Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Doomed, we're all Doomed!

So, Andy got his chance to lay down some smack as the Invader in Doom on Sunday. Donald and I took our 2 marines into the final scenario. It wasn't pretty. We only managed to get through 1 door, after which we just got bogged down by wave after wave of spawns.

We weren't helped by our luck: the number of attacks we missed was just painful, driving our results at least 1 point below the mean. Andy, on the other hand, enjoyed average luck, our constant dodging notwithstanding. On top of that, whenever Donald and I did pull something useful together, Andy'd have an Invader card in his hand to screw us over!

My marine wasn't much help either. My skills were Tough, Medic and Sniper. Tough gives you +1 armour, which was fair enough. Medic proved useless. I'm sure the ability to play the Ready action and use an order to heal 1 wound is something that'll've made the difference to winning or losing a game of Doom, somewhere, sometime; but on Sunday I just couldn't afford to spend an order on it when I had constantly to dodge while surrounded by Andy's Invader hordes. Sniper wasn't much better. What I really needed were skills which made my marine much more aggressive.

Our tactics let us down too, our respawning tactics in particular. Doom is a game in which the marine players can expect to get killed. So the trick is not so much avoiding getting killed as making sure that you can use getting fragged to respawn somewhere useful, ie. forward. Unfortunately Donald and I kept putting ourselves in positions from which we could only respawn backwards, so that we had to fight our way back to where we'd been. And when I did eventually spawn forwards, the Hell Knight guarding the door was more than a match for me.

We met our end shortly thereafter.

Evil Andy
Puny humans 0

I enjoy Doom now as much as when I originally played it 3 years ago. I like the core system and the viewpoint it creates; I like the challenge of the scenarios; and, as fond as I am of the extra richness of Doom's sister game Descent, I still enjoy the more pared-down feel of Doom.

Also: I checked the FAQ; we missed a couple of things in our game:
  • Blowthrough requires you to roll for the extra attack(s) after you've subtracted the dice.
  • You do get an attack for Watchful when a figure is moved adjacent with Knockback, but only 1.
I said last week that I expected Munchkin would "take its due place at the table as entertaining filler in the future". I confess I didn't expect that to be quite so soon, but Andy and Donald seemed keen, so off we went for a couple of games.

Routine finkage, general screwage and other high jinks aside, the details of the games are hazy now. All I can really report is that:
  • Andy won the 1st game.
  • I played a really neat trick in 1 game, looking for trouble with a Bullrog, Mate and Friendly in my hand, which netted me 10 treasures!
  • I won the 2nd game.
  • I'm still enjoying my return to Munchkin madness!
Evil Andy 2
Donald 0
Me 1

Andy had to leave early, so Donald suggeseted a game of Memoir'44 after dinner. I was keen for some vengance after our last game, so I readily agreed.

Dinner was Simple Stroganoff from Delia's Complete Cookery Course (online variants here). With just 7 ingredients and no processes more complicated than browning meat, this really is simple cooking, but it's always been a hit when I've cooked it. It's also another good recipie for getting most of the work done the day before.

We wanted to try out the new air rules, so we plumped for the 1st scenario featuring them in the Air Pack's compiled scenario book. That turned out to be Utah beach, a scenario originally published on the Days of Wonder M44 site. The revised version features 2 changes:
  • Landing craft.
  • Air rules.
The landing craft are handy in beach landings (no!), enabling units in the sea to reach the beach in a single move.

The air rules are more complicated. There are 2 new command cards added to the game: the Air Sortie cards. These are used to bring 1 of the 8 airplanes into play. Once in play an airplane can be ordered using section cards just like any other unit. In fact, they must be ordered or you'll lose them. Airplanes can move 4 spaces, and can move through any terrain and/or units.

Airplanes often have to make Air Checks at the start of their turn. An Air Check is a dice roll based on the kind of terrain in which the airplane begins its turn and the number of adjacent enemy units and/or airplanes; eg. towns have an Air Check value of 2, which would be 2 dice. If any of the dice are grenades, then the airplane is lost, and it'll be worth a victory medal to the opposing player if any of their units were adjacent to the airplane.

Each aircraft can also carry out 1 or more different special actions. These include the obvious strafing - a more flexible but less powerful version of the Air Power card in the command deck; as well as useful tricks like ground support - negates the terrain protection against close assault of hexes adjacent to the airplane; or ground interdiction - units adjacent to the airplane at the start of their turn can't move. Oh yes, and the Japanese Zero has kamikaze.

The air rules proved decisive in our game, which was largely down to my good luck in drawing an immediate Air Sortie card. I picked a P38 Lightning for the sake of the aforementioned ground support. I then promptly played an Assault, and my entire centre rolled into action. With the help of the Lightning, I was able to clear the 1st bunker without too much difficulty, although Donald's fightback meant that I was actually behind for most of the game.

My momentum in the centre exhausted, I had some some units getting shot up on my right, and my left was still to be committed. Making the most of my P38, I sent it after Donald's unit dug in on the hill on the left. I got lucky with a flag, which meant that I could move up to seize the hill with ease. Shortly after this Donald used his airplane - a Fieseler Storch - on a rescue mission, which enabled him to save a 1-model infantry unit from destruction. It was too late for Donald though. His covering forces were broken and I had a simple run through the left flank exit point for my game-winning victory medal.

Andy 2
Donald 0
Me 2

After 1 play I have mixed feelings about the air rules. The way in which air power appears and disappears is pretty decent, giving a good impression of how little control battlefield commanders had over air power in WW2. And the rules are pretty straightforward and simple to use, although I did find confusing some of what the rules say about the play of Air Sortie cards. So the air rules work OK. I have to confess I'm just not yet sure if Memoir'44 needed them in the first place. ;)

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