, it played like every other skirmish game I’ve seen, bringing nothing new. Certainly wasn’t a bad game, just a bit uninspiring and flat. Maybe a little too simple. One the plus side – It can be had for peanuts now, since Rakham went under, it’s almost worth picking up for the minis and little bits of terrain (again all nicely pre-painted) to be used in other games. It’s not something you’d want to invest a lot of time or money in, as essentially – it’s a dead system.
Quarriors – Rise Of The Demons
I waffled a lot about about AT-43 as I figured not many people will be familiar with an obscure out of print French wargame. Quarriors is a different beast, I think most gamers will be aware with the popular “dice-builder”. It made quite a splash in 2011 due to its eye catching array of hundreds of pretty coloured dice, coupled with a lack of availability making it something of a “must have” game. I wanted to try the game with the new Rise of the Demons (RotD) expansion set, which adds new monsters, spells and a whole set of “corrupted” game mechanics.
We played two games, the first with 50% split of the base monsters and spells and a dash of 4-5 extras from RotD. It played just like normal Quarriors with the new mechanics not showing their face. Hmmm OK, so what about playing with 100% of stuff from RotD? We tried that and the game was the same! The new Corrupted Quiddity dice never once got into play, and many of the special abilities and effects, which depend on these Corrupted Quiddity, never kicked in. It pretty played much like the original game. There didn’t seem to be that many ways to acquire these Corrupted dice (keeping in mind they are bad, you don’t want to have them, and can’t capture them like you would normal dice)
I’ll admit that’s only two games played with it, but Rise Of The Demons doesn’t appear to be the most radical addition to the game. When you’re playing with an expansion and hardly notice any difference in how the game plays – I think something is wrong