Saturday, May 27, 2023

Xenos Rampant Trek

A couple of weeks back, Bruce and I tested out how well Xenos Rampant works as a skirmish game, using a ship Bruce built and some old 25mm ST:TOS figures that I had. It took us two tries to tweak things, but the result was a surprisingly good sci-fi pulp game.

The basic scenario was Nurse Chapel's and Dr. McCoy's shuttle had been captured by the Romulans. Kirk and Spock had to lead an away team to rescue them from the Roman ship and escape using one of two shuttles. There were five beam-in points for the Federation and five units per side. The Feds secretly selected where each unit would arrive and the Romulans set up, attaching Chapel and McCoy to the unit(s) of their choice. Romulans could not set up in the beam-in points.

Above you can see Spock duking it out with some Romulan security forces, which are using Klingon Targs to patrol the corridors. One of the conventions we adopted (reflecting that the play space was small), was that all movement was cut in half (simple and effective, mimicking the peaking around corners dynamic of a boarding action).

Above you  can see Nurse Chapel being guarded by some Romulans in engineering. The other mechanic we played with was how doors worked. In the end, we decided that doors opened and closed automatically as you move through them and would stay open if a figure ended a move action touching the door. This meant that, to charge into combat from room to room, you first needed to have the door opened by a different unit so the charging unit had LOS.

After the game, we chatted about locking doors open. One option is to allow a figure to lock a door open at the cost of half their move. The door can be returned to normal operation by another unit doing the same thing.

For the hero (like Kirk and Spock above), we used the hero stats from Dragon Rampant as the base. Using charge as their automatic action saw them behave very much like they would in the show (heroically punching it out). Generally, heroes would whomp a regular unit, but over time, they started to pick up damage, which degraded their performance. 

Other units (e.g., red shirts) had shoot as their automatic action and they seemed to behave pretty much like they did on the show. They were okay at holding objectives and distracting, but not really the unit you want to rely on to win with!

The activation mechanic gave us some interesting narrative events. Kirk rescues Chapel (above) in the crew quarters but then fails several activations in a row to move her towards the shuttles. What lust... errr... must he have been doing during this time?

The ship's layout allowed for some outflanking (surprise, Spock!), which was good.

In the end, it came down to Kirk and Spock duking it out with the Romulan captain and her last security team, which was pretty spot on for the effect we wanted. At 25 points, the game played pretty fast--like 30 minutes maybe? I was surprised how a rule systems not meant for skirmish worked well enough to give dramatic games with tough decisions.

No comments: