Saturday morning I was signed up to play "The Other Side of Justice" by Mark Kinsey (aka Clambo). Originally, I was attracted to the game for two reasons: It's based on the anime "Ghost in the Shell" which I love, and it was going to be played using the Gruntz rules. I had played Gruntz once - kind of. A friend and I had stumbled through a beta version of the rules and we had both found it not our cup of tea. But it was our only attempt and they were beta rules. Gruntz continued popularity makes me want to try the final published rules.
|Mark built a great city table - I thought it captured the GitS feel well|
|The city is a combination of commercial , scratch built, re-purposed toys,|
and paper buildings! (The bridge is all paper!)
While dropping Gruntz was a disappointment, my love of GitS kept me in.
Six players covered three factions: city/government forces, Section 9 (the cyber enhanced force featured in GitS), and the rebels (played by your humble scribe and another player). Apparently there was going to be an exchange of nuclear materials between Section 9 and the city/government forces. When I asked what my goals were I was told "protect your city and stay alive". Hmmm.
Rebels started in mostly preset positions. One of my squads was on this bridge behind a barricade. Little did I know these police buses where hurtling along the bridge (apparently invisible to me) and their movement brought them from off board to my barricade in one turn. Hmmm.
Fortunately for me, I was able to demonstrate to Clambo just how crunchy vehicles could be in Star Grunt and took out one of the buses with a missile launcher followed by a quick retreat of what troopers managed to stay out from under the bus tires.
Other rebel forces, including a sniper, were mounted on a nearby rooftop. They managed to take out the second police bus.
While others were behind some shanties nearby. A construction mech wandered over at one point (like where Ripley fights the mother alien in Aliens). Never figured out why it wandered over and who was in charge of it (seemed to be run by the GM). I managed blow it up with a missile.
The black chopper-like vehicle is a Jigabachi made from a Japanese kit and run by the Section 9 forces. What I do know is nothing I had could make a dent in it.
The rebels near the shanty were tired of sitting around and hightailed it across the street to the building on the left. Unfortunately once I got into the building, I found out what I could not see from the above view. See the photo below.
See those black vehicles? Apparently the building was occupied with some very scary men dressed in black suits. They suggested I leave post haste. My gun fire had been ineffective and my missiles had done the only damage: blowing up two police buses, a car (which had the nuclear material in it), and an unexplained construction mech. I was now out of missiles so I chose to leave. The figures on the left by the wall are some of my rebels beating a hasty retreat.
And that was pretty much the end of the game.
So what did I think? I frankly am not sure.
I loved Mark's cityscape, he did a fantastic job on the miniatures: getting special kits, converting 15mm figures - it's a tale well worth checking out on his blog. I don't think StarGrunt was necessarily a better choice of rule set. While yes, I blew up a lot of things but the squads inside and the car passengers escaped virtually unscathed. Ok once or twice, but everytime left me scratching my head. Nor could my small arms fire make much of a dent in anyone who was better armed and better armored which was everone. Once the missiles were gone (which only seemed to hit light vehicles), I was without a way to make a dent in anything. Sure rebels are supposed to be a high attrition troop, but in retrospect I was never really clear what exactly I was supposed to do with them, and I guess that's my own fault.
Bet that was not the climactic After Action conclusion you were expecting.
Next up, my first game of Crucible aka Hammer's Slammers and some shots of the painting contest.